Paul McCartney’s Yesterday was voted to be the best pop song of all time by Rolling Stone. The line “Yesterday… love was such an easy game to play. Now I need a place to hide away. Oh, I believe in yesterday.” can be applied to baseball. There are dozens of guys that played the game with such ease one year, then fell flat on their face the next, and I would guess wish they were right back to where they were when things were going right. Using McCartney’s ballad as inspiration, we take a look at those guys and try to figure out what is in store next for them.
Choo made a splash with the Indians first in 2008. Through 94 games he blasted 14 HR, batted .309. He followed that with 20/20 seasons in 09 and 10 while batting .300 in each. His WAR through those three years was 14.1, which was 19th best in baseball in that 3 year span.
In 2011 Choo only made it into 85 games. He was arrested in May for DUI. He went on the DL in June with a broken thumb. He returned in August, then went out in Sept missing the rest of the season with an oblique strain. He still provided speed, stealing 12 bases, but his power was sapped hitting only 8 HR and slugging a measly .390.
Can the lost 2011 be attributed all to injury? Unfortunately not. Choo got off to a slow start, going .244/.333/.353 before he broke his thumb. There is a silver lining to his season though, and that is the .340/.404/.596 line with 3 HR’s in the 13 games be made it through before the oblique strain shut him down the rest of the season. His career splits show Choo is much better post-All Star break so the slow start shouldn’t be a surprise, it was just how slow he started that caught us off guard.
Should we be worried about him moving forward? I’m not. He wasn’t striking out more often than he has in years past. His line drive rate was the highest it had been since 2008. He was more selective at the plate despite his first pitch strike rates and swinging strike rates being in line with his career marks. 2011 was simply an unlucky season for Choo. Currently, his Yahoo! ADP is 7th round. I’m a happy camper draft day if he falls to me there.