Melky, Bête Noire

I have realized that Melky Cabrera has, in one short season, reached a standard previously only reached by Dan Kolb and Jeff Francoeur. He has moved beyond Whipping Boy status to become the official Braves Journal Bête Noire. This means that insults and jokes about this player may pop up in any circumstance, no matter whether it is relevant. Sarcastic poll answers are another symptom. Eventually, people start asking why the blog is all about the player and can you just shut up about him already. I’m kind of looking forward to that.

412 thoughts on “Melky, Bête Noire”


    No. He was the worst player in baseball this year, per fWAR (Fangraphs WAR)

  2. Another thing is to call them by diminutives, like “Jeffy” and “Danny”, to make them figuratively infantile, but that doesn’t work with Melky because (a) his name is already a diminutive and (b) he keeps getting larger, not smaller.

  3. unlike most of my predictions, this one actually came true. way before the season started i said that melky will reach francoeurian hate. he fooled us with a relatively hot mid-year, but since has strutted his obesity all over the diamond with complete disregard of resembling a baseball player. melky, cute shenanigans don’t make up for being shitty.

    melky, you suck, and for that i look forward to a 2011 without your chubby hiney.

  4. Just as a reminder that early projections for Melky were mixed:

    Melky Cabrera, Atlanta

    On FanGraphs, the brilliant Dave Cameron considered Cabrera to be one of his “guys” for the 2010 season, essentially guys that he believes are going to surprise people with their performance next season. I’m guessing that Dave took a hard look at Melky’s CHONE projections before giving him that label.

    Cabrera has been around for what feels like forever, but he doesn’t turn 26 until August, and he’s posted two seasons with over 520 PA in which he’s been a slightly above average hitter. His career wRC+ of 91 isn’t exactly impressive, but CHONE believes that 2010 will finally be Melky’s breakout year.

    CHONE believes that Melky’s uptick in power last season was no fluke, while projecting some regression in his low BABIP and improvement in his strikeout and walk rates. Put it all together, and CHONE projects Cabrera for a .296/.367/.441 line, good for a 120 wRC+, a solid 13.5 runs above average over 150 games.

    If Cabrera can maintain his solid defense and come through with the improvement that CHONE projects, he could very well be a 3.0-3.5 WAR player next season. The fans, on the other hand, are very pessimistic on Cabrera (bitter Yankee fans..?), projecting a 95 wRC+, while Bill James has Cabrera with a 101 wRC+ for next season.

    Bill James projection: .278/.341/.406, .330 wOBA, 101 wRC+

    CHONE projection: .296/.367/.441, .358 wOBA, 120 wRC+

    Fan projection: .275/.331/.398, .322 wOBA, 95 wRC+

    His actual line: .255/.317/.354, .312 wOBA, 83 wRC+. Yuck.

  5. Just had a funny realization. Smitty mentioned in the last thread about getting the email I’m sure we all got that was ‘from’ Chipper.
    I forwarded it to one of my friends and said ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to get an email from Chipper.’ Then it dawned on me, that Chipper has been my favorite player since before I even had email, so literally the whole time that I have had email, I have been ‘waiting’ to get an email from Chipper. I can barely even remember what the world was like before email. In fact my first ever email was braves10fan at juno dot com. I feel old.

  6. “CHONE believes that Melky’s uptick in power last season was no fluke”

    I have no respect for CHONE

  7. Melky has defied aging curves more resolutely than just about anyone in recent memory. It’s incredibly hard to find an outfielder who was more or less league average as a 21 year old who simply got worse every year until he was 25.

    It’s interesting that Bobby announced our rotation would be Lowe, Hanson, Hudson. That seems a bit like we’re backloading our rotation: Lowe/Halladay will be awfully hard to win, but Hanson/Oswalt is a fairer fight, and Hamels/Hudson is too.

  8. Lowe/Halladay will be awfully hard to win

    You mean Pitcher of the Month Derek Lowe? Surely you jest.

  9. I should have actually said something about the pitchers from the team we’re actually playing, namely: Lowe/Lincecum, Hanson/Cain, Hudson/Sanchez. Point still stands: I think we’ve backloaded the rotation, and that’s fine with me. Over the course of the season, Hudson was our best starter, Hanson second-best, and Lowe the distinct also-ran. But considering the Giants’ incredible rotation, I don’t mind trying to get a matchup advantage on their #2 and #3 starters.

  10. #6–You were right about Melky; I am forced to admit that I was wrong, when I thought he might be a decent player for us. That said, he is going to be great to lampoon….

  11. I just can’t bring myself to hate Melky more than Alex Gonzalez. I would rather Melky play SS than Gonzales earn another dime from this team.

