Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Motherfuckin’ Reynolds!
Today is my happiest day ever as an O’s fan. Mark Reynolds is my favorite player and now he plays for my favorite team. But that is only half of why I am so happy. The other reason is that I know I will have plenty of opportunities to call people idiots for putting WAY too much stock in useless “old guy baseball” stats. People are all worried that Reynolds is going to strike out 500 times this season, and my response is the same as his: “So what.”
Reynolds is a masher who strikes out a ton and walks a whole lot as well, he may be the definition of a true three outcome player. Why is this a bad thing? Old school baseball guys see his sub .200 batting average and 200 plus strikeout totals and immediately write him off as a bad player. Well, old school baseball guys are stupid and I will attempt to tell you why.
The majority of the offensive game (especially on the Orioles over the last decade) is played without runners in scoring position. And when there are no runners in scoring position, an out is an out. Whether it is a strikeout, a flyout or a groundout. The only time one kind of out is worse than any other kind is when you ground into a double play, which is impossible to do if you strikeout. What is the difference in striking out 200 times and grounding out 200 times?
Next useless old guy baseball stat, batting average. Mark Reynolds hit .198 last season and will never sniff .300 in that category. So, what does this tell us? I’m not really sure but I do know that he walks a ton and his career low for on base percentage is .320 which tells us that he is still on base more often than the average MLBer and all but 5 Orioles regulars (including Brian Roberts) last season. The point of getting a hit is to get on base, so why is it more important to old guys that you get on base by getting a hit rather than taking a walk? Does anyone have an answer for me? If you are going to bring up that it matters when there are runners in scoring position then you should probably check some stats first. I totally agree with you that a hit is a better outcome than a walk with RISP but even still a walk is not a negative outcome in that situation. Oh yeah, Reynolds also hit a respectable .276 with RISP last year and also had an OPS of 1.033 in that same situation. So that means that in the small percentage of plate appearances where a hit is clearly a better outcome than a walk he understands that and is able to raise his batting average significantly. So now everyone wants to know why he can’t do that in all situations. Truth is, he probably could but not without it causing a drop in his power numbers. And despite what old guys and Ichiro lovers will have you believe, a homerun is ALWAYS better than a single. If you ask Joe Morgan, a homerun is a rally killer. But if you seek wisdom from Joe Morgan on anything you aren’t very smart anyway.
While I am on a rant about worthless baseball statistics let me tell you how I feel about some not related to Reynolds. First, RBI. Maybe the most worthless because to be a “good” RBI guy you need to be incredibly lucky and rely on the guys ahead of you in the order to get on base. Why do we put any stock into a statistic that is least dependent on your individual performance to measure your worth? That makes no sense to me at all, but old guys eat that shit up. Kind of like they do with starting pitchers and wins. Case and point, Felix Hernandez. By far the best pitcher in the American League this year yet there was some doubt as to whether he would win the Cy Young because he didn’t have enough wins. What? All of his wins were more impressive than anyone else because he had to be nearly perfect to have a chance at winning any games this year. Thankfully the voters got it right this and weren’t swayed by idiots like Roy Halladay saying you have to find a way to win. Really, Roy? You just had one of the best seasons of your career and instead of congratulating a fellow Cy winner you are going to say he didn’t deserve the award because of wins? He needs to find a way to win? The guy had 10 losses this season. His COMBINED run support in those 10 games? 12. Twelve. 1.2 runs per game. Shut up Roy, you dick. You had an ERA of 2.44. You know that means? You would have lost a lot of games with run support of 1.2. In fact, you would have lost all but 9 starts, sooooo how about you think about things before you open your stupid mouth next time. Also, you should have found a way win in the playoffs if you really wanted to go to the World Series, guess it wasn’t that important to you guys.