So, is Seth Smith a starter or backup? I'm not talking about for the laughably miniscule three for nine sample that Troy Renck's brought up for the 2010 season thus far, it was just two for eight before last night's RBI triple, after all, but on his career as a whole those numbers are adding to a growing body of evidence that Smith's best suited to be mild mannered Clark Kent during his day job, and put on the cape and tights at night when we really need it.
He has 580 career plate appearances thus far, in the 456 as a starter, he's put up a .260/.334/.455 line. He'll get an extra base hit once every eleven PA's, he'll walk one every ten or so. Not bad, but as a starter, he's a fourth outfielder. In his 124 plate appearances as a sub, on the other hand, he's hit .363/.468/.667. He whacks an XBH once every seven times he steps to the plate or so and walks once every six times. The answer is obvious: he clearly needs the privacy of the dugout to hide him changing into his secret identity.
Okay, obviously there's a selection bias in those PA's, because as a sub Jim Tracy (and Clint Hurdle before) can pick when and who he hits against, but that's sort of precisely the point. Looking at Smith's vs. pitcher page at baseball reference shows that he doesn't seem to fare well against pitchers that utilize quality sinking fastballs. He's a combined 3 for 40 against Josh Geer, Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Webb, Derek Lowe and Jon Garland, for instance, and as a starter, he'd be facing these pitchers a lot more.
Ian Stewart hit his fifth home run of the season last night to finally give the Rockies a victory (is it just me, or does it seem like three fourth's of our games at PETCO are determined in the winning team's final at bat) and as Jack Moore points out, the reason for his success this year is dropping his strikeout rate. He's still whiffing a lot, so we could only imagine what kind of success he would have if he could somehow continue this trend, but for right now, the Rockies are certainly thankful for the progress already made.
Renck in his recap mentions that walks have been a big issue for Rockies pitchers this season. There's definitely nothing to be argued against that. There's also an article indicating that the team is getting frustrated with Franklin Morales' inconsistency at closer in Huston Street's absence. Street is thankfully on the road to recovery.
The footnotes of that last post bring up the Rockies interesting bench quandary when Brad Hawpe returns, which is the same bench quandary they had when breaking camp in March. With Smith and Eric Young Jr. being the only reserves with minor league options remaining, it seems likely to come down to one of those two heading back to Colorado Springs. Yeah, this note's going to go over well here, I can tell already.