March 2007

Greatest pitcher ever?

   This was my first post and I only know one person that read it, so I am posting it again if you would like to read it.  Please leave a comment!

     Pedro Martinez is as great as any pitcher, ever.  I love debating these questions where there are no clear cut answers.  I believe he is the greatest in a tie with Clemens, but even that is not definite.  I am really here to discuss a recent debate that I had with a few employees at work.  They said that Nolan Ryan is the greatest, and that he is better than Pedro.  I disagreed.

     Since we can all agree that they are two of the best to ever throw the ball.  Here are some stats to support my argument.  Since I believe ERA is a much more telling stat than Wins.  ERA:  Pedro 2.81, Ryan 3.19.  Both have spent about half their time in each league.  Win %:  Pedro 4th all time with .691, Ryan .526 (which isn’t even close to being in the top 100).  SO/9IP:  Pedro 3rd all time, Ryan is fourth.  WHIP:  Pedro is 3rd all time, Ryan once again is not even in the top 100.  Adjusted ERA, (which is a very cool stat, takes into account the league and ballpark in which the pitcher throws):  Pedro is first all time, ahead of Lefty Grove, Walter Johnson; Once again Nolan Ryan failed to crack the top 100.  Now in Ryan’s defense he has 324 wins, but 296 losses.  He has 5,700 SO’s and that is remarkable regardless of how you look at it.  But Pedro’s stats are simply better when compared to the all-time greats in terms of dominance.

     Both were big game pitchers I might add.  Ryan has 7 no-hitters while Pedro has zero.  However, Pedro has 3 Cy Youngs to Ryan’s 0.  Pedro also should have one the MVP in 99.’  Pedro pitched in the steroid era.  Ryan pitched to I am pretty sure some players who used PED’s, but I have to say that Pedro threw to significantly more. 

     Jim Callis stated in a chat the other day that "Pedro was the greatest pitcher at his peak."  Jim Palmer added in another article "Pedro is the greatest pitcher he has ever seen."  This is coming from another incredible pitcher!  Many people become enthralled with a legend, a name.  And yes, Ryan is one of the greatest pitchers ever.  I just believe that Pedro is better than he was, and that Clemens may be the only pitcher that is better than Martinez.  And I am not even sure about that.  We must include names like Gibson, and Koufax as well.  Gibson postseason stats are unparalleled.  But his regular season stats outside of a few devastating years are not as good as Pedro’s.  Oh and I do not think Gibson faced hitters with syringes hanging out of their veins. 

     So who would you want, at their best, to start in game 7 or the World Series?  I would go with Gibson or Pedro.  Some have said Schilling, but I don’t think he is in quite the same caliber of pitchers as these other guys. Even though he is a great "Big-game" pitcher. But no one knows for sure who is the best, which is why it makes the arguments so compelling.

Brewers fans!

I will tell you what!  There seem to be a fair share of Brewers fans on mlblogs.com.  I don’t know that I can recall ever meeting a real life Brewers fan.  I definitely never knew one well.  I mean I guess I have walked past someone wearing a Brewers cap or something along those lines.  I am glad they have a lot of hope this year, they have some talent to go along with that hope too.  But if nothing else after the season I will know everything there is about the Brewers even if I watch only 4 or 5 innings of their actual games.

Anyway, does anyone read my blogs?  I make sure I leave a comment on almost everyone’s blog, except for "Baseball Cleats."  Just to let the other bloggers know that I read their blogs and to get them to check out my page if they would like to. 

