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View Full Version : Ozzie: Outstanding shortstop, smart hitter


wassagstdu
04-06-2007, 08:31 AM
A little stroll down memory lane. I have been surprised by some of the comments here about Ozzie as a player, which (probably focusing on a couple of run-ins with a hidden ball) seem to see him as a marginal player who was not too smart. I always thought he was one of the smartest players I had ever seen. He did have a goofy swing. The only hitter I have seen with a similar one is Ichiro.
The Scouting Report: 1986
by Dave Campbell, Harmon Killebrew, Brooks Robinson and Duke Snider

Ozzie Guillen [Soft Hands]

HITTING:
White Sox general manager Roland Hemond was fired at the conclusion of the season during which he traded Cy Young Award pitcher LaMarr Hoyt for (in part) Ozzie Guillen. Imagine what they might have done to Hemond if Guillen had not turned out to be the best White Sox shortstop since Luis Aparicio.
The White Sox had said all along that Guillen was the key to the trade. They maintained that judgment on the trade should be withheld for a few years until the 21-year-old shortstop had had the chance to get his feet wet. It didn't take that long for the jury to reach a verdict.
Guillen not only turned out to be every bit the shortstop the team thought that he was, but he hit much better than they ever expected.
He is that type of hitter most dreaded by pitchers: a free swinger who does not care what kind of ball he hits as long as it's a baseball. He likes the ball up and he likes the ball down, but he likes it much better if it's hard and straight--a fastball.
Guillen will sometimes swing out of control. Pitchers can make him look pretty bad with slow stuff. Guillen is a smart hitter and is able to make adjustments at the plate. It is unusual for such an inexperienced hitter to be able to adjust so well so early in his career.
Guillen can bunt for a hit and gets out of the batter's box quickly.

BASERUNNING:
Although he has excellent speed, Guillen's baserunning is one area which needs more work. Last season, he was able to steal only seven bases. Otherwise, he is a good, even daring, runner.

FIELDING:
Guillen is surely another in the line of outstanding Venezuelan shortstops who have played for the White Sox. He now plays where Luis Aparicio and Chico Carrasquel once ruled. Not only does Guillen have great range, but he is a sure-handed shortstop.
His 13 errors were the lowest in the league and a club record as well. He can make even the hard plays look simple. He has a fine arm and turns the double play well. Guillen is already one of the best shortstops in the game.

OVERALL:
Guillen will never hit for power, but if he can produce as well at the plate as he did in his rookie year, he will be one of the better all-around players at his position for a long time.
Killebrew: "Guillen seems to have a lot of fun out there when he's playing. Who could blame him? He has so much to look forward to. The White Sox appear to have found their shortstop for the next ten years."

SBSoxFan
04-06-2007, 10:14 AM
A little stroll down memory lane. I have been surprised by some of the comments here about Ozzie as a player, which (probably focusing on a couple of run-ins with a hidden ball) seem to see him as a marginal player who was not too smart. I always thought he was one of the smartest players I had ever seen. He did have a goofy swing. The only hitter I have seen with a similar one is Ichiro.

A lot of people here see him that way as a manager too. :rolleyes:

chisox77
04-06-2007, 10:28 AM
I always thought that Ozzie Guillen was a very good player. In fact, he was good enough to be a two-time all star (American League), and good enough for an excellent Atlanta Braves team to acquire him at the end of his career.

I remember Ozzie as a player very well, especially his rookie season with the White Sox in 1985. He was outstanding, and made several terrific defensive plays (including one against the Yankees in May of 1985, where he "gloved" or shoveled a ground ball up the middle to Julio Cruz, who caught the shovel throw with his bare hand and fired the ball to Greg Walker for a great double play. Bob Costas was very impressed by Guillen's shovel play, as this game was a Saturday NBC game of the week telecast. The game was at Comiskey Park).

Ozzie had a long and prosperous career, playing 12, maybe 13 seasons with the Sox, and 16 overall. Career .264 hitter, and a career fielding percentage of .973 (which puts him in some pretty good company at the SS position).

Thanks for the topic and the scouting report.

:cool:

Jurr
04-06-2007, 10:37 AM
Ozzie was crafty as hell. I remember seeing the "butcher boy" play for the first time from Ozzie. He'd fake a bunt and slap the ball into the hole for a base knock.

How awesome was that infield of Thomas, Cora, Guillen, and Ventura? It brings me back to the good old days. I still to this day HATE Juan Guzman. That guy was solely responsible for beating the Sox in '93.

