From today’s chat on ESPN.com:
Q: Buster, why doesn’t Polanco get more credit for being one of the best second basemen in the game? He’s MY Tiger.
My answer, as a random college student who follows baseball because he loves it and is not paid for it whatsoever, would be that he isn’t given more credit because he isn’t one of the best second basemen in the game. Without doing any research, I would say that he doesn’t hit nearly well enough to be considered one of the best. Buster says:
A: Rudy, I’m with you; I’d want him on my team (if I had a team) because the guy does so many things well. Might not be the fastest guy, might not hit for the most power, but he makes plays, and he hits against good and bad pitchers.
I’m not even sure where to start. Well, yes I am. I’ll start with Polanco’s career OPS+ of 97 (that means he’s below average offensively). That would serve to confirm my immediate suspicion that Polanco does not receive credit because he doesn’t deserve it. So that’s that.
Also, does Buster realize what he’s saying? Here’s his translated answer:
“I’d want him on my team because he does lots of things well. Here are two important things he can’t do well. But he occasionally does things well, and he occasionally does things well against a variety of pitchers”
Contradictions and inconsistencies abound. I am also super curious about Buster’s last remark (“he hits against good and bad pitchers”). First, I am positive Buster did not look that up. I don’t even know how you would find that, but I’m sure he didn’t try. Secondly, with a career OPS+ of 97, Polanco doesn’t hit all that well against pitchers in general, regardless of caliber. Lastly, it’s baseball. Bad hitters hit good pitchers, and good hitters fail against bad pitchers. Lots of players get hits off good and bad pitchers.
One last thing. Buster has this really annoying habit of omitting the subject from a sizable percentage of his sentences. For example, “Might not be the fastest guy” in his response. Does this often in his blog, where he regularly writes “Talked to a general manager today” or “Spoke to Bud Selig this afternoon”. Drives me crazy. Understand what he means, but just a sloppy way of writing. Needs to represent Vanderbilt University better.