Greeting

A Baseball Blog - Scientific and Speculative Thoughts from Third Base

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Knee-Jerk Reactions to the 2012 Trade Deadline

I wasn't sure what I would do for the trade deadline, but since there haven't been any major deals yet, there's no harm in looking at what has been done.

Might as well start with the Cardinals: Edward Mujica for Zack Cox. They needed relief help (and not really anything else), so there's that. But really good relievers are generally overpriced, so I'm kind of glad they didn't jump into the deep end of the market. Mujica doesn't seem great, but he's still probably something of an improvement (there are some really weak spots in the Card's 'pen). I remember being high on Zack Cox in the past, but he's apparently fallen off in the past season. He's 23 and hitting .254/.294/.421 at AAA that's less than encouraging, especially since he may have to move off third base. With Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter, David Freese, Allen Craig, and Matt Adams all blocking him at the corners, I'm even less concerned. Not bad, I suppose. Could be a worse move.

Cape Cod League Profile: John Simms, RHP

The Falmouth Commodores continued their four game win streak on Monday evening with a 6-1 win at home over the Harwich Mariners. Drew Dosch homered, singled, and drove in three. The bullpen pitched three 1-2-3 innings with three strikeouts. But, for the second night in a row, the starting pitcher was the star of the game.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Schedule Update

I know that I said yesterday that I would have the ordered list of players for the present-day Hall of Famers on Tuesday. However, that won't be happening. Look for some other (more timely) stuff, though! Some of it may be relevant to the trade deadline (4 PM EST Tuesday). Especially if the rumored Joe Blanton-to-Baltimore deal goes through (expect something totally different depending on whether or not they deal Jonathan Schoop, as the Phillies are apparently requesting). There will also be a Cape League Interview to look forward to. So yeah; plenty of exciting things, and worth waiting an extra day for the Hall piece.

Who Are the Hall of Famers Playing Today? 2006, Part 2


So, a quick recap. First, I went through and determined that the Hall of Fame just was not electing players at the same rate that they used to. Then, I decided to take a recent year (2006, in this case, since it gives me a little time to assess the rookies and call-ups for that year) and determine who was playing that year that could possibly make the Hall of Fame.

The first half of this list saw me list 35 players who had more or less established cases (although only one of them started after the year 2000). I’m going to continue using numbers in this part, but they’ll mean much less. This part of the list is much less a science and much more a “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” process. Similarly, the order means even less here. For a full review on the process, check out part 1. I'll be pointing out the cut-off marks for each percentage (for example, 50 players would represent 4% of the players in 2006).

Are AL East Teams Being Cheated From the Playoffs?

As it stands right now, the AL East, the so-called “best division in baseball”, would only get one playoff team. The Orioles and Rays are tied for fourth in the Wild Card right now. Take that, East Coast Bias, right?

Except the AL East probably is the best division in baseball. The Yankees do have the best record in baseball. Against non-AL East teams, the AL East is 175-147, a .543 winning percentage. And that’s the division as a whole. They have a 122-110 record (.526 win percentage) against the other AL divisions. The AL Central is 55-72 (.433) against AL East teams. The AL West has a winning record against them at least 55-50 (.524). However, given all the bad luck Tampa Bay, Boston, and Toronto have had, I think it’s very possible that the AL East may have two or three of the five best teams in the AL. However, since they don’t get any easy in-division teams to beat up on in the unbalanced schedule, their records look a little worse. If so much is riding on the Wild Card spots (and especially since there are two of them), maybe MLB should consider more inter-divisional games.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I Don't Get the Angels' Trade for Zack Greinke (UPDATED)

I’m not sure I understand the Angel’s trade for Zack Greinke.

I mean, at a certain level, it looks nice. The Angels have a solid top four of Greinke-Jered Weaver-C.J. Wilson-Dan Haren. That does look very nice. But the details of it don’t add up.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cape Cod League Profile: Drew Dosch, 3B/DH

The Falmouth Commodores currently sit in third place in the Cape Cod League’s Western Division, half a game behind the Wareham Gatemen. Jared King, one of the team’s best hitters for the first part of the season, returned home recently to rest an injured back. The team was in the midst of an eight game losing streak.

