Monday, June 14, 2010

Geovany Soto: Man Among Boys


Image courtesy of MyCubsToday.com.

We wouldn't think it based on how Sweat Lou has been playing him, but Geovany Soto is quietly having a monstrous season. Of all MLB catchers with at least 150 PAs, or -- in other words -- among all other starting catchers, Geovany is second in wOBA with .386 and first in OBP with .407. In fact, the only qualifying catcher* above him is Miguel Olivio, who has a laughably and unsustainably high .400 BABIP. In fact, for good measure, let's laugh at it right now. Hahahaha!

*Qualifying according to my previously noted standard of 150 PAs.

Of course, this confirms my earlier portents. This off season, far too many Cubs fans bemoaned Soto's "collapse" in 2009, but the wise (i.e. me and mb21 at Another Cubs Blog) knew that Soto had fallen victim to the BABIP monster (i.e. bad luck). In other words, Soto got unlucky last season, the fans got angry, so he lost some weight -- got even better -- and is presently Joe Mauer-ing. Currently, Geovany Soto trails only Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin for the team lead in wOBA. Oh yeah, and he's a catcher -- the most pivotal defender on the field.

This bring me to the most pressing of my points: Geovany Soto cannot become friends with the pine. Dearest Lou Piniella cannot, must not, do what he is seemingly doing lately: sitting Soto because his batting average is .266. Yuck. Seriously, yuck.

There is only one good reason to sit Soto: injuries. For catchers, injuries are common, no doubt. But unless Soto is tired or hurt, he should be hitting. (Moreover, he shouldn't be hitting in front of pitchers, either, but that's a study for another day...)

6 comments:

  1. IMO, Geo Soto is the best catcher on my Fantasy team (and I have Mauer). His BoB and OBP is KILLER!

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  2. Anybody who has a .400 OBP and a standard BABIP like Soto is prime property. In the OBP fantasy world, Soto is catcher gold.

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  3. Hah, just found this blog today for the first time, but I've been saying all season that Soto is one of if not the best batter on the team. At one point (before slumping in May) he had 28 walks in 28 games and looked like he would single-handedly fund JDRF's 2010 Walk for the Cure. I'd love to see him in the leadoff spot but frankly these days I'd settle for having him in the lineup at all.

    The fact that Lou seems to hate him is one of the primary signals that he needs to go. I'm just praying that Soto's recently lowered walk rate isn't the result of any pressure from coaches. Although it looks like it may just be luck -- he's still swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone than ANYONE IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. And, for that matter, he still leads the major leagues in BB% for the season.

    I could very easily see him ending up an all-star in Oakland or Boston after some smart GM kindly offers to take him off our hands in exchange for yet another past-his-prime setup man.

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  4. Well said, fang. Well said.

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  5. I would bench Soto for good stretches of this season. However, my rationale would be that the team is highly unlikely to contend this year and I'd be saving his knees for future seasons when the team is in contention. Unfortunately, the Cubs have been benching him because they think it helps them win games. That's maddeningly dumb.

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  6. "I would bench Soto for good stretches of this season. However, my rationale would be that the team is highly unlikely to contend this year and I'd be saving his knees for future seasons when the team is in contention."

    This.

    I would much prefer a healthy 30-year old Soto than a ephemerally blossoming 27-year old Soto -- one that wastes his strength on a sub-optimal team.

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