David Wright’s Career Is Over Unless He Becomes Fearless at the Plate

by JoeDelGrippo

The event occurred after my college career was over and I was several seasons into one of the various semi-pro leagues I played in during the summer. Make no mistake about the quality of “summer ball,” as these were some of the most competitive seasons we ever played. A regular season was usually a 40-game schedule played over 60 days, then playoffs.

We were taking infield practice during a team workout and while playing second base, I moved to the left to field a ball hit into the 3.5 hole, when the ball hit something (the skin fields were never great), and came up and hit me square in the nose.

You can tell by my picture on my home page at Bleacher Report , that it was not the only time I was hit in the nose by a baseball.

But this occasion, which produced a stream of blood and an immediately dark black eye, produced a fear for me in fielding ground balls. I would flinch every time I was about to field a ground ball. For at least a month (or maybe more) I shied away from ground balls, especially those which were hit hard.

I was relegated to outfield duty until my fear of the baseball eventually subsided.

If a baseball player is ever fearful of the baseball, then their ability to play the game is severely compromised.

Which bring me to New York Mets third baseman, David Wright.

After watching the very draining three-game series the Mets played at the St. Louis Cardinals, I have come to the conclusion that Wright’s baseball career, as he and Met fans knew it, is over.

Why? The Aug. 15, 2009 fastball from San Francisco Giants RHP Matt Cain which beaned Wright in the head. That 94 MPH 0-2 pitch sailed in on Wright and knocked his helmet off.

When Wright was beaned, he suffered a concussion, was placed on the 15-day disabled list and did not return to the Mets lineup until Sep. 1, 2009. Wright missed 15 games.

This past weekend, I saw all three Met games, including all 20 innings Saturday night. In these three games, Wright ducked away from eight inside pitches, literally turning away from the ball in a frightened state.  

What was amazing is that all eight of these pitches were curveballs! They were pitches which were thrown at Wright, which then broke over the inside or middle part of the plate.

David Wright was afraid of these pitches as they were thrown at him.

Wright also now ”steps in the bucket” on most pitches, pulling his front foot towards the third baseman rather than stepping straight at the pitcher. It must be noted that Wright, in his career prior to the beaning, almost always didn’t step directly at the pitcher, but his bailing out now is much more pronounced.

After the inside curveballs, Wright was peppered with breaking pitches away. The standard procedure, likely devised by Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, was to throw Wright inside pitches to get ahead and then get him out away.

But teams cannot pitch the same way every time to a hitter, so the Cardinals mixed up the philosophy a few at bats, just to keep Wright honest. They would work outside, then get him looking outside before coming in with their “out pitch.” 

Also, a couple times this weekend (ninth inning Saturday, fifth in Sunday) Wright took inside curve balls for strike three. Wright literally turned away from the ball before taking the called third strikes. The main situation is that the Cardinals sensed Wright’s fear and set him up all weekend.

Professional sports are copycat businesses, and I expect to see other teams follow suit with this program of pitching to Wright.

If he continues to be afraid of the ball, Wright will never be the same type of productive hitter he used to be prior to Aug. 15th of last season.

There have been many beanings in baseball’s history and some of the most famous include Tony Conigliaro of the Boston Red Sox, Dickie Thon of the Houston Astros, and Paul Blair of the Baltimore Orioles.

Because of various reasons none of these three hitters ever were the same as they were before the beaning. It is tough to get back in the batter’s box to face 90+ mile an hour pitches when you have suffered a head shot.

Blair even tried switch hitting before ending that experiment. I do remember Blair from his days as a New York Yankee, a backup outfielder on the two World Series teams of 1977 and 1978. At that time, Blair had a severe “step in the bucket” hitting style, afraid to stand in against right handed pitchers.

Blair was one of the best defensive center fielders of all time and was primarily a defensive specialist for those Yankee teams.

In addition to Wright, there were seven other players hit in the head with a pitch during the 2009 season, including Marco Scutaro, Paul Konerko, and even pitcher Micah Owings. A check of their statistics after their beaning indicates very little change, although I do notice Scutaro stepping away from the pitcher a little. Several players even hit a little better.

However, Wright returned after the beaning and hit .239 BA/.289 OBP/.367 SLG/.656 OPS after the beaning. This was after putting up a line of .324/.414/.467/.882 OPS prior to the beaning. That is very significant.

And Wright also walked only nine times and struck out 35 times in that final month after the beaning, whereas he never had less than nine free passes and never had more than 27 punch outs during a single month—in any full season of his career!

While that could be a fluky final month in 2009, combined with Wright’s slow start and high strikeout rate already (14 whiffs) this season, there should be cause for concern. While he has continued to walk (17 times so far in 2010), that can attributed more to big money free agent Jason Bay’s even worse start (another great move by Omar!), the batter who normally hits behind Wright.

While the above beaned player’s careers were stunted after their beanings, three Hall of Fame players also suffered severe beanings—Mickey Cochrane, Joe Medwick, and Frank Robinson.

Cochrane was the premiere catcher in his day but never played another game after he was beaned in 1937, but both outfielder’s Medwick and Robinson returned to the diamond. 

Medwick won the National League’s Triple Crown in 1937 as a 25-year-old. He was in his prime when he was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Brooklyn Dodgers early in the 1940 season, and was beaned a week later by former teammate Bob Bowman of the Cardinals.

Before the beaning, Medwick was a superstar, finishing first or second in various batting categories 28 times, including three straight RBI titles* from 1936-1938. After the beaning, he was a shell of his former self, never leading the league in any category and finishing second once.

*I know the sabermetric crowd doesn’t like the RBI stat, but driving in runs is still the most important job a hitter can do. Just ask the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets this season about getting hits with runners in scoring position (RISP). They can’t hit with RISP and, so far, both teams stink this season.

Medwick hit .338 and slugged .552 before the 1940 season and after the 1940 season hit hit only .302 and slugged .439. Severe drop-offs. According to reports from the time, Medwick was plate shy and not the same aggressive hitter.

Similar to Conigliaro , Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was a hitter who stood on top of the plate, and was always getting hit by pitches (198 total). Robinson, who was one of my favorite players (we share the same birthday), led the league seven times in getting hit by a pitch. Robinson was beaned in spring training 1958, his third season in the major leagues, and his career was in jeopardy.

In an interview with Investor’s Business Daily on April 5, 2007, Robinson admitted when he woke up in the hospital he wasn’t the same hitter. “I was in denial. I was fearful at the plate for the first and only time in my career. I had struggled through the first half of the season. I was just leaning back on pitches, rocking back, and I wouldn’t admit it to myself .”

The great Robinson, Rookie of the Year in 1956 and already a superstar was afraid of the ball. Then during the 1958 All-Star break, he decided it was time to have a talk with himself. “I said, ‘If you still want to be a major-league ballplayer, you’re going to have to start going into the pitches again and not have any fear up there at the plate .’”

David Wright has the ability to play the game at a high level, but the beaning he took last August has noticeably affected his play. The numbers since the beaning supports that observation.

Wright can take one of two routes going forward. He can fight through the fear of the pitched ball like Robinson did and improve his game or he can stay in his state of fear and continue his downward spiral, similar to the spiral Joe Medwick had after his beaning.

I fear Wright will follow Medwick’s path, and that is too bad.

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411 Responses to “David Wright’s Career Is Over Unless He Becomes Fearless at the Plate”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Wright sucked before August 15th.

    IMO, teams were “copycatting” well before then. Wright has always been a bucket hitter, the way to get them out is soft stuff inside and hard stuff away, which is what he’s faced for a year now.

    Hitting between/around Beltran, Delgado and Reyes would make anyone a .300 hitter. I just think Wright’s numbers were more a benefit of having those guys around than on his own ability…take them out of the lineup and you see the true David Wright.

    “But teams cannot pitch the same way every time to a hitter,”

    They will until he proves he can handle them.

    Maybe the beaning had something to do with things so far, but I just see Wright doing the same thing he was trying to do last year..hit a five run homer everytime up. He’s pulling off the ball trying to jack everything out to left field instead of staying within himself, making adjustments and hitting the ball where it’s pitched.

    This is something in common shared by all good hitters.

    Which Wright isn’t.

  2. Raul Says:

    I was saying the Mets should have traded David Wright long before he got beaned.
    Had they been creative enough, and willing to take on Alex Rios’ contract (even if they spun him to another team), they may have been able to get Roy Halladay despite not necessarily offering the best prospects package.

    I still think the Mets should trade David Wright, because I don’t think he’s actually going to get any better than he has been. The guy has peaked already. That’s my opinion.

    A competent General Manager could have the Mets as the team to beat in the NL by 2013.

  3. Patrick Says:

    Chuck, we’ve turned BJ Upton around as he just hit his 4th HR since we ragged on him last week……Maybe we can turn Wright around? Really, Wright has the same problem that BJ has (had), IMO. They try to pull everything into the LF stands and no amount of raw ability can make up for that mental deficiency. That’s the difference between Arod and Pujols on a grander scale. Pujols hardly ever pulls off of the ball and Arod does it far too often. It has to be overcome mentally.

    The same could be said of being afraid of the ball. If Wright is flinching, he could be done. Most guys aren’t afraid because they trust their eyes and reaction times to get out of the way of anything, but once you get beaned, you don’t trust yourself anymore. When you were already striking out over 150 times a season, this isn’t good news. Wright should go watch old films of Thurman Munson or Lou Pinella batting and try to incorporate what he sees into his swing.

  4. JoeDelGrippo Says:

    Just saw that the Mets are going to have Ike Davis brought up from Triple A today and he will be in the lineup.

    Maybe he can provide better protection for Wright that Jason Bay can. Jerry Manuel is very fond of the R-L-R alternating batter lineup so Davis could be hitting fourth.

    At least that is where I would hit Davis.

    Raul,

    I wrote this last year: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/213365-new-york-mets-need-to-make-a-trade-for-the-future

    I also posted it on this site, too. It was not popular at the time, but would be welcome today.

    I did not include my prior trade proposal in the piece as I didn’t think it had anything to do with Wright’s current problems.

    It does have something to do with Omar Minaya’s continued short sighted nature and his terrible job as a GM.

  5. Adam Hardy Says:

    Stupid, stupid post. “David Wright sucked after he came off the DL last year and this year only has a .978 OPS in 12 games. He’s done! How do I know, I was hit on the face with a baseball once”.

    Seriously, stupid post.

  6. Chuck Says:

    Patrick,

    I disagree with one part of Joe’s assessment on Wright, that being his struggles of late are entirely based off the beaning.

    Does it make sense if he was beaned with a 95 mph heater to be pulling off breaking balls?

  7. jeff Says:

    Wright has been a product of the NYC, big market, hype. He has never been the type of guy that opponents pitch around. He was and still is an average third basemen.

  8. JR Says:

    This is more of a Mets curse more than anything. Outside of Ed Kranepool and Tom Seaver, who have the Mets developed and kept around for more than 10 years? Jose Reyes is starting to resemble Juan Samuel after his 1st 4 seasons. Jason Bay, who was crushing the ball last year in April, now cannot buy a hit. Carlos Beltan is a big tulip who has the intestinal fortitute of a Girl Scout. K-Rod has become a shell of what he once was. The Mets always shop the “bargin bin” of free agents. They certainly cannot develop any good players. They have become a pathetic franchise.

  9. Seven Says:

    Joe, I watched all these games too and most of those pitches you’re saying he was “afraid of” were curveballs. Wainwright, Carpenter, and now this Jaime Garcia kid all have nasty deuces and they have a ton of hitters bailing out on those pitches. Not saying you’re wrong, just saying that IMO he was bailing out because they were nasty pitches that would make any hitter bail out or buckle his knees.

    And let’s not forget that Wright is leading the league in walks so far this year. Only 8 guys have over 10 and he has 17. A) He’s not getting anything to hit and B) he presses, which forces him to swing at anything close. Both are a result of the fact that the rest of his team sucks and that Jason Bay is slumping.

    Anyway, I’m with Chuck here in that David Wright started to “suck” way before August 15th of last year. I generally describe myself as a “numbers guy” or whatever and normally I’d say the numbers don’t lie. But I watch 90% of Wright’s at bats and this guy has not been the same player since August/September 2008. The numbers are lying. His ass is in the visitors’ dugout, he’s stepping in the bucket, his swing is way too long, and he has NO power to right field like he did the first few years of his career. His SO% numbers skyrocketed the last two months of the 2008 season and they haven’t come back down. There’s something wrong with either his swing or his approach.

  10. Patrick Says:

    Chuck, I haven’t personally witnessed Wright being “afraid” of any pitch really, I was just agreeing that if he’s flinching, it’s not good when added to his other contact and approach problems.

    You don’t lead the league in walks if you’re not respected though. I think it’s more disrespect for Wright’s protection but still, 17 is a lot of walks in 12 games, a real lot. It’s mostly a walk fueled OPS but .978 is pretty good too, and he’s homered once every 14 AB’s this year. I didn’t realize that.

    Predicting the end of David Wright is a little premature. Try David Ortiz and you may be on to something, though I was shocked to recently learn that Big Papi led the major leagues in HR and RBI from June 6th until the end of the season last year.

  11. JoeDelGrippo Says:

    Seven,

    If you have the Cardinals games recorded, go back and watch Wright on those curveballs. He blantantly pulled away from the pitches and turned his head away, not like a normal knee buckling reaction to a good curve.

    It was distinct fright from pitches thrown at him, which proceeded to break over the plate. And he whiffed looking at two of those curves. That is not good.

    He pulled away from Carpenter’s, Wainwright’s and Ryan Franklin’s curves, and even one from Kyle McClellan in the 9th inning Saturday night.

    Jamie Garcia is a lefty and did not affect Wright during Saturday’s game.

    Adam Hardy:

    If you saw this weekend’s series, David Wright is struggling. A great OPS with only 6 runs scored and six RBI is not good. Five of his 6 RBI have come on his HR’s and the other RBI was on a weakly hit infield single.

    Wright has hit very few balls hard all season. When other teams need to get out Wright, they are succeeding on balls inside then going outside, and vice versa.

    And Wright’s OPS is misleading. OBP is not have such an important factor when the hitters hitting behind a player stink, as Bay stinks right now. So pitchers can pitch around Wright if they want to and his OBP goes up, but without a team benefit.

    Wright does have three homers, and all were on pitches over the middle of the plate, but when pitchers now begin to pound Wright inside even more, I believe his slugging percentage will plummet.

    Curve balls at him and then anything else away will continue to baffle Wright.

    But if you really want to get into Wright’s head, throw up and in heat a few times a series, and he will seriously crumble as a hitter unless he gets his fearlessness back.

  12. Seven Says:

    Yeah my mistake on Jaime Garcia the lefty.

    I still think he’s had a bad approach for way longer than you’re saying. And again, I’m not saying you’re wrong. But only David knows whether you’re right or not. And I don’t feel comfortable going inside a player’s head and judging such a small sample size so early in the season when the guy has gotten absolutely nothing to hit.

    And I don’t want to hear about his RBI totals 12 games into the season when he has hit 3rd every game and the Mets 1 and 2 hitters have an aggregate OBP of .280

  13. Seven Says:

    Joe, we all agree that Wright’s OBP is inflated because of the walks he’s drawing due to the fact that he has hit in front of Mike Jacobs, the slumping Jason Bay, and even Frank Catalanotto.

    But I don’t understand your logic in using that fact for your argument. The ridiculous walk total so far only explains that he doesn’t get anything to hit. What is he supposed to do?

  14. JoeDelGrippo Says:

    If Wright is pitched to, they are usually getting him out but sometimes Wright is taking those outside pitches he swings and missing at plus some of those inside curveballs have missed and Wright ends up walking.

    So if the pitcher doesn’t get Wright to chase or take a third strike they are content now with walking him and getting to Bay or Catalanotto, who is this years version of Jeremy Reed – a terrible Mets utility player.

    I have never understood the reasoning behind not letting a young guy be the utility player. The Yankees are doing it with Ramiro Pena and even Cervelli behind the plate. All the teams want their young guys “to get all the at bats” in the minors rather than sitting on the bench at Triple A.

    But how are teams supposed to judge how good a kid is until he plays against the best competition?

    So the Mets should cut Castillo, or get rid of Catalanotto and let Ruben Tejada play.

    Anyway, Wright’s good OPS is basically for three homers (good knocks) and high walk rates due to being pitched around. And with bad hitters now behinhd him, walks are no helping the team score runs, so his OPS is skewed. Besides the HR’s, he has very few hard hit balls all season.

    As Bill Parcells is fond of saying, “Even a blind squirrel will find an acorn now and then.” If more teams pound Wright inside, his numbers will fall if he does not get more balls (Chutzpah) in the box.

    If I was running a pre-series meeting before facing the Mets, I would tell my pitchers to be aggressive up and in EARLY to Wright at least once a game to intimidate him. Take advantage of his current weakness.

    You never know how long it will last, and with continued aggression, it might last forever.

  15. Jon Says:

    WAY too early to be throwing dirt on Wright’s career! Yeah, something wasn’t right with him last year, but he still hit for average and took some walks,and stole 27 bases. He’s only 27 and has already shown some of the power we saw two or three years ago. Granted, the whiffs are a concern, but I expect he will cut those down as the rest of the team heats up.

  16. Chuck Says:

    How bad are the Mets?

    Frank Catalanotto hit cleanup yesterday.

    Glad to see they released Mike Jacobs, though.

    Five bucks says Billy Beane signs him.

    David Wright wouldn’t be the first guy to have a couple of All-Star seasons early in his career and then spend rest of his career sucking dog balls.

    Just ask Tim Raines.

  17. Raul Says:

    Regarding Chuck’s last comment about David Wright/Tim Raines…
    http://captionsearch.com/pix/thumb/2rub7eoeem-t.jpg

  18. Cameron Says:

    Eh… I still like David Wright. I don’t think he’s necessarily as good as he was, but he’s still one of the better-to-best 3B in the league. I think he’s dropped behind guys like Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman, but he’s still a good player. Maybe not the elite level anymore, but he can still hit and field and it’s not really fair to judge a guy off his first twelve games.

    Nelson Cruz is slugging 1.000
    Scott Podsednik is batting .400
    Jorge Cantu leads the league in RBI
    Prince Fielder doesn’t have a HR.

    Are any of these gonna stay the same? No, so I don’t think it’s fair to say Wright’s done. I think he’d probably be better off on a team that could use a bat like his at the hot corner like either LA team, the White Sox, or someone like that who could offer a decent package. I think he’s still gonna be good though, he’s young and still has the talent. I’ve been saying the bean’s had a big part in his dropoff, but I don’t think he’s done.

  19. jimmy vac Says:

    The big difference with Wright in other years than 09 and this season is he is not driving balls to right.. his ability to hit for power to all fields was his biggest asset.. he used to work pitchers from 0-2 to 3-2 and drive a hit to right
    center.. I have not seen that in a while….I think he was trying to hit for more power with Beltran and Delgado out and it worked against him…

  20. Chuck Says:

    David Wright was NEVER a good fastball hitter.

    When a BREAKING BALL hitter is pulling off BREAKING BALLS, he has problems.

    C’mon Mets’ fans, clean the eyeglasses, or at least stop reading Phil Mushnick’s column.

    This isn’t an article about a guy trying to fight through a slump, this is much worse than that.

    This is a guy who can’t make adjustments. This is a guy who made a career cleaning up other guy’s sloppy seconds, now they aren’t around, he’s incapable of being “the man.”

    I saw a Mets highlight from earlier tonite, Wright struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth on a breaking ball that was two feet outside.

    How can he not see that?

    He doesn’t figure it out quick, he’ll be playing old-timers games when he’s 32.

  21. Cameron Says:

    …Well, maybe a more comfortable environment like a new city might do him some good. I dunno if there’s too much data behind it, but big cities like New York seem to magnify guys’ slumps, especially guys like Wright who are young and have big expectations from years before.

    …We’ll take him. We’ve got prospects we can chuck at New York. Though I think Omar would take Wright for a can of tuna at this rate. Crazy sumbitch.

  22. Bastaducci Says:

    So let me get this right…a guy with a 466 OBP and a 512 SLG % and a OPS+ of 161 career is over? this article is bunk. Wright has NEVER had a bad season. lets let him have a bad season before we start saying things like his career is over. I am stumped how this article was even posted.

    Wright has Reyes with a 209 OBP and Castillo with a 333 OBP hitting in front of him and Bay with a 283 SLG hitting behind him. anyone who follows baseball knows (I would think) the guy in between them with a 161 OPS + is gonna see nothing to hit.

  23. Chuck Says:

    “So let me get this right…a guy with a 466 OBP and a 512 SLG % and a OPS+ of 161 career is over”

    Over 77 plate appearances?

    Are you serious?

    Talk about bunk..

  24. Seven Says:

    Joe, his OPS is skewed because it’s 12 games into the season. That’s it. And you still haven’t answered the question of what this guy was supposed to do the first couple weeks here when he wasn’t getting anything to hit. And since when is Jason Bay a “bad hitter”? Since this week when he slumped for 10 games? Unbelievable.

    That being said, I’m with Chuck here. There is something wrong with his swing/approach and there has been for a while.

    I probably sound like I’m contradicting myself here, but I’m not. I think it’s asinine to go inside a player’s head and proclaim that he’s afraid of the ball without talking to the player. So while the basis of this article is a little shaky, the underlying theme that there IS something wrong with Wright, something more than just a little slump, is probably accurate. And also worrisome.

  25. Seven Says:

    I wonder what the theory is behind Reyes’ early struggles. I bet he’s afraid to have to steal bases or hit the ball in the gap because he would have to run and it might lead to hammy injuries. So to prevent this, Reyes has chosen to hit .150 and pop the ball up every time.

  26. Seven Says:

    Chuck, what’s your take on Ike Davis? Have you seen him play a bunch? I don’t remember if he played in AFL this year. I guess he looked good tonight, but I’m wondering if he’s Justin Morneau or closer to Casey Kotchman.

  27. Bastaducci Says:

    Chuck the fact that you have minimalized his whole career to just the 77 at bats this season(stats that are excellent and reflect his career so far) is bunk.

    I have read your posts and articles and you are smarter than this.

  28. Hossrex Says:

    Bastaducci: “Chuck the fact that you have minimalized his whole career to just the 77 at bats this season(stats that are excellent and reflect his career so far) is bunk.”

    I know I’m running the risk of this internet toughguy threatening to beat me up again… but I’ve gotta disagree here.

    First… as far as I can tell, he has 58 plate appearances.

    Second… his OPS+ is woefully misleading. His slugging percentage is actually lower so far than any year of his career other than last year (which tells me which side of the talent curve he’s on). His high OPS+ is because of his OBP. The question then is, “why is his OBP so high”? You can look at numbers all day, but if you don’t even bother to learn what they’re saying, they’re not going to tell you much.

    What do *I* see in his numbers?

    I see a guy leading the league in walks. I see a guy with TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO points of disparity between his batting average and OBP. I see a guy who (as you so aptly pointed out, while somehow actually missing the point) plays on a team that can’t seem to find their footing this year. I see a guy who because of that, gets pitched around at every important situation. I see a guy with 3 home runs, and only 6 RBI. I see a guy with more strikeouts than hits.

    I see a guy would be posting an OBP of around .310 or .320 if he weren’t being pitched around.

    So. If he weren’t being pitched around, he’d have an OPS of around 822.

    Looking around the league, we see the park factors in St. Louis match New York almost perfectly, and St. Louis has David Freese who just happens to be posting an OPS of 822.

    His OPS+?

    120.

    Next time wonder WHY the numbers are what they are.

    This is why people like Chuck get upset when people rely on numbers, because the numbers don’t tell you dick about whats actually happening, unless you know how to read through them.

    If David Wright were intentionally walked 650 times this year, finished with an OBP of 1.000, and 50 runs scored… does that mean he had a great year?

    (pssst… the answer is no)

  29. Bastaducci Says:

    Hoss…

    1st – when did I threaten to beat you up?

    2nd – Chuck said the 77 plate appearances and I just rolled with it because I knew it was close and exact plate appearances really meant nothing to the debate.

    3rd – you say his 466 OBP is misleading…so him getting on base 47 % of the time is misleading? would you not want a guy who got on base 47 % of the time in your lineup? come on man I see you must be friends with chuck and that is cool but don’t bend around what you believe to defend him.

    4th – you say his slugging percentage this season is lower than it has ever been in his career( cept the year before) but it is only 6 pt’s less than his career average and being its up 70 pts from last year I don’t think you can say what side of the curve he is on.can u?

    5th – you say “You can look at numbers all day, but if you don’t even bother to learn what they’re saying, they’re not going to tell you much.” .

    well this you should of not wrote because I know exactly what numbers to look at and when to look at them and that the one thing there is no stat for is a players heart which you can only learn from watching/playing the game. I understand the numbers + watching/playing the game lets you evaluate a player much better than 1 who only does 1 or the other.

    6th – you say ” I see a guy leading the league in walks. I see a guy with TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO points of disparity between his batting average and OBP.”

    this means nothing. a Players real batting average IS his OBP and I can guarentee his average will rise and his OBP will lower if the Mets hitters start producing and he gets more pitches to swing at. and I KNOW you are smart enough to know this too.

    7th – you say “I see a guy who (as you so aptly pointed out, while somehow actually missing the point) plays on a team that can’t seem to find their footing this year. I see a guy who because of that, gets pitched around at every important situation. I see a guy with 3 home runs, and only 6 RBI.”

    You say I missed the point while proving exactly my point. he is getting pitched around because the rest of the teams lack of hitting then u saying he has 3 HR’s with on only 6 RBI’s which is a direct product of guys not getting on base in front of him. think man think.

    8th – You say you see a guy with more strikeouts than hits but what you really see is a guy who has been on base 27 times with 14 SO’s. I mean it is not the best ratio in the league but when your never getting good pitches and still find a way to be productive I think that player should be praised at, not dogged out like his career is over.

    9th – You say “I see a guy would be posting an OBP of around .310 or .320 if he weren’t being pitched around.So. If he weren’t being pitched around, he’d have an OPS of around 822.”

    Now do you think he would be getting pitched around if he would only have a OBP of 310 / 320 ? your arguement gets less credible by the minute.

    10th – You say ” This is why people like Chuck get upset when people rely on numbers, because the numbers don’t tell you dick about whats actually happening, unless you know how to read through them.”

    People who only look at numbers bother me as well. people who refuse to look at the numbers bother me equally. but I am neither of those.

    Hoss I feel the only reason why you wrote this is peer pressure and nothing more because I have seen you write some intelligent things on here. I aint trying to compete with you for toughest guy on the internet dude. I just like rational debate and all you basically just did is use numbers thinking you would confuse me along the way at the same time telling me numbers aint everything then saying I don’t understand how to use the numbers I do look at and all the time you are using batting average like it means just as much as OBP.

    The point is this article is basically acting like if Wright does not do something different his career is over but if he does what he is doing right now all year he will be a ALL-STAR. to me it just seems like this guy hates the Mets and everything about them. because of all the things on the Mets to talk about he talks about the 1 who is actually producing. I want this guy to write a article about Jose Reyes who has a 11 OPS + or 1 of the other guys who are actually playing bad.

    Objectivity. it is the only way to be fair.

  30. Yu-Hsing Chen Says:

    Joe: part of that is because Pena and Cervelli really don’t project to be much more than utility players, though I guess Cervelli miiiight pass for a ok starting catcher for a year or two if things break right . (because his defense really is great, and there have been enough hints of offensive competence in the minors and the fact that he wasn’t completely overmatched despite only a handful of games in the upper minors, there’s at least a chance that he might turn into a different version of Kurt Suzuki I guess, certainly a useful enough player for any team.) . Still, you see Jose Reyes, who posted a 277/.303/.395 line in his first 280ish games in the majors. that didn’t help the Mets, did it help Reyes long term? hard to tell.

    Still, I kinda agree that if your team is sucking bad, let the kids play, just as long as your not dragging A Ballers up there or something. espeically utility player wise, I mean really, it’s no secert that fielding is one of the first thing to go when you grow old, so if a kid can really bring it with his glove, why not? save a few buck too and you can option back and forth, easier on the roster managment as well.

