RISP Hitting

Dave · May 15, 2012 at 9:10 am · Filed Under Mariners 

So, recently, Eric Wedge has made news by talking about how Ichiro isn’t producing enough out of the three hole, despite the fact that he’s been one of the team’s best hitters to date. In order to keep this narrative going in the face of factual evidence to the contrary, people have started to point out Ichiro’s batting line with runners in scoring position, because of course we should be making judgments about a guy based on 39 plate appearances.

Anyway, it’s true that Ichiro hasn’t been great with RISP this year. Here’s how his situational splits break down:

Bases Empty: .298/.330/.393, .318 wOBA
Men On Base: .281/.338/.391, .314 wOBA
RISP: .206/.282/.324, .257 wOBA

Now, here are Ichiro’s career situational split numbers:

Bases Empty: .326/.356/.427, .344 wOBA
Men On Base: .316/.392/.396, .330 wOBA
RISP: .317/.424/394, .331 wOBA

You can look at 39 plate appearances and decide that Ichiro can’t hit with men in scoring position, or you can look at 1,500 plate appearances and realize that he can. It’s really up to you, but what kind of conclusion you draw says a lot about your understanding of how the game actually works. People extrapolating from Ichiro’s 2012 RISP numbers either don’t have a grasp of how to actually use numbers or they’re pushing a predetermined agenda and won’t let facts get in their way. In some cases, both statements might be true.

But, hey, if you insist that 2012 situational data is meaningful, here’s some other names of guys who aren’t fit to hit in the middle of a batting order based on their RISP data to date:

Jose Bautista: .203 wOBA
Justin Upton: .209 wOBA
B.J. Upton: .215 wOBA
Jesus Montero: .229 wOBA
Troy Tulowitzki: .234 wOBA
Travis Hafner: .235 wOBA
Justin Morneau: .259 wOBA
Robinson Cano: .261 wOBA

Media members – you don’t have to believe whatever Eric Wedge tells you. He’s wrong an awful lot. Think for yourself, look up the facts, and don’t just repeat his ramblings.


55 Responses to “RISP Hitting”

  1. SODOMOJO360 on May 15th, 2012 9:22 am

    The difference is Ichiro is hitting 3rd this year so maybe he’s not as comfortable as he was leading off? He needs to go back to lead off but we don’t have anyone to hit 3rd except maybe Seager.

  2. Dave on May 15th, 2012 9:24 am

    When you try to explain random variation, you end up saying things like that. Just accept that 39 plate appearances is a meaningless sample. The number doesn’t mean a single thing.

  3. msfanmike on May 15th, 2012 9:31 am

    Wedge ………

    He should be invited back once per year to say “BERNANDEZ” into the camera – and little else.

    He is well over 1.000 OPS in comic delivery. In more than one way.

  4. Spanky on May 15th, 2012 9:41 am

    So Dave, help me understand something. Wedge was smart enough to get hired by the team as head coach. Are you saying he doesn’t understand this stuff or doesn’t believe it or that he ignores it? I mean it seems that the team has embraced statistical analysis when analyzing and acquiring players so why would they field a manager that doesn’t seem to coach according to the available statistical information? Why do they put up with it? Or do you think Wedge really understands it but just disseminates cliched info to reporters to fill their story needs?

  5. mrb on May 15th, 2012 9:42 am

    although Ichiro isn’t the infield-hit machine he used to be, I’d suspect that his hitting is more likely to be affected by changes in defensive positioning than most hitters still; positive or negatives. Do we have numbers for “when a runner is held on first base” vs. “first basemen is traditional position”?

  6. Leroy Stanton on May 15th, 2012 9:44 am

    Or do you think Wedge really understands it but just disseminates cliched info to reporters to fill their story needs?

    I vote for this.

  7. The_Waco_Kid on May 15th, 2012 9:49 am

    Yeah it’s a small sample, but I doubt Ichiro will ever be a true #3 hitter in terms of driving the ball a lot more, and I agreed with a lot of what Stone wrote yesterday. I think he’s doing fine though. With the Figgins experiment failing, I’d probably move Ichiro back to leadoff, although Ackley’s been doing better lately, so Wedge could leave the lineup alone.

