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July 20, 2001

The Daily Prospectus

All Over the Place

by Joe Sheehan

Just riffing as I look at the AL stats:
  • I haven't mentioned him in a while, so here's a Garret Anderson update. He's walked 15 times--just 12 times on his own--in more than 400 plate appearances, and his OBP is once again under .300.

    Here's some perspective: Anderson is playing every day and taking no criticism. Tim Salmon, just off the disabled list, is perceived as having a disastrous season, batting .206 with a .363 slugging percentage. Yet Salmon's OBP is 64 points higher than Anderson's, so his Equivalent Average is 15 points higher than that of Anderson, .272 to .257. Not making outs--what OBP measures--is the most important thing a baseball player can do.

    Of course, Anderson leads the Angels in RBIs, so he must be good, right?

  • One of the most pathetic job battles ever is being waged in Baltimore, where Brook Fordyce and Fernando Lunar are dueling. Fordyce, who was considered a good defensive catcher until about 1999--when he began to hit, invoking Nichols' Law of Catcher Defense--is watching his playing time go to Lunar, who is now considered the catch-and-throw guy of the pair. Both players suck: Lunar's .267/.302/.311 just happens to look better than Fordyce's .202/.260/.305.

    My guess is that Lunar will eventually go on a hot streak, his defensive reputation will suffer, and the Os will bring in Joel Skinner.

  • Anyone else think Jose Canseco might end up leading the White Sox in walks? He has nine so far, and with a good weekend--say, six walks--could move into sixth on the team. The leader is Magglio Ordonez with 40.

  • I didn't expect C.C. Sabathia to make it this deep into the season in the Indians' rotation, but not only is he there, he's been the team's second-best starter. The Indians' right-handed relief depth has enabled them to endure his inability to get past the sixth inning, and they've pushed his pitch count just once, and that was in his best start of the season.

    Most impressive is Sabathia's in-season improvement:

    
    Month       IP     BB    K    HR
    

    April 21.2 10 9 1 May 24.2 12 19 4 June 30.2 18 28 2 July 23.0 13 30 0

    The Tribe took a risk in putting so much on Sabathia's shoulders, but they deserve credit for riding out his rough patch, and are now being rewarded with some tremendous pitching.

  • The Royals have three players posting OPSs above 800, one of whom is Raul Ibanez.

  • Fantasy Tip of the Millennium: if you have Joe Mays on your team, get rid of him. Yesterday. His second half is not going to be pretty.

  • I took a fair amount of criticism from Yankee fans who defended the team's dumping of Brian Boehringer and acquisition of Mark Wohlers. Part of their argument was that while the Boehringer had been better for the season as a whole, his recent performance had been terrible, while Wohlers had been pitching well of late.

    In Boehringer's last month as a Yankee, he threw seven innings, allowing nine runs on 14 hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. Since joining the Yankees, Wohlers has thrown 6 1/3 innings, allowing 11 runs on 13 hits, with four walks and four strikeouts. (For completeness, Boehringer has a 3.52 ERA in 7 2/3 innings with the Giants.)

    So if recent performance is the important consideration, should the Yankees now release Wohlers and trade for the next W on the list, perhaps Steve Woodard?

    Relief pitchers below the level of Trevor Hoffman are fungible, and any team that trades something of value--say, D'Angelo Jimenez and Ricardo Aramboles--for a reliever is making a huge mistake.

  • Why does Terrence Long get so much playing time? He wasn't anything special last year, but you could defend his presence as a center fielder who could field the position. Now he's in right field, batting .272/.324/.401; he doesn't even steal bases (six so far, with just one caught stealing), and no amount of right-field defense is going to make a .263 EqA look good.

  • Trot Nixon has a higher EqA than Ichiro Suzuki, and isn't that far behind Suzuki as a defender.

    If you're a parishioner at the Church of Ichiro, that's fine, just understand that he's a good player, not a great one, and that he's not even the best player in the Safeco Field outfield this year.

  • Speaking of the Mariners, here is the combined line of Kazuhiro Sasaki, Arthur Rhodes, and Jeff Nelson:

    121.1 IP, 67 H, 43 BB, 153 K, 2.23 ERA

    Now remember that almost all of those 120-odd innings have been in high-leverage situations. I'd be interested in seeing where a context-based evaluation system, like Doug Drinen's, placed any or all of these three among the league's most valuable players.

Have a good weekend, folks!

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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