Thursday, June 24, 2004

What the??

So the Mariners are claiming that they are still in the race...uh, today's lineup says otherwise:

Lineup
I. Suzuki RF
R. Winn LF
J. Cabrera 2B
J. Olerud 1B
E. Martinez DH
R. Aurilia SS
S. Spiezio 3B
H. Bocachica
P. Borders

Jolbert Cabrera in the 3 hole? Bocachica? Cryo-Borders? Oy vey.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Beltran Watch

Major League Baseball : News

So, the early afternoon reports of a menage a trois between the A's, Royals, and Astros appear to be untrue. For those too lazy to hit the links, the basic deal would have been as follows:
A's send Teahen (3B, AAA), possibly minor league pitcher to Astros
Astros send Octavio Dotel to A's, Teahen and AAA C prospect J. Buck to the Royals.
Royals send Beltran to the Astros.

The link above intimates that the deal never was close, but Ken Rosenthal says it was due to the Astros unwillingness to cover Dotel's salary. Leave it to Billy Beane to fleece a pair of trading partners, and then still demand financial relief.

I've tried looking at the deal from a bunch of angles, but I just can't find one where the deal makes sense to anybody but the A's. They give up a marginal 3B prospect who will most likely NEVER see time with their big league club, and a pitching prospect not named Joe Blanton. In return, they get one of the most dominant relievers over the last 3 years. The A's are 26th in the league with just 13 saves. I couldn't find the number of blown saves, but I think its 9. That 9 game difference would put them in first in the AL West by 8 games, and in the lead for the wild card by 6 games in the win column. I think its safe to say Dotel would be a guy who could certainly plug that hole.

Meanwhile, the Astros make a thin bullpen even thinner. While the Astro's Adjusted Runs Prevented is 23.2, good enough for third in the majors, almost half of that is all due to Brad Lidge. By installing Lidge as the closer, you lose his work in key high-leverage situations, and you end up moving someone like Dan Miceli (?!) into high leverage situations. If I'm Hunsicker, I don't dig that at all. Not to mention the fact that with Beltran's arrival, you end up moving Biggio to 2B and Kent to 3B - I don't buy into the intangibles school much, but common sense says veterans like Kent probably won't take kindly to switching positions for the new cool kid who just moved in to the neighborhood. Its a nice upgrade to an offense which is most likely due for an uptick anyways. To top it all off, its a 3 month rental - the Astros are historically a cheap team, and won't be players in the Beltran game this winter.

Finally, the Royals. I guess they get a decent set of prospects, but I'd expect more for a talent of Beltran's caliber. Buck was rushed through the minor leagues, and has issues with his defense and ability to make for contact, and Teahen is strictly a marginal talent, unless you drink Beane's moneyball kool-aid without thinking twice.

Whats my point? Whether he knows it or not, Hunsicker did the right thing by not pulling the trigger on this deal. My prediction of Beltran to the A's could still happen, but I'm now doubtful they'll be willing to pick up his salary, which even just 3 months of is nothing to scoff at ($4.5 million?).

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Fuck John Denver.

Now that son, is what you call a title.

I don't like interleague play. Please, don't worry. I'm not about to recycle what all the flapping faces have been saying every year ad nasuem. For example:

- "It cheapens the World Series." Yeah, because the reason I get so pumped up for the World Series is that sheer THRILL that can only come from watching an AL team facing an NL team. Gimme a break.

- "Pitchers have to hit, which they aren't used to and basically puts AL teams playing in a home park at a disadvantage." Ok yeah, pitchers from the AL do look stupid. Especially when players like Bronson Arroyo bat with a double flapped Mark Bellhorn helmet. But really, if you look at most number 9 hitters in the AL, they are more often then not automatic outs anyway. Plus, are the NL pitchers really that nasty with the bat in their hands?

- "Interleague matchups count in the standings, which is bad for baseball when the Yankees get to play the Mets as a natural rival, while the Red Sox have to play the Braves." Bullshit. This is the lamest reason of all. Baseball is full of stretches like this where the top teams in the division go against very different levels of competition during the same stretch. What about when the Twins are playing the Royals and the Indians while the White Sox are playing the A's and the Angels? Same thing in my opinion. Besides baseball is a game of hot streaks. Aside from the Expos, any team could win on any given night. Teams can go on hot streaks which have no correlation between their respective place in the standings, which basically renders that arguement moot. Example: The Red Sox should have tore the Rockies up and at least kept pace with the Yankees. They are 5.5 back today because they have been playing bad, not because the Yankees had to play the "less tough" team.

