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

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Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
His average fastball was clocked at 95.6 mph, fastest in the majors (minimum 162 IP). But on the list of Highest % Fastballs (in the Bill James Handbook 2008) King Felix is nowhere to be found. He ranks eighth on the list of Highest % Sliders.

What do I know looking over stats in the middle of winter? But I suspect it's not the best way to handle a still very young pitcher.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Chris Young San Diego Padres
It's hard to imagine any first-place team trading Chris Young to a last-place team in the middle of the season last year. What could you possibly get in a fire sale that would be better than Chris Young?

It's kind of painful to think how many teams that were in first at the All Star break because of Chris Young fell out of first thanks to his second-half collapse.

But even after winning all of two games and compiling a 4.28 ERA in the second half, Young finished first in the league in Opposition OPS, edging out Jake Peavy.

It was quite a battle, with Young finishing ahead of Peavy in Opponent BA, second to Peavy in Opponent OBP and ahead of Peavy in Opponent SLG.

Young was the most extreme flyball pitcher in the National League last year, by a wide margin. GB/FB ratio 0.58, next 0.76 (Oliver Perez). Makes finishing first in Opponent SLG all the more of an accomplishment.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Greg Maddux Los Angeles Dodgers
In the back of the Bill James Handbook 2008 are dozens of great lists. They become even more fascinating when seemingly disparate lists -- or lists that would seem to have different membership -- are compared.

For example, if you had the fourth Slowest Average Fastball in the National League last year, how often would you actually throw it?

Greg Maddux threw his not-so-hot heater 69.9 percent of the time. Only Aaron Cook, Dontrelle Willis, Chris Young, Brandon Webb and Brad Penny threw a higher percentage of fastballs. Only Jamie Moyer, Livan Hernandez, Tom Glavine, Doug Davis and Barry Zito had slower average fastballs.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
John Smoltz Atlanta Braves
On further investigation...

Smoltz was fifth in the league in Lowest % Fastballs. Behind Jamie Moyer, Doug Davis, Josh Fogg and Bronson Arroyo. Ahead of Matt Morris and Tom Glavine.

Four of these other pitchers (Moyer, Davis, Morris and Glavine) ranked in the top 10 in Slowest Average Fastball. So for them discretion in the number of fastballs was the highest form of valor.

Smoltz, it seems, was a save-your-bullets type.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Fourth in the league in Fastest Average Fastball last year. Can you believe that?

Ahead of him: Brad Penny, Matt Cain, Rou Oswalt. Behind him (by decimals): Jake Peavy.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
I'm sure you're right. Are the DOBs off for other old-timers?
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Derek Lowe Texas Rangers
According to the Rating, Lowe didn't pitch quite as effectively last year, and sure enough, his ERA was a little higher. But in fewer IP he recorded more K's, which gets the attention not just in 5x5 leagues. He gave up fewer hits per IP. A few more fly balls became Big Flies, but -- who knows? -- maybe he had bad luck with the weather. For sure, when the league ERA is 4.43 and your ERA is more than half a run better, you don't deserve a losing record.

That's the main point I'm trying to make.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
I use Firefox, too.

$43. HR $4, RBI $6, SB $32, BA $1.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Dec 22 '07
Wasn't Babe Ruth born in 1895?
Mike Gianella MikeG
Dec 22 '07
Hanley Ramirez Cleveland Indians
Rick Wilton, the injury guru at BaseballHQ.com, writes: "The Marlins do not believe Ramirez will be close to 100% in spring training."

Some sort of nonsense about "surgery after the season to repair damage to his non-throwing shoulder."

Hanley, Hanley... non-throwing shoulder? Must be some meds you can legally take, starting right now.

Rotoman and I have him in the 15-team mixed-league XFL. That's a tall pyramid to climb and you can't do it without at least one Hanley Ramirez going at full-tilt.


Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners
According to the Baseball Forecaster, Ichiro's "expected batting average" was a mere .286.

But don't panic, Ichiro owners, his xBA in 2006 was .285.

You'll certainly be satisfied if he hits .322 this year. Won't you?

Answer: Yep. Especially if he steals 45 bases.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
F.P. Santangelo Oakland Athletics
The Mitchell Report: "Santangelo wrote a $1,400 check to Radomski for human growth hormone in 2000. Radomski says he also recalled selling Deca-Durabolin and testosterone to Santangelo once or twice in 2001."

Santangelo: "I did growth hormones. I was at a point in my career when I took it -- twice -- because I panicked. I didn't want my career to end."
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Dan Naulty New York Yankees
Excerpts from an article in USA Today Sports Weekly in December, quoting Naulty, who was picked in the 14th-round out of Cal State Fullerton in 1992:

"I was ready to do anything to get to the big leagues," he says. "I knew I had to gain weight. I already ate like a horse, but I only weighed 185 pounds (on a 6-6 frame). So I went to the gym, went over to the biggest gym rat/muscle head guy I could find and said, 'I need to get big.' He said drugs were the way and I said, 'Where do I sign?' "

By spring training, Naulty was 25 pounds heavier, and his velocity was improving. By the time he'd reached the big leagues his fastball was up from 87 mph to the mid-90s.

"I'd effectively gained 8-10 mph and made myself an anabolic prospect," he says. "I went from an A-ball pitcher to a major league prospect in a matter of two years."

