Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Just how good is Scott Hatteberg ?

Scott Hatteberg is easily one of the most underrated players in major league baseball. A former catcher for the Red Sox, an arm injury finished his career as a catcher and the Red Sox let him go. As famously chronicled in the book Moneyball, Billy Beane had the A's acquire Hatteberg - as a first basemen, a position he had never played in major league ball.

Ever since acquiring Hatteberg, most sports writers and analysts wrote the A's decision off : trying to turn a career catcher into a first basemen ? After the A's extended Scott Hatteberg's contract, many pundits - including myself - came to the conclusion that the A's were crazy. We all said Scott Hatteberg could not hit and was, at best, a very average first baseman.

Well, my friends, Scott Hatteberg has made me eat crow. I said he couldn't hit, was an average fielder, and not much of a slugger. Boy have we been proven wrong. Once again, Billy Beane has made a smart acquisition. Behold the numbers for Scott Hatteberg :

Offensive Stats:
15 HR / 81 RBI
BA- 0.299 - 1st in the league
OBP - 0.384 - 1st in the league
BB - 68 - 2nd in the league
Doubles - 29 - 3rd in the league
BB/Plate Appearance - 0.114 - 5th in the league
BB/K ratio - 1.55 - 2nd in the league
RC (Runs Created) - 89.2 - 4th in the league
RC/27 (Runs Created per 27 outs) - 6.36 - 5th in the league

Defensive Stats:
Put Outs - 1195 - 1st in the league
Double Plays - 127 - 2nd in the league
Assists - 80 - 4th in the league

And Hatteberg still ranks in the top 10 for the following categories :
SLG - 7th
OPS - 6th
Isolated Power - 8th
Fielding Percentage - 9th
RBI - 6th

The only truly horrendous stat I could find is errors - Hatteberg ranks 2nd in most errors by a first baseman, which is not something to be proud of. But his rankings in all the other stats makes up for this loss.

Hatteberg is having a career year in 2004, yet he barely registers on most people's radars.


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