    As for Wright, I have no idea, I’m skeptical though I havn’t seen any Mets games so I will not commet . still, I find it a bit absurd to claim that he was hyped up. the guy’s 4 year line from 05-08 (age 22-26 seasons) was .311/.394/.534 , you don’t fluke for 4 seasons, teams don’t take 4 seasons to adjust to players if they have real holes in their game that can be exploited to that degree (hell if that was true for even 2 year then all 29 team’s scouts should be immediately fired.)

    He was REALLY, great, that 4 year line given the age context is completely HOF material without a doubt, would he fall off a cliff? of course anything’s possible.

    As for Raines, he had serious knee problem later on in his career (thanks, Olympic stadium) . but from age 30 onward he had 1100+ hits, 220+ SBs, it wasn’t what he was in his 20s, but it was hardly a shot player. just a player who could never stay on the field long enough but usually did plenty of good when he was there. i’d wager they vote him in the HOF eventually, will take a while though.

  31. Hossrex Says:

    Oh goody. This’ll be fun. Haven’t done one of these in forever!

    Basta: “when did I threaten to beat you up?”

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. Please don’t hit.

    Basta: “you say his 466 OBP is misleading…so him getting on base 47 % of the time is misleading? would you not want a guy who got on base 47 % of the time in your lineup? come on man I see you must be friends with chuck and that is cool but don’t bend around what you believe to defend him.”

    So. You bothered to read the part where I said his OBP was misleading, but failed to read the ENTIRE segment where I explained WHY it was misleading? How it was misleading because he’s playing on a team of schmucks who’re even worse than him, and why bothering to pitch to the guy hitting .244, when you can pitch to a guy hitting .200?

    Please read the entire post before commenting.

    Basta: “you say his slugging percentage this season is lower than it has ever been in his career( cept the year before) but it is only 6 pt’s less than his career average and being its up 70 pts from last year I don’t think you can say what side of the curve he is on.can u?”

    .525
    .523
    .531
    .546
    .534
    .447
    .500 (it dropped 12 points since my last post)

    You can spin that however you want, but if you don’t see a disturbing trend forming there, you probably haven’t taken 10 grade mathematics.

    Basta: “well this you should of not wrote because I know exactly what numbers to look at and when to look at them and that the one thing there is no stat for is a players heart which you can only learn from watching/playing the game. I understand the numbers + watching/playing the game lets you evaluate a player much better than 1 who only does 1 or the other.

    So.

    Wait.

    You look at the statistics, and present them as the entire picture of whats happening.

    Okay.

    Then I say, no… that’s not the entire picture. You aren’t looking at the numbers correctly.

    Right?

    Then you follow that up with HOW BIG IS HIS HEART! WHERE’S THE STAT FOR THAT (i.e. What’s his GRIT factor?).

    Well. He’s white, so I’d imagine people regard him as having a big heart.

    Yeah.

    I went there.

    Basta: “this means nothing.”

    A two hundred and twenty two point disparity between the batting average, and on base percentage doesn’t mean anything when you’re talking about the player leading the league in walks because the rest of his team couldn’t hit a wiffle ball?

    I.

    Respectfully.

    Beg.

    To.

    Differ.

    Basta: “a Players real batting average IS his OBP and I can guarentee his average will rise and his OBP will lower if the Mets hitters start producing and he gets more pitches to swing at. and I KNOW you are smart enough to know this too.

    Says the man who two sentences ago was more concerned with heart.

    Will his batting average rise? Will his OBP lower?

    Of course.

    Are they troubling indicators as we stand right now?

    Most definitely.

    Basta: “You say I missed the point while proving exactly my point. he is getting pitched around because the rest of the teams lack of hitting then u saying he has 3 HR’s with on only 6 RBI’s which is a direct product of guys not getting on base in front of him. think man think.”

    You’re scolding me for not thinking… without realizing that YOUR ENTIRE LINE OF REASONING INDICATES WHY HIS OBP (the “real batting average”?) is so comically bloated, and therefore disproportionately bloated.

    It amuses me that you were sitting at your computer with a smug look on your face as you wrote the above… which completely destroys your entire point.

    Basta: “You say you see a guy with more strikeouts than hits but what you really see is a guy who has been on base 27 times with 14 SO’s. I mean it is not the best ratio in the league but when your never getting good pitches and still find a way to be productive I think that player should be praised at, not dogged out like his career is over.”

    If his league leading number of walks was “real”, and not artificially bloated because of the useless schmucks batting around him, he wouldn’t be swinging at those bad pitches.

    Basta: “Now do you think he would be getting pitched around if he would only have a OBP of 310 / 320 ? your arguement gets less credible by the minute.”

    What are you talking about? You’re arguing FOR my point.

    If he wasn’t being pitched around, he’d be seeing better (i.e. more difficult) pitches, which based on his abysmal batting average, he’d seem to have a difficult time handling. His On Base Percentage is so high at the moment because he’s being walked WHENEVER he might impact a game.

    Take away those walks? And you’re looking at a guy with a .244 batting average. What sort of OBP would you expect a buy with a .244 batting average to have if he wasn’t getting chump walks?

    And before you scream “HE WOULD SEE HITTABLE PITCHES IF HE WASN’T GETTING WALKED SO OFTEN!”… I feel it (again) necessary to preemptively point out that if he were so good at getting on base (as you insist), he wouldn’t be swinging at bad pitches to begin with.

    You’re suggesting that a man who swings at garbage would have a good OBP? Please elucidate that point.

    Basta: “People who only look at numbers bother me as well. people who refuse to look at the numbers bother me equally. but I am neither of those.

    No.

    Ironically, depending on what point you’re making, you’re BOTH.

    Does it help me to cite his OBP without examining why? STATS ARE KING!

    Does it help me by denying the validity of someone else’s argument based on stats? HOW MUCH HEART DOES HE HAVE?

    You’re the worst of both.

    Basta: “Hoss I feel the only reason why you wrote this is peer pressure and nothing more”

    Because if there’s one thing Hossrex is known for on Dugout Central, it’s going with the flow, not making waves, and doing whatever it takes to keep everything on a friendly bases.

    No.

    You haven’t been here NEARLY long enough to speak of my character, how I interact with others, or how much I GIVE A DAMN about what anyone else thinks.

    Basta: “I have seen you write some intelligent things on here”

    I.E. “I have seen you write some things I agree with on here“.

    Basta: “I aint trying to compete with you for toughest guy on the internet dude.”

    All yours bro.

    Basta: “I just like rational debate and all you basically just did is use numbers thinking you would confuse me along the way at the same time telling me numbers aint everything then saying I don’t understand how to use the numbers I do look at and all the time you are using batting average like it means just as much as OBP.”

    You… think I set out to confuse you?

    Why the hell would I do that?

    What the hell are you talking about?

    Basta: “The point is this article is basically acting like if Wright does not do something different his career is over but if he does what he is doing right now all year he will be a ALL-STAR.”

    I agree. Since every team must, by rule, have an all-star… David Wright probably will make the team.

    That doesn’t mean his .468 OBP is helping his team NEARLY as much as you’re implying.

    Basta: “to me it just seems like this guy hates the Mets and everything about them.

    Dispute his points or don’t, I couldn’t care less what his motives are.

    Basta: “because of all the things on the Mets to talk about he talks about the 1 who is actually producing.”

    No. He’s talking about the one who ISN’T SUCKING UP THE PLACE. *HUGE* difference.

    For the twentieth time, the walks/OBP is misleading, and can’t be used as evidence for his production.

    Basta: “I want this guy to write a article about Jose Reyes who has a 11 OPS + or 1 of the other guys who are actually playing bad.

    Why?

    He didn’t write an article about how “David Wright is a poopy-head, and I don’t like him.” Regardless of how much it SEEMS to you like that’s what this article was, you’re wrong.

    He saw an angle, he noticed a trend, and wrote an article about it. David Wright is ducking out on inside pitches.

    If you’ve noticed something similar in Jose Reyes, WRITE THE ARTICLE YOURSELF.

    Basta: “Objectivity. it is the only way to be fair.

    By that logic, the only way to be fair would be to write a thousand word article on each of the 750 players in the major leagues.

    That’s nonsense.

    Let me know when Joe get’s around to Charlie Haeger. I’ve got a couple things to say about him.

  32. JohnBowen Says:

    “This is why people like Chuck get upset when people rely on numbers, because the numbers don’t tell you dick about whats actually happening, unless you know how to read through them.”

    I think people like EVERYONE get upset when people rely on numbers after two weeks of baseball. I’m a big fan of statistics but come on. 2 weeks? 3 guys are hitting .400 in the NL, including Ivan Rodriguez. 10 guys have OBP’s of over .450. Andre Ethier has a better slugging percentage than Albert Pujols. Scotty-Poe (Podsednik) is far and away the best player in the American League.

    NONE OF THIS MEANS SH*T.

    With two weeks of data, I’m certainly more comfortable with believing observations by guys like Chuck and Joe. If David Wright hits .300/.470/.550 this year, then that’s a different story. But come on team. We’re better than this. 2 weeks.

    For those interested, Vernon Wells is leading the AL in WAR.

  33. JohnBowen Says:

    Hoss: “Then you follow that up with HOW BIG IS HIS HEART! WHERE’S THE STAT FOR THAT (i.e. What’s his GRIT factor?).

    Well. He’s white, so I’d imagine people regard him as having a big heart.”

    Did you know that Darin Erstad was a punter at Nebraska?!

  34. Bastaducci Says:

    OK Hoss, after watching you bend this conversation I see it is pointless to debate you. you take everything out of context and distort it to where we end up in a different place.

    I will give JohnBowen a try though. this article is called “David Wright’s Career Is Over Unless He Becomes Fearless at the Plate ” and I was pointing out how Wright is off to a good start and has never had a bad season so to write this article really makes no sense. noone has yet to prove I am wrong as there really is no way to because ( once again ) he has NEVER had a bad season and is not having a bad season so far. the end.

  35. Doug B Says:

    “.525
    .523
    .531
    .546
    .534
    .447
    .500 (it dropped 12 points since my last post)

    You can spin that however you want, but if you don’t see a disturbing trend forming there, you probably haven’t taken 10 grade mathematics.”

    Maybe I failed 10th grade math but let me present another disturbing trend…

    .427
    .423
    .413
    .409
    .406

    Oh wait… that’s the avergae SLG percentage in the entire NL in the years 2006-2010.

  36. Patrick Says:

    Chuck and Seven are right. Wright is stepping in the bucket and doesn’t drive the ball to RF as well as he used to and never was very good at contact.

    Bastaducci is right; “Wright has NEVER had a bad season. lets let him have a bad season before we start saying things like his career is over.”

    Hossrex is right, a lot of walks to a bad team’s best hitter isn’t as valuable as some people believe……. though let’s give Jason Bay a chance in this case.

    Raul is right. I see what Chuck did there too.

    John Bowen is right. Darin Erstad was a punter at Nebraska. I remember when he got drafted in baseball, I was like “the punter?”

    Joe DelGripo, sorry goombah, wrong. David Wright will probably play 10 more seasons. Is he an elite player? I’d say no, but he’s in the 2nd tier IMO. I mean, yeah, he’s regressed a little but c’mon, his career is far from over.

    Though Joe, I give you credit for having the balls to suggest his career is over in print. That’s not going to make many friends in the NYM dugout.

  37. Patrick Says:

    Uhhh…Doug B is right too.

  38. Seven Says:

    Haha love the Darrin Erstad reference. Now that guy was GRITTY! A real dirtdog!

    And JohnBowen/Hossrex I’m with both of you on how this is why people get pissed at the number dorks. I’m one of those dorks, but I also watch just about every game Wright plays. I don’t need to hear the dude’s OPS or OPS+ two weeks into the season. I see it with my own eyes that he’s struggling.

    But the question I have not yet heard an answer to is why some people are holding the early high walk total against him. No we shouldn’t be that impressed by that .468 OBP because we know there’s no way he’ll end up with the 200 BB’s he’s on pace for. But there’s a huge contradiction here…

    Some of you are saying that the high OBP so far doesn’t mean sh*t because it doesn’t help the team. He walks; and the garbage behind him fails to drive him in, so what’s the point. Well doesn’t it stand to reason that Wright is probably thinking the same thing? I mean if 90% (exaggeration) of the pitches he sees are out of the zone, he’s going to take a lot of walks…but he’s also going to get sick of taking and he’ll start swinging at bad pitches because, as you guys are hinting at, all these walks and the high OBP don’t help if the guys behind you aren’t capable of driving him in. Not to mention the pressure to do something with the venomous and restless Mets fanbase.

    So what do you guys want him to do? You kill him for taking walks because he can’t drive in runs that way. And you kill him for the high strikeout total, part of which comes from swinging at crap to try to drive in runs.

  39. Brad Says:

    What it comes down to is there are many different ways to interpret the numbers. Everyone has a point, but the only way to know who is right is to wait a while. It is still kind of early in the season. I know New York fans are impatient, but everyone just has to hang tight. Boston fans are the same way. They have pretty much accepted that David Ortiz’s career is over, and it is still only April.

    Let’s all take a deep breath, and then revisit this debate in mid-August. Then, we will all have a better idea of what is going on with Wright. And, for that matter, Ortiz.

    And, of course, everyone knows that white guys have more heart and black guys have more attitude. Anyone who watches TV knows that. Of course, before any liberals out there get your hackles up, I am being facetious. I believe Hoss was, too. It seems to me that most (not all, but indeed MOST) baseball analysts seem to get their racial understanding from watching television crime dramas and sitcoms. You don’t often hear ESPN guys talking about black players or hispanic players with lots of heart. Or, nowadays, even Aisan players. Intensity, yes. But not heart. Kind of too bad. We have come a long ways in our quest for racial equality and understanding, but we seem to still have a long ways to go.

    Of course, my prejudice is entirely related to baseball. As I have written before, I look at the uniform, not the race. And, unfortunately for Wright, he wears the wrong uniform. He can never have heart. Intensity, maybe, but never heart.

  40. Chuck Says:

    Seven,

    Yes, I’ve seen Davis and, yes, he did play in the AFL.

    Probably somewhere between Morneau and Kotchman. He’s closer defensively to Kotchman than Morneau, but he won’t have Morneau’s power.

    He’s a pretty good athlete, and I could see a scenario where the Mets pull the trigger on an Adrian Gonzalez deal and put Davis in either left or rightfield.

    He’s a better option at either position than Daniel Murphy, however, so the Mets really had no choice but to bring him up, Murphy’s injury notwithstanding.

  41. Chuck Says:

    “Let’s all take a deep breath, and then revisit this debate in mid-August. Then, we will all have a better idea of what is going on with Wright. And, for that matter, Ortiz.”

    Come August, David Ortiz will be unemployed.

    Or playing in Oakland.

    Which some people equate to being unemployed.

  42. brautigan Says:

    I’d take David Wright over Willie Bloomquist.

    Just saying. (and I’m trying not to laugh……too hard)

  43. Chuck Says:

    “a Players real batting average IS his OBP and I can guarentee his average will rise and his OBP will lower”

    Huh?

    “You say I missed the point while proving exactly my point. he is getting pitched around”

    David Wright is NOT being pitched around. Walks are not always an indicator of being pitched around.

    Albert Pujols gets pitched around.

    ARod gets pitched around.

    Heck, Jason Bay gets pitched around. At least more than David Wright.

    Pitchers know Wright can’t hurt them. Why pitch around him?

  44. Patrick Says:

    I’ve always said that David Ortiz is Mo Vaughn’s little brother but I wrote this yesterday and it bears repeating today. Ortiz LED the majors in HR and RBI from June 6th on last season. He started just like he has this year and he not only turned it around but he was the best power hitter in the league for the last 4 months. I doubt he will do it again but after last year the Redsox probably have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m pleased with the Redsox, 5 game losing streak and hopefully Wakefield can make it 6 tonight against Texas and Colby Lewis.

    I just saw that today (4/20) is national get high day….when did that happen? It doesn’t seem like the word has reached my neighborhood……. Smoke em’ if you got em’. It’s hard for pot smokers to organize anything. Sure, they have big plans but then they smoke a morning joint and watch Law and Order all day. So kudos to potheads for taking a little initiative and grabbing a day of their own before they’re all taken.

  45. JohnBowen Says:

    Brad: “And, of course, everyone knows that white guys have more heart and black guys have more attitude. Anyone who watches TV knows that. Of course, before any liberals out there get your hackles up, I am being facetious. I believe Hoss was, too. It seems to me that most (not all, but indeed MOST) baseball analysts seem to get their racial understanding from watching television crime dramas and sitcoms. You don’t often hear ESPN guys talking about black players or hispanic players with lots of heart. Or, nowadays, even Aisan players. Intensity, yes. But not heart. Kind of too bad. We have come a long ways in our quest for racial equality and understanding, but we seem to still have a long ways to go.”

    To be fair, there are some exceptions; J.D. Drew and Adam Dunn are both regarded as un-gritty because they walk, whereas Curtis Granderson and Torri Hunter are both certified gritters. But your point is, on the whole, true.

    I think everyone’s thinking it, but no one really wants to say it: whites are (subconsciously) presumed by sportswriters and broadcasters to be less athletic than minorities, so supposedly if they’re playing well or even at the Major League level, they got there not through raw talent (which minorities, whether consciously or subconsciously, are supposed to have a lot of) but through heart, grit, getting their uniforms dirty etc. And if a minority isn’t performing, it’s not because it’s Major League Baseball and it’s the hardest thing in the world to do…it’s because they supposedly weren’t working hard enough. Again…generally a subconscious (third time I’ve used that word) thing but it shines through whenever Tim McCarver or someone opens his mouth.

    And that’s an injustice to ballplayers and our society as a whole.

    Fun fact: to make it to the Major Leagues, you have to work hard. Some have to work harder than others but you have to really put out to make it there, and you have to put out while you’re there. And it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, you need to work hard. Period.

  46. JohnBowen Says:

    Patrick “I just saw that today (4/20) is national get high day….when did that happen?”

    Not a weed smoker, but that’s a fairly well known thing. When I was a high school freshman like, 6 years ago, our seniors did senior-skip day on 4/20 which was pretty funny. It comes from the fact that the police code for abusing (not sure if it’s drugs in general or just pot) is 4.20.

  47. Raul Says:

    There is no police code 420.
    The true story about 420’s origins can be found in an article on the Huffington Post that was written last year, and reposted this morning:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/420-meaning-the-true-stor_n_543854.html

  48. Cameron Says:

    Well… On the bright side for David, he’s got 30% of his HR total from last year. Seems like he’s doing something right when it comes to getting back on track.

  49. Bastaducci Says:

    Lot of good points made here by pretty much everyone.

    That being said I have to say it amazes me how race ends up being involved in everything.

    Also I want to say that I was not really talking about Wright when I said the ” you cannot measure heart with stats ” thing. I just was saying without watching a guy play you cannot you cannot understand the little things he does to help his team win. just wanted to clarify that better.

    And for the record if I was gonna talk about a guy on the mets who has impressed me with “heart” I would go with Carlos Beltran (although he is not playing). to me his stats have done him no justice (and his stats aint bad). I think his playoff stats (despite I know stats don’t speak for everything) show this. 31 runs in 22 playoff games. players with heart step it up when it counts the most and so far Wright has not shown that. it is not that I have a man crush on Wright because I don’t. but I also know he is a solid player and has proven it. until he stops proving it I have to continue to believe it.

  50. brautigan Says:

    Patrick:

    At least your generation has “Law and Order”. Back in the day, it was get stoned and watch “Gilligan’s Island” all day. Yes, that does explain a lot.

  51. Hossrex Says:

    420 has been around since at least my junior year in high school… and that was like 1995ish, back when I cared about such things.

    Not to admit anything illegal… but a friend actually found his way into a little last week, and I had the opportunity to imbibe.

    It’d been so long since I’d done it that it just put me to sleep.

    All I could think was “I used to think this was fun?”

    Where’s my beer.

  52. Brad Says:

    Patrick, I agree about David Ortiz. The most productive power hitter in the majors last season after June 1st. However, my point is that since he did not begin last season or this season hitting walk-off home runs every other day, Boston fans are in a panic.

  53. Chuck Says:

    “I just saw that today (4/20) is national get high day….when did that happen? It doesn’t seem like the word has reached my neighborhood…….”

    You live in Tampa, Patrick, the tradition STARTED in your neighborhood.

    Speaking of walking around stoned all day..seen Elijah Dukes lately?

  54. Patrick Says:

    LOL, I’m oblivious. 420 has been around for years. Thanks for the enlightenment Raul (and others).

    Chuck, I guess I should get to know my neighbors. :-)

    Braut, Law and Order is actually more predictable than Gilligan’s Island. :-)

    Brad, I agree too…Boston should be in a panic.

  55. Raul Says:

    David Wright struck out 3 times tonight…against Tom Gorzelanny twice and Jeff Gray once.

  56. Seven Says:

    From 2004-2008, Wright was a .240 hitter with two strikes. Between 2009 and 2010 he’s hitting .180 with two strikes. I’m telling you, I saw it with my own eyes around September of 2008 and the numbers back it up. That’s when he started pulling off the ball, stepping in the bucket, and when his swing became too long. It was way before he got beaned in the head last year.

  57. Raul Says:

    Interesting, Seven.

    I guess I will pay more attention to how he’s being pitched.
    I’m not saying it’s the end of the world, but when Gorzelanny owns you, you’re having a pretty bad day.

  58. Kirk Says:

    He’s on pace for 32-123-.274 with a .956 OPS. I think we can safely say that his career is far from over.

  59. Seven Says:

    Joe, you should you look into legal action against Buster Olney for plagarizing your article. He’s making the same claim today that you made, what, 3 weeks ago.

  60. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Thanks Seven! It would not be the first time a major writer took something I wrote and ran with it.

    Any attorney’s out there? Or does any team need another scout? I am available.

  61. Raul Says:

    Further proof that people on ESPN don’t have any minds of their own.

  62. Raul Says:

    David Wright – 2009

    Against LHP – 22 ABs, .364/.500/.773
    Against RHP – 86 ABs, .244/.374/.465

    It’s interesting.

  63. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    “Further proof that people on ESPN don’t have any minds of their own.”

    As the comedian Bob Nelson used to say, “A mind is a terrible thing, and it must be stopped in our lifetime – before it kills somebody.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BerJdS2VJhA

    Funny routine. There are some curse words and stereotyping, so if you are uneasy about this type of humor please do not click on the link.

  64. Raul Says:

    I listen to Doug Stanhope and Robert Schimmel.
    There is no comedy that can make me uncomfortable.

  65. brautigan Says:

    Apparently Raul, you never sat in the front row of a Sam Kinison show. LOL

  66. Raul Says:

    Well, today is my 30th birthday.

    Kinison has been dead for 18 years now. That said, had I been listening to him when I was 12, I would have probably crapped my pants.

  67. Chuck Says:

    Happy Birthday, Raul.

  68. Hossrex Says:

    30? Psh… lightweight… things don’t start getting REAL until you’re MY age.

    31.

  69. Hossrex Says:

    Wow. I just realized we could probably wax poetic about the same cartoons from our misspent youths.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll stand by it until the day I die. The Snorks were just underwater Smurfs with penis’ on their heads.

  70. Raul Says:

    Thanks Chuck.

    LOL Hossrex, I agree.

  71. Patrick Says:

    Sam Kinison was an “uncomfortable” comedian but try Jim Jeffries. I saw this dude on HBO the other day. Pretty raw…..Happy Birthday Raul.

  72. Hossrex Says:

    Bill Hicks is the best comedian you’ve probably never heard of.

    Check him out on youtube.

    He’s “famous” for being the guy from whom Denis Leary stole his whole shtick (but don’t take that the wrong way… unlike Leary, Hicks is actually funny).

    Seriously. Leary knew him while they were both young comics, and it’s well known that Leary literally stole his persona, and got famous from it. Then while Hicks is dying of painful pancreatic cancer… Leary has the audacity to name his breakout comedy album “No Cure for Cancer”.

    I’m not saying I don’t occasionally laugh at Leary, but the guys a hack.

  73. Chuck Says:

    Patrick!!

    I was wondering when you’d stop by.

    What do you hear about the Rays and the new Stadium?

    I hear if the stadium referendum doesn’t pass this time around, they’re packing up and hitting the road.

  74. Patrick Says:

    The stadium isn’t going to pass but I don’t think they’re moving. They’re setting the stage for a showdown with the public though. The local news is running a “what’s wrong with the Ray’s attendance?” campaign.

    They’re winning and granted, there’s not much support, but I think it’s because people are out of work and it’s not apathy towards the Rays. We’ll see. I’ve been against building it for the sake of fiscal responsibility, but shit, there is no fiscal responsibility. So I’d rather see a new stadium and go broke than go broke and not see a new stadium….I hope that made sense.

  75. Hossrex Says:

    The cheapest decent seat at Tropicana (or whatever it’s called these days) is $50. That’s about half the price for a similar seat at Dodger stadium, but it’s still ridiculously expensive… at least outside of the context of a sporting event.

    In a down economy (as you said), a family of four just can’t afford that expense, and when you factor in the parking fee, souvenirs, nachos, pretzels, sodas/beer, the icecream that comes in the little baseball helmet, you’re talking $300-$400 dollars… for one game.

    It’s ridiculous, and it’s exactly what I’ve been talking about for the last few years whenever I say Selig killed the golden goose. Sure, he might have squeezed a couple extra golden eggs out (short term benefit), but he killed the damn thing (long term deficit).

    Baseball needs to get it’s head out of its collective ass, sell field level seats for $15 bucks, and then cut players salaries to whatever they’d need to be to make that happen.

    The teams aren’t paying the outrageous salaries… WE are.

  76. Chuck Says:

    Tampa supports an NHL team and arguably, at one time anyway, the worst franchise in NFL history.

    The problem, or problems, with the Rays has nothing to do with the city or the fans.

    A buddy who used to cover the Rays for MLB.com and he loved going to the Trop. I’ve only seen pictures and to me it looks like a candidate for a nuclear test site, but since I’ve never been there…..

    Maybe it’s prices. Maybe it’s the location of the stadium. Maybe it’s the butt-ugly uniforms.

    Maybe it’s because the city wants to screw the fans on the taxes or the cost overrides.

    The Rays have a real good young team, it’s a shame they can’t draw 15 thousand a game.

  77. Patrick Says:

    The Trop is in St Petersburg. It’s actually closer to Bradenton(25 mins) than it is to Tampa(30 min). I think if they move to Tampa, they may lose most of the Sarasota-Bradenton crowd (me).

    They have different pricing for different opponents. If the Yankees or Redsox aren’t in town, it only costs $17 to sit in the OF and have the area all to ourselves. It’s definitely a weird major league stadium but if they build a new stadium with no AC it will be empty. It’s 96 degrees here all summer long.

    That said, this is a football town with a tailgate party mentality. Those guys aren’t going to show up to a baseball game on a regular basis, especially to see the O’s or the M’s. Also, I’d say there are more women at the games than men and I know my wife wouldn’t go if it were outside.

    The Rays marketing department calls me from time to time with season ticket packages and they’re pretty reasonable. Blocks of 20 games for about $300. Stuff like that, but because I can just decide an hour before any particular game and sit in the OF for under $20, I don’t commit to the tickets. Last time they called, I told them I would buy a package if they would cut Burrell.

    I don’t care what they build, they’re not going to fill it unless it’s a playoff game and it’s 70 degrees inside.

  78. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Today, before Wright whiffed looking a called third fastball strike in the second inning, he bailed out so bad on a curve ball that he ended up almost outside the batters box.

    He is so finished as a player. He is not even a factor in the lineup. He is even scared when fielding ground balls, and doesn’t even get in front of them anymore, but primarily plays them off to the side.

    I would pump him with a fastball UP AND IN once near the shoulders EVERY AT BAT for the rest of the season.

    Scare the crap out of him. That would be good baseball.

    Funny how so many people in New York are talking about Wright’s effects from the beaning since the Olney piece came out. Even Keith Hernandez today was talking about it on the air.

    I guess Keith does not read Dugout Central.

