View: A No-hitter That Includes Six Walks is Not That Big of a Deal.

If anything, I’d say it reflects how poorly the opposing offense performed.  And when it comes to offensive production, there aren’t that many teams in the A.L. struggling harder than the Chi Sox.

Just how bad are they? This bad:

(Coming into tonight)

BA: 242 (4th worst in AL)

OBP: 307 (Ditto)

Slg%: 372 (see above)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Liriano’s fault the team he was facing sucks, but what are we really celebrating? How bad the White Sox are?

Aditionally, Liriano only struck out two batters to go along with the walks, so there were a lot of balls put in play with runners on base.  This, to me, indicates that there was probably a lot of luck involved.

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John Dewan Talks Defensive Metrics During Marlins Broadcast

Last week, John Dewan, owner of Baseball Info Solutions and author of both volumes of The Fielding Bible, joined the Marlins broadcast team in the middle innings of their game against the Pirates to discuss ( among other things) the current state of defensive metrics in baseball. 
 
While the entire discussion was interesting, I’d like to focus on something Dewan said when asked about possible deficiencies in the runs saved system, a metric which attempts to measure how many plays a fielder makes compared to the average player at his position.  The issue was raised by a member of the broadcast team, who asked how a play involving a throw to a cut off man before an out was recorded would be valued for each player involved. Dewan conceded that this was an area that required more study. He went on to say that as much as 60% of defensive play is, at this juncture, unrecorded by runs saved, and unable to be quantified by defensive metrics in general. 
 
As I mentioned in a previous post, it is no secret that defensive metrics are imperfect, but the fact that so much of defensive play remains uncharted comes as a bit of a surprise to me, particularly since advanced defensive numbers are so prevalent in the arena of SABRmetrics. From my own perspective, it appears statistics like runs saved paint a fairly accurate picture of defenders around the league, but I can’t help but wonder how that overall picture will change as more data filters in. 
 
On a bit of a side note, I always smile when I see the baseball media investigating advanced statistics. The fact that the Marlins broadcast team (and there are others: I recall hearing a long discussion about UZR on a Braves broadcast last year) are interested in metrics that may be used to better understand the game of baseball, rather than towing the line for specious statistics like fielding percentage, is an encouraging sight indeed. And, hopefully, a sign of things to come.

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Ricky Nolasco

just threw a  breaking ball to a .071 hitter on a 2 strike count…

FASTBALLS PLEASE.

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Mike Napoli Out of the Lineup Again

After hitting home run number 5 yesterday. His slugging percentage is now .844… Yorvit Torrealba’s OPS is .668. That is all.

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A Message to Managers: Find Mike Napoli Playing Time

Last night, with a man on second, Mike Napoli tucked a ball over the right field wall for his fourth homerun of the season. Napoli’s long ball was accompanied by two walks, giving him a line of 310/474/793 in 38 plate appearances this season. 
 
I’ll just let those numbers sink in… 
 
Now, it goes without saying that Mike Napoli (or for that matter, Albert Pujols) probably won’t have an OPS approaching 1300 at the end of the season, and I am certainly not going to attempt to argue otherwise. But I would like to pose a question: Why is a capable offensive player who is off to a blistering hot start not in the Rangers starting lineup on a daily basis? 
 
The answer, as far as I can tell, is the same as its been throughout Mike Napoli’s career: 
 
Who knows? 
 
That isn’t a rhetorical question. If any of you have an idea as to why this guy is so under used, I would be open to hearing it.

Before anybody jumps the gun, I know his defense behind the plate isn’t great. But is bad defense a valid reason for losing playing time to the swiss cheese bats of guys like Jeff Mathis (in Anaheim) and Yorvit Torrealba? 
 
Well if Wins Above Replacement (a metric that incorporates offensive and defensive play into a number which tells us how many wins a player gives his team over a minor league replacement) has anything to say about it, the answer is a resounding no. 
 
Jeff Mathis  career WAR: -0.8 (344 games) 
 
Yorvit Torrealba career WAR: 8.6 (684 games) 
 
Mike Napoli Career WAR: 12.8 (516 games) 
 
It’s no secret that defensive metrics for catchers leave something to be desired, which skews these numbers somewhat to the better offensive player. Even So, lets take a look at what we’ve got. 
 
