Right now, the Diamondbacks site is atwitter about the Adam Dunn acquisition. Where’s he going to play? Who are the players to be named later? How much does he improve the offense? The Dodgers went through a similar spell of excitement with Manny Ramirez. Which multi-millionaire sits? Was Andy LaRoche too much to give up? Will the HOF Manny show up, or plays-when-he-feels-like-it Manny? Buzz buzz buzz buzz! Everyone’s abuzz with buzzings in the NL West!
So it’s the perfect time to counter this rival excitement with an Ivan Ochoa post! Look at my widget for Ivan Ochoa!
|2008 - Ivan Ochoa||18||47||4||14||4||0||0||1||2||12||0||1||.298||.340||.383|
What’s missing from this, of course, are his minor league numbers for this season and the minor league numbers for his career. Quick summary: Ochoa was an appallingly poor hitter for every year of his career until he came to the Giants organization. He was alright for Fresno last year (.300/.339/.441), but that only comes out to a .262/.292/.373 MLE.
This season, though, his .318/.399/.445 line in Fresno is good for an MLE of .272/.351/.362, which also happens to be around his current major league numbers. Other teams might sniff at that, but considering the production the Giants have received from their shortstops, that’s like upgrading from Todd Benzinger to Lance Berkman. And the defensive hit, if any, wouldn’t be a big deal. Ochoa is pretty slick with the glove, both by anecdotal accounts and limited defensive stats.
We’re still talking one decent season out of seven. And I always read too much into the ol’ "giving up switch-hitting"-gag, so I’m fighting the temptation to explain his improvement this season as a result of only hitting right-handed. His career numbers have never shown a huge platoon split. But Ochoa’s only 25, so it isn’t crazy to think he could sustain his offensive improvements. I was a little hasty in my complete dismissal of him here.
My grudging acceptance that Ochoa might not be so bad after all comes with a corollary: If Ochoa is getting the bulk of the at-bats at short, I will beg for the front office to send Burriss down next season to continue on a normal minor league path. Even though Ochoa and Manny Burriss are playing together right now, they should really be competing against each other for the 2009 shortstop job. The Giants have too many options at second to justify skipping Burriss over AA and AAA to be a weak-hitting complement to a weak-hitting shortstop.
Comment starter: Is Ochoa worth this late-season look, or should they ignore him entirely in the offseason when searching for a starting shortstop?