"I have been a Red Sox fan since birth. ... I want to think happy thoughts about everyone in a Sox uniform because they bring joy to my life.Now, I'm no stranger to irrational (or rational) disgust for various ballplayers -- and I won't be joining Lugo's Fan Club anytime soon -- but this venom (and MR is far from alone) seemed out of proportion to Lugo's actual 2008 performance.
Mr. Lugo, you do everything in your power to sh—t on my efforts to be a nice person. ... you make it hard to enjoy watching baseball. You make me pound angrily on my computer and yell obscenities in the presence of church going women and soft eared children. ..."
So I went off to check.
So far this season, Lugo is getting on base at a higher percentage (.357) than David Ortiz (.355), Dustin Pedroia (.328), Mike Lowell (.324) and Coco Crisp (.316). His batting average (.289) is only .001 lower than J.D. Drew, identical to Pedroia, and higher than Lowell (.276), Jason Varitek (.275) and Crisp (.287).
However, those numbers are fairly empty and unproductive, as Lugo is doing most of his hitting when no one is on base.
With runners on second and/or third, Lugo is slugging a mighty .182. His slugging percentage for the season is .336 -- bringing his OPS+ down to a roster-worst 88.AVG OBP SLG
Empty .337 .375 .410
Men On .227 .338 .242
RISP .182 .309 .182
Looking at more progressive stats, we see how hollow the average and on-base numbers are. Lugo's Equivalent Average (EQA) is .254 -- below league average and the worst mark on the team. He has contributed only .2 of a run over what a replacement level hitter (i.e., a generic easily-available player from AAA) would have done so far this year. The Hardball Times credits Lugo with 1 Win Share -- the same total as Justin Masterson.
Lugo is also striking out more often than in any season since 2004 -- and hitting many more groundballs.
Lugo's percentage of fly balls has fallen through the floor. And after grounding into nine double plays in each of 2006 and 2007, he's already hit into seven this season.GB/FB LD% GB% FB%
2002 1.54 20.6% 48.1% 31.3%
2003 1.59 20.5% 48.8% 30.6%
2004 1.53 17.8% 49.7% 32.5%
2005 1.59 21.6% 48.1% 30.3%
2006 1.39 19.7% 46.7% 33.6%
2007 1.26 16.7% 46.4% 36.8%
2008 3.30 14.7% 65.5% 19.8%
Fangraphs uses a stat called Win Probability Added (WPA), which is "the difference in win expectancy between the start of the play and the end of the play. That difference is then credited/debited to the batter and the pitcher". Again, Lugo is dead last on the team (that also includes every member of the pitching staff).
We all know Lugo has made 12 errors; no other shortstop has more than eight and only three have more than six. ESPN's fielding stats have Lugo with the worst range and worst zone rating of any shortstop in baseball.
So why will Lugo get worse? His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .347. (Fangraphs has his BABIP at .352.) Lugo's BABIP over the past three years and his career:
Lugo definitely had some bad luck last year. His current .347/.352 mark will surely drop. As hard as it may be to believe, Lugo has been lucky at the plate this year. That luck is not likely to last.2005 - .325
2006 - .311
2007 - .262
Career - .313