Fighting irrationality with irrationality since 2006.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I'm not sure if FCster knows where the train station is, but I am sure BM doesn't know much about baseball

FCster didn't write this column like he promised, so I will give it a shot.

In Sunday's Paper, Mr. Matthews gives his baseball first quarter report , and it gets off to a rough start:

”American League Most Valuable Player — Derek Jeter (New York), with Jim Thome (Chicago) close behind. Jeter has never won an MVP award, but Mr. Intangible...”

I know Mr. Matthews is planning a “strong” argument when intangibles come out in the second sentence. Can we talk about productive outs, “smart” play, clutch situations, and playing in the pressure of NYC too?

” off to a terrific start offensively and defensively this season.”

True, Jeter is off to a relatively terrific start, with his .427 OBP and .493 SLG both being the second best of his career. However, Jeter ranks 6th in the league in on-base percentage, 33rd in slugging, and his pathetic 5 home runs is tied for 57th with perpetual whipping boy Tony Batista. MVP of the league? He isn't even the MVP of his team – that would be Jason Giambi with his league leading .448 OBP.

”Thome leads the AL in HRs and RBI ...”

Huh, those sound like pretty good reasons to be considered the leading MVP candidate. He also is leading the league in slugging, OPS, and runs created, and is second in walks. Maybe being prettier than Thome is the intangible Mr. Matthews was talking about, since Jeter is behind in all the important stats. BS like this is why Jeter is the most overrated player of all time.

Mr. Matthews goes on to talk about various other categories: ”Top flop starting rotation — Minnesota, with veterans Brad Radke, Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse. Their combined pitching line: 8-16 record; 8.13 ERA; 144 innings; 222 hits allowed (including 35 HRs). “

I would argue that this would be the top managerial flop, since Ron Gardenhire kept putting these guys out there when they weren't getting the job done instead of turning to Liriano and Boof earlier. You can check out FCsters in depth coverage of the issue here. While I am insulting Mr. Gardenhire, he also lets Rondell White, Tony Batista, and Juan Castro try to hit. Does anyone else think he might be a saboteur secretly working for the White Sox?

”Teams most likely to improve — the AL.”

Toronto is playing right at their expected wins level; their offense is excellent, but their pitching is mediocre. They are 9th in the league in ERA despite having the third best defense efficiency ratio. The only way I can see them improving is if they cut down on walks allowed (9th in the AL).

”Team most likely to slip — Cincinnati, with too little quality pitching and too many undisciplined hitters. “

OK, so they do have too little quality pitching, but undisciplined hitting? The Reds are second in the NL with 230 walks, so I can only assume Mr. Matthews meant “too many hitters that strike out a lot.” Note to Mr. Matthews: Strikeouts and all outs are virually equivalent in terms of negative run expectancy. Check out this handy chart. After that, look at the at bats per strikeout career leaderboard and let me know how many of your all time greatest 24 are on that list.

”Most costly injuries — Broken wrists for OF Hideki Matsui (New York AL) and 1B Derrek Lee (Chicago NL). If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, their fate was sealed on May 11, when they lost their steadiest and most underappreciated player.”

What the hell does steadiest mean? If you mean best, that would be Giambi, and he is still playing.

”The Cubs have been among baseball's worst hitting teams since Lee went down and probably won't have time to make a bid for the playoffs when he returns. “

Those are all true statements, but ignore the fact that the Cubs can't pitch either. Woods and Prior being perpetually injured are way more damaging to the club.


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