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Looking for a Strikeout-bites-Greene story

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At 12:05 the Cardinals return to action against the Tigers. April-is-coming moment of the, I guess, moment: yesterday, for the first time this year, I got the off-kilter, uncomfortable feeling that mostly bears down on summer nights when the Cardinals are not playing. Off-day jitters. 

Your disembodied heads:

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Miner Lohse

Zach Miner, St. Louis native, reminds me statistically of our very own WonderBrad—a swingman with strikeout issues whose major league spot is constantly at risk  because he doesn't "look" like a one inning reliever. Lohse can't strike people out, either, and he certainly wouldn't look like a one inning reliever—this is the difference between getting a regular spot in the rotation and proving you're durable and not making forty million dollars.

The P-D's big story today is about Tyler Greene, who would be bigger news in a camp that wasn't turning outfielders into second basemen and choosing between Ryan Franklin and two youngsters who throw five hundred miles an hour for the closer's role. Against those storylines, first-rounder makes good just doesn't hold any water. 

Worse yet, if we accept that Greene is a big enough deal—close enough to the majors, in some capacity—to get the big Cardinals story, even in the middle of the World Baseball Classic, we have to actually look at his numbers. Which is unpleasant. 

Before we do that, I'd like to make it clear that Tyler Greene is exactly the kind of utility infielder I end up overplaying in Baseball Mogul. He runs fast, he hits home runs, and his defense is just good enough that I can use it to delude myself into justifying his playing time when my boring 83/100 shortstop goes down with a knee injury. If Tyler Greene makes the Cardinals this year it will only be my distance from the reins that keeps that exact scenario from playing out in July. 

That said, look at these:

G AB H 2B 3B HR K% BB% AVG OBP SLG
130 491 124 18 4 20 32 10 .253 .339 .428
65 221 54 17 2 8 28 7 .244 .309 .448
127 485 123 22 4 16 28 7 .254 .311 .414

For all the talk about reinvention and rediscovery that follows every weird twist and turn of the Tyler Greene story, those are his numbers since his ambiguous 2005 debut. That's what he's done, three times in a row, at four different levels. 

There are excuses to be made, and I've made them all: he blew his knee out just as he was getting it together in 2007; he struggled in one league before tearing up another in 2006. He's remade his swing and refocused his efforts more times than he's walked. The problem is simple: right now he is too close to the very edge of the OBP cliff to be expected to stay on the right side of it in the majors. 

I'll keep rooting for a Chris Duncan breakout—in which an unimpressive but discernibly real improvement in the minors pays major dividends in the big leagues—but the thing about those is that you can't tell they're happening until they've happened. In the meantime we have what we've always had: his tools, his power and his astounding base stealing prowess, to egg us on toward new breakouts and mechanical adjustments, the stats to kill our enthusiasm with their narrative flatness. For all the new things promised and worked on, nothing's happened.

Finally, a programming note: SBN has changed ad providers, and as a result you might witness, over the next few days, some phenomena that can accurately and succinctly be described as weirdness. Thus far I have seen a prominent ad for Kidz Bop 15, which I can recommend primarily out of The Jungle-style curiosity w.r.t. the preparation of a Katy Perry song for pre-pre-teen consumption, and an ad that crawls across the horizontal space of the blog, which, much like Katy Perry, I cannot recommend at all. Bear with us.