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"Shin-Soo Choo has a chance to be the best Pacific Rim player ever"

Apr 30, 2010, 9:17 AM EDT

Shin-Soo Choo.jpgThose are bold words given that Ichiro Suzuki still walks the Earth and gets 200 hits a year, but when you realize that it’s Choo’s agent Scott Boras saying it, all becomes clear.

That aside, Tim Brown’s profile on Choo in which that quote appears is a great read about the baseball’s least-known superstar.  For example, maybe everyone knows this and I just missed it, but I didn’t know that Choo had a 95 m.p.h. fastball and was signed by the Mariners to be a pitcher.

Not that there will be things we don’t know about Choo for long. He’s hitting .338/.452/.532 on the young season, showing no indication that last year’s breakout year was a fluke.

  1. Levi Stahl - Apr 30, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    What I love about Choo is that he does pretty much everything pretty well (and some things very well). I guess I don’t know about his defense, but on the offensive side, he hits for some power, hits for average, walks a bunch, steals some bases. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he also throws BP once in a while and drives the team bus.
    Captcha: urged viacom. “viacom”? Not even capitalized? Captch’s copy editors suck.

  2. Moses Green - Apr 30, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    Boras’ points out that Ichiro didn’t start out in MLB and Choo did, so he implied that Choo could be the best Pac Rim player ever in MLB without actually playing better than Ichiro. It’s a little confusing, I’m sure Jon Heyman will offer a clarification soon.

  3. BC - Apr 30, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Um… some guy named Ichiro might have something to say about that.

  4. Aarcraft - Apr 30, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Just a quick and dirty comparison – Choo career OPS+ = 136; Ichiro = 117. Not saying its true, just saying its possible.

  5. Ryan - Apr 30, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Big statements by Boras are all well and good, but you know its not cemented in the historical record until Heyman has a go at it and backs it up with a stat that shows Choo is better than Pujols.

  6. BC - Apr 30, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    The only thing Ichiro doesn’t do (very often) is hit for power. Look at the batting average, stolen bases, and the however-many gold gloves he’s won. Also consider the comparative sample sizes.

  7. Andy H - Apr 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Best Pacific Rim player? Ted Williams.

  8. Steve B - Apr 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Inigo Montoya does not think that the phrase “Pacific Rim” means what you think it means.

  9. Steve B - Apr 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Last Captcha: The Shysters
    Craig nostalgia anyone?

  10. Mark R - Apr 30, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Quoth Wikipedia, “The Pacific Rim refers to the countries and cities located around the edge of the Pacific Ocean.”
    I’m only sad Andy H beat me to it. Barry Bonds (born in Riverside, raised in the Bay Area) would be my choice, but Williams was a decent enough player.

  11. Mark R - Apr 30, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    But don’t look at those things either. Look at Ichiro’s WAR on FanGraphs and observe that he’s averaged about five wins a year since coming over. Now consider the fact that FanGraphs doesn’t have a baserunning component in their WAR. Now consider that Ichiro’s such a unique hitter that context-neutral hitting stats don’t work so well for him and that, according to Tom Tango’s RE24 (considers actual changes in run expectancy as a result of player’s contributions), his freakishness in that respect has been worth a couple extra wins over his career. Now consider that his defense, which is rated very well by advanced stats, may actually be underrated since a with-or-without-you model (compares runs allowed with other right fielders who’ve played behind same pitcher/in same park/with same batters/alongside same fielders) of defense has him worth something like 20 runs or more a year in the field. Now consider that he’s displayed no discernible age-related decline.
    The guy is great. He’s close to being a Hall of Famer based solely on the merit of his U.S. contributions.

  12. APBA Guy - Apr 30, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Ichiro love! Twice a year the Mariners come to the Mausoleum and play a 12:30 start on Thursday. They do this, no doubt, so I can get my Ichiro fix. All those advanced metrics cited above are true. And after the game I wallow in those, but for sheer excitement, he entertains like no other: at bat, on the bases, in the field.
    This is not to say Choo is not an excellent player. He seems very complete. But if I could only buy 1 ticket a year to see 1 player, it would be Ichiro.

  13. fjs - Apr 30, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Choo is not a true 5 tool guy but he is almost. His defense is average but his arm is great. He was a steal for me last year in my fantasy league.

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