While all of those excuses have varying degrees of validaty, my reasons are purely selfish. The Red Sox always eat it during interleague play and it always hurts them. Every year you can basically pencil the two interleague stretches on the Red Sox calendar as trouble. They come into interleague play with a bit of momentum, only run in to the buzzsaw that is playing NL teams, and end up losing a good chunk of ground in the division. I'm not basing this on stats obviously, (and I'm sure there is something somewhere that will prove me wrong) but based on my pure speculation, interleague play ends up hurting the Sox every year. That's why I hate it.

I am pumped to see Pedro pitch to Bonds however.

Rocky Mountain Low

My apologies for the title - it reminds me of something that the Herald would print on the back page in 48 point block print. But, I couldn't think of anything that better fit my feelings about the series with the Rockies thus far. This stat says it all: the Sox, as a team, have struck out 485 times in 64 games. At this pace, they'll strike out 1228 times. Note, last year they struck out 943 times. Yes math whizs, thats right, the Sox strike out almost 7.5 times per game. That implies that on any given night, if you looked at the box score, you would expect to see that the Sox faced one of these pitchers: Zito (7.7 K/9), Freddy Garcia (7.24 K/9), Johan Santana (8.39 K/9), Brad Penny (7.74 K/9), or Roy Oswalt (7.40 K/9). The list goes on and on. See it here.

The reality, of course, is that the Sox don't face those guys every game. In fact, they face substantially worse pitchers on average. Unfortunately, I haven't found a statistic on BP
that shows the average quality of pitcher each team has faced. I generally cringe at the sight of articles on ESPN.com espousing the profound impact of productive outs, but it appears to me that there must be some equilibrium between the "take and rake" approach and the "put it in play" approach which maximizes runs scored. Sox batters seem to be swinging for the fences regardless of the count, rather than protecting the plate when they fall behind the pitcher. Maybe its just heat of the moment frustration, but wouldn't the team be better served by putting the ball in play and letting the other team's defense make a play when runners are on base? I'm not advocating a BS small ball strategy, but rather, just an awareness of the count and a general strategy of making the opposition execute in the field rather than look for the long ball every at-bat.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

welcome back, please take a pitch

Its great to have Nomar back. Swinging at the first pitch everytime he's up, trying to pull every pitch off the wall, hitting popups to shallow center, and slapping dribblers that almost make it to the infield dirt. Exciting stuff.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Check your injury pool.

Last night the Yankees got a little bit closer to making my prediction come true. I like that, not because it makes the Yankees better but because more than anything I really, really like being right. Kevin Brown's back flaring up is not exactly helpful to an already beat up Yankees rotation. I think the Garcia to the Yankees rumors are about gain some steam. Bavasi can say all he wants that he wants to wait a couple of weeks on Garcia, but I don't see how he can. They are now the worst team in the AL. They are not going to turn anything around. I bet the Yankees are going to come on pretty strong especially if they think Brown's back is more than a bad night's sleep.

By the way, how did the Mariners *not* build on that amazing 2001 season? They win 116 games, make barely any roster changes, their already old players continue to age and then 3 seasons later, they fold like rented chairs. It's like someone told them that winning that many games in a season was just like winning the World Series. I hope Balfour sent them some rings for that.

A quick note on Kahlil Greene: Dude, cut your hair. You look like a girl playing little league. Also, get a uniform that fits, because it's not exactly helping the whole tomboy thing you got going right now. I don't care if you are a rapper.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Trade bait.

I like this trade thing, even though it's not really offically a "thing" until this post is published.

Derek's trade makes perfect sense to me, and honestly I think it's the most likely deal to happen. What the Yankees and Sox could offer is a lot less attractive to me if I'm the Royals that what the A's could offer. Byrnes fills the CF hole, Joe Blanton/Rich Harden gives them a quality starter, the other player included is just gravy in my opinion.

