I don’t want to come across like I am just bashing Bleacher Report for the hell of it. Because I’m not. I am really not.
When it first showed up on the “blogosphere” it was a good thing. Hell, it was a great thing.
It offered a venue where the casual writer yet avid sports fan could offer up their opinion on whatever it is they felt the urge to talk about.
But over the last couple of years, as more & more “writers” found their way into that community the quality/relevance of what you find on there has gone from “decent amateur sports journalism” to “a collection of biased, statistically unsupported, mindless drivel”.
You get hit over the head with an endless parade of pieces that are nothing more than hatchet jobs on teams/athletes the writer’s don’t like or completely ridiculous pipe dreams like “How The Yankees Should Acquire Felix Hernandez For A Bucket of KFC & A.J. Burnett’s Jock Strap”.
Yet, every day I get an e-mail with a collection of today’s “stories” from the site because I am an eternal optimist and secretly hope the site (and its contributors) pulls itself around some time soon.
In today’s e-mail comes a piece titled “Seattle Mariners: 5 Reasons Why They Have Already Won the Jesus Montero Trade“.
The thing is a joke.
An absolute, freakin’ joke.
Not because of the premise, because in the end the Mariners may very well indeed “win” that trade, but because it a. is claiming that a team won a trade involving two premier talents who are BOTH under the age of 23 just a couple of months after it was completed (and before one meaningful game was played by either club after the trade) and b. it offers no real analysis.
Just bad analysis.
First thing it does is ignore the obvious. It doesn’t even address the fact you are trading a young, high end starting pitcher for a young, high end position player. Ask every GM in baseball what side of that scenario and I am willing to bet vital parts of my anatomy that every single one comes back saying they want that young arm.
They will talk nuances like what each clubs specific needs are, but as Curt Schilling said after the trade “there is a reason why you never see 22 year olds with his arm and his upside traded…let alone for a position player.”
A century’s worth of statistical analysis shows that, yes, pitching is far more important that position players and offensive production.
In the history of baseball only three teams have won the world series with an ERA+ under 100, meaning that those teams had a staff that performed below the league average.
Over that same span nearly forty percent had an offense that was close the league average in terms of OPS+.
Looking at the data this is what you see:
• Only 22 of 106 winners had better hitting than pitching (20.75 percent)
• Only eight of 40 winners had better hitting than pitching in the divisional era (20 percent)
• Only two of 16 winners had better hitting than pitching in the dead-ball era (12.50 percent)
• Since the offensive-centric Reds of the 1970s, aka The Big Red Machine, only five of 33 have had better hitting than pitching (15.15 percent)
• The average World Series winner had an OPS+ of 103.47 and a median of 104
• The average World Series winner had an ERA+ of 113.84 and a median of 113
• Thus, on average, the winner has an ERA+ of 10.37 more than its OPS+
So to not even address this simple fact automatically renders his entire conclusion as flawed. But it gets better, oh so much better when you look at the positions he does put forward.
Case in point, the author’s argument that:
When Hector Noesi was thrown in with Jesus Montero in the Michael Pineda trade, I certainly didn’t expect him to fall in behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas as the third starter in the Mariners rotation.
However, after an encouraging spring, it’s easy to see why manager Eric Wedge chose Noesi for the spot.
After five freakin’ innings pitched. Five. F -I – V -E. And how did this surprisingly dominant third starter do in their exhibition game on Sunday? He got shelled. By a Japanese team.
So way to jump the gun homer.
His next piece of justification:
Like I said before, it was great watching Michael Pineda dominate opposing batters as a rookie last April and May, but as the season wore on and his unseasoned arm grew tired, his efficiency dropped pretty significantly.
It’s possible it was just because it was his first year in the majors throwing (almost) a full season, but you could also argue that as Pineda faced more and more batters, they started to figure him out.
It is much more likely that he wore down as the innings piled up but yes, it is indeed possible that the league “figured him out”.
But you know what that means? That it might “figure Jesus Montero out” once he plays more than a month in the show. You know, kind of like Jason Heyward.
Heyward has bee absolutely lost at the plate for the last season and a half, after having a Hall of Fame caliber start to it. He tore up the league, the pitchers did their homework and found holes in his swing that the kid has yet to fix.
If both Montero and Pineda had played the entire season in 2011 his argument would have merit, but since Jesus didn’t it doesn’t.
His next argument is mind numbingly retarded:
I don’t mean to snub Jose Campos—he’s got legitimate potential as a starting pitcher—but he has only gone as high as Single-A (short season) in the minors.
He’s f***** 19. Nineteen. N – I -N -E -T- E – E – N.
This tool thinks a nineteen year old, high end pitching prospect with a cannon for an arm as part of the trade is a negative.
Bart Klett over at BaseballInstinct.com has a great piece outlining Campos’ upside, describing his impressive fastball as such:
“Campos is listed as 6’4” and this helps him to get downward plane on his fastball. His fastball has been described as heavy and I think that is a fair description. Very few hitters are able to square up and drive the ball with any authority. In fact, at the games that I have observed, not many hitters actually got the ball out of the infield.”
Jose Campos, a 19-year-old capable of hitting upwards of 98 MPH on the gun, could very well be the steal of the deal for GM Brian Cashman and his Yanks.
Campos posted a 2.32 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 85 K in Single-A in 2011—all while allowing just 13 BB in 81.1 IP over 14 starts.
And somehow that is a bad thing?
Granted, maybe his entire argument is based around the fact that Campos won’t arrive for a while as he seasons himself in the minors. But ya know what?
That means you can’t evaluate this trade yet then doesn’t it?
