Wednesday, June 08, 2005

korey must go

it's been awful enough to watch him over the last few years destroy any hope that might have been invested in him by the organization or the fans. to watch him struggle at the plate year after year now without hope for improvement. to watch him play without thinking in every aspect of the game.

maybe it was last night's irrational throw into the broadcast booth to catch a runner that wasn't tagging that finally tripped me. or maybe its his june "start" -- 5-for-28 (.179) with 9 fans and one RBI in eight games. or it was his two Ks tomorrow, and the two the day after, which it seems we can almost automatically add to that ever-expanding total.

but, one way or another, the conclusion has congealed and is now set in stone. i will not rest easy until korey the klown is gone.

his insipid offense has been the subject of much diatribe here. but there's something less talked about, and that is the poor quality of his defense. most assume that korey's speed means he's a good outfielder. but the numbers tell a different story.

by any measure, k-pat is an average defensive centerfielder at best. his career numbers coming into this year show his range factor per centerfield game (that is, assists and putouts per game played in center) to be 2.02 -- which is to be compared to the centerfield league-average number over that span of 2.19. that means korey makes a play on 10% fewer balls than the average major-league centerfielder. you can also compare it to jim edmonds' 2.52, ken griffey's 2.52, kenny lofton's 2.44 or andruw jones' stellar 2.75. he doesn't have a great arm -- compare korey's average 7 assists a year with the 12-14 that a young griffey or lofton put up, or the 11 that edmonds regularly notches even now.

(UPDATE: an observant comment motivated me to calculate korey's range factor as adjusted for the cubs' staff high strikeout rate keeping balls from getting into play -- korey's team-strikeout-adjusted range factor is 2.23, which can be compared to the league average 2.19 to see that korey is merely average in center.)

where exactly am i supposed to get impressed with patterson's defense? so much for that myth.

folks, there's no denying that this outfield -- k-pat, burnitz, dubois, hollandsworth -- is one of the worst in baseball. average to subpar defensively at every spot, hitting a collective 174-for-675 (.257) with an OBP of .307, slugging a group .426 -- does it get worse? could it?

there isn't one of them i wouldn't flush, with the possible exception of dubois. but the first to go -- along with all the false promises -- has to be korey. he can be improved upon with a number of centerfielders sitting on benches in backup roles or caught in platoons around the majors who could help the cubs now and later make way for felix pie. and the sooner, the better.

No comments: