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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Posnanski: Jeff Francoeur and ANT

Also known as THE WILL TO WIN.

The other day, I was watching the visiting announcing crew call a Kansas City Royals game, when Jeff Francoeur came to the plate. Before it even began, I knew what was coming. The announcers started to praise Francoeur. You know, it was all the usual stuff—great leader, plays terrific defense, bat coming around, wonderful guy. And, suddenly, a question came to mind.

What player in baseball do you think has the most ANT—Announcer Nonsense Talk—spoken about them?

By ANT, I’m not just referring to stuff announcers say. I’m referring to a sort of universal praise that does not tie to logic or anything tangible but instead to a sort of whimsical hope and powerful narratives. I remember in a playoff game against the Cleveland Browns, John Elway once dropped back, almost fell down, ran into his own offensive lineman, almost fell down again, flipped a short little pass to Mark Jackson who broke and avoided like 49 tackles on his way to a long and ridiculous touchdown catch. As soon as it ended, the announcer shouted: “John Elway did it again!”

That’s ANT.

You know ANT when you hear or read it—it is when people start speaking in broad generalities about a player (“This guy just wants it more”) or when they start over-crediting a player for dubious achievements (pitcher wins and RBIs tend to be the sweet nectar of Announcer Nonsense Talk) or when they start to turn sports achievement into life achievement (“That was just a courageous pitch!”). And like I say, it’s not only announcers who do this—far from it. You see it everywhere. I’ve spent plenty of time writing ANT.

Derek Jeter has been the recipient of a lot of ANT through the years—I coined the word Jeterate based entirely on this—but Jeter is a legitimately great player, one of the best shortstops ever, and he is a consummate professional worthy of respect and admiration. So you can understand why people would want to tack on some nonsense talk to make the record even more sterling. For a while, David Eckstein seemed to be the worldwide leader of ANT, but, heck, the guy is 5-foot-6, can’t really run, can barely throw the ball across the infield, and yet he was a shockingly good baseball player for a handful of years. In 2002, he finished 11th in the MVP voting and deserved it, maybe deserved even a little more. So, yeah, you could see why he got so much ANT. When a player defies logic or sparks intense emotion, nonsense talk often seems the only way to capture the awesomeness of it.

Tim Tebow has probably had more ANT spoken about him than anyone, ever.

But back to baseball … and Jeff Francoeur. At this moment, Jeff Francoeur is hitting .209 with five walks and one home run. We are about a quarter of the way through the season, so you can multiply those numbers by four to get a sense of where he would finish the year at this pace. He has an OPS+ of 48. The Pitch FX numbers show he can’t catch up to the fastball, can’t recognize the slider and cannot stay back on the change-up. He’s O-swing percentage—that is, his percentage of pitches he swings at outside the strike zone—is at a staggering 44.6%, a career high in a career of hacking. It is the third-highest percentage in baseball, behind only legendary free swingers Pablo Sandoval and Alfonso Soriano.

Those guys, however, tend to be bad-ball HITTERS. Francoeur, no, not so much on the hitting part.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM | 84 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, bob kennedy, derek jeter, jeff francoeur, joe posnanski, tim tebow

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   1. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: May 21, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4448744)
I don't mind ANT as described here, unless it's blatantly false. Saying a player is courageous or gritty is a subjective description that can add to the viewing of the game. If you understand the announcers' backgrounds, level of knowledge, etc., you can assess the truth or worth of the statement. It's just a piece of evidence for consideration. What bothers me is when a player is seen as better than another player because of some subjective quality that clearly does not outweigh the objective disparities in production. Like saying Eckstein in his prime was better than A-Rod in his prime because of attitude or something like that. Also, gritty players are usually fun to watch so they're fun to talk about. Also, the announcers personally interact with the players, so when players are good guys the announcers will naturally feel inclined to say good things about them on the air.

This is all obvious stuff, and I'm sure Poz's article takes these factors into account.
   2. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: May 21, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4448759)
He may not be very high in the career ANT department, but A.J. McCarron may have had the highest ANT short peak of all time. Though I guess it wasn't really about him.
   3. Millon deFloss Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4448764)
Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?"
   4. villageidiom Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4448766)
That's the thing about Jeff Francoeur: he's not afraid to avoid hitting the ball. You have to admire him for that.
   5. zonk Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4448801)
Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?"


You need to have the cachet of a Harry Caray to get away with that -- and there are very team guys (working for specific teams) who do... or at least, of the few that do, it's just not their style (Scully maybe) or wholly antithetical to their style (Hawk and maybe Sterling).

Anyway, the problem with Pos' new number is that we have to normalize it... Jeter might very well be the active leader among ANT, but Frenchy's almost certainly trouncing him in ANT+.
   6. Styles P. Deadball Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4448802)
This is all obvious stuff, and I'm sure Poz's article takes these factors into account.