    We need Smoak to stay hot. That’d probably help us more than any lineup adjustments.

  8. Spanky on May 15th, 2012 9:49 am

    Leroy…I would hope that is the right answer but what concerns me is that Wedge’s actions seem to show that he doesn’t play according to statistics. Case in point is continuing to play Olivo rather than Jaso. Or hitting Ryan 2nd in the order when it is clear he should hit at the bottom.

  9. Leroy Stanton on May 15th, 2012 9:59 am

    Spanky, I agree that Wedge does do some questionable things that seem to be based on tradition, but I think, in general, people tend to underestimate the effect that daily press briefings have. Essentially, reporters are saying “Eric, tell us a story.” And he obliges.

  10. MX on May 15th, 2012 10:09 am

    Why not put Ichiro back to lead off?

  11. colinokeefe on May 15th, 2012 10:11 am

    Eric Wedge said Ichiro isn’t producing enough from the #3 spot in the lineup. He did not say Ichiro can’t “produce enough,” just that he isn’t, and if he doesn’t, it’s possible he’ll be moved.

    I don’t see how any part of that is wrong. Looking at the numbers when it counts, he hasn’t. These are obviously results, and not predictive figures, but nothing Wedge said is wrong. He isn’t producing. Not “he can’t and never will,” just that he isn’t.

    Pretending he’s extrapolating this out to believe Ichiro absolutely cannot hit third, comparing Ichiro to proven middle-of-the-order hitters and then comparing the current version of Ichiro’s numbers to stats garnered during his prime seems to be pushing a narrative just as much as the other side of this “argument.”

  12. MrZDevotee on May 15th, 2012 10:12 am

    I have to say, unless I missed an interview… All Wedge said was that Ichiro isn’t a traditional #3 hitter, and that they had some kids they want to play who pencil in more like those types of guys, so Ichiro might get moved to #1 or #2 (along with Ackley in the other spot)…

    I didn’t take it as a slam on Ichiro… I took it as Wedge nearing the point of going “all kids” (which he suggested in saying “the veterans aren’t getting it done”– which again, I didn’t interpret as aimed at Ichiro)… and he suggested he has more #3 type guys coming through the system than leadoff or #2 type guys.

    Did I read it wrong? Or was there a different article where he directly says “Ichiro is failing as a #3 guy”?

  13. Badbadger on May 15th, 2012 10:14 am

    I suspect that Eric Wedge is thinking something like this. I would be very surprised if position in the batting order had any effect on anyone’s hitting. Why would it?

  14. Westside guy on May 15th, 2012 10:16 am

    Ichiro said he wasn’t changing his approach just because he was being moved into the #3 hole – an intelligent statement. If Wedge has a problem with Ichiro’s performance from the #3 spot, it’s actually Wedge’s problem not Ichiro’s. Ichiro isn’t Jose Bautista, and can’t magically turn into him through the mysteries of lineup order. Painting stripes on a horse doesn’t make it a zebra, Wedge.

    And Leroy, I truly don’t believe Wedge is just making stuff up for the media in this case. He is calling out one of his players – Ichiro – and saying the guy’s not getting the job done. Why would he do that if he really believed nothing was wrong?

  15. terryoftacoma on May 15th, 2012 10:20 am

    Mr Z I haven’t found one that says that either. But I pay little attention to beat writers. Agendas amount everywhere, unfortunately. To me the story is not worth responsing to. I judge Wedge on what he does(and I have some issues there) and not on what he says.

