A lot of time is spent in this place talking about a player's value. This writer has become a disciple (though admittedly not a great student) of sabermetric statistics in evaluating players. That stance is on the right side of history. But this site started as a fan site. The Flagrant Fan is all about a long-time baseball fan talking about the game and the players he loves. Rick Ankiel falls short of the sabermetric society. He is a somewhat useful player this season and others, but he's not an elite player and is barely above replacement. That's the sabermetric valuation of his baseball skills. He strikes out a lot, he hits nearly the lowest percentage of line drives in baseball. He swings at 36.5 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. He only has occasional power now. That's the cold hard facts.
But there is another valuation of Rick Ankiel. We as fans still love his story of a talented pitcher who lost his art, reinvented himself in the minors as an outfielder and plucked out a MLB career despite the setbacks. The Fan value side of things also revolves around that legendary arm...the same arm that once made him such a promising pitcher. Ankiel has played in 89 games this season. Unfortunately, we don't get to see that gifted arm very often. He has the same number of outfield assists (seven) as he has homers. But when we do get to see it, what a thrill! He made a throw on Sunday that was simply amazing.
So to honor the fan side of Rick Ankiel and not the saber side, here are some highlights of our man throwing a baseball like few other people can. Enjoy:
Since this post first aired on August 29, Ankiel has picked up a couple more outfield assists. Here one of them: