11/12/12: Happy No Veterans Day

So far, it looks as if Bud Norris, Wesley Wright and Jed Lowrie are the Proven Veterans on the 2013 team. There was brief speculation that Lance Berkman just might could be back to DH, but given his anti-DH attitude, as well as, um, his outspokenness, I had a seriously tough time believing that. He wasn’t exactly, uh, supportive of Crane.

So far, it looks as if the payroll will be south of 20 mill, which will not set well with the Players Union.  ESPECIALLY seeing as how all teams will be receiving all that extra $$$ from ESPN/Fox/TBS – like at LEAST 25 mill, this year. I suppose they are spending it all on their Dominican Academies, trying to grow ballplayers. Yeah. I’m getting tired of writing about how owners don’t HAVE to spend any money on their baseball team to make tons.

Luhnow is talking about finding some Old Cheap Guys to act as mentors – meaning they will get more playing time on a terrible team than they would on a good team. This is being done to shut up the Players’ Union, of course. Crane is going to make, best I can calculate, 50 million bucks this year, with the Worst Team That Minimal Money Can Buy. Not bad at ALL.

sigh

Wonder how many people are actually going to show up at the park – I mean, when it isn’t Yankees/RedSox/Nolan Ryans.

OPS of guys playing in the Winter Leagues (who have played more than 10 games – there are some who have only played in a few:

Brandon Barnes: 100 AB: .873 OPS (GOOD!!! hopefully he can be our CF)
Bobby Borchering: 38 AB: .628 OPS  (in the AFL – although he’s kind of old for that)
Jake Goebbert: 44 AB: 518 OPS (guess the Organization’s hopes for him are not gonna be good)
Jose Martinez (NOT Julio Daniel – age almost 27, didn’t play from 08 to 12 except for 20 AB in 2010, second baseman, this year killed the ball at AA, had .532 OPS over 82 AB at AAA): 90 AB: .804 OPS
Jiovanni Mier: 54 AB: .742 OPS
Jimmy Paredes: 54 AB: .753 OPS (he’s in the OF now because his glove at 2B sucked, too)
Jonathan Singleton: 86 AB: .789 OPS (in the AFL – he should be KILLING the ball if he’s gonna be a ML first baseman next year)
George Springer: 62 AB: 1.041 OPS (which is what Singleton should be doing, too)
Jonathan Villar has 14 AB in 11 games with a 400something OPS. Am not sure why he is STILL on the prospect list.

Jarred Cosart has a 7.20 ERA – he’s started 5 games over 15 innings.
Chia-Jen Lo (remember him? He had TJ surgery, is coming back) , Alex Sogard and Nick Tropeano are all playing in the AFL, are relieving. Sogard is having a BAD time, but Lo has a 2.13 ERA/1.13 WHIP over 13.1 IP and Tropeano a 3.21 ERA/1.07 WHIP over 14 IP.
Won’t nobody but (maybe) Brandon Barnes and Singleton be on the ML club this year. Well, maybe Cosart – he only threw 5 games over 27 innings at AAA this year, but youneverknow. I havedn’t heard anyone even mention Dallas Keuchel, so unless he pitches like Pedro 2000 at ST, he’s probably out.

I’ve been looking for something to talk about. Maybe I should go to WAR (speaking about Veterans.) WAR, of course, is “Wins Above Replacement” in which Replacement refers to a non-existent imaginary major leaguer called “replacement level” who is so bad that he’s incompetent at hitting, running and fielding, still manages to hold a full time job in MLB, adjusted somehow, for position, defense, league, year, ballpark, umpire, quality of opposing team. Uh, no, take some of those back.

You CAN’T follow the formulas unless you have a PHD level understanding of advanced math and statistics, so for most of us, trying to figure out exactly HOW the adjustment numbers were reached by the author is, well, difficult. We can’t even go near the arguments about defense, seeing as how the formula authors can’t agree about those, neither. Yet, we are supposed to accept these numbers as gospel truth. And I can’t.

I can’t even accept the reasons given by formula makers as to why they exclude some instances of what actually HAPPENS in calculating on-base percentage. They omit all reached on errors, as well as fielders’ choice, catchers’ interference and dropped 3rd strike. The player actually REACHED THE BASE. Don’t tell me he didn’t. Or that he didn’t mean it. Or it wasn’t “real.” Or it was the caprice of an umpire. It HAPPENED. Don’t omit what really existed – how can you expect any other number to be real if you can’t be honest about an event that existed? If a player never reached base, then how did he score?

