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Ira
452 comments | 12 total rating | 0.03 average rating
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Baseball Prospectus http://bbp.cx/i/1386
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

Wow! that's a lot more Scott Feldman than I can stand. are we going to clone him? and if we do, can we clone someone else instead like Neftali Feliz?

Mar 29, 2011 11:48 AM on September 21-27
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Scott Feldman is hurt and will miss probably the whole year if not a good portion of it. Brandon Webb will not be ready for opening day, but will start for the Rangers this season, though. Alexi Ogando will be in the pen. He's been wretched, mostly on his third time through the order. Not sure what he's talking about Dave Bush, because Nolan Ryan has more of a chance to start the year in the Rangers Rotation. Matt Harrison would start if Neftali Feliz goes back to the pen. He might start anyway, but it will be at the expense of Derek Holland. I still predict that Harrison lasts fewer than 5 starts. Martin Perez goes back to AA this year (his third go around there) but at 20 still has plenty of time. He still has to conquer AA (ERA above 5 both years). My prediction is that he will and will get a September call up, ETA 2013.

Mar 22, 2011 5:52 AM on Life After Lee
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

That is most obviously incorrect. No matter how good Lee is going forward, it would be difficult for him to crack a rotation headed by hall of famer Fergusen Jenkins, backed up by hall of famers Gaylord Perry, Nolan Ryan and Bert Blyleven. Choose a fifth starter from among Dave Stewart, Frank Tanana, Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, or even old Charlie Hough. Most of these guys didn't do their damage as Rangers, but then again, neither did Lee. But Lee was a great pitcher, and his two starts against the Rays will forever live in the lore of the Texas Rangers. We, as fans, tip our cap to Cliff, and wish him all the best. We also recognize that if we meet again come October, that Lee has not fared especially well against us.

Mar 05, 2011 9:51 AM on The Weakest Links
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

I think my favorite Peanuts Baseball player reference was this one: http://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1962/12/22 Willie McCovey

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

When I saw the title of this article, I thought of Matt Wieters.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

How would things change if the batting order was modified as follows: Kinsler, Andrus, Hamilton, Beltre, Cruz, Young, Moreland, Torrealba, Borbon. I know batting order doesn't mean much, but I think that's Ron Washington's proposed Order. Though, knowing Wash, he'll have Young in the 5 hole or something.

Feb 27, 2011 8:26 AM on September 21-27
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Napoli will back up catcher, DH, and first base. Young will also backup first base, second base, and third base. Moreland might see some time in Right field, and Davis has been working out at third base this spring (after having played there a lot last year at AAA.

Feb 27, 2011 8:23 AM on September 21-27
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Sorry, but I'm very disappointed in this article. It seems to miss the most important issue with regards to the decision to promote or not promote any prospect. The answer to that is the source and age. Prospects come from somewhere. The Draft, international signings, independent leagues, etc. And not all Draftees are alike, High schoolers, juco, college. If a prospect enters the system at 23 (like a Tanner Scheppers), he probably won't spend as much time in the system as a kid who enters the system at 16 (like a Richard Alvarez or Roberto Perez)

Feb 27, 2011 8:19 AM on Promoting Prospects
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

since someone mentioned the Pecotas... any reason why CJ Wilson is projected as a reliever? (90 IP, 44 games, 9 GS, 9 Saves?)

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

I was surprised Christopher McGuinness didn't make your list. He seems ok. Power bat, not young for his level.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 3

actually, the issue is not that Jeter got an undeserved award, but why he got one. The issue here is the method. Who votes on the award? Coaches? Who probably should vote on a defensive award? SCOUTS! Not coaches, not baseball writers, not fans. You poll 100 scouts out there, and all 100 will tell you that the best shortstop with glove is not Jeter because that's whats true. And scouts see many more players and many more games than coaches. Plus, its their job to evaluate players. Coaches and managers get paid to teach their team to play, not to evaluate the competition.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

What few people realize is how chancy this whole run really is. August 4th, 2010 is a date that should be etched into the minds of anyone who talks about the success of this Rangers team. On an otherwise unassuming Wednesday, 3 men walked into a courtroom with the intention of buying the Texas Rangers. Mark Cuban led his group of investors, and Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan led their group. The bidding for the team went back and forth with cries of partisonship by the court and lack of disclosure and all the drama that a good episode of Law & Order would provide. The bidding continued into the night, long after most court rooms would have been deserted, until Greenberg's money men arrived. The men behind the scenes. The real billionaires who will never be at League meetings or sit in the stands and get caught on camera or get interviewed about this or that, these guys showed up. And when they did, Greenberg was able to make an offer that Cuban couldn't match. Almost simultaneously with Michael Young's seventh inning grand slam, the auction was over and Greenberg owned the team. Why was this important? because without Greenberg, Ryan leaves, likely Jon Daniels leaves, Thad Levine and the scouts and everything that had been built is in jeopardy. Even though Mark Cuban didn't have to change anything about the franchise, it was unlikely that he could have stopped everything from falling apart. Of course, Mets fans would be happy, because if Daniels couldn't stay here in Texas, you know that he'd be the GM of the Mets.....

Oct 20, 2010 10:54 AM on Reviving The Rangers
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Nelson Cruz has a cannon for an arm, and his throws have been pretty accurate this year. As a fan of the Rangers, I thought the Yankees did the smart thing (damn them) by NOT sending A-Rod, as there's no way he scores on that play, unless Molina drops the ball.

Oct 20, 2010 10:34 AM on ALCS Game Four
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis stand out for their absence. This is due to your standards. Neither one started a game in 2009 in the Majors, and yet they combined for 26.3 Expected wins in 2010.

Oct 08, 2010 1:37 PM on The Turnaround Kids
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Mr Perrotto. Ask yourself the following: Andrew Bailey or Elvis Andrus for 2009 ROY? You cannot in good faith argue for Austin Jackson over Neftali Feliz, without acknowledging that Elvis should have won in 2009.

Oct 04, 2010 12:43 PM on Year-End Awards
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 3

I appreciate your candor on the whole issue. most places would gloss over issues like you had to deal with at the beginning of the year. you guys have overcome it. I'm still a bit burned over the extremely low BABIP listed for Oakland pitchers in their Depth charts. I never could get a straight answer as to what ended up causing it....

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Definitely agreed. Depth in prospects is so important, and 3 star guys are in many cases very important. knowing that the Astros have 3 3-star guys in their system but the Rangers, A's, Ray's, and Braves have 10-20 is important.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

I also wonder how big bad Vladimir Guerrero is doing. his SLG and runs scored are nothing special, but he's up to 104 RBI and top 10 in batting average, total bases and Home runs. of course, the real shame is Nelson Cruz. he's not Hamilton, but 3 extra inning homers, 2 walk off homers, 3 walk off hits, and the rest of his stats are right there too.

Sep 14, 2010 11:51 AM on JUMP Again
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 7

I think we're all missing the point here. There is an assumption that Pete Rose would really like to be in the HOF and that baseball is being really awful to him by keeping him out. In my opinion that's not whats going on here. Pete Rose is not an idealist. He's a realist. I'm not a resident of Cincinnati, but I'm sure someone who is from that portion of Ohio could tell you that Pete is still a public figure in the area. I'm sure he still does commercials. I'm sure he still does memorabilia shows. I'm sure he still has several sources of income associated with his fame as a former Red. Would being in the HOF change that? No. Pete Rose is famous. More famous than Joe Morgan, Don Sutton, Early Wynn, Robin Roberts, Joe Sewell, or any number of Hall of Fame players, not to mention those HOF managers. So what does getting into the HOF buy Rose? nothing. What Pete Rose REALLY wants is to manage again. To coach. To get out on the field and interact with players, throw batting practice, help a guy out with his swing, show him how to field a grounder the right way, etc. Barring that, Pete would love to join the media, be a color analyst. Its not like he'll be worse than Harold Reynolds or Joe Morgan or Rob Dibble or any of those ex-jocks providing "color" next to the real broadcasters out there. That's what Bud is going to prevent. I'm sure that if you asked Bud Selig which would be worse, Pete Rose in the HOF or Pete Rose in a dugout, he'd say "dugout" before you could even finish the sentence. Plus, to be honest, Bud Selig isn't keeping Rose out of the HOF. The HOF made the decision that Rose could not be on the ballot while he was suspended. That doesn't stop writers from writing his name onto the ballot. But curiously, there's been no campaign to get him put on the ballot that's had his endorsement.

Sep 14, 2010 11:34 AM on Reconsidering Pete Rose
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

and all teams will be battling for 7th place. out of 9.

Sep 14, 2010 11:21 AM on Reconsidering Pete Rose
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: -1

Thanks for providing a counterpoint to the jerking of knees going on here in the Metroplex. I'm truly surprised that the Rangers have the best PADE in the majors, what with Michael Young doing another Venus de Milo impression at third and Ron Washington's flirtations with David Murphy in center and Vladimir Guerrero in Rightfield and Joaquin Arias at first base.

Sep 08, 2010 10:45 AM on Not Dead Yet
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

My condolences on your loss Christina. losing relatives is tough. the paperwork just makes it worse. anyway. Yes, the Rangers didn't help themselves much by picking up Franceour. but the price was definitely right though. For all you Met fans, congradulations and welcome to your newest bestest buddy, Joaquin Arias. Or, as we in Texas like to call him, The Cockroach. Why? because now that you have him, you can never be rid of him. And whats worse, is that your manager will actually play him!!!! Why is that bad? because he can't hit, can't field, can't run the bases, can't be demoted, and is so beloved by managers, can't be sat either. Like a utility infielder version of Juan Pierre, without the stolen bases. Just when it seems you can DFA him, he'll hit an empty .290 and your manager says, "but we need his versatility, look, he can play short (as long as he doesn't need to throw to first), he can play second (badly) and he can play first base even! And he's scrappy!" Thankfully, Jeff Franceour may be all of those things, but what he's not is a favorite of our manager, so if he goes 1 for his next 100, he'll get released. (what a concept!)

Sep 07, 2010 3:27 PM on Waiving Good-Bye?
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Josh Hamilton's August line of .356/.433/.644 is not only not his best month of the season, its not even his second best. his July: .418/.468/.704 his June: .454/.482/.815

Sep 02, 2010 10:21 AM on Dog Day Aftermath
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 6

The problem is that the "small market" teams aren't really in small markets. Miami is an immense market. Pittsburgh, while a diminishing market, is still larger than St Louis, (no ones vision of a small market). Much as I favor expansion into South/Central Texas, none of the "small market" teams play in markets smaller than the places you propose to move them too. Personally, I think that Revenue sharing is still broken, because it was touted as "levelling the playing field" instead of what it actually is, which is "taking money from the players and giving it to owners who don't wish to compete". The following teams spent less than one third of the NY Yankees payroll this year: Toronto, Washington, Cleveland, Arizona, Florida, Oakland, Texas, San Diego, and Pittsburgh. 2 of those are playoff teams, 3 are around the .500 mark, and 3 are last place teams. as far as their actual market size, Texas is the number 4 market in the country (DFW), Miami is number 7, Phoenix is number 12, Oakland has half of number 13, San Diego 17, Pittsburgh 22, Cleveland 26. (incidentally, half of the San Francisco/Oakland market would be about the same as Cincinnatti, at 24). Greater Toronto is about 5.5 million, putting it about the same as Miami. The problem here is that many of these teams aren't tapping their market effectively. Texas has trouble competing with the ever-present football, and has ownership issues (now resolved, thank god!), Miami and Oakland have stadium issues, and the rest either aren't very good or weren't expected to be very good this year (yes, San Diego was expected to be dreadful). The cyclical nature of sport says that those teams which are bad will be good again, and those teams which are good with small payrolls will have to increase that payroll to stay good. But all this is not the issue. The point is that what should be happening is that teams in the top 10 large markets. actual large markets like NY, LA, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami, Toronto, Washington, and Atlanta should give money to the teams in actual small markets like Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Fancisco/Oakland, Denver, Baltimore, and Tampa. What you say, Miami has to PAY revenue sharing? yep. that's because there are 5.5 million people in Miami and only 1.5 million in Milwaukee. Move from Miami? god no. never. its too big. And move to San Antonio? San Antonio is between Cleveland and Kansas City. Throw in Austin and you have a place which deserves a team. but not from Miami. The place MLB should really get out of? Milwaukee. move them to Riverside and put them in the AL West, then move the Rangers to the NL Central.....

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

Its funny that you can say this: "17-year-old is finally impressing with the bat; 9-for-17 in last five games. " Personally, the only thing I say finally about when it comes to 17 year olds is, "he finally can shave now". He's 17 and in short season a ball (not a DSL or rookie league), that says something.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

2 things: 1) Hamilton has 38 games this year in centerfield, and while he doesn't have the range that Borbon does, he's got a great arm, and his range is fairly close to average in center. He'll probably play center in the post season, as David Murphy is hitting much better than Julio Borbon. 2) The Texas Rangers have made the playoffs three times before, in 1996, 1998, and 1999. in each of those three years a Ranger has won the MVP. An interesting trend which won't change this year.

Aug 23, 2010 11:32 AM on Handicapping the AL MVP
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 2

As a fan of the Texas Rangers, I would have loved to see Bonds here in 2008, even though the team wasn't really expecting to go anywhere. Considering that the Rangers had 8 different players play left field and 11 different DH's (not to mention 7 different first baseman) I think there was room for a Barry Bonds in Arlington. I guess the team couldn't afford the liability insurance. After all, fans sitting out in the right field seats could have easily gotten seriously harmed by his constant battery. as far as signing him in 09? let me say this simply. The Rangers signed Andruw Jones coming off a season where he hit .158/.256/.249 and let him DH for them. I'd take the press problems and legal problems to find a DH who could crack .550 OPS.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

one note. so far 2 of Cliff Lee's walks have been intentional (including one of the two in his previous start) Not sure how that will change things.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

If you ever want to give someone the shivers, try the following announcement: "Now catching for the Texas Rangers, Mike Lamb" I still have nightmares.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Cliff Lee's start against the A's was NOT a complete game (smack your fact checker for that one). He went 9 innings but the Rangers won in 10 innings. For Lee, that's the second time in 3 starts he's gone 9 innings and gotten a no decision. your SNW puts Lee at 11.4 and 5.6 in the win loss column... looking at his starts, he could very easily be 14-3. His shortest outing was 6 and a third on May 21st, and the one walk he's given up as a ranger was intentional.

Jul 30, 2010 9:31 AM on Changes Gonna Come
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

better than Arias

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 4

Also looking at July only, you'd have to make the assumption that Vlad is done and that Josh Hamilton is God (1.160 OPS). of course, if you looked at june, you'd also assume that Josh Hamilton is not just god, but the guy that god goes to the church and prays to. (.454/.482/.815)

Jul 27, 2010 8:41 AM on If July Were April
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

just to follow myself up. looking back at the 9 triple crown winners since 1920, I found the following: Yaz: 3 batting titles but only one HR and RBI crown. Frank Robinson: 1 of each in his triple crown year..... Mantle: 4 home run crowns, but only 1 rbi and 1 BA crown. Ted Williams: 4 home run crowns, 4 rbi crowns, 6 batting titles. Joe Medwick: 3 rbi crowns, 1 homer and 1 batting title. Lou Gehrig: 3 HR crowns, 5 RBI crowns and 1 batting title. Jimmie Foxx: 4 home run crows, 3 RBI crowns, 2 batting titles. Chuck Klein: 4 home run crowns, 2 RBI crowns, 1 batting title. Rogers Hornsby: 2 home run crowns, 4 rbi crowns, 7 batting titles. even including the 5 triple crowns before 1920, only Frank Robinson won only one of each leg. I guess the trick is to win each leg multiple times and hope that your seasons coincide.....

Jul 23, 2010 2:50 PM on King Without a Crown
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: -1

First off, its not something that happens all the time regardless. only 16 times in 135 years overall. Its easy to discount the first 5 triple crown winners, as at that time, home run hitting was less of a skill than it is now. so, since 1920, there have been 11. actually, there was at least one triple crown per decade from 1920 through 1970. (2 in the 20's, 4 in the 30's, 2 in the 40's 1 in the 50's, and 2 in the 60's.) The much more telling thing is that only the last two were since any amount of expansion. overall, the likelyhood of a triple crown happening should be about half of what it was before 1961, as there are 30 teams now, instead of 16 then. interestingly, on the pitching side, there have been 8 triple crowns (by 7 different pitchers) since the last one by a hitter. I think the issue is probably close to what they are talking about above. In many ways the paradigm has changed such that guys with high averages are not generally the guys who win rbi titles. In fact, since 1968, there have been 84 total batting crowns won. Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, and Rod Carew have accounted for 20 of those. only 4 players have won all three legs of the triple crown in any season, Andres Galarraga, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Barry Bonds.

Jul 23, 2010 2:30 PM on King Without a Crown
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: -1

Your statement about Hunter and his BABIP seems suspect. first off, the Rangers BABIP is .278, which shows some fairly nifty defense. second, the current rotation all but one has a low BABIP: Wilson, .247 Lewis, .261, Hunter, .246, Lee .266. Scott Feldman's BABIP is .336. by observation, it just doesn't look like any of these guys is getting hit hard but Feldman, who is really struggling.

Jul 23, 2010 11:17 AM on Snapping Out of It
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

so, MVP for Josh Hamilton and CPOY for Vladimir Guerrero?

Jul 22, 2010 11:22 AM on Cold Fusion
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

He doesn't fit their theme of control pitchers in the low minors. Likewise there's the man-child Wilmer Font, of the very big fastball, who's split time between Hickory and Bakersfield and averaged a strikeout per inning. and of course Joe Wieland, and his big fastball, plus the other Bakersfield hurlers: Wilfredo Boscan, Carlos Pimentel, Jacob Brigham, and Kennil Gomez. All are doing somewhat poorly in High A, but Bakersfield is such a horrible place to pitch that its no wonder. I'd like to throw a shout out to the new Hickory pitcher, Miguel De Los Santos. The 21 year old spent last year destroying Dominican league hitters to the tune of 8 hits in 134 plate appearances with 70 strikeouts. He's slowed down a bit this year stateside, but still has k'd 51 in 36 innings between Short season ball and Hickory.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: -1

It might also be noted that the Texas Rangers did manage to defeat the "Plexiglas principle" by increasing their DE by another 5 points after having their big gain last year. They did this by recognizing that Josh Hamilton is not the best centerfielder and moving him to left. Neither Ian Kinsler nor Nelson Cruz has given back anything defensively and it appears that Elvis Andrus is just getting better and better. Davis and Smoak have also improved from Davis' numbers of last year as well.

Jul 16, 2010 12:38 PM on Big Gains Afield
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Don't forget that right now, Lee replaces Omar Beltre in the rotation. Beltre is a nice story, but his 3 innings per start schtick got old fast. likely Beltre was done anyway, with Harrison going back into the rotation, but, like figureing out an unearned run from reconstructing the inning, deciding which replacement level pitcher they replaced with one of the 5 best starters in baseball is a huge upgrade to the team. Even if its not a specific upgrade for the playoffs, it still makes the team better, and that will help in the playoffs. If Rich Harden gets healthy and effective or Derek Holland can come back and be effective, then you push Scott Feldman out and your in even better shape. A playoff rotation of Lee, Harden, Wilson, Lewis, and Hunter should scare a lot of teams, especially with a pen which is chock full of guys who strike out more than a batter per inning and allow much less than a hit per inning (like Oliver: 25 hits, 43 k's, 39.2 innings, or Feliz: 27 hits, 42 k's, 37.2 innings)

Jul 15, 2010 1:32 PM on Resetting The Races
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Could ya'll update this page now that the Rangers have acquired Cliff Lee. it would be interesting to see how that changes the dynamic.

Jul 15, 2010 8:22 AM on
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

since the trade: Smoak: 1-8, 0 walks, 3 K's Davis: 3-8, 1 walk, 0 K's SSS applies. Incidentally, in Texas Davis is considered by far the superior defender at first base.

Jul 12, 2010 11:02 AM on Surrendering Lee
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

The answer to that is money. Texas already ended up taking on about $2 million of Lees salary plus Mark Lowe's salary and Seattle only took on the little bit which was Smoak's draft contract (and Beavan's, which wasn't much either). If you include Harden and Bradley, then the Mariners have to kick in another $3 million (half of $9 million minus half of $15 million?) plus the Rangers would be stuck with whatever remained of Bradley's contract going forward while Harden can be bought out for next year. Yeah, if I'm the Mariners I definitely do that, but not only would I not do that as the Rangers, I'm not sure Selig would allow it at this point in the process. If the sale gets done by July 31, then they might do that at the deadline, but not sure about the motivation for the Rangers. they don't need another bat, especially one which doesn't have a position, as they have Hamilton, Cruz, Davis, and Guerrero for their COF, 1b, and DH position and its not like either Guerrero or Bradley will play first.

Jul 12, 2010 10:58 AM on Surrendering Lee
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

I've heard that the reason Freddy was fired was that he was critical of the team for giving out 15,000 Vuvzelas before the game.

Jun 24, 2010 9:00 AM on The Ax Effect
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: -1

When was the last time a team failed to have a single player with double digit homers at the all star break? Currently, the Mariners leaders are Milton Bradley and Mike Sweeney with 6. this is an historically bad offense. with a bench that hurts. only one position on the team has an OPS over .800 (Ichiro in right field) Their DH's have hit .184/.240/.279 and that's not only Ken Griffey, Bradley is .145/.185/.210 as a DH.

Jun 21, 2010 3:29 PM on Friday Update
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

I would not entertain the idea of sending Martin Perez to Bakersfield. Bakersfield is a hideous place to play baseball, and the Cal league is a nightmare to pitch in. I'd say leave Perez in Frisco and maybe have Mike take a drive up from Arlington and give him some pointers to help smooth out the delivery. Its not like its a long way.....

Jun 21, 2010 12:16 PM on Monday Ten Pack
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

am I the only person who openned this article expecting to see analysis of Vladimir Guerrero?

Jun 16, 2010 3:30 PM on Vladimetrics
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

And Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Dude gets around. Probably Verlander too. And you know he caught Nolan Ryan early in his career too. Of course Ryan was throwing 100 back then.

Jun 10, 2010 11:38 AM on Wednesday Update
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Quick question because I'm too lazy to look it up. Didn't Rodriguez also catch Neftali Feliz last year? I wonder if anyone realizes that and will ask him to compare them....

Jun 09, 2010 11:16 AM on Wednesday Update
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

I've seen some titanic drives, but I remember only two. one was somone hitting the wearhouse at camden Yards (I think it was Lee Stevens). The other was Jose Canseco hitting the back wall of the visitors bullpen in left center field at the ballpark in Arlington. what makes it more impressive is that the jet stream at the ballpark is to right center, not left, and the bullpen is situated such that the pitchers throw toward home plate, so that back wall is a good 70 to 80 feet beyond the outfield fence.....

Jun 04, 2010 2:53 PM on Remembering The Kid
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Interesting. No mention of the Texas Rangers as the number two team on the strength of 3 runs on "other advancement". I'm reminded of the play where Ian Kinsler, on third base, breaks for home too early, then stops, making the pitcher, who was going to simply throw home to catch him instead of making a pitch, throw the ball away. Still not sure what that should have been scored......

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

The M's need to trade pitching for power. They need to sign Dye immediately and encourage Griffey to retire (barring that, release him). They need to put Cliff Lee on the table and offer him to Milwaukee for Prince Fielder. Fielder is a born DH at first and both he and Lee are free agents at the end of the year looking for a big payday. But, I hope they do none of these things, because, as a Rangers fan, a losing Mariners team makes me very happy.

May 11, 2010 12:11 PM on The No-Hit Teams
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Actually, as a 22 year old in Low A ball, he's not that much to write home about. BTW, the Youngest person currently playing for the Rangers or their affiliates is AA Pitcher Martin Perez, who's been kinda manhandling the Texas League so far this year.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Jurickson Profar, son of .....

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 4

You are a bit behind the time on Neftali. He was semi-anoited on April 12, and had 2 great outings, then sat for 6 days while the team got beaten up by the Yanks and Sox, then was on shaky ground as he blew two saves and had a shaky outing and perserved a 4 run win on the 25th. Since April 30th, he's had 4 straight saves, and allowed no base runners while striking out 6 in 4 innings. He's only thrown 16 balls out of the strike zone out of the 49 pitches thrown in those 4 innings. He also saved games on back to back games in that span, something he had trouble with before.

May 07, 2010 2:24 PM on Friday Update
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

Juan Pierre: minor league contract Ryan Howard: $25 million per year Ted Williams: Priceless

Apr 28, 2010 11:43 AM on Chris Davis
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

Interesting thing. I was listening to the pregame for that game, and they had Ken Harrelson on for an interview (this was the Rangers pregame). Harrelson said, "Our right handed hitters have to hit the ball to right against Wilson. If they try and pull the ball, they will hit a lot of weak ground balls to short and third base." First inning, 3 ground balls to third base (one by a lefty). Game over.

 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Sure.... We'll take that problem child of a third baseman in trade. if you could only pay some of his salary...... (like say about $100 million)

Apr 23, 2010 9:49 AM on Smoak Monster Cometh
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 0

Interesting thing for some fantasy owners. Frank now has 2 wins (and 2 losses.) No other Ranger has more than 1.

Apr 12, 2010 4:07 PM on Fading Francisco
 
Ira
(1386)
Comment rating: 1

Signing Garko also kills off the last of the Lowell rumors, which, as a fan, scared me to death.

Apr 02, 2010 11:03 AM on Claim and Deal
 
Ira
(1386)
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Feliz striking out 89 in 65 innings is interesting. I'm intrigued as to why every Rangers Reliever is scheduled to pitch either 65 or 60 innings and give up 7 or 8 home runs.

Apr 01, 2010 4:23 PM on PFM Update 4-1
 
Ira
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Great article! I think the time of the "error" is long past. I think the issue is not one of whether a given play was an error or not, but the binary aspect of it. Here's an example. A player hits a ground ball towards the second baseman. He hits it hard, so there is no question that it was solid contact. There are several outcomes here. The most likely one is that it will be fielded cleanly and the player will be thrown out. (there are other factors, with a man on base, it might be a double play, or a fielders choice, or even one of those bizzare fielders choices where no one is out. The second baseman may be shifted somewhere and not able to make the play as well). With modern equipment, better groundskeepers, and more athletic, and better trained fielders, plays like this are routine and result in outs almost all the time. The rest of the time, there are the following possibilities. 1) the ball hits something and bounces into the outfield untouched (called a hit). 2) the fielder whiffs on the play and the ball goes into the outfield untouched (called an error). 3) the fielder knocks the ball down, picks it up, and then throws to first (hit, error, or out depending on the speed of the hitter). 4) The fielder fields it and throws it away, (either a hit and an error, or just a hit, or just an error, or a 2 base error depending on the speed of the hitter, whether the ball is backed up correctly, whether the hitter's awareness of where the ball went is good, and the interpretations of the scorer.) That's a lot of possibilities for just a simple grounder to second. How about this instead. A ball hit to a fielder where a batter reaches base is ALWAYS a hit, (other than fielders choices), but may be an error as well. Then everyone is happy.

 
Ira
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I know the Rangers sale wasn't much of a surprise, is the upcoming sale of the Astros shocking to anyone?

Apr 01, 2010 8:57 AM on Predictions for 2010
 
Ira
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On your "Run for the Border". I think its fair to say that Chris Davis needs to be at least leuke warm, if not blazing, if he wants to keep playing first base. After his start last year, the team can't have too much patience.....

 
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Waxahachie was the former home of the Superconducting Supercollier project, which was to be the biggest high energy physics collider of all time. (in other words, the LHC, only better).

 
Ira
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Nothing on Tommy Hunter?

 
Ira
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Great writeup. Some notes about the Rangers Rotation. So far, Lewis has looked terrible, and I'm unsure he'll stick in the rotation. But if he falters, there are alternatives. Harden hasn't looked all that better, but he's coming around and there isn't much to worry about there. Wilson and Harrison have both been lights out this spring, in particular Harrison has shown an up-tick in velocity of about 5MPH after teh TOS surgery that ended last season.... Wilson has been showing that he can get guys out multiple times in one outing, which is why he's managed to win a rotation slot. Of the 4 guys who didn't make it, Hunter is not any more hurt than Cliff Lee, but he might spend a month on a rehab assignment waiting for someone else to go down. Feliz's secondary pitches are just not there, and his fastball hasn't been all that much better this spring. McCarthy has been flat terrible, and Holland, while hes been good enough to win a rotation slot, he got a late start due to an early injury and just never quite caught up. Probably the first option up from AAA will be Holland, followed by Hunter, and then McCarthy, who is working on his delivery. Feliz will probably stay in the pen through the ASB, or longer if the Rangers do stay in contention this year. We might also see Martin Perez and Tanner Scheppers by Septermber, and what a sight that would be....

