The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Randy Arozarena Tampa Bay Rays

I keep thinking about the 2-2 pitch to Arozarena.

Smith sets up an inch or two off the plate on the 1-2 pitch and Jansen puts his cutter right into the mitt.

Somehow Arozarena checks his swing.

On the 2-2 pitch, doesn't Smith want to set up right on the black, down, and ask Jansen to hit that? If Kenley makes the same pitch but makes it a strike, chances are the game is over.

Instead Smith sets up a good four inches off the plate for the 2-2 pitch and Jansen, perhaps sensing Smith's fear, perhaps sharing it, misses on the side of caution and now the count is 3-2.

Smith sets the target in the zone for the next two pitches but it's too late. From then on it's all downhill for the Dodgers.  

Alex Patton Alex
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves

But doesn't that point very directly to the problem? The best first basemen actually lose games with their gloves over the course of their careers? How can "neutrality in a stat" be a good thing?

I agree with your point about scooping balls out of the dirt; almost everyone who plays first is good at that. And I agree that Keith Hernandez was the gold standard for all the other things.

In his 17 year-career he won 1.3 games over his replacement with his play in the field. Anyone who watched a lot of Mets games (and  a lot of Cardinals games) knows that's not true.

I go all the way back to Vic Power (his entire career). In 1,627 games played over 12 seasons, he gets a -0.8 dWAR.

His bat wasn't what kept him in the lineup (career OPS: 97). But his career oWAR (9.3) makes the claim that he won more games with his bat, compared to a replacement first baseman, than his glove.

WAR is a great stat; that's why we keep talking about it. But it can and should be improved. If I had an MVP ballot, I hope I wouldn't lean on such a rickety crutch to defend putting Betts ahead of Freeman.

I wouldn't put Juan Soto first, but I'd have him second. 

Alex Patton Alex
Randy Arozarena Tampa Bay Rays

Mets-Astros Game 6.

Best game I ever listened to: 1960 Game 7.  

Alex Patton Alex
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves gives Giambi -19.7 dWAR and Teixeira a neutral -0.6 over their careers.  Teixeria was a very good defensive 1B.  Giambi did cost runs.  Considering the positional adjustment at 1B for defense, Teixeiria's neutrality in that stat is a good thing. Most of the best 1B defenders are in the low negative range over their careers.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

I have no idea what Jason Giambi's fielding stats were when he played 1B for the Yanks, but it SEEMED like a couple of plays a week (at least) weren't getting made . . and when they signed Teixeira, it was like, "Oh, THAT's what a competent fielding first baseman looks like."

Mike Dean TMU2009
Randy Arozarena Tampa Bay Rays

What was the best game you ever saw?  This goes on my short list ... along with Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS (Padres walk off vs Cubs) ... and Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS (Mets at Houston) ...

Howard Lynch LynchMob
Brandon Lowe Tampa Bay Rays


Howard Lynch LynchMob
Will Smith Los Angeles Dodgers

If it's any consolation to Will Smith, the Rays were going to win anyway. It was fated.

Alex Patton Alex
Kenley Jansen Los Angeles Dodgers

I don't understand the way he pitched to Arozarena. Sometimes he wanted to walk him, sometimes he didn't.

Alex Patton Alex
Brett Phillips Tampa Bay Rays

On top of everything else he was getting squeezed.

Alex Patton Alex
Randy Arozarena Tampa Bay Rays

Craziest game I ever saw.

Alex Patton Alex
Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers

A small argument. Many stats normalize in smaller samples than we could imagine, but overall performance hews to a longer time line. I wouldn't disregard the Kershaw post season, but it's worth remembering all the obviously unqualified  who won Cy Young awards based on 190 innings with good ERA stats argue against making conclusions on that stuff..

Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves

It's funny that every broadcaster talks about how their team's first baseman saves dozens of errors a season for his other infielders, but they act like they are the only first baseman who does it.  The fact is, they all do it competently, so it's part of the replacement value.  The real plus value for first basemen is their range and their ability to throw to other bases to add outs that another first baseman wouldn't.  It's the difference that made Keith Hernandez head and shoulders ahead of everyone else.  Most first basemen are essential neutral.  They hardly add any outs to the ledger compared to their peers.

In right, Betts makes a pay every third day that no other RF would have made. Those extra outs makes a big difference over the course of the season.

It's been a while since I looked at the defensive spectrum value as baseline for WAR, but I think it goes something like this:


Catcher is an odd duck in that range factor isn't included and it's sometimes left of SS and sometimes right.  I've also seen CF and 2B considered equal at times.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed

Freddie's not in the Best Player in Baseball conversation, and he shouldn't be, but, if I had the vote, he'd be at the top of my ballot for NL MVP.

