Baseball Crank
"It gets late early around here." - Yogi Berra
February 22, 2001
BASEBALL: 2001 Red Sox Preview Part II

Originally posted on the Boston Sports Guy website

Last week we looked at the offense; this week we'll look at the pitching staff. There should be 11 or 12 roster spots open. Let's assume 12 (with someone starting off on the DL) and take a look:

#1 STARTING PITCHER (Ace Di Tutti Aces)
--San Pedro de Fenway (age = 29)
--20-6, 2.18 ERA, 218.2 IP, 149 H, 40 BB, 288 K, 0.86 WHIP (baserunners/IP).
--Only 30 starts, though.

Pedro should be coming into camp ready to go, having stayed in good shape with daily walks on the water near his home in the Dominican Republic . . . this man, like the key Sox hitters, needs help; heís been carrying more stiffs and freeloaders than Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:52 AM | Baseball Columns | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
February 16, 2001
BASEBALL: 2001 Red Sox Preview Part I

Originally posted on the Boston Sports Guy website

Pitchers and catchers ... pitchers and catchers ... pitchers and catchers ...

It?s time to start preparing for 2001. I?ll start by looking ahead to the 101st edition of the Boston Red Sox, the 90th season at Fenway Park, and the Sox? 83rd season in pursuit of their sixth ... well, you know.

Introductory note: For each player with significant major league exposure in the past three seasons, I will run an ?established performance level.? EPL is a very simple way of combining the past three seasons into a weighted average that gives the past season greatest weight. For example, Manny Ramirez smacked 45, 44 and 38 homers the last 3 years, so his EPL is ((38 x 3) + (44 x 2) + (45))/6 = 41 (rounded off). In other words, Manny enters this season as an established 41-homer guy. Pretty simple.

I prefer to look at EPL rather than the "projected stats" from outfits like STATS Inc. or the Baseball Prospectus, since an EPL is a historical fact while projections sometimes fool you into thinking that they are scientific. The events most likely to occur in the future can be predicted, after all; the actual future is always unknown. Also, the BP projections in particular tend to assume that young players won?t have an adjustment period entering the majors, and I was stupid enough to rely on those projections in drafting Eric Chavez for my rotisserie team in 1999 and Matt LeCroy in 2000. Keep tinkering, guys.

For Part One of this preview -- the offense -- I?ll run age, batting/slugging/on base percentage for each hitter, plus whatever else fits the particular player. (I'm only running totals for a few players because for some of these guys this includes seasons, like Varitek?s 1998, when they didn?t play regularly. In those cases the low G/AB totals should indicate that the player's experience is limited).

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:45 AM | Baseball Columns | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
February 3, 2001
BASEBALL: IN DEFENSE OF THE BANDWAGON

Originally posted on the Boston Sports Guy website

There are few phrases that enrage dedicated sports fans faster than "bandwagon fans." Nearly all of us have faced the appalling spectacle of watching our favorite team go down in flames in a tight, crucial game, only to be taunted by some blowhard who couldn't have named two players on the winning team two years ago. Remember all those people with the Michael Jordan jerseys? How many of them do you think could pick Elton Brand and Ron Mercer out of a police lineup? Hey, where'd all the Rams fans go?

Here in the Big Apple, we have long held a reputation as the bandwagon capital of the world. Never having been to LA, I will have to accept that as true, because we certainly have the evidence. How many "Yankee fans" have ever heard of Oscar Azocar, Alvaro Espinoza, or Dave LaPoint? When I was in grammar school I was the only Mets fan in my class. I can remember trading baseball cards - in those days you could do this unsupervised in a schoolyard without calling your broker and checking the price of Ken Griffey on the CNBC ticker - and discovering that you could get an NL All-Star and half the Mets roster for one Yankee. When I was in high school (1985-89), strangely enough, there were plenty of Mets fans. Where'd they come from?

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:03 AM | Baseball Columns | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)