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As a KC resident, I saw Starling QB several games against quality 6A and 5A opponents. His speed, arm, instincts and leadership were breath-stopping. Starling came to national prominence as a baseball prospect his junior year as a power pitcher, not a hitter, though obviously his arm and speed prompted visions of CF sugarplums. His move to CF his senior spring did not help his team and was probably prompted by consultation. In terms of money, the move succeeded.
I've long been intrigued as to why organizations immediately, stubbornly pidgeonhole players who both pitch and play a fielding position. Tim Lollar led the old Southwest Conference in hitting at Arkansas but signed with an NL team that let him find his way as a successful pitcher. The best college ballplayer I ever saw was Howser Award winner Brooks Kieschnick, Texas' best pitcher, hitter, 1B...The only thing Brooks could not do was run, so naturally, the Cubs organization tried to make him an OF. Imagine if they had not "known everything" before they knew anything. The Phils are still working with Joe Savery. There are dozens of examples.
I suspected it was a mistake for Starling to stop pitching, though clearly this was not the ROYALS' doing. The Starling family chose to "protect" his arm, admittedly in the sort of cold, rainy, windy, miserable conditions of spring HS baseball in this part of the country.
However, don't count out Bubba Starling. Kids and coaches in this region have no idea how lousy their youth baseball is compared to parts of the country where kids play scores more games for many more months of the year. Baseball skills develop from repetition. Kids in the Caribbean, Florida, Texas have played more games by age 9 or 10 than Starling has played in his life.
Have NO doubt about the ability, the athlete. Perhaps Starling's best play would be to give up the hunting and fishing for one year, play the minors, the AFL, head to the Caribbean for the winter, and continue the immersion back in the minors next summer. And maybe someone will by accident or design let him start throwing BP again.
As a pitcher: scary good.
As a hitter: way too little experience to know.
Echoing -topia and Doog: What a great new feature! I have two rounds of minor league drafting coming up on March 9th. ShazZAM! Keep it up, Jason: love the skinnies.
Do the so-called "expert" or "industry" leagues still use the ancient, discredited Batting Average as a category?...i.e. still "do what we say, not what we do"?
Oh for heaven's sake...kids in HIGH SCHOOL football were using steroids in the mid-80s. Meth was available on any college campus in the early 70s and was seen as a "stay awake" drug for final exams but as a "sharpen your edge" performance enhancer by all sorts of athletes. Benzedrine was still in wide use in the 70s and had been since the 50s. As usual, sportwriters too young to have lived through something are generally too lazy to actually research history; it's easier to ignore the past or just make up history. Perotto's story may move a time line for some of you. Most guys I know who are close to my age (59) or a few years older get a belly laugh of the notion that there was a "steroid era," especially when someone claims that was the '90s. There were no "eras." PEDs have been in continuous use for almost 60 years, and probably longer IF I WENT AND RESEARCHED IT BEFORE MY TIME. It wasn't just sports, nor just sports and recreation. As my beer-deliverman neighbor says of the 70s, "We had a guy in the parking lot every morning with his trunk open when we'd come in hung over or after being up all night. We'd ask how many cases we had to deliver that day, and if the dispatcher said 'a thousand,' we'd say to the guy in the lot 'I'll take TWO of those [pills] and THREE of those other ones.'" The last 60 to 65 years (at least!) is ONE "era," and we already have scores of players from the era in the HoF. Being sanctimonious about Clemens, Bonds, Palmeiro, or anyone else seems misplaced.
I was living a few minutes from the Astrodome the whole time Joe Niekro pitched there (in every role from SP to CL), time that overlapped with Phil in Atlanta and Charlie Hough a division foe of the 'Stros. To add to the anecdotal evidence, the knucklers that were spun sure seemed effective. We almost always sat right behind the homeplate trio, just back of the commish's box at the head of the Astro dugout, or on the second row about the middle of the dugout. So, very close to the pitch chute. The Niekros were both vocal from time to time about their fondness for the park/mound/effects.
Doesn't prove anything, but I'd sure wager the 'Dome did not have a NEGATIVE effect on knuckleballers if we could go back and measure that.
Many great comments, guys. If you'll allow a generality to reduce all of this, the criticism of the Royals' end of the deal is primarily based on what we could call "controlled yrs of player service." So: Odorizzi 6, Myers 6, etc and the players received far less.