Thankfully, that changed on Thursday, as the team cruised to an 8-2 victory over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. Plenty of players contributed; Craig Schlitter turned in a strong start (7 innings, 6 strikeouts, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 3 hits). Michael O’Neill added a big RBI double, and started off the scoring with an incredible string of plays in the second: a hit by pitch, a steal of second, an advance to third on the overthrow, and a run on a shallow sac fly to left field that involved him leaping past the catcher’s tag and diving back to the plate. However, the Commodores’ leading hitter Drew Dosch led the way, going 3 for 4 with a home run.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Does the Marlins Fire Sale Mean?

Some people seem to be very upset at the Marlins with their current fire sale, which has seen them ship off Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and Hanley Ramirez. I can definitely see why-for a team that has a history of money-saving fire sales, this season looks like a return to form, especially after they spent all winter spending money to shed that image.

The thing is: I think they might have the right idea this time. Well, almost. First off, I think the Marlins absolutely misread their position this winter when they went on a spending spree. As I pointed out before the season, the Marlins had to make up 17 games on second place in their division from 2011. For all their additions, it didn’t quite add up to a 17-game jump. If they really wanted to make up that gap and sustain their performance into the future, getting one or two solid long-term building blocks would have helped.

Jason Kendall Retires

Jason Kendall never got an MVP vote.

Of course, you may be saying. Kendall was an awful hitter his past few seasons. He hasn’t even had an OPS+ over 100 since the Curse of the Bambino was still a thing. The Royals signed him-that alone is pretty damning. And plenty of players have never gotten an MVP vote. A vast majority of the people that play in the Major Leagues never get an MVP vote. Sure, sometimes the voters act silly and the next thing you know, Delmon Young finishes in the top 10. And sometimes, you see an oddball down-ballot choice. Remember Jeremy Affeldt's MVP campaign? Neither does Jeremy Affeldt, but it apparently happened back in 2009. But, overall, not receiving any MVP votes is not a huge deal. But Jason Kendall might be the best player to never get an MVP vote.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who Are the Hall of Famers Playing Today? 2006, Part 1

So, last time, we established that there are likely 37 future members of the Hall of Fame playing the game of baseball at any time. Not only that, though, but there might be even more than that who deserve to go in, possibly 45 total. Or 51. Or 64. We never really got a super obvious answer. So, what I decided is; what would 37 active players headed for the Hall of Fame look like? Or 45? And so on.

I was going to cover 2012, but for various reasons, I decided it would be better to go back and look at a past season first. Why? Because that 37 can (and frequently does) include players who are just starting their careers. If we go back to, say, 2006, that gives us six years to at least take a stab at estimating who’s a Hall candidate while keeping a lot of current players. That way, when we move forward to 2012, we have a basis to build off. On top of that, it’ll give us a look at the next few Hall ballots; the 2012 ballot included players who last played in 2006.

I really don’t have a super scientific method for this process, but that’s okay, because neither does the Hall’s voting body. So, I guess I’ll just start listing players, and stop to explain when it’s necessary. There isn’t really any order to this list, so forgive me if it jumps around at all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

How Big Should the Hall of Fame Be?

It seems like an eternity ago that we had the 2012 Hall of Fame elections, but this weekend, Barry Larkin and Ron Santo will finally be inducted into the Cooperstown, both deservedly so. As a Big Hall person, I’ve long maintained that the Hall as it is is not inducting players fast enough, and both Larkin and Santo are evidence of that. The fact that it took Larkin three years to get inducted is bad; that it took Santo 32 years is indefensible.

I’ve always wanted to take a deeper look into my reasoning, at least to better explain why I think people are not being inclusive enough in their Hall selections. There are plenty of ways to look at it, but there had to be some way to show that the selection process has, if anything, gotten pickier.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Would the Cardinals Even Want Felix Hernandez? Part 2

I feel like I need to expand on my thoughts on the prospective Felix Hernandez trade David Schoenfield proposed earlier for the Cardinals. I already have my doubts that the Mariners would shop Felix, let alone trade him right now, but let’s say they did. Would it be worth the Cardinals’ effort and prospects to go after him?