Jeff Mathis, even with his smaller number of games played, can immediately be eliminated from contention. Right now, Mr. Mathis has negative total WAR for his career. Even with some omitted defense, that’s just awful. The fact that Mike Scioscia took at bats away from Napoli in favor of this guy is something I’d rather not think about.
 
This year, Yorvit Torrealba is the guy Napoli contends with. Over his career, Torrealba has logged 8.6 total wins, which I suppose is okay for your defensive catcher, but here’s the kicker: Napoli has accumulated 4.2 more wins while playing in 168 less games. 
 
As I mentioned earlier, without more accurate defensive numbers, these statistics are going to be a bit lacking. And perhaps if the numbers were a bit closer, I would be more inclined to reserve judgment. But they aren’t, and unless Napoli is missing a few fingers, I really don’t see what the issue is. 
 
This year, Napoli has seen some time at first base and DH, as well as catcher. But with promising prospect Mitch Moreland on the squad, I really don’t see Napoli getting too many chances at first, and the sensitivity of the Michael Young situation suggests to me that he might not play too much as a DH, either. As it stands, it seems the best chance Napoli has to play some games is to be inserted into the everyday catcher’s role. Who knows, maybe this is the year when Napoli’s offense turns enough heads to get the job done. As I write this, however, I see that the dreaded ‘X’ once again has found a home next to Mike Napoli’s name on my Yahoo roster…  
 
What a shame.

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Wavier Wire Pickups: 4/22/11

One of the reasons I started this blog (other than to see my words in print) was to help YOU with your fantasy baseball team. That’s right, I watched you draft, and you way overpaid for Ichiro, among others. Now you are in a hole you aren’t sure you can climb out of, and we aren’t even out of April yet! What ever can you do! 
 

 Relax. 
 

Whenever I see promising players with a low ownership percentage on the major fantasy baseball sites, I will post them here, and if you like what I bring to the table, tell me about it. If you don’t, let me know about that too.

We are gonna get right in the box and swing away as today I bring you a player on each side of the ball: 
 

Danny Espinosa (WAS) 
 
Yahoo Ownership: 20% 
 
ESPN Ownership: 27% 
 
CBS Ownership: 56% 
 

Espinosa has gotten off to a good start in 2011, sporting a line of: 273/368/509 over his first 55 ABs. After seeing the majors for the first time in 2010, Espinosa is now an everyday second basemen, and he’s ready to produce for the Nationals, and your fantasy team. What we have here is an on base percentage guy ( I know, I know, you play in a batting average league… his OBP still matters) with some pop (233 Isolated power score so far in 2011) who may even steal you 10-15 bases as an added bonus. Now, it is very early in the season, and rookies and sample size and etcetera etcetera… but consider that his early 2011 line is prety close to his career minor league numbers, and even if the power numbers come down a bit, as his minor league numbers suggest they should, you would still be getting a .470 slugger with all the other aforementioned skills. This guy is an absolute steal  if you can get him, and given that he is still available in 80% of Yahoo and 70% of ESPN leagues, id say there’s a good chance you can…. So go get him. 
 

Josh Tomlin (CLE) 
 
Yahoo ownership: 21% 
 
ESPN ownership:25% 
 
CBS Ownership: 42% 
 

Tomlin posted  a 7.81 K/9 to go a long with a 1.94 BB/9 in the minors, and complimented those numbers with a 3.20 ERA. This is a control pitcher with swing and miss stuff who gets to call a pitcher’s park his home…. pretty sweet huh? He had some trouble with the free pass in his first two stars in 2011, walking 6 in his first 14 innings, but has settled in, striking out 8 and walking only 1 in his last 12 innings pitched. Unfortunately for us, Tomlin pitched very well his last time out, so the scavengers may be flocking to the wire as we speak. Do yourself a favor and grab him while you can. 

* Man… the CBS crowd seems to be ahead of the curve on these two, i’ll keep my eyes peeled for the next batch before those guys get their hooks in.

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Oh, Hello

Welcome to my word space. This will primarily be a fantasy baseball blog, peppered with some random baseball musings. Sometimes, I will watch the games and comment on what I see. Doesn’t that sound exciting? No? Well, let me get a few posts under my belt. You will like me, I promise.

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