Walkoff Woodward

Concerning Detroit Baseball
February 22, 2014

30 Tigers in 30 Days: #3 – Steve Lombardozzi

Steve Lombardozzi | Infield| #4
2014 salary: 
2013 statistics: 
.259/.278/.338, 2 HR, 15 2B, 1 3B, 4 SB, 8 BB, 34 K (with Washington)
Projected role: 
Backup utility infielder

Better late than never, right?

Anyway, the man who has taken the old number of the legendary Bobby Higginson is a completely unremarkable player. He was a utility man in Washington and will be the same here, provided he makes the club. He doesn’t hit a lot, and when he does it tends to be for singles; he’s good enough defensively; his walk rate is hideous; he can play pretty much any position. Essentially, think of him as a more infield-focused Don Kelly.

Brad Ausmus says he wants Lombardozzi to focus on shortstop this spring – a position he has only played 18 innings at in the majors. If he does make the team, he’ll probably be spelling Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler, and Nick Castellanos where necessary. (That roster spot will likely either go to him or Hernan Perez.) There’s not a lot to say about Steve. What value he has largely lies in his ability to play numerous positions. If he makes the team, it’ll be as one of the last few guys on the roster, and if the Tigers find themselves relying on him for any sort of extended period of time, they’ll have some serious issues.


    you are completely clueless. Do you depend on stats only? Have you ever talked to a Nats fan or ever seen him play? This kid would be starting for at least 15 major league clubs

    • verlander

      //This kid would be starting for at least 15 major league clubs//

      this seems like a spurious claim, at best.

  • GoTiggers

    You are probably right. He could start for most of the lower half teams in the league. However, that seems to be more evidence supporting what the article says as opposed to what you say. By the way you are also using a ‘stat’ to support your claim.

    He’s a bench player. That is not a criticism. There are many roles that need to be filled in a season. Personally, don kelly is a better role player. He gets on base more, hits for more power, and can play almost all of the same positions equally well, including a background at shortstop in the minor leagues.

    Lambordozzi was mereley a throw-in for a trade. A potential replacement for another bench player, ramon santiago, who was getting too old. whether he makes the team isn’t even that important to success. an equivalent can be found.

    In retort to the “do you depend on stats only” question, i’d reply with a question of my own. Do you only use emotion? There is a reason Fanatic was shortened to label a person who has a stong affinity toward a sports team (and other things).

    The author is not clueless. He is giving an opinion based on facts he researched. I’ll take an objective fact used as evidence over the subjective and partial musings of a fanatic in order to evaluate a player.

  • TigersFan717

    Woodward …. you are simply a Dope….. Do you know anything about baseball ??? Your analysis is so topical it is note worth responding to your analysis. I would simply offer that you look at this kids real accomplishments at all levels of his development and the answer will be clear. Minor league Gold Glove…… 2 errors in and entire 140 game season. Get your facts stright buddy!!!!!!

    • cestma

      So topical? Horrors!

    • verlander

      //Minor league Gold Glove…… 2 errors in and entire 140 game season.//

      Well then.

  • Grey

    Apparently Steve is a popular fella around these parts.

    He’s a useful guy to have around. He can be plugged into most positions for short periods of time and hold things down, particularly in the infield. He’s good defensively (he did win that Gold Glove in the minors, as TigersFan717 noted). That said, he’s got 755 major league PAs under his belt and he’s been a consistently below league average hitter who doesn’t walk much and offers zero power. If he were indeed a regular starter for my team, it would be a position I would be trying very hard to upgrade. I’m not saying he’s useless, but he’s not a regular starter. And that’s perfectly okay.

    Also, I appreciate his lack of errors, but errors/fielding percentage is a pretty empty stat (Prince Fielder, for instance, made six errors in 151 games last year, good for a fielding percentage of .995. You won’t see anyone rating him in the top half of defensive first basemen in baseball, though).

