Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Comparing Brian Buscher and David Ortiz

After the 2002 season, the Twins decided to release a 27-year-old designated hitter named David Ortiz. The loss of an oft-injured, positionless power hitter didn't seem to faze the Twins faithful at the time. The conventional wisdom was that 26-year-old catcher/dh Matthew LeCroy had a more potential for half the price.

When Ortiz started getting regular at-bats for the Red Sox in 2003, he started mashing the ball, finishing with 31 bombs and a .961 ops. The Twins had a fine squad that season, but fans couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't performed that well in Minnesota.

Here's what Sports Illustrated wrote about his success in Boston:

Ortiz had felt stifled in Minnesota, an organization that so emphasizes situa­tional hitting that no Twin has hit 30 home runs in a season since 1987. The 6'4" Ortiz was the square peg who ­didn’t fit in the round hole. “They wanted me to stay inside the ball,” Ortiz says, referring to a style in which a lefthanded hitter tries to hit inside pitches to leftfield. “They were teaching that to everyone. That’s why nobody ever hits home runs there. But when you’re young in the big leagues and the coach tells you to do something and you don’t do it and you get negative results, then you’re f-----. They’re going to sit you down.”

The Twins, Ortiz says, so enthusiastically stressed small-ball tactics such as hitting behind runners that “if you moved the runner over from second base [with a groundout], you got high fives in the dugout like you just hit a home run.”

In his first at bat with the Red Sox, while batting cleanup in a spring training game, Ortiz happened to come up with a runner on second base and no outs. “I came in with that little pull, cheap-shot s---,” said Ortiz, explaining his grounder to second base on an outside sinker. “I still had the Minnesota Twins in my system.”

This time there were no high fives waiting for him in the dugout, just manager Grady
Little with a word of advice. “Hey,” Little said. “Next time? Bring him in.”

Ortiz smiles at the memory. “I was like, O.K.!” he says. “I had a little more freedom than what I was used to.”
Twins fans were found themselves in an awkward position. Many tried to explain, "I knew we shouldn't have got rid of that guy." They were mad at Terry Ryan and the Twins, but they didn't even think much of it when it happened - which made them willing accomplices.

Fast forward to November 3rd, 2009

The Minnesota Twins have moved third baseman Brian Buscher off their 40-man roster and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester. The move was made Tuesday. Buscher will become a minor league free agent 16 days after the end of the World Series.
Imagine you are running a baseball team and have to choose between the following players (I've always wanted to do the anonymous stat line compare thing)

I'd say it's pretty much a wash. Besides that Player B is younger, gets on base more often, and hits for more power.

Player B is David Ortiz, and player A is Brian Buscher. (highlight for the answer)

So the numbers seem to back up Billy Smith's decision. But just because Ortiz was less deserving than Buscher of the axe, doesn't mean that Buscher deserves the axe. Remember what David said about the Twins philosophy of hitting?
“They wanted me to stay inside the ball, they were teaching that to everyone. That’s why nobody ever hits home runs there."
After hitting 20 homers for the Twins in 2002, Ortiz hit 31, 41, and 47 in successive seasons, before topping out with 54 in 2006.

Buscher has been hampered by the same Twins anti-power system. When Buscher more than doubles his home run output in a few years, I'll be the only one saying, "I told you so."


soup said...


This has to be the worst use of the anonymous-stat-line-compare-thing ever.

bizmarkie507 said...

I definitely agree that the way they've mismanaged Buscher is embarrassing, but how much did steroids have to do with Ortiz's power surge in Boston?

SethSpeaks said...

I'd say a .839-710 OPS differences is pretty huge.

Daymonster said...

It's only .129, that's less than Punto's career BA and Cabrera's BAC.

(outdated references?)

I believe haasertime was being sarcastic. We need to work on this whole 'writing' thing.

brex said...

wow, what a great seeing the potential in repressed talent mind...

AHEM, Punto's career avg is .248

Daymonster said...

I was going to say his 2002 BA with the Phils, but that was a lot to write (and it was only 9 games)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Hamilton...Buscher was hampered by the Twins managing style. No one can rightfully say that he was givin a legitimate chance because he wasn't. I hope this is the move that he needs to get his break and settle in with a team that deserves and believes in his talent.

bizmarkie507 said...

sarcasm? change the name of this blog to alright sarcasm! because i can't tell with anything ever written here whether you ugys are being sarcastic or not. internet text makes it alor harder to pick up on sarcasm.

as haasertime once said on a hazy saturday night, "this place is oozing with sarcasm! I need to get out of here!"

haasertime said...

I guess I should have made it more stupid. But until then, I'm working on a stamp to put on every blog that's sarcastic. It'll say, "This post 100% Alright Hamilton certified: SARCASTIC/lampoon/facetious/ satirical."

Or you could have just looked at the title of this post and known it was satire:

"Comparing Brian Buscher and David Ortiz"

Anonymous said...

"When Buscher more than doubles his home run output in a few years.."

He hit two home runs last year.

bizmarkie507 said...

"this place is oozing with sarcasm! I need to get out of here!"

haasertime said...

Yea I remember saying that. That fuckin guy thought he was all smart and sarcastic that I couldn't take anything he said seriously. It was a cranial workout to figure out when he was being serious and when he wasn't.

I shoulda paid attention to that experience. If you have to go back and explain your writing to someone after they've read it, it's obviously not very good. I'll try to be more deliberate next time.

Although it is pretty funny to watch people freak out. Like that time all those folks flipped on Soup/ bronxboi2

carl said...

Before you leave us Brian Buscher, just remember one thing, "A true champion, face to face with his darkest hour, will do whatever it takes to rise above. A man fights, and fights, and then fights some more. Because surrender is death, and death is for pussies."

And to my credit (and unlike last time), I caught the sarcasm in this post before it was pointed out, not after. The more me read AH!, the more me get smartered.

haasertime said...

Hey that's what its all about, getting smartered. Glad you're on board.

Bryz said...

If you were actually serious, you could have included Buscher's minor league line which suggests that for some reason, his power has disappeared in the major leagues. I discussed Buscher a bit on my blog: