From ESPN, leading purveyor of “the conventional wisdom” and located here.
Player: Tony Batista
Comment: “Quietly put together a great offensive season. Was especially effective after the All-Star break….”
Most inappropriate word: great
Second most inappropriate word: effective
Of the 13 NL third basemen who had enough plate appearances to qualify for a ranking, Tony Batista found himself 12th in OPS. To include a few more players, I dropped the plate appearance requirement to 350. In the new list of 17 third baseman, Batista ranked 15th. In an effort to peer more deeply into the ol’ 3rd sacker’s greatness, I expanded the list to include NL players with qualifying plate appearances at any position. Tony’s ranking? 66 out of 78. And get this, Tony Batista ranked dead last in runs created per 27 outs. Have our standards fallen so far?
The word, “effective,” suggests that Batista has some impact on the result of the game that benefits his team. Perhaps this is true if one were to go by the parameters of whoever put together that list. However, as I see it, he hasn’t had an effective season in a few years. Batista’s best seasons could both be described as “good.” He posted solid numbers in both 1999 and 2000. Despite the thump in his bat, he doesn’t hit well enough to justify his starting job.