  79. Chuck Says:

    “I don’t commit to the tickets. Last time they called, I told them I would buy a package if they would cut Burrell.”

    The Rays are so desperate they are allowing fans to make roster decisions now.

  80. Lefty33 Says:

    “The problem, or problems, with the Rays has nothing to do with the city or the fans.”

    I think part of the problem is that the people of Florida just don’t care about professional baseball outside of Spring Training.

    Regardless of stadium, no one went to Rays games when they sucked and no one is going now when they are decent.

    No one went to Marlins games when they won the WS and no one went when they suck. The Fish finished 15th out of 16 teams in attendance when the won they won it all in ’03.

    Even when the Marlins get their new stadium in 2012, it’s going to be the third smallest stadium in Baseball. It’s like they are already saying they know that after the gimmick of the new place wears off, we’ll be back to averaging 16K a game.

    Just like conversely, it doesn’t matter if the Dodgers or Cubs are first or fourth, they are going to be in the top ten in attendance every year regardless of the product put out on the field.

  81. Lefty33 Says:

    Patrick,

    I’ve got some family in the Sarasota and Venice area and they have been telling me that the one main holdup has been that the team wanted to build on the waterfront, but the city of St. Petersburg or Pinellas County said that the stadium had to be in the downtown of St. Petersburg or else they wouldn’t approve the zoning.

    Is that true?

    The other thing I found interesting is that Sternberg has said that he would pay up to $150 Million of his own money. And that is more the Marlins are paying for their new place. I think I read that the Marlins are paying around 125 Million out of the expected 515 Million cost, with the City of Miami and Dade County picking up the rest.

  82. Hossrex Says:

    Patrick: “Last time they called, I told them I would buy a package if they would cut Burrell.”

    Holy crap… you are the prognosticator of all prognosticators.

  83. Shaun Says:

    “I know the sabermetric crowd doesn’t like the RBI stat, but driving in runs is still the most important job a hitter can do. Just ask the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets this season about getting hits with runners in scoring position (RISP). They can’t hit with RISP and, so far, both teams stink this season.”

    We just don’t think the RBI stat is very telling. We realize that driving in runs is important, but it punishes players who may not get the same opportunities as others. For example, a hitter who hits a ton of doubles on in a bad lineup gets less credit than an equally good hitter who hits a ton of doubles in a good lineup.

    Our definition of an “RBI guy” is just different. A guy could be a good “RBI guy” but may not have an impressive RBI total compared to a lesser “RBI guy” because of opportunity.

  84. Shaun Says:

    David Wright has the third-best OPS among major league thirdbasemen so far this season. I wish I was a major leaguer and my career was over.

  85. Lefty33 Says:

    “David Wright has the third-best OPS among major league thirdbasemen so far this season.”

    And if he plays a full season at his current pace he will strike out more than 200 times. He’s tied for the ML lead with 51 after 38 games.

    And he has whiffed in either 13 or 14 straight games currently. And he already had a string of 13 straight games with at least one K earlier this year.

    If you don’t make contact, likes he’s currently not doing, the rest doesn’t matter.

  86. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, how often a player makes outs and what he does when he’s not making outs is more important than how he makes outs.

    Don’t tell me we have to have that debate again. Can anyone show us that team strikeouts or a lack thereof have a strong correlation with team run scoring? If not, please spare us this garbage that strikeouts matter a great deal more than other types of outs. How often teams make outs and what they do when they aren’t making outs do have a strong correlation with how many runs they score.

  87. Chuck Says:

    Here you go, Shaun

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/5942

  88. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, that doesn’t really address the question: Do team strikeouts or a lack thereof have a correlation to team run scoring?

  89. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, that doesn’t really address the question”

    Of course it does.

    Quite clearly.

  90. Shaun Says:

    If it’s true that a low team strikeout rate has a strong correlation with team run scoring, how do you explain Toronto, Tampa Bay, Florida, Cincinnati, Texas, Colorado, Brewers? All rank in the top half in both runs per game and strikeout rate.

  91. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, that article just tells us that strikeouts don’t result in much scoring. Doesn’t tell us that a team’s strikeout rate has a correlation to it’s runs scored.

  92. Shaun Says:

    Basically that article tells us that given a choice, all things being equal, it’s better for a team not to strikeout.

    Doesn’t tell us about when things aren’t equal (i.e., when one team who strikes out more than others also gets on base more often than others and slugs higher than others.)

  93. Shaun Says:

    The lowest team strikeout rates: White Sox, Kansas City, Minnesota, Yankees, Astros, Giants, Orioles, Angels, Phillies, Cubs.

    6 of those 10 are below the major league average in runs scored per game.

    Still not seeing the correlation between team strikeout rate and team runs scored.

    Maybe I’m missing something.

  94. Shaun Says:

    I bet Mets fans sure wish David Wright could be as productive relative to the hitters in his league as the White Sox, Royals, Astros, Giants, Orioles and Angels are relative to major league teams this season…maybe not.

  95. Raul Says:

    The problem is that you stats guys keep saying strikeouts don’t matter, as long as players hit home runs.

    You might as well say that teams that hit home runs do well, and forget about the strikeouts part of it because it’s damaging to your argument.

    Strikeouts hurt. Period.

    The bottom teams in strikeout percentage don’t score runs because they don’t have good hitters with power. That’s it.

    If a team that hits a lot of homers and struck out a lot…struck out less…they’d be a better team.

    The Yankees right now rank 25th in the majors in strikeouts. They rank 3rd in slugging and 1st in runs scored.

    This isn’t a hard concept to understand. Good lord.

  96. Raul Says:

    If everything stays the same but the Yankees start striking out more, they will score less runs.

  97. Lefty33 Says:

    “Don’t tell me we have to have that debate again. Can anyone show us that team strikeouts or a lack thereof have a strong correlation with team run scoring? If not, please spare us this garbage that strikeouts matter a great deal more than other types of outs.”

    No garbage Shaun. Just the facts.

    I never said anything about a team, just David Wright.

    And that he is one of the main reasons that the Mets are underperforming again.

    When you put the ball in play, it is possible for it to be missed and you then would get something called a hit. Or the fielder can misplay the ball and you can advance to a base and have runners advance due to something called an error.

    Or you can make an out by sacrificing and advance a runner. You can make an out with a fielder’s choice and advance or even score a runner.

    When you strikeout what can you accomplish for your team? Nothing.

  98. Lefty33 Says:

    “If it’s true that a low team strikeout rate has a strong correlation with team run scoring, how do you explain Toronto, Tampa Bay, Florida, Cincinnati, Texas, Colorado, Brewers? All rank in the top half in both runs per game and strikeout rate.”

    And at the end of September when everyone but Tampa is playing golf instead of playing in the playoffs maybe then you will understand that strikeouts equal losing.

    And Tampa is only the exception because they are the only team on that list whose pitching is not atrocious.

  99. Chuck Says:

    “Can anyone show us that team strikeouts or a lack thereof have a strong correlation with team run scoring? If not, please spare us this garbage that strikeouts matter a great deal more than other types of outs.”

    Yes. I did that. Which was acknowledged.

    “Chuck, that article just tells us that strikeouts don’t result in much scoring.”

    Then the conversation “twisted” into something else.

  100. Shaun Says:

    Raul, no one is arguing that strikeouts don’t hurt. Any out hurts. But the rate at which a hitter or a team strikes out is not as important as how often a hitter or a team makes any type of out.

    You are right about teams and power. On-base and slugging equals offense. Getting on base and slugging well is not a method or a tactic to scoring runs; those things are the same as scoring runs. Strikeouts and strikeout rate don’t matter if a team or a player is getting on base and slugging.

    Lefty33, so I suppose Ryan Howard’s career is pretty much over. Jim Thome’s career was over a long time ago, huh?

    Regarding your comment #98, again, show me where strikeouts or strikeout rate correlates to a team’s run scoring.

    Chuck, you did not show me that strikeouts have a correlation with run scoring, unless you change the meaning of “correlation.” Throughout baseball history teams’ run scored ranking don’t correlate to their strikeout rankings. Not trying to twist anything. How often a hitter or a team makes any type of out is more important, in terms of run scoring, than how often a hitter or a team strikes out. There is a whole history’s worth of data that shows this. I can’t believe this is even arguable.

  101. Shaun Says:

    Please, help me figure this out. Honestly, I’m just trying to understand the perspective of folks like you, Chuck and Raul, and Lefty33. Honestly, can you please explain to me how someone like David Wright’s career is over if he keeps going at the rate he’s going.

    Because from my perspective, I see teams throughout the history of the game that strikeout a lot, get on base often and slug well relative to their league and those teams score a lot relative to their league. So if a team has 8 or 9 hitters like David Wright, who get on base often and slug well but strikeout a lot, the team is going to get on base often and slug well but strikeout a lot yet the team is still going to score a lot of runs.

    Now I completely understand and agree that strikeouts aren’t a good thing; and assuming on-base and slugging is about equal, it’s better to fewer strikeouts. What I’m having a problem with is understanding how lots of strikeouts are a problem if a player or a team is getting on base and slugging well.

    Please help me understand. I’m trying to be as nice about it as possible and as sincere as possible. I’m just not getting it.

  102. Shaun Says:

    If you guys don’t think I’m being sincere, if you think I’m trying to be a smarta**, I really apologize. If you don’t think I’m being sincere, I would appreciate you answering my comment 101 as if you do think I’m being sincere. Because honestly I’m just trying to understand.

  103. Shaun Says:

    Pretend I am completely clueless about the game of baseball (as some of you think I am). All I know is that I’ve looked at some data throughout the history of the game and I see quite a few teams that were good at scoring runs and those teams were good at getting on base and slugging yet they struck out a lot. I also see quite a few teams who didn’t strikeout yet didn’t score runs but they also were bad at getting on base and slugging. Basically I don’t see any connection between how good a team’s offense is and how often they strikeout. Please explain. Again, pretend I’m clueless about the game (and, again, some of you won’t have a hard time pretending you think that about me).

  104. Seven Says:

    I’m done trying to figure David Wright out. I don’t get it. He’s on pace to hit 34 HR with 110 RBI and a .400 OBP, but watching him every day I think he freakin sucks. I have to assume that the numbers are lying and that there’s no way he’ll end up with those numbers if he keeps getting fooled/beat so much. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Wright isn’t striking out like Adam Dunn. It’s not like he’s being ultra-selective and taking balls an inch off the corner that are being called strikes. He’s getting beat. 52% of his strikes are either swings and misses or foul balls. Only 21% are in play strikes. That’s really really bad.

    So if Wright ends up with 34 HR, 110 RBI, a .280 AVG and .400 OBP to go along with the 220 strikeouts he’s on pace for, I’ll tip my cap and call you my daddy. But I just don’t think that’s possible. To me, the point isn’t that strikeouts are necessarily bad for production. The point is that when you strike out at a certain rate for 5 years, then all of a sudden that rate goes up by 90%, it must be a sign of SOMETHING wrong. I’m thinking that all these swings and misses are a leading indicator that his production will suffer in the future.

  105. Shaun Says:

    Seven, could be something wrong or maybe not. I mean, guys like Howard, Thome, Reynolds, Dunn…they’re all just fine with that many strikeouts. As long as Wright is getting on base and slugging like he is, I wouldn’t worry, because that’s what’s going to matter at the end of the day. I dare say that if everyone on the Mets was hitting like Wright, they’d be an awesome offense.

  106. Raul Says:

    The Mets should trade David Wright.

  107. Shaun Says:

    Still waiting on a response to comments 101, 102, 103. Funny, things are awfully quiet.

  108. Raul Says:

    “Can you honestly explain to me how David Wright’s career is over if he keeps going at the rate he’s going?”

    I thought it was fairly obvious, Shaun. Maybe you chose not to read it.
    David Wright’s mechanics are crap and he’s missing pitches in locations that a player of his “supposed” caliber shouldn’t be missing.

    I wish I could explain this better but unfortunately, they haven’t figured out a way for statistics to measure mechanics and common sense.

  109. Shaun Says:

    Raul, they do have stats to measure things that are important to contributing to offense, and Wright is doing just fine.

    It goes back to my comments 101, 102 and 103. Can you or those other guys answer those comments? I’m still waiting. It’s been close to an hour now and I still haven’t seen an explanation.

  110. Shaun Says:

    I wish every player on my favorite team was batting .278 with a .400 on-base and a .534 slugging.

  111. Raul Says:

    That’s not what was said.

    We’re talking about mechanics and approach at the plate. As condescending as it may be, you actually have to watch the player to understand this.

    There is one set of statistics that is interesting:
    David Wright’s splits.

    Against RHP:
    .235/.365/.431

    Against LHP:
    .462/.559/.962

    The guy is getting exposed and it’s only a matter of time, unless he adjusts.
    Or are you going to question that, too?

  112. Shaun Says:

    Again…

    Please, help me figure this out. Honestly, I’m just trying to understand the perspective of folks like you, Chuck and Raul, and Lefty33. Honestly, can you please explain to me how someone like David Wright’s career is over if he keeps going at the rate he’s going.

    Because from my perspective, I see teams throughout the history of the game that strikeout a lot, get on base often and slug well relative to their league and those teams score a lot relative to their league. So if a team has 8 or 9 hitters like David Wright, who get on base often and slug well but strikeout a lot, the team is going to get on base often and slug well but strikeout a lot yet the team is still going to score a lot of runs.

    Now I completely understand and agree that strikeouts aren’t a good thing; and assuming on-base and slugging is about equal, it’s better to fewer strikeouts. What I’m having a problem with is understanding how lots of strikeouts are a problem if a player or a team is getting on base and slugging well.

    Please help me understand. I’m trying to be as nice about it as possible and as sincere as possible. I’m just not getting it.

    If you guys don’t think I’m being sincere, if you think I’m trying to be a smarta**, I really apologize. If you don’t think I’m being sincere, I would appreciate you answering my comment 101 as if you do think I’m being sincere. Because honestly I’m just trying to understand.

    Pretend I am completely clueless about the game of baseball (as some of you think I am). All I know is that I’ve looked at some data throughout the history of the game and I see quite a few teams that were good at scoring runs and those teams were good at getting on base and slugging yet they struck out a lot. I also see quite a few teams who didn’t strikeout yet didn’t score runs but they also were bad at getting on base and slugging. Basically I don’t see any connection between how good a team’s offense is and how often they strikeout. Please explain. Again, pretend I’m clueless about the game (and, again, some of you won’t have a hard time pretending you think that about me).

  113. Shaun Says:

    Raul, last I checked a .365 on-base and a .431 slugging isn’t all that bad, especially in a relatively small sample from a guy who is one of the most talented hitters in the game. I wouldn’t be too concerned at all if I were a Mets fan. But maybe I lack New York pessimism.

  114. Shaun Says:

    Again, I would love to have 8 or 9 guys on my favorite team hitting like David Wright. They would be tough to beat.

  115. Shaun Says:

    Now, is anyone going to answer 112?

  116. Shaun Says:

    Raul, why are using those split stats? I thought they didn’t have stats for mechanics and common sense.

  117. Shaun Says:

    I wish someone would explain to me why there have been quite a few teams throughout baseball history who struck out a lot yet still scored lots of runs and quite a few teams who haven’t struck out a lot yet did not score lots of runs. Maybe then I would understand some of the thinking by a few people on this site. I suppose those people like being misunderstood.

  118. Shaun Says:

    Perhaps it makes them feel smarter than the rest of us when they refuse to give us the insight that the rest of us seem to lack.

    Based on everything I’ve seen, strikeouts don’t matter in terms of where a team will rank in runs scored. Maybe I’m missing something. Shame on you folks for withholding the information the rest of us are missing regarding strikeouts and runs scored!

  119. Raul Says:

    Thanks Shaun. Your inner-Rob Neyer is clear for all to see.

  120. Shaun Says:

    Raul, not sure what you are talking about. I’m just trying to get answers and it seems you, Chuck and Lefty33 have them; but for some reason you’ve decided to withhold them from the rest of us. Please, fill us in on why the rest of us can’t see that strikeouts matter in terms of where a team ranks in scoring runs.

  121. Seven Says:

    Shaun, I’m pretty sure I did answer your questions. Or atleast attempted to.

    I don’t know about the other guys you’re debating with, but I don’t disagree that guys with a lot of strikeouts can be productive. We all understand that. But in David’s first 5 years in the league, 72% of his PA’s resulted in something in play (a hit, a non-strikeout out, sac fly). This year that number is 52%. You can’t honestly look at that and say “no big deal”. His aggregate BABIP the first 5 years was .336. The last two years he’s up to .391.

    So you’re going to sit there and tell me that while he’s getting fooled/beat more and more, he’s magically doing better things with the ball in the times that he doesn’t get fooled? And that this will continue? That doesn’t make any sense.

    You can’t sit here and tell me that David has made some sort of change to his swing or approach to hit more line drives and increase his BABIP at the same time that he’s fouling more balls off and swinging and missing more (a lot more). It’s a ridiculous contradiction. Something’s gotta give. If you honestly believe he can keep this up, then we’re at an impasse. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  122. Shaun Says:

    Seven, he’s getting on base at a better rate than his career and he’s slugging higher. Perhaps his more aggressive approach is leading to more power and more strikeouts and it’s actually not costing him in the on-base department. Perhaps he’s becoming more of a Jim Thome type hitter, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  123. Lefty33 Says:

    “Please, fill us in on why the rest of us can’t see that strikeouts matter in terms of where a team ranks in scoring runs.”

    Other than you, there is no rest of us, who is talking about strikeouts mattering in terms of where a team ranks in scoring runs.

    Before you twist things and put more words into my mouth that I didn’t imply or say, I was referring strictly to David Wright. The article is about David Wright. Nothing else. Until you come back to the conversation and stop trying to change it you’re really just typing to yourself.

    On a sidebar, in 2009 of the ten teams that struck out the most, only Colorado made the playoffs.

  124. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, six of those teams in 2009 had above-average offenses. Colorado is the only team that was significantly above average in scoring runs and preventing runs.

    Okay, let’s focus on David Wright. If a team had 8 or 9 hitters hitting like David Wright, they’d be an awesome offensive team.

    A team with 9 David Wright’s and average run prevention would have a .675 winning percentage, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s offensive winning percentage.

  125. Seven Says:

    Well Shaun (RE: 122), I think that sucks if what you say is correct. And wake me up when Wright hits 40+ HR’s six times in his career like Thome did. I don’t see that happening.

    I think David Wright has (had) a better skillset than hitting .270 with 35 HR and 200 K’s. Call me crazy if I’d rather him have that same .400 OBP with a .330 batting average and 25 HR’S.

  126. Chuck Says:

    “fill us in on why the rest of us”

    Us, who?

    Shaun, you’re turning this into a team rate, when the initial discussion was about David Wright, an individual.

    The chart I found on BR shows that a run can score as a result of an out, an average of one per game, actually.

    You can’t score a run if you don’t get on base, and you can’t get on base if you strikeout.

    You can, however, make an out that scores someone else.

    So, the type of outs a player makes DOES matter.

    If you switched Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard, the Phils would still be NL Champs and the Dbacks would still be chumps.

    The Phillies have more opportunities to score runs because they have better players.

    Switch Mark Reynolds and Albert Pujols and the DBacks would win the West, because Pujols is a more valuable player in EVERY lineup. He would drive in more runs, and score more runs, than Reynolds does because he puts more balls in play.

    This ISN’T arguable.

  127. Shaun Says:

    Seven, if I’m a Mets fan, I’d rather David Wright (or any other player) basically maximize his OPS, not matter how he does it. Why? Because OPS equals offense. Again, OPS equals offense. That’s what some folks don’t seem to understand. They think a high OPS is just one way teams win. No. If you want your team to score runs, you better be rooting for a high OPS. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen. Doesn’t matter if the strikeout a lot or a little or if they have all the speed in the world. The thing you want your team to do well in terms of offense is post an impressive OPS. If they don’t, you better hope they post a good-enough OPS and have really good pitching and defense. Again, OPS equals offense, everything else is secondary.

  128. Seven Says:

    See, that’s what I never understood about anyone who says strikeouts don’t matter, batting average doesn’t matter, and OBP is the most important statistic.That argument assumes that a .400 OBP with a .270 AVG is the same as a .400 OBP with a .330 AVG. It’s not.

    And Shaun, I know how you feel about people not responding to your questions when you have a legitimate argument. I’ve asked a certain question maybe 20 times on this website and no one has ever answered it. My question: What if a guy like Jim Thome or Ryan Howard (or now David Wright) chose to change his swing/approach to put more balls in play? What if they protected the plate a little more with 2 strikes?

    First of all, is that even possible? Is it possible for Ryan Howard to strike out less? Does he have the skills required to do so? And second, what would the result be?

  129. Seven Says:

    I agree with you on that Shaun. But I don’t think he IS maximizing his OPS. Like I said, if you honestly believe that he’ll keep up this .380 BABIP and end up with a .934 OPS even with 220 K’s, then fine we’ll just have to wait and see.

    But this strikeout problem obviously started to show its head last year, Wright’s worst offensive season (by far) measured by OPS.

  130. Seven Says:

    Forget it, don’t answer the last part of post 129. I’m writing another article to look for answers.

  131. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, Pujols also gets on base and slugs better than Reynolds (and Howard), which is the main reason why the D-Backs would win the West if you switched Pujols and Reynolds.

    OPS equals offense. Always has, always will. Doesn’t matter if a team strikeouts a little or a ton. All that matters is their OPS because OPS equals offense!

    Obviously putting the ball in play is better than not, all things being equal (namely OPS). But I’d rather have a significantly better OPS than significantly fewer strikeouts.

    This is why David Wright wouldn’t concern me and I wouldn’t be whining and moaning about David Wright, if I’m a Mets fan. He’s increasing the team’s OPS, even though he’s striking out a lot. He’s not the problem. The players who are decreasing the team’s OPS are the problem. Jeff Francoeur, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Jason Bay, Angel Pagan…they are the problems. If all of those guys hit like David Wright has hit, the Mets would be an offensive force. But no one gets that because they would rather blame the superstar rather than actually understand offense in baseball. OPS equals offense! Always has, always will!

  132. Raul Says:

    If I had a right-handed player who has played gradually worse and worse against right-handed pitching for 3+ years now, who’s mechanics are approaching Charles Barkely’s golf swing, and who’s striking out at a pathetically high rate, I would be concerned.

    But that’s just me.

  133. Seven Says:

    Shaun, you’ve missed the point completely. Explain why Wright’s career high in K’s came in the same year as his career low in OPS. I’m not saying that one thing caused the other. I’m not saying you can’t be productive with a high strikeout total. But iIt’s not the high strikeout total that scares people with Wright. It’s the INCREASE in strikeout total. He’s getting beat more and more.

    That’s all I’m going to say. I’ll come back in October and tell you I was dead wrong if Wright ends up hitting .280/.400/.530 with 35 HR and 220 K’s.

  134. Lefty33 Says:

    “Pujols also gets on base and slugs better than Reynolds (and Howard)”

    And that is achieved via making contact, not by striking out.

    You can’t slug if you strikeout. And while Pujols does walk a fair amount, he mainly gets on base via making contact. Hence why he is the better hitter and hence why it is better to make contact then make a tornado at the plate.

  135. Shaun Says:

    Seven, something I think needs researching is Citi Field. Not just the unfriendliness to homerun hitters but also things like visibility. Perhaps this is affecting Wright.

    Also, is he really getting beat all that much more? I mean his OBP was pretty much at his career rate last season. His walk rate was higher, his K rate was higher, his power was down relative to his career. He was still the 8th best offensive thirdbaseman in baseball and 4th best in the NL.

  136. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, you can’t slug if you strikeout? So Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn aren’t sluggers?

    There are a few hitters who can get on base, slug and avoid striking out. Those guys are few and far between. Most hitters are going to have to sacrifice contact in order to hit for power and be valuable offensively.

  137. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, it’s better to make contact than not, all things being equal. I’ve said that over and over. But OPS is what’s important. A high OPS with few strikeouts is gravy. But a high OPS is what is essentially. If a hitter doesn’t have that, I could care less if he strikes out 20 times or 200 times.

  138. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, I think you’d agree that you’d rather have a team full of hitters like Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds than like Placido Polanco. That’s because hitters like Howard and Reynolds, while they will strikeout a ton, they are going to put up a higher OPS and therefore your team is going to score more than the hitters who are like Polanco. OPS is what is most important.

    But obviously we’d rather have Pujols because you get the best of both worlds: A high OPS and low strikeout rate.

    Everything offensively start with OPS. If you can get OPS combined with speed and a low strikeout rate, that’s great. But everything is completely meaningless offensively unless you have a high OPS.

  139. Seven Says:

    YES!!!!!! YES HE **IS** getting beat that much more! Shuan, I’m normally with you on believing the numbers, but your post (#135) is why old school and new school can’t all get along. If you watched the games, you would KNOW that he IS getting beat that much more. Constantly. He’s swinging thru 3-1 fastballs to the point where I sometimes think he’s swinging an imaginary bat and the one I see in his hands must be a computer generated image. Yes. He IS getting beat that much more.

  140. Shaun Says:

    Seven, if he’s getting beat “that much more” why is he getting on/avoiding outs at the same rate he always has? The problem is not that he’s getting beat “much more.” The problem last year was power. There is not much of a problem so far this year. He’s basically having one of his best seasons so far.

  141. Shaun Says:

    I just think it’s odd to say his career is over, absurd, in fact. Even in his worst season, he was still one of the top 4 thirdbasemen in his league and posted a very good OBP with an pretty good slugging.

    Perhaps Citi Field is doing something funky to his numbers and/or his approach. His home/road splits suggest that may be the case, although his power was down on the road last year.

  142. Lefty33 Says:

    “Lefty33, you can’t slug if you strikeout? So Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn aren’t sluggers?”

    Is that what I said? Really Shaun?

    Once again way to stuff words into my mouth that were never said.

    You remind me of my six-year old. You can never seem to focus on what was actually said. You always are twisting things into misstatements, or things that were never said.

    Great for spin-based politics, pretty silly and sad for a facts based Baseball discussion.

    “That’s because hitters like Howard and Reynolds, while they will strikeout a ton, they are going to put up a higher OPS and therefore your team is going to score more than the hitters who are like Polanco.”

    FYI, Palanco has had a higher OPS than Howard since day 1 of the season.

    I am done with you until you can actually stick to what was said not what you wished would have been said.

    Good night Shaun.

  143. Seven Says:

    Well that’s the million dollar question, now isn’t it. Let me take a crack at it.

    He has 6 HR’s in his 9 games at Coors Field, Citizens Bank, and Great American. 1 HR in his other 27 games. Just sayin.

    He has a .380 BABIP for the year. Again, call me crazy if I think that number might come down.

  144. Shaun Says:

    Lefty33, speaking of sticking to what was said, I’ve yet to have anyone address my concerns with the logic of Wright and strikeouts and how his career is doomed.

    Wright has a fine OPS. He’s not the problem for the Mets offensively and that’s clear. He is the easy scapegoat because he is striking out a lot and he is the superstar. New Yorkers (and possibly most casual baseball fans) need a scapegoat in sports and Wright is convenient for that right now.

    OPS correlates well with runs scoring while strikeouts do not, so a player with a high OPS and a high strikeout rate is doing more to help his team than to harm his team. Yes, it would be better if a player had a high OPS and not a lot of strikeouts but a high OPS means he’s helping the team’s OPS total and therefore helping the team score runs.

    Wright has a high OPS (which correlates with run scoring) and a high strikeout rate (which has no correlation to run scoring), so therefore he is helping his team score runs.

    It seems no one wants to talk about the fact that Wright is actually performing well, in terms of helping his team offensively (i.e., helping his team score runs). Apparently that doesn’t matter.

    Wright’s a scapegoat and that’s all there is to it. It’s sad that a good player who in his worst season wasn’t bad at all is the scapegoat.

  145. Shaun Says:

    Seven, why do you expect his BABiP to drop but not his strikeout rate? His high BABiP be part of his Citi Field approach.

  146. Shaun Says:

    His high BABiP could be Wright consciously trying to hit the ball with more authority to increase his power.

