Rafael Furcal

(Normally I’d talk third base here, but that’s tied in with the backup infield situation so I want to tackle those two consecutively.)

I still don’t have a handle on Rafael, and I don’t think that the Braves do either. He was a really productive player last year, hitting .292/.352/.443. He still didn’t walk as much as he did as a rookie, but more than made up for that with added power, and set career highs in runs, RBI, hits, doubles, triples, and homers. He also addressed concerns I had with his speed by going 25 for 27 in stolen base attempts and grounding into only one double play. If he maintains this level of hitting and baserunning and can build on his considerable defensive skills, he’s a heck of a player. But he can’t afford to go back into the overly free-swinging style of 2001-02. He made a lot more contact last year, and I’m certain that seeing more pitches helped that.

Defensively, he committed a lot of errors but other than that was more than adequate. His arm helps a lot, as does his speed. I’ll give up ten or fifteen extra errors to get the same number of extra double plays plus 30 or 40 more assists… Going into last season, I thought that the Braves might be looking to move Furcal rather than keep paying him as he got more expensive. But his big year, combined with the sudden lack of other shortstop candidates in the system (with Betemit already moved and Kelly Johnson soon to follow) mean that they might look to wrap him up long-term. He’s only two years away from free agency now… Home runs, by year: 4, 4, 8, 15. I don’t see him doubling his homers again, but you never know, do you?

Rafael Furcal Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

2 thoughts on “Rafael Furcal”

  1. I think this will be the year we find out what kind of player Furcal is capable of being. If he consciously tries to hit homeruns, it’s 2002 all over again. He said recently in an article I read online (either AJC or maybe ESPN.com; sorry, no link) that he wants to work on seeing more pitches and getting on base more. I think that is definitely the right approach for him. If he settles into a 80 BB / 10-12 homer a year shortstop, I say “great”. I’d take that over a 20 homerun shortstop with a .320 OBP and 90 Ks without thinking twice.

  2. Furcal really was all over hte place last year, but as Angus notes, when he tries too hard to be a power hitter, he goes south. Last season he had that amazing May, wherein he really was A-Rod for a while – 336/415/664, 7 HR, 15 BB. Then over the next two months all of his rate stats plummeted.

    His walk totals by month last year – 9,17,6,13,6,9. Up and down all over. In his last two months he had a high BA with good OBP.

    I wonder if Bobby will cu him loose to run more this year? Last year he went 25-2 in SB, so Bobby may see more room for him to use his speed even more.

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