Tagged: underrated

We Love The Little Guys

You know, the Yankees have a 4 game losing streak, Mark Teixeira is slumping badly, and our pitching smells like donkey, but that’s totally irrelevant(sarcasm). I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and the more I think about it the less riled up I get about it, but I still want to share this with you since I figure it makes for an interesting blog and I don’t want to rant about the lack of consistency we’ve had this year and our completely suckiness with runners on base.

So, allow me to share with you just exactly what “We Love The Little Guys” is supposed to mean.

I’ll commence this discussion with sharing a little fact with you: did you know that Jason Bartlett was 18th in the MVP voting in 2008? Yes, Jason Bartlett. The speedy but not that speedy, average hitting, powerless Jason Bartlett(although he is the proud owner of 4 home runs this season).

That Jason Bartlett(although if it were any other random Jason Bartlett, we’d have to behead the guy(s) who voted for him).

Somehow, even though he hit .286 and had a .329 OBP, even though he had an 82 OPS+, he still managed to not only be in 18th place for Most Valuable Player, but he was also voted the Tampa Bay Rays Most Valuable Player.

Really? For the love of God, he had a .329 On Base Percentage. How valuable could that possibly be?! You mean, he was more valuable than Ian Kinsler, Mark Teixeira, and Ichiro Suzuki that year(ranked in 20th place, below Bartlett)? I know he didn’t get any first place votes, that would be disastrous, but regardless, this guy should be nowhere near consideration. Now let’s be clear: I am not a Jason Bartlett hater. I am not having a tall glass of Hatorade right now. And I am not saying that every player who should be considered for MVP should have 30 homers and 100 RBI. I thought Joe Mauer would’ve been a much better MVP pick than Pedroia.

But seriously, how is this guy in any way a super valuable player? First of all, people will say that he was a big boost defensively. So, of course, I looked up some statistics. And I gathered that his defense was average; maybe even below average. His range is in no way superior to the typical shortstop, and if you say his fielding percentage is good then I will smack you across the face. Over the internet, anyway.

But you know what everybody says. They say he’s valuable because “he always seems to come through” and “he always does the little things to help you win”. Of course, we don’t know this because he’s the little guy. He’s the little guy, he only hit one home run and so you’re all overlooking him and you always look at the 30 home run guy instead of this guy, who always comes through.

Oh really? How exactly did Bartlett always come through and do the llittle things to help you win? What little things? Please, I want you people to tell me because I have had such a hard time trying to find out just what little things he does. He had 5 sacrifice bunts and 4 sacrifice flies in ’08, so it can’t be those little things. It wasn’t his magnificent eye; 22 walks in a full season is not an enormous source of pride. It’s not like he always seemed to come up clutch; .293 with 2 outs and RISP is not terrific. So why is he so incredibly valuable?

Well, let’s be honest here. Baseball fans love little people. Not necessarily people little in stature, though David Eckstein is a primary example of this. People simply adore the guy who hits only a couple home runs, is fast but is not that fast, plays average defense, and is on an extremely successful team. Whenever a team has a very good record and makes the playoffs, and usually goes deep in the playoffs, it’s never the guy who was a catalyst for his team, it’s never the guy who steals his way into scoring position and took extra bases or had heads up baserunning all year long, it’s never the guy who gave his team leads and put his team on the board with extra base hits. It’s always this guy. In ’07, it was Dustin Pedroia (although he did hit for a very good average, he was mediocre defensively but he hit well that year). In ’06, it was David Eckstein. In ’05, it was Scott Podsednik.

People always do this and they never seem to realize that maybe Evan Longoria, a guy who was great defensively and great offensively, was more valuable than this guy. I wonder when this unhealthy obsession with the little guy ends, if it ever does.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid From New York