 
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Both Hughes and Wilson have been named to their respective starting rotations. Hughes has been named the Yankee number 5 starter and Wilson has been named the Rangers number 3 starter.

Mar 29, 2010 12:50 PM on
 
Ira
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Thanks Clay, for all your hard work!!! If I may offer some advice for next year. Since you've gone through the hardship of automating this process, why not run your first set of projections immediately after the 2010 season ends. I'm unsure as to how future projections are affected by park factors, but it seems to me like you've been doing them all in a neutral park and league and then translating the results. If so, it makes sense to simply run a set of projections, lock in the data, and then spend the whole winter simply translating based on transactions. Then, if someone says, "why did so-and-so's numbers change?" you can simply say, "because he got traded to the Mets, and he'll be in an easier league but a harder park, or because he's slated to start the year in AA. Thanks for all the hard work....

 
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While your point is valid, your examples aren't. Chris Davis has some serious power. 50+ home run power. he hit 31 last year in an obviously down year, and 40 the year before (split between AA, AAA, and the majors, plus 36 in 2007. And he's just now turning 24. As far as A-Rod slugging .700, well, stranger things have happened. People forget that Alex Rodriguez is truly a once in a generation talent. Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner level talent.

Mar 23, 2010 7:13 AM on Weekly PECOTA Update
 
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The current traction with the Rangers rotation is that Holland is behind because of his earlier injury (which he's over now). McCarthy hasn't impressed anyone and Feliz is looking very not good. The team is majorly concerned that Feliz' secondary pitchers are not up to snuff so far. Wilson and Harrison have impressed the right people and are the current favorites for rotation slots. Feldman's improvment is based on his mastery of the cutter, so expect his improvement to be sustained. As of right now, we're looking at a rotation with Harden, Feldman, Harrison, Lewis, and then Wilson (though that's not pecking order. Lewis is ahead of Feldman in the pecking order, but they will separate the lefties before the season starts. Harrison has gained 5 MPH from his Thorasic Outlet Surgery (if Will Carrol is reading this, can we determin if that's systematic or recuprative, meaning either it just adds MPH to your fastball or that it restores velocity which has been impeded by the pinching by the TOS.

 
Ira
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how do we deal with the issue of the "bunt attempt for a hit gets scored as a sacrifice because the runner was unsuccessful?" Issue 2 Is it possible to take those run changed values in the table on bunting and apply them to a win probability matrix based on inning and situation to determine if the strategy really does make sense. Could it really be possible that bunting with a man on second and no outs in the first inning of a scoreless game could be a winning strategy if you are the A's playing at the Mariners and Felix Hernandez is on the mound? Does it matter who your starter is in that case? Maybe we could take this data, and combine it with the PBP data for the last year to come up with a list of the best and worst (with an emphasis on the worst) managerial bunting decisions..... or CS's... (Yadier Molina getting nailed in a game at Colorado on a pick off seems to loom large)

 
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The easiest way would be to look at the ratings for the second half of Mark Buerhle's perfect game. If they spiked, you know why.

Mar 18, 2010 3:12 PM on Sports TV's Golden Age
 
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There's another aspect to this. People HAVE been DVR'ing sports games for years now. But its much less possible now. The reason you could get away with DVR'ing a game was that you could insulate yourself from the score and still watch the game later. Now, with the advent of mobile television devices and streaming content and, more importantly, streaming scores and score update, its much tougher to insulate yourself from a game you are recording. You'd have to walk around blinfolded with your hands over your ears going "NANANANAANNA" in Edmonton that night not to know how the Hockey game was going. Since this penetration of scoring updates has gotten so good, sports have become time-sensitive again.

Mar 18, 2010 3:11 PM on Sports TV's Golden Age
 
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Re: Ryan and complete games. I wonder if managers are going a bit overboard with their desire to get matchups or use their pens, etc. For example: July 26, 2009. John Lannan pitches 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits. He's thrown 81 pitches. But the team is tied. So, Nationals manager Manny Acta pinch hits Nyjer Morgan for Lannan leading off the inning. Morgan flies out, but the Nat's score anyway. but Mike MacDougal blows the save. the Nats win in 10 anyway, but was it necessary? Why pull a guy who's been effective and has only thrown 81 pitches? In the 70's, Lannan pitches the 9th and if the game is still tied, the 10th as well (I'd bet).

Mar 18, 2010 1:26 PM on Mid-Week Update
 
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Juan Pierre is worth more to the Dodgers wearing a White Sox uniform than he was wearing a Dodger uniform.

 
Ira
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I'm a little more interested in Brandon Boggs and Craig Gentry. both of them show a lot more plate discipline than either Beltre or Borbon. Gentry also has great defense and speed, but his patience is new. Boggs has been a 1 for 1 BB/K rate fro years now.

 
Ira
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I'm curious. On the Rangers, What do you think of Danny Gutierrez? Can he figure it out and put himself into the top 101? and why no odds on Wilmer Font? I can see him poised for a major breakout. (his stuff is pretty incredible)

Mar 15, 2010 7:59 AM on Future Top Dogs, AL
 
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On Friday, I openned up the latest update to the Depth Charts and was immediately very upset. The more I look at it, the more upset I get, too. I'm not much of a fantasy player, so its not just the consistency aspect to it. No, what bothers me is that the Texas Rangers managed to magically lose 50 runs of offense during spring training. They lost this by losing a big chunk of their power, and this came from decreased power output from their main power hitters. Indeed the Rangers, who have been consistently projected as having the highest slugging average in the majors, are now predicted to be 6th, tied with Toronto. This is also the first projection which shows them under 800 runs scored, and its significantly below that level. That doesn't pass the sniff test.

Mar 15, 2010 7:48 AM on PECOTA Update
 
Ira
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OUCH! this last update put a beat down on the entire team. WTF?

Mar 12, 2010 8:29 AM on September 21-27
 
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I think Crede would be a great guy to come in and back up Michael Young on the Rangers. Unfortunately, they really need a guy who can backup in the middle infield more. Is there anyone out there who could help? If Khalil Greene gets his "stuff" together, can he come back to the Rangers?

Mar 12, 2010 7:44 AM on The Unsigned
 
Ira
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if injuries can be included, I'd like to point out Chan Ho Park and Darren Dreifort as being all timers in bad contracts. Dreifort got $57 million over 5 years to produce a WARP of 0.1 (and missed two of those 5 years completely) Park got just under $65 million over 5 years to produce a WARP of 0.2

 
Ira
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Hey! Who's this Joe dude? I remember (vaguely) someone by that name who used to post articles here, but that might have been some other guy. :D

Mar 08, 2010 3:57 PM on Welcome
 
Ira
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In the Evereth/Elvis comparisons, I noticed that Cabrera seems to be set to lead off for the Padres, where as I know that Elvis will be hitting 9th for the Rangers. This (IMO) is the biggest factor in their huge disparity in plate appearences. But, I wonder how much of a difference the parks and offenses will mitigate that. the Padres have a bad offense in a park which depresses scoring, while the Rangers are projected to have a much better offense in a park which increases scoring. The two shortstops have the same percentage of their teams PA's, so a 200 PA difference seems a bit overstated. This only matters from a fantasy perspective if you are in a deep league or just need steals really desparately.

Feb 26, 2010 10:51 AM on Shortstop Rankings
 
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Its not a matter of trust. The problem is that you measured something different than what your purpose was. It would be like me trying to measure who was the best fisherman by seeing who brought home the largest store bought catfish. Let me quote you back to you: "A more basic question we could ask about all of these battles is whether the ostensible winner will end up pitching more than the loser. Put slightly differently, what difference is there between the pitcher who pitches the fifth-most starts on a team and the pitcher who pitches the sixth-most starts?" The two sentences here seem to follow from one another, but in reality they don't. With the volatility of todays teams, the times where the pitcher who starts the fifth most games and the pitcher who starts the sixth most games are almost never the two pitchers who were vying for the fifth spot in the rotation. I gave you two examples above. In one, (the Rangers), the "winner" of the number 5 spot (Kris Benson) quickly pitched his way out of the rotation and even off the team, while the "loser" ended the season as the teams number 1 starter. In the other, (the Yankees), the "winner" ended up as the number 4 starter all year, and the "loser" was the number 5 starter for a month or so before settling into a role as the primary setup man. Now, if your analysis was to go through each team, identify who their number 5 and 6 starters were coming out of camp in 2009 and telling what happened to them, that would have been a great article. (and in fact, what I was expecting when you started talking about this years camp battles). Instead you took a much easier way out by "identifying" each teams 5th and 6th starters based on number of starts, ignoring trades and injuries, and then tried to perform regression analysis on it. Once again, as I said above, seeing you talk about Rich Harden as a number 5 starter for the Cubs bothered me. (though apparantly the Cubs had him as their number 4 starter behind Zambrano, Dempster, and Lilly) A little checking reveals that the Cubs number 5 starter at the beginning of 2009 was Sean Marshall with Randy Wells as their number 6 starter. Marshall ended up the year as a 6th or 7th inning pitcher, behind Chris Marmol and Kevin Gregg. If Rich Harden upset me, I'm sure Phillies and Mariner fans objected to the idea of Cliff Lee as a 5th starter, as well.

 
Ira
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Incidentally, I found it amusing that you started off your discussion with the talk about the fight between Joba and Phillip Hughes for the 5th spot in the Yankees Rotation and then under the Yankees you listed the 5th starter as Sergio Mitre and the 6th as Chien-Ming Wang, when my research showed that the Yankees 5th starter in 2009 was Joba Chamberlain and their 6th starter was... Phillip Hughes.

 
Ira
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Love the article! I specifically love the way its presented. When talking about how a stat relates its judgment of a player, it has to pass the "sniff" test. (and you understand that...) A stat that jumps out and says something ridiculous like Ichiro is a below average outfielder or that Yunieski Betencourt was an MVP candidate needs to be re-thought. By taking the stat and putting it up against some note-worthy names, it shows better exactly why the stat is usefull and important. Basically, its possible to look at a players raw stats (hits, doubles, triples, homers, plate appearances, walks, K's, stolen bases, etc.) and determine how good he is. But few can do it, and its almost impossible to communicate. The first level of description has been to take a couple of "important" statistics and combine them with a fairly arbitrary rate stat and say, "This his how you judge hitters!". It didn't take long for people to realize the limitations of Batting Average, Home Runs, and RBI's. Comparing, say, Joe Carter vs Brian Downing, for example: .259 vs .267, 396 vs 275, and 1445 vs 1073. You might think that Carter might be a bit better, considering the huge advantage in homers and rbi's with a roughly similar batting average. The second level of description is to look instead at OBA, SLG, and Plate Appearances. With this its easy to see the winner in our above confrontation. Downing's .370/.425 in 9309 PA's vs Carter's .306/.464 in 9154. Especially when you say that OBA is certainly more important than slugging. Or is it? you could argue that Carter's slugging outweighs Downing's OBA, especially given that Carter stole bases and Downing really didn't. That takes us to a third level of description, which is what you are presenting. With that, its Downing's .287 vs Carter's .265 Ok, game over, end of discussion. to look at single years from each of them, say, Joe Carter's 1996 vs Brian Downing's 1975. Stat Carter Downing BA .253 .240 HR 30 7 RBI 107 41 Runs 84 58 PA 682 516 OBA .306 .356 SLG .475 .324 SB 7 13 CS 6 4 Pos LF-1B C TAv .251 .259 BRAR 1 18 FRAA -21 4 WARP(3) -2.2 2.5 Yes, Downing was a catcher, and apparantly not a bad one, at least for that year. by triple crown stats, Carter is a runaway, with a fairly respecatble .253-30-107 line, but in the end, its obvious who was the more valuable, and by nearly 5 wins no less.

Feb 25, 2010 12:14 PM on Call it True Average
 
Ira
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Great article! I wonder if, in the course of creating PECOTA's for minor league prospects, the issue of the variance of K rates for minor league pitchers was presented. Just looking at the Rangers system, we go from Miguel de Los Santos' 52% strikeout rate (70 K's in 32 innings) to Andrew Laughter's 8.8% strikeout rate (18 K's in 44 innings). Other teams may have more extreme examples. does this change the methodology associated with SIERA?

 
Ira
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"I had social anxiety disorder" You did? maybe it involved quoting out of context. The statement about Khalil Greene was grammatically correct, if a bit awkward. The problem was trying to shove too much information into a single sentence. For the grammatically challenged: Greene has social anxiety disorder. He has not reported to camp and does not plan to at this time. The Rangers will have to replace him as their backup infielder. They plan to do so using in-house candidate Joaquin Arias. Arias is out of options so had to be either put on the 25 man roster or run through waivers. The team believes that he will be claimed if waived. They also don't believe that there are any external candidates who they could bring in at this time that are better than Arias (which should worry you). There is also the possibility that Greene could show up before training camp ends and fight for his job back, and the Rangers don't want to committ Greene's money to somone else. (The Rangers can void Greene's contract if he doesn't play -Not sure about that).

Feb 25, 2010 10:54 AM on Mid-Week Update
 
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Since memories fade and impressions can be wrong, I decided to check Holland's game logs. Holland only had that problem up until July 25th. in his July 30th start (the famous one against the Mariners where he pitched 8.2 innings of 2 hit ball to end any Halladay for Holland trade rumors). That started a 5 start run of dominance where he went 4-1 with a complete game shutout, another quality start, and a 5.1 inning 1 run allowed start. After that, he basically went into the tank, going 0-5 with an ERA above 12. His first start on May 22nd is what the best example of all of this. Holland is cruising with a two hitter through 5.2 innings when Michael Bourn bunts for a hit, followed by an infield hit by Kazuo Matsui. Then Lance Berkman hammers a ball over the fence in left, and its good night, Derek, don't forget to tip your waitress, there goes the shutout.

Feb 25, 2010 10:41 AM on The Crystal Orb of SIERA
 
Ira
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You missed Derek Holland. I don't have his stats handy, but I remember his SIERA in the book was 4.10 or something, where as his ERA was 6.12 Holland's problem last year was surely mental. He seemed to be cruising along and then all of a sudden, go to pieces. A bloop, a double off the wall, then a ball in the seats, and before you know it, he's given up 5 runs.

 
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I know I'm coming into this dicussion late, but to be frank, I was hugely dissapointed by the article. As soon as I looked at the data used I knew there was a problem. Rich Harden? Vincente Padilla? Cliff Lee? Tommy Hanson? This is an example of not doing your homework. Not all teams treat their 5th starter the same way. Some teams (most notably the mid-90's Braves) worked a 4+ rotation where the 4 top starters always pitched on their normal rest and the 5th starter pitched whenever needed. Other teams had a more true 5 starter rotation and allowed their pitchers more (or less) rest so that they would continue to go in order. Whats more important is that rotations evolve over the season, and the 5 guys who start the season as the rotation usually don't all end up taking their turn each year. A perfect example is last years Rangers. In 2009, the Rangers broke camp with a Rotation as follows: Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Harrison, and Kris Benson. Their number 6 starter turned out to be Scott Feldman, as he was the first person put into the rotation when it was obvious that Kris Benson sucked (something that most of us fans saw during spring training). An hour or so with retrosheet (or some other boxscore like site) would allow you to have reconstructed each teams starting 5 in that way, with the number 6 starter as the first pitcher outside the starting 5 to start a game. In the case of the Rangers, its quite obvious that the difference between their number 5 and 6 starters was immense, but in the opposite direction, as Feldman ended up with an SNLVAR of 5.6 in 31 starts, and Benson had a -0.4 SNLVAR in 2 starts. This example would have been an extreme addition to your main thesis.

 
Ira
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I guess they'll keep running it until they get the numbers they are looking for :) (A's on top?)

Feb 22, 2010 8:07 AM on Weekend Update
 
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I have a very simple solution to teams who spend very little: a salary floor. Each team will spend at least a certain amount on player compensation. If the team's current salary is below that number, the difference is distributed to the minor league players who are in the employ of the club with one exception. Any player who got a $1 million signing bonus gets nada, bupkiss.... This helps the organizational soldiers and the low round draft picks and the guys who hope that one day they will make it to the majors just for a month. ....

Feb 22, 2010 8:04 AM on Weekend Update
 
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Thanks for the response. I understand about Andrus, even if I don't agree. With Hunter, I think the only issue is going to be whether he starts in the Rangers Rotation (which I think he will) or the Oklahoma City Rotation. The two relief apperances he had at frisco are the only ones he's had since short season ball (granted that was only 2007).

Feb 19, 2010 2:06 PM on Texas Rangers
 
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Elvis Andrus as yellow and Michael Young as green doesn't seem to make much sense to me. Elvis is younger and has never had any injuries at all. Young is much older and missed 2 weeks in September with a Hamstring tear, and generally plays through injuries every year (2008 with the broken finger, etc.) Also, there's no explanation for Hunter's yellow? Age? it can't be Verducci, as his innings pitched total didn't increase significantly. (for that matter, neither did Holland's or Feliz') I'll assume that Matt Harrison is red, and Eric Hurley is blinking red...

Feb 19, 2010 12:15 PM on Texas Rangers
 
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BTW, it seems that there is also a very interesting battle of the midgets that has begun for the starting Catchers job for the Rangers between Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Toby Hall. Teagarden is at least a great defender, but none of them really project to hit. On the note about C J Wilson to the rotation, I've heard reports that Nolan Ryan loves the idea, but with a hugely crowded field of talent and the quality work he has done in the bullpen, I think that it will take a monumental spring and a breakdown elsewhere for anyone to take it seriously.

Feb 19, 2010 11:59 AM on AL West
 
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The issue with the Angels is that most of the reason that they've been out-performing their runs scored and runs allowed projection was their bullpen. Last years pen, however, was no prize, and the best pitcher in it, Darrin Oliver, left to the Rangers. He and Kazmir were the only pitchers on the team with an ERA below 3.00 The team is also getting older, particularly the outfield, and they have defensive sink holes all over the place. That, more than the loss of Lackey, more than the loss of Oliver, might sink them. However, this is just projection. not prediction. You want to say that the Angels will win the AL West, that's fine. Because that's a prediction. Me, I'll stick with the projection and say that the Rangers 87 win total listed here is conservative, and see them winning many more. Holland's 4.12 SIERA confirms what I saw last year, that his stuff was much much better than the results that he produced, and he's poised to really break out in 2010.

Feb 19, 2010 10:55 AM on AL West
 
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How do you plan on dealing with teams that have never won a championship like the Rays, Rangers, and Mariners?

 
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to summarize: Texas: great offense, great defense, good pitching. Seattle: great pitching, great defense, bad offense. Oakland: great pitching, average defense, very bad offense. LAAngels: good pitching, good hitting, bad defense. How likely is Colby Lewis to win Comeback player of the year based on Pecota?

Feb 18, 2010 9:40 AM on AL West
 
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I firmly believe that the iPad is an interesting starting place for the technology. People complain about what it can't do, as if by doing so they can make it go away. But the truth of the matter is that what it can do will start to include many of the things that people want it to do that it can't do now. The first models are 8 gb? then the next will be 16, and then 32, and so on. It doesn't have a camera, then maybe the next version will, or a camera will be made available to plug into it. no stylus? easily solved.... no art program? someone will write one. etc etc etc.... The point is that its a movement in technology much as the origional ipod made the old concept of a portable music player stand on its head.

Feb 18, 2010 9:09 AM on June 3-9
 
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I found it very comforting that two pitchers that didn't fall under that effect are Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter, each of whom did not increase their innings load significantly in 2009.

Feb 17, 2010 2:17 PM on June 6-8, 2002
 
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Any chance that Pedro Martinez has a resurgence and picks up those remaining 83 wins? (maybe by pitching 6 more full years at just a little better than league average a la Randy Johnson?)

Feb 17, 2010 11:34 AM on Tom Glavine
 
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I still don't get why this issue is limited to major leaguers. it seems by only studying them, you are a) artificially limiting your sample size and b) dealing with selection bias. and c) not utilizing your Davenport Translations to the fullest. It seems to make much more sense to start with draft age and then plot each players translated stats from that point. With that, you don't have to worry about selection bias and you don't have to worry about guys who simply fall off the map. By using translated minor league stats, a guy who gets demoted to AAA isn't gone at all. And you defeat most of your selection bias since there are guys who hang around forever in the minors because they aren't good enough to make the majors and are too stubborn to retire.

 
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Following Justin Smoak will be interesting, but... you have to be intrigued by what the two Venezuelans, Alexi Ogandi and Omar Beltre can bring to the table after being banished for the last 5 years. That and how much control Colby Lewis really has.

Feb 16, 2010 4:02 PM on Weekend Update
 
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Actually, the Rangers sale included quite a bit of real estate around the ballpark (though not the ballpark itself). The price of the sale was also pumped up to cover the enormous debt that was accumulated to various investors by the Hicks Sports Group. (which is the entity that actually owned the team). The fact that Hicks personally is part of Greenberg's ownership group makes some of the transaction seem a bit shady, but to us fans, we could care less. The upshot for us fans is: 1) Hicks no longer has any say in the day to day operations. 2) the new ownership group has committed to the following: Greenberg handles the business (including marketing) and Ryan handles baseball operations. 3) MLB will be paid off as part of the settlement, so that means that Bud Selig can't block any transactions or dictate payroll. 4) Greenberg's group will be sufficiently capitalized to allow for both mid-season improvments and the signing of draft picks. 5) the current baseball braintrust will be retained (a la Ryan, Daniels, Washington, etc...) As an added bonus, Greenberg is moving from Pittsburgh to Dallas to be closer to the team, and he's not planning on buying any other franchises with leveraged capital. The purchase of the Stars and the Liverpool Premier League Franchise were a major reason why Hicks Sports Group was undergoing so much financial difficulty. Which is all the more reason why us Rangers fans wanted Hicks out so badly.

Feb 16, 2010 8:10 AM on Valuing Franchises
 
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I've been asking about this for years, and I'm wondering if it will show up in the player cards. I was hoping to see the translations for the projections for minor leaguers which matched them with the level that they are expected to be at. While this has little to no value for fantasy owners, I assume that the projection of minor leaguers isn't for that. us prospect hounds are more interested in what, for example, Marcus Lemon will hit at either AAA or AA than what he might hit in Arlington. I know this is a bit rougher task, but it would be cool to include, next to each player who didn't play in the big leagues last year's major league stats, his stats at the highest level he was at last year, and at the level above it. So, for example, Martin Perez was skipped from low-A to AA, but at 19, its unlikely he will be in the majors next year. It would be interesting to see his projection for AAA and AA next to his projected 5.27 ERA for the majors. That's even more interesting for a lower level guy like Wilmer Font or Robbie Ross.

Feb 15, 2010 4:32 PM on June 4-5, 2002
 
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What about the other end of the spectrum? What do we do with the Taylor Teagarden types who are great defenders but struggle with the bat? Is he doomed to the career of Brad Ausmus?

Feb 10, 2010 7:45 AM on Catching conundrum
 
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One interesting thing that happened last year was on April 30 in the game at Tropicana field between the Rays and Red Sox. In the bottom of the eighth with one out, with the Rays up 12 to 0, and a runner on second, The Sox sent Jonathan Van Every to the mound. He had been playing right field. They then sent Javier Lopez to right field. Every finished the game, retiring Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist, but gave up a double to Iwamura and a walk to BJ Upton. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TBA/TBA200904300.shtml

Feb 08, 2010 1:33 PM on Why Not Two Pitchers?
 
Ira
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Pining for the fjords....

Feb 08, 2010 9:11 AM on 2002's Best Bargains
 
Ira
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I'm very surprised at how yellow and Red the Rangers whole staff is. I understand a Red for Harden. I understand a Red for Brandon McCarthy. Red for Frank Francisco I understand less. sure he was hurt for a bit last year but he finished the year healthy and is supposedly healthy right now. Yellow for Feliz, Holland and Hunter makes very little sense to me, other than simply age. Holland actually pitched fewer innings in 2009 than 2008 (142 to 150), as did Feliz (108 to 127). And Hunter's innings increased only slightly (183 to 174). Plus Hunter is a very sturdy guy (6'3", 255) with Holland a bit less and Feliz relatively scrawny. Yellow for Feldman though? No way. He wasn't hurt at all last year, is beyond the injury nexus, and didn't have an appreciable increase in innings (189 to 164). At 6'5" 210, his body poses no threat, and he doesn't even throw that hard. Sure, I expect some regression in his ERA, but injury? Nostradamus wouldn't predict that.

 
Ira
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But, then again, Houston let Mike Lamb play third for a while, and he's the worst defensive player I've seen since Kevin Reimer hung up his lead glove.

Feb 03, 2010 1:15 PM on Pleading the Fourth
 
Ira
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When Michael Young went down last year, there was no question about Hank Blalock playing even one game at third base. After floundering around with Omar Vizquel and Esteban German, they installed Chris Davis there, and had Blalock play first base. I think they would rather let Ron Washington come out of retirement to play third than let Blalock play there again.

Feb 03, 2010 1:14 PM on Pleading the Fourth
 
Ira
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Is it fair to say that every one of the top 15 of both the Rays and Rangers would fit neatly before number 9 on the Astros list, with room for a dozen more from each team? and what happened to Jose Vallejo?

Feb 02, 2010 10:10 AM on Astros Top 11 Prospects
 
Ira
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Howard was a beast before Teddy got to him: 36 homers in 1967, and 44!!! in 1968. However, the big change for Howard was patience. 54 walks in 1968 against 141 strikeouts. In 1969, Howard walked 102 times and struck out only 96. (while clubbing 48 homers.)

 
Ira
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Its also farly unfair to say that Teddy was a bad Manager. in 1969 he took over a last place (10th out of 10) ball club and led them to an 86-76 season, increasing their wins by 20, and increasing their runs scored by 170 while only slightly improving their run prevention. Unfortunately the message didn't stick, and his teams run scoring dropped all 4 years as a manager to a low of 461 runs score in 1972, their first in Arlington. In the 1968 off season, turnover was limited to Eddie Brinkman and Lee Maye replacing Ron Hansen and Ed Stroud, with Eddie Brinkman playing a significant amount in 68 and Stroud playing a significant amount in 69. The overlap: Name 1968 1969 Casanova .196/.210/.252 .216/.254/.282 Epstien .234/.338/.366 .278/.414/.551 Allen .241/.301/.343 .247/.337/.389 Brinkman .187/.259/.202 .266/.328/.325 McMullen .248/.326/.382 .272/.349/.425 Howard .274/.338/.552 .296/.402/.574 Unser .230/.282/.277 .286/.349/.382 Stroud .239/.284/.376 .252/.353/.393 Sure 69 was a better offensive environment than 68, but not one of these 9 returns had a lower ANYTHING. 27 out of 27 stats raised.

 
Ira
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I'm sure they are using Colby Lewis' figures from Japan translated. That's what they used for Dice-K and others who have come over from Japan. Its a bit unusual for an American born pitcher to go over to Japan with so little Major League experience and then come back at an age when he might still be successful.

Jan 29, 2010 7:58 AM on May 28-29, 2002
 
Ira
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a) he allowed 4 unearned runs, which left his RA at 1.38 (still great, but not historic). b) his WHIP was .832, higher than Neftali Feliz's was last year, and PECOTA projects Feliz to have an ERA over 4 c) a batting average on balls in play of .219 isn't quite sustainable. d) he missed an entire year!!!!!!

Jan 29, 2010 7:47 AM on May 28-29, 2002
 
Ira
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How is Feliz going to get 6 quality starts without starting any games?

Jan 28, 2010 4:45 PM on September 21-27
 
Ira
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Looking at it a third time, the five A's predictions I scoff at the most are 1) Joey Devine's era below 3. 2) Trevor Cahill's K rate increasing 3) Justin Duchscherer being that effective after a year off. 4) Ben Sheets pitching nearly 150 innings. And the overall BABIP rates for Oakland represent a new standard for defensive excellence, basically 10% better than the best in history thus far. And that's with Jack Cust playing left field.

