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Friday, March 01, 2013

MLB: Mets value OBP above SBs in search for leadoff man

The Nationals frequently scrawled Jayson Werth’s name first on their lineup card last year. The Orioles turned to Nick Markakis with plenty of success. The Yankees relied on Derek Jeter, while the Tigers gave the job to Austin Jackson. All of those teams made the playoffs. All of their leadoff men profiled as solid contact hitters with good—but not great—basestealing ability.

It is a model the Mets hope to copy this year, more out of necessity than anything else. The team leader in stolen bases last season was No. 3 hitter David Wright, who swiped 15. There’s a decent chance no Mets player will steal that many in 2013. So the Mets are no longer concerned with speed from their leadoff men, looking for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and/or Collin Cowgill to claim the job.

Those folks all seem to agree with the more modern definition of a leadoff man.

“Typically, it’s a guy who can get on base,” Cowgill said.

“You always remember the goal is to get on base,” Baxter agreed.

“On-base,” Nieuwenhuis added, “is everything.”

Thanks to Vance.

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2013 at 07:02 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. Jose Canusee Posted: March 01, 2013 at 08:05 AM (#4378171)
That taught me something about Austin Jackson. I had imprinted the 2011 version (184K, .317 OBP) and was surprised by his mention, not recognizing the .377 OBP 2012 AJ (with a less outrageous 134K, hence the over 50 points of BA added)
   2. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 01, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4378187)
Where once it was a radical idea, now it's almost passe. That movie Moneyball really changed things.
   3. Knock on any Iorg Posted: March 01, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4378196)
1) Bat Werth, Markakis, Jeter, or Jackson leadoff
2) ???
3) Make playoffs
4) Profit!
   4. JE (Jason) Posted: March 01, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4378213)
Where once it was a radical idea, now it's almost passe. That movie Moneyball really changed things.

That and putting OBP on the scoreboard.
   5. haven Posted: March 01, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4378243)
If Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and Collin Cowgill turn into Jayson Werth, Derek Jeter, Nick Markakis and Austin Jackson the Mets will be in the race.
   6. AROM Posted: March 01, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4378260)
The part that surprised me about Jackson was not being a base stealer. He's gone from 27-22-12 in his 3 years. Looks like he's still speedy though. My guess is the 2012 total will prove to be the aberration.
   7. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 01, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4378268)
I suppose it's a good thing that Met players are aware that OBP is important. I'm not sure how clear that was during the Minaya years. Otherwise, isn't this a 'the sky is blue!' sort of article?
   8. SavoyBG Posted: March 01, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4378283)
This is not exactly a revelation. I've known this for like 40 years at least.

   9. G.W.O. Posted: March 01, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4378300)
I like to imagine the Mets executives stumbling across this dramatic change in thinking while reading the NYT obituary of Earl Weaver.
   10. silhouetted by the sea Posted: March 01, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4378401)
I was going to say that we could count on dusty Baker to hols the line for the old school ways, but the Reds have penciled Shin-Soo Choo in as the leadoff hitter.
   11. billyshears Posted: March 01, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4378454)
Anyone can understand the OBP. It's actually getting on the base that's really the most important part.
   12. SavoyBG Posted: March 01, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4378494)
You can't steal first base.

   13. Walt Davis Posted: March 01, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4378568)
The part that surprised me about Jackson was not being a base stealer. He's gone from 27-22-12 in his 3 years. Looks like he's still speedy though. My guess is the 2012 total will prove to be the aberration.

Leyland has already said he wants to see him steal more so you're probably right but why would anybody want to risk a stolen base (with any frequency) in front of Cabrera and Fielder?

Jackson's K-rate did come down substantially (and walk rate up) which is great to see but he still doesn't "profile as a solid contact hitter" with a 22% K/PA rate. Regardless it was an excellent year for Jackson, improved in pretty much every way, and it will be interesting to see if he repeats it.
   14. Moeball Posted: March 01, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4378609)
MLB: Mets value OBP above SBs in search for leadoff man


Being as the Mets apparently think having a leadoff hitter focus on, you know, getting on base -is some radical new idea, it's clear that they're about 25-30 years behind the times. Therefore, I think I want to be wherever the Mets are when the world comes to an end - it should buy me several more years before doomsday comes.
   15. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 01, 2013 at 06:18 PM (#4378625)
Being as the Mets apparently think having a leadoff hitter focus on, you know, getting on base -is some radical new idea, it's clear that they're about 25-30 years behind the times.


