The Good/Bad behind the Second Wild Card

by JohnBowen

With the first season with second Wild Cards in effect, an exciting race is shaping up in the National League. Whereas in years past, the four NL playoff teams would have been decided by the start of the month, this year’s race features the Cardinals, Dodgers, Brewers, Pirates, Phillies, and Diamondbacks all within 5 games with two weeks to play.

With the new races shaping up, has the second wild card hurt or helped baseball?

On the one hand, you can say baseball is worse and just point your fingers at the team’s remaining in the race. These are not elite teams. The Brewers have one of the very worst bullpens in Major League history. The Phillies have a negative run differential and a losing record. The Dodgers are run by Ned Colleti, a man who locked up Juan Uribe through 2013. A couple of these teams punted the season at the trade deadline. And now they’re back in it!

Clearly, this will result in lower quality teams making the playoffs, and inevitably a couple 85-win teams in the World Series. Hardly a desirable situation, right?

On the other hand, these races are exciting for baseball. At least 20% of fanbases in Major League baseball are in a situation where they have something to cheer about when they otherwise wouldn’t have. Maintaining interest in the game and the standings is integral to maintaining baseball’s popularity.

More significantly, however, the second wild card makes winning the division a priority, where it had fallen by the wayside in the divisional era. In 17 years, 5 of the World Series winners were wild cards, as well as 5 of the losing pennant winners. This goes to show what those of us who understand the principal of small samples have said all along: any team that makes it to the post-season has roughly as much of a shot as any other team, given the small sample of those series.

No more with the second wildcard. Wildcard teams are at an inherent disadvantage now, having to play an extra play-in game as well as burn one of their starters before the division series. Winning the division matters again, and that’s great.

Still, good teams are going to be punished. Can you imagine if this system had existed in 2001? The 102-win Oakland A’s would have had to play the 85-win Twins for the wildcard, where they probably would’ve lost because spreadsheets don’t play baseball (or something). Seriously? Did that team not earn an outright playoff berth, just because the Mariners won 116? Did the Twins actually earn a shot?

And what’ve the races last year? Last year’s final day of the season was some of the most exciting baseball that any of us have gotten to witness, as it culminated with the Rays and Cardinals surpassing the Red Sox and Braves respectively. With today’s system, all of those teams would have made it.

So – call me torn. But one thing to remember is that even with the extra team added, baseball remains the most exclusive of the major professional American sports when it comes to the post-season. What do you think? Has Bud Selig found a good balance between excitement and exclusivity? Did he have it right before? Or should we just have the Yankees and Dodgers play each other every year, like the good old days?

164 Responses to “The Good/Bad behind the Second Wild Card”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Thankyou, John.

    I apologize for hijacking on the first comment, but the other one is too long.

    Don’t know if you saw this, (I didn’t until yesterday)

    In the 7th inning of the Red Sox game on Sunday, Bobby Valentine pulled Iglesias for a pinch-hitter…with a 2-2 count!

    Daniel Nava grounded out on the first pitch (he’s credited with the AB), then got yanked himself for Mike Aviles defensively.

    Jerry Remy is the analyst on Sox TV broadcasts and he said it was the first time in his pro career he had seen that.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_16_bosmlb_tormlb_1&mode=gameday

  2. Chuck Says:

    The SF Chronicle reported the Giants will not re-instate Melky Cabrera regardless of how far they get in the post-season.

    He will not be allowed in the clubhouse, dugout, in uniform, etc.

  3. Raul Says:

    The one-game playoff is a bit more fair.
    I don’t have a problem with this system. But the playoff scheduling remains a major problem. Too many off days. And playing late into October is not ideal.

    Cut games. Schedule doubleheaders. Start the season earlier.

    Do something. Anything so that teams don’t have to wear ski masks while playing baseball.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Yanks sending Dellin Betances to AFL.

    As Delgrippo said, now I can see in person how much he sucks.

  5. Raul Says:

    Hahaha

    They just don’t want to give up on him. But he’s got…7…8 years in the minors?

  6. Bob Says:

    Chuck, in general how many AFL games do you see each fall?

  7. Bob Says:

    The Mets are open to trading Ike Davis.

  8. Chuck Says:

    No words.

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2012/09/18/yunel-escobar-homophobic-slur-under-investigation-by-mlb/

  9. Chuck Says:

    Depends on how the schedule works out, Bob.

    Last year was very favorable for me, Surprise played at home pretty much every Tuesday, which is my day off from work..this year they don’t have any Tuesday home games.

    Last year I saw 19..this year probably not more than ten or so.

  10. JohnBowen Says:

    In either the 1999 or 2000 playoffs, I remember Valentine pulling a pitcher (who I don’t think was hurt) in the middle of an at-bat. Same, crazy concept. Dude’s a little out there.

  11. Lefty33 Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/sports/football/steve-sabol-creative-force-behind-nfl-films-dies-at-69.html?pagewanted=all

    RIP Steve Sabol

  12. Bob Says:

    @ 10 Which is why he probably will be canned shortly after October 3rd.

  13. Mike Felber Says:

    I really tend to be conservative w/how many teams can be permitted in the PS, though the 1 game playoff & advantages to a division winner do counterbalance that. I agree Raul that they should do those things to tighten up the length of the season. If it did not disrupt another conservative principle (ironic for me I know)about maintaining historical continuity, I would consider limiting how many IP & games a pitcher can have in the PS.

    In fact if I could be persuaded that it significantly increased the odds of the best team winning, I would go to the ancient 9, maybe even an 11 game WS at least.

  14. Chuck Says:

    “I would consider limiting how many IP & games a pitcher can have in the PS.”

    Not a very good idea.

    “I would go to the ancient 9, maybe even an 11 game WS at least.”

    That one is worse.

    Here’s an idea, instead of playing a nine game WS to increase chances of winning, why not have your best pitchers pitch more often?

    Seriously, does anyone here honestly think Stephen Strasburg would even remotely consider signing with Washington long-term after this shut-down fiasco?

  15. Bob Says:

    1. Verlander, Sale and Felix all pitch today.

  16. Raul Says:

    The Orioles have called up Dylan Bundy.

  17. Chuck Says:

    Interesting.

  18. Bob Says:

    The Orioles just played 18 innings. Solid move by them.

  19. Raul Says:

    Maybe this Orioles team has some parallels with Showalter’s 90s Yankees.

    I’m not sure if this means Baltimore needs to fire him to win a World Series.

  20. Bob Says:

    Baltimore will have the executive of the year and possibly the MOY. Which leads to this question:

    1. Showalter?
    2. Melvin?
    3. Ventura?
    4. Maddon is out, even if the Rays make the playoffs

  21. Bob Says:

    Miguel Cabrera could win the triple crown.

  22. Raul Says:

    Miguel Cabrera could win the triple crown and not win MVP.

  23. Bob Says:

    Anything is possible. The Tigers could have the Cy and the MVP and miss the playoffs.

  24. Bob Says:

    Also, Reno trounced Pawtucket and Max Scherzer left his start early with shoulder fatigue.

  25. Raul Says:

    If Cabrera does get the Triple Crown…does he deserve the MVP?

  26. Chuck Says:

    Rosenthal said something on the TV game on Sunday which I didn’t catch all of (because, you know, he was talking), but he said it’s rare for a player to win two MVP categories and not win the award. (Conversation was about Josh Hamilton).

    I don’t know how true that is, and, again, grain of salt with the source, but Cabrera should win with two, and is a solid gold lock if he wins the TC.

  27. Chuck Says:

    Then again, the question wasn’t WILL he win it, but does he DESERVE to win it, and my answer would be yes.

    The two best players in the league play for non-playoff teams, and since that’s not relevant anyway….

    Trout would still be my first choice, and Hamilton second, but I’d have no problem if Cabrera won it.

  28. Raul Says:

    Nardi Contreras is 51.
    Jim Abbott is 45.
    Gio Gonzalez is 27.
    Ron Lolich, cousin of Mickey Lolich is 65.
    Bob Turley is 82.
    Joe Morgan is 69.
    Duke Snider would have been 86 today. He died last year in February.

  29. Bob Says:

    @ 25. Possibly. Is that milkwarm enough for you?

  30. Raul Says:

    When Alex Rodriguez steps in the box, man he looks intimidating. Like he is going to crush one 430 feet.

    Then he will get a 91 mph fastball that he is just a bit off on, then ends up striking out when the pitcher regroups to make a great pitch.

    If anyone wants to see how a fraction of a second makes the difference between a line drive and a weak out, watch A-Rod.

    Personally, I think hitters need to cheat a bit more as they age. Alex used to own the entire field of play but someone should tell him to pick a side of the plate and go with it. He could use a little more “Gary Sheffield” in his swing. Just rip em inside and take your walks as they nibble on the outside corner. His BA will dip, but screw it.

  31. Raul Says:

    Lol if anyone is having warm milk at night, it’s the fans in New England.

  32. Chuck Says:

    No stride.

    Stop the leg kick and just toe tap like Granderson does.

  33. Chuck Says:

    “Lol if anyone is having warm milk at night, it’s the fans in New England.”

    And the nipple they’re sucking from ain’t human, either.

  34. Bob Says:

    Less contoversial than a night of cold beer and hot fried chicken. Though not nearly as tasty.

  35. Bob Says:

    Yup, I still use sippy cups.

  36. Mike Felber Says:

    I appreciate an opinion Shuck, but to carry weight beyond those who may already agree, there needs to be some evidence presented, at least an argument of some sort.

    If pitchers should throw more-& I agree in general, though no pitch counts ever is too extreme-that does not solve the problem of making it more likely the best team wins.

    I would have starters throw more often & taken out sooner. That would get at more total IP, & when they are more effective & fresh. Then have long relievers mop up, 1 closer as necessary, but good relievers throw more.

    You truncated my quote so as to negate my clear & intended meaning. I would NOT bar pitchers from throwing more in the PS, due to historical continuity.

    But if an 11 game WS statistically appreciably increases the odds of the best team winning, lets do it. Promote this fact & the games. Up to 4 more potential games can be offset by the measure Raul suggests.

  37. Mike Felber Says:

    The NL triple crown conundrum is a good question. Why must a 3x Crown player get the award. USUALLY he is the best. But we know that RBIs do nothing to give a good idea independently in showing how productive a player is-average is important, but OBP more so, & HRs have much value. But adding up these stats is a poor way to say exactly how good a man is even offensively.

    Now if you have a player having a clearly more productive year, at least when you factor in strengths & deficits in defense & base running, I think it is your responsibility to give it to that man.

    Trout has clearly been more valuable, even in a shorter year. Though the best argument for Melky instead, certainly if the trend continues, is their relative production as the pennant race heats up.

    Cabrera for September: .373/.426/.797 1.223
    Trout for September: .274/.375/.403/.778

  38. Bob Says:

    4 more games in November, when people vote ( or should) every 2 years? Sorry Mike, October is for Mr. Baseball. November is for pro and college footbal, hockey and elections and turkey. Yup, I omitted basketball and baseball. Heck, if you live in the real North, November can be for building shanties and ice-fishing.

  39. Raul Says:

    How many times does it need to be said that RBI are not meaningless?

    Nobody said Trout shouldn’t get the MVP.
    In fact, everyone here says he is likely the front runner.

    But winning the triple crown is a pretty big fucking deal.
    It’s probably the biggest accomplishment short of winning the World Series.

  40. Chuck Says:

    Mike, you’re an old fart like me and would assumedly have some recollection to the days when pitchers didn’t wear tampons on the mound.

    To advocate pitch counts or innings limited is dumb.

    Pitchers get hurt because they don’t throw enough, not because they throw too much.

    Unwritten rule #4,257..never pull your starter when he’s throwing a SHO. If the Tigers are up 10-0 in the fifth, Verlander stays in until he gives up a run..then he’s done.

    If it’s 1-0, he’s pitching longer than that.

    The game we’re currently playing is the only one I care about winning.

    If you’re playing game one and you’re worried about winning game four then it’s pretty likely you won’t see game seven.

  41. Chuck Says:

    RBI are not meaningless…they give a direct correlation to production.

    If you want to sit and do a break down of opportunities and lineup contexts then you need to get a life.

    If you need wOBA or WAR or some other nonsensical acronym to justify Cabrera’s 123 ribs, then shame on you.

  42. Mike Felber Says:

    Bob, I specifically endorsed (for the 2nd time) Raul’s ideas for packing more games into the regular & PS. Again, things like less days off, more double headers, could easily more than compensate for up to 4 more potential games.

    Saying something does not make it true Raul. But I did not say RBIs are meaningless. I carefully indicated that they do not give a good idea of just how productive a player is offensively. They are surely correlated, but you know teams, line ups, chance, plays a big part too.

    It would be interesting to see if in all the years when one wins the RBI crown: compare that guy to the guy who is tops (or #2 if the RBI man is tops) in slugging. And see IF the former player is better overall in driving in his runners.

    My guess is that there would be no, or no statistically significant, correlation. Anyway OBP is 1st amongst equals/more important for computing total offensive prowess-you gotta look at runs scored & what leads to them too.

    It is arbitrary that RBIs are in the triple crown stat rather than runs scored.

    Being a big deal does not show how much the accomplishment reflects total value. Of course those who do it almost always are going to be having moster years, &/or the best year offensively.

    Though occasionally I am sure a player who does not happen top be #1 in all these categories is better offensively. If you add in defense & base running, iot will not be as rare. Like this year.

    IF the triple crown consisted of OBP, SlG & Hrs, it would be even more reflective of overall offensive value. Though someone close in OPS + could easily be more valuable w/more PAs, & less Ks would help too.

    But playing a great CF/LF split & being 46-4 in SB/CS is a large advantage over what Mr. Cabrera does in these realms.

    It

  43. Raul Says:

    This drives me insane.
    I’m sick and tired of people acting like RBI are stupid, AS IF PEOPLE JUST SORT PLAYERS BY RBI TOTALS to determine who was better than who.

