November 2007

Johan worth four quality+ players?

     Thinking to myself last night, actually, of a trade scenario that just may work for both the Twins and the Red Sox.  Now, the only reason I would consider pulling the trigger on this one would be to keep Santana from our vaunted division rival, the New York Yankees.  I wouldn’t want to part with three average+ prospects that will be rather inexpensive for years to come, and what will be a GREAT utility outfielder in Coco Crisp.  Crisp of course is very expendable with Ellsbury in the picture now, but to move him just to move him is not what should be done, nor is what the Red Sox would end up doing.  There must be a reasonable return for him, something of value that will help the Red Sox either now, or in the future.  So my trade scenario was:  Justin Masterson, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, and Jon Lester for Johan Santana.  Funny thing was, at around 6 PM today, with ESPN as my source, I heard that there was a rumor that was exactly that scenario, except that Michael Bowden would have been the fourth piece rather than Masterson.  The Red Sox would not have to part with the untouchables (Buchholz, Ellsbury) and of course they would be keeping Santana from a division rival, a good divsion rival. 

     The upside is there with the talented and mostly unproven players that the Twins would be acquiring.  Jon Lester could be a number two starter, and already has some big game experience to his credit.  And it would be tough for the organization to part with Lester, after all he has been through.  But I do understand the business aspect of baseball, and while Theo and co. may have some personal feelings, they still will do what is best for the Boston Red Sox.  Justin Masterson has some potential as a reliever or possibly a starter depending on a teams needs/issues.  Sox Prospects has his ceiling as a number two starter who may also have settle into a relief role depending on how he develops or where he ends up.  Or instead of Masterson, it could be Michael Bowden who apparently has "ace potential."  Jed Lowrie is a shortstop that already has a purpose, and that purpose is the insurance policy the Red Sox have in case Lugo is actually worse than what they thought they were signing during last year’s offseason (definitely was worse in 07,’ but lets give him at least a partial season to redeem himself, unless of course some crazy team will absorb his contract).  From what I have read about Lowrie on various websites, he appears to be an average shortstop or will be, which definitely has value, especially when he is so young.  And then there is our GREAT utility outfielder in Coco Crisp.  He is amongst the best defending his position, if not THE BEST, but his bat has been a disappointment.  However, there is hope, and a realistic possibility that he may get back on track offensively.  And he definitely has a motor, and is exciting to watch. 

     But the conclusion would be this:  The Red Sox would be giving up a potential number 2 or 3 starter, what looks to be an average SS, an above average pitcher (wherever he ends up), and an average outfielder (maybe above average if he gets his bat going).  That is a lot to let go to obtain a pitcher who:  Is an ace, but who will only be with the team for one year, unless the team works out a contract, which almost has to happen for the trade to even go down, I would think.  And once signed, he will be between 22-25 million dollars a year, or so they say.  That is a lot.  So if they must complete this deal to keep Santana from going to the Yankees and in turn making them the favorites, not only in the division, but also in the American League, then I won’t think that they made the wrong decision.  But I would rather a National League team ante up and acquire Santana.  This would not only keep Santana out of the AL East, but also get him out of the league altogether.  And then, from an entertainment aspect, fans may actually get to see a formidable NL opponent in the World Series. 

Jack Morris.

     Jack Morris is not a "Hall of Fame" pitcher, and should not be inducted now, or probably ever.  That is not to say that he wasn’t pretty good, total package, but just not good enough to be considered great.  Many seem to remember what they saw on tv, as it was televised all over when the playoffs arrived.  And they will tend to remember the good more so than the bad, human nature, when it comes to baseball at least, and Hall of Fame discussions in particular.

