Chicago Tribune sports columnist Phil Rogers thinks that Ichiro is the most overrated hitter in baseball. "A singles hitter in a bad lineup is a hood ornament on a beater," he writes. And while I admire Rogers' turn of phrase, I don't admire his logic.
Is it this guy's fault that no one can drive him home?
Rogers argument swings on the faulty hinge that says one player is responsible for the play of the rest of his team. This is what is known in rhetorical circles as a "reach."
"What do his 200-plus hits every season -- heavily loaded with singles -- do for the Mariners?" Rogers asks of Ichiro. "He had a majors-high 225 in 2009 and they scored the fewest runs in the AL. He's again leading the majors with 58 hits (including 48 singles), and Seattle is 14-26."
Translation: Holy crap, Ichiro is awesome! And: Holy crap, his teammates suck!This is the definition of Stuff You Already Knew. But the fun thing is that even Rogers doesn't seem to agree with his own position. Because how can you consider someone "clearly the most overrated" when you also think that person may be "the best pure hitter in the game"?
By saying Ichiro is overrated, Rogers is of course paying Mr. Suzuki a handsome compliment. You can't be thought of too highly if you're not thought of highly to begin with.
It's just too bad he chose to twist that compliment into a dig at this generation's most consistent (singles!) hitter. After all, given what Rogers knows about what Ichiro's teammates don't do for him, shouldn't he know the guy has suffered enough already?