Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Can a Careless Whisper Cure Reddicks' Batting Woes?

If you are an A's fan and let's face it you probably are because you are actually reading my blog then you're probably well aware of Josh Reddick's new theme song Careless Whisper by Wham ... it's quite the unusual walk up song but since premiering it on Monday in the first of a three game series against the Chicago White Sox Reddick has been hitting. He went 2-4 Monday night with a triple and 2-5 Tuesday night with a two-run home run. The fans in Oakland love it and so do the other players. Here's a longer version of video than just the Vine clip that has been circulating on Twitter.
The big question though is should we be believing that the 2012 Reddick has returned? I'm gonna say, "No," at least not yet. I know that every A's fan wants to believe it and with the song, it's really hard not to. Yet, let's not be too hasty! It's only two games so I am not ready to eat my words just yet. Back on April 6th I said that the A's should send Reddick down to Triple-A Sacramento. The guy couldn't hit, desperately needed to shorten his swing and was basically just fanning everything. His batting average in April? .241. Could have been worse but you'll see that even when we move on to May, it's only gotten worse.

However I did say that I would totally take it all back if he turned it around and no, I am not ready to do that .... YET. These last two games he's appeared to be the 2012 Josh Reddick who hit 32 bombs and batted .241. 

I'm certainly not questioning that his defense is still superior to almost every other right fielder out there. In 2013, while fighting a wrist injury that required off season surgery, he barley lost out on winning the Gold Glove to Boston's Shane Victorino. He made two insane "Spider-man" like grabs to rob San Francisco's Mike Morse of two home runs in the first game of spring training. So I have never questioned his defense but his offense has been pretty bad, really ugly even. As much as you want to believe he's back, I still need more proof.

In the month of May Reddick is batting .216 with eight strikeouts, only two walks and just three RBI. All three RBI came in the last two games against Chicago. So am I NOT ready to take back all of what I wrote about Reddick but I will take back the fact that I thought he should be sent down, for now. Here's what I said about Reddick after the first week of the season in my article on OPSN Five Changes the A's Need to Make Right Now:
"1. Send Reddick Down to Triple-A: Reddick is currently hitting .100 in 22 plate appearances with eight strikeouts. Now some question why I would single out Reddick when Josh Donaldson‘s batting average is similar to Reddick’s. I would answer that by looking at Reddick’s numbers in Boston and his numbers post 2012.  You would see that they are not that different meaning his so-called breakout year could very well have been a fluke. Donaldson’s breakout year was only last season so I would keep him and give him a chance to turn it around. Reddick has had his chances. Let’s be honest, Reddick slumped down the stretch in 2012 and started 2013 on a slow note. Granted he was injured in April slamming his wrist into a wall in a game in Houston. The wrist injury did not affect his defense as he was in the running for the AL Gold Glove in 2013 and his excuse that the injury hindered his swing is worth a grain of salt but he’s repeatedly said that he is 100 percent healthy this season so there is no excuse for batting .100 even in the first week of the season."
I had a chance to reread it and I still stand by the majority of my convictions but I will say that my wanting him sent down to Triple-A was, and still is, a bit rash. Can a simple Careless Whisper bring back the 2012 Reddick? I absolutely hope so and the past two nights have shown a marked improvement but two ballgames in the grand scheme of 162 means next to nothing. To believe he's back after two games is just naive.

I will say that I am pleased with his recent success and if he keeps it going then I will take back every negative thing I have said about him, however true it may have been at the time but that, my friends, is still a promise. I want to see our boys in the white cleats win as much as y'all do so ... I'd say let's have fun with the song for sure but don't see it as a sudden cure for Reddick's offensive woes at least not just yet. Let the numbers be your guide. Remember Reddick is still batting a measly .233 on the year with just two homers, so don't let his bravado fool you. In my opinion he still has something to prove at the plate.

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