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Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers,
trumpets, towers and tenements
wide oceans full of tears
flags, rags, ferryboats, scimitars and scarves
every precious dream and vision underneath the stars

People lead the leagues in all kinds of things, and some of them they'd rather you didn't know about. Some of them you just don't care about, but let's look anyway:

Hit By Pitch
Hillenbrand, Tor     20
Giambi, NYY          16
Kendall, Oak         14
Ford, Min            14

Jenkins, Mil         16
Delgado, Fla         15
Biggio, Hou          14
Guillen, Was         14

Grounded Into Double Play
Tejada, Bal          21
Cantu, TB            19
Hillenbrand, Tor     18
Hatteburg, Oak       18

Casey, Cin           24
Bell, Phi            20
Feliz, SF            17

Sacrifice Flies
Monroe, Det          12
Uribe, CWS           10
Everett, CWS          9

Green, Ari            8
Griffey, Cin          7
Guillen, Was          7
LoDuca, Fla           7
Lowell, Fla           7

Sacrifice Hits
Logan, Det           12
Castro, Min           8
Berroa, KC            8
Iguchi, CWS           8

Castillo, Fla        16
Vizquel, SF          12
Pettite, Hou         12

Caught Stealing
Podsednik, Chi       18
Figgins, LAA         12
Reed, Sea            10

Pierre, Fla          14
Clark, Mil           11
Reyes, NYM           11
Taveras, Hou         11
OK, here's an Intelligence Test. Ready? Let's suppose you had a ball player on your team who had been hitting like this for the last three months:

June 	86  5  9  1  0  0   0  4   1 11  1  0 .105 .154 .116 .270
July 	69  6 17  3  0  1   7  2   0  6  2  1 .246 .264 .333 .597
August 	67  4 12  3  0  0   4  4   1 10  1  1 .179 .236 .224 .460

What would you do with him? Besides seeing if you've got a pitcher sitting around that you could send up to hit for this stiff.

Well, if you were Jim Tracy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, you'd keep that man right at the top of your batting order, hitting leadoff every day. Cesar Izturis has 444 at bats this season, and 398 of them came hitting first in the order.

Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain.

This is just another reason the Dodgers have no chance whatsoever of catching the Padres,. If you're going to hit Cesar Izturis leadoff, you simply don't have a clue. You are not even qualified to manage a major league team.

The games:

Los Angeles (Washburn 6-7, 3.38) at Baltimore (DuBose 1-0, 5.19)
Oakland (Haren 10-9, 4.00) at Detroit (Robertson 5-10, 4.00)
Toronto (Towers 10-9, 4.12) at New York (Leiter 6-10, 6.09)
Cleveland (Westbrook 11-13, 4.75) at Tampa Bay (Hendrickson 7-7, 6.75)
Seattle (Moyer 10-4, 4.20) at Texas (Young 10-7, 4.62)
Boston (Wells 9-6, 4.70) at Kansas City (Greinke 3-14, 6.02)
Chicago (Garcia 11-5, 3.65) at Minnesota (Santana 12-6, 3.37)

Cincinnati (Hudson 4-6, 7.35) at Washington (Armas 7-6, 4.29)
St.Louis (Marquis 9-12, 4.36) at Pittsburgh (Duke 6-0, 1.87)
Florida (Beckett 12-6, 3.15) at Milwaukee (Capuano 13-8, 3.61)
Atlanta (Thomson 3-3, 4.53)at Chicago (Williams 3-6, 5.13)
New York (Zambrano 6-10, 4.24) at Arizona (Vargas 7-6, 4.47)
Houston (Clemens 11-5, 1.53) at San Diego (Peavy 10-6, 3.14)
Colorado (Wright 6-14, 5.69) at Los Angeles (Weaver 11-8, 4.52)
Philadelphia (Padilla 6-11, 4.47) at San Francisco (Tomko 7-13, 4.72)

This Day In Baseball: 23 August 2005 | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jordan - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#126344) #
I've always been interested in the difference between the two kinds of sacrifices in baseball: sacrifice flies and sacrifice bunts. The same modifier is used to describe two very different acts.

A sacrifice fly is, in almost every sense, an accident: there happens to be a runner on third with fewer than two out, and the batter happens to a hit a ball to the medium outfield or deeper. I think it's very unlikely that a batter can hit a flyball in that situation on purpose: if your bat control were that good, you'd be doubling to the gap instead. The sac fly is the consolation-prize of RBIs: you didn't get on base, but at least a run scored even though you made an out.

Sacrifice bunts, on the other hand, are entirely deliberate: indeed, they may be the only truly deliberate result a batter can achieve at the plate. Most batters, when they swing the bat, hope to make sufficiently solid contact to produce a base hit, but they don't really know what the outcome will be and they can't force the result. A batter can't will a ball to be a single or a home run, Carlton Fisk notwithstanding. But a sacrifice bunt is a very specific action that intends to achieve a very specific result for a very specific purpose: give up your at-bat and move a runner closer to (or, in the case of a squeeze, onto) home plate. Some batters are better than this at others, and some failed sacrifice bunt attempts result in popouts or force plays, but the general outcome is the same.