My page is more broad than most.  I like to cover more of baseball rather than focus on my particular team which happens to be the Red Sox.  This may change a little once the season begins and I start watching the games.  I prefer to talk about the greatest players of all time.  Who the best pitcher was.  Is Derek Jeter actually good on defense?  I love that topic.  What would Tejada do if he batted number two in the Yankees lineup?  What about if Jason Bay played on the Yankees or Red Sox?  Or Carl Crawford?  Maybe these guys could be MVP’s.  Pedro the best ever?  I don’t think anyone has been better at least.  Why are people so enthralled with legends when the game has evolved so much?  Doesn’t it make sense that there are more good and great players now then their were then in 1920?  Would Honus Wagner actually be about the same as Adam Everett if he played in today’s game?  That one is according to Baseball Prospectus.  Would Babe Ruth actually hit 104 home runs?  **** no.  And because of "West coast fan, east coast knowledge," or "Coral as some know her, who was better in 41’?  Williams or Dimaggio?  Should a pitcher win an MVP?  Pedro should have in 99′.  So I think so.  Should a player on a team that doesnt make the playoffs be considered for MVP?  Yes.  We all have played sports right?  I am sure we all have been on crappy teams whether it was a pickup game of basketball or whatever!  We can only do so much as one person.  These are team games, some more so than others but any game that has teams is a team game. 

So read my blogs and lets debate because baseball may be the only thing I am passionate about, other than the band Tool of course!

Tejada or Jeter?

Who is the better player?

Performance enhancing drugs

     Today is the first day off of my PED’s.  And I feel that my writing has suffered and will suffer because of it.  I am not talking about coffee/caffeine by the way.  When I drink coffee I am completely focused on my blogging.  I am like a madman with thoughts racing around my head out of control.  But they at least feel organized and somewhat compelling while being typed.  If gives me a rush and a passion about the particular topic I cannot explain. 

     When I present a topic at work such as, "he is the best SS in baseball," and the guys at work call me crazy, I go home and get on this rampage of research trying to make my argument seem valid.  I print it up and bring it in and they start to come around but will not admit it completely that I was right, and if not right, then I at least was not wrong.  This is all fueled by my (past tense) coffee addiction.  I looked forward to waking up and drinking my cup (or three) while reading Olneys blog and then Neyer’s recently established blog.  Then I would read every other baseball article on ESPN, followed by participation in any baseball chats.  Then I would quickly go to mlblogs and follow up my opinion with all of the days current topics.  I have only been doing that part for around three weeks now though.  Then I might turn on my 360 and play a game of "focused" baseball or Madden.  Then I would go to work. 

     It wasn’t fulfilling enough though.  All of the baseball articles I read about are not a waste of time to me.  It is a passion of mine.  Even the video games, within reason, are not a waste.  If I play around one game a day that is.   So I gave up coffee.  And decided to hit up the gym consistently.  Then I will come home when I am finished and renew my reoccuring adventures through words with Buster, Rob, and the boys.

Incorporating stolen bases into total bases?

I do not know if this could work, but it is worth a try.  Could we incorporate stolen bases into total bases, which would ultimately effect a player’s slugging percentage?  A base is a base right?  If a guy gets a hit, and steals a base with no one out, it isnt much different than a double.  So could we add stolen bases to total bases and subtract "times caught stealing by number of bags he had gained since being up to bat?"  For example if you did this with Jose Reyes last year:

                                 315 total bases + 64 stolen bases=379, then subtract

                                 how many bags he already secured before being caught stealing (he was caught 17 times).

this would raise his slugging some.  If Reyes doubled then was caught stealing third then we would subtract two bases from his "total bases," because he effectively lost the two bases he had.  If he singled then was caught stealing, you would subtract the one base he already had. If we stole second then you would add one base.

Does this make sense at all?  I am interested to hear your responses.  It is just so hard to justify stolen bases.  Bill James himself questions how important a stolen base is.

Derek Jeter

This is one of my first blogs and I do not know if anyone read it other than one person.  So please at least a short comment if you read it, and even better, leave a more elaborate comment with your opinion within it.  Thanks!

