Fighting irrationality with irrationality since 2006.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Observations on a Young Baseball Season

Based on his most recent article, my hypothesis is that Bob Matthews hasn't actually followed the first month of the baseball season and just based all his crazy claims on what happened in 2005.

The five luckiest teams in the majors reside in the National League West, because it is the only division any of them could win. San Francisco is too old, Los Angeles is too brittle and San Diego can't hit. That leaves two improved teams —– Arizona and Colorado — to contend for the right to be crushed in the postseason.

So how does that make the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres "lucky"?

The best team in baseball is the Chicago White Sox because only they have five above-average starting pitchers (Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez, Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland) and another waiting for a chance (Brandon McCarthy).

Bonus points for realizing McCarthy should be in the lineup (although that was true last year, too), but come on... John Garland was only above average last year. Freddy Garcia's still high, Contreras is hurt, and the Sox will be lucky to have any pitcher finish the season with a sub-3.00 ERA. And yes, Bob, the White Sox did in fact win the World Series last year.

The worst team in baseball is Kansas City. It is difficult for a team to be so lousy at so many things.

Again, this was true last year.

The best young slugger in baseball (Albert Pujols now is a veteran) is Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.

Wait, the best young slugger is the guy was rookie of the year last year? Crazy.

If 2005 AL Most Valuable Player voters had a do-over, I wonder if Boston DH David Ortiz might outpoll Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Ortiz continues to get clutch hits while A-Rod continues to struggle when the Yankees need a big hit.

Bob finally realizes what's going on in 2006 and he thinks it should influence last year's MVP vote? I'm redacting Rickey Henderson's 1990 MVP because, well, he just doesn't steal many bases these days.

Baseball's best hitter unquestionably is St. Louis first baseman Pujols.

Ok, back to wondering if Bob's still focused on 2005.

He leads the majors in HRs (16) and RBI (38) but he's a long shot to win the National League batting title for a Triple Crown. He ranks 15th in the NL with a .314 batting average. He'll pass a lot of the pretenders ahead of him (for example Brad Ausmus, Omar Vizquel, Austin Kearns and Brian McCann) but probably not all of them.

Brad Ausmus doesn't have a shot at the batting title? Well shit. But if there's a Triple Crown category that Pujols is most likely to win, it's AVG. He's a .332 career hitter who has already won a batting title and finished second last year to Derrek Lee who has a broken wrist. Pujols has never led the league in RBI, and will be challenged to do so with a weak St. Louis lineup. And the homerun race? He's never won that either and getting walked at his current pace won't help.

Oakland DH Frank Thomas (.188, 6 HRs and 15 RBI in 96 at-bats) isn't doing much for his marginal Hall of Fame hopes. He still has some pop but his days as a high average hitter appear over.

Marginal Hall of Fame hopes? You're talking about Frank Thomas, the two-tiem MVP? Frank Thomas, owner of a career 161 OPS+ (14th all-time)? Frank Thomas, who put up a Bondsian .353/.487/.729 line and 38 HRs in a strike-shortened 194? Thomas is no-brainer Hall-of-Famer, you idiot. Oh, and his days as a high-average hitter were over in 2001.

Man that was fun. I'm out.

-The FireCrotchester


Blogger Brian said...

Strong work (By you, not Mr. Matthews).

I can sort of understand when he writes forward looking columns based on absolutely nothing, because it can be a lot of work to look up statistics and run the numbers if you don't have the flexible schedule of a floor installer.

However, writing a review column using the same technique is just weird.

10:40 PM

Blogger FireCrotchester said...

I'd like to flag his comment about the NL West for review down the road. It already looks stupid, as the Rockies are unlikely to stay in the race, and the Padres and Dodgers should be in it all season with the Diamondbacks. Plus, only one team is below .500 right now. No other division can make that claim.

7:46 AM


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