Jan 28, 2010 4:44 PM on May 28-29, 2002
 
Ira
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Verily. Cahill at .261, Duke at .255 and Sheets at .269 just seem wrong to me..... Joey Devine with an ERA south of 3?

Jan 28, 2010 2:43 PM on May 28-29, 2002
 
Ira
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You could combine your Carrol's Health & Injury Prediction System with your DIPS ratings for pitchers. Now, if I can just figure out an acronym for Chains.... Carrol's Health And Information News System that goes well with Will's Health & Injury Prediction System.

Jan 28, 2010 2:38 PM on Padre Problems
 
Ira
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Thank you so much for your response on this. I've had this question in mind now for months, and I've asked it before on other articles but never got a definitive answer, though I suspected it as much. And I don't necessarily disagree. In fact, it makes alot more sense than my own thoughts about the subject. I dispute with you the fact that there are guys hanging around in the minors who are average offensively but don't really have a position they can field. Most of them do find jobs. I know for a fact that there are at least 14 of them. They are the DH's for AL teams. Young guys who can't field have it much worse than older players, simply because there is an athletic aspect to it. Players get less athletic as they age, so, if you are 22 and can't run faster than Benji Molina, odds are that you aren't going to get faster as you grow older. I also wonder how pitching is handled. are FRAA included in their WARP? would it matter? does pitchers hitting stats in the NL change a Pitchers WARP? how is that handled historically? so many questions.... But thanks again!

Jan 28, 2010 11:42 AM on The Master Plan
 
Ira
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Puppies be damned, we want our index!!!! Every time someone publishes a reference book without an index, God kills 27 kittens. Kittens >> puppies.

Jan 28, 2010 7:59 AM on The Master Plan
 
Ira
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are we still going to base WARPs off of BRAR + FRAA? I always found that rather curious.

Jan 28, 2010 7:53 AM on The Master Plan
 
Ira
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How can we not be incredibly excited about the prospect of a third NY area team. I hope that the Rays are moved from St Petersberg to Southern Connecticut. Peering at google maps, the best place I saw is a little grove of trees near Indian field road by Cos Cob Harbor, just off the 95 west of Stamford. (I think the biggest obstacle to putting a third team in the NY area is finding available real Estate.) The name, however, should be very easy. Gone are the Tampa Bay Rays, added are the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers!!!!

Jan 27, 2010 1:19 PM on Mid-Week Update
 
Ira
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Lets start by saying I'm not a Met fan. But I like this move for the Mets. Sure, you aren't going to get much from GMJ, but there's virtually 0 risk. If he still stinks, you cut him and you lose $2 million and Brian Stokes, who is no one's idea of a future star. Personally, I'm surprised MLB let this one go through. That's a lot of money changing hands. I can't remember a trade that involved that much cash since the A-Rod trade.

 
Ira
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I am truly shocked that you didn't tag the first basemen of the Rangers in your list. Chris Davis and his -2.1 WARP and Hank Blalock and his -2.0 WARP (split between first and DH) go far beyond what's normally called for in a Vortex of Suck. In fact, the .247 EQA that the rangers got from their first base tandem was worse than any other position on the team but catcher.

Jan 26, 2010 9:35 AM on Vortices of Suck
 
Ira
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Hey, for a DH, Palmeiro was a damn fine first baseman. To be fair, Palmeiro had won the Gold Glove the year before as a first baseman in Baltimore (and he actually played first base in 159 games that year) and most voters blithely assumed that he had been a first baseman most of that year, since he did play a full season. The Rangers wanted Lee Stevens to get a full year at first base once Will Clark left. Ahh Will Clark. Now there's a guy who retired waaaay too early.

 
Ira
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you missed where he said, "should have been".

 
Ira
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I think that if we do create an award like that it should be named after one of two people: 1) Al Hrabosky Love that name. Love that 'stash!!! 2) Mike Marshall The record holder for most games pitched in a season. I think we should also designate an award for the top left handed reliever, based mostly on his ability to retire left handed batters, and his games to innings pitched ratio. That should be the Jesse Orosco award. His last 5 seasons in the bigs are testaments to fathers all over the country who have forced their children to throw left handed: Year Age Games IP 1999 42 65 32 2000 43 6 2.1 2001 44 35 16 2002 45 56 27 2003 46 65 33.2

 
Ira
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When thinking about Jim Edmonds, one doesn't get that "HOF" type feel to him. Maybe we're all a bit jaded, but compared to a guy like Griffey, or A-Rod, or Ivan Rodriguez, he just doesn't seem to exude that quality. Maybe its that he never led the league in anything, or that he didn't fare that well in triple crown stats, or that he didn't usually play as many as 150 games a season. Also, I lost track of him when he went to the Cardinals, I didn't realize how he did ther. As far as his HOF chances, in this high offense area, he's got some long odds, as there are some more high profile guys ahead of him, like Griffey, Andruw Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Alex and Ivan Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and others. He seems like the definition of a Veterans committee type, the guy who was underappreciated in his day, and by the writers in general

 
Ira
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It might be easier (and I know its too late already) if you included a link to your original rankings articles. I went back to look at them and it took me some searching....

 
Ira
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I had to read your article twice to understand it, and, unfortunately, I think it paints an innacurate (or at best, incomplete) picture of rating General Managers. For 1, it is not always the job of a General Manager to win the most games he can for the price paid. Some GM's are told to win at any cost. Sometimes that means going out and spending money and assembling a relatively expensive roster. Unless that team wins a huge number of games, he's not going to do well in the evaluation you listed. If that team does poorly, well, that means that he chose poorly as to where the money went. On the other hand, some GM's are told to strip cost and attempt to rebuild the organization. Eschewing current wins for future promise. These teams will often have low payrolls, but also poor results. If the team gets lucky with their prospects (or they are just very good at it), their team might become successfull before those players get expensive. Also, your formula says nothing about trades, or farm systems, or the like. GM's are responsible for all of that.

 
Ira
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You know, this is actually an endorsement for corporate ownership. after all, corporations don't get married, therefore they don't have messy divorces. It could have been worse. imagine if Frank McCourt caught Jamie with a player and then demanded that that player be released (or traded!)

Jan 20, 2010 1:32 PM on To Live and Die in LA
 
Ira
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Put a third way, Taking Chris Davis' half season in 2008 and simply doubling it (total wise, not rate wise) would have put the Rangers in the playoffs in 2009. Or is .288/.331/.549 over 600+ PA's not enought to produce a +3 warp from a decent defensive first baseman?

 
Ira
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Maybe I've been under a rock, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the MVP voting results was that Alomar was just spitting distance from enshrinement. Yes, I'm going to hell for that comment.

Jan 13, 2010 2:47 PM on 10 Men Out
 
Ira
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I was wracking my brain looking at the raw stats of Bonds and Reggie and they looked so similar in the early 70's. In particular I looked at 1973, when Reggie hit .293/.383/.531 and won the MVP, and Bonds hit .283/.370/.530 and didn't and tried to figure out why Reggie's EQA was .331 and Bonds' was .314 when it hit me: Candlestick played as a hitters park in the 70's. We're used to it as a pitchers park. Oakland was still a pitchers park back then, which made the difference in context. (not that the MVP voters cared. likely the difference was the division title for the A's vs a 3rd place finish for the Giants).

Jan 13, 2010 2:45 PM on 10 Men Out
 
Ira
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To answer your question, I think the most underreported aspect of baseball is minor league injuries. The confluence of your job (prospects) and will carroll's job. think of how big the issue of health is to major leaguers and extend that to prospects..... since health is a skill in the majors, isn't it still so in the minors. How important is it if Madison Bumbarger has to have TJ surgery, or if Matt Weiters blows out his knee. Was Max Ramirez underrated or overrated because of his wrist injury.

Jan 13, 2010 1:06 PM on Stories Big and Small
 
Ira
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sorry tcfatone, but your logic is still flawed. It is not up to any corporation to uphold the law. At best they might have some obligation to report the crime to the authorities, but they have no standing to punish the criminal themselves. Indeed, doing so would constitute a breach of contract and open them up for legal action of their own. That is why companies have drug policies. Think of it this way. Your company has no drug policy of any sort. You go to work, you smoke pot while on the job. Your manager sees you smoking pot and sends you home. Without any policy to go by you can sue for lost pay since he had no standing to send you home (unless they had one of those omnibus moral turpitude clauses where a manager can do whatever he wants). Lets say your manager instead of sending you home, calls the police. The police come and arrest you, you can still sue the employer for lost wages (you will probably lose though) but more importantly your company would be without your services during that time. So, if drugs are illegal, lets say your company puts in a policy that if you do anything illegal, they get to suspend you. No problem. Just make sure you obey the speed limit in the parking lot. And don't spit on the sidewalk. So, where does that leave us. Your company needs a drug policy. Even over and above the law. Because while its illegal to do steroids, it doesn't stop someone from hitting a baseball.

Jan 13, 2010 11:18 AM on Heading Out
 
Ira
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Re Vlad in Arlington. Rangers fans (both of them) are cheering this move because there has been a call out for a right handed lefty-masher to replace the loss of Andruw Jones (felt right after he was signed) and Marlon Byrd. Add in the fact that he's a nearly .400 hitter in Arlington (over a hefty 220+ PA's and even hit .440 there last year (just showing that it wasn't only earlier in his career) Of course, he hasn't exactly killed lefties the last two years, and is only slightly better against them over his career. Which puts him in the same boat as Nelson Cruz. Oddly, Josh Hamilton hit lefties well last year, but Julio Borbon, David Murphy, and Chris Davis all struggled. Vlad wasn't brought in to platoon, but he's on a short leash. He helps bridge the gap until Justin Smoak is ready.

Jan 12, 2010 6:14 AM on Impaled Rangers
 
Ira
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How soon we forget. Davis hit 36 home runs between Bakersfield and Frisco in 2007 at age 21, then followed it up with hitting 23 in 77 games between Frisco and Oklahoma City in 2008 (while hitting .333!) BEFORE he was called up to the majors and hit 17 home runs in 80 games as a rookie. Smoak has a better batting eye, and is more selective, but He's not quite as advanced and certainly not as athletic or as good a defender. Basically Smoak's 2010 is like Davis' 2008 except that Smoak will start in AAA and be a year older.

 
Ira
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Since being drafted, here are Davis' home run totals (including majors and minors): 2006: 15 (in 69 games) 2007: 36 (in 129 games) 2008: 43 (in 157 games) 2009: 30 (in 157 games) despite his horrid slump. He turns 24 during spring training this year. His power is pretty real. He's never been horribly patient, and he's prone to getting called out on strikes, but it looks like he'll hit for average. What I found funny was his number 1 Age 23 comparison on Baseball reference. (hint, he plays in the bronx).

Jan 11, 2010 12:00 PM on Rangers Top 11 Prospects
 
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Is it possible that that can change? He held his own at AA and he can't buy alcohol for another few days yet. The sick thing about the Rangers system (IMO) is the sheer volume of pitchers who could pitch for the team before their 25th birthday. In 2009 we saw: Derek Holland Tommy Hunter Neftali Feliz Matt Harrison Pedro Strop Add into that some minor leaguers who pitched in AA last year who could debut next year before they turn 25: Martin Perez Blake Beavan Kasey Kiker Omar Poveda Danny Gutierrez Beau Jones Michael Kirkman Zach Phillips Tanner Roark Now, obviously they won't all make it (unless they let the Rangers carry 20 pitchers) but plainly there's a log-jam at the upper levels of the Rangers system in pitching with even more coming up from the lower levels.

Jan 11, 2010 11:47 AM on Rangers Top 11 Prospects
 
Ira
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I think the better answer is, "Players with his ability won't be in the minors for long enough to produce any meaningful data."

Jan 11, 2010 11:08 AM on Rangers Top 11 Prospects
 
Ira
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Well, ignoring his age, and according to BP's fielding stats, Elvis comes out as an average hitter for a shortstop and an average fielder for a shortstop. Is that "good"? is that "bad"? Can you really say one way or another. As we all know, "average" has value, hence his 2.4 WARP2. You can't just look at the .329 OBA and say, "he sucked". Kinda like you can't just look at Holland's 6.11 ERA and say, "he sucked" well, I guess you can, but if you discard him for that reason its going to come back to bite you.

Jan 11, 2010 11:05 AM on Rangers Top 11 Prospects
 
Ira
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well, the .315 BABiP was definitely higher than other Rangers, but most importantly, the 11.1 HR/FB % is a bit freaky, which lead to a 1.7 HR/IP rate, which is 4 times his minor league rate of 0.4 It reminds me alot of what happened to Roy Halladay, when in his second year he just kinda fell apart. But even with that, Holland retained his control, and his ability to strike guys out, so I really see a break through coming from him. Many times Holland would be cruising along, then give up something, let some guys on, and then fall apart. That's to be expected in such a young guy.

Jan 10, 2010 11:52 AM on Rangers Top 11 Prospects
 
Ira
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Usually you mention unranked guys and the like, with this one you didn't. No Nick Swisher, no Nelson Cruz, etc....

 
Ira
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Hey, for us career folks, if you have any contract work you'd like to farm out, I'm sure there are plenty of extra hands who are willing to do whatever is necessary as needed.

Jan 08, 2010 11:00 AM on Ken Cloude
 
Ira
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Any of you guys play world of warcraft?

Jan 08, 2010 10:57 AM on Ken Cloude
 
Ira
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is it Martin Perez? He's a stud.

 
Ira
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One more point of clarification. In your initial statment about pitchers you said, "Going into the 2005-06 offseason A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn, Matt Morris, Esteban Loaiza, and Braden Looper all signed deals of three years or more. Burnett, Looper, and Millwood all provided a WARP3 of at least 2.0 to their new teams in 2006. However, none of them provided a WARP3 of 2.0 in the second or third year of their contracts." Well, first off, Burnett posted a Warp3 of 2.4 in the second year of his contract. Also both Millwood and Washburn provided 4.7 and 3.5 WARP3 for their signed teams in the FOURTH year of their contract, and Looper came awfully close to providing 2 WARP3 (1.9) in the third year of his contract. I think your conclusion can be specious. I think that there is value to signing a Free agent to a multi year deal in a rebuilding team if you are careful. I just think that few teams do it right. Gil Meche being a prime example of a mistake.

 
Ira
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I know this is very late, but: Texas Rangers: 22 The age difference between starting Shortstop Elvis Andrus and backup Shortstop Omar Vizquel.

Jan 04, 2010 4:21 PM on 2009 in Numbers
 
Ira
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Any word on the Rangers and Vlad recently?

Dec 23, 2009 9:55 AM on Midweek Update
 
Ira
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And here I thought that you took all the profits from your team and then went and invested in OTHER teams in other leagues. That's what they taught me at the Tom Hicks school of sports business management. (before it went bankrupt)

Dec 23, 2009 9:13 AM on May 13-19
 
Ira
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So, Christina, in a no holds barred cage match between you and Joe, who comes out the winner?

Dec 23, 2009 9:09 AM on The Vazquez Trade
 
Ira
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Joe, you may rail about the ownership of Liberty Media, but as bad as they are, I'll take them over Tom Hicks. At least they can make payroll. Hicks may have wanted to win, but when you leverage your team to buy another team, then to buy another team, then get so far into debt you can't afford to service that debt, things are overly bad. The Rangers have made a significant profit every year since the strike (mostly because of their new stadium) and yet this past summer they were chalk dust away from going into receivership. Having to borrow money to make payroll? Losing out on signing their first round pick because they coudn't afford the signing bonus? Hopefully Chuck Greenberg won't get too greedy and stick with being the owner of the Rangers for a while. Also, hopefully his investment group will captialize the team such that they can operate this year and make the deadline deals that will push them into the post-season.

Dec 23, 2009 7:12 AM on The Braves' New World
 
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I think that the Braves go on the market right after the Astros get sold. (which will occur after the Rangers sale is made official)

Dec 23, 2009 6:55 AM on The Braves' New World
 
Ira
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Rabbit Maranville? Phil Rizzuto? Luis Aparicio? Not sure what you are looking at. These guys (like Ozzie, and Red, and Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers) were at least great defensively.....

 
Ira
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Here's some of the worst all stars: Name WARP JAWS AS Max Alvis: -3.1 -1.2 65,67 Jack Armstrong 0.7 4.7 90 Toby Atwell: -0.5 0.5 52 Beau Bell: -1.1 1.3 37 and others. This would be alot easier with a decent all time database which included WARP.

 
Ira
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On the true business side, how usefull is the marketting aspect of signing a free agent? For example, I sign this guy, then I have a big press conference introducing him, I mention to all my season ticket holders how we just signed so-and-so, so come out and see him play, I contact anyone who had bought mini-plans and see if they are interested in more, I push the signing at the mid-winter banquet, and at the winter carnival. I make sure all the local news affiliates pick up the story and include some positive "we're so excited about next year" quotes from players, coaches, and the front office, etc.... Has anyone tried to measure this?

 
Ira
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ok, here's what I don't get. 2009 ERA GS BB K 2008 ERA GS BB K Player A 3.83 27 47 139 3.75 24 40 130 Player B 4.09 26 67 171 2.07 25 61 181 Any guesses? hint: Player A just signed for 5 years at $16 million per. Player B signed this off season for 1 year at $6.5 million because he's an "injury risk"

 
Ira
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What do you think of the Rangers scuttling this deal with Boston, and picking up Ryan Garko to be their Right-handed DH?

Dec 16, 2009 5:59 AM on NL Action
 
Ira
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Hey Joe, Your article says, "The standard for being a bat, only a bat, is very high, and I’m not sure Lowell, who may now be the slowest player in baseball, meets it. This is one of those deals that sounds good, "Hey, a free Mike Lowell," but when you look at the specifics, it doesn’t work for the team involved. The Rangers are giving up all of Ramirez’s potential, diminished though it may be, for the kind of player, a right-handed DH, that exists for free throughout the industry." Granted that I'm in agreement on everything you said, the question I have is can you give me a few examples of veteran (5+ years) right handed DH's who are available for 1 year, $3 million who can out produce Lowell's fairly consistent .800 OPS? And don't say Vlad, because he certainly wants more than that. Whats worse is that the deal is on hold while MLB considers whether or not to approve the $3 million increase in the Rangers Payroll.

 
Ira
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Rangers don't have pitching depth? I count 10 possible starters (Rich Harden, Scott Feldman, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, Neftali Feliz, Dustin Nippert, Matt Harrison, Eric Hurley, C.J. Wilson) plus another 5 or 6 who will be waiting for their chance in Guillermo Moscoso, Martin Perez, Blake Beavan, Luis Mendoza, Kasey Kiker, and Michael Kirkman. That's not to mention Danny Guitierrez or Tanner Scheppers.

 
Ira
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When I saw the title of this article I didn't think of Derek Holland, I thought of Dustin Nippert, who started 10 games and relieved in 10 games througout the season.

Dec 11, 2009 11:23 AM on On the Swing
 
Ira
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I question this list. I know that Pecota figured Michael Young as a shortstop, but you can't really have a discussion of third base for the year without including him. His .322/.374/.518 line vs Pecota's .279/.335/.395 was a bigger "surprise" than any listed here......

 
Ira
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The word I have heard is that the deal for Harden is a 1+1 deal for $7.5 million in 2010 with a mutual option for $11 million in 2011. In my mind, you get Ray + Harden + the ever popular PTBNL (who will probably be a rule 5 type semi-not-quite-prospect) for Millwood, but you also get two extra years of Ray, which may or may not be a good thing, and the chance at an extra year for Harden. (though, with a mutual option, if he does well, he leaves, if he does hideous, he leaves, and if he's just marginal, he stays.) With the depth at starting pitching the Rangers have, but the lack of experience (Feldman, Hunter, Holland, Harrison, Feliz, Nippert, McCarthy, Hurley, possibly Wilson, with more on the way like Poveda and Perez and Beavan and Kiker and Main) having Harden only start 25 games is fine. It allows you to tell Wilson to go back to the pen, leave Feliz in the pen to start the year, and begin with a rotation of Harden, Feldman, Hunter, Holland, and McCarthy, with a Pen consisting of Francisco, Wilson, Ray, Feliz, Nippert, and Harrison as the second lefty, while easing someone like Pedro Strop or Willie Moscoso into the mix in long relief. And have Hurley start the year in AAA to make sure he's healthy (which he probably isn't). On to the Lowell-Ramirez deal. I haven't heard anything about this, but it seems like there's something going on with Max Ramirez. He's about to be in his fourth organization and he's still in the minors. Sounds to me like his prospect status is starting to wear.

 
Ira
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I hate to say this, but I probably have had more to do with the creation of BP than Peter Gammons. Way back in the days of rec.sport.baseball, Gary Huckaby and I used to discuss baseball and sabremetrics and who was better, and the like. I lived and died with my Texas Rangers, (which I still do), where he lived and died with his Oakland Athletics. David Nieporent and Scott Susor. those were the days.

Dec 09, 2009 11:23 AM on Out West
 
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Thomas was probably unemployed because he can no longer hit and was incapable of anything other than hitting before that. As for Bonds, personally, I think he is under some kind of super-secret suspension (see Animal House) where the league office has said privately to each club, "We won't approve the signing of Barry Bonds." Either that, or they've both simply asked for too much money, and teams won't pay. I believe that for Thomas, but not for Bonds

Dec 09, 2009 10:56 AM on LABR Update
 
Ira
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I'm a ranger fan and still think that's not nearly enough. I'd offer Holland, Main, Ross, and Poveda. That's one very young major league pitcher and 3 guys who would probably rank in the top 10 among Royals prospects.

Dec 09, 2009 10:49 AM on AL Shopping Lists
 
Ira
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If I'm a player, I'd boycot the HOF ceremonies and the exhibition game played there in protest. In fact, I might even stage a one game league wide walk-out in protest of Miller's exclusion. Yes, he was that important. It would be like NASA failing to recognize Niel Armstrong on principal.

 
Ira
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Adrian Gonzalez for Justin Smoak, Julio Borbon, and Martin Perez was a real spit take type trade for me. Sorry, but 18 year old left handers who hold their own at AA just don't grow on trees. Perez has a chance to be a truly special player. A left handed King Felix, etc.. Smoak is a great hitter, and by mid season, he should be lending his On base skills to the Rangers lineup. Julio Borbon is expected to break camp as the teams centerfielder and leadoff hitter. All that for Gonzalez, who doesn't really fill a need, and is 4 years older than the guy he'd be replacing.... doesn't sound like the kind of guy you give up 2 top notch prospects for plus a young, cheap, major leaguer. On the other hand, Davis, Hunter, and two lower level prospects (Wilmer Font, Michael Main, Richard Alvarez, Neil Ramirez, I could go on and on and on )

Dec 07, 2009 9:47 AM on NL Shopping Lists
 
Ira
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I too laud the Rangers for signing Inglet. I'm not concerned about looking for space on the 40. They are protecting everyone they plan on. The only thing signing Inglet might do is limit who they could draft from another team, and its unlikely that another team is going to leave a player better than Inglet exposed to the Rule 5 draft. (or make that two players since they still have just 39 on their roster. maybe even less.

Dec 07, 2009 7:31 AM on Scooting and Going Zaun
 
Ira
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lol!

 
Ira
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I know he didn't meet your criteria for walk and HBP rate in 2009, but he had a solid rate in 2008 and has at other times in the past. Also, now that he's away from Rudy J he's likely to have a solid OBP. That's Marlon Byrd. He's also decent defensively at all 3 outfield positions. Any ideas where he's going?

Dec 02, 2009 11:26 AM on OBP
 
Ira
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How real is the lefty-righty issue as far as which should be favored by a team looking to bring in a free agent. It seems to me that certain teams with short porches in right field (NYA, Texas, Detroit) should try and acquire left handed pitchers, while teams with short porches in left field (Boston, Houston) should look for right handers. is there any real truth to that?

Nov 24, 2009 3:33 PM on Starting Pitching
 
Ira
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Example of that: Ivan Rodriguez as a great defensive catcher because of his ability to throw out basestealers.

Nov 24, 2009 12:12 PM on Fielding Distrust
 
Ira
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I'm sorry, but dude, you are a dope. DiMaggio was smooth and minimal effort, and people went to see him play. Willie Mays went all out, and people went to see him play. People go to watch winners, and good defense helps a team win. It doesn't matter if you're centerfielder is big like Josh Hamilton, or tiny like Joey Gathright. What matters is if your team wins. Good fielders help the team win. It isn't a beauty contest. It doesn't matter how you do it. You can field well because you get good first steps (Andruw Jones) or because you run fast, or because you go from stopped to full speed very quickly, or because you are very good at catching balls while diving. Here's my personal issue. The value of a fielder is in how many outs they record. In some cases, where a ball cannot be caught in the air, the value of that fielder is in minimizing the number of bases the runners can take on that ball. I remember linear weights used to have a stat known as "Net Hits stolen". I always liked that, because it measured the number of hits converted into outs for a given fielder over the league average. Something like that, combined with a measure of reducing bases taken.

Nov 24, 2009 12:10 PM on Fielding Distrust
 
Ira
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well, the cost of a first round draft pick lost due to a free agent signee is really no more than $1.5 to $2 million, since that draft pick can't be better than the number 16 pick. the gain from that pick can be immense. (players drafted between the number 16 pick and the number 15 pick in the second round include: 2008 Andrew Cashner 2008 Robbie Ross 2008 Tanner Scheppers (didn't sign) 2007 Blake Beavan 2007 Rick Porcello 2007 Michael Main 2007 J.P. Arencibia 2007 Jordan Zimmerman 2007 Grant Desme 2006 Ian Kennedy 2006 Kyle Drabek 2006 Brett Anderson 2005 Matt Garza 2005 Colby Rasmus 2005 Nolan Reimold and I could go on, but I won't.)

Nov 24, 2009 9:32 AM on Help Up the Middle
 
Ira
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Questions about 1999. How badly did it rate Ivan Rodriguez? He did hit .332 with 32 homers, 25 steals, 113 RBI's and his customary gold glove. (plus the otherworldly 34 stolen bases allowed in 75 attempts and 10 runners picked off of first base. If Pudge had been a shortstop with outstanding defense, how would that have changed the numbers?

Nov 23, 2009 1:11 PM on Post-Mortem
 
Ira
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As a fan of the Rangers I cannot say how much I want the team sold. Hicks has done exactly two things right since he bought the team. One was hiring John Daniels to replace John Hart. The other was bringing in Nolan Ryan to be president. Everything else that Hicks has done has been a disaster, from signing A-Rod, to getting rid of A-Rod, to hiring Hart and hiring Grady Fuson, to continually slashing budgets. And don't forget the Matt Purke debacle. The Rangers don't need to go hog-wild this off-season, but there are needs which can be addressed, either through free-agency or trades, and this team is going to need the payroll flexibility to do so. With Blalock and Padilla off the books, there should be money to sign a couple of players, but with Hick's "business as usual" it would be nice if they were active players and not of the likes of Andruw Jones, Sammy Sosa, etc.

Nov 23, 2009 8:46 AM on Weekend Update
 
Ira
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Incidentally, I expect a big rebount for Chris Davis next year. Clint Hurdle will be a big help to him (in ways that Rudy J hindered him), and he had a big second half after his repromotion. Plus, he's kinda playing for a job in 2011, as Smoak will see the majors next year and be pushing to play fulltime in 2011.

 
Ira
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about #5. quantity with quality can overcome more quality. my example: Teixeira. (as Brave fans the world over cringe).

 
Ira
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Great article Christina, and not just because I agree with your pick. :) Your statement about Michael Young, however, is a bit of a misnomer. Young was playing third base for the first time, and doing so very poorly at the beginning of the year. This definitely contributed to his overall defensive numbers being poor. I expect that Young will be fine next year, but, like Beckham, I think they both underestimated how difficult the transition from SS to third is. (A-Rod of course spoiling us because he had so few difficulties with it). One surprise in my mind is that you evaluated all of those pitchers without mentioning their BABiP: Porcello - .280, Niemann - .304, Bergeson - .288, Romero - .337, and Anderson - .314 oh, and Bailey - .222

Nov 17, 2009 11:53 AM on AL Rookie of the Year
 
Ira
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yeah, they sure made a difference in the lives of some of their past winners, like Pat Listach, Ben Grieve, Scott Williamson, Jason Jennings, Angel Berroa. On the other hand, some truly great players have been named ROY like Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, etc. In fact, I would simply say that there's almost no correlation in winning ROY and future performance. Sure the last few AL ROY's have been good, but there have been some stinkers before that. In this years crowd, on the NL side, no one stands out. On the AL side, I think Andrew Bailey's kind of a flash in the pan, Elvis has a chance to be around for a while, and Rick Porcello and Gordon Beckham as well. We'll just have to see. Personally, I root for the best rookie on my team, as long as there's a legitemate chance he can win. Which mean's Go Elvis!

