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I like this series but have a hard time finding previous entries in it -- is there a way to include a link to all the League Preview Series articles?
Or perhaps it's just me overlooking something obvious....
Due respect, sort of an odd comment on Travis. "At times, though, it is just as important to discuss what a player can do..." -- seriously? When the two things you go on to discuss in that context are fielding and hitting, I'd say those things are the essential and it's weird to make it sound unusual to pay attention to that. What is left unsaid is that you and others dismissed Travis' performance last year because of supposedly more important scouting perceptions. I think it would be more straightforward to say that ignoring Travis' on field performance last year - those little things called hitting and fielding that you now are saying should be noted -- are looking like a mistake at this point (note I'm not saying one should only scout the stat line, just that in this case it seems to have been a mistake to ignore it).
And, no, I"m not Devon Travis' father! :)
On the "under the radar" front, Detroit SS Eugenio Suarez had a nice Memorial Day weekend after his recent call-up to AAA: 5-11, including 3 2Bs and a HR.
Is Eugenio Suarez's power really that minimal? .551 slugging percentage this year, and some decent pop in prior years. By the numbers, at least, his issue is more about getting on base...or am I missing something?
Points well taken. An intriguing guy to follow because he's so unusual in his profile,including not starting baseball until late (how does that affect calculations of ARL? Not sure anyone can answer that).
Let me echo that I'm really enjoying this series.
In re Jabari Blash,I've read comments similar to your "swing-and-miss" issues before, but he's walked more than he has K'd this year. Going back to his stint in AA last year, as well, his K rate doesn't seem extraordinary given his on-base ability and power. Discussion of George Springer has noted that high K rates (and Blash's rate is lower than Springer's) don't portend difficulties nearly as much as a bad K/BB ratio does.
What am I missing in Blash that isn't in the numbers?
He was nicknamed that by Lasorda precisely because it was perceived -- as Gorosh perceives with Appel -- that he lacked on mound fire. In other words, it was a psychological trick by Lasorda, not a description of how OH superficially appeared.
I agree with the criticism that this attempt to surmise "attitude" is pretty lame.
And, in fact, many of the conclusions in these pieces are way too conclusive based on pre-season sessions.
Can we hear more about your tattoos, though? When you describe yourself as "a bike-riding vegan anarchist" you forgot to include the more obvious moniker of "self-involved." Criminee, AZ is not my kind of place, either, but no need to be an Arpaio-style xenophobe about it. You come off like the flip side of Sheriff Joe.
Love this series. In re nominees, I'll put forward Reid Brignac -- what a weird trajectory his career has had!
Was Jorge Bonifacio a MW Lg all-star, I thought I read he was? If so, wld love to hear how he looked.
You subtly indicate this in the article, but I would shout it out a bit louder: what a dumb comment by that scout about how Martinez should be using more "serious smoke" to put away hitters. That's exactly what he should NOT be doing and, if I understand correctly, it's exactly what the Cards organization has ordered him not to do. He's not going to succeed in MLB with only serious smoke -- MiLB is the place to work on secondary stuff. His numbers are very good if short of bone-crushingly dominant, and my only concern is with his shoulder. Definitely not concerned if with 2 strikes against an A ball hitter instead of throwing a 98 mph fastball with movement he instead tries to develop his other pitches. To the contrary, that's what I'd hope he'd do.
Be interesting to see how he transitions to AA once he's back from the DL.
When you say on Bonifacio "plenty of reasons to think the power will come" -- what are those reasons beyond his youth?
in re Charlie Blackmon and: no clear opening for now, but on the short list for a call up." He played CF last year and the reports were good. He's in RF at AAA with Taveras presumably the superior CFer. Does this mean that this is a permanent switch, or just a function of personnel and he'd still be given CF in case of a Fowler injury or whatnot?
In short, can Blackmon handle CF at the ML level?
Castro didn't K at a great rate in AA, usually an indicator of a good pitching prospect. Is that a worry and aside from maybe making it to Petco next year, what long term future do you see for him?
Any future for Scott Cousins in the Florida OF? Does Morrison have the defense to stay in the OF and/or if Maybin continues to struggle does that open up a slot of Cousins? He has crushed offensively over the 2nd half and reportedly has the defensive chops.
Be curious to hear.
What is Zach Stewart's future with the Blue Jays? Top of the rotation-ish #2 or #3 starter? Or on the back end of the rotation/bullpen shuffle?