    In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever hated anyone as much as I hate Alex Gonzalez, which is kind of frightening. I just find his acting supremely pissed off and throwing his gear whenever he hits into a GIDP to be infinitely more grating that Melky’s waddling around in the OF. Alex acts like he should be doing better than he is, when everyone in the world expects nothing less than two outs on one pitch in a crucial situation.

  12. UZR
    Melky -15.9
    Nate -13.4
    Ankiel -0.9

    Melky -1.2
    Nate -1.2
    Ankiel 0.7

    Melky -$4.9
    Nate -$4.7
    Ankiel $2.8

  13. The top GB/FB pitchers in MLB this season, I hope our infield defense improves-

    Tim Hudson 1.87 GB/FB
    Justin Masterson 1.54
    Aaron Cook 1.48
    Derek Lowe 1.43
    Jake Westbrook 1.40

  14. @23, line of the month!

    When ever I hear Brian Wilson is coming in the game, I start humming “Good Vibrations”

  15. Don’t forget, Melky was a Yankee. I am sure no one will say anything about that this post season.

    It’s Melk-tober!

  16. Don’t forget, Melky was a Yankee. I am sure no one will say anything about that this post season.

    It’s Melk-tober!

    Hopefully Melk-tober will roll into Gonzo-vember

  17. If Wilson were a Yankee, he’d have hosted Saturday Night Live by now.

    I think it’s very possible that he’s a douche. But if you gathered a collection of everything he says and published it as a book, you might have a big seller on your hands.

  18. Melky’s high five can almost justify carrying him on the roster.

    Also, I dig Brian Wilson. He seems like a good stabilizing guy in the clubhouse.

  19. Melky hasn’t crossed the Lockhart Line. You can’t do that just with poor play. But crossing the Lockhart Line only means that at that point I see no reason to treat you fairly. Nothing I’ve said about Melky has been untrue. He is fat, and he does suck.

  20. There’s no way Melky is as bad as his stats or my eyes say he is. The Braves are not the type of organization to keep running out an awful player like that. Wait…

  21. ERA/FIP/xFIP, 2010

    Derek Lowe: 4.00/3.89/3.65
    Javier Vazquez: 5.32/5.56/4.90

    Give credit where it’s due to the Braves’ front office.

  22. As Branch Rickey once said, it’s better to trade a guy a year too early than a year too late. I didn’t mind trading Vazquez at the peak of his value. But we’ve seen what Melky is, and so the whole value of that trade is tied up in how well Arodys recovers from his injury.

  23. I know this is a playoff race and all, but I just realized Saito will be considered a Type A FA. Do people foresee the Braves offering him arbitration? Any chance we get a sandwich pick out of Saito? No such luck w/ Wagner as he’s done.

  24. Ya know, when things have gotten difficult this week, I just remember the look on Urban Meyer’s face Saturday night …

  25. It wouldn’t be surprising if Dunn, like Remlinger, wound up the only player from a trade to be with his new team for more than a season or so.

  26. @44, we don’t even know for sure that he’ll be a free agent. Most people assume he will, since it’s known that his Boston contract had a clause granting him free agency if the option wasn’t picked up, and there were multiple suitors for him this past offseason. However, for all we know, he could just go into arbitration like any other player with under six years of service time.

  27. ‘But we’ve seen what Melky is, and so the whole value of that trade is tied up in how well Arodys recovers from his injury.’

    Lets not forget the real value of the trade was that it freed up the money to acquire Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske, both of whom have contributed a lot to this year’s play off team.

  28. I feel embarrassed for Jim Rome desperately trying to keep up and seem hip in that interview. As my buddy puts it, Jim Rome is a giant douche and Brian Wilson is a douchey Giant.

  29. I don’t think Brian Wilson exists any longer. I think that beard has either killed or locked away the real Brian Wilson, and is now acting as his brain. If he shaved the beard, the real Wilson might come back and he might not.

    Seriously, I saw an interview with him pre-beard. He seemed a little quirky, but relatively normal. It’s pretty clear he pretty much decided to start playing that character every day, essentially.

  30. I just noticed that the top eight pythagorean records in baseball made the playoffs. I wonder if that’s happened in any of the Wild Card years until now.

  31. Here are my barbers picks:

    Cincy over Philly 3-2 (He thinks the Reds pitchers can hold off Ibanez, Howard and Utley-Dutley)

    Bravos over Giants 3-1

    Rays over Rangers 3-2

    Yanks over Twins 3-2

    Bravos over Reds 4-2
    Rays over Yanks 4-3

    Los Bravos over Los Rays 4-1

  32. Brian Wilson is a helluva closer, but he’s also just another boring, self-absorbed athlete, screaming for attention—Jim McMahon Pt. 37. Not in the slightest bit interesting.

