One of my favorite websites is Yanks Go Yard. I love baseball & I love my Yankees.
Get over it.
Today I stumbled across a piece titled “Why Brett Gardner Is Not Leading Off” and decided to check it out.
Well, there’s a few minutes of my life I won’t ever get back -_-.
I don’t want to be too picky and I don’t want to straight bash the author but it’s a hot mess of “man you couldn’t be more wrong”.
Of Brett Gardner the author laments:
Unfortunately, his promise hasn’t come to fruition. Putting injuries aside, what has held him back? What improvements does he need to make to get him back to the top of the lineup?
The primary area is on- base- percentage. His OBP this year is only .331 for the season and .353 for his MLB career. How could the Yankees offense thrive with such a low percentage? To put it into perspective, Robinson Cano’s batting average this season is .324. So Cano’s likelihood to reach base is almost as high as Gardener’s without even including Cano’s walks and times hit by a pitch.
Let’s put this further in perspective.
Johnny Damon has long been considered one of the premier lead-off hitters in the last couple of decades.
His career OBP? .352. Or in other words, lower than Gardners.
Another vital stat for your lead-off batter is Pitches-Per-Plate-Appearance (PPPA).
Damon’s best season was that magical 2004 campaign for the Boston Red Sox where he posted a 4.12. Gardner’s best season was 2011 where he saw 4.40 PPPA. His career average is 4.28, considerably better than Damon’s.
Later in the article he says:
When Gardener does get on base he has not been particularly effective, either. Opposing catchers have gunned him down twice in six stealing attempts this season. His career numbers are not much better. He has gone down thirty- two times out of one hundred and seventy-three stealing attempts.
Dude, www.baseball-reference.com is your friend. Really.
First things first, in 2011 he started off the season 5 for 11 in SB attempts. Then rattled off over 30 straight steals without being caught, ending the season at 49 SB vs 13 CS. It’s a small sample and not indicative of what he can do (has done).
Secondly, the fact that Girardi is an idiot isn’t helping him.
In the skipper’s infinite wisdom (even saying that sarcastically made me throw up in my mouth) he is batting Robinson Cano 2d most nights.
In other words, he puts a swing early, swing often, notoriously impatient, has one of the lowest PPPA’s in MLB behind the speed guy. There’s no sizing a pitcher up, no getting a read on his delivery…none of that.
If you’re stealing you best go on the first pitch. Not ideal for base-stealers. I mean, why don’t we just tie his shoelaces together and REALLY make sure he won’t get as many steals as he normally would?
This foolish move by the manager has effectively taken the man’s best asset completely out of the equation.
Thirdly, and perhaps most laughable is….he has a BETTER stolen base percentage than Henderson (80.4%), Rivers (72%), Lou Brock (75%), Vince Coleman (79%) and is barely behind Tim Raines (82%)..a.k.a. the Gold Standard for stolen base efficiency.
I have always said people are entitled to their opinions they just aren’t entitled to their own set of facts to back them up.
That realllllly seems to apply to this piece.
AL East: We all know everyone is discounting the Yankees completely and already trying to anoint the Blue Jays as World Series favorites, but for what exactly? I have been saying since December that Reyes and Buehrle didn’t exactly do much to create wins in Miami and Dickey & Johnson give them a nice 1 – 2 at top of the rotation (provided Johnson stays healthy) but this is still a team that needs its previous players to take that next step.
Nope, it is going to be a tight race with all five teams in the mix but I like teams with great starting pitching…and that ain’t Toronto.
1. New York 2. Tampa 3. Toronto 4. Boston 5. Baltimore
AL Central: Tigers – Do I even need to explain this one? Unless the Royals see HUGE leaps forward by three or four guys AND find a legitimate No. 2 & no. 3 starter between now and opening day nobody will come within a half-dozen games of them this year. And don’t be surprised if it is more like 10 games.
