Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Revisiting Ryan Theriot

Just in case, you know, I haven’t said enough about him yet. On May 21st, Bruce Miles wrote:

The reporter wanted to ask Ryan Theriot about stats.

"Uh, oh," the Cubs shortstop said.

No, this time, the stats are on Theriot's side. Not only did Theriot bring an on-base percentage of .410 and a batting average of .333 into Tuesday night's game against the Astros, he was tied for the National League lead in multihit games (20) with Houston's Lance Berkman and Atlanta's Chipper Jones.

That's some heady company for any player, especially one who ran afoul of the stats-oriented crowd last year when his numbers dropped precipitously in September.

Theriot won the starting shortstop job early last season but finished with an OBP of .326 and a slugging percentage of .346 for an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of only .672. Entering Tuesday, Theriot's OPS was a nice .828.

Theriot made some changes to his swing over the winter and came to spring training in good shape, proving that perhaps you can work and "grit" your way to better numbers.

So, did he prove that? Let’s take a look at the game logs. Since Bruce wrote that article, Theriot has hit .288/.368/.308, or a .678 OPS, pretty much a dead ringer for his production last season. Well, except for the fact that his OBP is higher than his SLG. [I have to take this moment to say, I saw that one coming. Again – I’m still not sure that it’s meaningful, other than for its novelty value.]

So, which is the real Ryan Theriot – the .828 OPS guy that Miles wrote about, or the .678 OPS guy he’s been since? Or is it somewhere inbetween - the .755 OPS guy he’s been if you combine the two together?

The problem is in looking at selective endpoints – good hitters go through cold streaks, and poor hitters have hot streaks. You need to look at a large number of plate appearances to get a bead on a player’s true talent level.

We can looking at the preseason projections of Theriot’s talent level – according to Cubs fans, looking at the Bleed Cubbie Blue community projections, or cold, heartless machines, looking at ZiPS, the picture is basically the same. Theriot’s performance has dropped substantially since his hot start to the season, and I expect continued decline out of Theriot.

I am not a magician. I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do have a spreadsheet. It thinks that, based on his performance to date, Theriot is most likely to hit .281/.346/.356 the rest of the season, or a .702 OPS.

I guess we’ll find out.

good god

Again with a slam agianst the Riot. One day the truth is going to come out as to why you actually hate him. Screwed your girlfriend? Took your parking spot? Had a real bad experience in Louisiana.....Well, we all have. For the love of all that's good, in the world get over it. Get outside. Enjoy the sun.

I'm not a sabrematician. Thank God. I also am not a sabrematic hater. I find some of these number crunching excercises incredibly fascinating and sometimes very educational. These constant rip jobs on theriot, however, are not it. I, for one simply don't care. A deeper look into the numbers simply suggests you have time on your hands. Theriot is capable shortstop whose greatest strength is clearly his effort. He stands in on the double play. His bat has cost us in certain times as well as his range but it's not like the cubs would be 65-3 if Cedeno were our shortstop.

The Cubs are playing as great as I and probably everyone here has seen them play. And while Kool aid drinking is frowned on , thank goodness, I find this last attempt to downgrade the Riot to be more a reflection of you, than of #2.

Let's find a new subject. Shall we?

This was a remarkably bland presentation of the numbers...

...I thought. I read over it again a few times before replying just to make sure I wasn't missing any side comment I might have snuck past myself in the editing phase.

If you want to argue that the numbers don't capture his true-talent level, I'd love to hear your arguments. But to call a recitation of factual evidence a "rip job"... that's a bit much, isn't it?

Everybody makes their own deal

Shouldn't you be upset with yourself? You know Colin's take on Theriot, his post title had Theriot's name in it, and you read it anyway. If it was going to upset you that he blog his opinions on Theriot some more, couldn't you have, y'know, not read it?

Yes I suppose.

Of course, that's also why I come to this Blog. To much of the Al Yelion Kool Aid is never a good thing. Plus this web site let's me get away with words like Sphincter and Dictation....but I digress.

The truth is I like Colin's writing. he's incredibly smart and above all,he's a cub fan. But since You never can decipher intent or voice on posts,you tend to overwrite them in an attempt to show "Where you're coming from..." But this last rant was the same rant as his ZONE rating rant a few weeks ago and eerily similiar to what he's ranted about at ol'BCB. And while I'm not gonna get into a shouting match over the final numbers of Ryan Theriot, not while my team is 20+ over .500 and playing some of the best baseball you and I have ever seen this team play.

I guess my answer is the reverse to yours. I've now read his rants on two different websites ( Three if you count his.) And it's the same thing How long do I go on reading the same thing before I say "Okay, we get it...these aren't the droids you're looking for.....move along."?

Quoted for the truth. I

Quoted for the truth.

I remember Colin's first knocks on Theriot was that he was a 260-ish hitter at best. And he rightfully knocked Ryan's horried on base stats.

Now he is complaining that he will ONLY hit .280 for the year. Meaning he'll finish around .285-.290. His OBP near .400 (.390?) aint holding this team down very much with the bat.

Isnt that decent for a star studded team with numerous sluggers and on-base guys?

I can't find any place where I ever said that Theriot's...

...true-talent batting average was .260, much less that his ceiling was a .260 batting average. I know the ZiPS projections for him preseason were a .266 batting average, and I did mention those when I used the ZiPS in-season tool. For most of my preseason work I used either the CHONE projections, which I think had him at a .268 batting average, or the BCB forecasts, which which was .270. Those are median forecasts, not "at best."

Of course, that could be because I rarely discuss batting average anyway. (Most of the time, when I'm doing stuff for my own consumption, I hardly ever look at OBP or SLG either, to be honest. It's mostly wOBA.)

And, if you think his current stats for the season will persist, then sure, his offensive production is decent. That requires ignoring his performance last season, however; if you look at both of them together, his expected performance isn't that great.

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