Friday, February 27, 2015

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things...Again

From David O'Brien's recent column on non-roster invitees, we get this little nugget. "He" in the following quote is Fredi Gonzalez.
“I think the world of Eric Young,” he said. “He can really bring a different dynamic that we haven’t had here since Michael Bourn, leading off against right-handed pitching or whatever you want to do. So that’s an exciting non-roster invitee, really.”
This is why Fredi Gonzalez is a mental midget. Now, most managers are, but this is a Braves blog so try to stay focused here. To compare EY Jr and Bourn, you have to drop all of their particulars skills aside from one, which appears to be the only dynamic Fredi is looking at. Speed. In that category, he is absolutely right. Young, like Bourn, is fast.

But that's not what Fredi ultimately says. He likens EY Jr. to Bourn as a possible leadoff option against right-handed pitching.

Is that a real comparison? In the one full season that Bourn was in Atlanta, his OBP was about .350 against right-handed pitching, or roughly six points higher than his career average. That's a pretty stout OBP and you probably can tell where I am going by focusing on that number. There are better stats, but for lead-off hitters, very few are more important than OBP.

Let's compare that with Eric Young's son. Last year, Young on-based .316 against right-handed pitching. The year before? Try a .305 OBP. Career-wise, it's a .321 OBP. If you believe in LOR, or leadoff rating (check this article for more), Young's LOR against righties is .239, or well below what we would consider a decent LOR for possible options leading off.

Yet, it sounds like Fredi is considering Young for a spot leading off against right-handed pitching. Why? The only possible explanation is that he's fast. It's fairly depressing in 2015 that this mindset still exists. The information is readily available. I'm not saying there's no room for Young on the 2015 roster...depending on the bench's makeup, he's a reasonable option. But he should only be the 25th guy on your team. Sadly, because some fictional book said you need speed leading off, that appears like a possibility for the upcoming year. Of course, this guy also batted Andrelton Simmons lead-off so in retrospect, Young might be an improved option.

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