Archive | September, 2006

Going Beyond the Boxscore On Jimmy Rollins

29 Sep

We all can read Jimmy Rollins’ stat line in the newspaper:

.279 average, 44 doubles, 8 triples, 25 home runs, 82 RBI, 124 runs, 36 SB

Looks pretty good, especially for a leadoff man. And it is good. It’s not the best, though, if one ranks leadoff men(with at least 325 plate appearances) by OPS (on-base + slugging percentage):

956 – Alfonso Soriano
919 – Grady Sizemore
877 – Gary Matthews Jr.
869 – Reed Johnson
846 – Jose Reyes
842 – Johnny Damon
839 – Hanley Ramirez
827 – Rafael Furcal
824 – Jimmy Rollins
816 – Kevin Youkilis

So he’s 9th out of 29 lead. Not too shabby. For pure curiosity’s sake, I’m going to list the bottom five leadoff men by their OPS:

696 – David Eckstein (Cardinals)
682 – Scott Podsednik (White Sox)
679 – Craig Counsell (Diamondbacks)
651 – Chone Figgins (Angels)
650 – Willy Taveras (Astros)
Quite a list of speed and grit there.

Back to Rollins, his line is somewhat boosted by the sheer amount of plate appearances he’s had compared to the rest of the leadoff men, which is bound to happen on a team that scores a lot of runs like the Phillies…thus why I am not ranking him with counting stats. But what is important for a leadoff man? For example, getting on-base. His OBP is rather average, at 340 according to ESPN(but 335 according to Yahoo??), which ranks him either 21st or 23rd depending. That’s the epitome of average.

Another important ‘leadoff’ stat is pitcher per plate apperance, because working the pitcher to get him out of the game can lead to runs. He takes 3.70 an appearance, not that bad in regards to the rest of the league, but pedestrian compared to other leadoff hitters. Kevin Youkilis has a similar OPS to Rollins, but takes 4.39 P/PA. Rollins ranks 23rd out of 29.

What he does have as a leadoff man is power, and a bunch of it. Here’s him in the top 10 of Isolated Power (slugging – average):

.294 Alfonso Soriano
.246 Grady Sizemore
.202 Jimmy Rollins
.197 Johnny Damon
.190 Hanley Ramirez
.189 Jose Reyes
.185 Gary Matthews Jr.
.171 Curtis Granderson
.165 Craig Biggio
.156 Reed Johnson

It’s quite amazing to see such a little guy up at the top of this lineup, but he does have a quick bat. I also find it interesting in that I don’t think that the other three should be leadoff men (Soriano, Sizemore, and Damon in another lineup). Damon is a leadoff man because he’s on the Yankees, and the other two are leadoff men for some reason???

This all means that he’s a very unorthodox leadoff men, at least compared to what the ‘ideal’ leadoff man is. He steals bases, but he doesn’t hit for a high average or get on base at a good clip, and he hits a lot of doubles and homers. Very unique, actually. I’d imagine he’d be more valuable lower in the lineup, instead of a spot in the lineup that values getting on-base so much. If he gets 750 plate appearances, he’s going to be out about 30 more times than a guy like Grady Sizemore in the same amount of appearances. Travis Hafner, the league leader in OBP at .439, would get out 65 times less.

Thing is, it’s not fair to Rollins to judge him solely by where he hits in the lineup. It’s somewhat arbitrary to define him as a ‘leadoff man’ simply because the Phillies insist he is one. Instead, let’s judge him by the guys that also play his position, using similar criteria, plus some newer stats that measure players.

There are 30 shortstops with at least 325 plate appearances in the Majors this year. Rollins ranks 15th out of 30 in regards to OBP. Dead average. Top 10 in OPS though:

917 – Carlos Guillen
903 – Bill Hall
897 – Derek Jeter
881 – Miguel Tejada
844 – Jose Reyes
834 – Hanley Ramirez
818 – Michael Young
818 – Rafael Furcal
813 – Jimmy Rollins
790 – Edgar Renteria

From that list, one name that jumps out at me is Bill Hall. Guy is completely underrated simply because he plays in Milwaukee and his numbers are supressed from not getting as many at bats as anyone else on that list. Plus, he has the lowest average (.272). Still, the guy has some of the better rate stats out there for a SS, and I’d peg him for a top 5 SS over the next couple years as he settles in (taking the most pitches looks to be good for the future). As for Rollins, he looks pretty good on that list, and I wouldn’t expect him to go any higher or lower really. Now for Isolated Power:

