CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com
New! Search comments:
(NOTE: Relevance, Author, and Article are not applicable for comment searches)
I do think in the end the Rays will get the better end of that deal. Myers should rebound and Odorizzi has turned out to be better than expected. But, if the Royals win the this series, it could probably be considered a wash even when Shields leaves via FA. I mean, if you asked any GM if he'd trade a prospect for a guaranteed World Series victory, he'd take it in a heartbeat, I think. Flags fly forever and etc.
I used the KC radio broadcast using the tunein radio app on my phone and it seemed to sync up fine last night. I was also watching the game on my computer so that might be the issue, too. But I did listen to a few innings of the commentary, and man, Harold Reynolds loves himself some pitcher win, doesn't he?
I think the difference is probably that Petit has always had this velocity, and learned how to pitch with it. Lincecum used to have elite velo and hasn't seemed to adjust to less. The interesting thing is that, when he was drafted, talent evaluators seemed to think he wouldn't last long as a starter, and it seems like they're right. He had a fantastic and short starting career, and could possibly have a decent bullpen career if he can adjust to less velocity.
Really odd comment there. Never heard a single bit of negative press about Ethier or Crawford - the latter even was okay with being benched at times this season. The Puig thing is narrative-driven; he's a really young kid with a huge platform and a lot of overnight fame. I think we cut him a bit of slack, no? Especially after the harrowing details of his escape from Cuba. And the only real thing wrong with Hanley is that he gets hurt all the time; that's not a character flaw, it's a physical one. Although Beckett is thought of as a guy who doesn't "care" because he seems non-chalant on the mound, he won a couple WS rings and has almost always been a good pitcher when healthy; again, narrative over facts.
Injured players, or, more specifically, oft-injured players don't have character flaws. They just have bodies that break easily. Nobody accuses Tulowitzki of being flawed, or Cargo or Brandon Webb or Mark Prior or Mark Teixeira. But somehow guys like Kemp and Ramirez are held to a different standard? (Crawford too, until the last couple seasons, was injury-prone). There's a subtle jab here that is disturbing to me. I remember the way Yankee fans despised Carl Pavano, whose only sin seemed to be that he couldn't stay healthy after signing a big contract. That seems ludicrous; players break down. Playing sports for a living is hard on a body.
Much is apparently being made over the "fractured" Dodgers clubhouse, but we're not there. we have no idea what's going on. Friedman has more than his share of warts when it comes to hiring "bad character" guys - Josh Lueke and Elijah Dukes come immediately to mind - but he never seemed to let them get in the way of what he was trying to accomplish as a team. I think the stuff blocher is writing about is silly narrative stuff that gets blown up when a team underachieves.
And if you think these Dodgers are "Hollywood" hot dogs who ham it up on the field, I would strongly suggest you read a little about Dodger hero and Hollywood darling Don Drysdale.
Matheny, after the game, said "I couldn't bring my closer into a tie game, on the road" so there's that, too.
Great column Josh. Thanks for it. And thanks for reminding me of Darren Ford - he was the Terrance Gore of 2011!
The Lincecum absence is puzzling, in that he was effective in a bullpen role in the Giants' previous world series. I can't imagine he's hurt. I'm surprised that Wacha is on the roster, frankly. If he's not coming into a game in which his team's starter is knocked out in the 4th, then Wacha's not pitching period. Which means Mike Matheny is short two roster spots (Yadi, Wacha) in the NLCS, which is a stupid way to construct a roster.And the Cards did this last year, too, played with a short bench in the postseason, as they wouldn't use Miller or Cruz. I don't know what the leverage advantage is to playing with a full bench as opposed to a limited one, but any slight advantage counts.
As a Padres fan, I never thought that about how much Bochy mis-managed certain parts of the '98 WS. I just assumed the Yankees were THAT much better than the Pads. And they probably were. Forgot about the gem mentioned above, but that series wasn't going to go in San Diego's favor no matter what. Although Langston's 3-2 pitch was a strike....
One little correction: Chris Gomez, not Carlos.
That first graph was so puzzling to me until I realized it is probably just a formatting error on the heading. Unless the Tigers and O's traded their entire rosters last night while I was asleep. Which would, certainly, make for interesting playoff baseball.
As a Padres fan, the fact that the Padres traded Corey Kluber for Ryan Ludwick is incredibly sad to me today. Sigh.
His 2013 swing looked like it featured a toe tap as well, while the 2014 didn't. Is that correct?
Well, with Solarte and Amarista on the same team, the Padres have a matched pair. Utility infielders probably are pretty low on the list of needs for a bad team, but the Padres now have two of them.
I think the Padres were shopping him that winter because of his refusal to negotiate an extension. Trying to trade him a year too early rather than a year too late. But alas...
Headley has been awful this season, and the Padres were never going to extend him the QO, so any return is better than nothing. But it still hurts a little, as a Padres fan, to see him go.
I was trying to be funny (and failing) but hasn't DePaula admitted several times to lying about his age? That was my real question. And 23 doesn't seem *that* young for high-A. But it's still better than nothing. The Padres really dropped the ball on this one. Even three months ago the return would have been much much greater.
Isn't DePaula like 30 years old and in single-A. Lousy return for Headley, but better than the nothing they would have gotten this winter.
It would seem odd once Yadi returns to have Castro on the roster too. I think Kottaras is a perfect backup catcher.
It is interesting to note this, however. Rube Waddell was, as you can probably guess based on his nickname, mentally handicapped. I do not know or care to guess if any current major leaguer is mentally handicapped. There are certainly those with major behavioral problems (Milton Bradley and Elijah Dukes come immediately behind, Josh Lueke as well) that would indicate some serious infantilism in their makeup, but I have no idea how a player like Waddell was evaluated in that regard in that era, or if it was even thought about.
Except PED use wasn't established with Cruz - not a single player connected with BioGenesis failed a test. They were suspended because of their link to PEDs, not a posi test. We can assume Cruz used, but considering he was a strictly average player in 2013, there is substantial debate to be had about any benefit these PEDs had on his performance.
In that AL list, what Williams is that? Can't think of one.
I have to say that I am glad there's been very little about the Clemens trial here. I care so little about it...
K-Rod, of course, never has thrown 119 pitches in a game
I find it interesting that so many bemoan the loss of Ryan Howard - dude batted 253/346/488 last year. That's right, The Phillies' cleanup hitter, who plays half his games in a bandbox, didn't even slug .500 and the rest of his stats are pedestrian to say the least, unless you're Murray Chass and worship at the RBI altar.
What I'm getting at is that his production can probably be replaced with some combination of Thome, Mayberry, Brown and Wigginton. It's Utley's work at the plate that should have Phils fans worried about replacements. Because there's nobody to replace his numbers. Howard is easy to replace.
The Red Sox had an outfielder in the 90s named Ethan Faggett. Unfortunate.
Lonnie Chisenhall has never been in prison.
No talent evaluator has ever mentioned any "makeup concerns."
Get off it.
" doesn't cause serious health problems, thus the league doesn't need to ban it to prevent players from feeling obligated to damage their bodies to keep up with their peers;"
Using that logic, the league should also ban throwing sliders and sliding head-first. Both cause serious health problems.
athletic does not equal good. Since the Giants have many players on the wrong side of the defensive spectrum (Huff, Sandoval, Burrell, Gillaspie, Pill, DeRosa...)Belt was adequate for left field/right field, but should be at first base.
If your screen-name indicates your age then I understand your silly hubris, but "inept," really? "Hot streak"?Who are you, Joe Morgan?
It seems you might be more comfortable posting on comment boards on ESPN or maybe Yahoo, where the content is more along the lines of "my team good, your team suck, where did I leave my beer?" We try to be a little more thoughtful here.
Yes, Mr. Bowden. Please don't change. And please, please please try and convince the Padres front office, as a "guy who has been there", to do the deal; THE Game Changer (tm): You know what I mean - it's buried in your suggestions but we both know how a move like this might change the face of the franchise, forever, and finally bring that title to San Diego.
Convince Jed Hoyer and Jeff Moorad to go all in, just for this once, and do the blockbuster deal.
That's right - trade for Tyler Colvin or David DeJesus.
Game. Set. Match. San Diego.
If you're reading Baseball Prospectus with any regularity I think by now you know how completely useless the RBI stat is.
Is Wong's upside, then, Howie Kendrick, or better?
Julio Lugo also.
Not that the 25th man on the Padres roster is that important, but doesn't it seem odd to sign Jorge Cantu and DFA OScar Salazar? Isn't Salazar the younger, cheaper, and slightly better option, after all, as far as right-handed 1B/3B/LF types go?
zeus...the first one is real genius....what's the second from?
And, not to belabor the point, but the Padres, with a 35-million-dollar payroll, just beat the Cubs, with a 150-million-dollar payroll, three straight games, and now have the best record in the National League.
If anybody wants the "parity" the NFL enjoys, I must point out that two seasons ago, an NFL team - with the same resources as every other NFL team (theoretically) - finished 0-16. And if you want to sell me some LA Clippers NBA Finals tickets, I'd love to listen - after all, they have the same salary cap as every other NBA team, right? And therefore, the same chance of winning, right?
Agreed. Getting remotely "candid" quotes from professional athletes has to be like pulling teeth. Good job, Jesse.
DId I miss the news about Kyle Blanks and TJ surgery?
And several years ago, in a salary-cap season, an NFL team - with the same payroll parameters as every other team - went 0-16 on the season. Salary caps may help line owners' pockets, but they sure as hell don't promote "parity."
And with regards to the "parity" that the salary cap provides the NFL, I've got some Detroit Lions tickets I could sell you cheap. Or would you rather have Colts tickets? I mean, with all the parity, either could win the Super Bowl this year, right?
The first-place Padres, with the fourth-best record in baseball and the second-lowest payroll, would like to have a chat with you about this.
Nobody twisted Cleveland's (or Houston's) arms over these deals.
Ah, Shitfuck. (If you've read Ball Four you get the reference)
Montero was nearly traded for lee - no assumptions there, it was reported everywhere. I know Cashman said it was a "special" situation (the possibility of obtaining Lee) which you second above ("a potential trade for the best pitcher in the league").
So who's to say there won't be another such "special" trade opportunity? Suppose the Giants make Tim Lincecum available? (In the offseason, mind you). Suppose San Diego made Mat Latos available. Do you really think the Yankees wouldn't trade a future DH for that?
Montero will almost certainly be a great hitter, but his value is limited by his defensive inability and the fact that the Yankees are in perpetual win-now mode. It's one thing to hang onto Phil Hughes and break him in through the bullpen. It's quite another to sit Montero on the bench for two seasons until he's seasoned enough to be a star. I just don't believe the Yankees have that kind of patience with a position player.
Montero will almost certainly never play an inning with the Yankees. They were willing to include him in a Lee trade - almost did, in fact - and if they do manage to keep him it will probably not be long-term. A young hitter has more value to the Yankees as trade bait.
The other point to make is that the last time Adam Dunn was traded in-season the return was Wilkin Castillo, Micah Owings and something called Dallas Buck. Venable/Russell is better than that. Regardless of how good we all know Dunn to be, his trade value just isn't off the charts.
Dunn's gone after the season and the Nats aren't going anywhere, so getting two major-league ready players might be a better gamble than the draft picks. Especially because, presumably, the Yankees are going to sign Dunn, which places those draft picks down towards the bottom part of the first round anyway.
Venable's had a tough year, but he's got good tools - he's fast, plays great defense and has some pop. His achilles heel is his strikeout rate, but he is drawing walks in about 10% of his plate appearances. His numbers are pretty much the same as in his previous couple years - basically a 110 OPS+, which makes him far more useful than the likes of Nyjer Morgan or Wllie Harris. He's actually pretty similar, based on the numbers, to current Nats outfielder Roger Bernadina.
Russel is a hard-throwing reliever - I'd assume the Padres could just sub another reliever if Russel wasn't satisfactory. They have lots.
As a long-suffering Padres fan, I understand how painful and nonsensical it seems to trade away your "best player" (Dunn) for peanuts. But this is the reality of baseball. I never wanted the Padres to trade Jake Peavy, but I'm glad they did it last year than this year, when his trade value would be nil. Dunn might give the Nats an extra win or two this season. But if the Nationals can get 10-12 controllable years of production from above-average players, they should make that move in a heartbeat.
