Sit on the couch. Turn on the TV, and put on the Astros game. We see Berkman, Lee, Pence, Matsui, Oswalt and Rodriguez on the back of jerseys. Being that these are among our best players, it's probable that we subconsciously attach pre-determined opinions to these players regardless of how they perform on the field in any given game. If Michael Bourn lines a single to center, we breathe a sigh of relief. If Lance Berkman does the same, we don't bat an eye. We expect certain things from certain players based on reputation and opinion.
What if we removed the names and numbers from the jerseys and blurred the faces of the guys on the field? No stats on the screen either: batting average, runs, RBI, OBP, forget 'em all. The only thing we can judge by are how they look while in the batter's box or out in the field. Is there any one quality that a player can exude in order to make him appear to be a "good" player? How he holds his bat? The sound the ball makes when struck? Or how about not getting fooled/having superior pitch recognition abilities? And in the field, what does a player do to make you stop and take notice- the route a player takes to the ball, his throwing arm, the ease with which he makes the play?
Do mannerisms and body language tell us what kind of player a guy is, or at least what kind of player he thinks he is? From personal experiences, it's plain to see that Manny Ramirez is at total ease when at the plate in a clutch situation. Other players have the look of a person who may not be up to the challenge at hand. I think players like Ramirez, or our own Lance Berkman usually appear more confident at the plate because they realize that they are great contact hitters and are able to take what the pitcher gives them. They won't expand their strike zones (unless the situation absolutely warrants it) and as I touched on before, don't look foolish very often. Compare that to Hunter Pence a guy who, despite his skills, doesn't seem to do as well in late inning situations. Whether it's swinging even more wildly or not reacting as well to pitches as he would earlier in the game, Pence lacks the calmness of his teammate Berkman. Mark Loretta may not be half the player Pence is, but if you'd ask me who I'd rather have up at the plate in a high leverage situation, I would say Loretta ten times out of ten.
From style, to appearance to mannerisms, baseball players all have their own identity. From that identity we're able to establish opinions, and subjective thoughts about them. What qualities (if any) do ya'll look for in a player?