Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Zack Greinke: Now Officially the Greatest Pitcher in Major League History

Not because he won his first Cy Young award today in such dominating fashion that it makes me think the BBWAA are on the up-and-up, but because of this:

I thought that could push [CC Sabathia] over the top [in the Cy Young voting], because his won-loss record was way better than mine. But I’m also a follower, since Brian Bannister’s on our team, of sabermetric stuff and going into details of stats about what you can control.

*sniff* As if I couldn't love him more.

And oh, my friends, it doesn't end there. From that paragraph on you have Brian Bannister hailing Greinke's greatness as being a result of his understanding of FIP and Zone Rating and so much more.

Joe Posnanski is clearly behind all this.

A Brief Word

I really like reading this blog. Like, a lot. I should try posting in it some time.

Also, how'd that Harold Reynolds prediction on Pujols go?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Derek Jeter Wins AL Cy Young

"Derek Jeter wins the Silver Slugger Award for every position, including DH."

"Derek Jeter wins Rookie of the Year in his 15th major league season."

"Derek Jeter wins NL Manager of the Year."

"Derek Jeter wins futuristic Career Clutch Performer Award"

Notice that he didn't win MVP? Apparently that's the only award he can't win, which makes little sense when you consider the infinite amount of tangible intangibles (yeah, his intangibles are THAT valuable) this guy brings to the table each and every day. It's a twisted universe we live in. Okay, so he only won the Hank Aaron Award, but it's still a travesty nonetheless. This man--if you can even call him that, more like a king, or god-- has now won this award twice. It is supposed to go to the best offensive player in each league. Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Ben Zobrist, and Kevin Youkilis are among those who should be upset--as well as those who are fond of logic.

We've addressed the Hank Aaron Award issue a few times at ATH. Originally I was pissed off about most of the previous winners, then Grif was pissed off about Aramis Ramirez winning, and then I was pissed off again. This could be a very prestigious award if it were done right. Sadly, I do not see that being the case in the foreseeable future, so we will inevitably remain pissed off.

Good day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tools to Victory: Game 4 Edition

New spokesperson for Home Depot? I think so. I'd lock this guy up with an endorsement deal for life, brah! Especially with all the brain knowledge he be spittin' out about these victory tools. Case in point:


Offensive support for C.C.


Blanton, not Lee... We'll see.

Translation: the Yankees need to score runs to win and the Phillies need to... see if Blanton will be better than Lee? See if Blanton will actually be pitching and not Lee? They need to see...... something. I give up. I have no clue how "Blanton, not Lee... we'll see" qualifies for any type of advice or tools for victory. McCarver has entered a new realm of stupidity here, folks. I'm pretty sure he lacks some type of mental capacity.

These "tools" leave the door wide open for what we can expect for the rest of the series.

"Score runs for Lee"

"Francisco, not Stairs... risky affairs"

"Look out for A-Rod!"

"Dynasty? It may be too soon... we'll see"

"Release your inner Phillie Phanatic"

"Jump ahead, stay ahead"

"Win or go home"

I am 83% sure that that last one will be an actual one for the Phillies in game five........... we.will.see.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tools to Victory!

I don't know about you, but my favorite part of each and every Joe Buck/Tim McCarver-broadcast is McCarver's segment entitled "keys to victory." Unfortunately for the popular tool franchise, Home Depot drew the short stick when picking advertising space and was stuck with the aptly renamed "Home Depot's Tools to Victory." This is unfortunate for two reasons: 1) Tim McCarver is saying and thinking up the tools to victory and 2) the tools to victory that are being said and thought up are by Tim McCarver. In case you missed it (which I find hard to believe because it is the most thought-provoking, knowledge-based portion of an already crisp, chemistry-filled, intelligently-weaved, and inspiring part of every broadcast), here it is:


Playing with house money, Pedro is the croupier.


Must win? You better believe it!

That was an actual graphic on a nationally-televised broadcast of the mother thumpin' World Series. The Phillies would have won game 2 Thursday night if only they had envisioned themselves gambling at a casino while Pedro Martinez collected and paid bets of fellow gamblers. Instead, the Phillies spent all their time drinking, gambling, and coming up with half-baked plans to "beat the house" and completely forgot to swing at all of A.J. Burnett's backdoor curveballs. In the meantime, Pedro was going about his business and doing his job as the croupier while Ryan Howard got high in the bathroom laughing his ass off while gazing at "The Men Who Stare at Goats" movie poster. "Clooney is an army Jedi warrior!" he would say as he laughed hysterically, striking out four times and turning fake double plays in the process.

The Yankees executed a much simpler plan of attack against the Phillies: win. I wonder how creative McCarver will get with his game 3 Tools to Victory. I came up with a few that I think should play well.

"Experimenting with Performance-Enhancing drugs, Pettitte is the supplier."

"Flying to Hawaii, Victorino is the travel agent."

"Rising from the dead, Derek Jeter is Christ."

"Touring the red-light district, Jimmy Rolilns is your guide."

"Win or be forced to play Game 4 down 2-1."

"May the best Molina win."

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Classy Chassy!

Murray Chass! Murray Chass! Murray Chass!


I don't know about Greinke, but no award would make Rook cranky. No award for Greinke would make Rook very cranky. Even more cranky than a swanky Yankee who needs a hanky when he's crying and shaky.

Awesome headline. Awesome.

Zack Greinke pitched two seasons in one this season. If he had pitched only the better of the two, he would be a clear-cut winner of the American League Cy Young award. As it is, he will probably win the award anyway, but if I were voting - and I am not - I would vote for Felix Hernandez.

Fair enough. I mean, Felix did have the edge over Greinke in all of the 16 following categories:


My bad. I screwed that up. Greinke beat Hernandez in all of those categories. Felix beat him in W/L and tied him in Intentional Walks. Oh and he beat him in Clutch Wins For A Competitive Team (C.W.F.A.C.T). Sadly, Greinke didn't compile any CWFACT's after May 7th. That's when the Royals realized they had no business leading the division by three games (18-11 record) and quickly returned to their familiar ways by going 47-86 over their last 133 games. Yeah, that's a .353 winning percentage. Can't get any CWFACT's like that!

Greinke was terrific this season, at times awesome, no question about it.

Wait for it...

In many of his games he almost seemed unhittable.

Keep waiting...

He won games on his own.

Almost there...

He had to because he pitches for the Kansas City Royals, one of the worst offensive teams in the major leagues.

Here it comes!

But then, the only worse offensive team is the one Hernandez pitches for, the Seattle Mariners.

Oh shit, son! You thought he was gonna change his mind to Greinke for a second, didn't ya? Wrong!

Fangraphs had the Royals as actually being a little worse offensively, but the Mariners did score fewer runs so I can see where Murray Man's coming from. Does it really matter that Hernandez played for an equally shitty offensive team? Felix had a run support of 5.6 per game and Greinke was at 4.8.

The answer is no, it does not matter.

But there are those two separate seasons Greinke pitched. In his 21 starts before May 31 and after Aug. 3 the 25-year-old right-hander had a 14-2 record and a 1.30 earned run average. Greinke, however, started 12 games from May 31 through Aug. 3, and the results weren’t as dominant as his 21-start performance.

Three stats. You are gonna give me three stats to work with here. ERA. Wins. Losses. Why even cite wins and losses? YOU LITERALLY JUST TALKED ABOUT HOW HE PITCHES FOR ONE OF THE WORST OFFENSES IN BASEBALL. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking that a pitcher's run support generally goes hand in hand with whether or not they win baseball games. Robin McLaurim Williams taught me that, and that man is anything but crazy.

In that stretch Greinke compiled a 2-6 record and had a 3.84 e.r.a. That’s not Cy Young material, and that’s what voters have to consider along with the results of Greinke’s 21 pre-May 31 and post-Aug. 3 starts and his over-all record: 16-8 and a league-leading 2.16 e.r.a.