What's interesting is not only that these very different acts are called "sacrifices," but also that the batter is rewarded equally for the result: if the runner scores or advances as intended, no at-bat is assigned and no out is charged to his record. It seems odd that a batter can receive the same reward if he skillfully lays down a bunt to move a runner along or if he's fooled on a changeup and pops a flyball to a popcorn-armed outfielder in medium-center. It's even odder that if the batter grounds a hopper to first base and scores a run, he gets the RBI, but he's also charged with an oh-fer, even though he performed pretty much exactly the same act as the sacrifice-flyer.

The gaps and distinctions among intention and outcome in all these scenarios are, of course, accidents of baseball scoring evolution, and in their own way, they add to the game's charm. But they also underscore how meaningless, I think, is any listing of sacrifice-fly leaders. It is, I would submit (without even bothering to seek evidence one way or another), perhaps the single luckiest, and therefore least meaningful, statistic in the game.
mlb86 - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#126345) #
On the subject of hit by pitches (or would that be hits by pitch?):

Several weeks ago, when Craig Biggio broke the modern day record for career HBPs, I was uncharacteristically watching the ESPN show Around the Horn when they discussed whether the other Astros should congratulate Biggio for breaking the record. Three of the four panelists said no. To me, anything a player does to get himself on base and contribute to his team's chance of scoring runs is worth congratulating, even if it's something like an HBP that he doesn't seem to have a lot of control over. Sure, an HBP isn't as good as a triple or something like that, but every little bit helps, right?
Gerry - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#126346) #
Another aspect to moving the runners along is what happens after a lead-off double. If the manager elects not to bunt then the hitter tries to hit the ball to the right side to move the runner to third. But the manager has elected not to bunt, so the manager wants the hitter to get a hit. Or the manager might want the hitter to move the runner along, but then the team is playing a one run style offense, and as JP often says, if you play for one, you might end up with one, and only one, run.

Meanwhile, the pitcher knows the hitter wants to pull the ball so the pitcher will pitch away from the hitter. The hitter might take the pitch, or reach for it and hit a weak groundball to the right side. It seems to me to be a better option for the hitter to hit away and look to take the pitch to left field, he has a better chance of getting a hit that way, but he might leave the runner at second.

If the runner is moved over then the commentators will praise the hitter, even though the run expectancy has reduced from 1.189 to .983.
Jordan - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#126349) #
As long as Biggio's elbow guard was congratulated as well, I think that would be fine.

Seriously, any time you break an all-time record, your teammates and organization should be there to congratulate you. I'm not saying stop the game in progress and have a ceremony at home plate after Biggio gets plunked, but a record is a record, and getting that many HBPs is undeniably a skill (though I renew my objections to his padding -- Don Baylor would have sneered at Biggio's protection).
Magpie - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#126350) #
But they also underscore how meaningless, I think, is any listing of sacrifice-fly leaders.

It's mostly meaningless - it's a trivial event that doesn't happen very often. People regularly lead the league with about 12 of them. Which makes it kind of like the triple.

Like the triples leader board, they tend to tell us something we already know about the player. The leaders are almost always guys with some pop, who don't strike out as much as your classic power hitter. The top three all time are Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, and Robin Yount. But Sammy Sosa and Reggie Jackson don't make the top ten.

It's not nearly as significant as a hit by pitch...

Pistol - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#126351) #
A sacrifice fly is, in almost every sense, an accident

Really? I'm certainly no expert, but I always thought it wasn't that difficult to hit a grounder or a flyball if that's what you were trying to accomplish. It's just a matter of cutting back on your full swing and adding a slight uppercut or slightly hitting down on the ball.

Magpie - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#126352) #
Sosa and Reggie don't make the top 100, actually.
Ducey - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#126355) #
"If you're going to hit Cesar Izturis leadoff, you simply don't have a clue."

I seem to remember earlier this season (or maybe in the offseason) some people were bemoning the loss of Cesar as evidence of JP's poor trade record.
Pistol - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#126361) #
There isn't much bemoaning anymore about Werth either.
Blue in SK - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#126363) #
This is a fun article to read.

It lists the lineups based on currently active players suiting up for the team that originally drafted them. I think we'd be giving the Yanks a run for the pennant in the East. The Yanks would have more pop, but our rotation is a lot stronger.
John Northey - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 05:32 PM EDT (#126364) #
Speaking of the two trades used against JP lets look at 2005's results...

The ugly trade (Izturis & Quantrill for Prokopec & Ricketts)
Izturis - 257/302/322 with LA Dodgers (All Star also)
Quantrill - 5.19 ERA 59 IP 6 HR 9 BB 31 K - released by Yankees currently with Padres (3.33 ERA in just SD)
Prokopec & Ricketts are both out of minor & major league baseball.

