Alan Trammell and Mark McGwire are both deserving of plaques in the halls of Cooperstown.
With the announcement of the BBWAA vote bearing down upon us, we continue taking the express route through the rest of the hitters on the ballot. Four new infielders join three holdovers, and while there are a pair of players whom the JAWS system flags as Hall-worthy here, we shouldn't expect either to get the call from Cooperstown on Monday.
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We're not talking the '62 Mets, but are instead unearthing the dregs of the BP WARP3 database.
A year ago, I looked at the best seasons ever for position players according to WARP3. The time has come to swing the pendulum the other way and find the worst seasons ever. Actually, we're not going to include "ever" in this discussion. I'm going to focus mostly on the years since 1961. Also, I'm going to make a plate appearance minimum of 400 requirement so that we only discuss players who were present enough to do some real damage to their own teams.
Wright or Marte, Marte or Wright. I love 'em both. I've put Andy Marte ahead for the moment, because of the 10-month age difference and because scouts seem to like him a lot more, but I really feel strongly that David Wright's as complete a prospect as there is in the game. I'd love to hear comments comparing the two, and Nate, I'd love to see what their PECOTA comps look like. Nobody else is that impressive. Dallas McPherson put up some serious numbers last year, and while some of that was in The Hangar in Rancho Cucamonga, he hit .314/.426/.569 in Arkansas. He doesn't have a great defensive reputation, but it's not terrible either, and he clearly outhit everyone else on this list. I don't know if anyone else deserves Top 50 consideration. I know people love the Greek God of Walks, but he hit .165/.295/.248 in Triple-A, over a 32-game sample. Of course, his full-season OBP was still .446, so... Chad Tracy hit .324 and his defense took a big step forward, but he doesn't do much more than hit singles, and it was Tucson. I respect that he's had two good seasons in a row, but he was in El Paso in 2002, so I'm not sure that means anything either. And as much as I hyped him a year ago, I have to concede that Brendan Harris may not be quite as good as I thought he was. But he's still a better prospect than almost anyone gives him credit for.
Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia get rewarded for 2002. The Indians and Rangers swap pitching prospect for hitting prospect. The Yankees grab Armando Benitez in a non-Sierran move. The Jays get a steal in Stewart-for-Kielty. These and other tidbits, plus a full array of Kahrlisms, in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Diamondbacks staff is getting healthy, leaving them with too many arms on deck. Pedro Martinez continues to show the Red Sox they goofed by signing his 2004 contract so early. Ben Broussard gets his shot at Cleveland's first base job. Neifi Perez's hot streak has him poised to join the MVP race. News, notes, and Kahrlisms on 19 major league teams.
The Snakes throw excessive money at a good citizen--again. The Orioles use an injury as the latest excuse to screw with John Stephens. The Tigers' pitching staff could be scary bad. And the Jays need health on their side if they're to benefit from the Wells and Hinske signings.
Re-signed INF-R Benji Gil and DH-L Brad Fullmer to one-year contracts.
Signed OF-R Eric Owens to a one-year contract, and LHP Rich Rodriguez, 2B-R Adam Riggs, and UT-R Oscar Salazar to minor league contracts.
Avoided arbitration with 2B-L Adam Kennedy, INF-B Scott Spiezio, and LHPs Jarrod Washburn and Scott Schoeneweis.
Claimed C-R Wil Nieves off of waivers (from the Padres).
Flash back to January 1987. Walk Like an Egyptian is at the top of the pop charts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has coasted past 2,000. John Elway has broken Cleveland's heart for the very first time. And in baseball, the free agents are getting utterly and completely shafted.
In an article that appeared on Baseball Prospectus recently, I concluded that, in spite of an across-the-board decrease in player salaries, the winter's market has done a very efficient job of equating free agent salaries with performance. Players are being paid less, but more so than in the recent past, they're being paid in proportion to what they're worth. I went on to suggest that this constitutes compelling evidence that ownership is not colluding to restrict the market:
Losing David Justice isn't good news, considering I'm not a big Scott Hatteberg guy, but I am a believer when it comes to Eric Byrnes, so I guess I'm happy. Outfield defense is always going to be an issue for a unit that has Terrence Long in center field and either Justice or Jeremy Giambi in a corner. While I'm not arguing for Byrnes to play every day, he does give the A's a hitter who puts hard-hit balls into play, who can cover an outfield corner well, and basically give the bottom of the lineup someone who can help score some of the other more walk-inclined hitters batting higher up.