Monday, August 6, 2007

In defense of Trot Nixon

Webster's dictionary:

scapegoat (noun) - see: Trot Nixon

Trot Nixon may just be the worst outfielder ever to wear a Tribe uniform. He is, at least, the worst one currently dressed with Chief Wahoo on his cap. That is the consensus around town.

But the numbers say otherwise. At least the numbers since the All-Star break, when the Tribe has been mostly in a funk-especially at the plate.

Grady Sizemore is the every day centerfielder. That's a given, so we won't bother clogging things up with his numbers. But four players continue to share two spots in the outfield: Trot Nixon, Franklin Gutierrez, Kenny Lofton and Jason Michaels.

Of the four, Trot Nixon has the highest on-base percentage (.440) and batting average (.364) since the All-Star break. He's second in slugging percentage (.432). Rookie Franklin Gutierrez has been the second-most-productive corner outfielder since the break, leading in slugging percentage (.574) and slotting behind Nixon in BA (.315) and on-base percentage (.345).

I'm as shocked as you, but numbers don't lie.

(note:Lofton's numbers on the linked chart are with Cleveland only. With Texas and Cleveland since the break, Kenny is hitting .286 with a .318 on-base percentage and a .418 slugging percentage.

Not sure how Nixon got the donkey on his back, but I have to admit without looking at the numbers I was pointing fingers at him too. Of course it's not all about the numbers. Defense and speed count too. But maybe we've all been a bit too quick to push too much blame onto Nixon.
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Anonymous said...

Completely misleading. Trot has no pop left at all and has been reduced to a singles hitter.

Include Trot's homeruns (0), RBI's (6) and run scored (6) during the same period and you will find he has barely contributed.

A can barely move singles hitter is not exactly a productive outfielder.

Ron Vallo said...

your points are well-taken, particularly the last one.

but my point was not to overvalue Nixon as a player, but to point out that there's plenty of blame to go around.

at the time I wrote that post - in very early August - the offensive woes were just starting to get noticed, and everyone was pointing the finger at Nixon, myself included.

what I was trying to point out was that the slump that was just taking hold was team-wide,and that all would not be right with the world if only Nixon disappeared.

I think the intervening weeks have proven that to be true, since Nixon plays a lot less now and the team is hitting worse than ever.