The Diamond Report: 1B Richie Sexson

InsidethePark.com introduces Jason A. Churchill's "Diamond Report" and offers a full scouting report on recently-signed Seattle Mariners' first baseman Richie Sexson. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of the M's brand new slugger and see what's in store for Sexson and the M's in 2005.

Subject: Richie Lockwood Sexson
Height/Weight: 6-8/236
Age/Born: 29/Dec. 29, 1974
Position: 1B
Bats/Throws: R/R


Career 162 Game Averages:
.271/.349/.528, 39 HR, 119 RBI, 156 K, 66 BB, 94 R, 30-2B


Offense:
Sexson's game is headlined by the massive power matched by very few in all of baseball. The tall, lanky right-handed hitter has power to all fields and the only way pitchers keep him in the ball park is to come in on his hands and keep him from extending his long arms. Sexson is more aggressive than the typical power hitters of today and will strike out quite a bit, but the trade-off is more than worth it as he sizes up the 40+ home run mark every season. His bigger, longer swing makes him somewhat susceptible to a good fastball-change up combination but is more than capable of making the proper adjustments. Not a candidate to hit .300 every season or draw 100+ walks, Sexson profiles as a prototypical "slugger" who will drive in a lot of runs and hit the long ball with the best of them. He is best suited to hit in the cleanup spot behind three on-base monsters where his ability to take anyone deep will be most effective. Protecting him with a solid lefty stick, both in front of him and behind him isn't a necessity but can only aid in his attempts to anchor a lineup.


Defense:
Often thought of as a liability defensively, nothing could be further from the truth. Sexson has solid defensive skills and rarely makes a mistake on routine plays. Since breaking into the majors, Sexson has improved at digging throws from the dirt and has always excelled with a very good throwing arm. Sexson is not likely to win any gold gloves anytime soon, but falls into the category with the better-than-average defensive first basemen. Sexson is an asset with the glove.


Baserunning:
Not blessed with more than a slugger's speed, Sexson runs the bases with intelligence and rarely makes the critical error by running into outs. He does not tend to clog the bases like most catchers and leans toward the conservative side, only when the situation calls for such an approach.


The Five Tool Watch: Scout's Grading Scale

Hitting for Average: 50
Hitting for Power: 75
Speed: 40
Glove: 60
Arm: 65



Career Highs:
Avg: .279 in 2002
OBP: .379 in 2003
Slg: .548 in 2003
HR: 45 in 2001 and 2003
RBI: 125 in 2001
Runs: 97 in 2003
2B: 37 in 2002
3B: 7 in 1999
H: 165 in 2003
BB: 98 in 2003
SO: 178 in 2001
GM: 162 in 2003

What to Expect in 2005:
With the recent shoulder surgery and subsequent DL stint, Sexson's only downside is the injury risk. Fully capable of scaling the walls in every crevice of spacious Safeco Field, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Washington State native will give the Mariners their first legitimate 40 home run threat since the departure of Alex Rodriguez following the 2000 season.

At first base, Sexson is a mix of two former Mariners, Tino Martinez and John Olerud. With the range of an Olerud and the glove-work of Martinez, Sexson fills an underrated defensive hole at the cool corner. With the likelihood that Seattle starts 21-year-old Jose Lopez at shortstop and could have either a new and/or inexperienced third baseman, it's a necessity to have a first baseman that can save a few throws from the infield dirt or rescue a sailing toss from the box seats down the first base line.

If the M's doctors evaluated the right shoulder correctly, Sexson will be a huge pick-up for the M's as they attempt to re-surface in the American League West. Sexson could be teaming with a second free-agent signing to revamp a dormant offense.


Diamond Projection:
.268/.358/.524, 33 HR, 108 RBI

For more on the scout's profiling scale, visit the February archives here at InsidethePark.com by clicking Here


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