Saturday, August 13, 2011

One Explanation for the Hafner Perception

Some of the best baseball arguments often center around an individuals performance relative to previous seasons. For instance, a fan may simply look at a batting average and suggest a player has either vastly improved or is playing much worse while another fan may say the players batting average is just a reflection of increased or decreased BABIP (see Casey Kotchman in Tampa Bay and Austin Jackson in Detroit).

Tony Lastoria of & tackled this perception question about Indians DH Travis Hafner in an article titled Is Hafner Really That Different This Year?  In his article Lastoria tackles the perception of many fans that Travis Hafner, is back to being a productive and feared hitter in the lineup. Many fans also believe that Hafner was not very good the previous two seasons and looked as if his career was fading.

Lastoria concludes that based on Hafner's statistical body of work (shown below and excluding 2008 injury shortened season) that Hafner is really not much different at all this season and that he has leveled out and become a consistent above average hitter. Lastoria feels that Hafner is still one of the best designated hitter options around and that the Indians need Hafner's veteran, power bat in the lineup.

So, why is there, as Lastoria points out, a perception that Hafner is a productive a feared hitter in the lineup? One explanation may be that Hafner is performing very well in 2011 with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP). 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Choo Getting Close to Returning & Playoffs

Good news may be right around the corner for the Cleveland Indians as Shin Soo-Choo is beginning his rehab assignment with Low-A Lake County on Monday night. According to Tony Lastoria at Choo will play rightfield but it is not known if he will play the whole game:

Tony Lastoria: If he does not have any setbacks and shows he is ready, there is a decent chance he could be activated this weekend, though the target date still looks to be August 16th when the Indians start a series in Chicago against the White Sox.
Hopefully, Choo will make amends to the community for a poor choice made earlier this year and return to his 2009-2010 form and lead the Indians to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Prior to the season Choo had some very interesting comments surrounding the 2011 Indians, comments that were mocked by many.  He had this to say to Cleveland Indians Beat Writer Paul Hoynes:

"Playoffs," said Choo. "That's it. Nothing else. . . .That's my goal." "Oh, yeah," said Choo. "We have a good offense, good pitching, too. Most people say we'll be in last place this season. But in baseball you never know. No one thought San Francisco would win the World Series last year."