Tag Archive | "prince fielder"

Your Monday Reality Check: “I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues!”

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Your Monday Reality Check: “I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues!”

Posted on 08 July 2013 by Glenn Clark

Coming off what I’m sure you all will agree was a well-earned week of vacation, I thought quite a bit about writing a lengthy piece about Jim Johnson and the Orioles’ closer situation. Despite Johnson’s 1-2-3 ninth inning in Baltimore’s 2-1 win Sunday over the New York Yankees, the situation remains quite fluid and will be followed closely in the coming weeks.

Although I will point this out from an appearance I made Sunday morning on the SiriusXM Fantasy Sports channel…

That happened at 8am Sunday. Call me “Glennstradamus”?

But I’m NOT writing about that. No…because while I was sitting at Chase Field in Phoenix Friday night watching the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Colorado Rockies I had a thought cross my mind. The thought was furthered during that appearance I made on the SXM Fantasy Channel Sunday morning.

That thought has everything in the world to do with the movie Mallrats. Or at least kinda.

Stick with me.

If you listen to “The Reality Check” (and since I’ve seen the ratings-I KNOW you do), you’ve probably heard me discuss the fact that in a previous life, I was obsessed with director Kevin Smith and his films. I embarrassingly admitted just a few weeks ago to Allen McCallum that I went to see the movie “Jersey Girl” in theaters THRICE with different young ladies. I’m not even remotely proud.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Mallrats” (and if not, go ahead and take the rest of the day off to view it. In fact, I’m broadcasting at Ryleigh’s in Federal Hill Monday afternoon courtesy of Pinnacle Vodka. Just bring your laptop and I’ll bring a copy of the flick you can watch before you head over to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.), you’ll probably remember Jason Lee’s character Brodie and his sincere respect for all things related to his local shopping mall. One particular issue he has is with a small child who sits down on the escalator, ignoring the dangers of getting caught.

A few escalator rides in, Brodie’s fears play out as the child gets caught and is hurt. If you don’t mind a tiny bit of foul language, here’s a clip…

The take away phrase in that clip would be “that kid is back on the escalator again!”

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Team Trout or Camp Cabrera?

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Team Trout or Camp Cabrera?

Posted on 01 October 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

It’s not often I get to say I’m right while also playing the role of devil’s advocate. Heck…who am I trying to kid? It’s not often I get to say I was right period, especially about something as subjective as AL MVP voting. I did however say a few weeks, maybe months, ago that this Year’s AL MVP vote would be an even bigger case of traditional stats vs. advanced metrics than the Cy Young candidacy of Felix Hernandez in 2010. To that end, and likely that end alone, I’m right.

The AL MVP race has boiled down to two vastly distinctive candidates and two incredibly different camps. In one corner there’s Miguel Cabrera, baseball’s most prolific hitter and potentially the winner of baseball’s first Triple Crown in 45 years. The old school “eye test” camp is touting his candidacy. In the other corner we have Mike Trout, baseball’s newest phenom and most complete player. Trout has rewritten the sabermetric standard and not surprisingly has the advanced stats guys singing his praises.

 

If there’s anything unfortunate about the historical pursuits of these two gentlemen and their two-man race for MVP it’s that it’s become a partisan debate. The Saber community and the Old Guard have long been at odds and much like Democrats and Republicans in a political debate, this year’s vote likely rides with which community you already subscribe to rather than which candidate you actually prefer.

 

Welcome to the “T” party; the Thyrl Party. I subscribe to neither camp wholeheartedly, but am suddenly becoming enamored with both, and the odds that they seem to be at currently.

 

For most of the summer I was on “Team Trout”. The kid emerged from the shadow of Bryce Harper to do things that we not only couldn’t have expected of him, Trout has done things that we couldn’t have expected from anyone. But suddenly, and maybe simply in the interest of being a contrarian, I find myself in “Camp Cabrera”. And as I’m not seeing many good arguments made on Cabrera’s behalf outside of the anomaly of a Triple Crown, I’ll try here to make one.

 

First, it seems the saber folks have pointed to a Triple Crown as nothing more than a statistical novelty and I don’t disagree. Even old school writers have seen through the statistical novelty seasons of the past. Baseball has seen multiple Triple Crown winners, 40/40 and even 50/50 club members and some have walked away with the hardware while others haven’t. The 56-game hitting streak did win Joe DiMaggio an MVP in a 1941 season that I’m convinced if we recast the ballot would go to Ted Williams in a landslide. So before going any further I’ll state for the record that my case for Cabrera has nothing to do with, and is in no way vested in his winning the Triple Crown. If Josh Hamilton were to hit 10 home runs over the season’s final series, my endorsement of Cabrera would not change.

 

Next, I will neither embrace nor reject the use of advanced metrics in deciding the award. I like most advanced metrics and the conclusions that they can help to lead us to. I’ll also acknowledge however that the MVP is a subjective award. That’s why it’s put to a vote. Sabermetrics aren’t and shouldn’t be the entirety of the MVP debate, or there’d be no debate at all. In fact the inclusion of “valuable” in the title instead of  “outstanding” for example, invites a further level of subjectivity. What is the definition of valuable? We could simply rename the award the “Warlord Award” and hand it to Trout. Heck, we could just call it the aWARd. While embracing the wave of new age data however, I’ll also suggest that I’m not convinced that the formulas are perfect, and that not all metrics are created equally.

 

Defensive metrics are a part of everyone’s WAR calculations, but seem to differ (sometimes greatly) depending on which saber community you subscribe to. There’s no question that Mike Trout is a batter defender than Miguel Cabrera, but by how much is largely debatable. It’s also somewhat debatable whether defensive metrics are being given the right amount of weight in the WAR calculation.

 

Comparing a center fielder to a third baseman should be seen as an apples-to-oranges type of proposition. Not only are the numbers of typical opportunities at those positions widely divergent, but so are the types of opportunities. Balls hit to a third baseman are basically his alone to get. He’ll either make a play on them or he won’t and the stats will reflect the runs above or below average that he’s allowing as a result of those efforts. By contrast, balls hit to a centerfielder aren’t always his alone to get. A particularly rangy centerfielder will have the opportunity to get to a number of balls that could be fielded by other players. Calling players off and increasing his own zone ratings as a result are impressive, but not necessarily run saving. In other words, some of the balls that Mike Trout gets to wouldn’t be caught by other centerfielders, but would still be caught on other teams by fielders at different positions. This seems to give a CF like Trout an inordinate advantage in padding his “runs saved” stats.

 

More importantly, if we’re going to penalize Cabrera for being a bad 3rd baseman, we also have to understand the circumstances that landed him there. Cabrera wasn’t a “plus defensive” first baseman either, but he was at least better playing first than he is at third, and also would have gotten the benefit of first base being a less important defensive position. Still, to penalize him for embracing third base for the good of the team and in order to facilitate the Tigers working Prince Fielder into the lineup seems at least moderately unfair. Instead of comparing these players run-for-run and since we’re only looking at two guys, let’s instead consider their specific circumstances.

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Big Trade Looming?

Posted on 07 July 2012 by Erich Hawbaker

The All-Star break is upon us. And, if the season ended today, the Orioles would be headed to the playoffs. Thursday’s disaster with the Angels notwithstanding, the Orioles have reached halftime without completely faceplanting as most of us expected they would. The bullpen has been the most pleasant surprise, with an ERA still close to the best in baseball. The offense (long balls in particular) has also been a big reason for the success, with Adam Jones on pace for 40 homeruns and several others flirting with 30.

However, just like last year, the most glaring weakness has been the defense. Unfortunately, the O’s also lead the league in errors, which has cost them at least three or four winnable games already this season. The other coin flip has been the starting pitching, which lately seems to always be either stellar or awful on any given night. Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen are aces more often than not, but the other three rotation spots have been consistently shaky with occasional flashes of brilliance.

The Orioles have already made a splash in the trade market this year by acquiring DH Jim Thome from the struggling Phillies for a pair of minor leaguers. For awhile now, I’d been wondering if they were really serious about being buyers this year like Dan Duquette said, and if, to that end, they would be looking to pick up another legitimate starting pitcher. Today when I checked my fantasy team (the Mercersburg Rebels, currently in 1st place), the news feed told me that the Orioles are trying to make a trade with the Brewers for RHP Zack Greinke. It also mentioned that the O’s have two highly-touted prospects in Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado that might be part of such a deal.

For the last few years, I’ve always made it a point to have Greinke on my fantasy team. He routinely goes deep into games, puts up lots of strikeouts, and has a very good ERA and WHIP. He won the 2009 AL Cy Young with the Royals, no easy feat when one considers that they’ve been about as bad as the Orioles over the last decade. This year, his record is 9-2, while his team is currently under .500 by five games.

So, all indications are that he would be an excellent pickup if the Orioles can pull this off. However, I would not part with Bundy or Machado to make it happen. Since Milwaukee lost Prince Fielder, they’re in need of a firstbaseman. Perhaps Mark Reynolds could be part of this trade? True, he’s not crushing the ball like he was last year, but Miller Park is definitely hitter-friendly. And now that the Orioles have Chris Davis, there isn’t a tremendous need for Reynolds here anymore. It would also make a big dent in that error rate.

Another thing to consider here is that the era of Brian Roberts is, regrettably, over. He’s given us some tremendous years, but unfortunately the Orioles simply cannot depend on him as an everyday player anymore. Therefore, letting go of Manny Machado would be unwise, because he will be coming of age right about the time when Roberts is officially finished. I don’t think I even need to elaborate on why trading Dylan Bundy would be a bad move, unless of course the Brewers are offering significantly more than just Greinke.

I have to admit, it’s a VERY nice thought that the Orioles’ rotation could eventually consist of Hammel, Chen, Greinke, Britton, and whoever gets their act together. That, coupled with Jones, Wieters, Davis, Markakis, Hardy, and our current bullpen would almost have to be a serious contender.

However, I must reiterate that even if this becomes reality, we are not yet free of Peter The Terrible, and I still remain unconvinced that the Orioles have truly turned the corner as long as he remains in the warehouse.

What do you think? Should the Orioles trade for Greinke? Is there someone else out there you’d like to see them pursue? Comments are always welcome.

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