Derek Jeter is a great player. He plays the game in a way that I marvel . I have utmost respect for him as a player, regardless of the uniform he wears. That is the thing about me. I judge the player based on how I feel about the player when I am evaluating his performance. The only player I truly dislike on the Yankees is A-Rod. And even that is just from a baseball standpoint. I don’t like anyone on that team though. I have respect for a few of them. Jeter and Matsui mainly. Both of those guys lay it all out and do the things they need to do in order to win baseball games. I wish Yankees fans would take this same approach. Maybe some do, but not the ones that I come across. For instance, I was serving a guy at Chilis the other day and I brought his credit card back to him and there was a baseball on it. So I asked him who his favorite team was just to make conversation (Since there is really nothing I would rather talk about than baseball). He said he was a Yankees fan. And then he took it upon himself to start up a conversation before he left. I quickly accepted the invite because well I would rather be doing nothing else. He first mentioned how he recently attended an Astros-Braves game. He noted that the Braves and Edgar Renteria had a sloppy middle infield. He said that Houston looked very good at the middle infield positions (We are talking about defense of course). And I told him that if you compare Renteria to Houston’s SS Adam Everett then Renteria will look even worse than he is. And I added "Adam Everett is probably the best shortstop in the game on the defensive side." Let me say this, many experts have formulated this opinion about Everett. I simply looked at the stats and nodded in agreement. I don’t get to watch very often, and cannot recall a single great play that I have seen from him. I find the Astros to be a boring franchise and have really only seen them play come playoff time. But if the experts say he is the best, and the stats back it up. Then I say he is probably the best. Anyway, after I said that the guy then went and said, "Well I think our guy Jeter is the best in the game defensively." And once again I was amazed at how ignorant some fans are. Jeter is a solid shortstop in my opinion. He makes pretty good plays and timely ones as well. If I had to guess at the top of my head where I would rank him amongst the total of 29 SS’s. I would say between 10th-12th. But Yankees fans watch him on a daily basis. They don’t see any other SS’s outside of him and the current opponents. Just as I watched Alex Gonzalez last year and felt like he was as good as any. But I put it in perspective, there are 29 other SS’s. Looking at the stats Gonzalez was near the top, but was not the absolute best. And I understand that. It is hard to watch a baseball game that does not include your favorite team. It can be flat out boring at times. This guy I waited on though knew the game. If the first thing you talk about after you see a baseball game involving teams that you are not a fan of is how the middle infield played, then I have to think that you know the game of baseball. So it doesn’t matter how much of the game you know it seems some just can’t fathom the idea of another player being better than their homegrown hero. And just to add one more thing about this. I made the comment at work the other night that Chase Utley was the best second baseman in baseball (not just talking defense now). And the Yankees fan I work with told me I was crazy. And then he said that Cano was better and probably the best at the position. No offense to Cano, he is good. But Utley is definitely better.  Cano hasn’t reached his prime yet, and is not at the top as of now.

What one player would you take?

If you had the opportunity to take any one player to build a team around then who would you pick?  Imagine it set up like a fantasy draft in a video game where all of the players are thrown into one pool and your team gets first pick.  I like to think about these questions a lot.  You would have to go with someone fairly young.  I would choose Johan.  My philosophy would be to build around pitching, and he is the best…and only 27.  I know it is more risky to take a pitcher because he is more likely to have to be shut down due to injury, but I would still make the move.  Leave me your thoughts on the subject!

Intangibles?

Another thing some stat experts do not think exist.  How could they not.  Human nature is part of the game, because humas play it.  We are not stat lines. I wait tables for a living and if I worked around a bunch of pessimistic, egotistical servers than I simply would not want to be there as much, and my performance would ultimately suffer.  On the other hand, if I worked around a bunch of bubbley, good hearted people who always carried smiles on their face it would make work more bearable/enjoyable and my performance would be better.  I am not saying that everyone is the same way.  But I would think the majority of people are.  So why shoudn’t Darren Erstad have received a little mor epay because of his intangibles.  If he was in fact as good a clubhouse guy than why did some criticize him as being the most overpaid player in the game.  I guess one can’t put a price on human emotion, but if a GM thinks it is helping his team, then why not?  Jeter is a leader.  Ortiz is a fun loving guy.  These qualities, in my opinion, have to boost his teammates performance at least a little bit.  We have to put aside OBP and WHIP for a second and focus on the human aspect of the game.  So yes, I believe in intangibles, they may be why Bonds never won a ring.