Now to make it a thing, I present the second player in the series of "Trade Bait":

Pitcher Freddie Garcia

Let's face the facts, the Mariners are not so good. Surprising considering most of their players get an AARP discount on their early bird special pre-game meals. Let's look at the facts here: Seattle is 11 games back. Now, it would be one thing is this was the AL central, but it's a whole other ball of wax when you consider that the team directly ahead of them, Texas, is only 1 game back of the co-leaders, Oakland and Anaheim. Anaheim is a force. In my opinion, there's no way they don't win the West. Then you have Oakland who we all know will be there in the end. Texas I think will falter a bit, but not enough to let Seattle back into the Wild Card race, essentially what they are playing for from here on out. To add to Mariners fans misery, the team is playing like shit. The time has come for Seattle to cut their loses and start looking to the future. Aside from Bret Boone going to a contender for the stretch run, their only real attractive trade chip is Garcia. Now, Garcia has had his issues the past few seasons, and has arguably been a rollercoaster this season, but in the right environment he should flourish. Plus, the dude's only 27. In an era where you regularly see pitchers get their poop in a group at 30, he's got a lot going for him as far as upside. This season he's 3-4 with a 3.18 ERA. I don't understand VORP or other such fancy numbers, so we'll stick with the basics and Mariners' game logs. Two of his losses have been by one and two runs, one was a complete blow-out where he let up 7 runs, and one loss was a 3-0 shut out by Texas. Aside from the 7 run debacle, he's been solid, keeping teams in games and winning the close ones at times. All of his wins have been in games that were decided by either one or two runs. A couple of runs creaking across home by the Mariners' offense, Garcia is 5-2, with a very reasonable ERA. In summary: I think he's been pretty decent this season.

The rumored teams: Pretty much any contender. The Red Sox however, have had the biggest bullshit rumor thus far. Apparently a beat writer heard Sully running his mouth a bit at the pub. A deal that basically boiled down to Kim and Damon for Garcia. First off, the Mariners need to shed salary. Taking on a different type of headcase that gets 5 mil each of the next two seasons is just silly. Throw in an overpaid leadoff man and it's even more rediculous. (Note: Overpayment based on actual baseball production, not style or ability to drink mass amounts of booze and spout off wild quotes. In that sense he is vastly underpaid.) I'm almost positive there was something else involved in this deal, but those basics make it rediculous enough. Although this is the Mariners. You must always remember the Mariners motto: "We'll do any move that makes us not better."

This is a tough one to call. I'm not too sure how many of the Sox top prospects they'd be willing to give up on another pitcher with the headcase tag. The Yankees as always are in there, especially with the money that can be thrown around. I have a feeling that this past weekend's draft will come in to play with any trade for Garcia, as the Mariners are aging very poorly and they need to kick start the youth movement. Perfect example of thier age, via my friend Julian: "Wow, I had no idea Randy Winn was old. I thought he was some young breakout player." Now you see why they traded him for Lou Pinella (I guess.)

My take: Wide open. This seems to me that this is a move that the Yankees make happen, if only because I think the Sox will be content on trying to straighten out Lowe/BK Arroyo. The Yankees have got to be tired of giving Contreas chances and they should be al least a little concerned with Lieber as well. Plus, the other big Yankees pitching target, Kris Benson, sucks big time. I'm not sure any of the other buyers in this market have enough balls/players to take the risk, albeit the small one, on Garcia like the Yankees can. On the other hand, the Red Sox could package together Kevin Millar, "Minor League Pitching Coach" Frank Castillo, and a Ted Williams game jersey and the Mariners could bite. Hey, that jersey could pull in as much as $70,000 on eBay, which is about what Ichiro is getting paid per single. (Not based on actual facts.)

Speaking of Millar, there is nothing worse than his KFC commercial. His annoying voiceover of "Millar steps to the plate" (and other such baseball quotes) while devoring a bucket of chicken is nothing less than nauseating. Then his dumb striped shirt wearing ass mugging for the camera at the end. Hey Kevin, do us a favor and stop pounding buckets of chicken. Maybe then when your fat ass tries, for whatever reason, to stretch a routine single into a double you won't get thrown out by 88 feet. Oh, and also shut the fuck up. Your smile at the end of that commerical makes me want to punch my tv out the window.

Nice pick on Pokey's throw last night though.

and now for some baseball and blog related comments

-I'm digging the new format. Looks good. It would be better if the width of the blog window were bigger. Anyone know how to do that?

-Derek made an excellent call on the A's trading for Beltran. It fits perfectly into Beane's late season acquisition profile. Trade prospects from surplus, get back killer player as a rental, go for playoff run, cash in for draft picks, repeat. Unfortunately the part I left out is losing in the first round, but I'm of the school of thought that says 5 game series between quality teams are a lot about luck and timing.

