Mike Hargrove… Sigh

Dave · February 22, 2007 at 11:04 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Via Geoff Baker’s blog, here’s today’s blatently wrong comment from the team’s manager:

“You don’t see a lot of power hitters have good batting averages,” Hargrove said. “You really don’t. Barry Bonds comes along not very often. Usually, when you see a guy hit for power, something has to be sacrificed. And it’s usually average. It always amazes me watching people get criticized — all the bitching and moaning about a guy who’s hitting 39 home runs and hits .240. Come on!

46 major league batters had a slugging percentage of .500 or higher last year, making them something of a power hitter. As a group, their batting average was… .298. 21 of the 46 hit .300 or better. The only guys who hit lower than .260 were Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, and Pat Burrell. And, of course, those three all were among the league leaders in walks, making up for their low batting averages and still getting on base at a healthy clip.

So, no, Mike, it’s not rare at all. It’s actually pretty common.

It’s a shame that the man who runs the Mariners lacks basic knowledge about the game.


65 Responses to “Mike Hargrove… Sigh”

  1. marc w on February 22nd, 2007 4:23 pm

    True, though it was clearly a phenomenon of the 80s/70s that you could have .250s and lower hitters who stayed in the line-up because they could hit home runs (and take a walk).
    The top ten HR hitters in 1982 featured more guys who hit below .250 than it did guys who hit above .290. None of this has any real bearing on the present; it’s self-evidently untrue that power hitters ‘must’ sacrifice average now. It wasn’t ever true, but it was somewhat common back then.

    I also think Mat’s right (in #22) that the proper way to look at this is by looking at ISO instead of just SLG; there are a few more low average guys who pop into the leaderboard this way (Nick Swisher, Craig Monroe, Andruw Jones). Not enough to alter the basic picture, but it’s worth pointing out that guys CAN be valuable to their teams despite a low batting average; I know we all think Hargrove needs to go, but it’s sort of nice to hear the truism that batting average isn’t the be-all, end-all repeated by mainstream baseball figures. This has nothing to do with the applicability of that truism to Richie Sexson, or Nick Swisher or anyone else you want to name. But it IS true, and I’m glad Hargrove acknowleges that fact. If only he could apply the theory properly….

  2. marc w on February 22nd, 2007 4:24 pm

    Ralph, I was thinking of Kingman too. He was one of the 3 guys on the 1982 top ten HR list who was below .250 (Gorman Thomas and Ben Oglivie were the others). Thomas and Kingman were two of a kind, though I loved Gorman as a kid, and thought Dave Kingman was the anti-christ. He had a knack for hitting towering home runs against the M’s at every game I went to.

  3. Ralph Malph on February 22nd, 2007 4:40 pm

    Kingman and Gorman Thomas were similar hitters but I always hated Kingman and liked Thomas. I always thought of Kingman as an a$$hole and Thomas as a hardnosed old-style ballplayer.

    By the way, Kingman had one thing in common with Sexson besides strikeouts and a low batting average: he was (is?) 6 foot 6.

  4. joser on February 22nd, 2007 4:51 pm

    I must be the only person on here pedantic enough to be annoyed by misuse of the phrase “beg the question”.

    No, just the only to post about it. I’m afraid that this use of the phrase — as a synonym for “raises” or “leads to” — is becoming accepted.

  5. Mike Snow on February 22nd, 2007 5:00 pm

    I must be the only person on here pedantic enough to be annoyed by misuse of the phrase “beg the question”.

    No, you were just the only one both annoyed enough and pedantic enough to comment on it.

    But speaking of which, I really think Derek should put together a “Pet Peeves” post. I know it won’t have the same cache without Piniero to kick around anymore, and I guess the Mariners’ won’t be waiving Rizz in everyone’s face now if he’s just doing radio, and the Pinella rein was a long time ago, but I always appreciate a good effort to improve comment literacy.

    And yes, those three are my particular pet peeves, endemic among sportswriters whose spellcheck is bigger than their vocabulary. I hope Derek will forgive my deliberately flouting some of his to illustrate my point.