3.84 ERA? That's the best you could do? Most of that came on the last day of your nitpicking sample size. He gave up six earned runs on August 3rd. That's not good, but it's also one freakin start. You also cited wins and losses again. That aint classy, Chassy. Okay, it's my turn... Felix Hernandez had a 4.13 ERA after his first nine starts to start the season. During that time he also put together a 1.34 WHIP. Now if that doesn't spell "Cy Young" I don't know what does. Booyah!

Bee-Tee-Dub, why is "e.r.a." not capitalized? That kinda bugs me. Whatever. Murray Chass is old.

In a different kind of separation Greinke pitched five complete games in his first 11 starts, then only one in his next 22 starts. Let’s not hold that against him, though.

Okay cool. So that means you're not going to include it in this article, right?

Hernandez has had only two complete games all season. On the other hand, Hernandez pitched a league-leading seven games without allowing a run in at least seven innings.

Yes, but Greinke threw more nine inning games without allowing a run. What are those called? Ah... I remember: shutouts. An actual statistic, not one you had your grandson look up on the computer thingy that Vorpies play with in their mother's basements.

Hernandez, a 23-year-old right-hander, did not survive the season without a “poor” period, but he limited the damage. In four games in May he lost three times, didn’t win once and had a 6.75 e.r.a. That, however, was the extent of his off-peak pitching.

I found a nine-start stretch that wasn't very spectacular either. Your grandson must think he's pretty slick, huh? Well I'm onto you Murray Chass III!!!

With a scheduled Sunday start against Texas and 17-game winner Scott Feldman remaining, Hernandez had 18 wins (only 5 losses), a .783 winning percentage, a 2.48 e.r.a., a .230 opponents batting average and 211 strikeouts in 232 innings. Those figures all placed in the top four in the A.L., a status unmatched by any other pitcher.

Cranky Greinke had 25 more strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA. Mister Chassy goes on to say more nonsense about wins and how amazing they are and how Hernandez could have ended up with 20 if he had a good offense behind him blah blah blah etc. etc. etc.

Alas, I am done with you, Chass. I will not take your sass, your tone is too crass. You tell time with an hourglass and watch baseball games with a spyglass. You, my dear friend, are an ass.

Rook is out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

McGwire Hired As Cards Hitting Coach

Here's the story from MLB.com. In the article, McGwire reveals his simple 3-step plan for offensive success.

1. Acquire the needle.
2. Drop the pants.
3. Insert the needle.


Yeah... that was tasteless, and maybe mildly humorous at best, but I couldn't resist.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


If you think the title of my post is regarding some of the classic games that have gone on during the 2009 MLB playoffs, you would be wrong. What I'm about to show you is possibly the worst baseball article we have linked to on ATH. I cannot even muster the energy to rip this. It's just too painful. You will just have to see for yourself with a brief snippet From Philly.com; Do not say I didn't warn you:
The Dodger Crips, should we fear them?

A little.

They have a tequila- strong lineup, but their starting pitching is light beer.

Basically, Dodger Crips are a bunch of Porsche-driving, starlet-chasing, cocaine-sniffing, surfboard-waxing, Armani-wearing, spritzer-drinking, sunshine-soaking, tofu-eating, leg-hair-waxing, sunglasses-wearing weinies.

*mouth agape*

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Six Months Awards-- Final Edition

AL MVP- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Joe Mauer, Ben Zobrist, Justin Verlander

AL Cy Young- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez

Donald Zackary Greinke finished first in the American League in the following categories: ERA, ERA+, tRA, tRA+, tRA*, pRAA, WHIP, FIP, VORP, HR/9, WARP1, WARP2, WARP3, and WAR. He also finished second in CG, Shutouts, and K's. Since 2002, only two other pitchers have put together a WAR of at least 9.3--Randy Johnson in '04 and Curt Schilling in '02. I don't expect him to win the actual MVP trophy when it's announced in a couple weeks (and that's okay, Mauer had an awesome season, too), but at the very least he should walk away as the clear-cut choice for the Cy Young. These kind of pitching seasons don't come around too often nowadays.

BBWAA AL MVP Prediction: Joe Mauer, MIN
BBWAA AL Cy Young Prediction: Zack Greinke, KCR

NL MVP- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman

I suppose there's no real surprise here. Defensively he put up great numbers as always. He finished first amongst NL first basemen with a +14 from John Dewan's Plus/Minus fielding system, his 8.5 WAR was easily the best in the league, and he led just about every valuable offensive metric imaginable. El hombre es la máquina y se eliminará la que.

BBWAA NL MVP Prediction: Albert Pujols

NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum, SFG
Honorable Mention: Javier Vazquez, Dan Haren, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright

Much like Greinke, Lincecum led in a large number of categories. Some of these included FIP, tRA, K's, K/9, WAR, etc. It was a rather easy decision when you take everything into account, such as innings pitched along with the philosophy of evaluating a pitcher based on what is within his control. Sadly, though, I don't think Lincecum will win.

BBWAA Prediction: Chris Carpenter, STL

NL Hank Aaron- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez

AL Hank Aaron- Joe Mauer, MIN
Honorable Mention: Mark Teixeira, Ben Zobrist, Miguel Cabrera, Derek Jeter

NL Reliever of the Year- Jonathan Broxton, LAD
Honorable Mention: Brian Wilson, Rafael Soriano, Heath Bell

AL Reliever of the Year- Matt Thornton, CHW
Honorable Mention: Mike Wuertz, Andrew Bailey, Phil Hughes

NL Rookie of the Year- Andrew McCutchen, PIT
Honorable Mention: Seth Smith, Randy Wells, Tommy Hanson

AL Rookie of the Year- Brett Anderson, OAK
Honorable Mention: Elvis Andrus, Jeff Niemann, Andrew Bailey

NL Least Valuable Position Player- Alfonso Soriano, CHC
Dishonorable Mention: Garret Anderson, Emilio Bonifacio, Jeff Francoeur

AL Least Valuable Position Player- Yuniesky Betancourt, SEA/KCR
Dishonorable Mention: Aubrey Huff, Vernon Wells, Jermaine Dye

NL Cy Yuk- Braden Looper, MIL
Dishonorable Mention: Jeff Suppan, Chris Volstad, Jamie Moyer

AL Cy Yuk- Armando Galarraga, DET
Dishonorable Mention: Mark Hendrickson, Fausto Carmona, Kyle Davies

-NL Gold Gloves-
P- Aaron Cook, COL
C- Russell Martin, LAD
1B- Albert Pujols, STL
2B- Chase Utley, PHI
3B- Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
SS- Brendan Ryan, STL
OF- Nyjer Morgan, PIT/WAS
OF- Randy Winn, SFG
OF- Mike Cameron, MIL

-AL Gold Gloves-
P- Mark Buehrle, CHW
C- Gerald Laird, DET
1B- Kendry Morales, LAA
2B- Ben Zobrist, TBR
3B- Chone Figgins, LAA
SS- Elvis Andrus, TEX
OF- Franklin Guttierez, SEA
OF- Carl Crawford, TBR
OF- Ryan Sweeney, OAK

-NL Silver Sluggers-
P- Micah Owings, CIN
C- Brian McCann, ATL
1B- Albert Pujols, STL
2B- Chase Utley, PHI
3B- Pablo Sandoval, SFG
SS- Hanley Ramirez, FLA
OF- Ryan Braun, MIL
OF- Adam Dunn, WAS
OF- Jayson Werth, PHI

-AL Silver Sluggers-
C- Joe Mauer, MIN
1B- Mark Teixeira, NYY
2B- Ben Zobrist, TBR
3B- Kevin Youkilis, BOS
SS- Derek Jeter, NYY
OF- Shin-Soo Choo, CLE
OF- Jason Bay, BOS
OF- Jason Kubel, MIN
DH- Adam Lind, TOR

Monday, October 5, 2009


Am I the only one who didn't know that Brett Favre wasn't 40 years old yet? Apparently he turns 40 on Saturday. Didn't he start for the Packers back in 1978? I could've sworn him and Montana faced off in some epic battles.

Oh well. The Ageless Wonder is leading Minnesota over the Packers 14-7 in the second quarter.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Most Disappointing = Least Valuable?

