Monthly Archives: November 2012

Because There Are Not Enough Big Long Rants About BBWAA Sermonizing Over The Hall Of Fame

To get a vote for the Baseball Hall Of Fame? One must cover baseball for ten consecutive years. But then one can stop covering baseball, watch literally no baseball, and retain membership in the BBWAA and a vote for the Hall of Fame. It’s like being a drug addict, I guess: once you’re a drug addict, you’re always one. Nothing can change it.

That policy of inclusion, though, speaks to something incredibly bizarre. It takes a while for the door to open, and then once a new member has stepped through that door, he can slam it closed, locking himself in.

An example of why this is an outdated and inefficient way to determine voter eligibility is Philip Hersh of the Tribune company. Hersh covered baseball for 10 or more years and acquired a HOF vote. But since 1987 he has exclusively covered the Olympics and other international sports for the Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

Hersh has not covered baseball for as long as some people who read this have been alive, but he retains a vote. Phil Hersh did not cover most or all of the following careers: Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Barry Larkin, Rafael Palmerio, Kenny Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens. All of whom are at present on the Hall Of Fame Ballot or were recently inducted. (Also Kevin Brown, who was criminally–criminally I say–excluded from future voting when he received only 2.1% of the vote in 2011.)

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A Brief Thing About Tim Raines and The Hall Of Fame for BBWAA Voters

Let’s call this an open letter to the members of the BBWAA who did not, last year, vote for Tim Raines on their Hall Of Fame ballots. It’s easy–too easy–for some sabermetrically-slanted bloggers, writers and fans to cast a stone and make accusations about intelligence when it comes to stuff like this. This is not going to be an assertion of superior intelligence, or the value of sabermetrics entirely over the value of traditional stats. It’s going to, I hope, appeal to BBWAA members and statheads alike without alienating either, and if just one BBWAA voter reads this, and considers Raines a little closer when he’s filling out his or her HOF ballot, I’ll consider that the best thing I’ve done on this blog outside of having a dumb contest to rename my buddy’s Ottoneu team.

While the “open letter” genre is typically a sarcastic and arrogant piece of mockery full of faux-sincerity best left in the realm of McSweeney’s and hipster kids’ tumblrs, this one is going to be sincere and heartfelt. I certainly hope at least one BBWAA writer–and I apologize for the onslaught of Twitter mentions to draw you here in advance–will have a look and give it some thought.

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There Is No Such Thing As There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect

Gary Huckabay, before he founded Baseball Prospectus, coined the phrase “TINSTAAPP”–there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. I like Huckabay’s work generally speaking, and I like Baseball Prospectus, but how much stock should we put in his idea of pitching prospects?

Let’s start with WAR leaders in the draft era. 1965 was the first year of the MLB draft, so I will sort by career fWAR from 1966 to the present, with a note of when the player was selected in the draft.

Roger Clemens 145.5 (1st round)
Greg Maddux 120.6 (2nd round)
Randy Johnson 114.7 (2nd round)
Bert Blyleven 110.0 (3rd round)
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The Age Of The Pitcher is Largely The Age Of Less Greenies, Though No One Is Soapboxing That One

Over the past several years, hitting has declined in Major League Baseball. Since 2006, the league average wOBA has gone:

2006 – .332

2007 – .331

2008 – .328

2009 – .329

2010 – .321

2011 – .316

2012 – .315

The average MLB player in 2006 hit like the 2012 version of Asdrubal Cabrera (.270/.338/.423,) and the average MLB player in 2012 hit like the 2012 version of Jason Kipnis (.257/.335/.379.)  What happened?

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Jim Johnson CYA Voters: BIG UP YO SELF!!!

Jim Johnson, son!

Got votes in that Cy Young contest! Mel Antonen of, Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News: BIG UP YO SELF for giving Johnson a fifth-place vote!

