Originally Posted by MWM
Here was my take. I wrote off the second half of 2001 because of the shoulder injury. Actually, I think most probably did. Even 2002 I assumed was related to being less than a year removed from the shoulder surgery. Many, including myself predicted big comeback years in 2002 and 2003 for Casey. When it didn't happen clear into 2003, what were we supposed to think? It seemed like enough time had passed for the shoulder not to be blamed. It appeared to me the guy had just lost bat speed and his approach to hitting had completely changed. I commented several times last year that he almost never took the ball to the opposite field anymore and that was the source of his problems. I didn't see how that was injury related, but it's possible it could have been.
And yet when I said the very same things last year that you just stated above Mike, I was laughed at and told it just didn't seem feasible.
I was also rebuked for even suggesting that though the 2002 season was considered an injury year for Casey (that's when he had the surgery, and it basically shot that season down the tubes), and that Casey most likely had hurt the shoulder in the last 1/2 of the previous 2001 season. Yet it was the Drs who originally suggested that after they had opened the shoulder up and saw the extent of the damage. It wasn't you; but I was nailed pretty good for that by a few posters on here. Not in a mean-spirited fashion mind you. but I was nailed/ribbed for it.
Sure Casey didn't produce at the levels we expected over the last 2 1/2 seasons. But why? His detractors always threw out his OPS and other various stats to give weight to their argument. But what they always seemed to conveniently omit that the possible reason for that drop in production was due to INJURY, and the subsequent recovery time needed.
They threw out every other bit of reasoning BUT that one.... slow bat speed, not being able to go the other way anymore, drop in extra base hits, and finally, some stated he was just over-rated or in decline.
I'm sorry Mike, but I feel you're doing that now with this statement... "After three years and several failed predictions of a comeback, what were we supposed to think?"
What several failed predictions of a comeback? If he was hurt the entire 2002 season, and the 2003 season was a recovery season, which most of us Casey "supporters" saw it as.... then THIS YEAR would be his comeback year IMO. You can't have a comeback until you are healed or deemed healthy? So the earliest a comeback could even be attempted would be last year at the earliest. And I still maintain that it takes some players a year to fully recover from that type of surgery (every player is different). And I have always stated that. I even told SD awhile back, when we were having this same discussion, that this had to be the year for Casey, and that there could be no more excuses
. And Casey is living up to it IMO.
I'm not saying that Casey will necessarily continue all season at this torrid pace. And I don't think anyone says that. But now that the guy is healthy, everyone can give an honest and fair evaluation of the guy can't they?
I consider the '99 season Casey's first full season with the Reds. Look at his stats from '99 through 2001...
1999 - .332 B/A .399 OB% + .539 SLG% = .938 OPS
2000 - .315 B/A .385 OB% + .517 SLG% = .902 OPS
2001 - .310 B/A .369 OB% + .458 SLG% = .827 OPS
Now those are the stats from a healthy
Sean Casey. He was producing at those same levels during the first half of the '01 season, and then his production really fell off in the 2nd half of the season to give him an OPS for the year of .827. That is still not terrible. But since he ended up having major shoulder surgery in the early stages of the '02 season, then why is it suspect to assume (especially when even the Drs suggested it) that his shoulder injury/degeneration went back into the '01 season? I do not think that is being far-fetched at all. I don't see that as making excuses, but trying to be realistic in my approach/assessment.
And what bothered me was when I saw some continually quoting his stats from the two previous years (02-03), and yes, using them against Sean, in an attempt to give validity to their argument that Casey has somehow peeked and was now in decline, while giving little consideration that he was injured, and that contributed to his declining stats. All they saw were the stats
, and what that told them. That's all that mattered.
I never stated on here, during the whole Casey debate, that I thought any of his "detractors" WANTED Casey to fail.
I just don't think they were being fair and objective in their assessment AT THAT TIME.
As I stated above.... he's healthy now, and there can be no more excuses for Casey. IMO, everyone can now be objective in their assessment. And so far, IMO, Casey is proving some wrong.
But even this year I have heard a few state that they are simplying waiting for the Casey of old to re-appear at some point, and that it will be inevitable. And what are they basing their assessment on?