Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Man In Underwear Beaten With Wiffle Ball Bat

Every once in a while, I come across a post that writes itself. Those are good days to be a blogger. Today, my friends, is one of those days. A man dressed only in his finest underpants was severely beaten with a Wiffle Ball bat after refusing to put on clothes...
Police say Fehr was sitting on his porch in his underwear when he was approached by 19-year-old Hector Morales Jr. and two other men. Morales told Fehr his girlfriend was coming over, and said Fehr was "being disrespectful" and told him to put some clothes on. When Fehr refused, Morales allegedly assaulted him with the bat, then began punching Fehr when the bat broke.
Normally I'd feel bad about making fun of man getting his jaw broken and teeth knocked out in a semi-random act of violence but a Wiffle Ball bat was involved. This story is so absurd, I don't even know where to start but let's see what happens...

1. How was Fehr being disrespectful by hanging out on his porch in his underwear? Massively obese? Sasquatch-esque body hair? Third nipple? I have a friend who refuses to wear a shirt at night and I own a Wiffle Ball bat. I've yet to assault him for lack of clothing with a flimsy plastic bat. But now the thought is firmly planted in my head.

2. When you're on your way to threaten your naked-ish neighbor, how is a Wiffle Ball bat the weapon of choice? You really couldn't find, um, a stick?

3. I throw a nearly un-hittable riser.

4. Was the bat half filled with sand for maximum weight transfer to add some power to the swing? I've said too much.

5. How drunk were all parties involved? On a scale of 1 to blind, I'm guessing Ray Charles.

6. Hahaha.

7. Will Fehr try to avenge his beating by running his attackers down in his Power Wheel?

8. How hot did that make Morales' girlfriend? I'm assuming she's batshit crazy.

9. Fehr had it coming. His pitch count was high and he was losing his command. The beating was inevitable.

Ah, good times. I'm hoping this story will help me get my Major League Wiffle Ball league up and running. The MLWB will take any publicity we can get.

CJ Wilson Knows When Tommy John Surgery Is Needed

C.J. Wilson is enjoying his breakout season as a starting pitcher with the Texas Rangers with a 2.88 ERA but a 3.58 FIP. He's been good but also lucky with a .257 BABIP. What I didn't realize is that the left hander is also an expert on pitching mechanics. Wilson apparently called Stephen Strasburg's need for Tommy John surgery well before the first MRI...
"I was sitting in Baltimore [Saturday] watching and I said he needed Tommy John," Wilson said. "I saw it before it happened.

"I saw him moving his arm around, and then the way his arm was rebounding after his throw. When you see a guy with a healthy arm it just works a certain way. When you see something that isn't healthy, it's very obvious to the trained eye."
That's an impressive talent he has to foresee devastating elbow injuries before they happen. Of course, he goes on to say that every pitcher will get hurt except for Mariano Rivera because he has perfect mechanics. I suppose there's something to Wilson's theory though and he surely knows more about pitching than I do. We've all heard that the human arm isn't designed to throw a baseball and especially not 100 MPH. But I won't feel like a genius for predicting Aroldis Chapman's Tommy John surgery (it's September 19 and I will feel like a genius).

Wilson is familiar with the big TJ as he underwent the surgery in 2003. The Rangers pitched Wilson out of the bullpen until this year and it has work out well for them. As valuable as Wilson has been on the field, he might have some added value off the field where he has a knack for predicting injuries and successful surgeries...
"Everybody's going to get hurt eventually. Some guys, it's going to be their hip or their oblique or their ankle. People said Strasburg had perfect mechanics. He didn't.

"He'll be fine, though. He'll come back strong."
Dusty Baker think that quote is hilarious.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is David Nied.

Yankees 11, Athletics 5. I'd say the signing of Marcus Thames has been one of the highlights of the 2009-2010 off-season for the Yanks. Thames, who had a .320/.401/.544 slash line and a 158 OPS+ in 172 plate appearances coming into Monday's game, popped a three-run home run, his sixth in his last five starts, helping make Trevor Cahill look human (4 IP, 8 ER). And Thames has done all this with the middle name of Markley. Impressive. Encouraging stuff from Javy Vazquez out of the bullpen-4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 K-making a no-decisoner out of Dustin Moseley.

Astros 3, Cardinals 0. You know the old saying: if it's late August, J.A. Happ's about to throw a complete game. Happ allowed two hits and a walk, dominating the Cards for his first complete since last August 27. You know the other old saying: Jason Castro went 0-for-3 again.

Braves 9, Mets 3. The top three in the Atlanta lineup-Omar Infante, Jason Heyward and Martin Prado-went 8-for-14 with 7 RBIs and the Braves improved to a dominant, 47-18 at Turner Field.

Cubs 14, Pirates 2. Crazy person Carlos Zambrano somehow managed to pitch 5 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run or screaming at a four-year girl for spilling her Dippin Dots. Zambrano also hit a two-run home run in the fifth and thanked the rooster in his ear.

Reds 5, Brewers 4 (10). Jay Bruce singled off Trevor Hoffman in the 10th and the Red Stockings now have a six-game lead on the Cards in the Central. That division may be over. More alarming is the fact that I think Trevor Hoffman may be over.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Jeter Situation

I'd like to begin this post by stating how big a fan of Derek Jeter I am. He's been a very good-to-great player for the Yankees since he broke in with the 1996 championship team-the first title for my generation of Yankees fans. We've grown up with Jeter at shortstop every day and have trouble imagining the day when he, and Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, aren't wearing pinstripes. This isn't about what Jeter has been. This is about what Jeter is and what is about to become of him. First will start with three things you may or may not know about No. 2:

1. Jeter is the captain of the Yankees.
2. He's been a Yankee his entire career.
3. He makes a lot of money.

Now that we've gotten everything out on the table, the Yankees and their fans know what 2010 means: it's the last year of Jeter's contract that paid him $21.6 million from 2007-2009 and $22.6 million this season. So I'd like to introduce a new segment here at Offbase entitled It's Time for Yankees Fans to be Honest With Themselves , brought to you by The People to Convince Delusional Yankees Fans in 2005 that Alex Rodriguez is 75 billion Times Better Than 75 Billion Scott Brosius' Stacked On Top of Each Other.

$22.6 million is an absurd figure for any player, including people like Albert Pujols, but for Jeter it's almost laughable. While a very good player for many years-.314/.385/.454, 120 OPS+ career through Sunday's games-and a great player in six different seasons (1998, '99, '00, '03, '06 and last season)-Jeter is not worth twenty-two million dollars per season. His 2010 numbers are really down, but I'm not piling on the NY shortstop because he's having his first bad season (.716 OBS, 97 OPS+). But it does present a problem the Yankees organization is going to have to deal with in three months when Jeter becomes a free agent: either over-pay Jeter, again, or see him GASP! go to another team for much, much, much less than he would make with NY.

Do I want Jeter to finish his career for another team? No. I do not. I think Derek Jeter has meant a great deal to the Yankees organization, on and off the field. He deserves to get to 3,000 hits and try to win more championships with the New York Yankees. But it's going to come at a huge cost and I just don't think anyone, in his age-37 year coming off a sub-par season, is worth tens of millions of dollars.

"But Derwood, the Yankees can afford it! Money is no object to them!"