  33. Rays over Rangers
    Twins over Yanks
    Phils over Reds
    Braves over SF

    Twins over Rays
    Phils over Braves

    Phils – World Series Champs

  34. I’m going to flip a coin seven times. Home team = Heads.

    Braves over Giants
    Phils over Reds
    Yankees over Twins
    Rays over Rangers

    Braves over Phils
    Yankees over Rays

    Braves over Yankees

    lol — I’m not kidding, either. I chose the game order, then did the flips … THTHTTH. Braves needed T___T_H to win the WS, and they got it.

  35. Braves in five
    Phils in three
    Rays in four
    Yanks in four

    Phils in five
    Yanks in seven

    Phils in six

    The Braves chances vs the Phils are zero. We need the Reds to do the job for us, which might happen, but is not very likely. Vs. the Giants, it’s really a coinflip. Whoever will suck the least with the stick is going to win.

  36. Brian Wilson seems likes one of the least boring athletes ever. I think the “different = self absorbed attention seeker” attitude is what got Escobar run out of town for Gonzsuck.

  37. #67
    One has nothing to do with the other.

    Escobar was a talented guy who did idiotic things on the field, then refused to face up to them. Wilson is a guy who starts every sentence with “I” and ends ’em with “me.”

  38. #69

    Not that I disagree with you, but I think the true test of whether an athlete is self-absorbed is his referring to himself in the third-person.

  39. Until the last month, Prado was the clear MVP. Then he got hurt, played through it, stopped hitting, and eventually went out for the year. I voted for Heyward.

    Of course, the real answer is probably McCann, but he’s our Jordan — he deserves it every year, so I’ll just vote for someone else.

  40. #70 – At least we’ve settled that 8% of your readership are actually fans of the opposition.

    I voted for Prado basically because I don’t believe that I guy who only plays in 20% of the games can be an MVP. Maybe Felix Hernandez with the Mariners in an extreme case.

  41. I voted for Hudson. Not only was he one of the best three pitchers in the league throughout the vast majority of the season, but whenever we absolutely needed a win, he got it. His starts against Florida and Philadelphia in the last week were huge.

    Also, all of the field players who would qualify suffered prolonged slumps at one point or another, and the three of them really did very little to push us over the top in the last couple of weeks.

  42. 75—You’re calling Hudson clutch and faulting the position players for slumps — I guess you’re just ignoring Hudson’s 5.32 ERA in September and October?

    I agree with Robert that, other than extreme circumstances, which we don’t have here, pitchers just can’t be as valuable as everyday players.

  43. What about these lineups:

    Vs Righties:

    Vs. Lefties

  44. What else is there to say?

    Well you could say his defense sucks but yeah that’s a pretty strong argument.

    #78 – Way too much Ankiel for my tastes.

  45. #78 – they are awful, man I miss Chipper and Prado

    vs RH, Id put Hinske out there. If not him, then Nate over Melky

  46. @79
    Still my MVP!
    Here’s Brian Mccann with three sad puppies:

    Kinda gets you down deep, don’t it?

  47. @82… the unspoken nightmare scenario being the Braves losing to Texas in the WS… and seeing Frenchy, Neftali, & Elvis celebrating.

  48. For what it’s worth, Szymborski is projecting Atlanta into the LCS via Diamond Mind and ZIPS.

  49. @79 and @80. Someone has to cover centerfield at AT & T Park. Ankiel is the best we have…right?

  50. Tony – dont get me wrong, Id much rather have Ankiel playing over Melky. Id rather anyone be playing over that guy.

    I dont think you start Melky vs RH or LH pitching

  51. i was looking back through trades from july-september and, other than derek lee, i cant find any that worked for the betterment of any team.

    big names have been big flops:
    ludwick, cody ross, manny, ankiel, guillen, berkman, kearns, cantu, tejada, aag, podsednik, and yunel.

    is this mind-boggling to anyone else?

  52. Smitty’s barber has spoken! Let it be so.

    Also, The Beach Boys died when Carl Wilson did. Brian is a schizo reliever, Mike Love is a jerk that’s hooked on Rogaine, and Al Jardine is well just Al Jardine (least and last).

  53. It probably bears mentioning that in 2010 Rick Ankiel is posting a cool 256/.339/.462 against RHP. Now, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are not your typical RH starters but an 801 OPS from a defensive minded CF isn’t something to sneeze at.

  54. Francoeur RBI double….

    I really, really do not want to see the Rangers win the World Series.

  55. Pena had a pitch called a foul tip because the ump said it hit his bat even though he wasn’t swinging. In fairness, they ran the replay with sound, and I think it did glance off his bat. It certainly glanced off something, and Pena wasn’t acting like it was his hand.

