Baseball Crank
"It gets late early around here." - Yogi Berra
June 18, 2002
BASEBALL: Rey Vaughn

Originally posted on Projo.com

These days, if you watch him on anything like a regular basis, you can't avoid the question: is Mo Vaughn done? And, does Sunday night's big home run against David Wells change anything?

The numbers tell a story that doesn't lie: entering Sunday, Mo wasn't just hitting .231, he was hitting an empty .231, with just 4 homers and 5 doubles leading to a .323 slugging percentage (lower than Rey Ordonez posted last season, and lower than the career slugging averages of Rey Sanchez or Rey Quinones - hey, maybe we should start calling him Rey Vaughn). He'd struck out a staggering 55 times in just 214 plate appearances - once every 3.89 trips to the plate - but in the 126 times he's put the ball in play, mostly batting behind a bunch of other struggling hitters, he's still managed to hit into 9 double plays. Mo is hitting .319 when not striking out, compared to .399 before this season, which suggests that he's not just not making contact, he's not making the kind of contact he used to. The only bright spot is that he's walking more and getting hit by more pitches, so he's on base sometimes (.332 on base percentage, which is not good but not dreadful) - but then he runs like a man carrying heavy boxes in the rain.

Even those numbers don't entirely capture how helpless Mo has looked at the plate, constantly struggling to catch up to pitches. He's behind on everything. Keith Hernandez had a great point the other day: because Mo has such a severe uppercut, his bat spends very little time in the hitting zone (as compared to a Tony Gwynn type who swings level or even a Darryl Strawberry type with a long arc to his swing). As a result, if his timing is off even a little, he's lost. And his timing and bat speed haven't been right all year.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:12 AM | Baseball Columns | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)