Nov 16, 2009 9:10 AM on Awards Season
 
Ira
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I hate to argue with your award, but based on the above chart, I'd have given the award to the Cardinals. Any team with Chris Carpenter on it coming off shoulder surgery shouldn't have been that healthy. Grats Cards.

Nov 13, 2009 12:21 PM on Unsung Heroes
 
Ira
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In thinking about the idea of post-season awards, I've come to a conclusion. All of the awards are fine, with the exception of the MVP, which is misnamed. They are fine, because they are all "beauty pageants". What do I mean by that? Well, its possible to measure a woman's dimensions and shape and skin tone and hair color and gait and whatever to come up with a comparison of all of the attributes of the contestents and then declare a winner by the weighted average of all of these attributes with some accepted standard. But that's not whats done. The contestants are judged, and each judge has his or her own standards by which they judge the human form. From this judging, they vote on who'd the "best" and on down the line. Its very subjective. Post season awards are done exactly the same way. Judges (the BBWAA for most awards, the players and coaches for the Gold Gloves and I think Silver Slugger) make their votes subjectively. We can say that they made mistakes, or that they are biased towards past winners, or that they don't even do a good job judging, but in the end, its still a beauty pageant. For the Gold Gloves, in particular, players are more judged on skill than performance. Who cares if Jeter can go into the hole and do a jump throw to get a runner. If Elvis Andrus can stop 60 more ground balls in 22 fewer innings, then Andrus is the more valuable. But Jeter got the Gold Glove because no one votes for the chick from Ethiopia regardless of how pretty Ethiopians think she is (that's an analogy. I don't really know the record of Ethiopian entrants in the Miss Universe contest. I know, however that its mis-named, since I keep rooting for Miss Alpha Centuri and she never wins).

 
Ira
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DH -S Milton Bradley and $$-S Stacks O'Cash for RHP Kevin Millwood (this one was mentioned back in september...... Personally I think its highway robery of Chicago, as I see Millwood going back to his 5+ ERA next year.

Nov 11, 2009 3:11 PM on April 16-17, 2002
 
Ira
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On the other hand, I could see Cruz plus a mid-level arm, (say Kiker or Beavan) for Crawford. You get a cheaper guy with more power plus an arm for a guy who's very expensive. The only problem is that the Rangers can't add payroll right now. not until a new owner is announced.

Nov 11, 2009 3:09 PM on April 16-17, 2002
 
Ira
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Sorry Tiger fans, but Elvis was robbed.

Nov 11, 2009 10:09 AM on AL Results and Wrap-Up
 
Ira
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1) anything that comes out of Josey Wales' mouth at Lonestarball is utter crap. And you can take that to the bank. that being said, its a huge shout out to Lonestarball that you, the great Will Carroll, even notices it. 2) At this point, as a Ranger fan, I'm not sure I'd take a straight up trade of Neftali Feliz for Evan Longoria. He's that good. Pedro circa 1993 and onwards good.

Nov 11, 2009 9:45 AM on April 16-17, 2002
 
Ira
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Marcus Lemon may be well-hidden in the Rangers system, but he's not old for his league, he's had some success, and though he's not a great prospect, there are certainly some suspects out there he's going to outplay. He seems like the kind of player who debuts in his mid to late 20's, has a few years in the majors, then fades away.

Nov 10, 2009 7:36 AM on November 4
 
Ira
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I'd like to make a fantasy trade for $$$-SS Stacks O'Cash but I can't seem to find him on anyone's Fantasy roster. Does that mean I should just go ahead and draft him? :D

Nov 09, 2009 1:54 PM on Party Hardy, Gardy
 
Ira
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I'm guessing that this data, properly filtered, and maybe even more broken down, is available to advanced scouts for teams. If its not, can you imagine how much that could help a team. If they could look at the next days lineup and go beyond the normal advanced scouting of, "Player X is a firstball hitter" and say "Player X has a 80% chance of swinging at a first pitch fastball inside the strikezone, and a 50% chance of swining at one outside the strikezone. Player Y has a 30% chance to swing at a first pitch fastball in the strikezone" and a 5% chance for one outside the zone.

Nov 09, 2009 12:23 PM on Detecting Discipline
 
Ira
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I was actually thinking of the opposite. Imagine a strong armed outfielder who throws left-handed used as a LOOGY from time to time.

Nov 06, 2009 8:43 AM on April 14-15, 2002
 
Ira
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There are some good hitting pitchers out there, like a Micah Owings and a Carlos Zambrano or Mike Hampton. But even they aren't much better hitters than the average AAA bench player. But as a manager, if I knew I had a pitcher who could hit well and was willing, I'd use him as a late inning pinch hitter whenever necessary. But this is nothing that isn't happening already. Owings has 40 pinch hit appearances over the last 3 years. Mike hampton has had 13 PH appearences in his career, but none since 2004. Zambrano has 22 PH appearences, but they are all in the last 4 years. Of course, neither Hampton nor Zambrano is nearly the hitter that Owings is. In the AL, its almost impossible to have a two way player. First off, you'd have to identify one. It would have to happen pre-draft. Then, that player has to be allowed to both pitch and hit and run the bases, but since AL clubs usually don't spend much time in ST on pitchers hitting and pitchers as baserunners, its awfully hard to recognize offensive talent in their pitching staff. In the minors, its even harder. teams try and deflope either pitching or hitting, but not both, and no team wants a hitter to slow down his offensive talent by wolrking pitching, or a pitcher to slow his pitching development by working on hitting. I remember when Michael Main was drafted by the Rangers. He claimed he wanted to go both ways, but after 35 fairly mediocre plate appearences (really only allowed because he wasn't able to pitch due to an arm injury) he was a pitcher from then on. There are other players who transition one way or another, but those are fairly few and far between.

Nov 06, 2009 8:39 AM on April 14-15, 2002
 
Ira
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So, by your standards we should also exclude, say Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott. Also, I'd also say Mike Schmidt, but he was a fair fielder at third as well, or Mantle or Mays, except they could each field and run a bit. ok, enough with the sarcasm. Your argument is a) specious and b) stupid. There's nothing wrong with being a one-dimensional slugger as long as you provide value to the team. You gave the example of Rob Deer. Comparing Rob Deer to Mark McGwire is ridiculous. Deer's high in homers was 33, and he had 230 in his career. Also, Deer was actually a pretty decent outfielder, who had double digit outfield assists 4 years in a row. (though he's no HOFer.) The other person you mentioned was Mickey Tettleton. "Fruit Loops" (yes, that was his nickname) was hardly one dimensional. He switch hit, he drew 100 walks per season 4 times, and he was a CATCHER! As to his HOF resume. well, there are alot worse guys in the HOF, but he's probably been relagated to the Hall of the Really good, but not quite Fame, along with guys like Buddy Bell, Carney Lansford, Steve Garvey, etc.... On another issue. I looked at the list of career Home run hitters, and realized that our BBWAA have a real challenge on their hands. 10 of the top 25 home run hitters in history, conviently, 10 guys who've hit 500 home runs or more, are not enshrined in the Hall. All of these guys are either active, or recently retired. That's not to mention guys with real shots to join them like Carlos Delgado, Albert Pujols, and Vladimir Guerrero. Who's in? Who's out? Who's going to have to wait but will make it in anyway? Who's going to be discriminated against because of the PED issue, and how will that affect things? I think we can all agree that a HOF w/o Barry Bonds makes no sense, even with the question of whether he used or didn't. Also, I think we can all agree on Griffey. A-Rod will make it too, there can't be much question of that. Will Sammy Sosa make it? How about Rafael Palmeiro? Jim Thome? Can they elect a true DH in Frank Thomas? what about Manny, the only member of the 500 home run to actually serve a suspension for PED use? Would you vote for Gary Sheffield, and how unlikely does that sound to you old time Brewer fans?

Nov 02, 2009 10:37 AM on Just Riffing
 
Ira
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Down in texas we're talking about possibly having Thad Bosley as our next hitting coach. Somehow this seems to fit the profile of the new "pitching and defense" Rangers. I'm thinking that Mike Maddux could probably keep the ball out of McGwires wheelhouse, but Dave Duncan vs Thad Bosley? ouch..... on the other side of this, I hope that McGwire gets into the HOF soon. if anyone deserves it, he does. Man that guy hit the ball a long way.

Oct 30, 2009 2:51 PM on Just Riffing
 
Ira
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Every time I hear the name Tanner Scheppers, I also think of Matt Purke and cry a little. Was Purke really that much better than Scheppers? How big of a rotation would we need to field Purke and Scheppers, and Feliz, and Holland, and Perez? and all the other under 23 year old pitchers? in Arlington.

Oct 26, 2009 2:33 PM on October 23
 
Ira
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sorry, but every time a catcher puts his glove in such a position that when the pitcher throws the ball directly into the catchers glove and the ball never goes through the strikezone, but the umpire calls it a strike, I die a little inside. Whats worse is that you'll see the catcher set up right on the outside corner, and the pitcher will hit the mitt and get a strike. The next pitch he'll set up another 3-4 inches outside and the pitcher will hit the mitt and get a strike. Then the NEXT pitch he'll set up 3-4 inches outside of that and if the pitcher hits the mitt, he gets a strike. Now you've got a hitter called out on a pitch in the opposing batters box and he's standing there going, "where's the fricken plate if that's a strike?" And if the umpire dares to call a ball on a pitch which the catcher doesn't have to move for, the catcher starts to complain.

Oct 22, 2009 1:42 PM on The Horror
 
Ira
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Actually, I will go farther than that. I think your analogy is flawed. I think that job interviews in particular cannot be so stressful as to weed out otherwise qualified candidates. Think of it this way: you have two candidates for a position, one fully qualified, one less so. The fully qualified one goes in and gives a terrible interview, stuttering, feeling nervous, etc. The less qualified candidate gives a very smooth, polished interview. Which one do you hire? Well, if the job doesn't require skills which match those involved in the interview process, you hire the one who is better qualified, even if he has a horrible interview. (or if nothing else, you interview him again).

Oct 22, 2009 1:31 PM on The Horror
 
Ira
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Bon Appetit my good man (or should that be Bon A' Pettitte?) :D

Oct 19, 2009 12:32 PM on Palate Cleansing
 
Ira
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I do understand that, though I'm sure the shapes are quite different for rates of outs, singles, doubles, and triples in ground balls vs fly balls, with a huge number of ground ball singles and ground ball outs, a few groung ball doubles and a very few ground ball triples vs fly balls, which will contain lots more outs, some doubles, a few triples, and many fewer singles than the ground balls. of course we also know that balls in play can be split much more finely than grounders and fly balls. You have bunts, grounders, pop ups, line drives and fly balls. Ignoring triples for a moment (since their rate is very low), I would guess that the majority of doubles would be on fly balls, with most of the rest on line drives, small numbers on ground balls and negligable amounts on pop ups and bunts. It seems to me if you are trying to evaluate outfield defense, you might start with the overall rate of doubles (and triples)hit to the outfield and then add in park factors and then start looking into park factors.

Oct 19, 2009 12:19 PM on Park-Adjusted Slugging
 
Ira
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I have a different question about this. It seems that this can have biases based on the g/f ratio of the staff. A staff that forces players to hit th ball on the ground more would have lower slg than on which allowed more flyballs, some of which would turn into either ttoubles or triples. Ira

Oct 19, 2009 10:37 AM on Park-Adjusted Slugging
 
Ira
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your statement is patently untrue. The markets of the teams listed below, only Arizona and Cleveland are what I would call middle market. None are small market. Detroit has 5 million people living there. so does south Florida. Anaheim splits the second largest market in the US after only new york. Half of over 17 million people is still a HUGE chunk. How can you call Anaheim a "middle market" team? Unless you define large market as "the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, because I said so"

 
Ira
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As long as you acknowledge that Florida is a LARGE market team with a low payroll and that St Louis is a SMALL market team.

 
Ira
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I have an odd solution to the problem of draft bonuses: Arbitration. Basically, it goes as follows. Without a hard slotting of draft picks, those top picks have 3 issues in contract negotiation: Contract length, Contract type (major or minor league) and Bonus. The value of the contract is almost never an issue. Most teams and picks can also agree on the issue of a major or minor league deal, and its length. What kills most negotiations is that of bonuses. A november 1 draft has the problem that it costs all lower round and early signing picks 5 months of development time. Leave the draft in June, (maybe pushing it till after the end of the College world series but keeping it before the AS Game). Then allow any picks that wish to the chance to use Arbitration to get a bonus value. Use July 15th as the day to submit values for a bonus (with the rest of the deal signed) then Cases would occur between July 23rd and August 1st. Any team which doesn't have the rest of that deal signed by July 15th loses the pick and gets to pick just like last year. Also, Teams and picks can still agree to a bonus any time before the arbitration hearing. This way, unless a team is truly going to punt its first rounder (which they can), they have a guarenteed way to sign that first round guy, even if its for more money than they'd really want to pay. Of course, if the pick gets too greedy, then he might find that he's signed for a bonus which is much less than he expected. First off, this will allow each player to be judged on his own merits, not just on where he was picked. (so, if Pittsburgh decides to select a lesser talent with the first pick in the draft, they won't have to pay a "first pick in the draft" bonus to that player, if he's just not that good. Secondly, it will ensure some degree of certainty in drafting. I guess a player can say, I don't care what you are offering, I'm not going to sign anything, so avoids arbitration. In that case, he goes back into next years draft, REGARDLESS OF COLLEGE ELIGIBILITY. But, short of that, a team knows that if it drafts Stephen Strasberg, then they can depend on having Stephen Strasberg, even if its going to cost them $10 million.

Oct 15, 2009 11:49 AM on Declaring the Basics
 
Ira
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the problem is always in the execution. When people start talking about small market/ large market team disparaty, they always make the mistake of equating payroll with market size. Here is the list of markets from largest to smallest in the US. (with multi team markets split.) 1) NY Yankees/Mets, 11.1 million 3) LA Dodgers/Angels, 8.9 million 5) Boston Red Sox, 7.5 million 6) Texas Rangers, 6.7 million 7) Philadelphia Phillies, 6.4 million 8) Houston Astros, 5.8 million 9) Atlanta Braves, 5.7 million 10) Florida Marlins, 5.4 million 11) Detroit Tigers, 5.3 million 12) Toronto Blue Jays, 5.1 million 13) Chicago Cubs/White Sox, 4.9 million 15) Arizona Diamondbacks, 4.3 million 16) Washington Nats/Baltimore Orioles, 4.1 million 18) Seattle Mariners, 4.1 million 19) SF Giants/Oakland A's, 3.7 million 21) Minnesota Twins, 3.6 million 22) Colorado Rockies, 3.0 million 23) San Diego Padres, 3.0 million 24) Cleveland Indians, 2.9 million 25) St Louis Cardinals, 2.9 million 26) Tampa Bay Rays, 2.7 million 27) Pittsburgh Pirates, 2.4 million 28) Cincinnati Reds, 2.2 million 29) Kansas City Royals, 2.1 million 30) Milwaukee Brewers, 1.7 million Instead of just breaking it into thirds, lets break it up as follows: >5 million: NY, LA, Boston, Texas, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Florida, Detroit, and Toronto. 3-5 million: Chicago, Arizona, Washington/Baltimore, Seattle, SF/Oakland, and Minnesota >3 million: Colorado, San Diego, Cleveland, St Louis, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Milwaukee. Since the free agent era opened (1976) the breakdown in championships has been (noting that team populations have changed drastically since 1976 and some teams didn't exist that long): >5 million: 20 world series champs 3-5 million: 6 world series champs <3 million: 5 world series champs so, there ya go. Just wishing that my large market Rangers would get off their but and add to the total. Note that the following cities have more population than Milwaukee: Orlando, 2.7 million (larger than Pittsburgh) Sacremento, 2.4 million Charlotte, 2.3 million Portland, 2.2 million (larger than cincinnati & KC) Indianapolis, 2.0 million San Antonio, 2.0 million Columbus, 2.0 million Las Vegas, 1.9 million note the existence of Austin at 1.7 million near to San Antonio makes a South Texas team that much more viable. And growth of both areas since 2000 helps too (3.6 million vs 2.9 million in 2000) I could defenitely get behind a move of any of the small (<3 million) teams to San Antonio. Except that they have all recently gotten new stadiums. But a move of the A's there would benefit both the A's and the Giants, creating another large market team (as the Giants get all of the Bay Area's nearly 7.5 million people and the A's get to pull from San Antonio (2.0), Austin (1.7), McAllen (0.7), Corpus Christi (0.4), Brownsville (0.4), and Laredo (0.2) with the only losers being Houston, who really doesn't pull that much in San Antonio anyway (having lived there).

Oct 15, 2009 11:08 AM on Closing Confidence Tests
 
Ira
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While the Yankees have a high payroll, they certainly haven't "bought" anything. only Mark Teixeira and Johnny Damon among their position players were signed as free agents, and only A-Rod and Nick Swisher were acquired in trades. The rest, (Posada, Melky Cabrera, Jeter, Cano, and Matsui) were all "developed" by the Yankees (unless you call Matsui a FA since he signed out of Japan. and that was a seriously questioned move at that). Looking at their pitching staff, there are some mercenaries there, like Sabathia and Pettitte, (though Pettitte was basically lured out of retirement). But Joba and Chin Ming Wang and practically the entire bullpen are home grown. What the Yankees money allowed them to do was to resign their own free agents for top dollar, trade for overpaid contracts, paper over their mistakes, and most importantly, sign prospects with reckless abandon. As long as they remain smart about their use of money, they will continue to be "in contention". The problem with a cap (or a floor) is that it forces teams to do things for non-baseball reasons artificially. It means that no matter how much money signing a certain guy might make for you, you might not be able to do it.

 
Ira
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Since this is regular season data, I'm intrigued to see if there's some bias due to the quality of their opponents catchers. Take the Angels for example. during the season they had nearly 60 games against the Rangers, Seattle, and Oakland. These were three teams that were pretty decent at throwing out runners. (they ranked 1, 4, and 5 in Caught stealing percentage) Using the formula net steals = SB - CS* 2, these three teams allowed 8 net steals all year. I wonder how that affected the Angels stolen base numbers?

 
Ira
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I voted for neither of them. the only position player I voted for in the NL was Chris Coghlan, on the basis that he was the closest thing the NL saw to a full time rookie player. Course I put him 3rd on my ballot after JA Happ and Tommy Hanson

Oct 14, 2009 10:52 AM on April 1, 2002
 
Ira
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in a postgame interview, Holliday admited that he lost the ball in the lights.

Oct 09, 2009 2:46 PM on Second Day Roundup
 
Ira
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Could Fowler have been bunting for a hit? sometimes a batter will bunt for a hit, and even if its unsuccesfull, they get a sacrifice out of it.....

Oct 09, 2009 2:44 PM on Second Day Roundup
 
Ira
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One thing we should probably go back and thank Greg Maddux for is the idea of the "personal catcher" (though it may be older than that. In this case, Lackey has been paired with Mathis for the previous 15 or 17 starts. THAT is why Mathis started the game. Managers like personal catcher situations as long as he only has one. for example, Ron washington can pair Taylor Teagarden up with Tommy Hunter all year, but he can't also pair, say, Ian Kinsler with Derek Holland, Nelson Cruz with Scott Feldman, and Gary Carter with Brandon McCarthy. "hey rookie, who do you want as your personal catcher?" "How about Alicia Silverstone?"

Oct 09, 2009 2:42 PM on Second Day Roundup
 
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Reading this article hurt. why? because I could just overlay the Rangers lineup, Rotation and pen over either of them, if. If Michael Young doesn't get hurt. If Chris Davis doesn't drop a grounder at first in the eighth and the Rangers go into Anaheim riding high and blow them out. If the Rangers don't collapse in september and take one of these slots, they have a team which could easily go deep in the playoffs, with solid pitching behind Millwood, Feldman, and Hunter, great Defense, and a quartet of O'Day, Feliz, Wilson, and Francisco in the Pen. The luxury of what might have been.

 
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So, to even the teams out, we need to add two teams to the AL. Portland and Sacremento? we could put them both in the AL West and move the Rangers to the Central. Sacremento and New Jersey? I'm sure Selig would love this, as it would eat into Yankees pocketbooks. but it would leave the Rangers in the West and necessitate a move of a team from the East to the Central. probably Toronto. Vancouver and Montreal? Don't think that the Canadians are interested in baseball anymore. of course, with the relocation of Hockey franchises, looks like they aren't interested in that either. San Antonio and Jacksonville? Can florida support a third team? Neither of the existing 2 are doing all that well. Las Vegas and Orange County? LA could probably support a third team, as each of the ones there are doing very well, but Las Vegas is a problem for 2 reasons, 1 is desert and 2 is gambling. opinions?

 
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Smoak isn't going to the AFL? drat.

Oct 08, 2009 3:03 PM on AFL Preview, Part Two
 
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I'm kinda ambivalent to the whole conversation. But, has anyone ever seen a game where the ump just "lost" the plate. I remember a game from the 80's where the Texas Rangers were playing (hey, I watch them a lot!) and the home plate umpire was Tim Tchida (I think) and all of a sudden, Tim decides that every pitch thrown towards home plate was a ball. And this wasn't just a few, this was like 40 straight balls thrown by like 5 different pitches. During this string, Jim Sundberg (known as "Sunny" partially for his disposition) has been ejected and forcibly removed from the field.

Oct 08, 2009 8:54 AM on July 15-21, 2002
 
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My most humble apologies at even the hint of the implication. In fact, of all the writers at BP, you are the one who's writing contains the least amount of personal bias. When you say, this player will be out 4-6 weeks, I know that's because that's what his injuries dictate. That kind of integrity is unusual in the world of sports, where the members of the media are constantly spinning things to meet an agenda. Where quotes from players are taken out of context to uphold some personal feelings. Where "spin" is used just slightly less than in politics. Through all that, you are a shining example. I'd offer you swag just to stay like you are: impartial

Oct 07, 2009 3:07 PM on July 22-25, 2002
 
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face it will, if I offered you chocolate, you'd get me onto the BP top 100 prospects list, despite being over 40 and having no baseball experience. J/K.....

Oct 06, 2009 2:35 PM on July 22-25, 2002
 
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Actually, its quite feasible. You play a 3-4-2 arraingement which not only limits travel, but perserves the kind of series that teams are already used to. Then, to make things make even more sense, you make game 3 and game 7 DAY GAMES!!!! Of course, the other reason for off-days is for weather purposes, but playing in, say, Colorado or Detroit in late October/November and not expecting white fluffy stuff from falling from the sky falls under the heading, "Idiocy"

Oct 06, 2009 8:20 AM on Madness
 
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on a similar vein, I was shocked when I looked it up and saw that Vlad Guerrero was "only" a .294/.334/.459 hitter this year. Why? because as a Rangers fan I figured, "Hey, he hit .400 against us again this year, just like every other year, his overall numbers must be the same." Career against Texas: .396/.461/.666 2009 against Texas: .404/.433/.579 I think at this point if I'm Ron Washington I order him hit every time he comes to the plate. Might as well.

Oct 02, 2009 11:06 AM on Bitter Endings
 
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Golson doesn't hit enough to even be a 5th outfielder, and I believe that the team thinks of Murphy as a 4th of, and not a regular. Unless they resign Byrd, we're looking at two openings: OF and DH. Given the ownership flux, the OF opening is going to have to be a 1 year reclamation project and the DH might have to be Smoak, though they'll bring in a deep reclamation Project for that (maybe Thome Giambi or Hafner?) The only outfielder I saw that seems to fit the bill is Vernon Wells, but we can't afford his contract. Melvin Mora is a thought, as he can play infield as well. Not sure of the contract situations of these players though.

Oct 01, 2009 7:22 AM on Texas Rangers
 
Ira
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Have your sources mentioned whether we can expect Neftali Feliz to start a game in Seattle this weekend?

Sep 30, 2009 12:01 PM on Final Week Frights
 
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Indeed, it seems that the Rangers infield is probably set for next year, with Young, Andrus, Kinsler and Davis Returning. Blalock is probably gone, as is Jones (though Jones didn't play much first at all). Its possible that we'll see some Justin Smoak at first next year, but despite being very slow is supposed to have extremely good hands at first. In fact, with Team USA's season over, and the Rangers sliminated, we might see Smoak in a Rangers Uni this week (especially since Davis strained a hammy and will probably be shut down for the rest of the year). The big issue for next year is the outfield. There's going to be a push to resign Marlon Byrd by the media, fans, and even the players, but in the end, I'm guessing that he goes elsewhere and is way overpaid (calling Gary Matthews jr.) returning is the injury risk (Hamilton), the young speedster (Borbon), the late blooming slugger (Cruz), and David Murphy, who I don't have any clever descriptive tags for, but makes a very nice 4th outfielder. That fills all the slots (except DH) but doesn't leave much depth, and with Hamilton's injuy history that's not a good thing. I'm guessing the Rangers bring in a DH and a centerfielder (Mr. Wells? Mr. Vernon Wells on line three....) and try and keep Omar Vizquel around, as he's quite a shortstop still.

Sep 30, 2009 11:58 AM on Ranger Gains
 
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Borbon is improving defensively, and should be able to handle centerfield next year. Plus, they should have Greg Golson to back him up, or even Josh Hamilton or David Murphy. I also expect that Byrd will get big money to go elsewhere this winter and that whoever gets him will be disappointed. And that the Rangers players and coaches and broadcasters and Fans will all be up in arms about him being let go. He's a decent hitter, decent fielder, ok baserunner, and a Great guy in the clubhouse. Is that worth $10 mill a year? NO. and the Rangers shouldn't pay it.

Sep 30, 2009 7:04 AM on Texas Rangers
 
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The answer to your question is the following: 24, 23, 20, and 23. Those are the ages of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Chris Davis, Elvis Andrus, and Julio Borbon. Kinsler is 27 Hamilton, 28 Cruz, 28 Murphy, 27. Heck, even Blalock is only 28, though he's probably gone this winter. So, what you are looking at is some pretty wide error bars here on future offensive performance. That, to fans of baseball, is called, "optimism".

Sep 29, 2009 1:58 PM on Texas Rangers
 
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I too was surprised and enraged to see that BP had published a "Kiss em Goodbye" article on the Rangers when they hadn't been eliminated and they were playing the team who could do it. Definitely bad luck there..... So, Christian Karhl! I curse you for premature kissing, and label the witch, to be burned in effigy at the 2010 List day/BP event. (Unless you attend, in which case we'll just throw stuffed animals at you.) As long as you don't say that you had written the article before the 8th inning melt down on Sunday, which nearly killed some old diehards at the game on sunday.

Sep 29, 2009 1:28 PM on Texas Rangers
 
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Its conceivable that Hunter and Feldman could see their 2010 ERAs rise by a half a run, and for Millwood to see his rise by a half a run, and for the overall staffs ERA to still go down. If Feliz is in the Rotation and pitches 180 innings (unlikely, more likely he starts in the pen and moves into the rotation and finishes with about 120 innings pitched), and if Holland's ERA comes down in his second major league season (considering his electric stuff and previous success at preventing the long ball), plus a lot less innings from guys name Grilli, Benson, Padilla, and Jennings, then the Rangers overall ERA could still be in the 4.5 range next year. And that would be a great thing.