  147. Raul Says:

    Clearly you don’t get it because you’re a numbers guy, and you don’t understand that severe holes lie in David Wright, in spite of what his statistics say after 5 weeks.

    This is what scouts and baseball people know, and stats guys, for all their arrogance and intellect, can never seem to understand.

  148. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I’ll worry about the “holes” in Wright’s swing when he’s not leading his team in OPS.

  149. Shaun Says:

    OPS equals offense. What’s so hard to get about that? Throughout the history of baseball OPS has mattered more than anything on offense. Why do so many want to complicate things by ignoring that little fact?

  150. Chuck Says:

    “OPS equals offense! Always has, always will!”

    No, it doesn’t, because “OPS” is a combination of two unrelated stats.

    OBP is times on base/plate appearances, SLG is total bases/AB’s.

    It’s possible to have a high OBP and a low SLG, it is also possible to have a low OBP and a high SLG.

  151. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, but OPS has a stronger correlation to run scoring than pretty much any other stat. So that’s what I mean by OPS equals offense.

  152. Raul Says:

    And his “offense” is comprised mostly of doing damage against left-handed pitchers in a few at bats. Meanwhile, right-handed pitchers are dominating him and exposing him as a soft hitter for going on 3 years now.

    I’m sorry. I guess I just made that up.
    Maybe you’d like to give him a 120 million dollar contract, Shaun.

  153. Shaun Says:

    A .359 on-base and .430 slugging isn’t being dominated. Granted, it isn’t MVP-caliber, but it isn’t being dominated either.

    I wouldn’t mind my favorite team having David Wright. Again, in his worst season he was still the 4th-best offensive thirdbaseman in the NL.

  154. Chuck Says:

    Shaun, Wright’s OPB, and to an extent his SLG, is being affected by his unusually high walk totals.

    If he was walking at his career pace, he would be below league average in both, regardless of how many strikeouts he had.

  155. Seven Says:

    “Seven, why do you expect his BABIP to drop but not his strikeout rate?”

    That’s exactly what I’m saying, Shaun. Something has to give. He’s not putting the ball in play. If you only put the ball in play 350 times a year because you strike out 200 times, you have to have a BABIP up near .400 to hit for a decent average.

    Gun to your head Shaun, do you honestly believe that Wright will defy baseball history and hit for a .380+ BABIP for the second straight year after his career BABIP was .335 for the first five years?

  156. Hossrex Says:

    Wait… what exactly is the problem with David Wright this season?

    A .278/.400/.534 batting line? Eight homers, eight doubles, and eight stolen bases?

    He’s on pace for 34 homers, 34 stolen bases, and more than 300 total bases.

    Don’t get me wrong. Manny appears to be having a great year if you just look at the statistics, and I can very comfortably say those numbers are misleading… but I can say that because I’ve seen every game he’s played this year. Very few clutch hits… and he’s being walked to face Andre Ethier (who’s so good this year that if anything… his triple crown type numbers aren’t indicative of how GOOD he’s been).

    So. If the opinion is “David Wright’s numbers are misleading because I’ve seen a boatload of his at-bats this year, and he’s just not as good as the numbers suggest”, I’ll willingly accept that. But how many Mets games have you guys seen this year? I watch every Dodgers game, and the Fox game of the week… where do you guys find the time to watch so many ballgames that aren’t your favorite team?

    Besides, the Dodgers played the Mets just after this article was first posted, and he didn’t “Step in the Bucket” once.

    Some of the comments in this thread feel like a backlash against statistics to the point where now not only aren’t we accepting statistics as holding any merit… we’re actively disagreeing with the statistics, even when we don’t have any particular reason to.

    If the Mets were in first place, I don’t think Wright would be seeing nearly as much criticism, and that’s just not fair.

  157. Raul Says:

    Good lord.
    Yankees, Redsox on ESPN. In the booth you have Nomar Garciaparra, Aaron Boone and some scumbag who looks like Al Trautwig, and there haven’t been 2 consecutive seconds without someone talking.

    Horrible, horrible broadcast.

  158. John Says:

    Chuck: “Shaun, Wright’s OPB, and to an extent his SLG, is being affected by his unusually high walk totals.

    If he was walking at his career pace, he would be below league average in both, regardless of how many strikeouts he had.”

    Before this year, Wright had a BB rate of 11.3%

    That would leave him with 18 walks this year, instead of 28. Even if we assume that he makes outs EVERY time he doesn’t walk those 10 times (he’d most likely have 2 or 3 hits) that leaves him with an OBP/SLG line of .339/.430. The league averages are .331/.405 and .336/.414 for non-pitchers.

  159. Chuck Says:

    “Horrible, horrible broadcast.”

    Combine that with Chan Ho Fucking Park.

  160. Hossrex Says:

    Chuck: “Combine that with Chan Ho Fucking Park.”

    Chuck. We’ve been over this. Will you please stop propagating the myth that Chan Ho Park exists?

  161. Chuck Says:

    “that leaves him with an OBP/SLG line of .339/.430. The league averages are .331/.405″

    Holy shit..put him in the HOF already.

    If those were his career numbers, he’d be right up there with Scott Podsednik and Juan Uribe.

  162. Len Says:

    Hossrex,

    You bring up a very good point. I thought Wright’s numbers were going to be terrible the way people in NY have been screaming about him.

    His career ops is .908, he’s at .934. His career ops+ is 137, he’s at 148 right now. He’s in the top ten in HR, ops+, runs created, Times on Base, Sac flys, B.B. and Stolen bases. He is on pace to have his second best ops+/ops season of his career and break his HR/SB/BB mark.

    I really don’t understand New York fans and the NY media. I guess they need something to write and talk about, so they dwell on Wright’s strikeouts. Who cares? he’s striking out more because he’s walking more and seeing more pitches per plate appearances. What would they rather he do, swing at more first pitches and ground out to the pitcher?

    Mets fans are very odd. Strawberry was the best offensive player the team ever produced and they couldn’t wait to run him out of town. Then he comes back 20 years later and they give him a standing Ovation. They hated Mcreynolds because he didn’t smile or some such reason. They treat Beltran like garbage and have no concept of how valuable a player he is when healthy. They throw Wright under the bus even though he’s on pace to have the second best season of his career.

    Then they celebrate guys like Daniel Murphy like he’s going to be the next Pete Rose or something. Right now they’re treating Rod Barajas like he’s the second coming of Johnny Bench because he has 9 Hr, overlooking the fact he has a .298 on base percentage.

  163. Patrick Says:

    Len says;

    “Mets fans are very odd. Strawberry was the best offensive player the team ever produced and they couldn’t wait to run him out of town. Then he comes back 20 years later and they give him a standing Ovation. They hated Mcreynolds because he didn’t smile or some such reason. They treat Beltran like garbage and have no concept of how valuable a player he is when healthy. They throw Wright under the bus even though he’s on pace to have the second best season of his career.”

    Mets fans have always been this way. They even pretty much ran Tom Seaver out of town. It’s like a mass affliction in Queens of “you don’t know what you got until you lose it”.

  164. Shaun Says:

    “Gun to your head Shaun, do you honestly believe that Wright will defy baseball history and hit for a .380+ BABIP for the second straight year after his career BABIP was .335 for the first five years?”

    I don’t think his BABiP will be close to .380. (It’s actually .377 right now.) But I also don’t think his strikeout rate will be as high as it’s been.

    “Shaun, Wright’s OPB, and to an extent his SLG, is being affected by his unusually high walk totals.

    “If he was walking at his career pace, he would be below league average in both, regardless of how many strikeouts he had.”

    What makes you think his walk rate is going to drop so significantly that he can’t post a good OBP and SLG?

    “If those were his career numbers, he’d be right up there with Scott Podsednik and Juan Uribe.”

    But those aren’t his career numbers. Those aren’t even his overall numbers this season.

  165. Shaun Says:

    “Some of the comments in this thread feel like a backlash against statistics to the point where now not only aren’t we accepting statistics as holding any merit… we’re actively disagreeing with the statistics, even when we don’t have any particular reason to.”

    I agree. It’s pretty insane that anyone would think David Wright’s career is in danger simply because his strikeout rate is higher. I can understand maybe thinking he’s not the same player, etc….but the end of his career? He’s having a career year if we look at the numbers that matter most. He was far from awful last season, even though it was the worst season of his career. I’m not sure how one could think his career is in jeopardy.

  166. Len Says:

    Patrick,

    You’re right. I was kind of young during the time of Seaver but it did seem like there was never great support for the guy. It seems like there’s a lot of revisionist history about Seaver in Metland today. I seem to remember that a guy like Bob Apodaca was much more popular with fans than Seaver ever was.

    It’s odd, it seems like they champion mediocre “flavor of the month” characters much more than their star players. Guys like Mark Carreon have a good month and then they’re the biggest thing in NY. Benny Agbayanni, Timo Perez, Jay Payton, Marlon Anderson, Paul Lo Duca, Daniel Murphy, Mike Jacobs, etc.

    The franchise still holds onto the identity of the “sad sack” teams of the early 60’s even though they have the second highest revenue stream in the majors.

    It’s very telling that a guy like Ed Kranepool holds most of the Mets career records. Only the Mets could have given a guy who was basically a replacement level player an 18 year career.

  167. Shaun Says:

    I suspect what is happening to Wright is that he is making a conscious effort to hit for more power possibly because he realized that was a weakness in his game last season. It seems to be working, as he’s hitting the ball with more authority and hitting more extra-base hits while not costing him walks. It is costing him in the strikeout department, but my guess is eventually he’ll find the right balance and his strikeout rate will drop some. I suspect what Wright is doing is adjusting to a new home park and it is taking him a while to figure things out. He’s pretty close to finding the right balance because he is currently having one of his most productive seasons.

    It seems some in the New York media and some fans just need a scapegoat for the Mets’ lackluster offense. They apparently don’t know baseball all that well so they see that Wright isn’t hitting .300 and he’s striking out a lot, so he must be the problem. They don’t understand that offense is about avoiding outs, getting on base and gaining bases (i.e., hitting for power preferably).

  168. Seven Says:

    So Shaun (RE #164), I think we’re starting to agree on something. Something has to give with Wright. I think what the rest of us are sayign is that the strikeouts are a sign of bad mechanics or possibly a bad approach. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely he’ll stay on the same HR and OPS pace that he’s on now.

    But as you’re saying, players make adjustments. Pitchers have made theirs on Wright and he’s too good a hitter not to make his own. So perhaps you’re right that he’ll end up hitting his 30 HR and have a .900+ OPS and end up striking out way less the rest of the season.

    Also Shaun, I’m with you that high strikeout totals aren’t always necessarily a bad thing. But he’s on pace to shatter an already ridiculously high record and on pace to strike out 80 more times than he ever has before. That HAS to be a bad sign, unless he makes adjustments.

  169. Raul Says:

    As soon as left-handed pitchers start learning to pound David Wright just like right-handers who have been dominating him for the past 3 years, his precious OPS will drop like Peter McNeeley.

  170. Shaun Says:

    Seven, basically I agree. Wright will make adjustments against righties and his numbers will somewhat begin to normalize; he’s just too talented. But he’s probably going to be a high strikeout guy because he realizes that trying to crush hittable pitches is the way to go and that is likely going to lead to more strikeouts than he used to get.

  171. Seven Says:

    Not to speak for the entire Met fanbase here, but my own personal venom towards Wright comes from the fact that I think he can be better. He was a great 2-strike hitter when he came up. He had power to all fields. I kinda thought he’d be a .325 hitter every year and hit 25 or 30 mistakes over the wall on accident.

    And say what you want about OPS Shaun, but .320/.400/.535 is better than .280/.400/.535. It is. You can’t convince me otherwise.

  172. Seven Says:

    And perhaps the media sold us a bill of goods with Wright and we all bought in. Maybe he was always just going to be a very good player instead of the absolute superstar Mets fans wanted to believe he was. But that’s where the venom is coming from, fair or not.

  173. Shaun Says:

    Seven, right. I agree all things being equal, a .320 batting average is better than .280. But who’s to say Wright can be a high-OPS guy with a high batting average at Citi Field? What if a higher OPS means a lower batting average for some guys? You take the lower batting average, if that’s the case. I’m not saying it is or it isn’t. Maybe Wright is capable of a high OPS and a .300 average. But maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s more like a Mark Reynolds than we thought. I don’t think he is, at least not to the degree of Mark Reynolds, but I think he probably is more like that than previously thought.

  174. Shaun Says:

    Seven, not sure what you mean by absolute superstar. Wright is probably one of the top 7-10 hitters in the National League. That’s pretty close to superstar status.

    Again, I suspect his numbers will normalize against righties and lefties. He’s not going to be this good all season against lefties nor this bad against righties all season.

  175. Raul Says:

    David Wright isn’t the hitter Joey Votto is, much less a top 7 player in the national league.

    you’ve got to be kidding.

  176. Seven Says:

    It’s an interesting debate and I’m planning to write an article about this soon. I just think it’s very interesting to think of what he (or anyone else) could do with 100 extra balls in play (so strike out “only” 150 times instead of the 220 he’s on pace for and walk “only” 90 times instead of the 120 he’s on pace for).

    One would think that about 30 of those extra balls would fall in for hits, which right there makes up for the 30 walks he would lose. But how many of those hits would drive a guy in from 2nd with 2 outs? How many would shoot the gap or go over the fence?

  177. Shaun Says:

    Raul, Wright is actually third in the NL in offensive wins above replacement, 9th in runs created, 7th in adjusted batting runs, 7th in adjusted batting wins. You’ve got to me kidding me if you don’t think he’s at least top 10.

    Seven, regarding putting “extra” balls in play, what about the hits that already fall that “shouldn’t” be hits? I mean, if you are going to do that kind of analysis, where do you stop?

  178. Shaun Says:

    Also, Seven, what about the “extra” times he took walks when he could have maybe swung at a close pitch that would have resulted in an out? I mean, “what-if” is always tricky analysis because, again, where do you stop? What if Reynolds had the hand-eye of Pujols? What if Nolan Ryan had the control of Greg Maddux?

  179. Seven Says:

    Well that’s the question. The theory behind BABIP is that the hitter and pitcher have little control of what happens to a ball once it’s in play. That’s what they can’t change. Some line drives find gloves, some broken bat flares find open space.

    But can a player change the number of balls he puts in play? I would argue that some could. Don’t you think Adam Dunn could easily put more balls in play if he chose to?

  180. Shaun Says:

    Seven, could a player change the number of balls he puts in play. I agree, some probably could. Would many players sacrifice production if they consciously attempted to put more balls in play? I would argue that many would.

    Gary Sheffield, for one, once said he would probably have been a better hitter if he didn’t hate striking out so much. Basically he admitted that he got so worried about contact and not striking out that in some situations he “weakened” his swing and made outs rather than trying to do as much damage as possible.

    A lot of people have argued on this site that Pujols is better than Howard or Reynolds because he doesn’t strikeout and that Howard and Reynolds would be better if they didn’t strike out. In a sense, I completely agree. If Howard and Reynolds had the kind of hand-eye coordination and quickness of Pujols, they would be able to strikeout less while keeping their on-base and slugging up. In that sense, I think Howard and Reynold would be much less productive if they consciously tried to make more contact. They just don’t have the coordination and quickness of Pujols; few human beings do.

  181. Seven Says:

    But that assumes that high strike out totals are solely a by-product of trying to mash the ball over the fence every time. In today’s game, it seems like a growing number of strikeouts are caused by selectiveness (or as I’m attempting to argue, OVER-selectiveness).

    I’m not saying that Ryan Howard should “cut down on his swing” every time. I’m arguing that he and other players should be less selective in certain situations. They should look to HIT in HITTER’s counts in RBI situations rather than work the count to increase that walk total and OBP.

  182. Seven Says:

    And that’s a choice that any player can make. It has nothing to do with a skill or trait a player was or wasn’t born with. It has nothing to do with strength or hand-eye coordination. I’m not saying I’m right, I just think it’s interesting.

    The thing is, pitchers have probably gotten the hint that hitters are being more selective. It stands to reason that pitchers will throw more hitable first-pitch strikes if they chart a guy and realize he never swings at the first pitch. Again it comes back to players constantly making adjustments.

    I submitted an article to DC last week basically discussing this very subject, but it hasn’t been posted yet. I wonder if they got it.

  183. Raul Says:

    Nonsense.

    Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard don’t strike out less because they don’t care. Plain and simple. If they have the coordination to make contact on 2-strike home runs, they have the coordination to make contact on 2-strike change-ups on the outer-half.

    Otherwise, you’re fully acknowledging that Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard’s careers amount to little more than luck.

    “Yeah, I’ll just swing as hard as I can, if I hit it, great, if not, screw it”

  184. Shaun Says:

    Seven, I somewhat agree that strikeouts are being caused by hitters being more selective and waiting for a hittable pitch to hit with authority (not necessarily over the fence). It’s not just hitters swinging wildly, otherwise hitters like Thome, Howard and Reynolds wouldn’t put up respectable walk rates.

    Raul, if Reynolds and Howard don’t care, I doubt they would be in the majors. It’s hard to not care and do what they’ve done.

    I’m not sure how a high strikeout rate means that a hitter’s career amounts to luck. Maybe you can explain.

    What’s probably going on seems pretty simple to me: “I’ll wait on a pitch I think I can crush and when I get that pitch I’ll try to crush it. If it’s not a pitch I think I can crush, I’ll take it. Often a major league pitcher is going to throw a good pitch and I’ll swing and miss. But if I concentrate too much on merely making contact without hitting the ball with authority, I’m going to be a useless hitter.”

  185. Shaun Says:

    Raul, they don’t have the coordination to hit a 2-strike homerun or make contact on a 2-strike pitch on every 2-strike that’s close. Obviously not all 2-strike pitches are the same, especially at the major league level.

    It’s pretty simple really. Think about playing in the backyard when you were a kid or Little League. I’m sure you or some other players, when they tried to hit the ball with authority, would be more likely to swing and miss but that’s basically the only way you or other kids were going to hit the ball with authority is to swing in such a way that you were more likely to swing and miss. Then there were the awesome players who could swing and hit the ball with authority but never swung and missed. The rest of us would mostly just try to make contact. But for the most part, merely making contact doesn’t work in the majors because defenses can actually turn batted balls into outs a good 70 percent of the time.

  186. Raul Says:

    There’s no such thing as “concentrating too much merely making contact”.

    Contact is the only thing you ever concentrate on as a hitter.
    Power is…for lack of a better term, inconsequential, in regards to the job at hand.

    It’s basically the glue behind development. When you have a 19 year old kid in Rookie Ball, you don’t give a damn about 430-foot homers. You care about solid contact, proper mechanics and developing pitch recognition. The power comes naturally.

    With players like Mark Reynolds, they don’t care about consistent solid contact so long as they make contact once in a while, and it goes a long way. That’s why they strike out 200 times a season. Striving to make solid contact (altering your approach) doesn’t ever make any hitter weaker. It makes him better, more efficient, and more dangerous. There are limits, but I refuse to believe Mark Reynolds’ limit is .220 batting average.

    Contrary to what you guys may think, a player’s ceiling doesn’t end the day he sets foot on a Major League baseball field. Improvements can, and have always been made.

  187. Len Says:

    Shaun,

    I think you make a good point about Wright (#167) being held as a scapegoat. It seems like the Mets do a lot of this. And I guess the Fans and the Media in NY just add fuel to the fire.

    I was reading something about the Mets blaming Brian Schneider for most of the problems of 2009. Schneider replied that they have to look for a scapegoat rather than admit that the team is not run properly.

  188. Shaun Says:

    Raul, you don’t think guys like Reynolds and Howard try to improve? You don’t think they would love to make contact every time they swing? Really?

    Yes, you care about solid contact, proper mechanics and pitch recognition. But the point is contact is useless if it’s not solid contact once you are in pro ball and certainly in the majors. Defenses gobble up contact that isn’t “solid.” For a lot of players going for solid contact means generating bat speed which increases the chance that they don’t make any contact at all. It’s not that they aren’t concentrating on making contact.

    What are the odds that players like Reynolds doesn’t want to make contact every time he swings at the ball? What incentive does he have to not care when if he could make solid contact most of the times he swung, he would make millions more dollars and be viewed as possible a Hall of Fame type player? Do you really think Reynolds would rather be careless instead of making millions of more dollars and possibly being a Hall of Fame type player, especially given that he’s already cared enough to work himself into a big league lineup everyday?

    With all due respect, your logic makes no sense, Raul. Reynolds is basically too careless to not want to make solid contact more yet he’s not too careless to work himself up to the big leagues and into a lineup every day.

  189. Raul Says:

    Matthew McConaughey wants to make movies. He is a terrible actor and makes terrible movies. Sure, he cares about making movies. Does he care about making good movies? No.

    Same shit with Mark Reynolds.

  190. John Says:

    Chuck: “Holy shit..put him in the HOF already.

    If those were his career numbers, he’d be right up there with Scott Podsednik and Juan Uribe.”

    You said he wouldn’t be league-average and I showed he’d be above league-average. But I’m pretty sure that 1) he wouldn’t make outs every time he didn’t walk 2) he’s going to end up having a damn good season regardless of what selected at-bats show you.

    Shaun: “A lot of people have argued on this site that Pujols is better than Howard or Reynolds because he doesn’t strikeout”

    Albert Pujols is a better hitter than Howard or Reynolds because he’s the best hitter in baseball since Ted Williams. You can’t just pin-point one thing he does right that other people don’t; watch an at-bat of his some time. The man simply does not give away outs.

    Shaun: “They just don’t have the coordination and quickness of Pujols; few human beings do.”

    Haha, ok. So you’re not one of those people making that point.

    Seven: “They should look to HIT in HITTER’s counts in RBI situations rather than work the count to increase that walk total and OBP.”

    I’ve never had the impression that Howard (or Reynolds) ever tried to do that. Dunn? Yeah. But I don’t think you can lead the league in RBI’s 3 times in 4 years, Chase Utley’s high OBP and Rollins’ speed notwithstanding, if you don’t take the very approach that you described.

    Seven: “The theory behind BABIP is that the hitter and pitcher have little control of what happens to a ball once it’s in play.”

    Over a full season, BABIP is an irrelevant stat. Good hitters will see the ball well and hit it hard, and when you do that, the ball has a very good chance of going for a hit. Over the course of a couple weeks, a player’s great performance could be owed to some kind of luck. But not over 162 games.

    “Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard don’t strike out less because they don’t care. Plain and simple. If they have the coordination to make contact on 2-strike home runs, they have the coordination to make contact on 2-strike change-ups on the outer-half.

    Otherwise, you’re fully acknowledging that Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard’s careers amount to little more than luck.”

    Ryan Howard has not-cared his way to 45+ HR in 4 straight seasons. He has OPS’d .967 during that time. That isn’t luck. Whatever he’s been doing, he’s been extremely productive.

  191. Chuck Says:

    “his precious OPS will drop like Peter McNeeley.”

    Shaun: “Who’s Peter McNeeley”?

    “Wright is probably one of the top 7-10 hitters in the National League.”

    He’s not even top ten in the NL East.

    “Wright is actually third in the NL in offensive wins above replacement, 9th in runs created, 7th in adjusted batting runs, 7th in adjusted batting wins.”

    Shaun, you keep saying we should be looking at the “stats that matter”, then you respond to Raul with four stats that are complete bullshit, and that no one, outside of their own basements, care about.

  192. Raul Says:

    The difference is that some people read numbers on a paper, whereas others will also watch the player and see things that don’t show up on the box score. And it’s those things that are a true representation of what’s going on, and what will happen in the future.

    The day statistics can show me a hitch in a guy’s swing, or a drop in the pitcher’s delivery, let me know.

    I’m looking forward to it.

  193. Seven Says:

    John, I wasn’t necessarily talking about Howard or Reynolds there. I’m talking about baseball in general. Fewer and fewer balls are being put into play. That’s a fact.

    As I see it, there are two ways to get more hits. You increase your AVG or you put more balls into play. And players can’t just choose to hit for a higher AVG. All I’m saying is that I think the concentration on working the count and trying to draw walks to increase OBP has gone a little too far. Players as a whole could put more balls in play if they really wanted to. And I think there’s an argument to be made that this would increase production in some cases.

  194. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Shaun,

    First off, I don’t like you, never have. And I don’t like you without even meeting you.

    All your rants here on Dugout Central over the years point to me that you never played the game on the field. And your picture (I assume this is you with all the baseball references) on facebook leads me to further these beliefs.

    http://www.facebook.com/shaunpayne78

    Finally, your comments in #185 are the most telling about your ability to play. “Then there were the awesome players who could swing and hit the ball with authority but never swung and missed. The rest of us would mostly just try to make contact.”

    I am sure you never met a right field that you didn’t like.

    Guys like Chuck, Lefty33 and Raul appear to have played the game on the field at a decent, if not high level.

    They know what the main objective is in baseball – win the game that day.

    To win that game THAT DAY takes adjustments, from week-to-week adjustments, game-to-game adjustments AND in-game, at bat and pitch-to-pitch adjustments.

    We all understand that teams throughout the history of the game that strikeout a lot, get on base often and slug well relative to their league score a lot relative to their league. We understand that.

    You mentioned it about twenty times in the comments with your typical smarmy attitude, one of the reasons I don’t like you. And probably the reason why others on these boards don’t like you either.

    And without hearing from them I will guess they aren’t explaining is because you will respond with the same exact smary attitude with another blanket saber statement.

    So, we know high OBP and SLG teams will score more runs, but those great slugging numbers usually come when those hitters are ahead in the count, and are very low when the hitters has two strikes on him, also known as being behind in the count.

    Why is that?

    Because with two strikes, a hitter has too many things going through his mind. Too amny variables working against the hitter. There is added pressure involved. There shouldn’t be as we all try to eliminate thinking in the box, but it always happens.

    And with the count in the pitchers favor, hitters are susceptible to pitches out of the zone, off-speed pitches and hard sliders, and much more pressure than we have on a 0-0, 1-0, or 2-0 count. There are very few hitters in the history of the game that are really good two-strike hitters over their careers.

    Wade Boggs comes immediately to mind for me, probably Tony Gwynn, too. However, those hitters have certain periods of time when they also struggled in that two-strike situation.

    Depending on the situation, just put the ball in play and if you can do it with authority on a pitchers mistake, all the better. It would be better for the team, not the players next contract.

    Power hitters who strikeout a lot usually still swing from the heels with two strikes, but the result is often a whiff.

    You mentioned (in that smarmy attitude again) that you suppose Ryan Howard’s career is over, that Jim Thome’s career has been over. I am sure you would say that Adam Dunn’s career is over, too.

    Howard has a career OPS of .602 with two strikes on him (.433 in 2010), Thome has a career OPS of .639 with two strikes (.552 in 2010) and Dunn has a career OPS of .581 with two strikes (.548 in 2010).

    And those numbers are titled towards when the count is 2-2 or full and they end up working a walk. But when the count is 0-2, the OPS on all hitters are terrible but then gradually gets better according to the count.

    Lets get back to Boggs and Gwynn, two great hitters and HOFers but not the same type of sluggers as Howard, Thome and Dunn.

    Well, over their careers with two strikes on them Boggs and Gwynn hit very well.

    Boggs hit .261/.338/.335/.673 OPS with two strikes while Gwynn hit .302/341/.401/.742 OPS in the same situation. And they struck out A LOT LESS than Howard, Thome and Dunn in the same two-strike situation.

    What this shows is that you can put the ball in play by approaching a two-strike at bat differently than swinging from your heels and STILL HELP YOUR TEAM by having a higher OPS.

    By using your sacred OPS statistic, Shaun, I have shown that it is more productive to put the ball in play with two strikes on the batter.

    Once again, by swinging to put the ball in play, Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn have a higher career OPS (and higher slugging) with two stikes that either Ryan Howard, Jim Thome and Adam Dunn.

    So when the count is 0-2, then I say to Howard or Dunn or Thome to choke up a little, and if the next pitch is near the strike zone, then take a more controlled swing and put the ball in play. It is better baseball.

    And they are good enough hitters to be able to change their approach in that situation to make better contact.

