Jeff Kent (B….ish?)
(.296/.371/.501 20hr 78rbi)
2007 Recap: I gotta say, this was one of the hardest grades to assign by far.
On the one hand…
1) Jeff Kent was surprisingly good this year. For all the hype about Martin, and keeping in mind that Kemp and Loney didn’t get enough at-bats to qualify for the rate stats, Kent was this team’s most dangerous hitter. Amongst qualifiers, Porn Stache led the Blue in BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS, plus no one topped his 20 HR. Considering he’s 39.. that’s pretty damned good.
On the other hand…
2) Jeff Kent’s defense stinks. Sometimes, you don’t need stats to judge a player, just your own two eyes. And Jeff Kent’s defense at 2B? Brutal! I was trying to figure out if I should use an Edward Scissorhands joke here, because he can’t catch the ball, or a Franklin Delano Roosevelt line, because he can’t really run to the ball, but then I figured this was probably most accurate. But don’t just take my word for it:
Fielding %, NL: tied for dead last
Range Factor, NL: next to dead last, ahead of only the even more ancient Craig Biggio
On yet another hand…
3) Jeff Kent’s still one of the best hitters at his position. By all accounts, Jeffy was still the 2nd best 2B in the NL, behind only Chase Utley. All that talk about what a breakout year Brandon Phillips had? Yeah, Kent still out-VORP’d him. He had the 2nd highest SLG and 3rd highest BA and OPS. His EQA was .291, which is good for 4th in the bigs and 2nd in the NL behind again only Utley. The man can still rake at a position that’s not exactly known for it, and that’s pretty damn valuable.
And on the fourth and final hand…
4) Jeff Kent’s kind of a dick. He was the one who started up the whole “get off my lawn, you damn kids” debacle at the end of the year. I know, I know – back in his day, he had to walk uphill three miles in the snow to get to second base, and they didn’t have no new-fangled HGH, and that’s the way he liked it, damn it! Even before this, it’s no secret that, well, people hate him. Jeff, if you really think that playing Nomah and Gonzo every day because of their veteran veteranness was going to help you get closer to that ring, well, then perhaps you should start wearing a helmet when you ride your chopper.
So what’s a reviewer to do? I settled on a B, because he certainly hit better than we could have expected at the beginning of the year, especially considering his injury-plagued 2006. That said, I’m penalizing him with this ridiculous-looking picture attached above, rather than using Vin’s glorious Anakent Baseclearer shot (click for larger image).
2008 Outlook: Well, he hit his 550 plate appearances, so his $9.0 million option vested for 2008. I, for one, have always wondered what the exact economic value of “hating your teammates and liking to ride choppers in Texas” was. I guess we’re about to find out! Oh, baseball analysis? If he can keep from destroying the locker room, I say, I hope he comes back. It’s not like his defense can get any worse, and the last thing we need is to lose more power from this lineup. So if we have a 2-headed second base monster of Kent raking for 7 innings and Abreu coming in for speed and defense at the end? That ain’t half bad.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness