Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This Just In....Oh, I Already Knew That....

Just finished the WaPo sports section and came across a funny little table that lists MLB team pitching statistics by team ERA, and well, whaddya know? The Nats are the worst staff in the NL, and O's are the 2nd worst in the AL, boy didn't see that coming.

Details on the Nats:
-2nd-to-last in strikeouts in the NL, ahead of only the Pirates.
-2nd-to-last in walks, only the Mets have issued more.

-Worst in the league in HRs surrendered, a whopping 11 ahead of the next-to-worst Angels.
-Worst in strikeouts.
-Last in the league in shutouts, with 2 on the year.

The Anchorman and the cavalry can't come soon enough.

(Image courtesy of cardboardkings.com)


  1. SO...anyone want to talk about how how none of Wieters, Jones, Markakis has really become the big star the O's need yet?

  2. On Wieters (written prior to his big league debut):

    "Normally, the expectations would be unfair and nearly impossible to live up to. But there's a silver lining to playing for a team with a small fan-base and zero playoff aspirations. This season is Wieters' chance to acclimate himself to big league pitching - both his own and that of his opponents. While it would encouraging to see him tear it up this year - and lord knows he has the talent to do so - it is not the end of the world if he doesn't. The Orioles are still a ways away from making noise, but the Balticore is in place."

    That said, his inconsistency offensively has been a tad discouraging. But the glimpses he has shown should be in place next year. Remember that he's a catcher for a manager who does not call pitches from the dugout, so the learning curve is steeper for him than most. Combine that with an inexperienced pitching staff and his work behind the plate actually looks impressive.

    As far as Jones goes, he has been battling bumps and bruises all season long and I think the stress of that has really paid its toll at the plate. He's been less than stellar there since the all-star break and just dropped below .280 for the first time - remember when he was hitting .350? Still, guy's only 24 years old and is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, so even when he's not clicking offensively he's still contributing, which is a good sign.

    I'm not really sure why you included Markakis in your comment because I would absolutely consider him a big star. Yea, he lacks ideal power, but he's a high-average hitter who finds the gaps, has underrated speed, and plays tremendous defense. Put this guy in New York or Boston (please god, don't actually) and he's a megastar. Only problem is he toils in obscurity at Camden Yards.

  3. Not trying to be inflammatory here but I guess I will be. You do a great job at speaking in unsupported assertions and opinion...now let's try a few facts (long post ahead!:

    Fact #1: Brian Roberts has been the best player on the Orioles this year by a fair margin...use any value stat you want and he's been the best by roughly a win.

    Fact #2 Wieters is still likely to be a very good playert and likely a star and maybe even a special player. But make no mistake, relative to his previous performance, his star HAS to have dimmed a bit.

    How do we project future performance in baseball? By past performance. Wieters in 2008 put up in the context of his leagues and parks, arguably the top minor league season of the last 40 years. It was dominance, pure and simple. As such, projection systems used by BP, Hardball Times, Fan Graphs, Bill James, etc projected a rookie season that was off the charts good, pretty much MVP caliber...a line of 311/395/544

    He's fallen a bit short. There is no way on earth that this doesn't lower expectations going forward. He held his own so far as he didn't embarrass himself, but that's it. He's put up a line that's certainly quite below the league average hitter and even below the average catcher. had he done this at 20, you'd say he'll still be incredible. He did this at 23...so you say maybe he'll be incredible. He's young but not uncommonly young for a rookie. Guess what all of this means...NOBODY will project him to be a 300/400/500 guy next year. he could be, but it's no longer taken as a given that he'll accomplish it by year two. A year ago it was taken for granted by Baseball America and Keith Law that by year two he'd be there. His star has dimmed...keep in mind I'm not saying it can't shine again, but he'll need to compensate to get back on track, as the normal career path for a 23 yr. old rookie catched with a line of 270/320/380 is not to become the next stud in the sport, so stay tuned.

