Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Miles into the fray

Goat Friend Paul Sullivan made a very interesting remark about Aaron Miles in an article today.  I'll extrapolate so you don't have to go find it.  He wrote, "Holy crap, this guy is a light-hitting second baseman who sucks balls!" Clearly, Sullivan is looking to get fired from the Tribune before they crash in a ball of flames from being in tons of debt.

No, actually he wrote that Jim Hendry may or may not be considering the possibility that "Miles would replace Alfonso Soriano as leadoff man, though it gives Piniella the option to change."

I apparently have garnered a reputation as not being a "stat man."  This reputation probably stems from my belief that if statistics and projections were the end-all be-all, then we wouldn't need to actually play the games; instead we could just run a simulation that would play the game for us.  However, statistics are a great indication of the likelihood of future success - although they fail to project accurately just often enough to be annoying.  If Miles's history means anything, then I can only hope that either a) Paul Sullivan was writing about some other journo's question to Hendry regarding the leadoff possibility or b) Sully was drunk writing before he sent that article off to press. 

Miles is a career .289 hitter coming off of a season in which he batted .317.  His OBP last year was .355, but in his career it's a meager .329.  In fact, Miles has never drawn more than 38 walks in a single season.

Two other things should be considered.  In the past 3 seasons, Miles has had 230 at bats from the #1 spot in the batting order, where he batted .230 with an OBP of .265 and an OPS of .578.

However, in the past 3 seasons, Miles has actually led off an inning 313 times.  In those 313 at bats, he's got a .316 AVG with an OBP of .357.  But I will submit to you, the faithful Goat Reader, that a guy who has only had one season in which he hit 20 or more doubles, and only one season in which he has stolen more than 4 bases, and only one season in which he has had an OPS higher than .697, is a player who belongs in the everyday Cubs lineup about as much as Mickey Effin' Mouse does.

I hope with total sincerity that Miles is used correctly next year.  That's not as a leadoff hitter; it's not even as a starting second baseman batting 8th - or 9th, as he was used at times by LaRussa - but instead as a crafty bench star who can keep an inning alive with a slap single and can play almost any position on the diamond.

But if he starts, and especially if he leads off, then the Cubs will be playing a lot of games in 2009 at a disadvantage.  They have better options, and Lou is smart enough to know that.  Let's just praise Allah that Piniella doesn't automatically play his veterans with the bigger contracts.

The fact that Ryan Theriot

The fact that Ryan Theriot beat out Cesar Izturis for the starting job at shortstop should give us at least some hope for Mike Fontenot. Izturis is bad, bad, bad with the bat, but Fontenot is also good, good, good. Also, Piniella started Soto in some playoff games.

He is the exact opposite of Dusty Baker when it comes to giving young players a chance to succeed.

aaron miles is

nothing more than a utility guy. he is a decent one, yes, bu if he was brought in to start i am pissed.

I thought the best quote from

I thought the best quote from that article is something you've eluded to all along, Kurt--DeRosa was really the odd man out based on handedness.

Hendry says five positions are already spoken for in 2009 - Soriano, Ramirez, Lee, Soto, and Theriot. Like him or not, the numbers say Theriot plays average defense at shortstop, which is not at all easy to do, and the guy puts up a fine OBP every year; the job is his.

Center field is apparently all wrapped up as well, with Kosuke Johnson fielding the spot for '09. Fukky certainly spins left-handed, but no one knows if this guy's gonna be able to contribute offensively next year.

From there, the math is simple. If Mark DeRosa was the everyday starter at 2nd base for 2009, we would have exactly one place to start a left handed hitter every day. Based on the number of left handed pitchers we saw against LA, apparently that wasn't gonna do it for Hendry.

Oh yeah, there are a few million other reasons why the change was made. But I'm at least slightly convinced by the "starter" argument.

Just remember ...

We were talking about DeRo being the odd man out because of being right-handed for a couple of months now.

Of course, I still know that I'm an idiot, but some things in baseball are just obvious.

Yeah, what I meant to say was

Yeah, what I meant to say was that you nailed it. Which you knew. And convinced me of in our offseason plan discussion a way back. But if you weren't going to pat yourself on the back again, then I'll do it for you.

That is, pat yourself. Not myself.

I find that we often have to

I find that we often have to remind the readers that we were right all along, because nobody will remember it otherwise. It's not bragging so much as establishing that sometimes we actually know what we're talking about.

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