Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Astros-hater tells you to watch Tommy Manzella

Over at Around the Majors the player to watch tonight is Tommy Manzella. Here's why:

Manzella has always been able to acquit himself well with the glove, having been noted during his prospect years as one of the best defensive infielders in the system (hat tip to R.J. Anderson for helping me avoid that legwork). Unfortunately...he cannot hit. He's basically in the model of Rey Ordonez and shortstops of that ilk - viz all glove, no stick guys. Ordinarily, that would make him something of a persona non grata nowadays; with the advent of hitting stats that do a better job of quantifying hitting performance, a shortstop who fields well and hits an empty .300 is not appreciated as much as he once was. But because the Astros are terrible to the tune of (pending the return of borderline-HoF candidate Lance Berkman, whom I'll address later) a historically impotent offense, Manzella gets the chance to flash the leather and not worry about the fact that he's likely an empty .250 hitter. But more importantly, Manzella is something of the heir to the Astro legacy.

Oh, and here's why that opinion matters:

Now, I don't like anything about the Astros, from their uniforms to the way the front office runs things, so I have zero interest in seeing them do well. In fact, I'd be pleased to see them lose 100 games. But, well, I'm kind of rooting for him to succeed in his own way - and I don't mean that in the condescending, 'oh, look at the widdle guy trying so hard out there; he just wishes he could play well, yes he does' way. But for some reason that I just can't seem to put my finger on, I want Manzella to do well. Maybe it's because it's nice to see a throwback kind of player who reminds us of the days of our youthful fandom when a shortstop may not have been good, but, well, he's the shortstop and he makes nice plays and even if he can't hit a lick he's still a baseball player.