Baseball Crank
"It gets late early around here." - Yogi Berra
April 29, 2011
BASEBALL: 2011 NL West EWSL Report

Part 4 of my very-belated preseason previews is the NL West; this is the fourth of six division previews, using Established Win Shares Levels as a jumping-off point. Notes and reference links on the EWSL method are below the fold; while EWSL is a simple enough method that will be familiar to long-time readers, it takes a little introductory explaining, so I'd suggest you check out the explanations first if you're new to these previews. Team ages are weighted by non-age-adjusted EWSL, so the best players count more towards determining the age of the roster.

Prior previews: the AL West, AL East & AL Central.

Some players are rated based on less than three seasons or given a rookie rating. Key:
+ (Rookie)
* (Based on one season)
# (Based on two seasons)

World Champion San Francisco Giants

Raw EWSL: 239.17 (96 W)
Adjusted: 264.00 (101 W)
Age-Adj.: 248.71 (96 W)
WS Age: 29.59
2011 W-L: 96-66

C24Buster Posey*1026
1B23Brandon Belt+011
2B33Freddy Sanchez1311
SS37Miguel Tejada1912
3B24Pablo Sandoval1519
RF34Aubrey Huff2017
CF33Aaron Rowand119
LF34Pat Burrell1211
C231Eli Whiteside#22
INF31Mike Fontenot87
OF33Andres Torres#1412
1227Nate Schierholtz66
1330Cody Ross1513
SP127Tim Lincecum1917
SP226Matt Cain1718
SP328Jonathan Sanchez1010
SP421Madison Bumgarner*410
SP533Barry Zito85
RP129Brian Wilson1513
RP228Sergio Romo66
RP337Guillermo Mota32
RP432Jeremy Affeldt65
RP529Ramon Ramirez87

Subjective Adjustments: None. I could downgrade Brandon Belt, who's already lost his job and been demoted, and/or cut the points the Giants get for having all those outfielder on the bench, but (1) I still expect Belt to return and contribute a good deal (he's a tremendous across-the-board talent) and (2) the early stumble of a highly talented rookie is why it comes in handy to have the depth to just slide Huff to first base and give more playing time to the outfielders.

Also on Hand: Position players - Mark DeRosa, Darren Ford.

Pitchers - Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, Dan Runzler.

Analysis: The Giants as always have an aging lineup, although if Belt returns and Sandoval continues his return to form, they actually for once could have a core of guys under 30 who can hit - and that, plus the sheer number of veterans with some gas left in the tank, makes them formidable. The pitching staff remains their strength.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Raw EWSL: 242.67 (94 W)
Adjusted: 246.93 (96 W)
Age-Adj.: 221.49 (87 W)
WS Age: 30.47
2011 W-L: 87-75

C35Rod Barajas129
1B27James Loney1718
2B31Juan Uribe1412
SS36Jamey Carroll118
3B37Casey Blake1610
RF29Andre Ethier2221
CF26Matt Kemp1921
LF28Tony Gwynn jr.77
C227Dioner Navarro66
INF34Aaron Miles43
OF34Marcus Thames65
1233Rafael Furcal1714
1323Jerry Sands+04
SP123Clayton Kershaw1214
SP226Chad Billingsley1112
SP336Hiroki Kuroda98
SP435Ted Lilly129
SP531Jon Garland119
RP127Jonathan Broxton109
RP232Matt Guerrier86
RP329Hong-Chih Kuo109
RP433Vicente Padilla75
RP528Blake Hawksworth#22

Subjective Adjustments: None. I don't really need a subjective adjustment to reflect the annual recurrence of Rafael Furcal getting hurt.

Also on Hand: Position players - Xavier Paul, AJ Ellis.

Pitchers - Mike MacDougal, who like Jeff Francouer has compiled quite a track record of using good first impressions to sucker a new employer; Kenley Jansen, Ramon Troncoso, Lance Cormier.

Analysis: Kemp (.378/.460/.612), Ethier (.380/.451/.560) and Blake (.321/.446/.509) have been off to a strong start - indeed, two days ago, Kemp & Ethier had identical batting and OBP lines - 108 PA, 95 AB, 36 H, 13 BB, .379/.454. Kemp has slowed a bit on the bases after stealing 8 bases in the season's first 13 games. And Kershaw has shown flashes of intense brilliance, albeit amidst some of his usual inconsistency, while the defense has been the majors' best (a .739 DER against balls in play, which is higher than sustainable for a full season). But the Dodgers have yet to pull much together around the front-line talent. Really, this team needs a bust-out year from Kershaw and Kemp supported by big years from Ethier and Billingsley to contend.

Colorado Rockies

Raw EWSL: 204.83 (82 W)
Adjusted: 215.33 (85 W)
Age-Adj.: 207.14 (82 W)
WS Age: 28.68
2011 W-L: 82-80

C28Chris Iannetta88
1B37Todd Helton138
2B26Jonathan Herrera*36
SS26Troy Tulowitzki2224
3B27Jose Lopez1111
RF28Seth Smith1010
CF25Dexter Fowler#1217
LF25Carlos Gonzalez1720
C228Jose Morales#22
INF33Ty Wigginton87
OF31Ryan Spilborghs87
1226Ian Stewart910
1340Jason Giambi84
SP127Ubaldo Jimenez1917
SP230Jorge De La Rosa97
SP328Jason Hammel87
SP423Jhoulys Chacin*511
SP532Aaron Cook86
RP127Huston Street1110
RP236Rafael Betancourt76
RP331Matt Belisle65
RP431Matt Lindstrom43
RP525Esmil Rogers*00

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Quite a lot of familiar faces hanging around for what could be a last chance - Alfredo Amezaga, Mike Jacobs, Willy Taveras, Josh Fields.

Pitchers - Franklin Morales, Matt Reynolds, Felipe Paulino, Matt Daley.