    Nobody does that. Ever.

    It is not arbitrary that RBI are part of the triple crown.
    What is silly is that so many people think runs are scored by 4 consecutive walks all the time.

  44. Mike Felber Says:

    Well I am old fart-ish, 47, if you wanna use that age negative term in good fun.

    I agree that folks are too aggressive with using pitch counts. Not the extreme position that there should be NONE ever. Of course you do not let pitchers go any # of IP regardless of time of year, game context, pitcher endurance & track record!

    In the PS you do go on all cylinders, the balnce tips towards winning the few more crucial games to get you through. And there are months to recover afterwards.

    There IS a correlation of RBIs to production. Please attend with precision to what I say. It is just very imperfect, it is no direct causation, since RBI opportunities vary greatly.

    AND the lead RBI man may not even be most efficient at driving in runs.

    AND runs scored are equally important, & OBP means more even than slugging for adding offensive value.

    You are pretty loose with the “shaming” Chuck. It is not “justifying” his 123 RBIs-the right stats & perspective can help show how accurately a raw # correlates with overall individual value.

    Hmm, guess Super-Physicist Kerry & a ton of other highly accomplished & socially adept folks have no life. But if you do not question, even to a degree, how sacrosanct traditional #s are, you can live in Mom’s basement in vriginal splendor & have a Full & Rich life!

    Good to know. ;-)

  45. Chuck Says:

    Mike..you may find this funny..I know I did.

    I’m on Twitter Sunday afternoon just randomly killing brain cells and HighHeatStats asked some trivia question like they usually do, so I answered it.

    About ten minutes later, they reply to me, “Are you the opinionated former minor leaguer who used to comment on the BR site?”

    I said no, that I never PLAYED minor league ball but was a front office guy, and maybe they had me mixed with someone else.

    The comeback was, “no, you’re the guy who often disagreed with some of the commentors and some of my articles”.

    So, I said, “if you consider being anti-sabermetric to be the same thing as frequently disagreeing, then I guess I’m your man..and who are you?”

    It was Andy..how he could know that from a three or four word answer to a trivia question and link it to a fake username is beyond me.

  46. Chuck Says:

    Scoring runs is more lineup contextual than driving them in is.

  47. Bob Says:

    Speaking of Andy, should the Yanks try to re-up him?

  48. Mike Felber Says:

    You overstate things Raul, set up a Straw Man. Who said folks only use RBIs to sort value, most see how certain very CONTEXT DEPENDENT stats are overused. And that the rate stat of BA has been way overvalued forver, often not adjusted for era park, & certainly powerless “empty averages”…

    Is indisputable. It allowed Georse Sisler to get way too much glory, Pie Trainor-a ton of folks we could both list. And other important components have been ignored.

    So tell me WHY RBIS are not arbitrary in there inclusion in the triple crown?

    That means not that there is not a historical reason, but no GOOD reason to put it in there. It is dramatic & notable, but think of it as analagous to looking at biceps to gauge strength. Or, say, a 3X crown of benching, curls, & military presses

    Definitely CORRELATED with power. But quite inexact: overvalues upper body, pushing, & smaller muscles of biceps & shoulders. Use power lifting, squats, Dead lifts, & Bench, you get a much better balance, & do not ignore 60% of the body/the largest muscles, the lower body.

  49. Bob Says:

    Because the winners of the Triple crown have all led their league in RBI’s. Shocking, but true.

  50. Bob Says:

    Sorry for post 21 you guys.

  51. Chuck Says:

    Using a slight extension of total average..

    The Tigers have scored 666 runs. Cabrera has scored 100, driven in 123, and has 40 homers. That gives him a net 183 runs, which is 27% of Detroit’s total.

    Cabrera has played 146 of a possible 147 games.

    The Angels have scored 709 runs. Trout has scored 118, driven in 77, and has 27 homers, a net of 168, which is 24% of LA’s total.

    He has played 125 of a possible 148 games.

    If you deduct the runs scored by the Angels in the 23 games before Trout was called up, I’d bet his % would be higher than Cabrera’s.

    For a fucking lead-off hitter.

    As of today, the MVP is Trout.

  52. Mike Felber Says:

    Well if that is accurate Chuck, sorry, Andy did not seem very friendly. He seemed to skip over his mistake about your past & just focus on your differences. But those who differ strongly should be ENCOURAGED to post, you get all of one type in any context, political, scientific,cultural-tend sto lead to group think. Even if one side is “right”, they should need to hone & justify their arguments!

    Runs seems at least equally context dependent to me, i would never say they should be in a triple crown that purports to measure individual value either. I can see you saying more so, because there is often multiple steps between getting on base & scoring.

    It would be interesting to see how much runs correlate w/OBP, & RBIs with Slg. Both are not going to be very exact, i wonder if runs are much worse.

  53. Mike Felber Says:

    That is an interesting argument Chuck, a good approximation without looking directly at outs made.

    Which does not even look at all other aspects of the game, where it is not even close.

    Bob, your last comment is none other than a circular argument, invalid. A is true because it is defined as such is not making a case at all.

  54. Chuck Says:

    The Angels called up Trout on April 27th..they were 6-14 and had scored 78 runs…that puts Trout at exactly 27%..same as Miggy.

  55. Chuck Says:

    I didn’t take what he said personally, Mike.

    I like Andy, he’s good guy, as is John Autin.

    I had a username for BR because I’m friends with Neil and Sean, but when they closed it I didn’t see a need to move along to High Heat..not a good fit for me.

    I told Andy I frequent the site on occasion and read through articles and comment threads but see no benefit to me signing up.

  56. Chuck Says:

    OK, so, at random.

    I went back and pulled one year from each decade going back to the 1900’s and took the AL and NL RBI leader and where they ranked in SLG:

    1908

    AL Cobb
    NL Wagner

    Cobb and Wagner both led in SLG.

    1926

    AL Ruth
    NL Bottomley

    Ruth led the AL, Bottomley was 8th in the NL

    1934

    AL Gehrig
    NL Ott

    Both led their league

    1940

    AL Greenberg
    NL Mize

    Both led their league

    1956

    AL Mantle
    NL Musial

    Mantle led the AL, Musial was 6th in the NL

    1965

    AL Colavito
    NL Johnson

    Colavito seventh in AL, Johnson fifth in NL

    1977

    AL Hisle
    NL Foster

    Hisle not in top ten, Foster led NL

    1985

    AL Mattingly
    NL Parker

    Both finished second

    1999

    AL Ramirez
    NL McGwire

    Ramirez led AL, McGwire second in NL

    2006

    AL Ortiz
    NL Howard

    Both finished second

    2011

    AL Granderson
    NL Kemp

    Granderson fifth, Kemp third.

    In 22 player seasons spread out over 112 years, the league RBI leader finished in the top two in SLG 15 times.

    What is the definition of “significant correlation”.

  57. Mike Felber Says:

    Fair enough Chuck, that is a good natured interpretation of ideological adversaries John Austin is very bright indeed.