Some suggest that writing the big check for a FA would have prevented this. But no one has pointed out that we have a huge problem in KC that goes back to the early '90s labor tension when Glass was (after Ewing's death) a non-owner caretaker but one of two stridently anti-labor attack dogs for the owners. That still lingers with agents and any historically aware player, or one who is made aware by his agent. Add to that the chill of a free agent looking at the Royals and doubting their commitment to winning...It may NOT be that KC WON'T sign a free agent, but CAN'T get one worthy of #1-2-3 SP status.
Second, we went through years of having 1 or 2 major league players on the field alongside many AAA and AAAA types. Now, there are major league players at every position (incl/ DH) except RF and 2B. The pen has been outstanding. The need is for multiple SPs.
If management can't show Butler, Gordon, Alcides, Cain, Moose, Hosmer and Perez that they are committed, "six yrs of control" suddenly become 3 1/2 to 4 1/2...remember Greinke? So let's not only NOT count 6 yrs of control for Myers and Odorizzi, let's say that there are another 10 to 30 years of "control" at stake for those 7 legit regulars listed above. Will they stay?
The first long-term contract signed from this point forward among those 7 players that extends one (or more) of them from bailing out changes the equation of this trade DRASTICALLY. And that's a huge factor in the long-term competitive scenario that not one analyst I've seen has mentioned. Fan comments in KC are all over the place, many of them just negative knee-jerk reactions. Even on BP here, there is well-reasoned affirmation for the Royals' end as well as doubt. But the trade will pan out or fail in the long run for its cascade effect on our ability to retain those seven players named above ...and others.
Color me one of Miguel Cabrera's 166 votes; and no, I'm not "averse" to the use of advanced metrics as one BP writer suggested in writing about the likely Trout-Cabrera BBWAA outcome. I've been filled with the spirit as part of SABR from the early 80s and the first BJ Abstracts. While I generally embrace WARP and other value unimetrics and acknowledge that "most valuable" is well measured by WARP, it's still not the whole story.
One tired, overwrought preseason prediction that hundreds of pundits eagerly put forth was how bad the Tigers were going to be with MC moving to 3B. Any of us can check out the 3 strong fielding metrics: They don't show a disaster. As a KC resident, I had never seen MC play 3B until 2012, and he was much better than the alarmists hooted last spring. Verlander and Scherzer seemed not to mind. And yeah, I know it's anecdotal. Still, I think there's a lot to be gained from actually going to the park and watching ball instead of pontificating from a cellar or garret.
Plus this, an argument I've not seen anywhere, but a salient point in the Tigers' season and in my vote. Moving from 1B to 3B WAS WHAT THE TIGERS NEEDED after Victor went down and they signed Fielder. MC did that, happily, without the drama that has surrounded similar position changes. The Tigers come to town, and out strides MC, big smile on his face, easy does it. Umpires glad to see him, opposing basemen charmed when he's on, just a good-natured guy whose attitude seems to settle over a team. That's value, subjective as it is.
We didn't get to see non-division foe Trout as much here, but I'll never forget watching MC those last four games of the year with the batting title on the line. WOW. That's the subjective sum. So many aspects of baseball confer value for a team. I wish all of you could have been here to see those games.
Just a tough, tough choice for me and for anyone UNLESS they rely only on metrics. Nothing against Trout or the "strictly stats" adherents. Not at all.
I haven't listened to McCarver in years. Either find a radio broadcast or turn on the music. So many fine announcers out there, and Fox gives us a guy who makes so many mistakes and contradicts himself so much, it's hard to believe McCarver ever played the game. One theory is that he played his baseball in Kenya, not the United States.
I was born in '53, and while I was aware earlier that the Braves and White Sox had good teams, our family was a Yankee family. In school or disconnected from TV or outside playing, my connection to the 1960 Series was mainly through talking to my dad and reading about each game in the paper the next morning. Yes, I understood the box scores. But I know we listened intently to Game 7 on the radio. As much as the Yanks had dominated the Pirates, I was not fearful until about the middle of the game...which as you all know, took many turns. The outcome CRUSHED my emotions. It still does.
There's nothing more Un-American than calling the uniquely American principles of Due Process "technicalities." That is a way out for small minds or the laziness to take the time to understand why the founders insisted on Fairness for accused persons. The players and execs of the MLBPA are well aware of the pitfalls of not insisting that due process be followed, as the process of being accused and the penalties of being found positive are very much quasi-criminal in nature. There aren't many places left in the world where some form of due process is not guaranteed, thanks to the American example and the passage of 225 years. But Surfdent, you could try North Korea, where they don't bother with what you call "technicalities." Period.