Settle down, Anthony in Poughkeepsie. Despite the Yankees' high payroll, money IS an object to them. OK, it apparently wasn't an object when they signed Kei Igawa, but we all make embarrassing mistakes. This may sound ridiculous coming from a team that is going to have to pay Alex Rodriguez until he's 83-years old, but money is an object when, instead of giving $21 million to Jeter, they could give Jeter $5 or $6 million and take the other $15 million and

1. Improve the pitching staff
2. Improve the bench
3. Give me some

I'm not trying to say that Jeter isn't worth retaining for the remainder of his career. I'm not here to condemn Jeter for his rough 2010 and send him packing once free agency hits. The point of this post is to try and put some rational thoughts into certain Yankees fan's heads. A man with a 1.1 WAR who can't field a ground ball to his left and is closer to 37 than 36, isn't a $22 million-a-year player.

Louie Fatchabroote in White Plains, and millions of his closest friends, including dozens of dumb broadcasters and commentators, think the Yanks should just give Jeter whatever he wants this off-season because he's a true Yankee and he shouldn't wear another jersey and his mom and dad are always shown in the crowd cheering. Apparently, Jeter is the only player in the history of baseball who played for the same organization his entire career and has parents.

Tim McCarver said on a FOX broadcast earlier in the season that if Jeter didn't sign with the Yankees after the 2010 season it'd be a "travesty." But this isn't about how much of an idiot Tim McCarver is. That's tomorrow's post. No, this is about the Jeter situation: a career Yankee who has all of these invisible contributions like "clutchness", "leadership" and "intangibles" and has put himself in a situation where he can basically name his price and if the NY organization doesn't oblige, they'll have to listen to fans who only listen to Tim McCarver. You wouldn't want to be in that room. And I don't blame Derek Jeter at all. He's the most-famous baseball player on the richest team in the most-famous city in the world. Good for him for getting as much money as he can, but the Yankees are in a situation where they have to pay Jeter Pujols money-times-two for the next two or three years, and I don't think that's the right move for my favorite baseball team.

The Strange Case Of Tony La Russa And Colby Rasmus

Cardinals' center fielder Colby Rasmus can't seem to find his way into the lineup recently. And your guess why is as good as his since he proclaimed himself healthy following a calf injury. La Russa, however, still refuses to plug him back into the lineup even though Rasmus was on yesterday's original card. Is it just precautionary health measures?...
"When a guy's ready, you give him one more day just to have that peace of mind."

Which doesn't sound weird, except for the part about Rasmus being in the original lineup that was posted for two hours. Rasmus didn't make it an issue after the game, but reading between the lines most writers covering the Cardinals seem convinced that his relationship with La Russa has gotten very bad.
So what's really going on here? How did the relationship get to be so fractured? TLR rationalizes it's an approach problem for the young outfielder...
"He's had all the work," La Russa said. "He's never backed off the work, taking batting practice. I think it all has to do with what his concentration is, and what his focus is. I do believe that -- you just watch his swings in batting practice and in the game -- I think he is convinced that he helps us more if he just yanks the ball out of the park. That normally is not the case, because you're limiting yourself to a side of the park and you're vulnerable to too many pitches. We really push, 'Just play the game.' That's what Jon [Jay] does. He plays the game. take a single, take a walk, let the home runs come."
So Colby isn't getting at bats because he doesn't 'just play the game' like Jon Jay does? Rasmus is hitting .268/.352/.501 which might not look as good as Jon Jay's .330/.379/.481 at first glance. But Jay's .376 BABIP compared to Rasmus' .341 suggests Jay has been more lucky at the plate. Plus Rasmus has a better BB% (11.4) than Jay (7.0) which should offset some of the perceived OBP discrepancy.

It doesn't end there though. I completely agree with Vivo El Birdos that this isn't a Rasmus vs. Jay argument. There is room for both of them in the outfield and the lineup. There is something else going on here. This seems like a perfect time for some wild and careless speculation.

1. Inappropriate joke about Colby Rasmus and one of TLR's estranged daughters. Preferably the 25-year-old but you guys can do what ever you want with this one.

2. Rasmus drank the last of TLR's Jack Daniels and he had to drive home sober. *takes shot, bangs gong*

3. Rasmus' -4.5 UZR in center field is simply unacceptable. This is the least likely unless TLR figured out his dial-up password and stumbled onto FanGraphs.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Quinton Antoine "True QAM" McCracken and he's here to tell you that Carlos Gonzalez is good at baseball.

What's up kids? I'm bringing you a super late edition of Jobu today because Derwood spent all day at a bindle packing seminar at the ATL hobo conference. I'll probably be in charge tomorrow too seeing as how they have a big canned bean exhibit.

Rockies 10, Dodgers 5. The aforementioned CarGo went 3-4 with 2 home runs taking him to 29 on the season. Gonzalez is hitting .326/.360/.595 for the season and makes the Rox a dangerous team next year if Tulo can stay healthy. Manny Ramirez was ejected after the first pitch he saw when he pinch hit in the 6th inning. A classic Manny send off for his final Dodgers' plate appearance.

Orioles 1, Angels 0. Jered Weaver gave up the lone run in 8 innings of 11 strikeout ball. He was no match for the Buck Showalter express though. Showalter is now 6-0 against the Angels this season which makes me both drink and cry.

Phillies 5, Padres 0. Cole Hamels cruised through 8 innings of 4-hit shutout ball and it's a good thing because Chase Utley isn't helping at all. Utley continues to struggle after his return from the DL going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. He must still be hurt, there's no other explanation.

Royals 6, Indians 2. Wilson Betemit went 0-2 with 3 walks and has a .420 OBP this year. That is all.

Mets 5, Astros 1. Who would have thought R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole would be dragging the Mets to wins in late August? Thole went 2-3 with a home run. Dickey went 2-3 with 2 RBI and pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball. I have got to learn how to throw a knuckleball before I turn 35.

Manny Jettisoned From Mannywood

The Dodgers have agreed to send Manny Ramirez to the White Sox for a player to be named later or not. From what I understand, the Dodgers might kick in some cash to cover the $3.825 million due to Manny over the remainder of the season to receive a prospect in return or they might just allow Manny to go to Chicago on a straight waiver claim. John Heyman (via Twitter) seems to think the latter is the more likely outcome. This appears to be the Dodgers waiving the white flag on the season as they are 10 games back of division leading San Diego. What a bunch of jerks San Diego is with all of their perfect weather and winning record.

Manny is in the stretch drive of a 2-year, $45 million contract. When healthy, Manny is still among the best hitters in the league with a .311/.405/.510 line. Unfortunately, playing in the National League forced him to strap on the leather and attempt to field. UZR/150 has him at his usual comical rate of -19.1 but he shouldn't have to play much outfield in Chicago.

This is the typical bold move Kenny Williams makes for the White Sox as they make their push for the playoffs. Last year Williams traded for Jake Peavy's massive contract on the wrong side of his production level. Peavy had season-ending surgery in July. Williams made a similar waiver claim last year picking up Alex Rios' ridiculous contract. The Rios deal doesn't look as insane this year. He's hitting .288/.335/.463 and his 2.9 WAR makes him worth around $11.7 million compared to the $10.2 million he's making. Of course, that contract just gets worse over the next four years so the jury is still out on that one.

Manny will be a free agent at the end of the year and is usually at his best behavior when he first arrives to a new team. This should be a good move for the White Sox as they're only 4.5 games back from the Twins. If they're only just picking up the remaining salary, the deal looks even better.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Andre Ethier's Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

Baseball gave me a quick day off between Golden Sombreros to focus on my fantasy football draft. I think it went pretty good. I have Mike Vick, Rae Carruth and OJ Simpson. We have a very unique scoring system. Andre Ethier put up a criminal performance at the dish today (best segue I ever wrote) going 0-5 with 4 strikeouts. Ethier is having a good offensive season with his .298/.362/.513 line while his defense continues to get worse in the outfield over the past 3 years according to UZR (-15.1 currently). I'm not sure what to make of Ethier because I've never owned him in a fantasy league and I pretend there's only one team in Los Angeles (even though it's in Anaheim).

