My pet peeve as a consumer of writing on and analysis of baseball is a failure to properly employ a sensible baseline. This frequently occurs via the writer not applying any baseline at all, instead presenting statistics or other performance indicators denuded of context. In Hall of Fame arguments, what does it mean that Bert Blyleven won 287 games? Is that a lot, given the era he played in, the teams he was a part of, the number of games he started? What about Fred McGriff's 493 home runs? What do these numbers mean?
Or think about the ways MVP arguments sometimes proceed, where one candidate has a .390 on-base percentage and another has a .580 slugging and a third stole 42 bases at an 82 percent clip and a fourth had a 2.30 ERA in 210 innings. Do you know who to vote for in this scenario? It depends on what year it is, right?
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Since May Day, Bryan LaHair and Casey Kotchman have been virtually the same player.
As the calendar flipped from April to May, two 29-year-old first basemen in America's Heartland were off to very different starts. In Chicago, minor-league veteran Bryan LaHair was the feel-good story of the season's first month, hitting .390/.471/.780 for the otherwise-moribund Cubs. A few hundred miles to the east, Casey Kotchman and the Indians were the subject of plenty of "I told you so"s when, to the surprise of few, Kotchman failed to sustain his surprising 2011 production, carrying a .149/.240/.254 slash line into May.
Michael graduates his first VP of the season, but he still points out plenty of undervalued corner infielders to be found on your league’s waiver wires.
For our nation’s scholars, graduation is just around the corner, but we start things early here at Value Picks, bidding adieu to our first departee. He leaves the list after quickly exceeding ownership thresholds, but I’ve got lots of other players ready to prove themselves to VP readers, including several bubble candidates in Playing Pepper.
The tater trots for April 9: Pablo dances, LaHair blasts one to Sheffield, St. Louis' trio of shots, and De Aza's leadoff beauty.
The allure of Opening Week is finally gone. While some teams are still celebrating (or awaiting) their home openers, others are already back to midseason form. In Houston, 17,095 paid to see the hometown boys beat the Braves. In Oakland, the stellar Royals/A's matchup only brought out 10,054 paid attendees. One of those is bound to change on Tuesday, as the Astros plan to hold their first throwback game of the year. In honor of their 50th anniversary, the team will be wearing old Houston Colt .45s jerseys, smoking gun and all.
Offering at least one reason to tune in to each potentially talent-challenged team when you're flipping through your MLB.tv options this season.
Bad teams have been much on my mind lately. Blame it on being an A's fan, blame it on marrying into a Mets family, blame it on my generally sour personality. Irrespective of the cause, I find myself less intrigued by the powerhouses or the teams in tight races for the playoffs than by the squads that will come out of the gate slow, dawdle through the dog days, and finish in a muddle of obscure Triple-A players crowding the expanded September rosters as they fight for 2013 jobs on what will likely be yet another mediocre team.
If you're a fan of one of these franchises, you'll probably watch them whatever happens. But what will the rest of you watch on the nights when your team is off, or long, lazy weekend afternoons? You can always tune in to see the Yankees and Rays face off in a game with playoff implications for the umpteenth time, but if you're like me, you get a little bored seeing the same (really good) players over and over. Let me present, then, a team-by-team list of reasons to tune into a game at which more casual fans might turn up their noses. Call it the Every Team is Special list.
A look at how the shallow the pool of National League first basemen has become and how to navigate those tricky NL-only waters in 2012
To say that the first base pool in NL-only leagues is thin these days would be a rather massive understatement. Essentially, the league traded Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder and got only Michael Cuddyer and Adam Kennedy back, while also losing Ryan Howard for an undetermined part of the season due to his playoff-ending ankle injury. The offseason shuffling has made Joey Votto the best player at the position in the National League by a significant margin, on top of the honor of already being one of the three best fantasy options for National League players overall.
Michael looks at the implication of the recent Cub trade, along with the newest Ray, Luke Scott, plus two excellent third basemen
Since last week’s column, Chicago hedged its first base bets by acquiring another Triple-A masher, while Luke Scott and Tampa Bay have reportedly come to terms on a one-year deal. But other teams (and fantasy owners) continue to await the fates of bigger names like Prince Fielder, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guererro. Until those long-delayed deals come to fruition, I’ll look at two other fantasy options at the infield corners, one a personal favorite of mine. If you’ve got any faves that haven’t been covered, leave your suggestions in the comments section.