Ken Caminiti - Third Baseman
Houston Astros 1987-1994, 1999-2000
San Diego Padres 1995-1998
Texas Rangers 2001
Atlanta Braves 2001
1995 NL Gold Glove - 3B
1996 NL MVP
1996 NL Gold Glove - 3B
1997 NL Gold Glove - 3B
All-Star Selections: 3 (1994, 1996, 1997)
None of note
None of note
Hall of Fame Stats
Gray Ink: Batting - 28 (802) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 24.8 (488) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 38.0 (462) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Batters in HOF: None
Top 10 Similar Batters: Travis Fryman, Doug DeCinces, Larry Parrish, Bret Boone, Richie Hebner, Bobby Thompson, Ben Ogilvie, Johnny Callison, Bobby Murcer, Gus Bell
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 242
Career WARP3: 83.1
Would he get my vote?
No. Even if Caminiti had never used steroids and hadn't become a cocaine addict and died, he still is no where close to being a HOF where bringing up those issues would be relevant to his candidacy. Had a good peak although his 1996 season where he won the MVP stands out as a fluke and his career counting numbers are underwhelming.
This seems to be turning into a weekly Bills update but something interesting happens to them every week. This week in their showdown with the Dolphins for first place in the AFC East, Jim Kelly was knocked out of the game in first half. Lucky for them they have one of the few decent back up quarterbacks on the game in Frank Reich and he led two 4th quarter touchdown drives for the 24-21 win. Bills sweep the season series giving them essentially a two game lead on the Dolphins now. In other quarterback injury news, the Bengals lost to the Eagles and lost Boomer Esiason to injury dimming their already very slim playoff hopes. The Browns season seemed to be spiraling out of control after three straight losses including two huge blow outs but this week they knocked off the divison leading Oilers to pull back within in a game of first palce. Last week the Bears appeared to be on the verge of turning their season around after their win against the Vikings but they shit the bed against the Colts this week and now the Vikings can clinch the division next week.
Week 12 Scores
San Francisco 21, Phoenix 10
SF: 8-3, PHX: 2-10
-Tom Rathman: 100 yards rushing
San Diego 24, New Orleans 20
SD: 6-5, NO: 5-6
-Billy Joe Tolliver: 179 yards passing
Indianapolis 28, Chicago 17
IND: 4-7, CHI: 5-6
-Albert Bentley: 77 yards rushing
Philadelphia 35, Cincinnati 21
PHI: 7-4, CIN: 4-7
-Boomer Esiason: leaves injured
Cleveland 24, Houston 21
CLE: 6-5, HOU: 7-4
-Bernie Kosar: 264 yards passing
Tampa Bay 24, Atlanta 9
TB: 4-7, ATL: 2-9
-Chris Miller: 31% comp pct, 3 int
Kansas City 30, Denver 6
KC: 6-5, DEN: 4-7
-Christian Okoye: 106 yards rushing
Buffalo 24, Miami 21
BUF: 9-2, MIA: 8-3
-Jim Kelly: leaves injured
L.A. Raiders 17, Seattle 14
RAI: 9-2, SEA: 5-6
-Bo Jackson: 85 yards rushing
Pittsburgh 17, Washington 7
PIT: 6-5, WAS: 7-4
-Bubby Brister: 202 yards passing
N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 28
GIA: 9-2, DAL: 5-6
-David Meggett: 112 yards rushing
L.A. Rams 31, Detroit 21
RAM: 6-5, DET: 2-9
-Jim Everett: 259 yards passing
Minnesota 37, Green Bay 14
MIN: 10-2, GB: 3-8
-Steve Jordan: 4 rec, 105 yards
N.Y. Jets 34, New England 14
JET: 3-8, NE: 3-8
-Al Toon: 5 rec, 137 yards
Leaders thru Week 12
1. Phil Simms, 201.0
2. Dan Marino, 175.2
3. Randall Cunningham, 167.5
1. Warren Moon, 2770
2. Montana, 2684
3. Jim Everett, 2536
1t. Marino, 27
1t. Montana, 27
3. Moon, 26
1. Jerry Rice, 53
2t. Many tied with 36
1. Rice, 1355
2. Sterling Sharpe, 989
3. Eric Martin, 970
1. Rice, 14
2t. Many tied with 10
1. Neal Anderson, 1056
2. Christian Okoye, 962
3. Johnny Johnson, 945
1. Tom Rathman, 13
2. Johnson, 12
3. Many tied with 11
1. Joey Browner, 8
2t. Many tied with 7
1. Lawrence Taylor, 17
2. Bruce Smith, 15
3t. Many tied with 14
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Jeff Jaeger, 13
Punting Avg: Rohn Stark, 51.3
Punt Return Avg: Jeff Query, 12.8
Kick Return Avg: David Meggett, 20.5
kkk mentioned in his blog about how former players he watched becoming general managers and presidents of teams makes him feel old. For example Chris Mullin was the identity of the Golden State Warriors when I was growing up and now he's their general manager. But there's another general manager (and now part owner) in Oakland that everyone knows, Billy Beane, but unlike Mullin he's far better known for his work in the front office than as a player. In fact you'd probably have barely even noticed the guy when he played. Although I didn't happen to learn this until many years later but I actually had been witness to his last at bat in the Majors.
As I mentioned in my first entry I had very few memories at all about my first baseball game. In fact as great as the A's were in the late 80's I have very few in game memories about them even though I went to probably 6-7 games a year. One game that I do sorta remember was on October 1, 1989. October 1st happens to be my birthday and from '87 to '89 I had my birthday party at the A's game. Really the only thing I remember about the game itself was Mark McGwire homering (his birthday too) and the A's beating the Royals on the final day of the regular season. A couple of years ago on another nostalgia trip I was looking at the boxscore and play account for game. Being that it was the last day of the regular season and the A's had wrapped up the A.L. West they pulled all their starters during the middle of the game. It went into extra innings and in the 11th inning with it tied 3-3, Billy Beane came up with a runner on 2nd and no one out. If you know anything about the Beane-era A's is that they rarely bunt, as they shouldn't as it's fairly useless strategy in the American League. But what did they ask the young Beane to do on this date?
Yup, Beane's last at bat in the Majors was a bunt and I was there to witness "history"....not that I remembered it.
Fun fact: The Royals DH in this game was Bill Buckner, just like my first game.
Draftback...ain't I clever? The NFL Draft is later this month and the point of this blog is a lot of nostalgia so might as well look back at some old drafts, plus I've done no football content to this point. Pretty much picked in 1990 at random and because at first glance the 1st round looks rather uninspiring. I will only be looking back at the first round picks as to hell with going over the whole thing. Don't expect any real insight as unlike baseball there isn't much in terms of statisical analyst to do when it comes to football. There is Football Outsiders but their data only goes back five or six years.
1. Indianapolis - Jeff George, QB, Illinois
The Colts traded up to make this controversial choice at the time as it surprised many that he left Illinois early and some weren't even sure he was worth a 1st round pick, let alone the #1 choice overall. All things considered George didn't have that bad of a career but his habit of being a jackass kind of always painted him a bad light. Didn't help that he never made it to a Pro Bowl either.
2. N.Y. Jets - Blair Thomas, RB, Penn State
An overhyped Penn State running back who is a bust in the NFL? GET OUT! Actually showed signs of being a good NFL back in his rookie year but bad knees did him in.
3. Seattle - Cortez Kennedy, DT, Miami
Seven time Pro Bowl selection who would spend his entire 11-year career with the Seahawks. Definently a good pick here.
4. Tampa Bay - Keith McCants, LB, Alabama
Was rated #1 overall by many but he was a huge bust. Last I thing heard on him was he stole a car last year. Ya life didn't turn out to well for him.
5. San Diego - Junior Seau, LB, USC
No brainer here, 11 Pro Bowl selections and a future spot in Canton.
6. Chicago - Mark Carrier, DB, USC
Good NFL career as he burst on the scene his rookie year with a 10 interceptions on his way to Defensive Rookie of the Year. Selected to three Pro Bowls.
7. Detroit - Andre Ware, QB, Houston
Hands down the #1 rated QB coming into the draft and everyone thought he'd be star because he was drafted by a team that had the run and shoot offense. Hey how'd that turn out?
8. New England - Chris Singleton, LB, Arizona
Lasted seven years...um ya that's all I got.
9. Miami - Richmond Webb, T, Texas A&M
Another good pick here, made it to seven Pro Bowls, playing 11 of his 13 years in Miami.
10. New England - Ray Agnew, DE, N.C. State
Halfway decent player who hung around forever it seemed.
11. L.A. Raiders - Anthony Smith, DE, Arizona
Pass rushing specialist who was an absolute beast his first few years in the league.
12. Cincinnati - James Francis, LB, Baylor
Solid player who played nine seasons with the Bengals.
13. Kansas City - Percy Snow, LB, Michigan State
The only thing I remember about Snow was I had one of the "behind the scenes" NFL tapes and one segment was on the Chief's war room before the '90 Draft and they were pretty excited about Snow. He ended lasting a whole three years.
14. New Orleans - Renaldo Turnbull, DE, West Virginia
Part of those scary good Saints' linebacker cores from the early 90's. Decent career with his best year coming in 1993 when he had 13 sacks.
15. Houston - Lamar Lathon, LB, Houston
You can see this was a very deep linebacker draft. Solid career.
16. Buffalo - James Williams, DB, Fresno State
With a common name like that you think I'll actually know anything about the guy?
17. Dallas - Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida
Safe to say everyone except maybe San Diego regretted not taking him.
18. Green Bay - Tony Bennett, LB, Mississippi
Yet another linebacker who had a solid career.
19. Green Bay - Darrell Thompson, RB, Minnesota
1641 yards rushing, 3.5 YPC, 7 career touchdowns, gone after 1994. Ya not a good pick
20. Atlanta - Steve Broussard, RB, Washington State
You know it would have been kind of interesting to see what Broussard would have done in a standard offense rather than the run and shoot. Okay maybe not that interesting but might have given a not so non-descript career.
21. Pittsburgh - Eric Green, TE, Liberty
Pretty good tight end who made it to two Pro Bowls.
22. Philadelphia - Ben Smith, DB, Georgia
Played six years and really who noticed?
23. L.A. Rams - Bern Brostek, C, Washington
I don't think I paid as much attention to the NFL as I thought (and I don't pay that much attention today) I did. The guy played for the Rams so being a 49er fan you think I'd remember the guy with them playing each other twice a year but I don't.
24. N.Y Giants - Rodney Hampton, RB, Georgia
Good career, had five consecutive 1000 yard seasons from '91 to '95.
