Saturday, July 10, 2010

Omar Infante- Proving his worth

I really wanted to post something on the 1st anniversary date of the Braves trading the Golden Boy, Jeff Francouer, but I'm just really not up to it tonight. I wished Francouer all the best when he was traded, and really hope he can improve his plate discipline so that his talent can be fully realized.

Anyways, when it was announced that Braves super-sub Omar Infante was named to the 2010 N.L. All-Star team, there was much backlash. Many folks were upset that Joey Votto was snubbed. Votto's having an unbelievable season- and I would argue that he is running neck and neck with Martin Prado for N.L. MVP. However, he also plays a position which has always had a number of worthy All-Stars, many of whom have been snubbed. Votto's got his place on the team now, so ya'll can relax. Infante's place on the All-Star team has more to do with needing someone who can play multiple positions; you see, MLB this season has changed a rule that now allows a manager to designate one player to be able to re-enter the game after leaving. Heading into the break, the Braves faced their two closest division rivals, Philadelphia & New York, and Omar's only gone 11-19 the past four games-each being a multiple-hit game, including Friday's four-hit game, only to be followed up with a three-hit game today. In a season where Chipper Jones has missed 16 games thus far, Infante has filled in admirably and has absolutely murdered righties-hitting .352/.811 against them. He has also played 5 positions this year, not to mention pinch-hitting at a .300 clip. In the field, Infante has the lowest fielding percentage of any position player on the Braves, which doesn't bode well for a defense of him as an All-Star. One might argue that a player who does not have an established position in the field would have a hard time settling in and being comfortable in the field. We know how difficult it is for a player to be an effective pinch-hitter when he's never in the game, so perhaps there's something to it. But like I said earlier, his role on the N.L. squad is about being a role player and has more to do with the impression he's left on Charlie Manuel and not the talking heads on MLB Network, ESPN, or the gazillion bloggers on the web.

3 comments:

  1. Infante may be a fine utility player, but that's not a traditional reason to get into the All Star game. And it's not just Votto that got passed over for him. Guys like Josh Willingham and Ryan Zimmerman clearly deserve to be there, too, and they got passed over for a guy who doesn't play everyday. That's simply a mistake, no matter what the rules.

    As for Votto, he's the league leader in home runs. He leads the NL in OPS. He leads the NL in slugging and OBP. Sure there's other good 1B man in the league, but this year, Joey has been the best. He should have been one of the first guys chosen, not have to wait and be the last man standing.

    Andn now that I've said this, Infante will no doubt drive in the game winning run somehow.

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  2. I can see why people are up in arms over Infante's All-Star inclusion, but if he helps the NL win I'm sure all those who have argued will suddenly be quiet.

    The ways Votto and the Reds are playing we may just see the Reds and Braves going head to head this October in the playoffs.

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  3. I'll agree that the new rule is not the conventional way of picking All-Stars, but it is what it is. I'm not arguing in defense of the rule, but that if a utility guy has to be placed on the roster, then Infante is a worthy choice. To be honest with you, I'd be shocked if he even gets into the game. The whole thing has become a joke, imo. To determine the home field advantage in the World Series based upon an exhibition is a load of crap.

    I'm more excited about the Futures Game; didn't watch it today, but I did record it, so I'll watch it in lieu of the Home Run Derby tomorrow night.

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