Sep 29, 2009 1:22 PM on Texas Rangers
 
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I'm not blaming you, Joe for Feldman's implosion in Oakland yesterday afternoon, and, though it puts the kibosh on his bid for 20 wins, There is still the ever slim possibility of a Rangers postseason appearance. While the Rangers starters overall have been very good, and their top 4 (really just their top 3) starters even better, The Rangers can also point to an excellent bullpen to rely on once those inevitable (shhhh) playoff games come around. Frank Francisco has been hurt, but is definitely healthy now, and his 2.976 WXRL is about middle of the pack for closers. CJ Wilson, who filled in for Frankie while he was on the shelf, has also been VERY good, though shaky at times on back to back games. His 1.437 WXRL is at least ok. Then we bring in the rookies. Why are the Mets so angry, well, waiving Darren O'Day after only 3 innings over 4 games despite not giving up an earned run has to hurt. Especially now that he's totalled 2.681 WXRL this season, more than any Met pitcher. Lastly we get to the wunderkin. Even with the worries that he may be tired, that his velocity is down, and that he's struggling, its hard to discount 1.624 WXRL in 28.3 innings and that greater than 5 to 1 K/BB ratio, combined with the .671 WHIP. Neftali Feliz is somone to be feared if the Rangers make the playoffs this year, or possibly in the Rangers rotation next year.

Sep 25, 2009 7:29 AM on Post-season Bullpens
 
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In sort of a half vein of "man its to bad" and the rest of "maybe its not too late". The Rangers rotation's SNWP was .511 overall (right in there with the Tigers and Phillies), but the top 4 starters (Scott Feldman, Kevin Millwood, Tommy Hunter, and Brandon McCarthy) top the list with a SNWP of .583 Whoda thunk?

 
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Whats truly sad about the Astros organization is that it didn't have to be this bad. Ed Wade NEEDs to be fired. No GM can allow their cupboard to get THIS bare. Sure it will take some money. But more importantly it will take a commitment to scouting, to coaching, to player development, to Latin American academies, to far eastern free agents, to better training facilities, etc. Letting Ed Wade broker a deal to send Roy Oswalt out is not going to solve the problem because 1 top prospect and 3 mediocre prospects won't turn the entire system around. No one's going to pull another Teixeira trade, and even without that trade, the Rangers also had the Gagne trade, the Laird Trade, Lofton for Max Ramirez, drafts of Kiker, Main, Beavan, Borbon, and Holland, international signings of Martin Perez and others. Turning around the Astros system is going to take a change in philosophy, and asking Ed Wade to do that might be asking too much of him.

Sep 23, 2009 12:48 PM on Houston Astros
 
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Thanks for the article. Are you going to be doing one on the Baseball World Cup as well? (Dying to hear some Smoak Smack)

Sep 22, 2009 10:28 AM on Playoff Stars Ten Pack
 
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Here's the really sad thing. Down here in Texas, there has been a call out from the fans that we really miss Milton Bradley and his production. His patience at the plate was a real asset and his rep in the clubhouse was considered a pleasant surprise given his rep. Maybe it was the existence of guys like Michael Young and others to keep the media away from Mr Board Game that kept his quotes to a minimum. Even the incident with the KC broadcasters was slightly overblown. The only reason that he didn't stay with the Rangers is that Hendry decided he was worth $20 million a year (or whatever it was he signed for). I've heard mention of a Millwod for Bradley trade this offseason and for once it sounds like a decent deal, especially if the Cubs pay a majority of Bradley's salary. I guess alot of this is the series of guys who the Rangers have brought in over the last few years who were considered either done, or "never weres" who blossomed in Texas, only to get big contracts elsewhere. (David Delucci in '05, Gary Matthews Jr, Rod Barajas and Mark DeRosa in '06, Bradley and Ramon Vazquez in '08)

Sep 21, 2009 1:31 PM on Bradleygate?
 
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Its kinda funny. I hear about Milton Bradley's problems with the media and I'm reminded of two movies. One of course is Bull Durham. (copied from imdb) Crash Davis: It's time to work on your interviews. Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: My interviews? What do I gotta do? Crash Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time." Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Got to play... it's pretty boring. Crash Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down. (end of copying) The other is a quote I heard from the movie Apollo 13. Just as the rocket is launched, one wife turns to the other and says, "remember, you are pleased and thrilled. pleased and thrilled." The key with dealing with the media as an athlete is not to tell them what you are thinking. Its to tell them nothing. tell them nothing in a way that makes it seem that you are friendly. Don't tell them nothing like John Glenn does (who the media hates because he just doesn't answer questions). Tell them nothing but be amiable about it. Tell them stories of fishing and hunting and going to church and your momma and praying to god (or jesus or the great pumpkin). Tell them how thrilled you are to help the team and how much fun it is to play a little boys game and get paid for it. Tell them about the clubhouse football fantasy draft, and how everyone was pulling together behind the starting pitcher, and how so and so gave the equipment manager a hotfoot. But DON'T tell them about how the umpire blew a ball/strike call and it pissed you off so much that you threw the ball to the wrong base. Don't tell them that management is pushing you back out on the field when you don't think your knee is ready. Or that they are pushing you to go in for surgery when you don't think you need it. Or that your manager is a moron who tried to get you to bunt with two men on in the second inning against a guy you can hammer. Sure, that's what the media wants to hear, and they'll ask you leading questions like, "Weren't you pissed off at the manager when he asked you to bunt with 2 on in the second inning after you've been 10 for 15 off this pitcher?" You respond with "no comment" and its a story. You respond with "sure I was, what do you think?" and its a story. You respond with, "Well, when I was young my momma once told me to pick up all the toys in my room, but I didn't want to because I knew I'd just take them all out again the next day. But she insisted and I went ahead and picked them all up. But I missed one, and that night when my father came to check on me he accidentally tripped over that toy and smacked his head on my dresser and was so angry the neighbors could hear him. After that I didn't have to be told to pick up my toys." That kind of response has reporters walking away shaking their heads looking for someone else for a quote.

Sep 21, 2009 10:49 AM on September 14-20
 
Ira
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All its going to take Joe, is someone winning the WS without a closer.

Sep 17, 2009 11:39 AM on Closing Out Closing
 
Ira
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How about this for a trade: Fielder for Kevin Millwood and Chris Davis. Fielder gives the Rangers a big bat to plug into the DH role and allow Smoak to play first base. Millwood gives Milwaukee an experienced innings muncher and sometimes ace to anchor their staff, and Davis becomes the best defensive player on the Brewers, and will hit next year, plus he's under their control for a few more years after that and he's only 23.

Sep 17, 2009 11:25 AM on Milwaukee Brewers
 
Ira
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Great job!!!! quite often, in depth articles of this nature tend to fall a bit flat and I lose focus on them. Your article managed to avoid that. I have only one quibble with it. I dispute your issue with count. I think you should have had 4 buckets instead of 3 for a very good reason: the 3-2 count is not normally a count where hitters steal bases, but it is a time when many runners are going on the pitch, even if they aren't trying to steal. Indeed, with a 3-2 count and 2 outs, its impossible to steal the base, as a strike ends the innings, a ball forces a walk, and anything in play either ends the inning or puts the batter on base. on a 3-2 count and less than 2 outs, whether a batter runs or not has very little to do with him stealing, but in avoiding double plays. The only way to either steal or be caught stealing on a 3-2 count is for the batter to strike out, which iws already a negative outcome. So I would separate it into neutral counts: 0-0, 1-0, 1-1 and 2-2 hitters counts: 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1 pitchers counts: 0-2, 1-2, 0-1

Sep 16, 2009 12:48 PM on Part One
 
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Despite a VERY rough couple of games, the Rangers still control their own destiny. They win out, they win the AL West, even if the Angels win every game they play other than the ones against Texas. But, at the same time, the AL West race could be over as soon as Monday. If the Rangers don't either sweep or at least take two of three from the Angels this weekend, then it will be time to say, "Auf Wiedersehen" and start looking at next year. But, despite the implosions against the A's, the Rangers will be putting their top 3 starters out there with Hunter on Friday, Feldman on Saturday, and McCarthy on Sunday. (where's Millwood? well, he and his nearly 6 ERA since the ASB are resting this weekend, in hopes that he can re-find the command that should have made him an all-star.) Plus Hamilton should be ready this weekend, and Young (who started at DH last night but only lasted one at bat because he just didn't feel ready) should be back this weekend as well. Go BoSox!

Sep 16, 2009 10:42 AM on Pointlessness
 
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I would love to see what a scout thinks about Neftali Feliz. "effortless motion, explosive fastball, good control of the curve, with a huge velocity difference between them." or something

Sep 16, 2009 10:23 AM on Midweek Update
 
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One thing about your article.... You did not mention WHERE the line drives were hit. One thing in particular about Michael Young is that he hits a very high number of line drives to right field (for a right handed hitter). Some of these are actually caught by the first baseman, second baseman, and right fielder, but many of them also turn into hits. he very rarely pulls the ball and when he does, he almost always hits either a ground ball or a fly ball, very rarely is it a line drive. From what I saw of Mauer, he sprays his line drives everywhere and has great plate coverage and bat control. Ichiro tends to hit the ball either on a line to left field, or on the ground somewhere (often for a hit, due to his speed out of the box). He doesn't tend to hit many fly balls at all. No comment on Jeter or the others, as their at bats didn't really stick out for me.

Sep 15, 2009 12:29 PM on The BABIP Superstars
 
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I'm guessing that Tommy Hunter didn't count on the Rangers, since he had pitched in the majors last year (though it was very briefly). Also, I'm guessing that Elvis Andrus holding his own in the majors isn't a "Great Leap Forward" :) Great props to Bianucci and Moreland, both mostly forgotten men amongst the sea of Rangers pitching prospects. Shout out to Wilmer Font, who seems to be mastering his stuff in Hickory, also to Kasey Kiker, who is healthy and will be in Frisdo next year. And lastly, Martin Perez, who wasn't too overmatched when he was sent to AA as an 18 year old in August.

Sep 15, 2009 10:30 AM on Great Leaps Forward, AL
 
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saying that McCarthy has been a .500 pitcher is a bit unfair. Since his return he's been pretty effective. (yes, his last game was 5 runs in 6.1 innings, but it should have only been 3 runs in 6.1 innings, as two runs should have been charged to Ron Washington. Bringing in Eddie Guardado with one out and men on second and third, Washington was lucky when Every-day Eddie only allowed the guys on base to score, and not the guy at the plate, the guy on deck, and a couple of bat-boys while only facing one batter. Yes, he's been THAT bad.) Nippert, btw, has also been relatively effective, thought suffers from a problem which doesn't really allow him to pitch deep into games. This has landed him back in the Pen for the Stretch drive. There is a large sentiment in DFW who thinks that Nipper should get either Millwood or Holland's rotation spot down the stretch, as both of them have been pretty Wretched lately.

Sep 14, 2009 1:39 PM on AL West Moves
 
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I had a different question. Has any rookie reliever ever done what Neftali Feliz is doing to the AL? 13 games, 23.2 innings pitched, 8 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 1 HBP, 2 Home runs allowed, 29 K's. I'm not sure about the obscenity value there, but its certinly lewd, lacivious and definitely TV-MA rated pitching.

 
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This is a very interesting analysis. Of course, depending on OBP is simplistic. Also, its not always that a given player is replace. sometimes they are "displaced". I remember back to just before spring training when the decision was made to move Michael Young to third base, bench Hank Blalock, and install Elvis Andrus at Shortstop. I'd guess you'd have to compare Elvis' OBP to Blalock's.... which has worked out with Elvis' .340 to Blalock's .278 but the real gain here was on defense, which was improved at 2 positions. Elvis was much better than Mike Young at shortstop, and Young was better than Blalock at third. You can go even further because Blalock wasn't the only one to man third in 2008. You had Ramon Vazquez (ugh), German Duran (help), Chris Davis (shoot me), and Travis Metcalf (gack) all log 10+ games at third. Also because of that, 5 players manned first base (Davis, Blalock, Chris Shelton, Frank Catalanotto, and Ben Broussard). In contrast, the 2009 infield has been relatively set, with Elvis at short, Young at third, Kinsler at second and Davis (or Blalock) at first. With Omar backing up at second, third, and short.

Sep 10, 2009 2:03 PM on Part One
 
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didn't you just do the NL yesterday Christy?

Sep 10, 2009 1:42 PM on NL Roundup
 
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As a Rangers fan, I have been saying for a while that its more likely that the Rangers will catch the Angels than the Red Sox. Not that the Red Sox are not closer, but the problem is that the Rangers don't face the Red Sox again this year, but still have 6 games left with Anaheim. In many ways, this means that they still control their own fate. This means that they can turn a 5 game deficit around in a big hurry. That combined with the fact that the Rangers have been pounding the AL West this year (and face them almost exclusively down the stretch) makes them a team not to be discounted this year.

Sep 08, 2009 8:15 AM on A Race Without Kicks?
 
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Your article mentioned buying the rights to the San Jose/Santa Clara region from the Giants. What about a trade? The A's get Santa Clara, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Mountain View, and the Giants get Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, San Leandro and Alameda. Fremont Citizens are going to still be more likely to go to A's than Giants games anyway. And the plus side to all of baseball is that the great citizens of Santa Cruz get to go to baseball games again :)

Sep 08, 2009 7:45 AM on Setting the Roster
 
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First off, it was his own blood. The procedure is as follows: A pint of blood is pulled from the person. This blood is then separated into platelets, then the platelets are injected directly back into the hamstring (I'm assuming to help the healing process). So, while the technique seems unusual, its no more of a Performance enhancer than TJ surgery. I wonder if you could do TJ surgery using somone elses ligament? :)

Sep 03, 2009 3:45 PM on Progress?
 
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The Rangers Pronouncement about wanting their pitchers to go longer in games wasn't about pitch counts. No, this was about tasking pitchers to be more efficient and effective with their pitches. Challenging these pitchers to not nibble so much and let their defeense do its job. To reduce their pitches per inning and increase their innings per start without increasing their pitches per start. I'm unsure whether its worked or not, but the quality that we've seen is good.

Sep 03, 2009 3:42 PM on Progress?
 
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Tease! who were the 7 80's!!!! Did Feliz throw enough pitches to qualify (I'm assuming not) and would you rank him as an 85 given that he's thrown 101. One other question. If fastballs are rated mostly on velocity, how are curveballs ranked? Break? velocity? deception? feel? what!?!

Sep 03, 2009 10:36 AM on Throw Hard or Go Home
 
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If you look off in the distance, you can see both Houston Astros fans still out there cheering for Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. :D

Sep 02, 2009 3:20 PM on September 2
 
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I'm fairly sure that Kenny Rogers had TJ surgery while a minor leaguer before coming to the majors.

Sep 02, 2009 2:38 PM on Old is the New New?
 
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Note: Starting in the second game of the double header for the Texas Rangers: Brandon McCarthy!!!! ("I thought he was dead or something")

Sep 02, 2009 12:45 PM on Feeling Expansive
 
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Whenever I want to predict an MVP, I start with the league leader in RBI's, then, if I disqualify him for some reason (<.270 BA, <30 homers, RBI's. But his OPS is LESS than last year, or the year before. Any MVP discussion in the NL that doesn't begin and end with Pujols isn't really worth it.

 
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Hey JASON!!!!!! don't let the door hit ya where the sun don't shine! God am I glad that he's gone...... even happier than when they dumped Padilla.....

Aug 28, 2009 4:03 PM on Friday Frenzy
 
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Personally, as a Rangers fan, I'm disgusted with the draft. Why? because unlike for the 29 other teams in the league, the commissioners office apparantly did have leverage over the Rangers front office and kiboshed its negotiations with their number 1 pick. The kid (who's name I now forget) was asking for $6 million during the draft. The Rangers drafted him knowing that, and were probably prepared to pay it or at least close to it. They even went so far as to offer him $4 million. The problem is that the league, since they loaned the Rangers money for operating expenses (since Tom Hicks is going broke, apparantly) came back to the Rangers and told them, "You aren't offering him more than $2.3 million or I'm going to call in your note and you can forget about paying the REST of your players this seasnon." That's broken. The problem isn't the draft, or the signing deadline. It's the whole "slotting" concept. Players will make what they deserve. If one guys says, "I'm a top 5 talent" and he's drafted in the 8th round, then its up to the team to decide, not just the player and certainly not the League.

Aug 28, 2009 3:59 PM on Fixing What Ain't Broke
 
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I'm thinking that after September first, the Rangers might just take a flyer on Ron Mahay, considering that he has to be better than "Twice a week Eddie" as the LOOGY in the pen (since CJ is kinda wasted in that slot)

Aug 27, 2009 7:15 PM on Junior Circuit Jumble
 
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I wonder if there's any legal recourse for those players whos name has been illegally leaked..... How much has this bad PR cost A-Rod in endorsements?

 
Ira
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As is seen by the reactions to Big Papi and A-Rod, the issues aren't legal, they are PR related. The truth of the matter is that if the MLB weren't so interested in trashing its players or product, they'd be working to bury the 2003 names as hard as possible. There's no way that they could take any action against anyone who tested positive before there were penalties in place, and in having these names running around slanders players who a) did nothing wrong (from a baseball standpoint) and b) obviously have followed the rules since PED's were outlawed. This is like retroactive prosecution. Or going back and saying something like, "Elvis Presley took Marjuana in the 1950's". He might have or not, but since it wasn't illegal, no one cares. Just like no one cares about Edgar Allen Poe's Heroin addiction. Ok, some people care. People with an axe to grind against athletes who work and train and sweat 12 months out of the year to stay in peak physical shape. Athletes who make millions of dollars a year. Maybe these people who care are the types who, perhaps, travel from city to city, attend hundreds of games, stay at crappy hotels and have to deal with sweaty, tired athletes who won't grant them the exclusive memorable quote they can manage to squeeze into their game story, sometime between the 11:05 last pitch and the 12:00 news deadline. Or those other writers who don't travel with the team, who sit in an office (or bar) somewhere and catch 10 games a year on TV, but also follow basketball, football, Ice Hockey, and Pro Beach Volleyball. Those writers who are just looking for something to whine about. Something to get someone commenting on their blog.

 
Ira
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Hey Christina, what about the callup of Chris "called strike 3" Davis after a scintallating 6 weeks in Oklahoma. After all, everyone should spend 6 weeks of their summer in Oklahoma, its OK! And Andruw Jones was hurt? hmmm... didn't notice that. must have a sprained batting average....

 
Ira
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Great article!! btw, how has the Wild Card affected MVP awards? Has any player on a wild card team seen the same kind of preference that division leaders get?

 
Ira
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I think the reason that looking at the last two weeks might be significant is that team personnel changes throughout the year. as an example, I'll compare my favorite team, the Rangers, from last sunday's lineup to Opening day's lineup: C Saltalamacchia -> Ivan Rodriguez 1B Davis -> Blalock 2B Kinsler -> Kinsler 3B Young -> Young SS Andrus -> Andrus LF Byrd -> Byrd CF Hamilton -> Hamilton RF Cruz -> Cruz DH Blalock -> Jones SP Millwood -> Millwood SP Padilla -> Feldman SP McCarthy -> Holland SP Benson -> Hunter SP Harrison -> Nippert Surprisingly, the only changes are at Catcher, Firstbase, and DH, and tonights lineup might have Davis at first and Blalock DH'ing, leaving the only change at Catcher. But Kinsler has missed some time, and Cruz has been hurt and Hamilton has been out too. And of course the rotation is entirely different. Benson lasted like 2 starts, and Harrison and McCarthy both lasted 11 (Hunter has had 11 starts as well....) and Padilla 18. Trying to rank teams is always kind of a moving target, but the Hit list isn't a bad way to do it, as long as you understand what it is.

 
Ira
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The way that Smoak is not beating up on AAA so far leads me to doubt it. But he'll also play in the Arizona Fall league and probably some winter leagues. Then he'll come to spring training and have a chance to win a Major League job. Does Gordon's 576 at bats include fall league or winter league? how did he do in these leagues? more questions there.....

Aug 25, 2009 10:55 AM on The Alex Gordon Problem
 
Ira
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I'm interested in hearing more about these "Neftali"'s you speak of. From the articles here, I'd assumed that the BP community had simply written off his success as a small sample and ignored it. 14.1 innings, 4 hits, one run (on an Adam Kennedy Home run, 1 walk, 19 strikeouts. Seeing him pitch is actually more impressive than those stats. His motion is effortless, but his fastball absolutely blows by nearly anyone. He throws a change which is about 10 MPH slower than his fastball (its been clocked between 85 and 90MPH. and he throws a curveball which looks like a slider movement wise but is only about 80 MPH. He's got some poise, (though not as much as Hunter or Holland), its as if he just knows that no one is going to touch his pitches. He's also shown phenomenal control. Much better than his minor league numbers or spring training would have led you to believe. There's an old saw about pitching being just like playing catch with the catcher, and just "hitting the glove". Well, that's been exactly what he's been doing. Endurance wise, he's been a starter in the minors until about a month ago, when they decided to try him in the pen in OKC when Francisco went down. With all the talk about trading either him or Holland (or both!) for Halladay, they didn't bring him up til after the deadline, but its pretty clear he isn't going anywhere except possibly back to the rotation. Plus, the rangers usage pattern for him has been to pitch 2 plus innings, then let him rest for 2 days. The temptation is to either plug him into the rotation (but for whom?) or just let him close. As good as Frank Francisco and CJ Wilson have been, its hard to blow a save when you strike everyone out. What a problem though!!!!

 
Ira
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89: Yount over Sierra

Aug 24, 2009 3:04 PM on AL Awards Quandary
 
Ira
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I don't understand. which part made no sense? the down ballot vote for MY? its defensible from a BB writer sense (perception is that his defense isn't as bad as it really seems to be). Or is it that Millwood and Feldman have been effective? You want to hear crowing, how about Tommy Hunter for ROY

Aug 24, 2009 2:56 PM on AL Awards Quandary
 
Ira
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And it would be a travesty. Jeter is just not there. Sure he sits second in VORP, but its a distant second. and when you figure in defense, Mauer just pulls away and Jeter fades. Oddly, Young fades even more, becoming the number 4 Ranger position player after Kinsler, Cruz, and Elvis. Just hard to vote for Kinsler with his sub-.250 BA. (did I say batting average? )

Aug 24, 2009 12:52 PM on AL Awards Quandary
 
Ira
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A couple of things. Any question that Michael Young deserves some down-ballot support for MVP. Despite questionable 3b defense, he's about the only Ranger doing anything offensively (well, anything that isn't pretty offensive). on the Pitching side, it seems pretty clear that there's no clear answer here. I figure that each pitcher has 5 or 6 starts left before the end of the year (assuming that they aren't being rested either for the playoffs or for younger players on non-contenders.) Lets also assume that these pitchers win 4 of those games. That means we're looking at 19 game winner CC Sabathia, 15 game winner Zach Grenke, 17 game winner Roy Halladay, and 16 game winner Felix Hernandez. Plus 17 game winner Justin Verlander. Grenke, despite being the best, probably doesn't win the Cy, Sabathia might or might not win 20, depending on how much the Yanks want to push him, which I guess won't happen unless the Red Sox make up some ground in a hurry. Obligitory Ranger Note: Neither Millwood nor Feldman seem to have much of a chance in this despite some really effective pitching...

Aug 24, 2009 12:39 PM on AL Awards Quandary
 
Ira
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Last night Martin Perez threw his second game in Frisco. While it wasn't all that great (3 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings) he does have 7 k's in 6.1 innings. Note that Perez won't turn 19 till next april.

Aug 20, 2009 4:46 AM on August 19
 
Ira
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I said this on the Rangers list. Vallejo and Neveras go from being the 20th and 50th best prospects in the Rangers system to perhaps the top 10 (or better) in the Astros system. Also, Neveras will have to be protected this offseason and there's no chance the Rangers were going to do that. The Astros just might.

 
Ira
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With regards to bringing Cruz off the DL, with the way Julio Borbon is playing, it seems a shame that he'll have to go down. Maybe there's something else that can be done. The obvious answer screams out at me. Don't carry 12 pitchers!!!! The rotation has been solid and going 6+ innings nearly every time out, so send Doug Mathis back down, as he's not really pitching much (only 3 times this month), and you are only carrying 4 outfielders. That allows you to put Cruz back in left, Hamilton in Right, and "platoon" Byrd and Borbon in center, with Murphy spelling Cruz (and Jones) against righties. Plenty of at bats to be had by all, but a 7 man pen on a staff which has seen so many long outings from the starters makes no sense. (especially when Feliz has been just tearing up batters). Plus, you really need to start thinking about setting your playoff roster, and you might need a pinch runner.

 
Ira
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Now might also be a time to buy low on a pitcher named Derrick Holland. For keeper leagues, well, you won't be able to get her cheaply, but get Neftali Feliz. Feliz has so far struck out 13 batters in his 6.2 innings in the majors and shown some serious gas as well as a plus slider and a nasty 90 MPH changeup.

Aug 14, 2009 3:21 PM on Productive Pitchers
 
Ira
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I hate to say this, but in many ways, I think that the entire draft is pretty pointless. The stated reason is to distribute talent. The more practical reason of holding down signing bonuses is just as pointless. Why? Because Albert Pujols was signed in the 13th round of the 1999 draft. Because international signees aren't making that much more than the top American Draftees, and aren't much more likely to make the majors. Every once in a while there is a Stephen Strasburg who seems to be that "can't miss" amateur. But sometimes even they miss. There's just too many Amateurs out there. "Free them all" said Bill Veek. I agree. Create a signing period: For one month after the end of the college season for College players. For one month after the end of the JC season for Junior College players. For one month after the end of the High School season for HS players. For international signees, use the same timeline as we currently have. Have some combines, sure. But a draft? if anything, it serves to bump up signing bonuses as players say, "You drafted me in the second round, so I should get second round money."

 
Ira
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Incidentally, Bruce Campbell fans can watch him on "Burn Notice". He's not the young buff bad dude, but he's still got the same wit. Klatu Barata Nichtsomething! :) Palmeiro is going to set the standards for HOF at least until Barry Bonds comes on the ballot. But somethings going to have to change. A HOF w/o Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, etc will soon become very irrelevent. Maybe we can revive the IHOF. I wonder how many more years Griffey Has left in the tank. He's not that old, but he's really declined this year. Seeing that "the kid" is already 39 makes me feel VERY old. As far as active stars: Compare Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols. Pujols is squeaky clean and a dominant force. A-Rod is now got the Steroids taint (like Manny Ramirez now too) but he's only 33, still hitting well, and has 574 homers. I guess the question isn't whether they are HOFers, its which one will reach 762 first.

Aug 13, 2009 12:50 PM on How is the Air Up There?
 
Ira
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The problem that everyone in Baseball has is that the teams in baseball have different amounts of revenues. Some of these revenue streams are ones that the teams themselves have worked very hard to develop, ones that are based on the teams success, either on the field or in their marketing systems. The rest of those streams are directly rated to the size of their market. A prime example of this is the issue of the Giants and the A's. The Giants act like a large market team. They spend money on free agents, they have drafted well, etc. Unfortunately they aren't horribly good at it. On the other hand, the A's seem to be constantly selling off their high priced talent, and only through the extraordinary efforts of their GM in acquiring talent on the cheap and developing young players have they been successful. My idea is simple. Base all revenue sharing on one thing: Market size. The Yankees and Mets have to contribute the most, but they contribute the SAME amount. Same is true of the Angels and Dodgers, and the White Sox and Cubs. Teams like Houston, the Rangers, Philadelphia, and some others, might end up paying more than the Chicago teams or the Bay area teams. The discussion of whether Baltimore and Washington should be split or together can be debated. The point is that you should not punish teams for being successful in their marketing, nor should you reward teams that are just too stingy to promote themselves. This is the only way I can think of to do that.

 
Ira
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Its now been several days since the DFA of Vincente Padilla and the promotion of Neftali Feliz and I'm still waiting for your take on these two situations. Any thoughts?

Aug 10, 2009 9:51 PM on Brew'd-up Reunion
 
Ira
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the two starts I didn't mention which were not, "Quality" starts were his first start of the year in the Majors, where he went 5 and a third and gave up 3 runs. The other non-quality start was his third start, his second after being recalled. In it he went 5 and a third and gave up 1 run on 3 hits. In both that first "spot" start, and his third start, he threw "only" 90 pitches. (of course, in his last start he threw only 94 pitches in 7 innings). The point is, that had he been left in to record 4 more outs, he could have 7 quality starts in 8 starts. Yeah, that start at Oakland was against a team that just couldn't score runs (note: sarcasm, as Oakland has been scoring runs in bunches since the break)

Aug 07, 2009 11:50 PM on Rangers vs. Angels
 
Ira
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Lets also not forget Tommy Hunter. Hunter has 8 starts this year. His worst was the 5 runs in 5 innings on August first. Other than that one he's allowed 3 runs or less in all of those starts, and has 5 quality starts out of 8. Given the schedule, its likely he'll make 10 starts over the rest of the year. Based on what we've seen this year, I'm expecting only one more non-quality start. In fact, I expect 9 more starts like last night: 7 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. and one more like his previous start: 5 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts. That would make his final line: 116 innings, 80 hits, 40 runs, 36 earned, 38 walks, 71 k's, 2.79 ERA.

