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Thursday, May 13, 2004
don't drink another one
where was i? right, i was rambling about replacement level. here's the bottom line: most players are near replacement level. you got your slick-fielding infielders, your power first basemen, your middle relievers. they're all over the place. it is not important to evaluate them. their value is the same. they are replacement-level players.

so what's left? the stars. the top two pitchers, the closer, the three hitter, whoever. when comparing teams, you look at the best player from each, and see who's better, then look at the next best, etc. take it as far as you want, but a general rule of thumb is the difference in second-best players is half as important as the difference in best players. the difference in third-best players is half as important as the difference in second-best players. and so on. after a few players, it gets pretty meaningless.

let's do some examples:

padres v. diamondbacks:
best player: brian giles v. randy johnson: rj way better.
second-best player: the d-backs second-best player is brandon webb. i don't know who the padres second-best player is. maybe burroughs, maybe peavy. we've already gotten to the point where it doesn't matter. the diamondbacks are way better.

red sox v. yankees:
best player: pedro martinez v. kevin brown: pedro
second-best player: curt schilling v. javier vazquez: schilling
third-best player: nomar v. arod: even
fourth-best player: manny v. sheff: even
fifth-best player: lowe v. posada: posada
sixth-best player: damon v. mussina: mussina

the analysis is deep because there are many stars. but the red sox are clearly better. they have the top two.

this is fun. let's do some more:

angels v. a's:
best player: eric chavez v. vladimir guerrero: chavez
second-best player: tim hudson v. troy glaus: hudson
third-best player: barry zito v. bartolo colon: zito, i suppose

a's win the west.

giants v. dodgers:

best player: barry bonds v. who cares

giants win.

marlins v. braves (the phillies finish third):
best player: josh beckett v. andruw jones: beckett
second-best player: juan pierre v. marcus giles: maybe pierre
third-best player: lowell? willis? v. rafael furcal: furcal
fourth-best player: john smoltz

this one is really close. i still say the braves win it.

in the central, it's prior and wood. in the other central, it's santana

the nl central could be the astros though. kerry wood now has mild elbow tendinitis. mark prior is not yet back. this is how it starts. i hate to bring up the early nineties mets, but i have to.

someone please stop dusty baker before he kills these kids. the mark prior/doc gooden comparisons are gonna be depressing.
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