Let's take a look at Andre's strikeouts while I petition for an In 'N Out Burger in New Orleans...

Top 1st: Ethier struck out swinging against Jason Hammel. What's up Jason Hammel, did you get my email?

Top 5th: Ethier struck out swinging against Jason Hammel. Turns out I had the wrong Jason Hammel.

Top 7th: Ethier struck out looking against Matt Reynolds. First glance, I thought it was Mark Reynold and was going to take this post in a different direction. Hilarity did not ensue.

Top 8th: Ethier struck out swinging against Matt Belisle, I think.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ryan Howard's Golden Sombrero, Again

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

Any time you give Ryan Howard extra innings, you give me the opportunity to hand out a Golden Sombrero. While Howard is having a disappointing season, for me, at the dish with only 123 strikeouts (good for 10th), he did miss some time on the DL and should be able to rebound to finish in the top 5 in strikeouts in the NL. But if Howard gets and extra inning or two, he's almost a lock for the big Mexican hat. And that's exactly what the Padres gave him yesterday, resulting in a 1-5, 4 strikeout appearance. At the end of the season, we'll crown our first Off Base Golden Sombrero champion and I have faith that Howard will be in the mix with Mark Reynolds and Jason Heyward. Reynolds is the leader in the clubhouse with 4 and has the uncanny ability to put 2 up a week down the stretch. He wants it more.

Let's take a peek at Howard's at bats yesterday to see where everything went wrong...

Top 1st: Howard struck out looking against Mat Latos. Latos appears to be a stud in the making but Howard didn't even take the bat off of his shoulder for the 3 pitches.

Top 3rd: Howard struck out looking against Latos again. He watched one ball just for good measure.

Top 6th: Howard struck out swinging against Latos.

Top 12th: Howard struck out looking against somebody named Ernesto Frieri.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Mike Lansing, MTD's ex-boyfriend.

Reds 7, Cubs 1. Jay Bruce capped off a nine-pitch at bat with a walk in the first inning, then saw six pitches in his next three at-bats and homered each time, contributing heavily to Another Horrifying Moment in the 2010 Cubs Season (brought to you by the 1990 New York Yankees).

Indians 15, Royals 4. Cleveland tagged KC starter Bryan Bullington for seven earned in four innings. That sound you heard was your old pal Derwood throwing up in an ankle sock.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 0. Thursday, Ian Kennedy gave up one hit in eight dominant innings. Friday, a man called Barry Enright pitched seven shut out innings as Arizona handed Tim Lincecum his fifth consecutive loss.

Brewers 7, Pirates 2. Andy LaRoche: 0-for-3.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yovani Gallardo's Bad Day

The Brewers' 24-year-old ace had a worse day than you yesterday even if you mistook the liquid paper as creamer and spent the afternoon in the bathroom. Yovani Gallardo is actually having his best season in his young career with a 3.50 ERA, a .299 FIP and 9.97 K/9. He also inked a 5-year, $30 million extension earlier this year. Everything was coming up Yovani until yesterday.

Gallardo spent 6.1 innings getting lit up by the Dodgers to the tune of 6 runs on 8 hits. He did manage to strikeout 10 and only walk 2 but the ERA damage was done. This would also be the high point of his day. Gallardo and a clubhouse attendant were robbed at gunpoint hours after the game in a grocery store parking lot. That Milwaukee is just incorrigible with all of its armed robbery and gang violence. Luckily nobody was seriously injured so I don't feel bad about making light of the situation. And isn't that all that matters, that I don't feel bad?

The armed man, still on the lamb, approached Gallardo and the attendant in the parking lot and demanded cash and jewelry. The attendant, Alex Snachez, was hit in the head but didn't suffer a serious injury. I couldn't find any details on the amount of cash or jewelry that was stolen. Early wild and careless speculation indicates a watch with a diamond encrusted face the size of a baby's head and a gold rope chain with a Mercedes ornament hanging from it were among the items lost.

This never would have happened if they weren't a on midnight run to pick up 4 dozen vegetarian Hot Pockets for Prince Fielder.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Mike Gallego.

Nationals 11, Cardinals 10 (13). Albert Pujols became the third-fastest to 400 home runs (Alex, Grifey Jr.) Thursday, but Ian Desmond stole the potato with a walk-off single in the 13th.

Tigers 7, Bluejays 1. Brady Anderson hit his 41st home run for Toronto.

Diamondbacks 11, Padres 5. It's time for the San Diego Padres to re-evaluate the direction of the organization because Ian Kennedy just threw seven, one-hit innings and struck out 12. That's like when MTD mowed through the Vennington subdivision lineup in the district wiffle ball finals in 1995. Everyone thought he was a bum and his career was over, but he struck out 14 that day with his famous Booger Ball.

Dodgers 7, Brewers 1. Any time you can get 4 1/3 one-walk innings out of George Sherrill, Kenley Jansen, Octavio Dotel and Jeff Weaver, something went right that day. Weaver's performance was the most baffling: he faced three batters and got each one of them out.

Marlins 11, Mets 4. The magical season in Flushing continued Thursday as Jonathan Niese put on a one-man show called Do I Smell Like Andy Hawkins Yet?, firing 5 2/3 innings of seven-run ball. Hanley Ramirez had a decent three-game series, going 10-for-15.

The Sky Fell: Stephen Strasburg Edition

It was fun while it lasted. The Washington Nationals ruined my morning by announcing The Phenom Stephen Strasburg has a "significant tear" in his ulnar collateral ligament which will likely send him to Doc Andrews for Tommy John surgery. This is easily the most disappointing news to come out of Washington D.C. since some political reference. I'm too distraught to even come up with a decent joke. Strasburg-Mania is likely to be shelved for 12-18 months after surgery and rehab. The good news is that he's still just 22-years-old and most pitchers come back almost as strong post TJ.

The bad news is the time that it takes to recover and return to effectiveness. Jordan Zimmermann made his first start last night for the Nats after a 399 day layoff from his Tommy John surgery. It wasn't pretty. He lasted 4 innings and surrendered 5 earned runs on 7 hits. Francisco Liriano had the surgery after the 2006 season and is just now returning to a resemblance of his former effectiveness. Josh Johnson might be the best case scenario for bandwagon jumping Nationals fans such as myself. Johnson went under the knife in August 2007 and returned to the mound in a speedy 11 months. In 47 starts between 2008-2009, he posted a 3.34 ERA and a 3.15 strikeout to walk ratio. This year, Johnson is having his best season with a 2.36 ERA which is right inline with his 2.53 FIP and he should contend for the NL Cy Young.

So is it reasonable to think Strasburg could be contending for the NL Cy Young by 2013 as a 25-year-old? I'd probably take that bet. His pure stuff is so devastating that if he only returns to live at 97 mph instead of 99, he will still make hitters looks foolish with his change up. But 2013 ain't next year and this is severely going to hurt his chase for Cy Young's win record and Nolan Ryan's strikeout record. I normally wouldn't care about such unlikely things except I'm such an impetuous gambler. My grandpa isn't going to be happy to learn I bet his house on Strasburg striking out 400 next season. Sure, I might have been caught up in the hype but I hedged my bet by taking the over 80 on Bryce Harper home runs next season. I'm not a fool.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Offbase Off the Field

Offbase Off the Field is our recap of two events which have nothing to do with what happened on the field. Otherwise the segment would be called Shit That Happened on the Field.

