Thursday, March 03, 2005

Darin Erstad looooooves Buster Olney 

An amusing piece in the L.A. Times today by Mike DiGiovanna features the mediocre Darin Erstad, and makes the case for him being a quality offensive player despite his lousy statistics.

Erstad blames the criticism leveled against him on "Moneyball", of course...

"I know my power numbers are not on par [with other first basemen], but making productive outs is more important to me," Erstad said. "The 'Moneyball' approach is a different philosophy, a strong philosophy. I don't walk a ton, and my on-base percentage isn't as high as it should be. But I also roll about 30 ground balls a year to second base, getting runners to third.

A major leaguer who says making productive outs is more important to him than hitting for power. Thank you, Buster Olney and ESPN, for coming up with this excuse for nonproductivity and flogging it on your website.

Erstad claims that his power numbers are down because he doesn't want to jeopardize the team for personal statistics, although I'm at a loss as to how him hitting for more power would jeopardize the team. Meanwhile, DiGiovanna seems to imply that having the third-lowest OBP among A.L. first basemen wasn't really bad because he was first in batting average and hit second in the lineup.

DiGiovanna also trots out Erstad's "ability to hit in the clutch", something that Ersty-backers always claim sets him apart. Of course, his career OPS with runners on base (772), RISP (751), and RISP w/2 out (695) aren't any better than his OPS overall (768). But then, facts are part of the "Moneyball" approach that we want to avoid...

I wonder if you could dig out the stats on players that hit 2nd in a lineup, and what it did to the their overall numbers. Groundouts to the right that move runners over are never considered sacrifices, are they?

I guess it comes down to the type of manager a team/player has. But you figure if that situation does come up more often at one spot in the lineup, it would impact the overall numbers.
The whole productive out thing in Erstad's case is kind of a smokescreen anyway. He has 15 more "productive outs" than a good 1B like Teixeira. Of course Teixeira has 38 more hits and walks.

There is no way that the "productive outs" can possibly make up for his other lack of production.
They love "Ersty" in Angel-land, and I look at that column as just pandering to the hometown crowd.
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