I understand the fatuation with Ryan Freel…I just keep waiting for the shoes to drop.

Shoes at this time, because none have dropped. He’s a very useful player, but he’s not a starting player…I don’t care how exciting he is; I don’t care how versatile he is; I don’t even care about his OBP.

1) He’s going to hurt someone..himself and others. He’s reckless…I love hustle (trust me, it was the only thing I could do on the ballfield…), but hustling to the detriment of the team is more self-serving than beneficial, in my opinion, and I don’t want to see him colliding with Dunn, Kearns, or Griffey.

2) He gets on base, but it’s by crook, and I think it’s a short term strategy. He can’t hit, he pokes; that’s okay if you’re a pinch hitter, trying to get the bat on the ball, and you’ve got speed serving a role. But, you’ve got to do more if you’re playing all the time; otherwise you’re Wilton Guerrero, and we’ve already released him, too.

3) He’s not young…no, not at all. He’s already 29, and he’s at or past peak…so, what’s his decline phase going to show? All ground balls and flares to the infield? Bunt every bat? Worse in the field.? It’s not like he has a home run stroke to alter…

4) His fielding is not good. Passable, but not good. Utility good.

5) His lack of driving the ball ability means he cannot drive in runs. Yes, there’s a team function to it, but even Baseball Prospectus, which eschews the RBI column in their stats and projections says in their 2005 book, if you can’t drive in 40 runs playing fulltime theres’ something wrong…Freel drove in 28 last year. Runners hold up on grounders and flares…

6) He doesn’t score runs either…he scored 74 runs (from the leadoff position) after getting on base over 200 times. That’s about 35%, and he was on base in front of Griffey, Dunn, Casey, and everybody else. For reference…Pete Rose scored that often at age 43 while with the Expos. In Rose’s early days, when he had more power, he scored at about 40% rate (when offenses scored about 33% less than today). Barry Larkin scored runs at a 40% rate for his career; Reggie Sanders scores at a 45% rate. When you can get yourself into scoring position with the bat (to supplement your speed) you can do more for the offense.

I love sabermetrics; but baseball is about winning and losing; and winning and losing’s ultimate decisions come from the ability to score and prevent runs.

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10 Responses

  1. Chad

    If he gets on base like he did last year, I don’t care how many old ladies he kicks in the first row. I’ll take him.

  2. Tyler

    He still had 36 stolen bases and a 8 triples and a .389 OBP when leading off. Also he doesn’t complain, and he can give any player on a team a days rest. I’ll take him.

  3. Chris

    It’s easy to forget how many times Freel almost killed Dunn, Jiminez, Griffey, Casey, etc, etc, etc. He really is reckless and dangerous out there.

  4. Chad

    Now, this is true. With Kearns and Junior being so fragile, he’s a dangerous man to have around.

  5. Gary

    I don’t get all the Freel Love. If he could field he’d be at 2nd or Randa would be elsewhere. Sure he can steal a base but where do you play him? He’s the 5th outfielder. He’s a utility guy with wheels who can fill in for injury. I hope we don’t need him to play.

  6. Tyler

    He gets the love because he doesn’t complain and can plays 110%. If he does play he is great at leadoff hitting, the only good leadoff hitter we have on our team. I don’t want him to start every game. I rather him play 3-4 games a week filling in for fragile players.

  7. Chris

    The fans do love the hustle. Last year he made a HUGE jump in walk rate – nearly doubling his career norm. If that wasn’t a fluke, he can be a decent leadoff guy (at the same time, his power numbers dropped through the floor). I still don’t think he has a position, unless it’s 2b. I didn’t see him enough there to rule that out.

  8. wally

    I think that first shoe dropped in Bellevue on Monday night. This city doesn’t have a history of late for keeping players around after personal indiscretions like DUI’s. (Basketball coaches, yes.) Freel used up his freebie on Monday night. He’d best step lightly for a while. I like the way he plays, but I felt the same way about Tracy Jones in 1985. Maybe Ryan has a future in radio also.

  9. Heath

    re: Ryan Freel’s radio career –

    I’m not convinced Tracy Jones has a career in radio.

    I hate weekend games driving home. I’d rather listen to Warm 98 driving home than “Extra Innings” 🙄

  10. wally

    If I hear “THE TRACER” tell one more person that they don’t understand the game because they never played at the major league level, I’m gonna hurl. Couldn’t he have stayed out west and started a career as a stuntman or something? He was always running into things anyway. Might as well get paid for it. 😉