Do you believe in protection?

The thing about some "experts" is that they don’t seem to believe in protection as being anything significant in a lineup because they have no real mathematical proof.  I disagree though.  If Kevin Youkilis is up to bat this season, and the game isn’t lopsided one way or another, then Ortiz is lingering on deck.  If I am pitching to Youkilis, in the back of my mind I am thinking I am not going to walk Kevin Youkilis (a patient hitter I would like to add).  If Ortiz hits a home run with no one on base it is only one run.  If he hits a homer with Youkilis on base then it is double that.  So naturally I want to be lets say "less careful" with Youkilis than if he was batting 8th on the Royals, or anywhere in the Royals lineup.  Now I wouldn’t just throw him consecutive fastballs over the heart of the plate, but I wouldnt want to take a chance on getting him into a full count either where he could get on base.  So I would pitch him at least a little differently.  Now granted if I was pitching to him then he would just crush the ball very, very hard.  And Ortiz would too.  But thats a different story.  So I do believe in protection.  I believe that Jeter’s stats would be slightly lowered if he played on the Orioles.  I believe Tejada’s stats would be crazy good on the Yanks.  If Ortiz played on the Royals (if he didn’t quit that is) his stats would decline at least a little one would think.  Give me some feedback on this subject I am eager to hear it.

Predictions for 2007

AL East:

    

     Red Sox:  Have loads of talent.  Why shouldn’t they?  They have the second highest payroll in baseball.  I expect Drew to tear it up this year, having a year similiar to the one he had in 04′ if not better.  5th starter until Lester’s return is now in question.

    

     Yankees:  They have the most patient lineup in baseball.  Highest payroll.  The question marks would be 4th and 5th starters.  Good for 90+ wins though.

    

     Blue Jays:  Back end of the rotation has question marks.  Lineup should be deadly.  Ryan is very very good.

    

     Orioles:  Have the potential to have two aces.  Which would have them compete if that were true.  But they may or may not have a productive enough offense.  Too many questions to have them any higher.

    

     Devil Rays:  Bunch of talent and speed.  Trouble is, it is all young and on the offensive side.  Pitchers are a few years behind.

AL Central

    

     Tigers:  OBP should improve at least a little.  Pitching is solid.  Leyland may be the best.  Pudge is a winner and true difference maker for a team’s success.

    

     White Sox:  One of the best 3/4/5’s in the game. Rotation should improve a little by default.  The fifth starter will be the biggest question mark.

    

     Twins:  I am not underestimating the Twins as someone stated.  I feel from their past they could very well surprise us and even win this division.  Mauer is great, Morneau is very good, Santana is the best.  A lot of it hinges on unproven pitchers.

    

     Indians:  I am not sold on them.  I know they had a good run differential last year and their offense will be very good.  Hafner and Sizemore will be superstars this year.  Any time you have two superstars you will have a chance, seemingly.  This division is so hard to pick.  But how much did they really do to their bullpen?  It should be better, but by how much?  Cliff Lee is already hurt, and I guess Carmona is taking his place.  Which means they have a question mark in the rotation right now.  It seems like every team has a question mark at the back end of the rotation.  Which is why having Papelbon there would have given the Sox a distinct advantage.  I mean Wakefield would have been our fifth starter.  You know what you are going to get out of Wake, not on a daily basis, but from a season’s standpoint.  We would be one of the few teams who would have confidence in the fifth spot in the rotation.  But seriously, back to the Indians.  They better platoon their platton outfielders properly so they can maximize the corner outfield positions.  They as well as the previous three teams could win the division but I have to pick someone here, right?