25. San Francisco - Dexter Carter, RB, Florida State
49ers had the right idea drafting a running back as they would end up being correct in their concerns about Roger Craig lasting much longer (he didn't) but Carter wasn't the guy to replace him. Actually led the 49ers in rushing his rookie year but that just tells you had bad their running game was.
I had almost forgotten that the NBA Draft was only a week away. I used look forward to the draft before ESPN took over coverage of it from TNT. Now in the early days of my blog (waaaaaaaaay back four and a half months ago) I did an entry on the 1989 NBA Draft, ranking the players drafted using the basketball version of win shares. I decided that would be a better way to do a Draftback entry for the NBA rather than the usual listing of the first round making stupid comments.
I picked the 1993 draft because it ended up leading to the downfall of the Golden State Warriors franchise, not that they didn’t have the right idea at the time. They of course struck a blockbuster draft day with the Orlando Magic to acquire the draft rights to Chris Webber in exchange for the draft rights for Anfernee Hardaway and three future first round picks. The Warriors would win 50 games in the ’93-’94 season while Webber went on to win the Rookie of the Year. But a feud with head coach Don Nelson would lead to a holdout and then an eventual trade of Webber to Washington that would set the course for 12 years (and going) of futility. So even in a year where the Warriors ended getting arguably the best player to come out of the draft it blew up in their face.
1993 Draft Rankings per Career Win Shares
1. Chris Webber, Orlando/Golden State – 241 Win Shares (1st Pick)
2. Sam Cassell, Houston – 233 (24th)
3. Anfernee Hardaway, Golden State/Orlando – 189 (3rd pick)
4. Nick Van Exel, L.A. Lakers – 169 (37th)
5. Allan Houston, Detroit – 162 (11th)
6. Bryon Russell, Utah – 141 (45th)
7. Vin Baker, Milwaukee – 137 (8th)
8. Shawn Bradley, Philadelphia – 132 (2nd)
9. Jamal Mashburn, Dallas – 127 (4th)
10. Rodney Rogers, Denver – 114 (9th)
11. Ervin Johnson, Seattle – 110 (23rd)
12. Lindsey Hunter, Detroit – 101 (10th)
13. George Lynch, L.A. Lakers – 100 (12th)
14. Chris Mills, Cleveland – 97 (22nd)
15. Lucious Harris, Dallas – 77 (28th)
16. Calbert Cheaney, Washington – 67 (6th)
17. Isaiah Rider, Minnesota – 62 (5th)
18. Chris Whitney, San Antonio – 57 (47th)
19. Corie Blount, Chicago – 56 (25th)
20. Gheorge Muresan, Washington - 50 (30th)
21. Scott Burrell, Charlotte – 45 (20th)
22. Terry Dehere, L.A. Clippers – 21 (13th)
23. James Robinson, Portland – 20 (21st)
24. Rex Walters, New Jersey – 16 (16th)
25. Eric Riley, Dallas – 8 (33rd)
26t. Greg Graham, Charlotte – 6 (17th)
26t. Acie Earl, Boston – 6 (19th)
28. Bobbie Hurley, Sacramento – 7 (7th)
29. Mike Peplowski, Sacramento – 3 (52nd)
30t. Doug Edwards, Atlanta – 2 (15th)
30t. Josh Grant, Denver – 2 (43rd)
32t. Scott Haskin, Indiana – 1 (14th)
32t. Darnell Mee, Golden State – 1 (34th)
32t. Richard Petruska, Houston – 1 (46th)
The Zero Club
Luther Wright, Utah (18th)
Geert Hammink, Orlando (26th)
Malcolm Mackey, Phoenix (27th)
Evers Burns, Sacramento (31st)
Alphonso Ford, Philadelphia (32nd)
Ed Stokes, Miami (35th)
Rich Manning, Atlanta (40th)
Adonis Jordan, Seattle (42nd)
Kevin Thompson, Portland (48th)
Never Played in the NBA
Sherron Mills, Minnesota (29th)
John Best, New Jersey (36th)
Conrad McRae, Washington (38th)
Thomas Hill, Indiana (39th)
Anthony Reed, Chicago (41st)
Alex Holcombe, Sacramento (44th)
Mark Buford, Phoenix (49th)
Marcelo Nicola, Houston (50th)
Spencer Dunkley, Indiana (51st)
Leonard White, L.A. Clippers (53rd)
Bryon Wilson, Phoenix (54th)
Most Win Shares with the Team they were Drafted by
Note: Even though Hardaway wasn’t technically drafted by Orlando since he was acquired in a draft day trade he might as well have been drafted by them.
1. Anfernee Hardaway, 143
2. Bryon Russell, 121
3. Nick Van Exel, 94
4. Lindsey Hunter, 81 (two different stints)
5t. Vin Baker, 68
5t. Chris Mills, 68
7. Gheorge Muresan, 49
8. Calbert Cheaney, 43
9. Sam Cassell, 33
10. Allan Houston, 31
2007 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is out so as planned I'm going to do individual profiles on each player on the ballot. I'll go in the order of career Win Shares starting at the bottom. No player on this year's ballot is nearly bad as Gary DiSarcina being on last year's ballot and there are quite a few Hall of Very Good players making their first appearance on the ballot. But we start off with a very dubious addition to this year's ballot.
Bobby Witt - Starting Pitcher
Texas Rangers 1986-1992, 1995-1998
Oakland Athletics 1992-1994
Florida Marlins 1995
St. Louis Cardinals 1998
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1999
Cleveland Indians 2000
Arizona Diamondbacks 2001
Hall of Fame Stats
Gray Ink: Pitching - 33 (696) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
HOF Standards: Pitching - 11.0 (696) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Pitching - 7.0 (1050) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Pitchers in HOF: None
Top 10 Similar Pitchers: Kevin Gross, Mike Moore, Jim Clancy, Steve Renko, Scott Erickson, Steve Trachsel, Bump Hadley, Tim Belcher, Floyd Bannister, Tom Candiotti
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacment Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 102
Career WARP3: 49.9
Would He Get My Vote?
No, shockingly as that might seem. Only had one good year in 1990 when he went 17-10 with a 3.36 ERA which was one of only four seasons that he had an ERA+ of 100 or better. Now any player who played at least 10 years can appear on the ballot but there is still a nomination process where a handful of players don't get on the ballot but there is always a few that make no sense as to why anyone would nominate them and Witt is definately one this year. If you're going to include Bobby Witt on the ballot why even bother with a nomination process? Not that it really matters in the end.
A's lost two out of three to the Orioles this weekend in Baltimore and as May closes out it is once again looking like this is the year the A's string of winning seasons comes to an end. But it seems that way every year the first couple of months of the season before they go on some insane run for a couple of months that saves their season. Their former shortstop Miguel Tejada had never homered in 25 games against the A's before homering in back-to-back days this weekend and it was five years ago when Tejada played a major role in the A's most remarkable run of all when they won an American League record 20 straight games. It was that streak and some timely hits by Tejada that would be the primary reason he would be awarded the A.L. MVP after the season and it was always a very questionable win in the minds of statheads. I fully supported him winning the award at the time Miggy could have shit on my floor and I wouldn't have minded but enough time has past that it is time for me to take back what he didn't really deserve.
Tejada received 21 of the posssible 28 first place votes beating out Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano by a comfortable margin. A-Rod hit 57 homeruns and had 142 RBI in 2002 and those normally would be plenty for the writers to give him in the MVP the problem being this was of course when he was with the Rangers where wins did not come very often in Texas. Tejada hit 23 fewer homeruns than A-Rod and had a near idential OPS to his teammate Eric Chavez who finished 14th in the voting. But the main facotr in the writers view was that the Rangers won only 72 games, finishing 31 games behind Miggy and the A's, thus A-Rod could not have been truly "valuable" if his team played so poorly. Soriano had his breakout year with the Yankees, coming up with one homerun shy of a 40-40 season but given how loaded the Yankees line up was it was hard in the view of the writers to give the award to a player with so much help around him with teammates Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams both finishing in the Top 10.
So should A-Rod have been the slam dunk winner and how bad of a choice was Tejada?
1) Miguel Teajda 2) Alex Rodriguez 3) Alfonso Soriano 4) Garret Anderson 5) Jason Giambi 6) Torii Hunter 7) Jim Thome 8) Magglio Ordonez 9) Manny Ramirez 10) Bernie Williams 11t) David Eckstein 11t) Nomar Garciaparra 13) Barry Zito 14) Eric Chavez 15t) Eddie Guardado 15t) Troy Percival 17) Ichiro Suzuki 18) Billy Koch 19) Derek Lowe 20t) Pedro Martinez 20t) Mike Sweeney
.310/.352/.528, 118 RC, 132 OPS+, .290 EQA, 64.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.320/.381/.597, 132 RC, 152 OPS+, .312 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares
169 ERA+, 2.33 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 75.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.308/.354/.508, 116 RC, 122 OPS+, .288 EQA, 58.6 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.300/.332/.547, 123 RC, 131 OPS+, .291 EQA, 68.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.333/.415/.493, 125 RC, 143 OPS+, .312 EQA, 66.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.349/.450/.647, 125 RC, 190 OPS+, .353 EQA, 75.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.314/.435/.598, 143 RC, 174 OPS+, .341 EQA, 79.2 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.304/.445/.677, 145 RC, 191 OPS+, .357 EQA, 85.0 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.300/.392/.623, 150 RC, 152 OPS+, .317 EQA, 86.8 VORP, 35 Win Shares
Some idiot on this board once said this back in 2003:
Oh wait, that was me. Fuck.
Anyways A-Rod, Thome, and Giambi all have great cases. Thome suffered the same fate as A-Rod that year as he was on a bad team otherwise he may have had a shot at the award if he had been on a contender. Alas I deferred to A-Rod's slight edge in both VORP and Win Shares (WARP3 as well) to give him the nod but there was simply no easy pick that season so this was the perfect year for someone like Tejada to win.
It's been over a month since my last MVP Watch and to my surprise not much has changed, although I do have a new #1 in each league. Chase Utley hasn't played since breaking his hand on July 26th so he lost the #1 spot by default but he's still hanging on in the Top 5 for the moment. David Wright has been red hot since the break and has made the biggest jump. To no surprise at Albert Pujols is making a serious MVP run yet again. What is amazing about the current N.L. MVP race is that the two best players in the N.L. right now play for a team that is nine games under .500, that being of Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins. Neither has any shot at winning the real award but they are a cut above the competition at the moment.
