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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FG: Shin-Soo Choo’s Lost Season

A fan has gotten more press than him lately, never mind Hyun-jin Ryu…

The Rangers signed [Shin-soo] Choo to a seven-year, $130 million contract in the offseason, expecting 4-win player for at least a couple more years. What they’ve gotten is exactly replacement level production. Choo’s WAR is currently 0.0…

Choo’s batting average on balls in play this year is .309. That’s pretty normal, even a little high compared to the league average. But Choo has never been average when it comes to turning balls in play into hits. His career .346 BABIP over 4,000 plate appearances is one of the highest in MLB history…

Choo just appears to be losing his ability to hit to the opposite field. Which, combined with declining speed that won’t come back, makes Choo’s future as a .350 BABIP hitter seem bleak…

it’s not outside pitches where Choo is struggling. It’s the ones right down the middle. In fact, Choo’s .250 slugging percentage on pitches right down the heart of the plate is only better than Zack Cozart‘s .214 and Nick Castellanos‘ .240… Going hand-in-hand with Choo’s inability to hit pitches down the middle are his struggles against fastballs. Last year: .393 average, .338 isolated slugging percentage against heaters. This year: .256 average, .163 (!) ISO.

These are red flags for someone with Choo’s track record and consistency… At this point, it would almost be better for Texas if Choo was trying to fight through an injury this season and not just slowly deteriorating. It was no secret that the Rangers took on one of the worst contracts in baseball this offseason when they acquired Prince Fielder and it doesn’t look any better one neck surgery later. If this version of Shin-Soo Choo is anything like what we can expect moving forward, the once-powerhouse Rangers could find themselves with two of the very worst contracts in baseball on the books through 2020, a best player going on 36 years of age and seemingly an entire pitching staff of rebuilt arms and knees.

The District Attorney Posted: August 13, 2014 at 03:40 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers, sabermetrics, shin-soo choo

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   1. T.J. Posted: August 13, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4770439)
He's certainly killed my fantasy baseball team (YES, NOBODY CARES), along with lost seasons from Crush Davis, Jason Kipnis, and David Wright. That's a lot of lettuce for some suck-@$$ performances.
   2. BDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4770453)
The first thing that comes to mind when one tries to explains something like this is injury. Clearly, something is throwing off the mechanics that Choo has proven the ability to repeat for the previous six years. He didn’t just forget his swing. He could be playing through an injury

Choo sprained an ankle on 21 April in Oakland; he was batting .314/.432/.500. He missed a week and now admits he came back too fast. The gamelogs are a bit deceptive, because after he returned to the lineup he hit .545 for the next week. But he's hit .210 over the past three months, and every story in the DFW media about him has mentioned that it's exactly that, playing through an injury. That doesn't make his performance any better, or exempt him from getting three months older in the process, but it's the accepted explanation around here.
   3. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: August 13, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4770509)
Sort of related, I wonder if the Rangers are in the discussion for the worst injury season for a team ever.
   4. ursus arctos Posted: August 13, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4770515)
I recently saw him at Citi Field and he just seemed out of sorts (including having difficulty with fastballs, as the article notes). A lot of local Koreans had come just to see him and a number of them were wondering what was wrong. An injury seems the most likely explanation.
   5. Bote Man Posted: August 13, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4770539)
BABIP is a measure of the defense, not offense.
   6. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: August 13, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4770549)
Sort of related, I wonder if the Rangers are in the discussion for the worst injury season for a team ever.

I think they're in the discussion, but I'm not sure any team ever beats the 1985 Cubs... On one hand, it was a really old team that somehow managed to stay pretty healthy the previous year, but it's hard to top having your entire rotation, one through five, on the DL at the same time.
   7. Buzzkill Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:19 PM (#4770659)
Choo is absolutely hurt. Not walking, not running. BDC got it right.
   8. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 05:38 AM (#4770797)
BABIP is a measure of the defense, not offense.

Except for the part where this isn't true, sure.

BABIP has always shown persistent patterns for hitters -- unlike for pitchers, it's a skill. It's a bit of a wily one, but it is one, and any cursory examination of the data will show you that.
   9. CFBF Rides The Zombie Ice Dragon Posted: August 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4770893)
An inability to hit fastballs down the middle? Sounds like Choo has come down with BJ Upton Fever. My deepest sympathies, Rangers fans.
   10. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4770922)
I think they're in the discussion, but I'm not sure any team ever beats the 1985 Cubs... On one hand, it was a really old team that somehow managed to stay pretty healthy the previous year, but it's hard to top having your entire rotation, one through five, on the DL at the same time.

The most consistently injured team I can remember was the 2009 Mets, the team led in homers by Daniel Murphy with 12. Murphy was the only person who stayed in the lineup the whole year.

They were 28-21 at the end of May, and for the rest of the year they went 42-71.

They expected Ryan Church to be their starting RF, which is a problem right there. Not to mention starting catcher Ramon Castro.

Jose Reyes's season ended May 9.

Carlos Delgado's season ended May 16.

JJ Putz's season ended June 4.

Billy Wagner was injured until August, and when he came back he was immediately traded to the Red Sox.

Luis Castillo sprained his ankle in the dugout and missed 2 weeks.

David Wright was hit in the head with a pitch and missed 2 weeks.

Carlos Beltran was out for all of July and August. So was John Maine.

Johan Santana's season ended August 20.
Oliver Perez's season ended August 23.
Having already released Livan Hernandez, at this point their rotation consisted of Mike Pelfrey, Nelson Figueroa, Pat Misch, Bobby Parnell, and Tim Redding.

Read on for more, including the Bernazard fight, the apple booing, the DJ AM tragedy...
   11. The Good Face Posted: August 14, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4770923)
#2 is absolutely correct. Choo wanted to play and the team indulged him. It's supposedly one of those injuries that he can't really make worse by playing on it (skeptical, but whatever), and it's not like the depleted Texas organization had anybody worthwhile to replace him with.

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