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September 11, 2003

Can Of Corn

The All-Disappointment Team

by Dayn Perry

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Last week I laid out my All-Surprise Team. Since I much prefer going negative, I thought this week I'd rear my ugly head upon the All-Disappointment Team. Once again, it's with the help of Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system.

First a bit of housekeeping: A couple of readers pointed out that Baltimore's Melvin Mora deserved a spot on the All-Surprise Team. I'm inclined to agree. I left him off mostly because I was on a crack bender for much of the week, but I'm fine now and fully possessed of my faculties. The All-Disappointment Team, forthwith...

  • Catcher: Toby Hall, Devil Rays. Although Hall's season doesn't qualify as a staggering disappointment, he's once again failed to regain the power stroke he showed in 2001. He still can't draw walks or hit for average, This year, he's hitting .256/.303/.382/.238 Equivalent Average (EqA), which is just south of PECOTA's 25th-percentile forecast for him.

  • First Base: Paul Konerko, White Sox. Although he's been playing like a man possessed in the second half (.333/.395/.630 since the break), for most of the year Konerko's been worse than a Keanu Reeves British accent (.254/.321/.437/.260 EqA for 2003). PECOTA's 10th-percentile tabbed him for a .259 EqA.

  • Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Indians. The centerpiece of the Bartolo Colon-to-Montreal deal, Phillips has been an abysmal disappointment this season. In Cleveland, he's "hit" .206/.246/.320/.190 EqA. Those are Garth Brooks-in-Spring Training numbers, and fell well short of even his modest 10th-percentile PECOTA forecast, which called for a .217 EqA.

  • Third Base: Edgardo Alfonzo, Giants. Fonzie's chronic back problems torpedoed his 2001 season, but he's been even worse this year. His .255/.325/.357/.251 EqA line puts him well below PECOTA's 25th-percentile projection. Signed through 2006, Alfonzo, who was one of this winter's marquee free agents, could turn into a boondoggle for San Francisco.

  • Shortstop: Jose Hernandez, Pirates. Although Hernandez has been primarily a third baseman since being traded to Pittsburgh, on balance he's spent more time at short this year. He's hitting .225/.290/.355/.221 EqA, and that's including a healthy dose of Coorsifornication. That's right at the PECOTA 25th percentile.

  • Outfield: Pat Burrell, Phillies. Burrell's another storied flop this year, but fortunately he's had that Bowa bonhomie to ferry him through his troubles. Burrell this season has been good for a .259 EqA, which is comfortably shy of his PECOTA 10-spot. Interestingly, though, his walk rate and Isolated SLG aren't wildly out of step with previous seasons, and they may portend of a rebound in 2004.

  • Outfield: Bobby Higginson, Tigers. Remember when the vaguely annoying Higginson was hypothetically tradable? Higgy's "Panama Canal" contract, harped on for years, won't expire until after the 2005 season, and now he's a player with virtually no value whatsoever. A corner outfielder with a .238/.317/.371/.247 EqA does not a commodity make. He falls short of his PECOTA 10th-percentile forecast.

  • Outfield: Hideki Matsui, Yankees. How can a RoY candidate show up on this list? Glad you asked. Matsui's been adequate this season (.288/.351/.441/.278 EqA), but how anyone votes for him ahead of Angel Berroa is beyond me. Then again, so is Thomas Pynchon. PECOTA, fueled by Matsui's indecent numbers in Japan, was quite smitten with him and called for a weighted-mean line of .285/.423/.572/.339 EqA. That ain't happening. In reality, Matsui has fallen well short of his 10th-percentile projection and served to temper future expectations when it comes to power hitters making the big leap West.

  • Right-Handed Starter: Cory Lidle, Blue Jays. In the balmy, rosy environs of the PECOTA weighted mean, Lidle tosses 160 innings and puts up a nicely tolerable ERA of 4.69. In reality, he's been a crap sandwich: 166 IP, 5.96 ERA--worse than his 10th-percentile forecast.

  • Left-Handed Starter: Shawn Estes, Cubs. Think of him as the Cub pitching staff's answer to Lenny Harris. Or Tony Womack. Or Randall Simon. His numbers on the year (142.2 IP, 6.06 ERA) don't even pass muster with the PECOTA 10th percentile.

  • Set-up Man: Juan Acevedo, Blue Jays. Acevedo stultified the Yanks' attempts at cobbling together a solid right-handed set-up corps. He was less a proxy Steve Karsay than he was a 1991 model Dana Kiecker. In stints with the Yanks and Jays, he's put up a 6.57 ERA in 38.1 innings, which is worse than what PECOTA's 10th percentile had laid out for him.

  • Closer: Mike Williams, Phillies. Although he's no longer a strict closer, he was for much of the season, particularly during Pittsburgh's "Look at our closer! Please trade for him!" phase. He's picked up 27 saves, but in the process he's put up a 6.23 ERA and a grisly 0.87 K/BB ratio. That's just a Flockhart better than his 10th-percentile projection.

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