Monday, August 28, 2006

The Watch
By Ben Valentine

Sometimes in sports a player gets near something momentous and people begin to take notice. Updates are streamed in nightly, your local news carries it even though the guy is across the country. Heck your own team’s broadcasters are mentioning it during scoreboard updates.

For example, you might remember such things from the home run races in baseball over the last ten years. Whenever Mark McGwire came to the plate, stations would either cut away to show his AB or tell you how it ended. His nightly line was posted at the top of every sports website. Or for a more recent example, see the hoopla over Chase Utley’s hit streak. (or currently, Willy Taveras’)

Well Sportszilla is getting into the action as well. But for the other end of the spectrum. Instead, we’ll be keep track of a foray into futility as we proudly present:

“The Abraham Nunez Watch: One Man’s Quest to Post an OPS Below .500 While Staying In the Starting Lineup.”

Recently, I’ve been blasting the fact Nunez has an OPS in the .500’s, which is not only miserable for a regular, but down right awful for a third baseman. And to top it off he plays at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, an excellent place for hitters. When I first mentioned him, Nunez had an OPS at .535. The next time he came up it was at .530. And now where does the Phillies’ third baseman reside?


.511. Five hundred and freaking eleven. And that’s amazing for a few reasons:

Reason one: How the hell can a major league player post a number that low in 224 ABs? It’s actually very hard to do because the only way a player gets that many ABs with such awful splits is if he’s got tremendous upside. In other words an all star caliber player or top prospect on a lousy team. But if a guy has that much talent, then there’s no way he’ll play that badly.

Nunez is none of those, since he’s 30 and has never been good. And the Phillies are in playoff contention, just one game back of the wild card. More in this later.

Reason two: He’s walked 19 times this year. Why would anyone walk him… ever? The pitcher is pretty much as likely to hurt you.

Reason three: How is he still the every day third baseman for a team in playoff contention? Young players with his numbers would have been shipped down to the minors already and most probably would have been dumped at AA. But Nunez is 30, so since he really has no upside, a guy like him should be released. I mean there is almost no way the Phillies could start someone worse at third. In the thick of a playoff race, how can anyone justify him being placed out there?

Reason four: According to ESPN, Nunez is owned by 53.6% of NL only leagues compared to 0.0% in regular ones. Even more incredibly, that NL number increased by 16.8% in the last week.

This is why NL/AL only leagues aren’t any fun. Any league where over half the owners are compelled to own the worst regular in baseball is not a league worth being a part of.

So the questions are, can Nunez continue his assault on .500 and somehow manage to maintain his job? Keep it here for all the updates.

Hey home run races come around nowadays, what, once every five years? What Nunez is trying to accomplish… well that’s something that you just don’t see everyday.

Not even in Kansas City.


Blogger Joseph P. said...

You know what's sad? That even Vinny Castilla's .539 OPS would be an upgrade.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

The dude was fucking INSERTED into the lineup after 4 months of horrible play. INSERTED INTO THE LINEUP

Somehow, Chris Coste has played 3B in the past but hasn't seen a start there..maybe Jeff Conine will see some time. Even he is an upgrade.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's played pretty well in August, with a lofty .609 OPS thus far for the month. That's .99 higher than his season OPS. AMAZING! And he drew a BB today. Ugh. I hope he sprains his whole body while running onto the field for warmups tomorrow night.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are aware that for most of the season, Nunez has been struggling to stay above a .400 OPS, right? That as of July 16, he had a .355 OPS? And has needed a scorching .572 OPS July and .609 (to date) OPS in August to get to the heights of a .500 OPS?

When you saw that .535 OPS, that was about his high water mark for the season (actually after the next game, he was .544).

ESPN game log

He is 5-39 as a pinch hitter... after starting something like 1-23. He was into June before he got his first RBI of the season... this after 27 AB, many of which came with men on base.

If you think his current stats look bad... just be thankful you haven't been watching all year. This is as good as he's looked.

It is nice to have someone to share the pain with though ;-)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

unfortunately I've watched him the whole season.

Imagine if Alex Gonzalez didn't retire, the Phils would have had the two worst offensive players in the major leagues on the same team. And what if Rollins got hurt, they'd have the worst left side of the infield of all-time

11:13 PM  
Blogger Sparky Duck said...

and I was figuring this was going to be will he make it over the mendoza line post.

11:14 PM  

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