It seems I have picked up a reputation as Matt Dominguez' biggest critic. I'm not sure why that is, since I've been a fan of his defense for quite a while. Back at the beginning of May, I put together a look at what Matty D had done to that point and what we needed to ask about him moving forward.
I was optimistic then, I'm less so about two months later. If you listen to the podcast, you know exactly why. His walk rate is simply unsustainable. He's got to develop more of a feel at the plate if he wants to stick in the majors.
But, I didn't settle for just that assessment, so I went to dig up some comparisions. I started at Baseball Reference, searching for all the players who had logged 1,000 career plate appearances with a sub-.300 on-base percentage. Turns out, there were more than I expected, including a few that have played recently.
The name that jumped out at me, though, was Juan Uribe. The former shortstop turned infielder has played for a long time and done a few things well. He hits home runs and played good defense. He doesn't walk and probably strikes out too much.
Still, he managed to ride that to a 13-year career that is still going strong.
The comparisons aren't just superficial, though. Check out Uribe's first two seasons:
|2001||Rockies||72||283||8||32||53||3||2.8 %||19.4 %||.223||.352||.300||.325||.524||.357||95||5.0||0.6||1.6|
|2002||Rockies||155||618||6||69||49||9||5.5 %||19.4 %||.101||.291||.240||.286||.341||.277||46||-2.9||4.6||-1.3|
Now, look at what Dominguez has done in his first two seasons:
|2012||Astros||31||113||5||14||16||0||3.5 %||15.0 %||.193||.299||.284||.310||.477||.335||110||-0.8||-2.2||0.3|
|2013||Astros||77||293||11||28||44||0||3.4 %||14.7 %||.172||.236||.234||.261||.405||.285||78||-6.1||-1.0||-0.4|
Though not identical, there are plenty of reasons why Uribe should be encouraging to Dominguez supporters. Uribe got off to a hot start with his bat average-wise, and he hit for somewhat consistent power in a hitter-friendly environs of Coors Field.
Dominguez has done better than Uribe in the power department, but not the contact one. He strikes out less, but not by much. And, it's not enough to off-set the difference in their walk rates.
Both played good defense and difficult positions, though Uribe gets the slight defensive edge for playing shortstop. You can also see that, while Uribe put up good defensive numbers in his career, they weren't always great in the beginning.
That speaks to the fluctuation in some of Matty D's defensive stats, which also may be caused by UZR excluding shift plays (thanks clack for bringing that up again).
Uribe bounced around from a few teams before finding consistency. Maybe that will be Matty D's fate too. However, in order to get there, he has to pull that walk rate up. Uribe survived for 13 years with an on-base percetange of .298 because he managed to walk about six percent of the time.
If Matty D can get there, I'll plug him into the 2015 lineup any day.