    

     Royals:  Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Angel Berroa?  I hear about these guys all the time.  Neyer says Berroa is the worst player in baseball.  The other two are potential stars with Gordon seeming to be a definite superstar.  Gil Meche has the stuff of an ace, but the stats of a fifth starter.  I dont know what to expect out of him, but he pitches against the Sox on opening day.  I hope he fares well for the Royals fans who obviously don’t have much.  I criticized signing him when the deal went down, as did every other expert.  But then I read a very touching article, about how one fan had tears in his eyes because the franchise made a move that showed that they actually cared.  Then I felt that it was more than just a move the involved a pitcher with a 4.40 ERA and $11 million in his pocket for five years.

AL West

    

     Angels:  Well I would definitely have thrown the money at Carlos Lee, that would have made them as good as any team in baseball.  I am not saying that Carlos Lee is an incredible player, but they desperately needed someone in the middle of the lineup to help Vlad.  Especially in the postseason where Vlad had not fared well.  They could have DH’d Lee also seeing how he cannot play defense.  And they still probably could have signed a capable center fielder, or maybe just resigned Erstad and threw him in center.  Either way, they have arguably the best rotation and bullpens in baseball.  And I believe in pitching more than hitting.  So they have a chance, especially if Kendrick can win that batting title the experts are saying he will win.  That is obviously a long shot this year though.

    

     A’s:  If there is one team that digressed I believe it is them.  There are others though.  I have "Moneyball"  sitting in my room, but haven’t read it yet.  But honestly, Piazza will not fill Thomas’ role as the only scary hitter in the lineup.  Which means there is nothing scary about this lineup.  Chavez is good when he is hitting good.  Crosby has the talent but has been injured.  Harden could be the best starter in the majors or he could be sidelined with reoccuring injuries.  Now they do not have Zito to fall back on if he gets hurt.  Haren should be good though.  Injuries will plagues this team, and unless Stewart, Piazza, and Bradley all hit 25+ homers, then I do not see them winning more than 86 games.

    

     Rangers:  Micheal Young is good.  Teixera is good too!  Padilla has the talent to be an ace but his work effort is in question.  Mccarthy should be interesting.  I still do not know why Kenny Williams traded him.  But he should know better than I right?  He is the GM.  They should score some runs and have decent pitching.  But .500 seems like a ceiling this season.

    

     Mariners:  Ichiro is great.  Adrian Beltre better show everyone that he is worth the money.  Or better yet even worth half of the money he received.  This is an interesting team though.  Because if, and this is a big if, Beltre hits well and King Felix can be an ace right now, then they have a chance.  But realistically, they probably won’t all come together.

NL East

    

     Mets:  Here is a perfect example of why I believe pitching is more important than offense (a lot of people share the same opinion).  The Mets O could very well be the centerpiece of why they win more than 90 games, and beat up on weaker NL opponents.  However unless Pedro comes back or they swing a trade.  The postseason will end in failure.  I think they should have thrown the money at Zito just about as much as I feel Anaheim should have signed Lee.  Because in my opinion it is the difference between a World Series ring or not.

    

     Phillies:  Another team that is very intriguing.  Ryan Howard is one of the best.  Chase Utley is the best second baseman right now.  Cole Hamels and Brett Myers could be devestating.  They have six starters, which cannot hurt.  I think they are better bulit for the playoffs than the Mets are.  I do like their chances.  But every year they fail to meet expectations.  However with every new season there is hope.

    

     Braves:  Bobby Cox is good, but Leo Mazzone is still gone.  I don’t really know what to expect out of them.  Hudson has to bounce back.  The bullpen like the Tribe’s should get a little better if nothing else.  In the back of my mind they could win the division.  In the front however they finish third.

    

     Marlins:  Josh Johnson is hurt.  They are young and very talented.  have the "talent" to win but the youth to lose.  New manager.  Who knows?  Should be an exciting team to watch though.