Much RESPECK to John Hickey, At Large (No Pun Intended,) who gave Jim Johnson a 4th place vote!

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Hey Miami, And Fans Of The Marlins (If Such A Thing Exists): Jeff Loria Says “Fuck You”

I am the last writer on earth to tell a baseball story from the perspective of the tribal brand of fan. I don’t get the we/us mentality that makes a guy not employed by a MLB team say of that MLB team “Man, if we could just get a….” Fans are consumers of entertainment, the same as nerds are consumers of “Star Wars” stuff. The difference is the nerds don’t say “If we could just get Gosling to play Han Solo in Episode 7…” They understand that they don’t actually have any input in the product, beyond how they vote at the gate no matter how much they, like me, squawk on their blogs, making noise from their tiny little spot on the Internet.

The Miami Marlins dumping their roster the way they did tonight, however, has the kind of repercussions for Marlins fans, and the citizens of Miami, that leaves me feeling terrible for those folks.


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The Angels Refusing To Overpay An Old Guy Does Not = A Diss To Torii Hunter

Who are you going to go with on this one? The Angels reportedly offered Torii Hunter a one-year, $5 million contract back in September (mostly speculation and/or second-hand info, that.) And here’s a quote from Hunter courtesy of Scott Miller on CBS Sports’ website:

“They never offered me anything worth considering,” Hunter says. “It actually was very disrespectful, what was offered.”

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TM54’s Favorite Prospects #25-28

Intro #48-50 #45-47 #41-44 #38-40 #35-37 #32-34 #29-31

28. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

Vitals: DOB 10/1/1992, 6’3″ 175lbs. Signed as an international free agent by the Red Sox 8/23/2009 for a signing bonus of $410,000. Finished 2012 at AA Portland.

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Jason Parks’ Astros Top 10 Prospects List: A First Impression And A Ramble About The Value Of Fat Guys Who Hit Good

Today brings a passing-of-the-torch that we knew was coming. Jason Parks has taken the wheel of the Prospect List-Making minibus at Baseball Prospectus, and his first list (subscription required), a ranking of the Houston Astros top ten prospects, arrived today, after a primer for his prospects series that arrived online late last week. Just the ’10’ in the above brings a change, as Parks has reduced the number of prospects covered by one while promising a little more depth in each write-up.

There are a lot of good prospects writers on the internet, including John Sickels at Minor League Ball and Mike Newman at Fangraphs and many other places. However, with all due respect to those other places, for the past several years, building an idea of a prospect’s future or a rank and file order of prospects via some kind of consensus- or majority-gathering started and mostly stopped with three people: Baseball America’s Jim Callis, ESPN’s Keith Law, and Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus.

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Ervin Santana = Me Finally Losing A Prop Bet To My Friend

My buddy Garett and I will prop bet virtually anything baseball-related. And in baseball bets I have never–ever ever ever–lost. I bet him before the 2010 playoffs that the Giants would win the World Series. I bet him that Jordan Zimmerman would have a higher fWAR than Tommy Hanson in 2012. I bet him in 2010 that Colby Lewis would be at or better at least three of the following: 1.25 WHIP, 3.95 ERA, 150 IP, 14 QS, 9.0 K/9. He missed the K/9 by 0.22 and hit the rest.

Now, though, I’m already resigned to losing my first prop bet to Garett. The bet is that the Kansas City Royals will win the AL Central 2 times and go to the World Series once in the span of 2013-2015, with me having the yes side of that bet.

I made the bet in the 2011 preseason, when Kansas City was the darling of scouting writers, and their top prospect list was littered with names like Montgomery, Duffy, Dwyer, Lamb, Collins, Yambati, Ventura, Adam, and Crow. One of whom (Crow) has been productive in MLB. As a relief pitcher. One of whom (Duffy) was starting to figure it out, then got shut down for Tommy John surgery in 2012. One of whom (Montgomery) can’t find the strike zone and has been demoted. And so on.

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