Friday, October 16, 2009

The Clutchiest Clutch of Clutches That Ever Clutched

Because I have, as recently as last night, been known to yell corrections at my (see: my roommate's) television during baseball telecasts in the vain hope that the announcers might one day actually (most likely magically) hear me, and because I have, as recently as last week, yelled at said television while watching the Yankees-Twins series and listening to drivel regarding Alex Rodriguez's lack of postseason clutchiness (followed closely by drivel regarding Alex Rodriguez's newly-discovered postseason clutchiness), and because I have, as recently as last year, written about the absurdity of A-Rod's postseason performance becoming a metaphor for failure, I will, at this time, direct your attention to this piece by Matthew Carruth over at FanGraphs. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You may now return to reading sentences of an acceptable (see: non-long-19th-century) length.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

West Loop MVP

West Loop MVP 2009
Princess Fielder

She takes a lot of walks and is an expert of the suicide squeeze.

144/145 SB/CS
Rickey Henderson was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, my dog is greatest of all time. Thank you.

It's not just a name, mothaf*****s.

12.1 WAR
Not quite as good as Pujols.


The season is now over and we can look back at the years various players had and evaluate how well they did. Remember this post? Well now we get to see how accurate it is to predict things less than one-fifth of the way through the season.

C - Yadier Molina
.293/.366/.383, .273 EqA, 6.3 WAR

1B - Albert Pujols
.327/.443/.658, .362 EqA, 12.2 WAR

2B - Felipe Lopez*
.320/.407/.448, .304 EqA, 2.4 WAR
*MIL numbers; Brandon Phillips had a higher WAR (3.0) but Lopez did this in only 66 G in Milwaukee, adding in his ARI stats would lower his rate stats but increase his WAR total

SS- Miguel Tejada
.313/.340/.455, .279 EqA, 5.3 WAR

3B - Andy LaRoche
.258/.330/.401, .260 EqA, 2.7 WAR

OF - Andrew McCutchen
.286/.365/.471, .297 EqA, 5.5 WAR

OF - Ryan Braun
.320/.386/.551, .323 EqA, 6.9 WAR

OF - Mike Cameron
.250/.342/.452, .281 EqA, 5.0 WAR

P - Chris Carpenter
192.2 IP, 1.01 WHIP, 0.33 HR/9, 6.73 K/9

Notes: 3B was a tough one. LaRoche won it out on strong defense and a full season. Ramirez had much better offensive rates but played a half a season due to injury and below average defense.

In the outfield Michael Bourn was close with a higher WAR than Cameron but they both play great defense and Cameron has way more power.

Overall among the ten positions four stayed the same (or 40%). More than the 19.1% of the season played the previous go around but it shows that one-fifth of a season is not a reliable indicator of the season as a whole.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thus Ends the NL Central

And with a whimper, the season ends.

I said before the playoffs started that the Cardinals had about a 25% chance to get to the World Series this year. Every team, to me, seems about the same. Every team is not without it's faults: With the Cardinals, the bullpen. Dodgers, the starting pitching. Rockies, starting pitching. Phillies, bullpen. I don't think anyone in St. Louis expected them to come out as flat as they did this series.

Matt Holliday is going to bear the brunt of the ire for "losing the series", maybe rightfully so, but the truth is that Franklin still gave up two hits and a walk and didn't do his job either. Also, Carpenter didn't pitch his A-game, the bats were dead, poor baserunning, questionable managing, and the worst part being that in game 3 once they were down, they seemed to just give up.

One thing that I think this will mean for the franchise, and I hate to say I told you so, is that the majority of the "best fans in baseball" are going to be screaming to NOT pay Matt Holliday now, forgetting about how much he bolstered the offense through the late part of the season. Go check out the message boards on for all of your Holliday bashing needs. For what it's worth I still don't think Holliday will re-sign here, and the negativity surrounding him now certainly won't help that (though it might drive his price down), but I think that any notion now of his signing at a "home-town discount" are out the window. Not to mention the Angels and Yanks both need OF help this offseason, have higher payrolls to play with, and are better teams. C'est la vie.

It may in fact be rebuilding time for St. Louis, an idea that I for one am all for. Maybe we will have some decent giveaways and lower concession prices and be able to sit wherever you want in the upper deck since it's not a sellout. A few losing seasons might prepare us for our next run at a string of postseason appearances, and that's not a bad thing in the long run. We've been very spoiled here this past decade. Time to give someone else a little run? Okay, as long as it's not the Cubs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Your Playoff Broadcasters.