    The good thing about the two-strike swing for Howard, Dunn and Thome would be that the pitcher on many occasions would still be wary of their power and begin to nibble and run the count back up to 2-2 or even 3-2. The hitter would most likely get a better pitch to hit, but they should still look to put the ball into play over swinging from the heels.

    Adam Dunn has a career slugging percentage of .303 with two strikes on him (Gwynn is at .401 and Boggs .335). During the 2587 at bats with two stikes on him, Dunn has 391 hits (.151 BA), 80 doubles, three triples and 102 home runs. He has struck out a whopping 1473 times!

    Maybe if he cuts down on his swing, I bet he generates seveal hundred more hits instead of the 1473 strike outs.

    And that is better for the team to win games.

    What you saber guys do is look at a few percentage stats and try to equate those numbers into real game situations.

    And that is just plain ignorant.

  195. Chuck Says:

    “You increase your average or you put more balls in play.”

    The only way to increase your average IS to put more balls in play.

    Ask any pitcher, at any level, what the most important pitch of any at bat is, and if he’s worth his salt, he’ll say “strike one.”

    Ask any hitter, at any level, what the most important pitch of any at bat is, and if he’s worth his salt, he’ll say “strike one.”

    It is to the pitcher’s advantage to get ahead in the count, it is to the hitter’s advantage to not fall behind in the count, therefore, his best option is to be aggressive on strike one.

    I remember a quote from Tony Perez, who said something like, “the best breaking ball hitter is a good fastball hitter.”

    I’ll let Shaun explain what he means.

    Go ahead now, drop some knowledge on us.

    One thing to remember guys, is the increase in pitches per at bat isn’t necessarily because hitters are consciously looking to walk. Pitching (and umpiring) today is the worst it’s been in the history of the game.

    That has more to do with the trend than hitters with no clue at the plate.

  196. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    And Shaun, the article wasn’t about Wright’s strikeout situation, but was about his mental approach to be in the batters box after getting plunked in the helmet last season on a Matt Cain fastball. I also researched lots of other hitters over baseball’s vast history who had been beaned and talked about their comebacks and eventual declines.

    But you hijacked the article with your rants about OPS and not making outs and all that other sabermetric bullshit which does not help teams win that particular game that day.

    It is just another reason I don’t like you. So please stay away from real baseball talk and go back to the Baseball Think Factory website.

  197. John Says:

    Shaun: “Wright is actually third in the NL in offensive wins above replacement, 9th in runs created, 7th in adjusted batting runs, 7th in adjusted batting wins.”

    First off, adjusted batting wins is simply some multiple of adjusted batting wins, usually by a factor of around 10 (depending on how many runs above replacement is considered to equate to 1 win). My point is simply that it’s redundant to say a guy is 7th in both batting runs and batting wins. Your rank in one is equal to your rank in another.

    Here’s what gets me. I’m always hearing about how runs scored and RBI’s are context driven stats but somehow the ones given require no context whatsoever because they assume a “neutral setting.”

    But it’s for that VERY REASON that those statistics lose a lot of meaning. They assume a given number of runs/wins per walk, hit, double etc. They just assume it. Since we’ve been essentially debating the notion that Wright’s seemingly high performance (for the record, I think he’ll end up doing fine for the year) is due to his high walk total, let’s look at all the factors BLATANTLY IGNORED by assuming that a walk is worth x many runs:

    1) How many outs are there? A walk with 0 outs is clearly worth fewer hypothetical runs than a walk with 2 outs.

    2) How fast is the guy who walks? Jimmy Rollins walking is clearly worth more hypothetical runs than Prince Fielder.

    3) Who was on base at the time of the walk? If there was a guy on third with Derek Lowe coming up next, maybe the batter would’ve been better off chasing an outside pitch.

    …and many others.

  198. Seven Says:

    Chuck, the percentage of pitches thrown for strikes has remained unchanged every year at least since 1988 (which is as far back as the data goes on B-R). 62%. Death. Taxes. Pitchers throw 62% of their pitches for strikes.

    The difference is the type of strike. The differences aren’t huge, but more strikes today are called strikes and fewer are in-play strikes. The amount of swinging strikes and foul ball strikes has remained unchanged. 7% fewer plate appearances so far in 2010 have ended with the hitter hitting the ball somewhere compared to 1988.

    But while pitchers are throwing the same amount of strikes, they’re also walking more hitters. Seems like a contradiction, but it’s not. The difference, to me, is that hitters are making conscious decisions to take in hitters’ counts.

  199. Seven Says:

    So let’s say you took 100 random instances where there was a 3-1 count in 1988 and 100 of the same situation in 2010. Pitchers might be throwing the same pitches, but if hitters are being more selective, you’re going to see an increase in walks (check), fewer balls hit into play (check), and more called strikes (check).

    And I think it’s gone too far. A walk is not always as good as a hit (as staunch OBP believers would think). If there’s a runner on 2nd with 2 outs in a tie game in the 9th, that walk is useless. And I don’t think hitters think that way as much anymore. They’re more likely to be happy to take the walk because it increases their OBP.

  200. Chuck Says:

    Seven,

    The high offense, bad pitching, swing for the fences mentality of today’s game started roughly around 1988.

    The strike zone is smaller, yet strikeouts have increased, the only possible reason is an increase in swinging strikes, which, as we know, aren’t always in the strikezone.

  201. Seven Says:

    No, there’s another way that strikeouts could increase even if the strikezone decreases: an increase in looking strikes (strikes that used to be put in play).

    I’m not pulling this stuff out of thin air. A higher percentage of strikes are looking strikes, even if you look at 2010 just compared to last year. I see it with my own eyes every game. Hitters are taking pitches an inch off the corner in RBI spots to try to draw walks.

  202. Chuck Says:

    “Hitters are taking pitches an inch of the corner…”

    So, then they’re not strikes?

    I’m not disagreeing with your data, Seven, just your interpretation.

    Guys today are looking to go New Jack City on every pitch, why swing at a pitch just off the outside that, at best, might be a single to right center, when the NEXT pitch might be the trot they’re looking for.

    For some guys, BP doesn’t end when the game starts.

  203. Raul Says:

    0-4 with 3 strikeouts tonight for David Wright.
    All of them swinging.

    In the 9th inning, score tied 2-2, 1 out and Luis Castillo on 3rd base…David Wright struck out.

  204. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Raul,

    I know. I was watching three games tonight including the Mets, Yankees and Phils.

    Made sure I was in on all of Wright’s at bats. He was terrible tonight.

    Chuck posted a telling piece on the Verlander pitch count article about Wright.

    But as I mentioned above, this piece on Wright was not a take on his strikeout totals, but his mindset in the batters box after the beaning last year. And since the beaning his numbers were off, including his K’s.

    The NL needs to get Wright out of his misery, like shooting a wounded animal.

    I would pump high and in fastballs early in each game. He would be like putty in the box after that.

  205. Raul Says:

    The article morphed into a discussion about strikeouts and run scoring.

    To get back to David Wright, I think his mechanics are screwed up a bit and right-handed pitchers are owning him for going on 3 years now. Clearly the league has figured him out. And if LHP’s start jamming him inside, it’s going to get real ugly in Queens.

    Wright now has 111 at-bats this season against RHP, this is his line:
    .225/.348/.414

    Wright’s stats look great to Shaun because in 25 at-bats against lefties this year, Wright’s slugging .962

    That .414 is a lot more realistic and closer to his true ability than that .962. Even Shaun has to admit that.

  206. Hossrex Says:

    Seven: “And say what you want about OPS Shaun, but .320/.400/.535 is better than .280/.400/.535. It is. You can’t convince me otherwise.”

    The insane thing about that comment is he seriously thinks someone might disagree with him.

    Stat guys will say it’s better to be .280/.400/.535 than it is to be .320/.360/.450… but absolutely no one, in the history of statistical analysis has ever said that batting average was so meaningless that if the OBP and SLG were both equal, BA be damned, the two players are worth the same.

    You’ve successfully formed perhaps the most pure form of the strawman argument that I’ve EVER seen.

  207. Shaun Says:

    Joseph DelGrippo, takes a real man to attack someone personally behind a computer screen because they disagree over something silly like baseball. I’ve played baseball, but I don’t have to prove anything to you. I’m not the one who wrote that David Wright’s career might be over.

    Not you, not Chuck, not anyone has come up with a good answer to why strikeouts and strikeout rate has no correlation to run scoring.

    Yes, everyone realizes that all relevant things being reasonably equal, you want the player or team who strikes out less. No one will or has argued against that.

    Also everyone realizes that strikeouts are bad because they are outs. No one ever has or will argue against that. But the thing is how often a player or a team makes one particular kind of out doesn’t matter as long as they are making outs less often than other players. Doesn’t take a genius to realize this but some on this site refuse to acknowledge this or aren’t smart enough to realize this.

    The fact is some on this site just can’t reconcile their beliefs that strikeouts and strikeout rate matter a great deal and the fact that strikeout and strikeout rate don’t correlate to run scoring. Their little minds can’t understand that an out can be bad while how often you make that particular kind of out doesn’t matter, as long you aren’t making any type of out all that often. I admit, it is a somewhat a confusing concept and you need to be able to grasp somewhat confusing concepts to understand that type of outs aren’t really a concern but how often a hitter makes outs is a concern. When you are intellectually incapable or intellectually lazy, you just won’t grasp such a concept. You’ll resort to name calling or sadly stalking people so that you can make fun of them. It’s really sad that people feel so threatened by knowledge. Instead of explaining why they disagree with the facts, they resort to personal attacks. But hey, you can attack me all you want. I didn’t just make up the fact that strikeouts and strikeout rate have no correlation to run scoring. It’s there for all to see, if you are intellectually capable and not intellectually lazy.

  208. Raul Says:

    Shaun writes:

    “But the thing is how often a player or team makes one particular kind of out doesn’t matter as long as they are making less outs less often than other players”

    Shaun, yes it does matter. You just acknowledged that all things being equal, the type of out you make matters. That’s the end of the discussion right there.

    The problem is that you think if a player adjusts their approach to strike out less, that it’s going to make them a weaker hitter.

    We simply disagree.
    And by the way, David Wright striking out with the winning run on 3rd base in the 9th inning last night isn’t helping.

  209. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I don’t think either what Wright has done against lefties or righties is representative of his true abilities. I don’t think his final numbers are going to be that good against lefties or that bad against righties.

    Joseph, the reason you don’t like me are because I’ve pointed out the fact that Wright is having a great season and I’ve pointed out that strikeouts and strikeout rate doesn’t matter nearly as much as overall out rate. Wright’s out rate (and his slugging percentage) are more than fine. You don’t like that so you have to stalk me and personally attack me, instead of admitting that you can’t grasp the concept that overall out rate matters far more than the rate at which a hitter makes any particular kind of out. I’m just pointing out the facts. If that makes you dislike or hate me, so be it. You should get to know me better. You may be surprised. In the meantime, get a life.

  210. Seven Says:

    Thanks Hoss, you have a serious problem picking up on intentional exaggeration or sarcasm on this site. Yes that definitely was a straw man argument, I’ll give you that.

    My point is that “stat guys” (which I would consider myself to be) seem to completely ignore AVG beause they’re so concerned with OBP. What I should have said was that a guy with a .300 AVG and .350 OBP could very well be more productive than a guy with a .290 AVG and a .360 OBP even if they hit with similar power.

    And I’m not talking about 700 PA’s here. I fully understand the importance of OBP over a full season. I’m talking about situational hitting. The scenario Raul posts above is what I’m talking about. There are times when just getting on base isn’t good enough. There are times when strikeout-avoidance should be on a hitter’s mind. And I don’t think it is anymore.

  211. Shaun Says:

    “Shaun, yes it does matter. You just acknowledged that all things being equal, the type of out you make matters. That’s the end of the discussion right there.”

    The type of out matters only if overall out rate is relatively equal. Otherwise, give me a guy who strikes out a ton and doesn’t make outs all that often over a guy who is an overall out machine.

    “The problem is that you think if a player adjusts their approach to strike out less, that it’s going to make them a weaker hitter.”

    I think it depends on overall skill set. Some players have admitted as much. Again, Gary Sheffield is one example. He basically admitted that he would have been a better hitter had he not been so worried about strikeouts. But I’m sure there are some players who could improve with more contact; for instance, players who are fast and walk a decent amount. If those type players made contact more, they would probably lower their out rates some.

    But players like Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds and Jim Thome, and in fact most players, need to try to hit the ball with some authority. Most players simply aren’t fast enough to beat major league defenses by simply making contact.

    Then there are the special players who really have no problem both making contact and hitting the ball with authority; guys like Pujols and Mauer. If every hitter could be Pujols and Mauer just by changing their approach and working hard, I think 99.9 percent would. What would be the incentive for them not to?

    “Oh, I don’t want to make millions of more dollars or be a Hall of Fame type player. I’d rather work extremely hard to get to the big leagues and be an everyday player but I don’t want to work extremely hard to make millions more and possibly become a Hall of Fame player.” Listen to the logic here. There is absolutely no incentive for a player who has already worked his way up through the minors and into an everyday spot in the majors to not want to adjust his approach or work harder to strikeout less and become more like a Pujols or a Mauer when it could mean millions more dollars, more fame and possibly a Hall of Fame career. If there is no incentive for a player to avoid working hard or change his approach to have a lot more fame, fortune and a Hall of Fame career when he’s already worked his tail off to get to the big leagues; then it probably means it’s not a matter of changing his approach or working harder.

  212. Raul Says:

    Wait a minute, chief.

    You can’t go on to say Wright’s numbers aren’t going to be that great, and then use his great start as an excuse to say he’s awesome.

  213. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Shaun,

    I do not hide behind a computer. My name is not exactly common, and if you google it, I come up everywhere. I do not hide behind a phony name online.

    In case you are intellectually lazy, here I am:

    http://bleacherreport.com/users/78400-joseph-delgrippo

    Actually if you google my name and Rob Neyer, your sabermetric butt-buddy, you will see he is “green with envy” about my name. If anyone does not have the ESPN package they can cache it and go down to the August 22, 2008 piece on Rob’s blog.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:5lEOhj0BkzMJ:sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index%3Fname%3DNeyer_Rob%2520%26month%3D8%26year%3D2008+rob+neyer+joe+delgrippo&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Why I really don’t like you, Shaun, is that you hide behind one stat (OPS) for eveything that goes on in baseball. You never played the game and do not know the nuances on how to win on the field. I just showed in my last comment why it is better to put the ball in play with two strikes than to swing from the heels.

    I showed via your own stat that guys like Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn are better at hitting with two strikes because of the way they hit (put it in play) than your precious strikeout laden power hitters such as Ryan Howard, Jim Thome and Adam Dunn.

    And all you did was drink the OPS Kool-Aid and spout your “outs are outs” bullshit again.

    As I said in my prior comment you always do. That is why I don’t like you.

    I understand that power and OBP is a great combination, but you obviously do not understand that it is much worse to strikeout than to put the ball in play, even though that is all you could do in baseball.

    Adam Dunn does not have a higher OPS than Wade Boggs with two strike counts, and Boggs has a higher OPS by almost 100 points because he put the ball in play, got more hits, had a higher batting average and thus had a much higher OBP than does Dunn with two strikes on him.

    The reason is that Dunn struck out too much to be effective.

    And according to your theories about OPS, that is all that matters to scoring runs and helping your team.

    So Boggs helps his team much more than does Adam Dunn with his method of approaching an at bat with two strikes on him.

    And who here is close minded?

  214. Shaun Says:

    “There are times when strikeout-avoidance should be on a hitter’s mind. And I don’t think it is anymore.”

    I completely disagree and I think this is what of the essentially parts of the argument we have on this site about strikeouts.

    I think strikeout-avoidance and out-avoidance in general is pretty much always on a hitter’s mind (unless he’s obviously up there to sac bunt or something).

    The problem is obviously a hitter has to swing a bat and the pitcher is trying to get him out and major league pitchers throw very fast with movement on their pitches. Don’t mean to state the obvious, but the point is that there is no incentive for a player to be nonchalant about strikeouts or outs in general.

    Also, I’m sure there are situations where player like Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds just want to make solid contact. But, to state the obvious again, making contact against major league pitching isn’t easy, which is why some very productive hitters still have a harder time than others doing it.

  215. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I never said Wright’s numbers aren’t going to be great. Where did I say that? Wright’s going to drop off some against lefties and he’s probably going to drop off overall. But I still think he puts up great numbers. Dropping off from a great start could still mean great.

  216. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Also, besides the three strikeouts for Wright last night, including a whiff in the 9th inning with a runner on third and one out, Wright made a throwing error to allow the winning run to score on a ball put into play.

    It was also a two-strike count on Melky Cabrera in that situation, who put the ball into play instead of striking out.

    David Wright strikes out with man on third and the Mets lose. Melky Cabrera puts ball in play, Wright makes an error to alow the winning run to score, and the Braves win.

    Now, is it better to put the ball into play with two strikes or to strike out while swinging from the heels?

  217. Chuck Says:

    “I’ve played baseball…”

    My sophomore year in high school, our basketball team was, for a week, the #1 ranked team in the COUNTRY. Our team picture hung for a year in the basketball HOF. We had two guys who played in the NBA, and another four or five who played in college.

    To letter, one must have played the equivalent of one game, or 40 minutes. I think I played 40 minutes and five seconds. I had to play the entire second half of our last game. I think I scored 16 points the entire year, 13 in that final half.

    When we walked outside for our team photo after the banquet, cars driving by saw 15 kids with letter jackets, we all looked the same. No one could tell who was the star and who was the scrub.

    My basketball career was probably more similar to your baseball career than my baseball career.

    Matter of fact, I would bet my life on it.

    Both of our “Glory Days” have been over for a LONG time Shaun, you (and I) can say anything we want, there’s no way to prove how good you were or how long you played.

    The only thing we have to go by is the fact you TALK (or write, whatever) like you never played.

    So, one of two things are likely true, or even a combo of both.

    Either you “discovered” sabermetrics and are using them to re-live your “career”, sort of like waking up from a 20 year coma with no long term memory.

    Or your playing career consisted of nothing more than wearing the same uniform as the guys who got them dirty, and are trying to create Glory Days that never actually existed.

    Outs matter. The type of outs matter.

    There are good outs (putting the ball in play) and bad outs (walking back to the bench).

    If you honestly believe Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard wouldn’t be more productive striking out 50 less times per year, then you really are beyond help.

    There is nothing none of us can do for you.

  218. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    #214 – “Also, I’m sure there are situations where player like Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds just want to make solid contact. But, to state the obvious again, making contact against major league pitching isn’t easy, which is why some very productive hitters still have a harder time than others doing it.”

    Yes, making contact is easy if that is what your objective is in two-strike and other certain situations. I just proved it above with guys like Boggs and Gwynn.

    Howard, Thome and Dunn choose not to change their approach but would be better off if they did. They would have higher batting avearges, on base percentages and higher slugging percentages in two-strike situations.

    Singles help out with a players slugging percentage more than a strike out does.

    Almost all major league hitters can put the ball in play if they choke up a little, shorten their swing and take a direct path to the ball.

    If Howard, Thome and Dunn are good enough to hit home runs at their high rates making obvious great contact, they are good enough to put the ball into play if they want in situations which warrant the ball to be put into play.

  219. Shaun Says:

    Joseph, where has anyone argued that strikeouts are good? Again, you aren’t grasping the concept that an out can be bad but that the rate at which a hitter makes a particular kind of out is not necessarily bad. I admit it’s kind of complex if you are intellectually incapable of grasping such a concept or simply intellectually lazy. But you seem like an intelligent enough guy that you’ll get it.

    Also, you are using Wright as a scapegoat for last night. Yes, Wright certainly contributed to last night’s loss because it wasn’t a good game for him. But how much has Wright contributed by leading the team in total bases and walks and OPS? Sounds to me like you are a Mets fan looking at Wright as the scapegoat instead of giving objective analysis.

    Reyes, Francoeur, Castillo, Cora and Matthews have been downright awful, yet no one is writing articles about their careers being over. Mets fans disguised as objective analysts would rather blame their best player.

    A more interesting story is that Chris Carter may soon unseat Jeff Francoeur as an everyday player. And how Francoeur was over-hyped in the minors and after a couple of high-RBI years in the majors but the warning signs with Francoeur have been there throughout his pro career. And how incompetent the Braves were to play him every day and the Mets were to trade for him and continue to play him regularly.

  220. Seven Says:

    Shaun, I’m not saying that hitters should be changing their SWING in an attempt to “just make contact”. I’m saying that they should change their APPROACH in certain spots.

    Runner on 2nd, no outs, tie game in the 9th…a walk is absolutely pointless, even though it will increase OBP. And a strikeout IS more damaging than many other types of outs. So I don’t see how the ultra-selective mindset makes any sense in that spot. Go look at league splits for first pitch swinging. It’s absurd. So I just think hitters should be more aggressive in certain spots. Jump on a first pitch fastball.

    I mean all this time hitters spend “working the count” and the league average OBP is like .330. Meanwhile, MLB as a whole is hitting .345 when putting the first pitch in play. Granted, if they swing and miss or foul one off on the first pitch, then yes they’re in an 0-1 hole. I get that.

    I’m not asking for everyone to turn into Jeff Francoeur for the whole season. He has no clue. But I think a guy like Nick Johnson is just as clueless at times.

  221. Seven Says:

    haha “no one is writing articles about their careers being over.” Where have you been? I don’t write for the Daily News, but if you saw the texts between me and my brother I think you’d change your mind about Mets’ fans views on Castillo, Cora, and Matthews.

  222. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, my baseball career is irrelevant. You are about right to say it was about the same as your baseball career. But I don’t care if I was Babe Ruth, it wouldn’t matter. All I’m trying to do is state the facts and tell the truth.

    “Outs matter. The type of outs matter.”

    Never said they didn’t. All I’m saying is that outs in general matter a whole lot more than types of outs. I don’t mean to imply that type of outs don’t matter, just that the type of outs doesn’t matter in most situations and that outs in general matter a heck of a lot more than type of outs.

    “There are good outs (putting the ball in play) and bad outs (walking back to the bench).”

    I think that depends on the situation and what a player does when he’s not making outs. Also, it depends on how often a player is making any out. All the “good outs” in the world don’t help if that guy is an out machine.

    “If you honestly believe Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard wouldn’t be more productive striking out 50 less times per year, then you really are beyond help. There is nothing none of us can do for you.”

    If everything else can stay virtually the same but Reynolds and Howard drop their strikeouts by 50, it would make them more productive. That’s really a separate argument and I apologize if you are misunderstanding. I really do. My point is that I suspect if they consciously tried to drop their strikeouts, they would likely be less productive overall. I have no way to know for sure and neither does anyone else. I’m just guessing that those player would love to drop their strikeout rates by 50 and be productive. I’m guessing if it was a matter of working hard and making adjustments, they would do it. Why do I think this? Because why would they not? I mean it could mean much more fame, fortune and notoriety, especially for Reynolds. I know enough to know it takes tremendous work already to get to the big leagues and remain a productive everyday player. If a guy has already worked that hard, why wouldn’t he work to strikeout less and be more productive? I think he would if he could.

  223. Seven Says:

    And Shaun, next time you make a trip to Citi Field, do me a favor and go count the jerseys and tell me what you find. Wright, Wright, Reyes, Wright, Santana, Wright, Seaver, Wright, Reyes, Wright, Keith Hernandez, Beltran, Wright, Bay, Wright, Reyes, Wright, Davis, Wright. Yeah Mets fans really hate this guy.

  224. Chuck Says:

    “but that the rate at which a hitter makes a particular kind of out is not necessarily bad”

    Yes, it is.

    Mark Reynolds would be a better player and a more productive player if he struck out in 20% of his plate appearances instead of 30%.

  225. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    “Joseph, where has anyone argued that strikeouts are good? Again, you aren’t grasping the concept that an out can be bad but that the rate at which a hitter makes a particular kind of out is not necessarily bad. I admit it’s kind of complex if you are intellectually incapable of grasping such a concept or simply intellectually lazy. But you seem like an intelligent enough guy that you’ll get it.”

    You have continuously said K’s are good because those hitters who whiff a lot also have correspondingly higher OBP and SLG numbers. Outs are bad (duh!) but in many, many situations, striking out is the WORST thing which can happen to a hitter and the team.

    Out RATES and making types of outs in certain situations are two very different things, Shaun.

    “Also, you are using Wright as a scapegoat for last night. Yes, Wright certainly contributed to last night’s loss because it wasn’t a good game for him. But how much has Wright contributed by leading the team in total bases and walks and OPS? Sounds to me like you are a Mets fan looking at Wright as the scapegoat instead of giving objective analysis.”

    I hate the Mets, Shaun, and am loving every aspect of Wright’s demise. But the article was not due to my dislike for the Mets, but for the scouting aspect in me which noticed things last September. After Wright returned from the beaning, I saw his hesitancy at the plate and then looked at the numbers.

    This article was in motion since last fall (Adam White will vouch for that) but when I saw Wright virtually running out of the batters box is that Cardinals game, the article was finally written.

    Also, for the last time, this piece was not about Wright’s career already being over, it was about Wright’s career being over IF he does not become fearless at the plate. Read the title again.

    But as I said many times, I would throw a bunch of shoulder high inside fastballs to Wright every game, and then watch him squirm in the batters box the rest of the game. I would also never throw a soft-tossing lefty against the Mets either.

    “A more interesting story is that Chris Carter may soon unseat Jeff Francoeur as an everyday player.”

    Feel free to go for it.

  226. Raul Says:

    Is it better to go for it all when you’re down in the count?

    Career splits when batting with 2 strikes:

    Adam Dunn – .151/.278/.303
    Mark Reynolds – .151/.232/.281
    Jim Thome – .172/.304/.335

    Albert Pujols – .267/.334/.480
    Manny Ramirez – .226/.323/.417
    Derek Jeter – .232/.323/.326

    Yeah, I don’t think it is. Even Jeter, who will never even sniff 30 homers out-slugs these guys.

    Good lord.

  227. Seven Says:

    Thank you Raul. Good stuff.

    Wright’s slash numbers with 2 strikes by year (2004-2010)…

    264/319/392
    234/327/405
    281/346/491
    200/309/362
    241/349/437
    188/277/289
    149/295/230

    Which again is why I say his problems started before the beaning. They started in August 2008.

    But I’m going to wait and see until October. I’ll use OPS as my guage because that’s what Shaun has continuously said we should use. And I think we’ll all find it pretty interesting when Wright’s two worst years OPS-wise came when he started striking out a ton (2009 and 2010).

  228. Shaun Says:

    “Mark Reynolds would be a better player and a more productive player if he struck out in 20% of his plate appearances instead of 30%.”

    Right…assuming everything else is equal. But I’m not convinced everything else would be equal if Reynolds concentrated more on striking out less. That doesn’t mean he’s trying to strikeout or doesn’t want to make more contact or doesn’t care.

    “You have continuously said K’s are good because those hitters who whiff a lot also have correspondingly higher OBP and SLG numbers. Outs are bad (duh!) but in many, many situations, striking out is the WORST thing which can happen to a hitter and the team.”

    I think you are misunderstanding my argument. I agree that in many situations strikeouts are the worst kind of out and that, all things being equal, I’d take the guy who strikes out less. Also, I’ve never argued that high-strikeout guys also necessarily have higher OBP or SLG.

    My argument is simply that offense starts with getting on base, slugging and avoiding outs. Without those things, a team doesn’t have an offense. And that lots of strikeouts doesn’t necessarily mean a hitter is mediocre or bad at getting on base, slugging or avoiding outs; in fact, sometimes guys with lots of strikeouts are quite good at getting on base, slugging and avoiding outs. David Wright so far this season is one example. I think that’s fact and history shows that’s fact; you can look it up. That’s all I’m trying to argue.

    Raul, I’m not sure what you’re implying in your post #225. If Dunn, Reynolds and Thome could hit like Pujols, Ramirez and Jeter I think they would; i.e., if it was a matter of working hard, worrying more about striking out and changing approaches, I think those guys would do those things.

    Seven, Wright’s OPS+ is 136 this year, which is also his career OPS+.

  229. Shaun Says:

    Seven, I think you said earlier that strikeouts don’t seem to be a concern these days. I don’t think that’s true with players but it may be true with front offices.