Analysis: Historically, as Troy Tulowitzki goes, so go the Rockies, and this season's been no exception - Carlos Gonzalez is hitting an anemic .214/.269/.286, Ubaldo Jimenez is winless and disabled with a 6.75 ERA, Cook hasn't pitched yet, and Jose Lopez has been the anti-Babe Ruth, batting .143/.169/.254 (OPS+ of 7, yet his OPS is double Ian Stewart's), the team batting average is .239, but backed by Tulo's blistering .326/.416/.674 start, the Rox are an MLB-leading 16-7. Obviously some good hitting from others in the lineup and some great bullpen help has helped. I'd bet on Colorado to exceed EWSL's 82-win estimate, but there are some real holes to be patched (especially third base and in the starting rotation) if this team is going to make a serious run at the Giants.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Raw EWSL: 164.33 (68 W)
Adjusted: 185.30 (75 W)
Age-Adj.: 181.35 (74 W)
WS Age: 28.82
2011 W-L: 74-88

C27Miguel Montero1010
1B28Juan Miranda+111
2B29Kelly Johnson1615
SS28Stephen Drew1919
3B30Ryan Roberts#33
RF23Justin Upton1518
CF27Chris Young1516
LF24Gerardo Parra#69
C239Henry Blanco43
INF39Melvin Mora107
OF35Russell Branyan107
1232Xavier Nady65
1333Willie Bloomquist54
SP130Joe Saunders108
SP224Daniel Hudson*510
SP326Ian Kennedy66
SP429Armando Galarraga65
SP525Barry Enright*37
RP134JJ Putz54
RP227Juan Gutierrez#44
RP332Aaron Heilman43
RP426David Hernandez#45
RP527Esmerling Vazquez#22

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Josh Wilson, Geoff Blum.

Pitchers - Zach Duke and the "no-names" bullpen - Joe Paterson, Sam Demel, Joshua Collmenter, Kameron Mickolio.

Analysis: I think I've internalized for too long the parity of the NL West, so it's hard to look at the poor condition of Arizona and San Diego without mentally downgrading the whole division. But it's normal for good divisions to have good teams and bad teams.

Arizona's hitters have been overrated for a while due to the ballpark, and its pitching has never really recovered from the collapse of Brandon Webb. The team is starting to rebuild a little better, but it may take some time.

This bench has quite a collection of guys you didn't think would still be playing at this age.

San Diego Padres

Raw EWSL: 189.83 (77 W)
Adjusted: 197.40 (79 W)
Age-Adj.: 181.00 (74 W)
WS Age: 29.49
2011 W-L: 74-88

C27Nick Hundley99
1B32Brad Hawpe129
2B33Orlando Hudson1714
SS31Jason Bartlett1815
3B27Chase Headley1414
RF28Will Venable1111
CF24Cameron Maybin#57
LF32Ryan Ludwick1915
C228Rob Johnson#56
INF29Jorge Cantu1313
OF30Chris Denorfia55
1224Kyle Blanks#34
1328Alberto Gonzalez33
SP127Clayton Richard87
SP223Matt Latos#79
SP333Aaron Harang43
SP429Tim Stauffer#66
SP529Dustin Moseley11
RP133Heath Bell139
RP227Luke Gregerson#67
RP332Mike Adams86
RP425Ernesto Frieri*24
RP532Chad Qualls54

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Eric Patterson, Cedric Hunter. I think it's safe by now to conclude that Patterson's .373 OBP in 2009 was a fluke.

Pitchers - Pat Neshek, Cory Luebke, Wade LeBlanc.

Analysis: Here we have a one-man team when the one man leaves. The Pads have stitched together some adequate veterans - the double-play combination should help the pitching staff. But there's no core here you can build anything around in the foreseeable future.

There's hardly a more under-heralded player in baseball right now than Ernesto Frieri, who has to make Heath Bell expendable, as good as Bell is. Between them, Bell, Frieri and Adams have a 1.78 ERA since 2009 - 2.24 if you include Gregerson, who has similar numbers except that he's more homer-prone than the other three. The overall line for the four since 2009: 6.18 H/9, 0.41 HR/9, 3.04 BB/9, and 10.40 K/9. Even considering the pitcher-friendly expanses of Pecto, that's something else. Frieri currently sports a ridiculous 1.50 career ERA and 11.4 career K/9, and in the early going thus far he's cut his walks in half from 2010.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:00 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Studies | TrackBack (0)
April 25, 2011
POLITICS: Haley Barbour Not Running For President in 2012

If there is one thing we should have learned from the 2008 primary and general elections, to say nothing of 1996, it's that being a good presidential candidate on paper is useless; you have to want it - want it badly enough to hire a serious staff, badly enough to trim a few positions and hard edges to fit the various demands of the primary and general electorates, badly enough to endure the most exhaustive efforts to tear apart your entire life for public entertainment, badly enough to spend endless weary hours fundraising and stumping in Iowa and New Hampshire and enduring crummy bus rides with grumpy reporters and town halls with cranks and half-wits and left-wing troublemakers. Your family needs to want it too - a man whose wife doesn't want him to be president will not become president. It's a big, life-consuming commitment, and you don't do it halfway.

Add Haley Barbour now to the list of people who simply were not willing to make that 100% commitment, and Gov. Barbour knows himself and the task well enough not to pretend otherwise and run halfway:

"A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else," Barbour added. "His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required."

Gov. Barbour's combination of folksy populism and gravitas, and his matchless rolodex as 1994 RNC chairman and 2010 RGA chairman - the two greatest years for GOP candidates across the country in a long time - would have made him a formidable entrant into the race. He had his weaknesses as a candidate too, which are moot now; the point is that a fully committed Barbour would have been a factor. Perhaps we should have suspected this was coming when his right-hand man at RGA, Nick Ayers, instead signed up for the Pawlenty campaign.

The roster of candidates who are genuinely serious GOP contenders - especially if you look at who has won a statewide election some time in the past decade - remains limited. All eyes will now turn to the people who remain on the fence (Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee) or denying they're interested (Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan) to see who else might round out the field. In particular, the field now seems especially thin on Southerners for a party with so many officeholders in the region.