.283 Bill Hall
.205 Carlos Guillen
.199 Jimmy Rollins
.189 Hanley Ramirez
.188 Jose Reyes
.171 Miguel Tejada
.146 Rafael Furcal
.145 Michael Young
.142 Derek Jeter
.139 Edgar Renteria

Rollins’ number is slightly lower than as a leadoff man because of a few non-leadoff at bats. Still, it’s quite good for a SS. This is where his value comes from. Obviously getting on-base is more important that hitting for power because it allows for more chances to score, but it’s still good to see power like this out of your SS. And all that power makes him a top 10 SS in regards to EQA (total offensive value per out, corrected for league, ballpark, and pitching). .250 is average :

.316 – Derek Jeter
.310 – Carlos Guillen
.303 – Miguel Tejada
.290- Hanley Ramirez
.289 – Bill Hall
.288 – Jose Reyes
.283 – Rafael Furcal
.279 – Michael Young
.276 – Jimmy Rollins
.274 – Edgar RenteriaIt’s not surprising to see the same 10 names over and over in these SS lists, because there’s only about 10 of them that are any good this year. Maybe Jhonny Peralta will bounce back next season, but right now there’s only 10 good ones. And for whatever faults he has, Jimmy Rollins is still one of them. And if Rollins is able to actually put an OK first half of a season together (744 OPS in 1st half this year, 893 OPS 2nd half), he could maybe even get onto the cusp of the top 5. And his glove puts him at least 7th or 8th on that list right now.  For whatever that’s worth to you.

Joe Sestak Versus Curt Weldon Is Too Close To Call

29 Sep

From the Inky:

RETIRED NAVY VICE-admiral Joe Sestak is running neck-and-neck with 10-term Republican Congressman Curt Weldon in the suburban 7th Congressional District, according to a new Keystone Poll survey.

Democratic upstart Sestak was leading Weldon by a single point, 45 percent to 44 percent, among likely voters, and 44 percent to 43 percent among all registered voters, the survey found.

Weldon’s usually easy road to re-election is no more.  Come on Curt, win it for your buddy Sun Myung Moon, humanity’s savior, messiah, returning Lord and true parent (just ask him).  This race was once thought to be the afterthought to the other two suburban Philadelphia races, but is now the closest of them all.  I guess that’s what happens when you have a conservative Republican(not a mainstream Republican like Weldon claims) in a moderate Democratic area like Delaware County.

‘Playing Tight’ Is Crap

28 Sep

While watching the Phillies defeat the Nationals in 14 innings last night, I heard several people say that the Phillies ‘looked tight’ and were playing ‘with pressure’. So tight and so much pressure that they actually won the game, right? But anyway, this idea that if the Phillies lose they ‘choke’ is simply crap. Sometimes baseball teams lose baseball games. Actually, they all lose at least 60 of them every year. Even the best teams do that! And if you’re going to have a ton of close one-run games, you’re going to lose several of those. That’s only natural…even a great reliever like Trevor Hoffman has lost games this year. Reliever have no room to work in one run games, so anything they give up looks that much worse. Losing close games doesn’t mean a team has played tight or has choked, it means they’re a baseball team that falls into the law of averages.

And if you don’t believe me, let’s see what Jon Lieber says about all of this:

“I just wanted to stay aggressive and keep the ball low,” he said. “Right now, we’re a team that doesn’t feel any pressure. We’re feeding off one another.”

In reference to his previous start, he was ‘aggressive’ and neither he nor the rest of the team feel any pressure. Boy, you must be lying through your teeth there Jonny!!!! To hear the fans weave the tale, the Phillies were up by 10 games in the Wild Card and are now blowing it to the Dodgers every single night! But the reality is that the Phils have been playing about as good as they are capable of, which is slightly better than average baseball. They have a really good offense, and while it won’t surface every night, it gives them a few nice blowouts every so often. Their pitching is about the epitome of average, and their key cog (Hamels) has pitched a whopping 120 innings above the minors, and 300 innings in professional baseball. To expect the World Series out of this bunch is overshooting a bit.

