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Just riffing as I look at the AL stats:

  • I haven’t mentioned him in a while, so here’s a Garret Anderson
    update. He’s walked 15 times–just 12 times on his own–in more than 400
    plate appearances, and his OBP is once again under .300.

    Here’s some perspective: Anderson is playing every day and taking no
    criticism. Tim Salmon, just off the disabled list, is perceived as
    having a disastrous season, batting .206 with a .363 slugging percentage.
    Yet Salmon’s OBP is 64 points higher than Anderson’s, so his Equivalent
    Average is 15 points higher than that of Anderson, .272 to .257. Not making
    outs–what OBP measures–is the most important thing a baseball player can
    do.

    Of course, Anderson leads the Angels in RBIs, so he must be good, right?

  • One of the most pathetic job battles ever is being waged in Baltimore,
    where Brook Fordyce and Fernando Lunar are dueling. Fordyce,
    who was considered a good defensive catcher until about 1999–when he began
    to hit, invoking Nichols’ Law of Catcher Defense–is watching his playing
    time go to Lunar, who is now considered the catch-and-throw guy of the pair.
    Both players suck: Lunar’s .267/.302/.311 just happens to look better than
    Fordyce’s .202/.260/.305.

    My guess is that Lunar will eventually go on a hot streak, his defensive
    reputation will suffer, and the Os will bring in Joel Skinner.

  • Anyone else think Jose Canseco might end up leading the White Sox
    in walks? He has nine so far, and with a good weekend–say, six walks–could
    move into sixth on the team. The leader is Magglio Ordonez with 40.

  • I didn’t expect C.C. Sabathia to make it this deep into the
    season in the Indians’ rotation, but not only is he there, he’s been the
    team’s second-best starter. The Indians’ right-handed relief depth has
    enabled them to endure his inability to get past the sixth inning, and
    they’ve pushed his pitch count just once, and that was in his best start of
    the season.

    Most impressive is Sabathia’s in-season improvement:

    
    Month       IP     BB    K    HR
    

    April 21.2 10 9 1 May 24.2 12 19 4 June 30.2 18 28 2 July 23.0 13 30 0


    The Tribe took a risk in putting so much on Sabathia’s shoulders, but they
    deserve credit for riding out his rough patch, and are now being rewarded
    with some tremendous pitching.

  • The Royals have three players posting OPSs above 800, one of whom is
    Raul Ibanez.

  • Fantasy Tip of the Millennium: if you have Joe Mays on your team,
    get rid of him. Yesterday. His second half is not going to be pretty.

  • I took a fair amount of criticism from Yankee fans who defended the
    team’s dumping of Brian Boehringer and acquisition of Mark
    Wohlers
    . Part of their argument was that while the Boehringer had been
    better for the season as a whole, his recent performance had been terrible,
    while Wohlers had been pitching well of late.

    In Boehringer’s last month as a Yankee, he threw seven innings, allowing
    nine runs on 14 hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. Since joining
    the Yankees, Wohlers has thrown 6 1/3 innings, allowing 11 runs on 13 hits,
    with four walks and four strikeouts. (For completeness, Boehringer has a
    3.52 ERA in 7 2/3 innings with the Giants.)

    So if recent performance is the important consideration, should the Yankees
    now release Wohlers and trade for the next W on the list, perhaps Steve
    Woodard
    ?

    Relief pitchers below the level of Trevor Hoffman are fungible, and
    any team that trades something of value–say, D’Angelo Jimenez and
    Ricardo Aramboles–for a reliever is making a huge mistake.

  • Why does Terrence Long get so much playing time? He wasn’t
    anything special last year, but you could defend his presence as a center
    fielder who could field the position. Now he’s in right field, batting
    .272/.324/.401; he doesn’t even steal bases (six so far, with just one
    caught stealing), and no amount of right-field defense is going to make a
    .263 EqA look good.

  • Trot Nixon has a higher EqA than Ichiro Suzuki, and isn’t
    that far behind Suzuki as a defender.

    If you’re a parishioner at the Church of Ichiro, that’s fine, just
    understand that he’s a good player, not a great one, and that he’s not even
    the best player in the Safeco Field outfield this year.

  • Speaking of the Mariners, here is the combined line of Kazuhiro
    Sasaki
    , Arthur Rhodes, and Jeff Nelson:

    121.1 IP, 67 H, 43 BB, 153 K, 2.23 ERA

    Now remember that almost all of those 120-odd innings have been in
    high-leverage situations. I’d be interested in seeing where a context-based
    evaluation system, like Doug Drinen’s, placed any or all of these three
    among the league’s most valuable players.

Have a good weekend, folks!

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by
clicking here.

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