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Torii Hunter calls out Vlad Guerrero

Oct 8, 2009, 10:46 AM EDT

Well, not intentionally, but compare this comment from Torii Hunter . . .

It doesn’t matter what you do in the regular season. It’s all about who wants it more. You see guys who hit 30, 40 homers, drive in 100 runs, and they don’t do a thing in postseason. You’ve got pitchers who dominate in the regular season and don’t win in the postseason. It’s the same game, but different. 

With Angel teammate Vlad’s numbers:

162-game average: 36 home runs, 115 RBI

Postseason production: 86 plate appearances, one home run, 7 RBI, .240/.337/.293

So, Torii, you still gonna say it’s about “who wants it more,” or will you admit that, maybe, postseason performance is subject to a lot of random statistical fluctuation that is largely out of a player’s control?

(hat tip for the Vlad comparsion to BTF commenter Shredder who, in addition to knowing the Angels like no one’s business, totally schooled my butt in a fantasy league this year)

  1. manny - Oct 8, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    Alot of players don’t own up to their regular season type numbers because they aren’t facing number 3-4-5 starting pitching from under .500 teams for most of the season. In the playoffs they face the cream of the crop. As far as players and pitchers who do average during the season, then get hot in the playoffs, that’s just a matter of getting in the “zone” during the right time. They also have less pressure on them compared to the superstars.

  2. Grant - Oct 8, 2009 at 12:49 PM

    Or, y’know, random statistical fluctuations, as Craig already said.

  3. Seitz - Oct 8, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    It gets worse when you realize that four of those RBIs came on the one home run.

  4. PimPJuicE mAn - Oct 8, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    That rookie sure was cream of the crop for the twins last night, Thursday they throw out a 11-11 4.50 era pitcher, tha realliy is cream of the crop……..

  5. rb - Oct 8, 2009 at 2:34 PM

    Picking on the guy that gets you there is not right – everyone wants to win in the playoffs, some guys feel more pressure than others. Baseball is a game of stats, which can really be misleading unless you can watch a game and see the affect of a 9 or 10 pitch at bat that ends with a strike out.

  6. HaloFan - Oct 8, 2009 at 3:10 PM

    In one of those playoff’s, Vlad had a bum shoulder. In another he had 2 bum knees (had surgery in the off-season). Vlad and Torii both were searching for their swing in the 2nd half – still are. Angels biggest threat now to opposing pitchers is Kendry Morales.

  7. Joe - Oct 8, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    Interesting that Hunter, who made a career of calling out teammates (undeservedly) in Minnesota, chooses postseason HR/RBI as his metric of choice.
    In 107 postseason plate appearances, Torii has 3 HR and 13 RBI. That’s an average of 18HR and 79 RBI when extrapolated to 650 plate appearances (~regular season).
    Compare that to his 25HR/95RBI per 650 plate appearances in the regular season. He’s not exactly excelling in October.
    (Yes, I know his rate stats are substantially better. However, he wasn’t pointing to AVG/OBP/SLG when subtly criticizing whomever he was trying to criticize.)

  8. Daniel - Oct 8, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    As someone else mentioned, Vlad hasn’t been fully healthy for the postseason. And yes, random statistical fluctuations have something to do with it, as does the increased quality of opponents.
    In non-statistical analysis, I don’t think there’s any question that Vlad has “wanted it” in the past. In fact, I think he may have wanted it too much. Before last season, it seemed like he swung at even MORE pitches out of the zone, just because he didn’t feel like anyone else in the lineup could get it done (and that was largely true). He put too much pressure on himself. When he lightened up last year (the first that he had teammates who could actually hit), he put up good numbers.

  9. katodent - Oct 8, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    PimP JuicE mAn-Either you’ve been living in a cave or your baseball IQ is low. Minnesota didn’t have the luxury of being able to set up their pitching rotation for the post-season as the Yankees did. They had to scramble and scratch to finish the last 21 games of their season with a record of 17-4 just to get to the ALDS. You may also want to check A.J. Burnetts(sp?) era. Dolt!

  10. Jeremy - Oct 8, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    The phrase “well, not intentionally” made me stop reading, meaning the rest was a loose connection between what someone said and what someone else did.

  11. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

    Jeremy: I could see you saying that if it started out with “well, not really,” but the facts of this article are clear:
    1) Torii Hunter described a type of player (big regular season, bad postseason) and asserted that such players “don’t want it bad enough.”
    2) Vlad Guerrero fits that description perfectly.
    Torii Hunter called out a certain type of player. Vlad is that type of player. Maybe Hunter didn’t have Vlad in mind when he said it, but I don’t think the connection is loose.

  12. USMC Ret. - Oct 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    The playoffs is a totally different season where stats do not amount to much – eiher a guy or group of guys get timely hits to drive in runs or not.
    Too much people focus on “personal” stats instead of doing what ever is needed at the time an individual gets to his turn at bat…I’ll give you one example of stats that amount to nothing “A-Rod”.
    Angels need to focus on the things that make them the winningteam they’ve been since Mike took over as manager.
    Team first, bunt, sacrifice or hit as needed for THE TEAM…Forget personal stats!
    GO ANGELS!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. dj - Oct 8, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    if it wasn’t for Vlad, the angels would not have made the post season in 2000-2009.

  14. Dude from the Twin Cities - Oct 8, 2009 at 5:52 PM

    Before Torii goes on a rant, he might want to check some stats first.
    Vlad outdid him last year in average in the Divisional Series by a tune of .467 to Torii’s .389.
    There are no stats comparing the two of them because Torii doesn’t have any. I believe that he was injured during the 2007 LDS.
    If you look at the stats, Torii comes out ahead overall, but that’s only because he has had more opportunities in the playoffs. Remember, Vlad spent a lot of years in Montreal.
    Also, Torii has had some pretty lean post-season performances, as I recall.

  15. Jay - Oct 8, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    As a Twins fan, this is nothing new for Torii. This isn’t his first “poorly-veiled attack on a teammate’s drive/durability”. He did it with both Mauer AND Morneau in Minnesota. Torii thinks really highly of himself, but unfortunately it’s all talk. Look at Torii’s Revised Zone Rating once. Only one word to describe his center field play…”overrated”. Also, check out his games played to determine his own “durability”. Also very underwhelming. Torii likes TV and to have his sound bites here and there. And he’s a hell of a player. But he’s not what one would call a “bastien of reliability”.

  16. Seitz - Oct 8, 2009 at 6:22 PM

    Dude, I really don’t think I need a lecture on why the Angels have and haven’t made the playoffs in this decade. And actually, Vlad had nothing to do with them making the playoffs in 2002, considering they didn’t sign him until 2004. I watch about 130 Angels games every year. I think I have a pretty decent handle on the team. Feel free to check with the author of this piece if you don’t believe me.

  17. jarhead - Oct 8, 2009 at 6:58 PM

    During the regular seasons, players face more bad teams and pitching then during the post season, so it stands to reason that post season numbers would be worse. Also with playoff series only being 5 or 7 games, the sample size is much smaller. Players numbers always regress to their mean, meaning the more they play, the closer to their statistical average they will get. The shorter series simply skew stats. Then again, I love seeing A-crap-Rods post season numbers being slow bad, and wouldn’t want the schmoe to get any pity!

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