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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Bill James Mailbag - 10/3/12 - 10/4/12

Infields… The 2003 Rangers had an IF of Tex, Michael Young, ARod, and Hank Blalock. ARod was the old man at 27. Tex was a budding star, Blalock was the next George Brett, Young was beginning a string of 200 hit seasons, ARod was an MVP. Funny how thing work out.

At least they came out of it with a baseball team.  The 1999 Kansas City Royals had an outfield of Jermaine Dye, Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon, which I believe is the only time in baseball history a team has ever had three young outfielders who went on to careers of that quality.  The Royals parlayed this into a string of 100-loss seasons.

The Mariners announced they are moving the left field fences in at Safeco. While it will probably increase home runs in general, does a move like this ever matter much for the home team?

... It would be interesting to know whether there is a study of this issue.  Still, based on what little I know, if I were the Mariners I would be doing something to make the park more normal.  I think the extreme pitcher-friendly conditions of that park have been making it difficult for their young hitters to find their place in the sun.

Hey Bill! The O’s and the A’s both came out of nowhere this year to have big seasons and make the playoffs. Which team do you think has the better chance of sustaining that success over the next few seasons?

Well, in 2004 the Detroit Tigers were playing Alex Sanchez and Nook Logan in Center Field.  I asked Josh Byrnes which one of them he liked, and he said “Is neither an option?”...

Regarding a pitcher starting a post-season game after having no wins in the regular season, Virgil Trucks started two games for the Tigers in the ‘45 Series, after winning no games during the regular season because he had been in military service the entire season.  He had pitched in one regular season game, getting no decision…

Thanks.

Who would you vote for if you had a vote for NL MVP?

McCutchen, but I think it is close between McCutchen and Posey.  I don’t see Braun as having had similar value.

Assuming nothing crazy happens, is Miguel Cabrera’s triple crown the “worst” triple crown season ever?

... By my reckoning. . .article published some time in the last two months. ...Cabrera’s Triple Crown score is right in the middle of Triple Crown Seasons.  It is less impressive than Hornsby, 1922, Foxx (1932. . .disputed inclusion), Hornsby, 1925, Gehrig, 1934, Foxx, 1933, Mantle, 1956, Medwick, 1937 or Ted Williams, 1942, but more impressive than Yaz, Frank Robinson, 1966, Chuck Klein, 1933, Lajoie, 1901, Tip O’Neill, 1887, Ted Williams, 1947, Ty Cobb, 1909, or Paul Hines, 1878.

Bah… Hines easily beats Cabrera in terms of the number of “girls badly ‘gone’ on his shape”.

The District Attorney Posted: October 04, 2012 at 04:04 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, history, mariners, sabermetrics

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   1. Downtown Bookie Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4254578)
The 1999 Kansas City Royals had an outfield of Jermaine Dye, Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon, which I believe is the only time in baseball history a team has ever had three young outfielders who went on to careers of that quality.


While their careers weren't "of that quality", the 1973 Giants had an outfield of Gary Maddox, Bobby Bonds, and Gary Matthews. Bonds was gone after '74, Maddox in the middle of '75, and Matthews after '76. The Giants finished above .500 only once between 1974 - 1980 (inclusive).

DB
   2. baerga1 Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM (#4254587)
The 1999 Kansas City Royals had an outfield of Jermaine Dye, Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon, which I believe is the only time in baseball history a team has ever had three young outfielders who went on to careers of that quality.


I'm not sure if he meant to exaggerate here, but off the top of my head, the 1994 Indians had Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, and Manny Ramirez. Those three went on to have pretty decent careers..

Maybe Belle and Lofton weren't "young" in the sense that he means it here (both were 27), but even so I think I would take the sum total of their careers from 1994 on than those Royals guys from 1999 on.
   3. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4254590)
...but more impressive than Yaz...

Really? By bb-ref WAR, Yaz tied for the greatest season of all-time by a position player not named Ruth. 193 OPS+ and +23 defensively (I bet that's too high, but he was regularly in that range (Fenway?) - considered a good fielder and won a bunch of Gold gloves, including that year).
   4. lonestarball Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4254595)
1975 Red Sox -- Jim Rice (22), Fred Lynn (23), and Dwight Evans (23).

I'd say that matches, if not trumps, the Royals trio.
   5. dr. scott Posted: October 04, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4254596)
Yea, I was taken aback by the Yaz comparison.

Also WAR and a bunch of others have Posey in a comfortable lead on McCutchen. granted i did not realize this until today, and was a bit surprised.
   6. The District Attorney Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4254607)
Really? By bb-ref WAR, Yaz tied for the greatest season of all-time by a position player not named Ruth.
Found the Triple Crown comparison article James refers to (here, for subscribers.)
A player’s Triple Crown score is:

Six times his home runs, up to a limit of 300, plus

Two times his RBI, up to a limit of 300, plus

Two for each point of batting average over .200, up to a limit of 400.
Sharp eyes may notice that this does not take into account that there wasn't much offense going on in 1967. (Yaz '67 is in fact at best 45th of all time [44th as of the writing of this article, and then we know Cabrera passed him]. He is behind Frank Robinson '66, and ahead of the others in James' "worse than Cabrera" group.)

