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Tuesday, May 24, 2005


2B, or not 2B?

Last update on the 2B: Okay, one more stat to throw out there abotu Grud. His VORP (value over replacement player) is 15.4, third best in the NL and fourth best in the league. The top four in front of him are: Brian Roberts, BAL- 39.0(yeah, no surprise there); Biggio, HOU- 18.4; and Counsell, ARI- 16.8. Womack's VORP is 2.2. Jeff Kent, normally tops in the NL, is behind Grud at 13.3. VORP is kind of useful stat, telling us what a player can offer over a replacment player (definition here). Mark Grudzielanek has been a somewhat pleasant surprise. I say somewhat because looking back over his career stats, it is pretty clear that he can produce at this level. I also remember some chatter that went "this is our new second baseman," and there were countless paragraphs in the major media outlets about the new middle infield and concerns about them hurting the Cards. Overall, that hasn't been the case. Eck has been discussed plenty here in the Cards blogosphere and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Grud has been one of the Birds' best bats so far this season. Now, I'm aware that sometimes discussing a player here in net land has seemed to have a jinx effect on a few of them, but what am I supposed to do, it's a bloody blog. Anyway, before we take a moment to express our pleasant delight at Grud's success, let me first say that he's struggled a bit in his last four games, going 1 for 15 and in his last seven his batting average is .259. However, four games a slump does not make (sorry for the passive tense there). Have a look at Grud's numbers. 2005: BA .320 - OBP.367 - SLG .490 - OPS .857 Career: .287/.331/.392/.723 Looking at his career stats year by year this year's success is not a huge strech by any means. He's on pace for a really good season, and looking at his past two, injuries aside, he was doing pretty well, batting better than .300 in '03 and '04 (a year shortened by achilles tendon trouble and Cubs' platooning him with Todd Walker). If he keeps up this pace, which there's little reason to think he can't do that as his post all star line for averaged over his last three years (.313/.343/.423/.766) is way better than his pre all star line. His translated numbers for '05 are .322/.369/.504/.873). And right now he's on pace for 10 HR, 61 RBI and a .317 BA. Oh, and his salary is only (only, sheesh) $1 meeellion dollars on a one year contract. Be sure to catch part two later on tonight, when we compare him with Womack. PART II: Grud vs. Wo-mack Okay, for those who may have wondered how we could possibly let Womack leave the team, here's a comparison of the two 2Bs. Although, it would seem Tony's now a left fielder; take from this what you want. Womack 2005: .268/.313/.304/.617 Womack 2004: .307/.349/.385/.734 Tony took a $2 million offer from the Yankees, more than Cards were willing to pay. Good thing, too. Take a look at Womack's career stat line: Womack Career: .274/.319/.360/.679 Obviously, Womack had a career year wearing the Birds on Bat for the 2004 season. He and Grud are the same age, 35. The key difference between the two is one's ability to hit and the other's ability to steal bases. Clearly, Tony's not a slugger; his value lies in his speed. He won the stolen base crown in 1999 with 72, and that year he also had his highest OBP number, .332, until 2004. However, looking at Womack's career OBP and gazing back through his history, what he's doing in the Bronx is pretty much average. Are we getting a better deal with Grud? Of course, one million bucks for a season with his career stats, and it's really a bargain at the pace he's on now. What the Birds lost in Tony's 26 stolen bases is more than made up for in Grud's ability to get extra base hits, I think.
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