Thursday, December 29, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers, as one of the more storied teams in baseball history, have one of the more extensive lists of honorees I’ll cover in the Retired Number Series. They also choose to recognize franchise cornerstones from before their move, unlike many other teams, which helps demonstrate that rich history.

Like the Red Sox and the Mariners, the Dodgers have a rule limiting who can have their number retired with the team. But, like the Red Sox, the Dodgers have made an exception to that rule, meaning any player is fair game in terms of speculation.

On to the numbers.

Notes on the Numbers

Some quick notes on the stats: the two most prominent stats I used are similarly named. Both are called WAR, or Wins Above Replacement. They both try to account for every part of a player’s game, including, but not limited to: offense, defense, position, and playing time. So, it is a counting stat, like hits or home runs (with the small difference that bad seasons can actually decrease your WAR, if you are worse than a replacement player). WAR credits a player with how many wins they have provided to their team. They aren’t perfect, but for my purposes (a single number showing roughly how good a player has been), they work perfectly.

There are two major sites that provide WAR, Baseball-Reference (henceforth called bWAR) and Fangraphs (fWAR). The two are mostly the same, with the biggest difference coming from the different fielding stats the two use. Fangraphs has a fairly good summary of what makes up WAR and how it is calculated (for those wanting a more general summary, the introduction works just fine). Pitching is slightly different: Fangraphs’ WAR for pitchers only goes back to 1974, so for my purposes, I stuck to just bWAR for them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

General Announcement

Just as a warning (so that none of you die of shock tomorrow), I finished the next part in my Retired Numbers Series. It's been sitting on my computer, waiting to be finished for four months, but it's finally done. It just needs to be edited and posted for tomorrow. As a side note, I have now covered 1/3 of MLB teams.

Monday, December 26, 2011

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame Ballot Explanations, Part 3

A quick continuation of explaining my ballot for the 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame project. These players are the final nine from my first round of additions; again, I wrote on my ballot that I supported every one of these players becoming Hall of Famers. To see the earlier parts of my ballot, see Part 1 and Part 2.

Keith Hernandez, Cardinals/Mets/Indians, 1B - Hernandez isn’t like the now-common model of slugging first basemen, but he could still hit well and get on base (426 doubles to go with 162 homers, a .296/.384/.436 line, a 128 OPS+). On top of this, he’s arguably the best fielding first baseman of all-time; both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs put him in the range of 12 to 13 wins just from his fielding. Going by Total Zone Runs, Keith Hernandez saved 117 runs, most all-time for first basemen (and really, only three others are close: Albert Pujols at 114, Todd Helton at 100, and John Olerud at 97. More on this in a bit). Overall, his career and peak seem to match the Hall’s standards: 61.0 bWAR, 61.8 fWAR, and 90.8 bWAR.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, Naps(Indians)/White Sox/Athletics, LF - As a side note, I always forget that Shoeless Joe spent more time in Cleveland than he did in Chicago. Anyway, I don’t really know that Jackson’s playing days are the problem for his candidacy. For example, his career batting line of .356/.423/.517 is good for a 169 OPS+, good for ninth all-time. Despite really only playing for nine full seasons, Jackson amassed 62.9 bWAR and 67.0 fWAR in his career.

Anyway, I get the feeling that Jackson’s problem is with his banishment. First of all, the Hall of Fame is not actually included in the gambling banishment. The Hall separately added a clause banning players on MLB’s banned list years afterwards. MLB’s ban just prevents these players from holding a position in MLB like player or manager.

But, more than that, the Hall of Fame is supposed to be a museum to remember the game’s best players. That applies to Jackson. At the very least, the guy’s been dead for over six decades. Let it go already; make it a lifetime ban. I feel like the Hall is losing more by not letting him in than he is by being kept out at this point.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Trivia Break, Part 3

And now, the third part in the series. I don't think I'll go any further back as of right now, but who knows about later. I'm busy with so many other writing projects right now, and I'd like to get back to those.

Monday, December 19, 2011

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame Ballot Explanations, Part 2

This is the continuation of my explanation of my “50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame” Ballot. Part 1 can be found here. These are the next nine players that I added to the ballot in Round 1 of my cutting process, listed alphabetically. The last nine first rounders will be in their own post, so that I can elaborate more fully on each candidate. I marked on my ballot that I support all of these players for induction.

Dick Allen, Phillies/White Sox/Dodgers/Cardinals/Athletics, 1B/3B - Allen was a little hard to get along with, explaining his frequent team changes and relatively short career (his first full season was 1964, and his final was 1977). However, the man could really hit; despite playing during a low-offense era, he hit 351 home runs and put up a .292/.378/.534 career line, good for a 156 OPS+. That puts him tied for nineteenth all-time with Frank Thomas. For his career, he had 61.2 bWAR and 67.9 fWAR.

Sal Bando, Athletics/Brewers, 3B - I hadn’t actually heard of Bando until I started reading Adam Darowski’s Hall of wWAR project. As I mentioned in part 1, third base is overall underrepresented in the Hall of Fame, and this will start to come up more and more as I get further into my ballot. Bando is one of four third basemen that I view as those most deserving of induction now that Ron Santo is in. Two of the other three are in Round 1, while the final one got a little extra consideration due to the fact that he was up for election this year.

Bando presented good hitting (119 career OPS+) and solid defense at an important position over an extended period of time; basically, he did a little bit of everything, and he did it all well. This led to 60.6 bWAR and 62.7 fWAR. Also of note, he had a strong peak; this is represented in his weighted WAR (wWAR) of 93. This puts him ninth among all eligible third baseman, just behind Brooks Robinson (also of note about this ranking is that, with the election of Santo, Bando is the highest-rated third baseman by this metric not in the Hall).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Extended Trivia Break-Teammates with All-Star Seasons, Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's trivia theme, I have another Sporcle quiz up. Same idea as yesterday, but for the 2000-2005 seasons.

A Recommendation

I am a huge Jeff Bagwell supporter for the Hall of Fame election, so I cannot recommend this piece by The Common Man highly enough. I feel the idea is both perfect as an analogy and overall brilliant; I agree 100%.

Trivia Break-Teammates with All-Star Seasons

I needed a break from writing, so I made a Sporcle quiz instead. This one is naming the teammates with 5+ WAR seasons (as per Fangraphs) from 2006-2011. Look for another quiz tomorrow!

Monday, December 12, 2011

50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame Ballot Explanations, Part 1

I participated in Baseball: Past and Present’s now-annual “50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame” Project. This is the intersection of all sorts of different things that I love: baseball, baseball stats, the Hall of Fame, arguing, snubs and overlooks, lists, voting, really big projects, and so on. The full list will be coming soon, but seeing as I’d like to actually explain my picks (including some of the people who didn’t make the list), the most prudent thing to do is to break the list down into parts.

