Silver Slugger awards shouldn't be controversial, but Jason finds a gap remains between advanced metrics and voters.
When you do an article search on this site for the phrase "Silver Slugger," you get 57 results, the first of which, by Gregg Pearlman, is apparently the 18th article ever written for Baseball Prospectus and the most recent of which is Geoff Young's piece about the Padres throwing their heft around the N.L. West this offseason.(That's #19056.) Young's Silver Slugger mention came because Jason Marquis won one. Pearlman was writing about Barry Bonds. (Or really about sportswriters' relationship with Bonds. This was October 1997. We were innocent once, and young.)
By contrast, when you search "Gold Glove," you see just a smidge over nine times the results. (The first of which, hilariously, is another Gregg Pearlman article -- this one includes a lamentation of the J.T. Snow trade—which is numbered "1" in our content system.)
Trying to build a contender in this situation isn't the easiest task in baseball.
It's quite possibly as tough a time to be a contender in the AL East as it's ever been anywhere in recent baseball history, with the Yankees and Red Sox spending big dollars and the Rays reaping the benefits of the game's best talent pipeline. Even coming off their fourth winning season out of five, what's a fourth-place team like the Blue Jays to do? Stepping into the shoes of GM Alex Anthopolous isn't the most enviable task in the world at this point in time.
As you would expect, Hill’s batting average on balls in play is the lowest in both leagues. By far. For a little perspective on how miserable his average is when putting the ball in play here are the worst BABIPs in the major league going back the previous ten seasons.
What's behind the erosion of the second baseman's production?
Aaron Hill's struggles in 2010 are somewhat deceiving. He's very much the same player he was in 2007, when he first broke out by hitting .291/.333/.459 over 657 plate appearances, and, aside from his fluke homer total, the same player he was last season when he finished with a line of .286/.330/.499. The one major difference is that of his batting average on balls in play, but this deserves a deeper look than a simple wave of the hand with the "regression fixes all" mantra following.
Hill, in spite of his sub-Mendoza line batting average, has an Isolated Power of .164—that's four points below his 2007 level, and 13 points ahead of his career average. There are two ways to look at this—2009 was a career year for Hill, and while he's going to put up some good-looking seasons, he may not approach the same level of sexy he reached last year. In that view, seasons like 2007 are the norm for Hill, and while they are valuable, he's no Chase Utley--that's why he was ranked as a four-star player and not a five-star one, like the Phil's second baseman. The other way of looking at this is that Hill has managed to maintain a serious amount of his pop in spite of his struggles, and that he would be much closer to his 2009 production were his problems to be scrubbed from the record.
A long list of injuries exacerbated or cropping up over the weekend.
If you don't already have your ticket for tonight's event, well, you're probably out of luck. It's worth checking to see if there's any space available for the Q&A with Andy MacPhail and a parliament of BP writers Monday night. Here's the link to all the details. I hope to see many of you there, but let's get to the injuries:
The Blue Jays' bench coach discusses defense and making defensive transitions around the diamond.
Brian Butterfield knows defense. Currently Cito Gaston's bench coach in Toronto, Butterfield is widely regarded as one of the best infield instructors in the game, with players such as Orlando Hudson and Aaron Hill having credited him for helping them develop into Gold Glove-quality defenders. A native of Bangor, Maine, Butterfield began his coaching career in 1984 and has since served as a roving infield instructor, minor league manager, and coach at both the minor league and big league levels for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays. Butterfield has been with the Toronto organization since 2002.