     During the regular season, statistically, Jack Morris wasn’t all that much better than average.  He had a very good win percentage, and may have withheld that "winning mentality," or the tag of being a "Big Game pitcher."  But his "Adjusted ERA" was 105, where 100 is average.  Meaning that he was barely above average over the course of his career.  And I would rather compare Morris to his average peers than to compare him using simply "ERA" or even worse compare him by using simply "Wins."  Morris’ ERA+ falls in tied for 460th all time.  Great pitchers would not be THIS low in THIS category.  Who else falls at a 105 ERA+?  Jaime Moyer, Paul Byrd, Mike Witt, and Ramon Martinez, to name a few.  And I understand that none of these pitchers have the postseason reputation or performance that Jack Morris has had, but I do believe that what Morris did in the postseason was just not enough to get him into baseball’s sacred "Hall of Fame." 

     Let me start by saying that Morris’ postseason ERA was 3.80.  His ERA during the regular season was 3.90.  So he was statistically just a little bit better in the playoffs, but when one adds in the fact that he was facing better competition, the postseason looks even better then it first appears, and it rightfully so.  But people want to remember the dominant Game 7 performance against the Braves in 91′ but choose to ignore the game 5 debacle in 92.’  Or they go back and look at the the eight starts he made in the postseason allowing three or fewer runs, but they might have overlooked the five times that he allowed four or more earned.  Selective memory is why Jack Morris is a "Hall of Famer" in a lot of people’s minds.  The Game 7 was ten innings of bliss for Twins fans, and the whole series in particular was more of the same.  Morris did not disappoint and was simply great in that seven game affair, one of the greatest World Series’ of all time.  But that is not enough. 

      Curt Schilling is the type of pitcher who deserves to get in to Cooperstown, but he isn’t as clear-cut as say Pedro Martinez, or Randy Johnson.  Schilling has an ERA+ of 127, far superior to Morris.’  And his postseason resume is even more impressive as well.  Schilling is 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA.  Morris was 6-1 with that 3.80 ERA that I mentioned.  And I know that Schilling is pitching in the era where he has had the chance to face "lowly" ALDS teams, but his ERA is still better in both LCS play and in World Series play.  By "lowly" I really meant that there is a chance that he was facing a few more inferior teams than that of Morris.  Seems logical, but would need to be researced more thoroughly to come to an accurate conclusion. 

     Browsing through the Hall of Fame pitchers I found that the lowest ERA+ among inductees was at 103, and that was the only one that fell below Morris’ 105.  It was Rube Marquard who finished his career in 1925.  No pitcher that has played in the last 82 years has fallen below or even tied what Morris displays in this category.  Morris tallied 2,478 strikeouts in his eighteen career, which is impressive and he falls in at 31st all time in that category.  But he comes in 251st in SO/9IP.  If one plays long enough, they can put up some pretty impressive numbers (See Nolan Ryan, great, but not the greatest as some seem to think). 

     Morris was somewhere between pretty good and good when one accounts for postseason performance.  But he was not great.  Great pitchers are what the Hall in Cooperstown is designed for.  The Bob Gibson’s, the Pedro’s, the Randy Johnson’s, the Greg Maddux’s, etc.  These are the players that should be represented in Cooperstown.  And a plaque for Morris’ ten inning’s of excellence in that memorable game 7 could be there too, so it will never be forgotten.  But Jack Morris himself should not be inducted into the Hall, he just was not good enough.      

      

      

Win Shares.

                                                             MLB Win Shares

     Bill James may be baseball’s most valuable expert, unless of course he didn’t make the playoffs this season.  And his "Win Shares" formula is an interesting statistic that gives an indication of a players value throughout the course of a season and also throughout the course of a players career.  Comparing position players is meaningful in using this Jamesian statisitic, but when one crosses the threshold and compares position players to pitchers, I believe it loses some of its value.  I am not one to say that anything is not accurate without truly knowing its worth, especially when the opinion was formed by the great Bill James.  But I do think I have a rather compelling argument when I say that CC Sabathia was more valuable than Raul Ibanez this season.  But "Win Shares" would lead one to believe otherwise.  Raul Ibanez and CC Sabathia are tied with 24 "Shares" a piece.  In fact, Sabathia led all pitchers with 24 of these "Win Shares," meaning that in terms of this stat, Ibanez was more valuable than any pitcher in baseball outside of Sabathia, and as valuable as the large bodied lefty himself.  So do I have a case to question this formula?  I believe so. 