  58. Mike Felber Says:

    it IS a significant correlation, even absent running the #s! Though 2 caeats:

    1) It would be less so if one looked at overall offensive production. The general formula applied is weighting OBP at 1.8. And those who drive in more/slug well runs tend to have less walks than those who lead in OBP, which values BA too.

    2) The correlation is fairly high indeed: certainly comparing them to the AVERAGE starter. But that is a world of difference from giving a good idea of just hoe valuable a player is even just in slugging-it often varies significantly.

    Like if you give me heights of folks who are under 5 & 1/2′, or over 5′ 10″, I would have a high correlation of guessing right if a man or woman. Bu even in this binary, it would be a poor predictor of gender indeed. This formula would get you closer to the truth than the above simulation Chuck, but still not very accurate…There are tons of better predictors.

  59. Mike Felber Says:

    I meant “2 caveats”.

  60. John Says:

    “If Cabrera does get the Triple Crown…does he deserve the MVP?”

    I’ll write an article. But the answer is: no.

  61. Raul Says:

    Bottom of the 7th now.

    In the top of the inning the Blue Jays had the bases loaded with two outs in a 1-1 game.

    Yankees got out of it. Huge out in a big game. If they go on to win, there’s a chance they can extend their lead over Baltimore to 1.5 games with a Baltimore loss tonight.

  62. JohnBowen Says:

    “If you want to sit and do a break down of opportunities and lineup contexts then you need to get a life.”

    God forbid we educate ourselves.

    “How many times does it need to be said that RBI are not meaningless?”

    They pretty much are.

    “In 22 player seasons spread out over 112 years, the league RBI leader finished in the top two in SLG 15 times.”

    But more importantly, the top player in SLG led the league in SLG.

    Here’s my biggest issue with RBI. Guy gets a single. Next guy hits a single and lead-off guy gets to third. Next guy hits a sacrifice fly.

    The player with the RBI was the third most-valuable player in that entire exchange. No credit, outside of an extra hit on their batting average, is given to the second guy, who advanced the runner two bases. But he was *more* valuable to the run-scoring than the RBI-guy.

    The intermediate parts of scoring runs have every bit as much to do with the run scoring as the final step itself. Without them, those RBI’s don’t happen, period (except on solo HR).

  63. Raul Says:

    Really dude? Your issue with RBI is the friggin sac fly?

    Anyway, Granderson stole 3rd with one out in the bottom of the 8th.
    He made it. Fucker better had damn well made it.

    Still 1-1.

  64. Raul Says:

    2-1 after Ichiro single.

    I’m not sure. I think that is ichiro’s 7th hit of the day.

  65. Raul Says:

    Wow. Brandon Lyon struck Jeter out.
    Called a walk.

    Bases loaded.

  66. John Says:

    @63, it’s that the RBI over-values the final delivery of the run compared to the acts that set it up (without which the RBI wouldn’t have happened).

    Say that guy hits a single instead. He still didn’t do anything the other two guys didn’t.

  67. Raul Says:

    The runs don’t score themselves.

    Also, I’ve had it with Nick Swisher. I know he’s a fun guy and all, but someone get an asshole in the clubhouse that can actually hit.

  68. Raul Says:

    Jankees win.

  69. Mike Felber Says:

    You are attached to the Ye Olde Fashioned ideas that you know are not tenable. Your mind is too good to think that saying an RBI man does something at all addresses John’s point about who gets how much credit-or the relative importance of RBIs. They are just terrible ways to measure how good a batter is for a myriad of undeniable reasons.

    That those who rack up huge #s tend to be excellent power hitters does not obviate these context dependent stats at all.

    I hope Trout finishes strong & stops his fade. But he has added significantly more value thus far that Cabrera, in fewer games. And it is utter folly not to consider defense & base running too, especially when such a large difference in how well they play what positions!

  70. Raul Says:

    The only one who is attached to anything is you and your blind following of the saber movement.

    Mike Trout is having a great season.
    He probably will win the MVP.

    His WAR has nothing to do with it.
    WAR value has little to do with how great a player is.

    Trout has the same numbers as a 1B and his “WAR” gets cut in half. And idiots everywhere would believe he is a lesser player.

    Please.

  71. Mike Felber Says:

    You are attached to lazy conventional thinking re: things like RBIs. I say lazy because you do not address arguments brief or detailed sometimes-the case John & I make has no need of reference to WAR. Since I did not use it above, that offense is not a good defense at all.

    You merely saying WAR has little rfelation with how good a player is is an assertion without addressing any of the particulars. Also lazy: I am a “blind follower” of the saber movement.

    Need I repeat all the statements I have made about things that are unsure or could be improved about SM? My disagreements with Bill James, player rankings & otherwise?

    Please do address the reality of what is said. There are tons of yahoos-on all sides-who set up a Straw Man by not listening to the particulars of what the “opposition” says. Then tear down their prejudiced cliche.

    Let’s actually address a particular. You actually believe that Trout at 1B gets his WAR cut in 1/2? That is way off. Now as a great fielding 1B, I assume that you believe he is deserves at least less credit than now, for 2 related reasons.

    Positional scarcity. Part of this is when you can allow another good hitter but without much of a glove to play at the easier position, you help your team have more total quality in there.

    It takes more skill to do well in certain positions, more damage if you are bad. A great middle infielder, CF, especially catcher, IS a better player than a 1Bman-all other things being equal. Of course, offense is usually much more important, & since 1B guys tend to be sluggers, they tend to create as much value as other positions…

    Look at how much extra value Trout or others get PURELY from position according to WAR, then say why it is too much. I do not doubt that it is close.

  72. Len Says:

    @56 Chuck,

    You have it backwards, they’re not great hitters because they get a lot of RBI’s, they’re great hitters/sluggers which enables them to produce a lot of RBI’s.

    The correlation is that great sluggers tend to get a lot of RBI because they’re A) Damn good hitters and B) They usually bat in the 3rd/4th/5th position in the lineup which enables them to produce a lot of RBI’s. Bat any of those guys 8th or 9th in the lineup and none of them would have led the league in RBI’s. I would imagine if you went back most of those guys had very good players batting ahead of them getting on base quite often.

