Michael Cuddyer: 2014 Player Grade

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Michael Cuddyer has performed very well in his years in a Rockies uniform–but he hasn’t played very much.

I was a huge fan of the Rockies signing Michael Cuddyer in the 2011 offseason, and I remain so. It was a good pickup in a lot of ways. During Cuddyer’s time in purple pinstripes, he has contributed 4.5 WAR, an excellent figure given the fact that he played just over one season’s worth of games in those three years. He also brings that thing the Rockies’ brass loves so much–clubhouse leadership–and he brings it in spades. But is he worth all that money when he rides the bench so often?

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Cuddy was more injured in 2014 than in either of his other two seasons with the Rockies. He played in 49 games and batted .332. He hit 10 home runs and drove in 68. And he struck out 30 times. All of these numbers are fine given Cuddy’s playing time.

Defensively, he was pretty much not good, as usual. At first base, he made 1 error in 14 games, but in the outfield he managed not to make any. This is primarily due to not very much playing time. He didn’t make an error in his one game at 3rd, but he did sustain a broken shoulder that kept him out for a couple of months. Cuddyer’s defense is enough to make his prodigiously productive offense not worth as much–he had a negative UZR at every position he played this season. He’s starting to profile more and more as a designated hitter: great bat, lousy glove.

In the end, that’s what Cuddyer boils down to, aside from the intangible leadership thing. Certainly he is an excellent leader with a great attitude and plenty of experience. But his grade has to come down to the fact that he only played 49 games this year. That’s an incomplete at best; at worst, maybe a C-.

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