Aug 07, 2009 2:20 PM on Rangers vs. Angels
 
Ira
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Let me add a OMFG to that. What the NFL gameday called his strikeout pitches to the first two batters he faced "fastballs" were actually 90 MPH changeups. His fastball reminded me of... well... I guess it reminded me of the stories of Nolan Ryan's fastball from the 70's. the surprise of his two innings wasn't the 4 strikeouts, it was that the last two guys managed to make contact.

Aug 04, 2009 10:29 AM on August 4
 
Ira
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You going to write something about Neftali being brought up? oh, and I hope you are feeling better. reacting to bad food is beyond awful.

Aug 03, 2009 2:15 PM on Angelic
 
Ira
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Joe, on your assessment of the Rangers decision not to trade their prospects, I agree that not trading was the best move. I won't say that either Holland or Feliz WILL be better than Halladay next year or the year after, but as we saw on Wednesday, Holland is a great pitcher. His control is a thing to behold, and if he has any flaw, its that he throws too many strikes and sometimes tries to rely on the life of his fastball to get guys out (hence the 14 home runs allowed). Feliz on the other hand, is probably better. Don't forget that Feliz is still a year younger than Holland, and while it doesn't appear that he's beating up AAA, as a reliever over the last month or so he's pitched 17.1 innings and struck out 20 men while allowing just 14 hits and 4 walks. Not to forget that thing that the scouts drool over, the 100 MPH gun attached to his right shoulder. As far as Smoak goes, I don't have to mention how good he is, that's a fact. Borbon is ok, but I won't lose any sleep if they traded him. Deeper on the farm, the AA ball club has Beavan and Kasey Kiker and Omar Poveda and a 22 year old named Michael Kirkman who's not bad either. Down at Bakersfield they have Richard Bleier, Main, Kennil Gomez, and Tim Murphy. Farther down at Hickory we see Boscan, Jacob Brigham, Font, Martin Perez, Carlos Pimentel, Neil Ramirez and Joe Wieland. Last but not least at Spokane you have Robby Ross, of the 50 k's in 39.1 innings. That's talent coming in waves. No reason to panic this year. So you let Blalock and Padilla go this off season and let Holland and Feliz and Smoak take over their spots, and while running away with the 2010 division, you can trade a Blake Beavan and Borbon and a Carlos Pimentel to fill a hole next year. And if the Rangers make the post season this year, so much the better for next years attendance. BTW, Feliz should be up this month..... start your salivation.

Aug 01, 2009 9:44 AM on Deadline Day Recap
 
Ira
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I think that what Joe was trying to say was that it was ok for the Rangers to not break the bank to get Halladay and the mistake was on the Blue Jays side for asking too much. But, with a high profile guy who really didn't want to be dealt, the Jays may have intentionally asked for too much so that they retained the appearance of trying to trade him while in actuality waiting for the off-season, where they could make Halladay realize that the team wasn't going to go anywhere. Or lock him up longer and hope that Boston, New York, or^H^H AND Tampa Bay get swallowed up by Hurricanes in October/November.

Aug 01, 2009 9:16 AM on Deadline Day Recap
 
Ira
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As per the HOF discussion, I think that something needs to happen or the HOF will soon become very irrelevant. If the writers decide to punish every deserving entrant from the "Steroid" era, then we may go a couple of years before we see another entrant. McGwire? Bonds? Clemens? Maddux? A-Rod? Pudge? (the younger, not Carlton Fisk) Randy Johnson? Sammy Sosa? These are all-time greats. These are not marginal HOFers, these are people who will be remembered as among the best of all time. Right up there with Ruth, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Christy Matthewson, etc. To exclude them from the HOF doesn't damage their reputation, it damages the reputation of the Hall. So, either the writers stop obsessing over steroids, or someone will build a new HOF and freeze the BBWAA out, or the Hall will find a different body to elect their members. Ira

Jul 29, 2009 9:40 AM on Who's Still Shopping?
 
Ira
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Personally, I'm glad of two things. One, that the 45 consecutive batters retired didn't end on a) a close play or b) a close pitch.

Jul 29, 2009 9:13 AM on Improvement Ratio
 
Ira
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oh, and btw, thank you Omar Minaya for waiving Darren O'Day.

Jul 28, 2009 5:23 PM on Rookie Pitchers
 
Ira
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I set the bar at 30 innings, simply to weed out some really small sample sizes. With that, top rookies in adjusted Run average are: Darren O'Day, 33 inn, RA 1.91 RA+ 254 Tommy Hunter, 36 inn, RA 2.00 RA+ 242 Mark DiFelice, 40 inn, RA 2.03 RA+ 222 Andrew Bailey, 58 inn, RA 2.17 RA+ 214 Dan Meyer, 38 inn, RA 2.37 RA+ 192 (Hunter being the only starter above)

Jul 28, 2009 5:22 PM on Rookie Pitchers
 
Ira
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As good as Halladay is, I doubt he's any kind of an outlier when it comes to attendance. Its not like people are looking ahead and trying to find out when his starts are so they can plan their trips to see the Blue Jays. Very few pitchers are that good. The last one I can remember was Nolan Ryan. Year Avg Attendance W/Ryan 1989 25,234 29,287 1990 25,096 31,586 1991 28,367 31,752

Jul 28, 2009 4:57 PM on Aces and Attendance
 
Ira
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In the past 25 years, there have been 8 perfect games: Mike Witt, Last game of the 1984 season (September 30) Tom Browning, September 16, 1988 Dennis Martinez, July 28, 1991 Kenny Rogers, July 28, 1994 David Wells, May 17, 1998 David Cone, July 18, 1999 Randy Johnson, May 18, 2004 Mark Buehrle, July 23, 2009 Can you compare them? Can you compare these 8 pitchers? It looks to me like this is made up of guys from the Hall of Very Good (plus Randy Johnson, future HOFer)

Jul 24, 2009 10:10 AM on Perfection
 
Ira
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I guess that Chris Davis, despite being all of just 23 years old, no longer counts as a prospect. But since being sent down to AAA, he's hitting .345/.393/.673 with 4 walks, 10 strikeouts, and 11 of his 19 hits are of the extra base variety. All this, and he's also played 8 games at third base of his 13. during this time, Just Smoak has hit just .140/.242/.246 at AAA, and Hank Blalock has hit .348/.388/.522 for the big club while playing pretty decently at first base himself.

Jul 22, 2009 5:49 PM on July 22
 
Ira
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Damn. I actually agree with Joe Sheehan. Yes, the Rangers are having trouble sticking with the Angels. Yes, its the offense that's having the problem, and much of that is a lack of patience. Oddly enough, the most patient bats in the lineup are Andruw Jones and David Murphy. I disagree that their hitting on contact has been good. From what I've seen its been pretty bad. The Rangers have been blasting line drives all over the place, only to watch them get caught time and time again. Of course, they are also striking out too much. Davis, who was part of that problem, has been raking since being sent down, and will probably return soon. On the pitching side, this is a team that has really been pitching great. They talk about pitching to contact, and this is a team that has really taken that to heart. Their defense has been better, but the contact that the Rangers opponents have been hitting has been pretty wretched. That, more than anything has made the defense look good and made the pitching look good. (Tommy Hunter pumped out another quality start last night, this time against the Red Sox. The only non-quality starts he's had this year were where he failed to go 6 innings. He's not allowed more than 3 runs in any start so far.)

Jul 22, 2009 5:36 PM on AL West Quandaries
 
Ira
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except I agree with him. don't sell the farm for Halladay

Jul 17, 2009 7:17 PM on The Bottom Half
 
Ira
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Now is a very good time for me to point out that Joe Sheehan, who is an admitted fan of the New York Yankees, has never liked the Texas Rangers. Joe, you've gone out of your way over the last few years to rate them below their performance. And, when they have confounded your expectations, you've simply ignored it or further predicted that they would sink down to your imagined expectations. Other than their farm system, which just seems to be getting better and better each year (even from last years' lofty perch), you seem to always find the negatives related to the team. If they pitch well today, you state that they will pitch badly tomorrow. If they hit well today, you claim that their offense will suck tomorrow. This year, despite displaying a pitch to contact staff and an excellent defense, you are convinced that they will regress in the second half. This despite losing 40% of its rotation to injury, and losing Hamilton to injury, and seeing its offense take the entire month of June off. So, I dispute this. I think that the Rangers starters will sustain their success, that Tommy Hunter will fill the void in the number 4 slot, that Feliz will be another power arm to the pen, that Harrison will return to the number 5 slot or that Holland will find himself in that slot instead. I also think that the offense will rebound in the Texas summer and put up 900 runs. And that the Rangers will return to the post-season 10 years after their last post-season appearance.

Jul 16, 2009 5:57 PM on The Bottom Half
 
Ira
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Tommy Hunter is now the number 4 man in the Rangers rotation. He's only there because Matt Harrison and Brian McCarthy got hurt. Since entering the rotation on June 28th, he's allowed 2, 1, and 0 runs in 6.1, 5.1, and 6 innings. So, I don't see that as a problem. Dustin Nippert, on the other hand, in the number 5 spot, is replacing Derrek Holland, but both of them have been pretty wretched. Holland has at least been a pretty decent long man in the pen. You might be right about getting Halladay, but, they could still punt this season and wait until next year. Hunter, Harrison, Feliz, and Holland are going to make one hell of a rotation one day. maybe even as soon as next year.

Jul 15, 2009 7:30 PM on AL
 
Ira
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How likely is it to see a no-hitter in the future in an All star game? 18 consecutive batters retired seems to make it all the more plausible to me.

Jul 15, 2009 11:09 AM on All-Star Game Recap
 
Ira
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interesting thought: Mauer just had his third at bat. Thought they were going to rush in the reserves......

Jul 14, 2009 7:18 PM on F. Robby's New Gig
 
Ira
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somehow, this rebound article mentioned the Ranger who I would have said is the least likely to finish with a better stat line than his current one (save maybe only Mike Young). In particular, Ian Kinsler (.250/.327/.489, .122/.200/.244 in July), Josh Hamilton (.243/.298/.428), or even Chris Davis (.202/.256/.415) Heck, the team as a whole is only hitting .255/.317/.454 and that's going to change.

Jul 14, 2009 4:37 PM on Rebounders
 
Ira
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I still think that its silly that there was only one prospect from the Rangers system in that game. Martin Perez, Wilmer Font, Heck not even Blake Beavan.

 
Ira
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Definitely love the feature. Comment about Davis' demotion. Its not punitive, its instructional. He's struggling. He's swinging and missing too much, and its not getting better. He needs some time away from Rudy Jaramillo, and with Scott Coolbaugh. A return to the .280 hitting Chris Davis would be a huge boost to the offense, and make Blalock an expensive platoon DH (which he was at the beginning of the year).

 
Ira
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Also don't forget that Elvis Andrus is 16 of 17 in steals and has an EQA of .253

Jul 10, 2009 11:38 AM on Feeling Short at Short?
 
Ira
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Very unlikely. If the Rangers are going to add salary to the deal, it would be Padilla, which the Jays could easily flip for other minor prospects. (he's flippable since he's a free agent after this year).

 
Ira
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Thanks for the article. One quibble. Every time I see someone say "sampling" here I feel like I'm going to see Yankees and Athletics and no Rangers or Royals. Please be systematic in your cutoffs, even if it makes the article harder to write. Its what we would expect from one of our BP Idol contestants, isn't it?

Jul 10, 2009 10:55 AM on Relievers
 
Ira
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with those numbers, quite obviously. but he might have like visa issues or something weird like that. I don't know.

Jul 10, 2009 10:48 AM on Big Steps Backwards
 
Ira
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Main's problems actually underscore the incredible depth of pitching in the Rangers system. Beyond Holland and Feliz, we also see Tommy Hunter in the Rangers Rotation, plus Kasey Kiker, Blake Beavan, Martin Perez, Robbie Ross, Wilmer Font, Wilfredo Boscan, Omar Poveda, Joe Wieland, even Richard Bleier has put himself back on the map after some initial struggles after being promoted to the Cal league. on the horizon, Check out a kid named Miguel de Los Santos, a 20 year old lefty in the Dominican Summer League who has 46 strikeouts in 19 and a third innings. Though he's walked 12 and hit 3, he's allowed a whopping 2 hits. that's an opposing batting average of .031 and an opposing OBP of .215

Jul 09, 2009 9:45 PM on Big Steps Backwards
 
Ira
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I'm super suprised you didn't mention Elvis Andrus. I don't think anyone really expected him to stay in the starting role as a 20 year old straight out of AA, but he's kept his Errors under control and is managing a .253 EQA on top of that (.262/.320/.362). All that and his range has made even Michael Young say, "ok, I would have replaced me with this kid".* (not an actual quote from MY).

Jul 09, 2009 9:06 PM on Great Leaps Forward
 
Ira
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As a fan. I would say that Feliz has NOT improved from last year, but Derrick Holland has. Holland has been in and out of the Rangers Rotation and bullpen but not been that impressive. Feliz is still hitting 100 on the gun, but his control is still spotty and he's now being tried in relief in AAA to see if he might be called up in a Joba style right-handed power reliever role down the stretch. (though, just like Joba, he'll probably return to the rotation next year). Just to sum. Up for Feliz is the Rangers Rotation. Down would have been AA. Right now, I'd call it a push. (though putting him at AAA at age 20 was a stretch for him)

Jul 09, 2009 9:01 PM on Great Leaps Forward
 
Ira
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First off, I didn't see the game. I went back and looked at the MLB Gameday for the at-bat and looked at it and it looks like it just barely clipped the outside edge of the plate. Some people call that a "borderline" call, but it looked good enough for me. The first two pitches were outside the strike zone, but the last two (both sliders) seemed to catch the outside corner/edge of the plate. I've seen much worse calls.

Jul 09, 2009 8:52 PM on Revenue Sharing
 
Ira
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I'd love to see this repeated at the end of the year.

Jul 09, 2009 8:42 PM on Starting Pitchers
 
Ira
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There is an easy solution to the obvious problem of the All Star game. Go back to two contests. The first one is for all the marbles. The fans pick the starters, including the pitchers (note that its up to the team to make the starting pitcher available). The Managers have a backup outfielder, a utility infielder, a backup catcher, and a backup corner infielder and DH (no matter where the game is, there is still a DH). While the DH is elected by the players, all the others are selected by the manager. Each team gets 5 pitchers (with a couple more available only for an emergency like extra innings.) The second game would consist of the reserve hitters from the first game plus the other Players and Managers choices with an additional 5 pitchers on each team available (plus any pitchers unused from the first game.) The first game would count and the second could be used to get everyone in the game.

 
Ira
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Rangers Offense's OPS, ERA, and record for each month: April .826, 5.70, 10-11 May .816, 3.57, 20-9 June .677, 4.24, 11-15 July .854, 3.25, 4-0 The Rangers pitching came around May first, and the offense took June off, with the pitching keeping the Rangers from being buried. In May everything came together for the team, and July has been just as good so far, but that's only 4 games.

Jul 06, 2009 5:45 PM on Team Performances
 
Ira
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on the other side of the 3b bag (in the AL) I would drop Rolen (who's been subpar defensively) to start Evan (who's been all that and a bag of chips), possibly the best fan selection this year. (Pedroia is the second biggest joke of the ballot). Backing up Evan would be (sadly) Chone Figgins.

Jul 05, 2009 12:13 PM on All-Stars!
 
Ira
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What Joe didn't say was that Morgan is an example of a "found player." That is, he's a AAA all-star who is peaking now, and that peak looks like a major league player. So the Pirates are trading high, (Morgan) for low (Milledge). I love this trade for the Pirates. Its probably horrific for the Nats, but they haven't shown much anyway. (shifting deck chairs more or less).

Jul 02, 2009 3:38 PM on Whining
 
Ira
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seeing deals like this makes me think that there may be a market for the Ian Gac's and Zach Phillips' of the world.

Jul 01, 2009 12:43 PM on Rebooting the Pirates
 
Ira
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You know what? Nothing is making me happier than to see, listed under "series' to watch" Tampa Bay vs Texas. How many times in the past could a Rays vs Rangers series during July still have relevance in the AL standings?

 
Ira
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How about something different? Make them write an article on Basketball. After all, you guys also run the Basketball Prospectus and Puck Prospectus site and there may be some crossover there.

Jul 01, 2009 10:38 AM on The Arms Race
 
Ira
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Would you rather have a system like the NBA or NHL? where the top 8 teams in each league are taken and the divisions mean nothing? Don't forget that the unbalanced schedule will eat into the AL East's record as those beasts have to start playing each other alot more. (and unlike in previous years, the front end of the schedule was not filled with divisional matchups). Now, if the schedules were balanced, then it wouldn't be such an issue, but still purists would complain even more. (if there are any purists left out there)

Jun 26, 2009 11:49 AM on The Imbalance of Power
 
Ira
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Why isn't anyone mentioning this guy? http://beez.tv/fargin_files/image009.jpg I guess it would make sense if his name was Antonio Bastage. "This is Fargin' war!"

Jun 26, 2009 11:41 AM on Triage Report
 
Ira
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No word about big Papi? I'm disappointed. Seriously, one more word about Davis. Since this article was written, Davis has gone 5 for 8 with a double (his sixth of the month!!) and a homer and struck out only twice vs two walks. That doesn't mean very much. It just means that three times a pitcher as put an off-speed pitch down and in to Davis as that seems like the only pitch he can make contact with. That seems to be his biggest problem right now. Generally Ranger hitters "contact zone" increases under the tutelage of Rudy Jaramillo. Davis' zone seems to have disappeared this year.

Jun 26, 2009 6:24 AM on Awful Regulars
 
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except that when a power hitter slumps, he's still got power, he is still capable of hitting an occasional mistake pitch a mile. And in some cases, that power hitter may still have plate discipline, so he might still draw some walks. So you have a choice of a guy who goes 5 for 40 with 1 walk, 4 of his 5 hits are singles (and one is a triple), and 3 stolen bases, or a guy who goes 5 for 40 with 4 walks and two of his 5 hits are homers and one is a double. end results: Player A hits .125/.146/.175 (.321 OPS) Player B hits .125/.222/.300 (.522 OPS) Both still suck, one sucks less.

 
Ira
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for Historic dates, how about this one: September 14, 1965. The scene, the perfectly temperature controlled Astrodome. What makes this day special? this game between the Giants and the Astros special? Well, For the game, patrolling centerfield for the Giants as he had for more than 10 years. First in New York, and then in San Francisco. There stood Willie Mays. But the game was not going that well for the Giants. After scoring a first inning run on Jim Ray Hart's single, and then another run on in the 5th, again on a single by Jim Ray Hart, Starter Ron Herbel gave up 2 in the bottom of the sixth on a triple by Eddie Kasko, a sac fly by the pitcher Bob Bruce. He was replaced by Bill Henry after giving up a two out single to Joe Morgan, who let him score on a double by Rusty Staub. Henry got the final out of the inning, but gave up a hit to lead off the bottom of the seventh. After spitballer Gaylord Perry got the first out on a strikeout of Bob Aspromonte he loaded the bases on a single and an intentional walk. After pitcher Bob Bruce reached on an error by Hal Lanier (which plated two runs), San Francisco Manager Herman Franks turned to the old lefthander in his bullpen that he had acquired earlier in the year after he had been released by the Mets. In that move, Herman Franks made history by calling in for 363 game winner Warren Spahn. Why? because the day before, Centerfielder Willie Mays had hit his 500th home run. This marked the first time a 500 home run hitter had ever shared the field with a 300 game winner. (though they were on the same team). They would play together through the rest of the year, with Spahn pitching 4 more times, once as a starter, and each time, Mays was patrolling center. The Giants would finish second in 1965, and Spahn retired at the end of the year, and the game wouldn't see another 300 game winner until Gaylord Perry in 1982.

Jun 20, 2009 11:41 AM on Ultimate Matchups
 
Ira
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One note about the Rangers entry. Andruw Jones has as much chance of appearing in CF for the Rangers as Chris Davis does. (in fact, Jones has played first base four times, including one start). Jones is has gotten much "rounder" since 2 years ago and has obviously not the range to play CF anymore. I doubt we'll ever see him in center again.

Jun 19, 2009 10:42 AM on Rising and Falling
 
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from the sound of things, it sounds like Strasberg should start the year at least in AA, if not AAA. He'll get a major league look this year. Next year he could easily start the year in the majors. That's pretty equivalent to an NFL draft pick who starts in the majors. Other than quarterbacks, most first round picks become instant starters. But those that don't are still kept on the roster, but that's more because rosters have depth in them. A major league team keeps its depth in their minor league system. So, the equivalent is this: Majors == NFL starters. AAA = NFL backups. AA = NFL 3rd stringers and fringe, A+ = taxi squad. A and below = College ball

Jun 13, 2009 6:07 PM on 2001 in review
 
Ira
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How did that compare to Ed Correa's injury. You might not remember him, he was a 20 year old who threw 200 innings in 1986

Jun 10, 2009 9:51 AM on TRIPin?
 
Ira
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Why is it that when a team in New York sucks, everyone gets up in arms, but when a team elsewhere sucks, its because they just suck. Why can't the Mets just suck? The Braves had their down period, and the A's are having one now. The Mariners have sucked for years and no one seems to really care (except, well, Mariner fans).

Jun 08, 2009 4:46 PM on Fixing the Mets
 
Ira
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I always thought that the 6th tool was plate discipline.

Jun 08, 2009 4:40 PM on The Sixth Tool
 
Ira
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whats weird is that you are both right. From what I've been told (never been there) Wrigley is a wonderful place to WATCH a game. the problem is that its dugouts are tiny, its clubhouses years out of date, and its infrastructure almost a century old. Its a terrible place to PLAY baseball from what I hear.

Jun 08, 2009 4:38 PM on Getting Positive
 
Ira
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The home run porch in Arlington is a modern example of this overhang. I can't think of any others, but I'm sure they exist. Its also wonderful to watch lefties (and even some righties) put balls into the upper deck.

Jun 08, 2009 7:07 AM on Contraction Inaction
 
Ira
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Nice article. When I thought about AAA All-stars I thought about a guy like Nelson Cruz. He had 2 great years at AAA one of them punctuated with a horrible call up and one with a great call up. This year he might make the Major League ASG, but even if he keeps doing what he's doing for 10 more years, he's nowhere near the HOF. The gap between HOFer and All Star is as large as the gap between All Star and AAA All Star. Think about it.

Jun 08, 2009 7:02 AM on The Summer of 1992
 
Ira
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I liked the article.

 
Ira
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I loved this article until he started talking about midseason trades. That's basis for its own article, and irrelevant to the main issue (unless you are going to talk about how teams can get value from their draft picks by trading the prospects for major leaguers, which is not what he was talking about).

 
Ira
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"On if it is fair to say that he wouldn‘t move a player into the leadoff spot just because he runs well" Why not come right out and ask, "Why not Elvis Andrus?" or was there someone else that fit that.

Jun 08, 2009 5:27 AM on Gratitude and Relief
 
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2 other possibilities that look ludicrous right now... Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla. Millwood because of his conditioning looks like he might have found something at age 34 w/ 147 wins... Padilla looks even more ludicrous considering he's pitching like crap. but he's got velocity and until this year had a great strikeout rate.

 
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One other two for one deal was Heathcliff Slocomb from the Red Sox for Derek Lowe and Jason Veritek. Just to rub some sea salt into the wounds of the Mariner Fans. And for those Mariner fans out there, theres the Mark Langston and Mike Campbell for Gene Harris, Brian Holman, and some random tall guy.* * ok, it was Randy Johnson

Jun 05, 2009 6:12 PM on Super Deals
 
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I was remembering a trade and eventually had to look it up. in 1982, the Rangers traded for Lee Mazzilli from the Mets and gave up Walt Terrell and Ron Darling. Then in August they traded Lee Mazzilli for Bucky Dent. ouch. Darling won 99 games over 7 seasons for the Mets and Terrell won 19 games over 3 years before being traded to Detroit for Howard Johnson. Thanks Mr Corbett. BTW, the same day as the Teixeira deal, the Rangers also dealt Eric Gagne plus cash to the Red Sox for David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, and Engel Beltre. Also note that two additional names were involved in the Teixeira deal. The Rangers also gave up Ron Mahay, Eternal LOOGY, and received Beau Jones, who they got because Matt Harrison was hurt at the time of the trade. (he was actually named about a week later.)

Jun 05, 2009 6:05 PM on Super Deals
 
Ira
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Roy Oswalt: 2-2 in 12 starts (ERA 4.28) Randy Wolf: 3-1 in 12 starts (ERA 3.21)

Jun 04, 2009 1:50 PM on The No-Decision Kings
 
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Beyond the outfield wall in Ranger Ballpark in Arlington (soon to be Goody's Headache Powder Ballpark in Doctor Pepper Arlington) there is a whiffle ball park. At least once during each game, there is a contest up on the jumbotron where a kid gets to hit one out of the park. If he makes it, he gets something cool (like an invitation to spring training or something or a chance at the DH position). But I'm not sure that counts since its INSIDE a major league stadium. On a more serious note, The class A Hickory Crawdads are sporting a team ERA of 2.90

 
Ira
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Ok, so, here's an interesting question. Who cares?

Jun 02, 2009 2:41 PM on The Debate Continues
 
Ira
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I will probably vote for you, even though I was predisposed to vote for you in the first place. 1) I'm sexist and feel that there aren't enough competent female sportswriters. 2) your writing style is solid, readable, and enjoyable. The fact that I don't necessarily agree with you doesn't mean that you're analysis is wrong. Speaking of that analysis, you must be careful not to confuse cause and effect. The cause here is most blatantly Ortiz' wrist injury. It causes him to be just a hair slower with his bat speed making it easier to push a fastball past him. Also, when he can make fair contact with fastballs, since he's slower than he expects, he gets under them, producing more popups and fly balls and fewer home runs and line drives. This also causes pitchers to throw fewer breaking balls to him, which are also resulting in fewer groundouts. (since groundouts often happen because the batter is swinging ahead of the pitch.) Fewer breaking balls also means fewer hung breaking balls, which also means fewer line drives and homers. Basically, it means that as Ortiz' wrist continues to heal, his swing will go back to where it was and by the end of the year, he will be hitting long balls again.

 
Ira
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I will say this. I did enjoy the article, but I was left with one overriding thought. Ok, two overriding thoughts. One was, "Why was the concept of power completely ignored in the article?" The second was: "Where is the regression analysis which would prove the year to year stability of OBP?" Now, understanding that you approached the subject from a less rigorous stand, it might be reasonable to ignore a regression analysis, but to ignore power is as bad as the A's ignoring offense when they built their team this year. Whats worse is that your two example players, Dunston and Henderson, were PERFECT: Dunston hit .269/.296/.416 where Rickey hit .279/.401/.419 Basically, the differences in their batting average were minimal and the differences in their power were minimal. The only relevant difference in their game was walk rate (16.4% vs 3.2% in about twice the number of PA's for Rickey over Dunston). We'll ignore the position difference and stolen base and baserunning since they have nothing to do with what happens at the plate which is what he was talking about.

 
Ira
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This is a good basic article. I didn't learn anything from it as I/we have heard all of this before. If anything I'd like to know if there is any correlation between the defensive rates of position players and overall team defense. I was hoping for that, but still haven't seen it.

May 25, 2009 7:11 AM on Idol Fielding
 
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I liked this article, it was pretty readable, but I found myself at the end of it wanting. At the beginning he says that he will talk about the issue of pitchers who want to throw first pitch strikes but can't. By the end, he spends only one little paragraph on it, with nothing supporting it. Its like he ran out of space for the rest. This wouldn't have been an issue if he hadn't whetted my appetite for it. I wanted to see some data. Of course, as far as I know, there is no data out there which tells how far a pitcher has "missed". But what I wanted to see is the question of "How badly can a pitcher get messed up by throwing a first pitch strike that gets hit really hard". As I've heard some announcers say, "Its not enough to throw a first pitch strike, you also have to throw a GOOD strike on the first pitch."