And finally...Eric Byrnes still leads in the N.L. in Win Shares! I continue to be baffled by this unless he really has become a great defensive outfielder rather than the "one great diving play, misplay the next five" outfielder he was with the A's but I find this hard to believe. Win Shares is the only reason I'm bothering to keep him in the Top 10.
10. Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks
.301/.367/.494, 82 RC, 117 OPS+, .289 EQA, 35.6 VORP, 24.7 Win Shares
9. Barry Bonds, Giants
.280/.495/.589, 79 RC, 183 OPS+, .367 EQA, 51.3 VORP, 18.2 Win Shares
8. Matt Holliday, Rockies
.338/.399/.581, 88 RC, 146 OPS+, .314 EQA, 50.9 VORP, 19.9 Win Shares
7. Prince Fielder, Brewers
.284/.380/.609, 89 RC, 154 OPS+, .319 EQA, 49.7 VORP, 20.9 Win Shares
6. Jose Reyes, Mets
.304/.377/.453, 92 RC, 121 OPS+, .295 EQA, 48.2 VOPR, 22.6 Win Shares
5. Chase Utley, Phillies
.336/.414/.581, 84 RC, 154 OPS+, .327 EQA, 55.0 VORP, 21.0 Win Shares
4. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.317/.419/.550, 89 RC, 154 OPS+, .327 EQA, 49.9 VORP, 24.0 Win Shares
3. David Wright, Mets
.310/.398/.521, 95 RC, 144 OPS+, .319 EQA, 51.6 VORP, 23.6 Win Shares
2. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
.343/.395/.578, 102 RC, 157 OPS+, .325 EQA, 71.1 VORP, 22.9 Win Shares
1. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.334/.414/.616, 106 RC, 171 OPS+, .340 EQA, 65.5 VORP, 24.4 Win Shares
In the A.L. it has gone to sort of being a four player race to a definitive two player race. Magglio Ordonez still hasn't fallen off a cliff which makes me think we're close to someone starting a steroid rumor about him. Speaking of steroid rumors, A-Rod grabs the top spot this time around but it is pretty much a toss up at this point. Ichiro Suzuki and Vladimir Guerrero hung tough through the first half and are still solidily in Top 5 but they have fallen off the Maggs/A-Rod pace. The rest of the Top 10 is a mess and you could jumble it several different ways without getting an argument out of me.
10. David Ortiz, Red Sox
.311/.424/.543, 86 RC, 152 OPS+, .315 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 17.2 Win Shares
9. Jorge Posada, Yankees
.334/.416/.531, 75 RC, 154 OPS+, .316 EQA, 52.6 VORP, 17.4 Win Shares
8. Curtis Granderson, Tigers
.293/.351/.543, 84 RC, 134 OPS+, .295 EQA, 43.5 VORP, 19.7 Win Shares
7. Grady Sizemore, Indians
.278/.382/.465, 93 RC, 126 OPS+, .291 EQA, 39.1 VORP, 22.9 Win Shares
6. Brian Roberts, Orioles
.313/.397/.461, 89 RC, 128 OPS+, .302 EQA, 48.6 VORP, 20.7 Win Shares
5. Victor Martinez, Indians
.301/.374/.505, 81 RC, 133 OPS+, .295 EQA, 42.2 VORP, 22.9 Win Shares
4. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels
.319/.404/.531, 95 RC, 151 OPS+, .311 EQA, 46.0 VORP, 24.3 Win Shares
3. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
.347/.396/.431, 99 RC, 125 OPS+, .299 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 25.8 Win Shares
2. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
.356/.430/.595, 114 RC, 169 OPS+, .337 EQA, 65.3 VORP, 26.8 Win Shares
1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
.305/.412/.630, 117 RC, 177 OPS+, .334 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 26.1 Win Shares
Continuing with more of the worst. Now there are positions in baseball where clubs are very willing to sacrifice defense for offense, middle infielders being most common. If you have an excellent defensive shortstop or second baseman you can often overlook their offensive shortcomings. First base is not one of those positions. Sure a great defensive first baseman is nice to have but if they can't hit, it's not wise to keep them in the line up everyday if you have a better hitting alternative who isn't at least a complete butcher in the field.
The worst hitting season for a first baseman since 1901 was by Ivy Griffin in 1920 who posted a blistering hitting line of .238/.281/.274 for an OPS+ of 47 in 505 plate appearances, which means he'd qualify under the modern rules for the batting title. Now Griffin played on a horrific Philadelphia A's team that lost 106 games. On the other hand the man who posted the worst hitting season for a first baseman since 1957 played on a team who made it to the World Series and you might have heard of him too, no offense to Mr. Griffin. Actually there was a tie for first/worst so the tiebreak was who had more plate appearances.
Top 25 Worst Offensive First Baseman Seasons since 1957 (per OPS+)
1. Pete Rose, 1983 - Philadelphia Phillies 69 OPS+ (.245/.316/.286)
2. Pete Runnels, 1957 - Washington Senators 69
3. Enos Cabell, 1981 - San Francisco Giants 72
4t. Kevin Young, 1993 - Pittsburgh Pirates 73
4t. Whitey Lockman, 1957 - New York Giants 73
6. Darin Erstad, 1999 - Anaheim Angels 74
7. Dave Stapleton, 1983 - Boston Red Sox 76
8t. Mike Squires, 1981 - Chicago White Sox 78
8t. Tony Taylor, 1967 - Philadelphia Phillies 78
8t. Lee Thomas, 1963 - Los Angeles Angels 78
11t. Kevin Young, 2001 - Pittsburgh Pirates 80
11t. Dale Murphy, 1978 - Atlanta Braves 80
13t. Ron Coomer, 2000 - Minnesota Twins 81
13t. J.T. Snow, 1996 - California Angels 81
13t. David Segui, 1994 - New York Mets 81
16. Bill Buckner, 1973 - Los Angeles Dodgers 82
17t. Cecil Cooper, 1986 - Milwaukee Brewers 83
17t. Vic Power, 1957 - Kansas City A's 83
19t. Ken Harvey, 2003 - Kansas City Royals 84
19t. Keith Moreland, 1988 - San Diego Padres 84
19t. Willie Montanez, 1979 - New York Mets/Texas Rangers 84
19t. Rusty Staub, 1963 - Houston Colt .45's 84
19t. Vic Power, 1961 - Cleveland Indians 84
24t. Pete O'Brien, 1983 - Texas Rangers 85
24t. Frank Thomas, 1960 - Chicago Cubs 85
Much kudos to UCLA this week for ending Cal's Rose Bowl hopes and thus extending their drought to 49 years. I wish I had been bold enough to make the proclamation a few weeks ago but there was almost no doubt in my mind the Bruins would lose to Notre Dame but beat Cal. If they played a high school Powder Puff team next week they'd lose but put up against a strong opponent and they usually win.
Top 25, you know the drill. I can hold off on ranking any three loss teams for at least another week. Sure there's an argument for Auburn but they could easily have five losses as well. I might become really ambitious this week and try to make bowl projections but usually I'm way too lazy to do such a thing.
1. Ohio State
2. Boston College
3. Arizona State
7. South Florida
8. West Virginia
11. Virginia Tech
13. South Carolina
19. Wake Forest
22. Texas Tech
23. Penn State
25. Boise State
Next week (I think) the 2008 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be released. Last year I did individual entries on each player on the ballot and I plan on doing the same thing this year for the first ballot players. Of course there is no point in redoing the holdovers from last year's ballot, and I'm much too lazy to update them, so here's links to each entry listed in order of the percentage of the vote they received last year. None of my opinions have changed as I would still vote Mark McGwire, Bert Blyleven, and Alan Trammell.
1. Goose Gossage 71.2% (9th year on ballot)
2. Jim Rice 63.5% (14th)
3. Andre Dawson 56.7% (7th)
4. Bert Blyleven 47.7% (11th)
5. Lee Smith 39.8% (6th)
6. Jack Morris 37.1% (9th)
7. Mark McGiwre 23.5% (2nd)
8. Tommy John 22.9% (14th)
9. Dave Concepcion 13.6% (15th and final year)
10. Alan Trammell 13.4% (7th)
11. Dave Parker 11.4% (12th)
12. Don Mattingly 9.9% (8th)
13. Dale Murphy 9.2% (10th)
14. Harold Baines 5.3% (2nd)
Hey look my blog isn't dead! Okay it's pretty close to being dead but decided to throw together a Draftback baseball entry before this upcoming week's MLB Draft.
1. Phillies - Pat Burrell, Third Baseman, Miami
Heavily scrutinized, but very productive player throughout his career outside a dreadful 2003 season.
2. Athletics - Mark Mulder, Pitcher, Michigan State
Rotator cuff problems have pretty much ruined a once promising career.
3. Cubs - Corey Patterson, Outfielder, Harrison High School (Harrison, GA)
Toolsy player who has never figured out the strikezone.
4. Royals - Jeff Austin, Pitcher, Stanford
Usually doesn't take three picks to get to the first bust in a baseball draft. 65 1/3 career innings in the Majors.
5. Cardinals - J.D. Drew, Outfielder, Florida State
Of course the year before Drew (and agent Scott Boras) infamously refused to sign with the Phillies after being the #2 pick overall. Incredibly talented player but injuries have hampered him for most of his career.
6. Twins - Ryan Mills, Pitcher, Arizona State
Didn't reach Triple-A until 2003 and was out of baseball after 2004.
7. Reds - Austin Kearns, Outfielder, Lafayette High School (Lexington, KY)
Has shown flashes of potentially being a great hitter in the past but injuries and a lack of consistency have held him back.
8. Blue Jays - Felipe Lopez, Shortstop, Lake Brantley High School (Altamonte Springs, FL)
Had one great year offensively in 2005 but not much else and is poor defensively.
9. Padres - Sean Burroughs, Third Baseman, Wilson High School (Long Beach, CA)
Never developed any power and now appears to be out of organized baseball.
10. Rangers - Carlos Pena, First Baseman, Northeastern
Very odd career, broke out with a monster season last year but remains to be seen if it was a fluke or not.
11. Expos - Josh McKinley, Shortstop, Malvern Prep School (PA)
Never got past Double-A, hit .254/.340/.375 in seven minor league seasons.
12. Red Sox - Adam Everett, Shortstop, South Carolina
Great defense, terrible offense.
13. Brewers - J.M. Gold, Pitcher, Toms River North High School (Toms River North, NJ)
Topped out at high Single-A ball.
14. Tigers - Jeff Weaver, Pitcher, Fresno State
Easy to forget he was pretty impressive early on his career but now hanging by a thread with the Brewers Triple-A squad.
15. Pirates - Clint Johnston, Pitcher, Vanderbilt
Gave up pitching after 2001, but becoming a first baseman only got him to Double-A.