As a review, Schoenfield was proposing that the Cardinals acquire Hernandez for a package of Matt Adams, Shelby Miller, Oscar Taveras, and possibly Tyrell Jenkins. As a summary of my views, this is WAY too much for the Cardinals to give up for Hernandez. King Felix is indeed a great pitcher, and he is under control through 2014. I can see something of an argument-at full health, a rotation of Adam Wainwright-Felix Hernandez-Jaime Garcia-Lance Lynn would rank among the top in the game, rivaling even Washington’s quartet.

Why Would the Mariners Move Felix Hernandez? And Would the Cardinals Even Want Him?

I swear I read baseball websites other than ESPN, but for some reason, I always seem more prone to respond to their articles with some sort of rebuttal. Today’s issue: Should the Mariners trade Felix Hernandez? David Schoenfield says yes. Why is that, David?

“In a nutshell:
1. The Mariners’ best chance of becoming relevant before Albert Pujols' contract expires lies in pitching prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton.
2. If you have three good starting pitchers, you can afford to trade Hernandez.
3. Under contract through 2014, Hernandez’s trade value is as high as ever right now.
4. The Mariners are not going to be competitive in the next two seasons.
5. He has thrown a lot of innings at a young age. He's a pitcher. Pitchers get hurt.
...
Look where the Mariners stand. They’re competing against the Rangers and Angels, two franchises deep in talent and financial resources. Trying to build an 85-win club and hope you catch a few breaks isn’t going to cut it. You have to aim bigger.”


Environmental Pressures & Player Make-Ups: Stray Thoughts

This is more just a stray thought than a full article. I was reading this piece over at Baseball Nation talking about Zack Greinke and how everyone assumes he wouldn’t be able to handle a big market, but we really have no idea. We really have no idea what causes players to suddenly be good or bad.

For example, there’s a prevalent claim that certain players can’t handle playing in New York. They point to players like A.J. Burnett or Javier Vazquez who failed to live up to expectations when they got there, then turned it around when they left. It’s easy to say things like “They couldn’t handle the pressure”, but is that really the case? Both of them even had at least decent seasons in New York; maybe not their best, but maybe better than you would realize given the narrative. Was it the pressure? Or maybe something else, like a clash with the organization, or personal issues, or any number of things?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Retired Numbers Series: Los Angeles Angels

The Angels, despite being an expansion team, have quite a bit of history to them. They were included in the first round of expansion back in 1961, and have the best winning percentage of any expansion team since then (at .499, they also place ahead of four original teams). It’s no surprise, then, that they have several compelling candidacies for retired numbers. And so, they become the next team to be covered in the Retired Numbers Series.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cape Cod League Profile: Chad Pinder, 3B

On Saturday night, the Chatham Anglers continued their three-game winning streak* that started during this game as they handily defeated the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, 9-4. There were several strong performances, on both teams, including Chatham’s starter Thomas Lawrence (who only left after 6.2 innings because of a line drive off of his foot). However, the clear star of the game was third baseman Chad Pinder, who homered twice and drove in four.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cape Cod League Profile: Andrew Knapp, C

Thursday night at their home park, Veterans Field, the Chatham Anglers broke a three game losing streak by beating the Falmouth Commodores 5-0. The game, number 23 on the season, marked the start of the Cape Cod Baseball League second half. The win also moves the team into a tie for third place in the Eastern Division with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. The win was capped off with a two-run homer by catcher Andrew Knapp in the fifth inning, the latest in what is proving to be an impressive season.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Should the Orioles Make a Trade?

I wrote last month about how the upcoming trade deadline is going to be particularly difficult for several teams, and I had the Orioles specifically in mind when I said that. So, here we are, at the break, with the Orioles sitting at 45-40 and holding a half game lead on the Rays for the new second wild card spot. There are trade rumors starting to form, and the team has already made a small splash by acquiring Jim Thome. Can the O’s pull off a big trade? And, more importantly, should they?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Retired Numbers Series: Cincinnati Reds

As we enter into July, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is right around the corner. And Barry Larkin, a more-than-worthy player, will finally see his name added in Cooperstown. With the history and importance behind such an event, it seemed natural to focus on his team next in the Retired Numbers Series.