Now if the Yankees had a pressing need for starting pitching maybe you could make the argument that the short-term impact of the trade is it compromises the Yankees but this year, of all years, you can’t even come close to making that case.
The Yankees have so much starting pitching they traded A.J. Burnett and are still shopping Freddy Garcia, just to trim down to six starters once Andy Pettite is up to speed.
Not only do they have a wealth of pitching at the big lig level, but they have a ton of high end arms in AAA ready to step in if needed. Just take a look at the stats from the Yanks spring training this year.
Kontos, Phelps, Warren and Betances all have an ERA under 1.93 (with all but Kontos having thrown more innings than Noesi, the man the author crowned as a legitimate number three after a whole five IP).
And that list doesn’t even include the Yankees best pitching prospect, Manny Banuelos, because he gave up one three run home run to jack his ERA up, but other than that blemish he hasn’t yielded a single runner past second base, let alone one that scored.
Then this buffoon closes with:
Perhaps the listed circumstances give Jack Z and the M’s an advantage in public perception, but either way, the Mariners did take the cake here.
The Yankees took on a high-risk, high-reward pitcher who was definitely ready to start this year, and a young, unproven pitching prospect who could potentially benefit the team in the future.
The Mariners acquired a proven hitting asset who will contribute to the team for a number of years, and who is developing even more useful tools, as well as a safer pitcher who followed a more conventional path to the majors.
The Mariners acquired a guy who doesn’t even have 70 AB‘s in the major leagues, where as the Yankees acquired someone who was already logged more innings in one season than Clay Bucholz (a fine damn pitcher), yet the M’s received the “proven thing”.
Where exactly is that supported by one shred of evidence, either of the statistical variety or some well crafted logical arguments?
Sorry, but this is the kind of senseless crap that pervades Bleacher Report right now. So if you go there, continue reading at your own risk.
From Beyond The Boxscore:
Just in time for prospect season, we take a look at the idea of “windows” and a team’s prime time to win. Inspired by what seems to be a once every three years rebuild for the Oakland Athletics, is there going to be a time where all their premier prospects hit and they’ll have the best chance to win? Here we present the pleasures of trying to maximize production during one’s service time.
17th in the series, we look at the Philadelphia Phillies. Ranked 24th overall by John Sickels, they have no A-rated prospects but 8 B-rated prospects. Keith Law’s 2012 organizational rankings sees their system at 25th overall.
As we start looking at these perrenial playoff contending teams, rather than just the smaller payroll teams I’ve covered before, the question about the window changes. How long does the Phillies window stay open? Or to be more specific, when do they chances start to diminish?
After an historic 102-win season in 2011, the Phillies didn’t drastically improve this offseason, but signing of closer Jonathan Papelbon (3.0 WAR in 2011) should help replace some potential wins lost due to the Ryan Howard injury (1.6 WAR in 2011). This is a good signing if you look at Fangraphs “Dollars” metric which calculates the price of production in FA. Papelbon was worth $13.2 million last season, so $11 million this year, and $13 million the following is just how much it costs for lights out guys like Papelbon. Just out of curiosity, here’s his stats compared to the pitchers who played the closer in the Phillies 2011 staff:
Papelbon: 64.1 / 31 SVS / 3.0 WAR
Madson: 60.2 IP / 32 SVS / 1.7 WAR
Bastardo: 58 IP / 8 SVS / 0.7 WAR
Contreras: 14 IP / 5 SVS / 0.2 WAR
Lidge: 19.1 IP / 1 SV / 0.3 WAR
Here’s what the Phillies roster projects to be in 2012:
*New acquisition, Current roster info from MLB Depth Charts
At the end of this season, Ruben Amaro will have to figure out what to do with OF Shane Victorino and P Cole Hamels. I imagine if they both build off of their 2011 career seasons (Victorino: 5.9 WAR, Hamels: 4.9 WAR), new contracts should be in line for at least one of these two. It’s very clear that this team is built to win now. With Victorino/Hamels going into FA next season,and the uncertainty with a bulk of contracts up at the end of next season, their window to win is through 2013.
I would put all my eggs into the 2012 basket and try to squeeze at least another ring out of some of these veterans.
From Craig Calcaterra @ Hardball Talk lol:
A lot of people have been having fun with Jamie Moyer‘s age this spring. My friend Baseball Crank has been tweeting random players who are younger than Jamie Moyer. Guys like Sam Horn, Billy Ripken and Ozzie Guillen. It’s kind of mind-blowing.
Today Jim Caple of ESPN.com has a list of 49 Jamie Moyer facts. They’re not all about his age, but most of the interesting ones are. Here’s the most mindblowing of them all:
At 49 years and four months, Moyer not only is older than Robert Redford was when he played Roy Hobbs in “The Natural” (46 when filming began), he’s older than was Wilford Brimley (48 at start of filming), who portrayed old manager Pop Fisher.
To repeat. Jamie Moyer is older than the man on the right HERE.
In all seriousness though, what Jamie Moyer is trying to accomplish (lock down a spot in a major league rotation) is incredible.
Moyer is a father of eight who wears old-fashioned stirrups and thanks the plate umpire whenever he leaves a game. He is older than 8 current managers and 16 current general managers. He has pitched in 49 major league ballparks, and started the last game at Wrigley Field before lights were installed there.
With that kind of longevity comes the bad (Moyer holds the major league record for home runs allowed, with 511) and the good (he also has 267 career victories, more than Hall of Famers like Whitey Ford and Bob Gibson).
Not bad for a man who led the National League in earned runs allowed in his first full season, and who was offered a coaching job by the Chicago Cubs when they released him at age 29.
That was two decades ago this month. Good thing he turned them down, huh?