Pitcher Delusional, Still Under Contract

Mets "pitcher" Oliver Perez said he wants to return to New York in 2011. Perez told ESPNNewYork.com "I want to be back here. I want to have a championship because I know the fans want it and I want it, too."

I didn't know the Mets and Perez were in contention for the 2011 Alpharetta (GA) Co-Ed D-League slow-pitch softball championship. Good for them.

Anyway, Perez hasn't pitched in two weeks, having maintained a permanent residence on the DNP-manager's decision list. Basically, he's the Adam Morrison of Major League Baseball. While pitching in 2010, Perez put together an eery impersonation of Dave LaPoint (43 IP, 37 BB, 2.02 WHIP, 6.70 ERA), but the Mets have very little leeway with Perez since he's set to make $12 million next season as part of a three-year, $36 million contract an armadillo dressed as GM Omar Minaya gave him two seasons ago.

Four People Set to Interview for Cubs Managerial Job; Cubs Expected to Remain Horrible

Chicago, currently under the tootelage of Jim Riggleman 2.0, Mike Quade, interviewed Eric Wedge today and is planning on interviewing current coach Ryne Sandberg, former Marlins' manager Fredi Gonzalez and former terrible infielder Pat Listach. Sandberg, who shouldn't be a Hall of Famer, but is anyway, seems to be the sentimental choice because Cubs fans want one of their own even though most of their own have been painfully dissapointing for the past 100 years.

The Offbase pick for the next Chicago manager: Stump Merrill.

MVP Mike Trout And The Future Of The Angels

Occasionally, I write a post that's pretty much just for me. Sometimes it's necessary to shake loose writers block, sometimes it's to vent about a baseball issue that's bothering me, sometimes it's simply to ramble on about Mike Trout. Well, today you get the perfect storm of all three. Mike Trout was named the MVP of his low A league today so we're going to start with him.

Trout hit 6 home runs and .362/.454/.526 with 45 stolen bases as an 18-year-old at Cedar Rapids. Even with his absurd .420 BABIP, that's a damn impressive stat line for a kid that young. During the Future's Game at the All Star break, scouts were talking (on Twitter) about Trout having 80 speed while being built like a linebacker. Trout was promoted to high A and has struggled a bit. The BABIP tumbled to a slightly more realistic .344 and he's got a couple of home runs to go with a .294/.368/.405 line. Still enough to be the top prospect in the minors as a freshly turned 19-year-old, isn't that right Keith Law...
Ben S (NJ)

Who's the top prospect remaining in the minors?

Klaw (1:52 PM)

Mike Trout.

Trout gives Angels fans something to be excited about in an otherwise disappointing season. My beloved Halos have struggled this season and an early season-ending injury to Kendry Morales and mid season-ending injury to Joel Pinero certainly didn't help. The Angels are 10 games back in the AL West and 2 games under .500. I'm guessing the team .319 OBP is a problem but I'm sure they'll finish with a winning record despite a negative run differential yet again. But that's probably fodder for another post.

Jered Weaver is having an ace caliber season leading the league in strikeouts with a sustainable 3.31 FIP and a 3.03 WPA. Ervin Santana is back to his inconsistent self posting a 4.51 FIP and a 1.89 WPA. I'm still cautiously optimistic that Santana can at least be a decent to good mid-rotation starter. The crown jewel of the Angels season was a pre-deadline deal that landed the Halos Dan Haren over the next several seasons at a below market price. With Pinero returning, the rotation should be solid next year.

The bullpen, ugh. Scot Shields and Brian Fuentes should be departing so right there you get some solid addition by subtraction. I have hope for Kevin Jepsen and recently transitioned Jordan Walden. I'm more skeptical about Fransisco Rodriguez Part Two but, as I previously mentioned, I'm no scout. The bullpen should be more effective next season despite what Fernando Rodney has to say about it.

The infield seems to be more or less set with Kendry Morales returning to his slugging role at first base. Howie Kendrick will man second and hopefully become that batting average title contender that he appeared to be in the minors. Erick Aybar will handle short and probably leadoff with his glistening .322 OBP but he plays "Scioscia Ball" so, um, there. Third base will be manned by some sort of Alberto Callaspo/Brandon Wood combo. *wipes away tears* Mike Napoli is no world class receiver behind the plate but he can at least provide some pop. Jeff Mathis and his .220 OBP should be jettisoned to 1902. Hank Conger is on his way up from Triple A but I doubt Scioscia will be a big fan of his receiving skills.

If you made it this far, you're in for a treat. The outfield future of the Angels gets me excited in a way that your sister used to. The Halos called up next-to-top-prospect Peter Bourjos to man center while moving Torii Hunter to right field. Hunter is having a fine season with 18 homers and a .290/.369/.482 line. Is he worth $18 million per season? I don't know but he is a hell of an ambassador for the Angels. The Angels plan on pursuing Carl Crawford in the offseason and wisely put his locker next to Hunter's for the All Star Game.

Allow me to wildly speculate on the Angels hot stove spending. Arte Moreno has no problem opening up the check book when he feels it's deserved and to land Crawford, he might have to write a blank check. Putting Carl Crawford next to Peter Bourjos in center and across the field from Torii Hunter in right, you have the best defensive outfield in baseball. With Trout getting a cup of coffee as a 20-year-old next season, the Halos outfield situation makes me almost schoolgirl giddy.

So fellow Angels fans, there is hope for next season. It also doesn't hurt that the only real competition in the West is a pretty good Texas Rangers team. The A's just keep spinning their wheels and nobody knows what's going on in Seattle. Or maybe I just wrote 700 words to get me through the last month of the regular season.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Marty Clary.

Rockies 12, Braves 10
Reds 12, Giants 11 (12)

In Colorado, everything was coming up Rafael Belliard as the Braves led 10-1 in the fourth. It was 10-2 when Colorado scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth to cut it to 10-8. Kyle Farnsworth, auditioning for the Indians' 7th-inning role in 2011, was involved in the four-run meltdown in the eighth as Troy Tulowitzki singled in the go-ahead run to match the biggest come back in club history.

More horrifying pitching out in San Fran. The Reds also led 10-1 before the Giants clawed back with four runs in the fifth and sixth innings, then ordered the usual: a Juan Uribe three-run home run (known as the "No. 83" in San Francisco). 10-8. 76-year old Arthur Rhodes relieved and two singles, a double and a sac fly later, the Giants led 11-10. Cincy tied it in the ninth, then with Barry Zito pitching out of the bullpen in the 12th, Joey Votto singled in the go-ahead run to complete the UpBigDamnitWeStunkAndLostTheLeadButWaitWeTiedItAgainHeyThatGuySingledWeWon victory. Blog favorite Buster Posey: 0-for-6.

Royals 4, Tigers 3 (12). KC manager inserted Willie Bloomquist into the third spot in the order to attempt to spark the offense, which is like saying I added motor oil to my plate of spaghetti to give it more flavor. Yost also guaranteed reporters before the game that Bloomquist would get "a couple hits". Yost was right: Bloomquist DID get a couple of hits...two...in six plate appearances. But one of the hits was a go-ahead, solo home run in the 12th, so that should signal the beginning of NeddyYostSmartBall.

