Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Stumping for Geovany Soto

Lately, Rob has been alienating readers with his as-I-see-them take on Geovany Soto's performance in 2009.  Rob has suggested that Geo has slacked off, gotten fatter, and rested on his laurels rather than step up and continue to improve his game.  But I'm not sure I agree.

This isn't meant to be an excuse-fest in Soto's name, but I would like to respectfully suggest a couple of ideas.  First -- Soto's power production has indeed been down, but since his crappy April start he's actually been hitting the ball.

On May 1st, Geo was batting .109 on the season and looking awkward.  But for the next month he'd be a consistent singles hitter.  He batted .278 in May and had an OBP of .376.  My theory at the time was that Geo's sore shoulder -- which had almost landed him on the DL at the start of the season -- was robbing him of his power and like the smart, young hitter he is he adjusted his game.  But I'm probably wrong about that.

A few days ago on his blog, Bob Brenley noted that Geovany has been holding his bat awkwardly.  When he's swung to make contact his left hand has often been rolling off the bat -- or detached from the shaft all together.  In other words, it might not be a shoulder deal, it may be a mechanical issue. 

Regardless, it doesn't look like Soto is a .290/20/90 hitter this season.  If he finishes the year even batting .270ish with 12 or more homeruns it will be an accomplishment.  But while the regression is both disappointing and predictable (he's a Cubs catcher, after all) it isn't necessarily because of a lack of effort. 

And anyway, if Geo can bat around .280 with around a .380 OBP for the rest of the year, not only will I be happy but he'll finish with a .261 AVG and an OBP of .363.  Inject some power into those totals and it's a good year for almost any catcher -- and it's an indication that 2010 might be a better year for Geo.

I just don't get you people

I tell you what you've been seeing - a vital cog to last year's team, not producing at the plate or behind it, and you whammy me. But Kurt comes out here and paints a sky-blue picture of the guy hitting .280 with a .380 OBP the rest of the way (like THAT will happen), and you line up and give him five stars!!

Is THAT what you want? Do you want us coming out here every day, blowing smoke up your asses, telling you everything is going to be OK when there really isn't any real evidence to back us up?

Because that's what Cubs management has been doing to us since the day I started watching, from P.K. Wrigley to Dallas Green to Jim Frey to Larry Himes to Andy McFail to Jim Hendry, telling us to keep swilling the Kool Aid, things are going exactly as planned, prosperity is just around the corner...

...I'M FUCKING SICK of acting like my glass is half-full when it has been proven, over and over again, the last 60 years that it isn't!! Look at the standings to your right! Is this what you thought was going to happen this year?

If you want to keep clutching your rosary beads and hoping for miracles, go ahead. Just don't look to ME to agree with you.

Some help for the incredulous Rob

"I tell you what you've been seeing - a vital cog to last year's team, not producing at the plate or behind it, and you whammy me".

I don't see how anyone could disagree that Soto is having a disappointing year; he certainly is and it has been pointed out many times. If it were solely THAT point you were making, I don't see how anyone could disagree with you, Rob.

Now, I don't want to speak for other GROTA readers, but the reason your Soto articles routinely draw low ratings from me is that you expand your criticism in saying that he is fat, lazy, comfortable, etc. As a reader, I don't find that opinion credible because none of us know the work habits of Geovany Soto. We don't hang around the Cubs clubhouse, we don't see his work with the pitching staff, we don't see his film study, we don't see the hours he works in the batting cage. Without knowledge of this, I think it is unfair to make the assumption that he is resting on his laurels. Personally, that is my reason for the "whammy". If you want to say that he is not producing, and even hold the opinion that he should be benched for Three Finger, I couldn't objectively disagree with you.

Another reason for your low ratings, for me, is that I tend to be optimistic about this Cubs team. Not because I'm a naturally optimistic person, but because there is such a large amount of talented players on this team, which they have proven during their careers, that I find it hard to believe that the Cubs won't enjoy a large degree of success this year. Yes, my glass is half-full. This team is talented, and has NOTHING to do with the past 60 years. You said that over the past 60 years, it has been proven that the glass if half-empty. I think it's important to note that the 2009 edition of the Cubs has NOTHING to do with the Cubs 1946-2000. Those teams are mutually exclusive and completely independent of one another. To be pessimistic about THIS team because previous teams have failed isn't a rationale I'm on-board with.

So I'm sorry, Rob - but ideologically I fall more in line with Kurt because this team is too talented to be playing this low-quality baseball. Be assured that low rating from me reflect our ideological differences rather than your writing style.

The difference Rob is that

The difference Rob is that when I write something people like, they don't share it with their like-minded detractors who all come over here to read it and scoff. When you paint a realistic picture and people punish you by voting it down it's because these are the same people who would contradict you if you said the world was round (you idiot, don't you know it's clearly OVULAR?!).

All that said, here and elsewhere we all asked the "who's the team MVP" question last year. More often than not the answer was not Geo Soto, aka The Pleasant Surprise; rather it was Mark DeRosa, or even Alfonso Soriano -- who really elevated the team when he wasn't hurt last year (just compare the team's record in games he played vs. games he missed).

Regardless of that, sir, if we look at the many teams out there that win regularly, while they certainly tend to have a solid core of contributors they very rarely have the same That One Guy every single year. Different people play the role of hero. If you think Geo Soto was That One Guy last year, I think it's a little wrong-headed to expect him to be That One Guy EVERY year. This year it should've been Fontenot, or Bradley, or even Fuku.

But ignoring all THAT, you know I love you in a non-gay way but stop for a second. Here you are, lamenting a guy for "not making the extra effort" when, after a month of SHIZ-itting the bed he actually MAKES adjustments and starts hitting the damned ball. And you're still trying to fork the guy because he's not hitting homeruns? Whatever he used to do to hit for power wasn't WORKING anymore. He actually appears to have made adjustments! He's not Sammy Sosa, swinging in huge upper-cuts like an asshole at everything that comes near the plate!

At this point, what's he supposed to do? Does he have to have a 4 for 5 day in which he hits 2 homers and a double to make it right? Or if he actually manages to bat, say, .285 this month with 3 homeruns, and .290 next month with 5, isn't that more realistic of slowly climbing out of the hole he's in and trending his way back toward positive production?

Or is it just that he's forked. Done for the year, a lost cause, Rick Wilkens The Next Generation? Because if you are suggesting that this is the case based on the standings as of today and 60 years of history then in this case you and I will have to stand apart. It's not rose colored glasses to say "look, he's improving and here's why he sucked." It's just not. And it's not fair to predict a negative result for ANY player based on past results of teams and players unrelated to this year's model. If that sort of thing WAS fair then nobody would ever get married because the vast majority of attempts to date end in abject failure.

Just saying.

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