As we saw this year with the fan voting for the All Star Game, there are always players in the midst of phenomenal seasons that get overlooked. See Joe Votto if you want to discuss this. Well one guy in my eyes, that has been vastly overlooked and only made the All Star squad this year simply due to Jose Reyes being unable to participate in Anaheim, is Rafael Furcal. This is shocking in that Furcal plays in the huge market that is LA and is putting up a big time season, yet half of America seems to be clueless as to who he is.
Well welcome to the limelight Rafael Furcal.
Rafael has been in the League for 10 plus years now. Basically his career can be divided into 2 parts. The Atlanta part and now the Los Angeles part. This guy is easily having the best year of his career and has really never received much notoriety since he took home the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2000 and snuck onto the All Star Team in 2003. Well its about time somebody gives this guy some props because he is having a great season.
On the year, Furcal is leading the National League with a stellar .338 batting average, to go along with 7 HRs and 37 RBIs. Though LA is on a 5 game losing streak and has fallen 6 games out in the West, Furcal is carrying his weight and doing it with both the bat and the glove. Furcal reminds me of Derek Jeter in his style of play and the way he wins (at least in the regular season). Joe Torre has to love having this guy in LA. Rafael is a man who has won frequently in his career, but never taken home the hardware. In his 10 seasons, he has made the playoffs an astounding 8 times. Yet he has never participated in the Fall Classic.
It still shocks me that the 3 NL shortstops on the All Star Squad before the injury to Reyes were Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Mr. Reyes. Now Hanley’s big advantage over Furcal is the power numbers. But that is a differentiating factor due to his role in Florida. He has to produce HRs and RBIs. Rafael is the leadoff man and must hit for average and get on base. Furcal puts up a batting average that is over 40 points higher and has an on base percentage that is 14 points higher than Ramirez. Then you have Troy Tulowitzki. Troy is having another strong season in Colorado, though he is suffering from a broken wrist at this time. Furcal has a batting average that is over 30 points higher and an on base percentage that is 15 points superior. Then lastly you have Jose Reyes. How did this guy even make the NL squad this year? Oh yeah, he plays in a big market called New York. Reyes is batting over 60 points worse than Furcal at .277 and has an on base percentage that is not even comparable. Reye is getting on base at a .318 rate while Furcal has a OBP of .391. Lastly, Reyes has less HRs and RBIs than Furcal. So Furcal appears to be outperforming Jose in every way imaginable.
Yet he was the man who really made the All Star team and Furcal was just a replacement. Well keep an eye on this Furcal guy. He can really play and is a guy that does not always get his due.
LA needs to support a guy like Rafael.
O and by the way, Rafael was an All Star in my book even before he was a replacement for the injured Jose Reyes.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.