Saturday, September 25, 2004

Jose Valentin Stands Alone

Don't get me wrong. I like Jose Valentin. I think his defense is underrated (although I could kill him for dropping Jacque Jones' foul pop up), and he is a clutch hitter. I know a lot of people say that clutch hitters don't exist, but in his career, he's hit 37 points better with runners on base than with the bases empty. He's even better with runners in scoring position - a .275/.367/.517 line compared to his overall .243/.321/.451 line. And that's over 1163 at bats with runners in scoring position.

But Jose has had a tough season. Real tough. So much so that his season sticks out like a sore thumb amongst all MLB players.
As this BP article on Ichiro Suzuki notes, not only does Jose put the ball in play a very low percentage of the time, but his batting average on balls in play is very low - only .255. As you can see, Valentin's dot on the scattergraph is, well, behind the pack. He's not only having a bad season, he's having a historically bad season. Not good for his contract year.

This is probably the last year for Valentin in a White Sox uniform, and it is probably better that we bury Jose rather than praise him. He was one of the hardest and most motivated players on the team during the 2000-2004 era, but his efforts simply weren't enough. He didn't have enough teammates with the same fire he did - even if they shared his penchant for swinging for the fences.

I'll bid you a fond farewell, Jose, and hope you land in the right place. You might like this Colorado place. The curve balls don't break as much and the ball goes a long, long way there.

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