World Series 2010: Will The Underrated Juan Uribe Of The Giants Be Series MVP?
It was no coincidence that Juan Uribe broke up the first game of the World Series against the Texas Rangers with a three-run homer. That's what he does.
In the league championship series against the favored Philadelphia Phillies, he won Game 4 with a walk-off sacrifice fly, and then belted the game-winning homer in the pivotal sixth game to send the Giants to the series.
Picked up off the scrap heap by San Francisco after the Chicago White Sox let him go after the 2008 season, Uribe is on his way to a second World Series ring. And, it's as a key member of the team, not some scrub that's taking up the last spot on the roster.
What would the sabermatricians say?
As a career .300 OBP hitter, they definitely would not want him on their team, but what does that say about them?
In a 10 year career, he's averaged 19 homers and 77 RBIs to go along with a .256 batting average.
Is that bad for a guy who has mainly played shortstop, and a damn good shortstop if I may say so myself?
He made several outstanding plays in the 2005 series for the Sox, including on the final play to win the trophy for the Sox.
It seems like he's never been appreciated. A Chicago sports talk host on the Score named Dan Bernstein said, "No team with Juan Uribe as their shortstop will ever win the World Series."
He ate those words back in 2005, and mentioned the other day that it may be happening again. He obviously agreed with the callers to his show who couldn't wait to run Uribe out of town during his stint with the Sox.
I could never figure that out at the time. Not a fan of the Sox, I looked at it objectively and what I saw was a guy who played excellent defense with a great arm who put up nice power numbers for his position.
Of course he's not A-Rod or one of the glamour shortstops of his generation, but hasn't he proved once and again that he's a guy you can win with?
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stats lie!
Not all of the time, but in many cases they are empty numbers.
Kosuke Fukudome of the Cubs is a stats favorite due to his OBP, but watching him on a regular basis, I see very little value that he brings to the team.
Milton Bradley was another saber-metric pin-up boy. How has he worked out?
But I see a lot of value in Uribe's pedestrian numbers because he comes through when it counts.
Can't we believe what we see with our own eyes if a guy is a good player, despite what his numbers and the stats guys say?
Another plus for him is that he puts the ball in play, topping 100 strikeouts only twice in his career. If you hit the ball, maybe something good will happen. If you swing and miss, nothing good is coming out of that, which brings me to another saber-metric God, Adam Dunn.
His OBP and OBPS are off the charts, but so are his strikeouts. He's an average hitter and a terrible fielder who should only be a DH in the American League, but for some reason, they give him a glove.
Just like with Michael Jackson, I could never figure out why he wears one.
And I can't figure out why a guy like Uribe is so undervalued. He may not be a star, but he is a valuable member of every team he has played on. And he may be getting fitted for another ring soon.
So to all of the naysayers out there who don't look beyond the numbers, open up your eyes. You may see a good ballplayer.
Or, you may not know what a good ballplayer looks like.
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