  56. Maddon came out to argue what looked like a phantom foul call. Pena bailed out on a pitch up and in and the umpire called it a foul since it supposedly hit something. There was a sound like it nicked maybe the end of the bat but the ball never changed direction at all.

    Also, why would you throw Frenchy anything but junk really. I guess he hasn’t been in the AL long enough yet.

  57. Rays might want to explore the option of having Price not throwing fastballs straight down the middle.

  58. Based on the pitching matchups, the Rays are probably in pretty serious trouble if they lose here. They have James Shields going tomorrow instead of Matt Garza, for some reason.

  59. Question for the panel:

    If one had to be on the roster, who helps the braves more, Melky or Jeff?

  60. Don’t think they name MVPs for the first round. Didn’t used to, anyway.

    For David Price’s sake, that’s probably just as well.

    Nick, I think the Rays have to feel okay about this — the Rangers only have one Cliff Lee.

  61. @122,

    But that Cliff Lee is going to pitch twice. I think the Rangers can muster a win in one of the other three games.

  62. “If one had to be on the roster, who helps the braves more, Melky or Jeff?”

    The better question would be: who hurts the Braves more, Melky or Jeffy?

  63. The better question would be: who hurts the Braves more, Melky or Jeffy?

    Francoeur. Because Cox would keep playing him no matter what.

  64. But at least you can understand why he kept playing Jeffy, because Jeffy at least looks like a ballplayer, not like someone who took a job at Burger King in order to get half-price meals.

  65. if francoeur plays well in the playoffs, he’s going to convince another team to spend money on him. he wont get offered arbitration, but he might make 2-3 million. the rangers might be his next victim.

  66. All things being equal, I think Francoeur would actually be more useful to the Braves. This is of course conditional that he’d be used correctly, which was always the problem (and it’s such an odd problem). Francoeur has had some success hitting lefties, and he is an ok defensive player. To be sure, I don’t think there’s anything Francoeur can do that Diaz can’t–except throw–but he’s more useful than Melky, who can neither hit nor field at a major league level (anymore).

    Now, watch how Texas utilizes Francoeur this week. I’m guessing he won’t play everyday.

  67. Was listening to the Rays game when they announced the radio pairings. “…and for the Braves and Giants it will be Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe”

    In other words “Braves fans if you thinking you survived some shitty broadcasting this season, well, get ready for the lightening round.”

  68. How in the world did McCann not even make it to the run-off? People here realize that he’s the team’s most valuable player, right? Right?

  69. “The better question would be: who hurts the Braves more, Melky or Jeffy?”

    Jeff 2010 – 503AB – .249/.300/.383 0.5WAR 2.8UZR

    Melky 2010 – 509 AB – .255/.317/.354 -1.2WAR -15.9UZR

    Jeff has value in the field and he could actually be a very good platoon player, Melky has no value unless you’ve entered an eating contest

  70. Mays-Mantle syndrome. People don’t want to vote for the same guy every year, so if he doesn’t perform better than his usual excellent standards will find an excuse to vote for somebody else. I don’t vote in the polls normally, but I would have been torn between Heyward and McCann.

  71. Yeah, the funny thing is that the run-off doesn’t even include Heyward, the team’s second-most-valuable player.

    136—Thankfully, we shouldn’t have to worry about that one in a Giants-Braves series.

  72. 135–What is the origin of that expression? I can generally deduce, but I’m curious about the specifics.

    Also, value is such a contested thing for pitchers. Some people take FIP into greater consideration, but Hudson’s FIP was rather pedestrian. Hanson is statistically sexier, and truth be told I’d probably vote for him over Hudson. And he wasn’t even on the original list, I don’t think.

  73. Jeff Francouer is starting for my favorite American League team. Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Jeffy.

  74. Mantle was the best player in the AL just about every year in the fifties, Mays the best in the NL in that same period and into the sixties. But they didn’t win the MVP that often — Mickey three times, Willie twice. Others it’s true for include Stan Musial and Mike Schmidt.

  75. I can’t wait for, “Here is the Braves’ young right fielder, Jason “Witchy Woman” Heyward.

  76. I’d probably vote for Hanson over Hudson, too. Arguably, none of the three most valuable Braves made the run-off for Team MVP.

  77. 145—Yeah, I’m just not sure. Results definitely matter, but it’s hard for me to compare Hudson’s components to Hanson’s and not believe Hudson was the beneficiary of a good bit more luck.

    If it makes you feel any better, I know I prefer FIP to xFIP.

  78. Just so you know, you can go to Publix and get some generic brands of antibiotics for free. I just found that out and thought I would pass it along to you guys.

