Inning-Endy?First, note that ESPN will be airing the spring training opener tomorrow at 1PM. I'll personally catch it on Tivo later in the day.
I feel badly for Endy Chavez, because the fact that he's marginal at best isn't just getting lots of play in the blogosphere, it's all over the press. Today's Washington Post takes a look, and determines that one of his problems is being too good at making contact:
Robinson explains it thusly. In the instances when Chavez is fortunate to work the count to, say, 3-1, his natural aggressiveness takes over. As Chavez said, "I like to swing the bat. It's hard not to." But because he rarely swings and misses or fouls a ball back, swinging at 3-1 can turn an at-bat in which Chavez held the advantage into a harmless groundout or popup. So in such situations, Robinson wants something different from a guy who's supposed to be a leadoff hitter.In other words, Chavez not only has no patience, he's too good at putting the ball in play. Well, I wouldn't quite be accusing him of that if he were "hitting 'em where they ain't", so to speak (his batting average last year was only slightly above average, and his OBP was well below it). Nonetheless, it is a good skill to be able to wear down a pitcher.
"Occasionally, you're going to have to say to yourself, 'I'm going to take this pitch, and I'll go 3-2 and make him throw another pitch,' " Robinson said. "He has to, each at-bat, understand the situation, and then that will dictate what you should do that at-bat. Each at-bat is different, so look at it that way."
I don't think we will have Endy Chavez in the starting lineup past 2005 (and I suspect he'll be gone by mid year). Robinson's goal is for Chavez to score 100 runs. I think that's a poor metric for performance, but it's still a big stretch for a guy w/ a .318 OBP last year. I hope he makes big strides, since it seems inevitable that we're going to see him every day, but I doubt he's going to have a breakout season with a .400 OBP.
BTW, Chris over at Capitol Punishment coined the nickname 'Inning-Endy Chavez'. I like it, but I don't think it'll be true. I don't think he'll have enough of an opportunity as the leadoff hitter to build a solid reputation for ending innings. I suspect that many of the innings that aren't ended by the pitcher will be ended by Guzman (or whoever is mediocre enough to be batting 8th). We'll see!