     Alex Rodriguez led all players in the game with 39 "Win Shares."  And it is obvious that he was the most valuable player this season, in both leagues.  Second was Magglio Ordonez.  No complaints there.  The next five in succession were:  David Wright, Ichiro, Pujols, Grady Sizemore, and Vlad Guerrero.  Once again, all great players, so I do not see anything to disagree with, at least not to any significant extent.  And if the statistic values a great position player over a great pitcher then I don’t have as much of a problem with it, because I am not completely sure they aren’t more valuable.  Even though I do value pitching as a whole over offense.  But as one scrolls down the list trying to come across the first pitcher it gets a little frustrating.  Once my eyes passed the likes of 25 position players I began to grow anxious.  Until I hit Sabathia in the list.  And they were all good players ahead of him, or at least players who had good years.  But when I saw Sabathia, I immediately saw Raul Ibanez with the same integer and again I questioned the formula.  "Pitchers must be undervalued," I thought to myself.  Ibanez had a solid season.  Twenty one homers, 105 RBI’s, a line of .291/.351/.480, 104 Runs Created, and batted .329 with RISP.  But to say that he had the same value as the Cy Young winner, there must be an inaccuracy in the system.  Not only did Sabathia win the Cy Young, he deserved to win it.  And although he is not the absolute best pitcher in baseball, he is one of the best, and was the most valuable this season, in part because of the amount of innings he threw. 

     So while I still don’t know the exact formula for Win Shares, as I do not feel like purchasing the outdated book by James.  I do know that I would much rather have had Sabathia this season than Raul Ibanez.  And I truly believe that Sabathia was much more important a piece of the Indians, than Ibanez was for the Mariners.  Independent of one’s team, Ibanez still falls well short of CC I would think.  And I think that the value of a pitcher needs to be looked at a little more closely within this formula. 

    

    

Lego’s of the Future.

     An updated outlook of which players I would want, by each position, taking into account age of course.  I will generally pick a great 24 year old over a great 31 year old player.  It is simple, I will have more great years from the younger player who has not even reached his prime yet, and therefore will find more long-term value in that particular player. 

     C-  Joe Mauer is ridiculous.  I may choose him over anyone in baseball.  Not only does he have the potential to win multiple batting titles (as he has won already).  Mauer should be able to post an OPS north of .900 almost year in year out.  Mauer fell well short of that .900 OPS this season, but battled injuries and never could get into a groove.  He also carries the reputation as being one of the best defensively behind the plate.  Keith Law, who I might as well listen to, because of the fact that I do not see Mauer that much and cannot accurately judge his defensive prowess.  Anyway, Keith Law thinks Mauer is already great defensively and the stats I have seen (although not entirely reliable) show the same facts.  As far as his game calling skills?  I am not aware.  I see him far less than I should to comment on such a thing (But on that note I cannot accurately judge any catcher outside of Boston on this skill). 

     1B-  Albert Pujols, as I mentioned in my previous blog, is still among the best in the game, and could possibly be the best.  I am a little skeptical because he does play in the NL, and as we are all quite aware of, the competition is at least a little easier.  But what does that mean?  At worst in my opinion, he may be the fourth best, but very well maybe the best.  It doesn’t matter, few, if any, are better than he.  And he adds superior defense, superior to every first baseman in the game that is, at his position. 

     2B-  Chase Utley is clearly the best second baseman in baseball.  He appears to be above average defensively and can swing the bat as well, if not better than any other second baseman.  His road stats aren’t quite as dominant as they are in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank, but they are still good.  And he does turn 29 next month, so it isn’t as if he was recently drafted or anything of that nature.  So it would be tempting to go with a great hitter like Cano because he is so young (24).  But I would have to choose Utley, he is the best now, and has already developed into one of the game’s best all around players. 

