Mar 06

Opening Day Countdown: 32

Let’s see if I can come up with a post every day of the rest of the offseason. Today, there are 32 days left until Opening Day on April 6.

Mitch Maier and Johnny Giavotella

How handy that these two sat together; not sure how else I'd get both of them in one shot.


is the number of times both Johnny Giavotella and Mitch Maier struck out in 2011. The same number tells different stories for two very different players.

For Giavotella, the number is high for him, compared to his minor league numbers, but it’s also excusable for lots of reasons. You could be concerned because he never struck out at more than an 11.3% rate in the Minors (compared to 17.1% in MLB), or you could excuse it because he was a rookie, and still struck out less than an average Major Leaguer. His 32 strikeouts aren’t necessarily a reason to panic or sour on the guy.

For Maier, jeez, those 32 strikeouts are ugly. He only got 113 plate appearances last season, and 28.3% of them ended in Ks. That’s not good. The longest-tenured Royal, Maier is also the most tortured when it comes to playing time. His career is in a perilous place now as he approaches his age 30 season. I’m guessing Dayton Moore knew last year that his 2012 outfield was going to be Gordon/Frenchy/Cain. Or, if the Melky trade had fallen through, I think Maier would still be the odd man out.

So each of his precious few plate appearances was crucial. Now, I don’t know the guy – I’ve barely said more than “what’s up” to him – so I am of course speculating here, but I have to wonder how much he was pressing. He’s probably not stupid (again, I don’t know him), so of course he sees what’s going on with the roster around him while he’s not getting younger. Of course he realized that every game was a rare opportunity to showcase himself.

But what’s really weird is, Maier didn’t swing at more garbage like you might expect. I figured he probably took a lot of bad hacks, because the easy story arc would suggest that a player (possibly) panicking about his career would flail at everything, but the numbers don’t bear that out. He swung at fewer pitches outside of the strike zone than any of his previous seasons, and fewer pitches inside the strike zone. Huh.

Side note: How good is it to be able to listen to baseball again? I turned on the Royals game this afternoon, and everything was A-OK. I had given myself a heap of extraordinarily tedious work to do all afternoon, but having a game on made it all go so pleasantly. And the winning run was driven in at like 4:58. Perfection.


Please consider supporting my writing and photography by doing your Amazon shopping through my affiliate link. (Explanation here.)

Related posts:

  1. Opening Day Countdown: 41
  2. Opening Day Countdown: 50
  3. Opening Day Countdown: 46

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

site tracking with Asynchronous Google Analytics plugin for Multisite by WordPress Expert at Web Design Jakarta.