    Howard had Utley and Rollins ahead of him
    Mattingly had R. Henderson with his .418 on base percentage and his 80 stolen bases and 28 doubles.
    Kemp had Either .368 on base, 30 2b ahead of him
    Ortiz had Youkilis with his .381 on base %
    Granderson batted second but had Jeter and Gardner who led the league in steals ahead of him.
    McGwire had Renteria with 37sb, 36 2b, Darren Bragg had a .369 on base percentage, plus Mcgwire hit 65 HR that year so that’s 65 RBI just by himself.
    Manny had Kenny Lofton with a .405 on base percentage and Omar Vizquel with a career high .397 on base percentage.
    Parker had Gary Redus, Eric Davis and Eddie Milner.
    Foster had Rose, Morgan and Griffey.
    Hisle is a weird one because he batted all over the place but the ‘77 Twins had Carew (.449 on base) and Bostock (.389 on-base).
    Colovito batted behind Leon Wagner (.369 on base 7th overall), Dick Howser (.354 on base) great on base numbers for the 1960’s.
    Johnson batted behind, Rose, Tommy Harper, Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson.
    Mantle batted behind Gil Mcdougald (.405 on base and an extremely underrated player.)
    Musial batted behind Schoendienst and Blasingame.
    Mize batted behind Slaughter .370 on base.
    Greenberg batted behind Gehringer .410 on base
    Ott batted behind Bill Terry (.414 on base)
    Gehrig batted behind Ruth (.448 on base)
    Ruth batted behind Gehrig (.420 on base)
    Bottomley batted behind Hornsby (.388 on base)

    They don’t list batting orders for 1908

  73. JohnBowen Says:

    “Trout has the same numbers as a 1B and his “WAR” gets cut in half. And idiots everywhere would believe he is a lesser player.”

    His WAR would still be the best in the league, at around 9.4 or so.

    But yes, he would be less valuable, which is readily apparent by the fact that the Angels wouldn’t have *Albert Freaking Pujols* in the lineup and would instead have, like, Bourjos or something. That’s the whole point behind a positional adjustment. It’s a lot more rare to get great production from a defensive position than an offensive one, and the natural result is that you produce more if you put up the same numbers from a position of offensive scarcity.

    “The runs don’t score themselves.”

    Correct. They were a group effort. But only one person gets credit for the RBI itself. Guy hits a triple and the next guy hits a single…you really, honestly think the second guy did more to make that run happen. He didn’t build that! Someone else made it happen! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    Fact of the matter is that it’s fairly uncommon to have a 100-RBI season and not have a very good year (Joe Carter, Ryan Howard, and Dante Bichette notwithstanding) but since it’s only a partial reflection of performance , why even bother? It’s pretty much impossible to have a bad year with a 140 OPS+ or 5 WAR.

  74. Chuck Says:

    “Say that guy hits a single instead. He still didn’t do anything the other two guys didn’t”

    Yes, he did.

    He drove in a run.

  75. Chuck Says:

    #72,

    #56 was a rhetorical response to Mike’s question and really didn’t require an answer. Thanks anyway, though, good research.

  76. Lefty33 Says:

    “Howard had Utley and Rollins ahead of him”

    That’s funny Len that you’re going to reference Rollins, a guy that hasn’t been in the top 5 in OBP for a 2B since 2006, as a guy that was a key to Howard’s success because he got on base a lot.

    LOL!

  77. JohnBowen Says:

    “He drove in a run.”

    He drove in a runner. How do you think the runner got there? Think he just kinda started out there, was plopped there out of thin air? Do hitters roll dice to see who, if anyone, they get to drive in? Is that how baseball works in your crazy mind?

  78. Raul Says:

    How do you think the run scored?
    He just plopped there out of thin air?

    Or did Tim Raines force the pitcher to throw four balls and then proceeded to steal every base?

  79. JohnBowen Says:

    Runs scored isn’t really any better of a statistic. But it’s also no worse.

    Everyone has a part, but only one gets the almighty RBI.

  80. Chuck Says:

    Brilliant observation there, Sparky.

  81. Chuck Says:

    “Everyone has a part, but only one gets the almighty RBI.”

    What’s the problem?

  82. JohnBowen Says:

    That it doesn’t reward everyone involved in the creation of the run.

    That’s why the R+RBI-HR definition of runs created is so stupid.

    If three players each hit singles, resulting in a run, the person with the RBI wasn’t any more valuable than the other two. That run wouldn’t have happened without the middle guy getting a hit.

    It’s not like you can plop a guy with a .600 slugging percentage in the middle of a solid lineup and he won’t drive in runs. The RBI’s are a result of his hitting prowess and his opportunities, but his slugging percentage is a result almost solely of the player himself.

  83. Chuck Says:

    “Baseball is an individual sport played within a team concept”

  84. JohnBowen Says:

    By the same logic as glorifying RBI, we should really glorify saves too.

    After all, the pitcher who finishes the win in the ninth inning is the only guy who makes the win official…who really cares about the people who did the majority of the work to set that up?

  85. Chuck Says:

    Obviously, you can’t score without getting on base, but it’s a process of continuation and all factors are equally important.

    To dis somebody because he happened to hit a 250 foot fly ball after three other guys hit singles is, well, you know.

    Because without the 250 fly ball, the singles are all meaningless.

  86. Len Says:

    @76 Lefty,

    I guessing you meant Rollins didn’t finish among the top 5 in ob% among SS?

    Rollins had a .334% which was still above league average. Sometimes it’s not just getting on base, sometimes it’s guys like Rollins who get themselves in scoring position by hitting a lot of doubles, triples, and by stealing a lot of basses as well. Rollins had 45 doubles that year and 36 stolen bases so he was at least on second base 81 times that season. He also hit 9 triples.

    Abreu was still on that team which I forgot, he had a .427 on base percentage and Utley had a .379 on base. He also batted behind Pat Burrell for part of that season and Burrell had a .388 on base %.

  87. Raul Says:

    .334 is above league average?
    By what? 6 points?

  88. JohnBowen Says:

    “Because without the 250 fly ball, the singles are all meaningless.”

    And without the singles, the 250 foot fly ball is just another meaningless out.

  89. Len Says:

    @Raul,

    No, N.L. average on base% per 600 PA was .333 that season so he was .1 above avg.

  90. Chuck Says:

    “And without the singles, the 250 foot fly ball is just another meaningless out.”

    Wow, dude, you’re on a roll today..might want to swing by the commissary on the way home and pick up some lottery tickets.

  91. Len Says:

    The three singles in that scenario aren’t meaningless. What if they’re were less than 3 out? You would still have a chance to score. Even if you don’t score, the singles are always better than making 3 outs. For one thing you’re turning the lineup over by not making an out. Secondly, you’re putting more pressure on the the pitcher during that inning. Lastly, those three singles early in a hypothetical Tiger game might be the difference between Cabrera and Fielder getting an extra plate appearance late in a game.

  92. Chuck Says:

    I know, Len.

    We’re not talking about that.

    John bitches and whines about RBI’s being contextual but thinks runs aren’t.

  93. JohnBowen Says:

    “Runs scored isn’t really any better of a statistic. But it’s also no worse.” – me, like four comments ago

  94. Lefty33 Says:

    @86- In a larger context what I mean is that Rollins has been a horrible leadoff hitter the majority of his career and you referencing him as a big reason for Howard’s success is ridiculous.

    Outside of about three years of his career he has been below average at getting on base and when you combine his early career high K totals with his continued latter career uppercut swing that is the reason why he’s lovingly known around PA as Jimmy Poppins.

    Ever notice how outside of his MVP season of 2007 Rollins has only lead the league in runs scored once even though he’s been in lineups with power hitters like Thome, Howard, Werth, Burrell, and Ibanez?

    He can’t do that because for the most part he never gets on base enough.