At the conclusion of every season, Jayson Stark writes a column handing out numerous traditional and not-so-traditional awards throughout the league. These include one of our recent favorites here at ATH, the prestigious Least Valuable Player Award. Now even though this award is completely fictitious and bears no significance whatsoever, I feel the need to make sure that no stupid selections for imaginary hardware go unnoticed.

One game left in the 2009 regular season. Let's do this.

Least Valuable Players

That's the title for this portion of his article. Looks familiar, right? Bastard stole it from the article written here the other day with the title of the same name. I'm pretty sure it's copyright infringement. We're looking into it.

NL: Milton Bradley, Cubs

Something is about to occur that happens very rarely throughout the sports world. More rare than a Pittsburgh Pirates playoff birth. More rare than a Cubs World Series win. More rare than a Derek Jeter-bashing article. More rare than an Alex Rodriguez-praising article. Even more rare--dare I say-- than a Juan Pierre homerun. Here it is... Milton Bradley is about to be DEFENDED, rather than condemned. I know. Mind-blowing. This is the kind of absurdity that Mr. Stark has forced upon me.

Is "disaster" too strong a word to describe the calamitous marriage of Bradley and a team that had won more games than any club in the National League in the two years before he showed up?

Yes. It is too strong of a word. "Disappointing" is acceptable, but not "disaster."

All right, how 'bout "catastrophe"?

Nah. Still too strong. Probably even stronger than your last adjective as a matter of fact.

Or "fiasco"?

I'd say that's about halfway between "disaster" and "catastrophe." Not really sure which direction you're trying to go here.

Whatever, the ever-combustible Bradley had himself about as cataclysmic a Cubs mini-career as anyone since, well, who? George Bell? Mel Rojas? Benito Santiago?

Neifi Perez? Todd Hollandsworth? Nomar Garciaparra? Eric Karros? Todd Hundley? Ismael Valdez? Eric Young? Willie Greene? Is the fact that there are so many players who had a "mini-career" with the Cubs that was as bad or worse than Bradley's hurting your case at all? Seems like it.

Bradley waged regrettable wars with his favorite umpires, bleacher creatures and media pals. He yanked himself out of games, lost track of the outs and -- maybe most amazing of all -- didn't do the one thing he'd done all his life: hit.

First of all, if you knew anything about Milton Bradley at all, you would know that he has a track record of being somewhat of a distraction. He didn't get along with Manager Eric Wedge when he was on the Indians. He threw things at fans while he was on the Dodgers. He missed the playoffs with the Padres after injuring himself during an altercation with an umpire (that one wasn't completely his fault, but still). It's not like this guy doesn't have a history of making mistakes. It should come as no surprise that the non-baseball aspect of Milton Bradley was once again an issue. The Cubs should have expected this going in.

Now, secondly, Mr. Bradley was not as awful of a hitter as you're making him out to be, Mr. Starky. He had a .378 OBP, which was second best of anyone on the team who played at least 85 games, and it was actually above his career average. His .345 WOBA was third highest on the team (.001 behind Fukudome) and not too far off from his career .357 mark. Overall, his offense was probably about the 4th most valuable on the team. And yet you chose this man as the Least Valuable Player in the entire National League.

He made it to home plate 553 times -- and still thumped fewer homers (12) than Kurt Suzuki, hit fewer doubles (17) than Everth Cabrera, drove in fewer runs (40) than Mike Fontenot and slugged under .400 (.397) for the first time since he was an Expo (2000 and 2001).

Kurt Suzuki had a .313 OBP and Cabrera had a .317 WOBA. Mike Fontenot--who is also on the Cubs-- had a .296 WOBA!!! Despite your misleading comparison tools, none of these players even came close to having the kind of offensive season that Bradley had. Not even close I say!

We'll never know what might have been if Bradley had just hit .318 in April instead of .118.

Bradley basically had two bad months this season. Okay, he had two awful months this season. Those two months came in April and September. For a four month span, though, he was actually really good.

May 1st-August 31

Believe it or not, he had a .401 OBP on August 30 (.821 OPS) before he imploded with a horrible September. Obviously the first and last months count just as much as the four months in between, but it wasn't all bad for the Hasbro man this year (Hasbro. Milton Bradley. Get it? Hilarious). If I were to choose a "Least Valuable Player" for the Chicago Cubs this season, Hasbro wouldn't even be a finalist. Some Cubbies more deserving of the LVP would include Kevin Gregg, Alfonso Soriano, Angel Guzman, Aaron Heilman, Mike Fontenot, Carlos Marmol, and Mike Hoffpauir. I would probably give the (dis)honor to Soriano. As you can see in our previous LVP post, he wasn't too impressive this season.

But it's too late now. The saddest part of this story is that this man doesn't just need a new team. He needs help.

That may be true. It's probably not good to speculate on one's mental status, but at the very least it seems that he may have some anger issues. However, it is a far cry to say he was the least valuable player on the Cubs, let alone in the entire league. This man had a 1.2 WAR. He was actually more valuable than the $5 million the Cubs paid him this year. Among players with at least 200 PA, there are literally 78 position players with a better case for LVP than that of Milton Bradley.

Okay. I'm done. The "once in a blue moon" occurrence is over. Based on Juan Pierre's last 1610 plate appearances, his next homerun will occur sometime between 2011 and 2012. Stay alert, people!

Friday, October 2, 2009

2009 Least Valuable Players

I've decided to wait and hand out the final edition of the monthly awards until the conclusion of the regular season for reasons that I'm sure are obvious to all human beings. In the meantime, however, I thought it'd be fun to revisit a segment that gives special recognition to the players who least deserve it. That's right, these are the guys that make us wonder why their managers would continue to write their names on the lineup card day in and day out. They're categorized by position (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OFs, SP, RP) and each hitter was required to have a minimum of 370 plate appearances. These very prestigious awards are only reserved for the ones who continued their (lack of) performance embarrassingly deep into the season.

So, without any further adu, your 2009 LVP's!

C- Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay Rays
49 OPS+
.255 WOBA
-0.1 WAR

1B- Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles/Detroit Tigers
80 OPS+
.298 WOBA
-3.1 UZR
-1.2 WAR

2B- Luis Valbuena, Cleveland Indians
79 OPS+
.301 WOBA
-5.3 UZR
-0.1 WAR

3B- Garret Atkins, Colorado Rockies
63 OPS+
.283 WOBA
-2.0 UZR
-0.9 WAR

SS- Yuniesky Betancourt, Seattle Marines/Kansas City Royals
65 OPS+
.270 WOBA
-20.7 UZR
-2.1 WAR

OF- Delmon Young, Minnesota Twins
86 OPS+
.297 WOBA
-14.2 UZR
-1.6 WAR

OF- Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox
93 OPS+
.331 WOBA
-16.9 UZR
-1.0 WAR

OF- Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
85 OPS+
.314 WOBA
-12.4 UZR
-0.9 WAR

SP- Braden Looper, Milwaukee Brewers
5.10 ERA
82 ERA+
1.47 WHIP
5.82 FIP
-0.8 WAR

RP- Seth McClung, Milwaukee Brewers
5.10 ERA
83 ERA+
1.63 WHIP
6.12 FIP
-0.9 WAR

Don't give up, guys. Just last year Michael Bourn won an LVP award and he bounced back to have a 4.3 WAR. There's still hope. My apologies to Garret Anderson, Jeff Francoeur, Emilio Bonifacio, Jeff Suppan, Chris Volstad and countless others. Perhaps you can make it all the way to the top (or bottom) next season!

Wishes Really Can Come True

This is a couple weeks old, but I'm just now seeing it for the first time. If you too have missed out thus far, I encourage you to try and remain calm, as the following link may cause you to go into cardiac arrest.