Derek, do teams have a reserve roster in TW?...and are rosters adjustable daily or weekly?
Thank you for your example of compassion and ethics, Steven.
...but how dumb is he? Obviously, the Brewers were loaded a year ago and still loading. The table was set for a potentially great team and year. So what does McGehee do? Out of shape the whole year, clueless, pounding the ball into the ground and getting doubled up?! What does it take to motivate a guy? No one hurt the Brewers as much as this slug. If he had 25 lbs to lose, he should have lost it a year ago. Too dumb...or character too low for me in any round, any price DTM.
No complaint, Jason. The second list makes your point and does so concisely, and the first list only serves to give us examples and needs not be inclusive. However, as a guy who had the best team in my league and lost in the 7th inning of the last two games of the year by half a point when Gio got his 8th strikeout vs the M's, what really beat me was these guys being hurt for long periods: Drew (on your list), Rickie Weeks, Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Gonzalez (all not on the list). Those are big names. In particular, ARod after June 1 looked harmless, hopeless and helpless, like he'd never be able to be a threat again...and he may NOT. Spending time on a more comprehensive first list would have served no statistical point, but you left a lot of drama on the table.
William Peterson became a TV star in the CSI series, not NCIS.
Nice job, RJ. Good to read positive aspects of players and the game.
The problem is in agreement:
"There are factors"...OK,both plural
"There is a myriad"...both singular
"There are a myriad" is like "There are a sportswriter from the Ozarks who..."
Tom Glavine an omission? Did anybody ever have a better grip on the issues of the CBA?
Aren't we a demanding group, now? I'll save you some trouble, Mike. I'm keeping Justin Verlander at $31. YES-YES-YES-YES.
The two most easily noticeable dropoffs in SB attempts come when a player is moved down from the top of the order to #3 or lower (Hanley, ARod, Pence, Kemp...there are many)and right after a player signs a big contract. When an owner is paying a guy a half mil to a couple of mil, it's one thing. When the player starts earning $10M or more, the owner doesn't want him hurt. Big example was ARod's dropoff when he went to TX. He re-gained SBAs when he went to NY. Obviously, the money wasn't as important to the Yanks as it was to Hicks. Again, fairly obvious that the skills were still there. It didn't have anything to do with any of the variables you checked above, not that the work is flawed...just incomplete.
I know Allen 0-fer'd against CC in a game I watched. I did not see the game vs Lester, but Allen took Lester DEEP DEEP to RCF in one AB.
So Lackey has become a LHP after 32 years of pitching right-handed? Brandon Allen DID face CC Sabathia and Jon Lester last week. Unless they, too, have switched pitching arms in the last week or so, Allen faced four lefties (along with Huff and Bedard) from Wednesday last week through Monday this week. On the bright side, you got 2 out of 5 correct :-)
CarGo not on the list?
Excellent, concise article, JC. My own maxim on dump trades is, "Dump trading is the engine that runs keeper leagues after mid-season." In two separate leagues, I did studies in responses to whining about others' dump trades and found that the whiners had engaged in dumps as much as those they whined about. Thus a second: "We like our own dump trades, but tend not to like the dump trades of others." (probably in direct proportion to how good the trades are)
In two long-lasting keeper leagues (can only keep a player a 2d year. All players must be auctioned at least every other year.), we keep the lower-ranked teams involved not only by their team-building, but also dangle some incentive. The top team "out of the money" will have the first pick in a minor league draft after the next year's MLB auction and also will begin the "replacement" snake of injured players after the auction. So the order of choosing two minor leaguers and replacements in a 12-team league paying down 6 spots is 7, 8, 9...12, then 6, 5, 4...w/ champ picking last. In a draft league of widespread owners, highest team out of the money gets the first pick, so we've called the non-money race "The Pujols Sweepstakes."
The worst of all time? The worst for a long time, for sure. Sam Breeden comes to mind as a close competitor. Thorough crook and fakir, like McCourt.
I have always thought that if I could be the God of Major League Baseball, the first edict I would issue would be that all current and would-be owners must read Veeck As In Wreck, takes notes, and give a presentation to Me summarizing the book.
Then we could get on with it...without any McCourts, Steinbrenners, Glasses, Wilpons...
Ted Turner would have fit right in.
You put the churls in their places with your "sex in a canoe" reference, Emma, which by the way is a great comment on many AMerican lagers.
