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Thread: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

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    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    Hatteberg fits book’s definition
    Jim Massie / THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

    CINCINNATI — The book Moneyball dropped onto the baseball world in spring 2003 with the kind of kersplat an elephant might create if an elephant ever took up skydiving.

    Michael Lewis, the author, questioned the traditional methods that major-league teams use to uncover young talent, and did so through the eyes of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane.

    Beane deemed statistics, especially those produced by college players, and statistical analysis by numbers-crunchers as more valuable to cobbling together his team than the on-the-ground work of oldschool scouts.

    Many in the baseball establishment reacted as if a dentist’s drill had touched an exposed nerve. The resulting "Ouch! " still resonates around the game.

    Cincinnati Reds first baseman Scott Hatteberg has a good reason to remember when the book came out because Chapter 8 ("Scott Hatteberg, Pickin’ Machine") details how he resurrected his career in Oakland. Hatteberg also recalls the pained reaction.

    "I understand that baseball is steeped in a lot of tradition," he said. "(The book) was kind of new-age thinking in the way the Oakland A’s approached it. Statistics were a huge part of it.

    "It just flew in the face of all that was sacred in baseball. This was just pioneering and new, and I don’t think a lot of people wanted to grab on to it."

    Hatteberg shrugged about something he can’t change. His chapter begins with his injuryforced conversion from catcher with the Boston Red Sox to first baseman after he signed with Oakland.

    "It’s my story," he said. "There’s no fabrication. As far as the personal experiences, it’s pretty right on."

    He fielded hundreds of grounders hit by his wife as his children played in a sandbox. He worked for hours in the Arizona heat with Oakland coach Ron Washington, learning to be a first baseman. For readers, the images offer a brief intermission to the old-school/ new-age conflict within the book.

    Hatteberg was the resolute turtle crossing the road in The Grapes of Wrath. But the singleminded turtle had a purpose for Steinbeck, just as Hatteberg had reason to be important to Lewis. As the chapter continues, Hatteberg becomes the example of the importance that a growing number of people place on on-base percentage instead of batting average.

    "I got (to Oakland) because of however I fit into the statistical analysis," he said. "I’m grateful for it.

    "I can’t say whether or not that’s the new thinking. I know a lot of people are leaning toward certain statistics. Maybe certain stats are overblown and some are undervalued. I think that was part of the book that I agree with."

    His ability to reach first base was why new Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky had an eye on the free-agent Hatteberg.

    "I had a list of guys that were still free agents before I got the job, in case I got it, who I was going to be calling," said Krivsky, who says he has not read Moneyball. "He was right at the top of the list, particularly with Sean Casey gone and not knowing for sure how Adam Dunn would make the transition from left field to first base.

    "I just felt he was a professional player and a professional hitter who would be good on the team, whether he was playing every day or not. How he goes about his business, how he takes his at-bats, how he has worked on his defense to make himself a good first baseman have made him a good guy to have on a ballclub."

    Hatteberg’s hitting approach fit into what the free-swinging — and strikeout-prone — Reds needed. When Hatteberg swings, he makes contact more often than not.

    "Just look at his walks-tostrikeouts (ratio) over his career," Krivsky said. "It’s impressive. If you see a guy nowadays who walks more than he strikes out, it’s a rarity. That’s a good indication to me that the guy takes good at-bats and knows the strike zone

    " I don’t know who taught him, but somebody had an influence on him when he was young that that’s how you should go about hitting. Go up and see some pitches — that’s how I was taught. I read the Ted Williams book (The Science of Hitting) 100 times as a kid. Ted Williams rarely hit the first pitch. He wanted to see all the pitches that he could. That would help him in a later atbat."

    On April 19, the left-handedhitting Hatteberg had a surprise start against Florida Marlins left-hander Dontrelle Willis. A career American Leaguer, he had never batted against Willis, whose delivery is among the funkiest in the game.

    Hatteberg promptly walked and singled in his first two atbats. His third time up, he lined back to the mound and Willis somehow caught the ball. The turtle crossed the road again the only way he knew how.

    "I don’t know if anybody taught me," Hatteberg said. "I just knew what (pitch) I wanted, and I was able to wait for it.

    "I’m always amazed that guys can go up and hit the first pitch, and hit it good. I’m not that guy. I’ve got to plan my first-pitch swings. I know what I want, and I’m going to wait for it."


    jmassie@dispatch.com


    http://www.columbusdispatch.com/reds...428-F7-00.html
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    His wife hit him ground balls? I bet those were screamers...

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    Mailing it in Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Given that Hatteberg is on the Reds roster this season, even the people who hate Moneyball should at least make a point to get to a library, book store, whatever and read the chapter about Hatteberg.

    Hatteberg fits a certain description of a hitter that takes a lot of pitches, is not afraid to take a walk and the way he breaks down video is very precise and very refined. All of this is in the book in the Hatteberg chapter, and it's an approach that every hitter in baseball should take, but there undoubtedly are some guys, perhaps many guys, that do not.

