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Soriano, A Very Good Leadoff Hitter
Written by wrigleyville   
Monday, 27 April 2009
Let's face it: Alfonso Soriano is good at this baseball business.

And he's good at this leading off stuff, too, no matter how many column inches Gordon Wittenmyer, Paul Sullivan and Barry Rozner dedicate to the idea he should be batting elsewhere.

With tonight's home run to lead off the game, Soriano has six first-inning runs in 16 games leading off for the Cubs this year.

From 2007-09, he has scored 48 first-inning runs in 255 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter, meaning he has scored a first-inning run as a leadoff hitter 18.7 percent of the time during his Cub career.

For his career, Soriano has scored a first-inning run in a remarkable 22.1 percent of the 714 games he has played as a leadoff hitter, with the difference as a Cub almost entirely attributable to the horrendous April in 2008.

Interesting, but how does that compare to others? In line with two of the best leadoff hitters in the game today.

Alfonso Soriano: 22.1 percent

Jose Reyes: 21.8 percent (151 first-inning runs in 694 games batting leadoff)

Jimmy Rollins: 18.8 percent (175 first-inning runs in 931 games batting leadoff)

Bob Dernier, the wet-dream leadoff hitter for many a Cub fan, scored 100 first-inning runs in 501 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter in his career. That's 20 percent of the time.

And what about Rickey Henderson? Rickey wants you to know Rickey scored 612 first inning runs, or 21.3 percent of the games Rickey played.

While Soriano's numbers have slipped a bit as a Cub (in this respect, but not others, due to the '08 April debacle), he is undoubtedly a good leadoff hitter if you judge him by scoring runs to, you know, lead off the game.

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