Part of the ballot was listing whether we thought our 50 Best were actually Hall of Famers. So, I suppose I should start by saying that I am definitely a big Hall of Fame guy; I marked all 50 Players on my ballot as Yeses (there are actually players who didn’t make my final ballot that I would still put in). I operate on the thinking that the Hall was intended to be closer to a big Hall, anyway. Some of the Veterans Committee players that got in under Frankie Frisch weren’t great, but at the same time, they’re in.

Additionally, the game (and, therefore, the number of players in the game) is growing much faster than the Hall of Fame. For example, there are nearly twice as many teams now as there were when the Hall was founded; shouldn’t we be inducting more players now? (If not at a 2 to 1 rate, then maybe a 1.5 to 1 rate or so.) And even more than that, I like to remember players. Every player was someone’s favorite, and each one has some stories that made them stand out. The Hall of Fame is without a doubt the best way to remember and honor great players, so why not add a few more in any way? It’s not like it would detract from the best of them; nobody now cares any less about Babe Ruth because High Pockets Kelly is in Cooperstown with him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Best 50 Players Not in the Hall of Fame

Baseball Past and Present just put up their post on the 50 best players not in Cooperstown. I voted, and my explanations will be forthcoming. Right now, I figured I would redirect people to the main project page.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thoughts on Albert Pujols to the Angels

Well, that didn't happen at all the way I thought it would.

It's been weird; I heard about it minutes after it happened, but didn't get a chance to stop what I was doing and write something until now. Really, I didn't even get a chance to reflect on it until now.

First, I was more expecting the Marlins to offer just plain stupid trump offer. Even more than that, though,  I wasn't expecting a just plain stupid trump offer. I was more or less expecting the Cardinals to overpay for sentimental reasons to bring back Pujols, and the $220 million dollar price tag would hurt, but we'd get over it, and at least there would be the memories to comfort Cardinal fans during the decline years of the contract. Instead, the Angels jumped in out of nowhere to sign him away.

I don't really begrudge Pujols for leaving, or the Cardinals for not upping their offer. Really, this isn't meant to be a bitter piece.

First, I would like thank Albert for his eleven years as a Cardinals. Nothing can take away those three MVP years, or two World Series trophies, or anything else. I still can't wait to see number 5 retired and Albert in Cooperstown with a St. Louis hat (and both will come, eventually).

Next, I would like to thank the Cardinals front office for sticking to their plan and not upping their offer to Pujols. The deal they offered was already about as long as I could have stomached; I think any longer or bigger would have actually crippled the team (and, as an optimist, I didn't even think a $220 million/10 year deal would ruin the team's chances in the future...). So kudos to them.

(Also, in a weird way, I would like to thank the Angels. They saved us $220 million dollars, and I'm sure there will be some humor ten years from now when they're paying a 42-year-old first baseman $26 million+ per year. Essentially, they're paying him whatever we owed him from his time in St. Louis.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The 2011 Ryan Howard Awards

So, this may or may not be my last piece on the 2011 Awards season, but it is the last one that requires the BBWAA’s voting results. Ladies and gentleman, I present...

The 2011 Ryan Howard Awards

So, what is it, you ask? Simply put, it is the most inexplicable result of the MVP voting. The name sake is Ryan Howard, for two reason. The first is that he was what inspired the award last winter. Last year, I wrote about Ryan Zimmerman’s MVP-quality year, but noted he was getting no attention for his great play. Sure enough, he finished sixteenth in the voting, in spite of his good year. While I was looking at the player who had finished ahead of him, I noticed that Ryan Howard finished tenth. There were other odd choices ahead of Zimmerman, but Howard was definitely the strangest, as he was barely starter-level in 2010 (bWAR had him at 2.0, while fWAR put him at 1.4).

This led me to look closer at the AL voting; my choice for the 2010 AL Ryan Howard Award was also tenth place in the voting. If you recalled that this was Delmon Young, then congratulations; you must understand the Baseball Writers Association better than I do. Young hit 21 home runs and drove in 112 runs...which was apparently enough for the BBWAA to collectively overlook the fact that .298/.333/.493. And .826 OPS with bad defense in left field just isn’t that valuable, which partly explains his 1.7 bWAR (lowest among all MVP vote-getters in either league).

So, who are the Ryan Howard Award winners for the 2011 season? Well, the award requires a combination of votes and awfulness. So, David Robertson got an MVP vote in the AL, but he won’t win the Ryan Howard Award because he was so unsupported. Voting for a reliever for MVP is a fairly bad choice, but in Robertson’s case, he got one point. These things happen; writers vote for friends or guys they like or so on. The RHA winner has to be both unjustifiable as MVP, but at the same time a popular MVP choice.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why the Newest Pujols-to-Miami Rumors Make No Sense

So, the current buzz is that the Marlins are still going after Pujols, but they mean it this time!

Really, I’m still skeptical for several reasons. First, the Cardinals were apparently the only team left standing on Pujols as recently a week ago, meaning that they didn’t need to raise their bid for his services. Now, suddenly, the Marlins (and Cubs!) are showing interest. This seems an awful lot like the classic “mystery team” ploy (or, it could be both teams trying to force the Cardinals to up their offer, which would more or less be the same thing, just a different instigator).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ron Santo Elected to Hall of Fame

It's long overdue, but Ron Santo has finally made the Hall of Fame. It's a shame it took until after his death for it to happen, but at least he's finally in.

It's good to see another third baseman make the Hall, too. The position has long been underrepresented.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MLB's Borderline-Insane New Draft Gimmick

So, did you hear that MLB has a new draft pick lottery thing? Yep, as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Selig made sure to fix that much-squabbled about problem of who gets the picks after the first round of the draft.

I don’t want to say this is the dumbest thing in baseball history; baseball has had numerous dumb things in history. There’s this. These. Most of these. This and this (you’ll know them when you see them). Yeah, not to beat the point into the ground, but if you’re looking for dumb things, there are worse. But I’m not sure how many of them rival the Competitive Balance Lottery on things like poor planning, inexplicability, or sheer out-of-nowhereness.

Granted, people had issues with the draft. The Free Agent type rankings were a mess, most of the owners wanted to curb spending on amateurs, some people wanted to add countries to the draft or remove them, and so on. Nowhere did I hear anything about teams needing more picks or less picks or anything like that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Awards Season Explanations, Part 3

So, I didn’t quite get this up before the MVPs were announced, but I still want to explain my voting. And so I shall. Let’s jump right in. (The first two explanation articles can be found here and here.)

AL MVP-1. Jose Bautista

2. Jacoby Ellsbury - This was the hard part, really. The two were more or less equal, with each one bettering the other in different categories. Ellsbury was the better fielder (at a harder position), Bautista was the better hitter (while playing multiple positions). Ellsbury led the AL in fWAR (9.4 to 8.3), while Bautista led in bWAR (8.5 to 7.2). In both of those cases, they were 1-2 (with Verlander tying Baustista in bWAR; however, I trust fWAR for pitchers a little more, and I have already explained my reasons for not voting for him repeatedly).

