The Greatest Game

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Yankees get another guy to "play" 3B 

Well, it looks like the Yankees really are acquiring anyone and everyone who can (mis)play thirdbase. According to the NY Post, the Yankees went to check Mael Rodriguez (again) and ended up signing his fellow Cuban escapee Yobel Duenas to play 3B at AAA Columbus. Now, in case you forgot, Duenas is a 31 year old second baseman who is a former stolen base king and, according to the Havana Journal:
And over at Baseball America:
What? A Cuban player lying about his age? Say it ain't so! If he can't play second base, how well can we expect him to play third base? One interesting point in the Baseball America article is this:
I hadn't heard that possibility until now. Of course, Mael worked out for the Yankees along with Duernas, and the Yankees signed Duernas, so I'm assuming that the Yankees weren't that impressed with him again. Of course, maybe they liked his latest workout and just need to negotiate a contract with him. Then again, maybe not - I'm not getting my hopes up on this. I know that I initially thought that the Yankees were going to sign Mael as their 6th starter, but that was before I found out that he's only a shadow of his former self. I'm still holding out some small bit of hope that he'll return to close to his 100mph that he threw, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
# posted by shawn : 2/07/2004 10:23:00 PM -

Baseball Stat Site Synopsis 

I ran across this Canadian baseball blog by Jonny German today which I've never seen before and he has a great synopsis of all the online baseball stat sites. He has summaries and charts and lots of stuff comparing what each stat site has and what they're specialties are. I'd go check it out if I were you, it's a great article. I'm going to continue to follow his blog, it looks like he knows what he's talking about (even though he's a Canadian ;).
# posted by shawn : 2/07/2004 11:32:00 AM -

Friday, February 06, 2004

Stats to the Right 

I'm trying out a new little addition in the right column - Random Stats. I'm going to (hopefully every day) post random stats that I find from Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encylopedia. If you don't own it, go buy it. Now.

I apologize for the poor formatting; I'm planning on fixing it soon.

- Addendum -
See, I told you I'd neaten it up.
# posted by shawn : 2/06/2004 08:26:00 PM -

Soriano for Pujols trade denied 

I saw this in two places, but I only remember one of them, so here it is:
What the huh?!?! Supposedly it would be Soriano and top catching prospect Dioner Navarro for Pujols, who is probably going to get a LOT of money in arbitration. Pujols is below average defensively at third base, but I'm sure the Yankees wouldn't care considering the amount of offense that he'd provide (maybe Pujols and Shef could platoon at third base ;). And that would just swap the gaping hole from third base to second base. Cairo at second base does not excite me (neither does Almonte).

I guess if it wasn't for the money, this trade would never have even been imagined. Pujols is the best young hitter in all of baseball (and probably the best overall hitter, if not for Barry), so why would a team ever trade him for someone like Soriano, whose OPS is embarassingly small compared to Pujols' (1.106 to .863). For clarification of how HUGE that gap is, that's the same difference between Soriano and Alex Cora (.863 to .625). And considering that Alex Cora had the 3rd lowest OPS of all players who had the plate appearances to qualify. Who would ever even contemplate such an atrocious trade? Ah, a team strapped for cash, that's who.

- Addendum -
Here is the NY Post article.
# posted by shawn : 2/06/2004 07:30:00 PM -

Neyer on Karros and the A's 

Rob Neyer has a very interesting article on how Eric Karros probably won't help the A's as much as the A's think he's going to. He talks about "y-t-y correlation" (whatever that is) and how you can't discount Karros' poor hitting against righties when figuring out his future hitting against lefties (Karros "mashed" lefties last year but was anemic against righties). The basic gist that Neyer is trying (and does) convey is this:

The next bit explains exactly what Neyer is trying to say:

So, the conclusion is that, yes, Karros WILL help the A's, but only because he's replacing Scott Hatteberg and his "ineffective" bat.

