I have low standards for any mainstream baseball website, but this piece is definitely something.
If you don't want to click on the link, basically, the article praises Juan Uribe's new-found plate discipline, citing his nine walks in 28 games and "third on the team" .324 on-base percentage.
Breaking this down:
- Once again, 28 games doesn't mean much.
- Uribe's nine walks are not out of line with his past numbers. We're nearly a fourth of the way through the season, and Uribe averages 30 walks/season for his career. He's about two walks ahead of his career pace.
Perhaps the author of this piece is not familiar with the concept of regression to the mean. Uribe walked only 13 times last year; this number was very likely to bounce back. Scott Merkin probably spent his 2006 writing about how Carlos Beltran became an overnight superstar, and later this year we'll read his take on "Whatever happened to Luke Scott?"
- A .324 on-base percentage is not good. It's decent for a shortstop, but it is below the AL average. That it is third on the team is an indictment of the White Sox hitters, not praise for Uribe. Do you see the third-best starting pitcher on the Nationals bragging about it?
- Ozzie Guillen's decision to move Uribe to second in the batting order obviously hurts the South Siders, but it does make some sense coming from Ozzie, who as a player was basically Juan Uribe with less power.
I will never understand baseball's fascination with moving guys from the eighth or ninth spot in the order to first or second, if that spot opens up. That's like replacing your departing CEO with an employee from the mail room. When was the last time you saw an NL team bat its pitcher second because someone was getting a day off? Their bats are hidden at the bottom for a reason: they get the fewest at-bats that way. It should be the same for your light-hitting shortstop.
As an aside, I'm seeing a lot of teams use unorthodox leadoff hitters lately, guys like Morgan Ensberg, Scott Hatteberg, and even Scott Spiezio. These players' managers realize the importance of getting your leadoff man on base rather than making sure he can run fast. Until Ozzie learns this lesson, he's going to cost the Sox some wins with his lineup construction.