How good is Sogard?

I am a believer in Eric Sogard. He's not the flashy player everyone may want, but theres far more positive than negative in him and his game.

The reason I'm asking for AN's opinion on him is because I have two fellow A's fans who call him "trash", among other things. This infuriates me because the only stats they looked at was batting average, homeruns, and RBI's. Cardinal sin when analyzing a player, IMO.

Sogard came up in 2010, but didn't really get a shot until this year, 2013. So essentially, it was his rookie year. In the only real substantial year we have to check him out, he hit .266 with 2 homeruns and 35 RBI's. Looking at those numbers alone, sure, he's not great.

Those numbers don't tell the whole story, though. Sogard is a platoon player, starting mostly against righties. Since he's a platoon player, I think we should look at his batting stats against righties more than his total slash line, since I feel that tells the story a little bit better. Facing righties, he hit .274 with a .320 OBP. For a guy playing in his first full year, that is more than serviceable for a #9 hitter, in my opinion. BoMel puts him in the best position to succeed, and Sogard hasn't let him down.

To go with that slash line, he struck out 38 times, compared to 22 walks. He may not walk as much as he strikes out, but striking out only 38 times against some of the best right handed pitchers in the world? That impresses me. His lack of strikeouts tells me he usually puts the ball in play, and even so, he only grounded into 4 double plays!

That leads me to his best assets, his speed and defense. Soggey stole 7 bases against righies last year, 10 overall. Having 338 at-bats, should we multiply his stats to have ~600 plate appearances, he would have had a little less than 20. He's faster than a lot of players, and also a generally good baserunner.

Even with all that, the main reason I think he's on this team is for his defense. Most of the stats seem to like him, and even just watching him on a daily habitual basis like I do, I see him make great plays all the time. The fact that he is very versatile also fits into this team very well. I won't go into great detail here, since I could go on and on about his defense, but in general, it's good!

None of this is to say that Sogard isn't without his warts. He can't hit lefties at all, and although he is better against righties, he is still below average there. He doesn't have any power, and his fielding arm isn't strong, either.

But Sogard is an incredibly under-rated player. Players like him are almost always over-looked by the casual fans because he isn't our "best" player, doesn't hit homeruns, and isn't on a big-market team. I know, you know, and he knows, that he isn't our best player. But there's so much more to baseball than meets the eye. And players like Eric Sogard make me love the game of baseball. There's so much more to it than a quick glance can tell.

But enough of my opinion! What do you guys think about Sogard? Is he "trash"? Under-rated? Or just right?


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