Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Now Batting, Number 34

Big Papi.

I wish my age would catch up with me as well as his seems to. Once again, it’s popular to say that Ortiz is on the decline. That’s true. He’s not going to hit 50 home runs this year. It’s popular to say he’s washed up. That’s not true. It’s popular to say he can’t hit lefties. That might not be true anymore. So, what is true?

What is true is that everything is relative. Most of the talk of Papi’s decline comes around contract time. Don’t give him a long-term deal, they say. He’s only going to get worse. He’s not the old David Ortiz. But, look at the numbers. The last three seasons he’s hit 28, 32, and 29 home runs. Not too bad at all. His average took a hit in 2010, which led to much of the doomsday scenarios. But, he came back with a vengeance last year. Was that a fluke? Maybe. Was it really Adrian Gonzalez teaching him how to hit lefties? Probably. Will the fact that Bobby V apparently wants Ortiz to bunt more help? Definitely.

I’m not worried about Ortiz at all. He should have a fine season, and help the Sox get back to the top. What kind of numbers? Let’s see…

BA: .301
R: 90
HR: 30
RBI: 98
SB: 1
OBP: .395

How good is the Red Sox line-up that these are the numbers expected from the sixth spot?


  1. There's only one Number 34 in my life.

    Hint... I'm a Twins fan. ;)

  2. Well, Ortiz used to be a Twin.

  3. Actually, while his homerun numbers might be slightly lower than his historic norms, his SO/PA numbers have actually improved.

    Ortiz struck out 62 fewer times in 2011 than 2010 in ONE fewer plate appearances.

    In terms of strikeout rate (K/PA), Ortiz’ 2011 decline of 10.2% ranks as the second most impressive improvement in consecutive 500 PA seasons.

    If you take a look at Ortiz’ numbers, the one number that jumps out is the significant increase the rate of contact Ortiz made. As a result, Ortiz’ swing and miss rate also declined to the lowest level since joining the Red Sox. He saw 210 fewer pitches and faced 46 fewer two-strike counts.

    So, basically, his power might be declining, but he's getting statistically better at getting more quality at bats and making more contact.

    Clearly I'm biased. I love the big grinning lug. I say lock him up long term, make him a Red Sox for life, and start planning the number retirement ceremony for when he's in the Hall off his first ballot. :)


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