Ichiro Is Fine

There has been a lot of press recently on how Ichiro has lost a step but it’s all propaganda.

Analysis: The main stream media wants you to think Ichiro isn’t Ichiro for some reason. However, all you have to do is look at the numbers and you’ll see Ichiro is still Ichiro, he’s just “sleeping” if you will. Ichiro’s BABIP is down over 75 points from his career average of .354. To add insult to injury, Ichiro has his lowest strikeout ratio(8.0 K%) since his rookie year in 2001(7.7 K%). Furthering the insult, Ichiro’s walk rate(7.4%) is his highest since 2002(9.3%). The media is making a huge deal that the outfielder is homerless through sixty-three games but Ichiro only hit six bombs last year. Not to make excuses but Safeco, next to Petco is the most pitcher friendly park in the bigs over the last five years. But you didn’t draft Ichiro for the power did you? It’s understandable to be frustrated with his batting average but he has been one unlucky guy this year. He’s putting the ball in play more than ever and he’s not getting rewarded. BABIP is a crazy thing, it can make Carlos Gonzalez look like a top ten pick(see my Febuary 20th article explaining that he wasn’t) and it can make Aaron Hill look just awful.

Projection: Ichiro is still on pace to steal 35-40 bags this year, that’s special when considering he’s hitting just .252. Expect four homers, twenty plus steals and a batting average over .300 in Ichiro’s remaining games.

Stolen Bases Breakdown

Issue: 30 hitters have 70 or more stolen bases over the last 4 seasons. We have the usual suspects stereotyped as mostly one-trick ponies with a couple of multiple category contributors thrown into the mix, but are there some wrinkles and surprises here?

Facts: 2007 to 2010

# R A N K
Player SB PA R HR RBI BA SB BA RBI HR PA
Juan Pierre 202 2294 293 2 147 .288 1 9 22 30 18
Carl Crawford 182 2433 368 53 295 .302 2 4 7 14 13
Jose Reyes 175 2297 333 41 194 .286 3 11 17 16 17
Michael Bourn 172 1930 267 11 108 .263 4 26 27 25 22
Chone Figgins 159 2454 329 10 169 .289 5 6 19 26 12
B.J. Upton 150 2424 339 62 266 .261 6 28 11 11 14
Ichiro Suzuki 148 2895 376 29 199 .332 7 1 16 17 1
Hanley Ramirez 145 2670 443 107 330 .319 8 2 3 1 4
Rajai Davis 142 1438 193 12 128 .283 9 13 24 24 26
Jacoby Ellsbury 136 1510 222 20 130 .291 10 5 22 20 25
Jimmy Rollins 136 2522 363 70 271 .270 11 23 9 10 8
Brian Roberts 132 2398 348 41 208 .288 12 9 15 15 15
Shane Victorino 132 2479 366 54 235 .281 13 19 14 13 10
Willy Taveras 127 1420 191 4 69 .266 14 26 30 29 27
Alexis Rios 107 2647 357 77 323 .281 15 19 5 7 5
Bobby Abreu 101 2717 407 71 382 .282 16 14 2 9 3
Matt Kemp 98 2303 319 82 308 .288 17 7 6 6 16
Brandon Phillips 96 2642 365 89 329 .275 18 21 4 4 6
David Wright 95 2734 403 102 406 .304 19 3 1 2 2
Ian Kinsler 95 2249 372 78 263 .279 20 20 12 5 19
Coco Crisp 93 1543 221 24 153 .269 21 22 21 19 24
Nyjer Morgan 92 1403 175 4 77 .283 22 13 29 28 29
Ryan Theriot 91 2575 318 13 166 .282 23 17 20 23 7
Scott Podsednik 89 1598 190 16 125 .287 24 11 25 22 23
Grady Sizemore 88 2136 307 75 245 .262 25 27 13 8 21
Brett Gardner 86 994 163 8 86 .268 26 24 28 27 30
Jason Bartlett 84 2163 284 24 193 .282 27 16 18 18 20
Chris Young 80 2488 318 96 286 .241 28 30 8 3 9
Johnny Damon 79 2467 376 61 267 .282 29 15 10 12 11
Carlos Gomez 77 1420 182 17 123 .246 30 29 26 21 28