Cubs 4, Nationals 0. Mike Quade is 3-0 as interim manager and is the first Cubs' skipper to win his first three since Jim Riggleman went 4-0 in 1995. In a related story, Jim Riggleman's Washington Nationals fell to 53-74 with Wednesday's loss to Chicago.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ryan Howard's Platinum Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

I went on a little strikeout vacation and missed 6 Golden Sombreros between August 11-16 and for that, I apologize. With everybody striking out at a ridiculous pace, I ran out of pinata blooper videos and tequila jokes. But if there was anything to snap me out of my funk, it was Ryan Howard's performance last night.

Howard snagged the Olympic Rings in a mind blowing 0-7, 5-strikeout day at the plate. His check swing punchout in the 14th inning drew his ire prompting some helmet tossing and wild gesturing. Which of course led to his ejection. Then Raul Ibanez replaced the swing and miss prone slugger at first base and Roy Oswalt made his left field debut.

The real shame in this is that Howard had 7 plate appearances and was robbed of a potential 8th. I could be writing Howard's Horn or Titanium Sombrero right now. While I try to remain positive that Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds have a 6 strikeout game in them somewhere, let's take a look at Howards' day of futility...

Bottom 1st: Howard struck out looking against Bud Norris. Howard wasted no time but neither did Chase Utley who struck out swinging right before Howard. Did the Phillies rush their meat of the order back from the DL too soon? I can see this kind of slump for Howard but not Chase! I refuse to believe he's healthy.

Bottom 6th: Howard struck out swinging against Norris. Howard mixed in a fly out in the 3rd to keep things interesting.

Bottom 8th: Howard struck out swinging against Gustavo Chacin.

Bottom 10th: Howard struck out swinging against Fernando Abad. Howard is an equal opportunity swinger and misser, he doesn't care if I've heard of the pitcher or not.

Bottom 14th: Howard struck out swinging against Mark Melancon. This was the infamous check swing call that went against Howard causing him to go a wee bit crazy all over third base umpire Scott Barry. He threw his bat and helmet and charge after Barry flashing what I thought were gang signs. But I came to my senses and remembered this isn't the NBA.

Not a good night for Ryan Howard but I had a blast. Sure, I was denied a Titanium Sombrero by a fly out, foul out and overzealous umpire but this certainly rejuvenated my appreciation for a hitter sucking as bad as possible at the plate. Thank you, Ryan Howard.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Wendell Magee Jr. and he's here to remind you that playing left field isn't that hard. Now getting on base, that's a different issue.

Astros 4, Phillies 2 (16). You give Ryan Howard extra innings to play with and something exciting is bound to happen. Howard went 0-7 with 5 strikeouts (more on that later today) and wasn't pleased with his 5th one in the 14th inning. Howard voiced his displeasure and was asked to please leave the game. The ejection moved Raul Ibanez to first base and Roy Oswalt into left field. The ball quickly found Oswalt in the outfield but he made the routine catch. Oh yeah, then the Astros won. Back to the Phillies, Jayson Werth with the great post-game quote...
"I'm not sure what I think about the whole situation," right fielder Jayson Werth said. "I think I'll take a nap, wake up refreshed and pretend the whole thing didn't happen."
Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5. The Yankees, upset at the lack of vowels in Marc Rzepczynski's name, battered the pitcher for 6 runs off of 8 hits including 3 home runs. Then they smacked around Brian Tallet just for fun. Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada each went 4-5 with home runs while Eduardo Nunez went 1-5 in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees haven't missed A-Rod's offense one bit prompting most New Yorkers to wonder if there's a way to void his contract. I'm pretty sure that centaur painting is grounds for termination.

Cubs 5, Nationals 4. Carlos Zambrano pitched 7.1 innings and gave up 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 8 for the win. Alfonso Soriano hit a 3-run home run. I don't want to alarm anyone but I believe those are signs of the Apocalypse. I'm duct taping sheets of plastic to my windows as we speak. That should keep the zombies out.

Mariners, Red Sox: DNP

Giants 16, Reds 5. Reds' rookie pitchers Travis Wood and Mike Leake combined to take a worse beating than the CEO of BP. Wood gave up 7 runs on 7 hits over 4 innings. Leake followed that up with a "anything you can do, I can eff up even worse" performance. Leake managed to surrender 6 runs on 6 hits in 1 mere inning. Blog favorite Buster Posey went 1-5 with a 3-run home run.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekly Cup Of Joe: Tim Raines Edition

I prefer to think of this as more of a tribute to Fire Joe Morgan than a blatant ripoff. But who are we really kidding here?

I took the last couple of weeks of from Joe Morgan's chats over at the Four Letter because I was afraid of all the brain damage. But it's Tuesday and I'm a masochist so I strapped on my special helmet and dove into this week's Joe Chat. Instead of just blasting away at some nonsensical answer, I'm actually using this question and answer for a jumping off point for something I was planning on writing anyway. Let's grab that nugget of wisdom...
Tito (Brooklyn)

What do you think is more important from the leadoff hitter in a batting lineup: speed or OBP?

Joe Morgan (11:25 AM)

A perfect leadoff hitter does both. You want guys to get on base. There were a lot of guys who hit first and got on base but didn't have speed. Wade Boggs comes to mind. He got on base a lot and gave his team a chance to score runs. Now if a guy gets on base and has speed, he can help the team score runs by himself. If he doesn't have speed, then you can still get on base and help the team score runs within the team concept.

Joe Morgan (11:27 AM)

The perfect blend is getting on base with speed and Rickey Henderson comes to mind with that. But as we both know Rickey and Boggs are both in the hall of fame.
Rickey Henderson comes to mind, huh Joe? Well Rickey is the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of baseball with a career .401 OBP and the all time steals record of 1406 (second is Lou Brock with 938). Henderson was the prototype for leadoff hitters, the perfect combo. Somewhere along the line, managers fell too in love with the speed and now Ozzie Guillen has no problem leading off with Juan Pierre and his .348 career OBP. Sure speed at the top of the order is nice but getting on base is, well, the most important part of baseball from the hitter aspect. Or not making an out but now we're just arguing semantics. Rickey got on base 40 percent of the time. Then with the combination of his speed and forcing the pitcher to throw from the stretch, he gave the rest of his lineup the advantage. Which leads me to the next best leadoff hitter.

Why isn't Tim Raines a first ballot Hall of Famer? No, really, I'm asking. By the way, my love for Raines has nothing to do with my recent affair with the Expos that started here and continued here with their draft history and will end in the not foreseeable future. Okay, maybe that has a little something to do with it but it's mainly stat based love. Raines is 5th all time in stolen bases with 808 and sports a career .294/.385/.425 line. He was overshadowed by Rickey but that's certainly no excuse for his lack of Hall of Fame votes.

Raines is tied with Ozzie Smith for the 82nd best career WAR of 64.60 according to Baseball-Reference. Now, I can't really get a grip on Raines' fielding because Fangraphs' Total Zone has him all over the place throughout his career and there aren't any UZR stats for him except for the brief 2002 stint with the Marlins. Either way, WAR puts him into the top 100 players of all time which should get him much more HOF love. Still not convinced? Go check out our friends at Raines30 who have put together Rock's Hall of Fame case better than I can.

I'm not sure what the argument is against Tim Raines. I don't even hear a big backlash against his drug use either. There's no stat based reason I can see. How about some more nerdy stats? Rickey's career wOBA .386, Rock's career wOBA .374. Raines has the advantage in batting average (.294-.279) and slugging (.425-.419) but trails in the all important leadoff categories of on base (.401-.385) and steals (1406-808). Rickey was clearly the prototype but if Raines wasn't built in his image then I don't know who was.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Bip Roberts.

Rangers 4, Twins 0. Rich Harden, who came off the DL a few hours before Monday's game, and three relievers had a no-hitter through 8 1/3 innings before that bum Joe Mauer singled. Andres Blanco: second-inning single.

Giants 11, Reds 2. Edinson Volquez became the latest pitcher to perform in the famous musical Steve Trout: My Story. Volquez faced 10 batters and got two of them out, allowing five earned runs in the first inning as San Fran rolled.

Cubs 9, Nationals 1. The Cubbies had their first good news since May, 2006 as rookie Casey Coleman allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings for his first ML win. In other news, Andrew Cashner pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings and was final given his own locker with a name plate.

Tigers 12, Royals 3. Like MTD (near-overdose on paper clips) Jesse Chavez did not have a very good Monday night. In his inning of work, Chavez allowed seven earned runs, and Kansas City was mathematically eliminated from the 2011 and 2012 AL Central races.

Astros 3, Phillies 2. Brett Wallace: 0-for-4.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is Derwood Headed to a NASCAR race?

A little over a month ago I examined three potential triple crown candidates: Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto. While Hamilton looks to be on his way to a batting title, Jose Bautista has a healthy lead in the HR race (38 to Cabrera's 31 and Hamilton's 28), and the Detroit behemoth leads the AL with 102 RBIs to Hamilton's 88. So we can probably count those two out. Votto is another story.

Back in my July 15 piece, I said if Votto wins the NL triple crown, I'll watch five minutes of a NASCAR race. That was my promise to the Offbase readers, but I thought I was safe. I certainly never thought the jerk would be so close in all three categories on August 23. I still don't think he's going to win it, so I'm raising the stakes: if Joey Votto wins the NL triple crown, I'll ATTEND a NASCAR race.

Derwood's head: "Don't press PUBLISH", don't press PUBLISH", "don't press PUBLISH..."

Votto leads the NL with a .323 average, currently five points better than Atlanta's Martin Prado. Standing in his way in the other two categories is that loser Albert Pujols, who is finally putting together a decent season for the Cardinals. Pujols has a 32-29 lead over Votto in HR (Washington's Adam Dunn is second with 31), and an 89-86 cushion in RBIs. It's basicaly Pujols vs. Votto, and with about 40 games left, I could easily see happen any of the following:

1. Pujols takes off in all three places (he's also fourth in average at .316)
2. Dunn hits a ton of home runs and leaves Pujols and Votto behind
3. Joey Votto wins the 2010 triple crown, forcing me to go Murfreesboro, TN for the Premium Select Rye Bread 500

In other words, I really want Adam Dunn to hit a lot of home runs over the next month.

The Sky Is Falling: Stephen Strasburg

It looks like freshman phenom/future Hall of Famer, Stephen Strasburg, will be headed to the disabled list for the second time this season. Yet, that collective exhale of breath you felt earlier did come from Washington D.C. Strasburg left Saturday's game in the 5th inning after grimacing from an apparent arm injury. Early half-glass-emptiers suspected Strasburg may have torn a tendon which would result in surgery and a year layoff. From my quick math, that would be the equivalent to the strike-shortened 1994 season for the Montreal Expos. Almost certain financial doom, years in last place and eventual relocation to some crime laden southern city, let's say Virginia Beach.

But fortunately for the "fans" who sell out Nationals Park only when Strasburg pitches, the kid's tendon didn't fall out of his arm...
Strasburg strained a tendon in his right forearm over the weekend, and Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said Monday the team would "proceed with caution" with the prized pitcher.

If by "proceed with caution" you mean shut him down for the year, I completely agree with this decision. Sure the Expos Nats will lose some pretty good revenue from the one or two more home starts he could make this season but Strasburg has already thrown more innings than he did last year. Unless Dusty Baker is consulting on pitcher usage, it's time to shut the kid down and build toward next season.

The Sky is Falling
A second DL stint for the 22-year-old can't be exciting news. I'm no scout but I haven't heard or seen anything about a hitch in his mechanics that suggests a proneness to injuries. Hopefully it's just some randomness even though he said he pitched through a similar injury in college. As a hopeful new Nationals fan, I'm hoping he shrugs this off and cruises past Cy Young's win record and Nolan Ryan's strikeout record in the next, um, 30 or so years of world dominance. As a glass-half-empty guy (what?, I'm thirsty), I'm afraid of a Ben McDonald/Mark Prior fall from relevance.

Let's all hope for the best because he's good for baseball. 92 strikeouts in 68 innings as a rookie is exciting stuff. I should know, I struck out 68 hitters over 3 months in the summer of 1991. I threw a devastating Wiffle Ball slurve.

[awesome drawing from Francis Hogan via Fedral Baseball]

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Giomar Guevara and he's here to wish Sweet Lou a happy retirement. I think, I don't understand the Spanish.

Hey kids, I'm back with another uplifting version of Jobu. Let's see how many games I can get through before I mention a relief pitcher melting down. I'll set the over/under at 0.

Braves 16, Cubs 5. Jason Heyward and Omar Infante crashed Lou Piniella's retirement party by both slugging a pair of homers. Heyward went 4-4 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI and 2 walks. Infante went 4-6 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI. Justin Berg relieved any doubts Piniella might have had about retiring as the pitcher threw 1.1 innings giving up 5 runs on 5 hits and a walk. For those keeping score at home, I made it through half of a game so I hope you took the over.

Yankees 10, Mariners 0. Robinson Cano led the offensive onslaught of the Bronx Bombers against the hapless M's. Cano went 2-5 with a home run and 6 RBI. CC Sabathia tossed 6 shutout innings while striking out 8 for his 17th win of the season. If CC can sink his ERA below 3.00 and hit 20 wins, I bet he undeservedly wins the Cy Young.

Phillies 6, Nationals 0. Roy Oswalt threw 7 shut out innings on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8. See, I occasionally mix in some good pitching with the ugly. The explosive Nationals' offense led by Roger Bernadina and Adam Kennedy couldn't get much momentum going so they comfortably remain the third worst team at scoring in the National League. Chase Utley: DNP.

Royals 3, White Sox 2 (10). The 2 teams that strikeout the fewest combined for 19 yesterday. Zack Greinke struck out nine in 8 innings while John Danks, Bobby Jenks and Scott Linebrink teamed up to strikeout 10 Royals. Wilson Betemit hit his 8th home run of the season and owns a .346/.425/.577 line. Somewhere Derwood shakes his head in confusion.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pete Rose Solutions

The Cincinnati Reds are set to honor Pete Rose at Great American Ball Park September 12, 25 years and a day after he broke Ty Cobb's all-time hit record. Rose is unavailable on September 11, the actual date of the record-setting performance, because of a prior commitment at a Kentucky casino. Sometimes these stories write themselves.

Anyway, former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent, who followed into office Bart Giammati, the man who banned Rose for life in 1989 for betting on baseball, is furious and in an email sent to the New York Post said "I totally disagree with the (Bud) Selig position. Either enforce the Rules or reinstate him."

I've got a solution to this problem: just reinstate Pete Rose and let's all get on with our lives for Todd Benzinger's sake. Who the hell cares anymore? The guy bet on baseball, yes, but Bud Selig made a rule that the winner of the all-star game secures home field advantage for its league in the World Series. Which is the larger crime? Correct: the all-star thing. And if the Reds want to honor one of their all-time greats for breaking a hit record that may stand forever, let them. That's like if Tampa Bay wants to honor Jose Canseco for his ground-rule double in 1999, let them.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Kevin Flora and he's here to remind me that the 1995 Angels' season was more soul crushing than this year.

