The Eric Sogard Conundrum


May 20, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Eric Sogard (28) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rest assured, I hold no ill-will toward Eric Sogard.

For all intents and purposes he appears to be an outstanding human being – amicable to fans and great embracer of the “Nerdpower” and #FaceofMLB movements in his honor. I’m sure he also helps little old ladies with their groceries and recycles responsibly too.

Unfortunately, none of his qualities of virtue represent a solid professional baseball player. As entertaining as it is to craft photoshopped versions of his visage to win meaningless contests – they don’t help win games, and they never will. In all reality, Sogard is neither the longterm answer at second base, nor does his meager production warrant much confidence in the present.

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He’s simply a platoon stop-gate, overexposed by big league pitching and nearly devoid of any longterm potential. In 127 plate appearances this season the 28-year old has posted a paltry .195/.265/.233 mark, giving fans little opportunity to throw up the specs in any form or fashion. Over the course of his 235 game career, his lifetime .232/.289/.322 mark and 2.3 accumulated WAR place him in line with the likes of Jason Donald and Lou Collier – run of the mill, Quadruple-A players.

In fact his value at the Major League level lies not within the marketability of his bespectacled effigy, but his defensive abilities at the second base position. Even in a time share for the majority of the last two seasons, Sogard – to his credit has provided a positive impact in the field having yet to make an error in 188 chances this season, and finishing fourth amongst American League second basemen with a 4.84 range factor in 2013.

However, essentially lacking a well-rounded game sends him hurtling into a career of baseball anonymity. While murmurs of a second base upgrade via the trade route have begun to emanate from the insiders, no move appears imminent. So for now, enjoy the official team-sanctioned music videos, t-shirts, and nerd memorabilia in his name – because it certainly won’t last forever.