Re: Middlebrooks' 1st Season: 27 HR, 92 RBI
posted at 9/11/2013 10:38 PM EDT
Wow, fans get all up in arms seeing Middlebrooks compared to the dreaded Mark Reynolds.
Yes, Reynolds strikes out a lot, but there are a lot worse players out there. Comparisons to Reynolds are certainly a lot more accurate than comparisons to Mike Schmidt. And while I get the Schmidt ones are being done to make a point, they really are not making it. I also think people are underselling Mark Reynolds, who, while not an elite ballplayer, is not a bad one either.
Look at it this way, through their age 24 seasons:
Middlebrooks (604PA) - .264 / .307 / .480 (.787) 110OPS+ 4.72K/BB
Schmidt(1169PA) - .247 / .366 / .472 (.838) 130OPS+ 1.67K/BB
Reynolds (1027PA) .255 / .332 / .473 (.805) 102OPS+ 3.30K/BB
At the same ages, Reynolds actually looks a little better than Middlebrooks. His OPS advantage is negated by the ballpark, as supported by OPS+. But at the same age, his strikeout disadvantage everyone hates (Reynolds – 3.1PA/K, Middlebrooks 4PA/K) is offset by large advantage in walks (Reynolds – 10.2PA/BB, Middlebrooks – 18.9PA/BB)
For those who think “Hey, Mike Schmidt wasn’t that great. Middlebrooks can catch him.” You have to bear in mind that at 24, not only was Schmidt already better, but Schmidt spent his minor league career as a switch hitter, and his early MLB years facing RHP from the right side for the first time.
Middlebrooks has one big advantage over Reynolds – he still has the chance to improve over his age 24. His last few games have been a big step, especially in the K/BB areas. But I have seen (and made) worse comparisons for Middlebrooks, and don’t find Reynolds to be the most ridiculous one. And I don’t get why people are so offended by it. You might think of Reynolds as a guy who was DFA’d this year, but Middlebrooks is a guy who was demoted this year.
Is that comp so awful if Middlebrooks age 25 season is anything like Reynolds was? .260 / .349 / .563 with 44 HRS and 24SBs. Were you hating Reynolds then?
From age 25 through 27, Reynolds hit .228 / .331 / .489 (.820) with 113 HRs, 273RBI and 37SB. Would Middlebrooks disappoint you if he did THAT? An .820 OPS with an average of 37HRs and 91RBI over a 3 year span? Sure you might not want him to hit .228, but would you take a .331OBP? Can Middlebrooks EVER get his OBP 100 points higher than his BA? For one season, let alone a 3 year stretch?
Do you think Middlebrooks is really going to exceed those numbers over the next 3 years?