FJM Reunion

That's right. It happened, people.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Joe Morgan's Eyes >>> Replay

If you have been following Sunday Night Baseball for any of the past twenty years, you would have noticed that one of Joe Morgan's less redeeming qualities as a broadcaster is his reluctance to accept a dissenting opinion. Now, I'm not here to say that he's alone in this regard (I still think the WB made a mistake cancelling Road Rovers. Who cares that the ratings were bad?) but today's 438th edition of the Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry (TM) this season brought about this wonderful example of Joe's stubbornness (from MLB.com):

The Video

If you can't see the video, here is what happened:

With Nick Swisher on 2nd and no one out, Robinson Cano flied out to Jacoby Ellsbury on a fairly shallow fly ball. Swisher tags up and advances to third. Given the shallowness of the foul ball and Swisher's less than blinding speed, Joe Morgan thought that Swisher may have left early. Moments later, Paul Byrd throws to 2nd on appeal and Swisher is called out. On the replay where the catch and Swisher's tag attempt are synchronized, Swisher's foot is still on the bag. At worst, he left at the same time according to that view. For some reason, instead of agreeing with that assessment as Jon Miller did, Morgan somehow thinks he has the same view of the play as the umpire.

This leads to two questions:
1) How in the world can you have the same view if you're yards away?
2) How can you not see that his foot was still on the bag? Only because he leaned as if he left early? (though not in this video, Joe insinuated this)

If you think this is his first time overstating the margin of error of technology relative to his observation, read this piece from Baseball Analysts in 2006.

It is absurdity at it's finest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reynolds Recall Part III

Albert Pujols hit two homeruns today, so naturally I decided that it was time to revisit our old friend, Harold Reynolds, from the MLB Network. If you're unfamiliar with the story I implore you to go here and catch up. This is a brief summation of Mr. Reynolds commenting on the apparent absurdity of the baseball predictions system, PECOTA--back in February:

"There aint no way Albert (Pujols) is getting 133 RBI's with that club. It aint happenin!"

A lot of time has passed since we last checked in on Pujols' RBI status back in June. Since then he's had to endure a couple of cold streaks, including a 15-game stretch in which he hit .207 with only 3 Runs Batted In (omg!). Let's take a gander at his progress, shall we?

Total: 124 RBI (2nd in ML)
Current Pace: 143 RBI

The Cardinals still have 21 games left, people. I wonder if they'll let the old scout in the straw hat make predictions on the show next year. Him and the futuristic, nerdy PECOTA computer thingy should face off. That would be epic...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Extremely Stupid Poll Nothingness

I made that ESPN acronym up all by myself. Cool, right? Thanks. Here's a link to ESPN's latest poll question enititled "Who is the tougher out?" The options are none other than Albert Pujols and Babe Ruth. Yup. Babe Fuckin Ruth. The Saltan of Swat. The King of Crash. The Colossus of Clout. THE GREAT BAMBINO! (Yeah, Sandlot)

As of 1:09 p.m. on Thursday, September 3rd, approximately 8,033 people have voted. The results:

Albert Pujols- 51%
Babe Ruth- 49%

That's right, people. I didn't think it would be possible to overrate perhaps the greatest baseball player of our era, but sadly I was mistaken. Now don't get me wrong, Albert Pujols is awesome. I think it's safe to say that he is easily the best player in the game today. However, as good as he is, he drastically fails in comparison to Ruth. Allow me to demonstrate.

Ruth- .474 OBP (2nd All Time--121 points above league avg)
Pujols- .427 OBP (13th All Time--88 points above league avg)

The Bambino also leads the Machine in SLG, OPS, OPS+, EQA, WOBA, and pretty much any other statistic you can think of--by a lot. But for the sake of this question all you have to do is look at OBP because the question specifically asks who is a tougher out. Obviously it shouldn't even be a debate. Offensively speaking, PRINCE Albert virtually has no chance of reaching the status of the KING of Crash (See what I did there? Prince/King... Classic. Plaschke would be proud). I realize that I'm probably setting myself up for disappoint by viewing any ESPN poll, but I felt the need to stick up for good 'ol Mr. Ruth. After all, if it wasn't for him I would have never been able to witness Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez steal home against the San Francisco Giants and then give a cool thumbs-up to Smalls up in the play-by-play booth.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Five Months Awards

AL MVP- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Joe Mauer, Ben Zobrist, Justin Verlander

AL Cy Young- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay

NL MVP- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Tim Lincecum, Hanley Ramirez

NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum, SFG
Honorable Mention: Javier Vazquez, Dan Haren

NL Hank Aaron- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Prince Fielder

AL Hank Aaron- Joe Mauer, MIN
Honorable Mention: Miguel Cabrera, Kevin Youkilis, Ben Zobrist

NL Reliever of the Year- Jonathan Broxton, LAD
Honorable Mention: Brian Wilson, Rafael Soriano, Heath Bell

AL Reliever of the Year- Joe Nathan, MIN
Honorable Mention: Andrew Bailey, Mariano Rivera, Matt Thornton

NL Rookie of the Year- Andrew McCutchen, PIT
Honorable Mention: Colby Rasmus, Seth Smitch, J.A. Happ, Randy Wells

AL Rookie of the Year- Elvis Andrus, TEX
Honorable Mention: Jeff Niemann, Brad Bergesen, Andrew Bailey, Brett Gardner

NL Least Valuable Position Player- Jeff Francoeur, ATL/NYM
Dishonorable Mention: Alfonso Soriano, Emilio Bonifacio, Willy Taveras

AL Least Valuable Position Player- Vernon Wells, TOR
Dishonorable Mention: Aubrey Huff, Orlando Cabrera, David Ortiz

NL Cy Yuk- Braden Looper, MIL
Dishonorable Mention: Chris Volstad, Ross Ohlendorf, Jamie Moyer

AL Cy Yuk- Trevor Cahill, OAK
Dishonorable Mention: Joe Saunders, Jeremy Guthrie

-NL Gold Gloves-
P- Aaron Cook, COL
C- Bengie Molina, SFG
1B- Travis Ishikawa, SFG
2B- Chase Utley, PHI
3B- Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
SS- Brendan Ryan, STL
OF- Nyjer Morgan, PIT/WAS
OF- Randy Winn, SFG
OF- Tony Gwynn Jr., SDP

-AL Gold Gloves-
P- Ricky Romero, TOR
C- Jason Varitek, BOS
1B- Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B- Ben Zobrist, TBR
3B- Evan Longoria, TBR
SS- Jack Wilson, PIT/SEA*
OF- Franklin Gutierrez, SEA
OF- Carl Crawford, TBR
OF- Rajai Davis, OAK

-NL Silver Sluggers-
P- Mike Hampton, HOU
C- Brian McCann, ATL
1B- Albert Pujols, STL
2B- Chase Utley, PHI
3B- Mark Reynolds, ARI
SS- Hanley Ramirez, FLA
OF- Adam Dunn, CIN
OF- Ryan Braun, MIL
OF- Matt Kemp, LAD

-AL Silver Sluggers-
C- Joe Mauer, MIN
1B- Miguel Cabrera, DET
2B- Ben Zobrist, TBR
3B- Michael Young, TEX
SS- Derek Jeter, NYY
OF- Shin-Soo Choo, CLE
OF- Jason Bay, BOS
OF- Johnny Damon, NYY
DH- Adam Lind, TOR

*I couldn't help it. Jack Wilson's defense has been so unbelievable that it just didn't feel right to not give him a gold glove. Technically he's played the bulk of his games in the National League this year...oh well.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Alright, this obviously isn't FJM, but somebody's gotta tear this up, right?

Buzzmaster: Hey everyone. Joe's running about 10 minutes late. So we'll get started around 11:10 a.m. ET.

This should not come as a surprise to those who know Joe. He isn't a huge fan of computers, so to think that he would spend any more time than necessary on one is absurd. ABSURD I TELL YOU!

Buzzmaster: We've got Joe!

Yes! It was only a matter of time before he figured out that "internet" thing on his dial-up imac. Now let's brace ourselves for Joe's opening statement.