    

     Nationals:  Ryan Zimmerman is good.  Nothing else on this team seems to be very good though.  Maybe over a 100 losses.  If this team somehow had a winning record, it might be the most surprising team in the history of sports

NL Central

    

     Cubs:  I feel Ted Lilly will fare well.  If they were to bat Soriano third they could have one of the best 3/4/5’s in the game.  Granted a good right handed pitcher would be very hard for that lineup to vercome, but there offense should be good this year.  If Prior can win 13 or 14 games it would help very much.  I am not sold on the Cubs, but feel they will fare well.  And these are my predictions, so back off.

    

     Cardinals:  The best position player in the game.  A weak rotation but they have an ace!  I mean really they cannot win less than 83 games, can they?  Worst team to ever win a World Series by far.

    

     Astros:  Is Jason Jennings going to be a good pitcher?  Can Oswalt’s new changeup make him better than he already is. They have a legit middle of the order now with Lee and Berkman.  Loretta as I stated in a past blog is very underrated.  Don’t see them doing too much, but the division is pretty open.  Oh yeah, if Clemens returns they have a shot.

    

     Brewers:  Seemingly good rotation hinges a lot on Sheets being healthy, first and foremost, and good.  Once again the division is good but I don’t really know that the Brewers can win it.  Could we have five teams win 81 games?  And the Pirates win 75?

    

     Reds:  Here is what I think.  Arroyo’s second half last year was not nearly as good as his first.  His stats shoudn’t be quite as good this year.  He got his contract so he can go spend the money and amps and picks.  He may disappear and be a number 3 or 4 starter rather than a 2.  Harang should be good though.  Griffey should hit some homers but maintain a relatively low OBP.  Dunn should blast some homers but strike out 4 times as much.  They shouldnt be too bad, but not too good either.

         

     Pirates:  Sanchez, Bay, Laroche is a pretty good start.  Duke?  Snell?  How good are some of these guys going to be this year.  See them in the cellar.  Not that fa in the cellar though.  They could be sitting atop the stairs saying "Bronson, Pearl Jam wants you to tour with them.  You in?"  And fifth place is theirs.

NL West

    

     Dodgers:  Loads of depth this year which is why I like them.  And of course because my favorite player is Nomar.  They have six starters, tons of young talent.  They just have to live up tot their talent.

    

     Diamondbacks:  Speaking of young talent…and past talent.  They could win the division and if they don’t they should win it pretty soon.  Its kind of like the Marlins except for more veteran talent.  Randy Johnson should be a little above average as far as NL starters go.  Webb is an ace.  And guys like Stephen Drew should be fun to watch because of his ceiling that extends to the moon. 

    

     Padres:  I will tell you this, fans should be excited to watch Maddux and Wells on the same team.  And those two vets could be the number 3 and 4 starters if Peavy bounces back.  Lineup is solid but far from spectacular.

    

     Giants:  Very, Very old lineup.  If Bonds stays healthy and produces they should be dedent.  Have a lot of young pitching that needs to be good now for them to have a chance.  I thin Zito will be good as I am a firm believer that the first year a pitcher is in a new league, then they have a distinct advantage.

    

     Rockies:  They have some pitching now at least and should score some runs at least at home.  Barmes was just sent down to the minors.  Don’t know what that means.  I thought he was supposed to be good.  In fact, Ozzie Smith raved about him sometime recently.

Al Playoffs:  Red Sox over Tigers in 4

                  Angels over Yankees in 5

                  Red Sox over Angels in 6

NL Playoffs: Cubs over Mets in 5

                  Phillies over Dodgers in 5

                  Cubs over Phillies in 7

World Series:  Red Sox over Cubs in 5

AL MVP:  Vladimir Guerrero- He puts this below average offense on his shoulders and carries them to average.   

AL CY Young:  Daisuke Matsusaka-He better be great this year.  No hitters have seen him, he should get his wins because we have a very good offense.  That seems to mean a lot in the voters minds.  Wins, which is a very overrated stat. 

NL MVP-Albert Pujols-He is the best position player in baseball, just hitting his prime.  Should have won last year.

NL CY Young-Ted Lilly.  JK but I do think he will be better than many expect.  Barry Zito.  New league.  Lower ERA.  He has a chance right?

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