There's still plenty of time to jump in; there's perhaps less time now to hire staff and raise money. It's early still; but as Yogi Berra said, it gets late early out there.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 3:51 PM | Politics 2012 | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
April 21, 2011
POLITICS/BUSINESS: Concentrated Ignorance

The Soros-funded "Think Progress" (two lies for the price of one!) pays a number of writers to obsess about finding the Koch brothers under their bed. Powerline's John Hinderaker administers a spectacular beat-down to one of those writers, Lee Fang, on the subject of a particularly loopy conspiracy theory about oil futures. It's quite clear that Fang does not know even the first thing about the commodity futures markets or the oil business, and makes one glaring error after another on the subject - not minor errors, mind you, but errors like not having the first clue how markets work, how oil companies make money, or how oil prices were affected by the global economic slowdown in late 2008.

It can often be frustrating dealing with left-wing blogs, because they have so much more paid manpower and free time compared to the largely volunteer corps of conservative blogs, which are disproportionately staffed by people with day jobs and families. But in cases like this one, what matters more is the competitive advantage of the conservative blogosphere in having more people who have actual experience in the business world.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:11 PM | Business • | Politics 2011 | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)
April 20, 2011
POLITICS: Abortion By The Numbers

With the recent debate over federal taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood bringing the abortion debate back to the surface, it is sometimes useful to look at the numbers to get a little perspective on why this issue is such a large one. (All of these are estimates, and sources vary, but there's no serious debate as to the scale of the numbers).

Number killed or missing in action in all wars in U.S. history: 1,343,812. Adding the wounded: 2,489,335.

Number killed or missing in action in U.S. wars since 1973: 12,387. Adding the wounded: 96,680.

Number of executions in U.S. history dating back to 1608: 15,269.

Number of executions in U.S. history dating back to 1930: 3,859.

Number of executions in U.S. history dating back to 1977 (after the Supreme Court lifted a decade-long moratorium): 1,099 through 2008.

Number killed in the September 11 attacks: 2,977.

Number of detainees waterboarded by the CIA under President Bush: 3.

Number of abortions in the U.S. since 1973: 53,310,843 through 2010.

Number of abortions per year in the U.S. since 1973: 1,402,917.

Number of abortions per month in the U.S. since 1973: 116,910.

Number of abortions per week in the U.S. since 1973: 26,979.

Number of abortions per day in the U.S. since 1973: 3,841.

Number of abortions by Planned Parenthood in the U.S. in 2009: 332,278, more than 900 per day, or 27.6% of all abortions in the U.S.

You know, there are a lot of issues I care about, as a conservative Republican. I don't especially like having to draw lines in the sand over abortion, and if you're reading this, even if you're pro-life, chances are you don't either. But it is useful at times to prick our consciences with the sheer scale of this atrocity, happening daily under our noses. Liberal activists and lawyers devote massive efforts every year to battling the death penalty - yet all the executions of the post-Roe era don't even add up to a third of a day's worth of the number of abortions. We agonize, and rightly so, over the cost in life of our wars - but the toll of abortion is equal to fighting the Battle of Antietam, or two Battles of Okinawa, every single week, or two entire Vietnam Wars every month. Our commentariat was racked with paroxysms of moral reproach over three prisoners being waterboarded, yet considers it gauche to even mention well over three thousand abortions daily, each of which destroys a biologically unique human being. (Your religion may override your regard for the science, but there's no way around the fact that an unborn child has his or her own unique genetic code, the definitive scientific hallmark of an individual).

Numbers alone can't make the moral judgments that constitute public policy for us. But they can certainly inform our sense of perspective. And looking at the number of abortions is a reminder that maybe, sometimes, we go too far in trying to make this just another issue.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:10 PM | Politics 2011 | Comments (49) | TrackBack (0)
April 18, 2011
BASEBALL: 2011 AL Central EWSL Report

Part 3 of my preseason "previews" is the AL Central; this is the third of six division previews, using Established Win Shares Levels as a jumping-off point. Notes and reference links on the EWSL method are below the fold; while EWSL is a simple enough method that will be familiar to long-time readers, it takes a little introductory explaining, so I'd suggest you check out the explanations first if you're new to these previews. I've also resurrected for this season the team ages, which are weighted by non-age-adjusted EWSL, so the best players count more towards determining the age of the roster.

Prior previews: the AL West & AL East.

Some players are rated based on less than three seasons or given a rookie rating. Key:
+ (Rookie)
* (Based on one season)
# (Based on two seasons)

Chicago White Sox

Raw EWSL: 238.17 (93 W)
Adjusted: 253.34 (98 W)
Age-Adj.: 230.98 (90 W)
WS Age: 30.05
2011 W-L: 90-72

C34AJ Pierzynski119
1B35Paul Konerko2216
2B24Gordon Beckham#1015
SS29Alexei Ramirez1817
3B24Brent Morel+011
RF28Carlos Quentin1414
CF30Alex Rios1614
LF33Juan Pierre1311
DH31Adam Dunn2117
C235Ramon Castro54
INF29Mark Teahen66
OF26Lastings Milledge89
1344Omar Vizquel63
SP126John Danks1617
SP232Mark Buehrle1411
SP328Gavin Floyd1312
SP427Edwin Jackson1211
SP530Jake Peavy76
RP134Matt Thornton129
RP222Chris Sale*36
RP329Jesse Crain54
RP429Tony Pena54
RP533Will Ohman32

Subjective Adjustments: None. As the minimal age adjustments indicate, this is the most established-talent, set-lineup team in the division. Milledge, however, is presently in AAA.

Also on Hand: Position players - Brent Lillibridge, Dayan Vicideo, Tyler Flowers.

Pitchers - Sergio Santos, Jeff Gray, Phil Humber, Gregory Infante.

Analysis: The White Sox are back again with a power-backed lineup and their characteristically stolid starting rotation. If the older guys in the lineup (Konerko, Pierzynski) don't break down, they should be in the hunt all year, but they're unlikely to blow the doors off the division.

