Art Thiel, always ready to throw Schadenfreude around like so much nightshade, tweets this morning that Ichiro is back and he’s “hot”. Hot you say, well what does that mean? For the year he’s thrown up a .303 on bag and a .348 slug for an OPS of .650, from today’s ESPN chart, which obviously rounds down.
Those are the same kind of numbers he threw up the last few years in Seattle at $18.5 million per year, reminiscent of that old Cleveland Indian player, one of my all time name favorites Vic Davalillo. Similar guy 5’7 150 pounds, so for fun I looked up his stats on Baseball Reference and it appears that I’ve been slamming Vic from a career perspective, which as an analyst goes is probably not fair to either of them. Fair game for reporters doing analytical stuff, though.
So Vic’s career OPS is .680. Ichiro’s career OPS is .781, much, much higher. But from 2011 forward he posted a .645, then a .696 and now .650. For right fielders you probably should be over .800 and the team is hopeful you might run over the 1.000 mark, but would be happy with something over .900. As a frame of reference Jay Buhner had eleven seasons over .800, three of which were over .900. Ichiro played twelve seasons in Seattle, eleven full and one partial. He had four seasons with an OPS over .800 and none over .900. Eight were below .800, with three being below .700.
Let’s narrow the examination. In April his OPS was .644 and in May .632. For four games in June it has been .814. I don’t know if hot is the right thing to say, but it is a really small sample size.
After the game let out last night, Art was seen dodging the imaginary Port trucks that Howard Lincoln has nightmares about.