For years, I’ve been posting and lurking at sabermetric sites. Part of what drove all the statistics has been the interest in finding some sort of number which will unarguably, conclusively allow us to compare player X from 100 years ago to player Y from now. Not sure why this is such an imperative, but to many it is. Seems to me that it is very difficult to do this, seeing as how the equipment was different, the stadiums were different, the rules were enforced differently, the quality of players in general was different.

The other part, of course, is predicting what will happen in the future to any given player at any level of play. And, given the nature of humans, injury and baseball, they STILL neverknow.

I don’t really care if people spend hours/years/whatever trying to devise some sort of formula to assist in their gambling game. And we all know that Organizations are trying to find The Numbers that will tell them conclusively which players to draft and/or promote. Any time it is All About The Money, I get it. Not the money, just the impetus. And I know all about how it is part of human nature to want to be The One Who Knows.

Trouble with WAR, is like war, it doesn’t really settle anything, it just shuts up some people for the time being and creates rebellion. Sometimes it manages to suppress other ideas/cultures for a while, but eventually, that too passes.

Thing is, you can’t predict (accurately) accidents, random streaks of excellence/suckage, illness, quirks of managers/coaches or even teammates. AND you still have the universal problem of those who predict wanting to prove their predictions true. Meaning that Organizations who want players A, B, C, D and E to succeed, because they have been designated as “prospects” will give those people more chances, better situations and pimping to show that they can indeed Know Who Will Succeed.

I sound like one of those grouchy Old Folks who want all the guys in their underwear in they mama basement to get offn my lawn. I’m not, really. I wonder if all the numbers and the closeups, I guess you could call it, have taken the magic out of baseball. You need some illusion for an event to really sustain interest. At my favorite baseball site, most of the posters are posting about non-baseball matters – football, college football, soccer, basketball and politics (really, what is left to be said that hasn’t been said exactly the same way in the same words by the same people a zillion times over?) That’s sad. The last time I can remember any REAL excitement about this ball club in the offseason,  was the 03/04 offseason when we managed to sign Andy Pettitte and would we/could we get Da Rojah???!!!

sigh

And speaking of Roger, I need someone to explain why he is absolutely positively guilty of using illegal drugs – I mean, the government BADLY wanted to convict and imprison him, spent hundreds of millions of dollars, zillions of lawyer/researcher person-hours, and couldn’t find ANY evidence besides ONE scumbag’s say-so. And that aforementioned scumbag couldn’t keep his story straight. But yet, even though the government couldn’t find ANYTHING, the guy is STILL guilty? It’s really sorry, is what it is.

The anti-drug hysteria has really gotten out of control. Now, we have writers, supercilious ex players, who are wanting to give drug users the same penalty as those who bet on baseball. It’s tiresome.

 

12 Responses to “11/12/12: Happy No Veterans Day”

  1. Eric says:

    Having played baseball more or less at a high school level…none of those sabrematics guys have any clue aside from cold hard numbers EXACTLY what defines a baseball player. I doubt they’ve ever swung a bat at a baseball going 75-90+ MPH. Just hitting the ball 3 times out of 10 at bats is considered GOOD..that’s how few times you actually hit the baseball worth anything.

    They can crunch the numbers all they way. but like you said, they’ll NEVER hit the magic number or algothorim on how to quantify baseball players. There simply isn’t one.

  2. Lisa Gray says:

    eric

    they don’t and they can’t. i’m just getting tired of reading that all awards now, including HOF, should just be based strictly on WAR. none of the prediction systems i know of beat the infamous marcel the monkey guessing tool.

    look at all the guys currently in the majors (draft elegible only) who weren’t even picked in the first 5 rounds. There are guys who weren’t even drafted at all, like jon axford, the brewers closer. look at all the first round picks who only got ANY major league time, honestly, because of the round in which they were picked. no 40th rounder woulda gotten the same chances.

    youneverknow

    i am not anti-stats, by ANY stretch of the imagination. but i absolutely refuse to accept WAR as gospel. or to agree that you can ABSOLUTELY compare players born 100 years apart. because you can’t.

  3. Steve says:

    Good use of supercilious :)

  4. Eric says:

    Nope you can’t compare players 100 years apart at all. Case in point: the 1972 Miami Dolphins can’t really be compared to a modern day NFL team. The Dolphins had linemen weighing around 230ish pounds. Today..a NFL lineman weighs in the neighborhood of 300 pounds plus.