 
Ira
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ok, career: .291/.360/.483 vs .314/.374/.455 Career FRAR: 80 vs 79. So, you are picking Pedroia over Kinsler based on? pitching ability?

May 22, 2009 3:24 PM on AL All-Stars
 
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Pedroia played in 27 games in '06. he accumulated 0 warp. I didn't really pay attention to it. Kinsler played a full year in '06. he accumulated 2.3 warp. and played poor defense. in '07 and '08 they were very similar players. 07 BRAR: 37 vs 37. FRAR: 27 vs 25. 08 BRAR: 60 vs 61. FRAR: 28 vs 38. so far this year, BRAR: 19 vs 12. FRAR: 13 vs 9. The only difference I can see between them starting this year was that Pedroia was younger and played in more games. (which makes him the sexier choice)

May 22, 2009 3:19 PM on AL All-Stars
 
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Pedroia is a good defensive player: Rates of 103 and 108 the previous 2 years and 109 this year. Kinsler is better: Rates of 104 and 106 the previous 2 years and 113 this year. They've both been in the league 4 years. in that time Pedroia has accumulated 16 warp. Kinsler 20. Kinsler was only a poor defender as a rookie, since then he's been a positive.

May 21, 2009 2:59 PM on AL All-Stars
 
Ira
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I think that instead of Nolan Ryan, the presence of Feliz in AAA might have the relievers worrying and the presence of Holland (who is obviously ready for the rotation) in the bullpen is of a larger concern for Ranger pitchers as far as admitting soreness.

May 18, 2009 10:46 PM on Abuse
 
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I can answer that one easily. As long as the team is in first base, and Chris Davis is hitting above the Mendoza line, and Smoak is not yet in AAA, they'll keep him on the farm. But I do expect them to send Justin Smoak to OKC soon.

May 18, 2009 11:48 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
Ira
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Looking at the raw number of double plays turned by the Rangers doesn't tell that much, due to the fact that they allowed so many baserunners, they had more opportunities for double plays. That being said, both Ian Kinsler and Michael Young have been consistently excellent at turning double plays for a while. Elvis is also great too. I also notice that Elvis' range makes Michael Young look like a statue (and he certainly isn't one) especially going to his left. Young, after some initial adjustments, has been pretty darn awesome at third.

May 14, 2009 11:58 AM on Ranging Far Afield
 
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Losing Frankie for any extended period would be a huge loss for the Rangers, who have had issues with their bullpen. But if he is on the shelf for any extended time (or even a short time) its unlikely that Feliz will be brought up just yet. Feliz has been battling control issues at AAA and needs to work that out before being brought up. On the other hand, they might bring Luis Mendoza again. Other options at OKC include Warner Madrigal and Brian Gordon. Mendoza and Madrigal have the advantage of already being on the 40 man roster, where neither Gordon or Feliz are.

May 14, 2009 11:45 AM on Medical Mysteries
 
Ira
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I have this to say about the Oakland pitching. They are last in the majors in innings pitched by starters. Not coincidentally, they are first in the majors in innings pitched by relievers. As the Rangers have found over the years, an overtaxed bullpen tends to wear down. If the A's don't find a way to keep their starters out there longer, their number one bullpen won't stay that way.

May 13, 2009 5:36 PM on Riding the Horses
 
Ira
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I'd like to make a request if possible. It would be really cool if you could publish three sets of top 10's: 1) The 10 articles of the finalists. That way we can lambaste ourselves and say, "I could have written better than that" even though we couldn't. 2) The worst 10 articles. To illustrate the pain that you went through reading some of the dreck that I'm sure some of us submitted. 3) The funniest 10 articles. These can be funny on purpose or funny stupid. Obviously for entertainment purposes. I know that's a lot of work, and feel free to tell me to get stuffed if you wish. But I'm free to make requests. I paid my dime. :)

May 10, 2009 8:01 AM on Game One
 
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Don't forget that the Rangers had to also include left handed reliever Ron Mahay in the Teixeira deal. Considering that the Braves no longer have either Mahay or Teixeira, that has to hurt all the more. Feliz, Jones (an eh relief prospect now), Harrison, Saltalamacchia, and Andrus. Harrison, after a season or so of mediocrity, has been decent and wonderful in his last 2 starts, which means nothing, as he had done this before last September. If he keeps it up, then we can talk about his ascendency. Feliz has been all that so far, but has struggled this year as the youngest player in the PCL. Salty and Andrus have both been very good this year as very young major leaguers.

May 08, 2009 12:33 PM on Beefing Up
 
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I think that the fact that Xavier Paul, who is only so so as a prospect, is the 11 best prospect in the Dodgers system, says volumes about the Dodgers system.

 
Ira
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I definitely agree. though I might have been over the top. think?

May 07, 2009 9:45 AM on Your Mileage May Vary
 
Ira
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That evil Manny Ramirez!!!! we should run him out of the game. How dare he use PED's. He should be hung. He should be drawn and quartered. His name should be stricken from the rolls of baseball for all time. His 500+ home runs should be forgotten and all teams who have employed him should be instantly disbanded. Plus the Yankees since I hate them too even though Manny never played for them. Obviously I'm serious about this, and my tongue is not firmly planted in my cheek. signed Peter Gammons.

May 07, 2009 9:19 AM on Your Mileage May Vary
 
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So, who are the biggest surprises that you don't expect to be maintained? As a Ranger fanatic, there are some surprises that have made the AL West look a bit upside down. Will they be sustained? 1) Millwood managing an ERA of 2.78 and averaging over 7 innings per start with a BABIP of .220 2) Andruw Jones hitting .393 all year. Ok, that won't be sustained. 3) Frank Francisco not allowing an earned run. That probably won't be sustained either, though stranger things have happened. Anyone know the longest scoreless streak by a reliever? Francisco is up to 26.1 innings without an earned run since August 22 of last year. He hasn't allowed an earned run or unearned run (though he has allowed 2 inherited runs to score). Eck's best during 1989 was 22 innings.

May 06, 2009 7:23 AM on April Fools
 
Ira
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That may be true. but the degree with which managers were afraid of Bonds after he hit 73 homers that normal rules about intentional walks stopped applying. For example: From 2002 thru 2004 he was intentionally walked 63% of the time first base was open. he was walked 23% of his PA's with men on first and third (which is iffy in the "by the book"). in over 6% of his PA's with men on either first, or first and second he was intentionally walked. In other words, 18 times a manager elected to put a man in scoring position rather than let Bonds hit. 13 times a manager elected to move a man to third base and load the bases rather than let Bonds hit. 32 times managers in those 3 years an opposing manager elected to intentionally walk Bonds with the bases empty. That's fear. He was also intentionally walked in 14% of his plate appearances in the first inning. and 19% of his plate appearances in the third inning. That's not situation dependent. Fear.

May 05, 2009 8:35 AM on Taking Wing
 
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Does Elvis Andrus count? or not because he's not a prospect anymore because he's a major leaguer. Ok, Neftali Feliz. ok, well, since there aren't any other 20 year olds at AAA then its pretty much a strawman. But age and level do not make the only determination of prospect quality. People are down on Martinez because he doesn't walk alot, strikes out a ton, doesn't hit for power, and doesn't field well. Plus, since he doesn't steal a whole bunch of bases, field well, or hit alot of triples, he probably doesn't run that well. (if he does run well, then he's not being coached well.) People were down on Chris Davis (and still are) because he strikes out alot even though his walk rate is decent, and he hits for tremendous power and has no speed. But he's a first baseman, not a centerfielder. And Martinez is closer to Corey Patterson than Chris Davis. But he'll probably be a major leaguer by age 21, though he'll never be as good a major leaguer as Smoak, or Beckham, or Wallace, or Anderson. Smoak, btw, will be in AAA by the end of this year and would probably already be in Arlington if it were not for the aforementioned Chris Davis, as there's kind of a log-jam at first right now in Texas. (move Davis to DH? well, Blalock is kinda hitting and he's still under contract, so burying him isn't the best option. and even then we still have Max Ramirez to deal with, and his perennial .300/.400/.500 production, and limited catching ability). Beckham? well, he's also being moved slowly but will probably face AAA pitching by the end of this year or early next year. Many even predict a cup of coffee for him this September. But Alexi Ramirez is doing fine right now, so there's no rush. Brett Wallace hits a ton, but his fielding is a bit suspect, and again he'll move to AAA fast, but for the moment Brian Bardon and Joe Thurston are doing fine. Lars Anderson can also hit, but for some reason (Kevin Youkilis) they aren't in much of a hurry there either. any questions?

May 05, 2009 7:27 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
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This is an odd question. Omar Vizquel is 42. Elvis Andrus is 20. Has there ever been a situation before where a player's backup was twice his age or more? Ivan Rodriguez was the Rangers regular catcher at 19, but his oldest backup was Gino Petrali, 31. Alex Rodriguez was the Mariners regular Shortstop at 19, but his oldest backup, Luis Sojo, was only 31.

May 03, 2009 12:10 PM on Outside and Looking In
 
Ira
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One other question is the gun. sometimes different places have speed guns which register different speeds. Though, if all this is taken from Pitcher F/X data then I assume that's all calibrated the same way.

May 01, 2009 6:51 PM on October 15-21
 
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I have seen Andruw Jones play this year, and while his bat has been wonderful, he looks more like Pete Incaviglia than the Andruw Jones of 2 years ago. Currently the team treats him as their 5th outfielder/backup DH/number 3 first baseman. They would put David Murphy or even Nelson Cruz in CF before Andruw Jones this year. I doubt that Jones will play CF again for the rest of his career. They say that you can get your conditioning back, but I don't think he can regain the speed he's lost. Not without losing his hitting ability.

Apr 29, 2009 1:11 PM on Same Old Stories
 
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More KG = score!!!!!

Apr 29, 2009 8:27 AM on Whither Runs?
 
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Anecdotal evidence: Mike Young has 6 homers in 19 games so far. Something must be up. The Rangers as a team have 39 homers in 19 games, on a pace for 324 for the year. That might break the team record :)

Apr 28, 2009 10:44 AM on On the Rise
 
Ira
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Absolutely!!!! and don't let anyone give you any gruff. As you noted, this is a physiological disorder, it has nothing to do with your mental state, your personality, or your emotions.

 
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I'm stunned. An entire article on the position of one team in the midst of the AL West with no mention of the team currently running second in that division. Now granted the Rangers have issues (getting Pailla on track, keeping the ball in the yard for McCarthy, finding better options for fourth and fifth starters than Matt Harrison and Scott Feldman, the pen outside of Frank Francisco, Hamilton's injury, David Murphy's 0 for 23 to start the year, Chris Davis's run at 300 strikeouts on the season. But they are hitting lots of homers, have a greatly improved defense (17th in DE this year after being dead last in the majors in 2008). Millwood has been solid and delivering more innings per start than ever by a bunch (again, small sample size applies, but its 7.5 vs a very respectable 6.1 for his career.)

Apr 27, 2009 2:21 PM on Short-Stack Supremacy
 
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Re: Derek Holland. I'm sure there are videos out there now of Derek pitching in Toronto, but when I watched him live, I was absolutely impressed by the movement on his fastball, its velocity, and mostly its location. Its almost like hes throwing a cut fastball the way it bores in on right handers, and rises as it does so. His slider also breaks the same way, but slower and downward. I think in the future he may have more success against right handers than lefties, like Tom Glavine, but for a completely different reason. More like Mariano Rivera, who of dominates hitters from both sides, but is slightly less dominant vs right handers (.600 OPS vs .515)

 
Ira
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And don't forget Josh Hamilton. Well, at least as long as he stays in center, which should be this year and that's it. (Next year it will be Julio Borbon, then in 3 years, probably Engel Beltre).

Apr 24, 2009 2:24 PM on Three Weeks In
 
Ira
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A jaunt around the minor leagues and no mention of the Hickory Rotation? Let me help: 18 y.o. Martin Perez: 3.46 ERA, 13 innings, 7 hits, 7 walks 18 k's 19 y.o. Carlos Pimentel: 3.78 ERA, 16.2 innings, 20 hits, 2 walks, 14 k's 22 y.o. Cliff Springston: 2.61 ERA, 10.1 innings, 11 hits, 1 walk, 4 k's 21 y.o. Jacob Brigham: 1.35 ERA, 13.1 innings, 9 hits, 4 walks, 14 k's 22 y.o. Richard Bleier: 0.75 ERA, 12 innings, 10 hits, 3 walks, 9 k's 19 y.o. Wilfredo Boscan: 0.51 ERA, 17.2 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks, 15 k's plus: 18 y.o. Wilmer Font: 0.00 ERA, 7.0 innings, 5 hits, 8 walks, 7 k's 20 y.o. Fabio Castillo: 0.00 ERA, 7 innings, 3 hits, 4 walks, 7 k's

Apr 24, 2009 10:06 AM on Minor League Notebook
 
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At least the Jays only have to field the pitchers that start the games with them. Unlike their opponents who had to use a waiver wire pickup (Hank O'Day) who didn't arrive in the stadium until the 9th inning.

Apr 23, 2009 12:27 PM on Schedule Strength
 
Ira
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Let me simply say that I expect Nelson Cruz to pan out. After all, the guy hit 44 homers last year between AAA and the majors. Its not like he came out of nowhere.

Apr 23, 2009 12:00 PM on Schedule Strength
 
Ira
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btw, on this subject, Mike Young, who so far has been grading out as a terrible defensive third baseman, made an adjustment on his defense by playing one more step back to give him a bit extra on his reaction time. He feels he can do this because he has enough arm to make up for the extra difference and time. The only reason I bring this up is that I'm hoping his defense improves (I'm sure he wants that too).

 
Ira
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All of a sudden I want to go back and look up the careers of Chuck Connors and Fidel Castro. Found Connors, but not Castro. One interesting note on Connors, he requested and was granted a trade to the Los Angeles Angels PCL team in 1951 so he could more easily pursue his TV and film career. And for those of you who were curious, yes, Danny Ainge didn't hit in the minors either, a career .237/.289/.299 in 3 seasons at AAA Syracuse.

Apr 22, 2009 11:36 AM on Tales in a Minor Key
 
Ira
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Is anyone in the Rangers organization saying anything to you, Will, about Padilla's loss of velocity?

Apr 20, 2009 3:37 PM on Monday Meds
 
Ira
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One other thing. Ian Kinsler when 6-6 in the game against the Orioles, in that same game Marlon Byrd went 5-6. The last time that happened in a 9 inning game was 1995, when Lance Johnson went 6 for 6 and Robin Ventura went 5 for 6 on the road playing the Twins. I should look it up for only teams who won at home, as they only had 8 innings to get 6 at bats, but I'm lazy

Apr 20, 2009 9:00 AM on Cooper's Optimism
 
Ira
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Baseball has the NCAA too. What baseball doesn't have is players in inner cities. I think what needs to happen is more teams like the Frisco Roughriders or the Trenton Thunder or the Brooklyn Cyclones. Heck, you could make an entire league in the Greater New York area and another in the Greater Los Angeles Area alone. Make it short season A- ball, prices dirt cheap, beer dirt cheap (well, cheaper than theaters), scout local players to help fill rosters when they aren't filled with prospects. Absorb city leagues as necessary. But make it fun and make it local and cheap.

Apr 20, 2009 8:48 AM on Cooper's Optimism
 
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The whole list of pitchers with at least twice as many wins as losses with 150 decisions: Al Spalding: 253-65 Spud Chandler: 109-43 Whitey Ford: 236-106 Dave Foutz: 147-66 Bob Caruthers: 218-99 Don Gullett: 109-50 Pedro Martinez: 214-99 Johan Santana: 111-52 Lefty Grove: 300-141 Smokey Joe Wood: 117-57 Babe Ruth: 94-46 Roy Halladay: 134-66 Vic Raschi: 132-66

Apr 20, 2009 8:28 AM on Cooper's Optimism
 
Ira
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This has been an interesting analysis. I'm more curious about the Rangers infield defense. We know that both corners were fairly atrocious last year, and that Davis (who's just not that good defensively) is still there. Kinsler's "Rate" last year was 105, so, how was he -13 on grounders? Was he much better on popups? Is it the number of double plays he turned? Last Year Mike Young had a "Rate" of 107. Yet you show him as -6 on ground balls last year. Again, what's the differential? (even ignoring the Gold Glove he got) Thanks

 
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You hear anything about Dustin Nippert. Apparently he has picked up a strained rib cage muscle. Darn it.

Apr 17, 2009 9:34 AM on Teach Me Lessons
 
Ira
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Mr Lindbergh, Mr Lindbergh? There's an Andruw Jones on the line. Says his -1.5 WARP might have prevented the Dodgers from the postseason if they'd given him more than 245 plate appearances.

 
Ira
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No mention of Chris Davis going .045/.160/.045 through his first 6 games?

Apr 14, 2009 11:05 AM on Don't Worry, Don't Panic
 
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I looked at the Rangers over the period shown, and found no correlation between the rates of the infielders, and the BA on ground balls. Year BAonGr LgBAonGr BAonGrRight 1b rate 2b rate SS rate 3b Rate 2005 .225 .238 .237 100 91 96 97 2006 .249 .244 .255 104 101 115 89 2007 .238 .250 .260 91 102 100 97 2008 .250 .241 .260 92 95 114 85

Apr 14, 2009 11:00 AM on V for Vendetta
 
Ira
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No comment on Martin Perez starting the no-hitter? or Blake Beavan? or Kirkman's start? or Kikers? they were all on your list. I guess the only story would be Perez, which was already told.

Apr 13, 2009 11:19 AM on Monday Ten Pack
 
Ira
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Its not that hard. if you scour the internet, you'll probably find transactions for each team which will tell you when guys are moving up or down, and then you can make a spreadsheet and follow it yourself.

 
Ira
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Let me say this. I think that the Rays should definitely trade Kazmir to the Rangers. And right now. But not for Derrek Holland. For two reasons. One, Holland is too close to the majors for the Rays. Second, Holland is as close to untouchable as the Rangers have. But, I could see a Kazmir for Michael Main, Wilfredo Boscan, and Jose Vallejo type of deal. Sure, that's a lot to give up for Kazmir, but lefties seem to pitch a bit better in Arlington, and the Rangers have the depth to pull that off. Or, if they are looking for a major league ready middle infielder, switch Boscan for Joaquin Arias and Vallejo for a Richard Bleier or a Evan Reed or even a Robbie Ross.

 
Ira
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I guess if its surprising that Alvarez and Alonso are at A ball, then its normal that Justin Smoak is in AA.

Apr 09, 2009 1:36 PM on Assignment Oddities
 
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Is there any correlation between GB/FB rate and repertoire? For example, we might expect a fly ball pitcher to be on who works up in the zone, throws a lot of fastballs and sliders. and on the other hand we might groundball pitchers to feature a 2 seam fastball, a fork-ball or split finger fastball, and a curve. For some reason I think of ground ball pitchers to be ones with fewer strikeouts, less velocity, and perhaps better control, and flyball pitchers as having more velocity, a higher strikeout rate, and be less "fundamentally sound".

Apr 09, 2009 9:40 AM on Cliff and the Gang
 
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I'd like to offer a counterpoint to the theme of this article. The theme here is that pitchers who pitch in higher leverage situations and excell are more stable from year to year. (I think. It kinda wandered on that point.) I think that if you are looking for holds and saves, you need to look at role. Modern managers have certain roles in their bullpens and try and place their pitchers into that role. The same is true of their rotation. Pitcher A is their number 1 starter, B is number 2, etc. In the bullpen, Pitcher X might be labeled "closer" Pitcher Y, labeled "setup man (8th inning)" Pitcher Z, labeled "setup man (7th inning)" and so on. Most bullpens have the following roles (for a 6 man pen). Closer, Setup man, Right handed short reliever, Left handed short reliever (LOOGY if you will), Right handed long reliever, and Left handed long reliever (if available). Sometimes that left handed long reliever will be a right hander if there aren't enough lefties available. This setup requires from one to 4 left handed relievers. Most teams have 2 or 3. 4 would mean that both your closer and setup man are left handed, which is pretty rare. In the off-season, Teams identify what pitchers are returning, what roles they might fill, what minor league pitchers might be ready to step in, and what may need to be acquired (or traded, if they have extras). With free agency being what it is, trading away arms is a bit unusual. Most teams have to acquire at least one or 2 bullpen arms just to fill slots of pitchers who file for free agency at the end of the previous season. Teams will then acquire pitchers in hopes of filling all the roles available in the pen (and starters too if there are holes in the rotation). Spring training is the time where the pitchers earn their slot in the bullpen (or rotation). Some inherit their slot from the previous year (either by merit or by default). Some have to re-earn it every year. By the last week of spring training very few slots are still open. During the season guys only move around in the pen for two reasons: 1) ineffectiveness and 2) injury. The second reason being alot more prominent than the first. My point to all this is that a fantasy owner should be able to look (or sift) through the reports out of spring training and figure out who the closer will be on all 30 teams. They should probably also identify the primary setup man, as that's the guy most likely to be promoted to close in the case of ineffectiveness or injury. After the setup man, its whichever of the other 4 relievers are most effective, with the short-man getting preference over the long-man. (though long-men are more likely to get promoted into the rotation due to holes there). However, if you are only interested in saves, any team on their third closer is not one you want to be looking at too closely.

 
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If I may offer a piece of constructive criticism. Many of the issues brought up in the comments could have been avoided by simply taking the data from both starts and overlaying it onto one graph instead of two. Then issues like decline rates, and scattering would be very apparent. Its rare that combining two scatter-plots doesn't make the result too busy, but in this case it would have solved alot of problems. Of course the other solution would be to ensure that both plots had the same axes. But that is assured by combining them.

Apr 08, 2009 7:37 AM on Being An A's Fan
 
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Add in improved offense at third, improved offense and defense at catcher, improved offense and defense in both left and right fields. (Murphy is an improvement over Boggs, and Cruz is improvement over Murphy) A full season of Chris Davis and Ian Kinsler. vs dropoffs at short and DH. with CF (Hamilton) as a wash ok, this might be a team that doesn't score 900 runs. But PECOTA says they will only score 795. There is something seriously wrong with that. Heck, Chris Davis' Projection alone is pretty laughable. .253/.311/.488 This is from a guy who is a combined .302 hitter in 3 years in the minors, and hit .285 last year in the majors and is ONLY 23. In fact, PECOTA projects drop offs from EVERY Ranger starting position player. C Saltalamacchia .253/.353/.364 to .249/.332/.436 1B Davis .285/.331/.549 to .258/.311/.488 2B Kinsler .319/.375/.517 to .285/.356/.474 3B Young .284/.339/.402 to .279/.335/.395 SS Andrus ---not in majors--- (though, to be honest, his equivalents improve ever so slightly) LF Murphy .275/.321/.465 to .259/.318/.418 CF Hamilton .304/.371/.530 to .282/.350/.479 RF Cruz .330/.421/.609 to .261/.336/.486 (ok, limited plate appearences, but his raw numbers in AAA were better and even after translation were .268/.348/.532, which are unbelievabley harsh for a AAA team) DH Blalock .287/.338/.508 to .264/.326/.438 The closest to any kind of improvement is Saltalamacchia's slugging, predicted to improve. Young isn't predicted to decline by much. David Murphy and Hank Blalock lose most of their power. Kinsler and Hamilton decline while moving into their age 27 years. Doesn't probability say that at least SOMEONE might improve?

Apr 07, 2009 3:45 PM on Opening Day Edition
 
Ira
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The A's at 6 and the Rangers at 29 is the most egregious issue for me. Especially since the Rangers ended last year 4 games ahead of the A's. Ask Cliff Lee if he thought the Rangers were the worst team in the AL.

Apr 07, 2009 3:11 PM on October 1-7
 
Ira
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Hey Will! I've loved your work for a while now. I have a question about pitcher fatigue. As you might already know, the directive came down in the Rangers organization from Team President Nolan Ryan that pitchers are to be "stretched" if possible. If anyone saw the Opening day game against the Indians, it seemed (from watching the pitches on Gameday) that Millwood was obviously tired when he went out to pitch the 7th (having only posted 94 pitches throught 6 shutout innings) and he proceded to give up a run on two hits and a wild pitch. Millwood's pitches were up, and more hittable than in the rest of the game. My question is this: Will this pushing the starters cause injury? or will it have the desired affect, resting the pen and promoting more arm strength?

Apr 07, 2009 9:55 AM on Not As Bad as it Looks
 
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as far as I know they haven't. He's to be the starting catcher in Hickory. But there is another de los Santos who is a pitcher. Where, I don't know.

Apr 07, 2009 9:48 AM on Future Top Dogs, AL
 
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Speaking of Font. He joins Martin Perez, Carlos Pimentel, Jacob Brigham (who is also skipping short season ball) and Wilfredo Boscan in the Hickory Rotation. The unfortunate thing is that it looks like Neil Ramirez, who was slated there, is being held back in Extended for elbow issues. (cry). Note that Fabio Castillo and Mark Hamburger will be in the Hickory pen, unable to crack that rotation. On other Ranger Pitchers, you have to think that any kind of return of velocity for Blake Beavan will result in him joining the top 100, plus guys like Omar Poveda, Kennil Gomez, Robbie Ross, or Josh Wieland.

Apr 07, 2009 9:46 AM on Future Top Dogs, AL
 
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I find it tough believing that the Rangers are the Worst team in the AL and the second worst overall. In fact I find it incredibly pessimistic for this team. Basically its like saying they will pitch as bad as last year (when EVERY starter got hurt at one point or another) and they will hit worse than they have in a decade while still playing in a park that inflates offense by 10%. This despite major upgrades in Rightfield and first base.

Apr 06, 2009 11:53 AM on Opening Day Edition
 
Ira
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For the Rangers to fail to score 800 runs several things would have to happen. 1) injuries to Chris Davis, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, 2) An earthquake forcing the movement of Rangers home games to Oklahoma City. The Rangers playing less than 140 games on the season.

Apr 03, 2009 11:59 AM on Projected AL Standings
 
Ira
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I guess you missed Feliz and Holland in your trip through Suprise :)

 
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The Rangers have confirmed that Feliz and Holland will start the year in AAA.

Apr 02, 2009 12:11 PM on Impact Arms on the Way
 
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Just something to add to next weeks report: Both Neftali Feliz and Derrick Holland will start the year in AAA. That's been confirmed. Looks like Tommy Hunter, however, will go to AA. But that's not confirmed.

 
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Heck, if I were the A's, I might make him prove that he can hit AAA pitching before bringing him up. After all, a month of .215/.275/.360 hitting in the minors isn't going to hurt as much as a month of .175/.250/.323 hitting in the majors. If he's "all that" that PECOTA predicts, then he'll be in the Majors to stay by May first.

Apr 02, 2009 10:44 AM on The All-A Edition
 
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I think that predictions made by PECOTA, while informative, have a real problem. For some reason they just don't add up. You look above, and see that your prediction for the Rangers offense was off by over a hundred runs and the defense by the same amount in the same direction. This was not because of the run environment. Its because everybody the Rangers sent to the mound sucked last year. And most everyone they sent to the plate (after April) hit. Could anyone have predicted Milton Bradley to hit .345 with power and walks? for Hamilton to hit like an MVP most of the year? for Millwood AND Padilla to get hurt?

Apr 02, 2009 10:38 AM on Predictions
 
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As bad as PECOTA feels about Michael Young and Elvis Andrus, there is some good news here. Is it possible that Young's offense may improve when he moves to an easier defensive position? And certainly Young projects to be better defensively than the alternatives (Davis, an injured Blalock, or Travis Metcalf). He certainly projects to hit better than Metcalf. Inserting Elvis Andrus into the lineup might make two positions weaker, but that's only if Andrus can't outhit Travis Metcalf. Andrus: .248/.301/.334 Metcalf: .200/.259/.327 PECOTA (as shown above) believes Elvis can. Its already probable that switching Andrus for Metcalf will improve both positions defensively. The hope is that by improving the defense, it might help the pitching staff, and I think that EVERYONE agrees that the Rangers needs.

 
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What did Chris Davis go for?

Mar 30, 2009 8:36 AM on Assigned the Impossible
 
Ira
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You can probably pick up Marlon Byrd for $1 or Andruw Jones for $1 to fill your UT while Mauer is hurt.

