Tuesday, April 28, 2009

David Eckstein Will Lay Eggs in Your Heart, and They Will Hatch into Padres Wins

Fun statistic of the day: through Monday, April 27th, there is only one position player among the top ten (actually, due to a multi-player tie for 5th, the top twelve) in the National League in sacrifice hits. That player is tied for the league lead with five. And his name?

David Eckstein.

Now, in Eckstein's defense, he is hitting .309/.377/.426. Also in Eckstein's defense, seemingly, is every sportswriter in America (note: may be a gross exaggeration). But there is no way that David Eckstein, a man with as much extra-base power as a kitten with a bat taped to its adorable little paws, is going to sustain even a .426 SLG.

None of this would be all that bad from a bottom-of-the-order glove man, but Eckstein's glove is no great shakes, and the Padres are batting him second. And yes, I know that this is the Padres we're talking about here, but even if we assume for a moment that Eckstein does in fact belong in the two spot for the Friars, what in the holy hell is he doing with five sacrifice hits in only seventeen games? That's either a lot of failed bunts for hits (not a good sign), or five votes of no confidence from manager Bud Black. Traditionalists be damned; if your team isn't doing anything but moving the runner over when the two man takes a swing, it's time to re-evaluate that batting order.

But hey, at this rate, Eckstein will finish the season with 41 SH, the highest total since the start of the Great Depression. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.

I guess.


  1. Among position players on the Padres active roster with at least 40 PA Eck is fourth in OBP. It really isn't that ridiculous to bat him second. The five sacrifice hits are almost certainly an anomaly but God I hope it's not.

  2. Based on 17 games it isn't ridiculous. Based on the fact that he's David Eckstein? That's a completely different story!

  3. His OBP is solid. And his OBP will probably remain solid. The trouble is, there's no pop in that bat, and unlike 142% of MLB managers, I agree the metric shitton of mathematical types who argue very convincingly that power in the 2-spot is very important and VASTLY underrated in the bigs.

    Eckstein and guys like him (Ryan Theroit, for example) should never be in the 1-5 slot unless a team is absolutely abysmal. But as Caleb points out, the Padres ARE abysmal. Eckstein is currently fourth among San Diego starters in SLG, and second in OPS. I know it's still early, but that is an absolutely terrible thing to have to write about a team.