Yeah, keep 'em ALL down as long as possible. Collude on it, too. Bring back indentured servitude! Keep the N*****s down! Deny opportunity that is earned! Save a buck, make another. Interesting to see all these far-right arguments on here and QUITE ironic to see the most anti-union owner in baseball give Hosmer the opportunity to come up. The union needs to address this crap.
Who would have thought that SABR types would make an argument that would deny us the Junior Griffeys, ARods, CC Sabathia's of baseball? And we'll see fewer HoF careers.
Gee, Kevin, why don't you just call for bringing back Charlie Comiskey, Sam Breadon, and the Griffiths?
Anybody notice that the language is the same language of slavery, indentured servitude, and racism? Indeed, "keep 'em down." If that makes a scout or anyone else laugh....It makes me sick to my stomach. Move along to the Pat Robertson Club, Kevin.
The details are rather geeky concerns. The fact is that MLB is the only sport that doesn't "get it right." And dammit, that's what we want. It's completely laughable that we still have to put up with easily correctable, game-changing mistakes 40 years after the tech was there to fix the problem. The only "tradition" is buffoonery. Selig, of course, included.
JJ, more nice work this year. Always look forward to your HoF analysis, so nothing negative here, only a Devil's advocacy:
If you really believe in the truths and truisms of what you're doing, why wait until HoF eve to publish? Might you not feel bound to get your analyses out there earlier so that your work could become part of the discussion and have some influence?
I think your work DOES have some influence. Look at Blyleven's rising vote totals. This is due not only to your work, but your work and others being picked up and passed through by scores or hundreds of bloggers, analysts on other websites, and even workaday sportswriters. Joe Posnanski, for example, is a BP reader and a conscientious writer who incorporates the stat revelations he consumes into his work...AND then Poz becomes an advocate. Shouldn't you try to maximize your advocacy?
How 'bout offering your insights to the Baseball Tonight people and ESPN, your willingness to be broadcast with them for no fee? Maybe the same thing with the MLB channel? Or why not a lengthy SI article with Poz next November or early December when the impact could be maximized?
Again, thanks for the good work.
Congratulations, John. I appreciate the hard work you very obviously must do to stay "on top of things." Always at the cutting edge. Thanks very much.
For adding up over time and "precipitous decline," a bunch of players come to mind: Mickey Mantle, Danny Tartabull, Mike Sweeney, for three.
Bryan's prediction might as well be an account of what LSU did to the Rice Owls in 2 games in Baton Rouge. Geaux-T defense in Baton Rouge ranged from excellent in the OF to shaky in the IF, so I wouldn't put them in the "spectacular" category overall as Schmub has above. But the Geaux Tigers are very, very good. They have the best team.
While Augie gives up way too many outs for my liking, his batters also make pitchers pile up high counts (thus getting into bullpens like ASU's early even with studs like Leake starting). Best opp for UT is to get into the shaky LSU pen.
Pretty good assessment by Smith for a guy who sits at home to "cover" games.
- Ironhorse of KC, attended Houston Regional and Baton Rouge Super.
Aaron Miles doesn't get it. Cardinal fans adore CARDINALS, not Aaron Miles. Dipstick.
Several of the guys above are close to suggesting the real cost of Bradley\'s contract.
I (Royals fan) recall my buddy (Yanks fan) walking into a grad student cafe the morning after the Yanks signed Danny Tartabull, the first \"$5M per year player.\" John was gushing about the \"five million.\" I said, \"Ten million per year.\"
John asserted, \"5 years for $25 million.\"
I replied, \"Yes, and he\'ll play in half the games, so that works out to ten million. And for that, you and the Yanks can have him.\"
Without looking it up, I think Tartabull actually played in just over 60% of the games, just about the number Joe cites for Bradley.
For $20M per, Cubs fans, what other player(s) could you have acquired? This team is being managed like the unregulated banks about 5 years ago. The backloading and stacking of bad contracts will soon return the Cubs to subprime status.
That is about as soft a \"why\" as anyone could dream up, though like the comment about Carl Lindner above, perhaps you just avoided writing a long essay or book. Gass was a trustee whose job was to oversee offers for the franchise after Kauffman\'s death plus a transition period. He translated \"fiduciary duty\" into rejecting offers and then awarding the franchise to himself. It gets worse, but it gets longer.
That would be the Big Muddy (Missouri River) in the far background of the aerial shot of the Benedictine field. It\'s located about 40 miles above Kansas City. One can be certain that the floods of \'93 reached the levee, and somebody probably took a picture. Not as dramatic as what happened at the minor league fields in Dubuque and Davenport that year, though.