16. White Sox - Kip Wells, Pitcher, Baylor
Sorta like Weaver in that he showed some promise early on his career but has stringed together some truly awful seasons.
17. Astros - Brad Lidge, Pitcher, Notre Dame
The demise of his career post-Pujols has been greatly exaggerated.
18. Angels - Seth Etherton, Pitcher, USC
6.30 ERA in 115 1/3 innings in the Majors.
19. Giants - Tony Torcato, Third Baseman, Woodland High School (Woodland, CA)
Only had 53 MLB plate appearances.
20. Indians - C.C. Sabathia, Pitcher, Vallejo High School (Vallejo, CA)
Cy Young winner last season who barring injury will cash in big this offseason, even with a potential down year.
21. Mets - Jason Tyner, Outfielder, Texas A&M
Has some how fooled teams into giving him 1400+ plate appearances in the Majors. Has hit four homeruns in nearly in 5000 plate appearances in professional baseball and he's a corner oufielder!
22. Mariners - Matt Thornton, Pitcher, Grand Valley State
Next Randy Johnson he was not but has become a decent reliever.
23. Dodgers - Bubba Crosby, Outfielder, Rice
Great name but not so good player.
24. Yankees - Andy Brown, Outfielder, Richmond High School (Richmond, IN)
.219 career hitter in eight minor league seasons.
25. Giants - Nate Bump, Pitcher, Penn State
Had a bumpy career. *rim shot*
26. Orioles - Rick Elder, Outfielder, Sprayberry High School (Marietta, GA)
Never got past high Single-A and lasted only five seasons in the minors.
27. Marlins - Chip Ambres, Outfielder, West Brook High School (Beaumont, TX)
Pretty much a career minor leaguer.
28. Rockies - Matt Roney, Pitcher, Edmond North High School (Edmond North, OK)
An extended stint with the 119-loss Tigers in 2003 has been about it for him.
29. Giants - Arturo McDowell, Outfielder, Forest Hill High School (West Palm Beach, FL)
Another swing and a miss for Brian Sabean.
30. Royals - Matt Burch, Pitcher, Virginia Commonwealth
Double-A was as good as it got for him.
Other Picks of Note
33. Expos - Brad Wilkerson
35. White Sox - Aaron Rowand
43. Yankees - Mark Prior (did not sign)
50. Reds - Adam Dunn
57. Tigers - Brandon Inge
83. Rangers - Barry Zito (did not sign)
162. Devil Rays - Aubrey Huff
176. Brewers - Bill Hall
210. Rockies - Matt Holliday
225. Athletics - Eric Byrnes
258. Cardinals - Jack Wilson
265. Red Sox - Mark Teixeira (did not sign)
272. Astros - Morgan Ensberg
390. Rockies - Juan Pierre
411. Blue Jays - Jay Gibbons
499. Twins - J.J. Putz (did not sign)
500. Reds - B.J. Ryan
550. Marlins - Adam LaRoche (did not sign)
609. Orioles - Cliff Lee (did not sign)
1139. White Sox - Mark Buehrle
Out of the way quickly, the worst offensive single season by a third baseman was Art Scharein in 1933 who nearly matched the year with an OPS+ of 34. But we're only concerned with the last 50 years and that mark was set just last season! Why didn't ESPN cover this?
Top 25 (or so) Worst Offensive Third Baseman Seasons since 1957 (per OPS+)
1. Nick Punto, 2007 - Minnesota Twins 52 OPS+ (.210/.291/.271)
2. Scott Brosius, 1997 - Oakland A's 53
3. Brooks Robinson, 1975 - Baltimore Orioles 58
4t. Damion Easley, 1994 - California Angels 59
4t. Clete Boyer, 1964 - New York Yankees 59
6t. Jose Hernandez, 2003 - Colorado Rockies/Chicago Cubs/Pittsburgh Pirates 60
6t. Vinny Castilla, 2002 - Atlanta Braves 60
6t. Aurelio Rodriguez, 1974 - Detroit Tigers 60
9t. Terry Pendleton, 1986 - St. Louis Cardinals 62
9t. Bubba Phillips, 1963 - Detroit Tigers 62
11. Aurelio Rodriguez, 1973 - Detroit Tigers 63
12. Terry Pendleton, 1985 - St. Louis Cardinals 66
13t. Tim Wallach, 1993 - Los Angeles Dodgers 67
13t. Aurelio Rodriguez, 1969 - California Angels 67
13t. Don Wert, 1968 - Detroit Tigers 67
16t. Terry Pendleton, 1996 - Florida Marlins/Atlanta Braves 68
16t. Hubie Brooks, 1983 - New York Mets 68
16t. John Kennedy, 1964 - Washington Senators 68
19t. Tim Hulett, 1986 - Chicago White Sox 69
19t. Manny Castillo, 1982 - Seattle Mariners 69
19t. Brooks Robinson, 1958 - Baltimore Orioles 69
22t. Jeff Cirillo, 2002 - Seattle Mariners 70
22t. Cal Ripken, 2001 - Baltimore Orioles 70
22t. Scott Brosius, 2000 - New York Yankees 70
25t. Geoff Blum, 2001 - Montreal Expos 71
25t. Ken Caminiti, 1990 - Houston Astros 71
25t. Aurelio Rodriguez, 1976 - Detroit Tigers 71
We actually had a tie for the top spot among second basemen between a current Hall of Famer and future Hall of Famer but the current one wins out per Win Shares Above Average as they played in six fewer games.
Top 20 Second Baseman Seasons since 1979 (per Win Shares)
1. Ryne Sandberg, 1984 - Chicago Cubs 38.3 Win Shares
Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG *OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1984 24 CHC NL 156 636 114 200 36 19 19 84 32 7 52 101 .314 .367 .520 140 331 5 4 3 3 7
2. Craig Biggio, 1997 - Houston Astros 38.3
3. Roberto Alomar, 2001 - Cleveland Indians 37.4
4. Jeff Kent, 2000 - San Francisco Giants 36.9
5. Ryne Sandberg, 1991 - Chicago Cubs 36.6
6. Alfonso Soriano, 2000 - New York Yankees 35.5
7. Roberto Alomar, 1999 - Cleveland Indians 34.8
8. Craig Biggio, 1998 - Houston Astros 34.8
9. Roberto Alomar, 1992 - Toronto Blue Jays 34.2
10. Ryne Sandberg, 1990 - Chicago Cubs 33.8
11. Ryne Sandberg, 1992 - Chicago Cubs 33.1
12. Mark Loretta, 2004 - San Diego Padres 33.1
13. Craig Biggio, 1996 - Houston Astros 32.4
14. Bret Boone, 2001 - Seattle Mariners 31.7
15. Craig Biggio, 1992 - Houston Astros 31.7
16. Chuck Knoblauch, 1996 - Minnesota Twins 31.6
17. Robert Alomar, 1996 - Baltimore Orioles 31.2
18. Steve Sax, 1986 - Los Angeles Dodgers 30.8
19. Craig Biggio, 1999 - Houston Astros 30.7
20. Willie Randolph, 1980 - New York Yankees 30.5
Took a different rout with the next Draftback by just focusing on the top quarterbacks to come out of each draft with brief comments on each class.
Good depth but not one star came out of this class. Marc Wilson only had one year as a starter that he threw more touchdowns than interceptions. Mark Malone had to follow Terry Bradshaw and he was just awful. David Woodley had his 15 minutes of fame when he started Super Bowl XVII but he was not a good quarterback and only lasted until 1985, although as an 8th round pick you’d have to consider him a good value pick. Gary Hogeboom now of course now best know for being a contestant on Survivor.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Marc Wilson, 15th overall by L.A. Raiders, BYU, 14391 yards
2. Erik Hipple, 85th overall by Detroit, Utah State, 10711 yards
3. Mark Malone, 28th overall by Pittsburgh, Arizona State, 10175 yards
4. Gary Hogeboom, 133rd overall by Dallas, Central Michigan, 9436 yards
5. David Woodley, 214th pick by Miami, LSU, 8558 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Gene Bradley, 37th overall by Buffalo, Arkansas State
Very little depth although did produce two pretty good quarterbacks from small schools in Neil Lomax and Wade Wilson. Rich Campbell was selected 6th overall by the Packers in one of the all-time draft blunders as he threw just 68 passes in the NFL. They passed on Ronnie Lott to pick Campbell. Whoops!
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Neil Lomax, 33rd overall by St. Louis, Portland State, 22771 yards
2. Wade Wilson, 210th overall by Minnesota, East Texas State, 17283 yards
3. Dave Wilson, Supplemental pick by New Orleans, Illinois, 6987 yards
4. Mark Herrmann, 98th overall by Denver, Purdue, 4015 yards
5. Bob Gagliano, 319th overall by Kansas City, Utah State, 3431 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Brad Wright, 96th overall by Miami, New Mexico
Basically just Jim McMahon and a whole lot of nothing. Mike Pagel hung around for a long time as a back up. Does feature one of the greatest busts in sports history as the Colts drafted Art Schlichter as the 4th pick overall who’s career would derail very quickly due to the fact that he was a degenerate gambler.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Jim McMahon, 5th overall by Chicago, BYU, 18148 yards
2. Mike Pagel, 84th overall by Baltimore, Arizona State, 9414 yards
3. Oliver Luck, 44th overall by Houston, West Virginia, 2544 yards
4. Matt Kofler, 48th overall by Buffalo, San Diego State, 1156 yards
5. Art Schlichter, 4th overall by Baltimore, Ohio State, 1006 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Mike Kelley, 149th overall by Atlanta, Georgia Tech
This draft doesn’t need introduction as it produced three Hall of Famers. Todd Blackledge was the one true bust of this famous 1st round and it’s amazing that he went so high. Bad luck back-to-back years for the Colts as we all know Elway was drafted #1 by them but whined his way into a trade.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Dan Marino, 27th overall by Miami, Pittsburgh, 61361 yards
2. John Elway, 1st overall by Baltimore, Stanford, 51475 yards
3. Jim Kelly, 14th overall by Buffalo, Miami, 35467 yards
4. Ken O’Brien, 24th overall by N.Y. Jets, UC Davis, 25094 yards
5. Tony Eason, 15th overall by New England, Illinois, 11142 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Jeff Christensen, 137th overall by Cincinnati, Eastern Illinois
No first round quarterback in this draft but it did produce decent depth with one standout in Boomer Esiason and a Super Bowl winner in Jeff Hostetler. I don’t know how Jay Schroeder ended up with 20,000+ yards passing.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Boomer Esiason, 38th overall by Cincinnati, Maryland, 37920 yards
2. Jay Schroeder, 83rd overall by Washington, UCLA, 20063 yards
3. Jeff Hostetler, 59th overall by N.Y. Giants, West Virginia, 16430 yards
4. Randy Wright, 153rd overall by Green Bay, Wisconsin, 7106 yards
5. Steve Pelluer, 113th overall by Dallas, Washington, 6870 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Rick McIvor, 80th overall by St. Louis, Texas
The ’84 Supplemental Draft was different from any other as it was to draft the rights to USFL players (those who NFL teams didn’t own the rights to already) and a handful of CFL players. The draft was three rounds with 84 picks. Steve Young was #1 overall and was only one of two quarterbacks from the draft to throw a pass in the NFL. Young had already signed with the Los Angeles Express so he wasn’t eligible for the regular draft.
