Archive for August 2010

Stephen Strasburg to have Tommy John surgery

August 27, 2010

Since the strike in baseball, outside of steroids this could be the worst piece of news I’ve heard regarding the game of baseball. For real.

Stephen Strasburg is the best prospect and most exciting young pitcher baseball has had in a long, long time and now we will not see him again in a Major League uniform until 2012. He had a chance to have a special career, and can still have a great one, but losing 1-2 years off your career will hurt anybody trying to become one of the game’s all-time best. Yes, I said it. After a handful of starts I believe he had/has a chance to be one of the best pitcher’s in the history of the game. I mean, attendance has been slacking and the economy has been a thorn in the side of baseball. But here comes this kid who is already able to generate sell outs wherever he pitches and can have his jersey sold in the stadium of other teams. TBS bumped a large market match-up in order to air Cleveland and Washington just because Strasburg was pitching. He got fans back into the game.

But what can we expect when he returns? Will he be the same? Lots of pitchers have come back very strong from the surgery- John Smoltz, Francisco Liriano, Chris Carpenter. People say that because of the rehab the arm gets even stronger, so a player should be better than ever after the surgery. But what will a 12-18 month layoff do to Strasburg? Will he still have consistent, solid mechanics? Will his pitches and location still be sharp? Moreover, the Nationals will take even more care of him and it will take a while to build him back to full strength. It may not be until 2013 or 2014 that he pitches a full season in the majors.

That sucks. Sure, he’ll still be in mid-twenties. But we’ll have lost out on a lot of starts this phenom could have made.

Sad day to be a baseball fan.

VOTE OR DIE

August 26, 2010

The FANS Scouting Report 2010 is ongoing, so go here to help Tom Tango out.

Reconstructing the MLB Hall of Fame: Second base

August 25, 2010

Results are finally in!

IN:

Rogers Hornsby- 100%

Eddie Collins- 100%

Nap Lajoie- 100%

Joe Morgan- 100%

Charlie Gehringer- 100%

Frankie Frisch- 100%

Lou Whitaker- 100%

Roberto Alomar- 100%

Joe Gordon- 100%

Jackie Robinson- 100%

Bobby Grich- 87.5%

Craig Biggio- 87.5%

Ryne Sandberg- 87.5%

Bobby Doerr- 87.5%

Tony Lazzeri- 87.5%

Willie Randolph- 75%

NOT IN:

Jeff Kent- 50%

Cupid Childs- 50%

Johnny Evers- 37.5%

Billy Herman- 37.5%

Larry Doyle- 12.5%

Nellie Fox- 12.5%

Bid McPhee- 12.5%

Gil McDougald- 12.5%

Tony Phillips- 0%

Buddy Myer- 0%

Del Pratt- 0%

Miller Huggins- 0%

Red Schoendienst- 0%

Chuck Knoblauch- 0%

Bill Mazeroski- 0%

I’m liking Willie Randolph getting in. Also, YES! Grich, Whitaker are in the Hall of Fame! FINALLY! I am also surprised Sandberg and Grich were not 100%.

Players we kicked out: Johnny Evers, Nellie Fox, Billy Herman, Bill Mazeroski, Bid McPhee, and Red Schoendienst.

Players we voted in: Lou Whitaker, Roberto Alomar, Bobby Grich, Craig Biggio, and Willie Randolph.

Next up: third base

Yankees should claim Hiroki Kuroda

August 25, 2010

Hiroki Kuroda of the LA Dodgers hit waivers yesterday, but New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is standing pat. He believes there is no pitcher on the market worth making a claim for, because he believes Dustin Moseley has pitched better than anyone available.

Before I get into Cashman’s opinions, I want to talk about Kuroda.

He is good. Real good. Now that I think about it, he may be the most underrated pitcher in baseball. Seriously- the dood is a very good pitcher and I NEVER he his name mentioned as being a great pitcher by the MSM. That is especially intriguing since he pitches in LA, but I digress.

Since his debut in 2008, Kuroda has had a sub-4 ERA, FIP, xFIP, and tERA. Whoa. His career line is 6.45 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, 0.74 HR/9 with a 3.66 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 3.77 xFIP, and 3.59 tERA. Talk about consistent across the board. He also has a career 51.2% GB rate and 30.5% FB rate. So besides keeping runners off the bases by not issuing walks, he limits fly balls which prevents home runs, and induces ground balls which is key considering he has a good, but not special K rate. His 2010 season has been right in line with his career to date. He has a 7.21 K/9, 2.32 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9 with a 3.48 ERA and 3.41 FIP over 147 innings. His GB% is also at 52.6%, so Kuroda is still getting ground balls. Going forward, ZiPS believes Kuroda will maintain his production and finish with a 3.50 ERA and 3.48 FIP.

