Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?
Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.
That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.
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Sorting out the expense of making yesterday's problem somebody else's issue.
Over the years, baseball analysts of a statistical bent have worked hard to quantify many of the basic components of major-league success. Batting, fielding, pitching, baserunning, even managerial decisions-each have been broken down to their atomic ingredients and reassembled into metrics that best correlate to scoring or preventing runs, producing wins, and generating monetary value. One factor that hasn't been quantified, however, is that hoariest of journalistic chestnuts: team chemistry.
The wrong person's being accused and then punished for lashing out over this season's disappointments in Wrigleyville.
In something of a surprise, the Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for the rest of the season for conduct detrimental to the team. There are about two weeks left in the season, so in the midst of the big pile-on, I'd like to ask one question: Who the hell has ever been suspended for two weeks for what they said to the media? This is a severe and unwarranted overreaction, a cynical public-relations ploy designed to curry favor with fans and the media and distract both groups from a Cubs season that is ending with a whimper.
Will Milton Bradley move the Cubs past 'go' come October, or will he leave the team playing "Operation"?
According to a report at MLB.com, Milton Bradley is set to return to the Cubs' lineup Wednesday afternoon as the DH. It will be his first appearance since February 26, when a problem with his left thigh forced him from a Cactus League game.
Christina returns to cover the swaps and the shake-ups.
Cunningham was one of the better position player prospects in the White Sox chain, so getting him for something of an organizational-filler type represents a minor coup for the Snakes. Richar isn't worthless, but he also isn't gifted with a lot of star potential, not in a system that stole Alberto Callaspo from the Angels and which also has to figure out Mark Reynolds' eventual infield home. They're already into the range of having to ask themselves what benefit there is to offering Orlando Hudson arbitration this winter, or whether they might not be better off non-tendering or dealing him, so even though Richar was already up to Triple-A, he wasn't gifted with a great future within the organization. In contrast, Cunningham could end up hitting his way into an already-talented future-minded outfield with Chris B. Young, Carlos Quentin, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton. Quality outfielders can end up paying off in spades, and if Cunningham develops beyond being "just" an exceptionally disciplined hitter who delivers base hits and generates walks, he'll end up making the White Sox look really bad.
That said, the question is whether he'll develop or not. He's only 21 and already in High-A, and hitting .294/.376/.476 in the Carolina League is really promising. However, it doesn't involve a lot of doubles--which might project to more damage as he fills out--nor does it involve a lot of homers, so while he's patient enough to draw walks in 11 percent of his PA this year, and relatively quick (stealing 22 bags in 30 attempts), he's also a non-center fielder with offensive skills that must improve if his bat is going to play in a corner in the big leagues. It's sort of the same quandary the Sox faced when they had Jeff Abbott coming up; minor-league hitting machines are all well and good, but what do you do with them if they can't consistently slug better than .450 in the big leagues? It's worthwhile to invest in finding out if Cunningham can beat that rap, especially considering his age, and also considering what the Snakes had to give up to get him. All told, another nifty deal pulled off by Josh Byrnes.
Got milk? Got team chemistry? Got...rally panties? If not, then check out this steroid-free edition of The Week in Quotes.
"That's unfair to him, to single out one incident and I won't single out incidents. It's been a build-up of frustration of our season and this isn't pinned at Milton. This was just a clarification of what this team needs to continue to do if it wants to win." --Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent, on his heated conversation with teammate Milton Bradley after Bradley failed to score on a Kent double (Los Angeles Times)
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.