Monday, May 12, 2008

Your SKO Random Third Baseman of the Day: Chris Stynes

Name: Christopher Desmond Stynes
Ht:5'9'' Wt:170
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Years as a Cub: 2002

Chris Stynes appears bemused by your suggestion that he get a hit.

I'll say one good thing about Chris Stynes. The sonofabitch didn't strike out a lot. The guy struck out more than 56 times just Once in his major league career, and in his 195 Cub at-bats he K'd just 29 times. Outside of that, Chris Stynes was a miserable baseball player. The man was an absolute butcher in the field, had pathetic power for a corner infielder, and really is a perfectly viable example of why the 2002 Cubs were so bad. When you're fielding Hundley at catcher, McStiff at first, Bobby Hill at 2nd, Alex Gonalez at short, Stynes at third, Rosie Brown in left, and Korey in center it's not much of a stretch to figure out how they won just 67 games.
After a 2001 season in which he became a beloved "scrappy" hitter for the Boston Red Sox, earning one of their beloved "Dirt Dog" labels, Stynes was signed by the Cubs in January of 2002 to back-up starter Bill Mueller. Now, as I've mentioned before, signing a back-up for Bill Mueller basically implies that the guys gonna start for at least one month during the season. Sure enough, Mueller wasn't ready for the start of the season and Stynes started 16 games at 3rd during the opening month, as well as 46 total for the year. In all Stynes appeared in 95 games with 40 of those appearances at 3rd base. Stynes had a downright idiotically wide open batting stance that earned him a paltry .241/5hr/26 RBI/.314 OBP/.374 slug. line that season, and made me pine for Ron Coomer. In the field Stynes was even more of a disaster, as he made 5 errors in his 40 games at third and had a .919 fielding percentage, leading then-Pirate Aramis Ramirez to comment on how Stynes "really is a liability at the hot corner". Stynes' range in the field pretty much consisted of his left shoulder to his right, as his range factor of 1.43 was well below the league average of 2.25.

After Mueller returned from the DL and Mark Bellhorn proved he could hit lefties, Stynes fell to third on the depth chart at both third and second base and saw his playing time rapidly decrease. Cub fans were thrilled by the development, as hopes soared that a Bellhorn-Gonzalez-Mueller left side infield would be the key to a 70 win season. As always, those hopes proved fruitless.

Stynes was released by the Cubs in December of '02, spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons with the Rockies and Pirates, respectively, and retired in 2005 after shattering his fibia on a foul ball during a spring training stint with the Orioles. Don't worry Chris, you were better off Not making the team, broken leg and all.