Corlose 15
04-06-2007, 10:46 AM
Ozzie was crafty as hell. I remember seeing the "butcher boy" play for the first time from Ozzie. He'd fake a bunt and slap the ball into the hole for a base knock.

How awesome was that infield of Thomas, Cora, Guillen, and Ventura? It brings me back to the good old days. I still to this day HATE Juan Guzman. That guy was solely responsible for beating the Sox in '93.

Hehe, glad to see I'm not the only one. :cool:

maurice
04-06-2007, 12:44 PM
Ozzie was a very good fielder, though he'd get bored out there and make crazy throws just to entertain himself. Sometimes they'd end up in the seats.

He was a very poor hitter by any reasonable measure and had terrible plate discipline. It wasn't for lack of skill. He was a good bunter and could be dangerous with men on base, because he could make contact from his nose to his toes. Heck, for all the contact he made, he should have hit .350.

He had the potential to be a very good baserunner but his flightiness hurt him here too. He should have been a more successful base stealer. This, along with his refusal to take a walk, prevented him from achieving his goal of being a regular top-of-the-lineup hitter.

WhiteSox5187
04-06-2007, 01:51 PM
Ozzie was one of the best defensive shortstops in the game and while he was never the worst offensive shortstophe wasn't the best by a long shot. He was a bit of a free swinger and didn't walk a whole lot. But he was a good shortstop and an above average fielder until he tore his knee up in that collision with Tim Raines I think in '92.

A. Cavatica
04-06-2007, 09:20 PM
He was an excellent shortstop before the collision, a very average one afterwards.

Although he was very good at making contact, he was definitely not a smart hitter. A smart hitter draws walks, and Ozzie was among the league leaders in fewest walks almost every year. He wasn't a smart baserunner, either, especially after the collision: he didn't have the speed to justify his aggressiveness on the bases.

Tragg
04-06-2007, 10:02 PM
Guillen was a good defensive player. I've never seen anyone question his intelligence. The scouting report says he can make contact with anything. The question is, why try? Why swing at balls in the dirt? Why swing at balls out of your own zone? He had a career walk rate of about 3% (incredibly low), which explains how he could have a career obp of a lowly .287, despite a decent career batting average. But when you have no punch, a walk is about as good as a hit.

Brian26
04-06-2007, 10:13 PM
Ozzie was crafty as hell. I remember seeing the "butcher boy" play for the first time from Ozzie. He'd fake a bunt and slap the ball into the hole for a base knock.

I remember an extra innings, late night game in Oakland that he won with that play in '85. First time I ever saw that too.

FoxsMightyMite
04-07-2007, 10:38 AM
Ozzie had good range when he first came up and good baseball instincts, but his arm was well below average. On the basepaths his lack of focus hurt the team. With the bat he was a very free-swinger who simply didn't take walks. That made him a fairly easy and consistent out most of his career.

roadrunner
04-07-2007, 11:02 AM
I loved Ozzie as a player. He came up during my freshman year of high school. I also played short and wore number 13 so he was definitely a favorite of mine. Looking back at his stastistics, however, it is clear to me that he must have been one of the most overrated players in baseball history. An All Star? Are you kidding me? Looking back now, I can't believe how terrible he really was. In his 3 best, All Star, years his OBP cracked 300 once and his SLG was never above 350. LOL. Even more peculiar is the fact that between 88 and 91 he was caught stealing 52 times and walked only 77 times. That is hilarious. Don't get me wrong I love the guy, but in retrospect he was no better than Alfredo Griffin and one of the most impotent offensive players in the game.

skottyj242
04-07-2007, 11:04 AM
Ozzie might have been one of the worst offensive players ever to play the game.

WhiteSox5187
04-07-2007, 11:15 AM
Ozzie might have been one of the worst offensive players ever to play the game.
Oh, I don't know if I'd go that far. He wasn't very good (and he will readily admit that) but he wasn't one of the worst of all time.

jabrch
04-07-2007, 11:41 AM
Ozzie might have been one of the worst offensive players ever to play the game.

His was a career.264 hitter. I don't think he was anywhere close to one of theworst offensive players of all time. Hell, he wasn't even the worst or the second worst in his own infield when he had Manrique, Hulett and Cruz beside him.