Hiroki Kuroda would be a great fit in NYS. While the jury is still out, especially with limited sample size, it looks as though NYS actually deflates a pitchers K numbers, just looking at the numbers of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Javy Vazquez. So Kuroda won’t be losing a weapon of his, since he is not a strikeout pitcher. Also, home runs are inflated at NYS, so the fact Kuroda really limits homers is crucial. As long as he keeps generating ground ball outs, the negatives of NYS will not effect him. Kuroda would also be a key member of the rotation down the stretch. Right now, the Yankees rotation as a whole is not World Series caliber. Yes, CC has been awesome as usual, but outside him there are several question marks. Vazquez was just relegated to the bullpen and was replaced by a rookie. Andy Pettitte’s injury is not healing and no one knows how will pitch when he returns, if he returns. AJ Burnett is Jekyll and Hyde. Phil Hughes has an innings limit and hasn’t been that great in the second half. Moselely is Moseley. Kuroda could step in and be our surefire number two and really bolster the rotation. CC/Kuroda/Pettitte/Burnett or Hughes sounds a lot better than CC/Pettitte/Burnett/Hughes.

So why is Brian Cashman saying the Yankees are content with what they currently have? Personally, I think it’s a bluff. In order to get Kuroda, no other team in baseball will have made a claim on him. So I believe Cashman is showing no interest on the outside no team tries to block him from the Yankees. At the same time, by “showing faith” in Moseley, Cashman is trying to bump Moseley’s value. Cashman is not a fool. Moseley was never good in the past, and hasn’t pitched that well in New York. He knows Kuroda is better. So he is probably trying to inflate Moseley’s worth and perceived value, while trying to make sure no one blocks Kuroda from New York.

Now what will it cost to get Kuroda? I cannot imagine it will be much. Including October, the number of starts he would make as a Yankee would be in the single digits, or just above ten. Despite that, the Yanks will still owe him a couple million dollars, which is offset by the fact he is a type B free agent (but I doubt New York would offer him arbitration). If the Yanks give up more than a C or D prospect, I would be disappointed. But it might just be worth it if New York wants to really strengthen its chances of beating Texas, Minnesota, or Tampa Bay in the postseason.

Why I love baseball

August 24, 2010

Lately I have been watching the Ken Burns documentary series Baseball, which is a time line of baseball history from its creation to 1994, when the film was produced. The films are interesting and I just got done watching the 8th inning, which highlights the 1960’s. Within this particular part of the documentary, the discussion of baseball v. football came up. So I want to share my opinion on the game of baseball, and why I like it more than any other American sport. This post will probably be just a giant, rambling (and at points, incoherent) rant, so just stay with me.

Baseball is America’s pastime. Or, at least it was. Since the playing of the first Super Bowl, the NFL has soared past MLB in popularity among American sports. However, in the first half of the twentieth century, baseball truly was America’s pastime. Yes, I know baseball was not integrated until 1947, which is a major dent in baseballs case that it was the pastime of our nation. But it was the pastime- baseball was loved by all races. The Negro Leagues was one of the biggest businesses around. I digress though. The point is that baseball was HUGE in America. It was played by everybody all across the nation- in cities, suburbs, and on the farms. The sport was well liked because of the action. I know that sounds crazy today, but back then baseball was considered a lively, fast paced sport. That is because it evolved from cricket, town ball, and rounders, which are similar, but much slower versions of baseball. It was also violent for the era, with lots of rough and tough professional players. Baseball was a game of the poor and uneducated, so games could be rough. People were thrown at and it was dangerous. However, by the mid-twentieth century, football and basketball were growing in popularity. These sports were even more violent and/or fast-paced. While basketball never had the popularity of baseball, football increasingly did. When the NFL had its first Super Bowl in 1966, it drew a bigger audience than any of the World Series games that season. Sure, it was because the Super Bowl was one game and the World Series was a series, but it was a sign that football was increasingly becoming the favorite child of American sports fans.

