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April 27, 2009
Under The Knife
I Can See Clearly Now?
This Pujols kid is good. That's the line that keeps coming to mind, watching Albert Pujols play. There's something about his play on the field that makes me feel as if I'm making a discovery every time I watch him, or maybe it's that he does things so differently that he makes it seem that hitting a homer or stealing a base is entirely new. With every hit, homer, RBI, or breath, we find out that he's done something only the immortals have achieved before him. He may be called "El Hombre," but I wonder if we shouldn't find out what's Spanish for "Machine." (It's Maquina, by the way, but that sounds feminine somehow.) He hit a grand slam-a monster shot of almost 450 feet-becoming one of the five fastest men to reach 1,000 RBI, joining guys like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. I'm not one obsessed with round numbers, but the milestones remind us that we're watching a guy that deserves to be mentioned with those kinds of players. Favorite Toy estimates don't do him justice, because the things he does are just so unbelievable. It was nice to see that all the guys up in the St. Louis press box seem to understand that they're privileged to be seeing this level of excellence, day in and day out.
Can you tell a Cy by sight? With the Cy Young Award largely determined by wins, it stands to reason that getting off to a hot start and then staying hot would be the ticket to winning the Cy Young Award. Bil Burke pulled this data to test the theory:
Year League W L IP H BB K HR ERA Pitcher 1999 AL 4 1 36.2 29 7 48 1 2.21 Pedro Martinez 1999 NL 2 1 45.0 33 19 63 6 3.40 Randy Johnson 2000 AL 5 0 35.1 22 8 50 2 1.27 Pedro Martinez 2000 NL 6 0 49.1 26 10 64 2 0.91 Randy Johnson 2001 AL 3 0 41.1 37 14 31 3 4.35 Roger Clemens 2001 NL 3 3 44.2 38 11 61 7 4.03 Randy Johnson 2002 AL 1 2 33.2 33 18 33 4 4.81 Barry Zito 2002 NL 6 0 46.0 28 11 61 2 1.37 Randy Johnson 2003 AL 0 2 38.2 49 9 29 8 4.89 Roy Halladay 2003 NL 0 0 14.1 6 3 24 0 0.00 Eric Gagne 2004 AL 1 0 28.1 30 8 24 5 5.08 Johan Santana 2004 NL 5 0 32.1 21 14 32 3 1.95 Roger Clemens 2005 AL 3 2 31.1 28 13 23 4 3.73 Bartolo Colon 2005 NL 4 1 33.2 34 6 27 2 4.01 Chris Carpenter 2006 AL 1 3 32.1 34 10 28 4 4.45 Johan Santana 2006 NL 4 0 44.2 42 6 25 3 2.22 Brandon Webb 2007 AL 3 0 34.0 37 8 35 4 3.18 CC Sabathia 2007 NL 3 1 39.1 29 13 46 1 2.06 Jake Peavy 2008 AL 5 0 37.2 19 2 32 1 0.96 Cliff Lee 2008 NL 4 1 36.1 35 15 40 1 1.73 Tim Lincecum
This is May 1 for the last ten years' worth of Cy winners, and while it's not perfect, it looks like the theory holds up pretty well. There's a lot of 4-0, 5-0, even 6-0 in there, though Johan Santana didn't have that great of a start in either of his Cy seasons. By the end of the week, it will be interesting to see if we can take a look and find this year's possible winners.
Terrence Taylor was taken in the third round of the NFL draft by the Colts, and in the notes on his selection, NFL.com said he "dominated the Big Ten." It also noted that he "lacked size." At 6'0" and 306 pounds, I think the NFL might be the only group of people in the world that thinks he lacks size. This guy has about fifty pounds on Prince Fielder, benched 550 pounds in high school, and ran a 5.3 40. There are other physical freaks like Brian Orakpo, drafted by the Redskins, who ran a 4.7 and jumped 40 inches at the Combine. Yet it's baseball that is seen as having a problem with PEDs. I'm not implying that either of these players used drugs, but standing at the NFL Combine in February or just watching the film at the draft, it's clear that either the NFL is made up of the largest collection of outliers the world has ever seen, or that their successful drug program isn't successful at getting these substances out of their game.
Brian McCann (20 DXL)
Josh Hamilton (2 DXL)
Nate McLouth (5 DXL)
Milton Bradley (10 DXL)
Stephen Drew (15 DXL)
Quick Cuts: Alex Rodriguez will play in a minor league game this week. With the Yankees still saying he won't return until May 7, his play (and theirs, in Boston), might be the final push to have him back on his schedule. ... Here's the genius factor with Joe Mauer's rehab: after catching, his knees were sore, pushing his return back a few more days. ... Trevor Hoffman was activated this weekend, and is expected to get right into action, if not closing right away. ... The Astros' Carlos Lee caught his spikes during a swing and has a mild strain of his Achilles. It's on his back leg, so watch to see if his power numbers are affected. ... Julio Lugo should be back early this week at shortstop, but the Red Sox are doing some roster juggling, so his return might be slightly delayed. ... Yes, it's possible to visit Jim Andrews and not receive bad news. That doesn't mean Jesse Litsch shouldn't be worried, especially given the sheer inability of the Jays to keep young pitchers healthy. ... Carlos Ruiz has started his rehab assignment; the Phillies don't expect any setbacks with his recovery from a strained oblique. ... Susan Slusser reports that Justin Duchscherer isn't going to even start throwing in the near future. ... There's been a really odd injury to Matt Antonelli. This is something to watch, and yet another injury in a week with no good comps. ... Eric Chavez's elbow problems are a clear cascade from the shoulder injuries he's dealt with. There's always a weak link in the kinetic chain. ... While some are raving about Homer Bailey's 15 strikeouts this weekend, he lasted only six innings because he'd maxed out at 118 pitches on a limit of 120. He's talented, but efficiency and consistency still escape him.