Jeez, now I have to start adjusting for ANT effects?
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4448806)

Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?"


Didn't that get Ryan Lefebvre in trouble with Milton Bradley?
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4448817)
So, why is Francoeur still starting in KC? Is there no other option? Mitch Maier has to be better at this point; do they still have him hanging around?
   9. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4448839)
So, why is Francoeur still starting in KC? Is there no other option? Mitch Maier has to be better at this point; do they still have him hanging around?

He had three hits last night, so he's locked up a spot in the lineup until mid-August. Ned Yost knows how to ride a hitting streak.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4448842)
He had three hits last night, so he's locked up a spot in the lineup until mid-August. Ned Yost knows how to ride a hitting streak.

Hah! Probably accurate.

But seriously, he's up to 750 PAs of seriously below replacement level play (-2.9 WAR in '12-'13). How can he still be starting?

Is Dayton Moore that stupid? I may need to revive my theory that a committee of Primates could run an MLB franchise better than some actual front-offices.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: May 21, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4448846)
Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?"


They do, provided it's a dark complexion fella, with perceived lots of talent who wears his hat backwards and doesn't have otherwordly numbers.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4448847)
You'd have to take something similar to park factors into account as well, as certain teams' announcers are far more prone to absolute BS than others'. I'd bet that at least half of the current leaders would be White Sox, for example.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4448850)

But seriously, he's up to 750 PAs of seriously below replacement level play (-2.9 WAR in '12-'13). How can he still be starting?


Last week there was a bit in the paper on how Frenchy would be sitting more in favor of Jarrod Dyson. Dyson then landed on the 15 day DL. COINCEDENCE???!??!?!?

But there is an indication that David Lough - just called up from Omaha - will begin to see a lot of playing time over Frenchy.
   14. AROM Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4448891)
So, why is Francoeur still starting in KC? Is there no other option? Mitch Maier has to be better at this point; do they still have him hanging around?


Maier is playing for Pawtucket now, or at least he was up to April 22. Must be injured or something. But pretty much any player at the AA or AAA level would do as an alternative. Frenchy has not been replacement level, he's so far below below replacement level he can't even see up that high.

Here's a list: Age 24-29, corner OF, minimum 2500 PA, OPS+ < 90, 1947-on. Francoeur (89 OPS+) is one of 5 on the list. The others are:

Mike Hershberger (83). Played for White Sox and A's in the 60's. I knew nothing about him, but the guy sponsering his bbref page writes "What an arm!" So he sounds like a great comp.

Jesus Alou (84). Hit singles well, being a zero in power/walks not as much a career killer then. Plus you had to keep his brothers happy.

Vince Coleman (86) At least he was really fast, and added a good deal of runs on the bases.

Glen Wilson (90). I remember him well, spending my teenage years near Philly. Also a great throwing arm, no OBP, some pop in the bat but not a good enough hitter to show consistent power. He was considered more of a grinder than a great natural athlete, but his numbers from age 24-29 match up perfectly across the board.

So Frenchy is not unprecedented, but it is fairly rare for a player of his type to get so much playing time, pretty much once every 20 years since Coleman/Alou were different types. Wilson was Frenchy of the 80's, and Hersh was Frenchy of the 60's.



   15. JJ1986 Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4448897)
The Storm Chasers outfielders are David Lough, who I believe is in the majors now, Paulo Orlando, who has a .550 OPS, Anthony Seratelli, who is not really an outfielder, and Willy Taveras, who has a 68 OPS+ for his career.
   16. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4448904)
Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?"


I remember Harry Caray ripping into George Frazier, although he waited till after the Cubs had traded Frazier away to do it. In an ironic twist, Frazier is now an announcer himself, and is a worse announcer than he was a pitcher.
   17. bfan Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4448910)
Speaking of sputtering IL outfielders (and potential replacements for Frenchie, at least at 1 time), what the heck happened to Wil "sweet swing/cannot miss" Myers. If we are concluding that 1/4 of a season starts to show a level of performance for the year, then that .732 OPS in AAA cannot feel very good to TB right now.
   18. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4448912)
Randomly, I wondered what the difference between Frenchy and a guy like Bobby Kielty was (I grew up playing youth ball with and against Bobby, so I am biased). In 9 seasons, Frenchy has put up 9.1 WAR in 9 seasons while Kielty put up 6.3 in 7 seasons. Obviously, Frenchy was a little better (because of a couple of pretty decent seasons) than Kielty, but he hasn't been that much better. I get why Kielty had to retire long ago (he wasn't that good), but I don't understand why Frenchy keeps getting chances. He is more bad than good.
   19. TomH Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4448914)
14: Glenn Wilson.