He had a low OBP - but he handled the bat ok, could hit the ball ok, and didn't strike out much at all. Nobody is saying he was a good offensive player - but he certainly wasn't close to the worst of all time.

Malgar 12
04-09-2007, 09:03 PM
Ozzie might have been one of the worst offensive players ever to play the game.

paging Willie Harris...paging Willlie Harris...:D:

Jurr
04-09-2007, 09:05 PM
I think it's funny that Bill James has an award named the Ozzie Guillen award, given to the free-swinging-est hitter of each decade. Hysterical!

jabrch
04-10-2007, 12:26 AM
I think it's funny that Bill James has an award named the Ozzie Guillen award, given to the free-swinging-est hitter of each decade. Hysterical!

That's funny - I have a Bill James award I give every year for the mope that completely misuses statistics to draw a fallacious conclusion.

TheOldRoman
04-10-2007, 12:35 AM
That's funny - I have a Bill James award I give every year for the mope that completely misuses statistics to draw a fallacious conclusion.
:thumbsup:

Craig Grebeck
04-10-2007, 08:26 AM
That's funny - I have a Bill James award I give every year for the mope that completely misuses statistics to draw a fallacious conclusion.
Okay Jabrch, we admit it: Ozzie was a fantastic hitter because he could ground out the opposite way on ANY pitch, no matter the location. What a useful trait.

Why are you so threatened by anything that contradicts your belief system? Just let it be. The post had nothing to do with (only) statistics (which by the way not even moneyball teams use) vs. (only) scouting (which no teams use). Bill James has awards like this for every category.

Thome25
04-10-2007, 09:39 AM
Ozzie was crafty as hell. I remember seeing the "butcher boy" play for the first time from Ozzie. He'd fake a bunt and slap the ball into the hole for a base knock.

How awesome was that infield of Thomas, Cora, Guillen, and Ventura? It brings me back to the good old days. I still to this day HATE Juan Guzman. That guy was solely responsible for beating the Sox in '93.

I thought that '93 team had what it took. I was a heartbroken sophmore in high school when the Jays knocked us off. I hate Guzman as well.

I rooted for the Phillies in the WS.(because I hated the Jays for beating us.) I was watching when Carter hit that homer and I remember thinking "Yeah the Phillies got 'em" then when Carter hit it, I thought "damn, that should've been us!!":angry:

34 Inch Stick
04-10-2007, 01:07 PM
the free-swinging-est hitter of each decade. !


Sounds like it should be the Austin Powers Award. Yeah, baby!

Domeshot17
04-10-2007, 01:16 PM
I think is why Uribe is looked so highly upon. While they are different types of free swingers, they were both ss who had limited offensive talent but played enough D to stick around. The big difference was Guillen could make a productive out, while Uribe runs into 15-20 a year that he gets really good.

MISoxfan
04-10-2007, 01:35 PM
Okay Jabrch, we admit it: Ozzie was a fantastic hitter because he could ground out the opposite way on ANY pitch, no matter the location. What a useful trait.

Why are you so threatened by anything that contradicts your belief system? Just let it be. The post had nothing to do with (only) statistics (which by the way not even moneyball teams use) vs. (only) scouting (which no teams use). Bill James has awards like this for every category.

Why are you so threatened by anything that contradicts your belief system? Just let it be. The post had nothing to do with Ozzie (who by the way was not even mentioned in the post you are quoting) being a fantastic (which nobody, even Ozzie Guillen believes) hitter.

jcw218
04-10-2007, 01:44 PM
When Ozzie was playing, the most important trait for anyone playing shortstop was his defensive ability. Any offense that you got from him was a bonus. Only in the last ten years or so with the arrival of Jeter and Rodrigues has there been a shift in thinking about shortstops being offensive players.

FielderJones
04-10-2007, 04:21 PM
I remember an extra innings, late night game in Oakland that he won with that play in '85. First time I ever saw that too.

I remember Terry Forster doing that play in '71 or '72 (maybe against the Brewers), except he didn't hit it into the gap. As the third baseman charged he blasted it right off the guy's knee or shin. It would have been a double except one of the other infielders covered third, and the runner on first couldn't advance beyond second.

TDog
04-10-2007, 04:37 PM
Ozzie might have been one of the worst offensive players ever to play the game.


Not even close.

Narrow that down to White Sox hitters in my lifetime, and it's not even close.

Narrow that down to White Sox hitters who played sometime during Ozzie Guillen's career, and it's still not even close.