Which, of course, is casus belli if you believe in WAR.


Mookie Betts 3.4

Freddie Freeman 2.9

Not even close.


Mookie Betts 0.8

Freddie Freeman -0.3

Therein lies the difference.

No one questions that Mookie is an outstanding right fielder. And as far as I know, everyone thinks Freddie is at least a very good first baseman. Far better than average.

So why the negative dWAR?

It's been patiently explained to me by others at this site that WAR gives almost all first baseman negative values on defense.

That's the explanation. That's the argument.

Is it a valid argument? As I see it, in almost every game I watch beginning to end, the first baseman plays an integral part in the team's defense. Scooping up bad throws, tagging baseunners on bad throws, diving to stop would-be extra base hits, starting the difficut 3-6-3 (or 1) DP, making the correct call on the cut-offs, defending the increasingly rare bunt.

Carlos Santana does all that and in addition his arm is such that he goes out to get the relay on throws from right. What's his WAR this year?


What was his WAR last year -0.7

What's his career dWAR?


What's Freeman's career dWAR?


Not fair, pure and simple. Not valid.

It's quite true that Freeman and Santana would be liabilities as right fielders; equally true that Betts would be outstanding at every position.

But so what? WAR supposedly measures wins above replacement at the position you played. In terms of the importance in game outcomes, I'd rank catcher first, shortstop second, center field and second base tied for third, third base and first base tied for next, right field next, left field last. I actually think that over the course of the season, the team's first baseman has more influence on the outcome of games than the team's right fielder.

My opinion, to be sure. I can't begin to back it up with numbers.

Speaking of MVP votes, here's another question.

Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts didn't face the same pitcher this year during the regular season. Not once. 

If we really want to be fair, shouldn't we be voting for three different MVPs. One for the AL and NL East combined, another for the AL and NL Central combined, another for the AL and NL West combined.

Six different different MVPs might be even more fair but that's going too far.

Alex Patton Alex
Juan Soto Washington Nationals
Howard Lynch LynchMob
Devin Williams Milwaukee Brewers

NL Reliever of the Year. I wonder if he gets rookie of the year as well.

Kent Ostby Seadogs
Luis Campusano San Diego Padres

"Padres prospect catcher Luis Campusano was arrested Saturday in Georgia and charged with felony marijuana possession.

Campusano was allegedly found with 79 grams of marijuana in his car when he was pulled over early Saturday morning in Grovetown, Georgia, near his hometown of Augusta. He was released on $5,000 bond. According to Georgia law, possession of more than one ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana is a felony and punishable up to 10 years in prison." 

Tim McLeod tlmcleod
Adam Eaton Washington Nationals

A reminder how great last year's World Series was.

Stathead Spotlight: Austin Barnes

Most recent players with a sacrifice bunt and a home run in a World Series game

Austin Barnes2020‑10‑233LADTBR11
Adam Eaton2019‑10‑296WSNHOU11
Adam Eaton2019‑10‑232WSNHOU11
Alcides Escobar2015‑10‑271KCRNYM11
Scott Brosius2001‑11‑015NYYARI11
Craig Counsell2001‑10‑271ARINYY11

See the full list at's Batting Game Finder

Alex Patton Alex
Walker Buehler Los Angeles Dodgers

If they further refined the search to maximum 6 IP, Buehler would stand alone.

Stathead Spotlight: Walker Buehler

10+ strikeouts, at most 1 walk issued, at most 1 earned run allowed, at most 3 hits allowed in a World Series game

Walker Buehler2020‑10‑233LADTBR 6.031110
Clayton Kershaw2017‑10‑241LADHOU 7.031011
Randy Johnson2001‑10‑282ARINYY 9.030111
Ed Walsh1906‑10‑113CHWCHC 9.020112

See the list at's Pitching Game Finder

Alex Patton Alex
Austin Barnes Los Angeles Dodgers

On an 0-2 pitch, no less.

Justin TurnerMookie BettsAustin BarnesRandy ArozarenaWalker Buehler

Yesterday's Top Performers


Justin Turner* (LAD): 2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R

Mookie Betts* (LAD): 2-5, 1 RBI, 2 SB

Austin Barnes* (LAD): 1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R

Randy Arozarena* (TBR): 1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R

Max Muncy (LAD): 2-4, 2 RBI

Corey Seager (LAD): 1-3, 1 R


Walker Buehler* (LAD): 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 71 GmSc

Blake Treinen (LAD): 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 55 GmSc

* - pictured above

Alex Patton Alex

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