Nick Hundley was the starting catcher on Sunday and batted cleanup. Nick Hundley had a .272 on-base percentage last year and has been even worse than that so far this year. So the question must be asked: Do the Giants know that?
At first glance, this seems like a silly question. Someone must have looked at his baseball card at some point, right? Looking at the back of guys’ baseball cards is how Bruce Bochy makes at least 90% of his lineup decisions. But on the other hand, if anyone on the Giants had looked at the back of his baseball card, they’d have made some different lineup decisions. It’s a real quandary.
Nick Hundley has started five games this year. In one of them, he batted seventh (totally fine!). In one, he batted sixth (defensible). In one, he batted fifth (quite strange). In the other two, he batted fourth (sufficiently poor decision making that I am using it as evidence that nobody associated with the Giants has looked at Nick Hundley’s Baseball Reference or Fangraphs page since mid-August last year). Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Giants think Nick Hundley is a better hitter than he has shown himself to be in a Giants uniform.
But does that mean that the Giants haven’t looked at his final 2017 stat line? In my opinion, yes. When he plays, Nick Hundley is being treated as a key lineup cog even though he has been a Giant for more than a year and has unequivocally not been a key lineup cog. This isn’t an anti-Hundley screed; he is a perfectly cromulent backup catcher. Pitchers seem to like throwing to him, he has enough power to make up for making lots of outs (relative to the position of backup catcher, anyway), and he’s a good enough teammate that he won the Willie Mac Award last year. This is all swell. But it doesn’t make him a cleanup hitter.
Lineup construction isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but as fans, we still assume and hope that there is some logic that goes into it. Nick Hundley hitting cleanup belies that. Even if you think he’s better at getting on base than he’s shown himself to be in a Giants uniform, his career OBP is .300, which is still very bad. Hitting fourth, the lineup spot which very commonly leads off the second inning, is a particularly bad place for him to hit. Therefore, they probably do not know that Nick Hundley is bad at getting on base.
Now, you might think that this is an insulting line of questioning. “Are you saying the Giants suck SO BAD that they can’t even read a stat line? You must HATE the Giants, traitor.” Not at all! I’m actually giving them the benefit of the doubt by allowing the possibility that their error is due to ignorance instead of incompetence. Because if multiple people in the Giants organization know that Nick Hundley had a .272 OBP last year — which is an extremely bad OBP — then multiple people in the Giants organization are incompetent enough to allow a hitter with an extremely poor on base percentage to hit in the most important spot in the lineup. If instead the Giants just think he’s pretty good because he seems like a pretty good hitter and they remember him having some big hits last year, well hey, that’s just classic baseball decision making.
Let’s sum things up and then do a poll because writing conclusions is hard. The argument that the Giants do not know about Nick Hundley’s .272 OBP last year is that they treat him like a key lineup cog instead of a perfectly fine backup catcher with good power. The argument that they do know about Hundley’s .272 OBP last year is that they think he’s better than that and so it doesn’t matter a lot. And so I leave it to you, McCovey Chronicles readers. Are the Giants aware of this information?
So do the Giants know that Nick Hundley had a .272 OBP last year?
This poll is closed
They certainly do!
I believe that they do not!
No one truly knows anything, as all knowledge is limited by the ability of our finite human brains to comprehend a world that is much larger than ourselves.
Shut UP, Answer 3. No one likes you.