Rethinking The Matt LeCroy Signing
[February 13th] -- When I first caught wind of the Matt LeCroy signing, I was very happy. He was a good-ol boy from South Carolina with an aw-shucks drawl and a big-boy build. He was just like Jamey Carroll except for, well except for everything other than the fact that they're both nice guys. He can't hit right-handers, sure, thats right, but he crushes lefties; just destroys them. In just 124 at-bats, LeCroy launched 13 home runs and sported a .306 batting average with a .404 on base percentage. Pair him up with Daryle Ward at first, trade Nick Johnson for pitching and call it good.
Never trust American League statistics.
I revisited LeCroys numbers and looked a little deeper into the splits. Uh oh. He excelled in the Metrodome, batting .305-10-28, .925 ops. Away from his little bandbox, however, he only hit .213-7-21, .668 ops. On artificial turf, he hit .293-11-31, .897 ops, while he struggled on grass to the tune of .219-6-29, 679 ops.
So, playing in a small park that features astro-turf, he's Roger Maris. In a grass covered traditional field, he's Roger Metzger.
I'm not suggesting that LeCroy wasn't a good signing. I am saying that we have to discount American League stats when looking at the worth of a player. Alfonso Soriano falls into this same category; great at home and bad on the road. Batters want to play in the American League and pitchers want to play in the National League. That's just the way it is.
Matt LeCroy is still a good ol boy who will help the Nationals. He just might not help them quite as much as I'd hoped.
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