  79. Yeah, I’m not sure that FIP, like most metrics, does a very good job with extremes (like Hudson). It’s an interesting data point.

    Then of course you have Hanson’s troubles controlling the running game which will lead to him underperforming most metrics.

  80. Both valid points. Hudson, as has been noted here, clearly tries to do exactly what he does. And it obviously works. At least when Brooks Conrad isn’t at third.

    Smitty has The Clap.

  81. Nice discussions regarding fWAR and bWAR over at fangraphs and the book blog. It is nice to see a little more humility on the thought process. They are great tools, but they don’t end any discussion.

    Hanson Vs. Hudson. Love them both. I am really surprised that Hudson came back so strong from injury. And, i think, the innings difference is significant in Hudson’s favor.

  82. I’ve been trying for the last half-hour and cannot understand why someone would think Hanson was more valuable than Hudson. Apparently we’re just going to pretend Hudson’s borderline Cy Young year up until September didn’t matter because predictive statistics say he shouldn’t have done as well as he clearly did. Even with September, he was one of the five best pitchers in the league.

    Also, Hanson really didn’t pitch that well during the first half. He spent the first two months trying to figure his release out with Roger McDowell.

  83. Whatever. I think it’s pretty clear that Hudson was the better pitcher, and most of the stats based on stuff that actually happened agree.

  84. I’ve been trying for the last half-hour and cannot understand why someone would think that ERA is a better stat than FIP when it comes to evaluating pitcher performance. Apparently we’re just going to pretend Hudson was one of the five best pitchers in the league based on wins and ERA.

    Also, Hanson’s superior k/9, bb/9, and HR/9 really are the result of stuff that “actually” happened.

  85. Whatever. Hudson has a soul patch and deserves the MVP for that alone.

    No seriously. It’s awesome.

  86. Halladay has a no-hitter through five. Good thing Dusty Baker took the pedal off the gas and earned a trip to Philadelphia.

  87. Let’s see… Hudson threw more innings and allowed fewer runs. That’s kind of important, no matter “why” he did or that he “shouldn’t”.

  88. Yep, Robert said that at 145, and we’ve pretty much been discussing it ever since.

    And, on that note, I’m off to celebrate a 2-year-old’s birthday and eat chili.

  89. I think the Braves got Melky just to prove to everyone that it would have been impossible to improve on Francouer.

  90. Good thing Dusty Baker took the pedal off the gas and earned a trip to Philadelphia.

    You’re not feeling the ‘We likely have to go through Philly anyway, we have a better chance to jump them in the shorter series’ argument?

    Edit: What’s a Logan Ondrusek? Sounds like MLB Random Middle Reliever Name Generator is on the fritz again.

  91. If we’re talking about the day-on/day-off schedule the Phils got to pick, no. For this series, they only have to start the Big 3.

    I’d rather play a series where we get Kyle Kendrick at least once.

  92. OK, let me rephrase. If you’re going to pretend that pitchers don’t pitch to contact, and therefore hold Tim Hudson’s pitching style against him, regardless of how effective it is, I can see how you’d think Hanson was more valuable than Hudson this year. Those of us living in the real world will take Hudson. That better? And yes, ERA is a more useful stat than FIP.

  93. TBS crew: “No-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter….”

  94. Sure must be nice to be able to purchase perennial Cy Young award winners for your pitching staff in the post season.

  95. This is truly ridiculous, by the way. The Reds have absolutely zero chance. If they walk into a hit in the ninth, it’ll be by accident.

  96. Nick,

    The difference isn’t in the “pitch to contact”. It’s the type of contact they induce. Tim’s sinker causes a lot of groundballs. That is his meal ticket.

    Tommy GB/FB .71 GIDP 12

    Tim GB/FB 1.81 GIDP 34

  97. Yeah, that was kind of my point. Hudson’s intentionally inducing ground balls should not be held against him.

  98. Nick,

    I agree. It may not be completely sustainable or it may not be all his doing. But until we know how to differentiate the fielder / pitcher responsability, it’s silly to say that pitcher influence on balls in play does not exist.

  99. I think today is proof that you can only jinx a no-hitter if you are actually rooting for the guy to throw it.

  100. @186

    So you say that Hudson’s pitching style should not be held against him, but then proclaim ERA more useful than FIP?

  101. Wow, if someone would have told me there would be a team no-hit in the NL playoffs,I would have bet money it would have been us.

  102. That may have been the most dominant pitching performance I’ve ever seen, and I’m including Randy Johnson’s perfect game in that equation.

  103. Good to see Halladay is still in mid-season form…wait, is he the first person to throw a no-hitter in regular season and playoff in the same year?

