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Apropos of some writing Iím doing for another Web site, I have been skating through last yearís statistics. While itís always best to look forward, the past is unavoidable when youíre preparing for the new season. Re-hashing the previous seasonís numbers is always a re-learning experience for me; itís astonishing how much I forget from October to February.

Some notable failed recollections:

Derek Lowe

The numbers: 5.42 ERA (90 ERA+), .299 BA against, 1.48 K/BB ratio, 1.61(!) WHIP. And for this he gets $36 million over four years? What a country! What must Jason Johnson, for example, think? He had similar, if slightly better, numbers: 5.13 ERA (88 ERA+), .284 BA against, 2.06 K/BB ratio, 1.43 WHIP. Oh, hereís one key difference: Johnson will earn about $6 million less than Lowe in 2005. (And, yes, Iím aware that Lowe has been successful in the past, blah blah blah.)

Aaron Rowand

The numbers: .310/.361/.544, 126 OPS+, 24 home runs, 17 steals. Not bad for a guy who backed into a job. Was he an Age-27 fluke? Perhaps. But heís also one of those hard-nosed players who refuses to listen when people tell him, ďYouíre too short, your bat speed is too slow, you donít walk enough, you wear Izod shirts,Ē etc. (OK, so maybe he should dump the Izods.) Does that mean anything when projecting what Rowand will do this year? Probably not. But Iím not betting against him.

Mark Teixeira

The numbers: .281/.370/.560, 128 OPS+, 38 HRs, 112 RBI. And one more: 25, as in his age. I wonder how much the Yankees will pay for Teixeira in 2009.

OK, I canít resist.

Player A: .307/.349/.387, 93 OPS+, 5 HRs, 26 SBs, five CS.
Player B: .287/.327/.401, 90 OPS+, 10 HRs, 17 SBs, 11 CS.

Hint: they both played in St. Louis in 2004. One more hint: this off-season, one signed with the Red Sox, one signed with the Yankees. All right, enough. Player A is Tony Womack, Player B is Edgar Renteria, who had a year that I had forgottenómaybe because it was so thoroughly forgettable. Certainly it was forgettable compared to his brilliant 2003 seasonó.330/.394/.480, 131 OPS+, 13 HRs, 34 steals (against seven CS).

No, Iím not suggesting Tony Womack is a better player than Edgar Renteria; I'd rather have Renteria, obviously. But with Renteria hauling in $10 million in 2005, regardless of Bostonís fat check-book, Womack doesnít look so bad. It is generally assumed the Sox overpaid for EG, but it didn't occur to me just how much they overpaid until I saw the numbers (the same was the case for Lowe's LA contract).

There are other individual seasons I had forgotten about (Mark Loretta? Mark Loretta??), but I'll give just one more. And Iíll close not with a bang, but with a BB gun:

The numbers: .362/.609/.812, 260 OPS+, 45 HRs, 232(!) walks, 41 strikeouts. How does one forget something as sublime as those stats? Maybe my memory was blinded by my dislike for Barry Bonds as a person. Maybe I can't get past the steroid issue. Maybe it's because he doesn't look like he's having any fun. Maybe I simply can't comprehend his extraordinary ability. Maybe itís because . . .

Ah, never mind. Iím just senile. Itís hard to believe Iím only . . . years-old.
Notes From Nowhere: Say What? | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Chuck - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 09:05 AM EST (#103370) #
Gitz, you mentioned your dislike for Bonds. Blinding even. Yikes.

I try not to draw conclusions from public images which tend to be at polar extremes in media land. (Paul Molitor? Pure goodness. Barry Bonds? Pure evil.) That said, I imagine that he's probably not the most likable person on the planet.

But I could care less.

He's an entertainer. Robert DeNiro may be be an ass or may be a sweetheart. I don't care. Ditto Tony Hawk, Posh Spice and Keanu Reaves (trying to be eclectic here!). I do hope that entertainers I enjoy are decent people, since it makes them easier to like. But I am not crestfallen when I learn that they're not (and I'm not suggesting that you are, Gitz).

All this is to say that I find the media reaction to the Barry Bonds press conference funny, as if it's somehow Bonds' job to make the media like him. Jayson Stark seems personally affronted that Bonds isn't working harder for Jayson to like him.

Is steroid use a story? Definitely. Should we expect any players to answer questions on the matter truthfully? No. Should we feign indignation when they don't? We can, but why?

