The Cleveland Indians currently boast the worst batting average in all of baseball with a bright an shiny .211. Only one player on the team has a batting average north of .300 to this point, and it is right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Over his last four games, Choo is hitting .615 (8-for-13) with three home runs and two doubles. For the season, he has an OPS of 1.152.
His impact in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers has already been documented. Finally being able to take advantage of base runners that were simply handed to them, Choo’s eighth inning home run notched the Indians their third win of the season.
In Thursday’s game, Choo notched one of the highest WPA (win probability added, the change in win likelihood from start to end) marks of the season at .533. This means that on his own, Shin-Soo Choo was worth more than half of yesterday’s win probability, with the rest of the team – eight other position players and David Huff – comprising the rest.
For comparison purposes, as good as Choo was last season, his highest single game WPA was .263.
Pretty amazing to consider that Choo not only was worth half of a win, but that he was 2.3 standard deviations above the team average WPA. At least until you consider what he has done to this point in the season…
Thus far in 2010, Choo sports a WPA of 0.90 which is good enough for ninth in all of baseball. When taking a look at those above him, every other player is on a team that has at least four wins – more than that of the three-win Cleveland Indians. In fact, three of the six players above him are on the Detroit Tigers, a six-win team to this point. Stripping down team records, we find that only Texas’ Nelson Cruz (1.58 WPA) has meant more to his team per win than Choo has to the Indians.
For the season, Choo’s WPA (again, 0.90) is 2.9 standard deviations above the team average 0f -0.069. As I said in a tweet earlier this morning, this is both awesome and sad. To be this much better than your teammates is fairly incredible, but the sad truth is that the rest of the team has been detractors to the win collumn to this point save for Grady Sizemore (0.270 WPA).
Take into account the fact that Choo started the season off by going 2-for-18, and this recent surge has been incredible to say the least. Somewhere, Scott Boras is licking his chops at this one…
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)