  104. The Yankees traded Melky because there was only room in the clubhouse for one morbidly obese player (I mean that literally) and CC was it.

    KC, he’s the only one to throw one in the regular season and one in postseason, period.

  105. I want to root for the Twins out of sheer Yankee hatered, but dirty stinkin’ cheatin’ Kent Hrbek did pull Gant off the bag. I am torn.

  106. More Halladay Fun Facts.

    He’s now 1 of 26 pitchers to have thrown multiple no-hitters.

    He’s now 1 of 6 pitchers who have thrown multiple no-hitters, including a perfect game (Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Addie Joss & Randy Johnson).

    He’s now 1 of 5 pitchers who have thrown 2 no-hitters in the same season (Allie Reynolds, Johnny Vander Meer, Nolan Ryan & Virgil Trucks).

  107. 179—LOL. I see that you still haven’t looked or learned. Stay strong!

    Glad I opted for the party over the rest of that Phillies game. Ugh.

  108. @216 – you’re not the only one (as seen in Joe Posnanski’s recent poll) – but I am not one who agrees with you…

  109. Hudson had an amazing year, inarguably one of the best of his career, and he’s inarguably been one of the best pitchers of the past decade.

    But… he’s been “pitching to contact” his entire career, and his ERA from 2005-2009, his first five seasons with the Braves, was 3.77, nearly a full run higher than his 2.83 ERA this year. I’m really, really happy that he was good this year. But if it was up to him, he’d be this good every year. And he isn’t. Give him credit for being an awesome pitcher who had an awesome year — which is what they give the awards for, anyway. But having a better result doesn’t necessarily mean that you had a better performance. Every good poker player has a bad beat, and every Tommy Hanson start of the past three months had about three of them.

    Now that I got that comment out of the way… wow. Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball.

  110. Craig Sager is hilarious. A world without his ridiculous sport jackets is a world I don’t want to live in.

  111. I actually think EJ is having as bad an inning as Liriano. Ok, not as bad, but still… not good. He had no idea that that Granderson ball was hit deep. Or how many men were on base.

    To be clear, though, I do like EJ a lot. I could live without Darling, but this is probably the best crew working the playoffs right now.

  112. Met a guy says he knows Craig Kimbrel. (Possible, he’s from Huntsville.) I say, “Tell him he needs to work on his control. Well, he probably already knows that.” “Hey, man, he’s 22.”

  113. I swear I’m a good luck charm for the Yankee. I had just finished watching Pietro Germi’s seduced and abandoned, turned the game on and Mark Teixeira is digging in. Darling says that Liriano had just retired 10 straight….we all know what happened next. I feel like the Yankees only lose postseason games that I’m not watching.

  114. Alex, that is fair.

    The .250 BABIP is clearly insustainable. But that GB rate is in elite class.

    They were both great. In my opinion Hudson was better.

  115. I heard someone on WFAN, probably Carton talking about the postseason on TBS and specifically mentioning how terrible Chip Carray was last year.

  116. @225 Yea I caught that too. He also said it was a tie, then a 2nd later he said the Yankees had the lead. Left me confused. At least he’s not loud.

  117. “The .250 BABIP is clearly insustainable. But that GB rate is in elite class.”

    Indeed. But it’s also notable that his Line Drive Rate is also unsustainably low, which is probably contributing to the low BABIP. I imagine that next year Hudson will perform at roughly the same level yet post an ERA nearer to 3.5-3.7. So it goes.

  118. If the Yankees land Crawford, does Gardner become expendable? I would love for the Braves to acquire a guy like that.

  119. I don’t know, Adam.

    Career 2288 innings
    XFIP 3.80
    FIP 3.82
    ERA 3.42

    When does “luck” leave the discussion? There is something missing in the DIPS model. Call it sequencing, luck, defense, etc… something.

  120. any chance that the Yanks will trade Swisher this offseason? Im sure theyll go after Werth and/or Crawford.

  121. The Yanks have been high on Gardner since they brought him up, they may see him as a Mr Yankee/future leader type of player. I think they’d just move Gardner; since he has a plus arm, to right and rotate swisher between DH, the three outfield spots and first base.

  122. 236–Well, the BABIP is 35 points below his career norm, and the LD Rate is more than 4% lower than the same. So while Hudson generally posts “unusually” low numbers in both categories, these are still on the low end, even for him. The point is that in all likelihood, he’ll probably post something closer to his career norms next year (3.4 or 3.5 ERA… so I overstated the original case). And the chances that he’ll reproduce this year’s ERA seems no more likely than he’ll reproduce his 2006 number.

    241–Too bad. I imagine that Swisher will either get moved or DH. I’d go after him too, incidentally.