     3B-  David Wright.  This is a very difficult decision.  Miguel Cabrera has a chance to be the best hitter in the game.  But his work ethic is in question.  So with that being established, I would go with the player who is already a leader and shows no signs of lacking intangibles.  He is an MVP caliber player right now, and is clearly better than Cabrera with the glove.  Obviously Alex Rodriguez is the best at this position right now, but he is 31.  And don’t forget Ryan Zimmerman either, but he would be after these three of course, as he has much less of a track record, but in all fairness is only 22. 

     SS-  Jose Reyes.  Very difficult choice also, but not as hard as one might think.  Derek Jeter is 33 and needs to move to another spot on the diamond.  Hanley Ramirez is only 23 but has the reputation of being the worst defensive shortstop in the game, and may need to move to another position if he does not get his act together there.  MVP Jimmy Rollins is good, but he is four years older than Reyes.  Remember that Jose Reyes is only 24, but because he plays in New York has already endured a large amount of criticism.  The guy is still learning how to play at this level, and is still, even through the learning process, one of the best at this position.  His average fell 20 percentage points from 2006, but still he posted the exact same OBP as he is learning how to draw walks.  But no, I would not argue if one were to choose Ramirez in this situation. 

     CF-  Grady Sizemore.  I started with center field because it was the clear position in the OF where there is no doubt in my mind about my decision.  Sizemore is a lot of fun to watch.  He is capable on the defensive side and should only get better as he learns how to take even better paths to the ball.  And his OBP is at almost .400 already at the age of 24.  He has the potential to get his OBP up above the .400 mark for multiple years, and this being from the leadoff spot.  And when a team has a guy who can bat first and reach base around 40% of the time then they, simply put, have one of the best assets in the game of baseball.  Sizemore is excellent already and will only improve upon this. 

     LF-  Matt Holliday.  I am torn on this because Matt Holliday is a good player but his home/road splits scare me a little.  I almost went with Carl Crawford as he is better roaming around the outfield and steals a large amount of bases.  And is a few years younger than Holliday in addition.  Dunn could have been nice but brings only a powerful bat to the team.  Even though fourty home run pop is an excellent quality to possess.   

     RF-  Vald Guerrero.  Magglio Ordonez was the best right fielder in baseball THIS season, no question.  But the problem with Ordonez in this discussion is that he is 33.  And uncharacteristically had an incredible year.  There is no question that he was already a good player, but he was a good player that has battled injuries and never has he quite put up this dominant of a season.  Magglio had never batted higher than .320 but batted .363 this year.  He had never posted an OBP higher than .381 but it skyrocketed to .434 in 2007.  He basically matched his career high slugging percentage of .597 (.595 in pitchers park this season, which is probably actually better).  But what this tells me is that he is probably going to revert back to his old form to at least some extent.  To duplicate a season like Ordonez had this year would be difficult for anyone.  So by default I chose Guerrero in right field.  He is also in his thrities (31), but I have a hard time choosing a player such as Rios or Markakis (young, but unproven in comparison).  And I could go the Justin Upton route, but I will leave this blog open for players that have had a season where they have at least qualified for a "Rookie of the Year" award. 

     SP-  Josh Beckett.  After the playoffs this season, he is my ace.

     SP-  Johan Santana.  Sorry, but even if he declines a little, he will still be one of the best.  And the good thing about this blog?  I am not taking into account the contracts (or future contracts). 

     SP-  CC Sabathia.  My hard throwing lefty sits in this rotation. 

     SP-  Justin Verlander.  I ch-ch-choose you (The Simpsons).  You know why?  Because he has enormous potential and is already good. 

     SP-  Jake Peavy.  26 years old.  Best ERA in baseball.  Best ERA+ in baseball.  One of the best in the game.  The two times I saw him this season he was hit well, but the stats show me something different than the two-game sample that my eyes saw.

