27 July 2010

In Defense of Nate McLouth

Again and again, I repeat that I am a rabid Braves fan, way beyond the "love love super hug explosion of glory level" as seen on my graph.  And again and again, I mention that I am unreasonable and irrational about my adoration of the team and the players.  Admittedly, there are some that I adore less than others, but I'll take a Braves player over any other player on any other team.  (And yes, that did include Jo-Jo Reyes, when he was still a Brave, even though he never seemed to be able to get it together.  He had to have had something... and that's why he made the team.)

With all that being said, Nate McLouth is my subject.  Yes, I know he's below the Mendoza Line with his batting average of .168.  Yes, I know that he is 1-for-12 since he came back from the disabled list.

And no, I do not think we should trade him.  

Firstly, who could we possibly get that could be good enough in CF that we could not get internally?  (Hi, Gregor.  Hi, Jordan.  And before anybody says anything, I know that my Birthday Buddy has been sent down to Double-A, thanks.)
Secondly, HE'S HAD TWELVE (12) AT-BATS SINCE HE CAME BACK FROM THE DL.  Give me a break!  Give HIM a break.  The fact of the matter is, that is a small sample size to judge someone's worth.  And while MattE was fired up, and Yunel was doing well after they came off the DL, not everybody can say that a stint on the DL magically makes you wield a fiery bat of ball-hitting glory.  (Oh, yes, and JJ, too... back to his old self.)  We know that Nate can hit.  We know that Nate has power.  And we absolutely know that Nate can sprint, field, and throw.  I think he needs a bit more time than 3 games and 12 at-bats after an injury like a concussion to judge whether or not he's worth something to the team.
edit:  fine.  15 at-bats.  But my point still stands.

Yes, I KNOW he's been struggling all season.  He's been struggling since he came to Atlanta, really.  But he does NOT suck.  "Having trouble" does NOT equal "suck."  They are NOT mutually exclusive, true, but they are also not the same.   A player may "suck" but he's not necessarily "having trouble."  Whereas a player might be "having trouble" but we all know that he does not "suck."

Prime example:  Aaron Hill.  He just recently managed to bring his BA up over the Mendoza Line.  But I don't think anybody can doubt his worth to Toronto.  He is a great fielder, and everybody knows that he can hit.  Some players are just off, and yes, that is not beneficial for the team.  But at the same time, fans should know that ballplayers are humans too, and they are probably just as frustrated as we are that they aren't doing as well as they should or usually are.

The reason I brought this up, actually, since I wasn't going to address it at all (because it's a non-issue; we have the smartest front office in baseball), was because I don't approve of our own fans booing our own team.  Seriously.  Who do you think we are, the Phillies or the Mets?  YOU NEVER BOO YOUR OWN TEAM.  YOU NEVER BOO YOUR OWN TEAM'S MEMBERS.  I don't care if they are struggling, you don't do it.  That's the very opposite of the definition of class.

I have never before noticed Atlanta fans doing that.  And I am totally appalled.  There was booing for Melky, for Troy Glaus, for Kawakami, and Natey.  It's uncalled for and it's rude.

Also, Facebook people need to stop trying to invite me to join Facebook groups such as "Jason Heyward > Obama" (wtf does that have to do with ANYTHING?) and "Nate McLouth Sucks."  I will not, repeat, WILL NOT join.  And if any other idiots want to join, that's their prerogative.  I'm just really sick of getting these invites sent to me.  Yes I am a Braves fan.  No I will not talk trash about my own team's players.  GET LOST.


Söck Eat said...

Very well said, and I totally agree, although if Jason Heyward ran for president, I might still vote for him, even though he isn't old enough to be eligible. Similarly, I'd vote for Martin Prado for president, even though he's ineligible because he's from Venezuela.

Alison said...

Well, I think a lot of people say that about John Smoltz, too, but I know for a fact that Smoltzie and I have very different politics.

My main concern with the Jason Heyward > Obama thing is... they have nothing in common other than that they are both tall and black. And while it's not an overtly racist statement, but it IS racist. "We hate the black man Barack Obama, but we DO like the black man Jason Heyward." It's ridiculous.

Steve G. said...

We know that Nate can hit. We know that Nate has power. And we absolutely know that Nate can sprint, field, and throw.

I'm not sure that we "know" Nate can hit and has power. He had a good 2007, a great 2008 and a good 2009. The rap on him from Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein and other scouts was that 2008 was over his head, and outside of that, he's mostly just been a decent OFer.

Guys like that can fall off very, very quickly and outside of regular aging patterns - Look at Troy O'Leary, Reggie Jefferson, Mike Greenwell (you can tell I'm a Red Sox fan, sigh), Brad Wilkinson, Derek Bell, Ruben Sierra, Richard Hidalgo... Baseball history is littered with non-AS but good OF that fall off the cliff.

Alison said...

@Steve: These are all true. I admit that I did look at his numbers... but at the same time, he does have the ability to do better than what he is doing right now, which is very bad. And I think that the fans are being rather unfair. Plus I really don't think he'd be tradeable with those numbers. And trading Melky is out of the question because Melky is a switch-hitter, and Bobby LOVES to play the lefty-righty game. (Plus, Melky has been hitting up a storm.) So that leaves our only option (trade-wise): Gregor Blanco. He's been sent back to the Minors though, to make room for Nate, and that probably means we aren't looking to trade him... I hope. Really, Atlanta just needs to sit tight... and NOT boo its own players.

Steve G. said...

Yeah, McLouth's value is at an all-time low. The Braves can either keep playing him or release him, because nobody is going to trade for him.

I get frustrated by the same thing with Red Sox fans, who suggest trades on talk radio that have absolutely no basis in reality. Like people want to trade Mike Lowell, who has absolutely no trade value because he's too hurt to play regularly, or Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, two middle relievers who have sucked.

Alison said...

:( And the Sox have had a great deal of injuries this season, too. Is Ellsbury close to coming back??

Steve G. said...

Ellsbury just started a rehab assignment... in the Gulf Coast League. sigh. So, he's a bit far away.

Sox fans are nuts about him too, as they think there is some Scott Boras conspiracy keeping him away from the team. Yeah, because Boras would order him to just sit out 100 games before he starts to get arbitration eligible. Boras is an evil genius, not an evil simpleton.