After watching last night's game, I couldn't stop thinking about how well someone played last night......yet you would never know it if you simply looked at the boxscore. People that follow Charlie's excellent blog and yearn for more advanced information routinely see that AVG is not how to judge a batter's production, and, last night was Example A in why that is so true.
His first at-bat he grounded weakly to SS. One out.
His second at-bat, with a guy in scoring position, he worked the count and received a fast ball on the outer half. Jose went with the pitch, as opposed to trying to pull it, and hit one of the hardest balls last night (and there were many) to deep RF that Nelson Cruz actually made a good play on the ball and caught it up against the wall.
His third at-bat, again, with a runner at 3B, he took an outside fastball and drilled it into the RF gap on a line that was only caught because the Rangers advanced scouting crew played their CF Borbon in the exact right position. What clearly looked like a 2B or 3B for Jose, turned into a meaningless out that ended in him being 0-3.
His fourth at-bat, Jose got around on a pitch and shot it to SS just to the left of the bag, only to be snared by Andrus (best defensive SS in the game?) and thrown out. I don't think it is a stretch to say that with any other SS, or at least very few, that is a hit and another run driven in by Jose. At this point, on most nights, he is 3-4, with 2-3 RBI, and a .750 OBA as well.
His fifth at-bat versus Neftali Perez may be the biggest example yet of why he will make an excellent lead-off hitter or a pretty good #2. His plate-discipline, even with a dude throwing in the mid-90's, is excellent. Perez threw him fastballs, threw him sliders on the inside and outside, and Jose didn't bite. Eventually, he grounded out to Andrus in the hole between SS and 3B (commonly where Jose hits it on the ground) but got down fast enough to 1B to at least prolong the game and break up the double play. Again, a pretty good at bat.
He also made a terrific play in LF to stop Ian Kinsler from getting a plausible 2B and instead held him to a harmless single. He got to the ball quickly, got rid of the ball quickly, and then threw a strike to 2B on one hop. Pretty impressive play that goes unnoticed. He also saw 19 pitches (tied for most on the squad - although he did have one more at-bat than everyone else but Walker).
So, to the untrained eye, to the casual fan, to the knowledge-deficient fan, to the fan who only looks at box-scores, to the fan that judges production on RBI and AVG, to the fan that doesn't truly understand how to properly evaluate a players production or games.......he had an awful game. To the rest of us, and, presumably to the Pirates management.....we and they should be thrilled.
Oh....one last thing: Smizik, in his latest masterpiece, has said that he has been a disappointment on his call-up thus far, adding that last night he went hitless to accentuate his point.
In reality, by Smizik raising his point that last night was a disappointment.......Smizik makes my point very succintly: You can't just look at box scores.....you have to actually watch and understand the game.
Well done, Jose. Keep it up....