 

Analysis: Juan Pierre is in the 7th in BA. Carl Crawford’s counting categories are as strong as Ellsbury’s are weak, yet Ellsbury’s 5th ranked BA seems a waste in the 9th hole in Fenway in 2011. Chone Figgins is 6th in BA. B.J. Upton’s BA is where I thought it would be, but his rankings in HR, RBI, and PA should easily be in the top 7 or 8. However, they’re not. Ichiro is barely out of the top half in HR and RBI, despite his swing, his home park, and always batting leadoff. No surprise, but I’ve got to shout it anyway–Hanley is a stud! Rollins puts up top 11 or better counting stats, but only 6 of these guys still in The Show are worse in BA. Despite his lost time due to injuries Roberts is in the top half in every category. Victorino is no slouch either. Willy Taveras…Willy Taveras, are you kidding me? Rios’ BA is stronger than I remembered and those counting stats are very good. I’d be in love with Bobby Abreu if he was a little younger or the Angels a lot better; his BA is in the top half and only Wright has more RBI. Despite his woes last season Kemp’s BA is 7th. Matt didn’t play full time until 2008.¬†As a 5 category contributor in the past, his upside looks very good with Donnie Baseball Mattingly. Only Brandon Phillips’ BA limits his ¬†stellar value. Is Sizemore’s BA really that low? Only 3 of the 30 had lower batting averages, but after all that missed playing time he made the list. Gardner indeed is a one trick pony thus far. Bartlett has been a steady contributor, except last season. If you can take the big hit on BA, Chris Young is the Man. Damon still made the list? Yes, and with respectful counting stats. Will the Wizard Maddon chance a few more attempts at The Trop? Maybe…

Projections:

SB Threat AVG R RBI HR SB AB
Carl Crawford 0.292 101 81 16 47 635
Ian Kinsler 0.274 91 68 18 23 525
Ichiro Suzuki 0.306 81 46 9 34 665
Jacoby Ellsbury 0.277 83 51 8 50 559
Brett Gardner 0.269 95 55 7 44 530
Alexis Rios 0.269 77 76 17 28 581
Bobby Abreu 0.266 82 80 16 22 547
Juan Pierre 0.274 81 48 3 51 598
B.J. Upton 0.249 86 64 14 41 570
Rajai Davis 0.277 66 51 6 43 483
Brian Roberts 0.273 83 57 11 27 558
Chone Figgins 0.268 81 43 4 37 590
Grady Sizemore 0.25 75 67 18 20 509
Johnny Damon 0.267 80 59 14 14 512
Coco Crisp 0.262 70 51 11 31 458
Rajai Davis 0.277 66 51 6 43 483
Scott Podsednik 0.282 39 30 4 17 320
Hanley Ramirez 0.306 102 85 25 31 591
David Wright 0.288 92 96 23 21 601
Matt Kemp 0.276 89 88 24 27 612
Jose Reyes 0.282 89 62 13 36 609
Brandon Phillips 0.267 89 79 19 21 635
Michael Bourn 0.261 88 43 5 52 606
Shane Victorino 0.271 87 62 14 28 579
Chris Young 0.244 81 76 21 19 579
Jimmy Rollins 0.248 73 60 14 28 543
Jason Bartlett 0.276 74 55 8 20 517
Nyjer Morgan 0.27 66 35 3 32 496
Ryan Theriot 0.275 68 38 4 18 532
Carlos Gomez 0.252 62 43 7 22 446

 

{6-4-3 Assists to Baseball-Reference, Last Player Picked, Marcel.}