    Howard has had three elite seasons of production in ’06, ’08, and ’09.

    In ’06 12 SS had at least 500 AB’s in MLB and Rollins OBP was 7th out of 12.
    In ’08 13 SS had at least 500 AB’s in MLB and Rollins OBP was 5th out of 12.
    In ’09 15 SS had at least 500 AB’s in MLB and Rollins OBP was 14th out of 15.

    Howard did what he did mostly in spite of Rollins not because of him.

    In particular what Howard did in ’09 was amazing because for a large part of the year he had Rollins leading off who as I mentioning earlier was terrible at getting on base (.296) that year and they had Victorino hitting 2nd who had an OBP .002 higher than Jack Cust.

    If it weren’t for the sustained eliteness of Utley at getting on base they would have been fucked as a team and Howard never could have put up a large percentage of his RBI totals.

  95. Mike Felber Says:

    You are correct in all that Lefty. Rollins has not been an asset for a while. But for the year cited, though only marginally above league average in OBP, 36/4 in SB/CS, 45 2B, 9 triples-a player with that kind of profile does create more scoring opportunities than his OBP suggests. And he averages 9 GIDP per 162, so this is a small asset. But it is the XBH which are unusual for a lead off hitter, & excellent thievery.

    We are stuck in a loop above where John says some valid stuff & Chuck says brilliant Sherlock. So we all agree-except that while all these components are valued, RBIs (& runs) are too privileged when used, as they usually have been, to directly reflect individual productivity & clutch play.

    So when we look at OPS + instead, ideally w/small adjustments like for Ks & weighting for OBP,; while considering PA, that simple measure is exponentially better for discovering how good a gut is at the plate.

    Because even if RBIs WERE a good measure of individual prowess-which they are not-they do not consider not only runs scored, but all the things that lead to these outcomes.

    And when we look for “clutch” play to be correlated with RBIS, it is illusory. Big raw team dependent # guys sure TEND to be better hitters (though very inexact), but look at those guys w/RISP & late & close, they overwhelmingly are the same as with bases empty.

  96. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck says brilliant Sherlock”

    Where?

  97. JohnBowen Says:

    “If it weren’t for the sustained eliteness of Utley at getting on base they would have been fucked as a team and Howard never could have put up a large percentage of his RBI totals.”

    So, let’s give credit where credit is due: Utley.

    Not that Howard hasn’t been a fine hitter in his own right, but he was the second best player on that side of the infield.

    And now the Phillies get to pay him 25M a year until he basically keels over and dies.

  98. Chuck Says:

    Oh, fuck me.

    MLBNetwork’s game tonight is the Washington game…with Brian Kenny on play by play.

    Sigh.

  99. Mike Felber Says:

    No, I do not mean literally Chuck, even I am not that literal. And you are not being inappropriate, you two like to take the piss outta each other. It is just that I am describing you guys talking at cross purposes.

    They have engaging discussions again here from Trout through Gehrig/Jeter.
    http://www.highheatstats.com

  100. Bob Says:

    The A’s are now winning 11-4 in the 9th.

    Bigger sigh

  101. Chuck Says:

    I read them both..typical HHS…fifteen comments are from three guys correcting each other’s grammar.

  102. Mike Felber Says:

    There was a fairly unusual sidelight about the definition of the word unique. And creative silliness re: fish related puns of you know who’s name. But most of the many comments on the threads are at a high level of intelligence, polite,& engaging with precision the arguments of others.

    I am questioning a post’s posited 70.5% break even point, now or historically, for SB success (varies significantly by era)+ if MLB really had a net deficit in value in all SB attempts for a 1/2 century until ‘04 , & as in other comments on that thread, I am sure I will get discerning responses.

  103. Chuck Says:

    Oh, that one about the stolen bases is priceless.

    http://www.highheatstats.com/2012/09/nerves-of-steal/#comment-38432

    “Would Buddy Bell be considered a borderline Hall of Fame candidate by non-saberists if he wasn’t abysmal on the basepaths?”

    WTF?

  104. Bob Says:

    Non-saberists , meaning BA, homers and RBI’s

    1. Career BA of .279. Less than .300 No
    2. Homers 201. Just a tad fewer than the 400 needed in the pre-steroid era.
    3. 1106 RBI’s spread out over 18 years. About 75 a year.
    4. Did the guy who posed the question actually spend 5 minutes researching Buddy Bell, or was he trying to be funny about the stolen bases/caught stealing aspect, which did give me a chuckle?

  105. Len Says:

    @94 Lefty,

    Well I was only referencing 2006 in the comment but like I said in a following post, I forgot Abreu was still on that team with his .427 on base percentage batting in front of Howard. I forgot that Howard wasn’t even batting cleanup for most of 2006! It seems like Howard’s been a clean-up hitter for 10+ years. He also batted behind Burrell with a .388 on base% and he batted behind Utley with a .379 on base%.

    As far as Rollins goes, he’s been slightly above league average 5 times (04-07, ‘11) not 3 and 2010 he didn’t qualify. I would say for his career he’s been about league average in on base%.

    I agree with you that he doesn’t get on base enough but as far as only leading the league in Runs scored once, to be fair he finished in the top 3 four times and he’s third this year. It’s not like he failed to score over 100 runs, he did it 5 times and he’ll probably do it a sixth time this year.

    I’m not sure why you’re comparing Rollins to SS around the league instead of just comparing him to N.L. on base percentage averages?

    I already mentioned that Howards high 2006 RBI totals were in large part a byproduct of batting behind Utley, Abreu, and Burrell.

    Let’s take a look at 2008. The N.L on base % average was .331. Utley batted ahead of Howard and had a .380 on base%. Victorino batted ahead of Howard and had a .352 on base % and Rollins batted ahead of Howard and had a .349 on base%. Like I’ve previously Rbi totals are not just about on base% numbers with the batters ahead of you. Victorino had 36 stolen bases and 30 doubles, Rollins had 47 stolen bases and 38 doubles and 9 triples. So Rollins was at least on second base 85 times and Vicorino was at least on second base 66 times, and Utley had a .380 on base%.

    In 2009 Utley had a .397 on base%, Vicorino had a .358% and Rollins had a .296%. Ok Rollins on base % was definitely poor but he hit 43 double and stole 31 bases, so he reached 2b at least 74 times. Victorino stole 25 bases and hit 39 doubles so he reached second base 64 times. Utley had 88 walks.

    I’m not sure I get your Victorino comment. He had a .358 on base% which was 35/77 N.L. qualifiers, well above the league avg. of .330.

    I agree with you on Utley who was the most underrated player (IMO) of the past 10 years or so. He’s also a great defensive player which often gets overlooked. From 2005-2010 he was the second best player in the majors next to Albert Pujols.

    Ideally Rollins isn’t a great choice to leadoff but he’s not terrible. He’ll get his 37 doubles and 37 stolen bases, he’ll get his 10 triples, 10 HR, hit about .275 and get on base about .335.

