We often hear managers, coaches, and scouts refer to what they call “the intangibles” when they refer to players. And this is something (finally) that StatCast can’t measure. It’s that player who adds something to a team beyond the numbers. He’s the one that stands out among the rest. He’s the one who keeps a clubhouse (what they call) ” loose”. He’s the one who leads by example – the first in the clubhouse for a night game – the last one to leave after graciously answering beat reporters questions.
Following then are my Top Ten clubhouse leaders in the game today. They are not necessarily ranked in order. You can rearrange them or submit a new list as a comment…..
1) ANDREW MCCUTCHEN (Pittsburgh)
Commonly known as “Clutch”, he continues to propel his team into the 2015 Playoffs. With his long locks and ever present smile and charisma, he epitomizes the the swagger of the Pirates whom he often leads in dugout “dances” before games.
2) TORRI HUNTER (Minnesota)
In the twilight of his career now, he returns to his former team. While not putting up the numbers he used to, he provides a presence that cannot be measured as the Twins seek to attain a wild card berth in a very crowded and competitive field.
3) Alex Rodriguez (New York)
Surprised to see his name here……you shouldn’t be. His teammates constantly attest to his value both on and off the field. Yeah maybe he should have done things differently over the years….and down the road -he will admit to that……….but he loves the game of baseball and his teammates know that and appreciate that.
4) DAVID WRIGHT (New York)
Out of sight for a long time due to a career threatening back injury that kept him out and off the field for several months……. On the night he returns, he hits a home run in his first at bat and his team follows with seven more to set a franchise record for home runs in a game……..case closed.
5) Mike Trout (L.A. Angels)
His talent on the field is immeasurable. He’s the quiescent five tool player. Superlatives do not justify his presence. When fans come to see the Angels play, they come to see the face of the team………and he is unquestionably that man. Beyond that, he “gets it” and is accommodating to fans and media with little or no hoopla.
6) YADIER MOLINA (St. Louis Cardinals)
A catcher (an often unsung position), he continues to perform at a high level (.300 batting average again this year). And while he may be just a cog in the Cardinals perennial push to the playoffs and beyond, he remains the backbone of the team as well as a failsafe zone for the relatively young pitching staff.
7) HUNTER SPENCE (San Francisco Giants)
The guy often reminds me of Goofy with his height and unwieldy hair style.……but he has what it takes when the Giants need that two out hit or maybe an argument to spark the team after a close called third strike at the plate. “Characters” are good for a team and the Giants are fortunate to have him.
8) Jimmy Rollins ( Los Angeles Dodgers)
Once in a while, the baseball gods allow the placement of a player to where he is destined to shine. The Phillies were cleaning house and “unlunloaded” Rollins to the Dodgers where he is likely to finish out his career. It’s simple……..he fits in and adds that ever invaluable piece of veteran leadership down the stretch.
9) JUAN URIBE (New York Mets)
A journeyman player for most of his career, he arrived a month or so ago when the Mets were struggling and trying to find themselves, Uribe immediately brought life into a dying clubhouse and he also contributed on the field as well with several key hits as depicted in the photo here.
10) ADAM JONES (Baltimore Orioles)
A pillar of consistency, Jones adds reliable defense in center field to a team without stars. Not the rah rah go team go type, he leads with his presence and work ethic. Just wind him up and send him out there to do his job……..He’s the one player in the lineup you don’t want to face in a clutch situation.