FanShot

Wee Chris Getz: Deadball Superstar

I was nosing about on Fangraphs the other day and I noticed that Chris Getz is actually a unique player in today's game. He's a throwback to 1911 and the way they played the game back then. Getz is an extreme contact hitter; his strikeout rate is only 10%, and his walk rate is 7%, tying him with Butler for the best K-BB ratio on the team. When he does hit the ball, which is 83% of the time, he's an extreme groundball hitter: 54.3 groundball percentage, by far the highest on the team. A guy like this tends to get a lot of infield hits (17) and bunt hits (8), and sacrifice a lot (14). Furthermore, stealing bases is usually part of his game, since it's the only way he's going to get to second (Getz has NINE extra-base hits in 426 PA), and Getz is 21-7 SB-CS, a decent 75% success rate. Since he almost always gets the bat on the ball, and he has decent plate discipline, that means he must be good at hitting trick pitches. He is. He's an above-average curveball and cutter hitter, and he's not awful against the slider. The problem is he can't hit anything faster than about 89 mph. He just can't hit a real fastball. (He could probably hit a Jeff Francis fastball.) Do other teams know this? Yes. An extreme 72% of pitches thrown to Getz were fastballs, most of which he converted into soft grounders to shortstop. That's why he isn't good enough to be an MLB starter. Back in Wee Willie Keeler's day, when pitchers didn't throw 90 mph, an extreme bat-control guy like Getz would have managed to poke anything they threw him--curves, screwballs, spitters, 85 mph fastballs, you name it--through a hole in the infield for a single. He'd have hit .400 and stolen fifty bases every year, and would have been a Hall of Famer. We'd nostalgically refer to him today as "Wee Chris," except he's like five-eleven, which was pretty tall back then.

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