Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The Delgado Factor
I've already written about the inevitability of Big Papi's resurgence, but I'd like to offer a recent analogy. Last season, coming off a serious injury, Carlos Delgado was declared "done" at 36. Scouts said his bat speed was gone, that he couldn't pull the ball, and New York sportswriters drilled Willie Randolph for keeping him in the middle of the lineup. On May 6 he was batting .216 with a 670 OPS and only 4 HR (Ortiz is currently at .222, 653, and, famously, 0). From that point on, Delgado hit .284 with a 919 OPS, 34 HR, and 99 RBI, finishing 9th in the NL MVP voting. No doubt he would have finished higher if the Mets hadn't collapsed and missed the playoffs. Don't allow a prolonged slump after an injury convince you, as it has many of the pundits of Baseball Tonight, that Ortiz's skills are in dramatic decline. In his last 16 games he is already showing signs of life, with a modest 782 OPS, 9 extra-base hits, and a nine-game hitting streak. Last night against the Yankees he hit a pair of doubles and walked twice. Ortiz may never again be a 40-50 HR guys, as he was in his late twenties, but he can still be an RBI machine, peppering balls off the Green Monster and hitting in the center of a potent lineup.