Fire Jim Tracy

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

But Is It True?

This, normally, would be a fairly inauspicious piece about Florida's middle infielders. But this quote, by an un-named scout, stood out:

"They're the best,'' one scout said. "All you had to do was watch them in the postseason two years ago. They wouldn't have beaten the Cubs without the defense by those guys. And their defense was a big reason why they beat the Yankees. Those two guys are great.''

Are either of those statements, that "they wouldn't have beaten the Cubs without the defense by those two guys" or that "their defense was a big reason why they beat the Yankees" true? Gonzalez's career OPS of .682 is remarkably Cora-esque, which is why I bring it up in the first place (Cora's career OPS appears to be a devilish .666, yet another reason why Cleveland appears to be a perfect fit.), though in all fairness to Cora, Cora does not have the 125 strikeouts a year to go with it. In any event, do these magical powers to turn playoff water into wine exist?


  • The only "defense" (har de har har) for such a comment is that defense has a larger impact in a playoff series than it does in a 162 game regular season. Offense can and will disappear but good defense is a constant. A glove does not suddenly go bad--it can be counted on. Hitting, on the other hand, can be a fickle thing. Bonds for years was known as a playoff choker (silly, I know) until the Angel series. Some of the mediots thought Bonds wasn't a truly great player because he struggled in the post-season. And the 2005 Cardinals went into a gang-slump against Boston after a spectacular regular season.

    So, in a short series, where luck is a very big factor, defense plays a bigger part than it otherwise would. I think that's what the scout was trying to say. I still like the big bats over a glove and I wouldn't be caught dead saying the Floridians had the best keystone in all of baseball but I submit the above analysis humbly, devoid of research, for what it's worth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/09/2005 07:00:00 PM  

  • That all seems right. The scout's statement seems like an impossible burden of proof, but I didn't set it. It seems to me like if the Cubs had had anything resembling a bullpen, that sentence doesn't get said or written.

    By Blogger Steve, at 2/09/2005 08:32:00 PM  

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