Joe Morgan: I want to clarify my position on the 103 list of people who tested positive in 2003. I do not view all the players as suspects, because I do not know who's on the list. The only time I'm suspicious of players is when it's been called for suspicion. Because I don't konw (sic) who's on the list, I do not look at Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek and think they are suspects. I do not use the lack of knowledge of names on the 103 list to form my own list. I believe people are innocent until proven otherwise.

So basically Joe will not be suspicious of players until they have tested positive. I'm not really sure why you would need to be suspicious of a player taking steroids if it's already been confirmed that the player took steroids. Whatever. Thanks for the heads up, Joe.

Gary (Buckeye ,Az): Joe, did you like the White Sox trade for Jake Peavey?

Joe Morgan: I didn't until I realized that he's going to pitch until the end of this month

This makes no sense. Peavy won't be back until the end of this month. Okay, now we can move on.

When I first thought that he was out for the season, I didn't think it was a good move. But Ken Williams says they can get 6 starts out of him down the stretch. So then I think it's a good move. They're also looking at next year too.

A lot of things have to go right in order for Peavy to be back by the end of this month, let alone have six starts. Even so, I'm a little reserved about the move. His career numbers on the road, while pretty good, aren't nearly as impressive as they are at pitcher-friendly Yellowstone Park in San Diego. Peavy's thrown 114 fewer innings on the road throughout his career, yet he's given up 33 more homeruns. U.S. Cellular Field is also considerably favorable to hitters. Fangraphs did a nice piece on the trade. The White Sox gave up quite a bit, and Peavy's owed upwards of $15 million each of the next three seasons.

Anyways, at least Joe answered the question, even if it wasn't very helpful.

Sam (Boca): what moves can the Yankees make to improve their rotation before the postseason? one injury and they will have trouble brewing.....
Joe Morgan: Well, if they think they need that, they will make a move. I think they did a smart thing by not giving away players and making deals. Now if they get to September and have to do a waiver deal or something, they'll try to do it. I still think they need another starter, but I think they can get it done later without paying too hefty of a price.

Rook: Joe, what moves can the Yankees make to improve their rotation?

Joe Morgan: Well, Rook, they can make moves.

Rook: Perfect. Thanks.

Kent (Greenville): Do you think the Home Run Derby is the cause for Pujols' recent slump. Not a hit this past weekend. When was the last time that happened?

Joe Morgan: He didn't do well in the Home Run Derby either. He only had about 20-30 swings. I think he was on such a torrid pace and played at such a high intensity level, I think he needs a breather. I think he's mentally tired. He didn't get any time off during the all-star game, because he was the unofficial host. I think he needs a couple of days off and then he'll be back on track.

Gary (Buckeye,Az): Joe,what is your take on Milton Bradleys struggles this year?

Joe Morgan: I think it started when he first got hurt and the fans were expecting so much from him and he was expecting from himself and he put pressure on himself. He played maybe when he shouldn't have played. Baseball is a tough game to play when you're healthy, let alone when you're injured. I think he has time to regroup and get hot. I think between now and the end of the season he will get hot and raise his average. He's not a .240-.250 hitter. I think there's still more to come from him if he can get mentally focused.

Let's play a drinking game. Go back and read these last two responses from Joe and take a shot every time he says "I think." If you're not wasted by the fifth sentence then you are drinking water. If you don't have any alcohol, caffeinated beverages will also get you drunk. Good luck reading the rest of this post.

Edward (Nashville): Who is going to be the "under the radar" team in the playoffs this year?

Joe Morgan: I don't see anyone getting hot like the Rockies did a couple of years ago. But I do see some of the teams that are playing well now getting hot and maybe opening up a lead. I do see that happening. I don't think the races are going to be as close as they are now.

Rook: Joe, who is going to be the "under the radar" team in the playoffs this year?

Joe Morgan: A team that is playing well will perhaps get hot and open a lead.

Rook: Okay cool. Wait, you didn't say a team, though.

Joe Morgan: A team not like the Rockies.

Rook: Alright, that's better. For a second I thought you weren't gonna answer my question. That would've been funny, huh?

Joe Morgan: Well I can't say for sure whether or not it would have been funny because there's no way of knowing. And I don't want to speculate. There is perhaps a possibility that it could have been borderline humorous.

Rook: (**searches for upcoming Rob Neyer chats**)

Chris (Cincy): Why are there no consistently great teams like your Reds teams of the 70's? Even the top teams this year (Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Dodgers) seem to struggle with their consistency. What do you think is the cause of this?

Chris is definitely baiting him here. Two "consistents" in the middle of a comparison to the "good 'ol days." Nice. My guess is that Joe is going to hold a great deal of bias for his era while giving almost zero credit to today's MLB teams.

Joe Morgan: Well, that's a great observation. The point is that there aren't any great teams any more. Great teams have speed, pitching, defense, hitting, power. You don't have anybody with that combination any more.

Yankees, Angels, Rays.... Usually the teams with the best records are the ones that can hit, run, play defense, etc. The correct answer is the developmental progress of free agency. It is more difficult to keep a team together in today's game than it was in the 50's 60's or 70s. There are still great teams year in and year out, it's just nearly impossible to sustain that success within a franchise unless you have unlimited access to money, which I'm pretty sure is not the case with any team in professional sports. Yes, I know that includes the Yankees, but even they have a limit.

You have good teams, not great teams. The weaknesses show up more. Any time that happens, you'll lose 3-4 in a row. When your strengths show, you win 5 in a row. That's why the good teams have stretches. The Yankees won 9 in a row, but then lost 3 straight in Chicago. One thing to watch the rest of the way is whichever team can shorten their losing streaks, that team will win the division.

Teams that win more games than they lose will be more successful if they win a lot of games in a row and don't have long losing streaks. Grade "A" analysis brought to you by an Emmy Award Winner from your Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Elvis (Graceland): Do you think Matt Holliday can keep it up? Why was he not playing like this in Oakland?

Joe Morgan: Well, first, it's kind of like what I said about Milton Bradley. Holliday is a good hitter. He struggled early on, but he started to get hot right before he left Oakland. That doesn't mean he'll hit like that the rest of the season. Playing in Oakland was a downer for him, because you're playing on a team that doesn't excite you. It's a boring team to watch. They either strike out, walk or try to hit HRs. Jack Cust is a typical Oakland hitter. He either walks or hits home runs. It's just not an interesting team and that had an effect on Holliday. Plus the ball park is not easy to hit in.

2009 Oakland Athletics

694 Strikeouts--24th most in MLB
363 Walks-- 19th most in MLB
89 Homeruns-- 27th most in MLB

The A's have had 4,228 plate appearances so far this year. All of 1,146 of those plate appearances have ended in either a strikeout, walk, or homerun. That's good for 27 percent. Joe also said that Cust either walks or hits homeruns. This has happened in 18 percent of his plate appearances this year and 22 percent over the course of his career.

Oh, and since when were homeruns not exciting?

Kevin (Connecticut): Who are your AL and Nl Cy Youngs/MVPs right now?

Joe Morgan (11:37 AM): Well, the one thing to remember, there's a long way to go. In all of those awards, someone can still step forward. I think Pujols is the MVP in the NL. I still think Prince Fielder and Braun are legit candidates if the Brewers can win the division. As far as Cy Young, that's even more difficult for me, because I think people want to lean toward Tim Lincecum, but they ignore what Matt Cain has done. I think he's pitched more consistently from his first start to his last start than Lincecum. He's not going to get a lot of votes, but I think Jason Marquis has done a great job in Colorado. You always have to look at Santana, because of what he does for his team. He can get hot down the stretch and win many games in a row. It's hard to make a call, but those would be my leaders at the moment.

Cain has been more consistent than Lincecum..... Sometimes I think that Joe would prefer "consistency" over anything else. Even if the player is consistently bad, it seems like Mr. Morgan would give him credit and say stuff like "well you always know what you're getting with this guy." Lincecum leads Cain in the following categories: ERA, K's, K/9, BB/9, HR/9, BAA, WHIP, K/BB, FIP, RAR, and WAR. Also, while I'm not really a fan of the statistic, he leads Cain in Quality Starts as well (19 to 15). I guess you could kinda use that as a measure of consistency. Whatever.

