Monday, August 31, 2009

Polanco Underappreciated, Underrated And A Very Good Player

It has been a foregone conclusion Placido Polanco, in the last year of his contract, will be gone after this season.
I’m not sure that would be the wise move by the Tigers, even if they have prospect Scott Sizemore in the waiting.
Polanco is an extremely valuable player. It come to the forefront Sunday because he hit a game-winning home run, but it’s more on a day-to-day basis that he excels with persistent consistency.
It’s the two-out hits with runners in scoring position late in games. It’s his fielding. Polanco just doesn’t make errors, turns the double play exceptionally well and has decent range. His batting average has been down this season, but it’s been misleading. He has gotten as many key hits as ever, and is the prototypical No. 2 hitter.

Random Thoughts

- Michigan’s alleged football practice violations, as they stand alone, I don’t think are that big a deal. The NCAA will do something, but I’d be surprised if it amounts to more than a slap on the wrist. The bigger issue is the accumulation of things that have been happening to Michigan’s football program under Rich Rodriguez.
His haggling with West Virginia made the school look bad. The number of disgruntled players leaving the program made the school look bad. The Justin Feagin situation made the school look bad. Last year’s 3-9 record made the school look bad.
And the University of Michigan is not used to looking bad when it comes to football. To the contrary.

- Good for Bill Laimbeer landing a job with Minnesota as an assistant coach. Memories are long in the NBA. Laimbeer was not popular as a player, and even with his success as Shock coach, he was having trouble getting any interest from teams as an assistant. The Pistons did help him in this regard. It is possible he could someday return as the Pistons coach.

My column in Monday's Oakland Press on the Lions:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He has gotten as many key hits as ever."

Magically? A statistic might enhance that argument ... yes, he's had some big hits, but his batting average was less than .260 more than half the season. I would guess that means he's not had as many key hits as ever.

Not saying he shouldn't be re-signed, but man, research anyone?

11:02 AM 
Blogger Steve said...

Agreed Anonymous. These sweeping statements like, "He as gotten as many..." are so easy to say, Pat. But step back and take a look at the woeful hitting the Tigers have had this year, Polanco has been a part of that. Logic would then dictate that " many key hits as EVER.", is simply not true. But, like Anonymous said, a little research and a stated statistic to back yourself up would have helped.

However, I do NOT want him to leave after this year. He is important.

3:16 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Anonymous, you are mistaken thinking key opportunities realized is tracked by statistics.

There is no stat that really highlights key hits - slugging percent - men in RISP - they come close - but that drive up the gap to score two to tie and spark a rally? They can't track that for some reason.

Or that short hopped line drive snagged up the middle that could have cost two runs, instead snagged and lobbed to first to end the inning - no stat for that one.

Statistics can be misleading.

There are a number of players who have contributed at key moments consistantly - and the guy with the biggest stats (Cabrera) has not been consistantly one of them this year.

This team would be near the bottom of the division had it it not been for key hits by .250 players like Polanco, Inge, Raburn, laird - the list goes on.

You want a page full of stats?

Stats will lie to you about this Tiger team. This team has been the contradiction of everything I believed a good team should be - with the exception of great pitching.

As many key hits as ever ... that about sums it up for me.

Now somebody go look at the stats and explain to me why the Twins are closing in on us like a California brush fire?

8:04 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...


The Tigers almost need to do this. If they keep plugging away with the older position players, without injecting players from their farm system, then either the team will be forced to pay a premium for veteran talent (and keep a top 3 payroll indefinitely) or they will just drop off the face of the map in a few years. Sizemore is nearly ready to play, and Polanco is nearly ready to retire. The team doesn't have that situation in many other positions, but they need to jump on it in this situation.


9:38 AM 
Blogger Steve said...

Mr. Brill...

All he was saying was back that statement up with SOMETHING. You can't just say things like, "as many key hits as ever...", without backing it up. Especially when all can clearly see the Tigers are barely mediocre at the plate this year, Polanco included.

How about this, "Last year, Culpepper was as good as ever."

Oh really? It must be, I just said so.

2:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Off the top of my head, he had the homer to win the game vs. Tampa, an RBI triple in the seventh inning to seal a win in Anaheim, an eighth inning single to seal a victory over Baltimore, two go-ahead singles at Minnesota, both in extra innings, in a 16-inning victory (Tigers had blown it first time he had given them the lead). His OPS is higher than 2006, until the West Coast trip, he had more RBI on the road than Miguel Cabrera in same number of at-bats. He on pace for as many RBI as the year he hit .341. But beyond the stats, he is just a damn good player You are fixated on his batting average. Doesn't mean that much. It's not hitting percentage, but percentage of hits when it matters. Polanco is a terrific clutch hitter. Don't need stats to know that just watching games. Oh, and that's not measuring what he does with the glove. Tigers win on pitching and defense.

3:28 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Respect your opinion, but stand by what I wrote.

3:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Agree with you on this one. Statistics are a good measuring stick, but only to a point. I like the statistics and all that - and do use them to make my points. But there are too many people who watch the statistics closer than they do the actual games, and enjoy that part more than the actual games. I'm not one of them.

3:32 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It depends on how good Sizemore is. Chase Utley replaced Polanco in Philly. That made sense. I'm not sure if Sizemore is as "ready" as people think, nor has that high of a ceiling. Time will tell.

3:34 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Steve and Anonymous
Appreciate the post and the imput and insight. With all due respect, I can say whatever I want. It's my blog. Fred can say whatever he wants. It's his comment on this blog. Just like you can. This is meant to be fun. It's sports.

3:38 PM 
Blogger Steve said...

With all due respect, just because it's your blog, saying "whatever you want" must also have some credibility along with it. Anyone can just start a blog and "say whatever they want", we read yours because of the credibility.

And by the way, I AM having fun. We also don't need to be reminded it's just sports, that's obvious.

11:15 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...


11:48 AM 

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