Monday, January 31, 2005 

The Sosa Story

I understand that the Cubs wanted to get rid of Sosa--stat--and that he was a cancer in the clubhouse, yada, yada, yada, but I don't understand how they couldn't find a better deal out there? When Jerry Hairston Jr. is the key player you're getting in return for a guy who did still hit 35 HR last year, I guess that tells you how far Sammy has fallen. At least in Chicago. Anyway, the focus now returns to the field and just what happened to Sosa? My guess is nothing.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Sammy is not Barry. All "supplements" aside, Bonds is a freak, an aberration. Who has two peaks with the second coming so late in his career? (The answer is Bonds, but it was rhetorical.) If the average player peaks between the ages of 27-32, then Sosa's just following the norm, albeit with an exceptionally high spike. Here's his OPS progression:

20 .669
21 .687
22 .576
23 .710
24 .794
25 .884
26 .840
27 .888
28 .779
29 1.024
30 1.002
31 1.040
32 1.174
33 .993
34 .911
35 .849

Pretty self-evident, no? What this tells me is that one, Sosa's still a pretty good hitter, and two, he's getting unfairly criticized because he raised the bar so high during his peak.

Friday, January 14, 2005 

Changing of the Guard

For the first time in LOC history, Alex Rodriguez was not the best hitter of the season. Sure, he only fell to third, but it was also his first experience with a double-digit TLV. To make matters worse for ARod, he was also passed for the top TLV of all time as his teammate Vlad Guerrero's 6.33 bested his old record of 7.00. Rodriguez is looking at a HUGE free agent payday this draft and whomever ends up signing that giant check can only hope he gets the same production as Vlad provided after signing this year.

Top 10 Hitters All Time

2004 Guerrero, Vlad, St. Paul: 6.33
2001 Rodriguez, Alex, St. Paul: 7.00
2003 Rodriguez, Alex, St. Paul: 8.33
2000 Rodriguez, Alex, St. Paul: 9.17
2002 Rodriguez, Alex, St. Paul: 9.67
2002 Soriano, Alfonso, Danbury: 10.67
2002 Ordonez, Magglio, Klong Island: 12.33
2000 Giambi, Jason, Minnesota: 12.33
2000 Erstad, Darin, St. Paul: 13.50
2003 Boone, Bret, Klong Island: 14.00

The biggest FA starting pitcher also earned his salary this year as Curt Schilling edged out Johan Santana for the 2004 crown. While Schilling didn't set the record (that belongs to the nearly perfect Pedro of 2002), he and Santana both crack the All Time top ten:

2002 Martinez, Pedro, Alexandria: 1.20
2000 Martinez, Pedro, Minnesota: 1.40
2004 Schilling, Curt, ToC: 1.80
2004 Santana, Johan, Minnesota: 2.00
2003 Halladay, Roy, Kissimmike: 2.80
2003 Martinez, Pedro, Alexandria: 3.40
2003 Loaiza, Esteban, Danbury: 4.00
2001 Mussina, Mike, St. Paul: 4.40
2000 Wells, David, Waukegan: 5.20
2003 Mussina, Mike, Danbury: 5.80

Finally, while it wasn't a record-setting year in LOc bullpens, Keith Foulke continued to add to his career dominance as he placed his third season in the top six of all time. Here's the top ten:

2003 Foulke, Keith, Minnesota: 3.83
2000 Foulke, Keith, Minnesota: 4.50
2000 Lowe, Derek, ToC: 5.67
2000 Koch, Billy, Rochester: 6.33
2001 Rhodes, Arthur, American: 6.67
2004 Foulke, Keith, Danbury: 6.83
2002 Rhodes, Arthur, Justinapolis: 7.00
2004 Gordon, Tom, Kissimmike: 7.17
2003 Rivera, Mariano, Carolina: 7.30
2000 Rivera, Mariano, Waukegan: 7.50


