The Other Fifteen

Eighty-five percent of the f---in' world is working. The other fifteen come out here.

How do we define youth?

The reposting of my Ryan Theriot Sucks screed prompted this comment:

Cesar Izturis sucked. The Bush Administration sucks. The season finale of
Project Runway sucked.

Ryan Theriot is a solid, young player with speed, attitude and
perseverance.What's your beef with him?

I mean, I can see "Ryan Theriot should be a bench player" or whatever, but,
geez, lighten up, Francis.

"Cesar Izturis sucked. ... Ryan Theriot is a solid, young player with speed, attitude and perseverance."

Okay, so let's play a variant on that old carnival game, and have you guess: who is older, Cesar Izturis or Ryan Theriot?

The answer is Ryan Freaking Theriot.

So he's only older by about two months. But do not let his freakish, manchild apprearance fool you. He is not young for a baseball player. You look at a standard aging curve, and Theriot is right at peak. There is no youth to him - Ryan Theriot is what he is. Expecting development from him like he was some 22-24 year old rookie is wrong, wrong, wrong.

And once you start looking at the Ryan Theriot that is, not the Ryan Theriot that could be, it's pretty easy to figure out what there is to dislike about him. He's average defensively at shortstop, but hardly spectacular - and the aging curve for shortstop defense peaks earlier than the aging curve for offense, so it's pretty much downhill from here.

Once you look at his hitting, you see that he's pretty mediocre as a hitter. How mediocre am I talking here? The guy basically hits like Omar Vizquel - Vizquel's OPS+ at age 27 was 70, Theriot's OPS+ at that age was 72. It's hard to justify that sort of offensive production unless you field like Vizquel, and Theriot certainly doesn't. I am not exaggerating when I say that Ryan Theriot is one of the worst full-time players in baseball. What makes this so absurd is that Theriot didn't get the job because of an injury; he was handed a full-time job simply based upon who he is as a player. It's utterly baffling.

At this point, I could care less about his speed, attitude, perserverence or his ability to sell T-shirts; I cannot be convinced any of that outweights his substantial liabilities as a ballplayer. As a bench player I suspect he's fine (or at least not totally objectionable) but that's not what he is at this point.

I feel like I spend way too much time on this topic, but it's a horse that just won't die, so I guess I'll have to just keep beating it until it does.

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8 Responses to “How do we define youth?”

  1. # Anonymous Mike D.

    Well said.

    I've got nothing against Theriot, but it's funny how certain players cause otherwise-thoughtful fans to discard empircal evidence and reason so as to defend him.

    I'm just hoping he doesn't do WORSE than he did last year which is, of course, entirely possible.  

  2. # Anonymous pmayo

    This is hilarious.

    Why Cub fans fall in love with these types is beyond me. I don't mind Theriot as a bench player, but he scares me as an everyday player.  

  3. # Anonymous Maddog

    it's a horse that isn't going to die until or unless he gets a lot worse than he was in 2007, which was already a pretty bad season. But he does the "little things" that a lot of fans like and overvalue. Also, Theriot is someone fans can relate to. It's pretty hard for people who want to relate to the players to relate to someone like Albert Pujols, Carlos Zambrano, Frank Thomas, and Barry Bonds. These guys are just huge. Theriot is a little guy. Just like DeRosa who has his legion of fans, which is probably more than he deserves.

    I applaud your effort. If you can change just one person's opinion you've done a good job.  

  4. # Anonymous DeRoMyHero


    Next question: who is better overall (considering offense, defense, baserunning, etc.) -- Izturis or Theriot?

    Izturis had a lower OPS, but he spent most of 2007 batting 8th, seeing slop and having to expand his strike zone. Theriot was 1st or 2nd most of the year -- fastball heaven. Is there any valid way to compare the two?  

  5. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    Lineup effect is probably minimal if nonexistant on a measurable level.

    I updated my WAR chart for shortstops to include park effects, and it's pretty brutal on both of them: -0.12 WAR for Theriot, -0.44 for Izturis. So Theriot is better, but neither of them is going to win the Not Sucking At Baseball trophy anytime soon. Theriot's a case where my lack of baserunning data in WAR has to understate his value, but not enough to justify a regular presence in the starting lineup of a team that's not tanking for lottery picks.  

  6. # Anonymous pmayo

    For further proof of the Chicago fan's undying ardor for mediocrity, the Tribune is reporting that the White Sox will erect a statue in honor of Harold Baines.

    Really. I'm not lying.

    What's next? A Tom Waddle statue at Soldier Field? A Bill Wennington statue at the United Center? Perhaps a Bob Dernier statue at Wrigley?

    We adore mediocrity in this town. Adore the holy living shit out of it.  

  7. # Anonymous factchecker

    Uh, wow. That's quite the overstatement.

    Harold Baines is hardly mediocre. Not even close to mediocre. Way to overcompensate for your point -- that he's not good enough for one of six or seven statues -- there, pmayo.  

  8. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    Three of Baines' top four comparables on Baseball Reference are in the Hall of Fame. That doesn't sound particularly mediocre to me.

    The statue to Scott Podsednik does seem a bit gratuitous, though.  

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