Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The underratedness of Placido Polanco

As I watch Chase Utley and the Phillies in the playoffs, I can't help but smile with a quiet satisfaction.  Not satisfaction that the Tigers are not in the playoffs, mind  you, but satisfaction about a former Philly, Tigers second baseman, Placido Polanco.

No mistake, Chase Utley is a premier player.  It's just that the Tigers obtained Polanco by trading Ugeth Urbina and Ramon Martinez (played in 7 major league games this year) to the Phillies.  The Phillies had to move Polanco to make room for the young phenom Utley.  He's been more than great for them.  Urbina, however, is now not only not in baseball, but is in jail for murder--a grisly tale not fit for this post.

Anyway, back to Placido.  He's just such a quiet professional, it's like he's completely unnoticed, hardly  mentioned in fact, (other than some snide remarks about his oversized cranium).  Maybe that's just fine with  him, but I'd like to showcase him here for a moment.

He did get an all-star nod last year, and went more than a year without an error.  He hit .341 last year, with exactly 200 hits.  It's been said that his athletic ability is lower than average, but I see him routinely making plays that are far from routine.  He's on the small side, but his timing is great, resulting in many leaping grabs to save base hits.

He's hard to strike out, with that choked up, short swing.  You'd think with all the success he's had with it, some of the light hitters would adopt choking up.  Not everyone can control the bat with one hand almost off the handle like Magglio Ordoñez.  He uses the whole field--I mean his spray chart is just all over.

Polanco may not be the flashy headliner, but you can bet he's valued by his teammates, coaches, manager, and me.

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