Ozzie Guillen wasn't a great hitter, but he had his moments and won a few games with his bat. Despite being known as a free swinger, he even won a game in old Comiskey with a game-ending bases-loaded walk.

jabrch
04-10-2007, 05:14 PM
Not even close.

Narrow that down to White Sox hitters in my lifetime, and it's not even close.

Narrow that down to White Sox hitters who played sometime during Ozzie Guillen's career, and it's still not even close.

Ozzie Guillen wasn't a great hitter, but he had his moments and won a few games with his bat. Despite being known as a free swinger, he even won a game in old Comiskey with a game-ending bases-loaded walk.

Like I said - he wasn't even close to the worst hitter in his own IFs - in fact he wasn't second and probably wasn't third.

Craig Grebeck
04-10-2007, 06:32 PM
Ozzie Guillen Career Statistics
Career OPS: .625
Career OPS+: 69
Career OBP: .287
Career SLG: .338
Career EQA: .231

Obviously the man was a damn good fielder, but his numbers are horribly awful. Was he one of the worst offensive players of all time? Yes, mainly because he had such longevity, therefore he is remembered above all other washouts and guys who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Is it fair that he be remembered as a terrible offensive player? Yes, even his ardent supporters can't defend his offensive output.

Like I said---amazing defender, one of the best ever (before the collision), but as a hitter, one of the worst ever.

TDog
04-10-2007, 06:56 PM
Ozzie Guillen Career Statistics
Career OPS: .625
Career OPS+: 69
Career OBP: .287
Career SLG: .338
Career EQA: .231

Obviously the man was a damn good fielder, but his numbers are horribly awful. Was he one of the worst offensive players of all time? Yes, mainly because he had such longevity, therefore he is remembered above all other washouts and guys who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Is it fair that he be remembered as a terrible offensive player? Yes, even his ardent supporters can't defend his offensive output.

Like I said---amazing defender, one of the best ever (before the collision), but as a hitter, one of the worst ever.

Ozzie Guillen was probably a better hitter than Joey Cora. When you look at stats, consider that Cora had the advantage of hitting second, not between Lance Johnson and Frank Thomas, but in front of Ken Griffey Jr. Both Thomas and Griffey were at their prime. It makes a difference in what sort of pitches a hitter sees.

If you're only looking at numbers, you're not equipped to argue the point.

jabrch
04-10-2007, 07:15 PM
Ozzie Guillen was probably a better hitter than Joey Cora. When you look at stats, consider that Cora had the advantage of hitting second, not between Lance Johnson and Frank Thomas, but in front of Ken Griffey Jr. Both Thomas and Griffey were at their prime. It makes a difference in what sort of pitches a hitter sees.

If you're only looking at numbers, you're not equipped to argue the point.

Guillen did a lot of things well with the bat. You don't hit .264 on your career if you can't hit. Guillen hit well. He didn't strike out. He could move runners and bunt fairly well. He was reasonably fast until his injury. Ozzie wasn't a great hitter - buy if those making the case that he is "one of the worst" couldn't have watched him play. It's not possible to have watched him play, in a lineup with Manrique, Hulett and Cruz and think he was the worst hitter of all time.

You are dead right Tdog. There's a lot more to the game that won't be picked up by selective use of statistics.

maurice
04-10-2007, 07:24 PM
He obviously wasn't "the worst hitter of all time," but to claim that a .264 hitter with no power "hit well" is a fantastic case of grade inflation. Harold Baines "hit well." Ozzie, not so much.

MISoxfan
04-10-2007, 08:10 PM
Ozzie Guillen Career Statistics
Career OPS: .625
Career OPS+: 69
Career OBP: .287
Career SLG: .338
Career EQA: .231

Obviously the man was a damn good fielder, but his numbers are horribly awful. Was he one of the worst offensive players of all time? Yes, mainly because he had such longevity, therefore he is remembered above all other washouts and guys who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Is it fair that he be remembered as a terrible offensive player? Yes, even his ardent supporters can't defend his offensive output.

Like I said---amazing defender, one of the best ever (before the collision), but as a hitter, one of the worst ever.

No, he was not one of the worst ever. Not unless you want to completely completely change the definition of worst to meaning worst of the people who were good enough to be remembered. If he wasn't in the spotlight as a manager most people outside of Sox fans would only have a casual acquaintance with the name.