Buzzmaster: Thanks for chatting Joe!

I don't think that these chats serve any real purpose for humanity, other then to entertain the blogosphere. For all our sakes, I hope ESPN never realizes this.

Failure Isn't Immune to Broadcasters and Sportswriters

While we here at ATH are proud to bring you sports with a hint of sarcasm at the expense of those covering sports, I thought it would be about time to give you an example of a fan taking failure into his own hands. Don't worry, it looks as though he will make a full recovery. (from theTampa Tribune website):
St. Petersburg authorities are investigating a man's fall at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night as the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox drew to a close.

The man was watching the game from the stadium's third level with his family, and when he boarded an escalator to get to the lower level, he hopped up on the railing and tried to ride it sidesaddle, St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Lt. Joel Granata said.

If this man ends up suing the Rays for his own stupidity, I hope he spends the next week watching an infinite loop of this year's Home Run Derby.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Four Months Awards

NL MVP- Tim Lincecum, SFG
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Albert Pujols, Dan Haren, Hanley Ramirez

NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum, SFG
Honorable Mention: Dan Haren, Javier Vazquez

AL MVP- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Ben Zobrist, Roy Halladay, Joe Mauer, Justin Verlander

AL Cy Young- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez

NL Hank Aaron- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez

AL Hank Aaron- Justin Morneau, MIN
Honorable Mention: Joe Mauer, Ben Zobrist, Kevin Youkilis

NL Reliever of the Year- Jonathan Broxton, LAD
Honorable Mention: Rafael Soriano, Brian Wilson, Heath Bell

AL Reliever of the Year- Joe Nathan, MIN
Honorable Mention: J.P. Howell, David Aardsma, Andrew Bailey

NL Rookie of the Year- Colby Rasmus, STL
Honorable Mention: Andrew McCutchen, Randy Wells, J.A. Happ, Seth Smith

AL Rookie of the Year- Brad Bergesen, BAL
Honorable Mention: Brett Gardner, Andrew Bailey, Rickey Romero, Elvis Andrus

NL Least Valuable Position Player- Jeff Francoeur, NYM
Dishonorable Mention: Willy Taveras, Emilio Bonifacio, Daniel Murphy

AL Least Valuable Position Player- Vernon Wells, TOR
Dishonorable Mention: Jason Giambi, Aubrey Huff, Magglio Ordonez

NL Cy Yuk- Braden Looper, MIL
Dishonorable Mention: Jeff Suppan, Todd Wellemeyer, Bronson Arroyo

AL Cy Yuk- Trevor Cahill, OAK
Dishonorable Mention: Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Saunders, Armando Galarraga

-NL Gold Gloves-
P- Aaron Cook, COL
C- Bengie Molina, SFG
1B- Travis Ishikawa, SFG
2B- Felipe Lopez, MIL
3B- Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
SS- J.J. Hardy, MIL
OF- Nyjer Morgan, WAS
OF- Colby Rasmus, STL
OF- Brett Carroll, FLO

-AL Gold Gloves-
P- Brad Berguson, BAL
C- Jason Varitek, BOS
1B- Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B- Ben Zobrist, TBR
3B- Joe Creded, MIN
SS- Jack Wilson, PIT
OF- David DeJesus, KCR
OF- Franklin Gutierrez, SEA
OF- Ryan Sweeney, OAK

-NL Silver Sluggers-
P- Mike Hampton, HOU
C- Brian McCann, ATL
1B- Albert Pujols, STL
2B- Chase Utley, PHI
3B- Mark Reynolds, ARI
SS- Hanley Ramirez, FLO
OF- Ryan Braun, MIL
OF- Raul Ibanez, PHI
OF- Adam Dunn, WAS

-AL Silver Sluggers-
C- Joe Mauer, MIN
1B- Justin Morneau, MIN
2B- Aaron Hill, TOR
3B- Kevin Youkilis, BOS
SS- Derek Jeter, NYY
OF- Shin Soo Choo, CLE
OF- Carl Crawford, TBR
OF- Bobby Abreu, LAA
DH- Adam Lind, TOR

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Joe Morgan

Taken from today's Joe Chat in reference to replay challenges being used in baseball as they are in football:

Joe Morgan: It's a very difficult thing to use replay in baseball. It's not like football. Football is segmented. Here's a play, here's a play. But baseball has one play following another.

This is probably the best thing I've read in approximately 8 months and 8 days. I miss FJM... and I love you, Joe.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Franklin Gutierrez Wins Games (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Advanced Defensive Statistics)

Win Probability, UZR, Batting Average on Specific Pitches or hit location, OPS, swinging strike rate. You may have heard some or all of those on baseball broadcasts lately. Given that such mentions aren't yet as commonplace as the triple crown stats or fielding, seeing or hearing such things is quite pleasant. Here's an example of that from the Seattle Mariners broadcast from last night (capture made by Jeff from the blog Lookout Landing in this post):

Too bad .png files aren't made of chocolate or else I'd eat it up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Writer

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle decided to write an article about Roger Maris. I decided to write about that article.

This is our 236th post. Let's do this thing.

Every time another slugger of recent vintage becomes linked to steroids, an array of old-timers weighs in on his viability for the Hall of Fame. After the New York Times reported two weeks ago that Sammy Sosa had tested positive in ostensibly confidential screening from 2003, Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg said that his fellow ex-Cub did not deserve a place in Cooperstown.

It's true that a lot of ex-ballplayers tend to this, and truth be told, it's getting kinda annoying. To all of the Hall of Famers who are reading this right now (which I'm fairly certain is roughly 68% of all inductees), I beg you to put an end to this trend. We the people all know that each and every one of you were perfect in every way. Nobody ever did anything illegal back in "the good 'ol days." Ty Cobb never bet on baseball or threatened players' careers in the middle of games by constantly going into bases spikes up, Gaylord Perry never rubbed vasoline on the top of his hat, Hank Aaron never took amphetamines. Real ballplayers threw back a bottle of whiskey each day and did pushups till their all-natural muscles couldn't bear to lift them anymore.

We get it. You guys were magnificent, incorruptible creatures. Let's move on.

Mark McGwire's rejection by the voters so far suggests that Sosa, his sidekick from the 1998 home run record chase, can hold off on writing an induction speech. But veterans won't get a say on this generation's integrity or Hall of Fame credentials for at least 15 years. Until then, the call belongs to a group of sportswriters.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if I'd vote Sosa in anyways. His numbers are good, but don't let those 609 home runs fool you too much (that sounds like a downright idiotic statement, I know). It's a tough call. That's a satirical banter for another day, though.

The old-timers, however, do have a solution. The Hall's Veterans Committee can make a statement about steroids and home runs without rushing to judgment or even punishing a single player. In fact, this solution is a feel-good maneuver: Bring Roger Maris into Cooperstown.

That's your "feel-good maneuver"? Complicating an already complicated voting process by letting in a player who isn't even remotely worthy? To whom would this make feel good? Yankee fans? Billy Crystal? Barry Pepper? Can I ask any more questions in a single paragraph? No?

His record of 61 home runs can never be restored. It's impossible, even though the report on Sosa supported a very strong suspicion that no one in major-league baseball ever hit 62 home runs in a season without chemically inflating his muscles.
There's simply not enough proof to strip the statistics from the three men who surpassed Maris a total of six times: Barry Bonds, McGwire and Sosa. But the Veterans Committee can rewrite history, cleaning up some of the damage left by other, very negligent guardians of the game.

I agree, there's not enough proof to strip the statistics and records from McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds. Is there enough proof that Roger Maris is deserving of being inducted into the Hall of Fame? Thus far I have seen no such evidence. The only support for induction that's been given is one season. Better yet, ONE STATISTIC from that season.

The committee has repeatedly rebuffed Maris, whom the sportswriters also snubbed. But his 1961 season deserves a fresh look. Can anyone argue that it isn't more impressive today than it was in the entire 37 years that Maris held the home run record?

