So just about everything you read today will center around Chone Figgins and his backwards accession to the leadoff spot. I’m sure that most people that take time to actually read the crap that I write, don’t come here with the intent to talk anymore about their frustration with Chone Figgins.
Most people are tired of him. His finale straw for many came, during his very poor showing, just last year. I can actually even picture the moment for me when I knew officially that Chone Figgins was a taboo subject and should be limited in blog post discussion if I really wanted any type of longevity with this blog.
I don’t remember quite what game it was, I thought maybe it was in late July or early August, while playing third base he booted a ball and it allowed the run to reach first. Everyone in Safeco jumped all over him with the boo birds and twitter exploded.
Cut scene back to this off-season.
The reports of the off-season dinner at Eric Wedges place surfaced and I thought about each person that was invited and Chone Figgins inclusion didn’t surprise me. The guys been borderline awful for two seasons but why? WHY!? It made no sense to me and really I’ve yet to hear someone break it down in a way that is logical and in my head gave me that “Okay, I can buy that scenario” reasoning.
I saw all this coming weeks ago.
What troubles me more is that for some reason the media and a large percentage of the fan base continue to hold some type of disdain for Ichiro. The accusations of dogging plays, being a difficult and overall selfishness confound me.
Further more there is all this talk about how is Ichiro going to “adapt” to being put in a “new” position. Let’s say Wedge puts Ichiro in the second spot. Even if Figgins becomes good –and I’m not trying to bring that argument up just for the sake of this discussion let’s just say that occurs–Ichiro is likely to hit in 60-65% of situations with no one on-base and is just like a lead-off hitter.
That’s of course assuming he’s put in the second “hole” position of the line-up.
It’s possible that Wedge puts him anywhere in the 3-9 spot. While I wouldn’t think he would be placed too far down in the line-up there still remains the possibility, however unlikely.
Looking at his situational stats on Baseball-Reference you can see that he was above league average in advancing the runners from 2nd with no outs and bringing in runners from 3rd with less than 2 outs and that’s a consistent thing through his career.
So it surprises me when people are worried about him sitting in another position in the batting order. He’s a capable contact hitter and just because he had a rough year last year doesn’t mean he forgot how to drive the ball (18%).
I’m not saying all this just to have cause to be optimistic, though you all know me as that sort of person anyways, but simply as a fact that Ichiro has shown in the past the ability to hit well in a variety of different situations.
He’s getting old and I don’t imagine that his speed will last forever. But the fact is that many of his talents that he’s used for years to be successful didn’t degrade in the way that many people think they did last year.
I don’t think he has a shot at hitting .400 or even north of .350. But I do think that there lies the realistic possibility for him to put together a quality season that helps this team and the organization.
I’m simply not worried about it and I think the idea of worry about it at this time is silly. It’s too early in the season and there are just too many variables to consider.