Minnesota Twins

Raw EWSL: 216.17 (85 W)
Adjusted: 236.87 (92 W)
Age-Adj.: 222.85 (88 W)
Subj. Adj.: 219.85 (87 W)
WS Age: 29.13
2011 W-L: 87-75

C28Joe Mauer2930
1B30Justin Morneau1917
2B26Tsuyoshi Niskioka+011
SS26Alexi Casilla66
3B26Danny Valencia*613
RF29Jason Kubel1414
CF27Denard Span2020
LF25Delmon Young1619
DH40Jim Thome147
C227Drew Butera*23
INF29Matt Tolbert44
OF32Michael Cuddyer1411
1330Jason Repko11
SP127Francisco Liriano88
SP235Carl Pavano108
SP328Brian Duensing#910
SP429Scott Baker109
SP529Nick Blackburn76
RP136Joe Nathan87
RP227Matt Capps88
RP326Jose Mijares#45
RP427Kevin Slowey77
RP526Jeff Manship#11

Subjective Adjustments: I docked Nishioka 3 Win Shares for his early season leg fracture, cutting him down to 8.

Also on Hand: Position players - Ben Revere, Luke Hughes.

Pitchers - Glen Perkins, Anthony Slama, Dusty Hughes.

Analysis: Slowey, Baker and Blackurn have all seen their stock fall, and Liriano's off to a bad start. Morneau's healthy but not hitting yet, and Mauer's not healthy. And I didn't realize how old Nathan is. And can Thome repeat last year's rejuvenation? A lot of question marks here.

Detroit Tigers

Raw EWSL: 190.33 (77 W)
Adjusted: 222.86 (88 W)
Age-Adj.: 213.96 (85 W)
WS Age: 28.97
2011 W-L: 85-77

C24Alex Avila#57
1B28Miguel Cabrera2727
2B28Will Rhymes*36
SS29Jhonny Peralta1514
3B34Brandon Inge1311
RF37Magglio Ordonez138
CF24Austin Jackson*923
LF30Ryan Raburn98
DH32Victor Martinez1713
C226Casper Wells*24
INF31Don Kelly*34
OF26Brennan Boesch*612
1335Carlos Guillen75
SP128Justin Verlander1716
SP226Max Scherzer1011
SP322Rick Porcello#711
SP433Brad Penny43
SP528Phil Coke55
RP131Jose Valverde119
RP233Joaquin Benoit53
RP324Brayan Villereal+05
RP424Ryan Perry#45
RP533Brad Thomas*34

Subjective Adjustments: None, although Guillen seems unlikely to contribute much. Casper Wells is obviously not a backup catcher; that's Victor Martinez, so I just threw Wells into that roster slot. As did the Tigers.

Also on Hand: Position players - Scott Sizemore.

Pitchers - Joel Zumaya, who is facing the dreaded Dr. Andrews. Daniel Schlereth, Enrique Gonzalez.

Analysis: I'm not that high on the Tigers this season. Cabrera seems unlikely to repeat last year's trouble-free season, Peralta is a serious defensive question mark, and Porcello, the back of the rotation and the bullpen are wobbly. On the upside, maybe this will be the year Scherzer puts it all together.

Cleveland Indians

Raw EWSL: 136.50 (59 W)
Adjusted: 152.40 (64 W)
Age-Adj.: 152.39 (64 W)
WS Age: 28.20
2011 W-L: 64-98

C25Carlos Santana*48
1B26Matt LaPorta#45
2B36Orlando Cabrera129
SS25Asdrubal Cabrera1315
3B31Jack Hannahan22
RF28Shin-Soo Choo2424
CF28Grady Sizemore99
LF24Michael Brantley#45
DH34Travis Hafner97
C225Lou Marson*36
INF26Jason Donald*36
OF31Austin Kearns65
1331Shelley Duncan33
SP127Fausto Carmona76
SP226Justin Masterson56
SP324Carlos Carrasco#22
SP427Mitch Talbot*35
SP526Josh Tomlin*24
RP125Chris Perez89
RP227Tony Sipp#33
RP329Rafael Perez44
RP433Chad Durbin53
RP527Joe Smith33

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Travis Buck, Trevor Crowe (on the 60-day DL at present), Adam Everett, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis. Donald is also on the DL.

Pitchers - Vinnie Pestano, Justin Germano, Frank Herrmann, Alex White, Jeanmar Gomez.

Analysis: It's obviously easier to say this after their 11-4 start, but there are plenty of places for the Indians to improve on their EWSL, from a recovery by Sizemore (I'm skeptical, since he had the Carlos Beltran surgery, but he's younger than Beltran) to guys like Santana and LaPorta providing a full season's production to the young pitchers stepping up. But in the early season enthusiasm, don't lose sight of how far this team has to come from its proven, established major league performance levels if it's going to have a winning record.

Kansas City Royals

Raw EWSL: 129.83 (57 W)
Adjusted: 139.90 (60 W)
Age-Adj.: 139.02 (60 W)
Subj. Adj: 142.02 (61 W)
WS Age: 27.74
2011 W-L: 61-101

C37Jason Kendall106
1B27Kila Ka'aihue*11
2B27Chris Getz#57
SS24Alcides Escobar#711
3B29Wilson Betemit66
RF27Jeff Francouer78
CF26Melky Cabrera1010
LF27Alex Gordon55
DH25Billy Butler1721
C235Matt Treanor22
INF30Mike Aviles98
OF29Mitch Maier98
1329Brayan Pena33
SP127Kyle Davies54
SP230Jeff Francis32
SP327Luke Hochevar33
SP434Bruce Chen54
SP524Vin Mazzaro#34
RP127Joakim Soria1413
RP229Robinson Tejeda54
RP323Sean O'Sullivan#22
RP421Tim Collins+05
RP525Blake Wood*12

Subjective Adjustments: I marked up Kila Ka'aihue from 1 to 4 Win Shares, which is probably pretty conservative for a guy who failed miserably last year, but he should get a much longer audition this season.

Also on Hand: Position players - Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas - basically, the next generation of prospects.

Pitchers - Kanekoa Texeira, Jeremy Jeffress, Nathan Adcock, Jesse Chavez, Gregory Holland, Aaron Crow, Mike Montgomery.

