Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time for Eckstein to Go?

Back in 2007, the Nats decided to part ways with hitting coach Lenny Harris. In their search for a replacement, they looked for a "baseball guy", someone who would do more than just play cards with the players. At the top of their list was Rick Eckstein, brother of "gritty" journeyman David Eckstein. A sophisticated baseball mind that had a very analytical approach to hitting, based on extensive use of video and cage work. Four years after his initial hire, how has he done so far?

In 2011, the Nats have somehow scraped their way to an 14-14 record so far on this season despite being near the bottom of baseball in most offensive categories. Watching this year's club, I became curious as to how the Nats have performed since Eckstein's arrival in DC. Join me in the time machine...

2008 - Record 59-102
MLB Averages - .264 AVG - .333 OBP - .749 OPS - 163 HR - 718 RBI
Nats Averages and MLB Ranks:
AVG - .251 (27th)
OBP - .323 (23rd)
OPS - .696 (29th)
HR - 117 (28th)
RBI - 608 (29th)

2009 - Record 59-103
MLB Averages - .262 AVG - .333 OBP - .751 OPS - 168 HR - 712 RBI
Nats Averages and MLB Ranks:
AVG - .258 (24th)
OBP - .337 (12th)
OPS - .743 (18th)
HR - 156 (21st)
RBI - 685 (21st)

2010 - Record 69-93
MLB Averages - .257 AVG - .325 OBP - .728 OPS - 154 HR - 676 RBI
Nats Averages and MLB Ranks:
AVG - .250 (21st)
OBP - .318 (22nd)
OPS - .708 (20th)
HR - 149 (17th)
RBI - 634 (21st)

2011 - Record 14-14
MLB Averages - .250 AVG - .320 OBP - .711 OPS - 25 HR - 112 RBI
Nats Averages and MLB Ranks:
AVG - .227 (29th)
OBP - .304 (24th)
OPS - .653 (27th)
HR - 22 (T-22nd)
RBI - 102 (25th)

So far there are 20 categories total (5 each for 4 years), using the MLB Averages listed, the Nats are below the MLB Average in 19 of the 20 categories. The lone exception is OBP in 2009 (Adam Dunn's first year in DC), where the Nats were only .004 higher than average.

Also, the Nats have placed in the bottom third in 17 of the 20 categories; only exceptions are 2009 OBP, 2009 OPS, and 2010 HR. Both years where Zimmerman had top quality years, and Adam Dunn was doing his walk/HR thing.

I'll be the first to admit that this year has been a bit different so far; Zimmerman's injury, LaRoche's injury, Front Office/Roster Decisions. But this is what Eckstein is paid for, to help people hit the ball; and right now, they aren't.

I'm not saying that Eckstein is on his way out anytime soon, but based on these numbers it might not be the worst decision that Mike Rizzo ever made.

1 comment:

  1. He's clearly not as much of a grinder as his brother. If he had more heart, the Nats would be better offensively.

    Then again, he's working with guys like Rick Ankiel, Jerry Hairston, Alex Cora, Laynce Nix, and the artist formerly knows as Ivan Rodriguez. Not sure how much blame Eckstein deserves for that.