I hopped on a blog website a couple days ago, and one of the first posts I read was “Xavier Paul: Why is he still here?”
Then, in the third game of the most recent series against the Cubs, he went 2-4 with a run, a double and a homer that brought in three runs.
That’s why Paul is still here.
All season long, we’ve had this feud within the family. Not so much the Cincinnati Reds ball club, but more so within the Reds community; whether that’s online, or out in the streets. I’ve seen valid (and of course completely invalid) arguments coming from the sides of Paul and left field equal Derrick Robinson.
Robinson is arguably the fastest guy on the team. In the final game of the series against the Cardinals, Robinson was 2-4 with both of his hits coming as doubles. He can turn first base on a dime if he has to.
That’s why Robinson is still here.
So, with these two fielders jockeying for position, how do you choose? Both are equally above average fielders and both can hit the ball, not only on a nightly basis, but when it comes down to crunch time as well.
Robinson has started in 41 games this season. He’s batting .317, which is hardly terrible, and his on base percentage sits at about .410. From the games I’ve seen, a little less than half of that .410 has been because he was simply able to outrun the throw to first.
For Paul, he’s more experienced than Robinson, who had is major league debut earlier this year. Paul is sitting at .288, slightly above his career average of 265. He isn’t quite on base as much as Robinson, either.
And if you don’t like seasonal stats for these two, let me throw you the last seven.
Robinson has been at the plate 11 times in the past seven games and has acquired three hits. He’s batting .273 with two runs for himself and all three of his hits being doubles. Paul is hitting .385 for batting 13 times. He’s batted in three runs off of a homer against the Cubs on June 11 and has five hits.
If it were me, I’d be putting Robinson out there in left just a little more so than Paul, the opposite of what team manager Dusty Baker is doing right now. You’re going to get the same kind of effort and athleticism on defense and both are batting almost equal throughout the season.
The one thing the rookie Robinson has going for him is speed. The kid is fast and knows where the ball is and knows his own speed. He’s still a kid, so he’s not trying to be a hero when he doesn’t need to be.
Note: I wrote a piece last week about Joey Votto being a road warrior. In case you haven’t seen, Votto is hitting .325, stole a base (big deal for him) and yes, hit another home run.