Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Thursday, October 18, 2012
That thing on the front page saying Robinson Cano is “the hottest hitter in baseball at this moment”? You probably should ignore that…
Matt Harvey debuted this year and struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings and put up a 2.72 ERA in 60 innings. How likely is a pitcher with a debut like that at the age of 23 to become a great pitcher?
It’s fairly long odds. I identified all pitchers since 1900 who were 22-24 years old, made 5 to 15 starts and less than 25 appearances, had no previous major league history or very limited major league history, and who were at least +10 vs. the league in strikeouts (10 more strikeouts than a league-average pitcher) and positive overall performance. There are only 29 such pitchers in major league history before Harvey (I had expected it to be more) but none of the 29 became a great pitcher. The ten best pitchers in the group were Danny Darwin, Bill Doak, Barry Zito, Schoolboy Rowe, Whitlow Wyatt, Stu Miller, Bob Turley, Denny Lemaster, Eric Hanson, Arthur Rhodes and Dave Righetti (OK, that’s 11)...
Most young pitchers get hurt. Most young pitchers who look like they might be great, aren’t great. Ten starts isn’t enough to get real excited about.
What do you think of Fred McGriff’s Hall of Fame chances?.. I just don’t know about him.
Well, I think you DO know; I think you’ve nailed it pretty well. McGriff is hurt by at least four things. First, McGriff’s best seasons are just BEFORE the big-hitting numbers of the late 1990s and 2000-2005 era… Second, McGriff is hurt by the expansion effect, which is just beginning to reach the point at which the standards are changing. Third, McGriff lacks an MVP type season, which is critical to the Hall of Fame in marginal cases (ie Barry Larkin vs. Alan Trammell, Andre Dawson vs. Dwight Evans.) Fourth, whereas the MVP process loves RBI men, the Hall of Fame does not. The Hall of Fame favors high averages and defense, rather than RBI men.
These four factors are hurting McGriff, and he’s a marginal case anyway. He WAS a better player than many Hall of Fame first baseman (Jake Beckley, Orlando Cepeda), but he’s not an obvious or overwhelmingly qualified Hall of Famer.
With the advent of the (more) balanced schedule and the move of the Astros to the American League next year, it looks like we will have inter-league games throughout next season… Three related questions: 1) Do you agree me that the new schedule will eventually necessitate that the two leagues either standardize on the use of the DH? 2) If yes to 1, which way do you think MLB will go: DH or no DH? 3) If yes to 1, which would you personally prefer: DH or no DH?
1) Do you agree me that the new schedule will eventually necessitate that the two leagues either standardize on the use of the DH?
Of course not.
How many wins do you think managers cost the average team due to suboptimal tactics each year? Every time I see a sacrifice bunt with a runner on second and no outs (in many cases, with the offensive team down by multiple runs), I want to stick a fork in my eye and light Girardi’s binder on fire.
Well, we have no idea how many wins might be lost, because, to be honest, we really have no idea what the optimal tactics are.
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