The Phillies put on an ad campaign one year about Glen, after he had accumulated a lot of RBI one season. It was a Rambo spoof. "They said there was no one you could count on to drive in the big run. They didn't count on... GLENBO."

Even in my young adulthood I knew he was overrated.
   20. AROM Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4448918)
Yeah, I remember GlenBo. Thanks for bringing back that memory.
   21. AROM Posted: May 21, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4448921)
Randomly, I wondered what the difference between Frenchy and a guy like Bobby Kielty was (I grew up playing youth ball with and against Bobby, so I am biased).


Francoeur has had more chances because he was viewed as a player with the tools to develop into a star. Even if he hasn't retained all the tools. True fact: In the 2003 Baseball America Prospect handbook, they mention the 40 yard dash times for some of the speedy guys. Frenchy was faster then than B.J. Upton was. Hard to believe now.
   22. Sweatpants Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4448953)
Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?"
You should listen to Marty Brennaman broadcasts.
I get why Kielty had to retire long ago (he wasn't that good), but I don't understand why Frenchy keeps getting chances. He is more bad than good.
Among other things, he timed his 119 OPS+ season extremely well. The Royals were the only ones willing to offer him a starting job, and he played well and parlayed that season into a two-year contract and with it two more years of starting.
Edit:
True fact: In the 2003 Baseball America Prospect handbook, they mention the 40 yard dash times for some of the speedy guys. Frenchy was faster then than B.J. Upton was. Hard to believe now.
His speed deteriorated QUICKLY. Even in his second season it was hard to believe that he'd been a DB recruited to play in the SEC.
   23. zonk Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4448976)
Yeah, I remember GlenBo. Thanks for bringing back that memory.


Ditto -

He somehow managed to drive in 102 (5th in the NL) in 1985 -- despite a decidedly unimpressive line of 274/311/424 (102 OPS+), while finishing 85th overall in the NL among position players in oWAR.

Even without the benefit of advanced metrics at the time -- it was the first time a then-13 yo me started to wonder if this 'RBI' stat might be deeply flawed in determining value.
   24. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4448978)
Frenchy also benefits from knowing exactly what to say every spring training and some fortuitous hitting. Every year in spring training it's same articles, about how he's changed his approach, he's going to be more patient, etc. Then gets on a bit of a hot streak in the beginning of the year (for his career, April is his second best month) giving the writers and broadcasters something to talk about. Then at the end of the year he gets hot again (September is his best month) and the writers and broadcasters talk carrying over from the end of the season. It's an endless cycle.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4448993)

The Storm Chasers outfielders are David Lough, who I believe is in the majors now, Paulo Orlando, who has a .550 OPS, Anthony Seratelli, who is not really an outfielder, and Willy Taveras, who has a 68 OPS+ for his career.


They also have Xavier Nady, who was proven the last 3 seasons in the big leagues that he cannot hit big league pitching anymore.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4448998)
I hope I'm wrong, but Josh Reddick strikes me as a great candidate for the next Frenchy.

The thing about Tebow is that half the world does in fact think he's no good. No one is saying Jeter is no good, although of course it helps that saying such a thing would be laughably incorrect. And although Frenchy gets smoke blown up his butt, no one seriously thinks the guy is a star player; as mentioned, he was about to become the short side of a platoon before Dyson got hurt.

The ultimate ANT+ guy would both be a bad player, and yet have few detractors. That's probably rare, but it could happen. Maybe someone like Jason Sehorn who was good at one point and very suddenly completely loses it, during the period before the perception catches up to the reality. Maybe Vince Coleman in 1985; although it'd be different now, everyone at that point thought that he was one of the most devastating players in baseball.

I'll nominate Brett Favre as an all-time ANT (not ANT+) leader.
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4449020)

The ultimate ANT+ guy would both be a bad player, and yet have few detractors.


It would have to be in an area where metrics are not well known or accurate. In baseball, hitting stats give you a pretty good idea of who is good and bad and even sportswriters aren't going to fly in the face of batting average unless the guy is perceived to be an amazing fielder.

I can see NFL offensive linemen or even defensive players being ANT guys. Maybe an NBA player who is a good scorer but is a sieve on defense. For MLB it would have to be a light-hitting infielder who is not good defensively even though he "looks" like he should be.
   28. Dudefella Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4449025)
"I'll nominate Brett Favre as an all-time ANT (not ANT+) leader. "

He's just like a kid out there.
   29. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4449028)
no one seriously thinks the guy is a star player


Not anymore, but his first season he was destined for greatness.
   30. cardsfanboy Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4449034)
I imagine guys like Sweeney and Sean Casey were great ANT leaders. And the more broadcasts I see with Yadier(by different broadcasters) the more I think he is the heir apparent to Jeter. The Cardinals called up this kid Jermaine Curtis, who if he ever makes it to the majors will be the Cardinals broadcast team all time ANT guy (he was literally called up as much for his attitude as he was for his ability... Even Mozeliek commented that they were rewarding him for how he handled himself last season)

I think most ANT leaders are going to be decent players, a Frenchy is going to be a rare example of a sustained ANT career.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4449036)
Maybe an NBA player who is a good scorer but is a sieve on defense.


