"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it's stupid." - Albert Einstein
Mitchell Boggs may not be much of a tree-climber, but dude can swim.
Remember last year's infallible trio of Mujica, Boggs, & Motte? I think it's a good example of how guys fit into certain roles. Once placed in a position to succeed, they either sink or swim, but I think it's key knowing which players can, will, and don't fit in certain situations.
Yadi Molina? Not a leadoff hitter. For a variety of reasons, you wouldn't want this, but for a guy who excels at hitting behind the runner to bat leadoff would not make a lot of sense. Matt Holliday? Probably don't want him batting 8th in the order. Descalso? I'll bet we never ever see him hitting cleanup. I mean, you wouldn't hit the pitcher anywhere besid...you know what, nevermind on that last one.
My point is that if you put players in a position where they can have success, and avoid putting them in situations where they just don't fit, you're more likely to have positive outcomes.
The Mitchell Boggs we saw last year had a career year, it's true. Career bests in:
- ERA (2.21)
- W & W% (4 & .800)
- G (78)
- IP (73.1)
- R (20)
- ER (18)
- BB (21, also had 21 in 2011)
- K (58)
- BF (296)
- ERA+ (174)
- WHIP (1.050)
- H/9 (6.9)
- K/9 (7.1, also had 7.1 in '11, '09)
- K/BB (2.76)
Dude. That's nearly every basic category that he set or tied career bests in during last year's campaign.
So, why the dramatic drop off so far this year?
There are (at least) two sides to this argument. One camp may point to career highs in IP, G, & BF, and say he was overworked, and put too much on his arm, and that this year is showing the impact of that. Another side of the story is that this is who Mitchell Boggs is. While he did reach career highs and lows in numerous categories, for the most part, he wasn't blowing the old number away. There are a few exceptions to that, such as ERA, ERA+, and maybe WHIP. But for the most part, these are Mitchell Boggs' numbers.
He's not a lousy pitcher. In fact, he's been a very effective 8th inning guy. But a closer, he is (apparently) not. One must now hope that his confidence in his ability hasn't been shaken too much to recover and pitch well again. I don't suspect that's the case, personally.
Maybe there's another combination of bullpen guys in roles that can work in Motte's absence. The Mujica thing seems to be off to a good start, anyway. In any event, as long as Matheny is able to find a way to put guys in a position to succeed, that's the foundation for success. If the players don't perform, that's on them. Sometimes knowing the difference can be a pretty tough challenge in and of itself.
"Mitchell Boggs is a good bullpen pitcher. But if you judge him by his ability to close games and earn saves, you will convince yourself that he sucks." - Me