So with that said, I understand the NFL is way more popular than MLB. I’m not here to persuade people to come back to baseball, or to disparage football- and any other sports I might reference. Rather, I just want to profess my deep love for the game of baseball and explain why it’s the best sport in the world- which I stubbornly consider fact, not opinion.

One reason I love baseball is the history. I’m a big history buff. I love American history, from colonization up until the present day (although I do find the 1800’s very, very boring). Baseball is a sport built on history, so it goes hand in hand that I would love baseball. Baseball has the most storied past of America’s big three sports, which adds to it’s lure. There are records galore, heroes and legends, goats, stories, legends and myths, failures, and lots of personalities. That’s what 171 years of history will give you. So just recollecting on those different facets of the sports brings a smile to my face.

I am also a stat guy, as you all know. No sport lends itself more to statistics than baseball. Why? Just the way it is played. It’s a team game, but it’s an individual game. There are nine individuals on the field at a time, who all fend for themselves, but their individual efforts is what is needed to win as a team. In football the quarterback needs his linemen and the receivers need a quarterback. In basketball, each player relies on each other with a series of passes and rebounds. But in baseball, each man pretty much lives for themselves. They don’t need a teammate to hit a home run. That aspect of the game is just so unique and so special.So because of the individualism, you can really dissect down the game. You can see which players, which parts of the team, did the most to help a team win. You can see who was the best at hitting, or getting on base, or hitting for power, or stealing, or catching a ball.

But back to stats and records. When it comes to football no one really cares about stats. Sure, people look at them. People even make big celebration of them, such as rushing records and passing records. But does anyone remember where they were and what they were doing when Emmit Smith broke Walter Payton’s rushing record? If people do, then it’s a select. Yet if you ask most hardcore baseball fans where they were when Henry Aaron hit home run #715, a great majority will be able to answer the question. Stan Musial had the same number of career hits at home as he did on the road. 1815 hits at home and 1815 hits on the road. You won’t find a random, quirky stat like that in football or basketball. Or wOBA, a measure of a players overall offensive ability. What stat is there in the NFL that measures a players entire performance on one side of the football? I am not a stat heavy football guy, but is there a stat considers passing, rushing, receiving, and blocking and rolls it all into one stat? Maybe there is, but as far as I know, there isn’t. So just the fact that baseball can be broken down under the microscope into minute aspects is a wonderful part of the game.

Some people hate baseball because it is too long, too boring. People want action and speed. That’s why NASCAR and UFC are ever growing sports. For me, personally, I don’t need violence or action. The pace of baseball is just fine in my opinion. I think the reason people don’t like baseball is because they don’t fully understand the beauty of the game. As we all know, there is a clock in football and basketball. Baseball is timeless. A game could go on forever, theoretically. I love that. I mean, think about. In the NFL and NBA, the winning team can just run down the clock. Talk about lame. But in baseball, it truly is never over until it’s over. The losing team always gets a chance. That is why baseball is considered democratic. In football the losing team can’t win unless they get the ball back. In baseball, the losing team always get a last chance to bat. A last chance to rally. A last chance to win. Isn’t that just great? Because of that structure, there is always a slimmer of hope in baseball. If there’s three minutes left in a football game and you’re down by 20, you’re not going to win. But in baseball you could be down by seven in the ninth, and still have a shot at winning. Isn’t that just great?

I mean, just look at the game chart. You’ll be hard pressed to find games like that in the NFL or NBA. Yes, there are a few games in those sports where there is an epic comeback. But it rarely happens because of the format of the sport and the rules, where the winning team is allowed to run out the clock. Baseball doesn’t have that clock, so there is always hope. As a fan, having that hope, however small it is, makes those improbable comebacks even more thrilling.

Speaking of those thrilling memories, I feel like baseball is prone to greater memories. Thrilling moments lead to great memories, and baseball has the most thrilling moments. The reason is because it’s like a series of snapshots in time. On the other hand, football and basketball, for the most part, are a continually active game, with little downtime. As I already mentioned, records are a lot bigger in baseball than football, and the comebacks are more thrilling. Comebacks and records give fans memories. So just be sheer volume there should be more memories in baseball. Not to mention each team plays at least 162 games a year, compared to 82 for basketball and 16 for football.