A. Cavatica
04-10-2007, 08:25 PM
When Ozzie was playing, the most important trait for anyone playing shortstop was his defensive ability. Any offense that you got from him was a bonus. Only in the last ten years or so with the arrival of Jeter and Rodrigues has there been a shift in thinking about shortstops being offensive players.

Ever hear of some of Ozzie's peers?

Cal Ripken Jr.
Robin Yount.
Alan Trammell.

Malgar 12
04-10-2007, 08:53 PM
Ever hear of some of Ozzie's peers?

Cal Ripken Jr.
Robin Yount.
Alan Trammell.

Didn't Yount move to OF rather quickly...

Craig Grebeck
04-10-2007, 09:41 PM
How are those stats selective? Any measure places him well below average.

A. Cavatica
04-10-2007, 11:15 PM
Didn't Yount move to OF rather quickly...

1479 career games at short, 1218 in the outfield, 138 at DH, 12 at 1B. He was a Gold Glove-winning shortstop in 1982 when he won his first MVP award. I think he played there enough to be considered an offensive-minded shortstop. :D:

jabrch
04-11-2007, 09:42 AM
He obviously wasn't "the worst hitter of all time," but to claim that a .264 hitter with no power "hit well" is a fantastic case of grade inflation. Harold Baines "hit well." Ozzie, not so much.

Harold was a great hitter. WELL is not such a superlative that is doesn't encompass .264.

I didn't say great. I didn't say super. I didn't say awesome. I said well. .264 is hitting well.

jabrch
04-11-2007, 09:44 AM
Ever hear of some of Ozzie's peers?

Cal Ripken Jr.
Robin Yount.
Alan Trammell.

So you are using HOFers to benchmark him now? There are a lot of guys who will look very poor if that's the benchmark we use.

The poster was right. SS was a glove first position for most of Guillen's career. Without looking, I'd imagine he was somewhere in the middle 1/3 of SS who played 100+ games in at least 2/3 of his seasons in terms of offensive capabilities.

maurice
04-11-2007, 11:47 AM
.264 is hitting well.

No, it's not . . . especially when almost all of the hits are singles. A player who hits .264 with lots of 2B and HR arguably hits "well." A player who hits .264 with zero power hits "poorly." That's why he batted down in the order on some crappy offensive clubs. Fortunately for Ozzie, his poor hitting was acceptable, because he was a very good defensive SS.

WELL is not such a superlative [etc.]

I'm not gonna argue about how much of a superlative it is, but you've conceded (as you must) that it is a superlative. You can't properly use superlatives to describe things that are below average. That's classic grade inflation . . . like giving a "B" to a below-average student.

jabrch
04-11-2007, 11:54 AM
I'm not gonna argue about how much of a superlative it is, but you've conceded (as you must) that it is a superlative. You can't properly use superlatives to describe things that are below average. That's classic grade inflation . . . like giving a "B" to a below-average student.

No Maurice - I'm saying it is NOT a superlative so I won't conceede that it is a superlative. Well is ok - decent - meh.... But it is by no means anywhere close to the "worst of all time".

skottyj242
04-11-2007, 12:20 PM
Ozzie Guillen Career Statistics
Career OPS: .625
Career OPS+: 69
Career OBP: .287
Career SLG: .338
Career EQA: .231

Obviously the man was a damn good fielder, but his numbers are horribly awful. Was he one of the worst offensive players of all time? Yes, mainly because he had such longevity, therefore he is remembered above all other washouts and guys who had a cup of coffee in the big leagues. Is it fair that he be remembered as a terrible offensive player? Yes, even his ardent supporters can't defend his offensive output.

Like I said---amazing defender, one of the best ever (before the collision), but as a hitter, one of the worst ever.


Thank you Chuck Norris.

A. Cavatica
04-11-2007, 10:02 PM
So you are using HOFers to benchmark him now? There are a lot of guys who will look very poor if that's the benchmark we use.

The poster was right. SS was a glove first position for most of Guillen's career. Without looking, I'd imagine he was somewhere in the middle 1/3 of SS who played 100+ games in at least 2/3 of his seasons in terms of offensive capabilities.

I'm just refuting the poster's assertion that the offensive-minded shortstop didn't come into fashion until Rodriguez/Jeter/Garciaparra. I think the ratio of good hit/good field shortstops to poor hit/good field shortstops is about the same as it was when Ozzie played. Ozzie, if he came up today, would still be considered a good shortstop; however, in neither era would he have been considered an asset because of his bat.