As he ballooned, eventually to 245 pounds, Naulty said baseball looked the other way.

"Management, players — nobody came to me and said, 'Hey, Dan, you've gained 60 pounds. Is there something here we should know or be concerned about?' It was just part of the program. Getting to the big leagues was all anyone cared about."

Between 1992-98 Naulty says that several Orange County body builders advised him on diet and his drug intake, which included five kinds of steroids... Naulty tried HGH at the end of 1998 after his groin tendon tore away from his pelvis. He still feels the effects of that injury as well as the triceps that tore out of its socket. He still bears the scar from surgery to take a rib from his neck, necessary to create space because his veins and arteries were pressing into each other.

"Your weight, your size, your muscle mass all increase on steroids," he says. "You're alert. Your attention span is through the roof. Your energy level is through the roof. But, internally, you're a ticking time bomb."

... The million-or-so dollars Naulty made during his professional career is long gone... Now a pastor at a non-denominational church and living in Littleton, Colo., Naulty is working toward his Ph.D in theology and feels the need to touch another baseball audience: players in the organizations he played for that were affected by his cheating.

He cites Mike Trombley, who played parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues. But in 1996, Trombley was the final player cut by the Twins when Naulty made the roster.

"But there was no way I was making that team if I wasn't drug-induced," Naulty said. "So the domino effect begins. He gets sent down, somebody else gets sent down a level and, eventually, somebody gets released. I stole jobs from people."

... Naulty said he'll attempt to compile a list of players he believed his use of performance enhancing drugs adversely impacted.

Naulty said he'll attempt to compile a list of players he believed his use of performance enhancing drugs adversely impacted.

"I want to apologize to as many as I can," he said. "... You reap what you sow and I might very well reap a lot of what I sowed."

Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Edinson Volquez Texas Rangers
While recognizing the point about ratio (Peter held onto the same symmetry argument in the magazine), more people seem to be more comfortable with WHIP. (Maybe the ratio people have come to terms with it and can convert it in their heads more easily?)

I like rating, just for those instances when it is different than WHIP, which to me is another argument for using WHIP -- the ease of seeing that difference. Unless you want to multiply the rating by nine . . . no, I really didn't say that.
mike fenger mike
Dec 22 '07
I'm looking at the WHIPs and Ratings. Have to admit there isn't much difference. Difference, such as it is, being when Volquez gives up too many bombs, the Rating is higher than the Whip, when he keeps the ball in the park the rating is lower.

Mike G. says he pays no attention to the Rating. Should both Ratio and Rating be jettisoned?

My own preference is to show Ratio, because it's on the same footing as ERA, and Rating, because it is a good measurement of a pitcher's effectiveness that often is at odds with ERA. And ditch WHIP. Nevertheless, if readers want WHIP and don't want Rating -- I won't say they're right, but they are the customers.
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
From: "Yun, Patrick"
To: "Alex Patton"
21 Dec 2007

I never thought of it that way, I mean the changes of the game over time.

I guess the reason people are willing to give Clemens more slack is because he didn't break the biggest of records, the home run record.

PY

-------------------------------
From: Alex Patton
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 5:10 PM
To: Yun, Patrick
Subject: Re: Baseball blues

Oh, it's not hearsay, Patrick. It's something we've known at least since the late 90's -- known as sure as we could know anything -- and just didn't want to hear about. But I wouldn't be too blue. Players were taking this stuff, in most cases, because they felt they had to, and if the testing is good enough, they won't have to. I completely agree with Mitchell that punishment (beyond the punishment of embarrassment) is not called for.

As for the sanctity of the records, consider for a moment that they changed the baseball itself for Babe Ruth. Consider that he played in an all white-boys' club. The mound has been lowered and raised. Fences have been moved in and out. The strike zone has been expanded and contracted.

Did the people in your poker game who argued that Clemens should be given the benefit of the doubt give Barry Bonds the benefit of the doubt? That's what I want to know.

At 12:54 PM 12/20/2007, you wrote:

Alex,

Last night at my weekly poker game everyone got into an argument about the report that just came out about the use of steroids. One person was disgusted by Roger Clemens expecting to be given the benefit of the doubt. Others thought the entire report was just hearsay and it should never have been written.

I was just curious, since you are the person most involved in baseball that I know, what you opinion is? I admit that the pre-Christmas slowdown is giving me a lot of free time but I am still pretty interested in how this is going to affect baseball, and other sports going forward.

PY

Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Now that I've finally done the formulas, I was a little surprised Reyes didn't earn more. What do you two have him at?
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 22 '07
Edinson Volquez Texas Rangers
I look at walk rate. Volquez got better results last year, heck he was better, but he was still walking too many guys. He's at the age where the breakout could happen this year, or next year, but he's not so talented where it's inevitable.

I'm surely buying him for a buck, and probably three.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Dec 22 '07
Josh Hamilton Texas Rangers
His history has to be scary, but the move to Texas and another year of let's call it maturity have to mean that he could be even better this year than last.

His history, however, predicts he's somewhat more likely to be nothing, so plan accordingly.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Dec 22 '07
Don't know. No games played info for him, but I just added it.

And I see that GP is working in Firefox. Awesome.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Dec 21 '07

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