Going back to the downtime in baseball- I think that helps make baseball so awesome. I mean, the actual play can take a mere couple seconds, whereas the in-between time can take quite a while. From the time a pitcher starts a windup to the time the catcher catches the pitch, the play might take 1-3 seconds. After that though the pitcher will walk around the mound, rub up the ball, and wipe the sweat off the forehead. The batter will step out, take a couple swings, and then dig back into the box. Meanwhile, fielders will kick dirt, pace around their spot in the infield, and take some glances at the scoreboard. That is the action of baseball. It is wonderful in that it adds to the suspense in baseball.

Suspense in sports is the ultimate feeling and no sport brings it more than baseball. Yeah, two minute warning drives in football can be nerve wrecking, and a last second shot can play with your heart. But the tension, the drama is not the same as it is in baseball. Why? That downtime. Think about this situation: it’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs, and a man is second. The score is tied at three. The home team’s best hitter, the MVP of the league, is at the plate. However, the road team’s best pitcher, the Cy Young, is on the mound. Those thirty seconds of downtime between pitches just inflates the suspense, the tension so much that your heart is beating a hundred times faster than normal. You can’t look. The crowd is on its feet, going nuts. The pitch is in on it’s way, and it takes what seems like an eternity to reach the plate. What’s going to happen? Ball one. Time to do it all over again. Isn’t that just great?

But for me, the memories are one of the biggest reasons why I love baseball. I have memories of my father and grandfather teaching me the game of baseball. One big memory of mine is going to a park in Pennsylvania where my grandparents lived and live. There was a big, wooden pirate ship playground there, and a grass field. In the field my dad and granddad would toss me a whiffle ball and I would try and whack the ball with my whiffle bat. From there, I have memories from playing the game across many levels- tee ball, little league, travel, high school, and American Legion. I have memories of teammates, weird stories and plays, tournaments, practices. I remember going 3-3 with two bases clearing triples in my Little League’s championship game. I remember getting the first ever base hit in the Cherry Hill Stealers baseball organization, which is an organization that today boasts several state winning teams at various age levels. I remember all my standout defensive catches. My best catch was in travel ball for the Stealers. We were playing at a middle school field against our biggest rivals. We were up by a few runs and the bases were loaded with one out. For some reason my dad thought they were going to bunt, so not only did he have me play up, but he had me playing IN FRONT OF THE PITCHER’S MOUND! Obviously, I was on the verge of shitting my pants. And sure enough, the ball was lined right at me from fifty feet away. I dove to my right, caught the rocket of a line drive, and fired to first, to double off the runner by an inch.

Baseball gave me that lifelong memory. I have memories from watching the professionals. Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series will always have a special place in my heart, soul, and mind. I was and still am a hardcore Yankees fan. In 2001, on 9/11, my dad was New York on a business trip. He was in the seven building, which was a neighboring building of the Twin Towers. He made it out safely, but that tragic day could have been even more tragic for my family and I. So like many Americans, Yankee fans, and those who lost a loved one, that World Series had a bigger than usual importance in our lives, because it gave us a distraction and a sense of community and togetherness. On consecutive nights the Yankees dug themselves out of impossible holes to win the games. It was a message to America that while we were down, we were not out. Baseball was not just a sport or a game. It was a passion.

Errors. Baseball is the only sport to truly recognize a players failure. In football and basketball there are turnovers. But “error” is a much more piercing word. When a receiver drops a wide open pass, he is not given an error on the play. He is not given a subjective mark of failure. He was not told “you messed up”. But in baseball, that player is criticized by a man sitting in the press box. Errors.

Strategy, strategy, strategy. I’m not saying there isn’t strategy in football or basketball. I know that in the NFL, players and coaches look at hours upon hours of film. But when it comes to the game theory of baseball, there is nothing like it. Every pitch changes the game, changes the strategy. Do we bunt here? If we bunt, what do we gain? If we bunt, what do we lose? Should we walk this batter? Well, who’s up next? Is that hitter good? What reliever should I bring in? When should I bring him in? How long should I keep him in, once he comes in? There are so many winkles in the game theory of baseball that no other sport can really compare to it. That intricacy is why I love the game. And of all the facets of game theory and the game of baseball, my favorite aspect is the so-called “head game”.

A few years ago I read a book called The Head Game by the great Roger Kahn. In the book, Kahn recalls a conversation he had with former Dodgers pitcher, Clem Labine. Labine asked, “Do you get bored watching baseball after all these years?” and Kahn responded with my favorite quote of all-time. He said:

As a matter of fact I don’t get bored. Not at all. I study the pitcher. What’s he going to throw? I study the hitter. What pitch is he looking for? I make myself become the pitcher and the hitter. Clem, they’re playing chess at ninety miles an hour and that’s not boring at all.

