Ben Zobrist Day: The Extras | The Process Report

Ben Zobrist Day: The Extras

Does Ben Zobrist own superhuman amounts of focus? Consider what Zobrist does. The on-the-fly position-changing, the switch-hitting, and so on. His role necessitate he wear many gloves. Yet the need for broadness in his skill set never restricts Zobrist from offering depth. He never takes an at-bat off or allows his defense to slip, even if he’s on his second or third position of the game. After a bad game Zobrist never blames his role for the results. Ascribing personality traits to athletes based on their play is dicey. Still, Zobrist’s on-the-field focus and professionalism are admirable.

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Whoever tricked the world into thinking advanced stats were needed to recognize Zobrist’s value did him a great injustice. Zobrist’s offensive talents are reflected in the basic triple-slash stats. Here’s an easy way to test how good of a hitter Zobrist is: Compare him to a rich first baseman. Stack Mark Teixeira’s triple-slash stats up against Zobrist since 2010. Then consider their defensive responsibilities and ballparks. Appreciating Zobrist’s production for what it is—well above the league-average mark—has nothing to do with his perceived niceness.

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The thing you learn about baseball is that none of the external stuff matters. The accolades and critical acclaim are nice but mostly without value. Whether Zobrist is enshrined to Cooperstown or wins a MVP award won’t matter. What matters is that he’s going to continue to be held in the highest regard within Tropicana Field. He’s part of the Rays Way; not because he’s a creation of the culture, but because he helped create the culture. There may never be another Zobrist—an overage prospect with middle-of-the-road tools who overcomes early-career struggles and setbacks to become a tremendous all-around player—but there will be players who believe they could be.



2 Comments

  1. merrillfraz wrote:

    Big props to the staff at TPR for this sweet homage to my favorite Ray.

  2. […] that bit about Ben Zobrist serving as an organizational role model? Here’s athletic string-bean Tyler […]

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