Ahhhhhhhhhhh Vidro

DMZ · September 5, 2007 at 9:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hey, remember back like a month ago, when I wrote that whole summary post of the state of argumentation on Vidro, and I said that he was getting hits on a really high percentage of his balls in play and there didn’t seem to be any skill-based explanation for why that might be, so it could well be luck?

Yeah. Just wanted to check in.

However, it’s worth examining this in an attempt to look at how big a swing that is. If Vidro got hits at his career rate, and his infield hit rate was a little more reasonable, here’s his line:


How’s Vidro been hitting since then, in his 80-some PA since then?

.278/.349/.417, not including today’s 0-4 performance.

Yeah. Now, that’s obviously just good timing to take a sample – it goes up if you include the other two games of that Minnesota series, and then Chicago… but we still haven’t seen any good explanation for why Vidro was getting hits like a Taveras-type slap-and-dash hitter, despite having little footspeed (better than he started the season with, certainly) and it appears in the last month that yeah, maybe as depressing as that is, this is the Vidro signed for next year.

If you do have a great explanation for why Vidro should be able to get hits on balls in play at a rate far above anything warranted by his skills or speed, please, I’d love a reason to be optimistic. We’ll pair it up with “he’s wearing down late in the season and would have done better with more consistent rest” and put that up for the best-case scenario for next year’s preview.


33 Responses to “Ahhhhhhhhhhh Vidro”

  1. pensive on September 5th, 2007 9:59 pm

    In order to come to an informed conclusion, I would have to see his locker. Maybe the shrine got dusty, he didn’t light enough candles,rub the belly,or took money from offering plate rather than give. He may have stepped on chalk (or titanium) lines rather than over them.

    Any small change may explain. Not enough Mojito Burritos between at bats? Perhaps his true talent is shining through.

    Regardless of the reason we all should be able to agree the team doesn’t need him on the roster now or next year.

  2. Matthew Carruth on September 5th, 2007 10:00 pm

    Fielders see him at the plate and mentally relax after having been tense during the whole Ichiro at bat previous?

  3. JMHawkins on September 5th, 2007 10:07 pm

    I’m looking forward to some Argumntum ad Vidro.

    For my part, I think Vidro’s a singles hitter good for about a .315 BABIP who will show a modicum of patience at the plate, make contact a lot, and hit lots of grounders. Given the number of grounders he hits, his actual average (and OBP) will have a high Beta, since it will depend entirely on how many of those grounders have eyes and how many find leather. Some months, he’ll flirt with .400. Other months, he’ll hit into three or four GIDP as week. In a lot of ways, he epitomizes the M’s offense. Veteran, hard-working, low ISO, inconsistent because of style not focus, and not really a great fit for the home field.

  4. cougs129 on September 5th, 2007 10:10 pm

    funny how this comes on the eve of the mariners second meltdown which was not due to vidro more the pitching staff…. im not even going to look but A. Jones line is worse…

  5. DMZ on September 5th, 2007 10:24 pm



  6. JI on September 5th, 2007 10:29 pm

    At least now I know what kind of a player Luis Castillo would be if he had Frank Thomas’ speed and defense. Consider my curiosity satisfied.

  7. Glen on September 5th, 2007 10:31 pm

    4 – Yes, cougs, 32 plate appearances in over a month is going to tell you TONS about what AJ can or can’t do in the majors.[/sarcasm]

  8. (Expletive) Dave Samson on September 5th, 2007 10:34 pm

    Look at what Willie Bloomquist did in his 32 plate appearances.

  9. strong silence on September 5th, 2007 10:34 pm

    I’m not depressed about having Vidro. (I wanted that guy, oh what’s his name….Snelling, ahh) He is having a nice season. And he has been a nice part to a pretty good team. What is it? 5th best team in the AL. That’s better than I thought Bavasi could do.

  10. kolson82 on September 5th, 2007 10:46 pm

    Cougs129, you are on the wrong blog my friend. I cannot even believe you are comparing the 32 plate appearances of AJ to a season full of Vidro. Just don’t come to this blog if you plan on saying things like “I’m not even going to look it up…”

  11. fetish on September 5th, 2007 10:55 pm

    The answer is clear: The guy’s a Professional Hitter. Literally.

  12. Typical Idiot Fan on September 5th, 2007 11:03 pm

    And yet his ISO-walk has remained consistent while his ISO-power has increased.

    Yeah, it still sucks, but at least in his last 80 appearences he wasn’t getting cheap hits, he was hitting for a wee bit more power.

  13. kentroyals5 on September 5th, 2007 11:07 pm

    Cougs129..go check out Arod’s first few dips in the majors for the M’s

  14. DMZ on September 5th, 2007 11:08 pm

    Can we maybe not turn this into an another Jones thread? Really?