Or conversely, a guy who seems like he does all the little things, but is a liability at the other end of the court.

FWIW, Frenchy NOT in the starting lineup tonight against a RHP.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: May 21, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4449062)
Jesus Alou

First guy named Jesus I ever knew of other than the big guy. Kinda confused me at 8. Y'know, us white folk kinda drew the line at calling our kids Jesus, it struck me as really odd. (approx. 50 million Marys though)

Frazier is now an announcer himself, and is a worse announcer than he was a pitcher.

Surely this is unpossible. Why would God allow such a thing?

He was bad at the beginning, then he got worse.

Glenn Wilson is an excellent Frenchy comp. I think I bought into the Wilson hype for a bit. Joe Carter was Frenchy with a LOT more hitting talent and it took ages for Carter to start getting ANT.

Ichiro could lead the ANT race if he wanted to.





   33. Walt Davis Posted: May 21, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4449066)
That said ... we've had our fun, maybe we should let Frenchy's career die in peace.
   34. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 21, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4449069)
Francoeur has had more chances because he was viewed as a player with the tools to develop into a star. Even if he hasn't retained all the tools. True fact: In the 2003 Baseball America Prospect handbook, they mention the 40 yard dash times for some of the speedy guys. Frenchy was faster then than B.J. Upton was. Hard to believe now.


Hard to believe?
Try impossible
That was typo right?

Seriously, I remember when Frenchy came up with the Braves, their announcers babbled on and on about him, the line I most remember is from when the Braves were playing the Mets, they referred to David Wright as the "Mets' Francoeur"

I saw a guy who looked like ballplayer, ran well, good arm, nice looking swing (if a little long), but if you watched 2-3 at bats it was clear that he had absolutely no idea of what he was doing up there aside from swinging at the ball, and he simply didn't have the insane quickness that, oh Alphonso Soriano had, to make it work.

So I spent years following him, fascinated how so many people could not see that he was a train wreck, how oould "scouts" completely miss the fact that he had no clue at the plate, none, and he wasn't learning either.




   35. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 21, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4449073)
I think most ANT leaders are going to be decent players, a Frenchy is going to be a rare example of a sustained ANT career.


Delmon Young...

   36. OCF Posted: May 21, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4449079)
Ken Reitz was an ANT leader in his day. His particular specialty was hitting in April. Career WAR -2.6 in >5000 PA.
   37. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4449097)
I saw a guy who looked like ballplayer, ran well, good arm, nice looking swing (if a little long), but if you watched 2-3 at bats it was clear that he had absolutely no idea of what he was doing up there aside from swinging at the ball, and he simply didn't have the insane quickness that, oh Alphonso Soriano had, to make it work.

So I spent years following him, fascinated how so many people could not see that he was a train wreck, how oould "scouts" completely miss the fact that he had no clue at the plate, none, and he wasn't learning either.


He always did enough things in his early days with Atlanta to convince a slightly-less-than-neutral observer that he would turn out all right. And he did genuinely have a solid rookie season; you're not going to look too askance at a talented, toolsy 21-year-old putting up a 126 OPS+, even if it's slugging heavy and carried by a white hot start.

It's not that there were no warning signs even in 2005. I remember getting in knock-down, drag-out fights with Bill Shanks over whether it was fair to question Francoeur's plate discipline.

But when a guy runs like Francoeur did in those early days, hits with the power he did, all while smiling that million-dollar smile (and he is a good-looking guy) and winning over the clubhouse, it's really easy to talk yourself into the idea that he'll learn a little plate discipline, that he'll shorten the swing just enough.

Ultimately, that long swing you mentioned really did him in. It's one thing to swing at every slider in the dirt if you can hit every fastball in the zone you see. But even by his second year Francoeur was getting repeatedly blown away by decent heat, which had a cascading effect where he needed to start his swing earlier and made him even more vulnerable to crappy off-speed pitches.
   38. zenbitz Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4449105)
Ichiro could lead the ANT race if he wanted to.


Wins the thread.

In general, football announcers are MUCH worse about this than baseball. Every fullback is "hard nosed". Every lineman is "a beast". Every slot receiver is "shifty". Every safety is "hard hittting".
   39. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4449106)
Ken Reitz was an ANT leader in his day. His particular specialty was hitting in April.