Let the entertainers strap on their top hats and spats and have at it. If they are nice people as well as talented entertainers, so much the better.

Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 09:42 AM EST (#103372) #
Paul Molitor? Pure goodness. Barry Bonds? Pure evil.

That's pretty funny considering both players were involved in the major drug scandals of their eras. But I think that's a pretty fair description of how they're seen by a lot of people.

Mick Doherty - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 09:49 AM EST (#103373) #
Not to completely turn this into a Bonds thread, but as I was listening to him rail against the media "re-runs" for the nth time in the car on the radio this a.m., I wondered to myself ... Let's say in 2005, Bonds hits .403 with 206 walks and 68 homers and 177 RBI. Not likely, but frankly, probably wouldn't shock anyone.

Now, over in St. Louis, Al Pujols hits .335 with 40 homers and 155 RBI. And in New York, Carl Beltran hits .322 with 41 homers and 48 SB. The Mets and Cardinals win their divisions. The Giants finish second and miss oiut on the Wild Card on the season's last day.

Who wins the MVP?
Mike Green - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 10:19 AM EST (#103374) #
My favourite stat of the year came from the Hardball Times annual at the back, which lists outcomes by pitcher- K%, W%, GB%, FB%, IF%, LD% with IF being popups and LD being line drives. As the pitchers are listed in alphabetical order, Kerry Ligtenberg and Ted Lilly are next to each other. The similarity between the two is shockingly close. Lilly walked and struck out 1% more than Ligtenberg. Ligtenberg allowed 3% more fly balls.
Chuck - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 10:34 AM EST (#103375) #
Here's a line that caught me by surprise: 289/348/455.

That's Jimmy Rollins' 2004 season. After a promising age-22 season (274/323/419) in 2001, he regressed in 2002, improved a little in 2003 and finally turned a corner in 2004.

I hadn't paid much attention to Rollins last year and was surprised to see the improvement. For no good reason, I just assumed he was on the Alex Gonzalez career path: good defense, poor strike zone judgement, gap hitter who thinks he's a homerun hitter, seemingly uncoachable, etc.

An 800 OPS out of a (reportedly) good defensive shortstop is star material. Toronto fans would be happy to see 800 out of the team's corner outfielders.
Jonny German - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 11:21 AM EST (#103381) #
I had exactly the same assumption about Rollins. What turned it around for me was that I inherited him in the BBFL. Now I need to figure out if he might even be keeper material. One key that Chuck didn't mention - 30 stolen bases in 2004, and at a 77% success rate.
Craig B - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 11:35 AM EST (#103382) #
Also, Bonds at least made the most of his great talent, while Molitor for many, many years squandered his.

I like Paul Molitor... I'm just sayin'.

groove - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 12:53 PM EST (#103393) #
Mick, I think that Bonds would still win the MVP - if he takes steroid tests this year and is clean, and posts those results.

What would be the basis for not handing him the reward? As a retro-active penalty for using in the past? I don't buy that argument because we have no way to verify who were users and who were not. The fact is that he got those results by beating hands down other steroid users and thus still deserved those awards. Will the writers apply retro-active penalties? Maybe, but I don't see it as logical.

Craig B - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 01:38 PM EST (#103396) #
Mick, any time you have a large number of strong competing candidates, the MVP becomes more and more a crapshoot. I think in this instance, Bonds would win but only because the vote would end up split.

There will be a fair number of voters who will leave him far down their ballots, to punish him for his indiscretions...
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 01:41 PM EST (#103397) #
Y'all can probably guess my answer since I posted the question, but I think in that instance, Bonds would finish a distant third in the balloting, and maybe further down than that, because writers would have the crutch of "voting for a player on a division winner" to justify their punishment of Bonds hating the media and past rules indiscretions.

I actually believe there's a chance he won't be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There will certainly be a lot of talk about that possibility in the days leading up to the vote, whenever it comes.
Craig B - Wednesday, February 23 2005 @ 01:46 PM EST (#103399) #
I think it's much too early to tell about the Hall of Fame. We don't even know when Bonds is likely to retire yet, and we don't know very many details about his steroid use. So much is left to be told in this story.

But if you forced me to guess now, I think Bonds will make it on the first ballot. It's very difficult to interpret the rules in such a way that you can leave him off a HoF ballot.
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