Continuing a jaunt through the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot with the help of the revamped JAWS, a certain DH goes under the microscope.
It's been nearly 40 years since the designated hitter was introduced to Major League Baseball, and in that time, only one player who spent the plurality—not even the majority—of his time at the position has made it into the Hall of Fame. That was Paul Molitor, who spent 1,171 of his 2,683 career games riding the pine between plate appearances. When I reviewedMolitor's Hall of Fame case—in what was actually my Baseball Prospectus debut, at a point when the system hadn’t even been named JAWS—I considered him as a third baseman, because he had played 788 games there, and the majority of his games playing somewhere in the infield. He had generated real defensive value (26 FRAA according to the measure of the time, 22 FRAA according to our most recent batch), strengthening a case that was virtually automatic anyway by dint of his membership in the 3,000-hit club.
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With an ear to the ground and a cell phone budget that could double as a small nation's GDP, Will Carroll is all over the rumor mill. Now, with the trade deadline just six days away, we've created a place for his juiciest tidbits. Check back all day long for updates to Will's Mill.
A source that jokingly refers to himself as "Lemony" thinks that Brian Giles could be on his way out in San Diego now that Phil Nevin has dug in his heels. Giles is a free agent next year, has expressed some frustration with the long fences at PETCO, and has a brother in Atlanta.
A lost season for the Angels has folks in Anaheim scratching their heads. John Smoltz's injury buries Bobby Thigpen's name for another year. The Royals' run evokes memories of George Brett and company. Sandy Alomar...you can probably guess what Chris will write about Sandy Alomar. Witticisms, Kahrlisms and roster schmisms in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
Will Carroll chimes in with a UTK Sunday Extra, reporting on Ken Griffey's latest injury, plus status reports on Derek Jeter, Kevin Millwood, and more.
For those of you not on Premium … well, what's your excuse? … this is an opportunity to see what you're missing. I hope you'll like this glance behind the curtain. Remember that Joe Sheehan, the amazing PECOTA system, and a regular roll call of BP's authors also show up on BP Premium.
Each and every THR came with its own set of pitfalls. Players were analyzed based on several factors, such as injury history, comparable players, style of play, biomechanics, and inside information from my sources. With no good statistics and no usable injury database, early readers screamed and yelled for "proof!" My response: There is no proof to injuries--sports medicine is like baseball before Bill James, and injury analysis is as much art as it is science.
What the THRs did do was spark some discussion, get people thinking about the effects of injury on their favorite teams and players, and bring sports medicine into the conversation more when performance analysis comes up for discussion. Sometimes, the evidence took care of itself, as in the case of Phil Nevin. That one call probably got more notice than any other, but it shows that there's a method to the madness--add up injury history, a positional change, a player with an odd career pattern, and the advice of the UTK Medical Advisory Board and it's not voodoo or Satanism, as one Pizza Feeder accused me of, Cotton Mather-style. I've said that if I do my job well, everyone will be able to make the same types of judgments with varying degrees of success. With statistics, some of us stick with OPS since there's no long division; in injury analysis, if you only want the results, I'll be here.
Good opening line from one of my favorite movies and one I should have thought of as I tried to introduce myself to BP readers with a series of 30 pieces analyzing each team's health. Who thought it would extend to some 60,000 words? Who thought I would be forced to agonize and second-guess myself with each decision on a "light?" Who knew that color-blind people would have such a problem with the stop light system?
Ryan Klesko broke into the majors as a 21-year-old rookie with the 1992 Atlanta Braves. He's since evolved from a platoon player to one of the National League's most feared hitters, now plying his trade in San Diego. Klesko recently chatted with BP at spring training in Arizona, discussing the loss of Phil Nevin, the challenge of adjusting to a new position, and his path to becoming a full-time player and All-Star.
Baseball Prospectus: What's the feeling
in the clubhouse after Nevin's injury?
Ryan Klesko: It's disbelief, but we've got to worry about
keeping ourselves healthy and getting (Nevin and
Hoffman) back. Obviously, we may not see either of
them this year, but in the new stadium we're going to
need them. We're going to have to bear down and
concentrate on this season. We've got a lot of young
talent pitching-wise, and we're going to have a lot of
guys in the lineup who are going to have to pull their
weight this year. We've got a lot of good young
hitters who have the potential of hitting .300. We
may not have the power that we'd like to have, but
everyone in the lineup can hit for average, and then
you've got (Brian Buchanan) and Xavier Nady splitting
time in left field, and Bubba Trammell's been swinging
the bat well, so everyone's going to have to pull
through and stay healthy this year, that's the main
thing. Some guys are going to get some chances and
some looks to get at-bats, so we just need to play
solid in every aspect, offense, defense, and pitching.
The problem with writing about a healthy team is not having enough to say, yet still missing the inevitable injuries the team will have. Over the course of a long season, players break down, have accidents, run into walls, dive headfirst into bases, swing too hard, iron their shirts, trim the hedges, and an infinite number of other products of randomness and chaos. Add to that the infallible fallibility of your humble writer, and hopefully I keep the signal-to-noise ratio tolerable.