And Wandy responds with 7 strong in Philly....
Interesting piece. FYI, though, Wandy is a leftie not a rightie.
How about a note on Scott Cousins? In the pre-season top 11 list you ranked him at #7 for the Marlins and said about him:
"it's time for the stat sheet to start matching the scouting reports."
This year he was awful from May through June, but in July and August has been on fire (.938 and .1194 by OPS). Just random fluctuation or has he begun to put his much vaunted tools into production?
Terrific writing. One of the best pieces I've ever read on BP (I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read pieces by this guy before -- that'll change).
Sorry to nitpick, but it's "Colombia," not Columbia. Columbia is the university. Colombia is the country. Or perhaps Teheran is the child of academics? In which case, no worries!
By the way, by your description (and by the numbers, more or less), it's hard to differentiate between Teheran and Delgado. Is the difference in better secondary stuff? More projectability for Teheran? Or...?
Say no more, but amen.
KG and Will Carroll and Pecota are the main calling cards for me, and a lot of the changes sound great. Look forward to them.
fyi, "not entirely" implies that it's mostly his fault, even if "not entirely."
probably just a writing clarity issue.
true or not, it's obvious that the suspension isn't just about the comments in the media.
yep, agree with Joshua. obviously a bad signing and the one thing that is really questionable about this is if Hendry hurt his ability to ship Bradley out. I imagine at this point they just want a taker for the contract, so won't worry much about anything else.
on the Bradley side, while unusual to be suspended for statements to the media (Sheehan says he similarly defended Rocker, too, for his media comments -- at some point being a contrarian defender of guys with bad reps as an attention-getting device becomes just silly, and not nearly as cool, radical, above-it-all as Sheehan seems to strut around thinking), clearly he was:
-one, not a good value on his contract, no matter what silliness Sheehan says about his supposed production (I think this is the first time I've read here that power is unimportant for a RFer -- maybe if you're Ichiro and you bring a lot else to the table).
-two, a bad teammate and the fact that he is never mourned by his mates no matter what club he leaves is indicative. No 'teamwork' doesn't win games, but guys do have to live together for months, and a plague on a club needs to produce if he doesn't become more of a bother and distraction than he's worth.
-three, teams are in the business of selling a product, not protecting players -- this is the Chicago Cubs we're talking about and the 'Friendly Confines' is their #1 product. Of course it's fictional etc, but in a rational world everyone stays home and gets a better view of the game on the HD tv, while drinking better beer and eating better food, all while saving money. Baseball is selling a product that there's a special connection between team and fans, and making Bradley a sacrificial lamb to reaffirm that commitment was probably a savvy business decision in the real, irrational, world. Not that seats would be empty next year at Wrigley, but fan goodwill needs to be curried, as in any business (of course, a good product helps, too, and winning would be even better than dumping Bradley, but....).
you're the expert, after post after post of posing, seems to be no doubt that you know all there is to know about the 'moral highground schtick.'
that's an entirely separate argument. the point is to have an even playing field among players. some PEDs are legal and some are illegal. It may be that at some point some that are currently legal will become illegal and vice versa. but when some players are breaking the rules and "taking something that helps them recover," in your words (and may also do other things to help improve their performance), while others are not -- that obviously introduces an inequality into a sporting event.
your argument is the same as saying there's nothing inherently wrong with using an aluminum bat. and, you'd be right, there's not. but so long as aluminum bats are against the rules, someone who cheated by using one while other players were using wood bats would have an unfair advantage. what is the matter with saying there should be an even playing field, and that looking the other way while bunches of players secretly (for purposes of this analogy) use aluminum bats would destroy the competitive integrity of the game?
1: again, i appreciate this post in that it goes beyond all the screaming and crying of the BP crowd and says plainly: cheating is okay. That, at least, is a logical argument, so it's a step up from all the Sheehan stuff about they don't matter. it's an indefensible argument for any sports lover. Yes, of course players cheat. And of course the role of the umpires and league officials more generally, is to try to stop that cheating. this is how, in an imperfect way, we try to get to a level playing field. the league should no more ignore it than it should ignore a guy running out of the base line to avoid a tag. taken to a logical conclusion, the BP argument is that baseball should like the UFC -- no rules, just total mayhem because, like, man, it's soooo 20th century to care about cheating.
2: there's been an insipid underlying current here that this is just a soft, easy news story for sportswriters, as you say. I really don't understand that. Sportswriters have been part of the culture of corruption that looked the other way, and only when shoved in their face have they reported this. The 'easy' story is McGwire winning the home run title -- and that's the story that BP insists is still the ONLY story worthy of attention. The hard story that it may be a bit more complicated than that is precisely what you and BP, more generally, are arguing against. time and time in this thread and others it's been said that "i just want to talk baseball" (or words to that effect). that's great, no one's stopping you. But if you care about the integrity of the game, cheating has to be part of the story, even if it complicates the simplicity you crave.
a lot of posts on the topic for someone who doesn't care, particularly when it'd be ever so easy to simply click on other links, and even easier not to write on the topic in a tone of high outrage -- only directed against those who think steroids are wrong, rather than those who used them.
I agree fully on football and steroids. really indefensible. but as an argument to not pay attention to steroids in baseball this makes no sense on two levels:
1: the basic two wrongs don't make a right, argument. if joe doesn't punish his kids if they do something that is illegal, does that make it right if other parents do the same?
2: if you want no hypocrisy, then aren't you the hypocrite for not pointing out that most sports have far far higher standards regarding PEDs? Why do you use the NFL the standard but not the Olympics? Or bike racing? Ask Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis about over-the-top reaction to PEDs for baseball players and they'll laugh in your face.
Obviously, if I wanted I could fulminate as angrily as others in this thread about the hateful/awful/blah blah hypocrisy of those who don't want baseball players held to the same standard as Olympic athletes. But, without going over the top, I think it's fair to say that this 'hypocrisy' argument has zero substance. Different sports have different standards, and American sports have tended to be far more tolerant of PEDs than internationally. That's changing for good reason in baseball (as, yes, it should change in football): few fans (all of them subscribers to BP, apparently) want their sports to be either:
- one in which some percentage of participants have a chemically induced advantage over others, thus making a mockery of the notion that an athletic contest is about a fair competition between either teams or between players, but rather to some degree depends on if players are cheating (and breaking the law) or not.
- one in which it becomes a competition (as bike racing threatened to become) between sports doctors.
of course there will always be a rational temptation to cheat, and of course that will never be entirely stopped. but the idea that this means a sport should just ignore cheating is absurd, and it's sad that that is the party line here at BP.
there's a point where one goes beyond intelligent disagreement and, instead, becomes willfully obtuse. the poster was not saying that steroid users are like Bernie Madoff. i may disagree with you on this issue, but you're obviously an intelligent enough guy with enough reading comprehension ability to understand that. the poster was -- somewhat brilliantly, I might add -- mocking the idea that because there can be both a self-justification for an act and because a rational cost/benefit analysis makes such an act rational, that means it can't be judged as wrong. this is as true, in principle, for an 8 year old who steals a cookie, someone who cheats (on a test, on using PEDs), someone who steals or cons, or someone who commits genocide (to take it to the most extreme).
the principle holds true, and it requires little in reading comprehension skills that this does not mean that a kid stealing a cookie is the equivalent of Bernie Madoff, nor that Bernie Madoff is the equivalent of Milosevic.
what's odd to me is both the tone and the logic of those who defend steroid users to the end.
in tone, just your two posts, buddons42, in which you first absurdly (as you later sort of admit when called on it) claim someone said that steroids make someone a baseball hater, etc, or now make this absolutely absurd claim that someone said steroid use is as bad as Madoff's con game. This over-the-top argumentation is of a kind with many of the other posts on this thread. Much of the argument criticizing those that criticize steroid use is that it is sanctimonious or overly indignant. Those making that argument seem, however, to be much more apt than anyone else I read on this thread to make ridiculous accusations and reductio ad absurdum (sp?) arguments. Similarly, in re logic, you would do well to stay within the bounds of rationality when making an argument. saying someone is comparing steroid users to Madoff when they're obviously is an example of the inability to make coherent arguments of those who rage at anyone who thinks steroids are relevant.
in logic, again, so many of the arguments being made are logically inconsistent that
beyond the drama queen exaggeration here, what's nice about this post is it neatly summarizes the BP position: cheating? big deal.
i disagree that systemic cheating is no big deal (see post below), but at least here we have an honest position instead of this drivel about PEDs not having an impact, etc.
first, a comment on this thread in general. it's good to finally see some vigor in responses to the BP party-line, repeated like sheep by the followers that PEDs didn't happen/don't matter if they did happen/blame mgnmnt if you want to blame anyone. to pay a subscription to a site for intelligent commentary and instead get brain dead contrarianism is really depressing.