    I've already said this before, but having Scott Hatteberg on the roster this season can have a very positive side-effect on our young sluggers, such as Dunn, Kearns, Lopez, Encarnacion, Phillips, etc. Hatteberg's approach to hitting is something that I very much hope rubs off on our young guys.

    Frankly, if Hatteberg's willing to come back next season as a pinch hitting role player off the bench, I'd very much like the Reds to resign him for another season.
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792
    Given that Hatteberg is on the Reds roster this season, even the people who hate Moneyball should at least make a point to get to a library, book store, whatever and read the chapter about Hatteberg.

    Hatteberg fits a certain description of a hitter that takes a lot of pitches, is not afraid to take a walk and the way he breaks down video is very precise and very refined. All of this is in the book in the Hatteberg chapter, and it's an approach that every hitter in baseball should take, but there undoubtedly are some guys, perhaps many guys, that do not.
    And for the sentimental saps, there is the bonus in the part about him running back to first base to hang out with Donnie Baseball, his childhood idol, after his first major league at-bat (a double). Tears. Many, many tears.

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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    "Hatteberg’s hitting approach fit into what the free-swinging — and strikeout-prone — Reds needed"


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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    I mentioned this to a friend at the game last night. It has to be downright tough on a pitcher to have dunn and hatteberg in the same inning, which happened a few times last night. Those guys will force you to chew up your arm. I think between the two of them, they saw around 40 pitches from oswalt in 3 at bats apiece.

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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    "Just look at his walks-tostrikeouts (ratio) over his career," Krivsky said. "It’s impressive. If you see a guy nowadays who walks more than he strikes out, it’s a rarity. That’s a good indication to me that the guy takes good at-bats and knows the strike zone
    Knowing this.... Krivsky doesn't need to read Money Ball.
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyenut
    I mentioned this to a friend at the game last night. It has to be downright tough on a pitcher to have dunn and hatteberg in the same inning, which happened a few times last night. Those guys will force you to chew up your arm. I think between the two of them, they saw around 40 pitches from oswalt in 3 at bats apiece.
    Outstanding point. One of the reasons the Reds have been so good offensively this year is that they are working counts so well. Hatte and Dunn front and center on that. It's got to get on a pitcher's nerves to consistently be working deep into counts. Not to mention, getting all those runners on base helps to explain the gaudy RBI numbers from EE and Phillips in the 6 and 7 slots in the order, primarily.

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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Hatteberg’s hitting approach fit into what the free-swinging — and strikeout-prone — Reds needed. When Hatteberg swings, he makes contact more often than not.
    As a statistic, strikeouts may be insignificant, but I think there is another point being made here. Outs made on pitcher's pitches are not good. Hatteberg's style makes the pitcher throw strikes. He doesn't expand the zone so he makes the pitcher come to him. When he strikes out, he has still made the pitcher come to him. He doesn't put himself in two strike holes by swinging at the first two fastballs he sees.

    I hope some of the Reds learn by watching this guy's approach to a strategic at-bat.

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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Not bad for a guy who is "washed up", "the worst player in baseball", and not a patch on Carlos Pena's AAA arse.

    Maybe, just maybe, Wayne Krivsky's 30 years in baseball have taught him enough to make better baseball decisions than the herd at the local internet message board....It's an outrageous thought, I know.
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Davis
    Not bad for a guy who is "washed up", "the worst player in baseball", and not a patch on Carlos Pena's AAA arse.

    Maybe, just maybe, Wayne Krivsky's 30 years in baseball have taught him enough to make better baseball decisions than the herd at the local internet message board....It's an outrageous thought, I know.
    Maybe, just maybe, handing a lot of PA to a player whose VORP was -3.6 last season and who produced -25 Runs Above Average (both offensively and defensively) over the past three years isn't the smartest thing to be doing?

    And maybe, just maybe, creating strawmen while using 60-odd PA to support your own position might not be the best way to go about things?

    Just sayin'...
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Scott Hatteberg, On-Base Machine.

    .404 OBP thru 5/7/06

    just sayin'

    I know it's a small sample(94 PA), but he has been a good player for the Reds. His defense is lacking, that I will admit.
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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    It's not he gets on base, I'd bat him 2nd cause he certainly doesn't bring the power I'd like out of a 5-6 hitter.
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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Really, the amazing thing isn't that Dunn can get away with this; after all, if you throw him his pitch, it ends up in the bleachers, so the pitcher has to nibble; but for Hatteberg to be able to eat up pitches without the power threat there is pretty amazing.

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    Re: Hatteberg fits book’s definition (4/28)

    Quote Originally Posted by danwl
    Really, the amazing thing isn't that Dunn can get away with this; after all, if you throw him his pitch, it ends up in the bleachers, so the pitcher has to nibble; but for Hatteberg to be able to eat up pitches without the power threat there is pretty amazing.
    For all of the Moneyball mania out there, the one thing that Oakland always lacked was offense. Hatteberg's OBP is nice, but his hitting has been atrocious.


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