I was never a huge Miguel Olivo fan. He's the kind of player that always looks better in someone else's uniform, which, I suppose unfortunately for us, is now the case. On the outside, you see the home runs, on the inside, you watch a player who gets to 0-2 with two bad swings seemingly every... single... time.
Initially it looked like the Royals made a wise, financially motivated, decision letting Olivo walk. Then they went out and signed Jason Kendall for more money than Olivo is making with the Rockies. Classic Royals. There is no progress. Ever.
Olivo is making just $2 million this season, with a club option for 2011 (that will probably vest) for $2.5 million. Kendall is making $2.25 million this year, and will earn $3.75 million next season.
|2010 - Miguel Olivo||30||106||16||29||3||0||8||20||11||27||2||1||.274||.336||.528|
|2010 - Jason Kendall||40||144||9||41||7||0||0||7||12||16||3||2||.285||.348||.333|
What the hell, man? Where is the .280 OBP guy we had to deal with? Not fair!
Olivo's OBP is an astounding .336. By comparison, that's like a normal player posting a .450 OBP. Olivo has never been over .300 for a season, and he's on pace to absolutely shatter his previous career high in walks, which is... wait for it... 20. Of course, he's in the National League now, but he's hit in the number 6 spot most of the season, so it isn't like he's getting a ton of "the pitcher's on deck" walks.
I don't think Olivo will sustain his current OBP, but I do think he'll post a new career high, probably somewhere around .315. His current OBP isn't really batting average driven, and as you can see above, in less playing time, he's walked nearly as much as St. Kendall, who has OBP as his only skill. Perhaps something has clicked for Olivo.
The Royals were probably right not to employ both Olivo and Buck, however it increasingly looks like they whiffed when it came to letting them both go, only to bring in an older, more expensive Jason Kendall. Then again, the Royals are allowing 0.13 runs per game fewer this season (which I'm sure has nothing to do with the glut of cold games early or better defense in the outfield), so we now know how to account for the Kendall's work with the pitching staff.