“They’re playing chess at ninety miles an hour and that’s not boring at all”. That, to me, describes the game of baseball better than any other quote about the game. Chess at ninety an hour. Perfect, just perfect. The quote in it’s entirety shows the beauty of baseball. It’s a thinking man’s game and truly is a fast paced game of chess. What’s the count? What pitch is the pitcher going to throw? Will he go up and in with the fastball, or go low and away with his slider? What is the batter looking for? Is he going to sit on the fastball? Is he going to try and go the other way, or look for a pitch to pull? That tug of war between the batter and the pitcher is the most beautiful aspect of the sport, or any sport in the world for that matter. One v. one. Mono v. mono. Man v. Man.

In a single phrase, Labine had summed up the essential core of baseball magic. One man stands in the center of the diamond, surrounded by four umpires, eight teammates, and thousands of spectators. He is alone. The other, also alone but armed with a club, stares hard. The pitcher moves. The battle joins, and it is waged with wit and strength, with muscle, guile, and guts. Statistics? The numbers that fill fat record books are secondary, commentary after the fact. The battle itself, the head game, is a duel.

Much like that paragraph written by Roger Kahn, baseball is poetic. The batter and pitcher are engaged in a battle, a war. In football and basketball, isolated match-ups are hard to come by. Sure, you have to man-man defense in both sports. But the whole premise of baseball is man v. man. I love that. The pitcher has a ball. The batter has a club. And they attack each other with their weapons, spurred on by that head game. It’s a thing of beauty. Poetry in motion. Art.

I cannot add much more to what Kahn wrote. He summed up the greatest facet of baseball perfectly. Baseball is a thinking man’s game and I suppose that is why not as many people enjoy the sport today, with so many other sports to watch in today’s day and age. In order to truly appreciate little quirks and charms of the game like the head game, one must truly be a thinker and understand the tiny nuances of baseball. Yes, football has some similar battles are the team level. Will they run or pass? But baseball is a lot more involved, a lot deeper.

To reiterate, baseball is the best sport in the world because of how unique it is. Unique in the way it is played and the way it lends itself to memories. For me, baseball is my life. It’s in my blood. Ever since I was five years old, it’s been the biggest influence in my life. I have been playing baseball, watching baseball, talking baseball, listening to baseball, or writing about baseball since that young age. When I read books, I read about baseball. When I write papers, I write about baseball. When I turn on the radio, I go to 880 WCBS, home of the New York Yankees. I check box scores EVERY NIGHT. Baseball is my addiction, my heroine. I breathe, I eat, I live baseball. It is not just a sport. It’s my life. It’s my passion. It’s what keeps me going, what keeps me sane. Baseball gives you hope. There is always a chance for the impossible to happen. You can go from the ultimate low to the ultimate high. Each game can be a microcosm of the long 162 game season. There are highs and lows, peaks and valleys. Through the season, you get to know the team. They become like family to you. So it makes the successes that much more enthralling, and the failures crush you that much more. I love that the season is all spring, summer, and fall, with games played everyday, because I can’t get enough of it.

That picture shows the true emotion and passion of the game. The game of baseball caused a grown man to skip and jump like a kid on the playground, and caused a nation of millions to shout for joy. There’s nothing like it.

This long post might have been an incoherent ramble. The grammar might have been sloppy and I probably could have penned a better piece had I sat down and looked it over. But I sat down and spoke from the heart. I let my heart, blood, and passion do the writing. There are charms of the game I probably am forgetting that I would love to add. Either way, the message is clear. Baseball is my lifeline and I believe it truly is the greatest sport to be ever be played.

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring.  ~Rogers Hornsby

Buster Olney breaks down the awards races

August 21, 2010

In a recent ESPN article, Buster Olney handicapped the AL/NL MVP and Cy Young races. The piece was interesting enough to draw my attention. I will go through each piece of the article to share my thoughts.

There are six weeks of baseball remaining, a quarter of a season, in which a lot can change. In 2004, Vladimir Guerrero mashed his way to the American League MVP Award by hitting .363 in September and hoisting the Angels onto his back: He generated 11 homers and 25 RBIs in that late push.

There is a lot more baseball to play in 2010. But as of today, here’s how we’d handicap the races for the two major awards in each league.