-Wow Nick, your blogging is getting more and more baseball-related and less and less Red Sox and humorously not making sense-related. That said, Jack Wilson in the All Star game seems like a bad idea of Hillenbrand sized proportions.

-It's cool that the only fantasy teams worse than mine are blogging here.

-I have a serious man-crush on Beltran. He's one guy I wouldn't mind seeing the Yankees overpay for.

-Is there a way to do bullet points in the blog? What about html?

OMGWTFLFOL Colin, where have you been?!!@!@??!#

In my absence I've imagined that our imaginary readers have missed me greatly and are lying awake wondering why I haven't blogged. The answer is both long and short, complex and simple, and to paraphrase the great Nigel Tufnel, straddling the fine line between clever and stupid. Out of the vast realm of potential explanations, I'll offer up a few from which to chose:

a) My fantasy teams are pretty fucking terrible
b) I've renewed my dedication to my work and don't have time for this (hint: don't chose this one)
c) I rediscovered my love for all things guitar
d) I let my Extra Innings package run out
e) I've been spending my idle internet time on theshizz.org
f) Following shitty fantasy teams is a total bummer
g) I've been overcome with grief at the untimely demise of Doug Pappas
h) I can only handle one obsession at a time and music just re-bumped baseball
i) Since I haven't been following closely, my "insights" aren't all that valuable

Ok, that's enough. All of these are true to varying degrees. Therefore, until further notice, I hereby pass my half torch of "Two People Who Know It All" to Nick. I will assume the role of reader and occasional wise-cracker.

Trade speculation

I promised some sort of "analysis" about batters and what kind of performance we might expect for the rest of the season, but I'm gonna skip that because I'm a terrible evaluator of hitters (my fantasy teams can attest to that). Instead, I'm gonna speculate on the big trade that might go down before the trade deadline in July.

Carlos Beltran
The question is not if Beltran will be traded, but rather when. The Royals are already nearly 10 games out of first in the AL Central, and have little hope of climbing back into the race due to a woeful pitching staff. GM Allard Baird is said to be looking for major league ready players at 3B, catcher, and pitcher. So which teams should we be expecting to be involved in the sweepstakes?

The simplest answer is big market contenders - the underlying assumption being that because Beltran will be a free agent at the end of the season, teams will be unwilling to give up top-shelf prospects unless they have a shot at signing him to contract extension (note: Beltran is a Boras client) and they believe Beltran could be the guy to get them to a championship. That said, the list of interested parties currently goes something like: Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Angels, Padres.

Red Sox could conceivably package Youkilis, Shoppach, and a minor league pitcher to acquire Beltran, but then would need to make another move to free up CF for Beltran. I suppose KC might take Damon if the Sox were to eat some of his contract for next year, as DeJesus didn't show he was ready earlier this season. As a Sox fan, I'm torn about that deal - I'd do it if they negotiated a deal with Beltran for the next 3 or 4 years before the trade was consummated. Not sure if I'd be down with losing those three prospects for just 3 months of Carlosy goodness; the Sox system is thin as it is.

Yankees are a bit scant on prospects, though I'm guessing they could package Navarro (c), Duncan (A ball 3B), and Contreras (headcase), absorbing most of Contreras's salary, to get Beltran. Maybe it wouldn't even require that? Maybe just Navarro and a free Contreras? Who knows. One of the cardinal rules of the trade deadline is that you can never underestimate what the Yankees might do. The deal would create a logjam in the outfield, but I'm sure Cashman would find someone to take a guy like Lofton.

The Mets have a bad habit of pretending they're a contender when they'd be better served to sell off their parts and acquire some good young talent to build around. This year seems no different, as they sit 3 games out of first and are contemplating a run at Beltran (despite having the best defensive centerfielder in the game signed to a long term deal). They have a great 3B prospect (Wright) and some promising young arms (Kazmir, Heilman) in their system, but management has already labelled these guys "untouchable". This seems like the most unlikely of trade partners for KC.

Angels, powered by Arte Moreno's monopoly money, have a lust for all things expensive and talented. Their outfield is about as stacked as one could be already, and I'm not sure how they'd fit Beltran into the equation. Once Garrett Anderson returns from the DL, the outfield from left to right consists of Jose Guillen - GAnderson - Vlad Guerrero. However, should they want to pursue Beltran, they have the prospects to do so. Dallas McPherson (3B) and Jeff Mathis have torn up every level they've played at, and there are a bevy of young quality arms at all levels of the farm system (eg, Bobby Jenks, Ervin Santana).