Eh, I actually think it would be more impressive if the mark were set today, seeing as the game has expanded quite a bit since the cool whiskey-wielding 60s. Also, it is hilarious--and at the same time extremely aggravating-- that she says Maris has been "snubbed" by the sportswriters. This man has a career WAR worse than Julio Franco, Tony Fernandez, Devon White and even--gasp-- JIM RICE! Yeah, I went there.

So far, Maris' overall career totals have been the impediment to induction. He finished with 275 home runs and a .260 batting average over 12 seasons, numbers that don't warrant a place in Cooperstown.


Why is this article being written again? Oh, that's right, to convince us that Maris deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Maris' claim to a plaque would be that one magical summer. Yes, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 1960 and '61 should count for something, but the 61 home runs are his ticket.

To say that Roger Maris being inducted into the Hall of Fame would be a grave injustice is an understatement. Nay, if Maris were inducted it would serve as the SINGLE GREATEST MOCKERY IN THE HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS!... Okay, so I followed up an understatement with a slight exaggeration. I'll leave it up to you to find the middle ground.

The committee already has admitted several people with career statistics that don't overshadow Maris'.

I literally just looked up every single non-negro league player ever voted in by the Veterans Committee. Overall, there are roughly about 100 (yeah, it took me a while). Since WARP from BP is the only thing that goes back far enough it will be used as the main tool of comparison. Out of all of those Hall of Famers, I found five with a career WARP3 total less than that of Roger Maris. I will now list those five players, along with a modern day player who's overall career production mirror that same player. Here we go:

Hall of Famer (Modern Day Player)

Tommy McCarthy (Scott Podsednik)
Heinie Manush (Adam Kennedy)
Rube Marquard (A.J. Pierzynski)
Chick Hafey (Cliff Floyd)
George Kelly (Mark Kotsay)

Yup, that's right, voting in Roger Maris would be saying that he is slightly better than an Oakland A's second baseman with a .329 Career OBP and a .260 Career EQA (Kennedy). And for that this man deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

I grew up listening to Richie Ashburn do Phillies radio broadcasts and knowing that he was my mother's favorite player, so I should be pretty biased. But Ashburn does not belong in Cooperstown any more than Maris does. He was a .308 hitter with a .396 on-base average, and he was a beloved announcer. But he didn't hit for power, didn't steal many bases and never finished higher than seventh in the MVP balloting.

Richie Ashburn... You chose RICHIE ASHBURN. I gave you five perfectly awful-as-shit players, and you decided to settle with Richie Ashburn??? Tommy McCarthy compiled a 15.9 Career WARP3 over 13 seasons. That's right, he averaged a WARP3 of 1.2 per season. In fact, in six of his thirteen seasons he had a negative impact in production (including a season in which he was worth -5.5 wins!). And yet, you did not choose this man. Nope, instead you decided to go with someone who is widely considered to be one of the best centerfielders of all time. Let's see how this comparison holds up:

Career WARP3
Ashburn- 76.2
Maris- 34.6

Best 5 Year Stretch
Ashburn- 35.8 ('51-'55)
Maris- 23.1 ('60-'64)

Career OBP
Ashburn- .396
Maris- .345

Ashburn's five year peak was more valuable than Maris' entire career. Yup, the only way this would have been a good comparison is if back in 1952 little boy Richie had decided to call it quits after his first few seasons in the big leagues. Unfortunately for this article, though, history was not nice to its credibility. There are hundreds of players in the Hall of Fame. A handful of them probably don't deserve to be there, but I am of the opinion that Ashburn is definitely not one of them.

Some people might argue that drugs were around in Maris' day. But even the earliest steroid users lifted weights, a practice most baseball players mocked well into the '70s, saying it would damage their swings.

So now Roger Maris should be rewarded because of a common misconception throughout baseball prior to the 1970s? Okay, I'm cool with that. Although, to be fair, we must now include all the pitchers who didn't throw a split-finger for the first 100 years of baseball, because the pitch had not yet been invented. Let's be just here, people!

My favorite part of the article comes here at the very end: Maris' plus and minuses.



Oh man. I'm excited. Are you excited? I'm excited.

-- Did not do steroids

I would venture a guess that there are over 100,000 players that have met this same criteria.

-- Two-time AL MVP (1960, '61)

Eh, that's pretty cool, I guess. But you're still only citing two seasons, and it's debatable whether or not he deserved those MVP's in the first place.

-- 61 home runs in a season, breaking Babe Ruth's record. All who have surpassed Maris have been linked to steroids.

One season. This entire article is basically endorsing Maris' Hall of Fame candidacy on one season. He had a .372 On-Base Percentage in that season.


Here we go. By now I think I could write a fuckin novel on "Maris Minuses."

-- 275 home runs and a .260 batting average over 12 seasons.

That's the end of the article... I am now going to watch the movie "*61" so that Barry Pepper can make me not hate Roger Maris.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wins Are A Very Valuable Statistic For Pitcher Evaluation

Exhibit A:

Colorado Rockies pitcher, Alan Embree, didn't even have to throw a single pitch in order to pick up the win in Tuesday's game against the Nationals.

I know the Nationals are bad and all, but you should have to throw a goddamn pitch in order to get a win. I vote for a rule change. Either make it necessary that a pitcher has to throw a pitch before they can be considered the pitcher of record, or get rid of win/loss records for pitchers altogether.

I would vote for the latter.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Three Months Awards

AL MVP- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, Roy Halladay

AL Cy Young- Zack Greinke, KCR
Honorable Mention: Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez

NL MVP- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Tim Lincecum, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez

NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum, SFG
Honorable Mention: Dan Haren, Javier Vazquez, Josh Johnson

AL Hank Aaron- Kevin Youkilis, BOS
Honorable Mention: Russell Branyan, Ben Zobrist, Justin Morneau

NL Hank Aaron- Albert Pujols, STL
Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez

AL Reliever of the Year- Andrew Bailey, OAK
Honorable Mention: J.P. Howell, Joe Nathan, David Aardsma

NL Reliever of the Year- Jonathan Broxton, LAD
Honorable Mention: Rafael Soriano, Heath Bell, Brian Wilson

AL Rookie of the Year- Brett Gardner, NYY
Honorable Mention: Elvis Andrus, Nolan Reimold

NL Rookie of the Year- Colby Rasmus, STL
Honorable Mention: Seth Smith, Casey McGehee

AL Least Valuable Player- Vernon Wells, TOR
Dishonorable Mention: Orlando Cabrera, Jose Guillen

NL Least Valuable Player- Brian Giles, SDP
Dishonorable Mention: Garret Atkins, Jimmy Rollins

AL Cy Yuk- Kyle Davies, KCR
Dishonorable Mention: Armando Galarraga, Trevor Cahill

NL Cy Yuk- Josh Greer, SDP
Dishonorable Mention: Bronson Arroyo, David Bush

-AL Gold Gloves-
P- Bradley Bergesen, BAL
C- Jason Varitek, BOS
1B- Paul Konerko, CHW
2B- Placido Polanco, DET
3B- Joe Crede, MIN
SS- Marco Scutaro, TOR
OF- David DeJesus, KCR
OF- Nelson Cruz, TEX
OF- Franklin Gutierrez, SEA

-NL Gold Gloves-
P- Aaron Cook, COL
C- Bengie Molina, SFG
1B- Adrian Gonzalez, SDP
2B- Brandon Phillips, CIN
3B- Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
SS- Jack Wilson, PIT
OF- Nyjer Morgan, WAS
OF- Matt Kemp, LAD
OF- Colby Rasmus, STL

-AL Silver Sluggers-
C- Joe Mauer, MIN
1B- Russell Branyan, SEA
2B- Aaron Hill, TOR
3B- Evan Longoria, TBR
SS- Jason Bartlett, TBR
OF- Ben Zobrist, TBR
OF- Torii Hunter, LAA
OF- Ichiro Suzuki, SEA

-NL Silver Sluggers-
P- Dan Haren, ARI
C- Brian McCann, ATL
1B- Albert Pujols, STL
2B- Chase Utley, PHI
3B- David Wright, NYM
SS- Hanley Ramirez, FLO
OF- Raul Ibanez, PHI
OF- Ryan Braun, MIL
OF- Carlos Beltran, NYM

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reynolds Recall Part II

In case you missed it the first time around, this is Harold Reynolds commenting on the apparent absurdity of the baseball predictions system PECOTA--back in February:

"There aint no way Albert (Pujols) is getting 133 RBI's with that club. It aint happenin!"