  15. kentroyals5 on September 5th, 2007 11:11 pm

    DMZ…so you are saying his .400 post-all-star average wasn’t sustainable!?! What!? :/

  16. Tom on September 5th, 2007 11:26 pm

    #12: At least he actually makes contact with the ball, unlike his predecessor Carl Everett.

  17. Replacement level poster on September 5th, 2007 11:47 pm

    If 2006 Carl Everett is the bar you are setting it to low.

  18. JMHawkins on September 5th, 2007 11:51 pm

    If 2006 Carl Everett is the bar you are setting it to low.

    You’re supposed to call the gas company before digging that low.

  19. Tom on September 6th, 2007 12:31 am

    Then where should we set the bar? That’s what we should ask ourselves as we take a look at Vidro’s statisical flukes this year, and his numbers throughout his career in general compared with other DH’s in this league.

  20. cougs129 on September 6th, 2007 12:31 am

    im not saying jones isn’t going to be a great player… i just had a feeling this post was made on the anger of jones not getting to play, and found an opportune time to point out vidro struggling since he has silenced his critics nearly all season long

  21. Tom on September 6th, 2007 12:35 am

    And again, we go off topic. . .

  22. DMZ on September 6th, 2007 12:52 am

    It doesn’t matter what you think the motivation for the post was, argue the post, or don’t.

    Also, please use the shift keys on the left and right of your keyboard.

  23. opiate82 on September 6th, 2007 1:06 am

    While I understand the numbers on the BABIP, is it really that unbelievable to think that maybe he was just having better success at hitting the ball where he wanted to hit it? The problem with looking at just the statistical analysis is that you are just assuming you are going to get a random result once that bat makes contact with the ball and that simply isn’t always the case.

    You hear about hitters having the ability to hit behind the runner all the time. Major league hitters do have the ability to hit it where they want to. Maybe Vidro’s BIP were seemed to be finding more holes because that was exactly where he was trying to hit the ball? I know I do it all the time in softball. I realize they pitch the ball underhand to me, but I’m not a professional athlete either.

    Perhaps he made an adjustment in his swing, perhaps his level of concentration was higher, I don’t know. I’m not saying that his “hot streak” wasn’t just a streak of good luck either. But since you were looking for a positive spin, maybe you need to put yourself outside the numbers for a second and ask yourself “was Vidro having better success at trying to hit the ball where he wanted it?”

  24. DMZ on September 6th, 2007 1:24 am

    is it really that unbelievable to think that maybe he was just having better success at hitting the ball where he wanted to hit it?

    It’s not unbelievable. There’s no explanation for the why, and your answer here is an inadequate explanation.

    What was the adjustment, though? Why did he never make it before? Why isn’t it apparent to observers? Why doesn’t it show up in any other metric? Why, if Vidro can do it, doesn’t everyone?

    Take one of the components here: the infield hits. Vidro’s hit a lot of weak grounders, which presumably is not his intent, since he’s slow and has bad legs and it’s not a good percentage move. He’s got a huge amount of hits.

    Major league hitters do have the ability to hit it where they want to.

    No they don’t. Otherwise they’d all hit 1.000 all the time and it’d be really boring to watch.

    Even the best bat-control guys in the majors don’t hit .400. Even the most powerful hitters don’t hit .400.

    This is the anamoly: Vidro’s BABIP is – for no reason – among those of slap-and-dash hitters with a ton of speed.

    We really then have three choices:
    – Vidro is unique among all current major league players in that he is able, like you playing softball, to hit major league pitching in such a way that it lands where he wants it to, and that his technique or skill has not yet been copied or negated through scouting
    – There’s an explanation for Vidro’s success at getting hits on balls in play that lies in a skill or ability that hasn’t yet revealed itself to analysis
    – Vidro got lucky for a while

    One of those is the simplest.

  25. opiate82 on September 6th, 2007 2:00 am

    I figured it should be apparent that I did NOT mean that he could hit the ball exactly where he wanted to every time he swung the bat. What I did mean (and say) was that he was having “better success” at hitting the ball where he wanted to.

    As far as what adjustment he might have made, I really couldn’t say without going through hundreds of swings worth of video analysis to compare and contrast, and frankly I just don’t have the time for it. Perhaps you could ask him or the hitting coaches on that one. Maybe he was just getting more sleep so he was more alert during games for all I know. He tailed off because the stress of the playoff race kept him up at night lately.

    Maybe this whole thing comes down to a concentration issue on his part.

    As far as the infield hits go, I agree with you that I doubt he was trying to do that. Perhaps the answer to that particular question lies in how the fielders were playing him.

    Again, I am not ruling out the “plain old luck” factor either. I personally just feel he sustained his “hot streak” a little too long to pass it off as just luck.