You are not kidding, career .260/.290/.359 but .314/.351/.424 in April (.271/.301/.374 pre- All star break)

Back in the 70s .270 was not a bad average, the Cards would play the Mets in May or June and you'd see .280-4-30 on screen, and at that point of the season those would look to be perfectly cromulent stats for a 3b

But he was terrible, at some point doesn't his team have to know that?

In 1975, while Reitz was putting up a sub 80 OPS+, their 22 year old AAA 3b was hitting .306/.394/.579 (same guy also hit .328/.419/.618 in AA at age 20)...
and so the Cardinals in fact did the logical thing, they traded Reitz and promoted Hector Cruz, gave him the 3B job, and he was as terrible as Reitz. (Hector Cruz is a data point for those who do not believe in mles- he eventually got 1800 MLB PAs and never hit remotely as well in the majors as his minor league numbers suggested he would- not even close)

So the Cardinals went and got Reitz back! He was still terrible, but it was the 1970s so his .261-17-79 looked pretty decent (if you ignore the fact that offense surged in 1977 and that an OBP of .291 sucks in any era)
   40. Spahn Insane Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4449117)
In an ironic twist, Frazier is now an announcer himself, and is a worse announcer than he was a pitcher.

What, does he do the broadcasts in pig Latin while insulting each player's mother?
   41. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4449119)
It's not that there were no warning signs even in 2005. I remember getting in knock-down, drag-out fights with Bill Shanks over whether it was fair to question Francoeur's plate discipline.


Ugh, Shanks. The media and fans went even softer than normal on Frenchy because he's a local boy. It made the hype extra annoying.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4449120)
A very tangled set of trades actually ...

1975: Reitz to the Giants for Pete Falcone
1976: Reitz back to Cards for Lynn McGlothen
1977: Cruz & Dave Rader to the Cubs for Morales and Swisher
1978: Cruz to the Giants for Lynn McGlothen
1979: Cruz to Reds for Borbon
1980: Cruz to Cubs for Mike Vail
1981: Reitz (and Durham plus) to Cubs for Sutter where he joins Cruz
   43. OCF Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4449123)
But he was terrible, at some point doesn't his team have to know that?

It took Whitey Herzog to finally figure it out. Herzog packaged Reitz together with Leon Durham for Bruce Sutter. I always figured that Whitey's primary motive for including Reitz in that particular trade was that he wanted Reitz gone, period. Oberkfell at 3rd and Herr at 2nd made the Cardinals a better team. Meanwhile in Chicago, Reitz forgot to have his usual April hot streak, and hit .215 on the year while occasionally being spelled by ... Hector Cruz. And with that (and an 0 for 10 the next year) his major league career was over. But he signed back with the Cardinals one more time and kept playing as a minor-league roster filler for a while.
   44. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 21, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4449125)
What, does he do the broadcasts in pig Latin while insulting each player's mother?


No, he's not quite that coherent.
   45. Kurt Posted: May 21, 2013 at 07:32 PM (#4449147)
I can't believe nobody in this thread has mentioned Rey Ordonez, who as I recall saved 2-3 runs per game with his glove.
   46. John DiFool2 Posted: May 21, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4449155)
   47. Sweatpants Posted: May 21, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4449164)
I can't believe nobody in this thread has mentioned Rey Ordonez, who as I recall saved 2-3 runs per game with his glove.
And had a half-hour TV special made about him.
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 21, 2013 at 08:59 PM (#4449191)
between pujols and frenchy joe needs some new material.

he keeps repackaging the same stuff

yikes
   49. Charlie O Posted: May 21, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4449224)
In Oakland, Carney Lansford is the all-time ANT King and Jason Kendall is the ANT Prince. If Kendall played longer in Oakland, he may have eventually topped Lansford because he was a catcher. What they had in common besides whiteness and grittiness was the relentless Ray Fosse P.R. machine. Ray Fosse loves these guys more than their mothers and wives ever did. When the A's unloaded Kendall and made Kurt Suzuki the starting catcher, I think they had to put a suicide watch on poor Ray and hire a security detail to protect Suzuki.
   50. Graham Posted: May 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4449238)
between pujols and frenchy joe needs some new material.

he keeps repackaging the same stuff

yikes


Do we just notice it more now that our patience with Poz is shorter? I remember him writing about Yuni Betancourt multiple times during Yuni's days in Kansas City when he really wasn't that interesting of a topic.
   51. TJ Posted: May 21, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4449255)
Jarrod Dyson would be an improvement over Francoer. As would a Dyson sphere. As would that goofy-looking Dyson vacuum cleaner with the motor in the handle...

Jesus Alou gets extra ANT points for getting a HOF vote...

My favorite ANT+ man- Butch Hobson and his -0.1 career WAR.

   52. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 21, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4449284)

I can't believe nobody in this thread has mentioned Rey Ordonez, who as I recall saved 2-3 runs per game with his glove.


