OK, everybody knows I don't think much of Eric Sogard. He seems like a nice guy, I'm sure he'll make a loving father some day, but he's not a good baseball player. But one of the things I'm starting to hear now is stuff like, "Hey, a .260 slap-hitter with good defense in the number-9 hole is just fine with me," or "He's basically a league-average shortstop."
No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
First of all: Sure, he hits .260. But that's all he does! It's the emptiest .260 imaginable. How many of these same people were howling for Ryan Sweeney's head, day in and day out? You know who has never had an ISO as bad as Eric Sogard's is this year? Ryan Sweeney. Sogard has a sub-.070 ISO and his SLG is a point lower than his OBP. But on the other hand, that's not fair to his SLG, because the only reason his OBP is where it is, is that he got two IBBs hitting in front of the pitcher, and has been HBP'd for times. But lets also not forget that he has been the beneficiary of multiple "doubles" that really weren't doubles but errors of singles where he took an extra base on a throw home or something. Bottom line, don't give me this ".260 slap hitter in the nine hole" garbage. His wOBA is .290 and his WRC+ is 83, both of which Fangraphs classifies as "awful."
Let me tell you about the MLEs of one Grant Green: .247/.298/.364. Now THAT is a guy I don't mind in my nine-hole. Sure, the average is nominally lower and the OBP isn't as good, but at least the guy's got some pop in his bat! Let's try it with Hiroyuki Nakajima: .227/.288/.314. Far from spectacular, far from good even, and yet that's still a line that shows more of an ability to put a charge into the ball. For the hell of it, let's even look at Scott Moore, who's a third baseman: .231/.312/.385. So what's this you keep telling me about how we don't have anything better in AAA? Eric Sogard is OPSing .655! I'm pretty sure we can afford to experiment!
Oh, but his defense, right? His sparkling defense!
First of all, he hasn't even amassed one full season's worth of innings at MIF positions, let alone the three full seasons one usually prefers to see. Secondly, in the innings he has logged, he has accrued a measly 1.0 dRAA. This year, he is perfectly neutral defensively. And no, that's not good. That's not even adequate! That puts him firmly in the "crappy defensive middle infielder" category.
Now I'm willing to let a crappy defensive MIF slide if he makes up for it with his bat. Like, oh, I don't know, Jed Lowrie. Over close to three full seasons' worth of MIF innings, Lowrie has amassed basically a neutral total UZR. We can reasonably and fairly say that he is not a good defensive middle infielder. But because he's got a wOBA of .349 and a WRC+ of 123, that's fine. All in all, he's probably a 3-4 WAR player in a full season, so you let some bad defense slide. That's also why you want to give a shot to a Grant Green or a Scott Moore.
Now finally, let's get to this whole canard: "He's basically a league-average shortstop, and that's harder to find than you think so, you know, count your blessings" or whatever. No. He is not a league-average shortstop. He is not even a league-average middle infielder. A league-average shortstop is putting up about 1.0 WAR in the AL this year. A league-average second baseman is putting up about 1.25 WAR in the AL this year. A league-average middle infielder is putting up about 1.2 WAR in the AL this year. ERIC SOGARD HAS FLUCTUATED BETWEEN -0.3 and 0.3 WAR VIRTUALLY THE ENTIRE SEASON. Do we understand now? Finally? Do we agree that this man is not a good, or even average, middle infielder? Can people stop looking at me like I'm crazy?