August 2nd, 2013: I was watching MLB Now, a "lively look at hot baseball topics, with debate from "old school" and "new school" viewpoints", the "old school" being Harold Reynolds, and "new school" being Brian Kenny. Now, it's very possible what I say next is because of the obvious bias toward the sabermetric side, but Harold Reynolds is a moron.
Harold Reynolds looks absolutely clueless when talking about sabermetrics let alone baseball, period. He exemplifies the traditional statistic slant, along with the tiresome "I was a player, so I'm the perfect commentator" belief that many networks employ. While having first-hand experience usually provides an interesting viewpoint on most things, it gets washed out when you have no common sense, not to mention a terrible presentation, like the one Reynolds has. By the way, he's the one guy that was trying to explain that the infield fly call in the 2012 Wild Card game was the correct call.
But Harold Reynolds isn't alone. Eric Byrnes, yet another former player, plays along as well. Dan Plesac and Mitch Williams also join in. But Eric Byrnes said the one thing that finally motivated me to write a post on this very thing. On the August 2nd episode of MLB Now, he was in for Harold Reynolds, so the audience wasn't likely to miss anything. The topics usually last just a few minutes, so there's no time for either Kenny nor what other nut is there to wax poetically about what they think, but Byrnes nailed it this time.
The topic was about Jason Heyward. Is Jason Heyward a legitimate leadoff option, or are there better options on the team? Quite obviously, Heyward is currently the best option. He's heating up with the bat, he's walking at a reliable rate, and it has shown in the 6 games he's been there: a .333/.448/.583 slash. A small sample, but good results nonetheless. Brian Kenny talks about how confused and clueless the traditional "Speed = leadoff" belief is, and that Heyward, despite being 6'6" and 240 pounds, is a perfectly legitimate leadoff option. He runs the bases well, walks enough, his bat has been heating up (8 for his last 24), and oh--he also "has the speed for it". Then, Eric Byrnes says it: "He's a base clogger."
This very response is so terrible that Kenny ends up arguing him about 30 seconds after the timer buzzes (to signal the end of the topic) and the buzzer has to ring about an additional 10 times. In addition to that, he actually walks off the set for about 30 seconds, and I'd probably have the same response.
What is a "base clogger"? Is it guys the size of Heyward, McCann, Freeman, and et cetera? Are base cloggers the guys that don't have the speed or the ability to run the bases well? Anyway, after the commercial break Byrnes tried to say that he didn't call Heyward a base clogger.
Maybe it's because the two sides have only a few minutes to talk about each topic, but they should take a better look at it. The Braves do not have a better leadoff option that Heyward. Andrelton Simmons obviously isn't worth of any spots in the top half of the lineup. Any other guys that get on base as much as Heyward has lately have been better used in the middle of the lineup to bring in the baserunners. Even if Heyward doesn't run the bases well at all, or "has the speed for it", he would still be the best option, because at least he is getting on base by way of walking or hitting. What else is there to say?