In the end, I went with Bautista for 2 reasons: first, a lot of Ellsbury’s value came from his fielding, which was suddenly improved. Fielding stats are both less certain than hitting stats and more prone to random fluke fluctuation, meaning that we can be much more certain of Bautista’s value. Second, Bautista played about two dozen games at third base. While Ellsbury did play the harder position (center field is definitely harder to play than right, although it’s similar in difficulty to third base), WAR (both versions) accounts for position difficulty; it does not account for versatility. So, I felt comfortable using that as a sort of tiebreaker. Really, though, both were fine choices, and would have made fine MVPs (the next five players or so would also be decent choices, although I don’t think any of them had as good a claim to the trophy as these two).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Great 2011 Awards Cheat Sheet

Well, Award Season has more or less wrapped up. So, for some reason, I decided to create a giant summary of the winners, listed by awards and voting block. No, I don’t understand how my mind works either.

In any case, the results in question are from myself, the General Chapter voting of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, the full Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and the Baseball Writers Association of America (aka, “The Official Awards”). As an added bonus, I’ll throw in some commentary on the results, because what good is an awards summary without remarks containing varying degrees of sarcasm?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pitching Triple Crowns: Where Do Verlander and Kershaw Rank?

So, first off, congratulations to recently-named Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Both were deserving winners, and this piece is not meant to disparage their seasons in any way (because I know that, if enough people read this, at least one person will think that it is). Rather, it more sprung from my curiosity about pitchers and the MVP.

After comparing Verlander’s Triple Crown season to the previous few, I decided that I might want to take a more in-depth look at how his season compared to other Triple Crown winners (and yes, this is partly related to why I’m not a big fan of Verlander winning the MVP). I figured the best way was to do a straight up comparison bewtween his season and the seven other Pitching Triple Crown seasons that have followed Dwight Gooden’s 1985 (and yes, it is now seven, with Kershaw’s PTC).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Awards Season Explanations, Part 2

With MLB wrapping up the major awards over the next week, I was planning on finishing explaining my ballots. (Part 1 of my explanations can be found here.) I figured that it should be quick; after all, the first part I did had five awards, and I wrote that reasonable quick. But the MVP ballots are long, and I could either delay the NL Cy Young until after the award is announced, or break up the series further. So, my thinking on my NL Cy Young ballot, plus a public service announcement about something exciting coming up.

NL Cy Young-1. Roy Halladay

2. Clayton Kershaw

3. Cliff Lee-I feel like these three more or less had to be the top three; it was merely a matter of arranging them. Both Baseball-Reference WAR and Fangraphs WAR agreed that the order was Halladay-Kershaw-Lee. But Kershaw did win the pitching triple crown (which is one thing I hope to write more about, hopefully by next week). So, I was somewhat pre-disposed to put him first. But, everything I looked at seemed to indicate that Halladay was the better pitcher by a slight margin. Halladay made one fewer start than Kershaw, but threw one third of an inning more. Kershaw had 248 strikeouts to Lee’s 238 and Halladay’s 220 (first, second, and tied for third, respectively), and a 9.57 K/9 Innings (to Lee’s 9.21 and Halladay’s 8.47). But Halladay has both of them topped in BB/9 innings, with 1.35 to Kershaw’s 2.08 and Lee’s 1.62. Halladay also led the group in HR/9 innings, .39 to .58 (Kershaw) and .70 (Lee), despite the fact that Kershaw played in a better pitcher’s park. Their ERA’s were close as well, with Kershaw leading Halladay and Lee 2.28 to 2.35 and 2.40. But playing in a pitcher’s park hurt him; ERA+ put him second (163) to Halladay (164), with Lee and incredibly close third (161). Really, they were all incredible, but it seemed like Halladay consistently edged out Kershaw while playing in a better hitter’s park, leading to this order.

4. Ian Kennedy

5. Cole Hamels-Again, my down-ballot spots are less rigid. Kennedy seemed like a good fourth place, and I was split on whether to try and slide Carpenter into the fifth slot. In the end, I went against it, which is totally the opposite of what I did on my AL Rookie of the Year ballot. So yes, my philosophy on the final ballot spots fluctuates quite easily.

Now, for an announcement. The project for this site that is currently taking up my time is this Baseball Past and Present idea. Basically, it’s just what it sounds like (if you clicked the link, then came back); Who are the 50 Best Players who currently aren’t in the Hall of Fame? My ballot currently stands at 42 players, with 12 more fighting for the last 8 spaces (and I actually am being very deliberate with these final picks). I feel like this may lead to numerous future updates; there will be at least one, to be sure. Keep your eyes open.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Awards Season Explanations, Part 1

So, this being awards week, I would finally like to go over some of my picks that I made a while ago for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance voting.

First, the Rookie of the Year Awards.

AL-1. Dustin Ackley-The rookie leader in fWAR in the AL was actually second place Michael Pineda, at 3.4, followed by a 3-way tie between Ackley, Brett Lawrie, and Ivan Nova (Desmond Jennings was also pretty close). However, Pineda and Nova played full seasons, while Lawrie played in only 43 games, and Ackley played in 90 games. 43 games didn’t seem like enough, but 90 games is just over half the season. Ackley’s WAR seems surprising, but he did it in a number of ways; about .9 WAR came from his batting 117 wRC+, meaning he was about 17% better than the league average hitter (going off of wOBA). About .1 WAR came from his base running and .2 from his fielding, meaning the rest came from the fact that he did all of that while playing second base. In any case, I decided his 2.7 fWAR in 90 games was impressive enough in a large enough portion of the season.

2. Michael Pineda-See above

3. Zach Britton-he was pretty close with 2.5 fWAR, and I wanted to vote for an Oriole.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Post in Which I Try and Emulate Ken Tremendous

There are several articles I’ve been meaning to analyze. One’s older, but it’s about the MVP races. Those are coming up, so I think it’s still relevant. The other covers the recent World Series, but it’s fairly new, so I’m also calling that one relevant.

We’ll start this week with the one that will become irrelevant sooner, and if I get time, go on to the MVP one later (or something else awards related; I’ll play it by ear). Bill Madden of the New York Daily News thinks there are too many teams in MLB right now, and the 2011 World Series showed why.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Are the Cardinals Worthy Champions?

The Cardinals surprised everyone (myself included) when they made the playoffs after a late-season run for the Wild Card. Everyone (except for me, this time) continued to pick against them when they faced the number 1 and 2 seeds in the the National League, the 102-win Phillies and the 96-win Brewers, and even when they reached the World Series. And yet, here we are; the 90-win Cardinals have knocked off all of them, and now stand as the 2011 Champions.

