Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The Paul DePodesta Medal Of Honor . . .

Or PDMOH, was an award I started giving out last year to any player who was successful in some way during every plate appearance, and didn't create any outs on the bases. On Opening Day we had our first two winners of the season, old and new Yankees, Gary Sheffield and Tino Martinez. Sheffield had a single, double, two walks, and went from second to third on a grounder to second, all in four plate appearances, and even threw out a baserunner. Tino homered, doubled, singled, walked, and scored from second on a single.

Meanwhile, after getting two singles and a double in his last three at bats Opening Day, Toby Hall had another single and another double today, before being lifted for pinchhitter Geoff Blum with the Rays down 12-1. Blum struck out, while Hall leaves the game with a five at-bat hit streak and an .833 batting average.

Dave's Email

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Opening To A New Day

Every once in a while I have this conversation with my wife about how we live like kings. We eat foods from all over the world, we listen to the best musicians, we watch the greatest athletes. We have great theatre unfold over our TV screens each night. You get the picture. Anyway, this morning I experienced all this at higher level, a whole new plain of modern convenience.

I woke up, took a shower, and dragged myself downstairs. It's 5:30 am, and I click on ESPN2 to get the opening game of the 2004 Major League Baseball season - live from Japan. From there, I go into my kitchen to make some coffee and turn on my newest toy, an Audiovox Satellite Radio. It has 100 different channels of music and such, completely commercial-free. The lack of advertisers allows the satellite company, Sirius, to play whatever it wants to, and they do.

So the coffee's brewing, and I'm hearing an extended Widespread Panic jam as I check my email and my blog, my message to anyone anywhere on the planet. Then I'm drinking the same coffee as Toby Hall (catcher on my championship fantasy team) hits a two-run single, and the Allman Brothers play a cover of Robert Johnson's "Come on in My Kitchen", recorded live in the Sirius studios last year. Perfect.

Well, almost perfect. Hall gets thrown out by a country mile at second, which serves to remind me that:

A. Baseball is an incredibly frustrating form of entertainment, and
B. I'm completely disillusioned with the state of the Stat World..

Hall gets credit for two RBI and a single, for advancing one runner one base, another runner two bases, and making an out. Meanwhile, on the previous at bat, Julio Lugo hits a grounder that advances two baserunners one base each. He is credited with making an out. For those of you scoring at home (or, as Keith Olbermann used to say back when he was cool, even if you're alone), it comes out like this: Advancing runners three bases and making an out is recorded as a positive offensive performance, while advancing runners two bases and making an out is recorded as a negative offensive performance. Ridiculous.

Of course, those aren't the only important events missing from your morning box score. During the course of the Devil Rays' 8-3 victory, you could have seen:

- Aubrey Huff going from second to third on a fly ball to center by Julio Lugo.
- Rey Sanchez getting from first to second on a grounder to third.
- Sanchez and Damian Rolls advancing on a fly to center by Rocco Baldelli.
- Gary Sheffield going from second to third on a grounder by Jorge Posada.
- Hall going to third on a grounder to second by Carl Crawford.
- Baldelli going from first to third after Jason Giambi lets a pick-off throw go through his legs.

Ah well. The season has started, the Yankees lost, and I live in the lap of luxury. 21st Century King.

Sirius Satellite Radio

Dave's Email

Sunday, March 28, 2004


I musta got lost
I musta got lost
I musta got lost
Somewhere down the line
- J Geils Band

"We're dealing with a lot of shit here." - Crash Davis, on the mound in Bull Durham.

When I first hooked up Baseball, I figured it would all flow together seamlessly. I would stick with baseball through the spring and summer, post my entries here and there, and everything would work out fine on my path to glory. Well of course nothing quite goes the way you hope. I've received almost no hits from Baseball, which means that either A. They don't get as many hits as I thought, or B. I suck. I don't care much about that, except it has also interfered with the way I write. I keep looking for the home run, the big research-based essay on something that interests me, and neglecting to just pound the keys, and see what happens.

So I come before you today to share nothing of real value, but just to spill. Blogging for the sake of blogging. And you read all of those blogs out there, and I bet the vast majority of them are not trying to find time to write while also trying to:

- Watch a one-year old. My wife has had to work twice as many days this last week due to various tragedies befalling her co-workers.

- Fill out report cards. A pain in the butt.

- Get a mortgage. With no money.

- Hire a realtor. We had one chosen until she started arguing with me about the price of my house, even though I gave her a number in the range that she gave me! Then, the next person we tried to hire didn't return my call. We ended up with these two young guys who are full of shit, but have lots of energy.

- Deal with a housing inspector. The inspector says the storage space under the stairs MAY be a violation. I said to him, "You're the inspector. You're supposed to KNOW whether or not its a violation." He checked with some architects and the city, and it turned out it wasn't.

- Get ready for an open house. Now just 10 days away.

- Fix a toilet. It seems to be just a problem with the stopper, but I can't find one that fits quite right.

So anyway, I'm psyched for opening day, which I hear is sometime soon, and there will be BAP scores (remember those?) and even some new stuff that I've been pondering in my not-so-spare time.

