Scott Freaking Rolen
I don't know what you guys are thinking about Scott Rolen, but I believe he has come close in social status in this country to a reality tv star. I mean, winning a presidency has nothing on that, right? I know he has only hit 1 homer in the last two months, but the guy is changing the way I evaluate players. I can no longer afford to be jaded about the pure statistics of these players. No doubt, judging players against the league average replacement has value. But,only if you intend to be average. Rolen’s effect on the Reds is something that cannot be entirely quantified statistically. Anyone with any talent on the Reds this year has had moments when they played the game like an amateur, either on the bases or defensively. Base running mistakes seem to show up every night. I point out the game on Friday against the Cards as one where simple incompetence in multiple fundamental skills of the game conspired to cost this team runs and ultimately a win. Even as good as Joey Votto is, he has been guilty of ridiculously stupid mistakes this season too, just like everyone else except for... wait for it... Scott Rolen.
My argument for Rolen is based on the fact that he catches absolutely everything pony expressed down the left field line, and puts on a clinic every time he throws a baseball across an infield. Even if his power hitting is fading, the rest of his game has barely eroded. He works a pitcher like Derek Jeter and never gets outsmarted. At the plate, the only thing you see is that he is occasionally behind a fastball. But, even then, he manages to foul off a tough pitch almost at will, and tends to work the pitcher into a position where he eventually gives up a hittable pitch.
On top of all of this, the guy is the best coach on the staff.
Kirk Gibson is the guy I compare Rolen to most. If the Reds win it all, his role will rank up with the bloody sock, Gibson and Bill Mazeroski. Magic.