First of all, I find discussions about guys like Infante INFINITELY more interesting that the tired old "Beltran: Underrated or Overrated" type threads. I've made up my mind to simply ignore any of those permanently and contribute to far more intriguing types like this one.
I have an opinion that Infante is going to be okay, and that his value is enhanced a bit hitting leadoff. While clearly not an elite guy, there are some indications he's going to be pretty good. His improved power last year was eye opening, and definitely increased his value for me heading into this season. I don't think he'll ever be a huge star, but if he's in the 15/15 neighborhood and stays on the right side of .260, he's not a bad late round grab in deeper leagues. I think those numbers are easily obtainable. The kicker that gives him sleeper potential is the hope that he can cut down on his K's. If he improves his contact rate, he can get up toward .280 and with 2B/SS eligibility, there are far worse guys to own.
Considering the options I think its a good decision. I would have to think it bumps up his value a bit. I feel he's a better player than most think. I agree with Cornbread that he is going to have a good year
I think this is another case of people relying on stats to tell the whole story about a player, as opposed to actually seeing him. While I'm not sure he's the leadoff type at this point and time and his K/BB doesn't impress statheads, he was a very tough out. I think the biggest key with him is to cut down on the K's, which he has been working hard on all offseason and during the winter league. He looked lost at the plate prior to last season when he showed a lot of ability to battle the pitcher and foul off tough pitches last year which was a key to his improvement.
His issue isn't a problem of pitch recognition exactly, but more of a case of getting overly defensive with 2 strikes and that's an area tough to predict improvement as that is all about effort on the part of the hitter as opposed to "tools", which he certainly has plenty of. I like Infante a lot, but as a leadoff hitter, I just don't know if that is the right situation for him to continue improvement.
If Infante falters, I think Inge would be a solid candidate. He's not the speediest guy that could be stuck out there, but he works the count well and manages to find ways on base. Inge is a completely different player when he's not catching, so last year is less of a fluke than many think.
brandnew wrote:He's been hurt this ST. He was a rookie last year...
Check out Michael Young's Rookie stats: .249/.298/.402
Most hitters struggle their rookie year.
He wasn't a rookie, it was his 3rd season in the majors, and he lost his rookie eligibility in 2003. But anyway, check out Damion Easley's rookie stats, they're probably similar. All rookies are usually bad. Infante's never actually been good, he's just had youth going for him. Just because Michael Young used to suck doesn't mean all 2B's that put up bad numbers will one day be good hitters.
yes, but he was still hurt the vast majority of ST, so the comments you posted about how awful he's been this spring really just show your own bias more than anything. Relevant numbers would be from when he's healthy, right? Like when he had an OBP well over .400 in winterball.
LBJackal wrote:If Infante had been a prospect, or had been good in the minors, or had done anything whatsoever I could see him being touted as a breakout candidate. The only reason he even played at advanced levels at such a young age was because his father was dying and he wanted to make the big leagues before he died. Not because he was highly touted. They tossed him into AAA only to see him have a .253 BA and .306 OBA in 2 seasons there.
Just because you never heard about a prospect doesnt mean he isnt good, right?
Here's a 3rd party profile of Infante written in 2003:
Bill Zarras - NABL wrote:Omar Infante was discovered and signed while playing baseball in Venezuela by the Detroit Tigers on April 28, 1999. What got the Tigers’ attention was Infante’s impressive defensive prowess. Initially, due to injuries within the organization, Omar was rushed from rookie league up to Class-A Lakeland, but quickly proved that he could hold his own. While at Double-A Erie, he was the youngest player in the Eastern League. Despite possessing only average speed, Infante has terrific range at short and always knows when and how to steal a base. In the field, he possesses soft hands, an accurate arm and can really make plays from the hole. He seldom makes errors on routine plays and he possesses terrific instincts on the field. Without a doubt, Infante’s defense is more than major-league-ready. He is also a natural-born leader, on and off the field. Offensively, Omar is a great contact hitter, despite his penchant for swinging at bad pitches, but he still needs to learn how to drive the ball better. This should come as he matures, and as he improves his strength and conditioning. He is also an adept bunter and excels at hitting-and-running and moving runners over.
FINAL ASSESSMENT: We believe that with the improved plate discipline that Infante has demonstrated over the past two seasons, that as soon as he fills out and gets stronger, he will be a top-notch major league middle infielder, both defensively and offensively. There is only one caution with Infante, and that is that he was born with a genetic birth defect to his spine, which has given him a slight case of spondylolysis. For a short time last season, he missed some time due to a sore back. Normally, a mild condition of spondylolysis can be controlled with painkillers; however, Infante could end up having chronic back problems, due to this genetic problem. Nonetheless, Omar should go in the first round of the upcoming NABL draft.
Jackal - your assessment that he made the big leagues because his father was dying had to be one of the most ridiculous things Ive ever seen you write. Complete Hogwash.
I think that Tram is showing his convoluted logic starting Infante at lead-off. He is comming off of an injury, is a poor base-runner/stealer, and is an immature ballplayer. But he wants to put the pressure on him to lead off? This from the manager who didn't want to put pressure on Bonderman by naming him opening day starter. It was only once his choice of Johnson blew all Spring that he changed his mind.
The Tigers should put Infante down to the nine slot and let him earn his way to the top of the order. Inge is more mature and can handle hitting first. Infante has a lot of talent, but isn't ready yet.
Cornbread Maxwell wrote:Jackal - your assessment that he made the big leagues because his father was dying had to be one of the most ridiculous things Ive ever seen you write. Complete Hogwash.
Nah man, major league baseball teams promote players because they want to do a favor to their fathers all the time. What do you think baseball is? A business where the teams want to "win" all the time?
As far as the leadoff spot, I'd like to see it go to Pudge. Steroids or not, he's slimmed down and that should cut his power a little bit, but he can get on base A LOT. Either that or move Infante down to 9 and move everyone else up 1 spot.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
LBJackal wrote: The only reason he even played at advanced levels at such a young age was because his father was dying and he wanted to make the big leagues before he died. Not because he was highly touted. They tossed him into AAA only to see him have a .253 BA and .306 OBA in 2 seasons there.
Gotta agree with CBM here....LBJ that is a ridiculously bad argument.
CowabugnaDude wrote:so what does this do to Inge's value?
Inge's value is primarily based on having C eligibility and an everyday job in the field, so it should dip only a bit. Most catchers get 20-40 days off a year, and he'll get maybe 10, so I'd rate him a starter in deep leagues that require one catcher, or a top 2nd catcher in leagues that require two.