1. Detroit 2. Chicago 3. Kansas City 4. Cleveland 5. Minnesota
AL West: The Angels made a big splash this off-season by signing Josh Hamilton away from their division rivals, but none of that is enough to overcome the fact that their pitching is just not good. Weaver is fantastic, though he comes up short versus better teams (his ERA versus Yankees, Rangers, Rays & Tigers is in the mid-4.00′s), but beyond that they have a lot of hopes & dreams. Wilson is a stat compiler who owns an abysmal playoff record and has even worse numbers than Weaver versus the cream-of-the-crop. Blanton & Vargas are cast-offs. Bottom line, this team’s pitching just isn’t good enough.
1. Texas 2. Anaheim (I refuse to call them anything else) 3. Oakland 4. Seattle 5. Houston
AL Wild Card Numero Uno: Rays
AL Wild Card Numero Dos: Angels
AL Champion: It’s a crapshoot but I’ll say Yankees over Rays. It’s all about the pitching and these teams have the deepest staffs from their ace to the closer.
NL East: The Nationals have tons of pitching and just enough offense to get it done. The Braves will keep them honest, but their outfield is so over-rated it hurts. You have a young group full of potential but also full of questions about attitude, work ethic and mental fortitude. Side note: B.J. Upton has his first full blown “idiot” moment by Memorial Day.
1. Washington 2. Atlanta 3. Philadelphia 4. New York 5. Miami
NL Central: It’s hard to bet against the Reds. They have decent pitching, Chapman is a monster as a closer and they can put up runs in bunches. Cardinals will, as always, be in the mix but I don’t think they can hang over a full season.
1. Cincinnati 2. St. Louis 3. Milwaukee 4. Pittsburgh 5. Chicago
NL West: The Dodgers have spent a ton of money but I think they have done little more than line themselves up for a metric truckload of ridicule when it is all said and done. Crawford, League, Eithier, Beckett & even Adrian Gonzalez are all grossly overpaid. Kemp needs to show he is A. healthy and B. the monster of a player he has only been for about one & a half seasons.
1. San Francisco 2. Los Angeles 3. Arizona 4. San Diego 5. Colorado
NL Wild Card Numero Uno: Atlanta
NL Wild Card Numero Dos: St. Louis
NL Champion: Washington over San Francisco in a close NLCS.
World Series: Yankees over the Nationals in a pitching fan’s paradise.
Oh noes…”Joba Chamberlain thinks he can start.“
I saw this one float around the blogosphere and just knew it was going to draw the idiots out of the woodwork.
Sure enough if you do a quick Google search you get anything and everything under the sun trying to either stir up some sort of faux controversy or flat out acting like he’s nuts to think so.
But here’s the thing…
…Dude really could start in this league if he wanted to.
Poll every GM in baseball if they’d like a guy who could give them 175 Innings Pitched of 4.10-ish ERA baseball with nearly nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched and I am willing to say every last one of them would tell you they’d like to have that guy if the price was right.
People just seem to forget how effective the guy could be when toeing the rubber every fifth day when given the chance.
In the 2008 season that saw the Yankees basically treating him like a human yo-yo (“You’re a starter! No…you’re a reliever! No..you’re a ticket rep!”) in June/July he tore off a 9 start run where he was THE guy anchoring the rotation.
That is one hell of a nice stretch for a starter. The most runs he gave up in a start were three (twice) and for every start like that he had one where he gave up nothing.
And that wasn’t the only time in his short career as a starter where he rattled off a solid 10 start run.
The only real hiccups in that stretch was a two game stretch where his defense yielded six unearned runs & forced him to hit high pitch counts well before normal.
Shortly thereafter the rest was, as they say, history. Injuries kicked in and he just wasn’t able to catch much of a break.
So while I don’t think he could ever be the stud at the top of the rotation some once thought he was destined to be, I have no doubt that Mr. Chamberlain could land a job in a starting rotation somewhere if he saw fit to do so.