Rafael Furcal

Regressed slightly as a hitter from his 2003 campaign, but within random variation. Furcal missed 19 games, mostly with early season injuries, causing his at-bats to drop by 101, but hit only one fewer homer and drew only two fewer walks. Basically, a few more singles and doubles didn’t fall, but no big. OBP was at about the league level, slugging slightly below, which is fine for a shortstop. GIDP were up from one to nine, but that’s probably random too. While not as outstanding as his 2003 25-for-27, his 29-for-35 effort as a basestealer will more than do.

Defensively, his range factors were pretty good, but some “advanced” metrics disagree, and he had a few too many errors. In my opinion, Furcal tries to do too much sometimes and make a difficult play rather than the safe one. (Actually, you could say that about all the Braves’ infielders except maybe Giles. The late, unlamented Jesse Garcia was a prime culprit.)

It’s probably Rafael’s last year as a Brave. He’s a free agent after the season, he’s going to get expensive, and the Braves weren’t too wild about his off-field problems. It seems likely that they’re going to have to choose between a long-term deal for Furcal and one for Giles. To my mind, there is no choice here. Giles is superior as a hitter in every way (Marcus’ career averages are better than Rafael’s career highs) and is a better defensive player as well, albeit at an easier position. There’s the injury thing, but Furcal’s had injuries himself. Yes, there’s baserunning, but Giles is an excellent baserunner as well. (31 of 39 SB over the last two seasons.) They are, it turns out, the same age. It’s an easy call.

Rafael Furcal Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

12 thoughts on “Rafael Furcal”

  1. I dont where the braves go from here at ss. Betemit has really been a disappointment and the team will need solid production from this spot

  2. I’m not convinced he’ll be that expensive. Ask anyone to name the game’s best shortstops and he won’t be on the list. For some reason, people don’t think he’s on the level of Renteria or even Orlando Cabrera. But I still agree he’ll be too expensive for us.

  3. Furcal is a significantly more valuable offensive player than cabrera. Cabrera has only once posted an ops+ above 90 in a full season and is exiting is prime. Furcal is a good bet to post ops+ over 90 in the all of the next for seasons. A smart gm will realize the his value and sadly put him out of the braves price range. Just look at what Cabrera Guzman and Vizquel got this offseason. There is just no way he stays with the club.

    I consider furcal just below the top short stops. He is clearly not as valuable as the very best guys and probably is the next best after Renteria.

  4. It does look like this might be Furcal’s last year in Atlanta, based on what Mac said. I’ll be the first to say I’ll miss him if he goes. Yes, the errors have been tough to take at times, but it’s always been a fair tradeoff for me to be able to see the best infield arm since Dunston IMO. The combination of blinding speed and great throwing arm in such a small package is rare and fun to watch, even if he hasn’t quite lived up to his (age-adjusted) potential.

  5. I am not a Furcal fan. I don’t like his swing from the heels approach from a little man. I know that homers are valuable — and heck, maybe chicks do dig the long ball — but when he came up as a “19” year old with a .395 OBA and 40 steals, I was so excited. I was expecting consistent .400-.440 OBAs and 60-80 steals. I watched him come up and I thought we had Tim Raines playing the middle infield.

    He isn’t a bad player by any stretch of the imagination. Jimmy Rollins, Nomar Garciaparra, Kahlil Greene … any of the three *could* be better than Furcal in ’05. There is, however, a good argument that Furcal will be the best in the league this year.

    But even at that, he is far from what I hoped.

    Add the two DUIs and he has become one of my least favorite Braves.

  6. Just glancing at ESPNs position stats Furcal comes in as one of the top 10 SS in the game. He is a very good if frustratingly inconsistent player.
    I don’t think that he’ll be a Brave next year either but I wonder if there will be another salary correction next free agent season. The Cabrera and Renteria contracts were absurd.
    If we are going to get only 1 more year out of Raffy lets let it be a career year. .290/.385/.470 makes him more money than the GDP of Central America.
    I agree with Mac if the choice is Marcus or Raffy the Braves would be wise to choose Marcus.
    I still would have traded him for Kearns.

  7. The thing that has always frustrated me about him is his seemingly changing approach at bat-to-at bat and fielding chance-to-fielding chance.

    If this guy would just learn to play within himself a bit more, he would probably be one of the premier SSs in the game.

    bama, nice to see you again. I saw you on the page a few days back and I forgot to acknowledge you. With you on the comparisons except for Rollins. He’s another guy that just seems to have problems figuring it out.

  8. Best arm of any infielder in the league. Isn’t that good for $8 million a year in this day and age? And just how old is this guy anyway?? Seems to me he’s one of the slower “fast” guys in the league. Maybe I’m too critical, but I was expecting more from this guy. Including less than two DWI’s.

  9. Though I don’t think Baltimore gave much up for Sosa, I am not sure he is still worth $7 million for 2005. Right now I am glad Atlanta did not land Sosa.

  10. If Betemit ever learns how to stop striking out so much (and there’s not much chance of that happening), I think he really could be a decent replacement for Raffy. He was definitely more hype than true prospect after his age-19 .355 BA with no pop at Greenville, but the pendulum has swung back too far. Last year he had a league-average OPS in AAA as a 22-year-old middle infielder. That has some value if he can actually play a decent defensive shortstop. A big if, to be sure.

    The options should Raffy leave are pretty bleak. I for one do not look forward to the Tony Pena Jr. era and question BA’s Luis Hernandez hype. Furcal is probably going to be the best free agent SS available next offseason; although Nomar might look better superficially (especially in Wrigley), he probably projects to less value over the next 5 years.

    I understand the character concerns and agree with them. I also would much rather have Giles than Furcal going forward. I just wish we could have both.

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