Mar 30, 2009 8:34 AM on The Last Week
 
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Have you done any of this systematically? Are these the most extreme examples, or just some random ones? One of the reasons I ask is that I remember a disagreement about the Matt Wieters/Max Ramirez projections, and part of that was based on Wieter's 6'3" frame vs Ramirez' 5'11" frame. Ira

Mar 26, 2009 11:59 AM on Stress Tests
 
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Since I have some concerns about the DT's for young players at low A ball, let me state some things about 2a. Ramirez's actual lines for his age 21 and 22 seasons were: 21: .288/.408/.449 @ Rome, South Atlantic League .307/.437/.465 @ Lake County, South Atlantic League 22: .303/.418/.505 @ Kinston, Carolina League .307/.420/.500 @ Bakersfield, California League Its hard to say that he "reverted" when he hit only .243/.293/.432 in 10 games in AAA and .217/.345/.370 in 17 games with Texas. Unfortunately, he's now blocked by Jarrod Saltlamacchia and Taylor Teagarden

Mar 24, 2009 1:00 PM on Spring 2009
 
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1) they are a year apart in age. 2) the biggest factor might be that the translations are a bit weird: AA Bowie .365/.460/.625 translated to .349/.426/.627 whereas AA Frisco .354/.450/.646 translated to .298/.383/.567 Either Bowie is such an extreme pitchers park that its nigh impossible to hit there (basically making it so that opposing pitchers there are as tough as major league pitchers) or there's something screwy. I'm sure that age and body type and what Weiters' did in A+ ball and his defense accounted for the rest of the difference in his Pecota. Its interesting to note that Ramirez basically did his AA damage in the first half of the year, and then spent the second half sitting on the bench in Arlington, DH'ing a bit, playing a little at first base, and then being sent down to OKC to go back behind the plate. Even this year, he's pretty much a lock to be sent to AAA to start the year (though alot of that is a lack of at bats in the WBC due to some falsification by the Venezuelan team management). I also believe that Wieters will start the year in AAA, but only because he's only in his second professional year. One other thing (last thing I promise). Ramirez still needs some work on his defense (I am told), and he's not the receiver that other catchers in the Rangers system are. But there's one thing he can do, and that is block the plate on incoming runners. I remember him getting bowled over on July 7th 2008 and then getting up and throwing out another baserunner. Torii Hunter then knocked him down in his next game on the 10th. This time the collision occured in the 9th inning.

Mar 24, 2009 11:35 AM on Spring 2009
 
Ira
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Let me be the first to chime in and agree whole-heartedly with you. Schilling was a great pitcher, a great person, and is a deserving HOFer. If I remember right, he was also the Player representative to the Union on several of his teams. Is there anyone who tracks that? It would be very interesting to take that data and then note issues of team retention vs non-retention for representatives vs non-representatives. Just a thought

Mar 24, 2009 10:49 AM on Curt Schilling Bows Out
 
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Give me her name and number and I'll invite her over for the evening. You can then take that evening at the ballpark. I promise that nothing untoward would happen to her. BWAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh)

 
Ira
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no argument from me. In fact, I'd stack Oakland's AAA Rotation against Texas' AAA rotation. or their AA Rotation. or their Low A Rotation. AAA - Neftali Feliz, Derrek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Doug Mathis, Michael Ballard AA Kasey Kiker, Omar Poveda, Michael Main (though he probably belongs at Bakersfield), Guillermo Moscoso, Michael Schlact A+ Blake Beaven, Kennil Gomez, Evan Reed, Tim Murphy, Zach Phillips A Martin Perez, Calos Pimentel, Neil Ramirez, Wilfredo Boscan Richard Bleier A- (short season) Joseph Wieland, Robby Ross, Wilmer Font, Jake Brigham, Kyle O'campo That's an embarrassment of riches IMO.

 
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Couple of notes on the Rangers Roster: 1) According to team officials, the Rotation is set with Millwood, Padilla, McCarthy, Harrison, and Feldman. Three spots seem to be set in the pen, namely Francisco, Wilson, and Guardado. Also, Elvis seems to be a lock to be the openning day starter at shortstop. So, as far as I see it, the remaining battles in camp are for 5th outfielder/CI backup, (Jones, Catalanotto) MI backup (Vizquel, Arias) 4 bullpen slots (with Warner Madrigal leading the charge for one of them)

Mar 17, 2009 2:32 PM on Wild Wests
 
Ira
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Is Elvis Andrus hitting in the .290's significant (with 4 walks and 4 K's so far)?

Mar 17, 2009 11:36 AM on Where There's Smoke
 
Ira
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There's a new gadget at some baseball parks (I know its at The Ballpark in Arlington, or whatever they're calling it this week). Its Valet parking. For $40 (or free if you drive a Lexus, who sponsers it) you can get out of your car standing next to the stadium and allow someone else to park it. If you know where your seat is and are smart about where you drop your car off you have to walk about 45 to 50 feet to your seat. Compare that to spending $20 for the exercise of walking a mile and a half. If you are truly lazy, or have small kids (guilty on both accounts) then the money is well worth it. Especially since you can pick up your car right outside the stadium too.

Mar 16, 2009 11:06 AM on Why Youve Paid It
 
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Just to chime in and add another voice to the choir. I also saw that segment as an attempt to try and both introduce something to the general public, namely the idea that baseball seasons can be predicted using numerical methods, and then get the opinions of some ex-players on the subject. As far as what the ex-players said, the answer is that they said what they've always said: That numbers help you determine what kind of salary you'll get but have nothing to do with winning a ball-game. What MLBN could have done was, instead of getting 3 ex-players, gotten one ex-player (Reynolds or Eric Davis), an ex-manager (if there are any around) and an ex-GM. That way the ex-player could say how he judges his own game by feel, the ex-manager could explain how he balances scouting reports and statistical analysis to decide playing time and strategy, and the ex-GM could note how he uses both scouting and stats to determine which players to acquire (or get rid of) and mostly stats in salary negotiations. At the Major league level, Stats will always tell you how someone did, and can be used to predict how you think someone will do. Scouting is used the same way, but much more of it is tilted towards prediction. A statbook can note that a shortstop turned a groundball into an out, and with advanced metrics can even say where that ball was and how hard it was hit, but the scout can tell you whether that player made the play as if it were routine, or at maximum effort. He can gauge how far the player went to get the ball, and how quickly. He can tell you if the player's first step (his reaction time) contributed to his getting to the ball, or if he froze and used his speed to make up for it. In other words, a scout might be more likely to predict how that fielder might do on a ball hit 2 feet farther away than the ball he saw. That info might be important to the organization. But scouts aren't perfect. The player could have a cold that day, or a twisted ankle that he's hiding, or hung over. A really good scout (you would think) would find that out. The problem with hitting is that I don't think that the nuances of hitting are such that a scout will tell you that much that a batting line won't. I've seen too many guys with UGLY swings who were successful at the major league level, and too many guys with either extremely fast, or extremely fluid swings who just couldn't hit. Thats the kind of thing that can fool a scout. Also the pitcher with the 100 MPH fastball that everyone can hit. Scouts can get fooled by that too. In those cases performance metrics can help.

Mar 16, 2009 9:09 AM on Panorama
 
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I know this has nothing to do with your article, but I have a question about the difference between the PECOTA projection and the Depth Chart: Name PECOTA IP Depth Chart IP Milwood 141.3 165 Padilla 147.3 160 McCarthy 68.3 110 Harrison 153.0 125 Feldman 98.3 120 I understand that the Pecota projections are each made in a vacuum and that the Depth chart is supposed to be charting team decisions, but I don't see why the Depth chart thinks that adding 30 IP to all of the pitchers (except harrison, who aparantly loses 30 IP) makes alot of sense. Could you explain the logic here?

 
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I'm very suprised that you failed to talk about Michael Young. I know his move isn't proposed, but actually acted upon, but I would be intrigued to hear what you thought might happen for him. He's also one of the very rare cases of a player moving up the defensive spectrum and then thriving there when he moved from Second base to shortstop, and then, against all expectations, started flashing gold glove level defense at short. Now, with a move to third, will he start hitting 30 homers per year? Personally I doubt it, but he's exceeded expectations before.

 
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isn't Benoit out for the year with Rotator cuff surgery? Ira

Mar 13, 2009 9:32 AM on September 21-27
 
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How much did Chris Davis go for? Just curiousity? And did anyone take a flyer on either Neftali Feliz or Derrek Holland as a reserve?

Mar 13, 2009 9:28 AM on Reset
 
Ira
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Actually, Gibson and Koufax weren't all that close to Pedro. Its probably best to go by ERA+ and then pay attention to unearned runs. Here's the top ten: 1) Tim Keefe 294, 1880 2) Pedro Martinez 291, 1999 3) Dutch Leonard 279, 1914 4) Greg Maddux 271, 1994 5) Greg Maddux 262, 1995 6) Walter Johnson 259, 1913 7) Bob Gibson 258, 1968 8) Mordecai Brown 253, 1906 9) Pedro Martinez 243, 1999 10) Walter Johnson 242, 1912 1) Keefe's year was only 100 innings, and included 17 unearned runs. (on the other hand, it was his ROOKIE year) 2) Vote Pedro. Only 2 unearned runs. (only 29 starts) 3) Swing man. started 25 games, relieved 9, led the team with 3 saves. And allowed 10 unearned runs. (plus it was the deadball era) 4) strike shortened to only 25 starts and allowed 9 unearned runs. But still an amazing accomplishment. 5) better year then #4, with only 1 unearned run allowed and 28 starts made (though it was strike shortened). 6) 12 unearned runs, though he did start 36 games and relieve in 12 more. Incredible season. 7) Well, maybe Gibson's 1968 wasn't that far off. Certainly the best season between Walter Johnson and Greg Maddux. 8) 24 unearned runs turn this historic season into merely a very good one. 9) Pedro's warmup to godhood 10) Walter Johnson's warmup to godhood. Basically, three pitchers here stand out: Pedro, Maddux, and Walter Johnson. Looking at the career list, you get Pedro, Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, some other deadball guys with short careers, a bunch of relievers, some current stars, and Roger Clemens. So, Who's the best pitcher of all time? Personally, my top 5 is Walter Johnson, Pedro, Clemens, Maddux, and Lefty Grove.

Mar 11, 2009 10:35 AM on Rangers Top 11 Prospects
 
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Rangers single season records: ERA: 2.16, Dick Bosnan, 1969 Wins: 25, Fergie Jenkins, 1974 Win%: .765, Danny Darwin, 1980 (13-4) WHIP: 1.006, Nolan Ryan, 1991 K/9: 11.32, Nolan Ryan, 1989 K's: 301, Nolan Ryan, 1989 ERA+: 167, John Matlack, 1978 Pedro's best: ERA: 1.74, 2000 Wins: 23, 1999 Win%: .852, 1999 (23-4) WHIP: 0.737, 2000 K/9: 13.2, 1999 K's: 313, 1999 ERA+: 291, 2000 Pedro's Average: ERA: 2.91 Wins: 12.5 Win%: .684 WHIP: 1.051 K/9: 10.08 K/sea: 183 ERA+: 154

Mar 11, 2009 9:30 AM on Spring Dust-Up
 
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I wish the Rangers would show some interest in Pedro. One year at $5.5 million with a club option for a second at $6 million and a $500k buyout would probably do the trick in a heartbeat. Sure, he would displace Matt Harrison or Dustin Nippert or a kid, but I'm not worried about that. At his worst, he's no worse than Millwood or Padilla, and if he can recapture some magic, well... lets just say that "The best pitching season in Rangers History" isn't all that good:

Mar 11, 2009 9:04 AM on Spring Dust-Up
 
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Don't forget David Murphy AND Kason Gabbard. Gabbard might not be a great major league pitcher, and Murphy might not be a great major league hitter, but Basically Gagne cost the Sox to major leaguers PLUS Beltre. Ira

 
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To say that the Rangers Prospects are developing around Tea is an understatement..... This is a list of the top 11 Rangers from 2008: 1) Feliz (and a very controversial pick I may add, as no one else had him higher than 4th, with Scott Lucas placing him 13th and Jamey Newberg ranking him 10th) 2) Eric Hurley (now off their list entirely) 3) Elvis Andrus (now ranked 6th) 4) Engel Beltre (now ranked 5th) 5) Michael Main (now ranked 4th) 6) Chris Davis (now a major leaguer) 7) Taylor Teagarden (now ranked 9th) 8) Blake Beavan (who's now an honorable mention 9) Matt Harrison (now a major leaguer) 10) Max Ramirez (now 8th) 11) German Duran (either listed as a Major Leaguer or just dropped from the list.) The new list includes: 2) Justing Smoak (just drafted) 3) Derrek Holland (on no one's radar one year ago) 7) Martin Perez (only 17 last year) 10) Neil Ramirez 11) Wilfredo Boscan Basically, Smoak and Holland have jumped past everyone on the list eexcept FELIZ Ira

 
Ira
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Hmmm.... .260/.335/.484 25 HR, 14 SB's, 84 RBI, 532 PA's. Sounds like neither Playing time nor suckitude is evident there. So, WTF man?

Mar 09, 2009 9:52 AM on Right Fielders
 
Ira
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You are right. Cruz would have to hit 4th, Davis 5th, Blalock 6th, Salty or Tea 7th, and Murphy 8th, but overall its a pretty lefty leaning lineup. No wonder they were talking about dropping Young down in the order. At least this lineup goes RRLRLLSLR. And Salty hits better from the left side.

Mar 06, 2009 10:24 AM on September 21-27
 
Ira
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I'm sure that Texas can work something out for Travis Metcalf.

 
Ira
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Everyone knows that the only bias that Pecota has is against the Rangers. (J/K)..... Seriously, The Rangers move of Blalock to DH, Young to third, and Andrus to SS may indeed create subpar offense at three positions (or not if Blalock stays healthy and hits like he did last year, and Young rebounds from a down last year). But the key is that it will improve the defense at two positions. Young may be a fabulous Defender at short (and I think he is), but Andrus is supposed to be better. I know what the errors say, but the scouts and coaches and everyone else is saying that Elvis Andrus is a special player on defense. Even if he hits like Ray Oyler, infield defense will help the pitching staff.

Mar 06, 2009 9:18 AM on Outside Help, AL West
 
Ira
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I hate to ask this, but will we see the Rangers top 11 prospects before the season starts?

Mar 05, 2009 9:27 AM on Rays Top 11 Prospects
 
Ira
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I wonder if Weiter\'s projections are skewed because of the existence of only one year of data. (Last year being his only year of proffesional ball) I noticed that Pecota has this tendency to regress players to the mean most of the time. For example, if a player hits say .350/.450/.650 between short season ball and A ball, then the next year does the same between High A ball and AA, he\'ll be expected to regress the next year, since the translations will show a marked improvement the second year over the first. Since Weiters has no experience before last year, there is nothing to regress to, hence the explosive projection. That\'s not dismissing his obvious talent, but it concerns me when projecting from a single point. Its simply not enough data. If I were the GM of the Orioles, I wouldn\'t look at Pecota and say, \"Ok Matt, we\'re going to bring you up to the majors, hand you the starting job, and bat you third based on this projection.\" Instead, I\'d probably send him to AAA while keeping a close eye out to see if he continues to rake, and bring him up if he does. If he struggles, I might let him play the whole year in AAA and let him win a job next year on the club.

Mar 03, 2009 10:55 AM on Matt Wieters
 
Ira
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Is there such a thing as a \"Saberhagen Syndrome\"? where a pitcher is only good in alternate years because his body cannot take the rigors of his own ability to pitch deep into games? Example: Brett himself: Year Starts Record CG IP ERA ERA+ 1984 18 10-11 2 157.7 3.48 116 1985 32 20-6 10 235.5 2.47 145 1986 25 7-12 4 156.0 4.15 102 1987 33 18-10 15 257.0 3.36 136 1988 35 14-16 9 260.7 3.80 106 1989 35 23-6 12 272.3 2.16 180 1990 20 5-9 5 135.0 3.27 118 1991 28 13-8 7 196.3 3.07 135 Other Example: Vincent Padilla Year Starts Record CG IP ERA ERA+ 2005 27 9-12 0 147.0 4.71 93 2006 33 15-10 0 200.0 4.50 102 2007 23 6-10 0 120.3 5.76 78 2008 29 14-8 1 171.0 4.70 93 ????

Mar 02, 2009 3:08 PM on Texas Rangers
 
Ira
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I guess I have questions about the yellows for Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz. Davis played 157 games last year (80 in the majors and 77 in the minors). He played 129 games last year, and as far as I know, has never been injured. Cruz played 129 games between the majors and minors last year, 140 games in 2007, 145 games in 2006, and 146 in 2005. He\'s also never been known to have been hurt, despite his battles with Suckitude... Ira

Mar 02, 2009 12:10 PM on Texas Rangers
 
Ira
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Basketball is cheaper than Baseball. Not to attend, but to own a team. Basketball has historically penetrated smaller markets than Football (Green Bay being the exception which proves the rule). You see Basketball teams in Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Charlotte, Memphis, and Utah. Places that would never support Football (with 3 football teams in Florida already, Orlando is o-u-t out.) San Antonio currently hosts a AA team which does fairly poorly attendance-wise, partially due to inefficient marketing, partially because its AA, and partially due to a relatively inconvenient location of its stadium. San Antonio is also an interesting town from another aspect. Due to its encompassing of 5 current or former military bases plus the adjacency of Camp Burris training complex makes San Antonio\'s population largely transitory. In other words, many of its citizens are servicemen who eventually get transferred elsewhere. On the other side, San Antonio is also a place where many servicemen retire to, with its warm climate and accommodating atmosphere. Also, with its large Mexican population, major league baseball would be very popular, but might lack funds. On the other side of the equation is Austin. Austin is home to the Round Rock Express, a AAA franchise which is run by one of Nolan Ryan\'s sons. Their attendance is very high, and Austin (of which Round Rock is a wealthy suburb) has alot of money, if not a lot of people. If only Austin were just south of San Antonio instead of the other way around. San Antonio Residents do go to Austin on occasion (usually to go to the bars on Sixth street for really good music) and Austin Residents have been known to go to San Antonio (for the same reason most other people travel there, the Riverwalk, Sea World, and the Alamo). I think that putting a stadium in either San Marcos or New Braunfels (the two largest \"towns\" in between Austin and San Antonio) would be a mistake. Most of the baseball fans in Austin live on the north side, and wouldn\'t be crazy about traveling 45 min south of town on a regular basis (especially with the traffic on I-35), and Many of the baseball fans in San Antonio wouldn\'t want to drive 45 min north either. A unique solution might be in a little town called Lulling. Luling sits about 60 miles east of San Antonio along I-10 (towards Houston) and about 45 min south of Austin, a straight drive down Highway 183. On the other hand, a Stadium in Austin itself could draw from both San Antonio and College Station, along with the Hill Country, and even Waco. A final option might be something down in MacAllen or Brownsville (in a few years) The growth of the Rio Grande Valley has been enormous, even though there isn\'t a huge amount of money behind it. It would be the closest thing to playing in Mexico w/o actually crossing the border.

Feb 26, 2009 8:55 AM on August 27-September 2
 
Ira
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Some issues. 1) the PERA\'s seem to be VERY incorrect (and negative for many pitchers) 2) Many prospects show no Historical stats. OT question about Pecota, why are Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland\'s Breakout scores so very low? is it because Pecota believes that 2008 was breakout years for them that they will find very hard to improve upon?

Feb 25, 2009 9:05 AM on No-No
 
Ira
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How bad would Sacremento be? Its not that far of a move, Still has some towns around to draw from, including the 18 current Oakland residents who still care about the team (not including the 12 BP staffers)

Feb 25, 2009 9:01 AM on August 27-September 2
 
Ira
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What is the chance that the Rangers will have a top 10 pitcher in the majors by 2012? 3 years from now, the following Pitchers could be in the majors and owned by the Rangers: Scott Feldman, 29 Eric Hurley, 24 Luis Mendoza, 28 Brandon McCarthy, 28 Tommy Hunter, 25 Michael Schlact, 26 Omar Poveda, 26 Neftali Feliz, 24 Blake Beavan, 23 Michael Main, 23 Wilfredo Boscan, 22 Niel Ramirez, 22 Matt Harrison, 26 Zach Phillips, 25 Kasey Kiker, 24 Derek Holland, 25 Martin Perez, 21 that\'s 17 pitchers all under the age of 30, most of them under the age of 27.

Feb 19, 2009 1:47 PM on Pegging the 2009 Season
 
Ira
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One more thing. Conventional lineup construction says that you don\'t bunch righties and lefties in the lineup. Now I know both Kinsler and Young are right handed, but your above lineup goes RRLLRRLSR. Now, elvis has to hit 9th here, and Kinsler, Young and hamilton aren\'t moving, but it seems to me that switching Davis and Blalock makes alot of sense. then the lineup becomes RRLRLRLSR and a bit harder to defense. Nes pa?

Feb 19, 2009 8:44 AM on September 21-27
 
Ira
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Do you guys believe that both Neftali Feliz and Derrick Holland will spend the entire year in the minors? Not even a September call-up? Surely you can\'t be serious.

Feb 19, 2009 8:40 AM on September 21-27
 
Ira
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Does that mean we\'d have to move the Rockets to New Orleans? Though, for texans, its more sensible if they had 3 football teams and only 2 basketball and 1 baseball team. Houston deserves to lose both the \"Texans\" and the Astros. Houston Sucks. :)

Feb 16, 2009 10:34 AM on August 15-21, 2001
 
Ira
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Did your list include Mike Young or Hank Blalock as the Rangers 3b? Not that I\'d include either one (Young because Pecota has yet to figure him out and Blalock because he can\'t stay on the field).

Feb 16, 2009 10:19 AM on Third Base
 
Ira
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I\'m surprised you forgot to mention that former MVP Andruw Jones has signed a NRI with the Rangers and is in camp with them this year hoping for an outfield slot. That would push Hamilton to right and Cruz to left, and Byrd to the bench.

 
Ira
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If you noticed the top 100 prospects. Feliz sits at 6 and Holland at 44. Each annihilated the minors last year, and at times made it look easy. Feliz is the power righty with the high 90\'s cheese and Holland is the crafty lefty who still hits the low 90\'s with his fastball. Both are young, both beat up AA, and both could see the majors by September. But you already knew that.

 
Ira
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Pecota also missed Chris Davis going from A ball to the majors.

Feb 16, 2009 8:07 AM on Impact Rookies
 
Ira
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I always wondered if there was a way to extend these depth charts down into each organization, at least to AAA and AA, if not A ball. I was thinking of that when I was looking over the Rangers organization issue at first base, and couldn\'t figure out who would go where. It looked like Chad Tracy AAA Mitchel Moreland AA Ian Gac High-A Justin Smoak Low-A but if they wanted to challenge Smoak by sending him to High-A, I don\'t see how they can, as Ian hasn\'t really conquered High-A to the extent that he wouldn\'t bomb out in AA and while Moreland certainly earned the promotion, he could be played at outfield or DH. But if you leave the lower levels alone and send Tracy back to AA then there\'s really no one to play first at AAA unless you want to use Chis Shelton or another castoff there. Not that AAA first baseman are hard to find. I guess the big question is how confident are you in Chris Davis\' ability to stay healthy. I personally think he won\'t have much trouble with that but its got to be some kind of concern.

Feb 10, 2009 2:58 PM on August 12-14, 2001
 
Ira
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I guess I\'m surprised at Pecota\'s distaste for Chris Davis, even with his whiffing ways. He\'s never posted a BA below .277, and hit .333 in the minors last year (while combining for 40 homers between AA, AAA, and the Majors. I could see him going .310/.365/.680 and clubbing 55 homers.

Feb 10, 2009 2:14 PM on First Base
 
Ira
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apparantly the latest word from arlington is that the Hamilton to right field move will happen in 2010, not 2009, and that depends on the development of Julio Borbon. Nelson Cruz is not really a centerfielder, but I like the idea of more Marlon Byrd in center and Hamilton in Right, especially if Cruz is DH\'ing. That would be the best of lineups... iblum

 
Ira
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RANGERS: Do everything in their power to improve their pitching save one: DON\"T RUSH NEFTALI FELIZ OR DERREK HOLLAND!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!! (oh, and trade a catcher)

Nov 06, 2008 1:12 PM on July 3-4, 2001
 
Ira
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One note on your list of the top 10 OPS\'s for their first 40 PA\'s. Taylor Teagarden marks the 3rd Catcher to make the list, after Earl Williams and Bill Freehan. weird eh?

 
Ira
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I have a question about defense. Defensive efficiency is measured by adding all the allowed balls in play and the percentage of those which are turned into hits. What is the correlation between team defensive efficiency and the sum of the fielding runs that a given team has for all of its players? is there a correlation? Thanks

Sep 15, 2008 10:02 AM on Monday's Games to Watch
 
Ira
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I think the issue of the save is one of the more polarizing issues in baseball statistics. Performance analysts decry it as \"changing the game in a bad way\" while baseball insiders talk about bullpen roles and how it defines a role for a closer in the game. The truth of the matter is that they are both right and wrong. Having a save statistic virtually assured that the role of a closer (or \"guy who gets saves\") would be defined around the goal. for example, if the rule instead was written: \"a save is awarded if the pitcher enters the game with the lead and the tying run either on base or at bat, and that pitcher finishes the game without ever surrendering the lead.\" Then there would be many fewer saves overall and certain pitchers would get fewer 9th innings with 3 run leads. Maybe not alot fewer, but some. Instead of brining in your closer (who is essentially the 3rd or 4th best pitcher on your staff (after 2 or 3 starters) in the 9th with a 3 run lead you\'d bring in your 8th or 9th best pitcher (or maybe leave in your setup man), but you\'d have your closer ready, in case your 9th best starter allows 2 runs, or puts 2 men on base. Oh, well.... not that important.

Sep 11, 2008 11:05 AM on Closing In
 
Ira
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the 5 day rotation was a stalwart of the braves of the 90\'s. in 1993, that 5th man was Pete Smith who started 20 games. Maddux, Smoltz, Avery, and Glavine each started 35-36. An odd note. I checked the game logs and the Braves started the season with 14 games before their first off-date. Nowadays it seems that there are like 4 off dates in the first 2 weeks of every season.

 
Ira
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Think Chris Davis, third baseman. HUGE power source for next year.

Sep 10, 2008 9:10 AM on A Few to Watch for 2009
 
Ira
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Great article. I\'ll bet it was fun trying to pick just two break-out performances in the Texas system. From Chris Davis\' 37 homers over three levels to Nelson Cruz\' to Jose Vallejo, Ian Gac hitting 32 homers, Michael Main\'s debut, Doug Mathis, Tommy Hunter shooting from High-A ball to the Majors, or Warner Madrigal, not to mention the outstanding Neftali Feliz, of the 153 K\'s in 127.1 innings pitched.

Sep 09, 2008 11:24 AM on AL Great Leaps Forward
 
Ira
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In your comment about Raja Davis you missed an opportunity to bring up one of the more bizarre stories in Major league history. That of Herb Washington, proffesional Pinch runner. In 1974 Herb participated in 92 games, but had 0 plate appearances and 0 innings in the field. He did manage 29 stolen bases, but at the cost of 16 caught stealings.

 
Ira
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I have a couple of issues here, First, a question? Has Alvarez actually signed his contract? I know Hosner had, since he\'d already been assigned within the Pirate organization. Regardless, if I\'m the Arbiter, I would find as follows: I would find that the two contracts are valid, and send Hosner back to the minors. If Alvarez had signed his, I\'d send him to the Royals. If not, then I would give him 24 hours to sign the deal AS WRITTEN or prepare for next years draft. But, I would also fine MLB $1 for each minute of extensions, and include a stern warning NOT to extend any deadlines in the future. Deadlines in Baseball are supposed to be absolute, though with this being a new one, its unwise to \"uncork the bottle\" by voiding the two contracts. Boras is a draft-buster, and the union, knowing that the draft is untouchable because it falls under Baseball\'s exemption from the Anti-Trust laws, likes it and encourages him to bust up the draft. I\'m sure that they would want the draft to be voluntary, allowing the top talent to bargain for initial bonuses and salary as free agents, while still allowing teams to sign players. But, in the long run, I believe that that is not in the \"best interests of baseball\"