June 8, 2012

Neil Walker

Neil Walker is your clutch god

12 Comments

Update: Dejan’s tweet was a joke. My apologies for taking it seriously and using it to make a point. I don’t want to take the post down and I think my point still stands, but I want to make it clear that Mr. Kovacevic does not actually feel the way described below.

///

At least, that’s the theory being put forth by former Pirates beat guy turned columnist Dejan Kovacevic:

source:

And, yeah, there’s no doubt that Walker has been clutch over the course of his career. Look at his lines:

Bases empty: .247/.301/.365
Runners on: .320/.379/.480
RISP………..: .295/.363/.429
RISP w/2 outs: .257/.340/.396
Bases loaded: .565/.538/.913 (13-for-23, 1 HR)

So, the Pittsburgh media, or Kovacevic at least, celebrates Walker’s clutchness.

But why on earth should we? The idea that Walker steps up his performance for one or two at-bats every night instead of the four he gets? That he can’t be at his absolute best for the entire five to eight minutes he spends in the batter’s box a night, but only the five or 10 at-bats he gets per week in bigger situations?

That would be a failing, not a thing to celebrate.

Because if we accept that Walker is clutch — that his numbers with runners on and the bases loaded are no fluke — then we’re admitting he’s an awful hitter the other 60 percent of the time.

Now, I don’t think any of that is the case. Maybe Walker has some concentration issues that’s led to his splits, but I think it’s more likely that those splits will simply begin to even out with time. I don’t believe that Walker is a lousy hitter who turns into a good one with men on base, nor do I believe that he’s a great one who just doesn’t really try when no one is on. Neither explanation makes much sense to me.

Blue Jays expected to try for Carlos Quentin

quentin getty
5 Comments

From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Blue Jays “are expected to be among the teams targeting” Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin around this year’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Quentin is batting .481 with a 1.734 OPS, five home runs and nine RBI in eight games since returning from the disabled list in late May, and would be a nice addition to just about any contending team.

Which is why Toronto won’t be alone in its pursuit.

Quentin, 29, is making $7.025 million this year. He’s scheduled to become a free agent this winter.

Yoenis Cespedes expects to avoid second DL trip

Yoenis Cespedes
Leave a comment

Yoenis Cespedes suffered a strained left hamstring Thursday in his seventh game back from the disabled list, but he doesn’t think a return visit will be required, he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday.

Cespedes said he expects to miss the entire series against the Diamondbacks this weekend, but that he hopes to return next week.

Cespedes was 10-for-25 with a homer and five RBI since returning from a hand injury on June 1. In his absence, the A’s will likely go with an outfield of Seth Smith, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick in NL parks.