What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
During the course of a discussion with a friend the other day about post-season heroes, the name Matt Stairs came up, and for good reason -- the man hasn't had a spectacular playoff career, but his rally-capping two-run shot in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS was one of those quintessential heroic playoff moments that will always garner him a certain amount of respect in Phillies fandom from now until eternity.
Naturally, I decided to punch up his Wikipedia page, and buried near the bottom I found this:
Noted baseball analysts Bill James and Joe Posnanski have theorized that Stairs is probably a far more talented hitter than his career stats suggest. Stairs didn't have 500 plate appearances until age 29, at which point he recorded 100 RBI seasons and an adjusted OPS of over 130 two years in a row- and never saw 500 at-bats again. James contends, "You put him in the right park, right position early in his career ... he's going to hit a LOT of bombs." Possibly, Posnanski contends, enough to be worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.
I've always said that Stairs has the most stereotypical "hulking home run hitter" swing I've ever seen, in the sense that it's so violent and max-effort, and yet he's always showcased pretty good plate discipline numbers, so it's not as though he's just blindly hacking up there. And looking at it from that standpoint, I can see the James/Posnanski argument.
The problem, of course, is that Stairs has always been a pretty abysmal fielder, and largely because of that has recorded more than one-fourth of his career plate appearances as a DH. And even though his early-career hitting talent went to waste as he bounced around from one destination to the next and didn't get a legitimate shot in the majors until hitting his age-3X years, Stairs was never an elite offensive player over any extended period of time.
This is sort of fun to think about, particularly if you're of the mindset that he could have racked up some 35-40 HR seasons during his age-23 to -28 seasons, but even then I have a very difficult time fathoming how Stairs could have broken past the "Hall of the Very Good" dividing line.
I think there's several things that Stairs and some teams could have done to improve his chances. First of all, if he had the same work ethic and attention to his nutrition as say CJ Wilson, he might have been a better fielder. He probably would have also been a better baserunner. The other thing is that most teams try everything in their power to get defensive value out of their prospects before deciding they'll be a career DH. Edgar Martinez is one of the few I can recall that was a DH fairly early in his career. If a team had just said, let's just throw Mr. Stairs into the DH role and let him hit (very early like the Yankees may do with Montero) he might have had enough plate appearances to make it work. Who knows? I still doubt it.
I've always loved his talent and attitude. I am not sure if he would have benefitted enough from diet and exercise to be in the kind of shape necessary to be a HOFer. But I do wish that he had gotten more ABs early so we could have watched him more.
He just strikes me as a workman who takes his bat to the plate every day and swings from the heels, a bit like a carpenter would take his tool belt to the construction.
I heard the other day that he wants to play 2 more years. I hope he is a success (unless he faces Texas in the Series. Then I want him to be on the losing side).
dam he was drafted as a SS?? wow
Lots of guys are HOFers if you give them three or four thousand more PAs and fill them with their peak performance.
That's without the DH problem in getting voted in...does he surpass a Baines or Martinez even with the above benefits?
Hard to argue with jim bob bill...mostly because he's so stupid
Yea i think it was pretty funny too im the other Martin u speak of
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