Sometimes, there are players that fans and organizations see in a completely different light. Recently, we went through this with Joba Chamberlain. Many, myself included, thought (and still think) he should have been given more of a chance to prove himself as a starting pitcher, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen with the Yankees. Now it seems like there’s something in a vaguely similar vein brewing with Eduardo Nunez.
Over the last two seasons, the Yankees have definitely shown more faith in Nunez than most fans have. Well, perhaps that’s not true. There are a lot of fans who definitely believe in Nunez a lot more than I do. Regardless of who populates the faithful and unfaithful camps, it’s clear that there’s a chasm in Yankee land when it comes to Eduardo Nunez.
We’ve heard Yankee announcers talk Nunez up, especially John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Each time they talk about him, they rave about his potential, especially the “pop” in his bat. Apparently a .098 Iso in 2916 professional at bats qualifies as pop these days. His walk rates have never been special, though it is wroth noting he jumped from 5.7 to 6.5 from 2010 to 2011. It’s still not great, but I’ll take the improvement. He also managed a .130 Iso in 2011 (up from .080 in ’10), but that was buoyed by a strong July (the only month in which he had a SLG, .480, higher than .375).
There’s also been a lot of talking up of Nunez from the front office. They say similar things about Nunez and his potential and while I may not believe it, I understand why it says those things and know that they have to. It’s the front office’s job to talk up its own players for multiple reasons. Of course I’m sure there’s genuine hope and belief in Nunez from Brian Cashman and company, but when I look at what I’ve seen from Nunez–both with the “eye” test and his statistical profile–it makes me think that their words aren’t 100% sincere.
I’m not sure if I had much of a point here, aside from pointing out that there’s a gap in the way we think about players. While I generally don’t love Nunez’s potential, I don’t think he’s useless. As a cheap utility player, he’s got some value to the Yankees.