Sunday, April 3, 2011

Alfonso Soriano a little more in depth

I said that Soriano has been looking bad at the plate but I don't want to give the impression I don't like him as a player. It's true he is overpaid, but that doesn't mean he's bad.

Last year he only hit 24 homers in 147 games, but a lot of these games were pinch hitting. He had 548 plate appearances compared to 617 in his first year with the cubs. At the same pace of his 24 HR season, he would have had 27 over 617 plate appearances, and that still isn't even a complete season as he played in just 135 games that year.

If you look a bit harder at the numbers, there was a big spike in doubles last year. He hit 41 doubles and three triples, for a total of 67 extra base hits, a very respectable total. There is some luck involved with this, often times a double is off the wall, so it could have very easily been a homer. What was missing were just the singles.

He only got 19% of his grounders going for hits, while on average, 23.8% of grounders are hits. So this hurt his average. This cost him 5 hits, which would have brought his average up to .268 which makes him look better. I don't think his decline a big deal. He can still hit 270 with 30+ homers.

He's also a good defender despite his reputation. Ultimate Zone Rating, a tool to measure defenders, says he saved 5 runs more than an average left fielder would have.

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