Saturday, July 23, 2016
Jayson Stark’s all-time top ten.
1. Babe Ruth
My buddy Schoenfield ranked the Bambino fourth, based on the supposition that Ruth wouldn’t have been the same player in our time that he was in his time. Fun argument. But I’m not here to even attempt to rank Ruth in any alternative universe. So let’s just ask what he was in the universe he existed in. Answer: Oh, only the most important and transformative hitter/pitcher/larger-than-life character ever. That’s all. In that brief period when he was pitching for a living, he was the most unhittable left-handed pitcher in baseball. (Look it up sometime.) Then he found other stuff to keep him busy. And once he grabbed a bat full time, he was so much better than anyone else at hitting a baseball over a fence that he had a season in 1920 in which there was only one team in the entire sport that hit more home runs than he hit. So has there ever been anyone like that in any sport? Best pitcher. Best hitter. Best personality. Best gate attraction. Best headline generator. Best nickname. Best reason for his team to build a ballpark tailored pretty much for him. All I know is, if he were alive today, he’d definitely host the ESPYS. So I’ll be happy to listen to any and all arguments for other guys as the No. 1 player of all time. But here’s how I’d describe those arguments: Wrong!
Posted: July 23, 2016 at 09:17 AM | 7 comment(s)
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Also, Scott and Lassus Have Been The Best 1-2 Punch on the Self-Immolation Thread…
The Mets lead in K-BB%, GB%, FIP and xFIP. They trail only the Cubs in ERA and only the Nationals in strikeouts per nine innings. They place 4th in this group in WAR, although that is primarily a function of the fact that they have the fewest innings of the bunch — the Mets have 17 starts from this duo while the other couplings have 19 or 20. This is owing to the fact that Syndergaard has yet to make his tenth start and Matz missed one turn in the rotation.
This is just a snapshot of the present, not a promise of the future, but it is easy to see the Mets duo continuing on this torrid pace, while some of these other pairs are outperforming what we might expect of them. For instance, Cueto and Strasburg are each veterans beating their career ERAs by about one run. Even though Strasburg’s emergence looks sustainable, it’s likely that Cueto is more of a 3.25 ERA pitcher than a 2.38 ERA pitcher. Other pitchers are wildly outperforming their peripherals, most notably Quintana who has a 0.14 HR/9 and is beating his xFIP by over a run, and Hammel who has a 2.17 ERA despite a K-BB% which is actually worse than league average. Even Arrieta, as great as he is, is probably closer to his FIP (2.71) than his ERA (1.72).
As for the young Mets, Syndergaard alone has staked a claim to “best pitcher, non-Kershaw division” by playing 2nd in FIP, 2nd in K-BB%, and 3rd in WAR in this group. Matz, for his part, has pitched to a microscopic 1.13 ERA/2.15 FIP with a sterling 23.2 K-BB% since his one disaster inning in his first start on April 11th.
There is a good argument to be made for most of these duos, although I would probably rank the Dodgers (Kershaw/Maeda), Mets (Syndergaard/Matz) and White Sox (Sale/Quintana) a little ahead of the rest, with the Nationals (Strasburg/Scherzer) as potential spoilers if Scherzer gets back on track.
Nonetheless, you’ve got to be impressed with Syndergaard and Matz, who lead in two other categories I forgot to mention: average fastball velocity (their average of 95.8 mph is more than 2 mph faster than the Cubs) and lowest salaries.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Thursday, February 11, 2016
1. Atlanta Braves
2015 rank: 6
Players in top 100 (2016): 7
This system was among the bottom five just two years ago after several bad drafts and questionable player development, but a series of trades—including several fleecings of the Diamondbacks—has stocked the system with pitching depth that is the envy of the industry. They tied for the most players in my top 100 and had a couple of other players who could make cases for inclusion, and their 11th- to 20th-ranked prospects still include a lot of prospective major league value. It has been a remarkable turnaround for general manager John Coppolella and his front office, and the future is even brighter with the team having the third overall pick in June’s draft. The team’s agreement to sign Venezuelan prospect Kevin Maitan on July 2 is the worst-kept secret in the industry….
30. Los Angeles Angels
2015 rank: 27
Players in top 100 (2016): 0
I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen. They traded their top two prospects in the Andrelton Simmons deal and had no one remotely close to top-100 status. They need a big draft this year to start to restock the system or we’re going to start talking about whether it’s time to trade Mike Trout.
His Top 100 prospect list is here (INSIDER)
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