    Fact #3 Adam Jones isn't as good as you think...bumps and bruises? That's the realm of center fielders. if anything, that's even more troubling, in that study after study shows (check Will Carroll or Glenn Fleisig if you don't believe me) that players who get hurt at young ages are at a significantly higher risk than players that don't to get injured as their careers progress. It's a physically demanding position. Facts are facts, though. He broke his foot last year and he's beat up this year...trend developing.

    Even in the minor leagues, Adam Jones struggled with control of the strike zone. This is the most important part of being a major league hitter. It continues this year. At the end of the day, as good as he has seemed this year, the most important part of an offensive player's job is getting on base. He has, this year, done this at a league average rate and at a below average rate for a center fielder. It's an inarguable fact. This will in all likelihood never be a strength for him and limits his upside...most players just don't develop much plate discipline at the major league level. His upside seems more Curtis Granderson than perennial all-star or middle of the order force. I still think he'll be an above average CFer, but who knows.

  4. As for your assertion that he's one of the best center fielders in the game, quite frankly, that's bullshit. By what metric? The most commonly referred to (and used in front offices), by far, is ultimate zone rating. By UZR he ranks as the 6th worst CF in baseball this year, worth almost 1 win below the average CF defensively. By any other defense system used (+/-, FRAA, etc), he ranks anywhere from very poor to about average. When one stat says it, some are cautious. When every system agrees, well, I supported my position on his defense in 2009 with facts. You said, quite summarily, he's one of the best in the game. he's athletic and makes some incredible plays, clouding your opinion, but on the whole, he gets to fewer balls hit in the CF area than average.

    Fact #4: Nick Markakis is NOT a big star. He is a corner outfielder (who also rates poorly by most defensive metrics) who has an OBP and SLG at roughly league average rates for a corner outifelder. Baseball Prospectus currently rates him as the 65th most valuable player in baseball this year and Fan Graphs the 86th. Both have him worth around 2.5 wins above replacement level. Offensive stats don't lie. Names surrounding him on these lists follow:

    Denard Span
    AJ Pierzynski
    Andrew McCutchen
    Nelson Cruz
    Matt Diaz
    Miguel Tejada
    Craig Counsell
    Erick Aybar
    Marlon Byrd
    Nate McLouth
    Scott Rolen
    Chipper Jones (having a very down year)

    If these guys are stars, I'm the president. He's a star in Baltimore because he seems comparatively better than thouse around him. In New York or Boston, he'd be a nice young player, but far from a star. Boston has four players with higher VORPS this year with two more roughly as good. The Yankees? 5 with higher vorps with two more roughly as good. In the battle of good young players, Cano and Pedroia both rate as better overall players and Ellsbury has been better this year as well. Megastar...really??? He'd be, by definition, a below average hitter in either lineup. OBP and SLG are far and away what counts, especially at a slugger's position. He's been decidedly average at both
    and he's about to turn 26, the age at which they typical player doesn't have much room left for growth.

    Better than average? Yes. Megastar? Make as coherent an argument as I have to defend your position...

    Long story short, this core is solid, but far from special with three players that have not experience unbelievable years. it's not even close to the Posada, Jeter, Williams type core or even the Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury one thus far. Tampa has a much deeper and talented offensive core as well. You could even make a case for Toronto with Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, and Travis Snider...

    A sadder future is ahead of you than you probably envision...I'm no troll. I love talking good baseball, but facts are facts. You barely even conversed in them in your rebuttal...

  5. There will be a Wieters update post in the near future. Not to give too much away, but yes, his star has dimmed considerably.

    And don't look now, but Felix Pie may be a serviceable player!

  6. As I was spending the last hour typing up my response, the computer gods decided to fuck my face by going back one page, thus deleting my work. I have nothing right now, except for anger and frustration due to this mishap. I'm headed to the bar and hopefully will later gather the energy to recreate at least a retarded cousin of what I wrote earlier.

    @Your Conscience: Thank you for your comments and the thought you put into them. Always appreciated.


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