But is it really bad that this team won the World Series? I guess if you have a problem with Wild Cards winning the World Series in general, then yes. But I feel like thinking of them as a just-okay team that snuck in on the last day isn’t entirely representative either. For example, Bill at the Platoon Advantage said they would probably be among the eight worst World Series winners back on Tuesday (or, at least, he insinuated that they would be). Are they really?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World Series, Game 6

The Platoon Advantage has an interesting piece on the worst World Series winners, and speculates that the Cardinals (if they win) could find their way onto the list. Granted, I can see them going on the list, but somewhere towards the bottom; I've been meaning to write an article defending them, and it will come, but I've been very busy lately (yes, still).

Let me just say, though, that I hope the Cardinals win tonight on a walk-off, preferably in extra innings. Not only because I'm a Cardinals fan, but also because 1) I think a Game 7 will cement the 2011 World Series' place among the greatest; and 2) Every one of the first six games will be great in different ways. Game 1 saw a classic back-and-forth game with pinch-hit heroics. Game 2 saw an even better pitchers' duel capped off with an amazing comeback. Game 3 saw a high-offense game with an incredible hitting performance from Albert Pujols. Game 4 saw an amazing pitching performance from Derek Holland. Game 5 saw a close strategic match-up between the managers (granted, that one was lackluster as far as strategic match-ups go, but it still brought a different dimension to the Series).

The only problem is, if Game 6 is in fact a walk-off or extra innings win, what does that leave for Game 7?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Observations

I've been very busy as of late, at least partly due to the World Series. I do have several things planned, though.

I would just like to point out that in Game 5, there were five intentional walks. It's been fairly well established that intentional walks are, in general, bad; they put runners on for the other team, which is kind of what they're trying to do.

The team that issued four of them escaped unscathed every time. The other walk was followed by a ground ball that was deflected rather than turning into a double play, and led to two runs scoring, as if the baseball gods realized that the Universal Law of Intentional Walks had been defiled too many times in one game, and they had to make an example of someone before it was too late.

I'm not sure if Tony La Russa saw Ron Washington's moves and mistook them for strategic brilliance or what, but that seems like bad luck.

I have always believed that La Russa over-manages though, and the Cardinals are worse off for it. He also added evidence to that, with poorly called steals and hit-and-runs (maybe he over-values Allen Craig's speed?). On top of that, there were the three sac bunts (and again, one of them was Allen Craig-maybe he doesn't like him?). With all of the Cardinals wasted opportunities and bad moves, this is possibly the first game in the series where it feels like one team lost the game, rather than the other one team won it (so to speak).

All in all, this World Series has been amazing (even if my team is down a game now). If the Cardinals can force a Game 7, though, it may become one for the ages.

(On a side note, at the start of the playoffs, I was planning on writing Retired Number pieces for the pennant winners. Conveniently, though, I've already covered the Rangers and the Cardinals.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

More Trivia!

And, with the stunning conclusion of the NLCS, I now have all the data necessary to publish another quiz. This one is on World Series match-ups throughout history. I'm trying to think of ways to combat the scrolling needed to see all of the answers, but otherwise, it should be playable.

World Series Match Ups

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Also, some notes on the game:

Albert Pujols and David Freese both had an incredible NLCS. I would have given the NLCS MVP to Pujols up until game 6 probably. But Freese definitely ended stronger. Either one would have been a great story; the legend adds to his growing legacy, or the local newcomer makes a name for himself. In the end, I think they made the right choice (.545/.600/1.091 vs .478/.556/.913).

And hey, the third baseman won it!
- - - ran a headline about a blown call that cost the Brewers a rally. Several issues with this, really. I'm all for more replay, but don't make a story out of nothing. First, the Brewers were already down by six runs (five after the play); so, they went from being down by five runs with one on and no out to no on and one out. That really isn't that big of a difference, win probability-wise. Also, Prince Fielder kind of grounded out right to the second baseman on the next play.

Even more important though; if you want to yell about the Brewers losing a runner to a blown call (as some of the commenters on are already doing), you have to at least mention that a blown call in the first cost the Cardinals a run. (Also, if I recall, one of the TBS announcers mentioned that the umpire made a great call on that second play, even though he conceded that it wasn't right, as if that was just a small technicality).

(Also, I realize that most people wouldn't blame the whole game on this. But, for posterity's sake, I just wanted to point out that the Cardinals actually had a bigger missed call against them in the game-that would have put them up 2-0, and we didn't necessarily know at the time that David Freese would follow it up with a home run. I just have no idea why is trying to make this call in particular into a story.)
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Also, while I'm linking to Baseball Nation, I may as well mention that I found this Grant Brisbee game update especially hilarious, for some reason.
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The other two Sporcle games that I created can be found here (ALCS) and here (NLCS).
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Also, I would like to point out that blatant homerism is apparently a great method for picking a World Series winner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Postseason Trivia and Belated Predictions

I’m something of a trivia fan, and as such, I spend a lot of time on I’ve been meaning to make some quizzes about the postseason for a while, and I finally got time. So, for the last few days, I’ve been compiling quizzes on the ALCS and NLCS match-ups throughout history. Feel free to try them out!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quick Thoughts: Hank Aaron Award and NLCS Game 2

A few quick things.

First, remember when I wrote about the Hank Aaron Award a few weeks ago? Well, the preliminary ballot was released the other day. First, a little bit more on the process; as the article says, each team gets a nominee. The winner is chosen through a combination of a fan vote and Hall of Fame player vote. That alone shows that it's substantially different than the MVP.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Re-Run: Okay, Bud Selig, It's Not Funny Anymore: More Instant Replay, Please

I've been busy lately with several things (some of which actually relate to this site!). So, here's a rerun of a piece I wrote during the playoffs last year about baseball's need for instant replay. I still stand by the claim, although it's much more sarcastic than I remembered.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Give A-Rod a Break

As a quick note, a lot of people have apparently been booing Alex Rodriguez with his recent struggles. It's About the Money, Stupid has a good intro to the piece, and covers most of what I would say. I want to throw out some extra thoughts, though.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Awards: Final Six Ballots

Here is the second and final part of my awards ballot. Part 1 can be found here. Again, I will explain my ballots during the actual awards season; for now, I'm just submitting my vote.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

So Your Team Is Out of the Playoffs; Who Do You Root for? (And other thoughts)

As you may have figured out by now, I am a Cardinals and Orioles fan. So, I began planning this post about a month ago when it looked like both my teams would be done by now. I didn’t start it, but the idea was there.

Things have changed a bit since then. Wednesday night was unquestionably one of the greatest nights in baseball’s history, and it was definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life; sitting around with other baseball fans and my laptop, with four MLB Gameday tabs open and one ESPN3 tab that switched between whatever game was most interesting at the moment (although mostly the Cardinals-Astros game). Although technically, I guess it did keep me from doing actual work that needed to be done, but I feel that’s totally justified.