My grandmother suffered from major leak jitters. Nasty, nasty condition....
Either the Bluebird or this long-forgotten club called Vertigo. Those were my drinkin' days....
I like the comment about Chris Whitley. Saw him here in Bloomington about forever ago in front of a mere handful of folks, blew my mind.
On the injury front, any news on Mike Adams?
Until last week Luke Gregerson had a 17:1 K/BB ratio - a bad week has given him a more pedestrian ratio. Still impressive at 8:1 but not the same.
51 IP, 39 Hits, 3 HR, 22 BB, 57 K, 220/300/345 Avgs Against, 1.20 WHIP. Clippard has been an average to below-average pitcher on the road, very good at home, and he has a lot of decisions.
40 IP, 18 Hits, 2 Hr, 6 BB, 51 K, 131/171/226 Avgs Against, 0.60 WHIP. Averages pretty much the same on the road as at home. Less decisions, different role.
I'd take Gregerson. 120 points of OPS are pretty important out of the bullpen, and giving up twice as many baserunners isn't a point in Clippard's favor.
Padres, I believe - Richard, Garland, Latos, LeBlanc and Correia.
Rather have Gregerson than Clippard or Meek. Otherwise, no real quibbles, although the team with the best pitching in the National League should probably send at least one pitcher to the ASG - Latos or Richard would be reasonable.
Just take the hits out of the equation: Jackson pitched a complete game in which he walked 8 batters and threw 149 pitches. That's the definition of insanity.
Well, it's bad for the relievers, right? I understand that Torre doesn't have to give a damn about a reliever's career, or even his life outside of baseball, but I think a guy like Scott Proctor, who is out of baseball because of Torre's overuse, might have an opinion about bullpen overuse.
This is a guy's livelihood we're talking about, after all - Joe Torre is set for life, financially, but a guy like Proctor is definitely not.
Any thoughts on the Chris Henry situation?
Thanks for the great article Steven. Had to go look up Alfredo Griffin again - I'm always amazed that he lasted as long as he did. And also amazed that one season he stole 18 bases - in 41 attempts! Didn't he ever get told to stop trying to steal?
Thanks, Will. It seems like a diagnosis I hear a lot. And I've always wondered why the word was spelled the way it is when the word "Tendon" is obviously the root.
Hmmm. Isn't "tendinitis" a pretty generic term teams use to describe anything they can't quite figure out? It seems like "tendinitis" could describe anything from a sore elbow to a torn ligament.
Any news about Kyle Blanks' elbow? The news that it feels "worse than when he went on the DL" is worrisome, no?
Excellent article. It seems as though the Red Sox' whitewashing of their record on integration would be a great topic for a long article or book.
I'm bummed we missed out on baseball's first "Edgmer"
Also feel sorry for Stauffer - he was putting together a nice little run this year, finally paying off 7 years after being drafted in the first round in 2003. Hope he comes back strong.
I actually wouldn't expect Anderson to be a major part of a deal for Adrian Gonzalez (which is what I assume you're referring to.) The Padres have Kyle Blanks ready to move to first, so it makes no sense to block another first-base-only prospect, especially in the non-DH league. I think, for the Padres, any deal for Gonzalez starts and ends with Jon Lester, and anything less - Bard, Ellsbury, Kelly, Buccholz - would be a non-starter for me.
Regarding White, wasn't Mike SCott primarily a fastball/splitter pitcher?
I don't remember Statis-Pro but I became infatuated with baseball through Strat-O-Matic and I loved the "small sample size" allstars - Tim Worrell and Randy Ready, 1994 - in a league with no inning or at-bat limits, those were my stars. Worrell's card didn't have a hit or walk allowed on it.
I love this "player of the day (living or dead)" feature. I often go to B-R and look at random pages, and it's fun to imagine what and who some of these players were. I always thought Herm winningham and Max Venable were the same guy.
Just as a personal anecdote regarding Westmoreland, my wife had a cavernous malformation removed from her brain about 5 years ago, and it took her, roughly, three months to regain all of her physical faculties. I don't know if being a professional athlete will make the recovery easier or harder, but, if my wife's recovery is any indication, this shouldn't effect his career.
For what it's worth, Heath Bell was exactly as good on the road last year as at home - a .568 OPS against (just as a quick and dirty measure) at home and .567 on the road. Gregerson pitched better at home, Adams was a beast both at home and on the road (small sample size caveat) and Mujica was better at home than on the road. One thing about Petco is that while it suppresses home runs, that outfield is HUGE, and with a poor defensive outfield (Blanks and Headley in particular) a lot of hits fall in that might be outs in a smaller park with better outfielders.
Interesting thing about the charts is how many unearned runs Prior allowed. Is that common in the minors or just a fluke thing. It seems like 13 unearned runs in 50 innings is a huge number.
Really? The writers of Baseball Prospectus told Hank Blalock to get injured often and swing at everything? Their institutional mind-think coercive powers are stronger than I thought...
Ceramists? I wish we had baseball team names that cool!
Yeah, remember when the Yankees signed Chipper Jones and John Smoltz and Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and Andruw Jones and Terry Pendleton and John Rocker and all those other Braves stars. They really made me angry when they did that.
Lopez is from Puerto Rico. Ages there have never had the taint that happens in the DR or Cuba. He's almost assuredly 29.
Yes, thanks, Christina. As one who suffers from SAD, I can assure that it's not one of those "suck it up and just be happy!" things - there's a physical component to it as well. I wish Greene the very best, and hope he has enough stashed away that he can focus on recovery, and not on his ongoing career as a major-league baseball player.
It seems the biggest problem in playing DeRosa in left field is that he's a below-average hitter for a left fielder. His value lies in his versatility - able to play reasonably well all over the field while chipping in with the bat. Parking him in left exacerbates the team-wide problem of not enough offense anywhere (except third).
Yeah, I'm impressed that Santana's going to make up for his injury season by not only pitching every game this season, but also all three tiebreakers.
Is Andruw Jones the official first "best shape of his life" story of 2010 spring training? We should keep track....
For a guy who is playing the "Editor/Nag" role, you misspelled "commit" and your hyphen - capital "N" is a serious no-no.
Also, the "m" in "maybe" should be capitalized, as it comes after a question mark.
Just letting you know.
Not to make too much of a point about it, but Wang is from Taiwan. I know China thinks it owns Taiwan, but most Taiwanese consider their country to be independent.
Seriously? When your #2 starter is, errr, Carl Pavano, are you really "the class" of any division? The Twins are a good team, but they're getting below-average production from 3/5ths of their rotation and their left fielder is one of the worst players in the game, plus, as far as I can tell, they have no third baseman. They may luck into 86 wins, but (and I'm a Twins fan) they don't have the depth or pitching to do much better than that, in my humble opinion.
Historically, when the reserve clause was still intact, great players got stuck in the minors forever waiting for a shot. The Yankees produced several players who might have been superstars but were blocked at the major-league level by more established players.
Jerry Priddy is a prime example. He might have been a hall-of-famer had he gotten a real shot early in his career, but he was blocked by Rizutto and Gordon and the Yankees held onto him - without playing him much - for three more seasons before finally trading him in his age 24 season. This was in the '40s, when playing careers were shorter than today anyway.
And then Priddy missed 3 seasons to the war. So it's hard to imagine what might have been. But I bet there's tons of stories like that from that era.
Because nobody thinks he can play the field, at all, and there's no AL team with a glaring hole at DH.
It seems that when people mention Overbay they always mention Mark Grace in the next breath, while it seems to me that the much more similar contemporary player is Wally Joyner.
I think it's interesting that the 5 best-run teams of the '90s won a total of one World Series between them.
Then why not Russ Branyan? He can stand around at third base as well as Tatis can, plays a passable first base, and is, you know, a pretty decent hitter?
Another interesting option is using Garko as a catcher, which Seattle has already suggested he may do occasionally this season. He last caught regularly in 2005, in AAA. But if he can do it at all, it's definitely a luxury nowadays to have a third catcher.
It's sort of funny to click on the name Billy Hamilton above - you get the stats for the 19th century hall-of-famer, and for just a second I was thinking "Why isn't this guy already in the big leagues?"
I couldn't find any mention to the robot's intangibles or how well he gets along with the guys in the clubhouse. Surely as a robot, these things would be programmed in, correct?
or Russ Branyan...
In the last twenty years Yount, Thomas (twice) Mo Vaughn and Juan Gonzalez have won MVP awards - none of them were pure DHs, but all should have been
Yeah, I can't imagine how much better that team might have been with Frank Castillo in the fold...
Only played 20 games last season, due to injuries, after a bad 2008 AAA season. Seems like a stalled/non prospect - hit the wall after his great AA season. Any future is probably as a utility guy. He has a blog, though, and seems moderately interesting.
I don't know though; he's still in a tough park and he still has to play against the rest of the AL instead of the NL Central - the weakest division in baseball. As a Padres fan, I've been pretty frustrated with Kouzmanoff's shortcomings - he doesn't draw walks, his power is just middling and his defense is average.
But I was a bit sad at his leaving, just because that's what happens when you're a baseball fan. You develop unhealthy attractions to players who you know, in your heart of hearts, aren't really that good.
Do you realize you can spell "Brandon Lyon" out of "Marlon Byrd"? (you have to use some of the letters more than once, but still.....)
Matthews' was two years longer, so I think his wins. Next year's answer: Brandon Lyon.
I just wonder how you can apply certain defensive metrics retroactively, what with the lack of available data regarding balls in play, fielder positioning, etc. I'm thinking of hall-of-famer Rabbit Maranville, widely regarded as the best defensive SS of his era, who routinely made 50+ errors while handling many more chances than any modern shortstop.
I can't quite see how to compute defensive metrics for the dead ball era - the errors would just overwhelm all other data, right?
Minor point of contention - but before 1931 no player could win an MVP twice - previous winners were disqualified (for some reason?) Not sure if this would add any players to the list of 2-time MVP/HOF lockouts, but it's possible.
You can find, right now, probably a hundred different websites that claim Bonds and McGwire were frauds, that without steroids they couldn't even make a major-league roster, that their numbers are complete fabrication based solely on steroids.
Hell, real, legitimate baseball writers have claimed that without steroids Canseco would have been a career minor-leaguer. That's the classic strawman argument, IMO. If steroids make you "good" that's a lot different argument than "steroids [might] make you better" - one that the chattering yappers on mainstream sports sites don't see any difference between. That's all I was saying.
What I was trying to get at is that the MSM has somehow latched onto this notion that "steroids made players good." That a guy like Canseco would have been a scrub or that Bonds wouldn't have been a good player. It drives me nuts, mostly because if you read some of the most reductionist comments from baseball fans about steroids, on any random website, they fall for the same notion. That guy like McGwire would have been a career minor-leaguer, or that Palmeiro's success was solely due to steroids.
Phil Hiatt batted 216/278/367 in his major league career. Tim Laker hi2 226/276/326. If steroids make you "good," then those guys must not have gotten the memo.
Exactly. The frustrating thing is that the mainstream media ignores the most important question; Do steroids improve performance? Look at the Mitchell Report's leaked names. Yes, it includes guys like Bonds and McGwire, but you know who else is on there? Marvin Benard. FP Santangelo. Bobby Estalella. Tim Laker. Adam Piatt. Phil Hiatt. The immortal Cody McCay.
I'm sure we could argue that steroids made some players "better," if only through enhancing recovery from injury. But this bizarre media construct that steroids turned players into superstars is more than a little absurd.
I would argue that Luke Gregerson, the throw-in to the Khalil Greene deal, has been more than a little bit useful, even for a bad team like the '09 Padres. Making the trade not quite "lose/lose."
I always saw Kotchman as belonging to the same group of 1B as Casey, Olerud, Grace and Wally Joyner - a good bat for any position other than a first baseman, basically. Joyner, Grace and Kotchman at least have/had defense to sell. I think the M's are going to have to find some offense from some other position, because right now that lineup looks pretty powerless.
As far as slow players, I remember, specifically, Mike Lavalliere as being the slowest man I've ever seen on a baseball field. Mark Parent was a close second.
I think you may have meant Neftali Feliz there at the end. Not Pedro, although he's got a heck of an arm. For a third baseman.