Hey kids, I'm in charge of Jobu again while Derwood is hard at work. And by work, I mean hunting empty cans in downtown Atlanta to finance his box wine addiction. Let's take a look at a few of yesterday's highlights while I try to contain my excitement for tonight's fight between Jacare and Tim Kennedy...

Rangers 2, Orioles 0. I was relying on the Buck Showalter express too much to help save the Angels season and it was no match for C.J. Wilson. The former set-up man pitched 8.2 innings of 3-hit shutout ball while striking out 12. Neftali Feliz would relieve Wilson and throw 4 pitches to pick up his 30th save of the season. Nick Markakis and Ty Wiggington combined to go 0-6 with 5 strikeouts.

Mets 7, Pirates 2. Sweet sassy molassy get out the checkbook and pay grandma for the rub down! The Pirates are now officially participating in their 18th consecutive losing season. In 1992 the Pirates had their last winning record. Also in 1992, George H.W. Bush vomited on Japan's Prime Minister, Mike Tyson was convicted of rape, Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture and swept the Academy Awards, John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison, Johnny Carson retired from the Tonight Show and Brett Favre made his first start with the Packers. In other 1992 baseball news, I hit a back door Wiffle Ball slider out of my backyard into the neighbors' above ground pool.

Mariners 6, Yankees 0. Felix Hernandez keeps dominating in his quest to contend for the Cy Young with around 10 wins. He struck out 11 in his 8 innings of 4-hit shutout ball. A-Rod returned to the lineup for 30 seconds. Rodriguez grounded out on the only pitch he saw and "felt something pull" before exiting the game. There's a possibility A-Rod might have a DL stint in his future. Now who wishes they didn't let Andy Marte go? Oh, nobody?

Phillies 1, Nationals 0. Roy Halladay keeps cruising. He allowed 7 hits and 3 free passes over his 7 innings but he struck out 5 and didn't give up a run. His 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA have everything Cy Young voters will be looking for towards the end of the season. Kevin Mench: 0-1 with a strikeout.

White Sox, Royals: DNP

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ronny Paulino Is Fat, Suspended

Marlins catcher Ronny Paulino became the second big leaguer to get slapped with a 50 game suspension after violating the league's drug policy. Edinson Volquez was the first but he was hurt and it didn't matter anyway. In fact, I think Volquez is just now entering his third rookie year. The 6'3, 250 pound catcher will begin his sentence immediately and explained that he was only taking the "performance enhancer" because he wasn't happy with how he looked in a bathing suit...
"To control my weight this season, I used a dietary pill," Paulino said in a statement released by the team. "I recently learned that the dietary pill contained a substance banned under Major League Baseball's drug policy. I am ashamed and saddened for disappointing and distracting my family, my teammates, the entire Florida Marlins organization and baseball fans."
Have we learned nothing from Starcaps? Most dietary drugs, even if they aren't crystal meth (I'm looking at you strippers), are against professional sports leagues' substance abuse policies. And with MLB's newfound hard-on for busting anyone that has ever seen a guy smoke pot, how do you not get anything you're taking approved by the league? Or instead of taking drugs, and I know this is going to sound silly, why don't you try watching your diet and working out more?

Let's take a look at what I imagine Ronny Paulino's diet is, put together from one of my favorite sites This Is Why You're Fat...

Breakfast - Country Breakfast Wrap

Scrambled eggs, pork sausage, potatoes and American cheese rolled inside a buttermilk pancake topped with maple syrup.

Lunch - Meat Mountain

Dinner - Pizza Burger

Two personal pepporoni pizzas with a hamburger patty on top, with bacon and covered with cheese and ranch dressing.

Dessert - Pake

Pake = a pie inside a cake

A lemon-vanilla cake with blueberry preserves, strawberry pie, and cream cheese frosting.

I think I caught diabetes from putting together that menu.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Butch Wynegar, whose real name is Harold Delano Wynegar.

Whitesox 11, Twins 0. These are the kind of days Yankees fans live for. Carl Pavano: 6 IP, 15 H, 7 ER.

Indians 7, Royals 3. A Cleveland-Kansas City game is a magical time in sport where the winning team makes five errors and wins by four runs. KC actually led 3-0 heading into the 8th inning, but the Royals decided to hand the ball to Blake Wood, Dusty Hughes and Greg Holland (1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER). With the win, the Tribe have officially kicked off their run at the 2018 AL pennant.

Marlins 4, Pirates 2. The Buccos fell to 40-81, which means one more loss to clinch an 18th consecutive losing season. And we can also restart the John Russell Countdown to Unemployment at 10 days. Argenis Diaz: 2-for-3, RBI.

Dodgers 2, Rockies 0. As if the Cubs' season wasn't horrifying enough, Ted Lilly pitched a complete game, two-hitter and struck out 11, improving his Dodger numbers to 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA since the trade. Lilly retired 19 batters in a row at one point, and a bewildered Dodger fan, on his way to the parking lot in the sixth inning said "when did the Dodgers trade for Ernie Lilly?"

Astros 3, Mets 2. I apologize to the Lee family, but I didn't know Carlos was still alive. Lee hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the seventh inning and Bud Norris allowed two runs in seven innings on Bud Norris bobblehead night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reverse AL Cy Young Ballot

On Monday, I took an early look at my imaginary AL Cy Young ballot and I have to admit that it doesn't look that good after Lee and Weaver got rocked. There's still plenty of time for things to change and I'm afraid if CC Sabathia wins 20 some odd games he will undeservedly win.

Derwood recently told me that we tend to write more about players' failures than successes. While I was researching this post, I realized he might be on to something. Just four days after writing about the best pitchers in the American League, I really wanted to write about the worst. We can't help it. We're the baseball blog version of Nelson Muntz.

So this is how I'd vote if I had a ballot for worst pitcher in the AL. A reverse Cy Young, if you will. And I actually have no idea what any of their records are because wins and losses are useless for pitchers.

1. Brian Bannister
I feel bad for Banny but if it's any consolation the second worst pitcher in the AL isn't too far back. Bannister is one of the few players who actively studies sabermetrics. Unfortunately, there isn't a metric out there that makes him look like a good pitcher. I mean, he's better than you but you're not actually the picture of fitness. Instead of trying to construct your own KFC Skinwich, why don't you try doing a couple of situps? What was I talking about?

Banny's WAR is 0.0 making him essentially a replacement player. Which at $2.3 million, is way too much for the Royals to be paying him. He has the highest ERA in the AL at 5.95 while his 4.83 xFIP suggests he isn't as terrible as his ERA implies. Good old Yuni Betencourt sure does work wonders at short, huh? Banny's 1.60 K/BB ratio isn't doing him any favors either.

2. Wade Davis
Davis might not look like the second worst pitcher in the AL at first glance with a 4.45 ERA. But he has the second highest xFIP (4.98), second lowest WAR (0.1) and second lowest +WPA (8.72). His BABIP (2.80) is nearly 20 points lower than his lowest projection (2.99 from CHONE and DiPS) which means he's been bad and lucky this year. The 1.60 K/BB is at Brian Bannister levels of mediocrity.

3. Kyle Davies
Time to rejoice Royals fans, 2 of your player made it on my ballot. Davies has the highest xFIP (5.01) to go with his 5.22 ERA. His 3.08 BABIP and 1.41 K/BB are right in line with his projections. He is basically 1 win better than a replacement player.