Analysis: Like the Indians and the AL East's weak sisters, the Royals have started well, and combined with the good reputation of the prospects on the way, that suggests that this division may end up more compressed than the EWSL standings suggest. But there's no better antidote to optimism about the Royals than looking at the people they're actually counting on for at bats and innings. It's still a long way out of that hole.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:20 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Studies | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
POLITICS: Nobody Even Sent Him a Buck Out of Team Loyalty



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Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:25 PM | Politics 2012 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
April 14, 2011
BASEBALL: 2011 AL East EWSL Report

Part 2 of my preseason previews is the AL East; this is the second of six division "previews," using Established Win Shares Levels as a jumping-off point. Notes and reference links on the EWSL method are below the fold; while EWSL is a simple enough method that will be familiar to long-time readers, it takes a little introductory explaining, so I'd suggest you check out the explanations first if you're new to these previews. I've also resurrected for this season the team ages, which are weighted by non-age-adjusted EWSL, so the best players count more towards determining the age of the roster.

Prior preview: AL West.

Some players are rated based on less than three seasons or given a rookie rating. Key:
+ (Rookie)
* (Based on one season)
# (Based on two seasons)

Boston Red Sox

Raw EWSL: 278.00 (106 W)
Adjusted: 280.43 (107 W)
Age-Adj.: 246.27 (95 W)
WS Age: 30.60
2011 W-L: 95-67

1B29Adrian Gonzalez3332
2B27Dustin Pedroia1819
SS35Marco Scutaro1713
3B32Kevin Youkilis2319
RF35JD Drew1511
CF27Jacoby Ellsbury1011
LF29Carl Crawford2423
DH35David Ortiz1511
C239Jason Varitek54
INF27Jed Lowrie66
OF38Mike Cameron117
1332Darnell McDonald#55
SP127Jon Lester1716
SP226Clay Buchholz1112
SP331Josh Beckett86
SP432John Lackey129
SP530Daisuke Matsuzaka76
RP130Jon Papelbon1310
RP226Daniel Bard*79
RP333Dan Wheeler64
RP430Bobby Jenks87
RP528Alfredo Aceves44

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Pitchers - Tim Wakefield, Dennys Reyes, Matt Albers, Hideki Okajima.

Analysis: EWSL is not as insanely bullish on the Red Sox as last season, and there are some warning signs to be had in the number of 35-year-olds in the lineup. That said, I'm not about to hit the panic button on these guys just from a rough start.

The Hated Yankees

Raw EWSL: 263.83 (101 W)
Adjusted: 266.73 (102 W)
Age-Adj.: 233.73 (91 W)
WS Age: 31.55
2011 W-L: 91-71

C28Russell Martin1313
1B31Mark Teixeira2521
2B28Robinson Cano2525
SS37Derek Jeter2214
3B35Alex Rodriguez2216
RF30Nick Swisher1917
CF30Curtis Granderson1816
LF27Brett Gardner1212
DH39Jorge Posada129
C225Francisco Cervelli#57
INF33Eric Chavez10
OF34Andruw Jones76
1324Eduardo Nunez*13
SP130CC Sabathia1916
SP225Phil Hughes910
SP334AJ Burnett87
SP424Ivan Nova*12
SP535Freddy Garcia65
RP141Mariano Rivera1511
RP231Rafael Soriano119
RP326David Robertson34
RP425Joba Chamberlain67
RP526Boone Logan22

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Ramiro Pena, Jesus Montero, Gustavo Molina.

Pitchers - Pedro Feliciano, who I pulled out of the lineup at the last minute on the news that he may need surgery; Feliciano averaged 89 appearances a year the past three seasons, so it's not that shocking that he finally broke. Also Bartolo Colon, Luis Ayala, and David Phelps.

Analysis: Another mark of the AL East leaders' softening compared to the past few years, the Hated Yankees are sorely lacking in starting pitching depth (are we taking bets on when Joba ends up getting pressed into starting again?) and face the perennial problem of age at key spots in the lineup without real everyday options if the old guys break down (other than subbing Montero or Andruw Jones for Posada). Yet the poor starts by Boston and Tampa and an unaccustomed early awakening by Tex have things looking up for the Bombers. And of course, with the Hated Yankees what matters is frontline talent, because you can never rule out major in-season acquisitions to plug any holes.

Tampa Bay Rays

Raw EWSL: 185.50 (75 W)
Adjusted: 206.20 (82 W)
Age-Adj.: 202.95 (81 W)
WS Age: 28.30
2011 W-L: 81-81

C27John Jaso*817
1B31Dan Johnson22
2B30Ben Zobrist2119
SS25Reid Brignac#68
3B25Evan Longoria2531
RF26Matt Joyce67
CF26BJ Upton1718
LF37Johnny Damon1711
DH28Casey Kotchman99
C231Kelly Shoppach76
INF26Sean Rodriguez55
OF29Sam Fuld#22
1331Felipe Lopez1412
SP125David Price#1114
SP229James Shields87
SP328Jeff Niemann#88
SP425Wade Davis#56
SP524Jeremy Hellickson*23
RP135Kyle Farnsworth43
RP224Jacob McGee+05
RP335Joel Peralta32
RP428Andy Sonnanstine33
RP528JP Howell65

Subjective Adjustments: None, although I expect Johnson to contribute a good deal more than 2 WS.

Also on Hand: Position players - Elliott Johnson, Desmond Jennings (Kotchman has been called up in the short term to take Manny Ramirez' place, but expect Jennings later in the year), Robinson Chirinos.

Pitchers - Juan Cruz, Cesar Ramos, Adam Russell, Mike Ekstrom, Matt Moore.

Analysis: Having sprung directly from perennial doormat status to the heights of contention, mediocrity will be unaccustomed to Rays fans, but welcome to the 1970-72 Mets. I have faith that this organization will get more out of the bullpen than estimated here and make some useful adjustments on the fly, but their poor start and the loss of Manny underlines what already looked like a season of grappling with the loss of Carl Crawford and Matt Garza and figuring out how to get the next generation of youth to market. Alternatively, with both Toronto and Baltimore improved, it would not take a lot of additional bad breaks to drop them back to the cellar.

Hellickson's a great talent, but remember that Price took a while to develop and Davis is still working on it. Young pitchers will break your heart.

