Ichiro — Good, not Great

Don’t Believe the Hype
It’s about time…. Somebody (Dayn Perry) finally published something realistic about Ichiro Suzuki. The Mariner’s right fielder is exciting to watch. He gets down the line in a blur, had a seemingly bionic right arm, and plays the game with a certain flair. Despite all of those wonderful attributes, he has not established himself as a great player. Indeed, while Ichiro may put his power on display in batting practice, he spends far too much time beating out infield singles during games. Since he rarely walks, his OBP is not too much higher than his batting average. Fortunately, his batting average is so good that he does spend a fair bit of time on base.

Ichiro is a good player, but no superstar. As of this writing, the following were among the less-heralded AL players who had notched a higher OPS:

  • Melvin Mora – the Orioles 3B is having a career year, but few realize what an offensive force he truly is.
  • Travis Hafner – he’s making Cleveland’s fans forget about the loss of Jim Thome.
  • Aaron Rowand – finally living up to his promise.
  • Eric Chavez – maybe he’s too well-regarded to be on this list, but now that he’s drawing walks, look out.
  • Erubiel Durazo – healthy and starting with some regularity.
  • Carlos Guillen – I’m sure Ichiro’s Mariners are kicking themselves for thinking that Rich Aurilia would be an upgrade. The rest of us are scratching our heads at how anyone could have felt that way.
  • Jason Varitek – the Red Sox backstop can hit a bit too.
  • Hideki Matsui – while clearly not the type of hitter he was in Japan, he’s still pretty good…and more productive than Ichiro.
  • Carlos Delgado – he only makes the list because he’s having his worst year in 7 seasons and is still more of an offensive force than Ichiro.

There are a bunch of other places who are having better offensive seasons than Ichiro whom I didn’t put on the list. I don’t know that anyone disputes that Manny Ramirez or Gary Sheffield are far more dangerous hitters. And as for Ichiro’s much-vaunted base-stealing? He has swiped 34 bags and been caught 10 times. That’s helpful, but stealing a base every four games does little to help your team score runs.

Farewell PlanetGordon
This blog used to run on MovableType before I switched to WordPress yesterday. My hands-on introduction to blogging came when my friend, Doug, mentioned he wanted a website. The domain names he was considering were all taken. PlanetGordon popped into my head and it grew on him. After he registered the domain, I dilly-dallied, but eventually set up MoveableType for him. It was an adventure for the two of us and I got a nice little tour of Brooklyn to boot.

Doug has been the most reliable blogger I know and he’s done me proud. His site has been featured online, in newspapers, and on TV and radio. But now that he’s married, he’s taking a hiatus for awhile. He’s generated close to a million hits, so I’m sure his readers will bombard him with email, urging him to return. We’ll all cross our fingers that he does.

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