second, in re buddons42, i'd really like to see a quote from someone saying that Sammy Sosa "took steroids because he hated baseball..." etc. I mean it's bad enough to read a thread of rote-like recitals of Sheehan-like inanity, but do you really expect someone to take such an obvious straw man seriously? And you're the one who complains about moral grandstanding? Look in the mirror.
third, I think your speculative portrayal of how it is guys made this decision is probably right, at least in some cases. And I'm with you that I can't say I wouldn't have taken steroids in that era. The cost/benefit analysis is pretty obvious, and even if you exaggerate the moral grandstanding (and overshadow it with your own), it's true there's nothing to condemn here in moralistic terms. But you're also doing two other things here: one, your references to Sosa and McGwire making a trade-off to accomplish what they accomplished is an acknowledgment that they were likely helped by steroids. For the record, this refutes one of the main lines of the Sheehan sheep argument. That acknowledged, what also logically follows is that this was cheating -- whether rightly or wrongly, some players took substances that aided them while others didn't, and that has an obvious skew on performance outside the rules of the game.
Sport depends on two things for its appeal: that it is giving true competition between teams, and that it is about players competing on an even field to be better than others. Steroids (and any form of cheating) rob sport of those two fundamentals. That's why, even without demonizing individual players, it's a serious issue. Those like BP that defend the steroid era are defending an era in which the sport became WWF-like, at the cost of the integrity of a history of records and the integrity of contemporary competition.
completely agreed. ridiculous article on two fronts. one, the idea that McLouth is a 4th OFer is absurd. two, the idea that Gregor Blanco -- based on a small sample size good OBP (and nothing else) stretch should be the starting CFer is ridiculous. Blanco's .242/.335/.300 line in AAA this year is fully in line with his career, and along with his so-so defense the guy is no more than...well, no more than a 4th OFer, at best.
You know, I'd always assumed that BP's position is just a result of massive groupthink, but that was silly of me. You are, of course, right, that since the impact of PEDs is not quantifiable, it's in BP's interest to exclude them as irrelevant. That explains a lot, in particular the irrational vehemence of much of the writing here on the topic.
Still, it seems to me one of the big challenges of good quantitative work is to accept the impact of (currently, at least) unknowable factors and not pretend they don't exist. That should hold on PEDs, as well as on other factors.
in other words: "if things go the way I hope they will, then my variable proves my argument. if things don't go the way I hope they will, then the variable I identified will be irrelevant to my argument."
sheehan's arguments on PEDs (including the attempt in this article to use "steroids" rather than "PEDs" in an attempt to pretend this issue is disconnected from performance enhancement) have been consistently characterized by illogic and irrationality. the use of all-star voting as a variable here is simply silly -- no serious analyst has ever taken all-star voting any more seriously than an internet poll. the further proviso that, if the all-star voting doesn't show what Sheehan obviously wants it to show, then it'll no longer be relevant just goes to show how laughable in a quantitative and qualitiative sense this test is.
it does show, however, just how skewed arguments on BP (and by sheehan specifcally) are on this issue.
by the way, for something that is insightful on the topic, Doug Glanville wrote a superior Mother's Day article on the topic in the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/opinion/10glanville-manny.html
small nitpick: Erbe had 8 strikeouts in his last game, not 6. But your point holds.
The PED effect is the variable that can\'t be judged here. I know BP is sacred \'put our fingers in our ears/heads in the sand\' territory regarding PEDs, but the reality is it is confirmed that A-Rod attempted to enhance his performance with PEDs and the circumstantial evidence is that this continued beyond the years to which he has admitted. How can this be figured in? It can\'t, of course. We don\'t know the positive effects of PEDs; we don\'t know their injury recovery/avoidance effects; we don\'t know precisely when he took them in the past; and we don\'t even know if he might continue to take them given, of course, that he is a mini-corporation who can easily afford his own medical dept to keep him ahead of the testing curve (one could argue that his incentive to do PEDs will be particularly strong this year, in order to show previous years\' performances were not PED-impacted). But one thing we do know: it\'s a variable for which it is difficult to take account.
It is, of course, easier to live in la-la land and say this is a non-issue. But since this is a Nate Silver piece I\'ll be a bit political and steal a phrase from the last campaign: i.e., I\'m all for joining the reality-based community. This variable has to be recognized even if it\'s effects can\'t be measured and makes Pecota\'s projections all the more uncertain.
