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Martinez is so-so as a catcher, but I think he'd be a fine third baseman. He's very quick when he plays first.
Also the bruised hands, which hurt bat control.
I think the real question is whether the hard throwers in the majors are more effective than the soft-tossers, not of which there are more. I think there's no doubt that there's discrimination against guys who don't throw hard, that they don't get as many chances, and need to put up better numbers in the minors to be promoted. The question is whether that's rational.
This is all hard to determine, even in hindsight. The Red Sox organization was probably a little too focused on the problems with Hanley Ramirez, rather than his skills, and he might have developed less and more slowly in Boston. I think they'd have gotten frustrated with his poor defense early in his career and tried to move him to rightfield instead of signing JD Drew.
I'm 98% sure that the player has to be on your 40-man roster by September 1 to be eligible for the playoffs.
You're right, of course, but I think he would have been a decent third baseman until the elbow gave out.
You could only really make a similar case for Burrell if he had turned out to be any good defensively at the other positions. Rolen gave them two reasons to move Burrell to a less demanding position instead of just one.
Hideki Matusi really was a good defensive outfielder when he arrived here. He just got older and slower.
But the article also says that he played well defensively that fall. I think he could have been at least acceptable at third if they'd stuck with him there. I think the same goes for Pujols, actually.
I had always thought Teixera moved to first base because the Rangers had him and Blalock, and just thought Blalock was the better glove, and not because they thought Teixera couldn't handle third in the big leagues. He's a superb defensive firstbaseman.
One point I noticed that doesn't seem to have been mentioned yet: the guys who never swung at a 3-0 pitch are almost all really fast (Kendall and Youkilis excepted, and Kendall once was fast) and almost all have below average extra-base power (Youkilis, Biggio and Granderson excepted). The guys who frequently swung are almost all really slow middle of the order hitters (Soriano excepted).
I wonder if there's a tendency for players to swing at the 3-0 more with someone on base. With men on base already, trading a little bit of on base percentage for a bit of slugging percentage can be a good deal for the team. Also, walks are more valuable for faster players, especially if first base is open.
Regarding Christy Mathewson:
He discussed something in his autobiography, about how he (and many of the other pitchers of his era), only really bore down in key situations. In the dead ball era, you could do this - most hits were going to be singles, so you could give up two hits before worrying about giving up a run on the next pitch. It's generally believed that Livan Hernandez did something like this as well in the modern game. This is a big part of why comparing dead ball records to modern records isn't particularly meaningful.