Lonnie Wheeler’s article in the Post today, is a must read. Something jumped out at me in the article, and it piggy backs with a comment of his from Marc Lancaster’s Blog. Jerry Narron while obviously a “baseball guy” may somewhat get the whole sabermetrics thing.
Check this from Wheeler’s column:
“With the on-base percentage that he has, and the slugging percentage that he has, he has tremendous value all through baseball,” Narron said. “Everybody would really like to have him.
“It’s been discussed about his sacrifice-fly thing (he hits one whenever Jupiter aligns with Cleves). Well, his sacrifice fly a lot of times is out of the ballpark. Shoot, a guy that’s going to hit 40 home runs for you a year, you don’t worry about that ground ball to center field with a guy on base.”
Now I will mention that if those statements were made by a Redlegnation writer, we would get the inevitable comments about how Dunn is not really that good, and that us statheads are just clinging to a stat because it makes Dunn look good. BUT now that a self-professed “Baseball Guy” says it, is it now a fact? Is it now OK, to keep bringing it up?
Narron also said this to Post beat-writer Marc Lancaster:
“I talked with Bill James a couple years ago about batting orders and how to construct batting orders,” said Narron. “His basic thing was, over 162 games, it doesn’t really matter – if you’ve got the right guys out there, no matter where you put them, you’re going to score runs.”
I would argue that Aurilia and Casey aren’t the right guys necassarily, but he has a point. For all of the harping (and I am King Harper) about Dunn in the 3 spot over Casey. Dunn still has more PA’s than Casey (395-388). And about as many plate appearances with Men on (175 vs. 181). Dunn actually has one more opportunity with RISP (103 vs. 102).
So what Bill James said to Narron is basically true. I would STILL love to see Dunn bat 3rd, but in the long run, it probably doesn’t amount too much.