  106. Chuck Says:

    “Kind of sad that one has to be in the “SABR crowd” to recognize that when two guys hit equally well, the guy who’s the best baserunner and maybe the best defensive player in baseball is better than the guy who’s awful at both. That said, you’re probably right, particularly if Cabrera wins the triple crown and/or carries Detroit to the playoffs”

    I might be forced to sign up for HHS just so I can tell that guy to go fuck himself.

    Guy probably thinks a jockstrap is a face mask.

  107. Mike Felber Says:

    …And if your OBP IS injected with more XBH & excellent SB/CS, you will have contributed more towards putting yourself in scoring position than someone with a more more “flat” or empty OBP. If you are fast & a good base runner you also are likely to add at least a little more to run scoring from your position second or 3rd.

    Not that Rollins is great as you & Lefty have discussed above, but this does add a bit to his value over just looking at OBP or OPS +.

  108. Mike Felber Says:

    Nah, you have been polite there, & you know you would get nowhere being brutal there. That large forum does not tolerate personal attacks. Andy actually called out a guy who said “is this a joke” about the Jeter/Gehrig comparison, which was too PC. Expressing shock at an opinion is/was not “vitriol”.

  109. Raul Says:

    I nearly spit out my drink @ Chuck #106

    hahahaha

  110. Raul Says:

    lol, there’s nothing more empty than an OBP comprised mostly of walks.
    except for maybe joba chamberlain’s head

  111. Chuck Says:

    That’s why I won’t go there, Mike.

    I’m not a saber guy and any discussion longer than about 33 seconds is a waste of time.

    It’s not that I don’t respect their opinion, they’re just to ignorant to know better.But to talk down to the majority like that is crossing the line, and I’d make sure he knew that.

  112. Mike Felber Says:

    Fair enough about talking down to the majority & calling him on it.

    You have an extreme opinion that all related to these modern metrics are useless & wrong. A saber guy who found all traditional knowledge I would find similarly misguided. Though not all there is based upon SM, & a lively intelligent exchange can be useful even amongst ideological opposites.

  113. Lefty33 Says:

    “Not that Howard hasn’t been a fine hitter in his own right, but he was the second best player on that side of the infield.”

    Agreed

  114. JohnBowen Says:

    “lol, there’s nothing more empty than an OBP comprised mostly of walks.”

    Nobody has ever had a good OBP that was mostly comprised of walks. Has anyone ever hit .150/.400 for a full season? No? Cool.

  115. JohnBowen Says:

    @106, that’s always your go-to argument. Well, uh, they couldn’t have played the game!!!!

    Except that pretty much all of us have played it. We enjoy watching the game just as much as you, while drinking our beer and eating our brats. The difference is that some of us don’t tune out 50% or more of it (pitching, defense, baserunning, walks, whatever)

  116. Lefty33 Says:

    “Nobody has ever had a good OBP that was mostly comprised of walks. Has anyone ever hit .150/.400 for a full season? No? Cool.”

    Carlos Pena is raising his hand somewhere saying that he’ll give it a try.

  117. JohnBowen Says:

    Hahaha @ Lefty … he’s actually close. 85 walks, 91 hits.

    I guess Barry Bonds routinely had a walk-based OBP in the mid-2000’s. Man, what an empty player. He sucked.

  118. Lefty33 Says:

    Closest guy I can think of was Fruit Loops Tettleton.

    In ‘95 he hit .238 with a .396 OBP.

    He also had several years where his OBP was over .370 and his BA was under .250.
    He walked over 100 times in five seasons.

  119. Lefty33 Says:

    Tettleton’s ‘94 season was a good one.

    In 107 games he had 84 hits and 97 walks.

    He had a few years with more walks then hits.

  120. JohnBowen Says:

    There’ve been 39 such seasons, and Tettleton has had 3 of them.

    The list also includes bums like Ted Williams and Mark McGwire, who I guess couldn’t be bothered to help their teams.

  121. Raul Says:

    If you think walks are what made Ted Williams a great hitter…nevermind.
    You made your point.

  122. JohnBowen Says:

    Not swinging at junk made Ted Williams a great hitter.

  123. JohnBowen Says:

    Anyway, my Brewers swept the Pirates, who are now one game under .500. Andrew McCutchen hit a 3-run home run and is suddenly less valuable now than before the game started, because that makes sense.

    However, the Cardinals got to play the Astros and had no problem sweeping them, so no ground gained. Still 2.5 back, with LA losing to Washington.

  124. Chuck Says:

    #115,

    Sorry, John, no one that stupid ever played the game.

    The 16th guy on a 15 man roster on a 13 year old intramural team is smarter than that.

    The guy’s a fucking idiot, and if you agree with him, then you are too.

    Can’t blow smoke up my ass, bro.

  125. Chuck Says:

    “Man, what an empty player. He sucked.”

    Thank-you, steriods.

  126. Chuck Says:

    Carlos Pena is on pace to be the third player in ML history and first of the live ball era (since 1920) to have two qualifying seasons of under .200.

  127. Lefty33 Says:

    So many classic guys were so close.

    Rob Deer put up a .179 one year and had at least three or four years where he hit .210 or less.

    Although it didn’t qualify, Gorman Thomas had a few partial years where he “hit” (I hate to use that word to describe such futility) .179, .198, .187, and .209.

  128. Mike Felber Says:

    Teddy Ballgame also had great natural talent, fanatical dedication, & was a serious student of the game. He did sometimes rgeret late giving little attention to defense. Though if he could have run at all in ‘57 he would have hit .400 again-no infield hits then.

  129. Mike Felber Says:

    Few folks were at the gym late tonight. One guy was a Hoss, a red head squatting heavy weights alone. Turns out he was drafter by the Steelers, made it to the final cut. Said that HgH is rampant in the NFL, estimates 30% of players use. And those who do so the most & will retire when they start testing? Older guys playing power positions, like Ray Lewis.

    He was not lean, though less than fat, about 280, ~ 10 lbs. under his playing weight. Said he never used anything. I believe him. Though to get much bigger he would have needed to.

    Reinforced what I have seen & said before. For a quite small, but not very rare, % of the population, they can get Canseco-sized totally naturally. Most guys, say, 6′ 2″ can get to 210, quite LEAN (10% body fat), after lifting hard & effectively for ~ 5 years-a lifetime (little is gained after the 1st 5, if one has been intensely & effectively training & eating.

    But some at the same height & body fat will reach ~ 250. Both due to a larger/heavier bone structure, & the extra muscle one can attach to it. Natural hormonal levels help too.

    This potential may be as common as men something over 6′ 6″ or so, but it exists. Though they will tend to be unfairly stigmatized as users.

  130. Mike Felber Says:

    I am guessing this is up your alley Chuck.

    http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/movies/trouble-with-the-curve-with-clint-eastwood-and-amy-adams.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120921&moc.semityn.seivom

  131. JohnBowen Says:

    So Chuck…

    You’re saying that if two guys hit equally well, the WORSE defender/baserunner is the more valuable player?

  132. Chuck Says:

    Since the Award was first given in 1911, there have been 11 Triple Crown winners..four of them did NOT win MVP.