But in all seriousness, which deal would make more sense for the Padres - Gonzalez to the Red Sox for a bundle of prospects, or Gonzalez to the O's for a package centered around Adam Jones and Chris Tillman? Plausible?
Maranville is an interesting player, because his numbers, offensively seem so subpar now. But he was probably the most popular player of his era, by all accounts was greatly beloved by the fans and writers, was considered a tremendous defensive player (the dead-ball era skews defensive numbers so much that it's nearly impossible to determine if this was true, imo - he handled far more chances and made many more errors than any current shortstop would). He finished in the top-15 in MVP voting 7 times, and had a long career. In his final season he started, at age 41, at second base for a decent Boston Braves team and finished 12th in MVP voting after posting a 218/274/266 batting line. Obviously the writers of the time gave him an extraordinary amount of credit for things which are not statistically apparent 76 years later.
In "The Politics of Glory" Bill James devotes several pages to Maranville and also points out that he died shortly before the voting in 1954. It's certainly possible, lacking references and film, that the writers remembered him as better than he was, but it's also clear from the voting that he was probably going to get in, death or not.
Sorry. that's what I meant to write. The trade was racially motivated, by all accounts.
So do you feel the same about Ty Cobb, who ran into the stands and beat the hell out of a guy who had no hands? How about Burleigh Grimes? They were both first ballot Hall-of-Famers. Should they have had to wait? How about Tom yawkey, who resisted integration as long as possible and was, by all accounts, a seething racist? Should those guys be in the HOF? Where do you draw the line, "morally." What defines, for you, the "character issue"?
Frankly, Tom Yawkey's release of Reggie Smith - for being black - is more morally reprehensible than anything Robby Alomar did on the field.
Wow. Ashby was my favorite pitcher when he pitched for the Padres. Injuries just really killed him.
In 2007 Bernard Gilkey, Norm Charlton, Kevin Tapani and Ken Hill were left off the ballot, while Scott Brosius and Bobby Witt were on it. It's a crapshoot. Hill and Tapani were better than Witt every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Actually, looking at numbers, I think we could safely call Disarcina the worst player to appear on a HOF ballot, at least in the last ten years. He was a regular for only five seasons, had a career OPS+ of 66, and was never a standout defensively (although he wasn't bad). he compiled just 4000 plate appearances, which may just be the record for fewest PA by a player who made the HOF ballot. It does seem odd that a guy like him made the cut, while guys like Kevin Seitzer or Kevin Gross didn't. It seems so arbitrary.
Not that it matters; it's just interesting.
I don't know - Jackson was a good middle reliever for a long time. He had a couple seasons with big save numbers, and his peripherals were always good. He struck out more batters in his career than he allowed hits, kept the ball in the park and had a career ERA+ of 125. He was pretty consistent in a role that pitchers aren't usually consistent in. Certainly no hall-of-famer, but far from the worst player to ever appear on the ballot.
From what I understand, the ballot is made up of anybody who played more than 10 seasons and wasn't a bench player or clearly just an average player. I'm not sure who decides those arbitrary guidelines, but a quick glance at the HOF ballots from the aughts show plenty of guys worse than Jackson. Take, say, 2003: I'd argue that Jackson was more useful than Mitch Williams, Vince Coleman and Mark Davis, who were all on the ballot. Otis Nixon was on the ballot in 2005; Gary Disarcina and Gregg Jefferies were on the ballot in '06.
Yeah, what a dreadful player - plays exceptional defense at one of the most important positions on the field - even at age 37, hits for power, runs well, draws walks, is extremely durable. What are they thinking? Shouldn't BP rather be jockeying the "grit" of David Eckstein or the "hustle" of Juan Pierre.
He's going to finish his career with more than 300 homers and 2000 hits along with 300 steals, 1000 walks and 1200 runs scored, along with sterling defense in centerfield. If that's an overrated player, I'll take one every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
This is great stuff - always nice to see a player aware that SB % is actually more important than total SBs.
I also love the idea of being "passive-aggressive" on the bases. What does that even mean?
I think players like Sabathia are mercenary; they go to the team that offers the most money, period. As far as press reaction, I suppose you're right, but the opposite is also true: Sabathia got blasted in the media for the contract he signed with the Yankees, too. And suppose he made the Royals good enough to compete in the weak AL Central? (Imagine a rotation featuring Greinke and CC). Wouldn't that give him all kinds of media brownie points?
I don't know how much money Sabathia makes "hocking" local products. I can't imagine it's much more than a drop in the bucket.
The point I was making, though, isn't really about Sabathia. It's more about terribly managed teams, like the Royals, who cry poverty while spending their money unwisely. Like, on Jason Kendall.
"like the signing of Kendall will prove to be."
The problem is that a guy like Jason Kendall - a 37 year old catcher who hasn't hit in years - offers no possibility whatsoever of improving a team. He's not "lightning in a bottle" - he's a known commodity. "lightning in a bottle" would be signing somebody like Ben Sheets or Rich Harden or Khalil Greene or letting Kila Ka'aihue play first. Yes, all of those moves might fail. But they're not guaranteed failures like the signing of Kendall proved to be.
I've written this before and been mocked, but I should point out that the Royals spent as much money last year on Jose Guillen, John Bale and Mike Jacobs as the Yankees spent on CC Sabathia. You wanna guess who got more value?
Also, apparently Daniel Sclereth is part of the deal, headed to the Tigers.
I would rather see that same deal made with Feliz instead of Smoak - The Padres already have a bunch of players on the wrong side of the defensive spectrum.
While Wins, generally are a poor predictor of pitcher performance within a single season, especially nowadays, in the 7-man bullpen era, they were less so in 1949, and the "20-win" players from that era at least serve, in my opinion, as a quick-and-dirty way to get an idea of which pitchers were successful. The lack of the modern bullpen meant a lot more decisions for starting pitchers, and wins tended to correlate more precisely with team performance than they do now. For example, in that 1949 season, St. Louis' top 5 starters accounted for decisions in 78 of the teams 96 wins. Another 10 came from the team's "closer", Ted Wilks, who pitched an average of two innings per appearance. Wins meant more in that context. Take for example, the 2009 Cards. Even with a strong rotation, the team's starters got 61 of the team's 91 wins.
Pollet's 1949, btw, was pretty decent - 20-9, 2.77 ERA, an ERA+ of 150 (50% better than the average pitcher), a K:BB ratio of 2-1, about a hit allowed per inning. He completed 17 games, and was better than a league-average pitcher.
Exactly. Check out Gonzalez' home/away splits from 2009:
Home: 244/413/446, 12 HR, 36 RBI
Road: 306/402/643, 28 HR, 63 RBI
And those are in basically the exact same number of plate appearances.
As a selfish Padres fan, I don't want the team to trade him, but put him in Texas and the rest of the baseball world might notice that this guy is pretty damn good, and easily worth major prospects in a trade.
OOps, should read "294 OBP" in above comment.
It's hard to understand why the Rockies would want Clint Barmes and his 94 OBP in the lineup "on a near-daily basis." Isn't that the stuff of utility infielders?
Brugge is a great recommendation - good food, good beer, the atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired but one can overlook it.
No, actually, you need to prove something before you accuse someone of doing it.
So, show us all some evidence linking Jones to steroid use, any evidence at all, rather than just "he put up huge power numbers and then fell off a cliff."
This is kind of sad/embarrasing, but when Casey Candaele was playing for the Indianapolis Indians, I truly, in my pre-teen heart of hearts, thought he was going to be a superstar. I mean he DID hit .300 that year.
See: Bob Welch, 1990. Or Barry Zito, 2002. The most egregious examples of this particular outdated mode of thinking.
For fun you should check out the minor league stats of Charlie Montoyo, who was a 2nd baseman in the Phillies system who once drew 156 walks in a minor-league season, although with little other offensive skills. His walk/K rate was off-the-charts, and I always wondered if some adventurous team couldn't have picked him up, installed him as their leadoff hitter and watched what happened.
I mean, this was the era in which Mike Lansing batted leadoff - surely some teams could have gotten creative.
Teams over pay for the one-inning "proven" closer all the time. Bell, in 2009, was - according to peripherals - a better pitcher than the "record-setting" K-Rod in 2008. And K-Rod got some kind of obscene contract in 2009. I'm not sure which contending teams need a closer - the Angels and maybe Tigers come to mind immediately - but I'm not sure those teams have any kind of prospects that the Padres would be interested in. I think Jed Hoyer's a smart guy and won't take "two middling" prospects for a guy that has a lot of perceived value.
The Red Sox get Hanley Ramirez. The Marlins get Manny DelCarmen and Tim Wakefield (under team control for the next two seasons. Cheap!) Who says no first.
It sounds like a joke, but if you ever read chats on ESPN or MLB Trade Rumors, people propose stuff like this all the time....
I think my favorite one I saw this year was Heath Bell for Edwar Ramirez. Straight up. I'm guessing it was a Yankee fan.
Yes. That one employee provides far more wins than Guillen, Farnsworth, Jacobs and John Bale combined. And costs the same.
Sabathia was going to sign for whichever team gave him the biggest contract. Period. Do you really think he had some loyalty to the Yankees? His loyalty was to the dollar signs. And David Glass is worth as much as George Steinbrenner.
the Royals can't plead poverty forever, especially when they trade for dead-weight, expensive ciphers like Jacobs and Betancourt while signing replacement-level losers like Guillen and Farnsworth. And giving a completely hopeless wreck like John Bale 1.2 million dollars this year. (yes, the "small-market" low-income Royals gave 1.2 million dollars to John bale this season. I can not, in any way shape or form, understand why. I suppose it was his career 4.66 ERA and the fact he's 35 years old.)
The Yankees shouldn't apologize for the fact that NYC is, you know, a really big city. They shouldn't apologize for having an incredible revenue stream and an owner willing to spend it. If you want to criticize the system, that's fine. But what's the solution? A salary cap won't work - it's failed miserably in the NFL and NBA and the union will never agree to it.
I suppose we could return to the days of no free-agency and the reserve clause, but, guess what? The Yankees won even more back then.
and, not to make too much of a point about it here, but exclude Mariano, and the Royals actually spent more money on their bullpen than the Yankees - 10.1 million to 6.2 million. Small-market teams have their disadvantages, yes, but they exacerbate them when they do thins like give 6 million dollars to replacement level pitchers like Kyle Farnsworth and John Bale (?).
The kansas City Royals paid 20 million dollars this year to three useless players (Guillen, Farnsworth, Jacobs.)
The Padres paid 15 million dollars this season to three useless players (Young, Giles, Floyd).
As a Padre fan, it pains me to say this, but small-market teams and their fans have to stop blaming the Yankees and instead look at their own teams front-office ineptitude. There's no smart person in baseball who thought signing Guillen to a 3 yr./36 million dollar contract was a good idea. There's no smart baseball analyst who would have argued that signing Cliff Floyd was a good idea. Nobody in baseball would have given Farnsworth as much money as the Royals gave him.
Yes, the Yankees have tons of money. Get over it. Too many small-market teams make crippling mistakes that even the casual obsever recognizes as crippling mistakes - we should call them out on it as much as we criticize the Yankees for spending their money wisely.
Think of it this way - for the money the Royals are paying farnsworth, Guillen and jacobs, they could have signed CC Sabathia. Let that sink in, and then imagine a rotation that starts with Greinke and Sabathia.
But, you know, Kyle Farnsworth has his uses, too.
The Yankees won as many world series this decade as the Phillies, White Sox, Cards, DBacks and Marlins.
Should the Yankees refuse to spend the money they make? That's the real absurdity.
And I'm no Yankees fan. I just think this website should be about critical thinking about sports, and that critical thinking should also apply to sports economics.
yes. he was a scab.
Sorry about the typos, new computer, but the above should read "Kansas City is the 40th largest metro area" and "exclude Mariano Rivera, and the Royals actually spent MORE on their bullpen than the Yankees."
San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States. Indianapolis is the 14th.
Detroit is the 11th.
Green Bay is way down past the 100 mark.
The Clippers play in LA, which is the second largest city in the country.
City is the 40th largest metro area.
