He said it first:
“It’s not easy being green.” Kermit the Frog sure thought so, but is it really so true? Watching this guy, though, it doesn’t seem so true.
He makes it look easy being Green. Nick Green, that is. After his walkoff homerun (he’s watching it sail out in the picture above) today gave us the win against the Braves, I began to realize that he’s making quite the name for himself here in Boston. But how did all of this really start, and why?
Being a fantasy baseball owner, I went straight to the stats. Us fantasy owners are used to staring at numbers all day, in fact a huge column of numbers under a strange stat like “BsR” (base runs), has ceased to intimidate me the way it used too. I guess it’s one of the few benefits of wasting your life worrying about how many hits Nolan Reimold got today. Anyways, by looking at Green’s stats I found, as expected, that he’s been on a quite a tear recently. In the past 10 days he’s batting a nice .343 with 2 homers and six RBIs. His season average is now a very respectable .293. But how? and especially, why now?
A week ago on June 14, Nick Green got subbed in for Pedroia, who was in the middle of a huge 4-36 slump. This year, Lugo, our only other main shortstop since Lowrie has been on the DL, had gotten almost 20 less starts than Green. So with all the opportunity, Green has been producing all year long. He looks like the man who will earn the starting shortstop spot for about 66-75% of the time until Lowrie returns (he’s currently playing in Pawtucket and still recovering from a wrist injury).
So we know that this guy has some real talent and is putting it to great use for us so far. He’s the main man to go to for the shortstop position and his seasonal stats don’t entirely reflect his stats in certain hot periods (maybe he’s sort of streaky, but whatever). However, the underlying question still remains: why is Nick Green, who didn’t get a single big league at bat last year and went 0-7 the entire year in ’07, and batted .184 the whole season with Tampa Bay in ’06 suddenly playing so well for us this year. I’ll need a little help from you sabermetricians out there on this one, but I have a few theories.
1. The opportunity this year is great for Green. Last year Lowrie became the star and earned his starting spot at shortstop for this year. However, he had barely played for a school week this year before he was placed on the DL. Green was thrust in to the picture by being called up from AAA on April 14. He’s already played in 52 games this year, more than many so-called utility players like he was supposed to be. So an opportunity this great would give anyone the chance to shine. Maybe Green just capitilized on it better than others.
2. He’s doing better in certain situations (the type of stats usually filed under “splits”). In 2006, the last year he had regular major league at bats, he batted .200 against right handed pitchers and .150 vs. lefties, a number that has turned into .273 this year. So he’s still not great against lefties, but he has really improved in those departments.
3. He’s also changed in the way he hits the ball (where and how, or ground/fly stats). This year he’s hitting 42.8% on the fly and 32.1% on the ground, while striking out 22% of the time. I have yet to find those stats for ’06, when I do I’ll be sure to notify anyone who’s interested. Either way, if there are any differences in those from this year and ’06, maybe it means he’s tinkered with his swing or is trying different things that have turned out to work well.
Those are my theories, maybe they have a little truth to them!
Either way, so far a little Green has gone a long way for the Sox. Keep it up Nick!
-Thanks to espn.com and redsoxstats.com for the stats used in this entry…