Don't play with sharp objects, don't lie down in traffic, and never assume that any player is blocked.
When, early on Sunday morning, it was revealed that Ryan Zimmerman had signed a contract extension that had the potential of keeping him in Washington until 2020, I predicted that Kevin Goldstein would spend his day answering questions about the future of Anthony Rendon, a fine third-base prospect to be sure, but not one who would seem likely to be dogging Zimmerman’s heels anytime soon given that he has yet to play a professional game.
Kevin’s predictable response to those easily-predictable questions was that a lot can change between now and 2020, or between now and next year, including our entire view of both Zimmerman and Rendon. In fact, the potentialities of either could be radically altered as soon as… now. Or now. And also now. Entering 1971, the syndicated columnist Jimmy Cannon asked Casey Stengel for his opinion on Johnny Bench, then entering his age-23 season and coming off an MVP-winning campaign in which he hit .293/.345/.587 with a National League-leading 45 home runs and 148 runs batted in.
“I’ve had Al Lopez and Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra, which goes to show you,” the old man said. “But at his age, which is young, Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher I ever seen. But he could fall out of an airplane or his eyes could go bad, which could happen to a young catcher.”
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Team all-stars by WARP string-where would the pennants stop? Plus, some of the best and worst songs of 1987.
Jorge Posada and the Third-String Yankees
I was asked on the radio last week where Jorge Posada ranked as a Hall of Fame candidate. I responded that he was the third-best catcher in Yankees history in career value, which proved to be a good, not-quite-off-the-top-of-of-my head guess (when someone asks you to rank the presidents, you can play it lose as long as you start with George Washington and not Warren Harding, but when it comes to ballplayers you have to know your Berra-Dickey do-re-mi). I became curious as to just how good the third-best team in a team’s history might be. Part of the fun of following baseball is making lists, and this seemed to be a good excuse to make one.
If we ranked each position by career WARP, how far down would we have to go before we reached a team that wouldn’t win the pennant every year? Would Jorge still get his share of rings?
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August 11, 2009 1:20 pm
That brief moment when shortstops put first basemen in their shadows.
On Monday, Kevin Goldstein wrote about a talent drought as far as the lack of prospective left-side infielders coming into the minor leagues in recent years. While Kevin's article suggests that this may be the result of systemic changes in the way young players are treated before turning pro, it is also true that such fluctuations in the player supply have happened before. In the 1980s it was catchers; for a brief period it seemed as if the future of backstopping was going to look like Ron Karkovice and not Joe Mauer, so few were the attractive prospects at the position.