  16. thurston24 on May 15th, 2012 10:21 am


    This is just my theory but I believe Wedge was hired for a couple reasons and they weren’t due to his understanding of statistics. Wakamatsu lost the clubhouse for some reasons and many of the supposition was that it was because he wasn’t able to manage personalities due to his demeanor. The M’s went in a direction that would ensure that couldn’t happen again. The second reason was because there is a lot of young talent coming up and you need someone who has experience in developing and nurturing that talent which Wedge did in Cleveland with all of the young guys there. There is a lot of experienced managers that are not suited to handling rookies and young guys well like Dusty Baker who has possibly destroyed more young arms than anyone else. I think those two reasons are why he is the manager and not anything else. You have to take the good with the bad and while I don’t agree with much of his strategy and ramblings it would appear that Wedge is best for getting young players ready to become everyday players. So I’m willing to take the short term mistakes and dumb approaches if it helps make the young guys ready long term. Day to day wins are not as important as getting guys like Ackley, Montero, Seager, Hultzen, Walker, and Paxton to achieve their potential. Though when they have matured, if we still have the same stupid discussions like small sample size batting with RISP going on then it’s time to fire Wedge.

  17. MissingEdgar on May 15th, 2012 10:23 am

    I am enjoying observing Ichiro’s attempt to revise his hitting approach. It’s hard for me (and anyone else I imagine) to distinguish between random variation and changes in true performance level after less than 40 games.

    That said, as I listen to the games I get the feeling that he’s more selective about which pitches to hit, hitting the ball harder, and has had some bad luck with balls in play being caught. I’m aware that my “feeling” about these matters is useless from a prediction standpoint.

    If I were a little more adept at finding the relevant statistics I could probably determine whether or not he’s really seeing more pitches, hitting more line drives, or experiencing an unsustainable BABIP. However, then I’d have to sort out whether the sample size for those statistics to date are sufficient to be relevant. I suspect not though.

    I interpret Dave’s post to imply that despite Wedge’s comments we don’t really know whether Ichiro’s changed approach will enhance his value to the team yet. That suits me, as it’s just as interesting to me to watch Ichiro try to become a different major league player as it is to watch the various rookies become major league players at all. It appears to me that this season will be more about those dramas than it will be about a run to the post-season.

    I am bothered by Wedge’s decision to comment about Ichiro’s progress to date in the manner he did. As I try to put a positive spin on this, I hope that what Wedge is thinking is that it’d be a lot easier for his rookies to flail around if the Ichiro experiment had gotten off to a better start and Ichiro was experiencing one of those remarkably productive streaks we’ve seen from him in the past.

    Wedge’s comment didn’t come out that way though. As expressed, it seemed to me to be disrespectful of both Ichiro’s past accomplishments and his remarkable willingness to try and revise his approach at this stage of his career. I would prefer that Wedge be as supportive of Ichiro as he is being of his rookies, if for no other reason than Ichiro has already earned that respect.

  18. Westside guy on May 15th, 2012 10:30 am

    BTW this whole discussion (in the media) reminds me of an argument Rob Neyer made some years ago. Joe Morgan had made one of his dismissive comments about some pitcher on a lousy team who “didn’t know how to win” despite the guy’s great stats (probably similar to Felix’s situation during his Cy Young year).

    So Rob trots out Nolan Ryan’s yearly won-loss records and pointed out how Nolan apparently “forgot how to win” in years like 1978, 1985, and 1987, but then “remembered again” in subsequent years when – just coincidentally – his run support improved.

    Ryan went 8-16 in 1987 despite putting up a 2.76 ERA! Imagine how that felt for him, 25 years ago, when the popular discussion wouldn’t have EVER mentioned xFIP and the like, and probably hardly even mentioned run support.

  19. dchappelle on May 15th, 2012 11:22 am

    The Book says it is better to have your best hitters not bat 3rd anyway. Maybe Wedge is wising up and this is his excuse for having Ichiro lead off again. Which would be good given that he currently leads in OBP (even though Ackley is still projected to do better for the rest of the season).

    Still… as long as Ichiro! keeps playing and is in the top half of the lineup, this is insignificant.

  20. Westside guy on May 15th, 2012 11:30 am

    Ya know, it’s hard to believe that both Tom Tango and Eric Wedge are employed by the same organization. :-D

    (BTW I just found out “The Book” is available in Kindle format – and I ordered it).

  21. Evan on May 15th, 2012 11:52 am

    “I don’t see how any part of that is wrong.”

