A Simple Kind of Fan. The Crashing Back to Earth Yuni Watch – 8.24.11
This week in the Yuni Watch, we see that Yuni is coming back to Earth. Stat heads call this regressing towards the mean. It seems as if he couldn’t keep up the torrid pace he set for six memorable weeks. For the week, Yuni had 6 hits in 34 at bats while scoring 4 runs, and driving in 3 RBIs. His season slash line has dropped to .260/.278/.387 and seems to be falling fast.
There are two criticisms I’ve had all season with Yuni’s game and they are showing up virtually every night. His horrid defense has been much publicized and seems to be an area that will not improve. His plate discipline however, is something that Svuem has got to get Yuni to change. He has a .278 On Base Percentage, which is barely above his .260 average. For some comparison, Craig Counsell has a .173 batting average, but he sports a .282 On Base Percentage. This is significant because while Counsell may be scuffling as a whole, he is still a safer bet to get on base, as well as give a significant better effort to work the pitch count. Keep that in mind as the playoffs creep closer.
One other little talked about aspect of the future shortstop position is where does Jerry Hairston fit in? He could very well end up playing shortstop as a way to get on the field after Weeks and Gomez return from the DL. As I have documented in previous Yuni Watch editions, Hairston has good numbers at shortstop defensively, albeit with a somewhat small sample size. The bottom line is that if Yuni doesn’t continue to excel offensively, there are ample replacements more than qualified to step in and produce down the stretch.
I’m Calling You Out
Before I get into this rant, I want to acknowledge how much I respect this next man I will discuss. His selfless contributions to the local community are virtually unmatched. The amount of young men he has influenced in a positive manner has to be in the thousands. This type of person deserves to be recognized as one of the good guys in the community. That being said, I’m calling you out Tim O’Driscoll.
O’Driscoll is the official scorer for the Milwaukee Brewers. I’m not questioning his knowledge of the game, as his resume is terrific and without many flaws. I am, however, questioning the philosophy in which he scores the game. I believe he has been coddling the defense throughout the season. Doing this has helped downplay the terrible defense currently being played all over the diamond. We have been talking about the defense all season and we have speculated that the defense would be troublesome. Hopefully it will not cost the Brewers some games in the playoffs. This concern continues to be a nagging issue as the team nears an almost certain playoff berth.
My beef with O’Driscoll revolves around his consistent approach that a fielder has to be squared up in front of the baseball, and then misplay it, to be scored an error. There have been many, many times that Prince, McGehee, and Yuni all have not gotten in front of a ball, misplayed it, and O’Driscoll then rules the play a hit. The lack of range by these three fielders all contributed to the misplay. Quite simply, if a fielder CHOOSES to backhand a ball when they had time to get in front of it, an error needs to be scored every single time. This aspect needs to be taken more into account when looking at hits vs. errors.
O’Driscoll also struggles with outfield scoring decisions. For instance, there are ONLY two scenarios in which an outfielder will be charged with an error in Miller Park. 1) The outfielder makes a bad throw and runners advance. 2) A fielder is set in the outfield and drops a fly ball. That’s it. That’s the list (h/t Tony Kornheiser). O’Driscoll fails to take into account an outfielder taking a terrible angle to a ball and making the play much more difficult than it needed to be. Ryan Braun seems to do this on a weekly basis.
What surprises me most about O’Driscoll is that he is a longtime former coach of a good program. He should know better than just about anyone about fundamentals and how not executing them properly will result in the misplay of a baseball. The lack of range by the Milwaukee infielders have led to many balls being called hits because the fielder was nor set in front of the baseball. The lack of taking a proper angle in the outfield has led to many balls being called hits that should be errors. For this reason, while I respect the man tremendously, I am calling you out Tim O’Driscoll.
In Case You Missed It
Fox Sports baseball writer Ken Rosenthal has been paying attention to the Brewers as of late. Last week he wrote a great piece about the relationship between KRod and Axford. In truth, KRod has every right to be a tad bitter after he hasn’t been given the chance to close that he was promised. However, because of the absolute dominance of Axford, he hasn’t really had a choice to do anything but be a happy 8th inning camper.
Many people have questioned the chances of the Brewers staying strong down the stretch. I would point to the bullpen as an excellent example of why I feel this team will not fade. This bullpen sets up beautifully for the playoffs. When discussing bullpens, you always start from the back and work forward. There are very few teams that can match an Axford/ KRod combo. I have previously discussed the 7th inning duo of Saito and Hawkins. They have indeed been very, very good. Finally, I really like the balance that a Narveson/ Loe combo could provide for a lefty/righty situation in the late innings. These two guys really give RRR a nice set of alternatives when facing a team with a deep bench of talented hitters.
The second piece Rosenthal wrote had to do with several Brewers related themes. This column talked about the defense and how it could possibly cost the team a game in the playoffs. It was an enjoyable piece, but it certainly is about seven months too late, as this is a piece I dedicated entirely to the defense back in late January. I was concerned then and I’m still concerned today. In nail-biting, gut wrenching extra inning playoff games, a defensive gaffe is often the difference between a jubilant victory and a soul stealing defeat. As the Brewers continue to win at a torrid pace, the National media will continue to pick up the frequency of their coverage. I look forward to reading about the Brewers from a National perspective and I look forward to linking them as they come for your reading enjoyment.
Shameless Self Promotion
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