Back in 1984 one of the first things Davey Johson did was promote Wally Backman to bat leadoff and demoted Mookie Wilson from leadoff to batting 6th... and the MSM howled and frothed at their collective mouths...
Eventually Oquendo went bust as a #2 hitter, Mookie got moved up to #2- and to lead off when Backman's platoon partner (Chapman) was playing, Backman stayed leadoff when starting...

but that was then, Johnson was canned in 1990, Vince Coleman was brought in as a FA... and years later Omar Minaya once responded to a question regarding OBP by saying, "that's not something we look at"
   16. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 02, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4379160)
Omar Minaya once responded to a question regarding OBP by saying, "that's not something we look at"


Even if true, which I doubt, his teams were built around Beltran, Wright, Floyd, Delgado, Castillo, S. Green, Reyes, Alou, and dozen bit players with strong OBP.
   17. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 02, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4379192)
I was going to say that we could count on dusty Baker to hols the line for the old school ways, but the Reds have penciled Shin-Soo Choo in as the leadoff hitter.

Hard to believe the Reds won the division with their leadoff hitters slashing .208/.254/.327. Choo will be a big upgrade - well worth the fielding tradeoff.
   18. billyshears Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4380113)
Deleted due to to weird browser misfire.
   19. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 09:05 PM (#4385186)
From SI.com in 2006.

While I yield to no one in my loathing for Minaya's reign, as of 2006 he wasn't clueless regarding OBP, as the quote makes clear. Still and all, that doesn't explain his acquisitions in his last season, which seemed oblivious to the value of getting on base.

"I'm not going to lie to you: Ideally, we'd love to see him improve his on-base percentage," said Mets GM Omar Minaya about Reyes. "In a perfect world, yes, you want your leadoff guy to have a high on-base percentage. But with Reyes you can't just look at on-base percentage. Look at his total bases. This guy hits doubles and triples. That's what I look at when I look at Jose Reyes.

"And can you imagine if he improves his on-base percentage on top of what he is already? My goodness, you're talking about a great, great player."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/tom_verducci/06/20/reyes/index.html

The quote people are thinking of is probably from before his Mets tenure. From the USS Mariner:

Omar Minaya, the strip miner
DMZ · October 6, 2003 at 9:58 pm · Filed Under Mariners
OMAR MINAYA

“The Strip Miner”

Over 1,000 Words of Goodness

Because you demanded it!

Omar’s in a difficult situation, and this is what people will point to when they excuse his faults: “What else is he going to do, given that his team is owned by MLB?”

And I agree, a little, in that I’ll give him some sympathy. Beyond that, his record in Montreal and his general outlook offer little evidence that Minaya would be a good general manager in Seattle.

One thing we agree on here at the U.S.S. Mariner is that when you look for a GM candidate, you should look for someone adaptable, willing to learn. Minaya will not learn, and seems to have a great deal of disdain for those who do. One of my favorite Minaya quotes is “I don’t talk about on-base percentage. I’m old school. I’m not a stat guy. I’m a talent evaluator. The guys who taught me the game of baseball never talked about on-base percentage. Give me talent and I’ll give you on-base percentage.”He’s got a ton of gems like that. Two years as Montreal’s GM, the team went 83-79 twice. The problem is that Minaya knew he wasn’t going to be around for a while and essentially has left the Expos minor league system in a state that (were it in the US, anyway) might qualify it as a Superfund cleanup project.


http://www.ussmariner.com/2003/10/06/omar-minaya-the-strip-miner/

A little weirdness in 2007, as reported by Salfino and linked to on BTF:

"The major focus of the Minaya interview was the rumored switch of David Wright to the second spot of the lineup. At one point, Minaya even sought advice from Keith Hernandez on the move (Hernandez seemed somewhat conflicted, though generally supportive). Note that Willie Randolph has batted Wright second almost exclusively of late.

“Our stat guys like Wright batting second because of his historical OBP (on-base percentage),” said Minaya. “He’ll get 50 or 60 more at bats and that’s going to get us more runs when Reyes is on. And he’s easier to get home when he’s on base because he runs well. But what I think about is what happens if Reyes makes an out? Then you have a 100-RBI guy not able to drive someone in. It’s Willie’s decision. I can see how it makes sense statistically. Willie hasn’t told me what he’ll do if Alou isn’t playing that day. Where do you bat LoDuca then?”

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/sny_salfino4

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