Well, Harold, when we last addressed this Pujols was on pace to shatter the projection. Since then he's slowed down a bit, but I'm still satisfied with the results over the first 70 games.

Total: 68 RBI (1st in ML)
Current Pace: 156 RBI

Do you still think the old man in the straw hat could do a better job?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lineup Malfunction?

I'm watching the Dodgers/Angels game tonight and I notice something unusual: Matt Kemp is batting ninth. I thought this to be rather strange because I was fairly certain he was having a pretty good year. So I paused Battlestar Galactica, rolled over on my mother's couch, put on my reading glasses (they almost broke recently, by the way, luckily I was able to save them with some masking tape), saved my World of Warcraft game, and did some good 'ol statistical investigating on the computer. Here's what I found:

.381 WOBA
125 OPS+
18 SB (85%)

I'm dumb-founded on this one guys. Maybe Torre thought HCG'd-out Manny Ramirez was occupying spots #1-8? Either that or he confused Kemp's stats with that of Furcal (246/.325/.333) or Loney (.279/.345/.374) or Mark Freakin Loretta (.244/.354/.280). My most educated guess would be that he called up Dusty Baker before the game and asked him for suggestions.

Thoughts? I know I'm missing some obvious explanations.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Intangibilistic Infatuations

Okay, "intangiblistic" isn't technically a word, but role with me on this. More than any other sport, Major League Baseball seems to be the most attractive for pointing out the "intangibles" of a player. Perhaps it's the history of the game, perhaps it's the poetry (am I right, Plaschke?), or perhaps it's the fact that it's been forever dubbed America's National Pastime. The fact is that very seldom does someone who is very good at their job get recognized for what they actually do well. Chase Utley is a prime example of this.

Today, in June, Rick Sutcliffe will attempt to explain why Utley is emerging as the next MVP candidate on the Phillies. That's right, it is never too early to start MVP talk, even when there's three and half months left in the season.

The Phillies might have another MVP on their hands. Ryan Howard won the MVP award in 2006 and Jimmy Rollins won it in 2007, but it's another name from the Phillies' lineup that comes to my mind for the 2009 National League MVP trophy.

Chase Utley is one of the most--if not the most--underrated players in all of baseball. The fact that he's never even come close to winning an MVP is pretty mind-boggling when you consider the numbers he's put up the past four seasons:

2005- 7.4 WAR (T-3rd in NL)
2006- 6.8 WAR (4th in NL)
2007- 8.0 WAR (2nd in NL)
2008- 8.1 WAR (2nd in NL)

You could very easily make a case that this man has been the best player in baseball since 2005. And yet, twice he has been deemed to not even be the best on his own team. Anyways, the point is that recognition for Chase Cameron Utley is long overdue.

Also, this is an MVP article in June.

No, not Raul Ibanez, although his numbers obviously have been very impressive so far and he certainly could get consideration come award season. The guy I'm focused on right now for MVP is second baseman Chase Utley. When you talk to the team, the name mentioned most often when you are talking about what manager Charlie Manuel calls "special players" is Utley's.

Cool. They say he's "special" because of his great defense, right? Or perhaps the fact that he is continually able to produce far better offensively (defense, too) than any other second basemen in the game?

(Sidenote: Does anyone else think it's weird that Sutcliffe ended the paragraph with "Utley's"?)

Utley is special. Obviously, the fans have known this for a while. He is leading the National League votes for the All-Star Game and has been voted to start the past three All-Star Games. Look at his offensive numbers (.309, 15 homers, 44 RBIs, 47 runs scored) and you notice he is strong in all categories, especially when you consider those numbers are coming from a middle infielder. Utley, however, did go 0-for-4 Wednesday in the Phillies' loss to the Blue Jays.

Alright, we got our first mention of stats. Albeit they aren't really beneficial at all for evaluation, but stats nonetheless. So, Sutcliffe, what else makes this guy really valuable?

What makes his performance even more special is the fact that he is coming off extensive hip surgery in the offseason. Right around the start of May 2008, he started feeling pain in that hip, but he somehow gutted through the rest of the year all the way through October. This guy is tough; he could have been a really good boxer.

He could have been a really good boxer..... I feel like Manny Pacquiao would be extremely insulted by Sutcliffe's apparent ignorance as to just how much pain an everyday boxer is forced to endure. Oh, and this is still an MVP article in the middle of June.

We know he can take a punch. He has those lightning-quick hands that he shows off all the time in batting practice. Coaches and players talk about his tremendous strength from the elbows down, and that gives Utley the ability to take the bat anywhere in the zone at any time. That is part of why he is so successful at the plate. As with Howard, Utley's defense is getting better each and every year.

First of all, I can't believe that you are continuing to compare the characteristics of a Major League Baseball Player to that of a freakin boxer. A BOXER. A man who gets punched in the face, ribs, sternum, collarbone, and abdomen for a living (among other things). Also, while Utley's defense has been utterly awesome throughout the course of his career, he's been rather subpar so far this season. His 0.6 UZR ranks 11th among all second basemen, his .825 RZR is 13th, and his 15 OOZ are good for 12th. History tells us these numbers are going to rise by season's end, but it would seem as though he's most likely not going to match the defensive prowess he obtained last season. By the way, you'd be hard-pressed to find any evidence that suggests Utley's defense is "getting better each and every year". His amazing defensive display in 2005 pretty much shoots down this theory. I hate it when writers say things just to say them. C'mon Sutcliffe, you should know by now that there are entire blogs dedicated to scrutinizing stupid shit sportswriters put out on a daily basis. We live in our mothers' basements, we will find you. Trust me, we have nothing better to do.

I should mention that my mother's basement does have a calendar, though, and it says we're in the month of June, and yet I'm reading an article about the candidacy of a player for MVP...Weird.

But something that was said a few years back really illustrated just how special Utley is. His former teammate, Aaron Rowand, paid him the ultimate compliment by saying Utley was everything you could ask for in a teammate, a friend, a husband, a father and a man. To me, that says everything you need to know about the guy.

How to score big points with Rick Sutcliffe so he writes a column about you deserving to be an MVP candidate:

Step #1- Become his friend.
Step #2- Become a woman's BOYfriend, propose to her until she says yes, and then proceed to marry her.
Step #3- Make a baby with said wife (or perhaps someone else instead, it would appear that either are acceptable).
Step #4- Possess both the X and Y chromosomes.

We are five paragraphs into this column and the only tangible evidence brought forth for Utley's MVP candidacy were four statistics--if you can really call them that-- which were mentioned in parenthesis. Instead, Sutcliffe has opted to go more in depth about boxing and how hitting a baseball with a bad hip is like getting punched in the face by Floyd Mayweather.

It's so hard to repeat as champions, but a lot of people think that, at least on paper, this year's team is better than last year's Phillies. That's an awfully big compliment, considering the 2008 squad won 92 games and the World Series. There are two big reasons people are saying this group is better: The Phillies added Ibanez to the lineup, and, at least so far, it appears they are headed toward an entire season with a healthy Utley. Every special team has at least a couple of special players. Utley certainly fills that role for the Phillies.

Believe it or not, that is the end of the column. Rick "Red Baron" Sutcliffe took time out of thousands of humans' lives to say absolutely nothing... in about 483 words. I think we've all learned a few things here today: first, don't read columns that have the word "MVP" in them until September. Second, don't read Rick Sutcliffe columns that have words in them. And third, Chase Utley sadly remains one of the most underrated players in the game--at least for what he does on the field. He is, however, becoming more and more recognized for being a great four-tool teammate (friend, husband, father, man). I guess that's a start.