  6. eponymous coward on February 22nd, 2007 5:03 pm

    Of course, Richie didn’t hit .240 last year, either. He hit .264, and actually BEAT his 2005 batting average by a point.

    Batting Sexson 4th is actually reasonable under the circumstances. The big problem that I have with the M’s batting order is there is NOBODY in it who takes walks, and that’s pretty much true everywhere in the order. The Mariners had exactly zero players who got more than 60 unintentional walks last year, and their response was to add Jose Guillen as a fulltime player, who has never seen a pitch he doesn’t like (lifetime high in unintentional walks=32, though he DOES take a lot of HBP, gee, wonder why), and Jose Vidro, whose lifetime high in non-intentional BB’s is 62. The M’s will score some runs when the hitters get hot, but are going to be some nights where it’s just fugly out there, because none of these guys is anything resembling a Ted Williams-style patient hitter. Ironic that a franchise that starred Edgar Martinez for so long has nobody who has anything approaching his style at the plate, all of 3 years later huh?

  7. Oly Rainiers Fan on February 22nd, 2007 5:50 pm

    #37 – cool, thanx. I look forward to seeing Rohn back in Tacoma when the Grizzlies come to town April 17. Always liked the little fireball.

  8. Mat on February 22nd, 2007 6:00 pm

    Regarding trade off for SO. Even if there were a 150 SO difference between 2 players, that’s like 3.3 runs. 100 SO difference 2.2 runs. Hardly worth worrying about the trade off of increased HR and BB.

    I wasn’t saying that the increased strikeout rate was good or bad, just that it was. I agree that some extra strikeouts aren’t really a big deal.

  9. Tom on February 22nd, 2007 6:03 pm

    #43: You know what I meant. . .

  10. gwangung on February 22nd, 2007 6:44 pm

    The big problem that I have with the M’s batting order is there is NOBODY in it who takes walks, and that’s pretty much true everywhere in the order. The Mariners had exactly zero players who got more than 60 unintentional walks last year

    Yes, and that tells you that the brain trust for the team just doesn’t consider that a problem.

    Par for the course….

  11. bradguy on February 22nd, 2007 7:06 pm

    There was a guy that would produce walks…his name was Chris Snelling, and we know what happened to him!

  12. StevieFromTheOly on February 22nd, 2007 7:18 pm

    I must be the only person on here pedantic enough to be annoyed by misuse of the phrase “beg the question”.

    Thanks for pointing that out. I had a feeling I may have misused that phrase. Yet another day I was probably hungover in logic class in college.

  13. phil333 on February 23rd, 2007 11:11 am

    Mike Hargrove was way too big of a stress in my life last year. God I was at that game in Chicago early in the season when we were up and he went to Every Fifth Day Eddie and of course he gave up a HR and we ended up losing. So painful.

  14. tacomahal on February 23rd, 2007 1:02 pm

    #35 .. To correct the record on Mike Schmidt

    *If* Schmidt was criticized for hitting .250 it was probably because the critics knew he was capable of much better. In fact, in the 13 seasons Schmidt hit 30+ home runs, he hit in the .250 range just three times. Of course, in each of those season’s he drew 100+ walks, including 120 once and 128 another time. That’s DOUBLE what Sexson drew last year. What’s more, Schmidt led the NL in OBP three times and finished in the top 5 sevent times. Sexson’s OBP last year was .338. The only time Schmidt and Sexson should be in the same sentence is when someone is listing players whose names end in the letter S.

  15. bongo on February 23rd, 2007 4:29 pm

    What if we brought Casey Stengel back from the dead to comment on this team?

    On the team progress in spring training: The team has come along slow but fast.

    On Willie Bloomquist: Son, we’d like to keep you around this season but we’re going to try and win a pennant.

    About Rene Rivera: Two hundred million Americans, and there ain’t two good catchers among ’em.

    About the 11 game losing streak: We are in such a slump that even the ones that aren’t drinkin’ aren’t hittin’.

    About the prospects for 2007: The Mariners are gonna be amazing.

    On Mariner’s management: it’s wonderful to meet so many friends that I didn’t used to like.

    On Emiliano Fruto: Mr. that boy couldn’t hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane.

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