2011 Season in Review: Aaron Rowand

Few players in franchise history have put together a greater showing of futility than Aaron Rowand in 2011 — and during his tenure as a whole, for that matter. In 2010, Rowand had hit .230/.281/.378, effectively losing his starting job — and setting an extremely low bar of performance standards. Yet somehow Rowand managed to put up even worse numbers this season: .233/.274/.347, a .270 weighted on-base average, and a BB/K ratio (0.12) of historically bad proportions.

Despite his constant struggles at the plate, Rowand had the sixth-most plate appearances on the team (351). And despite his utter inability to reach base (the man drew nine(!) unintentional walks this season), he led off for the Giants 46 times. I kid you not: fourty-six times.

As sort of an exercise for this player review, I decided to search through the archives for old mentions of Rowand. What I came upon were two one-sentence excerpts (within a one-week span) that almost entirely illustrate Rowand’s season as a whole:

Aug 23: The Giants drew three consecutive walks to load the bases in the fourth inning, and Aaron Rowand promptly took two strikes then grounded out.

Aug 19: Aaron Rowand, who hasn’t drawn a walk in six weeks, was hitless in the leadoff spot, striking out twice.

When he was finally designated for assignment, it came out that Rowand had been complaining endlessly:

But according to sources, Rowand’s complaining reached a critical level this season. “He’s doing everything possible to get out of here,” one player said earlier this week.

I’m both thrilled and relieved to never have to see Rowand don a San Francisco Giants uniform ever again. His tenure as a Giant was increasingly disastrous, and he’s without doubt one of the worst free agent signings in franchise history.

He’ll be making $12MM next year to not play for the Giants.


4 thoughts on “2011 Season in Review: Aaron Rowand

  1. I had pretty much erased Warrior Spirit from my memory, and now you have to go and bring it all back up!

    What’s astounding to me is how a guy with such an unorthodox batting stance can hit so poorly and not conclude that something needs to change. I believe his poor pitch selection was directly related to his batting stance. Basically it was just a very long timing mechanism. I don’t know if pitchers learned to take advantage of it or if it just got slower with age. The problem was that it forced him to commit to the pitch too early and created so much momentum to the ball, he couldn’t check his swing in time.

    Baggs has hinted that Bam Bam tried to get him to change, but he was resistant to the end. If that’s true, it’s unbelievably stubborn and self defeating. It’s hard to believe anyone will offer him anything more than a minor league deal, even with the Giants paying his salary!

  2. Excellent post, and I’d just add a lot of Rowand’s trouble is he couldn’t catch up to a fastball late in the zone anymore, so he had to start his swing early, opening himself up to sliders, definitely his achilles heel. His 4 HRs were all in garbage time (2 pinch hits as I remember) against 2nd string pitchers. What makes it even worse is after his hot start April (which he has done almost every year in his career) the numbers were actually much worse as the season wore on.

    The fact that he led off 46 times and accumulated all those ABs is a good portion of the historic futility of this offense, and it is gigantically frustrating. In addition to his complaints, the fact that he is BFF with AJ Pierzynski is icing on the cake of awfulness. Absolutely a terrible Giant, and good riddance.

  3. Agree with the post & reader comments. I would add that the Right-Center alley got into his haed early on. A lot of his “power” in Philly was to right center, easy fly ball outs at AT&T. He may have been trying too hard to pull the ball instead of adjusting to hitting doubles.

    Either way, good riddence. And ay Brian Sabean learn from this mistake.

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