AL MVP

Cabrera
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. He leads the majors in OPS and RBIs and is tied for second in the AL in homers, all the while playing half his games in a pitchers’ park.

So far I have no complaints. While I believe Josh Hamilton is the MVP, I wouldn’t complain if Miguel Cabrera won the award. I know and you know OPS and RBI are junk stats, but in this case Olney is still picking a solid candidate to win the award.

2. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. He’s hitting .375 since the All-Star break, and .396 overall in home games.

No problems here. Although, saying he has hit .396 at home hurts his argument that Hamilton has been really good. Considering his BA is in the .350 range, it shows his home park has inflated his BA. Considering Olney takes a players home park into consideration- he did so with Cabrera- then Olney did not make a convincing case for Hamilton. My argument wouldn’t hinge on a stat like BA at all.

3. Robinson Cano, Yankees. The most important player in this lineup in 2010, and he has been excellent defensively.

That’s fine.

Others in the conversation: Delmon Young, Twins; Adrian Beltre, Boston; Evan Longoria, Rays; Paul Konerko, White Sox. But to be clear, there is an enormous gap between the top two candidates and the rest of the field.

Really Olney? Really? Delmon Young is in the conversation? What conversation? Young has finally put together a solid year offensively , but his defense continues to suck. His 2.0 WAR is average. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, and Denard Span are all Twins players with a better WAR. That’s 5/9 of the Twins starting lineup alone. Young is not in the MVP conversation.

Paul Konerko is not in the conversation either. He has been good, not great. The worst part is that while Konerko is mentioned, a player on a better team who has had a much better season is not mentioned at all- Carl Crawford. That is a poor oversight by Olney.

NL MVP

Votto
1. Joey Votto, Reds. His numbers are basically running neck-and-neck with those of Albert Pujols — and Votto’s team is in first place, which will count for something in the voting.

Agreed.

2. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Numbers do not fully reflect what he means to San Diego’s success, between his defense and what teammates perceive to be an extraordinarily unselfish approach

Stoopid, just stoopid. Olney thinks he is the second most valuable player in the league, when is “only” the fourth most valuable player- at all first base alone! He’s having a fine season, but it doesn’t compare to Albert Pujols or Votto. The entire pitching staff, defense, and lady luck are the MVP’s of San Diego because they are winning due to those three things. Even with A-Gonz, the Padres offense is anemic.

3. Pujols, Cardinals. He’s having another great season.

Good analysis!

Others in the conversation: Aubrey Huff, Giants; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; and the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, who will get a lot of top 10 votes. Again, there is a major gap between the top tier of candidates — Votto, Gonzalez and Pujols — and the rest of the field.

I will give kudos to Olney. He mentioned Zimmerman, a top three MVP candidate, which I was not expecting since he is on a last place team and gets a lot of value from defense. So I will excuse him for saying there is a gap between Zimmerman and Votto or Pujols, when Zimmerman might have the best case of the three.

AL Cy Young Award

Lee
1. Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers. His WHIP is a major league best 0.95.

Here’s one barometer of just how good Lee has been, from Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information:

The lowest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 counts:

Pct. K/BB
Cliff Lee 3.53 14.50
Roy Halladay 4.21 7.20
Ricky Nolasco 4.72 4.90
Scott Baker 4.92 3.90
Kevin Slowey 4.99 3.92
Phil Hughes 5.00 3.05
Carl Pavano 5.14 3.45
Josh Johnson 5.14 4.26
Roy Oswalt 5.20 3.36
Dan Haren 5.25 4.94
For the sake of comparison, the highest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1:

Pct. K/BB
Gio Gonzalez 9.93 1.81
Tim Lincecum 9.38 2.73
Wade LeBlanc 9.15 2.11
Derek Lowe 9.07 1.87
C.J. Wilson 8.81 1.80
Joe Saunders 8.66 1.62
Jaime Garcia 8.50 1.94
Brandon Morrow 8.44 2.55
Trevor Cahill 8.43 .95
CC Sabathia 8.37 2.34

Well, Olney took a weird route to his final answer, but at least he picked this one correctly. Lee is having his best season and arguably the best season since Pedro in 2000 (or Zack Greinke in 2009).

2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. He’s been absolutely dominant in the second half, with a 1.93 ERA.

Felix has had a great second half, but he should not be second in this race. Francisco Liriano has been filthy this season, but Carl Pavano is getting all the attention in Minny. Who does Liriano need to jerk off to get some respect?

