May 18, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Daric Barton (10) at bat against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Minnesota defeated Oakland 4-3 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

John Jaso’s Current Athletics Equivalent

When the A’s acquired John Jaso on Wednesday A.J. Cole, Blake Treinen, and a player to be named it seemed right off the bat to be a productive deal for the team, but came at too steep a price.  It wasn’t that Jaso was a bad baseball player, he had a fine season in Seattle in 2012.  So what was it?  Something just didn’t sit right with me about the deal.

Jun 4, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter John Jaso (27) hits a single against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a quick look at Jaso’s 2012, he posted a .276/.394/.456 slash line in 362 plate appearances, struck out a mere 51 times, and walked 56 times.  His plate discipline and ability to put the ball in play paid dividends, his .298 BABIP is just about dead on the league average so he wasn’t riding luck either.  His 143 wRC+ would have been top 10 in the Majors if he had enough PA to qualify.  So without a doubt Jaso made significant contributions to the Mariners, and should theoretically be able to do the same in Oakland in 2013.  But he still bears a strong resemblance to another player who will don the white cleats in 2013, perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in recent Athletics history.  He’s the man everyone  loves to hate, or hates to love, Daric Barton.

The mere mention of Barton will either send fans into a frenzy of plate discipline, or a rage of writing backwards K’s in their scorebooks.  I saw Jaso compared to some big time names (You know who you are) today and it reminded me of the discussions had after the 2010 season that some A’s fans thought Barton was more valuable than Ryan Howard.  While some advanced stats, namely WAR indicated (Barton’s 5.0 to Howard’s 1.4) that Barton had a superior season.  For this writer, the fact that Howard hit 31 home runs that year in what was something of a down season overrides Barton’s plate discipline.  But the Barton supporters persisted, much like the supporters of this deal do (Not that I don’t like Jaso, just not at the cost of Cole).

Let’s take a look at Barton’s 2010 though, by far his finest in the Major Leagues.  In 686 plate appearances Barton posted a .273/.393/.405 line, extremely close in AVG and OBP, a bit lower in SLG% though.  Barton walked about twice the amount Jaso did in 2012, 110 (which did lead the AL) to Jaso’s 56, but also struck out twice as much, 102 to Jaso’s 51 K’s.  Barton took a ton more walks, but also struck out a ton more.  They each hit 10 home runs, Barton drove in 57 runs to Jaso’s 50, Barton hit 33 doubles and Jaso hit 19 (Remember Jaso’s much lower PA count though).

They each have their own specialties, Barton took a lot of walks, Jaso proved extremely difficult to strike out.  They provide the occasional pop, and have decent success when they put the ball in play.  Barton was valuable in 2010, and Jaso should prove valuable in 2013.  The question will be whether what Jaso provides will be enough to justify his acquisition.  Time will tell.

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Tags: Daric Barton John Jaso Oakland Athletics

  • Marky

    Funnily enough if Moss regresses back to being Brandon Moss, Barton will most likely see most of the playing time at 1B next year.

    This lineup will never happen because Melvin loves platoons so much, but I think it would score the most runs if this was sent out there everyday:

    C: Jaso
    2B: Sizemore
    LF: Cespedes
    DH: Carter
    CF: Reddick
    RF: Moss
    3B: Donaldson
    1B: Barton
    SS: Nakajima

    That’s a really good team defensively too. Reddick is actually a decent CF and Moss played RF up until last season. Barton, for all the hatred he gets for his approach at the plate, is still miles and miles ahead defensively of any 1B in the org.

  • Tim

    comparing Barton and Jaso is stupid. Barton plays first base. Jaso is a catcher. Yes, Jaso’s #’s for 2012 were similar to Barton’s 2010. But it is harder to find offensive talent at the catching position. I love this trade and see it as a huge upgrade to our offense with a platoon of Jaso playing against mostly righties and Norris taking over vs lefties.

  • Niall

    So Barton walked a lot more and Jaso struck out less? Barton had almost double the AB’s. Oh and that was Barton’s best year while also Jaso’s it was also last year and he hasn’t hit his head on the bottom of any pools as far as I know.

  • steele75

    your point is valid. however, if barton had continued to put up numbers similar to his 2010 numbers he wouldn’t have ended up in the doghouse. i think the slugging numbers jaso had are encouraging, especially since they came in seattle. i also believe that barton’s decline came with poor health and he has never fully recovered. i vote “yes” on this trade. our depth of starters is another reason i think this trade works.

  • Casey Senecal

    To compare the two seems ignorant to me. A left handed hitting catcher is an invaluable asset to a team and not to mention he’s a wall back there (even though the arm needs some work.) I can agree that getting rid of Cole could come back to bite us, but he’s 20 and posted about a 7 era last year. A’s don’t have that kind of time.They have the pitching now and need to develop the bats at the lower levels (Russell, Choice). I say the skeptical article should be written on the fact Barton is going to be making 7 figures in 2013. There’s already the best platoon duo at first, and the DH spot is overflowing with options. Barton is just an annoying fly who’s overdue to get swatted.