Very interesting. I never really thought about the "weak" split affecting the future of the "strong" split. If that's the case, doesn't that throw all the traditional talk about splits and platoons out the window? How about someone like Houston platooning for the Yankees. We know that he hits righties well, but according to what Neyer is saying, we shouldn't expect him to hit righties as well this year. Neyer also says this:

When you think about it some, of course it makes some sense. I think I just need to think about it some more.
# posted by shawn : 2/06/2004 07:05:00 PM -

Good news for Royals and their fans 

After a good offseason by the Royals, they continue to get good news. Jeremy Affeldt apparently
Affeldt put together a decent year last year with the Royals - one of the few bright spots of their 2003 pitching staff. His ERA was 3.93 with a WHIP of 1.30 in 126 innings (36 games, 18 starts). If he can keep the blisters away he should turn out to be a very good starter for them.
# posted by shawn : 2/06/2004 04:53:00 PM -

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Randy Johnson & miscellany 

How good does Randy Johnson have to be to lead or be at the top to lead or be at the top of this decades pitching stats? Right now you're saying one of two things:
  1. You nincompoop! Who cares? We're only 4 years into this decade! (Stark refers to it as the "2000s" because as you all know this decade started in 2001 and I'm sure Stark didn't want to just include 3 years of stats)

  2. You rube! Jayson Stark wrote that column! Why the heck are you referencing THAT?!?!
Well, to tell the truth, I found it mildly interesting. That, and the Yankees have the #4 & #5 strikeout leaders in this decade in Mussina and Vazquez. Better yet, they are the only 2 of the top 6 SO leaders that haven't missed a lot of time on the DL (Randy, Curt, Pedro & Kerry are 1-4, with Clemens as #7).

And there is another reason. Alex at Bronx Banter has a great comment thread on the Schilling "off the record" mess, Aaron at Aaron's Baseball Blog has a good entry on Joe Mauer, Cliff has an excellent rundown of the Yankees' spring training invitees (large white blogster gap included for free), John at Only Baseball Matters has an interesting read about the Giants' 2004 lineup and why Bonds should bat second, Jay at Futility Infielder has plenty good readin' to do, as do Vinny and Scott including a short blurb about the "former 20-game winner" the Mets just signed.

So you see, what the heck else am I going to write about? All the good stuff has been taken! ;)
# posted by shawn : 2/05/2004 07:30:00 PM -

Schilling "off the record" 

There is a good conversation over at Bronx Banter about a quote that David Pinto from Schilling on the Sons of Horn website. Apparently the quote was supposed to be "off the record" even though it was posted in a public forum on the Internet, which, last I checked, is a pretty public, on-the-record type of place.

I'm willing to post the full quote in protest of them forcing David Pinto to remove the quote from his site. Are there any other bloggers out there willing to join up?
# posted by shawn : 2/05/2004 02:16:00 PM -

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Changed Blog Design 

I've gone and changed the design of my blog. The old design was a basic Blogger template that I chose and didn't give much thought to. Now that I know that this blog of mine is something I want to carry forward and develop, I've chosen a different design. Please bare with me while I iron out the various kinks. And I'm probably not going to keep the colors. Once I find a suitable replacement, I'm going to change those out, but I think I'm satisfied (enough) with the basic design of the site. Let me know what you all think.
# posted by shawn : 2/04/2004 07:35:00 PM -

Clemens to miss games with Astros 

According to Roger himself, he is going to be missing games during the season.

I'm assuming here that he means that he's actually going to miss some of his starts during the season. I wonder how this is going to affect the rest of the team. What ever happened to the "team player" concept? I know that some players (i.e. big stars) get some pretty crazy perks like hotel suites and stuff, but to get permission by the team to actually miss entire games? The Astros are going to have to be creative in their pitching schedule to cover up the holes in their schedule when he's out watching his kids play ball. So charity comes before the team? I understand prior commitments and all that, but this seems like in order to not "disappoint those people" he is going to disappoint his teammates AND all the fans that expect him to give 100% for the entire season.
# posted by shawn : 2/04/2004 05:06:00 PM -

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Myrow ~= Nick 

I can't believe that no one has made a general comparison of Brian Myrow to Nick Johnson. Sure, Myrow has a couple years on him, and Nick has actually PLAYED in the majors, but Myrow has a GREAT eye, gets hit by a lot of pitches, and has a little pop in his bat. He's shown at every level that he is a patient hitter, plus he developed a bit of pop last year at AA Tenton. Oh yeah, Myrow, from reports, can't field that well, kinda like Nick. See! Another similarity! And they are both lefties.

