Which men of misery prevented their teams from escaping the murky waters of suckitude?
My semiannual Replacement-Level Killers series spotlights the worst holes in contenders' lineups, as well as the possible remedies they might take to avoid letting such subpar production destroy their post-season chances the next time around. I make no claims for this companion series being so noble in purpose. Because bad baseball so often makes for good copy, it's more fun to hunt the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel to find the positions where players' contributions could be considered the worst in the majors. What follows is an "all-star" team of players who have produced tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just a soft breeze running through their team's bank account. Once again, I present the Vortices of Suck.
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With the Moneyball movie slated for a Friday release, our fantasy genius takes time to reflect on what sabermetrics actually means.
On Sunday, I posted my review of “Behind the Seams: The Stat Story”—an MLB Network special on statistics and their place in the game. Despite being published on a Sunday, the article received a lot of attention, and I received a number of e-mails and phone calls from people with varying opinions on the piece, several of which wound up as discussions on sabermetrics in general. Given this and what’s sure to be widespread misunderstanding after Moneyballis wide-released tomorrow, I wanted to take today to talk about what sabermetrics means to me.
In my review of MLB’s documentary, I mentioned how there is an important distinction between sabermetrics and statistics that I wanted to expand upon today. For me, sabermetrics can be broken down into two components: statistical analysis and scouting.
If Game 1 between the Yankees and Rangers were an election, there might be a recount.
After what felt like an eternity off, post-season play resumes tonight with the Yankees visiting the Rangers in the first game of the American League Championship Series. The Yankees should be well-rested after easily dispatching of the Twins in a three-game sweep in the Division Series, while the Rangers are “forced” to go with their second best-starter in C.J. Wilson due to finishing their LDS on Tuesday night. As with the Division Series, we will be producing PECOTA projections for this tier of the playoffs in an attempt to more accurately assess what the major players for each team bring to the table in the form of a true talent level.
The Yankees look to get back to yet another World Series while the Rangers are in uncharted territory.
From 1996 through 1999, the Joe Torre-led Yankees and the Johnny Oates-piloted Rangers faced off in three American League Division Series, the first three times the latter franchise had ever reached the postseason. The Yankees won nine of those 10 games, holding the Rangers to a lone run apiece in their 1998 and 1999 sweeps. Times have changed, however, and while the Yankee machine has simply kept rolling, racking up four pennants and two world championships while missing the playoffs just once since their last meeting, the Rangers endured a dark decade before reemerging as AL West champions thanks to the shrewd deal making of general manager Jon Daniels and the fruits of their well-stocked farm system.
As expected the flurry of trades has continued, and we have more fantasy impact to discuss because of it. Let's dig right in with what's transpired since last we wrote.
Miguel Tejada was sent to the Padres, which doesn’t make fantasy waves but is worthy of a few ripples. This leaves third base open for Josh Bell in Baltimore, and cuts into Chase Headley and Everth Cabrera's playing time in San Diego, though all of those things could be a positive. Bell is hitting .278/.328/.481 for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides and is the third baseman of the future for the O's, so bringing him up to the majors and giving him a chance to show off during this lost season is both good for the Orioles and for fantasy owners in need of some help at third. He's not a sure thing for 2010, but he's someone to keep an eye on or grab in deep leagues where you don't have time to worry about whether he's going to hit right away or not.
The 2010 Florida Marlins are who we thought they were. While their upper brass may have had pipe dreams about a potential contender during the spring, a more likely scenario had the Fish finishing the year as close friends of the .500 mark. Entering play Wednesday, only a recent streak of hot play has them hovering around .500. This streaky play exemplifies their status as a team with several solid pieces but with a decent number of faults as well. Perhaps these characteristics were all put on display last weekend when they blew a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning to the Braves thanks to poor defense and below-average pitching. The Marlins may boast star power in the forms of Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, but neither their hitting nor pitching in the aggregate has intimidated opponents—they rank 15th in the NL in WXRL, 13th in OBP, 12th in SLG, and 13th in Defensive Efficiency.
Activated OF-LNate McLouth from the 15-day DL; optioned OF-S Gregor Blanco to Gwinnett (Triple-A). [7/21]
Optioned OF-L Nate McLouth to Gwinnett; activated OF-RBrent Clevlen from the 15-day DL; signed C-R Dave Ross to a two-year, $3.25 million contract extension through 2012. [7/27]