Hi everyone! I'm new to Bluebird Banter and looking forward to speaking with all of you. I thought I would give this FanPost thing a try, so here goes! Enjoy!
When John McDonald left town, I, like everyone else, was sad to see him go. On the field, he could play second base, shortstop and third base, and even played the outfield at one point. All the while McDonald would provide outstanding defense, and you could almost expect one or two web gems from him each time he played.
Off the field, he was (and probably still is) one of the nicest players I had ever seen. Often he would run the bases with his kids on Junior Jays Saturdays after the game. He was one of the few players to acknowledge the presence of the Blue Jays' game staff in the basement of the Rogers Centre.
But, now that he is officially gone - re-signed to a 2-year $3M deal with Arizona - it is time to move on, Jays fans. The thing is, though, that the Blue Jays already have a player who in my mind is more valuable than Johnny Mac.
I'll be honest - I've been a fan of Mike McCoy for quite some time now, although I can't quite figure out why or for how long I've been a fan of him. Perhaps it was on June 11th of this past season when, down 16-4 to the Boston Red Sox, McCoy came in to pitch the ninth inning after already having played eight innings at second base. When McCoy got Carl Crawford to pop out, I remember a sly grin coming across my face. This was the same Carl Crawford who had just received a seven year $142M deal and who was hitting .247 with a .282 OBP. However when McCoy had Marco Scutaro fly out and JD Drew ground out, a full smile came across my face.
This little blurb isn't being written solely to praise Mike McCoy's pitching ability. He also played third base, shortstop, second base, and all three outfield positions in 2011 with the Blue Jays. He really is the ultimate utility man, a true team player. However there's more. It occurred to me sometime late in the year that Mike McCoy really did not swing at a lot of pitches. Keep in mind I watched or followed nearly every Blue Jays game this past season.
Anyway, at home one day I brought up Mike McCoy's Plate Discipline stats on Fangraphs.com and was very impressed with what I found. His O-Swing % (Percentage of pitches outside the strike zone that are swung at) was very low. In fact, had McCoy been a qualified batter, he would have ranked within the top 10 in the league in O-Swing %.
At the end of the season, among batters with 220 or more plate appearances, McCoy ranks seventeenth in O-Swing %, just behind players such as Jim Thome, Ian Kinsler, and Carlos Santana, to name a few. You can check the list for yourself here. Mike McCoy has a damn good eye. He swings at just over 1 in 5 pitches outside the strike zone. McCoy's 11.0 BB% clearly shows his ability to see pitches.
To me, Mike McCoy is the type of player that teams should idolize. He can effectively play multiple positions and gets on base by taking lots of pitches. In today's MLB full of pitch counts and innings limits, shouldn't a low-salary, controllable player like Mike McCoy be one of the most valuable guys out there?