Americans have many rights, but as many recessions and depressions have revealed, the right to work is not one of them. Conversely, there is no compulsion to stay at a job a moment longer than you want to. If you’re not happy, if you can’t put the same spirit into the job that you used to, or the job is taking more than it gives back, just move on.
Easier said than done, of course. Every day, many of us trade a little misery for the security of a paycheck. Even when more rewarding fruits are obviously ready to be plucked from the tree, the cubicle we know sometimes feels safer than the office that we don’t. Sparky Anderson chose security for the last half-dozen years of his career. Long after it was clear that Detroit ownership had quit on the team, even past the point that the strain of losing sent him home with nervous exhaustion, he stayed on as captain of a sinking ship.
Leaving aside whether anyone should take seriously statements made by the guy
who said he was moving the White Sox to Tampa, on the face of it the idea
is a no-brainer. In terms of market size, the New York metro area is
mind-bogglingly huge, dwarfing every other market in American baseball.
Even splitting the market in half (OK, more like 65/35) the Yankees and
Mets each have enough TV-rights firepower to blow away the rest of the
league at free-agent time. You could put a team in Jersey and three more
in Brooklyn, and each of the six area franchises would still have a larger
populace to draw on than the likes of Milwaukee or Cincinnati.
I posited that this might be the profile of the “Hidden Hitter”–one who, like Ordonez, wields the lumber with impunity in the majors despite an underwhelming record of performance coming up through the minors. This idea applies really only to power production, and the metrics I focused on were primarily SLG, ISO (Isolated Slugging Percentage, or SLG minus AVG) and XB% (extra-base hits expressed as a percentage of overall hits).
To test this further, I picked the brains of my BP label mates to come up with a laundry list of hitters who meet this profile. By no means is this an exhaustive litany of said prototype, but it will provide a deeper look into whether the Hidden Hitter profile is worth our time.
It’s weird…for all the power the Orioles supposedly added over the winter,
they’re just 12th in the AL in home runs. Larry Bigbie leads
the team with four. They’re fifth in runs, though, as the top five guys in the
lineup are all putting up at least a .320 BA and a .380 OBP.
If you were thinking about climbing on the bandwagon, don’t: the rotation’s
composite strikeout-to-walk ratio is 79/75.
With Nomar Garciaparra’s return getting closer, the Red
Sox are going to have an interesting decision to make. Mark
Bellhorn is third on the team in OBP and out-hitting Pokey
Reese by what would be about 50 runs over a full season. I think
Reese has to be in the lineup behind Derek Lowe, but none of
the other Red Sox starters gets enough ground balls to justify playing him
How Terry Francona handles this is the first real test for him as Red Sox
The Rangers are off to a torrid start this year, thanks in part to the contributions of Alfonso Soriano (.321/.357/.472 after Monday night’s victory over Tampa Bay).
Soriano has undergone a couple of changes since his last incarnation as the undisciplined Yankee second baseman whose terrible second-half and postseason campaigns were enough to trigger Bronx Jeers at his every at-bat. The switch from the neo-classical, interlocking N-Y to the tacky, scarlet T on his uniform breast is the most obvious, but Soriano has also changed batting order positions (Buck Showalter has him hitting third, instead of first, a role that he is considerably better suited for). He’s also switched birthdays–or at least, birthyears. Turns out that A-Sore was born on the 7th of January, 1976, and not the same date in 1978, as he was previously listed.
John Hart and the Rangers knew full well about the change in birthdate before agreeing to acquire Soriano for Alex Rodriguez. Indeed, baseball teams–and baseball fans–have grown pretty well used to these sorts of surprises; before Soriano, there were only a few hundred other players whose reported birthdates were revealed to be incorrect. With a few exceptions like Bartolo Colon, however, most of those guys were marginal prospects in the lower minors, and not an established star like Soriano, for whom any change in expected performance could potentially cost his club the equivalent of millions of dollars in value.