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Sunday, December 29, 2013

It’s the ‘old-school baseball skills’ that help make Shin-Soo Choo perfect fit for Rangers lineup

In the vision of the Rangers, who have spent the off-season trying to remake the offense into a more patient and efficient group, it makes Choo worth every penny.

“We use the term ‘good fit’ a lot when we look at players to add, but in this case, it was the perfect fit,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “His skill set, his personality and his personal goals line up with ours and what our club needed. He’s been one of the most productive offensive players in the game. I’m not sure the casual fan realizes that. But he creates run-scoring opportunities for himself and others.”

What Choo’s contract does is put real value on on-base percentage, a statistic most baseball executives value far above batting average or any “counting” stats like RBIs, home runs and steals.

If you measure that way, Choo’s deal actually comes out as something of a bargain. Consider that over the past five years, Choo ranks fifth in the majors in OBP. The four guys ahead of him: Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera. All have deals worth significantly more than the one Choo signed Friday.  Of that group, Choo is the only one to have both 75 homers and 75 steals. Sheesh, he’s the only one with 50 homers and 50 steals.

And he’s done it while seeing, on average, more than four pitches per plate appearance. Last season, for example, he saw 4.23 pitches per plate appearance. It was the third straight season the average either held steady or went up.

“He’s the type of guy that believes in sharing,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s that one guy that can come back and express to those other guys what he feels the pitcher has working and what he feels he doesn’t have working. Those are old-school baseball skills and he brings that.”

Thanks to Topsy Barnald.

Repoz Posted: December 29, 2013 at 02:51 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers, sabermetrics

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   1. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 29, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4625843)
If you measure that way, Choo’s deal actually comes out as something of a bargain.


"If Jon Daniels puts it that way, I'd repeat it verbatim because it ensures continued access so I can pretend I'm a journalist".
   2. tfbg9 Posted: December 29, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4625970)
Nice hair Choo.
   3. Bug Selig Posted: January 01, 2014 at 01:36 AM (#4627531)
"If Jon Daniels puts it that way, I'd repeat it verbatim because it ensures continued access so I can pretend I'm a journalist".


Other than issues you may have with the author, what's wrong with the point he's making? Votto, Fielder, Mauer, and Cabrera are all paid way more than Choo, and Miggy is the only one you'd obviously rather have going forward. Personally, I'd take Votto, but it's not a slam dunk - and I'd be stunned if either Mauer or Prince produce as much as Choo over the next X years.
   4. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: January 01, 2014 at 05:56 AM (#4627540)
Those are all terrible comps, for a variety of reasons.

Botto is a year younger than Choo, giving them one more prime year of his. He is way better. and over the 7 years of Shoo's contract is being paid a total of 13m more.

Fielder was three years younger than Shoo is now, when he signed. Was wildly considered a massive overpay at the time. And the Tiger's were so enamored that they dumped 30m, and took another bad contract back, just to get rid of him.

Cabrera was 26 the first season of his extension (I think I am reading that right). Signing a 26 year old to a long contract is vastly different than signing a 31 y/o. And, you know, he is generally awesome.

Mauer was 28 the first season of his extension. Coming off back to back MVP caliber seasons (4th and 1st in voting). A catcher with a 136 career OPS+. A home town hero.And didn't have the health questions he has now (although not entirely unsurprising for a C).
   5. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 01, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4627575)
Of that group, Choo is the only one to have both 75 homers and 75 steals. Sheesh, he’s the only one with 50 homers and 50 steals.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED that none of Mauer, Cabrera, Votto, or Fielder have that many stolen bases in the last 5 years. What useless cherry picking.
   6. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 01, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4627608)
Nothing says "old school baseball skill" like OBP. Nothing revisionist about that position. Nope, nothing at all.
   7. Bug Selig Posted: January 01, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4627623)
Those are all terrible comps, for a variety of reasons.


Again, his point was that if you want a guy who gets on base more than Choo - you're going to pay more and you probably won't get a better player (assuming DD isn't answering the phone). I guess we can sit around and hope that somebody we like better starts getting on base more, but for now, that's the group. The fact that the others are all first basemen with varying health issues is a point in Choo's favor - the dissimilarity being unambiguously a good thing.
   8. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 01, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4627665)
He’s the kind of guy who excels in getting on base and does so in a way that positively impacts the rest of the lineup.

This is pure unadulterated gibberish. Honestly, why does anyone employ Evan Grant?
   9. BDC Posted: January 01, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4627693)
TFA is not gibberish – it's more that most comparisons in life that involve the last five years are more or less self-destructing: not just in baseball, but in health, wealth, happiness, and world peace in general. How many walks Prince Fielder drew in 2009 is an indicator with precious little shelf life remaining.

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