I could try and gush about how incredible Wednesday was; I’m still on a baseball high, the Cardinals made the playoffs* against incredible odds, and anywhere between two and four games that night might go down as classics. (Yes, I’m counting the Cardinals’ game, too; it capped an incredible run. And, just like in 2004, it will get overshadowed by what the Red Sox did.)

So this is going to be more of a collection of ideas.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Awards: First Four Ballots

So, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance requires that I submit my award ballots soon. However, I was planning on explaining my ballots after the season. So, I will slowly be putting up my choices for the awards over the next week or so without explanations. After the season (i.e; when the awards are actually being announced), I'll write the justifications for my picks.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Should Justin Verlander Win the AL MVP?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the MVP vote as of late, particularly in the AL. And that’s good; there are a ton of worthy candidates. Jacoby Ellsbury is having a breakout year; Jose Bautista is continuing his breakout success from last year; Curtis Granderson has been leading a Yankees team that has the best record in the league; Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera have been raking at first base; there are at least four playoff contenders with second basemen in the discussion (Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, and Ben Zobrist all stand out); and so on.

One candidate has really seen his case pick up steam, though: Tiger’s ace Justin Verlander. Should he be the league’s Most Valuable Player, though?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cardinals Bring Back Berkman, But Is It a Good Move?

The Cardinals announced today that they will be bringing back right fielder Lance Berkman for the 2012 season. Let’s leave aside any speculation on what this means about Albert Pujols for now-is this a good move?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, AL and NL West Pitchers

The pitchers of the AL and NL West may not be the best to use as a finale in my Future Hall of Fame series. Unlike all of the groups I’ve done, there have been no sure-fire candidates, like a Chipper Jones or a Mariano Rivera. This is largely due to the youth of the group in question. I struggled to find any pitchers in their 30s who had any sort of a chance at all (the last cut resulting in the loss of Barry Zito-yes, I really was that desperate for players). But then, maybe it’s fitting that I finish with the youngest, most potential filled group. 

And, because I know you’re all dying to know, the only chance Barry Zito has of coming close to the Hall is if he becomes Jamie Moyer, Mark II: the soft-throwing lefty with good command and movement who somehow hangs around racking up wins into his mid-40s.

And so, onto the real analysis.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pitchers, the MVP, and the Hank Aaron Award

Some people, as of late, have been offering their two cents on the Most Valuable Player race. With basically a dozen games to go in the regular season, I figure now is as good a time as any to get involved in the discussion.

And my picks for the MVPs are...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, AL and NL Central Pitchers

It’s been awhile since the last article in this series. I’ve been busy lately, but I’m dead set on finishing it up, and I only have this and one more to go.

One thing that seemed to spark some confusion was the subject of the last article. I had a few people asking why I didn’t include certain players. Well, throughout each of my articles, I’ve been trying to cover any player who might have a chance at the Hall of Fame by position; with pitchers, though, there were too many to compress into one article. I needed to split it up, and, when I divided it into three articles, based on division, it worked out fairly well. The first article was comprised of pitchers in the AL and NL East; this one is the AL and NL Central; the last will be the AL and NL West.

And so, the Hall candidates from the Central Divisions.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is Ian Kennedy the Diamondbacks' Ace of the Future?

With Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy leading the National League in wins, there’s been talk of him winning the NL Cy Young. Most of it is as a dark horse candidate, as Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, and Cliff Lee (among others) have been better this year. However, it’s fairly clear that Kennedy has established himself as one of the NL’s better pitchers. Is he an ace going forward?

I would actually say not, but it doesn’t matter. The Diamondbacks have a much better potential ace going forward in Dan Hudson.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, AL and NL East Pitchers

Let me just preface this by saying that pitchers, as a whole, are much more difficult to predict than hitters, at least as far as the rest of their career goes. Pitchers are much more susceptible to random, career altering injuries, discovering new pitches, and other unusual events; therefore is a much greater element of randomness. Also, the Hall of Fame seems much more unclear on what constitutes a Hall of Fame pitcher, outside of 300 wins. The last starter elected by the Baseball Writers Association (essentially, what you think of when you think of the election process) was Nolan Ryan, back in 1999. Before him, the last choices were Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver. You may notice two things about that group. First, every one of them has 300 wins. In fact, the Baseball Writers haven’t elected a non-300 game winner since Ferguson Jenkins (only 284 wins) back in 1991; whether this says something about the Hall’s electors or the quality of pitching in that time, I can’t say. Second, every one of the aforementioned pitchers started their career in the 1960s. Yes, apparently, it has been over four decades since any Hall of Fame starter began his career.

This doesn’t even account for the erratic process they use to elect relievers; there is no obvious milestone, or, really, any sort of standard (if you’re looking for a good example of such oddities, look up one of Joe Posnanski’s articles comparing Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter and Dan Quisenberry).

Nevertheless, I want to cover every position for the the future of the Hall of Fame; and so, I begin with my first round of pitchers.

(Note: I used Baseball-Reference for WAR throughout the article. Fangraphs calculates pitching WAR a different way, and uses a more standard scale, but they only have numbers from 1980 on. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested, though.)

(Another note: There are a lot of pitchers. Surprising, I know. So, I broke them up by division; this article will be on the AL and NL East pitchers, with ones for the Central and West to follow.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Corner Outfielders

The corner outfield has traditionally been filled with stars. In addition, the baseball writers seem to have a fascination with the positions. More Hall of Famers have come from these two positions than any other offensive (as in, non-pitcher) position. Wikipedia lists eleven left fielders and twelve right fielders that have been elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association (the normal method of making the Hall of Fame), and that’s not even counting Andre Dawson, who’s listed merely as “outfield”. So, with that kind of history, plenty of corner outfielders playing today should have a good shot, right?

Well, not really. This group of players may be the weakest one I’ve covered. Sure, there are some locks, and some intriguing young players, but, if I were to list some current corner outfielders, you would generally be underwhelmed. But, then that’s partly why I’m doing this; to uncover the unexpected Hall candidates. So, let’s jump right in with some strong choices for future Hall of Famers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Appreciating Jim Thome's Home Run of a Career

I apologize for the recent lack of updates. I’ve been very busy as of late. I am still working on the Retired Numbers Series, with two pieces started, but I’m not sure when I’ll get time to finish them. However, I hope to make up for it with a more current events-related post: an appreciation for Jim Thome and his career.

After making headlines with his recent 600th career home run, Jim Thome managed to stay in the headlines with a trade back to the Cleveland Indians, where he started his career. This adds symmetry to his career that leads me to realize that Thome’s career perfectly matches what he’s known for, that it’s analogous to his at-bats.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Center Fielders

History is littered with great center fielders, almost none of which have made the Hall of Fame. Only seven center fielders have made it to Cooperstown via the traditional method (election by the Baseball Writers’ Association). Two of those elected are Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, who were elected in the first and second votes ever taken, respectively. So, from the Hall’s third election on, only five center fielders have been voted in in the standard way. After third base, center field may be the most underrepresented position in the Hall of Fame.