Would Izturis be anything but a backup in Toronto today? Heck, would he even be that? Who would you demote to allow Izturis to play, Adams 276/349/433 or Hill 293/352/421 or Menechino 216/368/336 - I guess Menechino just for defensive purposes, but would we even have seen Hill in 2005 if Izturis was still here?

Quantrill could've been had but JP decided not to try to get him from what I can tell, and understandably so. In the pen, using just ERA for simplicity, we have 5 guys (counting Walker) under 4.00 and Schoeneweis is just over (4.01) while Downs (who is probably back in the pen once someone comes off the DL) is at 4.53.

So, while the trade was a bust and we could've used those two guys in the past as of today none of the players involved would be anything but a backup, if that. I still think Q has some value and would like him here but that could just be emotion talking.

The other trade, Frasor for Werth?
Werth - 240/330/395 over 233 AB's
Frasor - 3.86 ERA, 56 IP, 7 HR, 23 BB, 43 K's

Werth would be decent as a 4th outfielder, but who would he replace?
Rios - 275/321/413 (quite similar but has good defense)
Cat - 287/355/420
Johnson - 275/337/440
Wells - 278/322/487

Werth is compariable but not superior to anyone. He'd out do Gross at the moment, but I think no one here would trade any of Rios/Cat/Johnson/Wells/Gross for Werth straight up, and at least one of them would have to be let go if we had Werth in the lineup.

I guess Werth could go to DH...
Hillenbrand - 295/353/468
Hinske - 257/337/427
Hill - 293/352/421
Koskie - 234/309/393 (any of the above 3 could go to 3B)

Hrm. Koskie is the closest to to Werth but, again, I doubt anyone would do that trade either except to clear money from the roster. Many here would do Hinske for Werth but in truth I'd not bet the farm on Hinske being out hit by Werth over the next few years. Werth is 26 so he isn't anymore likely to improve than any of the guys he'd replace. He had a breakout last year at 262/338/486 but again isn't anything that we can't picture any of the guys here doing. Career with over 600 AB's? 250/329/436

So, the Jays lost a guy who is pretty much the same as the other outfielder/DH candidates they already had up the wazoo in exchange for a decent & cheap reliever.

Neither of these trades look to have hurt the Jays in 2005, nor should either hurt them in '06/'07 when they are expected to contend. They did hurt in '04 but, short of getting Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens as well as reversing those trades, I don't see the 04 Jays as being likely to have won anything outside of avoiding the embarassment of finishing below the Devil Rays.

Other 'bad' trades? Some have said the Lilly trade.
Lilly - 5.52 ERA 104 IP 17 HR 43 BB 82 K
Kielty - 267/357/387

Lilly has been horrid this season with a few bright spots. Kielty has been good for Oakland but, again, who do you bench for him? Lifetime 254/357/408. Decent but not really any better than any of the top 4 here. I'd prefer him to Rios at the moment, but in a year that could easily change as Kielty is 29 (in his prime) while Rios is 24 (just about to reach his prime).

None of these trades were great, Werth for Frasor was good (fill a need with an excess resource), but none should hurt the Jays during their (likely) contending years of 05/06/07 outside of maybe thinking we might have got more for Izturis/Quantrill at the time, or maybe got something for Izturis by holding him for another year.

Anyone able to think of trades that are currently hurting the Jays, and likely to in '06/'07?
John Northey - Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#126365) #
That lineups if everyone stayed put is fun to look at. I'd make a change or two though.

Blue Jays
1B: Carlos Delgado, John Olerud
2B: Jeff Kent
3B: Alex Gonzalez
Here I'd put Hill, Gozo is a backup only

SS: Michael Young, Cesar Izturis
See my last post on Izturis. Adams and Hill are ahead of him on my Jays depth chart, even with just 1/2 a season. Of course, Young would be everyday here - 321/373/500 (#&!@ Esteban Loaiza)

C: Adam Melhuse
Weak here, but hopefully Quiroz will fix this in 2006

LF: Shannon Stewart
CF: Vernon Wells
RF: Shawn Green, Jay Gibbons
Nowhere for Reed Johnson or Alex Rios? Nice.

SP: Roy Halladay, David Wells, Chris Carpenter, Gustavo Chacin, Kelvim Escobar, Dave Bush, Woody Williams
Again, dang that is nice.

RP: Jose Mesa, Mike Timlin. Steve Karsay, David Weathers, Brandon League, Giovanni Carrara
Not bad. Need a few more but not bad, especially since you could move two starters here.

Overall I'd say that Ash & JP have both done good on the drafting side, as did Gillick before them (Delgado, Kent, Olerud). We've been lucky here I'd say.
This Day In Baseball: 23 August 2005 | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.