The Reds are the oldest team I’ve covered yet (and the third oldest in MLB), meaning there’s a lot of history to cover. Let’s get to it.


Monday, July 9, 2012

2012 First Half Awards

I know that the All-Star Break is slightly over half-way through the season, but everyone else calls it the first half when they’re referring to things, so I may as well, too (although it’s close enough that we’re splitting hairs). So, without further ado, my first half award winners.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

On Drafted Players, and the New Slotting System

The Pirates are still negotiating a contract with this year’s no. 8 pick (and formerly presumed-no. 1) Mark Appel. The problem is that, under the new slotting system, Appel is only recommended to receive $2.9 million, and can only receive up to $3.8 million before incurring penalties, including loss of a top draft pick in 2013. The Nationals are apparently facing similar issues with no. 16 pick Lucas Giolito.*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

David Ortiz and the Hall of Fame

I guess I’m just in a Hall of Fame mood the last few days. Or maybe there’s just been a relative abundance of milestones this year. Whatever the case, David Ortiz hit his 400th home run on Wednesday, and like with every milestone, it seems like a good chance to look at the player’s career and see where exactly they fit in in history.

Carlos Beltran and the Hall of Fame

ESPN ran an interesting piece on Carlos Beltran the other day, talking about the start of his career, his return to Kansas City for the All-Star Game this year, and his chances for the Hall of Fame. Maybe this shouldn’t surprise me at this point, but after reading the comments, there seemed to be a large gulf between what Hiram Martinez thought of Beltran’s Cooperstown odds and what the readers seemed to think.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cape Cod League Profile: Craig Schlitter, RHP

The Cape Cod Baseball League is now chugging right along. As it enters its second month, the Falmouth Commodores stand atop the Western Division with a 10-6 record, looking to repeat last year’s run to the championship game and end the longest title drought in the league. And while center fielder Jared King is leading the offense, right handed pitcher Craig Schlitter is unquestionably the team’s ace.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Did Tony La Russa Intentionally Snub Brandon Phillips and Johnny Cueto?

Dusty Baker has decided he needs to offer his thoughts on the All-Star Rosters. And, in a total surprise, those thoughts may not be well thought out.

Basically, Baker accuses Tony La Russa of holding grudges with the Reds (specifically, Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips) after they were involved in a fight with the Cardinals two years ago (a fight that included Cueto injuring Jason LaRue, which eventually caused his retirement, just as an aside). In the end, he decides that those grudges are the reason that Phillips and Cueto aren’t on the roster.

Post-Script: 2012 All-Star Roster Corrections

As an add-on to my edited All-Star rosters, after writing this, I decided to see which teams got the most snubs. My system was basically count the number of players each team had on the original rosters, and then on my fixed rosters. The change is listed after each team. “+0” means I changed the roster, but the net total was the same. “No change” means I used the exact same players the real rosters did. Since I already have the final spot accounted for an one injury replacement, my totals should be a little higher overall.

Re-Run: The Start of the Colby Rasmus-Tony La Russa Rift

I did say I wanted to eventually post all of my older articles here. I don't have any rush to do so at the moment, but this one will be relevant to another post later in the day. This one was originally posted in September of 2010. 

I don’t usually write about teams that am a fan of-admittedly, that’s partly because my teams aren’t always doing something interesting, so it’s easier to write about the current events. But it does also help keep my writing mostly unbiased. However, with both MLB.com and ESPN.com are reporting that Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus has had various issues as of late, ranging from unhappiness to an alleged rift with manager Tony La Russa, I feel that I need to weigh in. I don’t claim to know anything more than what is said in the articles on the two aforementioned websites. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t put my two cents in on the matter.

Another Year, Another Set of All-Star Roster Corrections

I would like to thank Major League Baseball for once again giving me the chance to look at and correct their rosters for this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City.

What? No, they aren’t actually using my advice or anything. Their rosters are just badly in need of fixing (yet again). I mean, there’s nothing Ryan-Howard-over-Joey-Votto level bad like there was two years ago. Granted, that’s an awful standard to use when complimenting someone: “Well, you didn’t screw up so badly it that made me injure myself while banging my head on a wall in disbelief.”

What I’m saying is, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. And improve I shall.