Imagine the pangs of excitement I felt this morning when I read the headline of a Globe and Mail piece, “Blue Jays’ Arencibia scoffs at average“. That’s especially so because, with a .282 OBP last year, he’s maybe not the first guy you’d think would be approaching the same way as Brandon McCarthy, Oakland’ssabermetrically-obsessed Opening Day starter, who resurrected his career after turning to newfangled stats because he “didn’t want to suck at baseball anymore.”
Truth is, judging by Arencibia’s comments he’s not quite seen anything close to as much of the light as McCarthy– I mean, RBIs? Really?– but that doesn’t mean he isn’t headed in the right direction. Nor does it make it any less refreshing to hear his scoffing (or, frankly, kinda unsurprising, unless you’re still one of the old-school guys trying to cover teams without having any concept of the… er… concepts they’re now using when it comes to stats and evaluations).
“I don’t want to hit .219. Don’t get me wrong,” Arencibia tells the Globe. “But I will put my .219 with 23 homers and 78 RBI up against, say, .291 with five homers and 40 RBI. What I’m most interested in is productivity. Look at Carlos Pena. Do you think the Rays are worried about his average?”
“Are you paid to drive in runs or hit .300?” he adds.
Well… actually, Joe Carter, if you’re just scavenging RBIs on opportunities created by guys getting on-base in front of you, I’m not sure you’re doing either. But overall… sure. Fair enough.
Then, talking about breaking up Justin Verlander’s perfect game last May, he says, “ball four was the only time in my life when I did something wrong by getting a walk.”
Scoffing at average? Thinking walks only ever bad when they’ve “ruined a perfect game”? Um… yes, please.