Of course I've never seen him play, and haven't read anything from anyone who has seen him play, so all this is statistical speculation. Oh yeah, I guess one thing not working in favor of the comparison is that Myrow is 5'11 compared to Nick's 6'3.
# posted by shawn : 2/03/2004 11:36:00 AM -

Monday, February 02, 2004

Tigers offseason improvements 

According to the Detroit News, here is a possible starting lineup for the Tigers in 2004:
1. Alex Sanchez CF
2. Fernando Vina 2B
3. Dmitri Young DH
4. Rondell White LF
5. Carlos Pena 1B
6. Ivan Rodriguez C
7. Eric Munson 3B
8. Bobby Higginson RF
9. Carlos Guillen SS
Well, they are benching Craig Monroe (their second best player with 10 Win Shares in 2003) for Bobby Higginson. I guess if Higgy is 100% healthy *AND* returns to old form....nah, Monroe is 26 and only had one full season in the majors and is probably going to get better this year while Higginson, well, he has had 4 consecutive years of declining OPS (.915, .812, .762, .689). But looking at their splits, Monroe, who is a righty, kills lefties, but has trouble with righties. Maybe he'll improve with some more experience, but if he doesn't, then a platoon would be the best idea.

As far as Win Shares goes, here are the old vs. new players:

posnew playernew WSold WSold player

That's 31 extra Win Shares, assuming all else is equal. Please note that Guillen was injured part of the year, but he's a little prone to injuries so I didn't prorate his WS out to a full season, though Vina I did prorate out to a full season. Another thing to note is that Eric Munson will be the everyday third baseman which would double his 7 WS which would be 4 more than the other Detroit third baseman racked up last season. So let's say Detroit will get an extra 35 Offensive Win Shares in 2004. That's worth 12 wins or so.

Jasen Johnson, assuming he pitches like he did last year, is good for an extra 10 Win Shares on his own, or another 3+ wins. And let's take a flier and say that IRod will have a positive effect on the young Detroit pitchers and that they are maturing and becoming better pitchers because of it. You put all those things together, coupled with playing in the easiest division in the majors, and you can make an argument for a change of 19 wins from 2003 to 2004, and if that's the case, then you would have to say that it was a very successful season for the Tigers. Here's my (optimistic) prediction:

2004 Detroit Tigers: 62-100

(I have no idea what the big blank space is doing up there, so please forgive me for it.)
# posted by shawn : 2/02/2004 09:43:00 PM -

Chavez looking to stay in Oakland 

It looks like Eric Chavez is looking to stay in Oakland instead of become a free agent after the 2004 season. And on top of that, he's retained former Oakland pitcher Dave Stewart as his agent to make it happen. Billy Beane apparently likes and respect Dave Stewart, so this could happen.

The Yankees might have one less free agent third baseman they can pursue after the 2004 season. Who would have guessed? Of course with the limited payroll of the A's, it's still entirely possible that Chavez will become a free agent.
# posted by shawn : 2/02/2004 04:30:00 PM -

Sunday, February 01, 2004

A quick synopsis of my baseball history 

Hey, it's Sunday morning and I noticed that I haven't written anything of much substance the past couple days except for a short blurb on Ron Villone. Hey Vinny, thanks for the drunken comment! :) So I thought that on this cold Atlanta morning (well, it's only 32 degrees out, but that's pretty cold for Atlanta) I'd write up a quick little story of my history with baseball.

