Professor Xavier Nady that is. Circa 2008, the mutated version. Mutated slugging. Mutated average. Mutated OBP (resulting from an increase in batting average). Mutated OPS+.
In every single category, The X-Man enjoyed career highs. Including another positive statistic; LD%. But perhaps a negative statistic though, in this case, a high BABIP.
Xavier Nady is not the answer to the outfield dilemma, not in my mind anyway. But I have been proven to be wrong before.
Nady appears to be roughly average defensively (although I am having trouble locating numbers that include Nady in a listed format). Luckily, for any RF in Yankee stadium, they will have less ground to cover.
And X isn’t a putrid hitter by any means, never has been. But his career numbers at the plate indicate slightly above-average, rather than 28% better than average, as he was in 2008.
Since he and Ryan Ludwick have similar, but not exact cases, since they both had career years in the same season, it got me thinking about the both of them.
The one argument that I have considered when thinking that maybe Nady has a decent chance to duplicate last season is that Nady hasn’t always been given a consistent amount of AB’s. But it isn’t like Nady rotted on the bench either. The RF has had plenty of AB’s the past three seasons at the ML level.
One huge reason why I pencil in Nady for around an average year at the plate this season is the transition to the more difficult league, and the most difficult division in baseball.
His chances to drive in runners will increase. His chances to score runs will increase. And any defensive deficiencies that Nady has, should be hidden for approximately half the season. But Nady is probably due to come down some, reagardless of his opportunity based stats. His numbers were never even close to as good as they were in 2008, and that typically leads to the “aberration” being a “fluke,” rather than the start of a higher or lower level of performance (whatever degree of performance the outlier is).
However, while Nady will most likely experience a drop-off in his production, he will most likely not be the reason that the Yankees fail to reach the postseason, if that were to be their destination. They have enough talent to disguise a few slight weaknesses, if they do end up having them. Center field and Right field seem to be the most likely positions for the team to experience below-average production (although who knows?)
But this is why the numbers aren’t everything. I don’t believe Nady will be good, not bad, but not good. Yet, he may have learned something that I cannot see in the numbers. So I stay open-minded on a subject like this, as a player can become better, later in his career, on rare occasions.