I guess I don't quite understand your argument - you talk about the Knicks as being an example of how money doesn't mean anything, but last year the Knicks paid Stephon Marbury 20+ million dollars to do nothing. And they lost a lot. Penny Hardaway kept getting traded and traded, despite no team valuing him and no team wanting to play him - is that what you'd like to see baseball turn into? A business in which teams just recycle bad contracts and stash guys on the bench and pay them tens of millions of dollars to do so?
I understand this notion that "small-market" teams can't afford mistakes is an interesting memem, but the Padres spent 15 million dollars this year on Chris Young, Brian Giles, and 17 at-bats of Cliff Floyd. The Royals spent 20 million dollars on Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth and Mike Jacobs. Exclude Mariano Rivera, and the Royals actually spent MORE on their bullpen than the Royals did. Money is important, sure, but management is important too. And a "small market" team like the Royals is manged badly.
Ron Mahay, actually, is another one - he even made the majors initially as an outfielder, as a scab during the 95 season. Couldn't hit and shifted to pitching and has been relatively successful as a LOOGY.
Tim Wakefield started his career as a first baseman but didn't hit, but as a knuckleballer it's not quite the same thing as taking a guy with a great arm and converting him.
Also, it seems that many teams have tried converting their "no-hit" prospects into pitchers. I can't think of a lot who have worked out, though - it's putting bad money after good in a lot of cases. Trevor Hoffman comes to mind as a successful one - the Reds converted him from shortstop, but it was pretty early in his minor league career - maybe two seasons in.
Kelly is still getting at-bats as a shortstop, but he's clearly going to be a pitcher in the end. I believethat, according to a pre-draft deal, Boston has given him half a season as a pitcher, then half as a hitter, which is useful because they can limit his innings while he's still developing. As he moves up, though, they'll probably get him to abandon hitting, which he hasn't shown to be any good at anyway. As somebody else pointed out, developing a major league player is incredibly difficult. Trying to develop two-in-one is probably nigh impossible.
Even Babe Ruth, who was a fantastic pitcher, gave up the mound.
And so then the Yankees take that 30 million dollars they can't spend on "payroll" (with a 175 million dollar cap) and use it to go way, way over-slot in the draft, or use it to pick up every notable international free-agent, or use it to sign the smartest guys around to work in the front office.
JD Drew: Career Adjusted OPS+: 129
Hermida: Career Adjusted OPS+: 102
Drew has played much more of his career in the real league, and has been 25 percent better while doing it. No comparison.
Again, somebody will have to show me how a "salary cap" increases parity in the NFL or NBA. Preferably a Detroit Lions or LA Clippers fan.
In a slight disagreement, I would say that Maddux had the better career, while Pedro was the better pitcher. And I loved watching him in game 2. But watching him last night was just absolutely painful.
Well, theoretically, a longer series would mean the better team wins; therefore, the fact that the NBA has so many long series would prove that the 4-5 teams that win every year have an even more massive advantage than in MLB. Right? The team that wins a long series is obviously better than a team that wins a short (let's say 5-game) series. There's less luck involved. (Frankly, if I had my way, baseball postseason series would be best-of-9 or even best-of-11. That would give a better sample size regarding true talent level.)
The longer the data points encompass, the more we can evaluate a team.
Which make the Super Bowl absurd - the idea that the better team for 60 minutes, out of a 19-hour season and post-season, is pretty silly.
What else did I want? Perhaps a game that didn't drag along at a snail's pace....maybe a manager (Manuel) that realized his pitcher didn't have anything and replaced him early. Maybe a final two innings that had even a modicum of drama. As much as I enjoy a 5-minute, 8-pitch at-bat, I enjoy those bottom of the 9th, 2-outs, bases-loaded, game-on-the-line situations a lot better.
Watching Ryan Howard strike out 13 times in 6 games isn't very interesting, no matter how much of a "baseball" fan i am.
The NBA has a salary cap, nearly every team makes the playoffs, the length of the playoff series is absurd (4 rounds of best-of-7) and still the same 4-5 teams dominate every year. This seems to be an argument against a salary cap.
And in regards to the "one or two" players argument; every NBA team has the same salary cap (I know there's some circumvention device, but every team has that, too.) So explain why the Clippers have never tasted the postseason while the Lakers do every year.
Frankly, if the bar is set at "2 good players" shouldn't there be MORE parity in the NBA, since finding- and paying - 2 players is infinitely easier than assembling a large roster of good talent? Theoretically, shouldn't the Clippers or Knicks be able to sign Lebron James and Dwight Howard and just dominate, if your point was legit?
As a baseball fan with no real allegiance to either team, can I just mention that I thought game 6 was incredibly BORING? Pedro clearly didn't have anything last night and looked really uncomfortable on the mound, but the interminable wait between every...single...pitch was just painful to watch. It was pretty clear to me that one of the Yankees lefty batters was going to take him deep.
I suppose if Manuel had pulled Pedro for a lefty to face Matsui with the bases loaded that may have made the game more interesting, because I was pretty much 100% convinced Matsui was going to get a hit. And he did.
But the last few innings, after Howard's homer, were a snoozefest. I suppose if you're a Yankee fan that's a great thing, but as a baseball fan I wanted a more interesting WS clincher.
The NBA and the NFL both have some version of a salary cap, and there is far more parity in baseball than in either of those two sports. When was the last time a baseball team lost 100% of its games in a season? The Detroit Lions did that last year, and they spend as much on payroll as everybody else. The Yankees went a decade between championships. That's not close to New England's football team or the LA Lakers.
Not sure if we could point to this exclusively, but I recall that Melian's parents went to see him play when he was a young prospect, 16 or 17, and they died in a car crash on the way home from the game. That can't be good for a kid that young.
Other than that, I suppose it's the same story as any other raw 16-year old. Tools aren't everything.
With regards to Cy Young Awards, it's safe to say that the number should be four for Pedro. He got absolutely jobbed in 2002 because a handful of writers were blinded by Zito's shiny win total.
Yes, that certainly seems to be the emerging meme of this World Series: "The Redemption of A-Rod" - from the big contract, the steroids, schlepping Madonna, getting divorced, being labeled a postseason bust, "the best player to never win a World Series," etc. I agree that the storylines are annoying and inane, but this is live theater, and the scriptwriters need an angle. I'm not sure what it would be if the Phillies were ahead, though.
They've already gone through "The Redemption of Brad Lidge" and "jamie Moyer finally wins one" last year.
Yeah, Mathis really made the difference in that series. Without him, the Angels might have lost....
I kind of can't even believe Jerry Hairston Jr. was even playing in 2004. What an odd career.
I mostly agree with you here, but can you clarify something?
The "slow 8-year-old" wasn't supposed to be a euphemism, the way a lot of people use "slow" for "retarded," was it?
You were writing about foot speed, right?
Because I seriously can't imagine you were writing the other thing.
I wonder how many people noted Adams' numbers this year: 37 inning, 14 hits, 7 BB, 45 Ks. And he's younger than Heath Bell. His health history probably precludes it, but there's a convincing case that if the Pads deal Bell this winter for a good package of prospects, Adams could step in and be a legitimate major league closer.
Those other two trades - yeesh. Barfield has disappeared off the face of the earth, and Mujica had a nice season as a utility pitcher this year. Literally no return for any of these guys for the Indians.
In baseball years, three years is pretty significant.
I wouldn't argue Mauer over Pujols at this point; I was saying that if he maintained this level of production for a few more years, he's in the discussion, exactly because a catcher who hits like Mauer is so unbelievably rare in the history of baseball, while there have been more than a handful of first basemen who have hit like Pujols.
Pujols will go down in history, when all is said and done, as one of the best players who ever played the game. But Mauer could, conceivably, be the very best catcher that ever played. That's a big deal. That's all I was saying. If Mauer moves off the catching position, which he may, then his offense is less interesting, I'd agree. But you could say that abot a million players. If Dwight Evans had been a shortstop he'd be a first-ballot hall-of-famer.
And P.P.S. Using Pujols' left-field play as a point in his favor sort of ignores the whole concept of "defensive spectrum," don't you think?
Any and all first baseman will play more often than a catcher. It's literally the difference between the hardest position on the field to play and the easiest. That's worth a lot of points of OPS - especially when you take into account that Mauer plays in the more difficult league. And is many years younger.
And can you be sure that Mauer, as a first baseman, doesn't out-perform Pujols? That's an easy argument, since Mauer hasn't played first, but here's a scenario that makes the argument less easy: move Pujols behind the plate for 2010, and then compare the two. Offensively and defensively. And move Pujols to the American League, while you're at it. Still think Pujols is better? Or do you believe that all offensive statistics exist in a vacuum?
No, but after Coke got the second out on a single pitch, Girardi could have left him in to finish the 8th and given the 9th to Joba. He had a five-run lead, and Coke wasn't going to give up five runs without recording another out.
I guess I agree in theory, but is throwing 1 pitch (Coke) or 2 pitches (Joba) really "getting work"? I mean, it would seem they got way more pitching work in doing their warmups in the bullpen, something which could easily be replicated by sidework, without the monotony of bringing in a guy to throw one pitch with the game already decided.
And I should mention that Girardi, in that painfully never-ending 8th inning, was managing with a 5-run lead against a weak-hitting team.
I would say I'm torn. As a Padre fan in 1998, game 1 of the WS. The Padres enter the bottom of the 7th with a 5-2 lead. In Yankee Stadium. Donne Wall(!) gives it back, and the score is tied at 5-5 with Mark Langston facing Tino Martinez. Two outs. With a 2-2 count, Langston throws a perfect strike, right down the middle. I mean, belt-high, straight down the heart of the plate. Even Tino was walking back to the dugout. Umpire calls Ball three. At that moment I said to my co-watchers "This is going to be a home run, right here" and it was. Grand Slam. Massive momentum shift back in favor of the Yankees. Series over. The Padres probably weren't going to win anyway, but if they'd taken that game 1...who knows? So I know, first-hand, the pain of a missed call.
But I also watched Girardi, last night, take 20 minutes to run through three pitchers, with the last two - Coke and Joba - throwing a grand total of three pitches. I watched 9 commercials between those three pitches. The NFL's replay system just makes the game unwatchable, and at the moments when the game should be its most exciting. Baseball already has enough lulls in it; I fear what expanded replay might do to it.
But I probably wouldn't have minded it in 1998.
My biggest objection, as a baseball fan with no real allegiance to either of these teams, is how damned boring Girardi made the game in the 8th inning. Up by five against a weak-hitting team, he ran through 3 pitchers and 15 - 20 minutes of dead air/endless commercials - all to throw a total of three pitches (Coke threw one and Joba threw 2). It was mind-numbing in both its excess and meaninglessness. COmpunded by bringing in Mariano to pitch the 9th.
I understand that to a lot of managers the matchups are paramount, and there's an offday today so the 23 pitches Rivera threw aren't really cause for alarm. But, as a baseball fan, it was really dull to watch.
The first part there is exactly my thoughts - watching the game, not even as monday-morning quarterback. You had a pitcher throwing only changeups to a left-handed slap-hitter - the likelihood of Casilla pulling that pitch was HUGE, especially given his hack-tastic tendencies. As I was watching the game with my wife, I even said "they should probably have the shift on against this guy; Rodney's not throwing anything hard." That was literally on the pitch he hit.
Yeah, but do you really want six-hour games? Because if you've ever watched an NFL game, sitting through an instant-replay decision is about as much fun as watching paint dry, then peel, then be repainted and dry again.
HAving just watched a game in which the Twins nearly lost their only remaining shortstop in the 11th inning (Cabrera nearly got tossed arguing balls and strikes) I can see exactly why having a spare shortstop is more important than a 12th reliever.
Yeah, that's one point, but starting with a low baseline and claiming success when a player reaches it isn't any kind of winning strategy. A rotation full of #3 and 4 starters isn't going to win anything. With several potential #1 starters on the board at the 7th pick, the Braves picked the low-upside guy. That's a losing call every time, regardless of how the end results are in this specific instance.
Wait a minute - the Cubs are paying Ryan Freel 4 million dollars this season? Why? I mean, not just the Cubs, but at what point in time was Ryan Freel ever worth 4 million dollars?
The thing is, teams passed on him because of money issues, but there wasn't a scout around who didn't see him as a big-time prospect. I can't speak to Mr. Churchill's motives, but I think it's basically that teams, year after year, continue to draft guys who have low ceilings because of "cost certainty" rather than go for the glory.