It all started in 1978 or so (or was it 1977?). My father was a diehard Mets fan since his beloved Bums abandoned him and the rest of Brooklyn. He loved talking about 1969 and Clendenon and Agee and especially Swaboda's miracle catch. So of course I fell in love with the Yankees. Munson, Nettles, Guidry, Chambliss, Randolph, Rivers, well, you guys know them all, I'm sure. I hated Kansas City as much as any life-long Yankee fan. When Brett's home run was upheld in the pinetar incident, I was appalled! Ah, the late 70's and early 80's - it was a good time to be a Yankee fan. Of course we lost to the Dodgers in the World Series, and that was a heart breaker. But then came the slide of the Yankees and the rise of Don Mattingly. And of course Dave Winfield. My neighbor Mike, who ended up becoming the brother I never had, and I talked baseball non-stop. And we still do.

It was 1985 - I was in high school - and a wonderful thing happened. Some guys in my father's office were starting up a Roterisserie Baseball League. I was intrigued! I loved baseball. And I loved stats. It was perfect! There were 12 of us or so gathered in his Manhattan office on a Saturday (or was it Sunday?) with reams of paper and baseball magazines. My father and I researched all the players for weeks before the draft. Eight hours later I had my team. I don't remember much of the team anymore, but I DO remember getting Darrell Evans for something like $3 and he put up some monster numbers that year. 34 HR, 99 RBI, 90 RS. Not bad for a late roster-filling pickup. I also remember picking up Casey Candaele in midseason - we were short on Runs Scored. I loved that guy! He scored us some runs and his batting average was ok, but that's really about it.

And then an odd thing happened. I think it sometime after the 1987 season, maybe early 1988. I bought a little computer game called Earl Weaver's Baseball for my Amiga. This was one of the transforming moments in my baseball history. My friends and I bought a Bill Mazeroski Baseball magazine with all the 1987 stats in it and put in all the players by hand. We also created a rating system to grade each player in the 6 stats: power, contact, speed, arm, range, and there was another one I can't remember right now. Oh yeah, pitchers had power, accuracy and durability. We used K/IP for power, BB/IP for accuracy, and IP for durability. It was wonderful. I was the fastest high school keypad entry person on Long Island. We'd draft teams, play a bunch of games, then draft again. We did this for about 2 years or so. Eventually, we needed better stats so we went to the bookstore and found a baseball stat book that contained split stats. The author's name was Bill James. Earl's (as we used to call it) was that much better with split stats. Need a platoon for thirdbase? How about Kevin Mitchell and Rance Mulliniks? You couldn't get a better hitting platoon in 1987 than those two guys! Mike always went for power, while Bryan always went for a speedy team. Me? I was somewhere in the middle - I liked to have a well-balanced attack with low strikeouts. The highest rated player in Earl's according to our rating system? Kal Daniels (who would NEVER play against lefties) and Eric Davis (34 HR, 50 SB in 474 AB). Don't ask me how Kal Daniels was rated higher than some of the other guys, especially considering his 368 AB, but he was. And he almost always played fantastically. There were innumerable memorable moments while playing Earl's - me being no hit, Darryl Strawberry hitting 4 HR in one game, my 26 inning game against Mike where Chet Lemon beat me with a home run. Ah, the memories. I still have the Amiga *AND* the Earl's disk somewhere, but I'm sure the disk has long since bit the dust.

All this happened during the Yankees' long down time. Then the early 90's came, and the Yankees got worse. I was in Atlanta at this point and the Braves became the powerhouse. I hated the Braves. Still do. All my friends were huge Braves fans, and strangely enough they all told me that they were ALWAYS Braves fans, even when they sucks in the 80's. Yeah, right. If the Braves had that many fans why did they draw 3000 fans per game year after year. They were always Braves fans and I have a bridge to sell you. Mike and I still kept in touch. We'd chat on the phone once in a while and we'd talk about the Yankees for hours on end.

Now I have this blog and I get to share baseball with a whole new set of people, people who understand what baseball means to me. It's not everything, but it is definitely Something. It's something special to all of us. And I don't mean to end on a cheesy note, but it really is The Greatest Game.
# posted by shawn : 2/01/2004 09:43:00 AM -