We’re splitting the column to open the week, as Keith Law has submitted
something for everyone’s perusal.
I went to dinner last night with family, so I only saw small pieces of the
games ESPN and ESPN2 were televising, and I didn’t catch who was calling the
Angels/Padres game. What I did catch was some discussion of Pads manager
Bruce Bochy, in about the fourth inning, in which the color man praised
Bochy for getting great work from Bubba Trammell and called Ryan
Klesko a reclamation project, lumping him in with Phil Nevin.
We’ll start with the more defensible statement. While Trammell has gotten
more playing time this year than in any season prior to it, it would be hard
to argue that he has benefited in any real way:
Year AB AVG OBP SLG EqA
1998 199 .286 .338 .568 .292 1999 283 .290 .384 .505 .292 2000 245 .265 .345 .457 .268 2001 257 .253 .332 .459 .273
Trammell isn’t playing any better than he’s played before, and hasn’t been
anything special for a corner outfielder. He’s four runs below position,
according to Clay Davenport, and it’s not like he makes it up with defense.
He’s a talented player who has deserved more playing time than he’s received
in the past, but this year, he’s a generic corner outfielder. His
performance doesn’t add anything to the case for Bruce Bochy; in fact, you
might conclude that since he hasn’t matched his performance with the Devil
Rays, that Bochy has done a poor job with him.
The more enjoyable notion is that Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin were comparable
at the point which the Padres acquired them.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG Ryan 2431 374 684 140 18 139 450 .281 .361 .525 Phil 764 87 94 33 3 27 94 .230 .301 .387
Uh, yeah. Klesko was brought in as part of a deal for two starting players
(Reggie Sanders and Wally Joyner). Nevin was acquired for a
utility infielder (Andy Sheets). Nevin, in the year before he came
over, had a 662 OPS as a backup catcher. Klesko had a 908 OPS as the Braves’
My point? Question everything. Just because it’s on ESPN, or on Fox, or in
your local newspaper, or at Baseball Prospectus, don’t make it so.
Now, we turn "The Daily Prospectus" over to Keith:
There’s been a lot of bitchin’ and moanin’ here in Beantown about the Yanks’
"soft" schedule. Sometimes it simply revolves around the fact that
the Yankees have 12 games remaining against the Triple-A-style Tampa Bay
Devil Rays, while the Sox have just six left. (Never mind the fact that for
the whole season, both teams get the same number of easy victories against
Chuck LaMar’s Cirque de No-way.) One factoid that has recently gained
currency in Boston is that the Yankees have the "easiest" schedule
for the second half out of any team in the AL, with just 16 games remaining
against winning teams.
There are a few critical flaws in the argument that haven’t gotten as much
airtime. One is that the Yankees have or had plenty of games against
near-.500 teams the Blue Jays (13), Marlins (3, just completed), White Sox
(6), and Angels (7). Another is that the Red Sox themselves left the break
with just 19 more games coming against teams with winning records, with six
games against the Indians replacing the Yanks’ three against the Phillies.
Is there any meat at all to Red Sox Nation’s complaints about the Yankees’
upcoming schedule? It turns out that there really isn’t. If you strip out
the matching games from the two teams’ schedules, you’re left with the
Yankees Games WinPCT Red Sox Games WinPCT
Baltimore 6 .460 Baltimore 13 .460 Tampa Bay 12 .307 Tampa Bay 6 .307 Toronto 13 .477 Toronto 5 .477 Florida 3 .489 New York Mets 3 .427 Philadelphia 3 .575 Montreal 3 .420 Cleveland 6 .576 TOTAL 37 .428 TOTAL 36 .450
The WinPCT column shows the winning percentage of the opponent as of the
All-Star Break. The entry where that column meets the total line shows the
weighted average opponents’ WinPCT.
On first glance, it does appear that the Sox are at a disadvantage when it
comes to their remaining schedules. But a .428 winning percentage over 37
games comes out to a record of 16-21, while a .450 winning percentage over
36 games comes out to 16-20. The difference in the two schedules is no more
than a rounding error.
If the Sox fail to make the playoffs, they should blame their horrible luck
with the injury bug rather than any conspiracy involving the schedule.
Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by