It's apropos in this instance because the Padres have, year after year, passed on high-impact guys to go after the Matt Bushes and Kevin Nicholsons of the world. And they don't have a single legitimate catcher in their system, at any level. Stassi, were he a Padre, would almost certainly be a top-5 prospect for them.
Stassi is an 18-year-old holding his own against guys older than him, while playing credible defense at the toughest position on the field. That's a prospect, and it's completely acceptable to criticize teams for passing him over.
It's not that big a deal, though. Rafael Palmeiro won a gold glove in a season in which he played 12 games at first base. The gold glove award is completely meaningless.
Snark is easy with small sample sizes and an 18-year-old catcher, but consider this: In Bench's first minor-league season he batted 248 with a 346 slugging percentage. In Piazza's first minor league season he batted 268 with a 444 slugging percentage. Piazza was two years older than Stassi is now.
Stassi's numbers, as an 18-year-old playing the most difficult position on the field, are absolutely remarkable, and unworthy of snarky criticism.
Well, yes, I think most of us agree that the traditional bullpen usage patterns by managers needs to change, the current group of managers is not willing to do so. LaRussa is probably the closest, given his fondness for situational match ups.
I think the Boston "debacle" several years back, in which they went into the season without a Capital "C" closer, then blew a few close games, and everybody overreacted, set back bullpen progress for a decade.
I do believe that eventually teams will realize that their best relievers should be used in the toughest situations, but it will take time. It's a marketplace inefficiency that has yet to be exploited successfully.
Regarding the Padres, I wonder how much the improved outfield defense has helped the team in the second half. Certainly Venable and Gwynn are far superior, defensively, than Giles and Hairston/Gerut, and it seems that the improved defensive efficiency all-around is one big factor in the Padres' improved play over the last two months.
The problem I see with Headley is that he hits well for a third baseman, but not enough to play left. And he's only played a little third base in the majors and played it very poorly. He may just end up as a bench/platoon guy.
Agreed, but how often do scorers actually do this? I don't remember ever seeing it, even when relievers pick up terrible "wins" and are then outpitched by the relievers after them.
Yeah, why not just bring Greinke in to any game the Royals are leading with two outs in the fifth, let him get the out and hope they hang on to get him the win.
I wonder, though, if a team did this if the Commisioner would step in - using that scenario, it's feasible to give a reliever a 40-win season, at least in theory.
Is Kyle Blanks done for the season and, if so, is it with a wealth of precaution or something to worry about going forward. Would losing weight help?
As a fellow hoosier, I seem to recall Rik Smits' persistent foot problems were of a similar nature - and that's not a comforting thought.
just the straight numbers -
1st half: 309/367/649(!)
2nd half: 238/325/446
It was a fluke. A 3 month fluke.
As most statistical analysis proves, flukes have a way of evening out.
For further evidence, see Kevin Millwood's 1st and 2nd halves
Also in the New York Times yesterday, Bill Barnwell presented a terrific article about football injuries. I know you know about it, but it's real good stuff to share with your readers.
Dude, have you ever had to sit through Jon Miller, Joe Morgan AND Orel Hershiser for a game?
Agreed, though, on Harrelson. I lived in Chicago the year the White Sox won it all, and part of me wanted them to lose games just to avoid hearing him. "He gone" is quite possibly the most annoying thing any baseball announcer has used as a catchphrase in history.
Digression aside, this is a great article.
And in reference to doctoring the baseball, one of the rumors that's gone on for years is about Dave Duncan and that his "reclamation" of pitchers has mostly been showing them how to scuff up a ball and not get caught. Not saying I buy it, but it's certainly a rumor that's out there.
Yeah but Hoffman, in his prime, threw 94-95. This article is about the velocity that makes a prospect viable; when Hoffman was a prospect his velocity was very good. It's the reason he was converted from shortstop in the first place.
David Wells had TJ surgery in '85, made the Majors in '87 and won 240 games (or thereabouts) in the big leagues. Other than him, I can't think of any.
My favorite part is when he calls Rafael Belliard an "Outstanding Player." I understand there's a chance that Belliard might read this, but there's really no need to patronize BP readers like that!
A little confused about Jared Fernandez- did he actually pitch in 2008, or do those numbers belong to some other pitcher?
Yeah, don't they know that "grit" is far more important than "wins." And don't forget about "veteran leadership."
Did Brian Giles just go away for good or are the Padres even pretending he's rehabbing some phantom injury? I haven't heard a peep on him ever since he got "hurt." Just curious if you know anything - as a Padre fan, God knows I don't miss him.
Really good interview. I like players who understand what they're supposed to do - get on base, score runs, etc. Reminds me of Rickey's interviews, actually, in which he would explain exactly what his role was - and it was never about stealing bases.
Not sure what you mean - fair trade, competition, free markets - aren't those all actually very conservative labor/ political philosophies? And aren't those philosophies what Sheehan is supporting here?
Simply put, he is advocating for pure, free-market capitalism deciding a player's worth, not some kind of heavy-handed top-down bureaucracy, as we have now. Let the free market rule in this case, I say.
The thing that's more unlikely to me is that it was the same team. Completely random.
I wonder how often Gwynn or Boggs hit pitchers, and if there's even a place to look for that information.
His final one did - it's all the ones that came before that may have been prevented
Speaking of pitchers getting hit by comebackers, Pujols' shot that injured Mujica yesterday was the second time in two seasons that Pujols has put a Padres pitcher out of commission on a comebacker (Chris Young last year). What are the chances?
However, the traditional notion that baseball announcers have used everywhere since time began is that having a great hitter makes the hitter(s) in front of him that much better - I suppose the notion is that the pitcher is just so afraid of that great hitter that he grooves the pitches to the guy batting in front of him, hoping he'll hit one at somebody.
At least, that's the theory. What I'm saying is that the traditional notion, which I've just outlined, doesn't seem to exist at all with this year's Padres.
Another question might be this : if "lineup protection" existed, wouldn't the Padres #2/3 hitters (depending on where Gonzalez bats) be putting up terrific numbers? Isn't the argument that the guys ahead of the big slugger see more fastballs/better pitches, etc. because of the "protection" the guy behind offers?
If you look at the Padres hitters ahead of Gonzalez, you won't see any kind of outlier offensive numbers:
Eckstein, who bats 2nd ahead of Gonzalez,is at 273/336/347, right in line with his career norms.
Hairston, the nominal #3 hitter before he was traded, was at 259/312/462 batting in front of A. Gonazalez. Those numbers are exactly in line with his career norms.
If "lineup protection" does exist, this year's Padres should be the poster child for the concept, as they only really have one above-average major-league hitter. And the numbers don't bear out any notion of "lineup protection."
After reading the Chris Young note, I wondered : Whatever happened to Brian Giles? Is he really still injured, or are the Padres just quietly letting him fade away? I've read absolutely nothing about his (phantom?) injury or rehab. Just curious.
Jamie Moyer's made 69 million dollars in his major league career. I doubt the 4 million dollars is going to make much of a difference.
After reading this, I guess I can understand why guys like Angel Berroa keep finding work.
He wasn't last year, either, but 4 members of the BBWAA voted for him for ROY.
Normally I take no stock whatsoever in Batting average, but, since you've mentioned it, I want to point out that Dunn is batting a very non-horrific .281 this year - his highest average ever by far. And also, his Slg% is the highest it's ever been. He's also second in the league in walks, third in Home runs and 3rd in RBI.
In other words, Dunn is part of the solution, not part of the problem. If the Nats trade him they should get several legit prospects in return.
Regarding the Reds - does Volquez's injury hurt his Rookie of the Year chances?
Is there any sort of data regarding position players who convert to the mound, and whether their injury possibility is greater, less or the same as other pitchers. I was reading about Tony Pena Jr. and wondered about this. Just curious.
A dumb question, probably, but do baseball players have medical insurance, or do the teams pay for surgery? It seems like it would be hard to take out an insurance policy on a professional athlete.
And if they don't trade the first two away, I could even see a rotation of Peavy, Young, Latos, Gallagher and Correia next season being (gulp!) above-average. That would be a real achievement. Now to find some bats....
As a Padre fan committed to slogging through this unholy season, one of the few bright spots is going to be watching Latos. (Also, Rule 5 pick Everth Cabrera, simply because San Diego might have itself an actual shortstop for the first time in years and years - since Tony Fernandez, at least).
Unfortunately, I was driving all day yesterday and missed Latos, so thanks for filling in. Certainly encouraging.
With regards to Cabrera, you have to keep in mind that he's a 21 year old rule 5 pick; this is his first exposure above single-A ball. That he's keeping his head above water offensively - putting up replacement level numbers - while playing outstanding defense, is a positive sign.
Gwynn is probably a 4th outfielder when all is said and done.
I would add to your list of needs a catching prospect, first and foremost. Unfortunately, those are in short supply.
Just a silly question, but what about pitchers' defense? Do they play so few innings, relatively, that it isn't measured?
Yes, and in the next (final) three years in his career he won 16 games total. In the previous 9 years before 1986, Krukow topped 11 wins one time. It seems to me that the article is about players with minimal career value stumbling into an All-Star type season, a la Ken Harvey or Krukow. Although, to Krukow's benefit, Shane Rawley was also an '86 All-Star.
Krukow's career record - 124-117, ERA+ of 96, 1.93 K/BB ratio, 6 K/9 IP - have all the markers of a league average pitcher. It's always interesting when guys like that have fluky seasons like Krukow's '86.
In my lifetime: Ken Harvey and, let's just say Mike Krukow. These are just AS selections who had forgettable careers, not bad selections (neither was a really bad selection at the time.)
As a baseball fan, and Padre fan in 1985, I loved that the 85 NL All-Star team had five Padres starters, none of whom probably deserved to be there (minus Gwynn). How I love the "voting" system for the ASG.
Yes, but velocity is one thing you can't teach. Theoretically, pitchers can learn control. Randy Johnson is a great example.
I think the argument wasn't with his performance thus far, just the flukiness of it. He's never pitched remotely as well as this before, and it is just 32 innings.
I think it's an argument over philosophy - do you pick the best players in the game or just the ones having the best half-season? (I'm not arguing for either, just saying that there's two ways to look at the voting process.)
Aside from Mathews, however, are any of these other guys making 10 million dollars a year?
The point isn't that Pierre is no good - the point is that LA could easily have spent the ten million dollars on a starting pitcher, while employing a guy like Baldelli or Stairs for peanuts.
I can't imagine that a 27-year-old reliever in double-A has much future at all. It's a shame that his arm injury devastated his career so much.
Exactly. Look at almost any list of bonafide, first-ballot Hall of Famers, and one thing you can almost count on is that they had great walk and OBP numbers. (The exceptions would seem to be be dead-ball era guys and middle infielders, although Ozzie Smith finished with 500 more walks than strikeouts. He just didn't do much of either. But Ozzie is in the Hall for his defensive accomplishments, anyway).
And Morgan just seems to have either forgotten what made him a great player, or in his mind he was great player because he bunted a lot and backed up third base on a throw from right field, or whatever.
Or who knows, maybe he's never looked at his statistics?
I think that's the real irritation : Joe Morgan was the ideal player for the "stathead" generation (again, I can't think of a better term).
Morgan was a career 271/392/417 hitter with superb 2B defense. His 1975 season is one of the very best non-Rickey leadoff seasons in baseball history:
107 Runs scored, 27 2B, 7 3B, 17 HR, 94 RBI, 67/10 SB/CS, a Gold Glove, and an insane 132/52(!) BB/K ratio.
Slash stats - 327/466/508. He won the MVP.
I understand that he thinks current players are beneath the levels he and his teammates achieved - that's a common veteran baseball player thing. What I don't understand is his disdain for the walks and high OBP - the very hallmarks of his career. He finished with 800 more walks than strikeouts. That's huge. And somehow, in his mind, the bunts and hit-and-run are more important. It's frustrating.
If Morgan was playing today he would be a stathead's dream player - as he should be. He's not a HOFer for nothing.
Taveras leading off, Gonzalez batting second, neither has an OBP within 20 points of .300.
Why is Dusty Baker a good manager again?