Baltimore Orioles

Raw EWSL: 197.00 (79 W)
Adjusted: 205.60 (82 W)
Age-Adj.: 195.24 (78 W)
WS Age: 29.79
2011 W-L: 78-84

C25Matt Wieters#913
1B35Derrek Lee1713
2B33Brian Roberts1412
SS28JJ Hardy1011
3B27Mark Reynolds1818
RF27Nick Markakis2021
CF25Adam Jones1316
LF33Luke Scott1311
DH36Vladimir Guerrero1511
C228Jake Fox#33
INF31Cesar Izturis76
OF26Felix Pie55
1327Robert Andino11
SP124Brian Matusz#68
SP232Jeremy Guthrie129
SP325Jake Arrieta*36
SP425Brad Bergesen#68
SP523Chris Tillman*12
RP133Kevin Gregg96
RP233Mike Gonzalez54
RP336Koji Uehara*66
RP429Jeremy Accardo11
RP528Jim Johnson55

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Nolan Reimold, Josh Bell, Craig Tatum.

Pitchers - Zachary Britton (currently subbing for Matusz in the rotation), Justin Duchscherer, Jason Berker, Josh Rupe.

Analysis: The Orioles, by contrast, seem to have picked themselves up off the floor, notwithstanding the fact that as of yet they still seem to be building a team that shoots for .500 rather than first place (a big leap forward by Wieters, Jones and/or the young pitchers could change that). Whether Markakis can restart his arc of improvement, Lee can keep up his late-season hitting for the Braves, Guerrero can squeeze out one more solid year and Reynolds can cut his whiffs down enough to hit .230 will be the short-term questions.

Toronto Blue Jays

Raw EWSL: 186.87 (75 W)
Adjusted: 205.91 (82 W)
Age-Adj.: 191.82 (77 W)
WS Age: 29.41
2011 W-L: 77-85

C25JP Arencibia+111
1B27Adam Lind1313
2B29Aaron Hill1515
SS28Yunel Escobar1717
3B28Edwin Encarnacion88
RF30Jose Bautista2018
CF30Rajai Davis1211
LF23Travis Snider#68
DH32Juan Rivera119
C236Jose Molina54
INF36John McDonald43
OF35Scott Podsednik139
1328Jayson Nix#56
SP126Ricky Romero#1013
SP226Brandon Morrow66
SP324Brett Cecil#68
SP423Kyle Drabek+04
SP526Jesse Litsch22
RP131Frank Francisco75
RP232Jon Rauch87
RP337Octavio Dotel65
RP433Jason Frasor64
RP535Shawn Camp64

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Corey Patterson, Brett Lawrie, Mike McCoy.

Pitchers - Carlos Villanueva, Jo-Jo Reyes (who's currently in Morrow's spot in the rotation), David Purcey, Marc Rzepcynski.

Analysis: If you were painting a portrait of a team that could potentially take a big leap forward, you'd get something like the Blue Jays: a couple of young-ish players coming off disappointing years (Lind, Hill, Snider, Escobar), a young, power-pitching rotation and a veteran bullpen. How far that takes them is another issue, since third place is usually the Jays' target at this point.

Through 12 games, Toronto's pitching staff is on pace for 1363 strikeouts even without having activated Morrow (who struck out 10.9 K/9 last year, better than MLB leader Tim Lincecum, and may be returning soon from an inflamed elbow), which would break the 2001 Yankees' AL record by a margin of almost 100.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:40 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Studies | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
April 13, 2011
BASEBALL/LAW: Not Buying Bonds

So the verdict has come down in the Barry Bonds trial, and while the jury was unable to reach a verdict on three counts of perjury, they convicted Bonds of one count of obstruction of justice based on his grand jury testimony regarding whether he was given steroids or HGH by his trainer, Greg Anderson, or allowed Anderson or others besides his doctor to inject him. As with the Manny Ramirez story, this is yet another example of how baseball news has been unable to escape the hangover of the PED scandals.

While I recognize that perjury in a grand jury setting is a huge red flag for any prosecutor, I ultimately think this case was a waste of resources by the Justice Department; it's hard to see how the whole steroids ring was that major a law enforcement priority to begin with, or Bonds' testimony that crucial to it, that it was really going to be a useful exercise to pour enormous resources into a public trial of the man. (For background, some thoughts here and here on what makes up a serious enough case of perjury to be worth prosecuting). And that's coming from a guy who's hated Bonds for nearly 25 years now.

But while I'm skeptical of the prosecution, the jury verdict isn't as nonsensical as some people are making it out. Here's what the judge apparently told the jury about the charges. Unlike the perjury statute, on which I did some work in law school, I am not that well-versed in the caselaw under 18 USC 1503, the obstruction statute; according to a summary on the Justice Department's website, obstruction can include the following:

Giving false denials of knowledge and memory, or evasive answers...or false and evasive testimony...False testimony may be a basis for conviction, ...however, false testimony, standing alone, is not an obstruction of justice.

(Citations omitted; it doesn't seem from the cases cited that the Supreme Court has yet laid out a definition of obstruction other than to require a very specific intent in false-statements-to-investigators cases). Here, the judge charged the jury in the perjury counts that they needed to find the following elements:

1. The defendant testified under oath before a grand jury;

2. The testimony described above was false;

3. The testimony was material to the grand jury before which he testified; and

4. The defendant knew that the testimony described above was false and material to the grand jury before which he testified.

A statement was material if it had a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing,the decision of the grand jury to which it is addressed.

By contrast, the obstruction charge:

In order for the defendant to be found guilty of Count 5, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The defendant corruptly, that is, for the purpose of obstructing justice,

2. obstructed, influenced, or impeded, or endeavored to obstruct, influence, or impede the grand jury proceeding in which defendant testified,

3. by knowingly giving material testimony that was intentionally evasive, false, or misleading.

A statement was material if it had a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing, the decision of the grand jury.

The government alleges that the underlined portion of the following statements constitute material testimony that was intentionally evasive, false or misleading. In order for the defendant to be found guilty of Count 5, you must all agree that one or more of the following statements was material and intentionally evasive, false or misleading, with all of you unanimously agreeing as to which statement or statements so qualify:

1. The Statement Contained in Count One
2. The Statement Contained in Count Two
3. The Statement Contained in Count Three

In short, if the jury found that Bonds' statements were intentionally evasive or misleading, they could convict even without being convinced that they were outright false. That's a significant difference, and would seem to justify the jury in convicting on an obstruction charge on the same facts on which they were unable to convict on perjury. The statement he was convicted on was Statement C in the charge:

Q: Did Greg [Anderson] ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?

