0 for 13 in April or July Means the Same

Ian Desmond has started the season 0 for 13, and there has been quite a bit of assessment of this. He’s already, after three games starting, been given a day off, and today he’ll be moved from the top of the order to the #7 spot. I’m not going to get into the batting order position – I’m not so sure he was ever cut out to be a leadoff hitter – but it seems a bit premature to move him. The only reason anyone is even talking about this 0-13 is because it is to start the season. If this happened (0 for 3 games) in a month or two, it would go unnoticed.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of guys who had 0 for 3 games last year, without so much as a walk,a nd how many times it happened to them:

Carlos Gonzalez (2)
Joey Votto (0)
Omar Infante (3)
Troy Tulowitzki (1)
Matt Holliday (1)
Albert Pujols (1)
Martin Prado (2)
Ryan Zimmerman (0)
Ryan Braun (3)
Starlin Castro (3)

If you haven’t figured it out, that list was the top ten in batting average in the NL in 2010. At no point in the season did anyone lament their 3 game hitless streaks. It wasn’t because they are all “great” players, although many of them are. It’s because a midseason 3 game hitless streak doesn’t mean anything, it’s only relevent at the beginning of the season, when your batting average reads .000.

Ian Desmond showed last year that he could hit. He might not be able to take a walk, which will probably lead to streakiness, but he can hit the ball. Moving him around in the lineup, giving him days to rest and otherwise messing with his head will probably be more likely to hurt his ability to hit the ball, not help. If he doesn’t get a hit by the end of the week, then I might worry a little bit more. But for now, just let him play.

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