I have a very good friend, a baseball fan from Cincy, not "sabrmetrically" inclined (sorry, can't think of a better word). He was rejoicing this offseason about how the Reds were finally rid of Dunn and all his strikeouts.
I just shake my head. I could try to explain it, but it's like shouting at Joe Morgan through the TV screen.
Padres fan glad to see Zawadzki get a mention. Do scouts think he can stay at short?
If you watched last night's game on ESPN (Dodgers/Angels) and listened to Joe Morgan and Jon Miller's "analysis" you would have learned that:
a) Speed and bunting ability are the two most important factor in a team's scoring ability
b) We know this because the Angels are 6th in the AL in scoring and the Dodgers are 3rd in the Nl in scoring, and neither team "relies on the home run. "
c) Also, the book "Moneyball" is about walks and on-base percentage and home runs.
d)The winning margin in the game was supplied by a James Loney two-run homer.
e) It's extremely hard to watch an ESPN baseball telecast and not shout at the TV
You have failed to take into consideration the intangibles Taveras brings to the table.
Intangibles never slump.
I was at Arrieta's start Friday in Indianapolis. (Beautiful minor-league park, BTW, and not a bad seat in the house. We were right behind home plate for 13 bucks a ticket). It was interesting to see the relatively large number of scouts there, I'm assuming for Arrieta - nobody else on either roster is much of a prospect.
Arrieta looked pretty great, sitting at 93-94 all game and touching 96. These are all scoreboard readings, so caveat emptor. He made one mistake, allowing a solo homer to Steven Pearce that just jumped out of the park, but was pretty dominating. Granted, the Indians lineup is pretty weak, mostly non-prospects and never-weres (the starting catcher Friday night was Adam Melhuse!), but for a guy making his AAA debut I was impressed. He was perfect through three and seemed to increase velocity from the second inning on.
Also - he was the only player to not have his name on his jersey. That's how recently he'd been called up.
Man, watching that video of Yoshiida - I can't imagine how she gets anybody out.
I disagree with the first paragraph.
Last year the consensus two best international players (Portillo and Ynoa) signed with the Padres and A's. Those are small-market teams with small budgets. This year's comparable, Sano, will go to probably Pittsburgh or St. Louis. The Yankees have no interest.
As much as Moneyball has been misinterpreted and misunderstood, I'm loathe to say this, but my take on MB was that small-market teams have to win by being more productive around the margins - scouting diligently, signing international talent, identifying players to fill certain roles, the value of efficiency.
Of course, the Padres and A's haven't won any World Series in a long time, so maybe they're doing it wrong...
What's driving me nuts about all the David Clyde comparisons is that Clyde was 18 when he jumped to the majors, Strasburg is 21 - and Clyde was going directly from high school, while Strasburg has 3 years of college under his belt.
Taylor was also a high school product and never played in the majors, so that's a really distant comparison.
My only quibble with Kevin's analysis is that it seems that NFL contracts are usually front-loaded simply because so many players have short careers in the NFL, due (I would guess )to injury.
That Jets QB he mentioned may have a 28 million guaranteed contract, yes - but that may be the only money he ever makes in the NFL.
I think, though, that abolishing the draft and letting every player name his price would have no impact on "competitive balance" or anything like that - but it would make all this draft analysis and roundtables obsolete. And where's the fun in that?
When I first started really paying attention to baseball, the Padres had this closer, his name was Gene Harris. He saved 20-something games for a team that lost 101. Even at age 18 I could tell this guy wasn't really a good pitcher at all, but he had this look on his face when he pitched - it was like he knew he was extraordinarily lucky that the planets had aligned for him in such a way that he was the "closer" for a major league team. He looked alternately happy as hell and also sad because he knew the jig was going to be up soon. (Hoffman arrived the next year, and I have no idea what happened to Harris; upon looking it up, he save 2 more games in the majors and was done)
I also thought Cianfrocco was a great asset, and even drafted him for my first Strat team. Because a guy with a 270 OBP and zero defensive value is an incredibly useful bench player.
Not just that. but the last few years, every Yankee blog/writer has a similar article wondering why the Yankees are so terrible and if they need to rebuild, and then May starts...
Thanks for the clarification - but, again, the Padres didn't have to sign Stauffer. They could have refused to sign him and gotten the #4 pick in the 2004 draft - which turned out to be Jeff Niemann.
Of course, 2004 was the Matt Bush pick - probably the worst #1 overall pick in history, not because of post-draft performance, but because not a single scout placed Bush as the best hitter in the draft. Imagine if, in 2004, the Padres had made the "correct" pick and taken Verlander. They would have also had the #4 pick, which they could have used to take Niemann. Or...
Also on the board at #4 in 2004: Jered Weaver, Stephen Drew, Phil Hughes, Huston Street, Dustin Pedroia.
But hey, Matt Bush and Tim Stauffer have been stellar major-leaguers, right? Certainly worthy of top-5 picks....
Exactly - as scared of Tate as I am, I also think it would send some sort of message that perhaps, just maybe, the Padres are willing to take a chance on high-ceiling rather than the below-slot picks they've taken over the last several years.
Certainly Dave Winfield, Brian Jordan and Reggie Sanders come to mind as highly athletic, tools-off-the-charts stars who turned out to be above-average (or better) major leaguers. Winfield, of course, was a polished college product and probably a bit too good for this discussion.
Bo Jackson and Eric Davis are probably the two finest athletes I've ever seen play baseball, and Jackson wasn't much of a baseball player and Davis couldn't stay healthy.
And, as fellow Padres fans, lets not forget that Tony Gwynn was a two-sport star, drafted also by the SD Clippers....
I'm on the fence about Tate. Whenever I hear about these incredible multi-sport athletes with raw skills I never think of many who ever made it. I always think of the Ruben Riveras and Darnell McDonalds of the world.
Plus, heck, if the Padres wouldn't spend 7 million on Porcello, why would they spend it on Tate?
From everything I've ever read the Padres did know about Stauffer's arm injury - as a matter of fact, Stauffer told them about it before the draft - but they drafted him anyway so they could cut his bonus by almost 2 million dollars. Carillo was considered "major-league ready" when he was drafted, but that's similar to Minor, no? A lack of upside.
Plus, Carillo's workloads at Miami were insane. I would guess that any team should have had access to those usage patterns.
Hunter and Kulbacki seem like future 4th outfielders to me. I do like Latos and Decker, so far, but cheap ownership and an affinity for low-ceiling college players has really had a devastating effect on the minor-league system, ranked by most as one of the worst in all of baseball.
I would much rather see them take the best talent available at #3 (Crow, maybe Grant Green, definitely Ackley if he falls that far, Matzek) than another safe pick who most scouts see as a future #4 starter.
My fear, as a Padres fan, is that Minor becomes another Tim Stauffer or Cesar Carillo or any of a half-dozen other "signability" college pitchers the team has drafted over the years.
Another source today -Ed Price - linked the Padres to Minor at #3. That's a massive overdraft, obviously, but have you heard anything about this or why?
A cautionary tale, I suppose, but through his year-25 season Denny McClain had 114 wins, 2 Cy Young awards, and an MVP. Of course, the Tigers had worked him like a pack mule at ages 24 and 25, as he threw an astounding 670 inning (!) in those two seasons, and he was never effective again. He finished with 131 wins.
I suppose, although Mr. Perotto pointed out that Greene's fragile mental state was hardly a secret around baseball. And is there really "no evidence" that St.Louis didn't know about Worrell's injury?
I think it's interesting that St. Louis would condsider filing any kind of grievance against the Padres re:Greene, considering the player they traded to San Diego (Mark Worrell) immediately needed Tommy John surgery.
There are dozens of useful bullpen pitchers who don't hit 90. Hell, Hoffman hasn't hit 90 in 10 years. Pettite's value, in my opinion, is in his durability and his ability as a professional, league-average pitcher. The Yanks need some stability in the bullpen, and I think Pettite is the ideal choice. You don't stash Hughes or Joba there - they have stuff and a future. This is almost certainly Andy's last season; why not give him the Mike Marshall role?
On looking at that list, it still stuns me that Belle hasn't gotten any support for the Hall - yes, his career was painfully short, yes, he was a giant pain in the butt, but, my God, the man's offensive numbers are simply staggering.
He was better player than Jim Rice every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Just as a comparison: Jim Rice and Albert Belle had the same number of home runs. But Rice batted 3000 more times than Belle.
I don't believe that a bad HOF selection should be the basis for future HOF selections, but Rice is just so average, has so many comparables, that there's no way to elect him without opening a up a huge list of, "If Rice, then why not..." starting with Belle, Murphy, Mattingly, and Joe Carter.
Even better than that, why not Pettite to the pen? This late in his career, he could be one of those extreme rarities - a lefty reliever that's NOT a LOOGY, that can pitch 2 or more innings every time out, strikes out enough batters to be useful as a late-inning guy, and can help shadow the young starters (Hughes, Chamberlain) with longer appearances. As a veteran with plenty of experience, I think Andy would easily adapt to the role, and he's not much of a starter anymore, anyway.
Ken Caminiti, Bill Dahlen, George Van Haltren, Omar Vizquel, and lets throw in Dom Dimaggio. If he hadn't missed three years of his prime because of WWII, he'd have finished with 2200 hits to go with his 290/380/420 career line and great defense. Not a HOFer, shouldn't be, but very very good nonetheless.
A slight clarification - upon looking at Lezcano's numbers on B-R, I realize that his career basically ended at age 30. So the comparison isn't quite apt, but he was still quietly very productive for 10 years or so.
You know who I think of when I think "quietly productive"? I know you'll remember him because he was briefly a Padre, which is how I remember him, as an 8-year old Padre fan back in '82.
Look at his stats sometime. I never thought of him as much of a hitter, but his career line is 270/360/440. I'm glad my hunch way back then was right.
You forget though - Pierzynski's been a "starting MLB catcher for many years now" on teams other than the Giants. Trading those three guys - Nathan's been terrific for 5 seasons now, Liriano was lights-out for a season before his elbow blew up (and is still only 25) and Bonser was at least a league-average pitcher for a season (and is still only 26) - for a single season of Pierzynski is the real problem. You're talking about 6 seasons of great pitching for one season of league-average catching.
That's a bad trade any way you slice it.
I would add Adrian Gonzalez and subtract either Holliday, Hunter or Delgado.
I also think Sabathia should be higher - maybe not as high as Lincecum, but higher than Beckett, at least.
Correction: Gerut is 31, not 33. Typo.
152 ABs is a tiny sample size and out of sorts with his historical norms. That screams fluke to me.
Don't care much for Gwynn, Jr., especially since he could have been had for free a few months ago, but making Gerut - who has been putrid this season and is old - some hidden star is banking on a fluke and praying for his continued health. Both of these are bad ideas.
As a Padre fan I don't much love this deal but it's hardly noteworthy. Gerut played well over his head last year but was miserable this year and no amount of defensive efficiency makes up for that, or for the fact that Gerut is 33 and not going to be around when the Padres are good. Sure, maybe San Diego could have waited for Gerut to get "hot" before trading him, but that may not happen.
I'm curious, Geoff, about your comments about the Khalil Greene trade being another bad transaction though. Greene was brutally awful last year, at the plate and in the field, and the disturbing news coming out of St. Louis with regards to him this year - the physical self-punishment, specifically - points to serious emotional problems that I don't think are ever going to be fixed. The fact that Worrell - who is probably going to be a decent bullpen arm - got injured obscures the fact that the Padres probably got rid of Greene at the right moment.
Only thing I want to clarify here is that Rickey Henderson was hardly "ineffective" for the Mets. His line in '99 was 315/423/466, with 89 runs scored in 121 games.
That's already been done - have you ever heard of Glenn Beck?
Steve Phillips, today, on Carlos Beltran, from his chat on ESPN.com:
"Steve Phillips: If the Mets don't make the playoffs, I firmly believe they need to reconfigure the core of this team. While Beltran does have talent, I just don't see him as a winning player. Even after my comments on Sunday night, Beltran let a fly ball drop in between himself and Angel Pagan in the Dodger game. I see him putting up numbers but not making plays to win games. I would take Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson, and Nate McLouth over Beltran, and use the financial difference to improve the team in other ways. Beltran isn't a $17 million dollar a year player. He just doesn't have the kind of impact for that kind of money.