    Now if the ’72 Dolphins were to try to play oh..say the Texans or the Bears of 2013. their offensive line would be overwhelmed by the faster, bigger and quicker players of modern day. Griese or Morrall wouldn’t even last the entire game. Both the Dolphin offensive and defensive lines would have gotten plowed under and Buonconti would have been buried by a measly little 250 pound full back..at that time Buonconti (a linebacker) weighed 215 pounds which is considered NFL safety/cornerback size those days.

    Linebackers those days run between 230-260 pounds now. That’s alot of impact in modern day football..as Einstein once said…mass x acceleration = force.

    The point is, nuitrition, strength and conditioning (and some might say drug use) has come a long way since the turn of the century. I seriously doubt Babe Ruth would have put up the numbers he did back then against modern day pitching…he didn’t have much of a conditioning program back then with all that booze and babes. Actually, alcohol doesn’t improve atheletic performance as I can state with complete certainity as a life long lover of alcohol.

  5. wags says:

    Any thoughts on Loria’s decision to go Luhnow on his beloved Marlins?

  6. Lisa Gray says:

    steve

    we LIKEY them big ol words!!!!!

    eric,

    i’m not much of a football fan, but i sure have seen pics of guys from BITGOD and they wouldn’t stand a chance against any good college squad. the expansion era (hahaha) started in the mid to late 80s, just like in baseball. according to my brothers, the rosterrs were significantly smaller, too, and guys used to play both offense and defense. game moved a lot faster, too. but guys who played ended up with serious arthritis – i’ve seen earl campbell and it hurts me to watch him try to walk. every guy i know over 6-1 who played football has back pain and bad knees. for starters.

    we all know that if you could get a time machine, that modern AA guys would tear UP 1920s pitching (except for the spitter, which they ain’t seen) and MLB hitters from 1920 wouldn’t look the same against modern pitchers – AND they wouldn’t be used to facing so freaking MANY pitchers neither.

    the game is different. it just IS. the great hitters didn’t face LOOGYS/ROOGYS and closers. Let alone that MANY pitchers. 7 other teams with 9 pitchers/team vs 29 other teams with 13 pitchers/team – that is VERY different. the fielders weren’t as good. the gloves weren’t as good. the playing surface was not good. the lighting was often lousy. balls were re-used and dirty, often cut. sorry, you can only compare players from a year against EACH OTHER.

    as for alcohol,
    small amounts of alcohol might could improve performance if, and i mean IF, it removed some anxiety that was impairing optimal performance. but it’s a very fine line because a whole lot of times, the amount needed to help with anxiety is also an amount that to some degree, impairs hand/eye coordination.

  7. Eric says:

    “as for alcohol,
    small amounts of alcohol might could improve performance if, and i mean IF, it removed some anxiety that was impairing optimal performance. but it’s a very fine line because a whole lot of times, the amount needed to help with anxiety is also an amount that to some degree, impairs hand/eye coordination”

    For some reason I’m reminded of David Well’s remark that he once pitched after drinking.

    It made me laugh. But then I’ve always been a pedal to the metal drunkard. So I completely understand his mentality about drinking. It can be fun !

  8. Lisa Gray says:

    wags

    loria is just another business tycoon who made good use of crooked politicians. i’ve never understood how an owner can make money on an empty stadium, but hey, i guess he can. and he’s always gotten away with it and he will continue to get away with it.

    jim crane has a GOOD 3 years to keep with the 20 mill payroll before someone says anything. IF anyone says anything. which i doubt. the last grade A free agent to sign with houston was carlos lee. seriously doubt there will be another one until long after my kidz are grown and gone. will be interesting to see if any FA above the level of worn out veteran who can’t get work anywhere else, or minor league FA will ever sign there. i kind of doubt it. FA should have known what loria was gonna do – see carlos delgado…

  9. Eric says:

    Berkman is apparently in talks with Crane about rejoining the Astros. I suppose money can overcome one’s distaste for the AL and the DH rule. To be fair..he’s well suited for a DH role anyway.

    I’m just guessing that Crane is just doing it for publicity and promotional reasons. What’s next..he calls on Oswalt ?

  10. Bruce says:

    On a roll here, LG!

    War, huh….

  11. Becky says:

    Heard JD is leaving the Astros booth for the CUBS. Lord almighty…….NOT THE CUBS!! JEEZE…………THIS is REALLY going to pi$$ me off!

  12. Lisa Gray says:

    becky

    haven’t heard yet that it is definitely a done deal. that would be a really bad move to let him leave

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