Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Searching for meaning in a meaningless universe: The Mike Ford Dilemma


The good news: Mike Ford had a meaningful double in yesterday's meaningless win over Baltimore. 

The bad news: He lashed it to right.

Among unheralded Yankees - those valiant "Next Man Up" secondaries who briefly saved the team in 2019 - few players last year flopped more rancidly than Mike Ford, who somehow managed to out-disappoint Gary Sanchez.  I'm not making this up. As impossible as it seems, Ford hit worse than Sanchez, a mere .135 for the pandemic season. 

He was, to put it bluntly, dreadful. Ford hit 2 HRs, fanned once in every five at-bats and - worst of all - drew only 7 walks in 84 plate appearances. Thus, he undercut his reputation as a cagy Kevin Youkilis-type, who draws pitchers into lengthy, soul-straining at-bats. 

In 2019, Ford drew enough walks to compile an on-base percentage of .350, and his Princeton pedigree suggested a shrewd batter, capable of cobbling together a lasting career. Surely, he was a smart enough fellow to regularly be adjusting his swing and outwitting the defensive overshifts that dared him to go the opposite way. 

Last year, he dumbed-out. Last year, Ford lashed ball after ball into a right field abyss, directly at well-positioned defenders. His shots to the gap were caught by second-basemen, who barely needed to move. As the season continued, his strikeouts mounted, his frustrations soared, and he devolved into a Fred Flintstone-shaped lug, swinging ever wilder and going nowhere - except for Scranton.

Ford turns 29 on the Fourth of July. My guess is he will celebrate it in Central PA, or on another team's roster. That would be a shame, because the Yanks are desperate for lefty bats, and if Ford could build on the numbers of 2019, he could help this team. Right now, if the Yankees need a LH pinch hitter in the ninth, they have a) Brett Gardner, b) Mike Tauchman, c) Jack Bruce, d) Tyler Wade, e) Ford. 

Not exactly John Blanchard, eh? 

But but BUT... he has to use the whole field. He has to punch singles through the left side. He has to draw walks. Now and then, he has to bunt. He needs to be smart. Jeeze, did he learn anything at Princeton? 


JM said...

Obviously, Ford did not have a better idea and there may no longer be a Ford in our future.

Besides, Voit has the name of a sporting goods company. Clearly a much better fit at first base.

Carl J. Weitz said...

I think Eric Clapton is a notch ahead of Jack Bruce as a left-handed pinch hitter.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Of course, Jack Bruce is the best option if you need a stolen bass. LOL...sometimes I crack myself up.

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts on an off day...

1) Yankee Business Names

In addition to Ford and Voit

Stanton is a huge company that does eye exams and makes glasses.

Hicks Inc. is the #1 national wholesale distributor of fishing, hunting, marine, archery, and other outdoor products.

Frazier Industrial is the leading manufacturer of industrial storage racks, with 10 manufacturing facilities across the US, Canada & Mexico.

Cole - Shop for our collection of Shoes, Leather Bags, Accessories and Outerwear for Men and Women.


Sanchez - 5 reviews of Sanchez Towing "They just towed my big O box truck back to the shop for me since it decided to not start up! It's raining and these guys are still ...

2) Ford

I can't watch the guy any more. He has one of the lowest AYG-HABs ever recorded since the stat came into use not that long ago and by not by that many people.

The sad part is I like the guy. I liked the look on his parents faces when they cut to them in the crowd when he was first called up.

That said...

I'd rather see Chris Gittens at this point but there's got to be a lefty bat who plays first somewhere.

Here's a guy: Danny Santana - Switch hitter. Sucked last year but good the year prior.

I'm open.

Doug K.

el duque said...

Around Syracuse, there is COLE MUFFLER, which is what he does to opposing bats.

13bit said...

Where have you gone, Ice Cream Sandwiches?
A nation turns its yawning face to you, you tub of glue.
What's that you say, Mrs Steinbrenner?
Sancho's swinging big and catching air.
He shaves with Nair...his chest is bare....

Anonymous said...

Name from the past - Johnny Blanchard - man, did he rake in 1961.

Anonymous said...

Slugging percentage is more important than batting average, for reasons that should be obvious even to a stubborn antiquarian like duque. Power hitters should try to hit for power, not try to emulate Wee Willie Keeler.

Anonymous said...

Hitting into the shift over and over and over again is a black hole in the lineup and is annoying to watch.

If baseball is an entertainment product the frequency of making out by hitting into the over shift is a shitty product and outweighs the (rare) benefit of the home run.

Hence his horrible AYG-HAB. In case you missed it - it stands for "are you glad he's at bat" and with Ford the answer (at least for me) is 3.2 or in layman's terms - NO.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

From 2019-2020, Ford's slugging average fell by 289 points, from .559 to .270, while his on-base percentage fell by "only" 124 points, from .350 to .226. His home runs dropped from 1 every 13.6 plate appearances, to 1 every 42 plate appearances. His extra-base hits fell from 1 every 8.6 plate appearances, to 1 every 14 plate appearances.

In other words, his slugging figures dropped much more even than his dismal on-base numbers.

But just keep hitting into those shifts! It's working, it's working!

JM said...

Doug, thanks for the company rundown (remember, no pepper games allowed).

Carl, I had forgotten to make a Jack Bruce comment, so appreciate yours.


And Bit, *I* fucking liked it.