Currently, the position of Center Field is in something of a flux. There seems to be a slight “new guard/old guard” movement going on. As I compiled a list of players to cover, I noticed a definite split in age groups; players in their mid-to-late 30s with a good shot at enshrinement in Cooperstown, and players in their early twenties with their best years likely ahead. In between that, there are some good players, but no one in the group remotely resembles anything near a Hall of Fame candidate (if you would like to argue that, say, Marlon Byrd or Aaron Rowand is a Hall of Fame candidate, feel free, but don’t expect me to take you seriously).

Admittedly, several recently retired center fielders have cases for election. Recent retiree Ken Griffey Jr. looks like a first-ballot lock. Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams have both retired recently, and may be better than you realize (especially in Lofton’s case). However, I decided to only cover current players, and so I must leave these players out.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance

In some short news, Hot Corner Harbor has been added to the Baseball Bloggers Alliance!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Which Playoff Races Will Be the Most Exciting?

Of the eight playoff spots, a great majority look to be locked up, despite over 40 games left to play. However, there is some excitement left in the regular season. Exactly 15 teams are at .500 or better, meaning that there are quite a few teams still in contention. Which races will be the most competitive down the home stretch?

(all standings are as of Tuesday night)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, First Basemen

I have always figured there were a lot of first basemen in the Hall of Fame. I assumed that, since they are usually the best hitters, they would look more impressive to voters.

Not so. Only eight first basemen have been elected by writers to the Hall of Fame. Granted, this doesn’t count odd cases, like the exception of Lou Gehrig, or several players (such as Johnny Mize and Orlando Cepeda) who, while now thought of as legends, actually had to wait for the Veterans Committee to elect them.

But enough with the history lesson. The position is currently loaded with talent, making it difficult to appreciate it all. Nevertheless, I feel like, within thirty years, the likes of these players may even double the number of first basemen in Cooperstown.

PSA on the Blog Itself

I'm going to be incredilby busy over the next few weeks. That, plus the amount of time that it takes to write entries in the Retired Numbers Series, means that I will most likely be posting twice a week (likely Monday-Thursday), rather than the tree times a week schedule I was doing. Until I learn how to write shorter articles, there's a good chance I'll stay at two articles a week (who knows, though; I may be able to slip in extra articles as time allows).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Seattle Mariners

We have another first in the Retired Numbers Series. The Seattle Mariners do not currently have any retired numbers; this will soon change, however. Despite a history that goes back to 1977, the Mariners didn’t really get any numbers worth retiring until the last two decades or so.

Wikipedia claims that they have two requirements for this honor. Either the player must spend five or more years with the Mariners and make the Hall of Fame, or be a “career” Mariner and make the Hall of Fame Ballot. I’ll keep these two rules in mind while looking at players.

Now for the numbers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are different than every other team that I’ve covered in my Retired Numbers Series so far. While most teams retire numbers in a semi-random fashion, the Red Sox actually have two specified rules for retiring numbers. First, the player must have spent a decade in Boston; second, they must be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Granted, they have already allowed an exception in Johnny Pesky. So, although I will make special mention of the players who qualify (or might qualify) under the current rules, I will also discuss other players. Some of them might stand a chance under the “fan favorite exemption”, but otherwise, think of it as a list of possibilities should the Red Sox change their policy.

On to the analysis.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Catchers

I'm a little busy still, and haven't quite finished the next installment of the Retired Numbers Series. Hopefully, though, by the time the one I'm working on goes up, I''ll have slight buffer again. Hopefully.

Until then, here's the catchers article for the
Future Hall of Fame Series. I've mentioned this before, but I would really like to revisit these articles in the future to see how each player has planned out. But one topic at a time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Houston Astros

The next team I’m covering in my Retired Numbers Series is one that has always intrigued me. When I first visited Minute Maid Park, I was actually surprised by the sheer amount of jersey numbers that they had retired. Many of the numbers were from players that I had never heard of at the time. When compared to the amount that other teams have retired, the Astros especially stand out, particularly taking into account the fact that they’re a relatively recent expansion team.

After reflecting on the Astros method, I decided that I like their methodology a lot, possibly more than any other team (at the very least, of the ones that I’ve covered so far). Every player had some significance to the team, even if they weren’t all necessarily Hall of Fame-level talents. And it preserves the memory of the players-I doubt that I would have bothered to look up some of the players had their numbers not led to my curiosity.

Anyway, onto the numbers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Arizona Diamondbacks

I wanted to do something different for the next piece in my Retired Numbers Series. So far, I have picked teams that go back to the early 1900s (or, in the Nationals’ case, the city goes back that far). So, I wanted to pick a team that represented the exact opposite.

The Arizona Diamondbacks seemed like a good place to start. Despite only being around since 1998, they still feel like they have a longer history and stronger team identity, thanks to their 2001 World Series victory and other successful seasons. In addition, even though they are only 14 seasons old, they already have a retired number (and, unlike Tampa Bay, they have an actual reason to retire said number).

Is there any chance that the Diamondbacks will get a second retired number soon?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Middle Infield

The second true entry in the Future Hall of Fame Series. Second base and shortstop were lacking in candidates individually, so I combined them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Quick Trade Idea

I don't really want to write a full article, so just a quick idea. Nate McLouth has been Atlanta's primary center fielder this year. He also has an OPS+ of 91. Meanwhile, the last place Astros have center fielder Michael Bourn, who is under contract through 2012 and has an OPS+ of 117.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Astros want pitching prospacts. I don't know a lot about the Braves' farm system, but I'm pretty sure they have two to three good young pitchers (if I recall right). This seems like they should match up pretty easily, right?

My off-the-top-of-my-head calculations say this would be a 2 WAR upgrade for the Braves the rest of the season (using Fangraphs). And it would help the Astros to rebuild. Maybe the Braves don't want to try and upgrade, seeing as they're running away with the wild card? But they're still talking about trading for other players, according to MLB Trade Rumors (including fellow Astro Hunter Pence).

I don't know. But this seems like an easy match-up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals Trade Colby Rasmus, Blunder Spectacularly

The Cardinals now join the Rockies and Angels as teams that can claim to be swindled by Alex Anthopoulos.

According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays swindled the Cardinals out of 24-year old center fielder Colby Rasmus (and some spare parts) for what essentially amounts to...spare parts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Third Base

This is the start of the Future Hall Series proper. I decided that after almost half a year that a position-by-position in-depth analysis was more what I was looking for, and third base seemed like the ideal place to start (please note the name of the blog).

As with last time, please note that the stats are slightly out-of-date.