1. Steve Young, 1st overall by Tampa Bay, BYU, 33124 yards
2. Frank Seurer, 76th overall by Seattle, Kansas, 340 yards
In terms of overall depth there was very little as there was no quarterback picked in the first round and only 11 quarterbacks selected overall, but a very good group of quarterbacks did come out of this draft all with very different career paths. Due to quirk the in the draft rules at the time because he wasn’t a senior Bernie Kosar was able to declare himself eligible after the regular draft and be taken in the supplemental draft so he could play for his hometown Browns.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Randall Cunningham, 37th overall by Philadelphia, UNLV, 29979 yards
2. Bernie Kosar, Supplemental pick by Cleveland, Miami, 23301 yards
3. Doug Flutie, 285th overall by L.A. Rams, Boston College, 14715 yards
4. Steve Bono, 142nd overall by Minnesota, UCLA, 10439 yards
5. Frank Reich, 57th overall by Buffalo, Maryland, 6075 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Scott Barry, 168th overall by San Francisco, UC Davis
Lots of quarterbacks drafted in the first few rounds but some what of an underwhelming group led by Jim Everett and Mary Rypien. Featured a pretty big bust in Chuck Long. I always hated Bubby Brister. Come on his name was Bubby!
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Jim Everett, 3rd overall by Houston, Purdue, 34837 yards
2. Mark Rypien, 146th overall by Washington, Washington State, 18473 yards
3. Bubby Brister, 67th overall by Pittsburgh, NE Louisiana, 14445 yards
4. Jack Trudeau, 47th overall by Indianapolis, Illinos, 10243 yards
5. Hugh Millen, 71st overall by L.A. Rams, Washington, 6440 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Robbie Bosco, 72nd overall by Green Bay, BYU
Doesn’t the have star power of the ’83 Draft but this was a very deep quarterback class with four first round picks. Just outside the Top 5 in passing yards was Packers quarterback Don Majkowski who had one great season in 1989 but injuries derailed his career. Draft does feature a huge bust in Kelly Stouffer who the Cardinals picked 6th overall. A first round bust by the Cardinals? Go figure.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Vinny Testaverde, 1st overall by Tampa Bay, Miami, 45252 yards
2. Rich Gannon, 98th overall by New England, Delaware, 28743 yards
3. Jim Harbaugh, 26th overall by Chicago, Michigan, 26288 yards
4. Steve Beurlein, 110th overall by L.A. Raiders, Notre Dame, 24046 yards
5. Chris Miller, 13th overall by Atlanta, Oregon, 19320 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Doug Hudson, 186th overall by Kansas City, Nicholls State
Although it did produce two quarterbacks who started Super Bowls, this was an incredibly weak class with zero depth. No quarterback was taken until the 3rd round when the Cardinals picked Tom Tupa who’s long term future ended being as a punter. Of the 13 qb’s selected, only five threw a pass in the NFL. Did feature two CFL standouts in Danny McManus and Kerwin Bell.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Chris Chandler, 76th overall by Indianapolis, Washington, 28484 yards
2. Stan Humphries, 159th overall by Washington, NE Louisiana, 17191 yards
3. Tom Tupa, 68th overall by Phoenix, Ohio State, 3430 yards
4. Scott Secules, 151st overall by Dallas, Virginia, 1311 yards
5. Kerwin Bell, 180th overall by Miami, Florida, 75 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Don McPherson, 149th overall by Philadelphia, Syracuse
Pretty much the Troy Aikman class although I suppose Rodney Peete had his moments. Cowboys picked Aikman #1 overall and then took Steve Walsh in the supplemental draft. Many thought Walsh would be better than Aikman. Many of us don’t know anything.
1. Troy Aikman, 1st overall by Dallas, UCLA, 32942 yards
2. Rodney Peete, 141st overall by Detroit, USC, 16338 yards
3. Billy Joe Tolliver, 51st overall by San Diego, Texas Tech, 10760 yards
4. Steve Walsh, Supplemental Pick by Dallas, 7875 yards
5. Timm Rosenbach, Supplemental Pick by Phoenix, Washington State, 3676 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Jeff Graham, 87th overall by Green Bay, Long Beach State
Let's just get yesterday's depressing day out of the way.
Game of the Day: Akron 20, N.C. State 17. By far the most fun I've had watching a game thru two weeks in what's been a dull start to the college football season. ESPN actually made a good decision for once by dumping Rutgers skull fucking of Illinois and switching to the ESPNU telecast of this game for the 4th quarter. The Zips appeared on the ropes after N.C. State took a 10-7 lead and blocked a punt deep in Akron territory. Coach Steroid made a dubious call to go for it on 4th down inside the five instead of kicking the field goal and the Zips stuffed them. Akron had only -2 yards on offense in the second half to this point but proceded to go 96 yards on six plays for the go ahead touchdown. State then marched back down and scored a touchdown on a 4th down to take a 17-14 lead with under two minutes to go. Then it what should have provided more controversy than it did the referees flagged State for excessive celebration. The most pathetic thing is sports right now is college referees after a player scores a touchdown. You see them run over immediately to any player and try get in their face to go back to the sideline even if all the player is doing is hugging a teammate. State had just scored a potential winning touchdown in the 4th quarter and they aren't supposed to celebrate? If you aren't taunting the other team no flag should ever be thrown. In any event Akron got decent field position on the kickoff and marched down for the winning score which we all know was on a 4th down with three seconds left. You had to agree with the call because quarterback Luke Getsy made a mistake when he scrabbled and had the touchdown by fell to soon to the ground to avoid the hit and came up inches short of the goal line. Settling for three would have deflated the team's momentum for overtime.
The WTF Score of the Day: New Hampshire 34, Northwestern 17. Northwestern coach Randy Walker must wish he was dead after this performance. Oh wait...
The "No mah son ain't the problem" Game of the Day: Florida State 24, Troy 17. A school with the talent resources that FSU has should never only have 10 points against a Sun Belt team after thee quarters. This game is also a perfect example of why motivation does play an important role in college sports as I doubt the Seminols gave even a second thought about this game possibly being competitive.
The Too Bad it Wasn't on T.V. Game of the Day: Iowa State 16, UNLV 10. Apparantly the Rebels stayed on the field for about 15 minutes after the game stomping on the Cyclones logo after the game as the refs didn't review an incomplete pass in the endzone on the last play of the game that would have given the Rebels the win if overturned. Oh ya and Cyclones don't make any plans for Kansas City in December.
The "Fuck You Cosby" Game of the Day: Louisville 62, Temple 0. That line is stolen from Deadspin and it was funny enough that I had to post it here. A Louisville fan had posted on their that back in the 80's Bill Cosby had mocked the Louisville football program on the Tonight Show after a blowout loss to Temple.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Boise State 42, Oregon State 14. It's scary to think that the Beavers may only be the 3rd or 4th worst team in the Pac-10 and they get humiliated like this.
Oklahoma 37, Washington 20. I suppose it's nice the Huskies played them tough for a half but considering how bad the Sooners looked against a mediocre UAB team last week, I wouldn't take any moral victories from a a 17 point loss.
Washington State 56, Idaho 10. At least we know Wazzu is better than Michigan State.
LSU 45, Arizona 3. Um ya, probably wan't a good idea to talk shit about LSU during the week. Let's see who should talk shit, the team that won a national title in 2003 or the one that hasn't been to a bowl game since 1998?
California 42, Minnesota 17. Meh, you guys still were humiliated on national television by a team that was a two point conversion from losing to Air Force this week.
UCLA 26, Rice 16. Now I take back what I said about being impressed by the Bruins.
Arizona State 52, Nevada 21. Nice to see the Sun Devils actually show up this week.
Oregon 31, Fresno State 24. The Ducks needed a Leon Lett play from Fresno to help them win this game but any game where the kicker scores the winning touchdown is fun. The Ducks are now the last hope for the Pac-10 getting any respect (not that they deserve any right now) with the game against Oklahoma next week. Ducks had to win this game just have the Pac-10 go 3-2 against the WAC this week.
San Jose State 35, Stanford 34. I hate football.
After talking about the mediocre '97 Pirates and doing the 1996 MVP redo it got me thinking about my favorite losing A's team, the 1996 version. The A's by this time were well removed from their three consecutive pennant winning teams with only Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach left from those glory days. The team was predicted to be one of the worst in baseball going into season mainly due to having a starting rotation who's "#1 starter" was Todd Van Poppel. Oof.
To add insult to injury with the low expectations they were also forced out of their home park for their first homestand. The Oakland Coliseum was undergoing a massive reconstruction to accomodate the Raiders who moved back to Oakland the previous year. The old bleachers and old giant scoreboards were torn down and a monstrosity that the locals would soon call Mt. Davis (in fact I think I came up with the name first or at least that's what I tell myself) in "honor" of Raiders' owner Al Davis. It was to make the stadium more football friendly and it was basically Oakland's way of bending over and taking it in the ass for the Raiders while completley ignoring the A's in the process. The stadium wasn't anywhere close to being ready and the A's first six home games were moved to Las Vegas. The construction would go on during the season with jackhammer sounds becoming a regular ballpark experience the first couple of months of the season and it was a major embarassment for the franchise.
But as it turned out they weren't horrible, not any good mind you but they managed not to finish last in the A.L. West and for a brief period of time after the All-Star Break they looked like they might break .500. After beating the Blue Jays on July 26th they were 54-50 and within five games of first place but that would be their peak. They would still be at .500 by mid-August but then they had a stretch where they lost 13 out of 16 which effectively buried their season. They finished the year 78-84 which was a small victory for a team expected to lose over 90 games. As I talked about in the '96 redo, offense was completely out of control that season and the A's took full advantage hitting a team record 243 homeruns which made them very entertaining to watch even if they weren't that good. Fortunently Van Poppel wouldn't stay the staff's #1 starter for very long as he'd get bombed and the former top prospect's Oakland career would come to an end later in the season when he was put on waivers. But the rest the rotation was horrible as advertised with a hodge podge of marginal prospects and never weres.
