Last week I went to Fenway for the first time, for a cousin's bachelor party. I now see what y'all mean about Sox fans (although the Sox do remain my third favorite team, after the Giants and A's, just cuz I hate the Yankees so much, and don't trust the Rays or Jays to accomplish the job of slaying the beast).
Anyway, driving me to Logan Airport few days later, a cousin-in-law, a big baseball fan who had lived in Walnut Creek for a while, was telling me how much he thinks Sabean is an idiot. I found myself in the strange position of actually defending Sabean - the man has made some good trades over the years, drafts pitchers well, Zito's been pitching better lately, the senior citizen love of 2000-2007 was probably a result of a "win now" mandate from ownership, etc. Then, finally it was my turn to say what I have long hated about Sabean : glove over extra base hitting at the infield corners, won't give rookies a solid couple months or playing time to get settled, and, worst of all : seems to have almost ZERO comprehension of the value of walks for an offense.
Which is a roundabout way of bringing up, I have been amazed for months now that we have Winn, Velez, Torres, Nate, etc. starting at the corners each day, while Bowkermania has been picking grapes in the Valley, or getting better acquainted with the pine benches at The Phone.
I crunched a li'l numbers today, taking the 2009 Major League Equivalents from Baseball Prospectus. Those numbers, of course, take all major and minor leaguers, and do the best to translate them to how a playa would have done in a hypothetically neutral major league park, against major league competition. The 2009 numbers for Giants players (plus Jermaine Dye) are below. Where a dude played on more than one level, I aggregated their performance (and I also included Garko and Sanchez' numbers w Cleveland and Pittsburgh). As may be obvious, the numbers are sorted by position, by descending EQA (that being a BP metric that is supposed to be a single number to measure offensive performance - not sure if it takes into account baserunning).
I know that there are folks here that don't trust MLEs. In fact, I know there are folks here who don't trust BP. And yes I know that these numbers don't take into account defensive value. All that said, I'd say that these numbers simply point to the fact that the Giants currently have approximately two good hitters - Panda and Bowker. They gots MLEs of .311 and .307, respectively, while no other Giant is over .279 (and, again, that number for Bowker includes both his poor performance with the Giants this year, and the AAA-to-MLB translation of his AAA numbers).
John Boy can get on base, and he can slug, and those are the two parts that go into scoring runs. It's crazy he that isn't getting any starts, while we lose games 1-0, 2-0, 2-1. I'd say, again, it points to a lack of valuing walks/OBP/batting patience the part of the GNATSZ BRAZZ (or however you kids write it).
P.S. As I write, we seem to be losing 2-1, wasting a great start from Timmy. Haven't been watching the game, but, damn - 0 BB/9 K, 87 pitches / 7 IP for Pedro - looks like we could use at least one more patient hitter in our lineup ...
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