4. Kevin Millwood
Millwood has the lowest WPA in the AL at -2.63 but that's because he is a horse and pitches more terrible innings than your average pitcher can. His 5.49 ERA is poor enough but his 4.60 xFIP is the best on the list. So is his 2.10 K/BB. The 0.08 WAR basically puts him in the same crappy boat as Kyle Davies with one little exception. Millwood is making roughly $13 million more than Davies. *shudders*

5. Scott Feldman
I tried to see if Feldman's hitter friendly home field hurt his numbers but his HR/9 and xFIP are both better in Arlington than on the road. Even his BABIP at home is higher than on the road suggesting he's been unlucky there too. He's sporting a 5.44 ERA and a 4.85 xFIP with a 1.66 K/BB. There are more players with a lower WAR than him (1.20) but this is my ballot.

Derwood is right. It does feel good to point out the shortcomings of others from behind the keyboard and on my couch. And by couch, I mean milk crate.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Tim Hyers and he only had 135 fewer hits than Tony Gwynn in 1994.

It looks like I'll be guiding you through some of yesterday's game because Derwood forgot his dial-up Internet password again. But it's alright kids, we're going to treat this like a pub crawl. Go grab a six pack and we'll chug a beer at each stop.

Red Sox 7, Angels 5. The Angels had the opportunity to get within 7 games of the Rangers and were up thanks to home runs by Mike Napoli and Alberto Callaspo. But then Kevin Jepsen happened. Already in trouble and giving up the tying run, he walked the bases loaded to get to Daniel Nava. With an 0-2 count, Jepsen hit Nava to force home the winning run. Jepsen owes me a new TV and he might as well send me a 4 pack of them if he continues to pitch like that.

Reds 11, Diamondbacks 7. The Diamondbacks had a 7-3 lead going into the 8th inning when Sam Demel and Aaron Heilman took that as a challenge. Demel gave up 4 straight hits and was responsible for 4 runs, 3 earned. Heilman was unimpressed and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits to blow the save and get the loss. The pair of relievers celebrated by shame eating a dozen pizzas.

Mariners 6, Orioles 5. The Buck Showalter express seems to losing a little steam. Matt Tuiasosopo, who I think was a backup quarterback for the Raiders, smacked a 3-run home run in the 3rd for half of the Mariners' runs. Matt Wieters hit his 10th homer of the season. According to my math, Wieters only needs to hit one home run per game for the rest of the season to live up to the hype.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 1. Here's a crazy sentence. Randy Wolf outdueled Adam Wainwright to hand the Cy Young candidate his first home loss at home this season. Someone named Lorenzo Cain hit a double and a triple of off Wainwright and Trevor Hoffman held the fort down striking out the only hitter he faced.

Twins 7, White Sox 6. Joe Mauer hit his first home run at Target Field. His 4-5 night raised his disappointing season's slash line to .335/.407/.496. Francisco Liriano, following in the footsteps of Cliff Lee and Jered Weaver, got blasted over 5 innings to the tune of 6 hits, 4 walks and 5 runs. My imaginary Cy Young ballot looks worse by the start.

Royals 9, Indians 7. The Royals refuse to not strikeout. No Royal struck out in this game giving them a league low 611 for the season. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have struck out 1,113 times this season because that's how they roll.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Offbase Off the Field

Offbase Off the Field is our recap of two events which have nothing to do with what happened on the field.

Crazy Person Disqualified from Major League Baseball

We'll start tonight with the plight of Francisco Rodriguez, who beat up his father-in-law, tore a ligament in his thumb and went on the disabled list and recently was told his 2010 contract went from guaranteed to we're not paying you any money jerk, go away. K-Rod, which is a stupid nickname for a guy that throws 87 MP.H., will not be paid and not accrue any service time while on the disqualified list. It's kind of like my first job as a cashier at Wendy's: I worked two shifts, tore the skin off two of my fingers while drag bunting (I was safe at first, middle finger skin on left hand was out on a close play at home), quit my job and didn't receive any pay after that or accrue any fast food industry service time while I was unemployed.

Lee Escapes Chicago

The Chicago Cubs did Derrek Lee a huge favor Wednesday, trading the first baseman to Atlanta for three minor league pitchers, all of whom have in their contract that they have a guaranteed seven blown saves if they make Chicago's major league roster. The Braves also received "an undisclosed sum of cash" (Offbase inside source: $11). Lee will join Atlanta just in time to stay right where he is as the Braves head to Wrigley Field for a weekend set. To welcome Lee back to Chicago, Andrew Cashner has promised to give up a three-run home run.

An Evening With Pops Derwood

Pops Derwood is practically a celebrity in his living room, so we've asked him to bring that fame and a .205 career batting average to Offbase and share a story or two about his illustrious career in the Chicago Cubs organization. His book, I Didn't See That Fast Ball, But I Heard It, is not scheduled for release until January, 2012, but here is an excerpt.


While my four packs of Camels per day habit was nasty, nothing prepared me for my first taste of Beechnut. Ah, I love the smell of puke in the morning.

Beechnut was the tobacco of choice in the late 1960’s. You could find other stuff, but if it was not name-brand, not chewed in the show, nobody in the low, low, low (did I mention low?) minor leagues would be caught dead with it.

Of course, I had never even seen the stuff before reporting to Huron (South Dakota) in the old Northern League. Oh, I knew about it because guys like Don Zimmer and others had a wad the size of Rhode Island in their mouth when they played. And they spit long, black gobs of disgusting juice about a gazillion times a game. So, I knew chew existed, I had just never seen it.

“Gotta try it or you’re a pussy,” was the way the verbally challenged Ralph Pipes said to me in the clubhouse one day. (Pipes once gave up a home run that carried over the wall, over the scoreboard and landed in North Dakota. When he got back to the bench someone had painted a face on the ball with X’s for eyes and told him they had found the home run). Man threw hard-90+, but his fastball was flatter than Twiggy’s ass (look her up), so while it arrived in the strike zone with some speed, it usually departed even faster. Bottom line was, according to Pipes and several other guys who had played either a year of pro ball already or were born in an f’in barn, I had to try the chew or I would be forever seen as the woos from New York.

Try it I did, slowly, as in small amounts to start with, which turned out to be a problem (more on that later). I would roll it up in a ball, put it in my cheek and then spend the rest of the practice or game worrying about nothing except not swallowing the spit. No wonder I hit .175.

After a while I got to like it and added larger amounts. Of course, my teammates had never told me it was easier to control the spit if the wad is so big nothing can go down, it can just go out. Then some guys showed me how to wrap bubble gum around it, and after a while I got good at it. And it was so healthy! There I was smoking four packs a day, chewing from the minute I got to the ballpark until I left, then smoking again. Oh, and between innings sometimes I would go down the runway from the dugout to catch a smoke, with the chew still in my mouth! Yes, boys & girls, I was a picture of health! Did I mention I hit .175?

I made it through without swallowing much of anything. Which was not the case for a backup catcher in Caldwell, Idaho (he came up after I got sent down from Huron; how do you get sent down from Huron? That’s like the country song-‘lyin in the gutter and still lookin’ down at you’). He was catching batting practice one night with a big wad when he took a foul tip in the chest. When he went to his knees I knew we were in for a treat, and there he was projectile vomiting right through his face mask! It was a thing of beauty.

I finally kicked the habit(s) after coaching high school ball for five years every minute with a chew in my mouth. What a role model. But every now and then I still have a hankering for some Red Man, which became the chew of choice in baseball before the prudes in charge banned it. But I usually withstand the pressure and do something healthy, like drink a fifth of Jack Daniels. Much better for me.