Can you root for a team that plays Cristian Guzman?
It's too depressing to write about how we have fallen off, although I do have a couple posts coming on that. So I will write about this instead...
A couple months back and I will put the link in later, I wrote about how Cristian Guzman compares to some of the worst seasons all-time.
Guzman currently has a .181 batting average, a .221 on base average, and a .268 slugging percentage for a .489 OPS. (the league wide-OPS in 2004 was .788). He is also on pace for only 32 runs scored and 21 RBI for a full season of work. As I mentioned in the earlier post, here are the other contenders for worst season of all-time (well, since 1910 anyway--hard to judge anything before then):
Hal Lanier, 1968 (the death of offense, league avg OPS = .665): .225 OBP and .239 SLG for a .464 OPS in 498 PAs.
Bob Lillis, 1963 (league avg OPS = .678): .230 OBP and .237 SLG for a .467 OPS in 484 PAs.
Jim Levey, 1933 (league avg OPS = .775): .237 OBP and .240 SLG for a .477 OPS in 555 PAs. He was 26 at the time and Levey never played another game after this season.
You can throw Lanier and Lillis out because they played in the 1960s. To make a comparison to Guzman for players in the 60s, you'd probably have to lower his OPS to about .425.
So, it's Levey and Guzman in a race. May the best/worst man win/lose. And yes, it's harsh but I do believe Guzman deserves the same fate as Levey.
In a different post about a month ago, I listed Cristian's stats in various situations to show that he is actually having a much WORSE year that his stats indicate. Because he actually does even worse than his .181 batting average etc. when he is in important situations. Somehow, Mr. Guzman has managed to drop his stats in clutch situations even more. While he has a .181 batting average overall, his average is actually .132 if any runners are on base. His average drops further to a ridiculous .095 in the 74 at-bats he has had with runners in scoring position. And with a staggering 2 for 40, his average drops to .050 when he comes up with runners in scoring position and 2 outs.
Just an update here: Out of 276 regulars in the major leagues (those with at least 200 plate appearances this year), Guzman's .489 OPS ranks of course 276th. Tony Womack, who hasn't started regularly for a month is 275th, 50 points ahead of Cristian. Not a single other player has an OPS within even 100 points of Guzman's (Jamey Carroll is actually 274th at a .595 OPS).
And what's the rule? If you can't hit, at least work the count. Well, of the 432 major leaguers who have at least 50 plate appearances this year, Cristian ranks 430th at a miniscule 3.04 pitches seen per plate appearances (guys like Bobby Abreu see 50% more pitches than Cristian, and we know what Abreu does with a good pitch to hit). By the way, the two batters behind Guzman in this list are not stellar. At # 432 sits Livan Hernandez.
And finally, you know that quiet and a bit creepy guy that everyone thinks must be smart, until you actually talk to him and realize he's actually quiet, creepy and not all that smart at all? That's my analogy for Cristian Guzman's fielding. People want to think "Oh, he can't hit and he's still in the majors. He must be a good fielder." No, he's still in the majors because GMs make bad decisions and sign bad contracts. All the evidence we have says that Guzman has been no better than average during his career in the field. And this year, he is well-below average. His fielding percentage is tied for 9th in the NL (out of 15), and just 1/10 of 1% above 12th place. His range factor is 10th and far below average. His zone rating is 12th and far below average.
In essence, our team has chosen to keep putting out there a guy whose basic stats put him in strong contention for the worst season of all time, and in addition, can't hit in the clutch, doesn't work the pitch count to help his teammates, and isn't a very good fielder.
It's one thing to lose games. It's another to start the game with an arm tied behind your back. That is what management is choosing to do here by putting Mr. G out there every night.