Go ahead and vent about this play from Tuesday night that allowed the Cubs to win consecutive games in walk-off fashion. Feel better? Good. Let me provide a couple of reminders.
In the table below, I submit to you the cumulative triple-A performances of three mystery players now on the Cardinals’ roster. Which performance is most appealing?
Find out who they are after the jump…
Player B? Yeah, I kind of thought so. That would be Tyler Greene. And this is no sample-size issue as Greene has accumulated 1204 plate appearances compared to player A’ s 703 and player C’s 1169. In Greene’s four seasons at triple-A Memphis, he’s posted wOBAs (read about this stat at FanGraphs) of .304, .390, .357, and .442 between 2008-2011. He’s also the rare type of player that can contribute runs to the offense by succeeding in more than 70% of his stolen base attempts. In triple-A, he’s stolen 68 bases and been caught only 10 times. He’s never been caught at the major league level (17 SB, 0 CS).
Player A (Daniel Descalso) and Player C (Skip Schumaker) represent the other two options the Cardinals have at second base right now. Do either of them evoke drastically more confidence in you? Offensively, ZIPS projects each of these players to have very similar value (less than ten points of wOBA difference for rest of season performance), but if you had to bet on one of them outperforming their projection based on past data, who would you choose?
Is Daniel Descalso‘s .297 wOBA in 464 major league plate appearances enough to outweigh Greene’s minor league dominance? Or would you rather bank on Skip Schumaker, a once respectable batsmen (albeit fueled by high BABIPs) who has posted a .299 wOBA in his past 900+ plate appearances? For all of the hand-wringing over Tyler Greene‘s failures as a baseball player right now, the alternatives are equally unattractive, at least in my estimation.
If you want to argue that Descalso is the better option for defensive purposes, I’d have a difficult time refuting that, but the upside of Greene warrants a longer leash, and he’s showing signs of life. Of the balls that Greene has put into play this season, a ridiculous 47.4% of them have been line drives. According to StatCorner‘s wOBAr, which adjusts for park and batted ball rates, he should be getting much better results (.359 wOBAr), confirming that he’s been a victim of tough luck.
Tyler Greene‘s propensity for striking out might be too much to overcome. Or his play in the field may prove too erratic for Matheny to trust. But I don’t think we can definitively make either of those statements at this point. Not after 398 plate appearances scattered across three seasons of intermittent playing time. Not after one (yes, that was his first of the season) error, even though it had profound consequences. Many of us were willing to give Tyler Greene another chance in Spring Training. Since then, all of 39 plate appearances and less than 100 defensive innings have transpired. Not only should that not be enough to change your mind about him, but that shouldn’t be enough to change your mind about any player… ever.
Have some patience. Put away the pitchforks. This whole thing might work out just yet.