Livan takes home the WTF?! for the Expos. Jeffrey Hammonds has been a great deal for the Giants. Carlos Delgado can hit a little. Year-end reviews and looks ahead for Toronto, San Francisco, and Montreal in Friday’s Triple Play.
Hello Gary! In your chat session, you stated that you thought Keith Woolner’s research into replacement level was the most important work in sabermetrics. Why is it so important? I think that your work on PAP is much more important. It can change the way teams handle their pitchers. The pitchers will be healthier, and the teams will be better because of it. Why is replacement level more important than that? –R. J., Baton Rouge, LA
First off, let me clarify something. Pitcher Abuse Points was a system developed by Keith Woolner and Rany Jazayerli, not me. And if you review it, you’ll find a curve fit that you’ll be lucky to find again in your whole life.
The answer’s pretty straightforward: replacement level is essential to know because it’s the only way you can accurately assess marginal value. Let’s say you can sign Joe Slugger, who’s likely to play a pretty good corner outfield spot and post .280/.360/.550 each year, for $6,000,000 annually. Is that a good deal? There is absolutely no way to tell unless you know what your options are–you need to know the marginal value of that player’s production, and for that, you have to know what your replacement options are. Or, put another way, you have to know replacement level.
This was an abysmal season to be a fan of the New York Mets. Roger Cedeno continued to amaze with his play in the outfield, Tom Glavine complained that umpires actually wanted him to throw the ball in the vicinity of home plate, and Ty Wigginton was the only player to accumulate 500 at-bats. In the midst of disaster, however, shone the bright light of Jose Reyes. The 20-year-old shortstop hit .300 in his major league debut, justifying the hype surrounding his arrival and raising the expectations for the organizational savior. Reyes was the first of the Mets’ “Big Five” prospects to arrive on the scene, beating Aaron Heilman by a few weeks, and has already earned the expectation of stardom from the faithful at Shea.
However, this column is not about Reyes. The subject of this piece is David Wright, who may just be the most under-appreciated prospect in the game. While Wright does not come with the excitement factor that Reyes’ blinding speed brings, there is an argument to be made that Wright is the better bet for a productive major league career. The young third baseman, in two-and-a-half years of professional baseball, has established himself as a premier offensive talent who is improving at all facets of the game.
Q: When are 93- and 90-win seasons not success?
A: When you’re the Seattle Mariners.
By the standards of most teams in the baseball, and by the standards of their own history, the Mariners’ last two years have been excellent ones. They’ve won 183 games, been in two pennant races, drawn three million people in both years, and made a good amount of money. The problem is that in neither season did the team make the playoffs, despite spending four months of each year in first place and having a pretty good lead over their rivals as late as August.
Let’s focus just on this year. Where did things go wrong? On August 6, the Mariners were 69-43, and had a three-game lead on the A’s in the AL West and over the Red Sox for the AL wild-card slot. From that day until today, the Mariners went 21-26, losing 10 games in the standings to the A’s and seven to the Sox, being eliminated from any potential playoff spot last night. The Mariners had actually been treading water since June, when they peaked at 48-22 on June 18 with a win over the Angels.