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 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; 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.