  123. 239–I agree that a pitcher like Hudson, whether it’s because of his groundball rates or something else, is likely to “outperform” his FIP, if only because he typically does. All I’m saying is that it’s unlikely that he’ll see THIS kind of success again. I hope he does, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

  124. For me, the real red flag about Hudson’s 2010 is not his abnormally low BABIP and LD%, it’s his declining K/BB. His strikeouts crept up at the end of the year to their more or less usual level, but his walks have been increasing too, and I’d be a lot more willing to believe that he was truly a better pitcher if his components weren’t actually worsening this year. (This was only the second time in his career that Hudson posted a K/BB less than 2.0; the first time was his awful 2006, when he posted a 4.86 ERA and generally looked about as clueless on the mound as Derek Lowe did last year.) When Hudson was at his best in his mid-20s, he struck out more men than he does now, and I have a much easier time believing in his continued success when he’s getting strikeouts to go with the groundballs.

    Also, for what it’s worth, Bill James recently made a comment about how little he trusts sinkerballers who don’t strike guys out. Back in August, apropos of a question about Brandon Webb, he said this:

    “I’ve said it a thousand times, but. . .I don’t believe in ground ball pitchers. I don’t trust them, I don’t want them, and I don’t believe one should ever invest money in them. In theory, a ground ball pitcher with a good strikeout rate is the best of both worlds. But the problem is, there just aren’t any pitchers like that who are consistently good; they all either get hurt or they lose home plate. The only pitcher like that who has had a great career in the last 30 years was Kevin Brown.”

  125. That may be true and it may not, but it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not he’s the team MVP or the team’s best pitcher this year.

  126. @239, at least one thing that DIPS is “missing” is stated in the acronym.

    DIPS, FIP, or whatever isn’t perfect. All that’s ever really claimed is that it’s a better predictor of future ERA than actual ERA. If you want a model, BP’s ninth-order mean regressed SIEAORGUSDIERA will do a better job.

    It’s kind of meaningless when determining an award based on previous results. It’s just a quick and dirty predictor that does a better job than ERA. (Well, FIP is quick and dirty. That old DIPS stuff is kind of complicated.)

  127. Wouldn’t Greg Maddux qualify as a ground ball pitcher with good K rates who had a great career? And was Kevin Brown’s career really great?

  128. Alex,

    It’s been hovering around the current level for 9 of his 12 year career. He is doing just fine.

    I saw that James quote. He has always banged that drum.

    He has made similar comments about “finess” pitchers and discussions concerning Maddux Vs. Clemens.

  129. 246–Sure, but it’s safe to say that groundballers like Hudson and Lowe have had very good careers, right? Perhaps their ceiling isn’t as high, but they can produce at high levels for extended periods of time nevertheless.

    Anyway, the point about k/BB is right on. It’s what has worried me all year. Luckily, the second half splits are much, much better (2.5), and all in all Hudson’s second half numbers seem much more in line with career norms. Hopefully that’s the pitcher we get next year, which would make him a very good one.

  130. #249 Of course. But when fangraphs uses it for valuing past performance and people use it for Cy Young discussions, that is a different matter. It doesn’t tell the whole story.

    Edit: #255- He has used it to describe Tom Glavine.

  131. 248—Sure it does. Did he do the most to help the team win games? You think his inducing at-’em balls better than Hanson did means he did more to help.

  132. Yeah, Maddux was a groundball pitcher. He also struck guys out, but not on the level of a Clemens. It’s probably safe to call his career, um, “great.”

  133. Hudson had a K-rate around 4.5 for much of the year. That worried the hell out of me. That’s why I’m glad he started striking out a lot more people at the end of the year.

    The Kevin Brown comment is sort of a non sequitur to what we’ve been talking about, and detracts from the larger point James is making, which is that sinkerballers who can’t strike anyone out generally don’t stick. Hudson has had a spectacular career. The only question is: is he about to hit a noticeable decline, or is he still the elite pitcher he’s been for the past four years? Based on this year’s ERA, the answer is: “elite.” But the K/BB is more worrisome.

  134. Cross-posted from CAC:


    Back of the envelope slash line for Heyward, minus the thumb-injury June:


    Now, I know we’ve gone over the leaving-out-outlier-stats debate, but I think when we have such a clear causal story as the thumb injury, I think it is fair to leave out that data, given that what I am looking for (right now) is the true talent of a healthy Heyward.

    For comparison:
    Joey Votto: .324/.424/.600
    Albert Pujols: .312/.414/.596

    In short, Heyward’s healthy performance this year would have led the majors in OBP by .016, and combined with his elite defense in RF, made him a legitimate short-list MVP candidate.