I have no idea what most of this is saying, nor what the references to fundamentalists and Sally Jesse Rafael and Fox news have to do with anything.
I do get a kick, though, out of being called a fundamentalist by someone who talks about \"just how gluttonously evil our society has become.\" Now that\'s some good fundamentalist language! And that\'s not to mention the stuff about Bonds and his \"serious offenses against this nation\" -- wow! (what, did he commit treason?) I\'m of the position that steroids is a real issue and that Sheehan\'s article both lacks logic in dismissing it as an issue and exaggerates the media hysteria, but I will certainly admit that the venom directed at Bonds was excessive. How one can both agree with Sheehan and also engage in hysterics at Bonds....puzzles me.
thanks. the first common sense reply. one doesn\'t have to be a hater or a screecher to see that Sheehan\'s article is shallow naysaying for the sake of being a naysayer. yes, we\'d all love for this to go away (and I absolutely agree Bonds has been unfairly singled out). but cheating gets to the heart of the integrity of sport so, like it or not, it\'s not just a big story it\'s a pretty big deal.
I\'ll just add a few random comments:
-\"... and America\'s true favorite pastime of tearing down people of achievement.\"
Somehow I suspect you\'ve never lived in another country, or less you wouldn\'t say such silly things that reflect an insular, belly-button focused xenophobia. there\'s nothing unique to the U.S. here.
-\"Some people continue to be surprised that highly competitive young men fighting for fame, honor, and a cut of $6 billion would do everything they could to beat the guy next to them, which is a pretty good way to make the Olympic team in Naive.\"
Sanctimonious much? I\'d appreciate a quote to support this dissertation in smugness, as I\'ve yet to hear anyone say they\'re surprised that athletes use steroids to get an edge. If you don\'t have a quote, perhaps you should join the Olympic team in Smug?
-...\"There was a time, not very long ago, that I thought the issue of PEDs in baseball was overblown because use was overstated. Now, I think that use was common, with some significant number of players regularly using steroids in an effort to become better at that craft, and a larger number at least trying them out for a period of time. I remain skeptical that PED use is connected to performance in a way that warps the game, a conclusion supported by the evidence that proven use is mixed among hitters and pitchers, among good players and fringe ones, among the strong and the skinny. The establishment of a testing program with penalties does appear to have been a deterrent, as evidenced by the drop from 104 positives in 2003 to fewer than that number in total in the five years since.\"
This is so illogical it is astonishing. Please explain how a random mixture of PED users means there\'s no effect on competitiveness. One, the idea that this mix is perfectly distributed among various teams is, simply, absurd. Two, the competitive harm is most clear versus those who used and those who didn\'t cheat. The reason why bringing this to light is a positive is that it keeps cheaters from profiting over those who play by the rules. The question is not a mix between pitchers and hitters as Sheehan poses it. Unless you think the point of the game is a nice balance between league OPS values. The point is that on a team level a non-controlled random distribution of users inevitably helped some teams over others. The cheaters had a better chance to win. The point is that on an individual level some players -- the clean players -- were disadvantaged because they played by the rules.
Snort all you want and take a smug, superior attitude. But at least make a coherent, logical argument when you do so rather than repeat in a high screech the same platitudes BP has been pushing for years.
that\'s spot on. to deny racism is simply silly here, the veneration for McGwire vs the venom at Bonds (both chasing a \'beloved\' record, so don\'t give us that mantra) is explained by an obvious variable. The media for its own self-protecting reasons egged it on. And then it just seemed to have its own momentum.
Which isn\'t to say Bonds wasn\'t a jerk and a user.
that was \'fun fact\' worthy!
Slight error on McKenry, you note his 2008 stats being from AA rather than High A.
Beyond that, I\'ve been curious about Modesto\'s park factor. Cal Lg is obviously a high octane offensive environment, but McKenry led Modesto in several offensive categories with relatively modest numbers. Is it a much worse offensive environment than the rest of the Cal Lg, or did the Nuts just not have a good offensive team?
Related to that, how heavily do you weigh AFL performance? 9 homers and a 1.252 OPS in 24 games for McKenry has to factor in a some level, no?
Thanks for the excellent report.
Are the Royals\' arms really \"led by Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, and Tyler Sample\"?
I\'d think that Dan Cortes is \"leading\" each of those guys in most books, be interested to hear why you think differently.