Finally, we get to the Padres - the dark horse. They are tied for first in a weak division, where a player like Beltran could single-handedly shift the balance of power for a team. They are playing in a new park, and have shown a bit more willingness to spend some cash this year in an effort to get people out to the new ballpark. And, they have young talent which the Royals could use. Rumors have a trade of Beltran being built around major league third baseman Sean Burroughs. Seems fairly plausible to me - Maybe a swap of Randa+Beltran for Burroughs+young pitcher+some salary dump?

So who do I think Beltran is headed for? Drum roll........none of the above. I'm going with the Oakland A's. Not one paper or ESPN article I've read has mentioned them, but the match seems perfect to me:
1) The A's have farm system depth which matches up with the Royals. Mark Teahen, a 3B drafted in the "Moneyball" draft tore up AA, and was just promoted to AAA. With the position being blocked for years by Chavez, he seems expendable to me. They've also got Joe Blanton in AAA waiting to make his move to the majors. The A's could offer either him or Harden. These guys would both be perfect the Royals.
2) The A's need to upgrade their center fielder. Byrnes and Kotsay have been tolerable, but just barely, both offensively and defensively. Beltran is a huge improvement in both respects. Chavez-Beltran-Dye in the middle of that order? Nasty.
3) Billy Beane has never backed off of trading for potential free agents, and then letting them walk and taking the draft picks as compensation. In a division as tight as the west, Beltran could be the difference. So you acquire him with a couple prospects, play out the string, offer him arbitration, watch him sign a huge deal in the offseason with someone else, take the two picks (from Beltran being a Class A eligible player) as compensation, and use the picks to replenish your farm system.

So thats my call: Beltran to the A's for Blanton, Teahen, and Eric Byrnes.

We are family, all of my millions and me.

"Scott Boras indicated to the Padres that money is the most important thing to the Florida State infielder, not the opportunity to play in a good organization in a great city for a kid who doesn't like big cities with a potential opportunity to play second base aside Khalil Greene."

That's from a June 7th Gammons article. Good to see the asshole doesn't fall far from the tree. Basically, signing Boras as your agent is like erecting a huge neon sign that says "$$$" over your head, although I thought it was more Boras' rep. I had no idea he comes in with a boom box singing Biggie Smalls contractual karoke, "Gimme the loot, gimme the loot." I got to give him props for not beating around the bush (I guess.) Gammons goes on to make a good point (WHAT!?!?) about Boras' handling of players. Boras' technique of having players sit out for money usually ends up hurting them in the long run, and I think I agree. Boras had J.D. Drew sit out after being drafted by the Phillies. He gets a late start to his career, already has the stigma of being an ass around his neck, and now as he's in the middle of his best year yet *and* he's a free agent. Is there even a shadow of a doubt that some team will overpay for J.D. this offseason? It's a damn safe bet and I'm willing to take any action on it. My bet: the Mariners. Hell, if they overpaid for Big Head Todd Ibanez, I'm sure they are willing to not get better with J.D. Drew. Baseball is not a land of common sense when it comes to contracts. Drew is a frustrating case because you can see that he has talent, but his injury thing is has cost him a lot. At this point, he's a rich man's Trot Nixon.

Gammons also points out that Jason Varitek lost 2-3 years of service time by not signing with the Twins, which is effecting him money wise now at 32. While I see his point, I have to argue that if Varitek had 2-3 more seasons on him, there's a chance he wouldn't be the Varitek we're seeing right now.

My prediction for Stephen Drew: Having Boras as an agent was a factor in him falling to the 15th spot. Now there he is at 15, where the money is usually less because the Diamondbacks can argue that Drew shouldn't be making more than the 14 players picked before him. (I am ignorant on the baseball draft, I fully admit, so if this isn't the case consider my point moot.) So if Boras has openly said it's all about the money for little Stephen Drew, what are the chances he sits out and re-enters the draft next year looking for number one overall money?

In more better news: Pedro...OUCH! He had the stare, he had the stuff, he had the results. That's what me and my 5 year old Pedro shirt are looking for. Nasty, nasty outing last night. I encourage more side sessions for you my friend.

Roger Cedeno freaks out, breaks his bat at home plate and then spits on the ump. Good work. If there's anything the league needs, it's more Milton Bradleys, that's for sure. No seriously.

