The Greatest Game

Saturday, June 12, 2004

A post about a non-Yankee team? Yes! 

Can you believe it? When I first started this blog back in December, I wanted it to be primarily a blog about baseball, and secondarily a blog about the Yankees. Well, in the offseason, that worked out pretty well, but as the season started, I blogged mostly (if not exclusively) about the Yankees. Well, I'm breaking out of the rut!

In case all you millions of readers didn't know, I live in Atlanta, Georgia. Actually, I live in the city of Decatur literally right across the street from the city of Atlanta. I've lived here a pretty long time. How long you ask? Well, when I moved here (from Brooklyn via Long Island) the Braves were bad! Yes, you heard it right, the Braves sucked when I first moved here (in 1990). Jeff Blauser, Jim Presley, Lonnie Smith, Dale Murphy, Oddibe McDowell, Ernie Whitt, and a group of very young pitchers (23, 24 years old) names Smoltz, Avery & Glavine. They were 65-97 that year. Ouch. I remember walking up at game time and getting a seat 10 rows behind home plate for cheap. That was also the year that Bobby Cox became manager part of the way through the season. Since then, they've finished first place in their division in every year that wasn't the 1994 strike-shortened season.

I didn't really start writing this evening to talk about the old days. I started this entry to talk about the Braves of 2004. No one expected them to do well this season, and, well, they really aren't. But they aren't doing half bad, either. Right now they are at .500, which isn't too shabby considering they started the season with no pitching and no offense other than the Jones brothers. They lost a TON of offense this offseason, and they didn't do anything to enhance their anemic pitching. But something has happened with the pitching this year, as it does every year. Cast offs are getting a second life. Take a look at Jaret Wright - he's been a total scrubeenie every since his first season or two. What is he doing now? 3.54 ERA. Not shabby. And John Thomson? 3.86 ERA. Not shabby, either. Haracio Ramirez, who has missed 3 or so starts this year, has a 2.28 ERA (in 59 innings). Damn! Not a bad threesome, eh? Russ Ortiz is eating up innings and has a respectable 4.08 ERA. Of course, they are still stuck with Mike Hampton and his 5.32 ERA. He really needs to put out of our misery and moved out of the starting rotation. The Braves have a team ERA of 3.78, fourth in the NL behind the Mets, SD, and Montreal. The Mets and Montreal?!?!?! Yikes! That fact is a hard one to swallow. Of course the Braves are 10th in the NL in runs scored, since they did absolutely nothing this offseason to replace the lost offense. (BTW, Montreal is in dead last in runs scored, which explains their dismal season even with the 3rd best staff in the NL.)

Well, that brings to a close my post on the Braves. What they really need is to get Giles healthy again, and then acquire SOMEONE who can hit the ball. And they need JD Drew to stay healthy.

(P.S. Millwood for Estrada doesn't look like too horrible a deal right now, eh? Estrada is batting .346 with an OPS of .941 and is the Braves everyday catcher. And he makes $312,500 this year. Millwood? He has a 4.85 ERA and is making $11,000,000 this year. Not a bad trade at all.)
# posted by shawn : 6/12/2004 06:01:00 PM -


Well, nothing really needs to be said about last nights 10-2 whupping that the Yankees got. It seems that once Mussina got hurt, Torre decided that the game wasn't all that important. Leaving Heredia in for that long was painful. It must have hurt Torre at least as much as it hurt all of us. And what can be said for Gabe White. Both those guys should be shipped out ASAP. They are already at the back of the bullpen, but they really need to be put on a slow boat to China. Bring up Graman for middle relief. Claim a scrub off waivers. SOMETHING! Just because they're lefties doesn't mean you have to keep them. They can't even get lefties out, so the hell with them! When Karsay comes back next month, one of them better be gone, though I don't know which I despise more - Heredia or White.

Oh yeah, and Mussina's groin. What's with all the groin injuries? Hopefully he'll be ok for his next start. He was pitching well before he had to come out of the game. It looks like he's recaptured his stuff. My fingers are crossed that this early exit and his strained groin don't interrupt his routine to the point where he loses all his gains from the past month.
# posted by shawn : 6/12/2004 09:48:00 AM -

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Stolen Bases - new Random Stat 

Looky, looky! The 2nd new Random Stat this week! I can't believe it!!! After poking around with more fielding stats, I decided to go with an old stand-by: SB & SB% over the past 3 years. Nothing fancy, but it's nice to see the percentages next to the number of bases stolen. Only a couple of small things to comment on - DAMN Beltran is a great base stealer! I knew he was a great base stealer, but every time I see his percentages, I'm amazed. I think I heard that it's the highest percentage ever. EVER. And someone needs to call up Luis Castillo and tell him to stop trying to pretend he's a base stealer, cause he's not. He sucks. Everyone else is in the low to mid 70's.

- Addendum -
Since I'm posting a new Random Stat list, I'm appending the list mentioned in the above post right here.

Player SB CS SB%
1 Juan Pierre 158 49 76%
2 Ichiro Suzuki 121 37 77%
3 Alfonso Soriano 119 35 77%
4 Carlos Beltran 107 12 90%
5 Luis Castillo 102 50 67%
6 Jimmy Rollins 97 33 75%
7 Alex Sanchez 95 40 70%
8 Roger Cedeno 94 28 77%
9 Eric Young 90 37 71%
10 Bobby Abreu 89 35 72%
# posted by shawn : 6/10/2004 09:30:00 PM -

Stros Blog plug 

I'd like to welcome Lisa of The Dugout to my very short list of blogs over there to the left. Apparently she and I are in agreement over the fact that the old Astros orange rainbow uniforms were their best uniforms ever. Oh yeah, here's a plug for her favorite player.
# posted by shawn : 6/10/2004 09:10:00 PM -

Talk about bad timing! 

