ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Matt Holliday was acquired in 2009 to be the protection Albert Pujols never had but sorely needed. By 2012 he’s the centerpiece of the Redbirds’ offense and will be for the next 4 or 5 years.
For some reason, he doesn’t quite get the respect he should...especially in a city that is commonly accepted as the best in baseball.
Let’s take a look at some of what this 32-year old has done to further establish how ridiculous that is:
How could a man with a .325/.408/.561 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) triple slash line this year possibly be under appreciated? Heck, take out his brutal April (.277 OBP) and his numbers are even more ridiculous this season.
How could a man with the 10th best career OPS (.932) among active players be under appreciated?
How could a man who’s been honored by going to the All Star game 6 of the last 7 years possibly be under appreciated?
Yes, in fact, I’m well aware what the Holliday “haters” would say in response to this. He’s not clutch. He doesn’t come through with runners in scoring position and, therefore, isn’t worthy of being considered a superstar.
It is true, Holliday’s numbers with RISP pale in comparison to what he does with the bases empty. This year with no one on base Holliday’s hitting .361...put runners on and that number drops to .288...put those runners in scoring position and it drops again to .267...add 2 outs to the situation and it’s even lower at .250.
Here’s the problem with that assessment. It’s not like this every year for him. I went back and looked up Holliday’s splits for each season since he was brought up by the Rockies in 2004.
Know what I found? In 4 of the 8 seasons prior to 2012, Holliday’s average with runners in scoring position is either just about equal to or even better than his average with the bases empty. Calling a hitter not clutch is a very personal thing. You better come armed with a much better argument than citing one season’s worth of splits to gain any sort of validation.
Matt Holliday is who he is. He’s a physical specimen who, when he connects, can hit a baseball as hard as anyone in the league. It’s not always pretty, specifically on defense, but there’s a reason the St. Louis Cardinals felt comfortable giving him $17 million a year for 7, possibly 8, seasons.
You think GM John Mozeliak would invest that much money in someone he didn’t believe could come through when things mattered most? C’mon.