Shin-Soo Choo's special skill
December, 20, 2013
By Buster Olney | ESPN Insider
Dustin Bradford/Getty ImagesMany players with Choo's hitting profile have aged quite well in recent years.If you find it strange that the Yankees offered the same number of contractual years to Shin-Soo Choo as they did to Robinson Cano, it's worth remembering that Choo possesses a skill that does not disappear as quickly as defense or speed or fastball velocity.
The man has an acute ability to take a walk, and the folks who can do this tend to age well -- a tremendous talking point for his agent, Scott Boras, especially as he talks to American League teams, who can envision Choo going through his golden years as a designated hitter.
Choo is 31 years old and his outfield range is generally regarded as below average but playable, at this stage is in his career. His declining power against left-handed pitchers has raised concerns.
Choo's slugging percentage versus lefties:
Among some evaluators, there is some thought that Choo's power against lefties began declining after he had his thumb broken when hit by Jonathan Sanchez in June of 2011. Justin Havens of ESPN Stats & Info sent along the following info:
From 2008 to the point in 2011 where he got hit by Sanchez (June 24), Choo hit .266/.346/.383 against left-handers. From that point forward, he’s hit .217/.337/.296 against lefties. His performance overall -- as in both righties and lefties cumulatively -- has barely changed: .293/.388/.477 overall before, .286/.399/.457 since.
But this much is inarguable: Choo gets on base.
In 2013, only Joey Votto drew more walks than Choo's 112; only Miguel Cabrera, Votto and Mike Trout posted a higher on-base percentage than Choo's .423.