The Dodgers' first baseman doesn't hit a lot of home runs but he drives in a quite a few runs.
James Loney is somewhat of an odd player. Despite hitting .321/.372/.543 in 486 plate appearances across the 2006 and 2007 seasons for the Dodgers, his power output has resembled that of Placido Polanco lately. While a short supply of power isn’t always a death blow to success at first base, it usually means that the top notchiest of defensive ability is required to make up the difference. Loney realistically doesn’t fit that bill either. He might be smooth with the glove, and he might not have a glaring weakness such as Ryan Howard’s inability to throw a baseball, but it isn’t as if we’re talking about the first-base equivalent of Franklin Gutierrez or Jack Wilson here. Despite the shortcomings in his game, there is one area in which Loney has excelled, even if it is a stat kept only in my strange head: the ratio of RBI to home runs.
In 2008, Loney hit just 13 home runs but knocked in 90 runners. Last season, he did the exact same thing by launching 13 dingers and plating 90 runners. This season, he appears to be on pace for very similar numbers, as he hasnine home runs and 80 RBI. Recording that many RBI with so few home runs is one of those jarring parts on a batting line. It doesn’t really tell us anything revolutionary about a player, but it looks off, just like when an on-base percentage exceeds its slugging counterpart. A disproportionate number of RBI relative to home runs might suggest that we are dealing with more of a slap hitter who happens to come up with runners on very frequently, and if he were to be moved down in the order the ratio might decline. After all, Loney continues to bat in the middle of the order even if Martin Prado can out-homer him.
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Two NL West teams, two 1990s expansion teams, two teams long on youth and short on experience.
It may not play well on the Upper East Side, on Newbury Street, or the Main Line, but this National League Championship Series has the makings of a great series. The Rockies and Diamondbacks are evenly matched teams with comparable strengths and weaknesses, and each has a number of young stars or stars-in-waiting well worth watching. Both swept more experienced opponents in the first round, striking a blow against the notion that experience is a determinant of postseason fate. This is simply a terrific series ahead of us, one that despite the locations-both teams' home parks are among the better hitters' parks in the game-could feature more low-scoring games than its AL counterpart.
Jeff Cirillo's comments about the baseballs used at Coors Field were right on the money.
The Associated Press reported a story yesterday that pushed me to do research I'd been wanting to do for a while. Tuesday afternoon, Brewers utility infielder Jeff Cirillopointed out what should have been obvious for some time: that the Rockies' use of a humidor for storing game balls has gone past the point of a minor correction for atmospheric conditions and become a means to creating a pitchers' park. Cirillo cited little more than the way a ball felt in his hand and second-hand comments by his teammates, but he did add this:
The Braves' bench looks ugly. The Dodgers make some nifty deals. The Mets inexplicably hand starting jobs to Tyler Yates and Scott Erickson. The Rangers unload Einar Diaz on the Expos. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.
Who wants to be a Yankee third baseman? OK, so maybe that doesn't have the same ring of a certain game show that gripped the nation a few years back, but it's a question on many people's minds right now. Incumbent starter Aaron Boone blew out his left ACL playing basketball and may be lost for the entire 2004 season. While Boone is basically a league-average third baseman, maybe a bit better due to his glove, he looks like Mike Schmidt compared to the available replacements.
OK, so maybe that doesn't have the same ring of a certain game show that gripped the nation a few years back, but it's a question on many people's minds right now. Incumbent starter Aaron Boone blew out his left ACL playing basketball and may be lost for the entire 2004 season. While Boone is basically a league-average third baseman, maybe a bit better due to his glove, he looks like Mike Schmidt compared to the available replacements.
As promised, here's a team-by-team breakdown of last week's NorCal Mock Winter Meetings. With the real winter meetings in New Orleans winding down, it's interesting to compare the two for like transactions as well as differences.
Following up on yesterday's article, here is the definitive list of every transaction made at last weekend's Mock Winter Meetings in Chicago. The list of moves includes a blockbuster trade for Mark Teixeira, cheap contracts for Trot Nixon and Juan Gonzalez, and a surprise new home for Vladimir Guerrero.