I'm going to be in San Francisco - one of my favorite cities in the US - on business (JavaOne Conference) from June 28 through July 1 and guess what!!! The Giants are out of town the entire week. They are back in town on July 2, but I'm flying out in the morning. Blerp!!! I'm not very happy with the poor timing, but what can you do, eh?
# posted by shawn : 6/10/2004 03:56:00 PM -

my blog stats and Yankee relievers 

Ever since I took that month off at the beginning of the season, my blog stats have taken a huge hit from what I was at during the offseason. I had been hovering in the mid-teens (yes, 15 hits per day ): but now I've broken into the low to mid-20's. Baby steps. The more I write and the more I contribute to other blogs via comments, etc. the more traffic I will get. I just wanted to thank those people who have been coming around lately. So, thanks!

Oh yeah, Bret Prinz had another great day: 1-2/3 innings, no hits, one walk, 2 strike outs. He had to come in and rescue Gabe White who sucks moose balls this year. He really shouldn't be allowed to pitch unless we're losing by 10-12 runs in the very very late innings. He and Heredia should be cut. But with Prinz & Sturtze (more Prinz than Sturtze), it looks like the Yankees might have some viable alternatives to burning out their Big Three Relievers. I'm not saying that these two should be pitching the 8th inning of a one run game, but Prinz has definately earned some more innings with his performance this season.

I just hope that if he (or Sturtze for that matter) have a bad outing and give up a run or two, that it doesn't prevent Torre from using them in close games from that point out.
# posted by shawn : 6/10/2004 03:30:00 PM -

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Further deconstruction of Joe Morgan's chat 

You all know how much I hate Joe Morgan and his "commentary" so here is a further deconstruction by Mike at Mike's Baseball Rants of something that I brought up here and here a week or so ago.
# posted by shawn : 6/09/2004 05:52:00 PM -

Cuban star defects to the US 

Apparently one of Cuba's biggest up-and-coming baseball stars - Kendry Morales - has defected to the US. He's a RF/2B/1B who his .391 with 9 HR in the 2003 Cuban baseball season.

Here's the thing: as far as I understand things, since he defected to the US, he'll have to go into the next amateur draft (364 days from now). Why didn't he defect to another country? Of course, the US is the closest country for him and probably the easiest to sneak off to, but the other Cuban defectors in recent years went to another country, got a visa, then they were able to negotiate huge contracts with whatever team they wanted to go to. Now it looks like he's stuck with whatever team drafts him - his contract leverage is going to be quite small.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the situation. I'll have to do some further investigation on this.
# posted by shawn : 6/09/2004 03:18:00 PM -

Yankees' draft rundown 

Fabian put together a nice little review of the first 5 picks of the Yankees' draft. Go and take a look. Don't forget to read the comments, too - there are a couple little extra pieces of info there.
# posted by shawn : 6/09/2004 08:31:00 AM -

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

New Random Stats 

Well, tonight we have Total Career Assists By Third Basemen. Everyone should recognize all the names on the list. The one name that stands out for me above the rest is Aurelio Rodriguez. I remember when he came to the Yankees in 1980. He didn't play much, and I remember not thinking much of him at the time, but he really had a long career, mostly with the Tigers. And apparently he was a pretty damn good third baseman. His career Rate2 is 106, but in the main part of his career, he consistently had a Rate2 of 110+ with a high of 114 (in a full season). To put it in perspective, Mike Schmidt has a career Rate2 of 108 with a career high of 115.

And it's a good thing that Aurelio could pick it at the hot corner, because he was a horrible hitter! His career OPS was .626 and his OPS+ was a miserable 76 (with 100 being average). To continue the comparison, Mike Schmidt has a career OPS of .907 and an OPS+ of 147.

If I had a little motivation I would add Rate2 to the chart on the right. That would put the list into a little more perspective.
# posted by shawn : 6/08/2004 07:48:00 PM -

Monday, June 07, 2004

Crazy rumor 

Have you heard this one yet over at foxsports.com?
That's crazy! The Marlins would have to get something more than Contreras (even if the Yanks do pay most of his salary) in return for giving up the necessary prospects for Beltran.
# posted by shawn : 6/07/2004 05:37:00 PM -

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Park Factor @ espn.com 

Have you all seen the Park Factor page at espn.com? This is the first time I've seen it. Maybe I'm a bit behind the times (I usually go to the baseball-reference.com stadium page like this one).

As you can see by the chart, Yankee Stadium is right smack dab in the middle of the pack when it comes to Park Factor. Of course, that doesn't mean that Yankee Stadium is neutral. For Runs Scored, Yankee Stadium ranks a 0.965, which means it favors the pitcher when it comes to runs scored. For home runs, the Stadium is about even (1.007).

Of course Coors Field & Arlington lead the league by far (1.645 & 1.497 respectively), and PETCO & Safeco are at the bottom of the pack for hitters (.769, .743).

As for other pages on espn.com that I've never seen before:
I hope you enjoy it.
# posted by shawn : 6/06/2004 04:48:00 PM -

the Mets' relievers 

There is an EXCELLENT entry over at the raindrop on the Mets' bullpen. He goes to show how Art Howe is a complete and utter idiot when it comes to his relievers. Go and take a read - it has some nice stats for you to sink your teeth into, stuff like VORP/Inning, ARP, and High Leverage %. It's really worth the read.
# posted by shawn : 6/06/2004 04:28:00 PM -