IIRC, either the Phillies manager or some Philly media claimed Rico Brogna saved 100 runs with his glove.
   53. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: May 21, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4449297)
Or conversely, a guy who seems like he does all the little things, but is a liability at the other end of the court.
or both ends of the court, in the case of derrick fisher.

also, tony romo.

and hal gill.


   54. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: May 22, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4449388)
My favorite ANT+ man- Butch Hobson and his -0.1 career WAR.

But he played for Bear Bryant.

Hobson had 10 sacrifice hits in a season where he had 30 homers and 112 RBIs. That sounds impossible.
   55. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4449390)
this doesn't 'splain the ANT for Frenchy by the media, but the reason teams keep playing him is this bizarre and uncanny habit he has had of tearing up the joint when he first goes to a new team. He hits like gangbusters for a month or two, then settles back to Frenchy-dom. But each team seems to think that the initial hot streak represents his true ability. Someone upthread said he had a good rookie year for the Braves--he didn't. He had an incredible first month: 359/380/669 in his first 150 PA's, then 223/282 /393 in the next 130. And it's been like that wherever he's gone. He's the Ken Reitz of new teams
   56. Sunday silence Posted: May 22, 2013 at 01:24 AM (#4449400)
Jeff Francoeur is hitting .209 with five walks and one home run. We are about a quarter of the way through the season, so you can multiply those numbers by four to get a sense of where he would finish the year at this pace.


so he should hit .836 on the year?
   57. richallen Posted: May 22, 2013 at 06:27 AM (#4449438)
Actually, just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?


BBC Radio 5 has a football commentator who does this and it just comes across as obnoxious, that he really doesn't understand the game. He thinks he's being "out there", "opinionated" but he's employed to describe the action, not to judge it. Well I think so anyway.


   58. BrianBrianson Posted: May 22, 2013 at 07:15 AM (#4449445)
What is this? A batting line for ants?!

C'mon!
   59. villageidiom Posted: May 22, 2013 at 07:56 AM (#4449447)
I'll nominate Brett Favre as an all-time ANT (not ANT+) leader.
I basically nominated him in #4.
   60. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 09:16 AM (#4449474)
or both ends of the court, in the case of derrick fisher.


Robert Horry!
   61. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4449482)
Robert Horry!


I've blocked out all memory of whoever it was who maintained that Horry belonged in the HOF. Might've been several whoevers, even.

I have a friend here who came along a few years after Horry at Andalusia High School in south Ala., & even she didn't buy into that silliness.

   62. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: May 22, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4449501)
In general, football announcers are MUCH worse about this than baseball. Every fullback is "hard nosed". Every lineman is "a beast". Every slot receiver is "shifty". Every safety is "hard hittting".


I sure as hell am not going to claim NFL announcers don't do more than their fair share of ANTing, but I don't think this is right. They have identified the attribute which they deem most important at a certain position, and emphasize those who excel at that one attribute, but they don't do it for every player. You could just as easil complain that every baseball player who hits HRs is a 'slugger', every good fielder a 'wizard', every pitcher with a good fastball a 'flamethrower', every junkball lefty 'crafty' etc.

Do we just notice it more now that our patience with Poz is shorter? I remember him writing about Yuni Betancourt multiple times during Yuni's days in Kansas City when he really wasn't that interesting of a topic.

Poz is a KC guy, so he writes about KC a lot. Because that is unusual for a national media guy, we notice it. If he were a NYer, and writing 6 columns a year about Jeter and Mariano, nobody would bat an eyelash.
   63. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4449505)
NFL players with ANT tend to be white guys at skill positions. Danny Woodhead comes to mind. Wayne Chrebet. Tom Waddle.
   64. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4449534)
For Toronto the ANT is J.P. Arencibia, proud holder of a 2/54 BB/K ratio and .239 OBP. Back when he was displaying much more sound strike zone judgement and his BB/K ratio was all the way up at 2/33, Pat Tabler waxed poetic about JP's great approach at the plate. Here you have an announcer who was actually a good hitter himself once upon a time, outright lying and telling the audience that the guy at the plate with a career .222/.270/.437 line has a good approach. If that's not enough to get an announcer fired..... Arencibia (career 1/5.3 BB/K ratio, getting worse every year) makes Frenchy look downright selective.
   65. Styles P. Deadball Posted: May 22, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4449552)
What is this? A batting line for ants?!


How is Frenchy supposed to tear it up the first month with a new team?.... if he can't even get into the building.
   66. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: May 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4449638)
I don't want to hear your excuses!
The center has to be at least... three times bigger than this.
   67. The District Attorney Posted: May 22, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4449675)
I've blocked out all memory of whoever it was who maintained that Horry belonged in the HOF.
Bill Simmons has him as the 84th greatest player of all time. But, I think most people view Horry as a solid player who happened to be a clutch freak. Derek Fisher's current contribution on the court is the ability to head up the players' union. That's gotta be a higher ANT+. (And I suppose logically, Scott Brooks' ANT+ is even greater.)