    I think front offices are smarter and they are focused on run scoring. And the things that matter in terms of run scoring are a player’s ability to avoid outs, get on base and slug. Front offices now realize that a a player’s ability to avoid strikeouts, don’t necessarily affect his ability to avoid outs, get on base and slug. Yes, every front office would love to have guys like Mauer and Pujols who can avoid outs, get on base and slug and also avoid strikeouts but what’s essential is loading up on players who get on base, slug and avoid outs. Anything else is gravy.

  230. Shaun Says:

    “I’ll use OPS as my guage because that’s what Shaun has continuously said we should use.”

    Don’t use it because I say it what we should use. Just look at the fact that OPS is offense in baseball. That’s the reason we should look at OPS.

  231. Seven Says:

    I’m looking forward, using both statistics and my own eyeballs to predict that Wright will end with a lower OPS or OPS+ this year than his career average. I’ve been wrong plenty of times before and I hope I’m wrong again here.

    Haha yeah I know I shouldn’t just use it because you said so. I know that you’re not just pulling this stuff out of your ass. I know that OPS correlates very well to scoring runs (while strike outs do not). I’m with you on that. But I think strikeouts can definitely be a red flag. When you go from about 120 per year to 140 one year to a pace of 220, I think that’s a red flag. So again, we’ll check back at the end of the year.

  232. Chuck Says:

    “My argument is simply that offense starts with getting on base, slugging and avoiding outs.”

    No shit, Sherlock.

    Although I believe you put too much emphasis on slugging, Shaun. More to the point you overvalue the HR.

    “Right…assuming everything else is equal.”

    This is the biggest issue I have with sabermetrics in general..trying to neutralize everything.

    No two teams are created equal. No two players are equal.

    Because no two situations are equal.

    David Wright is on pace for the worst overall season of his career, despite a 136 OPS+.

    What you now have to admit is Joe is right in his assessment of Wright, or that OPS+ is a bullshit stat.

    Or both.

  233. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    #229 – “Yes, every front office would love to have guys like Mauer and Pujols who can avoid outs, get on base and slug and also avoid strikeouts but what’s essential is loading up on players who get on base, slug and avoid outs. Anything else is gravy.”

    And I bet that if you and I manged two teams comprised of current major leaguers, and you had all the 2010 highest OPS guys at each position (except your team had to have David Wright), and I got to pick from the rest, my team would beat your team in a seven game series. It would not go more than five games.

    If we played each other in a longer 162 game season, our team would probably win 120 times.

    We would only need a ten man pitching staff, too, because our pitchers, unless they were getting knocked around, would be going deep into every game finishing you guys off, getting in your lineups head that they cannot beat our starters.

    While you would be playing a few games to get ready, my scouting guys like Chuck, Raul and Lefty33 would be going over your team watching your practices and viewing film and the games to get a game plan on how we approach your individual players.

    We would know how to play the games to win, while your guys would swing for the fences every at bat.

    My team would also have both Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols. Your catcher would be Jorge Posada and first base would be Justin Morneau.

    And I bet David Wright would not have a very good four or five games fro your squad.

  234. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Chuck,

    I just noticed that Ben Zobrist has an OPS this year of .709 and has ZERO home runs with 30 whiffs.

    What was his WAR last year? LOL.

    I guess it looks like the baseball guys scouted him a little, adjusted to him, found some holes and have gotten the best of Big Ben this year.

  235. Shaun Says:

    Seven, problem is even if Wright’s OPS or OPS+ drop, does that mean his career is over? Again, he was still at a 123 OPS+ last season, his worst since his 2004 call-up. That’s just fine.

    “Although I believe you put too much emphasis on slugging, Shaun. More to the point you overvalue the HR.”

    Fine. Weigh on-base and out-avoidance higher. Doesn’t change my argument. I actually agree with you that on-base and out-avoidance matters more than slugging. OPS is just easier, more accessible and does a fine job.

    “This is the biggest issue I have with sabermetrics in general..trying to neutralize everything.

    “No two teams are created equal. No two players are equal.

    Because no two situations are equal.”

    I think you are misunderstanding in what context I’m using the term “equal.” I’m saying if two players are relatively equal in value, I agree that you want the player who strikes out less.

    Regarding Joe’s argument, it seems to me Joe was saying that Wright’s career is in jeopardy. If his OPS or OPS+ drops from 140 to 136 or even to 120, I don’t think that means his career is in jeopardy. Now if it drops to around 100 or 90, maybe his career is in jeopardy (although he would still probably just turn into a bench player if he sustained a performance that poor).

  236. Shaun Says:

    Joseph, what does Zobrist’s WAR last year have to do with his performance this season? I don’t get your point. What does this have to do with anything?

  237. Shaun Says:

    Joseph, actually where did Zobrist come from? What is your point bringing him up?

  238. Seven Says:

    I never made a claim that David Wright’s career is over. All I know is that he’s going in the wrong direction in the years he’s supposed to be in his prime. And I’d like to know why.

    If you had a company that turned in profit margins of 15% for five years, then all of a sudden dropped to 10% then to 5%, you’re gonna just say “gee golly, the company is still profitable so who the hell cares. Nothing to see here, everything is fine.”

    So I’m sorry if as a Mets fan I’m not willing to accept “just fine” for Wright when he proved for 5 years that he was capable of more.

  239. Jim Says:

    Career splits with the batter ahead in the count

    Adam Dunn – .294/.558/.640
    Mark Reynolds – .349/.544/.711
    Jim Thome – .330/.569/.694

    Albert Pujols – .372/.568/.702
    Manny Ramirez – .362/.567/.696
    Derek Jeter – .350/.507/.528

    Maybe Jeter should be changing his approach when he’s ahead in the count to be more like Dunn, Reynolds and Thome.

    And who knew that Earl Weaver was wrong all these years and it should be “Pitching, defense and the productive out”.

  240. Seven Says:

    Stop telling me he’s the Xth best hitter in the NL or Nth best 3rd baseman in baseball or that his OPS+ is still better than league average. I don’t give a shit how he compares to Adrian Beltre or David Freese. I want to know what David Wright is capable of. And I think he’s capable of more. No, I KNOW he’s capable of more. We’ve all seen it.

  241. Shaun Says:

    Seven, well I’m sorry to disappoint you. What I’m mostly railing against is this idea that his career is doomed or in danger of being over.

    But I do think he’ll be David Wright again. He’s too talented and still young.

  242. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Shaun,

    My Zobrist comment was addressed to Chuck, and it has nothing to do with anything other than Chuck always thought Zobrist was over rated, but the saber guys thought he should have been MVP last year due to his high WAR.

    Which, like OPS, has nothing to do with winning actual games on the field.

    They are stats for fantasy baseball owners, usually sabermetric stat guys. You know what is weird? That fantasy baseball guys base their fantasy baseball on counting numbers, but real baseball on percentages stats.

  243. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Another thing Shaun is that you still have not acknowledged my Boggs/Gwynn comparison over the sluggers you mentioned as being better hitters with two strikes (#194).

    And you have not ackowledged Raul’s easy to read chart (#226) which does the same thing.

  244. Chuck Says:

    Don’t take this the wrong way Shaun because it’s just a pet peeve of mine.

    You really don’t sound all that intelligent when you say, “out avoidance.”

    Why can you use on-base percentage like everyone else?

  245. Raul Says:

    How can you not know what I’m implying?

    It’s obvious.

    The players who alter their approach according to the situation perform better than those who don’t.

    You choose to believe Dunn, Reynolds and Thome don’t hit well with 2 strikes because they simply can’t.

    I’m telling you they can, if they adjusted their approach. You ever watch a game on tv? You ever hear them say that baseball is a game of adjustments?

    Come on, Shaun.

  246. Shaun Says:

    Joseph, name one person who overrated Zobrist? Everyone suspected last year was a career year, even “saber guys.” Also, I don’t know any “saber guy” who though the MVP was Zobrist over Mauer. Maybe you can give us some examples of all those “saber guys” who thought that.

    WAR, like OPS for hitters, is one stat that attempts to measure a player’s contributions. Therefore, it has something to do with winning games on the field unless you don’t think a player’s contributions have anything to do with winning actual games on the field.

    Regarding fantasy stats, I think there are a lot of sabermetric guys who do not play fantasy baseball (and there are a lot who do). But I think all “sabermetric guys” realize that a lot of the stats used in most fantasy leagues aren’t the best way to measure a player’s contribution. Most fantasy leagues use stats that are highly context-dependent.

    It would be helpful if folks like you and Chuck would actually address issues rather than setting up and attacking strawmen, then maybe we can get somewhere.

    “the saber guys thought he should have been MVP last year due to his high WAR”

    No they didn’t. I don’t know of any “saber guy” who picked Zobrist over Mauer.

    “They are stats for fantasy baseball owners, usually sabermetric stat guys.”

    I don’t know of any fantasy league that uses WAR and very few that use OPS. Both fantasy owners and sabermetric guys may find OPS and WAR useful but there are fantasy owners who aren’t sabermetric guys and there are sabermetric guys who aren’t fantasy owners.

    “That fantasy baseball guys base their fantasy baseball on counting numbers, but real baseball on percentages stats.”

    I know of plenty of fantasy leagues that use at least a couple of percentage stats–batting average and ERA. Also, fantasy owners come from all walks of life. I know of plenty of fantasy owners who aren’t sabermetric guys; in fact, most of the ones I know personally aren’t really sabermetric guys.

  247. Chuck Says:

    “It would be helpful if folks like you and Chuck would actually address issues rather than setting up and attacking strawmen, then maybe we can get somewhere.”

    The only way we’re ever getting anywhere Shaun is for you to admit you’re wrong.

    Everyone agrees with me, except you.

    Everyone agrees with Joe, Lefty, Raul, Patrick, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, except you.

    No one agrees with you.

    Because you’re wrong.

    Now maybe we’ll get somewhere.

  248. Raul Says:

    *Sigh*

    At this point I’d settle for Shaun to admit that David Wright is at the very least headed in the wrong direction.

  249. Shaun Says:

    “You choose to believe Dunn, Reynolds and Thome don’t hit well with 2 strikes because they simply can’t.

    “I’m telling you they can, if they adjusted their approach. You ever watch a game on tv? You ever hear them say that baseball is a game of adjustments?”

    I’m not sure it’s so obvious that players like Dunn, Reynolds and Thome could simply adjust and become good hitters with two strikes. Watching games on TV doesn’t change that.

    I think if any hitter could simply adjust to become better in any situation, I think he would. Again, what would be the incentive not to?

  250. Shaun Says:

    Raul, the only thing I’m railing against is the fact that David Wright’s career is in jeopardy. I don’t see it. Even if he’s heading in the wrong direction, in his worst season to date, he was still pretty good. So where is the indication his career in jeopardy? I haven’t even argued one way or another about Wright heading in the wrong direction. What got this all started was this idea that Wright’s career is in jeopardy.

  251. Dean M Says:

    Well I must say this has been very entertaining…three bowls of popcorn so far. If we get up to 300 comments I can easily make four.

  252. Raul Says:

    Shaun writes:

    “I think if a hitter could simply adjust to become better in any situation, I think he would. Again, what would be the incentive not to?”

    So basically you don’t believe in improvement. That’s what you’re saying. You are what you are and it can’t be changed.

    Let’s go ahead and call up all high schoolers. They’re about as good as they can be. If they could be better, they would be. Screw it.

    It’s not like players have ever got better in the major leagues.
    Nope.
    Impossible to happen.

  253. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I believe that 99.9 percent of players in the majors go out and do their best every day. I believe that players like Reynolds, Dunn and Thome are trying as hard as they can to make solid contact every time they swing the bat. If those players are or aren’t improving, I don’t think it’s from trying any harder than they already do or a lack of trying to improve. For the most part, I think players put forth a maximum amount of effort every day they are in the big leagues.

    Basically I believe by the time a player reaches the majors and is an everyday player, he is trying about as hard as he can every single day. Sure there are a few exceptions like Sheffield throwing the ball away in Milwaukee or Andruw Jones not hustling early in his career, but I think there very few players who approach things like that. Again, what’s the incentive to approach things like that, especially on a regular basis?

    Yes, I believe in improvement because players are constantly learning and younger players are going to get stronger, etc. But I don’t think it’s likely that Reynolds or Dunn or Thome are going to be able to cut their strikeouts significantly; and it’s not because they aren’t trying to improve. They have no incentive to not try and improve each and every day.

    It’s not a matter of they can’t improve so why try? It’s a matter of they are trying to improve and it can only go so far.

    Basically I don’t believe improvement of major leaguers, for the most part, is due to them trying harder to improve because I believe 99.9 percent of them already try about as hard as possible to improve every day already.

  254. Shaun Says:

    Raul, do you not think Thome, Reynolds and Dunn do everything they can to make contact every time they swing the bat and to improve their contact every game they play? I certainly do. I don’t think a person could stay in the major leagues as long as they have without doing everything he can to try to make contact every time he swings the bat and trying to improve contact every day. It’s not a matter of effort or adjustment, it’s a matter of ability. So the reason I believe most players improve is because their abilities and skills improve, not because they aren’t doing everything they can to improve. And I believe a player only has so much ability and skill, no matter how much effort they put in to improving.

  255. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Shaun wrote: “do you not think Thome, Reynolds and Dunn do everything they can to make contact every time they swing the bat and to improve their contact every game they play?”

    No, I know they don’t. Have you ever seen Jim Thome swing the bat? He swings from his heels, trying to hit a home run on every single pitch ever thrown to him, and that includes his early days back in Cleveland.

    Same thing with Reynolds, too. Swing from the heels, strike out a lot, hit a bunch of tape measure home runs, and walk a lot because pitchers are afraid to challenge you.

    Then sign an eight figure contract and you are set for life.

    That is their incentive to swing from the heels, even with two strikes on them.

    Just how much more money they can make if they put the ball in play more with two strikes, and build up their OPS even further.

  256. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    Dean M:

    Welcome to the party, pal!

  257. Raul Says:

    Shaun,

    You got kids?
    They do well in school? Get good grades?

    You think kids do the absolute best they can all the time?
    Some do. Most of them do just enough not to fail.

    Why you, would think it’s any different in the major leagues, when players have free-time, access to all sorts of perks, women, drugs, etc…including millions of dollars, is beyond me.

  258. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    As Fredi Gonzalez said regarding the Hanley Ramirez situatiuon, “you wish they were all Derek Jeter’s.”

    But they are not.

  259. Chuck Says:

    “Raul, do you not think Thome, Reynolds and Dunn do everything they can to make contact every time they swing the bat and to improve their contact every game they play? I certainly do”

    I don’t.

    Fans and media, and to an extent, baseball, rewards players for hitting homers. The mentality of today is it is better to strikeout three times and hit a three run homer than go 4-4 with a run scored and no RBI. Even if the three strikeouts killed potential rallies and the other three hits extended them.

  260. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I actually do think the major leagues is very different from school.

    All kids have to go to school by law, so there is nothing separating the kids who give a damn (or parents who give a damn) and the kids who are going to put forth maximum effort.

    In the majors leagues, those guys have already worked their butts off to get there and they have every incentive in the world to try their best and keep improving every time they take the field. Their are millions of dollars, embarrassment, fame and glory on the line. A vast majority of major leaguers don’t want to be has-beens that embarrassed themselves out of the game, so a vast majority try hard.

    Also, the majors has a farm system to weed out the bad apples. Again, with school basically every kid has to go, whether he is a bad apple or one that studies 30 hours a week and has perfect attendance.

    Does this mean 100 percent of major leaguers do their best all the time? Of course not. But I firmly believe the percentage of major leaguers who don’t put forth maximum effort is a lot lower than the percentage of kids (or parents) who don’t give a damn and do enough just to get by in school.

    The majors is more like honors classes at an elite university or something like that. Sure there are probably a few kids in there that just do what they can to get by or who got there purely on God-given brain power but are lazy and don’t study. But a vast majority are kids with both brain power and a willingness to work their butts off and show up every day. The lesser students and the ones who didn’t care already dropped out of high school or got a high school diploma or a GED or are at lesser universities and colleges. But these elite students have too much invested and too much incentive to work their butts off and continue to try to improve. That doesn’t mean all of them do, but probably 99.9 percent of them do, or maybe it’s 98 percent or 97 percent…but it’s an overwhelming majority.

  261. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, I think you overstate the extent to which homeruns are rewarded.

    It’s true that Alex Rodriguez is the most rewarded player financial and that he has his share of homers but do you think homers are the primary reason for his contract?

    I would guess Albert Pujols is the most rewarded in terms of appreciation from fans, media, other players, scouts, front offices, stat people, etc. But he’s led his league in homeruns only once.

    And neither Pujols nor Rodriguez are the most prolific active homerun hitters in terms of at-bats per homeruns.

  262. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, if your theory was correct, it seems Thome, Reynolds and Dunn would be “rewarded” much more than they are. I think even the most casual fan knows that homeruns aren’t everything and that the game is more about not making an out, even if they think it’s batting average and not on-base percentage that measures not making an out.

  263. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, if your theory was correct, it seems Thome, Reynolds and Dunn would be “rewarded” much more than they are.”

    The minute Reynolds drops below 30 HR per year, he’ll be unemployed.

    Jim Thome is going to the Hall of Fame.

    There is no reward higher than that.

  264. Shaun Says:

    “The minute Reynolds drops below 30 HR per year, he’ll be unemployed.”

    Well, that’s only because it will be hard for him to maintain good enough slugging to be valuable if he dropped below 30 homers.

    “Jim Thome is going to the Hall of Fame.”

    Right, but fans, players, the media, etc. would “reward” lots of other players with that honor before they would “reward” Thome, if it were up to them.

  265. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, and homeruns, while they aren’t necessary for a hitter to be great, they certainly help. With a homerun, obviously a player is creating a run and not making an out all by himself. Obviously it’s the maximum number of bases and a player isn’t costing his team an out.

    But, again, if a player is hitting 30 homeruns a year but he’s an out machine, I think most fans understand that’s not good…then again, maybe not. Some on this very site argue that Ruben Sierra in years when he hit lots of homeruns and was an out machine was a valuable player.

  266. Chuck Says:

    “Well, that’s only because it will be hard for him to maintain good enough slugging to be valuable if he dropped below 30 homers.”

    No, it’s because he sucks.

    He can’t do anything else.

    If he was a .300 hitter, he’d have a job. As a .230 hitter, he’s useless.

    Especially considering he sucks defensively.

  267. Shaun Says:

    Fans and media, and to an extent, baseball, rewards players for hitting homers. The mentality of today is it is better to strikeout three times and hit a three run homer than go 4-4 with a run scored and no RBI. Even if the three strikeouts killed potential rallies and the other three hits extended them.

    I think that’s more the mentality of folks who overrate things like RBI and various forms of RBI rate and underrate things like on-base percentage.

  268. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, Reynolds sucks? Where do you see that? Over the past 2 calendar years, he’s posted the 7th best OPS among major league thirdbasemen. I’ll take that.

  269. Chuck Says:

    Great, Shaun, you take it.

  270. Shaun Says:

    I’ll take it and I’d win more games by worrying about OPS than you would worrying about batting average.

  271. Shaun Says:

    If you had an offense full of 2010 Mark Reynolds type hitters, you’d have an offense that scores more runs than any team in baseball this season.

  272. Shaun Says:

    David Wright is worth almost a run per game more than Reynolds.

  273. Raul Says:

    If you were the general manager and put together a team of Mark Reynolds, you’d be fired by St. Patrick’s Day.

  274. Patrick Says:

    I was going to stay out of this but I have to ask Shaun what problem he has with Thome? Career .404/.556/.960, 569 HR and one of 38 players (I think) that has over 3,000 combined runs and rbi’s.

    OBP is great but HR’s stir the drink and Thome does both. First ballot.

    A lot of great points in this discussion but I’ll single out the 2 strike numbers that a few of you guys provided. Those are really telling about how important it is not to continually fall behind in the count, especially for the free swingers.

  275. Chuck Says:

    OPS is two stats, BA is one.

    You don’t get it shaun, you never will.

    Arguing with you is like arguing with a broad, you’ll never admit you’re wrong, even when it is painfully clear you are.

    My team of nine Derek Jeter’s or Dustin Pedroia’s would annihilate your team of nine Mark Reynolds or Ryan Howards six days a week and twice on Sunday.

    The reason why is easy..more balls in play equals more times on base, equals more runs scored.

    With all its complexities, baseball really is a simple game.

    Except of course, for simple people.

    Peace out.

  276. Hossrex Says:

    Seven… It’s difficult to know when you’re being sarcastic, because even when you appear to be serious… it’s still as absurd as your sarcasm.Seven:

    “My point is that “stat guys” (which I would consider myself to be) seem to completely ignore AVG beause they’re so concerned with OBP.”

    No. No one thinks that. That’s STILL a strawman.

    Batting Average and On Base Percentage tell you two COMPLETELY different things, and they’re both equally useful for different types of players.

    You basically said “how dare you not understand that I’m being sarcastic when I accuse stat guys of thinking batting average is meaningless! If you were smart enough to understand what I was saying, you would have realized that all I said was that stat guys think batting average is meaningless.”

    That’s “pull my hair” out insane.

  277. Hossrex Says:

    Chuck: “My team of nine Derek Jeter’s or Dustin Pedroia’s would annihilate your team of nine Mark Reynolds or Ryan Howards six days a week and twice on Sunday.”

    Even stat guys aren’t necessarily in love with Mark Reynolds, and his .339 OBP… and frankly the only people I ever hear lauding Ryan Howard are ESPN, and their brainwashed zombie denizens.

    Replace Howard with Fielder, and Reynolds with Dunn… and I think it’d be a much closer match.

  278. Chuck Says:

    “Replace Howard with Fielder, and Reynolds with Dunn… and I think it’d be a much closer match.”

    I completely agree..because they strike out less and walk more, thus getting on base more.

    The fewer strikeouts resulted in more positive plate appearances, even though not all resulted in a ball put into play.

  279. Raul Says:

    I’d like to see the shit show that would happen if Ryan Howard was on pace to double his strikeout output like David Wright is. Let’s say Howard strikes out 400 times this season. You know where he’d be? On a bus to Williamsport, because a Little League field is be about as close as he would be allowed to any baseball.

  280. Dean M Says:

    Nine Jeters vs nine Reynolds? I see a simulation coming on. Paging Kerry!

  281. Shaun Says:

    I have no idea if nine Jeters would beat nine Reynolds, it depends on on-base and slugging and has nothing to do with strikeouts and strikeout rate.

    All I know is nine of any decent player would score more runs than the best offense. And what matters at the plate is getting on base and slugging and a player can be good at those things while still striking out more than most other hitters.

    Patrick, homeruns are great because they obviously increase on-base and slugging, and that’s what offense is all about. I have no problem with Thome. I actually think he’s probably been underrated for his career.

    “The reason why is easy..more balls in play equals more times on base, equals more runs scored.”

    Strikeouts and strikeout rate of hitters doesn’t matter in terms of if a team is better than others in runs scored. Some teams who are great at scoring runs relative to their league also strikeout a lot relative to their league.

    “I’d like to see the shit show that would happen if Ryan Howard was on pace to double his strikeout output like David Wright is. Let’s say Howard strikes out 400 times this season. You know where he’d be? On a bus to Williamsport, because a Little League field is be about as close as he would be allowed to any baseball.”

    I don’t think so. It would depend on his OPS, or it should. Again, that’s all that matters.

    You are making this complicated. Being a good hitters is all about getting on base and slugging…that’s it! A low strikeout rate, speed, all this other stuff is nice but it’s way down the list compared to getting on base and slugging.

  282. Shaun Says:

    So far this year, 9 Reynolds would beat 9 Jeters, based on their performances so far this season. But career wise, it’s Jeter and it will probably be Jeter by the time this season ends because his on-base and slugging are likely to be better than Reynolds.

  283. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, let’s see if more contact means more baserunners, which means more runs, shall we?

    Here are the bottom 10 teams in contact percentage: Arizona, Toronto, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Florida, Mets, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

    Of those teams, here are the ones who are also in the top 10 in runs scored: Arizona, Toronto, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay

    Of those teams, here are the ones in the bottom 10 in runs scored: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis

    Doesn’t seem to be any correlation between where a team ranks in contact rate and where a team ranks in runs scored.

  284. Shaun Says:

    *In my previous post, that’s runs per game and not total runs, FYI.

    Top 10 teams in contact rate: Kansas City, Boston, Minnesota, Yankees, White Sox, Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, Dodgers, Braves.

    Of those teams, the ones who rank in the top 10 in runs per game: Boston, Minnesota, Yankees, Dodgers.

    Of those teams, the ones who rank in the bottom 10 in runs per game: Kansas City, White Sox, Oakland, Baltimore

    So of the best 10 contact teams, there are as many who rank in the bottom 10 in runs per game as there are who rank in the top 10.

    And of the worst 10 contact teams, there is actually one more team ranked in the top 10 in runs per game than is ranked in the bottom 10.

    I’m not seeing that contact rate matters a great deal in terms of whether a team is capable of scoring more runs than another. Maybe I’m missing something.

  285. Shaun Says:

    So it seems if you have 9 hitters who aren’t very good contact hitters, that doesn’t necessarily tell us that you have a bad offense. You have to look at something else to tell you if you have a good or bad offense (Hint: OPS! OPS! OPS!)

  286. Shaun Says:

    How many teams in the top 10 in OPS rank in the bottom 10 in runs per game: 0

    How many teams in the bottom 10 in OPS rank in the top 10 in runs per game: 0

  287. Shaun Says:

    Anyone who thinks David Wright’s contact rate matters anywhere close to as much as his OPS in terms of helping the Mets’ offense is in denial about what’s important to offense in baseball.

  288. Shaun Says:

    I’ve provided all the facts I can that show that contact rate, strikeouts and strikeout rate doesn’t tell us if a team or player is good or bad offensively.

    I’ve also provided some logic and reason as to why this is true, namely that how often a team or a player makes outs and how many bases he gains is much more important than how often he makes a particular type of out.

    I’ve seen no facts or logic that counters any of the above. I just see a lot of gibberish simply stating that the facts and logic are wrong with little-to-nothing to prove it wrong.

  289. Raul Says:

    It doesn’t matter how much power you got if you only make contact twice a week.

  290. Shaun Says:

    Raul, if a player isn’t capable of making contact more than twice a week, he’s probably not going to get drafted by a pro franchise, much less make it to the majors.

  291. Raul Says:

    Ok Shaun.

    If Albert Pujols took Mark Reynolds’ approach and struck out 200 times this season, would he be better, or worse?

  292. Shaun Says:

    Raul, what everyday major leaguer only makes contact twice a week?

    This seems like an attempt to change the subject away from the facts I posted in posts 283-286.

    I’m not sure how anyone can deny that strikeouts, strikeout rate or contact rate do not tell us how good or bad a player or team is offensively, if one looks at the facts and uses his or her damn brain.

  293. Shaun Says:

    “If Albert Pujols took Mark Reynolds’ approach and struck out 200 times this season, would he be better, or worse?”

    I have no clue. That’s really not enough information to know. It would depend on how often he got on base and what he slugged. If the got on base the same, slugged the same but struck out more, he would be worse. If he got on base more and slugged higher while striking out more, he would be better. If his on-base and slugging dropped while striking out more, he would obviously be worse.

    Whether a player is good or bad has very little to do with how often he strikes out! Hitting is all about on-base and slugging. That’s the whole point.

  294. Raul Says:

    Seriously?

    I asked you if Albert Pujols struck out 200 times (TRIPLED HIS OUTPUT) would he be a better or worse player and you have no clue?

    At this point I’m just going to call you stupid.

  295. Shaun Says:

    Strikeouts only matter if an everyday player strikes out something like 400-500 times because only then will it start eating into his plate appearances enough to impact his on-base. And a player who strikes out that much isn’t going to come anywhere close to the majors. But an everyday player who strikes out 200 times has plenty of other plate appearances to get on base and slug at good rates.

