You hear it everyday. Heck, maybe you say it everyday.
Alfonso Soriano sucks.
Despite being one of the hardest working players on the Cubs, Soriano’s body has inarguably has failed him in recent years, and his performance has flagged. It was most noticeable in in 2011, when he hit just .244/.289/.469, and in the early going of 2012. After all, Soriano’s hitting just .264/.299/.403 on the year.
Soriano has become an easy target for fans and media, thanks in large part to his egregious contract (not his fault), his walking out of the box (a bad habit, and mostly his fault), and how he looks tracking down balls in the outfield (not his fault – he’s got a bad knee). Some of the criticism is deserved, but most is unfair.
And it’s become extremely unfair this last month, when Soriano has arguably been the Cubs’ best hitter.
I’ve done what I can to emphasize Soriano’s hot streak in recent Series Previews, but it’s gotten to the point where it requires a loud, written shout: ALFONSO SORIANO HAS BEEN ON FIRE FOR A MONTH.
That .264/.299/.403 line? Yes, it’s bad, but it’s been dragged down by an hilariously abysmal start to the year, that saw Soriano at just .200/.220/.200 on April 23, one month ago today. Since then, he’s raised his production dramatically.
Indeed, in the last 30 days, Soriano is hitting .303/.347/.528 with four homers, eight doubles, and 14 RBI. Only Bryan LaHair’s line over that month is better on the Cubs, but if you start things at May 1, LaHair’s going just .246/.358/.478 (in May, Soriano is at .294/.351/.559).
Soriano’s line in the last 30 days far eclipses even Soriano’s career numbers (.274/.323/.503), and is better than all but three or four of his best seasons. I’m not saying either his first month this year, or his most recent month is a true reflection of the “real” Soriano – you can’t cherry pick stats like that – but I am saying we can’t keep ignoring how well he’s been hitting in the last 30 days.
Whatever Soriano’s past, and whatever his future, he’s been killing the ball in May. Let’s make sure to keep that in mind as we discuss him going forward. And let’s hope AL teams looking for a DH are keeping it in mind, as well.