    He’s wrong where he says Ichiro isn’t producing. As Dave points out, Ichiro has been one of the better hitters on the team so far in 2012.

    His RISP stats don’t matter. They’re not relevant, and they’re not indicative of anything.

    By saying that Ichiro isn’t producing “when it counts” is basically measuring a player’s performance based on his RBI totals, and we all know that’s nonsense.

  22. Evan on May 15th, 2012 11:56 am

    While I cannot see everything Eric Wedge does, based solely on the things I can see (his lineup choices, his public statements), Eric Wedge is hurting the team.

    Eric Wedge clearly does not understand how baseball works in an advanced way. Yes, he might be great at managing the players’ personalities, but he’d have to be awfully good at that to offset his deficiencies at the actual baseball part of his job.

  23. eponymous coward on May 15th, 2012 12:19 pm

    The second reason was because there is a lot of young talent coming up and you need someone who has experience in developing and nurturing that talent which Wedge did in Cleveland with all of the young guys there.

    Do we have any evidence that Wedge is particularly special at developing and nurturing talent?

    I’m not seeing it in the win-loss record. One division title, one playoff series win, and a lifetime below-.500 record (644-689).

  24. colinokeefe on May 15th, 2012 3:18 pm

    His RISP stats don’t matter. They’re not relevant, and they’re not indicative of anything.

    They’re indicative of not hitting well with runners in scoring postion and driving in runs from the #3 hole. If there’s another number I should be looking at, where Ichiro *is* driving in the men on base and stoking rallies, please point me in that direction.

    I don’t intend to claim RISP numbers are predictive, or that RBIs are an appropriate measure of talent-level or even “production,” whatever that means. They only measure what has happened so far. Eric Wedge was talking about what has happened so far. So far, Ichiro has performed poorly in the instances Eric Wedge is describing. That’s all he’s said. He hasn’t even made decisions based on this. He just said what is pretty obviously true. Whether this is basic variation or something more remains to be seen, but Wedge’s comments on how Ichiro has performed so far are not untrue.

  25. justinh on May 15th, 2012 4:05 pm

    Well when do the numbers start to become meaningful? Is it in August when we should move Ichiro down. Let’s be honest, Ichiro has no future with the Mariners. I’d rather see someone else playing other than Ichiro anyway.

  26. eternal on May 15th, 2012 4:32 pm

    I really don’t understand the comments about being comfortable or uncomfortable about your place in the order. Maybe it is because I never played baseball but my guess is that when you go up to bat you try and hit the ball. Do you think the players are spending time pressuring themselves going “I really need to hit! I’m the 4th hitter! I was just going to phone it in before but now I’m taking this seriously!” Besides, after the first inning, what does batting order even matter anymore? All that matters is someone hitting the ball. yes, you might be more likely to have somebody on base if the people in front of you are better hitters but i really can’t imagine it changes anything over the long haul and the numbers show that out.

  27. Soda Popinski on May 15th, 2012 4:38 pm

    Small sample size. Ichiro’s fine.

    Small sample size. The Angels, Tigers, and Marlins are fine. (Okay, maybe not the Marlins.)

    The irony of the last two consecuctive blog entries shouldn’t be lost on anyone… but it probably is.

  28. dantheman on May 15th, 2012 5:57 pm

    “You can look at 39 plate appearances and decide that Ichiro can’t hit with men in scoring position, or you can look at 1,500 plate appearances and realize that he can. It’s really up to you, but what kind of conclusion you draw says a lot about your understanding of how the game actually works.”

    Yes it does. By this logic, the Mariners should sign lots of players who are in the Hall of Fame. Their “sample size” is very large so obviously they should still be able to hit. I can’t wait to see Yastrzemski playing left field for the Mariners. The over-emphasis on sample size leads to the completely erroneous conclusion that Ichiro will hit as well as he did 10 years ago. He won’t. I’m curious for those who think sample size trumps age and ability. What is the “appropriate” sample size to use to decide when a player should be benched?

  29. stevemotivateir on May 15th, 2012 6:58 pm

    ^Are you suggesting age and ability is the reason for the low RISP number? Ignore RISP and look at his entire line this year. In 152 AB’s, he’s hitting .296/.337/.395/.732. That’s a larger sample size and “age and ability” doesn’t seem to be an issue. It may not be in-line with his career numbers, but it’s certainly respectable. Point is, there’s plenty of reason to believe he can/will put up better numbers with RISP.

    If you think Ichiro should be benched, you’re just nuts.

  30. Soda Popinski on May 15th, 2012 7:45 pm

    I will throw Dave a bone though, in spite of the fact that I do tire of the thinly-veiled references from both he and Baker over their never-ending feud. Geoff is off his rocker (as if he weren’t already on these types of matters,) if he thinks Ichiro should be batting 8th or 9th with this line-up (or any line-up in baseball, save for an ASG.)

    Baker gets the business and financial side of the game a little better than Dave IMHO. But he does manage to put some amazingly dumb comments into print.

  31. dantheman on May 15th, 2012 7:46 pm

    Who would you rather have:

    Player 1: .272 – .310 – .335 (avg/obp/slg)
    .291 – .333 – .392

    Player 2: .295 – .367 – .353
    .280 – .371 – .345

    Player 1 is Ichiro this year and last and Player 2 is Rod Carew’s last two years. Carew couldn’t get a job after posting those numbers. Ichiro’s slugging percentage seems momentarily inflated because of his 8 doubles which are not of the “slammed off the wall” variety. Ichiro is a liability in the 3rd spot in the order – or as I heard someone say the other day, he doesn’t do a lot of “damage”. It’s okay to like him but one shouldn’t use “sample size” going back to his first day 11 years ago, as some people do, to suggest he will perform the same in the future. He won’t. Baker is right on this one.

  32. dantheman on May 15th, 2012 8:28 pm

    I reviewed the box scores from this season regarding Ichiro’s 13 RBIs. The sample size is 163 plate appearances this year. The problem isn’t just his batting average with runners in scoring position. When the score has been tied, Ichiro has….1 RBI. When the Mariners have been behind by 3 or fewer runs, Ichiro has….1 RBI. He has 1 RBI since May 5. He is our number 3 hitter in the lineup. Baker is right.

  33. Dave on May 15th, 2012 9:01 pm

    I am really looking forward to your analysis of pitcher wins.

  34. stevemotivateir on May 15th, 2012 9:16 pm


    You don’t get it. First, your stats are wrong. I took Ichiro’s line (this year) straight from the Mariner site, which is updated. Second, who cares about Rod Carew’s last two years. Different time, team, and has nothing to do with Ichiro -or the Mariners. Funny thing is, you could argue Carew should have played longer, using those lines. The fact he didn’t, though, doesn’t mean Ichiro shouldn’t.

    You actually have the nerve to down-play Ichiro’s doubles as well?! There’s no such thing as a bad double. Really, you should just stop talking. He’s the best outfielder we have, one of the best players on the team, and the header on this site reads: “U.S.S. Mariner
    Seattle Mariners blog for analysis, commentary, and Ichiro! admiration.” If you’re gonna slam him here, you better have something solid to back you’re BS, -and you don’t. Ichiro isn’t a liability anywhere in the order. He’s an asset. Baker’s an idiot. Just because he’s sharing his crap-sandwich, doesn’t mean you have to take a bite.

  35. Westside guy on May 15th, 2012 9:19 pm

    Dan, Rod Carew won a collusion case against major league owners after he left baseball, because his not being offered a contract was based on owners’ attempts to hinder free agency rather than being due to his performance. Look it up sometime (hint: Google for ‘Rod Carew collusion’ and you’ll find it easily).

    Also, if you are using RBI as a metric of a player’s effectiveness, don’t expect your arguments to be taken seriously here. You should already know this, but – when you use RBI as a metric, you’re basically evaluating a player in part based on the performance of the players hitting ahead of him. How do you think Olivo led the team in RBIs last year despite his .224 average?

