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Baseball: Chris Shelton

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posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 12:30 PM
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What is up with this guy? I've never heard of him before this season, and now he's playing like an all-star. I know it's only 13 games into the season, but I have expected him to cool off by now.

He hit his Major-League leading 8th HR today. That alsoi gave hime the lead in RBI with 16. He leads in Slugging % with 1.178 first in OPS with 1.667, and is second in Average with .467. he is also tied for the lead in Triples with 3.

I don't know how long his hot-streak will continue, but I hope it's long enough for him to make the All-Star team. I love seeing new All-Stars rising up, rather than seeing the same ones every year.




posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 09:50 PM
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Dear GiantsFan,

Well, I've never heard of this guy before, but maybe that's just because he was born after World War II.
(That's me, laughing at myself.)

Obviously those are awesome numbers. He was a very part-time player in 2004, with only 46 at bats plus an impressive 9 walks--a ratio which, if kept up, would guarantee a great lifetime OBP. Unfortunately, he also hit .196 that year, but the walks saved him for a .321 OBP. He had but one double and 1 HR, he made no errors in the 15 games he played in the field.

In 2005, he was in 107 games and his patient batting eye went to hell, as he drew all of 34 walks in 431 plate appearances. But he batted .299 and, much more impressive, slugged .510. He had about 1 HR every 21.5 AB's and 1 RBI every 6.5 AB's. Those are OK figures, but they obviously gave no indication of the kind of numbers you're talking about.

Defensively, he has an average glove and well above-average range at 1B, so far. And he's a big guy for his height, standing a modest-for-1B six feet tall, but weighing 220 pounds.

I HATE it that such a weight carries--at least in my mind--a certain amount of suspicion with it, but such is life in modern MLB. Lou Gehrig was a mediocre defensive 1B at best, was tremendously powerful (of course), also stood six feet tall, and weighed "only" 200 pounds. And we know he was clean.

And for that matter, I am 2 inches taller than either of them, and when I was young (i.e., before I stopped smoking cigarettes), 200 pounds was more than I weighed and would have been regarded by my doctor as overweight. Of course, I didn't exactly have Lou Gehrig's musculature.... Just that overhand right cross which some deity familiar with my abrasiveness decided (wisely) I would need to protect myself.

Anyway, GiantsFan, if this guy really HAS gotten THAT much better all of a sudden, I guess you know what everyone--by no means just me--will attribute it to. But maybe he has improved a lot, without suddenly turning into an awesome behemoth. And maybe, after 1.25 years of seasoning, he's on his way to a fine career, even though he obviously cannot maintain THIS pace.

Thanks for your post, and I shall be watching this guy.

BHN



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 09:57 PM
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Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
Anyway, GiantsFan, if this guy really HAS gotten THAT much better all of a sudden, I guess you know what everyone--by no means just me--will attribute it to.


From what I hear, Shelton was quite the stud in College... so maybe he just had a slow start to his career. Maybe some new coaching there in Detroit.. maybe some pointers from Pudge? I don'[t know what is, but I want some



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 10:45 PM
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Dear Giants Fan,

OK, you have hit one of my hot points....

This is not a popular point of view, but I think Pudge Rodriguez is seriously overrated, as a hitter. Yeah, he has a .304 lifetime batting average, but for a guy with his bat speed, batting average and power to have a career WALK percentage per plate appearance of only 5.31 is horrible, and it's why, despite his high lifetime batting average, his lifetime on-base percentage is a modest .343. A career batting average of .304 doesn't mean much, if your on-base percentage is .343.

Far MORE meaningful, of course, are his 11 Gold Gloves, including the 10 in a row, although sometimes players rack up strings of Gold Gloves more on reputation than statistical reality (see, e.g., many of Junior Griffey's Gold Gloves and his accompanying stats). Pudge's career fielding percentage is 11% BELOW average for a catcher of his time, but I believe that is because of all the throws he makes to various bases trying to nail, and sometimes in fact nailing, baserunners--exactly like Clemente. And for that, the occasional throwing error is well worth the trade off for all the guys nailed on the bases, just as was true with Clemente, whose fielding percentage was far more below average than Pudge's.

So yeah, despite the low fielding percentage, I think Pudge deserves all the Gold Gloves he's gotten. His "range factor" also says he has about 10% better range than the average catcher, and obviously that's a huge thing. And Lord, how he hath shone in the big games. If you don't believe me, ask other SF Giants fans who watched that S.F.-Florida series!

Texas's ballpark is, in my opinion, a big help for hitters. No coincidence, then, that Pudge's slugging figures are down in the three years since he left there. Still, even if you knock 15 points or so off of Pudge's career slugging average, it's still at .472. That's a lot better than most catchers. As it is, he's at .487, just barely ahead of Yogi Berra (Bill James' #1 catcher), 11 points ahead of Johnny Bench (James' #2), and only 13 points behind Campanella (James' #3; my #1).

So I guess, in rating Pudge, it comes down to: (1) how much he benefitted from that park in Arlington [a lot, I think]; (2) how much the ball has been juiced since 1990; (3) how much he's benefitted from "modern" retro parks with tiny foul areas and shallow fences; and (4) how much you want to slam him for that lame on-base %.

I think he has to be slammed a lot for that OBP. I don't pretend to know for sure about Items (1)-(3), above, any more than I pretend to know if Pudge is legit. But on the latter score, I am aware of zero evidence--either direct or circumstantial--that Pudge is a steroid/HGH cheat, and I've never heard/read anything to the contrary.

And now, as he's basically at the point where the human body CANNOT catch any more games (James says it's 1800-1900 games, and Pudge had caught 1,811 coming into this season), and he is allegedly only 34 years old, we will see if he has a marvelous explosion of numbers at this impossible point in time. I really hope that doesn't happen, because this is a guy almost everyone would hate to see turn into a blatant cheat, I think.

I don't think he'll do that. But I also think people have significantly overrated his value from an offensive standpoint. He's played 15 years coming into this season, he's been a guy pitchers have feared for a long time, he has 56 career intentional walks, and he STILL has only 411 TOTAL career walks???

That is a pathetic statistic, and it has made an enormous difference in the number of times he has gotten on base, and thus the number of runs he has scored/created. And his power is greatly overstated, as he has averaged 1 HR every 27.27 at bats in his career.

I don't mean this post to compare Pudge to Ray Schalk (a ludicrously undeserving Hall of Fame catcher from the 1910's and 1920's, credited with being one of the few honest guys on the Black Sox team), nor to say he's a lousy player. When his time comes, if someone decided I should have a vote, Pudge's great defensive skills and good offensive skills would get my vote for enshrinement into the H.O.F.--and NOT because jokes like Schalk have gotten in. Strictly on his own legitimate merit.

But I think that when he retires, we will hear lots of talk that he, not Berra, Campanella, Bench or Mickey Cochrane, was the greatest "overall" catcher of all time. And I mean, I think such talk will be pervasive on places like ESPN, where the talking heads know nothing about those other players but are quick to say someone or something is "the greatest of all time."

I have foreseen this for a long time. I'm sure it's coming, and I'm equally sure they're going to be full of s... when they say it.

BHN



posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 08:14 PM
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The guy that played so well during the first part of the season... almost all-star like... has been traded today and will be playing with Triple-A Toledo. I was hoping he would have played well enough to make the All-Star game, which never happened, and looks like it'll be a while before he gets another crack at Major league Pitching. Watching at the beginning of the season it was clear he has a lot of potential.



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