Joe Crede: Blue-blood batsman
Our introduction to Joe Crede in his first months as a Twin have been bizarre - and surprising. In Crede's coming to the learned Twin Cities from the callow White Sox, I was of the opinion that "their kind" liked things, well . . . simple. T.V. dinners. Jackie Chan movies. A Ziggy comic strip.
But if Crede's incipient months as a Twin have taught us anything, it's that's the mild-manner third baseman despises the everyday, banal single on a Thursday afternoon game and instead loves the limelight-affluence afforded by the upper-crust long balls and walk-off hits.
Crede eschews the bourgeois for the aristocratic; at least where his numbers are concerned. Entering tonight's Tuesday set with Boston, Crede has just 30 hits in 32 games played this season, his average checking in at a mellow .240. Only four third basemen in baseball have fewer hits; hell, Pittsburgh second basemen Freddy Sanchez had six yesterday - that's 20 percent of Crede's seasonal output on one ballgame alone.
Yet, in Crede's defense, when he has "hit 'em where they ain't," said balls have often been where the players themselves ain't. Of those afore-noted 30 hits this year, eight of those have left the yard, and 15 have been for extra-bases. That's a crazy 27 percent of Crede's hits accounted for via HR. That's third in MLB among players at his position, and would account for the highest percentage of home runs-per-hits in Crede's career.
To look at the impact of a handful of the abbreviated hits total is to highlight Crede's season even further. On his April 10th return to Chicago, Crede homered in his first at-bat while Air
Supply's "All Out Of Love" played over the loudspeaker; on May 2nd, Crede has two singles the day after his child was born a month prematurely; on his May 12th return from injury, Crede homered after not having played for five days; the ensuing day, Crede hit a walk-off grand slam to beat the Tigers in 13 innings - and just hours after that, Crede knocked in the game-winning runs against Detroit with a bloop single.
While some may see the red-goateed Crede's long ball/drama totals serving as a red herring for a sorry batting average, doubters should take note that, historically, June is his most powerful month with 25 career home runs. Next month also finds Crede with career-best totals for slugging percentage and on-base-plus slugging.
Should Crede remain healthy, continue his fine fielding (just one error) and proceed with his opportunistic (if poorly averaged) batting, the guy could be in a caste by himself; our quiet, deadly, classy, secret weapon.
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