So here's a look back at my favorite losing team and where they went.
C: Terry Steinbach (.272/.342/.529, 40.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - At age 34, Steinbach hit a career high 35 homeruns, 19 above his previous high which came nine years earlier. Draw your own conclusions. This would be his last season in Oakland as he'd sign with his hometown Twins to finish out his career, retiring after 1999.
1B: Mark McGwire (.312/.467/.730, 91.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares) - This was McGwire's first full season since 1992, although he still started year with another trip to the DL, and he would have the best year of his career to that point. Really I just look at this numbers still in awe and this season was more special to me than his '98 season only because he was still in Oakland of course. He of course was traded to the Cardinals at the trade deadline in 1997 as the franchise hit rock bottom in a deal that is best forgotten. Retired after 2001.
2B: Tony Batista (.298/.350/.433, 15.9 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - The A's actually had a three headed monster here with former second baseman of the future Brent Gates and awful utility infielder Rafael Bournigal. Batista was a midseason call up and won the everyday job the last two months of the season. After showing promise he had an awful '97 season and was left unprotected in the expansion draft where he was picked up by Arizona. Since then had stops in Toronto, Baltimore, Montreal, Japan, and now with Minnesota.
3B: Scott Brosius (.304/.393/.516, 43.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - After mediocre numbers his first few years in the league Brosius brokeout with a very good year both offensive and defensively. His production then dropped like a rock in '97 and was traded to the Yankees for Kenny Rogers soon after the season ended. He'd become a World Series hero in 1998 with them which fooled them into keeping him as their regular 3rd baseman for the next three years although his final season in 2001 wasn't bad.
SS: Mike Bordick (.240/.307/.318, -5.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Bordick had been living off a good year offensively in 1992 for a long time and I forgot how truly awful he was offensively. Only kept an everyday job due to his defense. Last season in Oakland as he signed with the Orioles. In 2000 out of no where the first half of the season he suddenly started hitting for power which got Mets' GM Steve Phillips all excited so he traded Melvin Mora for him. Ouch. He'd then promptly go right back to the Orioles after the season. His final year was in 2003 with Toronto.
LF: Jason Giambi (.291/.355/.481, 26.6 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Yes you're reading that right: LF, Jason Giambi. He came up as a 3rd baseman but that was occupied by Brosius who was very good defensively and Giambi's future position at 1st was of course filled by McGwire. Phil Plantier, yes that Phil Plantier, actually started more games in left than anyone for the A's but let's just pretend like that didn't happen. Giambi did get a fair amount of time at 1st when they'd DH McGwire. As for Giambi's defense in left...it was like if Lonnie Smith & Manny Ramirez had a kid. It was bad, really bad. As we all know Giambi was with the A's thru 2001 and then became the poster boy for selling out by signing with the Yankees.
CF: Ernie Young (.242/.326/.424, 7.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - This was Young's only full season in the Majors. He could hit some homeruns and play pretty good defense but couldn't hit a breaking pitch to save his life so no surprise why he didn't last long. He's become a Crash Davis type of player as he's still hanging around the minors hitting homeruns and gets the occasional cup of coffee, most recently with Cleveland last year at age 34.
RF: Jose Herrera (.269/.318/.378, -2.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) - Was acquired in the Rickey Henderson/Steve Karsay deal in 1993, never really developed and this was his 2nd and last year in the Majors. Out of baseball after 2000 but looking at his Baseball Cube page apparantly tried to make a comeback last year with the Orioles' Double-A team but only played in five games.
DH: Geronimo Berroa (.290/.344/.532, 33.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Berroa was a long time minor leaguer who outside of a spending a year with the Braves in 1989 as a Rule V draftee hadn't been given much of a shot in the Majors. Finally in 1994 at age 29 the A's signed him and he became a fan favorite beacuse he basically put everything into every swing, putting up some pretty good numbers. Traded to the Orioles in 1997 and his production fell off from there. Brief stops in Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Out of baseball after 2001.
Don Wengert (86 ERA+, 16.2 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - I should preface that the A's nine pitchers make 10 or more starts in '96 so I'm going with the four guys who made more than 20 starts as they obviously didn't have a set rotation all year. After showing promise early in the minors, Wengert couldn't get Triple-A hitters out by the the A's pitching woes forced them to use him on the big club which was a theme for A's pitching in the mid-90s. Traded to the Paders after 1997, he'd bounce around to the Cubs, Royals, Braves, and Pirates. Out of baseball after 2002.
Doug Johns (80 ERA+, 4.7 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - Not really a prospect as he debuted at age 27 the previous year and his low K rate in the minors pretty much told you he wasn't going to make it in the Majors but again the A's didn't have many options. A's waived him the following season. Did spend a couple of years as a reliever and spot starter with the Orioles, was done with baseball after 1999.
John Wasdin (80 ERA+, 0.8 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - A former first round pick, he again couldn't get Triple-A hitters out but was forced into the rotation and was absolutlely lit up in this his rookie year. Traded to the Red Sox for Jose Canseco of all people the following season he's had a second career as a sometimes effective middle reliever although usually not. Had stops in Colorado, Baltimore, Toronto, and now with Texas although currenlty in the minors.
Ariel Prieto (116 ERA+, 27.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Before the Hernadez brothers made it cool to find Cuban pitchers there was Ariel Prieto. He was very much hyped as a future star but '96 was the only year that was ever moderately effective as I suppose he was the Hideki Irabu of Cuban pitchers. Last appeared in the Majors in 2001 with Tampa Bay although still hangs around the minors most recently with the Marlins Triple-A team although doesn't appear on any roster this year.
Closer: Billy Taylor (111 ERA+, 16.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Taylor was your typical losing team closer who no on notices because save situations don't become that important for losing teams. He was passable but nothing special. But good 'ol Steve Phillips saw his decent save totals and traded Jason Isringhausen for him at the trade deadline in 1999. Oops! Taylor didn't even make the Mets postseason roster. Made stops in Tampa and Pittsburgh, done after 2001.
Dante Bichette - Outfielder
California Angels 1988-1990
Milwaukee Brewers 1991-1992
Colorado Rockies 1993-1999
Cincinnati Reds 2000
Boston Red Sox 2000-2001
1995 NL Silver Slugger - OF
All-Star Selections: 4 (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998)
1994: Games, At Bats
1995: SLG%, Homeruns, Hits, Total Bases, RBI, Runs Created
None of note
Hall of Fame Stats
Black Ink: Batting - 19 (112) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 81 (284) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 30.5 (275) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 82.0 (203) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Batters in the HOF: None
Top 10 Similar Batters: Garret Anderson, Moises Alou, Shawn Green, Ted Kluszewski, Tony Oliva, Fred Lynn, George Hendrick, Tim Salmon, George Bell, Greg Luzinksi
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacment Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 168
Career WARP3: 53.7
Would he get my vote?
No. Bichette's numbers were heavily inflated by playing in Colorado and even if you took his counting stats at face value he still is no where close to a HOF. He's a good example of similarity scores not always being very reliable because they don't adjust to the era a player played in. Of his Top 10 similar batters only Garret Anderson has a lower career OPS+, who just happens to be his most similar batter, and Bichette was no where near is good as the likes of Tony Oliva and Fred Lynn.
The Vikings continue their surprise run to the top of the NFL standings and wrap up the NFC Central division title by eviscerating the Lions 42-14. The NFC playoff picture is pretty clear with the Vikings, Giants, and 49ers leading the divisions and the Eagles and Redskins as wild cards with the only final playoff spot up for grabs between the Rams, Saints, Bears, and Cowboys. Over in the AFC it is a little more muddy. The Raiders still have a nice cushion in the AFC West even after being stunned by the Bengals this week who were without Boomer Esiason. Bills sort of avenged their shocking defeat at the hands of the Patriots in Week 10 by eeking out a three point win. In the AFC Central the Oilers looked to be close to running away with the division a couple of weeks ago but divisional losses later and they find themselves tied with the Steelers at 7-5. The Dolphins are a near lock for a wild card while the Chiefs, Chargers, and Browns are fighting for the final two spots along with the whoever doesn't win the AFC Central.
Week 13 Scores
New Orleans 23, Atlanta 9
NO: 6-6, ATL: 2-10
-Falcons: 12 yards rushing
Pittsburgh 28, Houston 20
PIT: 7-5, HOU: 7-5
-Louis Lipps: 6 rec, 111 yards
N.Y. Giants 30, Tampa Bay 27 OT
NYG: 10-2, TB: 4-8
-Ottis Anderson: 108 yards rushing
San Diego 31, N.Y. Jets 0
SD: 7-5, JET: 3-9
-Marion Butts: 178 yards rushing
Cincinnati 14, L.A. Raiders 9
CIN: 5-7, RAI: 9-3
-James Brooks: 106 yards rushing
Philadelphia 28, Phoenix 10
PHI: 8-4, PHX: 2-11
-Randall Cunnigham: 246 yards passing
Denver 38, Seattle 28
DEN: 5-7, SEA: 5-7
-Mark Jackson: 5 rec, 136 yards
Green Bay 28, Indianapolis 27
GB: 4-8, IND: 4-8
-Ed West: 5 rec, 120 yards
Washington 23, Cowboys 7
WAS: 8-4, DAL: 5-7
-Ernest Byner: 111 yards rushing
Buffalo 27, New England 24
BUF: 10-2, NE: 3-9
-Thurman Thomas: 199 yards rushing
Miami 20, Chicago 14
MIA: 9-3, CHI: 5-7
-Sammie Smith: 77 yards rushing
Minnesota 42, Detroit 14
MIN: 11-2, DET: 2-10
-Wade Wilson: 183 yards passing
Kansas City 30, Cleveland 10
KC: 7-5, CLE: 6-6
-Barry Word: 137 total yards
San Francisco 35, L.A. Rams 34
SF: 9-3, RAM: 6-6
-Jerry Rice: 6 rec, 169 yards
Leaders thru Week 13
1. Phil Simms, 201.8
2. Dan Marino, 177.8
3. Randall Cunningham, 174.9
1. Warren Moon, 3018
2. Joe Montana, 2910
3. Jim Everett, 2783
1. Montana, 31
2t. Marino, 29
2t. Everett, 29
1. Jerry Rice, 59
2. Andre Rison, 41
3. Anthony Miller, 40
1. Rice, 1524
2. Sterling Sharpe, 1044
3. Rison, 1022
1. Rice, 17
2. Miller, 12
3. James Lofton, 11
1. Thurman Thomas, 1143
2. Neal Anderson, 1101
3. Christian Okoye, 1029
1. Tom Rathman, 14
2t. Many tied with 12
1. Kevin Ross, 9
2t. Many tied with 8
1. Lawrence Taylor, 18
2t. Bruce Smith, 15
2t. Derrick Thomas, 15
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Jeff Jaeger, 16
Punting Avg: Rohn Stark, 51.3
Punt Return Avg: Henry Ellard, 12.2
Kick Return Avg: David Meggett, 20.6
NFL Draft is only three weeks away and this year it might actually go by at a relatively brisk pace with the shortened draft times. Since it is that time of year it's time for me to pick out a past NFL Draft and run down the first round from that year with little to no insight. I picked 1988 because it was 20 years ago, simple enough? 1988 featured several great wide receivers but little depth overall after the first two rounds. It's also the draft where there wasn't a single quarterback taken in the first two rounds and the first one taken in the 3rd round was Tom Tupa who would later become a punter.