I agree that football announcers ANT more than baseball, which is funny because honestly, if you compare an at-bat in baseball to a play in football, the football play is typically the one that involves much more strategy that the announcers could be discussing.
   68. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4449727)
Bill Simmons has him as the 84th greatest player of all time.


And with that, any shred of credibility I might have assigned that fool is now gone.
   69. Steve Treder Posted: May 22, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4449772)
Mike Hershberger (83). Played for White Sox and A's in the 60's. I knew nothing about him, but the guy sponsering his bbref page writes "What an arm!" So he sounds like a great comp.

Hershberger was indeed a defensive specialist with a superb arm. He very likely would have become established as a center fielder, but he kept playing on the same team as Jim Landis.

But there's absolutely no way he should have gotten all the first-string playing time he did, even considering it was the low-scoring '60s. He hit like a middle infielder, nothing approaching the power of a Frenchy.

Jesus Alou (84). Hit singles well, being a zero in power/walks not as much a career killer then. Plus you had to keep his brothers happy.

I haven't researched this, but I'm still pretty confident in hypothesizing that Jesus Alou was the very worst major league player to get as many years and as much playing time as he did. He was big but had zilch power, and didn't run well. The one and only reason he got the opportunities he did was because of his last name. Felipe and Matty are both good, so this guy must be too.
   70. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4449777)
Yeah, isn't basketball the sport he's actually supposed to know something about?
   71. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: May 22, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4449816)
Horry could never make a bad team good but he could help a good team become great, especially if he played on a team with a dominant center. He could guard small forwards, power forwards, and centers without embarrassing himself, and he could hit threes. He was an excellent role player who hit a lot of very big shots in his career.

I doubt that Simmons thought that Horry was one of the best 100 guys to start a franchise from scratch, but if you had a good center already, you're much more likely to win with Horry than without him.

EDIT: I agree with Walt. Let Frenchy's career end in peace.
   72. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 22, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4449849)
I haven't researched this, but I'm still pretty confident in hypothesizing that Jesus Alou was the very worst major league player to get as many years and as much playing time as he did. He was big but had zilch power, and didn't run well. The one and only reason he got the opportunities he did was because of his last name. Felipe and Matty are both good, so this guy must be too.

He hit .290+ every other year, for that reason alone, in the pre- Bill James days he was seen by most as a good hitter.

And Ed Kranepool had 1000+ PAs and a couple years on him

   73. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: May 22, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4449852)
If Kendall played longer in Oakland, he may have eventually topped Lansford because he was a catcher. What they had in common besides whiteness and grittiness was the relentless Ray Fosse P.R. machine. Ray Fosse loves these guys more than their mothers and wives ever did.


Fosse's like every other ex-catcher broadcaster: he will talk up the catchers.
I dunno, though - the lasting perception I got of Kendall in Oakland was "guy who cannot hit or throw."
Indeed, his grittiest-ever plays here involved heads-up baserunning and tagging a guy out WITH HIS FACE.
The other 99.9999% of the time, he was "guy who cannot hit or throw."
For every Fosse-lation, there's Ken Korach with a flat "Not a strong throw from Kendall," and we get it.
   74. Ron J2 Posted: May 22, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4449860)
#69 The cult of BA was strong back then and he was reasonably good at hitting for average.

EDIT: coke JSLF
   75. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 22, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4449873)
I haven't researched this, but I'm still pretty confident in hypothesizing that Jesus Alou was the very worst major league player to get as many years and as much playing time as he did.

certainly in the running
   76. AROM Posted: May 22, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4449883)
Horry could never make a bad team good but he could help a good team become great, especially if he played on a team with a dominant center. He could guard small forwards, power forwards, and centers without embarrassing himself, and he could hit threes. He was an excellent role player who hit a lot of very big shots in his career.

I doubt that Simmons thought that Horry was one of the best 100 guys to start a franchise from scratch, but if you had a good center already, you're much more likely to win with Horry than without him.


I agree with this 100%. When you've got 2 dominant superstars like Shaq and Kobe, you need someone who can contribute without needing a lot of shots. Even better is that for the few shots he gets, they come from 3 point land. I don't think the Lakers of that period win more games if they had someone like prime Charles Barkley in there. Charles would play worse D, and the fight for shots between him, Shaq, and Kobe might have been something that even Phil Jackson couldn't handle. At the same time, there is no way replacing Barkley with Horry on the late 80's Sixers gets you to 45-50 wins. They would have been lottery.
   77. Zach Posted: May 22, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4449905)
Frenchy also benefits from playing in KC, where managerial happy talk is the rule. The Royals have been slaves to upside for the last umpteen bajillion years, and Frenchy is nothing if not upside.
   78. Zach Posted: May 22, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4449908)
Poz is a KC guy, so he writes about KC a lot. Because that is unusual for a national media guy, we notice it. If he were a NYer, and writing 6 columns a year about Jeter and Mariano, nobody would bat an eyelash.

