How valuable is Edgar Renteria?

As John Fay would tell you, Edgar Renteria has upped the angst on Twitter tremendously. Recently, he has felt the brunt of a lot of frustration from Twitter-loving Reds fans.

On the surface, I understand the frustration. Walt Jocketty brought in Edgar Renteria, 2010’s World Series MVP, to be both a reliable backup for Paul Janish but also a leader in the clubhouse for a group that still boasts little playoff experience.

So far this season, Renteria is batting just .234 with 0 HR but 10 RBI. Last season for the Giants, Renteria looked old at times. He swung like a rusty gate, but amassed a .276 batting average with 3 HR and 22 RBI. However, Renteria came through for the Giants when it mattered most. In the playoffs, when Pablo Sandoval was next to useless, Renteria gave Bruce Bochy the boost he was looking for.

I will admit that I am not a huge fan of the WAR stat, but let’s take a look. Last season, Renteria had a WAR of .9. That signifies that Renteria won .9 games for the Giants more than the average Major Leaguer would have won in his spot.

This season Renteria sports a -.2 WAR which means that Renteria has cost the games .2 wins compared to the average major leaguer who could replace him. Essentially, Renteria has not been worth the investment over the first two months for the Reds.

One of the flaws of the WAR stat is that it weights more heavily offensive stats than defensive stats. Paul Janish’s defensive superiority is not taken as much into account as Joey Votto‘s offensive superiority is.

In Tuesday’s game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, Edgar let a routine groundball role right through his legs. Twitter blew up with calls for Renteria to be released. He already has 6 errors this season and sports a fielding percentage of just .945.

So now let’s take a look at the guy’s stats who many think should play instead of Renteria, Paul Janish. Janish .221 on the year with no home runs and 15 RBI. He has also swiped two bags.

In the field is where Janish separates himself from Renteria. Janish has 5 errors already but is fielding .977 on the season because he has had 50 more chances than Renteria on the season.

Janish may have had nearly as many errors as Renteria on the season, but Janish gets to a lot more balls than Renteria which can lead to more errors. Getting to more balls leads to having to make tougher plays which can at times, lead to more errors.

A fielding stat that I prefer is total zone fielding which measures how many runs a player saves in the field above average. So far this season at SS, Paul Janish has saved 8 runs above average whereas Edgar Renteria has cost the Reds 4 runs above average.

So it appears in the stat book that Janish has been far more valuable to the Reds this season, and Renteria has been less than average.

The chorus of fans calling for Chris Valaika, Todd Frazier, and Zach Cozart to get a chance at the Major League level may get louder and louder according to these stats.

You can follow Alex Apple on Twitter @AlexAppleDFW