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Wednesday, July 23, 2003
rob neyer wrote a column about the wants and needs of this year's contenders. it's good, as usual. here are my comments:
first, the a's:
And then there's Beane. I think the world of Billy, but if he can fix what ails the A's lineup, we should let him rule the world. The A's, who worship at the twin altars of on-base percentage and slugging percentage, rank 10th and 11th in the American League in those categories. Not coincidentally, they're 10th in runs scored. There is reason to think that many, and perhaps most, of Oakland's hitters are better than they've played, and will improve over the next couple of months. Still, Beane has to be thinking about first base. And right field. And left field.
this is nitpicky, but it is not the case that the a's worship at the twin altars of on-base percentage and slugging percentage. the a's worship at the altar of underappreciated value. this year, it's defense. the a's have the best defense in the majors. it helps that they have 3 center fielders in the outfield. and scott hatteberg is a swiffer at first (get it? everything sticks!)
what? those are the 3 positions neyer said need help. ok, but he's still right, sort of. the a's need one more hitter. who'da thunk it? then singleton can be the fourth outfielder. that's still a lot of playing time.
incidentally, what's wrong with hatteberg? he currently sports a .256/.339/.372 avg/obp/slg. is he dead?
hatteberg,scott 324 .115 .898 .311 .280/.362/.400 5.43
no, he's just resting.
tejada and chavez have also been unlucky:
chavez,eric 323 .098 .836 .347 .290/.359/.507 6.92
tejada,miguel 375 .074 .909 .330 .300/.352/.481 6.53
compare that to .258/.332/.475 and .249/.307/.423, respectively.
hell, let's run the whole team:
hernandez,ramon 275 .086 .840 .336 .282/.344/.468 6.05
durazo,erubiel 304 .174 .816 .333 .271/.398/.443 6.53
ellis,mark 309 .104 .819 .318 .260/.338/.390 4.80
byrnes,eric 301 .099 .860 .345 .296/.366/.512 7.20
long,terrence 291 .067 .866 .324 .280/.329/.435 5.37
singleton,chris 183 .066 .836 .310 .259/.309/.369 4.15
everyone has had bad luck but singleton. he's .279/.321/.386. that streches your meaning of good luck. oops durazo has been lucky by .021 of ops. sorry. long has had the worst of it, at .252/.300/.404.
this team will score more runs. their park is a canyon, but it don't matter. the a's will win the west. and the red sox will win the east (sox fans hate me right now.) sadly, i don't think the mariners will take the wild card (now yankee fans hate me too. assuming they caught the slight. ooh! i'm gonna pay for that!)
so i guess we're gonna have to let beane rule the world. that's not an attractive prospect. come to think of it, he couldn't do much worse than those currently in power. . . .
don't tell anybody i said that.
about the expos, rob says ". . . they're terrible at three spots: third base (Fernando Tatis), catcher (Michael Barrett), and center field (Endy Chavez). I think at least two of those guys will improve, . . ."
ok, which one?
tatis,fernando 175 .107 .771 .298 .230/.313/.299 3.28
barrett,michael 169 .096 .834 .336 .280/.349/.463 6.07
chavez,endy 327 .044 .887 .309 .274/.306/.388 4.41
the answer is . . . all of them. although in tatis's case, he still shouldn't be on the team. improving a .194 avg will not impress anyone. but chavez is at .251/.285/.359, and should go up. and barrett, at .199/.268/.382, has got to start praying to a new god, because the one he has ain't workin'. i suggest baal.
michael barrett is one of the top 6 catchers in the league. and i'm not saying that because i've had him on 3 fantasy teams (no, not last year, and no, not 1999. i'm not bitter. why do you think i'm bitter?)
piazza,mike 111 .133 .865 .365 .316/.407/.595 9.54
lopez,javy 261 .068 .808 .389 .315/.361/.644 9.16
rodriguez,ivan 293 .112 .816 .348 .284/.364/.499 6.85
hammock,robby 103 .046 .816 .354 .289/.322/.522 6.38
larue,jason 205 .128 .707 .363 .257/.352/.481 6.16
barrett,michael 169 .096 .834 .336 .280/.349/.463 6.07
robby hammock probably is not that good. that pow is suspect with that sample size. and there's a big dropoff after #2(javy lopez!). but there it is. if you count piazza and hammock each as 1/2, then barrett's #5. next is his teammate, brian schneider.
next comment, braves pitching:
With even Vinny Castilla hitting reasonably well, the Braves' lineup is set for the duration. And of course, the Braves do have the best record in the majors. Which isn't to say they're perfect. Not when starter Shane Reynolds sports a nifty 5.77 ERA. Then again, the Braves' lead in the East is safe, and there's no reason for Reynolds to even make the postseason roster, let alone pitch in October. So aside from possibly adding somebody who can pinch-hit in October, there's really no reason for John Schuerholz to do anything.
era . . . you just can't do anything with it. the implication here is that aside from reynolds, the staff is good.
what do you think?
maddux,greg 126.1 .050 .852 4.70 5.56
ortiz,ramon 112.1 .083 .871 5.32 5.37
ramirez,horacio 99 .096 .846 5.21 4.55
hampton,mike 91 .118 .849 5.55 5.54
reynolds,shane 94 .095 .865 5.41 5.74
the second-to-last number is predicted run average. the last number is actual run average (pre-all-star break). so maddux is the best starter. but he's not great. and the rest of these guys are chumps. the braves could really use a front-line starter in the playoffs. it wouldn't hurt for the regular season, either. but front-line starters don't grow on trees. who made up the term "front-line starter", anyway?
that's all the time i have for today. tomorrow, reader mail.
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