One of the splits that they track at Baseball-Reference.com is how a batter does against Power and Finesse pitchers. This is how they see each type of pitcher:
Power pitchers strike out or walk more than 28% of batters faced, Finesse pitchers strike out or walks less than 24% of batters faced. Stats are based on the three years before and after (when available), and the season for when the split is computed. A split in 1994 would consider years 1991-1997.
Note these Power/Finesse splits for Jason Giambi over the last three seasons – with 2008 being as of this morning:
2008 PA BA OBP SLG BAbip vs. Power 35 .037 .229 .037 .048 vs. avg.P/F 3 .000 .333 .000 .000 vs. Finesse 17 .286 .412 .857 .182 2007 PA BA OBP SLG BAbip vs. Power 84 .176 .333 .206 .293 vs. avg.P/F 149 .248 .349 .496 .261 vs. Finesse 70 .281 .400 .561 .239 2006 PA BA OBP SLG BAbip vs. Power 122 .157 .369 .348 .153 vs. avg.P/F 311 .280 .434 .561 .296 vs. Finesse 146 .271 .404 .712 .207
Note the difference for Giambi against Power and Finesse pitchers:
Power PA BA OBP SLG BAbip 2008 35 .037 .229 .037 .048 2007 84 .176 .333 .206 .293 2006 122 .157 .369 .348 .153
Finesse PA BA OBP SLG BAbip 2008 17 .286 .412 .857 .182 2007 70 .281 .400 .561 .239 2006 146 .271 .404 .712 .207
These splits are interesting. Clearly, over the last three seasons, Jason Giambi is completely over matched against Power pitchers. But, against Finesse pitchers, his OPS numbers are great.
That said, note the BAbip (Batting Average on balls in play) numbers for Giambi against Finesse pitchers: .182, .239, and .207.
When I see these numbers, it suggests to me that, against Finesse pitchers, Giambi’s greatest skill is working a walk and hitting some big flys. And, it’s basically that all (BB or HR) or nothing for Giambi against Finesse pitchers. In a sense, it’s as if Jason Giambi’s best offensive weapon here is when the (Finesse) pitcher makes a mistake – meaning a walk or a hanger.
In summary, it appears evident that Jason Giambi cannot hit a Power pitcher. And, there’s some evidence to suggest that Giambi’s best success against a Finesse pitcher only comes when the pitcher makes a mistake. In total, as a batter, left to his own skill, Giambi – over the last three years – is worthless.
Yes, I know, I haven’t addressed Giambi’s batting results against “average Power/Finesse” pitchers here. In 2006, Giambi’s numbers against these types were very good. And, in 2007, they were acceptable. But, like the importing/exporting debate on Seinfeld, I would question if “average Power/Finesse” pitchers do more Finesse work than Power work and that’s why Giambi fares well here – like he does against “true” Finesse pitchers.
Why the Yankees keep running Jason out there, I dunno? I know that Giambi is due $23,428,571 this season. So, I can see why, maybe, the Yankees feel like they need to play him.
Me? I’d go another way. I would just cut him, at this point. He cannot play the field. He can’t run. And, as the stats show, he’s very limited as a hitter. Sure, you run the risk of him going somewhere else, with you paying him, and maybe hitting some homers (off mistake pitches). But, I’d be willing to trade that for getting someone on the roster (in place of Giambi) that can help the team.