Quick Thoughts: Colby Rasmus

I am a big fan of Colby Rasmus. I know that he gets a flack, and there have been quite a few trade rumors swirling around him as of late. However, I have always thought that trading him would be a big mistake. Even if he's having issues with the manager, trading him now (with his value at its lowest) is still a big mistake. And that's assuming that the manager is more important to the team than the starting center fielder. This article over at only convinces me more that he's worth keeping. Even if he doesn't become a Carlos Beltran or Bernie Williams-level star, there's still likely plenty of value to be had. For example, Ellis Burks wasn't too shabby, you know.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Attempt 1

I'm a little busy right now, so I'll be re-running articles until
further notice.
The Retired Number Series isn't the first series that I've done. Last
year, over at Bleacher Report, I published articles detailing my
thoughts on which current players might make the Hall of Fame. My
first stab at the thinking went a little awry, though, and I ended up
with one article that wasn't quite what I wanted and a sequel that had
stagnated. The second article never even got finished. But, I figured
I needed to post the whole series, good or bad. So, I present what I
guess is now the intro to my Future Hall of Fame Series, as well as
the never before seen (or finished) sequel. Also, I believe that this article was from before the 2010 season, so the stats are a little old.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Pittsburgh Pirates

For the next team in my Retired Numbers Series, I was at a bit of a loss over which team to cover. So, I decided to take my dad’s suggestion and cover his favorite team growing up, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I lived in Pittsburgh when I was little, and tried to become a Pirates fan-unfortunately, it was at the height of the recent struggles, which made it very difficult for a young fan to maintain interest. I root for other teams now, but I still have a respect for the Pirates-they were my dad’s team growing up. They seemed like as good a team as any to continue my series.

On to the analysis.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: St. Louis Cardinals

Picking the next team to do for my Retired Numbers Series is always hard to do. But the last two times I looked at the teams I had left, I kept coming back to the Cardinals. I wanted to put their article off until I had a better idea of what exactly I wanted to write, seeing as the Cardinals have the second most retired numbers of any team in the majors, and would require some work. But they are my favorite team (tied with the Orioles, but they haven’t been doing so hot the last few years, so...). I finally decided to cave in and do them next.

So, how do the Cardinals’ already retired numbers look, and who might be added in the near future?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Retired Numbers Series: Washington Nationals

After the first two articles in my Retired Numbers Series, I decided to continues on with a team common to both of them: the Washington Nationals.

As I said in the Orioles articles, I am an Orioles fan from when I lived in the D.C. area-that was obviously before the Nationals existed. I know the two teams are supposed to be rivals, and maybe it’s just because I haven’t lived in the area for a while, but I’m definitely sympathetic towards the Nats. They aren’t my favorite NL team-my two teams are the Orioles and Cardinals. But I do follow the Nationals somewhat, and I guess I care more about them than most other teams in the league. I don’t feel like there’s enough of a history between them yet to be full on rivals; maybe frenemies instead? They did just partner together in an effort to get their final vote candidates elected, so there is some cooperation. Besides, if Wikipedia has it, it must be a word, so I’m sticking with that one.

Anyway, onto the numbers.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trade Suggestion: Hiroki Kuroda to Cardinals?

With the trade deadline now approaching, the Cardinals are surely looking to make some moves at the deadline. I am approaching this topic with a sort of hesitancy-I hope that the front office holds on to most of its prospects, as I dread the idea of giving up a future superstar for a two month rental. But I feel like the Cardinals need to make a move or two in order to hold off the Brewers and Reds. So, I’ve been trying to come up with possible low-cost alternatives.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2011 All-Star Game Random Renderings

So, I was watching the All Star Game with my dad, and we were making rather sarcastic remarks on some of the announcing. I mentioned that I remembered Tim McCarver rambling last year at the game, and after a few more...interesting statements, we figured maybe I should keep a running track of my thoughts over the course of the game. Several of these are word-for-word transcriptions of my thoughts.

And so, I present to you, My 2011 All Star Game Random Renderings.

Retired Numbers Series: Texas Rangers

For the first article in my Retired Number Series, I started with a team I knew well. For the second one, though, I wanted to do a team that I didn’t know as much about. The Ballpark in Arlington was the last stadium I visited, so the Rangers kind of stood out.

As it stands, the Rangers have only retired two numbers; what I’m going to do with this article is look at the numbers they’ve already retired, compare the Ranger’s process to other teams, and guess which numbers might be next.

K-Rod to Brewers: One Paragraph Knee-Jerk Reaction

Well, it seems Francisco Rodriguez will be leaving the New York Mets for the more beer-and-cheese laden pastures of Milwaukee. I would do one of my Knee-Jerk Reaction pieces on this move if I wasn't totally bogged down with writing right now (you'll see what I mean in a bit). So, for now, I will leave my thoughts on the Brewers acquiring a $17.5 million set-up man for John Axford to "LOL wut?"

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Short Notice

The Platoon Advantage is running a haiku contest on their website, relating to the 2011 season. I'm one of the ten finalists.

A link can be found here.

Retired Numbers Series: Baltimore Orioles

So, this is the first article in my Retired Number Series, so it’s going to be an experiment. And, it seemed that the most fitting choice for honorary first team would be the Baltimore Orioles.

In this series, I’m going to look at each team’s retired numbers, compare the standards of the different teams, and suggest possible future retired numbers.

The Orioles are one of my two teams: they are the first team I ever saw (back when I lived in Washington, D.C.), and even though I haven’t lived in an AL city since, and even though the Orioles have been pretty bad as of late, I’ve stayed faithful. In any case, that’s my reasoning behind starting my ambitious project with the Orioles: I know more about them than most teams.

But enough preamble; on to the analysis.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quick Update: Retired Numbers Series

Okay, I’ve been mentioning an upcoming series of articles for the last week or two. I haven’t forgotten it, I’ve just been struggling to start it. I finally decided this would be the best way to introduce it: a brief introduction.

I’ve always been fascinated by retired numbers. I don’t really know why; maybe it has to do with a team acknowledging its past. It has led me to reading up on players I might not have known otherwise. Maybe it’s some combination of these. But, whatever the cause may be, I have decided to analyze each team’s retired numbers.

Right now, my plan is to write several articles and see where they take me, so I’m not positive when the first piece will go up. As of this moment, I’ll be looking at the quality of players each team has retired numbers for, their ties to the team, potential future retired numbers, and where each team ranks in relation to the league.

Check back Monday or Tuesday next week; hopefully, part one will be up then.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Re-Run: Don't Worry, MLB: I Fixed the All-Star Game Rosters

I wanted to start getting a semi-regular schedule, but I got back late last night after watching the Orioles get shellacked twice by the Rangers. So, I'm reposting my All-Star game column from last year. I would also like this time to mention that Omar Infante's nickname should be "Freaking".