     Closer-  Jon Papelbon.  The best closer in the game.  Well, Putz and Nathan are right there with him.  But Putz is 30 and Nathan is 32.  Papelbon is only 26 and already good as they are, maybe not better, but definitely as good. 

What Happened to Albert Pujols?

     Nothing much is the answer.  He was still among the greats in the game, and there still may be no one I would rather build a team around than he.  But he seems to be lost in most discussions.  Perhaps it was because his team did not sniff the postseason.  But last time I checked it was difficult to qualify for postseason play when one’s team loses its "ace" to injury after only a single start.  And also because the team wasn’t all that good to begin with, however would have had a good shot at the division had Carpenter stayed healthy. 

     Before the season began, Pujols was thought of by most to be the best player in baseball, including myself.  He threw out six consecutive seasons with an "Adjusted OPS" greater then 150, make that seventh after this season.  Pujols belted 34+ homers in those six seasons, and posted an OBP of less than .400 only once, and that season it was .394.  He won one MVP award and should have won two (2006).  And did I mention this very important stat?  His age?  He is going to be celebrating his 28th birthday this upcoming January.  Which means that those six seasons mentioned, and the seventh being 2007, were his first seven seasons in the majors. 

    Pujols has won a Gold Glove (2006) and should probably have two sitting over his fireplace now (2007).  His line in the postseason you ask?  Well that is .323/.429/.593. 

     Albert Pujols is still as dominant a force in the game as there is, and he will continue to be.  He should not be forgotten, or even lost in the mix as a player (ARod) has one of the best seasons of all time.  And he probably shouldn’t be finishing 9th in any MVP voting as he is still the best player in the NL.

Selfish!

     Alex Rodriguez is one of the most selfish individuals on the planet.  He couldn’t wait until Barry Bonds was finished to announce that the outline and terms of his deal were finished?  This was Bonds’ time to shine, it was his floor, and once again AROD continues to self promote at the most inopportune of times.  Bonds has the stage, let him enjoy the spotlight.  Do not take this away from him!  Selfish to the highest degree!

Carlos Pena

     The Tampa Bay "Rays" are going to have to consider their options with a player such as Carlos Pena.   His stock has never been so high as he is coming off a career year, which doesn’t do him much justice to the exact type of year that he had.  He was unbelievable this season, and no one expected him to be, which it makes the whole situation…even more unbelievable. 

      Carlos Pena, statistically, was above average at the plate in four of the past five seasons on multiple teams consisting of Oakland, Boston, and Detroit (somewhere around average once the position is considered).  The one exception was when he was slightly below average in a short eighteen game stint with the Red Sox.  In fact, those are the only games he played in a forgetful 2006 season. 

      But out of nowhere, Pena found the stroke that GM’s everywhere thought he possessed when he was being evaluated for the draft.  Pena, to start off, posted an "Adjusted OPS" of 172, which was second in all of baseball, and his base OPS stood at 1.037 as the season concluded (third in AL).  On his way to these impressive numbers, Pena left the ballpark 46 times (2nd in the AL), drew 100 walks (3rd in AL).  Pena finished second to only Alex Rodriguez in Slugging (.621), and fifth in OBP (.411).  Pena, uncharacteristicly, had a remarkable year, finishing up as one of the best hitters in the game for the single season. 

     But this wasn’t written entirely simply to praise what could be perceived as an overachiever, or possibly a late bloomer.  Carlos Pena is going to be turning 30 less than two months after the season begins.  And of what use do the Rays have for him as his prime is winding down.  The Rays will eventually have enough talent to compete, if everything goes right, which isn’t exactly a given, as they have only won even seventy games on one occasion (1998).  So realistically, they may be competitive in 2, 3, or possibly four years.  But they also sit in a division that contains the two highest payrolls, and are going to be very difficult to overtake, and not just for the Rays…for any team. 

