Monthly Archives: October 2012

If You’re Into That Sort Of Thing, A Particular Joy Of Anonymous Internet Message Boards

Let’s say on your team-centric fan message board, someone opines that making a trade for Elvis Andrus would be a dream off-season scenario, and a possible one, to which you reply “Folks, again, we have Furcal, we’re not going big on a shortstop.” (And please note, editorially speaking in this particular blog, that both uses of ‘we’ are sic.)

So then someone goes ahead and shows how unlikely it is for a shortstop of Furcal’s age to be a productive shortstop, and how of the select few SSs who have been league-average or better at Furcal’s age or older, they have been well beyond Furcal’s skill set (Hall of Fame names like Ripken, Jeter, Rodriguez). That someone basically shows you that it’s impossible to assume Rafael Furcal can be a league-average SS in 2013, counter to your hey, no need to improve here, we (sic) got Furcal outlook. Then that person goes on to talk trade scenario:

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ESPN’s Peter Keating’s Laughably Horrible Reason For Voting Mike Trout AL MVP

I get ESPN The Magazine every….I don’t know, it just appears. It appears because it’s cheaper to subscribe to the magazine and get ESPN Insider for free with my subscription than it is to subscribe to ESPN Insider. I get to read John Hollinger on the NBA and Keith Law on baseball, and ESPN gets the illusion that four a few bucks less I’m being advertised to by the corporations who pay for space in their mag. In truth after I flip through the mag, confirm there’s nothing of interest, I take it to the gym and toss it on top of the pile of magazines in the cardio room, to be read by some guy on a recumbent bike under the illusion he’s working out. I get five bucks off on my Insider, ESPN gets to advertise colognes and shit to recumbent bike guy.

This week the flip-through grabbed me, in a column called “The Numbers” by Peter Keating. Who is Peter Keating? According to his Businessweek bio he’s “a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. For the last five years, Keating has written “The Biz,” a column that tackles financial issues from the fan’s perspective. Before coming to ESPN, Keating was a senior writer at George, where he covered national politics, and at Money. His work has appeared in publications ranging from Mother Jones to New York to Fortune. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey.” His Twitter bio claims he’s taking stats and analysis to ‘the next level’ so I assume I’m in for some good stuff here, especially since ESPN staffs guys like Keith Law and Dan Szymborski–with them on staff, if this is their Numbers Guy Who Takes It To The Next Level, I’m expecting brilliance.

Keating’s headline and sub-headline: “And the Winner Is…In the case for AL MVP, the backers of Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera both get it wrong. But an innovative stat called WPA gets it exactly right.”

God.

Fucking.

Dammit.

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TheMiddle54′s 2012 End-Of-Season Awards

Below is who I think deserves the major awards, how I voted for them in Baseball Prospectus’ Internet Baseball Awards, and how I think the Baseball Writers Association of America should vote, which should not be confused with how I think the BBWAA, as backwards a crowd as the Tea Party, will vote.

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Yankees Swept, Air In Steinbrenner’s Coffin Circulated

I can’t imagine George Steinbrenner ever got as mad at Billy Martin as he would have been this week with Joe Girardi.

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Matt Holliday’s Take-out Job on Marco Scutaro, Len Kasper’s BP Evolution Piece

I yield to no one in my love of Matt Holliday, Baseball Player. Holliday came up in 2004 with the Rockies and over the last nine seasons the list of players to have out-produced Holliday by fWAR are: Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, David Wright and Adrian Beltre. The players to have outhit him by wOBA are Barry Bonds, Pujols, Joey Votto, Manny Ramirez, Cabrera, David Ortiz, Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman. Six players provided more overall value, eight were better hitters. Holliday is one of the best of his generation without a doubt.

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TM54′s Favorite Prospects #29-31

Intro #48-50 #45-47 #41-44 #38-40 #35-37 #32-34

31. Jake Odorizzi, P, Kansas City Royals

Vitals: DOB 3/27/1990, 6’2″ 185lbs. Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 32nd overall pick in the 2008 draft and signed for a bonus of $1,060,000. Finished 2012 in MLB.

Odorizzi does not have the frame I like in a starting pitcher, but he does have good athleticism. He played both ways in high school–a pitcher and shortstop–and was a wide receiver on his high school football team. That athleticism has been on display in the minors.

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TM54′s Favorite Prospects #32-34

Intro   #48-50   #45-47   #41-44   #38-40 #35-37

34. Robbie Erlin, P, San Diego

Vitals: DOB 10/8/90, 5’11″ 190lbs. Drafted by the Rangers in the third round of the 2009 draft and signed for a $425,o00 bonus. Finished 2012 at AA San Antonio.

Erlin is unlike every other pitcher on my list. He’s small physically, and his fastball tops out at 92. I tend to like tall frames, big legs, big butts, and broad shoulders on a pitcher, and Erlin has none of those things.

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Paradigms And The 2012 AL MVP

As long as there have been baseball games, there have been baseball fans. People have taken a rooting interest in players and teams since the first organized games were played. As the game grew, and popularity rose, there was a need for the results to be published in newspapers, which led to the birth of something new: the beat writer who covered a team and a sport for a newspaper. There was a market for first-hand observers to relate the story of that day’s game to a curious–and increasingly knowledgeable and opinionated–public.

The public did not just become more knowledgeable and opinionated, the media covering the game did as well. In 1920 the Run Batted In became an official stat, right around the time that box scores began appearing in newspapers and the coverage of baseball games in newspapers began to focus increasingly more on individual players. Not coincidentally, this was also the time when baseball’s first mega-star, Babe Ruth, came to prominence.

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The Baltimore Orioles: The Worst Franchise In Sports Comes Up (Kinda)

I love a Cinderella story. Give me a dozen skinny 19 year-olds running through the pack in March Madness, knocking off guys they shouldn’t be knocking off, and I’m hooked. In baseball, I like it when a good and smart team outshines a good and wealthy team.

But.

I hate the Baltimore Orioles. They’re not outsmarting anyone, they’re succeeding despite their front office and ownership’s ineptitude. There’s not much worth pulling for here, even as an underdog story.

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