A: I've only had one doctor touch me. And that's my only personal doctor. Greg, like I said, we don't get into each others' personal lives. We're friends, but I don't - we don't sit around and talk baseball, because he knows I don't want - don't come to my house talking baseball. If you want to come to my house and talk about fishing, some other stuff, we'll be good friends, you come around talking about baseball, you go on. I don't talk about his business. You know what I mean?...

Q: Right.

A: That's what keeps our friendship. You know, I am sorry, but that - you know, that - I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don't get into other people's business because of my father's situation, you see...

Presumably, the jury may have felt that Bonds was misleading or evasive by deflecting this question with a denial that he'd had anybody inject him, without explicitly denying what he was asked - whether Anderson gave him something to inject himself with. Which is a common-sense enough reading of that testimony. At least under the perjury statute, it's not a crime to give a literally true answer that evades the question, the lesson of which - hammered home to most lawyers - is that you need to keep asking until the witness is pinned down. As I said above, I'm not really sure if this is the law under the obstruction statute, but it's safely within what the judge told the jury, so you can't fault them for following instructions.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:27 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Law 2009-18 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 12, 2011

Just some numbers for fun. Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings remains the all-time champion in getting hit by pitches - playing his whole career in the days before helmets, Jennings was hit by pitches in 5.1% of his plate appearances, accounting for 13.3% of his times on base (counting hits, walks and HBP). Burt Solomon, in his book Hit Em Where They Ain't (a good read about the 1890s Orioles) recounts that Jennings was actually terrified to crowd the plate, but trained in the offseason by having John McGraw throw balls at his head constantly until he was able to stand in without flinching.

Among players who lasted long enough to get drilled with 100 pittches, nobody else comes close to that 5.1% figure, but the 1890s were a violent time in the game. Counting only players since 1900 with 100 or more HBP, here's the top 15 measured by HBP as a percentage of times on base:

Jason LaRue (the modern champ at 11%)
Ron Hunt
Reed Johnson
Fernando Vina
Don Baylor
Jason Kendall
Aaron Rowand
Steve Evans
Chase Utley
Art Fletcher
David Eckstein
Jose Guillen
Frank Chance
Damion Easley
Minnie Minoso

Craig Biggio just misses the list, at #16. I was surprised to see Utley (at 7.6%) that high.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:37 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Studies | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 11, 2011
BASEBALL: 2011 AL West EWSL Report

So, my blogging time has been sorely constrained by family and other circumstances this year, but for the record I intend to get posted the numbers behind my annual divisional previews, even if the season's underway and I can't contribute the same level of analysis as usual.

So, Part 1 of my preseason previews is the AL West; this is the first of six division previews, using Established Win Shares Levels as a jumping-off point. Notes and reference links on the EWSL method are below the fold; while EWSL is a simple enough method that will be familiar to long-time readers, it takes a little introductory explaining, so I'd suggest you check out the explanations first if you're new to these previews. I've also resurrected for this season the team ages, which are weighted by non-age-adjusted EWSL, so the best players count more towards determining the age of the roster.

Some players are rated based on less than three seasons or given a rookie rating. Key:
+ (Rookie)
* (Based on one season)
# (Based on two seasons)

Texas Rangers
Raw EWSL: 226.17 (89 W)
Adjusted: 247.63 (96 W)
Age-Adj.: 248.05 (96 W)
Subj. Adj.: 240.05 (93 W)
WS Age: 29.27
2011 W-L: 93-63

C32Yorvit Torrealba108
1B25Mitch Moreland*37
2B29Ian Kinsler1918
SS22Elvis Andrus#1636
3B32Adrian Beltre1915
RF30Nelson Cruz1614
CF25Julio Borbon#710
LF30Josh Hamilton2321
DH34Michael Young1715
C229Mike Napoli1111
INF27Andres Blanco#33
OF29David Murphy1313
1325Chris Davis45
SP130CJ Wilson1210
SP231Colby Lewis*710
SP324Tommy Hunter#811
SP424Derek Holland#23
SP532Brandon Webb43
RP123Naftali Feliz#1013
RP227Alexi Ogando*35
RP328Darren O'Day87
RP441Arthur Rhodes75
RP540Darren Oliver85

Subjective Adjustments: As noted last season, primary reason why I added subjective adjustments was what I think of as the Khalil Greene problem, since he's one of the first (but not the last) second-year shortstops to exhibit it: EWSL assesses a very young hitter as having a lot of rapid room for growth, but as a result it tends to overvalue second- and even third-year hitters who are (1) under age 25 and (2) have a disproportionate amount of their value in their gloves. Nobody improves that much defensively from a good start in one year. Last year, EWSL had Elvis Andrus jumping up from 17 to 21 Win Shares, which I trimmed back to 19. He actually earned 20, so the slight adjustment sort of split the difference. This year, at age 22, EWSL assumes that he'll leap forward to 36 Win Shares, and while a significant improvement at the plate is indeed a real possibility for Andrus (who slugged .301 last year), that's just ridiculous, so I used the subjective adjustment to cut him back 8 to 28.

I rated Lewis as a rookie last season, since his pre-Japan stats no longer seem relevant to his current prospects.

Also on Hand: Position players - Craig Gentry. The Rangers have not used much depth thus far, playing only 12 non-pitchers.

Pitchers - Matt Harrison, Mark Lowe, Masin Tobin, Pedro Strop, Scott Feldman, David Bush, Michael Kirkman. Harrison's currently in the rotation subbing for Hunter, and Lowe has seen significant action in the pen.

Analysis: EWSL can be a leading indicator with the decay of old teams or the gradual growth of young lineups, but by definition it's a trailing indicator when a team has a bunch of people take big leaps forward, especially pitchers, and thus the Rangers appear a year later as a much stronger team. The Rangers have live arms and bullpen depth, and hope to replay last season's success in finding good roles for everyone on the staff. I join the general consensus that the future is much brighter for Derek Holland's power arm than Tommy Hunter, currently on the DL, despite Hunter's greater success last season.

