After two seasons of 'I hate his bat, but I love watching him play defense' I came into last season thinking that I'd love Goins to replace Jose Reyes late in any game we were winning. As the season went on and Reyes' glove looked worse and worse, I was hoping, more and more, that Gibby would come to agree that that would be a good plan. But it didn't happen. Thankfully Alex was able to make a trade to replace him at the position with someone that has range.
Then, Devon Travis went down with injury and we had Goins as a full time second baseman. Not ideal, I thought, but with our offense, I was ok with one glove first player.
But, at least in the second half of the season, he did pretty well with the bat too. In August, he was great, hitting .314/.442/.443 with 2 home runs.
In September his bat fell back to earth, hitting .263/.324/.374, with just 1 home run, but it was a memorable one:
In all, Ryan hit pretty ok off right-handed pitchers, .261/.332/.364 and hardly at all against lefties, .212/.269/.318.
The amazing thing about his 2015 season was that he took 39 walks, after just 7 the two previous seasons. Ryan credited his improved eye to keeping his head stiller.
Like all golfers, keeping his head still is the key. Hitting a fastball pouring in at 95 with movement is difficult enough, It's almost impossible if your head is moving.
"When your heads moving, when you're rocking back and forth, what it may be, you can be deceived," Goins said. "Obviously the pitcher is trying to deceive you into swinging at a pitch he wants you to swing at. So, it's helped me be relaxed and stay balanced and not chase anything."
Which brings us to this spring, which has him working on a Bautista/Donaldson type leg kick. I don't know how that goes along with the 'keep the head still' idea, but Goins seems to have a new plan at the plate every spring.
I like the idea of Goins and Darwin Barney platooning at second base until Devon Travis is back. When Travis is back, they would both be handy to have around, to give Troy Tulowitzki rest days, and so the team DH Josh Donaldson occasionally.
How much Goins plays likely depends on when/if Travis is ready to play and if Tulowitzki can stay relatively healthy this year. Even if Troy stays off the DL, Gibby should give him a day off every now and then, perhaps weekly. Goins played in 128 games last year. If that's the number for this year, I'd likely take the under, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up close to that.
When Jake put up the post asking 'who leads off', 8% voted Goins, which, to me, puts an awful lot of weight on Ryan's great August. With his August, Goins had a OBP around .281 (then it really isn't fair to take out his best month). But Ryan's OBP by month was:
If Sesame Street asked which of these just doesn't belong, most would say August (though June would get some votes). But, for me, Goins would have to show a lot over spring training to win the leadoff spot if I was making the call (and, likely even then I'd still have him at the back of the order, since I don't trust spring numbers).
I am curious what effect the leg kick will have on his batting. I'll admit, I'm afraid it will ruin his new found eye at the plate. I'd really like to see it, hopefully he'll play Friday and we'll get a chance to check it out. Last year Ryan had an OPS of .672, which, considering his glove, isn't all that bad. We are coming into his age 28 season, which should be the prime of his hitting career. Let's set the over/under at .725 and have a poll.
As a fan of defense, I really love to see Goins play in the field. In 2014, when the team fell out of the race, Goins' defense made it worth watching the games. I hope we get to enjoy many more 'must C' plays from Goins.