  26. davepaisley on September 6th, 2007 2:07 am

    I’ll just post a link to Vidro’s 7 day average OPS through Aug 31 again, noting that the five days of September have been around an OPS of .472, thus verifying the end of August trough.

    Really, his first half was pretty nasty, he got hot after the break, but even hot for him just involves a whole lot of singles. Even then, he hasn’t been consistently hot.

    Based on his overall performance this year he isn’t a bad spare part to have around, but he doesn’t deserve to be starting every day and he makes way too much money for what he brings to the table. He’s really more of an opportunity cost problem than anything else.

  27. opiate82 on September 6th, 2007 2:12 am
  28. Tak on September 6th, 2007 6:52 am

    Extremely talented hitters with great bat control (like Ichiro) have some control over where they hit the ball, but its no where near precise enough that they can intentionally aim at the gaps. Anyhow, it doesn’t even matter if his “hot streak” was caused by luck or not, since even if “Good Vidro” was not based on luck, “Good Vidro” still sucks as a DH.

    So yeah, this whole argument translates to “Does Vidro suck? Or does he suck a lot?”

  29. bergamot on September 6th, 2007 7:52 am

    One of the reasons I’m not very depressed at the M’s season-ending team crash is that the W/L record is far better than I expected, and I didn’t think the team would be in contention for a playoff spot this late in the year. One of the reasons the team performed better than expected is the contribution of Vidro greater than the suckscapade most of us anticipated. It was very enjoyable and great while it lasted but, like my few winning runs at roulette, they don’t last forever.

    We’re now seeing Reversion-To-Mean Vidro, which is probably who we’ll be seeing most of next year.

  30. DarkKnight1680 on September 6th, 2007 8:23 am

    Is there any possibility that he has an advantage over other’s with a similar skillset sue to hitting behind Ichiro? I’m jsut thinking that a) Ichiro is on base a fair amount, b) it’s usually at 1st, and c) the right side of the infield is quite concerned with Ichiro stealing, which would give Vidro some extra room to work with. Doesn’t fully explain anything, certainly, but I’d be interested to know his BABIP with Ichiro on first vs. the rest of the time.

  31. scraps on September 6th, 2007 8:56 am

    an opportune time to point out vidro struggling since he has silenced his critics nearly all season long

    Several weeks after the all star break is not “nearly all season long”. If you don’t understand he wasn’t hitting well before then, it follows that you wouldn’t understand that he has not in fact had a good season, either. Not as awful as he could have had, considering what he is — a dead-slow singles hitter — but not good. If he’s this mediocre next year, we’ll be lucky.

  32. eponymous coward on September 6th, 2007 10:24 am

    Incidentally, the Mariners are near the top of all of baseball in GIDP, and have an average number of runs scored for their league, despite having a significantly above-average OPS (105% of league, similar to Cleveland, who’s scored about 20 more runs).

    Not that this has anything to do with Vidro, of course, because it’s not like he’s part of the problem- a lineup that has a TON of players who are slow GB hitters.

  33. portlysimpering on September 6th, 2007 2:18 pm

    #24: “We really then have three [i.e. two] choices: [(1)] [Vidro’s BABIP is not due to luck] [and (2)] Vidro got lucky for a while[.] One of those is the simplest.”

    Vidro this year has a BABIP of .335, as opposed to a career .317 (.321 over the last 8 years). (Plus if the Safeco 2004-2006 BABIP differential of .013 is typical, that .335 is about a park-adjusted .341). I wouldn’t say that it’s proven that Vidro’s 2007 BABIP (maybe .02 over what might have been predicted) does not represent a replicable skill of some sort. I believe Vidro has claimed that he’s changed his approach at the plate to try to get on base more. Obviously this could be a rationale to explain the fact that his extra-base hit totals are so low, but who knows?

    Vidro’s XBH rate is below his career level, his walk rate and his BABIP are above. To what extent these things are due to luck or due to such factors as aging, Vidro’s legs getting better, Vidro’s legs getting worse, Vidro changing his approach, Vidro changing his pre-game pharmaceutical cocktail, etc etc, etc, who knows?

    (Yes, a player chosen at random with a .02 improvement in BABIP is probably due to luck, but what about a player with Vidro’s characteristics chosen at random? – next year, if his power goes up by the same level his BABIP goes down, will that automatically be ascribable to luck too?)

    Note: Ichiro’s BABIP is .373, compared to .354 career. Is this just luck? Maybe, sure, or maybe Ichiro’s approach is different this year. (His lowest BABIP years in the past have coincided with highest IP or HR years, and his IP is down this year – not that this necessarily means anything).

    Vidro at least means that instead of 9 Mariners avoiding a walk (most of the time) at all costs, you’ve only got 8. It at least looks like “working the count” is part of his thought process. So if not Snelling-level refreshing on that score, he’s at least a little bit refreshing.

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