Astros’ Best Hitter?
In a post game interview after last night’s 11-6 win over the Cardinals, Miguel Tejada (2 for 3 with 3 RBIs) was asked about the importance of winning while the team’s best hitter, Lance Berkman, is out with a strained calf. Miggy answered as expected, that it’s very important, that Lance is our best hitter and to win without him is big.
But I wonder, is Lance our best hitter this season?
His stats say, yes. He leads the team in home runs, OBP and SLG.
Did you have to look them up? you may be wondering. He’s Lance Berkman! He plays in 100 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. Everyone knows he’s the Astros’ best hitter. Once upon a time there was Biggio and Bagwell, and now there’s Berkman. Duh.
So, OK, he’s our best hitter… but still, this scene in the locker room, it rubbed me the wrong way. And if you peek at Miguel Tejada’s stats, you’ll see why.
Tejada’s .326 avg leads the team, as do his 30 doubles. He has 53 RBIs (only 2 fewer than Berkman). In July, Berkman and Tejada have almost identical stats in doubles, HR, and RBIs. This season, Tejada’s avg with RISP is .319. Berkman’s has been .260. There is negligible difference between the two players on the Bill James’s runs created formula (Berkman sits at 63 in 2009, Tejada at 61).
Berkman may be our best hitter, but this season, he’s not “best” by so much. He has more power than Tejada, undoubtedly. And he walks a ton. (Tejada has walked only 12 times all season!) But if you asked me who I’d rather have on the bench for a few days, Berkman or Tejada, I’d toss a coin.
Wait, Tejada on the bench with an injury? Haha! That never happens!
Is there a stat for hits while injured? If there were, Tejada’s numbers might improve even more.