Fun fact: If you look up an player on ESPN, you get a pronunciation of their last name. The gold standard: Albert POO-holes.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

National League - Late breaking news!

Okay, yeah, couple days after when I said I would give my run-down of National League All-stars, but whatever. Unfortunately I have to work sometimes and the weekend is *my time* you fuckers. Anyways, on with my national league breakdown, via the New York Mets website. Headline on the top of the Mets page: "Catch the Energy!" Since when are the Mets electric? Unless I missed the announcement that they are going to wrap the entire starting line-up in copper wire and make them play with lightning rods strapped to their heads. Who knows. On with the wild speculation!

Catcher:

1. Mike Piazza
2. Brad Ausmus
3. Paul LoDuca

I would vote for Piazza for two reasons: 1. He (selfishly) continued to play catcher just to break Fisk's mark for HR by a catcher. Nevermind that he's a defensive liability, setting a record is important. I guess. Unless it was a record held by Jose Mesa, but that's a story for another time. Reason number 2: Having him catch Clemens. Do you think Roger will call for a pitch low and outside, then just whip a 95-mph fastball into his face? I hope so. Wait a minute, Brad Ausmus? Is this Brad Ausmus Jr., or is it still the one that is the batting wiz with singles power? Well he's not quite *that* bad, but Brad Ausmus shouldn't start an All-Star game. Ever. My vote: Johnny Estrada, just because I don't really like Piazza. Plus he and J.D. "Don't sign me ever because I trip over everything and get hurt a lot, like seriously a ton" Drew have been carrying the Braves this year. Did I mention I don't like Piazza?

First base

1. Albert Pujols
2. Jeff Bagwell
3. Derrek Lee

First base in the NL is one of the more clear cut choices this year. You have the current wonderboy of the league in Pujols, who I think is one of the players that we'll be saying "I remember when he came up and totally owned ther league" decades from now. He's got the name recognition and the stats to back it up, although Sean Casey has arguably playing better this season. My pick: Albert, just because I want one of these picks to be right.

Second base

1. Jeff Kent
2. Marcus Giles
3. Luis Castillo
4. Mark Grudzielanek

I throw in number 4 just for fun, because I think it's funny to see Mark Grudzielanek's name on there. Well actually now that I check his stats, he should be number 1!!! Hitting .467, a .529 OBP, and a .996 OPS. Insane! The 50% BB to K ratio is something to keep an eye on though. Oh sorry Cubs fans! I know his numbers are like, totally rad, but that's because he's only played in 4 games. Sorry, nice try. Vote for Ryne Sandberg if you want a Cub at secondbase you morons. My pick: Jeff Kent. Good work Astros fans, you got one right, if only by default!

Shortstop

1. Edgar Renteria
2. Adam Everett
3. Kaz Matsui

Edgar is a really weird name. It's one of those ones that sneaks up on you and when you actually take a look at it, you kind of have to wonder how they came up with that name. It just looks weird. That said, Ezzo is having a bit of an off year, given his past two seasons. Adam Everett has no business being in second, unless Jeff Kent got injured and he had to be moved over a position, and we're not talking about the All-Star lineup. Kaz Matsui has been underwhelming in my opinon. I didn't even make the easy gay porn joke. (Note: I know it's not him.) My pick: Jack Wilson. Hands down he has been the best at his position so far this season. Unfortunately he plays in Pittsburgh, where most fans who recognize him are too drunk and ornery to figure out how to punch a card correctly.

Third base.

1. Scott Rolen
2. Aramis Rameriez
3. Mike Lowell

Scott Rolen. No more needs to be said other than he is masculine as fuck. (Note: I got tired of seeing the work "beast" used when describing a player. I have proposed the use of 'masculine' to describe good play, and 'feminine' to describe poor. i.e. the sentence above about Scott. Morgan Ensberg's stats are so feminine, his Slugging % should be wearing a dress and pumps.)

