Matt Holliday haters are everywhere, and they seemingly come out of the woodwork when he makes a defensive miscue in left field. Sure, the guy comes across as a butcher in the outfield at times, the likes of which Cardinals fans haven’t seen since Chris Duncan patrolled the Busch Stadium yard, but things aren’t always as bad as they may appear to be on the surface.
In 805 innings during the 2013 campaign, Holliday has secured 139 outs while committing only 2 errors, good for an overall fielding percentage of .986. For as bad as it may seem when a “can of corn” falls to the turf, as was the case on Sunday against the Cubs, Holliday is actually just above the league average fielding percentage of .984.
Jul 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) waits his turn to bat in the dugout against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Image Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Most fans will always remember Holliday for the 2009 dropped line drive while the Cardinals were clinging to a 2-1 lead against the Dodgers in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs which ultimately led to a 3-2 loss and a 2-0 NLDS deficit. While it’s not unfair to remember this piece of Cardinals history, it is somewhat unfair to allow it to color your perception of every defensive play that the burly left fielder has made since.
The point here is that it could certainly be much worse, so give the big guy a break.
Speaking of breaks, ever since Holliday has returned on July 27th from his trip to the DL with a hamstring injury he has been on fire at the plate batting a robust .403. He’s got 25 hits in 62 at bats with 2 HR, 4 doubles, 12 RBI, and 13 Runs scored while raising his season average from .268 to .290.
It appears Holliday is seeing the ball very well right now, and he may be heating up when the Cardinals need him most. They have been scuffling as a team at the plate getting ready to head down the stretch, and at this point it certainly looks like it’s going to be a battle to take back the NL Central crown from the Pirates.
My request to the Holliday Haters is simple: Keep a level head and remember why the Cardinals chose to pay the man the richest contract in franchise history. They didn’t do it for his defense. They did it because he has proven he can carry the offensive load on his broad shoulders when a time of need arises. So, even though everyone is entitled to their own opinion, don’t rush to judgement with harsh criticisms across social media if something goes wrong in the outfield. Things could always be worse. We could all be Cubs fans.