    Additionally, Ichiro has had 163 plate appearances TOTAL this year. He’s had 39 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. Unless you believe he should be able to magically generate RBI without guys on base, you should understand the 163 PAs is irrelevant to this discussion – the number you care about is 39. That is pretty much a small sample by definition, especially compared to the 1500 times he’s hit with RISP over the course of his major league career.

  36. dantheman on May 15th, 2012 9:33 pm

    “Unless you believe he should be able to magically generate RBI without guys on base, you should understand the 163 PAs is irrelevant to this discussion”

    Ichiro hits number 3 in the order. What are those things abbreviated “HR”?

    You can admire and like Ichiro while looking at his stats (including last year which is a fairly significant sample size) and realize his skills are eroding. It happens to the best.

    Collusion or not, Carew could have signed again with the Angels but they didn’t want him.

    As for the prior comment, name-calling is not analysis or convincing.

  37. dantheman on May 15th, 2012 9:39 pm

    “I am really looking forward to your analysis of pitcher wins.”

    I’m waiting for a sufficient sample size. :)

  38. stevemotivateir on May 15th, 2012 9:42 pm

    Dan, do you think anyone expects, or expected Ichiro to blast HR’s -anywhere in the order? It’s hits that he does well and it’s hits that’s expected of him. And hits will generate RBI’s when there actually are runners on base.

    He’s STILL a great hitter. Nobody expects him, or anyone else, to put up the same numbers -every single year. He’s having a good season so far. Shouldn’t be that hard to see. And, again, he IS the best outfielder we have.

  39. stevemotivateir on May 15th, 2012 9:45 pm

    “I’m waiting for a sufficient sample size.”

    But you can’t wait for Ichiro?

  40. eponymous coward on May 16th, 2012 6:57 am

    Ichiro’s career OPS+: 114
    Ichiro’s 2011 OPS+: 84
    Ichiro’s 2012 OPS+: 110

    2012 isn’t showing much of a decline if you ask me. (Even his defensive stats are back to where they usually are.)

    (Hint: Run scoring is down from the early 2000s.)

    Oh, and Carew’s OPS+’s were 102 and 99. And he was a first baseman. (A ~100 OPS+ hitter at 1B is a below average 1B. Oh, and there was collusion, too.)

    This all reminds me of Bill James talking about the 1960′s Kansas City A’s… and how people take out their frustrations about a bad team on the good players on that team. Ichiro’s not the problem. There are lots of problems with this team (Justin Smoak’s pretty much officially a bust, Mike Carp’s really not an answer at 1B either, Chone Figgins was a complete waste of time, Guti’s never going to justify the money we’re paying him, there’s really not enough depth in the team in the OF or 1B when you consider Ichiro’s a FA next year on top of all that, and the rotation right now is Felix at #1, Vargas at #3, and a bunch of marginal #5 starters), but Ichiro’s presence in RF isn’t remotely close to one of them.

  41. dantheman on May 16th, 2012 7:54 am

    And yet, as the number 3 hitter, Ichiro has driven in the go ahead run just once in 38 games. One should take into account reality along with the numbers.

  42. georgmi on May 16th, 2012 8:23 am

    I dunno about you guys, but when I feel like feeding a troll, I go to Fremont.

  43. GLS on May 16th, 2012 11:51 am

    I don’t know why Wedge thinks he can’t hit Ichiro 2nd. It seems like a natural move.

    1. Ackley
    2. Ichiro
    3. Montero

    Admittedly, it’s more difficult to fill out the rest of the lineup. :)

  44. GLS on May 16th, 2012 12:12 pm

    Regarding Ichiro’s RBI production, it seems to me that there are a few things to think about. The first thing is how well the player hits in situations where there are runners on base. With Ichiro, we know that his RISP average this year is .257 but we also know that we’re dealing with a small sample size of 39 At-Bats. The small sample size leads into the second thing, which is how often are the guys in front of him getting on base. The 39 ABs with RISP expresses this number in one way, but given how much the 1 and 2 spots in the order has changed this year, it would be useful I think to see what the OBP is for the season thus far of those two spots in the batting order. I don’t know how to get those numbers without going through every single box score, which I don’t have time to do right now. The third thing is how hard he actually hits the ball when he does hit it. In this case, it’s useful to know that he hasn’t slugged over .400 since his very excellent 2009 season, in which he recorded a .353/.386/.465 line. Although he could conceivably slug over .400 this year, it seems unlikely that he’ll see the towering heights of previous years.

    My sense is that he’s miscast at #3. As I said before, I would like to see him at #2. I’d also like to see John Jaso at #9. This makes sense to me because Ichiro is a contact hitter and he can move guys forward. On the other hand, I’m not one that believes batting orders matter all that much. They do matter a little bit though and they’re fun to talk about.

  45. stevemotivateir on May 16th, 2012 1:50 pm

    And how is Ichiro suppose to drive in the go-ahead run, when there’s nobody on base, or the team is down 5 runs?

    Love the “One should take into account…” line. Those first two words are commonly used by people who are trying to sound smarter than they actually are. The reality, Dan, is that Ichiro is a good player. But feel free to keep ignoring facts and make a fool of yourself.

  46. Ralph_Malph on May 16th, 2012 2:14 pm

    OBP by position in batting order (2012):
    1 297
    2 253
    3 337
    4 244
    5 338
    6 293
    7 259
    8 273
    9 290

    And yet, Ichiro is the problem somehow.

  47. dantheman on May 16th, 2012 6:16 pm

    “OBP by position in batting order (2012):
    1 297
    2 253
    3 337
    4 244
    5 338
    6 293
    7 259
    8 273
    9 290
    And yet, Ichiro is the problem somehow.”

    Okay, there’s a number of problems here. What about “sample size”? Why only use 2012 stats? How about…um… 2011? Oops, because a certain rightfielder’s obp of .310 doesn’t look so good?

    Second, and more important, why would you judge Ichiro solely by comparison with the rest of the Mariners? Jack Z has assembled one of the WORST offensive teams in the past 40 years and that’s the standard you want to use to make Ichiro look good? That’s like claiming Jerry Lumpe was one of the best hitters in baseball because he had a better obp than Dick Howser and Lou Klimchock. How about comparing Ichiro to the rest of the number 3 hitters in baseball?

  48. dantheman on May 16th, 2012 6:23 pm

    “And how is Ichiro suppose to drive in the go-ahead run, when there’s nobody on base, or the team is down 5 runs? Love the “One should take into account…” line. Those first two words are commonly used by people who are trying to sound smarter than they actually are. The reality, Dan, is that Ichiro is a good player. But feel free to keep ignoring facts and make a fool of yourself.”

    No. 1. Ichiro has plenty of opportunity to drive in a go-ahead run. Have you bothered to actually look at the boxscores? Why look at the data when making generalizations is so much easier? Did Bill James not teach us anything?

    No. 2. Personal invective is a poor substitute for logic and is not persuasive to people who are able to think for themselves.

    No. 3. Ichiro is a “good” player. In some ways, yes but he is a terrible number 3 hitter. For years we heard how, IF HE WANTED, Ichiro could hit with power and could, IF HE WANTED, hit lots of homeruns. Well, now we know. Not true. Not even close to true. He’s not a power hitter. In the number 3 spot, where you want power, he’s a slap hitter with little power who does not, unlike earlier in his career, hit with much authority. Given his age and expected drop-off in ability that isn’t surprising. But he isn’t a “good” number 3 hitter and shouldn’t be hitting number 3 even for a team as offensively inept as the Mariners.

  49. stevemotivateir on May 16th, 2012 6:44 pm

    Did you happen to see the first inning of today’s game? Funny that you mention logic, when you don’t use any.

    First, if you’re going to look at past performances, you need to look at more than just 2011. You wanna throw in 2009 & 2010, or look at his career numbers? That wont support your case. Take a look at what eponymous coward posted:

    Ichiro’s career OPS+: 114
    Ichiro’s 2011 OPS+: 84
    Ichiro’s 2012 OPS+: 110

    Second, you’re not offering an alternative. Even if you had a point, though you don’t, who are you going to replace him with? Figgins? Wells? Do you seriously not realize that Ichiro IS the best outfielder we have? You can’t replace him with Jose Bautista or Jay Bruce, can you? Hey, maybe that’s why he’s compared to the rest of the team, eh?!

