We’ve been unkind to this man. We’ve knocked him for being overpaid and overweight and can’t forget 2005, when he hit like a pitcher, if pitchers got 500 at-bats. Then he missed all of ’06, all while collecting on the $16 million Jim Bowden special.
Since then, though, he’s hit .327 over 853 at-bats, and it’s time to give the fat shortstop his due, especially with Ryan Zimmerman’s 30-game hit streak coming to pass. Guzman is, after all, batting .390 right now. He has also yet to draw a walk.
In case you were not aware, that last bit is insane. How insane?
- Guzman has gone 31 straight games without walking.
- He walked 23 times last year, so he does know how to do it.
- Teammate Adam Dunn already has 28 walks this season.
Despite — and perhaps because of — never walking, Guzman will likely be the NL batting leader once he accumulates enough plate appearances to qualify (should be any day now). In this otherwise miserable stretch, when the Nats are yet again the worst team in the league, that’s something; something very Dmitri Young-in-’07-esque.
And, with the not walking, I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it. Ozzie Guillen holds the record for fewest walks in a season (10 in 1996), but he only batted .263. There’s probably a better comparable out there, but the guy who springs to mind is Ichiro, who hits .330 and only walks once every 15 at-bats (Guzman’s career rate is once every 20). Plus, neither gives you much on the slugging end. Of course, Ichiro is also a stellar defensive player, basestealer extraordinaire and international superstar, but still.