Outfield:

1. Barry Bonds
2. Sammy Sosa
3. Ken Griffey Jr.
4. Lance Berkman
5. Craig Biggio

Okay, Barry shouldn't even have to be voted for. SF Outfielder should just be automatically in there, and voters should just have to pick 2 more. Nothing more needs to be said about Barry. Saying that Barry is masculine is an understatement. Scott Rolen would be Barry's date to the All-Star game, and trust me, Rolen ain't wearing the tux. Sosa gets voted in every year regardless. He could hit .100 with a single home run and he'd still be hauling ass out to right in the middle of July. I would like to see Griffey make it, if only because the Home Run hitting contest would be the perfect time for his griffystring to pop. Craig Biggio? What? 5th? Granted, he's doing pretty well, but it's just weird to see his name there, especially after Berkman. Hey, I've got an idea, let's make an All-Star team out of both leagues and they could play the Astros, a la the Globetrotters and Generals. That way the people of Houston win because they get to see all their favorite scubs and we all will win because we get to see them get completely pummeled beyond recognition. My votes: 1. SF Outfielder 2. Lance Berkman 3. Moises Alou. Yeah, I voted for Estrada and said that he and JD Drew have been carrying the Braves this year. Too bad for the Eric Lindros of the MLB, but there's no way in hell I'm voting his ass to anything other than the All Team Cancer Squad. By the way, catch the annoucement of that team on July 12th, live at the Denny's parking lot that's two blocks down from Minute Maid park. The All Team Cancer squad is brought to you by Duracell.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Comments

I've enabled comments - now people can just harass those who dare to blog. To do this, I had to change the template. Weigh in.

Lets consider this a test. Comment it up.

My comments for tonight: if Tampa Bay wins the cup, I will be quite sad.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Pitchers, vis a vis belly itchers

As of today (June 5), teams have played just over 30% of their schedule; full-time positional players have accumulated ~200 plate appearances, your average starting pitcher has racked up ~75 IP, and the “go-to” relief pitchers have accumulated anywhere from 20-35 IP. None of these totals strike me as being large enough upon which to base an intelligent opinion regarding performances for the remainder of the year. So, I’m going to play Trelawney and attempt to predict which of the top 25 players by VORP we should expect to stay at their current level, which might improve, and which we might expect to tail off. Today, we’ll look at the pitchers.

The top 25 pitchers by VORP can be found here. In my mind, the biggest story is the top 5: three guys who are all 38 or older (Schilling, Glavine, and Clemens), and two guys in their mid-twenties who have been pitching as well as they have at any point in their career to this point (Mark Mulder and Brad Penny). The rest of the group is dotted with familiar names (Randy Johnson, Russ Ortiz, Jason Schmidt, Roy Halladay) and names that have long been touted as Cy Next (CC Sabathia, Matt Clement,

Glavine’s presence in this group surprised me. He’s striking out just 4.5 per nine and walking 2.2 per nine, neither of which are great; however, he’s giving up just .6 HR per nine, and his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is an incredibly low .202. That last number jumped out at me – I couldn’t find the same number for last season, but my guess is that Glavine has gotten a huge boost from having Cameron roaming centerfield for him. His peripheral stats aren’t out of line with those from the better years of his career, so I’m guessing he should continue to put up strong numbers (pitching half his games in Shea shouldn’t hurt either).

Clemens and Schilling are doing what they typically do: strike out tons of guys, and not give away too many free passes. A troubling Schilling stat: .312 BABIP. Given that the Sox still haven’t fielded their best defense, I’m counting on that going down once Trot and Nomar return.

Another name that stuck out was Cliff Lee, the 25-year-old lefty in his first full season with the Indians. Though Lee has nasty stuff (7 K/9), he’s struggled mightily with his command at times this season (4.5 BB/9); despite the control problems, his ERA has hovered around 3 through his 66 innings of work (currently 3.27). What’s really helped Lee is the fact that he’s given up just 3 home runs – a number which is quite out of line with his PECOTA projections and his track record in the minors. Though he’s appeared dominant at times this season (especially against the Sox), he’ll need to get better command to continue to put up these kind of numbers.

Carlos Zambrano, another 25 year old, couldn’t be any different from Cliff Lee in my eye. His ERA currently sits at 2.41, almost a point lower than Lee’s, and that difference is all about control - he’s striking out almost 8.5 batters/9, and walking just two. Zambrano is an extreme ground ball pitcher, so I’m a bit worried about Todd Walker’s prolonged presence at 2B behind him, but Zambrano’s stats seem to indicate he’s here to stay. Well, that is, if Dusty doesn’t destroy his arm.

Quick cuts: Brad Radke is a control freak (.7 BB/9); Pedro clocks in as the 60th best pitcher by VORP – is that worth $17.5 million? Highest K rate in the majors belongs to K-rod :14.7 K/9; CC Sabathia is sporting a 5:3 K/BB ratio – seems like hes struggling with his control a bit, his stuff is too good to be striking out just 5 guys per nine.