    The facts simply show this to be the case. Of teams that strikeout a lot, some are good at scoring and some are bad at scoring. But of the teams that get on base and slug at high rates, all of them are good at scoring runs. Again, it’s pretty clear from the facts and from just using your brain that on-base and slugging matters a heck of a lot more than strikeouts or contact. Fewer strikeouts and more contact is very nice and all, but only way after you worry about on-base and slugging.

  296. Len Says:

    A batter’s strike-out rates are all relative to what that batter does his other times at bat. Jeff Francoeur has 26k’s with a .282 on base percentage. David Wright has 55 k’s with a .382 on base percentage.

    So what’s the point? Do you want a team of Luis Castillo’s with 7 k’s and slugging percentage of .299? That’s what baseball fans want?? That’s the ideal?

    Putting the ball in play applies more to lower levels of baseball where the fielding isn’t anywhere near as good as it is in the majors. Cutting down on your strike-out rates in high school/college pays off because the fielding isn’t as good.

    Take a look at the all time strike-out leaders in baseball history.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/SO_career.shtml
    Most of them are among the best players of all time, mvp winners, all stars, etc.

    The only time I can see where large K’s present a problem is with speed guys like Lou Brock or Devon White. Both of whom would have been better served to cut down on the strike-out rates.

    Speaking of Derek Jeter, he ranks 50th all time in K’s with 1491. He averages about 100 k’s a season. Assuming he plays another 3-4 years, he’ll end up with more k’s than Dave Kingman and be among the top ten in k’s in baseball history. Jeter will be among the 50th greatest players when he retires. Again what’s the point, it would be better if he hit like Luis Castillo?

  297. Shaun Says:

    “I asked you if Albert Pujols struck out 200 times (TRIPLED HIS OUTPUT) would he be a better or worse player and you have no clue?”

    Yes, because telling me a player has 200 strikeouts tells us nothing about how good a hitter he is. Again, how good a hitter is depends on his on-base and slugging a lot more than his strikeouts.

    There are lots of players who strikeout a lot less than Ryan Howard but aren’t as good because they don’t get on base and slug as well.

    Just giving a player’s strikeout total tells us nothing about how good a hitter he is. You need his on-base and his slugging, most importantly, in order to have any kind of clue how good he is.

  298. Raul Says:

    Ok.

    Whatever you say.

  299. John Says:

    Well here’s an article worth reading based on the AL from 1997-2003. It demonstrates why Shaun is both kind of wrong but also kind of right. It is also a nice little tidbit for folks who think correlation analysis, and really statistics in general, is black magic brewed in some sorcerer’s mother’s basement. The fourth graph down shows the correlation between strikeouts and winning percentage for a certain year:

    http://spiff.rit.edu/richmond/baseball/order/correlation_example.html#answer_so

    So, as that demonstrates, strikeout numbers (over a full season) tend to have a negative affect on winning (they probably should’ve looked at scoring but whatever) but not by a lot. Knowing how many times a team’s batter struck out doesn’t really help us to predict a team’s winning percentage.

    BUT…

    Correlation analysis really only helps see trends over full seasons. They say, hey, Adam Dunn would be an asset to your team regardless of how much he strikes out, but clearly the following thing from Raul:

    “Adam Dunn – .151/.278/.303
    Mark Reynolds – .151/.232/.281
    Jim Thome – .172/.304/.335

    Albert Pujols – .267/.334/.480
    Manny Ramirez – .226/.323/.417
    Derek Jeter – .232/.323/.326″

    shows that, a) Albert Pujols could spot every team 2 strikes and still be an above-average hitter and b) Players who take a contact-first approach with 2 strikes out-OPS the guys who swing from the heels with 2 strikes. Suggesting that if those hitters did something different with 2 strikes that they’d somehow be less productive just isn’t right.

    BUT…it goes deeper than that. Old Man Chuck has written the words “baseball is played on the field, not on a computer” at least 900 times on this site. And he’s right.

    If Joe watches a significant number of at-bats from David Wright and notices something happening ON THE FIELD (which was what this article was initially about), then he probably has a more accurate measure of his current abilities and mind-set than someone who sees OPS and VORP. If what Joe is seeing is a genuinely regular thing with Wright bailing out, then guess what? David Wright’s NUMBERS are going to fall. Dramatically. Certain projections can’t be quantified based on correlations and trends like the ones I showed earlier in this post. They’re based on what’s beyond the box score.

  300. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    And my thank you to everyone is the 300th comment.

  301. Raul Says:

    The problem, John, is that some people (idiots) think it’s not possible for people like Mark Reynolds to adjust their batting approach according to the situation (2 strikes).

    And it’s that very adjustment in approach that makes people BETTER hitters. (less strikeouts)

  302. Joseph DelGrippo Says:

    No one on here disputes the fact that power and OBP are big components to teams scoring runs, but it with two strikes on any hitter, it is much better to put the ball in play.

    All of the high OPS numbers are produced when hitters have less than 2 strikes on them.

    In fact, most sluggers have tremendous OPS numbers when swinging at the first pitch.

    So if that is true, why don’t we tell our sluggers to swing at every first pitch thrown to them in every at bat?

  303. Shaun Says:

    Raul, you can go on with the personal attacks and name-calling all you want.

    The facts are less strikeouts doesn’t necessarily make a guy a better hitter. There are good hitters who strike out a lot and bad hitters who don’t strikeout a lot. Call people idiots all you want, but if you bother to look it up, you’ll see the facts.

    Second, it’s arrogant to pretend we know for sure whether or not it’s possible for a player like Reynolds to adjust his batting approach. I have no clue and neither do you. It’s arrogant to assume we do.

    My best guess is that he’s more or less already adjusted his approach the best he knows how so that he gets the most value of his skill set as a hitter. The reason I think this is because Reynolds has no incentive to avoid adjusting his approach to maximize his value as a hitter in terms of his skill set, and he has every incentive to adjust his approach to maximize his value as a hitter in terms of his skill set.

    I don’t know for sure, but it seems ludicrous to believe that a player would want to be criticized for lots of strikeouts and low batting average and would bypass possibly more fame and fortune rather than simply adjusting his approach.

    I suppose some believe that Reynolds has never thought that he would like to strikeout less or that he’s never heard any criticism about his strikeouts. I suppose that’s possible but I doubt it.

  304. Chuck Says:

    “Second, it’s arrogant to pretend we know for sure whether or not it’s possible for a player like Reynolds to adjust his batting approach.”

    Once again, definitive proof provided Shaun never played the game.

  305. Raul Says:

    Shaun,

    The fact is that Mark Reynolds’ OPS is 1.251 when he’s ahead of the count, and it’s .512 when he’s got 2 strikes.

    If you can’t see the fact that it’s much better for Reynolds to either be extremely aggressive early in the count, or to adjust his approach when he gets 2 strikes, then you’re simply a fucking moron.

  306. Shaun Says:

    Joseph, do you not think hitters try to put the ball in play every time they swing the bat, even with two strikes? Obviously the whole point of swinging a bat is to try to put the ball in play.

    Most sluggers probably have tremendous OPS numbers when swinging at the first pitch because that’s the pitch most likely to be one that is hittable.

  307. Shaun Says:

    Raul, again with the personal attacks and name-calling. Go for it.

    Reynolds is not the only hitter whose OPS drops when he’s got 2 strikes. You can’t see that? Maybe I should call you a nasty name to make myself feel better.

    Do you not think Reynolds tries to be aggressive early in the count and tries to make contact with 2 strikes? I think the reason he is the type hitter he is has to do more with skill set than approach. Again, what’s the incentive for him not to change his approach, being more aggressive early in the account and trying to make contact with 2 strikes? Do you think he wants to be criticized for lots of strikeouts and low batting average? Maybe he does. But not very likely.

  308. Raul Says:

    Ok Shaun.

    So Mark Reynolds has an OPS of .512 with 2 strikes.

    What you’re saying is you truly believe that if Mark Reynolds changed his approach, he’d actually OPS LESS than .512.

    Please tell me that’s what you’re saying.

  309. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, where is your proof that Reynolds has not and does not continue to try to take the best approach possible to make contact every time he swings the bat? If you don’t have proof, it’s just arrogant for you to assume he’s not. Because there is absolutely no reason to believe he’s not trying to take the best approach possible. What would be the incentive for him to not try and take the best approach possible? You think he likes criticism for a low batting average and lots of strikeouts? Personally attack me and avoid logic and reason and facts all you want. Doesn’t bother me. I’ll just continue to bring the truth.

  310. Raul Says:

    He doesn’t try to make contact with 2 strikes. That’s the whole point!
    What evidence do you have that he does?

    You want to know what evidence I have that Mark Reynolds doesn’t try to make contact with 2 strikes? 610 career strikeouts in 457 games.

  311. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I’m saying Reynolds more or less does the best he can with 2 strikes. He tries to take the best approach possible with 2 strikes. The reason he has an OPS of .512 with 2 strikes has nothing to do with him not trying to take the best approach. Again, do you think he wants to be anything less than perfect with 2 strikes? Do you think any hitter, once they’ve reached the majors, doesn’t want to try and take the best possible approach with 2 strikes? Maybe. But, again, doesn’t seem very likely. Again, what’s the incentive for him not to do those things? There are none whatsoever.

  312. Raul Says:

    Really Shaun.
    You’re hanging your argument on “what’s the incentive?”

    I’ll give you his incentive to not try to make contact and swing for the fences…..wait for it……wait for it…..here it comes…..HOME RUNS!

    Holy Santa Claus shit! Who saw that one coming?

  313. Raul Says:

    Just one problem though, Mark Reynolds sucks at hitting homers with 2 strikes.

    Like, he really sucks at it. He’s so bad at it, Derek Jeter has a better chance of hitting 2 strike homers.

  314. Shaun Says:

    “He doesn’t try to make contact with 2 strikes. That’s the whole point!
    What evidence do you have that he does?”

    Are you serious? You really don’t think Reynolds tries to make contact with 2 strikes? And you believe this because his OPS drops significantly with 2 strikes relative to his overall OPS? Have you looked at every other player’s OPS with 2 strikes and how it drops significantly? Obviously not.

    But I have no evidence that he does or doesn’t try to make contact with 2 strikes, and neither do you. That’s why you are arrogant to say with certainty that he doesn’t.

    My belief that he tries to make contact (or tries to not make an out) with 2 strikes is based on the fact that major leaguers have every incentive to try their very best on every single pitch and every single count and to try to make contact every time they swing the bat. Millions of dollars are on the line, fame, fortune, etc. Is it possible that he’s NOT trying to make contact or get on base or prolong the plate appearance on a 2-strike count? Yes, I suppose it’s possible. But it doesn’t seem likely because there is no reason for him to not do these things. Again, what incentive does he have to NOT try to make contact or get on base or prolong the plate appearance? Absolutely none, so it seems pretty unlikely that he’s not trying to make contact, get on or prolong the plate appearance.

  315. John Says:

    Raul,

    Exactly. Mark Reynolds hit .423 when he made contact last year, but guess what his batting average was? .260! Hell, if he got 2 strikes, there was a 2 to 1 chance that he was going to strike out. His overall numbers with 2 strikes are abysmal as you mentioned.

    Choke up a little, shorten your swing, and expand the zone a bit. Easier said than done, but FAR from impossible.

  316. Raul Says:

    I really didn’t want to go there, but…

    Yes, I have one more piece of evidence that Mark Reynolds doesn’t try to make contact with 2 strikes…

    I watch baseball games. How about you, Shaun?

  317. Shaun Says:

    Raul, so you are saying Reynolds would rather try to hit a homerun than be criticized for his strikeouts? Again, where’s the incentive for that? You don’t think Reynolds realizes that homeruns can only take a player so far?

  318. Shaun Says:

    “Yes, I have one more piece of evidence that Mark Reynolds doesn’t try to make contact with 2 strikes…

    I watch baseball games. How about you, Shaun?”

    How is that evidence of anything besides your apparent arrogance?

    I watch baseball too. I see players like Reynolds cuss themselves out all the time when they strikeout. I see that players who get on base, slug, etc. are highly paid and get more adoration and players who don’t aren’t as highly paid and don’t get as much adoration. So, yes. I suppose we have every reason to believe Reynolds could care less about whether he makes an out. How ludicrous is that?

  319. Raul Says:

    Yes, Mark Reynolds would rather try to hit homers than do anything else.

    What’s his incentive for that? Let me give you a little lesson on life, my friend. And I’m only 30. People do things for a lot of reasons. Sometimes reasons that don’t make sense. It really doesn’t mean dickshit what incentive or reasons Mark Reynolds has for playing the game the way he does. But the way he does clearly isn’t the most effective, nor efficient. That much is undebatable.

    Mark Reynolds hit 44 homers last year. He OPS’ed .892, and if you put Derek Jeter at 1B last year for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they’d have won a lot more games. And that’s a fact.

  320. Shaun Says:

    Raul, if you are going to make a statement like “Mark Reynolds would rather try to hit homers than do anything else” and be so sure of yourself, I think you better have some evidence unless you don’t want anyone to take you seriously.

  321. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I agree. Jeter would have been worth more wins than Reynolds last year offensively because he was better once you adjust for league and park.

  322. Shaun Says:

    “It really doesn’t mean dickshit what incentive or reasons Mark Reynolds has for playing the game the way he does. But the way he does clearly isn’t the most effective, nor efficient. That much is undebatable.”

    I think the incentive or reason means a great deal because they can help us determine if it’s likely that Reynolds is okay with making outs with two strikes. Based on the incentives and reasons, I think he’s probably not okay with it. But who knows? I’m just going by what is likely.

    As far as most effective or efficient, again, I think Reynolds is trying hard on every play and every pitch. Maybe he’s not. I don’t have any evidence one way or the other. Neither does anyone else. I’m just going by what is most likely based on the incentives and reasons for major leaguers to try their best on every play and every pitch.

  323. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, where is your proof that Reynolds has not and does not continue to try to take the best approach possible to make contact every time he swings the bat?”

    It’s not in my computer, smartass.

  324. Raul Says:

    I bet you thought Hanley Ramirez was trying hard after that ball the other day, too. Eh, Shaun?

  325. Shaun Says:

    Raul, based on your logic, I suppose someone like Willy Taveras could be a better power hitter by changing his approach. The evidence I have that Tavaras doesn’t try to be a better power hitter is that he only has 8 homeruns and I watch baseball. See how ridiculous that sounds?

  326. Shaun Says:

    “It’s not in my computer, smartass.”

    Funny how people resort to personal attacks when they don’t have the logic or reason on their side.

    “I bet you thought Hanley Ramirez was trying hard after that ball the other day, too. Eh, Shaun?”

    Nope. There are actual reasons to believe he wasn’t trying hard, namely his manager benched him.

  327. Shaun Says:

    Funny how when I pointed out where the top and bottom 10 contact teams rank in runs scored, the discussion quickly moved on to something else. Funny how the facts get passed over by some on this site if the facts don’t fit their biases.

  328. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, I apologize if you think that was a smartass question, but it was not. I was being dead serious. Chuck, where is your proof that Reynolds has not and does not continue to try to take the best approach possible to make contact every time he swings the bat?

    The fact that you gave the response that you gave just tells me you don’t have a reasonable answer. It’s come to the point where you have no where else to go but personal attacks.

  329. Shaun Says:

    Actually the fact that nobody can answer the following question with anything other than basically “because I know so” tells me those folks are clueless. Let’s give it one more try:

    Where is your proof that Reynolds has not and does not continue to try to take the best approach possible to make contact every time he swings the bat?

  330. Raul Says:

    Shaun, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You virtually epitomize everything that is wrong with the sabermetric movement. The stats aren’t the problem, it’s the people interpreting the stats.

    Maybe it’s your ignorance, or failure as a baseball player, but you don’t have the first clue about baseball. You really don’t.

    You could say that’s a personal attack if you like, but it’s really just the sad truth.

    Maybe the problem is that you failed at baseball because you couldn’t ever make any adjustments, so being unable to see the failure of the Mark Reynoldses and Adam Dunns to adjust in is only natural.

    You talk about incentive. I have no incentive in pointing out that players who strike out a lot are a problem for their teams. As far as I’m concerned, Mark Reynolds can swing as hard as he wants, but when there’s two strikes, it would do his team a great service to ADJUST and focus on contact.

    The fact that you seem to think Mark Reynolds is trying to adjust, and simply can’t, only shows how little you know about baseball, improvement, and development.

    For the sake of baseball, don’t coach your kids. We don’t need to see any more shitty players in the league.

  331. Dean M Says:

    Smarmy? Naw. Persistent? YESSSSSSSSSS!

  332. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I’ve pointed out that strikeouts and a lack of contact clearly aren’t problems in terms of a team scoring runs. It’s pretty obvious if you think about it and look at the facts. You just don’t want to accept that because you can’t stand anything that you can construe as sabermetric. But it has absolutely nothing to do with sabermetrics.

    Even if there was no such thing as a sabermetric movement and the word “sabermetric” didn’t exist, the fact would still remain that you can’t tell how good a team or a player is offensively by looking at his strikeouts or contact rate. It appears you can’t stand this fact and want to deny it because you think it has something to do with sabermetrics versus anti-sabermetrics.

  333. Raul Says:

    You pointed out nothing.

    I just showed you how due to an absolutely pathetic approach, Mark Reynolds is completely useless once he’s behind in the count.

    And your only comeback to that fact is that you think he’s trying as best as he can and there’s essentially nothing he could do, or else he’d do it.

    So again, you simply don’t know a thing about baseball.

  334. Shaun Says:

    Here are the bottom 10 teams in contact percentage: Arizona, Toronto, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Florida, Mets, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

    Of those teams, here are the ones who are also in the top 10 in runs scored per game: Arizona, Toronto, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay

    Of those teams, here are the ones in the bottom 10 in runs scored per game: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis

    Top 10 teams in contact rate: Kansas City, Boston, Minnesota, Yankees, White Sox, Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, Dodgers, Braves.

    Of those teams, the ones who rank in the top 10 in runs per game: Boston, Minnesota, Yankees, Dodgers.

    Of those teams, the ones who rank in the bottom 10 in runs per game: Kansas City, White Sox, Oakland, Baltimore

    So of the best 10 contact teams, there are as many who rank in the bottom 10 in runs per game as there are that rank in the top 10.

    And of the worst 10 contact teams, there is actually one more team ranked in the top 10 in runs per game than is ranked in the bottom 10.

    How many teams in the top 10 in OPS rank in the bottom 10 in runs per game: 0

    How many teams in the bottom 10 in OPS rank in the top 10 in runs per game: 0

    These are the facts. I did not make any of this up.

  335. Shaun Says:

    Raul, if strikeouts and a lack of contact are such huge problems, why doesn’t it show up when you look at team offense?

    Bottom line is you and Chuck can’t answer that question so you go on with personal attacks about coaching my kids and computers and sabermetrics and approaches and stuff that doesn’t even relate or help you answer the question.

  336. Shaun Says:

    “I just showed you how due to an absolutely pathetic approach, Mark Reynolds is completely useless once he’s behind in the count.”

    Most players are “useless” when they are behind in the count. What a hitter does when he’s behind in the count is not all that matters, last time I checked.

    What matters is putting runs on the scoreboard. And clearly you can see from post 334 that a lack of contact doesn’t necessarily mean anything regarding putting runs on the board.

  337. Raul Says:

    For the 1 millionth time…

    We’re originally talking about David Wright. If David Wright continues to struggle against RHP, and his strikeouts continue at his current pace, he’s going to be largely ineffective.

    David Wright strikes out 100 times, nobody gives a shit.
    David Wright strikes out 200 times, it’s a problem.

    The personal attacks aren’t personal attacks. You’re just an idiot because you think the increase in strikeouts don’t mean shit, so long as he posts a high OPS.

    Well suppose David Wright strikes out 200 times, OBPs .500 and slugs .400. That’s a .900 OPS, which would make you jizz in your pants. And the Mets would be making off-season vacation plans on Cinco De Mayo.

    Your entire argument hangs on a high OPS…now, after this I’m sure you’ll say he needs a high slugging percentage…well, he’s slugging .430 against RHP….how often do you expect LHP to hold his SLG in the sky? Get real.

    Again, you don’t know baseball.

  338. Shaun Says:

    Both Reynolds and Wright rank in the top 7 in OPS among major league thirdbasemen. If you have 8 or 9 players who rank in the top 7 in the majors in OPS, your offense is going to be fine, no matter their strikeout rate or contact rate. That’s obvious based on the info I posted in post 334. Raul and Chuck can’t stand that fact for some reason, but it is obvious.

  339. Raul Says:

    Shaun writes:

    “most players are useless when they are behind the count”

    No they aren’t. And even the ones that do suck, they don’t suck NEARLY AS MUCH as Mark Reynolds.

  340. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I don’t think Wright will continue to hit lefties this well nor do I think he will struggle this much against righties. I think Wright will be fine.

  341. Shaun Says:

    Yes, my whole argument hangs on OPS because that is offense! That’s clear. I don’t know how anyone could deny that.

    And I’m not sure what makes anyone think that Wright is going to be so bad (post such a bad OPS) that his career is in danger of being over. That was my original argument. Will he strikeout more than he did before the beaning? Probably so. Will he be worse than he was before the beaning? Maybe. Is his career in jeopardy? I seriously doubt it. Why? Because, again, in his worst season he still posted a respectable OPS, and OPS is offense! Even this season when he’s striking out at a ridiculous rate, his OPS is fine. Therefore, my argument is that it’s ludicrous to say his career is in jeopardy.

    I’m not arguing whether or not David Wright will be the same as he was before the beaning. I’m not arguing whether or not he’ll strike out more often or less often. I’m arguing that his career is not in jeopardy.

  342. Shaun Says:

    Raul, also, if Wright strikes out 200 times with a .500 OBP, he’ll play no matter what his slugging. Any player who posts a .500 OBP as an everyday player is going to play.

  343. Chuck Says:

    “Where’s your proof….”

    Asked and answered Shaun.

    Seriously, you claim to have played, yet you continue to act like baseball is something foreign to you.

    Even high school players make adjustments.

    Did you not get blown away in an at bat and think to yourself you needed to maybe be a bit quicker next time?

    Or maybe he had a good curveball so you moved up in the box?

    That’s changing your approach.

    When Mark Reynolds’ goes to the plate, he swings the same way every time, every pitch.

    He would be a MUCH better hitter if he made subtle changes to his game.

    That’s the difference between Mark Reynolds and Albert Pujols.

    One is satisfied, one is never satisfied.

  344. Shaun Says:

    It seems Raul and Chuck have a problem with the fact that strikeouts are much less important than OPS, in terms of scoring runs, because they see that fact as a threat from Billy Beane or Bill James or sabermetrics or computers or calculators, etc.

    Please, set aside your biases against Billy Beane, Bill James, sabermetrics, computers and calculators and focus on the facts. Pretend those people and things don’t even exist. The facts remain the same. You don’t have to get defensive and tuck your tail between your legs because you think something is coming out of the world of Bill James and Billy Beane. Don’t be afraid of the facts.

  345. Raul Says:

    Barry Bonds could post a .500 OBP today, literally, just by simply putting on a uniform and standing at the plate. He isn’t playing.

    David Wright’s career is in jeopardy unless he corrects the flaws in his game now before it’s too late.

    People who know baseball, who know and develop and nurture ability and talent, see this as obvious.

  346. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, maybe Reynolds is satisfied but I don’t think he is. I don’t think he likes criticism about his strikeouts or his batting average. You are so sure of yourself that he is, that you must have some solid evidence. But maybe you don’t because you never give any solid evidence. You just say stuff like, “I played so I know Reynolds isn’t trying” or “you got blown away in at bat in high school so you know Reynolds isn’t trying.” Those things have nothing to do with each other.

    I don’t think the difference between Pujols and Reynolds is about subtle changes. I think one is just quicker, stronger perhaps smarter when it comes to baseball.

    Maybe that’s what this is all about. You and Raul can’t stand the possibility that maybe a player is not as good as you think he should be simply because he’s not talented; and that it has nothing to do with effort. Or perhaps you want to try and prove you are smarter than everyone on this site, so you pretend you know for a fact that Mark Reynolds isn’t trying.

  347. Shaun Says:

    Raul, where are all those people who think Wright’s career is in jeopardy? I’ve only seen that from a Dugout Central writer and a few people who post on the site. Haven’t seen it from any people who actually are baseball insiders.

  348. Shaun Says:

    I doubt Bonds would be at a .500 OBP if he played today. He was at .464 his last three years at ages 40-42. He could still be a good hitter but he probably wouldn’t be nearly that good and he would be worse than useless on the bases and in the field.

  349. Raul Says:

    Mark Reynolds isn’t as good as he can be because he hasn’t made the effort to improve in an area where he’s atrocious.

    Throughout your entire colletion of rambling posts in these replies, the one thing that is apparent is that you think players reach their ceiling in large part because of ability. The fact is that when you’re at the major league level, ability is largely neutralized. What separates players is adjustments and work ethic.

    Jose Contreras and Kyle Farnsworth have some of the absolute filthiest stuff of all pitchers in the major leagues. Without question those guys are among the most talented players to step on a mound in the past decade. Why have those guys failed to reach high levels of success? What’s the difference between Cliff Lee and Jose Contreras, really? Everything anyone could possibly measure points to Contreras as being the superior talent and player. Yet Cliff Lee won a Cy Young Award and was dominating players left and right last season. It’s all about adjustments.

    Every pitcher fears Manny Ramirez and Albert Pujols with 2 strikes.

    With 2 strikes, Mark Reynolds looks in the opposing team’s dugout and everyone’s wearing their travel gear (to paraphrase Bob Uecker).

  350. John Says:

    Shaun “Most players are “useless” when they are behind in the count”

    David Wright has a sOPS+ (relative to the rest of the league, adjusted for ballpark, for a given split) of 99 compared to the rest of the league this year with 2 strikes. So he’s slightly below average (and way worse than he is perceived). For Mark Reynolds, that number is 67, which is pathetic.

  351. Shaun Says:

    “The fact is that when you’re at the major league level, ability is largely neutralized. What separates players is adjustments and work ethic.”

    I think it’s just the opposite, for the most part. Very few players sniff the majors without work ethic and making adjustments, at least on the field. (It may not be true off the field or with regard to attitude towards managers or hustle.) Players who lack the proper work ethic or ability to make adjustments get stalled out in the minor leagues or don’t last long in the majors, for the most part.

    If work ethic and adjustments are what matters, why is David Eckstein not on the same level as Albert Pujols. Never heard anyone question Eckstein’s work ethic or ability to adjust, etc. Yet, he’s not on the level of Pujols or Ramirez. How do you explain that?

    I think it’s the same with Farnsworth and Contreras versus Lee.

    Every pitcher fears Manny Ramirez and Pujols with 2 strikes more than Reynolds not because of work ethic or adjustments, but because those guys are elite talents at the plate.

    I think this is what makes you and Chuck uncomfortable: That at a certain point one can’t just work his way to the major leagues or to major league stardom. It’s a lot less glamorous if we think that a vast majority of major leaguers work pretty darn hard and that past something like the high-A level or Double-A, it’s talent that wins out. It makes pro athletes seem less ordinary if we assume a vast majority of them work hard and are trying hard and that it’s only talent that matters. Then star athletes don’t seem any more special than the rest of the population in terms of what’s inside of them, and for some reason you and Chuck don’t like this.

  352. Shaun Says:

    Raul, I think you and Chuck have this desire to believe that star athletes are superior to the rest of us when it comes to things like “heart,” desire and hustle and you don’t want it to be the case that it’s mostly about their physical abilities. You seem to have this desire for star athletes to be more “spiritual” and “immortal.” But really what separates athletes from the population is that they are bigger, stronger, faster and quicker…and that’s about it. That drives you nuts for some reason, it seems.

  353. Raul Says:

    Of course you’d think what separates great players from good players is talent.

    You probably haven’t ever been around any high level sports. Maybe you’ve never read about how many hours Ted Williams spent studying the game. Or maybe you’ve never heard about how long Manny Ramirez stands at the batting tee before and after games. It’s easy to understand how you would really think talent is the difference.

    I think YOU’RE the one that has this belief that star athletes are superior to the rest of us. You act like Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn work tirelessly at being the best they can be, because as you put it: “what’s the incentive not to?”