  • TigersFan717

    Fella’s. Come on with the analysis of stats and so forth!!!!!! Let’s compare Lombardozzi to other players who come off the bench to pinch hit and/or play with limited starts. Everyone in baseball knows that a playing everyday is needed and you simply can not statistically compare the stats of an everyday player to a utility player. Lombardozzi had the most pinch hits in the national league last year. what does that say?? If you want to compare Lombardozzi statistics I suggest you look at the 4 month period in 2012 that he started in 3 different positions for a 4 month period and 400 at bats. This performance along with his consignment minor league progression are the best indication of what he can and wil do given an opportunity to be an everyday player (while not playing out of position). Also, ask yourself why are all of the utility players in the big leagues experienced major league veterans on the downside of their careers? What does it say about Lombardozzi who has been asked at 22 years old to do what only veteran players have done before? Humm food for thought!!!! So if you want to analyse let’s get below the surface and and analyse. Anybody with 1/2 a brain can look up the stat line on MLB.com If your going to fancy yourself as an expert then let’s act like it….

  • gotiggers

    He is a genuine backup. The only person not in agreement seems to be natslover. Backup player’s position on any team is tenuous at best. I don’t think all the utility/bench players out there are veterans. In fact, i think that is a particularly difficult transition for an everyday player. Also, they are significantly more expensive for minor gains over a younger alternative. Most teams are not the Yankees or Dodgers with budgets nearing and at times exceeding 200million/year.

    Anyway the original post was rude to the author and intimated that lombardozzi was something more than a role player, but it’s obvious he is not dazzling in any one aspect, but at the same time at least servicable. I hear his defense is above the norm, but that is something that seems to be difficult for the professional baseball statiticians to evaluate. Too often reputation and offense affects people’s judgements, albeit this occurs more often for well-known everyday players, as opposed to a player like lombardozzi.

    Like someone noted earlier, it is difficult to use fielding percentage alone to evaluate a player’s defense. Tim Salmon always had a huge reputation for all the diving catches he made. Someone faster or with better reaction/routes etc would have made these ‘spectacular’ catches look mundane. It’s easy to see how fast someone runs or count how many times he commits an error. It’s very difficult to measure reaction time to the ball off the bat because it involves more than what a simple stopwatch can tell you.

    Also, i think this is funny. There seems to be a common theme of not trusting or a dislike of using statistics to back up an opinion. Yet, later in these posts they continue to use said statistics to support their claim. Statistics are great as long as the wielder understands their limitiations, and the possible subjective (qualatative) data being used. Obviously, i am not talking about a simple stat like BA or OBP. These are quantitative/objective measurements. This does not mean they tell the full story, or that they are excellent indicators.

    I never doubt the math involved, but i do doubt the choice of metrics used and how they are weighted/measured during the collection process. Some of the sabermetric stuff requires a human’s opinion as opposed to an objective measurement. Pitch location can be skewed be camera angles, or one person may just simply judge a ball to be middle, but another data collector judges that same location to be slightly outside etc etc. Technology will help, but that’s got a long way to go too. If you ever have seen the fox pitch tracker show a ball on their graphic that is so far inside it would have hit the batter, but was merely just off the black.

    off topic:
    I know online is the wrong place to expect this, but is it possible to
    have a little integrity and a minimum amount of respect for others and
    not start off a simple debate calling someone a name – it’s the main motivation for my origial reply. I can count the number of forum posts i’ve made in my life on 1 hand.

    would not mention this if I thought the ages involved were young. Something seems to happen to
    people when they are hidden behind a computer on the interent. They lose
    basic decency. I think the additional complexities of face to face communication hold various repercussions and motivations rein in this type of behaviour better than online forum posts. I doubt anyone here would start out an argument in RL with a stranger by calling him a dope or clueless.

    Don’t read this as a passive-aggressive slant toward any poster. I am not calling anyone a immature. Merely drawing attention to a particular behaviour that has become culturally the norm in online forums. Everyone slips on occasion, and nothing was too abhorent or malicious. I’ve been guilty of being rude in my life multiple times just like everyone else, and i think online interaction require a little more self-regulation than a normal RL conversation. i genuinely think the rudeness occurs in an accidental manner, but that does not alleviate responsibility nor accountability.

    And for more, pleas buy my book – Longest(worst!) Forum Post Ever!
    ghost written by The Comic Book Guy from the simpsons.

    • TigersFan717

      Ok, I agree with you 100% on the insult. I certainly would like to apologize for that.

  • verlander

    How dare you slander Lombardozzi, you stats loving lily-white nancy boy.

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