by Joshua Worley
The first post I remember reading at Dodger Thoughts is this one about James Loney. Or maybe it was this one, a few days earlier. I remember reading about this really young player I had never hear of who was supposed to go on to be a superstar.
The memory of Jon's confidence in Loney has always stuck with me for some reason. Well, Loney wasn't the rookie of the year in 2004, but he sure seems like a dark horse candidate for 2007.
It's gotten to the point where it seems like he's going to hit an extra-base hit every time up. I just don't understand it. How does a guy who was scuffling along, striking out 20% of the time in Las Vegas just go on a tear once he reaches the big leagues?
So often people reach for psychological explanations for strange events in baseball, or even mundane events in baseball, when the answer is that it's just luck or random variation. But here, I think the obvious psychological explanation is the correct explanation for Loney's disparity between his start with the Dodgers and his sputtering never-could-start with the 51's this year. He was really bummed to be back in Vegas at the start of 2007, after hitting for such a great average in 2006. He rebelled at the thought of going around again. I don't think it was a intentional or conscious rebellion. But he had done everything right in 2006 and in spring training of 2007, and he was still stuck there, so maybe he had to be even better, and do things differently. So he rebelled by not trusting his talent and hitter's discipline as he had before. He rebelled against the injustice by pressing, and he struck out far more than he had previously.
Once back in the big leagues, almost miraculously, for who could see it coming ... he no longer had to press, or rebel. Justice was restored. And he's been hitting ever since.