    Unbelievable. You seriously have got to be kidding.

  354. Chuck Says:

    “Haven’t seen it from any people who actually are baseball insiders.”

    Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal are NOT baseball insiders.

    Just in case…

  355. Shaun Says:

    Raul, so you don’t think someone like David Eckstein is a tireless worker? I guess not since he’s not as good as Pujols or Ramirez.

  356. Shaun Says:

    Chuck, so you have seen quotes from baseball insiders about David Wright’s career being in jeopardy? Where are those quotes. Maybe you can provide some links. Maybe you’ve read something like, “Wright may be done” from a scout, GM, manager, player, coach, front office person, former scout, former GM, former manager, former coach, former front office person.

  357. Raul Says:

    If Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn worked as hard as David Eckstein, they would be tremendous ballplayers.

    David Eckstein doesn’t belong in the Major Leagues.

  358. Shaun Says:

    “You probably haven’t ever been around any high level sports. Maybe you’ve never read about how many hours Ted Williams spent studying the game. Or maybe you’ve never heard about how long Manny Ramirez stands at the batting tee before and after games. It’s easy to understand how you would really think talent is the difference.”

    I also heard that Gregg Jefferies would swing a bat 100 times underwater everyday during the off-season. He’s on his way to the Hall of Fame, right?

    I also saw guys on my high school team that worked hard, stayed after practice and they never sniffed so much as a college scholarship offer.

    A player can’t reach the majors and become a star without an awesome work ethic. But that only takes you so far. Just like talent only takes you so far. You need both. And I guarantee you there are a ton of players who work their butts off that don’t become Ted Williams, Albert Pujols or Manny Ramirez. If it were just a matter of work ethic, every player would be Williams, Pujols or Ramirez. It’s not as simple as working hard and making adjustments and if you are a major leaguer, poof, you’re a star!

  359. Lefty33 Says:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703691804575254881038231748.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

  360. Lefty33 Says:

    http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2010/05/david_wright_is_striking_out_a.html

    “I think what we probably have to concentrate on is putting the ball in play early,” Manuel said, talking about Wright in particular. “I think the foul balls, foul balls and then all of a sudden you get into a situation where the pitcher can go either way, can go changeup or fastball, that becomes a difficult challenge even for good hitters. So I think we have to just kind of put the ball in play early in the count.”

  361. Raul Says:

    “It’s not as simple as working hard and making adjustments”

    Committing to making the adjustments is step 1.
    Reynolds hasn’t even done that.

  362. Lefty33 Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/sports/baseball/20hitting.html

  363. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, so you have seen quotes from baseball insiders about David Wright’s career being in jeopardy”?

    WTF?

    “I also saw guys on my high school team that worked hard, stayed after practice and they never sniffed so much as a college scholarship offer.”

    Don’t even want to know what you were sniffing.

    “But really what separates athletes from the population is that they are bigger, stronger, faster and quicker…and that’s about it.”

    No fucking shit.

    Really?

    David Eckstein works MUCH MUCH harder at his job Shaun, than you do at yours.

    Guaranfuckingteed.

    The reason why he does is if not, he’ll have your job.

  364. Lefty33 Says:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/390339-swing-and-a-miss-new-york-mets-david-wright-still-cant-put-bat-on-ball

  365. Shaun Says:

    “If Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn worked as hard as David Eckstein, they would be tremendous ballplayers.”

    How do you know they don’t? You just assume they don’t simply because of their strikeouts? By that logic, I guess we could question Eckstein’s work ethic because he doesn’t hit 40 homers a year.

    You can’t necessarily tell effort by results. By your logic, we should question the work ethic of any player who isn’t elite. Ridiculous.

    “David Eckstein doesn’t belong in the Major Leagues.”

    Yes he does because he’s there and has held down a regular job for a long time now.

  366. Len Says:

    Why isn’t “Dugout Central” on the Baseball Reference page anymore?

    I’m surprised this post hasn’t broken into a (Bert Blyleven/Jim Rice HOF) tangent or an (RBI overrated) tangent, or a (WAR overrated stat) tangent, like most Dugout Central Articles.

    Well at least you guys are still calling each other names.

    But it’s nice to see you’re all resorting to your usual “You’ve never played the game Pussy & Move out of your parent’s basement” VS. “You’re an Ignorant frustrated Asshole ex-jock who’s baseball ideas haven’t evolved since Bill Virdon was the Yankee Manger” Arguments.

    Basically the comments should just be copied and pasted to every single Dugout Central article because it’s the same thing that’s being said for about the 1000th time.

  367. Chuck Says:

    Thanks for contrbuting, Len

  368. Raul Says:

    I wrote: “David Eckstein doesn’t belong in the Major Leagues”

    Shaun writes:

    “Yes he does because he’s there and has held down a regular job for a long time now.”

    http://www.gifbin.com/982210

  369. Raul Says:

    http://www.gifbin.com/982209

  370. Raul Says:

    wrong gif the first time, but entertaining nonetheless.

  371. Chuck Says:

    Oh, snap.

    I know it’s fake and all, but that was unexpected.

  372. Raul Says:

    It was the only thing I could think of after reading Shaun’s replies

  373. Chuck Says:

    Too bad he won’t see it until tomorrow.

    It’s a school night.

  374. Raul Says:

    Well, the good news is David Wright had 4 RBI tonight, and somehow managed NOT to strike out.

    There’s no real bad news.

    The sad news is he went 1-4 and actually raised his batting average against RHP. Well, maybe that’s not sad, but considering how shitty you have to be that 1 for 4 increases your average…well…you know. I’m just saying.

  375. Chuck Says:

    The pitch he hit was an 89 mph piece of Triple A crap knee high on the inside corner and he hits it to right center?

    Look at his belt buckle at the point of impact, it’s pointing to first base.

    It should be pointed to shortstop.

    A good hitter puts that motherf*ckin’ weakass shit 430 feet out to leftfield.

    Pffft.

  376. Raul Says:

    hold up, i gotta find a highlight of this. i just read the stat line.

    which…by the way, is probably exactly what stats guys do…and make the same conclusion that i made, LOL

  377. Raul Says:

    What the fuck? Ok I at least give him credit for making hard contact, but that DEFINITELY should have been pulled and crushed deep to left.

    But you know what I found telling about the highlight? The centerfielder appeared to be shaded towards right-field/right-center anyway.

    People around the league know about David Wright. Every team is conscious of where they align their defense from at-bat to at-bat. That right there tells me the Nationals didn’t have much faith in Wright’s ability to turn on pitches.

  378. John Says:

    Chuck: “A good hitter puts that motherf*ckin’ weakass shit 430 feet out to leftfield.

    Pffft.”

    Wait, really? You’re giving a guy shit for crushing a ball the other way?

    I watched the highlight, and it seemed like the kind of ball you want to pull…sinking inside? Did Wright spray the ball to right because he was late? (I mean, it’s still a gap-double…)

  379. Hossrex Says:

    I wonder how good every hitter in the game would be if they all fulfilled Chucks requirements not to suck.

  380. Chuck Says:

    “Wait, really? You’re giving a guy shit for crushing a ball the other way?”

    The ball was hardly “crushed.”

    And when you consider what he SHOULD have done with it…

    David Eckstein would have hooked that pitch into the LF corner.

    “I wonder how good every hitter in the game would be if they all fulfilled Chucks requirements not to suck.”

    Kind of answered your own question, don’t you think?

  381. Raul Says:

    I know you guys want to play devils advocate a little bit here. Wright did get a double out of it and cleared the bases, but that isn’t the point.

    We’re talking about what you’re supposed to do, and sometimes the outcome isn’t relevant.

    Sometimes you do everything right as a hitter and it’s still an out. In this case, David Wright got a very positive outcome on that double, but from a swing/mechanics standpoint, he didn’t do what he should have. Any hitter and coach worth his jockstrap would admit that.

    I remember watching a game earlier this year, I forget the Yankees batter (Cano?), but on a 2-0 count he slapped a single to left field. I’m sorry, you shouldn’t be swinging or looking to smack a ball the other way on a 2-0 count. Not exactly the same thing as Wright’s double, but you get the point.

  382. Shaun Says:

    Another logical post passed right over because Raul and Chuck know they have no leg to stand on (#365).

  383. Shaun Says:

    Now David Eckstein is a better hitter than David Wright. The posts just keep getting more ridiculous.

  384. Raul Says:

    Nobody said Eckstein was better than David Wright.

    And you’ve got to be a complete idiot to suggest the reason David Eckstein belongs in the major leagues is because he’s been in the major leagues.

    That’s like saying George Bush should be President because he’s President.

    Now I’m starting to question how far you went in school, Shaun.
    Seriously, redeem yourself. Hire Jimmy Scott to write your next reply or something.

  385. ShaunPayne Says:

    Raul, well Eckstein performs like a major league, so he should be in the majors.

    I’m still waiting on why you and Chuck think just because a player strikes out more than others that necessarily means he doesn’t work as hard as other players?

    Again, by that logic if a player doesn’t hit as many homeruns or get as many hits or steal as many bases or strikeout as many batters as other players, that means he doesn’t work as hard as other players.

    Again, just because results aren’t there doesn’t necessarily mean that a player isn’t working hard. That’s why we need a little more proof than Reynolds and Dunn and Howard and Wright strikeout a lot, therefore they aren’t working as hard as other players. Anyone with reasoning skills would see this.

  386. ShaunPayne Says:

    “That’s like saying George Bush should be President because he’s President.”

    George Bush got elected president, therefore he should be president, based on the nation’s laws and constitution.

    How far did you get in school?

  387. Raul Says:

    Shaun, this has all been explained. Go back and read it.
    You keep accusing people of not answering your questions, and they’ve all been addressed.

    Either you don’t read replies, or you lack the reading comprehension to understand them.

    Pick one.

  388. Shaun Says:

    Show me the post that explains with anything other than basically “because I said so” as to why lots of strikeouts necessarily mean a player isn’t working hard.

    You and Chuck have absolutely no proof that Mark Reynolds, David Wright, Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard, Jim Thome (pick any hitter with a high K rate) don’t work as hard as David Eckstein or any other player.

    You assume that simply because of their strikeout rate and because you “think” so. Well, if you want to go with that logic, why stop at high strikeout hitters? Why not assume players who strike out more than 50 times aren’t working hard? Why not assume players who don’t steal 50 bases aren’t trying? Why not assume players who don’t hit 30 homers a season aren’t trying? Why not assume players who don’t post a .400 on-base aren’t trying? Why not assume pitchers who don’t strike out 250 hitters aren’t trying?

  389. Raul Says:

    I’m not going through 388 posts. The responses are littered through throughout.

    Maybe you don’t know when someone is doing something half-assed, but I’ve been around the sport long enough to know when someone is. And I know what certain players are capable of, and whether there’s more left in the tank.

    I’m sorry this answer isn’t satisfactory to you. I’m sorry I can’t quantify entirely with some statistic.

    If you really think Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds are doing everything they can, and that they’ve maximized their potential, so be it. But you’re wrong.

  390. John Says:

    Raul/Chuck/anyone,

    Wright went the other way on a ball that should’ve been pulled. But fundamentally, was there anything wrong with the swing or was his timing just slightly off? Also, does the original point of Joe’s article – Wright’s fear of inside pitches – lead to a tendency to hit breaking balls too early?

    Then again, Wright has always been known for being an opposite-field hitter.

  391. Raul Says:

    He swung late and got under the ball. I mean it was solid contact. But because of the timing/maybe fear, the mechanics were screwed and he didn’t extend through the ball the way you really should.

    Look, I’m not going to take that swing and say it’s the worst I’ve seen. There’s a lot of movement of the bat before the pitch too. I think of it like A-Rod’s leg kick. It’s all fine and dandy, but at the point of release, the foot needs to be down and in Wright’s case, the bat needs to be steady, ready to spring forward and explode through the zone. You also notice his front foot comes down and kind of spins at the point of contact….it just has too many moving parts for my taste.

    It looks to me like he’s standing a bit back from the plate, as well. That’s going to be a problem when you get those curves and sliders low and away, and it probably means you’ll see him hit more balls to center field and right field that really should be hitting left-center, left-field and possibly become home runs.

  392. Shaun Says:

    “If you really think Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds are doing everything they can, and that they’ve maximized their potential, so be it. But you’re wrong.

    No one has any good reason to believe they aren’t doing everything they can to maximize their potential. And they have every incentive to do everything they can to maximize their potential. Until it’s proven otherwise, I’ll trust that they are doing everything they can to maximize their potential.

    You are simply believing only what you want to believe instead of thinking through your beliefs.

  393. Chuck Says:

    Good point about the timing of the hands and feet having to match.

    “Also, does the original point of Joe’s article – Wright’s fear of inside pitches – lead to a tendency to hit breaking balls too early?”

    It could, yes. But Wright is a breaking ball hitter, so he should be pulling them, and hitting everything else to the right side.

    I did look at the video again, I agree with Raul that Wright appears to have moved further from the plate, which, IMO, justifies Joe’s claim that Wright is still a bit gun-shy from the beaning.

    Fundamentally wrong?

    Hell, yeah.

    When you stride too early, your lower body stops and you swing like an old lady beating the laundry.

  394. Dean M Says:

    Wait…if you pit nine Jeters against nine old ladies beating the laundry…

  395. Raul Says:

    It depends.

    Are we talking Betty White type of old ladies? Because she’s pretty awesome.

  396. Raul Says:

    Damn.

    Joba Chamberlain threw what had to be 6 pitches to David Wright, and 5 of them were fastballs.

    1-0 fastball down the middle, fouled away
    3-1 fastball down the middle, fouled away
    3-2 fastball at the knees on the outside corner…strike 3 looking.

    Al Leiter referred to Wright as “lost”.

  397. Jeff Rose Says:

    Uh, how’s this theory looking now?

  398. Chuck Says:

    Add Jeff’s name to the list of people who didn’t understand the article.

    Which, other than me and Raul, was pretty mch everybody.

  399. Hossrex Says:

    This thread still has teeth?

  400. Chuck Says:

    My father in law is 86 and “still has teeth.”

    He can’t eat anything that hasn’t spend three minutes in a food processor first.

  401. John Says:

    I was wondering when someone would re-open this can of worms.

    So many comments. So many wrong things said. I feel like we were all a little off, but I would like to applaud the individual who, in comment 197 said “for the record, I think he’ll end up doing fine for the year.”

    Of course, he could OPS .200 for the rest of the year because he fears the inside pitch or something. But I seriously doubt it.

    About a month or so ago, I saw Albert Pujols strike out on 4 pitches against Manny Parra (not the best of pitchers); the three strikes were in exactly the same location, low and slightly inside. Pujols whiffed at the first and last of those pitches and meekly fouled off the middle one. He looked “lost.”

    Did I think “holy crap, Albert Pujols is done for good?” No. Wanna know why? Because he’s Albert Pujols and he’s the best hitter I’ve ever seen. Wanna know what he did on his next at-bat? Homerun. Wanna know what he did yesterday against Parra? Same. Thing.

    Any true “statguy” believes in sample space. A limited sample space can NEVER be trusted, whether you’re looking at a player’s OPS, or physical flaws in his approach at the plate.

    I saw David Wright play a sunny Sunday day game at Miller Park in late May. Hitting at Miller Park on a sunny afternoon is very hard to do because of the shadows. Wright turned on an inside pitch and ripped it for an RBI single. I saw him again today at Nats Park (easily the most American thing you can do…watch a 4th of July baseball game). No ducking out that I could see, and he got two hits.

    I didn’t see him play before this article was published (besides espn highlights and such), so I don’t know if Wright bailing out was a true trend, or something that happened on a couple occasions that Joe happened to observe. I’m certainly not discounting the notion that his batting coach or him observed this tendency going over tapes and he really did become fearless at the plate.

    Which is what Joe was talking about. He didn’t say David Wright was finished. He said David Wright was finished UNLESS he became fearless at the plate. Whether or not he’s become anymore fearless at the plate, he’s still striking out a lot. But there is absolutely no disputing that he’s been productive. Which is why he’s an all-star, leading the NL in RBI’s, 3rd in OPS+ and 2nd in extra base hits. Basically, he’s more/less the player he’s always been, save a lackluster 09 from a slugging perspective.

    Anyway, I want to look at some of the bold statements and how they’re looking at the half-way point:

    Chuck: “Wright sucked before August 15th.”

    Wright’s been awesome his entire career.

    Chuck: “Come August, David Ortiz will be unemployed.”

    Come the all-star break, he’ll be an all-star. 17 HR in 271 PA. Ya, he’s done.

    Joe: “He is so finished as a player. He is not even a factor in the lineup. He is even scared when fielding ground balls, and doesn’t even get in front of them anymore, but primarily plays them off to the side.”

    He’s so the best 3B in baseball. He’s so 5th in BA, 4th in OBP, and 8th in SLG. He’s so leading NL 3B in assists.

    Raul: “The Mets should trade David Wright.”

    No, they shouldn’t.

    And then it breaks into a tangent about whether or not strikeouts are terribly important indicators of performance. And the proof that they are is that a team of Jeters would beat a team of Reynolds’s or that Albert Pujols is a better hitter than Ryan Howard. Hilarious how people use ALL-TIME GREAT PLAYERS to make universal cases. Guess what. I’ll take Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard. You can have Juan Pierre and AJ Pierzinski who rank 1 and 2 in the AL in AB/K. I’ll win. You’ll lose.

    Yes. Strikeouts are bad. All outs are. Strikeouts are worse than other outs because they don’t advance runners and they don’t present an opportunity to reach base, as compared to a bloop hit or something. That doesn’t mean that players who strikeout a lot like Reynolds, Dunn, Thome and Wright aren’t also productive. High strikeout rates and high productivity aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Like 100 or so of these posts can be summed up like this:

    Shaun and co.: Strikeouts are just like other outs.
    Chuck and co.: No they aren’t. You’ve clearly never played baseball.
    Shaun and co.: How are they drastically different from other outs? Look at the top 10 teams in scoring…half of them were in the top 10 in strikeouts. Look at the bottom 10 teams in scoring…half of them were in the bottom 10 in strikeouts.
    Chuck and co.: Albert Pujols is better than Ryan Howard!

    And then it goes into whether or not players who strikeout a lot aren’t trying, and it’s easy to see that even guys like Reynolds and Dunn would be better if they focused on contact and took a Gwynn approach or something when they had two strikes.

    Anyway…

    Raul: “David Wright isn’t the hitter Joey Votto is, much less a top 7 player in the national league.”

    He’s easily a top 5-10 hitter this season and top 3 or so since 2005. He’s OPS’d .910 for his career as a 3B. If he’s putting up those kinds of results, then I don’t care if he starts his batting stance facing the umpire.

    Raul: “Wright now has 111 at-bats this season against RHP, this is his line:
    .225/.348/.414″

    In 234 AB against RHP, he’s hitting .282/.361/.466, which comes out to an sOPS+ of 137. He’s better against LHP. Pretty much all right handed hitters are.

    Shaun: “I’ve pointed out the fact that Wright is having a great season.”

    You were pretty much the most right person here Shaun, and yet, you were actually wrong. David Wright wasn’t having a good season at the time this was written. He had walked a lot, but he had failed with men on base and wasn’t getting the job done. He had a .968 OPS when this article was published. He’s had a .925 OPS since then, but he’s actually been WAY WAY more productive, and that’s reflected in the Mets’ performance so far.

    Joe: “I just noticed that Ben Zobrist has an OPS this year of .709 and has ZERO home runs with 30 whiffs.

    What was his WAR last year? LOL.

    I guess it looks like the baseball guys scouted him a little, adjusted to him, found some holes and have gotten the best of Big Ben this year.”

    As opposed to chemists scouting him a little? Also, Zobrist is fine. And seriously, no one actually thought he was more valuable than Mauer last year. Zobrist is an enormously valuable player whether he’s 1st in WAR like in 09 or 30th this year because he plays many positions very well and is solid with the bat…there’s a bbref blog post about it. But I will forever call him “The WAR Guy” anyway because I find it funny.

    Chuck: “Everyone agrees with me, except you.

    Everyone agrees with Joe, Lefty, Raul, Patrick, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, except you.

    No one agrees with you.

    Because you’re wrong.”

    Shaun was more right than any of you. But, incredibly for what are probably the wrong reasons. I believe that Joe was more/less right, but that David Wright made adjustments, had someone bean him in the back for a bit or something, and has come back as good as ever. And that’s something that has nothing to do with his past VORP.

    Raul: “Well suppose David Wright strikes out 200 times, OBPs .500 and slugs .400. That’s a .900 OPS, which would make you jizz in your pants. And the Mets would be making off-season vacation plans on Cinco De Mayo.”

    He could very well strikeout 200 times, OBP about .400 and slug over .500 instead of the other way around (side-note…a player who slugged .400 and OBP’d .500 would be under 5 feet tall…thoughts?). And the Mets are currently leading the WC. But that’s a statistic…

    Some douche in post 350: “David Wright has a sOPS+ (relative to the rest of the league, adjusted for ballpark, for a given split) of 99 compared to the rest of the league this year with 2 strikes. So he’s slightly below average (and way worse than he is perceived). For Mark Reynolds, that number is 67, which is pathetic.”

    SMALL SAMPLE SPACE DUDE CMON! His sOPS+ with 2 strikes this year is 114. Mark Reynolds is at 78 though. He’s really not the sabermetric juggernaut that people claim sabr guys think he is. Considering his AWFUL defense, he’s basically a slightly below average 3B. Even if you use the ultimate SABR stat – WAR, he’s a 2.2 which is borderline between starter and reserve.

    Then people said Wright was done because he hit a double when he should’ve hit a homerun. Seriously? Apparently, hitting a HR against a major league fastball is easy.

    Happy 4th everyone! Go America!

  402. Raul Says:

    Clearly John is another one who didn’t get the point.

    And I still say the Mets should trade David Wright.
    Had they done so last year, they’d be in first place by 8 games right now.

  403. Hossrex Says:

    What is this, I don’t even

  404. John Says:

    What, oh what on earth would make you say that Raul?

    “And I still say the Mets should trade David Wright.
    Had they done so last year, they’d be in first place by 8 games right now.”

    He IS their offense. Unless you’re suggesting that they could have traded him for Evan Longoria, David Price, and Carl Crawford, I’m pretty sure that your statement is false in like every possible way. You’re not seriously suggesting that he’s still not producing are you?

    Either way, whether or not I got the point, his career is far from finished, and he’s one of the most productive players in the league.

    Has anyone seen a ton of David Wright before and after this article?

    I’m pretty sure that Joe’s article was suggesting that, regardless of whatever Wright’s OPS was at the time (it was .968) he was going to struggle because he wasn’t confident enough to be effective.

    This would have resulted in a drop in performance, reflected by those evil, tell-nothing things called STATISTICS.

    But…

    it’s the midway point.

    And David Wright is awesome.

    I’m not trying to suggest that Joe was off on this one. I’ve seen David Wright twice live in the last month and a couple other times on tv. He wasn’t bailing out on inside pitches – at all. Small sample space, but guess what…he’s been doing well. I didn’t see much of him earlier in the season. Joe did, and said Wright was bailing out on inside pitches. Fair enough…I doubt he’s still doing it regularly. If he was, he wouldn’t be doing this well at the halfway point. His numbers would have regressed to that .220/.330/.414 line he was posting against righties early on.

  405. Raul Says:

    If you didn’t see David Wright bailing on pitches, I don’t know what you’re looking at.

    David Wright is playing better…now.

    Of course the Braves are on track to taking over this division again for the next 10 years.

    Had the Mets management done their job, David Wright and Jose Reyes would have 2 or 3 World Series appearances by now. And had they realized they blew their chance, they could be looking at a rotation that included Halladay, Santana and Pelfrey AND had Alex Rios.

    Instead, they will continue to flounder and tease.

    And as for “Has anyone watched David Wright?”

    This article was written in late April. He looked like absolute dog shit in April and May. He’s picked it up in June.

    Have YOU actually watched David Wright?

  406. Chuck Says:

    John’s just having a little fun at our expense.

    Everybody can pick the winning lottery numbers the day after the drawing.

    Anybody who says they thought David Ortiz would have seventeen HR in July and would be an All star is full of shit.

  407. John Says:

    Yes Raul. I saw him today actually. Granted it was againt some Nats no-name, but he cranked two solid hits.

    I’ve noticed that we hear about how awful Wright is at hitting when he strikes out. If a player strikes out, they were fooled and/or beaten and look bad as a result. Even Albert Pujols looks bad when he strikes out (which is rare).
    I’ll tell you what. David Wright looks great when he’s getting hits. He’s been really good at that.

    I’m all for listening to folks with more experience than I point out flaws that I won’t see in the box score or on bbref. Great stuff, and far more interesting than reading numbers off a stat page. But to steadfastly deny value from a guy at or near the top of every statistical category? Denying the effectiveness of someone who has led an otherwise poor team to first in the wildcard. You’re really going to pretend all that is artificial?

    Next up: Regardless of “the numbers”, Kevin Youkilis sucks at hitting because he starts his batting stance with his hands separated by 8 inches.

  408. John Says:

    Chuck,

    Comment 197 :D

  409. Jeff Rose Says:

    Hossrex, I’m pretty sure I did understand the article.

    It said if Wright doesn’t change his career will be over.

    And you, Hoss, said he hasn’t changed.

    Well, correct me if I’m wrong, and I know you will Hossrex–heck, you’ll corrrect me even if I’m right–but Wright is 4th in OBP, 4th in OPS, 6th in Slugging. So how is the original point of the article countermanded?

    He’s as good as he ever was, superseding last year.

    Doesn’t that run counter to what the article posits?

  410. Hossrex Says:

    I haven’t made anything resembling a serious “contribution” to this post in A MONTH AND A HALF (and this thread is so long, is seriously crashed my browser the first time I tried searching through it).

    I don’t remember who said what, nor in what context was it said.

    In other words… I have no intention of defending anything I said, or disputing anything anyone else said without sitting down to read ALL FOUR HUNDRED AND NINE comments… which is something that disinterests me so strongly I can’t properly express it.

    Regarding comment 197:

    In what world is a zero out walk worth less than a two out walk? That’s cuckoo ca-ca crazy.

    With zero outs a runner scores from first base 91% of the time. Zero out walks turn into runs FAR more often than two out walks.

    Your point, however, about context is well taken… I guess. The point being that when measuring an individuals statistics, it’s important to see what THEY did to provide their team the best opportunity to score runs, while weeding out as many TEAM dependent stats as possible.

    A walk might mean more if it’s delivered to Jimmy Rollins than Adam Dunn… but at least that walk to Adam Dunn is a direct corollary to his talent, as opposed to how often he gets at-bats with men on second or third base.

    Baseball is a subjective sport. I have absolutely no problem with that. No stat is perfect, and it would seem that ironically, the closer people think they are to perfection, the worse they usually are.

    But what statguys are trying to say is “when I’m talking about how good Ryan Howard is, I don’t want Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, or Chase Utley to improperly influence the credit Howard deserves. A walk might not be a walk which might not be a walk which might not be a walk… but at least it reflects HIS PERSONAL contribution better than a stat which is dependent on how talented the batters ahead of him are.”

    INB4: “OH YEAH! WELL… HOW MANY WALKS HE GETS IS DEPENDENT ON THE SITUATION OF THE GAME, WHO’S ON BASE, AND WHO’S BATTING AFTER HIM!”

    You’re right. It most certainly is.

    Only morons, and Shaun think any statistic is perfect… but I guess that’s a little redundant.

  411. John Says:

    Er…ya. Sorry, I definitely meant that a 0 out walk is more valuable.

    No stat should ever be analyzed in a vacuum. My thing with WAR is that it seems as though its meant to. How many extra *wins* (the point of the game) is a guy worth? But it completely ignores so many in-game contextual factors, not to mention the defensive aspect is basically a crapshoot.

    OBP ignores these things to. But its not meant to definitively assign value or a certain number of wins. Just how often a guy reaches base, no more no less.

    By the way, the part of comment 197 that I was hoping people would focus on is the part where I say David Wright will be fine. But, by all means, call me out on my screwups, I was kind enough to do it for everyone else!

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