     With that being said, Carlos Pena is going to be outside his common prime when they even began to sniff a .500 record.  And with that being now understood, shouldn’t they consider moving him now?  At least consider it I would think.  And I am fairly certain that he is a free agent after this upcoming 2008 season.  And as everyone is aware the Rays are short on pitching.  They have some developing down on the farm, but it is not there yet. 

     One team that should be discussing Pena is the Minnesota Twins.  They desperately need to add another bat to the mix if they want to have a chance to realistically win a championship this season.  The Twins already have a very good first baseman in Justin Morneau, however they have a gaping in whole in their offense, and an opening as the DH.  Pena could fit this role rather nicely, and give them a much better chance to return to the postseason after a one year hiatus.  They have the pieces to move to get a deal done.  Cheap, young, and not fully developed pitchers, such as Garza, Baker, Slowey, Bonser, etc.  This should be considered, especially if they plan on keeping Santana and making one last run (Unless for some odd reason they can actually resign him). 

     And would I be skeptical of Pena’s out of place season last year.  Definitely a little, that is for sure.  Was it a fluke?  Was it an aberration?  A one time occurance? I do know that it will be difficult to win a ring in a stacked AL without having an additional bat in the mixture.  So I would at least consider this option, from both Minnesota and Tampa, the home of the "Rays."   

Don’t Do It!

     If the New York Mets, for any reason, sign Alex Rodriguez to the ridiculous contract that he desires, then they will be making a large mistake.  If he could not help the Yankees win a World Series championship, then why would Minaya and co. think that the less talented Mets could be fitted for rings with him.  They need pitching, plain and simple. 

     They were seventh in the NL last season in ERA and they play their games in a pitcher friendly ballpark.  Did I mention that the NL is generally regarded as the inferior league?  Because I meant to.  It would be foolish to sign a player like Alex Rodriguez, who will tie up some of the payroll of even a large market team such as the Mets.  And they already have two potential superstars, who are already regarded as one of the five best at each of their positions.  One of them would have to make a position change in order to bring in Rodriguez.  Either that or Rodriguez may have to switch positions. 

     They may try and pursue the Blanton for Milledge trade that has been spoken of some.   Then sign another free agent pitcher or two (short term would be ideal) and wait until the next offseason, in hoping to land Santana or anyone really who can give a bunch them a bunch of quality innings on the hill 

     Don’t forget that the Mets were also fourth in runs scored this past season, and second on the road in runs scored.  They need to stay away from this mistake and focus on what is more important, and what they need more…PITCHING!

Miggy on the move?

     Miguel Cabrera is a great hitter, one of the best in the game.  But what is he worth?  I would not part with Hughes or Joba.  Sorry.  No way.  It could be because I personally value an ace, even a potential ace more so than a great position player.  Especially since that position player will command a ridiculous, and high-risk contract once he hits the market, unless of course one can be reached beforehand.  I would however part with Ian Kennedy to acquire him.  Kennedy may be good, but a team must give up something to get a player like Cabrera.  And it is pretty clear that the Marlins want in return, a center fielder, and a cheap pitcher(s) with an optimistic future.  And 55 pounds of weight gain can be viewed as too much partying, but during this period of time can cause for suspicion also (just a theory, not actually accusing anyone).  I wouldn’t count anything out if I were a GM after all that has gone on behind the scenes. 

     The Gold Gloves were announced yesterday, the best time of the year!  Not quite, but I do take interest in them.  Maybe I am speaking from the heart here, maybe not, but Coco Crisp was a great defensive CF this season.  And while maybe a few others could have taken home the award, and did, Coco probably should have won over Grady Sizemore.  Coco’s "Zone Rating" was significantly better than Grady’s and many of the experts agree as well.  I know that the experts simply produce opinions, but some of the ones that I listen to at least put a lot of time into analyzing defensive value/production.  For example, Rob Neyer, who I may disagree with sometimes, but who seems to represent many knowledgeable "experts" in his writing, explained in his blog.  "That it isn’t about how a player finishes necessarily, it is also how they start their route."  And I have thought about this before and totally agree with this.  A player such as Sizemore may finish the play with a leaping grab, but that leaping grab may come as a result of him initially taking a poor route to the ball.  And from the research that some of these experts have done, I think it is safe to say that Coco takes better paths to most putouts than that of Sizemore. 

