Monday, June 30, 2014

My All-Star ballot

As always, filled out at a ballpark rather than at a desk, in this case, on June 12 at Angels Stadium:

American League

1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Alexei Ramirez
3B: Adrian Beltre
C: Salvador Perez
DH: David Ortiz
OF: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista and Alex Gordon

National League

1B: Joey Votto
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: David Wright
C: Yadier Molina
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig

Friday, June 27, 2014

Excerpt: "The Royals"

"I had them going 85-77, +49 RD; they're on pace for 83-79, +27 RD. I had them scoring 682 runs and allowing 633; they're on pace for 664 RS and 637 RA. I don't make these points to pat myself on the back. I make these points to illustrate that the Royals, no matter the shape of their first half, are essentially the same team they were projected to be."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Excerpt: "Josh Byrnes"

"In 2 1/2 seasons as GM, Josh Byrnes put together a mixed record, spending a lot of money unwisely, but showing an ability to win second-level trades. Just looking at 2014 performance, he seems more responsible for the good things the Padres are doing than the bad ones."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Excerpt: "Clayton Kershaw"

"In a week marked by death and tears and sadness, we needed Clayton Kershaw. We needed to be awed, to be wowed, to be left staring slack-jawed at what baseball can look like when played by the very, very best, to be reminded why we invest so much of ourselves in this silly game to begin with."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Excerpt: "Tony Gwynn"

"Gwynn didn't hit for power and he didn't walk much, and to a young man who had recently discovered Bill James and sabermetrics and secondary skills, Gwynn represented an approach that was more style than substance, slapping singles rather than displaying the more sophisticated traits of taking pitches and launching dingers. The arrogance of youth, you see. In rejecting Gwynn I was rejecting my own childhood, which was spent hitting the exact same way that Gwynn hit, using an inside-out swing to line singles to left field and doubles down the third-base line, rarely striking out, but just as rarely -- never, in fact -- launching a ball over the fence and trotting around the bases to the cheers of my teammates. Jeez, even I could do what Gwynn was doing, but look at Phil Plantier!"

Monday, June 9, 2014

Excerpt: "Manny Machado and Maturity"

"Manny Machado is what he is, certainly not the 43-year-old father of two last year's coverage made him out to be, and certainly not the bat-throwing toddler he appeared to be in your morning paper. The gap between those two poles isn't Machado; it's us. It's what we do. If it makes money or generates clicks to build up a 20-year-old into a grown man, we do that. If it works to turn him into a punk, we do that. If it works to do both over time, well, the public has a short attention span and there's a mortgage to be paid, so shut up."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Excerpt: "A Better Draft Day"

"Remember that it's not just the picks, but the budget; and adding a top-ten pick dramatically increases a team's strength. The Marlins' pick at #2 has a value of $6.8 million; the Rays' entire allotment is $5.8 million. (Oh, we can get even more stupid -- four of the six highest draft budgets belong to large-market clubs (Houston, Chicago twice, Toronto), while the A's and Rays combined have less than the Astros do in total. It's a spectacularly bad system.)"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Excerpt: "Mark Buehrle"

"Let's just not confuse any of that with being the best pitcher in the league, even for two months. Buehrle's 2014 performance is right in line with his 2013 and 2012 and on and on, not some special peak season. I am admittedly surprised by this; I expected to see some skill change that explained the ERA, some Keuchel element to this story, but it's not there. Buehrle is the same average-plus metronome he's been for 15 years, roughly Andy Pettitte with worse teammates. It just happens that in addition to getting the run support and the bullpen support, he's getting an above-average distribution of outcomes on batted balls, one that seems to be more about variance than skill. By the end of the season, this will probably have washed out; I would expect Buehrle to end the year with an ERA in the mid-3.00s, and I expect his ERA the rest of the year to be very close to that 4.08 xFIP mark. "