What We Learned In Week Two

Our look back at the last seven days continues, as we find out what we learned in week two.

Shin-Soo Choo is a decent hitter.

11 for 19, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 BB, 1 K, and a stolen base for good measure. Over the last week, Choo has posted a .756 wOBA. He created +8.8 wRAA in 25 plate appearances. Choo flew under the radar a bit last year, despite a 5+ win season, but he should be firmly entrenched in people’s minds now. Grady Sizemore is still the franchise player in Cleveland, but he has a sidekick now. There should be no more doubting whether Shin-Soo Choo is for real.

Perhaps pitchers should pay attention to Joey Votto.

Last year, Votto played 131 games, came to bat 544 times, and stole four bases. Last week, Votto played seven games, came to bat 23 times, and stole four bases. It’s not like he just piled them up against one pitcher who wasn’t paying attention, either. He stole a base on the 12th, the 14th, the 15th, and the 17th. He’s now four for five in thievery this year, despite entering the year with 12 career steals in 18 attempts.

We know Votto can hit. Apparently, he wants to add running to his repertoire. He’s probably fast enough to steal double digit bases (he did collect 24 steals in Double-A back in 2006), but it will be interesting to see how quickly pitchers adjust to his new found desire to run.

Rich Harden is not right.

In two starts last week, Harden lasted just 9 2/3 innings, walked nine guys, hit two more, and threw a wild pitch. Command has never been his forte, but he’s now running a 9.45 BB/9 on the season. His fastball averaged just 90.6 MPH, and only 41 percent of his pitches were in the strike zone.

This version of Harden doesn’t appear to have good enough stuff to challenge hitters, and his already poor command just compounds the problem. The upside with him is obvious (he’s still missing bats), but given how he’s throwing right now, it’s hard to see the Rangers getting a real return on their investment from Harden this year. Meanwhile, Derek Holland is destroying the Pacific Coast League – it might not be a bad idea to make a switch, send Harden out on a rehab assignment, and let him work on building some arm strength. Having him try to get back to full speed in the majors isn’t working very well.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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CMC_Stags
12 years ago

Is the “Bavasi screwed the franchise” meme dead yet? Or are we still allowed to bring it out?

Kevin S.
12 years ago
Reply to  CMC_Stags

Adam Jones and Chris Tillman say ‘hi.’

CMC_Stags
12 years ago
Reply to  Kevin S.

You forgot Asdrubal Cabrera (for Eduardo Perez), Rafael Soriano (for Horacio Ramírez), and Matt Thornton (for Joe Borchard). And Kam Mickolio was in the Bedard trade as well.