     I wonder if GM’s are going to value Andruw Jones’ Gold Glove victory more so than his miserable offensive season.  This is the fact, Jones can still play the position and should bring a better bat than he had last season.  But he isn’t worth a giant $18 million a year contract.  Maybe if I were the Angels and I had an opening, because taking a chance on a player such as Jones may put them over the top.  And they need a bat, that is obvious.  But I would be very hesitant to overpay Jones, or Hunter, or whatever other free agent is on this year’s extravagant market. 

     Which is why I very much like the position the Red Sox are in.  It is actually a little too comforting.  I keep thinking to myself that it is too be good to be true and that something is going to go wrong.  They are truly flexing their financial muscles in every way imaginable:  Six capable starters + Julian Tavarez as insurance, all starting positions filled with legit players (assuming Lowell will re-sign), a good bullpen with farm help on the way.  An upgrade at backup catcher would be the biggest concern, to me, if Lowell is in fact retained, which looks to be occuring.  The bench may need a few pieces, but I am almost overly confident going into the season, and I don’t know if I like every aspect of that.  It is just easier in this game with a large payroll.   

   

    

    

Bill James and a Baseball Analyst.

                                                           The Bill James Handbook Part One

     Two consecutive posts that refer all of you to read something beforehand?  I know, but yesterday the article negatively affected me, and today it’s the opposite of negative, which of course would be positive.  These are the articles I prefer to read, and are the reason I visit this site to begin with.  It is written by the "Baseball Analysts" crew, Rich Lederer to be exact, and is based upon the new "Bill James Handbook."  And I have much respect and admiration for Bill James the baseball [expert], so I will value his opinion, even if I don’t agree with everything that he originates.   

     "The Fielding Bible" awards are released once again, and are shown in this book, or so Lederer says.  Pujols really seems to be flexing his muscles at first…again.  He is regarded by this crew of knowledgeable minds, to once again, be the best defensive first baseman in all of baseball.  And he is one of the five best hitters in the game to go along with the "Real Golden Glove."  Not too shabby. 

     The fielding award that surprises me the most is Pedro Feliz getting the nod as the best glove at the 3B position for 2007.  When one thinks of great defenders at this position, names such as Chavez or Lowell might come to mind.  But Pedro Feliz?  I never would have guessed that he had a glove to go along with his below average bat, which does have some pop.  And they are not saying that Feliz is the best defensive third baseman, they are saying that he was during the 2007 campaign only. 

     Jeter and Ramirez are no surprise as being viewed as the worst at their respective positions.  I watch Ramirez a lot and it is obvious that he is terrible out there.  The wall takes away from his lack of range a little, which is a plus, but he still looks like a poor fielder.  Jeter on the other hand needs to switch positions.  He is getting worse and moving to third would really benefit the team.  Every year he has been rated as one of the worst with the glove at this position and he is only going to decline on defense.  And again, I have much respect for Jeter, so this isn’t simply a Red Sox fan taking shots at a future Hall of Famer’s weakness.’  And again, I listen to Bill James when he speaks, or more accurately writes, as I have never actually heard him speak.  So unless this is some diabolical scheme to hurt the Yankees even more (James works for the Red Sox), then based on what I see and what I listen to experts say, Jeter should be **** no more. 

     Every other winner makes some sense.  I know that they all have a reputation for being able to field their positions.  And this plus/minus system is an interesting take on analyzing defenders.  There are some other interesting takes on young players and baserunning skills too. 

    

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