The Legend Grows

Originally uploaded by francomega.
I came across this in a free Batman comic. It's only a matter of time before Anderson Cooper himself runs a story about the Klong phenomenon. Of course, we'll all resent the fact that every nerd on the street will be wearing Klong shirts (Klong John? Calvin Klong? Klong Farm?) and we'll turn on Klong and call him a sell-out, but we'll still go to all his celebrity-laden parties and offer to drive home a drunk Tara Reid. Yeah, that'll be cool.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 

Your 2004 TLVs

Finally, the 2004 TLVs (Total LOC Values) are done. As you know by now, the rating reflects the players performance in all the stat categories compared to every other player. Starters and relievers are separated. For example, the best TLV a hitter can earn is a 1--meaning he finished first in every category.

Here are the top tens for now. As you can see, there are some big surprises right off the bat. I'll be back with more in-depth analysis including one of the three leaders setting an all-time mark. Ooooooh, stay tuned.

Top 10 Hitters:
Vlad Guerrero, OF, St. Paul: 6.33
Melvin Mora, 3B, Amsterdan: 15.17
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, St. Paul: 15.67
Miguel Tejada, SS, Minnesota: 18.33
Carlos Beltran, OF, ToC: 19.50
Manny Ramirez, OF, Amsterdan: 20.50
Carlos Lee, OF, Danbury: 20.67
Gary Sheffield, OF, St. Paul: 22.33
Carlos Guillen, SS, Alexandria: 22.67
Michael Young, 2B, ToC: 22.67

Top 10 Starters:
Curt Schilling, ToC: 1.80
Johan Santana, Minnesota: 2.00
Pedro Martinez, Alexandria: 6.40
Mark Buehrle, ToC: 9.40
Freddy Garcia, Danbury: 11.00
Brad Radke, Alexandria: 11.60
David Wells, Amsterdan: 16.20
Rodrigo Lopez, Alexandria: 17.40
Kelvim Escobar, Carolina: 17.40
Bronson Arroyo, Alexandria: 18.80

Top 10 Relievers:
Keith Foulke, Danbury: 6.83
Tom Gordon, Kissimmike: 7.17
Francisco Rodriguez, Minnesota: 7.83
Juan Rincon, St. Paul: 10.33
Mariano Rivera, ToC: 10.50
LaTroy Hawkins, Alexandria 10.67
Joe Nathan, Amsterdan 11.33
Armando Benitez, Amsterdan: 11.83
Octavio Dotel, Justinapolis: 12.83
Shingo Takatsu, Carolina : 14.33

Thursday, January 06, 2005 

The Case for Bert

Interesting argument made by Jim Caple on about Bert Blyleven's Hall of Fame candidacy. A lot of people in the know, including my boy Rob Neyer (whose article I would link to if they didn't make it an "Insider" exclusive--corporate weasels) have supported the election of the righty who won 285 games over his 22 season career and is 5th on the all-time strikeout list. It's the classic peak vs. career debate.

Another thought-provoking HoF question from

Can someone explain why Sandberg gets in and Whitaker gets
snubbed (not even enough votes to stay on the ballot)?

Whitaker: .276  .363  .426       117 career OPS+, 19 years
Sandberg: .285  .344  .452       114 career OPS+, 16 years

Yes, Sandberg had a higher peak, and was base stealer.
On the other hand, he was productive for a much shorter time.
Whitaker had 17 seasons with an OPS+ > 100 (vs. Sandberg's 9).
Sandberg has that one MVP, but Whitaker has the ring and played
on a great team.

I can see why Sandberg gets more votes--six outstanding years always
beats 12 very good years, but one of them is overrated, or one is
underrated, or both, it seems to me.

*FYI, OPS+ is a player's OPS divided by the adjusted league OPS, and multiplied by 100. The league average OPS is assumed to be 100, so if a player has a 110 OPS+ for the season, he is 10% better than an average player.