Finally, the worst five pitchers in the majors are: Kurt Ainsworth, Ryan Vogelsong, Scott Elarton, Brian Anderson, and everyone’s favorite free agent to be: Derek Lowe. Dlowe is walking more batters than he strikes out (4:5 K/BB), and giving up almost 2 bombs every 9 innings. Sounds like a recipe for success….for me to poop on. Next time: batters.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

No word on who will win most likely to succeed.

The first all-star voting update was released today. Survey says? People are idiots. Granted things will change and at this point it's based more on which teams have had longer homestands. I understand that but still, a blog subject anywhere you can find it. How about this for an idea: all the votes that morons cast at the park count towards creating a handsome year-book style package that will be available for purchase during the actual all-star game (the game that will feature all the players actually deserving to be there based on performance, that is.) For the low price of $250 (Shit, Selig's babies got to eat,) you can see just which players' names the people in the expensive seats recognize. It's a joke that the all-star game has some sembalance of importance, while being played by the winners of a popularity contest. In high school when I was selected with another kid as "best friends" were we asked to decide the outcome of the football team's playoff game? Of course not because I think our football team won 1 game in the entire four years I was there. Regardless, everyone knew that the team would have a better chance of winning by continuing to throw rocks at me than ask me to chip in on the team just because some people cast some votes for me in a completely unrelated contest. Make sense to you? Yeah, it doesn't to me either. Regardless, here is my breakdown of the voting so far, along with my choices. If this doesn't get this blog back at the forefront of useless time wasting, I don't know what will.

Amercian League:

Firstbase

1. Jason Giambi
2. Carlos Delgado
3. Kevin Millar

You have got to be shitting me. Jason and Carlos are vastly underperforming to this point, and I mean Kevin Millar? I don't even think I need to point out the idiocy in him being in the top 3. My pick: Write-in candidate David Ortiz. Yeah, he's a DH, but he does play some first. Besides, due to injury and lack of performance, who is a better choice?

Secondbase

1. Alfonzo Soriano
2. Pokey Reese
3. Bret Boone

I have no issues with Soriano being first at all, but Pokey? Hey let's give him a hand for filing in for Nomar while he's been out, *clap clap clap* great job buddy. Sorry, you're not an all-star. Gold glove? Sure. All-star, no. Keep selling those Pokey shirts Fenway. My pick: Soriano.

Thirdbase

1. A-rod
2. Bill Mueller
3. Hank Blalock

A-rod has been coming around as of late, but how about a little name that isn't even in the top 5; Melvin Mora. This dude has been flat out nasty so far, and yet he has about as much of a chance of being the third baseman in the All-Star game as Derek Lowe has of being a mildly servicable pitcher. The easy lay-up zing!! Count it! My Pick: Melvin Mora.

Shortstop

1. Nomar
2. Jeter
3. Miguel Tejada

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You've got to be shitting me. How about this? Michael fucking Young. Take away Jeter's recent hot streak, and he still deserves to be over Nomar. Why? A little thing called ACTUALLY TAKING THE FIELD IN 2004. Yeah, we all felt bad about the offseason Nomar thing. Send him a card, don't embarass him this way. My pick: Michael Young, then Tejada. Young is out of his tits. Why yes, I did trade him away in a fantasy league. You're correct, I *am* completely oblivious.

Catchers

1. Ivan Rodriguez
2. Jorge Posada
3. Jason Varitek
4. Javy Lopez

I put 4 here to illustrate how tough the catcher position is this year. All four of those guys deserve to be in the game based on their performance so far. My pick: I-rod, then Lopez, Varitek, and Posada all basically tied for second. It's a deep position. I will refrain from making a tired Ice Cube quote here.

Outfield

1. Vlad
2. Manny
3. Johnny Damon

Numbers one and two I got no beef with. They both have been playing really really well this season. Johnny Damon? May I introduce the winner of the most hair and still so unexplainable sexy award. Gabe Kapler should take notes: Grow a beard, spout off post-concussed tidbits, and get a free ticket to the all-star game. That's maybe a stretch, but I mean Johnny is far from the third best outfielder in the AL. Where's Catalanotto? Yeah I know he's on the DL, but that dude is the only Blue Jays player playing worth a shit this season. Plus he'll back back soon. Third OF in the AL is a tough one. My picks: Vlad, Manny, Catalanotto.


Tomorrow: The National League!!! Holy shit, can you even wait!?