While watching the start of the Cardinals-Dodgers game Cass reminded me that I picked the right girl by talking about how stupid everything that came out of Tim McCarver's mouth was.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Awesome

Hell yeah one game playoff. It's outstanding because it is impossible to predict and the most condensed form of sport there is, in the sense that no other sport plays 162 games and now the season comes down to just one game for both teams.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No 20-game Winners? YES!

It isn't simple schadenfreude that makes me so happy that both Adam Wainwright and C.C. Sabathia failed to collect their 20th wins last night. What really has me excited is the effect that C.C.'s loss and Wainwright's no decision could have on the Cy Young races; with no 20-game winner this year, voters will (hopefully) be more likely to delve beyond the wins column in selecting their candidates.

Now I don't mean to suggest that Sabathia and Wainwright don't deserve CYA votes. They absolutely do. But they shouldn't be getting many, if any, first place votes.

Let's start with Sabathia and the AL. The baseball worlds (all of them, from the traditional media outlets to the amateur blogroll) were abuzz with talk of Zach Greinke's amazing start. Then the wins started drying up, and fewer voices were raised in support of Zach. This isn't to say that Greinke supporters abandoned the cause, but a lot of the early hubbub was gone (particularly in traditional media) because the wins column wasn't 8-0 anymore. Why not? Because Greinke pitches for the Kansas City Royals.

Sabathia, on the other hand, led the American League in wins thanks in part to a Yankees offense that scored a shade under 6 runs per Sabathia start (versus 3.7 for Greinke in KC). Craig Brown over at the Hardball Times has created an excellent breakdown of the top Cy Young candidates in the AL. Although Brown leaves the question of who to choose somewhat open-ended (he is, however, a Greinke supporter, as am I), Sabathia's case really takes a hit when subjected to Brown's analysis. The only major statistical category in which Sabathia leads the pack is wins. Greinke, meanwhile, destroys the field in ERA, ERA+, PRC, and WAR, is tied for the lead in SHO, pitched in eight games in which his team gave him no more than 1 run of support, and had four wins blown by his bullpen.

Sabathia had a great year. Greinke, and arguably Halladay, Verlander, and King Felix, had a better one.

Meanwhile, on the NL side, Wainwright's 19 wins are the result of a fantastic year (and a potent offense), to be sure. But Adam Wainwright, as good as he was in '09, was not even the best starting pitcher on his own team.

Let's look at two seasons:

Season 1: 1.007 WHIP, 2.24 ERA, 186 ERA+, 192.2 IP, 144/38 K/BB, 7 HR, 3 CG, 1 SHO, 5.7 WAR

Season 2: 1.210 WHIP, 2.63 ERA, 159 ERA+, 233.0 IP, 212/66 K/BB, 17 HR, 1 CG, 0 SHO, 5.8 WAR

Season 1 is tops in WHIP, ERA, ERA+, K/BB ratio, BB, HR allowed, HR/9, BB/9, H/9, CG, and SHO. Season 2 leads in IP, K, and K/9, and has a slight edge in WAR.

Season 1 belongs to Chris Carpenter. Season 2 is Adam Wainwright's.

There are certainly arguments to be made for Wainwright over Carpenter: Wainwright ate up more innings, which kept spot starters and lesser bullpen arms off the mound. And 212 punch outs is pretty sexy. But Carpenter leads the Cardinals rotation in so many other important statistical categories while, importantly, not yielding much in the way of WAR to his teammate, that Wainwright is far from a slam dunk (and more likely a doink! in my book).

And the argument gets more complicated:

Carpenter: 1.007 WHIP, 2.24 ERA, 186 ERA+, 192.2 IP, 144/38 K/BB, 7 HR, 3 CG, 1 SHO, 5.7 WAR

Wainwright: 1.210 WHIP, 2.63 ERA, 159 ERA+, 233.0 IP, 212/66 K/BB, 17 HR, 1 CG, 0 SHO, 5.8 WAR

Lincecum: 1.047 WHIP, 2.48 ERA, 173 ERA+, 225.1 IP, 261/68 K/BB, 10 HR, 4 CG, 2 SHO, 8.3 WAR

Tim Lincecum put up another monster year in 2009 (even better than his 2008 campaign, in fact), further complicating things for voters. The leaderboard now?

Carpenter: WHIP, ERA, ERA+, BB, BB/9, HR, HR/9
Lincecum: K, K/9, K/BB, CG, SHO, WAR
Wainwright: IP

Wainwright's case gets even shakier, as both Carpenter and Lincecum have had ridiculous years. Wainwright, like Sabathia, was excellent in '09. But like Sabathia, he wasn't tops in his league. And thanks to last night, the door has been opened for deserving candidates to avoid the 20-win elephant in the voting booth when the Cy Young winners are determined later this month.