Digging on Pokey
By Jason Wojciechowski on May 18, 2004 at 7:46 PM
Beginning all the way back with Saturday, May 8:
- Vernon Wells popped two doubles off of Scott Schoeneweis, giving him eleven on the year. He's since hit two more, bringing his OPF all the way to 54. This would tie for the 21st best season of all time, with Mark Grudzielanek, Todd Helton, Hal McRae, John Olerud, and Alex Rodriguez. That's a pretty funny list: an all-time great, a modern great, two very good players who aren't really up on the "great" list, and one guy who had a really weird fluke season. Grudz was with Montreal back in 1997, when he hit his 54, and despite all those doubles, along with a respectable .273 batting average, he still managed to slug just .384. How do you do that?
- Scott Podsednik had one hit, a single, but ended up on second base, then stole third for his 17th steal of the year. He's the Energizer Bunny, but with better on-base ability. Ben Grieve had a single, double, and walk in the game. I've always been a fan of his, vigorously defending him on message boards from those who took his quiet demeanor for a lack of passion for the game. He had a couple of awful, injury-marred seasons in Tampa, as any young player traded there might, but he's trying to get his career back on track with Milwaukee. He's hitting .264/.393/.458 in 86 plate appearances. He's lost some of his power from his early days with the A's, but his already healthy walk rate is better than ever (16 walks this year), which, combined with a batting average that's essentially holding steady, means his on-base percentage has moved from the "good" range up toward "very nice." He could bounce around for a lot of years on one- and two-year contracts, and provide some nice hitting wherever he goes. That's a disappointing career considering the heights he started from (very early pick in 1994, a preposterous three-level 1997, rookie of the year in 1998), but he'll make some money and probably be able to play for essentially as long as he wants, so he can't really complain, and neither should we.
- Ken Griffey continued his bid for a comeback year with two homers to lead the Reds over the Giants, helping Paul Wilson to his fourth win of the year and allowing the opportunity for Danny Graves to get his 13th save. He's since added four more, putting him OPF 74 for the year, which would break Bobby Thigpen's mark by 17 saves. He gave up a run, and his ERA is 3.24, so it's not like he's having a Gagne-type year so far or anything. He's just getting a weird number of opportunities. His 13th save came in his team's 16th win, which is a downright freaky percentage. Fun note from his bio: Graves was born in Saigon. Who knew? Griffey, as some people noted last year, has turned into an oddly low-average, high walk, high slugging hitter. It's weird for a guy who's career major league batting average is .293 to hit .248, but be successful doing it. Griffey's drawing close to the 193 plate appearances he had last year. He needs 44 more to reach that mark, which he should get in ten or eleven games, I'd guess. If he stays healthy. There, I said it.
- Pokey Reese did his best Nomar impersonation, popping his first two homers of the year against the Royals. I'll check later, but I wonder if Reese has ever had a multi-homer game before. Hell, has Reese ever had a multi-hit game before? Meanwhile, Jason Varitek was busy doing his Pokey Reese impersonation, stealing second base twice in the game. On the other hand, Reese has probably never had a multi-steal game before, either, because you can't steal unless you're on base first.