The Angels

Raw EWSL: 217.33 (86 W)
Adjusted: 237.37 (92 W)
Age-Adj.: 211.48 (84 W)
WS Age: 30.43
2011 W-L: 84-78

C28Jeff Mathis44
1B25Mark Trumbo+011
2B27Howie Kendrick1718
SS27Erick Aybar1414
3B30Macier Izturis1110
RF35Torii Hunter2216
CF24Peter Bourjous*24
LF32Vernon Wells1612
DH37Bobby Abreu2114
C228Bobby Wilson*23
INF28Alberto Callaspo1212
OF30Reggie Willits22
1328Kendry Morales1212
SP128Jered Weaver1716
SP230Danny Haren1714
SP328Ervin Santana1211
SP432Joel Pineiro108
SP527Scott Kazmir44
RP123Jordan Walden*12
RP234Fernando Rodney76
RP335Scott Downs86
RP436Hisanori Takahashi*58
RP526Kevin Jepsen45

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Hank Conger is probably going to win a bigger share in the long run of the catching job than Wilson or possibly Mathis due to his bat, but for EWSL purposes it doesn't really matter. Brandon Wood, still struggling with the bat and currently subbing for the injured Aybar. Outfield prospect Mike Trout.

Pitchers - Jason Bulger, Rich Thompson, Michael Kohn, Matt Palmer, Tyler Chatwood.

Analysis: EWSL may overrate the Angels for having depth of everyday players like Morales and Callaspo, but Morales' 2010 pretty well illustrated why that depth is needed. This team is a classic Scioscia team, a lot of guys in their prime who play both sides of the ball soldily, not a real dominant hitter in the lineup.

For fantasy players, Rodney illustrates yet again why you don't draft bad pitchers just because they have closer jobs; they often lose them immediately as a result of being bad pitchers.

Oakland A's

Raw EWSL: 217.83 (86 W)
Adjusted: 225.97 (89 W)
Age-Adj.: 211.31 (84 W)
WS Age: 29.17
2011 W-L: 84-78

C27Kurt Suzuki1414
1B25Daric Barton1417
2B34Mark Ellis1513
SS27Cliff Pennington#1215
3B29Kevin Kouzmanoff1111
RF31David DeJesus1512
CF31Coco Crisp109
LF32Josh Willingham1310
DH37Hideki Matsui1811
C229Landon Powell#33
INF29Conor Jackson55
OF26Ryan Sweeney1011
1327Andy LaRoche56
SP123Brett Anderson#710
SP223Trevor Cahill#1014
SP327Dallas Braden98
SP425Gio Gonzalez89
SP527Brandon McCarthy22
RP127Andrew Bailey#1112
RP235Brian Fuentes107
RP333Grant Balfour75
RP431Brad Ziegler75
RP527Jerry Blevins22

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Chris Carter, Adam Rosales, Eric Sogard. Jackson's an outfielder now, but I listed him in infield.

Pitchers - Michael Wuertz, Rich Harden, Joey Devine, Craig Breslow, Tyson Ross, Josh Outman. It's a deep pen, like those of Texas and the Angels.

Analysis: Moneyball seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? A common theme on the West Coast: the Oakland Mausoleum is such a pitchers' park that it's tempting to overstate how promising the A's young pitchers are and how punchless their offense is, but this is a pitching and defense team no matter how you slice it.

Seattle Mariners

Raw EWSL: 181.33 (74 W)
Adjusted: 197.27 (79 W)
Age-Adj.: 178.64 (73 W)
WS Age: 30.29
2011 W-L: 73-89

C32Miguel Olivo108
1B24Justin Smoak*49
2B33Jack Wilson65
SS29Brendan Ryan99
3B33Chone Figgins1614
RF37Ichiro Suzuki2415
CF28Franklin Guitierrez1515
LF33Milton Bradley87
DH32Jack Cust1411
C227Adam Moore*23
INF35Adam Kennedy118
OF31Ryan Langerhans22
1324Michael Saunders#35
SP125Felix Hernandez2225
SP228Jason Vargas66
SP327Doug Fister#55
SP422Michael Pineda+04
SP532Erik Bedard43
RP129David Aardsma108
RP228Brandon League65
RP329Chris Ray32
RP436Jamey Wright33
RP526Joshua Lueke+05

Subjective Adjustments: None.

Also on Hand: Position players - Luis Rodriguez, Josh Bard, Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp.

Pitchers - Manny Delcarmen, David Pauley, Cesar Jimenez, Nate Robertson.

Analysis: This is what it looks like when you bet the ranch on winning a weak division and you fail. The Mariners are stuck winding down a team that has little short-term upside (although Smoak and Pineda could still have real upside) and a bunch of veterans who never contributed much in Seattle and have minimal trade value. Watching Ichiro and King Felix will be the main source of entertainment in Seattle for a while.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:00 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Studies | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
BASEBALL: Manny Been Manny

Still short on time here and still trying to get the numbers posted for my annual division previews (yeah, I know), but first a couple points on my late gut reaction to the whole Manny news:

1) This was a fittingly bizarre end to a bizarre career.

2) As I've said repeatedly before, I'm neither with the moral-high-horse sportswriters nor the steroids-don't-matter stathead crowd. Manny's legacy is and should be tarnished, but I'd still vote for him for Cooperstown. The Hall is really going to be a bad joke if this many players get locked out despite obviously qualifying on the basis of their on-field accomplishments, and that ultimately detracts from the honor given to those who are inducted.

3) Manny served a 50-game suspension for PEDs, and effectively had his career ended by threat of a 100-game suspension. That's a stuffer When we're considering Hall of Famers, isn't it sort of backwards if he gets lumped in the same bucket with guys like McGwire or Palmeiro who never suffered any penalty for PEDs? (Ditto Bonds and Clemens, except for the part where they got indicted, a ridiculous spectacle which is if anything symptomatic of our national reliance on the legal system as a substitute for moral judgments).

4) Manny was a great hitter, great story and great fun to watch. Nothing can take away the joy, the amusement, the championships, and even the water-cooler controversies he brought to the game. Let's not let anything else obscure that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:25 PM | Baseball 2011 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)