Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crasnick: Berkman/Lee have "prospered"

Crasnick's Starting 9 today deals with players who have prospered in losing situations. Somehow, Berkman and Lee are on this list.

Still, Berkman and Lee capped off a decade of all-around hitting excellence with their production. It's a tribute to Berkman's craftsmanship at the plate when he can have a season that's considered a disappointment by his standards, and he still ranks 14th in the National League with a .911 OPS.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada also did something special this season. He's closing in on 1,578 games this decade, which would tie him with Brooks Robinson in the 1960s for the second-most games played in a decade. The record belongs to Pete Rose, who appeared in 1,604 games in the 1970s.

Here's my question. It IS a tribute to Lance that he can lead the team in Goats and still have an OPS as high as it is. But at what point do we proclaim that Berkman isn't paid to take walks. It's great to have his OPS, but Berkman needs to be an RBI guy, as well. Am I right? Or am I wrong?


Ryan Sides said...

I have this argument with my dad all the time. Research shows that RBI are a product of chances, and while I'm sure we all have an opinion on how many chances each player has had, I haven't seen a good stat to quantify that.

My argument is that he's paid to do two things -- get on base and hit for power. (Essentially hitters 1 and 2 are paid to get on, 3 and 4 get on and hit for power, 5 and 6 for power, 7 and 8 whatever.) This is essentially what ops is, though one point of obp is not equal to one point of slugging. So I like to look at each component seperately, and last I looked (back when the games meant something about a month ago) Berkman was doing his part in obp, but not slugging. And if he has to be a little more aggresive and take fewer walks for more doubles and homers, so be it.

(Sorry that got long)

The Constable. said...

I would agree that one point of OBP is not similar to one point of SLG, because to get on base, you'll need someone behind you to knock you in. If Carlos Lee doesn't do it (in Berkman's case), then chances are, unless Berkman has led off the inning, he ain't scoring - especially when Pence is batting 6th.

Matsui at #2 is the worst lineup idea, because he doesn't hit, and he doesn't get on base, either. We'll table this discussion until next week...

Ryan Sides said...

Agreed, but to drive someone in, you have to have someone ahead of you get on. It works both ways, and right now, the Astros don't seem to be doing well in either category. Though I would bet they're among the lead leaders in outs on the basepaths if that's any consolation.

I don't think you can blame Berkman for not having help behind him. The Astros have a great fantasy line-up or video game line-up, but when actually put together, they don't have the pieces that fit -- and again, if Berkman worries too much about that, things won't end well.

My fear is that management doesn't have the guts to make a big move or the money to bring anybody good in, and so this lineup of $462 million (roughly) will continue to be below par.

And lastly, mark my words, we'll be comparing Pence's contract to Matsui next year when he gets $8 million in arbitration. I'm not sure what kind of hitter he's even supposed to be. He has the speed and improved walk ability to hit 2-hole, but I would more afraid of him there than Matsui. He has the power to hit 5 or 6 hole, but if there's a good pitcher on the mound and a runner in scoring position, I'd rather have Mike Hampton at the dish than him. Can someone run his numbers against pitchers with an ERA under 5 and see how they compare to his overall numbers? I'm convinced it has to be about .220.