    Third, Ichiro’s batting line is just fine. The one thing you’re complaining about, PA’s w/ RISP, we haven’t seen much of, and that’s because of the players around him. Ichiro isn’t the problem.

    You’d have a stronger argument, though not much of one, if you were just suggesting he hit in a different place in the order. But that’s not what you were insinuating. You’re suggesting he shouldn’t be playing -and that’s just foolish.

    Now you’re blabbing about what other people say regarding him being able to hit for power. You realize that I specifically said he wasn’t a power hitter, right? Have you watched the games? Does it look like he’s trying to hit for power? Don’t you think he’d have more than one HR and a whole lot more strike-outs if he was (and a lower OBP)?

    By the way, you mentioned comparing other hitters around the league. If you read the whole post, you’d see that Dave did that.

  50. dantheman on May 16th, 2012 7:22 pm

    “Did you happen to see the first inning of today’s game?” Ichiro now has TWO RBI in 39 games which put the Mariners ahead in a game. I wonder if there are any other number 3 hitters in baseball with 2 or fewer go-ahead RBI’s in 160+ plate appearances? Shall we look?

    The issue isn’t whether Ichiro should be replaced by someone that Jack Z won’t try to acquire. But the fact that the Mariners probably have the most incompetent front office since the Kansas City Athletics doesn’t mean that Ichiro is, by default, a “good” number 3 hitter.

    If Ichiro is NOT trying to hit for power, what is he doing in the number 3 spot?

    As for the rest, the personal insults say a lot more than you intend about the validity of your arguments. Whether you are aware of it or not, it is possible to disagree without personally insulting the person you are arguing with. We’re all baseball fans and discussing who is better than whom – and why – has always been part of the game. A different opinion doesn’t mean you have to fly into a rage and treat someone with an opposing view as if he is a heretic.

  51. stevemotivateir on May 16th, 2012 10:04 pm

    You still don’t get the points that were made about RBI’s and go-ahead runs. Do you really need to hear it again?

    “If Ichiro is NOT trying to hit for power, what is he doing in the number 3 spot?”

    He’s trying to do the same thing he’s always done. Get a hit, stay out of DP’s. And that’s the same thing he would do anywhere in the line-up.

    Thanks for the tips on arguing. I was well aware of what I was saying. Did it occur to you, that what you were saying was insulting, or that you brought it on yourself? You think the people here know nothing about baseball, or the Mariners, and YOU have it all figured out? You think there might be a reason multiple people have opposed your comments and nobody’s supported you?

    Consider the possibility that you might be wrong, that other people might have valid points, and show respect without the arrogance, and you’ll be shown the same respect.

  52. stevemotivateir on May 16th, 2012 10:40 pm

    One more thing…. if the issue wasn’t about Ichiro, or replacing him, why not just call-out the front-office specifically, rather than single-out the best hitter and outfielder on the team? I’m not buyin’ it.

  53. GLS on May 17th, 2012 12:29 pm

    OBP by position in batting order (2012):
    1 297
    2 253
    3 337
    4 244
    5 338
    6 293
    7 259
    8 273
    9 290

    These numbers suuuuucccckkkkk!

    You know, you can toss around ideas about where players should be hitting in the batting order and what not, and you can try to point the finger at Ichiro and say he’s the problem because he isn’t hitting well with RISP, but really, just take a look at these numbers. Doesn’t this pretty much tell the whole story?

    Ralph_Malph, thanks for putting these up. If you’re still paying attention to this thread, I’d love to know where these numbers came from.

  54. dantheman on May 18th, 2012 8:06 pm

    “I’m not buyin’ it.”

    Better talk to Steve Kelley at the Times because he certainly is: “Doesn’t (Eric Wedge) know that Ichiro is one of the least productive good hitters in the history of the game?”

  55. stevemotivateir on May 18th, 2012 10:17 pm

    Keep talkin’ genius, you almost have someone convinced.

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