He's a North Carolina guy writing about national topics now, which hurts him. Say what you like about the Royals, but following a single team all year long will expose you to stories nobody else has picked up on. National stories are boring and picked over -- Jeter and Tiger and Favre, oh my!
   79. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 22, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4449925)
certainly in the running


I hate Vince Coleman (I'm a Mets fan), watching him every day, stunning absolutely stunning how truly awful a baseball player he was. He ran the bases well, that was it, he was below average at every single other aspect of playing ball:

Defense: His arm was poor, his instincts in the OF were poor, he got late starts, he misjudged where the ball was going, how fast it was etc.- he wasn't comically bad, not like Lonnie Smith, just depressingly bad.

Offense: He made contact more or less, he put the ball in play weakly all over the field, he never drove the ball, maybe if he consistently slapped the ball on the ground ala Ichiro, or bunted every 3rd at bat like Brett Butler he could have done something useful with the bat, but no, not enough hits, not enough walks

seeing him play every day, the fact that he was a regular was galling, the fact that many in the MSM regarded him as a star player was repulsive (To be fair to NYC mediots- once he was playing here the consensus pretty quickly became "Jesus Christ was bad ballplayer"

Obviously people were blinded by those 100+ steal years, but G-Damn it he was such a fundamentally wretched ballplayer taht I really can't fathom how people allowed those steals to overshadow that fact for so long.
   80. CrosbyBird Posted: May 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM (#4450301)
Obviously people were blinded by those 100+ steal years, but G-Damn it he was such a fundamentally wretched ballplayer taht I really can't fathom how people allowed those steals to overshadow that fact for so long.

Coleman's 100-steal seasons were at a pretty good percentage, too, especially the second one.

I was very surprised to see that Coleman's best season of running was only worth 17 runs over average according to b-ref. I think that's the sort of thing that is very, very difficult to grasp intuitively. It's weird to see a season like 1987, where Coleman hit .289 and went 109/22 on bases, and scored 121 runs, and look at that season as less than one win over average. He even walked 70 times, which isn't an embarrassment.

Coleman was pretty close to an average player on the Mets, except in that final season. Putting up a 0.8 or 1.0 WAR in less than a half-season isn't terrible. His first season with KC, now that's a world of terrible.
   81. Steve Treder Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:03 AM (#4450331)
Jesus Alou was a worse player than Vince Coleman by some huge multiple. All -- every damn last one of them -- of the flaws Coleman presented, Alou duplicated. But instead of drawing walks at a fairly impressive clip for a weak hitter, Alou couldn't spell the word "draw," the word "walk", or the phrase "are you ####### kidding me with that nonexistent walk rate." And, instead of being one of the small handful of very fastest runners ever to play major league baseball, Alou presented below-average-at-best wheels.

Think about that.
   82. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 23, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4450490)
"Jesus Christ was bad ballplayer"


Well, yeah, but he brought a number of intangibles to the field of play.
   83. GuyM Posted: May 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4450518)
I was very surprised to see that Coleman's best season of running was only worth 17 runs over average according to b-ref.

You have to add 3 runs for hitting into fewer GDPs than average, so that puts him at +20 runs, or 2 wins, on the bases. Seems substantial to me, but I get your point -- Whitey probably would have said Coleman added 5 or 10 wins on the bases.

As I read the definition of Rally's baserunning metric, it doesn't appear to include a baserunner's ability to prevent GDPs. That is, it measures GDP rates for hitters, but someone like Coleman also helps his teammates avoid GDPs by getting to 2B (or 3B) too quickly to allow a force play (often because he was running on the pitch). And even on plays where a DP wasn't possible, Coleman probably forced fielders to get the out at first rather than second or third in some cases, which also has value. Maybe Rally can stop by and clarify this. These factors certainly aren't a huge deal, but they probably add a few runs for a player like Coleman.
   84. BDC Posted: May 23, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4450528)
just once I'd like to hear an announcer, or hell, anybody else say about a player "He plays the game the wrong way. All wrong. Why is this guy even on a team?

The Phillies once had a utility man named Luis Aguayo. I remembered two things Richie Ashburn said about him, and put them up on B-Ref Bullpen:

"Luis Aguayo is on deck. Aguayo hasn't exactly been reminding anybody of Rogers Hornsby lately."

"Aguayo's running at first base. He doesn't have great speed ... what am I saying? he doesn't have good speed, he doesn't even have average speed. The man is slow."

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