Early this season, Black Betsy said not to be worried about Podsednik, and today he again states his case.
Since that low point, Scott Podsednik has gone 26 for 72 , which pencils out at .361. He's also drawn 6 walks, and his OBP is right at .410. That's the Podsednik the Sox need.
I won't disparage Podsednik for anything he's done at the plate. Since his slow start, he has looked very good at the plate. I'd still like to see him turn on a pitch like he did on last night's double when he finds himself in a good count, but it's hard to argue with results.
I was never all that worried about Podsednik at the plate. I know he can hit .270 and post a .330 OBP. But .270/.330 isn't very useful when it's accompanied by a .350 SLG. That is unless you bring something else to the table, like speed. And that's where the problem lies. Pods' speed just isn't what it used to be.
Since Podsednik broke into the big leagues, he's produced infield hits at a very consistent rate of around 10% per groudball. Last night, Podsednik had his first infield hit of the season on a well placed drag bunt, bringing his 2006 infield hit rate to just 2.1% per ground ball.
Season GB IFH BU BUH IH/GB% 2002 9 1 0 0 11.1% 2003 199 21 33 11 9.2% 2004 243 22 33 10 9.1% 2005 224 26 38 17 11.6% =================================================== 675 70 104 38 10.4% =================================================== 2006 48 1 5 1 2.1%
More visible than the lack of infield hits this season is his troubling lack of success on the basepaths. Podsednik was probably the best base-stealer in baseball from the time he entered the league until around the All-Star break last year. Looking through the game logs, the turning point was a couple weeks later, July 23rd, to be exact. Since that point, Podsednik is just 17 for 36 stealing bases, while also getting picked off at a high rate.
SB CS SB% Before 7/22/05 163 32 83.6% Afer 7/22/05 17 19 47.2%
Podsednik may only be a tenth of a second slower per 90 feet, but it's obviously enough to make a significant difference. -- If anyone wants to watch some old video on MLB.tv and time him to either verify or disprove this theory, I'd be forever in your debt.