Shin-Soo Choo-ing up lefties


Apr 8, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) scores against Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (40) in the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston, Mass – Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has started off the season very well.  Before the regular season started, it appeared that Choo was having a hard time finding the ball.  He struggled at the plate and more importantly struggled to get on base via the walk.

Normally, it is not a huge worry about a player working for a walk, but Shin-Soo Choo is known for that.  Last year Choo finish 4th overall with an on base percentage of .423.   So if you wonder why the Texas Rangers were willing to pay so much for him, it is because.

"“He gets on base a lot. Do I care if it’s a walk or a hit?” (Billy Beane – Moneyball)"

If you don’t know the answer, it’s easy..NO!  On base is on base, I don’t care either if it is a walk or hit.

Spring Training Struggles: During spring training anyone that followed the Texas Ranger probably started to wonder what was Jon Daniels thinking.  They invested a lot of money and years for a guy who isn’t able to adjust to the American League.  But, Choo was going through some health issues, which he said he normally does.  He only batted .161 with an on base percentage of .262 over 9 games / 20 games.  But, spring training isn’t always a good metric to gauge against for regular season performance.

Flipped the switch: Now that the regular season is under way Shin-Soo Choo has clearly flipped the switch on to on-base.  His batting average is currently .355 with an on-base percentage of .475.  He’s again rising to the top the on-base percentage list, currently ranked 4th behind Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Mike Trout.  On-base percentage has been great, but what might not show up in the numbers is his improvement against left-handed pitchers.

Against lefties, he has a career batting average of .245 and on-base percentage of .342.  Granted there is only a small sample set for 2014, he has show great improvement against left-handed pitches this year.  He currently has a batting average against lefties of .455 with and on-base percentage of .533.  That is far above his average against right-handed pitchers .300/.440 respectively.

Will this keep up, probably not, but Choo is enjoying hot start at the plate and again is getting on-base.  Several of the walks he’s had recently are very tough pitches to take for ball 4.  Some time he’s bitten by it and strike out looking, but more often than not, he’s heading to first.  One thing for sure, Shin-Soo Choo seems to love playing with the Texas Rangers and in the American League West.

He’s an on-base, hittin’ machine.  I hope he can keep this up all season long, that’s exactly what the Rangers need out of a lead off man.