Birthday this week, too. 40.

Dave's Email

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Hold Your Horses

Recently, I checked to see how the great young players of baseball (specifically, those 24 and under, who have played something near a full season) compared to those players of years gone by. I did this by going directly to, which can give you comparable players for every player at every age for all of time. This was the list I came up with, and the players they could be most closely compared to:

Albert Pujols = Joe DiMaggio
Rocco Baldelli = Tris Speaker
Hank Blalock = Scott Rolen
Corey Patterson = Jimmy Wynn
Adrian Beltre = Ron Santo
Mark Teixeira = Bob Robertson
Austin Kearns = Rondell White
Sean Burroughs = Red Smith
Adam Dunn = Pete Incaviglia
Carl Crawford = Jake Gettman

So this week I thought I'd do the same thing for pitchers. The ten pitchers I chose are Mark Prior, Josh Beckett, Brandon Webb, Carlos Zambrano, CC Sabathia, Horacio Ramirez, Jake Peavy, Dontrelle Willis, Jerome Williams, and Brett Myers. You can certainly argue about the merits of half of the people on this list. Rich Harden I didn't take because he hadn't thrown enough innings, same with KRod. Mark Buerhle and Johan Santana just missed the cut, turning 25 this month. Regardless, it's a pretty damn good group of young arms, isn't it? Would you trade them straight up for the ten young everyday players? I know the opinions on that question would never be unanimous, but I figure many of us would take the pitchers, if only because Prior and Beckett are already stars, and if only one more continues to develop, you've got yourself a World Series contender every year.

Or do you?

We all know the risk of drafting pitchers. High School pitchers are considered the largest draft gambles of any kind. College pitchers are much safer, but anyone can get hurt. But this group of ten I have here, they've already made it, haven't they? They're all in the Show, and they've all shown great promise (Willis, Williams) or true dominance (Prior and Beckett). These guys are safe, right?

Well, not quite. Here's the list of the ten young pitchers, and the most comparable players to them at the same age:

Prior - Vic Willis. A good start.
Beckett - Mark Baldwin.
Zambrano - Dennis Blair.
Webb - Ken Forsch
Sabathia - Ray Sadecki.
Ramirez - Kirk Rueter.
Willis - John Henry Johnson
Williams - Ramon Martinez
Peavy and Myers - each other. Next on the list for both of them is Jose Rosado (Peavy) and Pete Redfern (Myers).

What?! Outside of Vic Willis, this group is not only not outstanding, it's downright mediocre! There can be two reasons for this:

1. Even young successful pitchers are bad bets, or
2. We're overrating this group of young pitchers.

In order to figure out which it is, I figured out I would run the same test for current superstar pitchers, and budding superstar pitchers. The results are blurred.

Roger Clemens was comparable to Jim Palmer at the ages of 23 and 24.

Pedro Martinez didn't become comparable to anyone of consequence until the age of 26, when the most comparable player was Clemens.

Greg Maddux was even with Dennis Eckersley at 26, and a slew of Hall of Famers after that.

Curt Schilling? The best comparable is Bret Saberhagen, at 35.

Mike Mussina? Dwight Gooden at 34.

How about the younger guys?

Barry Zito, at 25, is best compared to Juan Marichal.
Mark Mulder, at 24, was comparable to Andy Pettite.
Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, and Kerry Wood haven't compared well to anyone special yet.
Johan Santana's most comparable player is Hall of Famer Herb Pennock.

Some of the conclusions here are obvious. First of all, injuries can curtail any career, and pitchers are more prone to that than hitters. Second, we all know pitchers take longer to develop. I guess what is surprising though is how unremarkable, historically speaking, the careers of our best young pitchers have been. You would think that Brandon Webb's rookie season would count for something more than Ken Forsch, but it doesn't.

The final lesson? If you're about to enter a fantasy league with protected rosters, proceed with great caution with the young pitchers.

Dave's Email

Monday, March 08, 2004

Spring Training Blues

Buying a house
and sick as a dog
Too crazy busy
and too crazy sick
Trying to come up
With something that sticks
Other than vomit
all over my shoes
Got a good case
Of the Spring Training Blues

Dave's Email

Monday, March 01, 2004


If you're just coming here from Baseball,welcome! I'm very excited to be a part of all that, except for one thing - it's not baseball season yet! Of course, it's real close, with the first ESPN game being Wednesday, but lately I've been writing about a wider variety of stuff. It is the off-season, after all.

So let me make some suggestions to you. First, check out anything I wrote during June, July, and August to get a feel for what's ahead this summer. I was off of work those months (I'm a teacher), and I'm really proud of that body of work. You might also want to look for a few of my favorite entries:

7/13 Brother Blood
6/24 Bruce in Fenway
6/23 Larry Doby and the Negro Leagues
7/8 kind of a self-portrait

Then, if you're still game, check out the BAP For Beginners link. It's a more complete explanation of some of the statistical stuff that you will find littered throughout the summer entries.

Finally, if you haven't dashed for the exits, say hello. I'd love to hear from you.

Dave's Email