FanPost

Observing Matt Holliday

With this my first fanpost, I wanted to address some observations of a certain Matthew Thomas Holliday (Big Daddy?). He has grown from an effective outfielder with some interesting upside to the second piece to another potential MV3. Part of mentioning Holliday's initial couple years as those of an "effective outfielder" instead of something more flattering was to give my namesake a quick plug: Matt's year 25 season rendered an OPS of .866 compared to Rasmus's year 23 season of .859 (and look at those matching OBPs despite a 31 point difference in BA). The actual point though was that Matt's career has a certain pleasantness too it that lends itself to some rational analysis and perhaps a few shaky inferences.

Matt Holliday has consistently had his doubters about whether he was a product of his environment and whether he was legitimately a top flight player. In a way, he is much like Albert. The completeness of his game might lull you into not grasping the big picture. When someone brings value in so many different ways, it is sometimes easy to forget that the totals add up (the past four years according to fangraphs: 7.1, 5.7, 5.6, 6.9). This rather beloved guy, named jim, never reached the peaks that Matt has until he came to the Cardinals. This other (at least in my case, more beloved) guy, named Scott reached the peak but could create consistency until he met the Cardinals. It's impossible to attempt to compare a teammate to Pujols, if for no other reason, because if there were two Pujols on one team, then the Steinbrenner would buy that team.

So when approaching Big Daddys career from a macro-approach, it is a rather impressive beginning. This wasn't an solely an attempt to spray hot hug all over Mr. Holliday. I also have a little analysis and a shaky inference or two to live up to. My first analytical trick of the day is in reference to what I perceive as his career plate discipline. Career walk/strikeout ratios are 1: 2.774/2.194/2.340/2.000/1.405/1.403/1.348 in descending order to the most recent lowest ratio which is 2010. His best two seasons to date would coincide with the ratios of 2.34 and 1.348. This is important to me because I was somewhat concerned that sometimes athletes lose total production when they attempt to balance out their game in some aesthetic way. 

To wrap up the pseudo-analytical part of this 'observation", I have something mildly humorous and then a simple comparison of park performance. Matt Holliday's 4 most favorable opponents are: the Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and you guessed it, the Colorado Rockies. Small sample sizes be damned. He hit 5 HRs in 6 games against the A's (no wonder Billy Beane was so eager) and 9 HRs in 29 games against the Cards, which you probably remember (and which induced TLR's craze for his bat).

The only two parks that have a legitimate sample size to compare are obviously Coors Field and Busch Stadium. According to ESPN, since 2001 when the data begins, Coors Field has never had a rating below one for their HR factor (I did not realize that Busch II would have been number three for both 2001 and 2002, only to subsequently drop to the bottom). On the flip side, Busch Stadium the third has never been above one. Holliday's OPS for each, repectively, is 1.072 over 364 games and 1.024 over 123 games. That is not a huge sample size for Busch, but the difference is slim enough that it seems to me that he is on the right track to debunking the inherent Coors slant.

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