Rany comes clean about an obsession with the knuckler, and his active interest in the best prospect to throw it in years.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of the knuckleball and the men who throw it. Among the many clues I have left in my wake, the most obvious is the time I ignored the objections of a few…okay, all of my colleagues, and attached Charlie Zink to the bottom of our Top 50 Prospects list three years ago. Fortunately, Zink has gone on to great and glorious success since then, completely vindicating my faith in him.
Rany looks past the Braves' last bargain deal with Andruw Jones to an even worse contract for a player.
And few lists are more fun to break out than the list of the worst free-agent contracts of all time. We love any excuse to mock owners for their reckless decisions; plus, as fans, we have a morbid sense of pride in having been forced to taste the bitter fruit of those moves. Darren Dreifort,
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A small change to the CBA had a very large effect on this winter's free-agent market, and will have one on the upcoming draft as well.
Part of the allure of baseball is that, while players and teams come and go, the game itself changes at such a glacial pace that a 90-year-old fan today would have trouble coming up with any differences between the games he watched as a child from the game he sees today. Basketball before the invention of the shot clock was a vastly different game than the one played today. The shot clock wasn't even adopted by the NCAA until Michael Jordan had already left school. Football adds and subtracts penalties like an accountant furiously trying to make the books balance. The NHL made more rule changes after their lost season of two years ago than Major League Baseball has made since 1920.
Rany sorts through the ins and outs of the classic confronatation between the Evil Empire and a Cinderella story.
It also set the Tigers on a course for Yankee Stadium, where they open the postseason against a New York squad that led the league in offense all season… and that was beforeGary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui returned from injuries in September. It's Cinderella vs. the Evil Empire, and forget about the stroke of midnight-the sun is already coming up.
Picking up where he left off yesterday, Rany continues his dissection of the 2006 Detroit Tigers.
A month after nabbing their franchise shortstop, the Tigers signed a franchise catcher, Ivan Rodriguez. On the surface, this made all kinds of sense; it's not often you get the opportunity to sign a surefire Hall of Famer who just turned 32. On the other hand, catchers age quickly, and Rodriguez caught more games (1564) before his 32nd birthday than anyone other than Johnny Bench, who was finished as a catcher by the time he turned 33 and was finished as a ballplayer when he was 35. While Rodriguez's 4-year, $40 million deal was eminently reasonable, it still represented a gamble in that it was likely the Tigers would never be competitive enough during the life of the contract to make the addition of Rodriguez meaningful.
Dr. Jazayerli dissects the early makings of the game's best team--your 2006 Detroit Tigers.
Which is what makes the delirious success of the 2006 Detroit Tigers so fascinating. Winning teams are not put together overnight. Even teams that suddenly rise up from years of mediocrity to create a dynasty had a foundation of mediocrity to build upon. The New England Patriots were not a good team before they won three Super Bowls in four years, but they weren't a bad team either--they had gone 43-37 over the previous five seasons.
With the Amateur Draft just around the corner, Rany returns to summarize his findings from his year-long draft study.
Now that we're done, it's safe to bring them out again. Starting from scratch, here is a summary of everything we've covered in the first 10 parts of this series. Consider this your pocket guide to the draft, especially if you happen to be on a conference call next Tuesday afternoon. Feel free to print out, laminate, and place in an attractive wood frame with gold trim.
The Doctor returns with a look at the draft history of high school and college pitchers, to see if we can learn a few things about pitching value.
Pos Years 1st Rd 2nd Rd 3rd Rd Overall Busts
COL LHP 84-91 - 4.4% + 54.7% +133.4% + 21.5%
COL LHP 92-99 - 7.3% + 61.1% + 15.0% + 8.0%
COL LHP 84-99 - 5.8% + 57.8% + 82.4% + 15.2%
Years Biggest Bargains Biggest Busts
84-91 Jim Abbott, Greg Swindell Drew Hall, Kyle Abbott
92-99 Barry Zito, Randy Wolf B.J. Wallace, Jeff Granger
Note that the two most valuable draft picks from 1984 to 1991 are notRandy Johnson, who was third on the list. Johnson is a future Hall of Famer, but was not a full-time starting pitcher in the major leagues until four years after he was drafted, and didn't become RANDY JOHNSON until 1993. And of course, along the way he was traded by the team that drafted him, the Montreal Expos, essentially for four months of Mark Langston. The point bears repeating: the sooner a draft pick renders his value, the less likely the team that drafted him will have already given him up for pennies on the dollar.
We continue our preparation for the season with Rany's list of three players to watch closely this year.
Well, if you don't want to strike out, don't swing for the fences. Still, by any reasonable measure that was a truly awful piece of prognostication.
Despite my embarassment, I'm back to try my hand at this soothsaying gig once more. But rather than issue foolhardy proclamations of imminent greatness from the three players listed below, I will merely argue that all three are, for various reasons, worth watching very carefully this season.