1. Atlanta - Aundray Bruce, LB, Auburn
Lasted 11 years but only two of them were spent as a starter so that would definitely would equal to a bust for a #1 pick overall.
2. Kansas City - Neil Smith, DE, Nebraska
Good pick. Six Pro Bowls and over 100 career sacks.
3. Detroit - Bennie Blades, S, Miami
Halfway decent defensive back but not quite the career you'd hope for a pick this high. His brother Brian was taken in the 2nd round of this draft.
4. Tampa Bay - Paul Gruber, T, Wisconsin
12 year starter but kind of surprising he never went to a Pro Bowl as I seem to remember him being regarded as one of the better left tackles in the league during his prime. Maybe he just has a good rating Tecmo Super Bowl and that's why I thought he was good.
5. Cincinnati - Rickey Dixon, S, Oklahoma
Lasted five years, doing nothing of note.
6. L.A. Raiders - Tim Brown, WR, Notre Dame
Slam dunk future Hall of Famer.
7. Green Bay - Sterling Sharpe, WR, South Carolina
Was on his way to a Hall of Fame career it seemed before a neck injury cut it short in 1994.
8. N.Y. Jets - Dave Cadigan, G, USC
I honestly never heard of him but apparently he was a five year starter.
9. L.A. Raiders - Terry McDaniel, CB, Tennessee
Five time Pro Bowl selection.
10. N.Y. Giants - Eric Moore, G, Indiana
Another guard for a New York team that I have no memories of.
11. Dallas - Michael Irvin, WR, Miami
I don't think there is a football player I despised more than him.
12. Phoenix - Ken Harvey, LB, California
Selected to four Pro Bowls but he went to Cal and therefore he sucks.
13. Philadelphia - Keith Jackson, TE, Oklahoma
Very good receiving tight end who went to five Pro Bowls.
14. L.A. Rams - Gaston Green, RB, UCLA
Short career. Rushed for over 1000 yards in 1991.
15. San Diego - Anthony Miller, WR, Tennessee
Obviously overshadowed by the three receivers taken ahead of him but had a very good career as well.
16. Miami - Eric Kumerow, DE, Ohio State
Pretty impressive that we got 15 picks in before getting to a complete bust.
17. New England - John Stephens, RB, Northwest State
Made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but did little else after that.
18. Pittsburgh - Aaron Jones, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Played eight years but did anyone notice?
19. Minnesota - Randall McDaniel, G, Arizona State
12 Pro Bowl selections and should be a future Hall of Famer.
20. L.A. Rams - Aaron Cox, WR, Arizona State
Well the great run of wide receivers in this draft had to end eventually.
21. Cleveland - Clifford Charlton, LB, Florida
22. Houston - Lorenzo White, RB, Michigan State
Had one great year in 1992 but didn't see a whole lot of carries in his career playing in the run and shoot.
23. Chicago - Brad Muster, RB, Stanford
Decent fullback who, like most running backs, had a short career.
24. New Orleans - Craig Heyward, RB, Pittsburgh
Very popular, fat fullback who died at age 39 due to brain cancer.
25. L.A. Raiders - Scott Davis, DT, Illinois
Not quite as good as the Raiders first two picks.
26. Denver - Ted Gregory, DT, Syracuse
Was cut during training camp. Seriously how does a team fuck up so bad on it's first pick that the guy can't even make it out of camp?
27. Chicago - Wendell Davis, WR, LSU
Pretty good receiver who's best known for having his career ended when he tore both ACLs while running a pass route on the god awful Veterans Stadium turf in 1993.
Other Notable Picks
29. Detroit - Chris Speilman, LB, Ohio State
30. Philadelphia - Eric Allen, CB, Arizona State
31. Cincinnati - Ickey Woods, RB, UNLV
36. N.Y. Giants - Jumbo Elliott, T, Michigan
39. San Francisco - Pierce Holt, DE, Angelo State
40. Buffalo - Thurman Thomas, RB, Oklahoma State
41. Dallas - Ken Norton, LB, UCLA
43. New England - Vincent Brown, LB, Mississippi Valley State
44. Pittsburgh - Dermontti Dawson, C, Kentucky
46. L.A. Rams - Flipper Anderson, WR, UCLA
49. Seattle - Brian Blades, WR, Miami
50. Cleveland - Michael Dean Perry, DT, Clemson
63. N.Y. Jets - Erik McMillan, S, Missouri
68. Phoenix - Tom Tupa, QB, Ohio State
74. N.Y. Jets - James Hasty, CB, Washington State
76. Indianapolis - Chris Chandler, QB, Washington
80. San Francisco - Bill Romanowski, LB, Boston College
125. Houston - Chris Dishman, CB, Purdue
159. Washington - Stan Humphries, QB, Louisiana-Monroe
239. Miami - Jeff Cross, DE, Missouri
252. Pittsburgh - John Jackson, T, Eastern Kentucky
Wow, two entries in one week? I'm gonna need an extended vacation after exhausting myself like this.
Next Sunday the All-Star Game reserves will be selected for this year's extra special, Yankee Stadium Circle Jerk All-Star Game presented by FOX. And hey it counts or something. I originally intended on picking my own All-Star team using all that stat geek crap I typically use but that was going to take longer than I wanted so instead I decided to make predictions for All-Star reserves primarily relying on those Joe Morgan friendly stats (AVG, HR, RBI, Wins, ERA, Saves). Player balloting will be going on this week for picking the reserves so doubt too much of what happens this week will effect the results.
Here are the current vote leaders in the fan balloting as of this past week:
C: Joe Mauer, Twins
1B: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Only race in doubt is at catcher as Mauer tries to hold off Jason Varitek (really, Red Sox fans?).
C: Geovany Soto, Cubs
1B: Lance Berkman, Astros
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies
3B: Chipper Jones, Braves
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
OF: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs; Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs; Ken Griffey Jr., Reds
The one race that appears to be coming down to the wire is at shortstop as Ramirez and Miguel Tejada are locked in a tight battle. Outside chance Ryan Braun will slip into the final outfield spot. Now on to my predictions.
My A.L. Reserves Predictions
C: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
1B: Justin Morneau, Twins
2B: Ian Kinsler, Rangers; Brian Roberts, Orioles
3B: Mike Lowell, Red Sox
SS: Michael Young, Rangers
OF: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers; Carlos Quentin, White Sox; Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; Jermaine Dye, White Sox
DH: Hideki Matsui, Yankees
SP: Cliff Lee, Indians; Joe Saunders, Angels; Mike Mussina, Yankees; Vicente Padilla, Rangers; Justin Duchscherer, Athletics; Scott Kazmir, Rays; Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
RP: Francisco Rodriguez, Angels; Mariano Rivera Yankees; Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox; Joe Nathan, Twins; Joakim Soria, Royals
My N.L. Reserves Predictions
C: Brian McCann, Braves; Russell Martin, Dodgers
1B: Albert Pujols, Cardinals; Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
2B: Dan Uggla, Marlins
3B: David Wright Mets; Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS: Jose Reyes, Mets
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Pat Burrell, Phillies; Carlos Lee, Astros; Xavier Nady, Pirates
SP: Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks; Edinson Volquez, Reds; Ben Sheets, Brewers; Aaron Cook, Rockies; Ryan Dempster, Cubs; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Carlos Zambrano, Cubs; Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
RP: Brad Lidge, Phillies; Billy Wagner, Mets; Kerry Wood, Cubs; Jon Rauch, Nationals
Time for another redo, this time with one of the most controversial votes ever. 1996 was a year dominated by offense. In the A.L. six teams hit over 200 homeruns, the Baltimore Orioles setting a new record with 257 (broken the very next year by Seattle). Teams in the A.L. averaged 5.39 runs per game and even in the "Steroid Era" that mark hasn't been topped since. Eight A.L. players hit 40 homeruns or more including Brady Anderson's shocking breakout year with 50.
In a year with several players having MVP claibar seasons the vote itself really came down to two players, Juan Gonzalez and Alex Rodriguez. Gonzalez would beat out A-Rod by just three voting points as he received one more first place vote than A-Rod. This result would be rightfully criticized as A-Rod clearly had the better year but Gonzalez playing on a division winner and being the more established player certainly influenced the voters. But it was the way A-Rod lost the award that would be so interesting and controversial.
First thing was Ivan Rodriugez received a first place vote which was bizarre because he had no where near an MVP season. He'd finish 10th overall, the next highest vote he received was a 5th place vote, and he appeared on less than half of the ballots. Clearly the majority writers did not view Pudge as a legit candidate. It was theorized by some that the writer who voted for I-Rod had meant to vote for A-Rod but accidently switched their names on his ballot. This seemed a bit far fetched and I don't think an answer as to why the writer voted for Pudge was ever cleared up so chalk this up to just a typical idiot baseball writer.
Next was the Seattle Mariners' beat writers as they would both give their first place votes for A-Rod's teammate Ken Griffey Jr. and both voted A-Rod third behind Juan Gonzalez. The other 26 A.L. writers gave A-Rod his ten first place votes and only gave Griffey two first place votes. The Mariners' writers had ironically prevented a Seattle player from winning the MVP.
But the biggest controversy about the vote involved Oakland A's beat writer John Hickey. He voted A-Rod 7th while no other A.L. writer voted him lower than 4th. He tried to justify voting A-Rod that low essentially because people viewed Ken Griffey Jr. as the MVP of the Mariners and he only voted Griffey 5th so he just had to vote A-Rod lower than him. Of course most people are idiots and most people don't do any research or otherwise they would have realized A-Rod had clearly the better year and that Griffey was really only a marginal candidate in a year with so many big offensive seasons.
