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Monday, April 08, 2013

Yallof: They came, we SAW, they conquered

As an insider once told me…“When Matt Yallof walks in the room…we stop talking baseball.”

Sensory overload. It’s our way of life. Constantly looking down and poking at a keyboard with one finger. So personable. With Twitter, Facebook, and real-time scoring apps, you can follow every pitch of an entire game without seeing a single play. I tried it and my eyes went blurry and a migraine kicked in by the bottom of the fourth. In many ways the technology is useful. But it also takes us away from experiencing the beauty of the game and the sport’s greatest players. Guy who are referred to as stars, superstars, faces of the game and in some cases, future Hall of Famers. In order to encourage more watching and less tweeting, I’ve created a new category to describe the elite. Players you must see. Or in this case, players you must SAW.

SAW = Stop and Watch.

7. Josh Reddick: His offensive talent is obvious and you could make the case he’s the face (and beard) of the A’s. But that’s not enough to be a SAW player. His facial hair is. It’s downright frightening to think that at any moment a varmint could leap from his whiskers and interrupt play. If that happens, you don’t want to miss it. Remember the classic scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” when the squirrel leaps from the tree an into the living room? Pure Chaos. But don’t forget: “Squirrels are high in cholesterol.”

6. Miguel Cabrera: To quote the teenagers, “Duh.” Of course he’s a SAW guy. He’s also on the short list of best hitters in history. Among right-handed hitters with 300 or more career homers, Miggy has the sixth-highest batting average. The guys ahead of him: Hornsby, Simmons, DiMaggio, Foxx, and Pujols. Cabrera celebrates his 30th birthday on April 18. What gift do you get for a guy who has a Triple Crown? Just wondering out loud.

2 and 1. Tie. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper: How can anyone possibly rank one in front of the other? They will forever be linked after turning baseball upside down in 2012. At an age (21 and 20, respectively) when you typically hang out at a local convenience store eating Cheese Doodles, Trout and Harper are household names. lists Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. as similar hitters by age to Trout. He’s too young to remember Griffey playing in his prime. But could be the most exciting player since Junior. One of the comps to Harper through his age 19 season: Ty Cobb. If that’s not enough to make you SAW, consider this: Harper is hitting third in the order on a team that needs a World Series appearance to be considered a success.

Repoz Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:36 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4407363)
I wholeheartedly agree with the McCutchen assessment. Probably my favorite non-Cardinal(or Cardinal related) player in all of baseball. I do think that Pujols also fits into the definition of SAW type of player. Even if he isn't Pujols anymore, you still know you are watching a hof player who can still make the opposition pay.

If he's including Rivera, then it's hard to not include Chapman or even Kimbrel into the mix. Yes I understand the history of Rivera, but it's also fun watching the current best in the game(Kimbrel) or just seeing 102mph.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4407394)
Edit: they did include chapman..must have skipped over that part.
   3. McCoy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4407428)
For me baseball just isn't a stop and watch type game.

Home runs are home runs and strike outs are strike outs. It's virtually impossible to stop and watch for defensive reasons so there just isn't much to focus on.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4407433)
For me baseball just isn't a stop and watch type game.

I generally watch it as it's going on, but if I need to grab a drink or do work or whatever, the break can be determined by who is up to bat... I've never walked away from an Ichiro(as a Mariner) at bat, as he was always fun to watch. Same can be said about McGwire, Pujols, Sosa, Vlad, Griffey, etc... I'm not sold on Harper or Trout being that type of player yet.

As far as pitchers go, it's just the knuckleballers and the power pitchers that really get me going. I enjoy a masterful performance as much as anyone, but to actively stop what you are doing and "watch" it would have to be something significant.

Edit: all those player examples are of course in their prime examples...not their fading years.
   5. BDC Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4407442)
the break can be determined by who is up to bat

Josh Hamilton had an effect on my immediate whereabouts at the Ballpark over the last few years. I reckon he still will for a while if I get to some Angels series.
   6. dr. scott Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4407467)
Im rarely near a TV until after 7 or 8pm when I get home from work (on the west coast), and at that point Im having dinner watching the Giants or A's if they are still playing. On the weekend Im never home, and with few exceptions the local sports bars only play the local teams (and when football season starts, not even them), so again Im missing most teams and players. I will however buy tickets to see Trout, Harper, Dickey and a few others in person, but unless its ones job to watch baseball, watching enough baseball to see all the players is not easy if employed with a 1+ hour commute each way.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: April 09, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4408152)
Among right-handed hitters with 300 or more career homers, Miggy has the sixth-highest batting average

Grrr ... Cabrera's a great enough hitter we don't need to go out of our way to find misleading stuff. Anyway, Miggy has 321 HR and 318 BA through his first 6500 PA. Some similar:

Foxx 334, 379 HR through his first 6600
Joe D 331, 317 HR through 6600
Pujols 331, 408 through 6800
Vlad 325, 338 through 6200
Piazza 315, 378 through 6500 (includes his early decline)
Thomas 321, 344 through 6800
Aaron 320, 342 through 6600
Manny 316, 390 through 6600
Greenberg 313, 331 through 6100 (teach him to go off to war)
Mays 315, 368 through 6700

other notables ...

AROD 305/381
FRob 304/373
Bagwell 303/349
Rice 303/304
Allen 299/319 (tougher era)
Belle 295/381
Braun 313/203 in 3900 PA
Holliday 312/330 in 5500 (outside shot at 300)

Miggy's HR total is a little low compared to those guys. Nice group to be in obviously. I would not have guessed that he'd be behind Vlad in the HR comparison. And of the 18 names there, 10 overlap at least some with sillyball.

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