Saturday, June 23, 2007

Statistical proof that Andruw Jones has stopped hitting

A while back, we made note of Andruw Jones' decreasing effectiveness at the plate after he struck out 5 times against the Red Sox. Well, at that point, Andruw's average was a comparatively stellar .212. He is now batting .199. Now, I know we have all moved on from using batting average as the sole statistical judge of a player's ability, but in this case it's really all we need. He isn't hitting the ball, he isn't getting on base, and when he does make contact, it's not very good - his slugging percentage is .383. To show just how bad this is, consider this. Since his last multi-hit game on June 9th - just his tenth this whole year, all but one of which have been 2-hitters - Jones has gone a depressing 2-39. So that's a .051 average. However, his season average has dropped only 26 points, from .225 to .199. And, as I will always point out, A. Jones has not exactly dropped in the batting order. Inexcusably, he has been batting 4th or 5th in almost every game. Cox dropped him to sixth on the 18th and 19th, only to throw him back in the 4-hole on the 22nd. Is it that he just can't help himself? Is Cox going senile? It's one thing to stick with your player when he slumps, but this guy has no business within sight of the 5-hole, as we will demonstrate.

Take a larger sample size; consider the entire month of June. Jones has exactly 10 hits in 79 AB's, for a .127 average. I'm sure many of you are thinking, 'but the walks count too - he's getting on base.' Ok. Fine. He has just four walks. Lets give him four more singles in four more at bats. He is now batting .169. He has not reached base on error or a fielders' choice once, and therefore his OBP is also .169. Meanwhile, he has 18 strikeouts. In other words, his strikeout average for June is .217. Jones is more likely to strike out than he is to reach base by any means. Let's go further. He has 3 homers, and has scored 5 runs and has 6 RBI. He has 21 total bases. So his basic runs created (TB x OBP), is at 3.549, for you sabermetricians out there. 20 games in June; that gives him .177 runs created per game. Fellow outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who is also struggling - a .262 OBP through June - has 6.288 runs created this month in just one more AB. Catcher Brian McCann, playing hurt (.238 OBP) and with just 3/4 as many AB's, has produced 4.522 runs. Therefore, even by his struggling teammates' standards, Andruw Jones is a curse at the dish this month. Edgar Renteria, who is not struggling, and making $4 million less, has created 15.17 runs.

So now we know - not only is Andruw struggling at the plate, but he is hurting his team as well. We're not just blindly throwing his average out there and saying he's a crummy player. The truth is, the guy is really hurting the team. And he either doesn't realize it, or he doesn't care. I don't think he's pouring over his splits with a calculator, but he has to have some self-awareness. But Jones just brushes aside these criticisms. "I've never been an average hitter. Average isn't a big deal to me." Alright. But is scoring a big deal to you? Is getting "market value" next year a big deal to you? "I just go out and play the game. Everybody struggles. I'm just getting pitched good." Andruw, you're not just getting pitched good. I don't think we should be looking for a tell in Jones' stance anytime soon. You've been in the bigs for 11 years. People aren't just now figuring you out. But let's be real. You can't take anything this guy says to mean anything. He knows he's hitting .199. He doesn't need guys from the papers asking him why. He doesn't know why, and they know it. So he gives them something to print, they print it, etc.

And another interesting note. Chipper Jones is playing hurt. And he's peeved. He's the short story.

Reporter: Chipper, do you feel you are rushing to return from your most recent injury, which was to your... groin?
Chipper: "Probably. But I feel backed into a corner. Let's just say there are people who don't believe me. Let's just say that and leave it at that."

You know what? I understand that these guys have to be in peak shape to go to work every day. I get that if they aren't at least 90%, they're not effective at work. But can you imagine this conversation happening?

Reporter: Weekend Athlete, do you feel you are rushing to return from your most recent injury?
WA: You know, I didn't want to come out today. But the boys said I had to. I told them I was hurt, they didn't believe me.

Most of us get paid to do things with our heads, not our bodies. If your brain is at 90%, do you call in sick? No. So Chipper, maybe you don't want to play. Maybe you feel hurt. But you're getting paid to play baseball. So when Bobby Cox tells you to play baseball, you play. Once you take that paycheck, it's up to Bobby. If you're really hurt, he won't play you. If he decides that he wants you to play, he know that he's risking a re-injury. He's judged that risk to be less substantial than the risk of playing without you. So go out there and do your job.

"Andruw Jones tells us about the bad days" - May 21, 2007.

Sorry about the downtime. I lost a friend of mine this week in a skateboarding accident. Parents, kids, please - wear your helmets. Just because it hasn't happened to anyone you know doesn't mean it can't.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The braves farked up last year when they didn't unload Slop AnBOO before he was 10/10. Booby Cox and John Slopholtz GOTS TO GO!

Anonymous said...

Any other team that performed this way for this long would have a new GM and a new manager. Look at Houston. When are these geritol sucking mofos gone?

Anonymous said...

Any other team that performed this way for this long would have a new GM and a new manager. Look at Houston. When are these geritol sucking mofos gone?

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