I'm not sure in any event why we need a Triple Crown Score to determine the Triple Crowniness of a Triple Crown, when we already have several established ways to evaluate the value of seasons.
   7. Greg Franklin Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4254619)
This is more for the Lounge, but I wonder what restaurants Bill goes to if he hears 12 Dylan covers to every Beatles cover. Is Lawrence, Kansas that obsessed with "All Along the Watchtower"?
   8. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4254620)
1968-1970 A's had (1970 season ages) Reggie Jackson (24), Rick Monday (24) and Joe Rudi (23), and in 1971 added George Hendrick (21), all of whom had at least 6000 PA careers with greater than 112 OPS+ (Dye finished at 111, Damon is at 104).

It's interesting that, since 1901, there have only been 16 team-seasons in which a team had two future HOF players younger than 25 in their outfield simultaneously; never three. Of those, there are only 8 outfielder pairs, and that 8 counts things like Musial's 12 games in 1941.
   9. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:36 PM (#4254623)
I'm not sure if he meant to exaggerate here, but off the top of my head, the 1994 Indians had Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, and Manny Ramirez. Those three went on to have pretty decent careers..


----

1975 Red Sox -- Jim Rice (22), Fred Lynn (23), and Dwight Evans (23).

I'd say that matches, if not trumps, the Royals trio.


Guys, guys. His point was that the Royals had a young outfield that good -- and yet sucked anyway. Those Red Sox and Indians teams won.
   10. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4254636)
Thanks, the DA - I figured it had to be something like that. That's a pretty stupid system, for the reason you note, if nothing else.

I hear more Dylan covers than Beatles covers - the latter is a different kind of inimitable. Not 12:1, of course.
   11. Don Malcolm Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4254656)
The big irony is that the Royal kid OF who had the worst year in '99 went on to have the best career (Beltran).

And for f's sake let's not forget that those end-times Royals had the original "party like it's 1999" sooperstar--Jeremy Giambi!

Quick--without looking it up--who did the Royals get from the A's for the Jere-meister??

I'm not sure in any event why we need a Triple Crown Score to determine the Triple Crowniness of a Triple Crown, when we already have several established ways to evaluate the value of seasons.

Hey, Bill James knows how to gild that lily...and don't you forget it.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4254664)
Quick--without looking it up--who did the Royals get from the A's for the Jere-meister??


Brett Laxton? Is that a person? I remember being dumbfounded that Beane was able to get Jeremy G for such a low price.
   13. Jay Z Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4254709)
Yovani Gallardo also started a post season game for the Brewers in 2008 despite having no regular season decisions.
   14. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4254792)
I'm not sure in any event why we need a Triple Crown Score to determine the Triple Crowniness of a Triple Crown, when we already have several established ways to evaluate the value of seasons.

another opinion
   15. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: October 05, 2012 at 04:22 AM (#4254845)
And for f's sake let's not forget that those end-times Royals had the original "party like it's 1999" sooperstar--Jeremy Giambi!

Quick--without looking it up--who did the Royals get from the A's for the Jere-meister??


The Transaction Analysis write-up by Christina Kahrl for this trade is the funniest thing I ever remember reading at BP. I don't have the keys anymore over there, but it had words maybe being as exact as: "watch as the wolf approaches the slow-witted goat".
   16. Matt Welch Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4254932)
The 1910 Red Sox had an all-22 outfield of Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Duffy Lewis. They turned out all right.

1977 Expos had Andre Dawson (22), Warren Cromartie (23), and Ellis Valentine (22), then four years later subtracted Valentine & added 21-year-old Tim Raines.
   17. Matt Welch Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4254948)
One team that squandered a good(ish) young outfield was the 1966 Angels -- Rick Reichardt (then a 23-year-old god), Jose Cardenal (22), Ed Kirkpatrick (21), and Jay Johnstone (20). They also had a young rotation anchored by 25-year-old Dean Chance, and a good young infield w/ Fregosi, Knoop, Schaal, Rodgers (all 27 or younger). It was a pretty remarkable squanderage.
   18. The District Attorney Posted: October 06, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4256704)
Update:
Bill, Lynn, Rice and Evans were all 22-23 in 1975. I'd say that all three clearly had better careers than Jermaine Dye and Johnny Damon. Beltran is probably the best of the six players, but if you were to pick an outfield as a package, wouldn't you take Lynn, Rice and Evans?

By Career Win Shares Evans had 347, Rice 282, Lynn 280 (Total 909), whereas Damon has 307, Beltran 304 and Dye 175 (Total 786). So it appears that you're right, unless Damon wins the MVP Award in 2013. Which I assume that he probably will. ...

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