So just how bad of a choice was Gonzalez? Also should A-Rod have been an absolute slam dunk winner or was there another candidate who you could argue for?
1) Juan Gonzalez 2) Alex Rodriguez 3) Albert Belle 4) Ken Griffey Jr. 5) Mo Vaughn 6) Rafael Palmeiro 7) Mark McGwire 8) Frank Thomas 9) Brady Anderson 10) Ivan Rodriguez 11) Kenny Lofton 12) Mariano Rivera 13) Paul Molitor 14) Andy Pettitte 15) Jim Thome 16) Chuck Knoblauch 17t) Jay Buhner 17t) Bernie Williams 19) John Wetteland 20) Roberto Alomar 21) Terry Steinbach
.289/.381/.546, 131 RC, 133 OPS+, .313 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.326/.420/.583, 153 RC, 148 OPS+, .332 EQA, 76.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.297/.396/.637, 140 RC, 157 OPS+, .333 EQA, 85.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.328/.411/.527, 129 RC, 137 OPS+, .320 EQA, 84.2 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.311/.450/.612, 138 RC, 166 OPS+, .348 EQA, 83.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.349/.459/.626, 152 RC, 178 OPS+, .364 EQA, 92.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.341/.448/.517, 130 RC, 142 OPS+, .330 EQA, 99.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.312/.467/.730, 142 RC, 203 OPS+, .381 EQA, 91.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.311/.410/.623, 153 RC, 157 OPS+, .337 EQA, 80.9 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.358/.414/.631, 157 RC, 160 OPS+, .341 EQA, 111.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
Aura? Did I already mention how much baseball cards have sucked in the past decade?
So there you have it A-Rod was the true MVP in 1996 and really there's no one you can argue over him. There's plenty of guys who had incredible years and there's a lot of agruments for the rest of the list as even as I was typing it I thought of switching guys around but stuck with what I originally came up with. Probably the most interesting case would be McGwire who's numbers are just sick but he only played 130 games. If he managed to play 150+ there would have been a case for him and he may have even made a run at 61 that year (hit 52). Juan Gonzalez was indeed an awful, awful pick as I didn't give him any consideration for the Top 10.
In recent years the WWE has made a killing on wrestler themed DVD's that feature several full length versions of classic matches. Now not necessarily influenced by the WWE but Major League Baseball has now started releasing DVD box sets of classic World Series featuring full length games from the entire series. This year they've released 1975, 1979, and 1986 World Series on DVD and I'd imagine there will be more of this in the future. Even though I'm not a fan of the Reds, Pirates, or Mets I do plan on buying these sets once the price goes down. Now a couple of years ago the NFL started releasing box sets called the "NFL Super Bowl Collections." This confused some people as they wondered if these were original broadcasts of the NFL games or not. Of course they weren't as they were just the classic half-hour highlight films of the games done by NFL Films that anyone can see on ESPN every January.
Now before they changed their programming a little over a year ago ESPN Classic was paradise for a diehard sports fan who loved watching classic sporting events. You could find original broadcasts of classic MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, college basketball, boxing, and racing on a regular basis. There was one thing always missing though and that was original broadcasts of classic NFL games. This always had struck me as unusual. Given that ESPN has been televising NFL games since 1987 and with their deal with ABC you'd figure at the very least they'd be able to show classic Sunday & Monday Night Football games but no such luck.
I've searched as much as I can but I've never been able to find out why the NFL refuses to allow any broadcast of this archived footage. When the NFL Network started up a few years back I always assumed that they would air classic games on the channel. With 24 hours to fill on a channel that would only interest serious NFL fans you would think they would fill some of that time but showing classic games but they do not. My only theory has been that given the deal with NFL Films it seems that the NFL only wants them to be the sole history teller of their sport. Back in the late 90's they started putting together NFL Films versions of full length historical games such as Super Bowl III and the 1982 NFC Championship game. These were kind of cool when they first aired but they've only done a handful of games and they still don't have the feel of watching an original broadcast game.
I will continue to not understand why the NFL sits on a goldmine they have. These classic games are just sitting there with no one to see them. With MLB now jumping on the DVD bandwagon of selling classic footage you'd hope the NFL will do the same in the future. The sales just for boxed sets of full length Super Bowls would be through the roof especially if they packaged them for particular teams like the 49ers, Cowboys, and Steelers. The NFL certainly has never turned down the chance to make more money and I don't see why they refuse to do so in this case.
Ugh, I had almost finished the entire entry and my dumbass clicks the back button by accident. Click forward, nothing there. So fuck it I'm not typing all that out again so here's the quick version of the Top 10 for each league and maybe I'll edit in some numbers later.
Pujols still has a huge lead although it could be gone if he misses the full six weeks like many think he will.
Edit: Okay I've put the numbers in now.
10. Jason Bay, Pirates
.305/.427/.614, 49 RC, .328 EQA, 30 VORP, 9 Win Shares
9. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.266/.389/.572, 42 RC, .309 EQA, 21.4 VORP, 12 Win Shares
8. Lance Berkman, Astros
.299/.380/.598, 45 RC, .310 EQA, 20.6 VORP, 12 Win Shares
7. David Wright, Mets
.327/.400/.559, 47 RC, .315 EQA, 25.5 VORP, 11 Win Shares
6. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.349/.437/.593, 51 RC, .338 EQA, 32.5 VORP, 10 Win Shares
5. Chase Utley, Phillies
.323/.389/.541, 43 RC, .300 EQA, 27.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares
4. Bobby Abreu, Phillies
.285/.454/.505, 48 RC, .317 EQA, 19.0 VORP, 14 Win Shares
3. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.310/.363/.628, 54 RC, .309 EQA, 25.8 VORP, 13 Win Shares
2. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
217 ERA+, 5.00 K/BB, 1.08 WHIP, 40.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares
.308/.442/.751, 65 RC, .357 EQA, 38.8 VORP, 19 Win Shares
Basically can flip a coin between Thome and Hafner right now but gave Thome the nod for the edge in Win Shares.
10. Curtis Granderson, Tigers
.287/.388/.483, 43 RC, .295 EQA, 18.9 VORP, 12 Win Shares
9. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.326/.379/.606, 44 RC, .314 EQA, 28.2 VORP, 10 Win Shares
8. Ramon Hernandez, Orioles
.307/.366/.512, 47 RC, .298 EQA, 18.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares
7. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
.319/.434/.505, 44 RC, .322 EQA, 22.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares
6. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.306/.405/.669, 42 RC, .333 EQA, 22.3 VORP, 10 Win Shares
5. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.344/.435/.495, 47 RC, .320 EQA, 30.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares
4. Alexis Rios, Blue Jays
.359/.397/.631, 47 RC, .324 EQA, 26.5 VORP, 11 Win Shares
3. Jason Giambi, Yankees
.277/.458/.620, 51 RC, .350 EQA, 27.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares
2. Travis Hafner, Indians
.308/.449/.631, 57 RC, .355 EQA, 33.2 VORP, 12 Win Shares
.296/.432/.656, 58 RC, .344 EQA, 30.2 VORP, 13 Win Shares
This is likely going to be my final look at the MVP race since there is now only two and a half weeks left. Last time I nearly bumped Albert Pujols from the top spot for the first time this season in favor of Carlos Beltran but this time around Pujols' has a firm grip back on the #1 spot. Of course in the media it's a two man race that doesn't include Beltran and almost a once man race with Ryan Howard. I mocked Howard last time but he's almost making a believer out of me as he makes a big jump (now finally the Most Valuable Phillie) but in my view he's still far behind Pujols and Beltran. For those who insist that Howard is the MVP ask these three questions:
Is he the best hitter in the league?
Is he the best all around player in the league?
Is he the best player on the best team in the league?
The answer to all three of those questions is no. He's had an amazing year and he might break the "non-steroid" homerun record (which kkk pretty much echoed my thoughts on that bullshit last week) but he's not the MVP.
10. Garrett Atkins, Rockies
.326/.401/.551, 111 RC, .303 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 24 Win Shares
9. Jose Reyes, Mets
.297/.349/.496, 112 RC, .284 EQA, 52.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
8. Nick Johnson, Nationals
.297/.434/.532, 109 RC, .323 EQA, 53.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
7. David Wright, Mets
.311/.384/.538, 114 RC, .303 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 30 Win Shares
6. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.290/.361/.590, 122 RC, .303 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares
5. Lance Berkman, Astros
.306/.411/.606, 123 RC, .322 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 30 Win Shares
4. Ryan Howard, Phillies
.316/.413/.682, 118 RC, .332 EQA, 74.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
3. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.339/.430/.582, 132 RC, .330 EQA, 74.7 VORP, 33 Win Shares
2. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.283/.388/.617, 119 RC, .318 EQA, 67.3 VORP, 37 Win Shares
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.323/.426/.677, 131 RC, .342 EQA, 75.5 VORP, 35 Win Shares
Now the A.L. has been a wide open race all year...until now. It's not over yet but Baseball Jesus has now emerged as the clear choice for A.L. MVP. Travis Hafner already had no chance at the writer award and now he has no chance either now on my ballot due to his season ending broken hand. He's at #2 currently but obviously he'll fall lower than that. Now Johan Santana is starting to enter the MVP dicussion in some circles and I think he's making himself a legit case as well. But I think it's going to be tough for him or teammate Joe Mauer to catch Jeter. As the Red Sox have faded, so has Manny Ramirez. I almost gave him the top spot last time but now he barely stays in the Top 5. Jermaine Dye seems to be Jeter's main competition in the media but I doubt he can win if the White Sox don't make the playoffs.
10. Grady Sizemore, Indians
.293/.377/.535, 112 RC, .309 EQA, 65.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
9. Justin Morneau, Twins
.324/.379/.583, 110 RC, .313 EQA, 51.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
8. Jim Thome, White Sox
.291/.414/.604, 111 RC, .329 EQA, 57.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
7. David Ortiz, Red Sox
.285/.401/.628, 111 RC, .327 EQA, 63.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
6. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.322/.388/.637, 110 RC, .325 EQA, 63.5 VORP, 24 Win Shares
5. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.318/.436/.612, 109 RC, .338 EQA, 60.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares
4. Joe Mauer, Twins
.348/.433/.505, 97 RC, .321 EQA, 61.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
3. Johan Santana, Twins
166 ERA+, 5.35 K/BB, 0.98 WHIP, 74.8 VORP, 24 Win Shares
2. Travis Hafner, Indians
.308/.439/.659, 124 RC, .353 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 24 Win Shares
1. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.346/.423/.492, 125 RC, .321 EQA, 75.0 VORP, 30 Win Shares