Steve Phillips: Many people think that Alex Rodriguez is the best player in the game, but he's never won anything. I look at Beltran in a similar fashion as Rodriguez--a great talent that just doesn't seem to have what it takes to win championships. Maybe the Mets can keep him and add pieces to the core around him and still win. But when you're dealing with a budget and the screams of immediacy in New York, I'm not sure the Mets can wait to piece it together around him. I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me, but it's just the way I see it. Beltran is a very good person and a solid citizen, in addition to being a guy who puts up numbers. I like him, I just don't think they can win with him. "
Steve Phillips truly believes that Nate McLouth and Torii Hunter are more valuable than Carlos Beltran. Amazing. This is why he was fired from his job with the Mets.
I'm curious - do teams have to file worker's comp forms when a player is injured? And in that case does the team's insurer pay the player while he is injured?
The sad thing is that my wife moved to Chicago in the late '90s, just missing the NR era, although she knew all about the mystique. So one day she admitted to me that she never really got into Naked Raygun, was looking through our records to play something, and grabbed the first NR album she saw.....
Guess which one? Yeah, now I have to do some intensive re-education.
With regards to Bowden and Buchholz, do the Red Sox see Bowden as a bonafide quality starter, or is he more of a 4/5 type who might do better in the weak league/division and in a great park like San Diego?
If David Ortiz continues struggling, do the Red Sox call up Lars Anderson, or is he just not ready?
Is it at all possible that San Diego offers Boston Adrian Gonzalez for Buchholz, Bowden and a third prospect? Who hangs up first?
And, I know you're a Naked Raygun fan. I am too. But I cannot explain "Raygun...Naked Raygun" to anybody. Can you?
I'm better than Ross Gload.
And I haven't played baseball competitively in 17 years.
On another note, isn't Cory Bernard's story eerily similar to Kerry Woods'?
If you read the article it was the pitcher himself who wanted to pitch, despite the coach's concerns. He (the pitcher) even said, basically "I'm not going to pitch professionally, so I'll sacrifice my arm." The entire coaching staff was reluctant, but he insisted.
I think in this instance it's reasonable to let a determined man do a foolish thing. This isn't a 12-year old. Fuller is an adult.
The other article is much worse - that was the coach's decision and it was a kid. That's indefensible.
First time this has ever happened: I tried to look up Monty Farris on baseball-reference.com, and he's not there. Interesting.
I actually prefer the idea of adding a 26th man.
Putting a pitcher out to play defense, bringing in another pitcher, then bringing back the first pitcher seems likely to lengthen the games even more, never mind the mockery it would create if the ball were actually hit to the pitcher playing, say, right field. Plus, what the heck would the box score look like?
I do, very vaguely remember this being done in a playoff game in the mid-late '80s. Maybe by Kansas City? I think they moved their starter to right for one batter, brought in the lefty, then put the righty back out after that single batter. Not sure how to look that up.
I think 11 pitchers should be plenty - with offdays and lack of double-headers, a team's 5th starter should be, in most cases, available to pitch in relief 10-15 days a month. And heck, name the last man on every major league staff, and try to tell me there's a compelling reason to keep him on the roster.
BTW, Piazza actually announced his retirement last season.
Also remember though that the general population gets larger over generations, especially in the United States (due to better access to food, etc.)
A pretty great example: George Davis. He's a HOFer, played from 1890 to 1910, batted 295/360/400 in the deadball era, was supposedly a spectacular shortstop (hard to tell because of the massive difference in fielding stats between then and now), and picked up 2600+ hits. This was in an era in which careers were short and spotty, as teams and leagues folded all the time. Davis was 5'9, 180.
Bobby Mathews and Tony Mullane, two of the dominant pitchers of very early baseball (1870s and 1880s) both stood around 5'5 and weight around 150 pounds.
Also - Joe Morgan is 5'7, 160.
Jimmy Wynn is 5'9, 170
Or how about Babe Ruth, who was a serial philanderer, or Ty Cobb, who was a seething racist and all-around bad dude? Or how about Joe Tinker, who was said to be a compulsive gambler and mean as hell. Or...or...I dunno, how about Gaylord Perry, who cheated pretty much his whole career.
Why? I'm not trying to be funny or a jerk, I'm just really curious as to why you can't wear them. I was told at one point that I couldn't, because I have astigmatism, but that was 20 years ago and now I wear them with minimal issues.
Certainly, though, contacts don't have these kinds of side effects. I know most LASIK procedures are fine, but it's the 1% that end up like McCann's that make you wonder if just wearing contacts would have been that difficult.
Is this a cautionary tale, then, about LASIK in general? I mean, it's basically a boutique/voluntary surgery, correct? Couldn't McCann have just worn contacts instead of going under the laser?
Thanks! Just found out that the games are free! SO I'll be checking him out.
I live in Bloomington and it's practically free to see a baseball game and about a 15-minutw walk from my house. IS Arnett (or any IU player) worth checking out, or do you know of any Big 10 players worth seeing when they come here? I know you're not the college guy, but thought I'd ask.
Also, the University of Indiana is in Pennsylvania. Really!
Nope, actually once the batter picks a batter's box, he's there for the duration of the at-bat, unless there is a pitching change (rare mid-at-bat)
SInce an ambidextrous pitcher is so unique, I doubt there's any rule covering how often one can switch hands, but I bet that will change if Venditte ever makes the majors.
I dunno about it being "tounge-in-cheek" - if you google AVS you'll find some articles from his playing days mentioning his love of Rush Limbaugh, etc.
Like I wrote, it's like the Michael Richards thing. I still think Kramer is funny, but it's a little harder to laugh....
I don't know - San Diego has been relatively competitive for several years before last year's debacle - which was brought about exactly because of the route you recommend; i.e., not rebuilding.
The Jays are in a rough situation, considering that two teams in their division spend 400 million dollars a year in payroll, so that's not quite a fair analogy to use.
Cincy is going to be better than Houston this year, and Pittsburgh is just now recovering from dreadful management over the last decade.
Houston, on the other hand, did win, what, 84 games last year? Is there a prize for that? Oh yeah, you get a rotation of Russ Ortiz, Brian Moehler and Mike Hampton. Too bad Woody Williams is retired - he'd be the third best starter on this team.
Anyway, I think that the fear of the 100-loss season is why the Astros have such a bad farm system; their refusal to trade anybody, in the vain hope of the 84-win season, keeps them hanging on to guys like Carlos Lee and trading for Miguel Tejada, rather than trading off any veteran of value to restock the farm. That plan works when you're the Yankees and can afford CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez and AJ Burnett. Not so much when you're stocking your rotation with retreads and losers.
I don't know, man. If somebody I liked - be it a baseball player, actor, politician, etc. said something racist or homophobic or really bigoted, I'm not sure I could just let it go. It's part of their personality. And this comment wasn't just mildly political - it was pretty much Joe the Plumber on steroids right-wing.
It's like the Michael Richards thing - I almost can't enjoy Seinfeld anymore.
Ewww. That last answer was just kind of disgusting and misinformed on about a million levels.
As a kid I really liked Van Slyke and now I like him a lot less.
"Willie Bloomquist, Right Fielder."
The saddest part is actually "Willie Bloomquist, two year guaranteed contract for probably more money than I'll ever make in my lifetime."
I can't figure out why the Royals are wasting time on guys like him, Ramirez and Ponson. They're paying those three guys roughly what it would cost for Pedro Martinez, Hochevar and Lubanski. Hell, you could throw in Luis Gonzalez or Geoff Jenkins and you'd still be paying just a little bit more, with a heck of a lot better team. I just don't get it at all.
Ben mentions early in the article that he's excluding bottom dwellers and top-dwellers, hence no Braves or Mariners.
Well, as a Padres fan I can tell you that Moores has consistently refused to spend money in the draft, which means the Padres pick "easy-sign" guys like Bush and Nicholson and Nick Schmidt when far better players are available. DePo and Alderson have only been with the team a couple years, and Towers has tended to have less of a hand in the draft than most GMs, according to most familiar with the situation.
Remember, Towers traded Akinori Otsuka, Billy Killion and Adam Eaton for Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young. That trade alone should win him some sort of award.
Remember - before last year, the Padres weren't "gawd-awful" either.
Here's the Padres #1 draft picks of the 2000s, followed by a player picked later in the draft: (omitting 08)
'07 Nick Schmidt (Rick Porcello)
'06 Matt Antonelli (Joba Chamberlain)
'05 Cesar Carillo (Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus)
'04 Matt Bush (Justin Verlander, Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver)
'03 Tim Stauffer (Nick Markakis, Chad Cordero, Carlos Quentin)
'02 Khalil Greene (Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Matt Cain)
'01 Jacob Gautreau (David Wright)
'00 Mark Phillips (Bobby Jenks, Chase Utley, Grady Sizemore)
That's a long record of failure, and it's not just hindsight. No scout in his right mind though Bush was better than Drew, and Stauffer was already damaged goods when he was drafted. It was all about an unwillingness to draft players based purely on signability. The best, brightest minds in baseball can't overcome a penny-pinching owner.
Years ago I read a book by Tom Seaver (probably an autobiography) and he wrote about getting hit by comebackers and his idea was some kind of shock-absorbing strip that could be affixed to a pitcher's forehead. In the book he claimed the idea was being studied, in development, etc. This was of course years ago, but have you ever heard anything about that?
In his career Kyle Farnsworth has given up 112 home runs in 735 innings. For this he has earned 22 million dollars, not counting the 9 million Kansas City is going to pay him this and next year.
We should all be so lucky.
I don't have much to add to this discussion, but I really want to say that as enlightened as much of us have become with regards to statistics and statistical analysis, can we at least begin to get enlightened with regard to the other "caveman" aspects of sports fandom? I speak specifically to comments like "the little girl's" league, and I've seen other comparable comments on these message boards.
Equating the weaker professional baseball league to "girls" or "women" reinforces negative stereotypes, is demeaning to women, and borders on the kind of playground homophobia that ends up manifesting itself virulently in "traditional" sports forums and message boards (see: ESPN's "conversations").
We're supposed to be better than that.
My wife is not much of a baseball fan, but I have gotten her at least nominally interested in this site and its advanced analysis, in large part because it's not dominated by lunkhead sports patriarchy and tough-guy cliches. It's a shame whenever those things rear their ugly heads, even on something as unimportant as the comment section of an article.
You do realize that one of Baseball Prospectus' cheif writers is a woman, right?
Actually, the body part is spelled "tendon", so it is indeed "tendonitis." Will, I believe, has written about this in the past.
Just guessing, but it may turn him into reliever - there's more 45-year-old lefty reliever comps, I'm guessing. And, being LOOGYS primarily I would assume their ratios are better than those of starting pitchers.
If there's bias it would have to be built into a computer program. These ratings are generated by feeding data into a computer.
I think Burnett defines a "red." His record is just not good.
Certainly the Yankees should make the playoffs, but their roster construction scares me, with so many bad defenders and so many DH candidates.
Sorry, just looked it up, McCovey's slg. % was 545 in '68.
When I saw 1968 that is immediately what I thought of, too. The NL ERA that year was 2.99. Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA, while both Bobby Bolin and Bob Veale had ERAs right at 2.00 - Veale's with a losing record. Post-68 Veale and Bolin were league-average or worse. It was a screwy season all around - only 5 hitters batted 300 and nobody haqd a 400 OBP and only three slugged 500 or better, with McCovey topping the list at 520. Only a single player drove in 100 runs, and nobody scored 100. It led to lowering of pitching mounds and certain other changes that launched the much more balanced '70s (before things starting moving in the opposite direction in the '80s and '90s).
I wasn't alive then, but I am kind of obsessed with 1968. I wonder if people watching it at the time enjoyed it or if it was boring?
Imagine if Koufax had lasted two more years. It's staggering to imagine what kind of numbers he'd have put up that year.
It's interesting that between Damon, Matsui, Swisher, Nady and Posada, The Yankees have more DH's on their roster than starting outfielders. Strange roster construction.
Exactly. Rosters littered with non-prospects too old for their leagues and career minor-leaguers. In fact, I would say that there's probably a nearly inverse relationship with regards to minor league team records and prospects; most real, good prospects don't stick with a minor league team long enough to have much effect on wins and losses.
