Rafael Furcal

The starting shortstop, for now. There are persistent rumors that the Braves will move him to second base to save his shoulder. Leaving aside that second is (usually) a more grueling position than short, the Rafael Furcal of 2001-02 really isn’t a productive player if he’s not a shortstop. In 2000, he had a year straight out of the career of his then-infield mate Quilvio Veras, hitting .295/.394/.382 and stealing 40 bases in 54 attempts. The last two seasons, he’s hit .275 with OBPs in the low .320s. If he hits like he did as a rookie, he can carry second base. Otherwise, he’s not useful. Even if he stays at short, if he keeps up with the .320 OBP the Braves need to consider making someone else the leadoff hitter.

Hard to say what’s wrong. To a degree I blame Merv Rettenmund, who screwed up a whole lot of Braves hitters in his two years with the team. Rettenmund didn’t like Furcal as a lefthanded hitter, as I recall, and wanted him to hit righty full-time. Furcal himself is probably to blame as well; he’s trying to hit home runs too much, and mostly winds up flying out instead. I’m not generally sympathetic with the “hit the ball on the ground and use your speed” school, but the fact is that what he’s doing now isn’t working.

His defense at both positions has improved greatly from his rookie year, though he still makes more errors than Bobby would like. I don’t really care that much about errors… He was caught stealing 15 times in 42 attempts last year, a little below the traditional break-even point… Grounded into eight double plays last year. That’s not a high number at all, but he had only 2 as a rookie. Is he slowing down?

Rafael Furcal Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

9 thoughts on “Rafael Furcal”

  1. Every time he hits a home run, he becomes Rob Deer for a week.
    It did seem to me though, last year, that sometimes the umpires would call the high strike based on where the catcher caught it rather than where it crossed the plate in relation to the hitter. Everytime he mustered up the gumption to give patience one last stab, he’d get slapped with called strike one on a pitch where Mark Derosa’s armpits would be, but the bill of his cap was. Behind in the count again, and flailing away like Terry Pendelton on his second tour. I suppose it could be centerfield camera positioning just messin’ with my mind….

  2. I hear a lot of talk about moving Furcal to 2B for the sake of his shoulder, but wasn’t it his non-throwing shoulder that he injured?

  3. But Mac, Merv Rettenmund gives “Hit-Away” his highest recommendation!…

    As far as Furcal (or Foo-shall as my grandfather calls him) goes, I’m a bit perplexed by him. Since he’s three or four or five years older than we thought he was originally, it’s no surprise that he hasn’t developed the way we thought he would circa 2000. But plate discipline taking a vacation is not something that generally happens to a player at the major league level, whether he’s 20 or 24.

    I think it’s time the Braves realize that 2000 was a fluke (just as many people thought at the time). Furcal’s still a valuable player on a good team, but he’s not a leadoff man. He’d work fine batting second or seventh.

  4. As I recall, he’s injured both of his shoulders (dislocations?).

    I thought he had subluxation in winter ball, then dislocated the same shoulder diving into second base in Boston the following July. Sounds like a question for Will Carroll.

  5. rafael is really giving us true fanssomething too talk about not only is cute he is to me one of the best shortstops this team has seen in a long time i hope he never leaves

  6. rafael is really giving us true fans something too talk about not only is cute he is to me one of the best shortstops this team has seen in a long time i hope he never leaves

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