So if/when the Phillies don’t make the playoffs, let’s not say they ‘blew it’ or they were playing ‘tight’. Sometimes teams just play to the level they are capable of…and for the Phils that level isn’t a playoff one. Even in the crappy NL Wildcard race.
And BTW, for all his veterannes and playoff-readiness, Jeff Conine sure ‘came up big’ last night. 0-7 This just proves that he’s playing up to his level. He had been playing over his head for a bit with the Phils with an OPS near 850, which he hasn’t sniffed since 2001 with Baltimore. It’s now at a much lower 765, and nearing his season mark of 733.

Terrell Owens Is Not OK

27 Sep

This just came over ‘the wire’ about Terrell Owens reportedly trying to commit suicide:

A Dallas police report released Wednesday morning said Owens told rescue workers “that he was depressed.” The report was first released by WFAA-TV.

The rescue worker “noticed that (his) prescription pain medication was empty and observed (Owens) putting two pills in his mouth,” the police report said.

The worker attempted to pry them out with her fingers, then was told by Owens that before this incident he’d taken only five of the 40 pain pills in the bottle he’d emptied. The worker then asked Owens “if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, `Yes.'”

No attempts at jokes here…let’s hope the guy’s OK.  We don’t know the details, but we have to hope the guy isn’t on edge that much.  If he is, get him some help.  Seriously.  Whether he hurt hte Eagles last year or not (which he did), he’s still a human being with all the frailties and problems that come with being human.  Gotta wish he gets better.

King Cole To The Rescue

27 Sep

Los Angeles 83-74 —

PHILLIES 82-75 1.0

The Phillies had a coulda, shoulda, woulda loss last night to the Washington Nationals. They lost 4-3 and saw a probable 3 run Chase Utley line-drive homer called foul(it bounced off the foul pole), saw Tom Gordon ride the pine AGAIN in a key game, and saw Fabio Castro go his twentieth day without seeing the mound. But why would you want a reliever who’s only given up two runs for you to actually pitch? And why would you want your all-star reliever out there at any point in the game?

So the Phillies are now down 1 game to the surging Dodgers. King Cole Hamels goes to the mound tonight and has a decided edge against a horrendous Pedro Astacio (5-5 6.12 ERA 1.59 WHIP). There’s almost no way the Phillies should lose this game. Hamels has won his past two starts and hit double digits in strikeouts both times. It’s really quite amazing to hear no talk at all about Hamels in the national media. He’s been just as good as Brett Myers and has had a 3.33 ERA and 1.09 WHIP since the all-star break. 94 Ks and only 23 walks in 81.2 innings shows that the guy is already our best pitcher. Phillies win 7-2.

As for the Dodgers, they visit Colorado at 8:35pm and send Derek Lowe to the mound to face Aaron Cook. That’s an edge to the Dodgers, but hopefully the bad Lowe will show up tonight. Lowe has either been amazing or horrible this year, giving up 5 or more runs 6 times this year, but also giving up no runs 6 times this year.

It’s looking grim for the Phils, but hopefully something can bounce their way tonight to tie it back up.

By the way…why is it called the foul pole when it counts as fair?  Maybe the ump just got confused.

The Worst Comic In The World

26 Sep

This week’s winner: Mr. Abernathy. This comic hasn’t had a new panel inked in 12 years and yet it still gets major play in newspapers around the country. And it ain’t no Peanuts…it consists of rich Mr. Abernathy, his butler, and some bubbly approximations of women (of the no waist, big butt, big breasted variety). He’s always ogling them or dating them or working with them, and hilarity ensues. Or not.

Join The Fantasy Colbert League

25 Sep

The people who brought you the Colbert Nation fansite now give us the Fantasy Colbert League.  The rules are simple.  You guess how the interviews will go and are given point values based on how close you were to what actually happened:

  • 1 point for every question Stephen asks
  • 2 points for every time the GUEST tries to change the subject
  • 3 points if the guest breaks out into a sweat
  • 5 points for every time Stephen nails the guest
  • 40 point bonus if Stephen makes his guest cry
  • -1 point for every time Stephen and the guest agree

It’s that easy!

On a side note, our friend Stephen was named the #2 sexiest anchor by Maxim.  He was the only male on the list, and was behind French anchor Melissa Theuriau (pictured on the right)