3. David Price, Rays. Fifth in ERA and tied for second in wins with 15

We know better than to use ERA and wins, but Olney doesn’t. So it’s hard to criticize him for this pick. But what about other great lefties instead of Price? Like, lets say, Jon Lester?

3a. Trevor Cahill, Athletics

No, just no. King Luck should not be considered. I like Cahill and he does a nice job garnering ground balls. But he relies on BABIP too much. He doesn’t strike many people out. So balls are put in play a ton against him. By getting ground balls he does a good job to help himself from giving up too many base runners via hits, but a .213 BABIP is absurd. That is not his talent level at all, which is why he should not be in the Cy Young running.

Others in the conversation: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Jered Weaver, Angels.

JON FUCKING LESTAH!

NL Cy Young Award

Wainwright
1. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals. He has gotten better and better and better as the season has progressed.

No qualms here, although it should be Doc Halladay or Josh Johnson.

2. Tim Hudson, Braves. Having an incredible bounce-back season.

No. See Cahill, Trevor.

3. Roy Halladay, Phillies. He has a shot at 20 wins in his first season with the Phillies.

Open your eyes and look at the numbers, Buster. Halladay, a future HOF’er at this point in time, is having his best season. He should be 1 or 2 (if you like J-Johnson). Not three. Poor effort here.

Again, who does J-Johnson need to jerk off? 5.6 WAR, 2.27 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 3.16 xFIP. Yeah, nbd I guess.

Derrek Lee to Atlanta for Three Pitching Prospects

August 18, 2010

Numerous sources have reported that Derrek Lee will now be headed to Atlanta for pitching prospects Robinson Lopez, Tyrelle Harris, and Jeffrey Lorick. Derrek Lee is going to be owed 3.4 million from now until the rest of the season. The Cubs will also be sending the Braves some money (the amount has not been confirmed), which im guessing will be enough to cover Lee’s salary for the rest of the season.

First, lets take a look at this trade from the Braves perspective. Ever since Chipper Jones went down with the ACL injury, many have thought that the Braves would make a move to bolster their offense. Getting Martin Prado back might not be enough compensation for the Jones injury, especially since the Phillies have been playing much better, so I think that getting a right handed power bat like Derrek Lee is a good move considering how much Troy Glaus has struggled since early June. Having watched Glaus for the majority of the summer, it looks as if he needs some time off. Whether that may be sitting on the bench or deciding to DL him, I think he needs to rest after playing in 115 of the Braves 119 games this year. Derrek Lee has had some back trouble in the past couple of months so that is one major red flag in this trade. Lee has put up a line of .313/.356/.583 since the all-star break compared to Troy’s hideous line of .196/.291/.304 since the mid-summer classic. Given Lee’s mediocre first half, I can see why the Braves would be optimistic that he will continue his nice second half performance, which will ultimately bring his overall numbers closer to his career averages. Also, this makes the Braves bench that much deeper. Some scouts say that Freddie Freeman still needs some more seasoning in AAA and will be ready by next spring. So rushing him up just to platoon with Glaus probably isn’t going to be the best move. Derrek Lee also has much better range than Troy Glaus so some plays that were difficult for Glaus to make are hopefully routine for Derrek. I like this trade because it gives us a nice power bat in the middle of the lineup, which will leave Troy “The Automatic Out” Glaus sitting on the bench unless Lee is in need of a day off and will push Alex Gonzalez towards the bottom of the lineup.

I also like this trade from the Cubs perspective. Since Lee passed through waivers fairly easily, it was obvious that he wasn’t drawing much interest from anyone other than the Braves. It is obvious that the Cubs won’t contend for the playoffs this season and Lee will be a free agent after this season. Cubs made out well by getting some pitching prospects for him while they still could. Tyrelle Harris and Jeffrey Lorick were not ranked particularly high in the Braves system and they project as relievers in the major leagues. Robinson Lopez has the most upside in this trade mostly because he has the ability to be starter and hes just 19 years old. Robinson Lopez has pitched 6+ innings 7 times this year out of 16 games started. Not particularly the most promising numbers, but hes only 19. Cubs fans will have to keep and eye on him and see if he can develop into a back end starter. The Cubs probably weren’t and should not have expected any top 10 prospects in the Braves system.

The Cubs took a step towards rebuilding their team with this trade and the Braves increased their chances of winning the division than with Troy Glaus manning first base. Its a win/win.