Professor Xavier.

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.   


What should be expected of Ryan “The Stud” Lud-wick?

As you may of heard, Ryan Ludwick was pretty awesome last season. 

As some may know, Ryan Ludwick hasn’t accomplished much as a Major League Baseball player. 

Ludwick has spent the majority of his career in the Minor Leagues, and several partial seasons in the big leagues.  Four partial seasons, one half season worth of plate appearances, and another full season which stands out like that is exactly what Ryan Ludwick is as a baseball player to some.

We sometimes pull for a guy that spends a lot of time in the minors, and this is no different.  If Ludwick continues to perform, then good for him.  Most players don’t become good baseball players at the age of 30. 

There are exceptions of course:  Carlos Pena was nothing much, then all of a sudden applied all of his natural skills and has become a great hitter.  David Ortiz of course was an average hitter and cut loose by the Twins, only to become great once he hit his prime (of course Ortiz was 27 at the time, not 30).  And Xavier Nady could be an example of this because he has lacked full time AB’s most of his career (but Nady is 30 and I would assume average is more realistic than good, but we never know).

I know that I do not refer to BA/BIP that much on this site, but when a player is not much of a Player, then has a great year with an unsually high BA/BIP.  Then I must question how good the player actually is. 

The thing is that I have heard a scout say that Ludwick had a lucky year.  Luck, it may be.  It may be skill too though, as I am not ruling that possibility out.  But at the age of 30, with many signs pointing to Ludwick having a career year in 2008.  Wouldn’t it have been better to sell high?  Or won’t it be better to sell high I mean?

Ludwick and the Cardinals are going through their little arbitration process right now, so eventually the two parties will come to terms.

And after that is done, should the Cardinals trade Ludwick? 

I just can’t bring myself to admit that Ludwick will be all that close to his 2008 performance.  And I know that there were discussions earlier in the off-season that included Ludwick’s name floating around, but nothing resulted of it.  Now they have a player that should only come down to Earth (although shouldn’t be bad by any means).

Again Ludwick will be turning 31 in 2009.  31, not 35.  But not 25, either.  And aside from the PED/steroids era, players are supposed to decline after the age of 31 or so. 

And what does that mean for Ludwick?   A player that should naturally regress because he probably isn’t that good.  And a player that should be declining in a few years anyway.

If Ludwick continues to play great in 2009 and beyond, the Cardinals will have to pay him big bucks, something they probably won’t do.  And if he doesn’t play well, then they lose out on a few prospects or another player they could be acquiring.  Of course, if Ludwick IS great, then he will help the team win, which is obviously the objective that any baseball team has.

It would be very surprising if he continued to hit great, however.  And the Cardinals may be missing an excellent opportunity to bring back a few decent pieces to help them win in the future–if they choose to keep him. 

But who knows.  Maybe the scouts have picked up on something that indicates that Ludwick will be a great player in 2009.  Maybe he has made adjustments fiddling around with his approach while in the minors for most of his career.  Ludwick did hit the ball hard last year, so that is a positive thing. 

But I still have a strong belief, that a high BA/BIP, a career year, and a very late surge in his career, will lead to a 2009 season that is more average than great.