Really, MLB?
You’re going to make me take time out of my Future Hall of Fame series to fix your All-Star Rosters?
You guys obviously need help this year. There’s bad, and then there’s not even trying. I mean, really.
No Joey Votto? No Jered Weaver? OMAR FREAKING INFANTE?
Thankfully, I’m giving you a mulligan this year. In fact, I’ll even fix your rosters for you, starting right now.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Don't Worry MLB, I Fixed the All-Star Rosters (Again)

So, we meet again, MLB All-Star rosters.

Just like last year: two enter, one a person with a red sharpie, the other an abstract list of baseball players; one leaves covered in red mark-ups (that would be the roster, in this case).

I tried this last year, and I think it really helped. Maybe not the roster, since MLB didn’t actually listen to me, but it made me feel a little better, so there’s that. And the rosters didn’t make me beat my head against the wall, so I’ll take the credit for that. Therefore, it can only help if I fix the All-Star rosters again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

MLB's All-Overlooked Team

With the All-Star game just around the corner, we will be seeing some of the most brilliant and visible stars of the game today. I would like to take a moment to recognize something else, though-players who are almost exactly the opposite. These are the players who play just as well as those who will be attending Arizona on July 12th, but are much less likely to be attending themselves. For whatever reason, these players are overshadowed relative to their performance, an All-Dark Matter team, if you will (since dark matter is invisible? Actually, this metaphor works better than I expected).

In any case, even if you didn’t fill out a ballot with these player’s names, you can at least give them some attention now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Comparison: Ken Griffey, Jr. vs. Chipper Jones

So, ESPN has an interesting thought experiment going. Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey, Jr. are both excellent players, former number 1 picks, and future Hall of Famers. Steve Berthiaume recently posed this question over at ESPN: if you could have just one, Jones or Griffey, for their ENTIRE career (yes, injuries and all), which one would you take? I thought it sounded like an interesting prompt, and decided to read on. What I found out, though, is that it really isn’t close; I would much rather take Chipper.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Late Scorecasting Mini-Review

Okay, I’m back from a trip, and can resume regular updates now. Over time, though, hopefully more of my old articles will find their way to Hot Corner Harbor. Anyway, on to today’s main article.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Famer Jim Edmonds Retires

As part of my week-long re-runs, here's another one of the last articles I wrote before starting Hot Corner Harbor. This one is about recent retiree Jim Edmonds, and his Hall of Fame case.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Re-Run: Is Fred Wilpon Right to Criticize His Players?

I'm a little too busy for a new article this week, so I'll be rerunning some of my last posts before I started Hot Corner Harbor. This is a piece about Fred Wilpon's recent comments about some of his players.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Studying the First and Second Rounds of the Draft: What Can You Expect?

I’ve still been thinking a lot about the draft, so I decided to take one more quick look at it in a different way. I looked at the first and second round drafts from 1990 through 2005 (I needed players with some history in the majors) and looked at each year’s best players and when they were picked. More specifically, I went through Baseball Reference’s draft database, sorted each first round and second round by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and marked down the top three players for the first round and top player for the second round. All of this was to see what picks in the first round usually yield the best results.

Via request, I also noted how many first round picks made the majors, how many had positive career values, and how many have reached certain career WAR marks. For the WAR numbers, I mostly stuck to round numbers to approximate various levels of success (5 as a sort of journeyman/bit part player, 10 for a bit player with some success, and 20 for a player that had at least some all-star years). I’m not positive if these exact numbers are right, but they should at least provide an estimate. Also note that, as I move forward, the numbers will start to skew as more and more active players are included.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ozzie Guillen Thinks Paul Konerko is a Hall of Famer: Is He Right?

So, Ozzie Guillen, in a recent interview, apparently started promoting Paul Konerko for the Hall of Fame. The interview, as a whole, came out as a mess that bugged me in so many ways. I could go on all day just about his quote that “there’s [sic] not that many good players out there anymore”. I would argue the opposite, of course-that there are more good players now than ever before. But I digress. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did it to praise Konerko. I want to focus on the Hall of Fame stuff instead.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Re-Run: The Future of the 300 Win Club

I don't know as of yet what my schedule should be for articles. However, I've been busy this week, and decided that, since I couldn't get a new article, I would instead begin moving older articles from my Bleacher Report archive over to Hot Corner Harbor.

This is the first Bleacher Report piece I did, covering the 300 Win Club. I would like to get around to writing an updated version at some point, as this is originally from June 9, 2009.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Makes a Successful Draft: Pitchers

So, in my last piece, I looked at what contributes to a successful draft, as far as drafting hitters goes. Today, I’m investigating the obvious follow-up: what type of success can you expect out of pitching draft picks?
I used the same process as with the hitters: I sorted through each of the last eleven season on to find the fifteen pitchers with the most Wins Above Replacement per season, then found what round and overall number they were drafted.
Again, there are a few things that I noticed:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What Makes a Draft Successful: Hitters

Major League Baseball’s draft is fast approaching-it starts this Monday. in preparation of that, I decided to ask a question that has been asked before, but research it in my own way just to demonstrate the value of drafting: what type of success can you expect out of draft picks?

Everyone knows that the first round picks are the most important, and it’s fairly obvious why. The players taken first should, in theory, be the best ones. But just how much better? If you’re team doesn’t have a pick until the later half of the first round, could it still strike gold? Well, yes, but it might be harder than you think.

My methodology was looking at the top 25 position players for each of the last eleven years (from 2000 to 2010) and compare them against their position in the draft. As a quick reference, I used and sorted top position players by Wins Above Replacement, or WAR. WAR calculates a players total contributions through batting, fielding, games played, and position, although here it was mostly used as a quick way to find a years best set of players. Then, I figured out what round and pick number each of those players was drafted (or, if they were an international free agent, marked them as such). Then, I did some rough tabulations on the data. I came across the following data:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do the Cardinals Need to Make Any Moves?

As a Cardinals fan, I remember the negative buzz that surrounded this team in Spring Training. Between Adam Wainwright’s injury and Albert Pujols’ contract extension, nothing seemed to be going right. I even seem to recall some suggesting calling the season a lost cause and trading Pujols to start rebuilding.

As a fan, I thought it was all over dramatic. Yes, Adam Wainwright would mean a serious loss, but the Cardinals could expect to pick up a few of the wins in other places. For example, despite finishing five games behind the Reds, the Redbirds had an identical Expected Win-Loss record, meaning they were unlucky. Expected Win-Loss Record is just what it sounds: how a team is expected to do based on their runs scored and allowed. Dave Duncan has worked magic with pitchers before, and some of the offense had to improve or at least have a healthier season.

So far, the team has surpassed my every expectation, with amazing resurgences from Lance Berkman and Kyle Lohse, as well as All-Star starts from Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus, and Jaime Garcia, among others. The Cardinals currently sit in first place with baseball’s second-best record. However, that brings up new questions, mainly, what should the Cardinals do to hold onto their early lead?