Erboes wrote:You've seen him more than me, but watching him play last year it seemed like he has become nothing more than a sloppy pull hitter who either peppers it off the wall or grounds to the SS. Judging by his splits, his average could plummet but his homers should increase. Am I mistaken?
From his splits, yes. But I don't see it happening. I think his power will go down as he tries to pepper more open field. But that's me.
Nomar is still a very good hitter. I'll defer to Simmons, who says it perfectly:
There's a nagging sense that, like Julia Roberts, Nomar's best days are behind him. It's not like he's washed up -- he just isn't someone who gets mentioned in those "Who's the next guy to hit .400?" articles anymore. At his absolute apex, he strode to the plate, did his "Rain Man" routine with his gloves, swung at the first pitch -- whether it was at his head, his feet, rolling to the plate, or whatever -- and belted the living hell out of it. He sprayed line drives like a machine gun. It was almost freakish. And then he broke his wrist ... and three years have passed, and he's settled into that ".301 BA, .340 OBP, 25 HR, 115 RBI" stage of his career. Yeah, it's good enough to make the All-Star team. But it's not the same Nomar.
The bottom line: You can pitch to this guy. Good teams get him out, as we discovered during the playoffs. There's a difference between A) somebody slumping because they're in a funk; and B) somebody slumping because they don't study pitchers, they swing at bad pitches, and their reflexes have slipped just enough -- maybe just 5 percent,but enough -- that they can't get away with the "I'm going up there and swinging away!" approach once they hit their 30s. Barring a dramatic turn, Nomar seems destined to follow Jim Rice's lead, another physical marvel who peaked early in his career, then became a solid All-Star -- but not a superstar, and certainly not your ideal choice when you needed a hit -- for the remainder of his career.
(Can you win a World Series with him? Absolutely. Will I tell my grandkids that I watched him play some day? Not this current version. He couldn't hold a candle to the guy from the '99 and '00 seasons. It's not even a fair comparison -- it's like comparing Jessica Biel to Jessica Alba. Hey, you're fine with Jessica Biel. She may even appear in a few All-Star Games. But Jessica Alba ... good Lord.)