When I first found out we made the trade for Scott Podsednik, I got physically ill. I couldn't believe we had traded a proven home grown talent like Carlos Lee for a player who was a waiver claim just two years before. After a few hours I calmed down, and I saw the possibilities that the extra payroll would provide. And I was right, that extra payroll was turned into El Duque and AJ Pierzynski.
I decided that day that I would reserve judgment on Podsednik until I had seen him play. Well here we sit, 22 games into the season. Pods has 61 at-bats, while playing in 16 games. I think I've gotten a good feel for what he brings to the table, and I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised.
At the plate
He appears to be closer to his 2003 form than his 2004 form. He definitely isn't trying to hit the ball out of the park, which was supposedly part of his problem last year. He's been surprisingly clutch, (.455/.533/.455 w/ RISP) and he's been very comfortable against lefties (.538/.538/.615).
The one thing he hasn't done, however, is probably the most important job of a leadoff man; starting rallies. Sure there's been a few instances where he created a run practically on his own, but he's been very poor when leading off and inning (.190/.261/.190) and with nobody on (.195/.267.195). Obviously, small sample size warnings apply. In all of these splits Pods has 40 or fewer ABs, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.
One thing I have noticed is that he seems to make a lot of fly ball outs to left field. Anything he hits in the air that direction is a lazy fly ball; an easy play. I think he might be better served trying to pull the ball more. That doesn't mean trying to put the ball in the right field patio in every at bat, just that I think that might help raise his average. He could put a ton of pressure on the first baseman, who's usually drawn in protecting a bunt, and those lazy fly balls to left just might be pulled just enough to get in the left center gap.
On the Paths
He's amazing. I've never seen a guy who can swipe a base with such ease. (I'm 25, so I vaguely remember Rickey Henderson in his prime) He's created about 2 or 3 runs by himself on the base paths already. As long as he maintains a decent OBP (.340), and stays healthy, he might be able to swipe 90 bags.
In the Field
Pods has eased some of my fears about his defense already. He doesn't get the best reads on balls, from what I've seen so far, but he more than makes up for it with his exceptional speed. He may not be a great center fielder -- Aaron Rowand hasn't exactly looked like one either this season -- but he's easily an above average left fielder.
While it's still early in the season, I can from what I've seen, we didn't get completely ripped off in the deal. Pods is a baseball player. Now if he would just be more of catalyst for the offense we wouldn't be so pitching dependent in the future.