    If Miguel Cabrera wins the TC and doesn’t win the MVP, it will be because someone else had a better year, and sabermetrics won’t have anything to do with it.

  133. Chuck Says:

    “Clint Eastwood..plays Gus Lobel, a longtime scout for the Atlanta Braves. Gus’s eyesight is failing, and his job is threatened by a younger front-office hotshot (Matthew Lillard) whose approach to baseball involves numbers and computers and all that newfangled nonsense”.

  134. Chuck Says:

    Happy 70th Sam McDowell.

    It’s hard to ask “what could have been” about a guy who had a 15 year career, but I think when referring to Sudden Sam it’s a legitimate question.

  135. Chuck Says:

    Well, this is sure interesting, if true’

    “Sources close to Mike Scioscia say the Angels’ manager is still angry over the firing of hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, a decision that’s caused season long friction with GM Jerry DiPoto.”

    “The sources went on to say the two will meet after the season and if their differences can’t be worked out, Scioscia is prepared to walk away from the rest of his contract”.

  136. Bob Says:

    Detroit and Leuyland could part ways. The Red Sox should have an opening. The Marlins could fire Ozzie, though I doubt it. Cleveland could need a new skipper as well. Assuming Sciosia still wants to manage and Leyland retires who are the best guys out there?

    1. Torey Lovullo?
    2. Scioscia?
    3. Francona?
    4. Trammell?
    5. Mike Lowell?
    6. Valentine!!!!!!!!
    7 Somebody else ?

  137. Chuck Says:

    Dusty Baker may not come back either.

    He’s had some health issues this year, including this past weekend where he spent two days in a Chicago hospital with an irregular heartbeat.

    He was an auction prize at the Alumni dinner a couple of years ago. I didn’t get to meet him but was surprised at how big he is.

    He was the on-deck hitter when Hank Aaron hit #715.

    (Who was the Dodgers’ LF?)

  138. Chuck Says:

    I saw Lowell mentioned as a possibility if the Marlins can Ozzie.

  139. Bob Says:

    So did I. I think he would be a good choice.

  140. Bob Says:

    Buckner.

  141. Chuck Says:

    Good one, Bob.

    Only took you four minutes to look it up. :)

  142. Bob Says:

    Actually, I read your Baker post first. Then responded to it. That’s Sox trivia to me, not Dodgers.

  143. Bob Says:

    I meant the Lowell comment. Still finishing up my cream and sugar laden beverage

  144. Raul Says:

    All those potential openings…

    Randolph and Sandberg ought to get some serious consideration.

  145. Chuck Says:

    I don’t think Sandberg would manage anywhere but Philly.

    Randolph should have gotten the Yankees job instead of Clueless Joe.

  146. Chuck Says:

    Of the 19 minor league players who stole 100 bases in a season, only two would go on to become a ML All-Star…and one of them was on the Mitchell Report.

    Vince Coleman and Lenny Dykstra.

    Only two others, James Johnston and Otis Nixon, became long-term regulars.

    Five of them never played in the majors.

    155 SB looks great on a resume or when picking up chicks in a bar, but the odds are against Billy Hamilton.

  147. Bob Says:

    In 392 PA’s, he had a .413 On-base% in High A ball and in 213 PA’s he had a .406 on-base% at Double A. Very little power. A fielding percentage of .947 He has pinch-runner written all over him. That is about it.

  148. Chuck Says:

    He’s playing in the AFL as a centerfielder.

    Should be interesting..like watching a drunk trying to catch a frisbee.

    I just described Jacoby Ellsbury, didn’t I?

  149. Raul Says:

    Willy Taveras?

  150. Bob Says:

    I played ultimate frisbee while tipsy . It is actually a fun activity… In your twenties.

  151. Len Says:

    To follow up on Carlos Pena, he’s working on only the 8th time since 1947 that someone has qualified for the batting title and finished below .200:

    Gair Allie-1954-.199
    Tom Tresh-1968-.195
    Jim Sundberg-1975-.199
    Ivan de Jesus-1981-.194
    Rob Deer-1991-.179
    Carlos Pena-2010-.196
    Mark Reynolds-2010-.198
    Carols Pena-2012-.196

    de Jesus only had 460 plate appearances but qualified for the batting title because of the strike. Hard to imagine but the Phillies traded Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa for de Jesus coming off of that season.

    Gair Allie only played that one season and never played in the majors again.

    Tresh actually wasn’t that bad. 1968 dead ball era had a lot to do with plus Tresh got a lot of walks and had a little bit of power and played SS. Tresh was actually 2nd (11 HR) for HR by a SS in the majors.

    Sundberg was tremendous defensive catcher and used to walk quite a bit.

    de Jesus is one of those guys where you wonder how he played 15 seasons. (.649 lifetime ops, 77ops+ playing mostly at Wrigley and Veteran’s stadium. He was a decent defensive player early in his career but he was mostly average to below average for the bulk of his career. He didn’t have any power, he didn’t hit for average, he didn’t have a high on base%, he was an ok base stealer.

    Rob Deer’s another one of those guys where you wonder how he played 11 seasons. Average/below average defensive corner outfielder/Dh who strikes out a ton, hits HR, draw walks and makes outs.

    Pena was actually one of the best players in the A.L. in 2007, he was still one of the top 15 players in the A.L in 2008, then his average just dropped. He gets a ton of walks and has great power but he has to hit at least .240 to be effective.

    Marc Reynolds has great power but is a horrible defensive players and strikes out a ton and walks a decent amount. He really should be a full time DH but he’s going to have to hit around .240 to have any value.

  152. Bob Says:

    A Jesus Montero opinion. http://www.ussmariner.com

  153. Chuck Says:

    A second Jesus Montero opinion.

    He sucks buttermilk.

  154. Chuck Says:

    (I saw the article btw Bob, thanks)

  155. Bob Says:

    LOL @ 153

  156. Chuck Says:

    DeJesus..one word.

    His son was in the Beckett trade.

    Rob Deer hit what I believe to be the longest HR I’ve ever seen in person. There’s a few candidates, but since his name came up, he’s today’s winner.

    I remember Tresh, he was a decent player.

    Gair Allie sounds like a Paris bistro.

  157. Bob Says:

    The Brewers acquired Yorvit Torrealba for cash.

  158. Chuck Says:

    Canadian?

  159. Chuck Says:

    The stupid off-season “Hot Stove” rumors are starting already.

    Rays might trade David Price, maybe a fit for Texas and Elvis Andrus?

    Shut the front door.

  160. Bob Says:

    Good point. Not sure if it is American or Canadian currency.

  161. Bob Says:

    David Price would be a fit for 30 teams.

  162. Chuck Says:

    Well, this sure as hell is interesting.

    Didn’t see this coming…at all.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8407726/san-francisco-giants-melky-cabrera-disqualifies-nl-batting-title

  163. Chuck Says:

    Here you go, Raul…

    http://www.fantasypolitics.co/invites/natlchamp3a.html?src=ejaff

  164. Raul Says:

    That is hilarious

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