But isn't the argument you're making also mutually exclusive: That baseball needs the ATE to insure they have the best players, but that the ATE is also something you claim is "functionally worthless" and "probably not important anymore"? Which is it? I would tend to think that upon appearance it seems worthless, but smart businessmen rarely hire the best attorneys available to defend something "worthless," right?
I understand this is an argument about parsing silly things, but the infrastructure investment that created a road, that millions of people use, daily, for all sorts of purposes, is entirely different from an infrastructure investment of building a stadium, which provides a small group (a baseball team's owners) massive profit while being used by a relatively tiny minority of the population.
For example, I would guess that the Yankees 2009 attendance will be around 3-4 million. I can't even begin to figure the math for how many individual users that is - maybe 2.5-3 million, if we're being generous? And yet the population of the NY-NJ metro area is something like 19 million people. The population of NYC alone is 9 million people. The population of the state of New York is 20 million.
I'm not sure which segment of taxpayers paid for this stadium - city, state, metro area or some combo of all three, but when literally 300 percent more people are paying for the stadium than are actually attending the games, that's a reason for pause. Why shouldn't those who pay for the stadium get some kind of perk?
One calendar year isn't a "track record." I am assuming that's why PECOTA undervalues him.
Aaron Small went 10-0 with a 3.2 ERA one year. Adam Wainwright went 11-3 with a 3.2 ERA last year. Wainwright is obviously better. But you can't just say "look at him, his stuff is great, and he's been good for a WHOLE YEAR" and expect everybody to agree that all of a sudden he's Tom Seaver. Or whomever. He's a guy who's had a good half-season. He needs to show more than that for any computer model worth its salt to respect.
And if you think what I typed is the "dumbest thing you've seen all week" you should check out Michelle Malkin or, ummm, Kanye West's blog.
Oh I don't know if it's that hard. itunes? Baseball Prospectus? google? yahoo? facebook? (I know the last two hardly qualify as "businesses" but they generate profits, right?)
Shipping product isn't necessarily taxpayer-dependent, as the US Postal Service is not taxpayer-funded.
And if the anti-trust exemption is so unnecessary, why do baseball owners fight tooth-and-nail to preserve it whenever it's threatened?
Stupid finger injuries can turn into other stuff pretty quickly. Look at Adam Miller and Adam Eaton (weird, why are all these guys named Adam?). Pitchers have great half-seasons all the time. Look at, say Volquez or Duchscherer last year, or go back and look at some "breakout" seasons by Jose Rosado or Steve Ontiveros.
I will agree that Wainwright throws hard, but the evidence, as presented by his one healthy season, shows him to be a league-average pitcher. Until he sustains his first-half success last year over a full major-league season, I think it's reasonable to be skeptical.
I'm assuming his lack of any predictable past is why the PECOTA system doesn't like him.
Well, I can think of many internet-based businesses that rely very little -if at all -on taxpayer-funded institutions. Besides, of course, the infrastructure already in place that allows for nearly unlimited internet availability.
Your argument about baseball "needing" the ATE to insure the "best players" are in one league is absurd. Basketball, Football and Hockey don't have the ATE, and all the best players are in the NBA, NFL, and NHL, despite other "competing" leagues (CFL, Arena Football, the old USFL or XFL, CBA, NBADL, etc.)
The free market takes care of that problem pretty easily.
As I don't live in New York, I have no real horse in this race. I do believe that taxpayer-subsidized businesses like the Yankees, ones that make massive profits, should give back to the community. Like any corporation that receives tax breaks, there should be conditions attached to them. If a factory gets a tax abatement, they have to provide jobs, or else they lose that abatement. The Yankees should set aside some seats that are affordable for the people who allowed their stadium to be built. Your argument about "well, you voted for it" is a bit naive when you think about the way the Yankees and other teams have bullied politicians into subsidizing them, through threats of moving, etc.
On a purely nostalgic note, the baseball fan in me just thinks it's sad that going to a baseball game on a Tuesday night in may is going to set a family of four back several hundred dollars.
Gosh, with so much fuss about Wainwright, I thought I might look him up to refresh my memory. We have a pitcher who started all of 20 games last year, albeit with nice numbers. It looks like Aaron Small's 2005 all over again.
But then you look at 2007, Wainwright's "healthy" season, and you see a pitcher who gives up more than a hit per inning, doesn't strike many guys out, and has a K/BB ratio of less than 2:1. That's the very definition of a LAIM, and while those guys can stumble into the occasional 17-win season, they're not guys I would put all my stock into, fantasy-wise. Especially on a bad team.
The Yankees are a business, correct, but a rather peculiar one - one that has a federally-protected anti-trust exemption, and also one which takes enormous amount of taxpayer money to offer its product. Not just in terms of the stadium, but the infrastructure (subways, roads, etc.) and manpower (cops, security, street crews, etc.). Given that its operation would be impossible without the support of taxpayers, then I do believe they have every obligation to give back to their community. It may not be a commune, but it's certainly not a "business" in the truest sense of the word.
If anything, I would imagine that steroids, since they bulk the body up, would tend to make a player slower, and less likely to steal a lot of bases.
Lots of Rockies on that list....which may be closer to figuring out any true "cause" than PEDs.
Thanks! I do my best work with a rim-shot, though...
Best quote ever: Sidney Ponson on his inability to land a job - \"Maybe it\'s the economy. Who knows?\"
Any guesses? The AIG collapse? The drought in Australia?
Any possibility that Sidney Ponson might just be a washed-up fat drunk \"pitcher\" who was released last year by the most pitching-starved team of all, the Rangers?
Not to get all 14-year-old boy on it, but might the answer be: \"Maybe it\'s because you SUCK?\"
Neither do steroids.
You know what HAS made a \"mockery\" of the record books? The fact that baseball was segregated when Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Cy Young, Walter Johnson and dozens of other hall-of-famers were setting their \"records.\"
Thanks for that. I completely forgot about the DH option, although, as you note, that would seem to limit Montero\'s defensive development even more. It seems even stranger now that the Yankees would have blocked off first base for the next 7 years. I can\'t really imagine where they\'re going to put this guy, unless they decide he\'s going to be a career DH, which might be a first.
If Montero and Romine are both catching for the same team, doesn\'t that hinder Romine\'s development? Or, for that matter, Montero\'s? Because one of them is going to take at-bats from the other, right? Or is there a pre-arranged time-sharing arrangement in single-A ball that comes from the organization?
Ridiculously small sample size - Hoffman threw just 15 innings on the road last year.
As a Padres fan and a huge Trevor Hoffman booster, it\'s painful for me to say this, but Trevor\'s just not good anymore. I cringe watching him throw that 83 mph \"fastball.\" He gave up a home run every 5 innings last year. That\'s bad.
And, really, can you justify paying a guy 6 million dollars a year for 45 innings pitched?
Exactly. In fact, I\'d be much more in favor of this - calling Babe Ruth the Segregation-era home run king, or Ty Cobb the Segregation-era hit king. Certainly the segregation of baseball was a far worse crime than the use of steroids, morally and legally.
There\'s more than enough evidence that steroids don\'t really make anybody a better player, anyway. There\'s plenty of evidence that segregation was bad for baseball, in lots and lots of ways.
Scioscia certainly appears to be allergic to Dunn-types, at least judging by his lineups the last few years.
With more than one team after Springer, I just have to note how puzzling it is - if you add Springer, you have to also add a second (or third) LOOGY, because Springer just gets crushed by left-handed batters. His innings-games pitched ratios the last couple years give some hint of how LaRussa handled him appropriately.
I\'d say, judging by the fact that all of these comments are about Keith Olbermann, that Keith Olbermann\'s inclusion in the book has people talking. And it will definitely sell more books. That\'s the way the world works.
It just seems that most teams have a minor-leagu journeyman who could do the same job as Aurilia - play mediocre defense at several positions and bat against lefty pitchers. Doesn\'t seem like an asset you strongly pursue.
I like the quote: \"The Cubs are trying to sign Rich Aurilia...\"
Can it be that difficult?
One would think that a bucket of balls and a season ticket might get it done. Can\'t imagine teams are chomping at the bit to sign THE Rich Aurilia.
They also had 6-man pitching rotations, so much larger benches.
Hmmm - the above post was intended to be a reply to sgshaw\'s post. Sorry.
I dunno - Phillips scored more runs, played better defense (at many positions), was much better at getting on base, probably didn\'t benefit quite as much from his home parks, was obviously a better runner and better athlete, and played until he was 40 (and played relatively well - his line at age 40 was 243/362/433 with 76 runs scored in 106 games.)
Rice was done being a productive player by age 33, never walked much and was a pretty terrible fielder on the wrong end of the defensive spectrum.
I know Rice was \"feared\" - his 77 career intentional walks ranks him 198th all time, tied with other feared players like Claudell Washington, Pete O\'Brien and Jerry Grote. (Barry Bonds drew 688 IBBs, BtW - that\'s \"feared\").
While I would never claim Phillips is a hall of famer, I think that it\'s reasonable to call him a more valuable player than Rice, and I think one can make an argument for it. Value in baseball isn\'t just wrapped up in HRs and RBIs, and shouldn\'t be measured as if it is.
Probably the two \"wow, really?\" names on this list for me would be Cruz and Phillips. (And Sheckard, mostly because I have no idea who he is.) Cruz always felt like a good but never outstanding player, although looking back at the record it\'s obvious his longevity and consistency were his strength. I always liked Phillips a lot - he was the savior for my strat team one year - but think of him as a guy who started his career late and never really had a position, so to see him rank as high as he does on this list is pretty cool.
And I thought O\'Rourke\'s stuff with Sonic Youth really pushed the band over the edge into truly inspired greatness; had no idea he was such a good ballplayer, too. A true renaissance man.
Is Kouzmanoff for Young a bad deal and if so, for whom? I\'m a Padres fan and look at Young\'s numbers and just see him as another Jay Payton/Terrmell Sledge-type. But is there still upside there? (I\'ll admit, I pay little attention to the American League so all I know of Young is his stat line, which is pretty unimpressive. But he is very young.)
Man, can we all just agree to stop calling him O-Dog/Dawg? It sounds like the kind of nickname you give to a thirteen-year-old with a goofy hat.
Plus, Burrel is the better player anyway.
Ibanez\' defense is brutal, he\'s older and Burrell is a better hitter.
Most pitchers pitch worse from the stretch. Is it possible that Matsuzaka\'s delivery from the stretch - smoother than his bases-empty one with the pronounced hitch - actually allow him to focus more of his core energy on his pitches, giving his fastball a bit more life and his breaking pitches more bite? Just from watching that seems to be the case.
Nice write-up Joe. What I cannot believe about Francona is that he not only let Beckett start that last inning, he let him pitch to Longoria with a runner on second. Longoria had already homered and doubled off him. I watched that non-move and literally was wondering out loud what he was thinking.
But it was clear Beckett\'s not right. And if there is a game 6 it would be a bad idea to send him back out there.
If you\'ve watched Fukudome this year, you would probably realize how dreadful he\'s been. He can\'t hit at all, his defense is average at best, and he only regressed as the year went on. I hope the Cubs can get something for him, but right now he\'s the fifth outfielder on this team.
Jody Gerut was one of the few bright spots for San Diego this year. What\'s happened to him (one at-bat in a month)? And are Bard/Barrett finished as regular players?
I believe this is some old remnant left on the site. Hillenbrand, as far as I can tell, ahsn\'t played in the majors for over a year.
One very interesting thing about this article is Joe\'s assertion that home-field advantage matters more in the NBA and NFL. I don\'t doubt that he\'s right about that - I don\'t have the numbers in front of me and don\'t care enough about those two sports to look it up - but I do find it interesting that the NBA and NFL have a standardized playing field/court, while Baseball teams\' home parks vary greatly in size, playing conditions (altitude), foul lines, etc. It\'s interesting because on the surface those things would suggest there\'s more of an advantage for baseball teams at home, since the football fields and basketball courts are always the same configuration.
As far as the playoffs go, baseball should - and I\'m serious about this - go to best-of-7 playoff series and return to a best-of-nine World Series. The more games played the more often you can avoid statistical \"blips\" like St. Louis\' 2006 Series Win or Houston\'s 2005 WS appearance.