    Conclusion: Man, the future looks pretty damn good.

  135. I think the chances that the 6:00 NY/MIN game is over by the scheduled start of the ATL/SF game at 9:30 are slim to none.

  136. @260 AAR, once you see Huddy’s split of K’s between the 1st and 2nd half, you would feel better about Huddy. I shared your very same concern you have during the first half.

    For some reason, Lowe is showing the same trend as well. They both had horrible K rate in April and May. Once June came, the rate started picking up again.

  137. @213

    Fun Fact (for me at least): Virgil Trucks is the Grandfather of my high school calculus teacher.

    Had no idea he threw his no hitters in the same season though.

  138. @268 and 271
    Haven’t you already featured that music video from The Band this year?

    Levon Helm. What a voice!

  139. Hmm..groundball pitchers who don’t strike out many not successful? I thought ANY pitcher who didn’t strike out folks wasn’t successful.

  140. 262 – the future does look very bright for Heyward.

    On May 11, he had his best overall slash line .301/.431/.613 line. I dont see that slash line that was posted anywhere, but that doesnt matter. I dont recall the actual game where he hurt his thumb. It must have been around the end of May becuase thats when his #’s started dropping.

    Its easy to say that this team doesnt make the playoffs without Heyward and kudo’s to Wren/Bobby for making sure he was apart of our opening day roster

    However, I dont think he’s quite to the Votto/Pujols level just yet. Only reason – he’s 21

  141. per DOB –

    #GIants left off their roster Zito, who’s 3-1 w/ 2.45 ERA in 5 starts vs. #Braves. Meanwhile, J. Sanchez is 1-3 w/ 6.00 ERA vs. Atl

  142. i found this interesting (and i’m borrowing the info from a talking chop fanpost):

    the braves franchise W/L: 9945-9954
    if the braves can win 10, or more, games over 500, the franchise will finally have a winning record.

  143. Wouldn’t Greg Maddux qualify as a ground ball pitcher with good K rates who had a great career?

    That would be an understatement, on both cases. Maddux was a ground ball machine who was consistently near or on top of the league lead in strikeouts year over year.

    And was Kevin Brown’s career really great?

    Kevin Brown is a borderline HOF calibre pitcher. He has as good a case as Mike Mussina or Curt Schilling, IMHO. Far better than Jack Morris. For a few years he was the only guy in the league who could push Maddux and Glavine for “best pitcher in the NL” honors.

  144. Well, James is right about finesse pitchers — pitchers who have low strikeout rates (lower than 4.5 per nine) don’t last.

    I think you misconstrue categories here. You can be a finesse pitcher and still strike people out. See Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, for example. Neither one of those guys were power pitchers; they were both prototypical “finesse” guys. But they struck out batters and induced ground balls like clockwork. Roy Halladay falls into that same sort of mold. He’s not going out there and throwing 98 MPH and just blowing it past batters (aka Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Strasburg, etc.) He’s locating league average fastballs with precision, throwing off-speed pitches perfectly and keeping hitters compeltely off balance at the plate. He’s basically this generation’s Maddux. And like Maddux, he’s a “finesse” pitcher who happens to be the best pitcher in baseball.

    James was wrong here.

  145. I don’t think Kevin Brown is a HOFer. As far as the comparison to Mussina or Schilling, I couldn’t disagree more. Schilling will be in because there was a point where you consider him to be the best pitcher in his league, and leading two teams from two different leagues to World Series titles. Mussina was a favorite among writers, fell just shy of the magic number of 300 wins, and was among the top of the league in the AL (among non-juicing pitchers *cough* Clemens) for several years.

    Kevin Brown had a nice career, but not HOF. That’s just my two cents.

  146. Oh, I don’t think Kevin Brown will ever get into the Hall, because he’s sort of the Albert Belle of pitchers — he put up awesome stats for too few years during a suspect era, and the writers didn’t like him because he was kind of a jerk. I won’t lose much sleep over his failed candidacy. Ron Santo still deserves it more.

    EDIT: I should qualify “too few years.” Brown technically pitched during 19 seasons, but he only made 25 starts 13 times.

  147. I don’t ever remember Curt Schilling as being the best pitcher in baseball. In Arizona he wasn’t even the best pitcher on his team. In Boston he was probably their ace, but he wasn’t notably better than other top tier pitchers of the era. He just had Boston’s offense behind him.

    Schilling was a great pitcher, and his career combined with the “red sock” lore of getting past the “curse” will get him into Cooperstown. But if you take him, in his prime, and Kevin Brown in his prime (96-2002, minus the injury) I’d take Brown every day. Kevin Brown was awesome, both in Florida and after the injury in LA. All he lacks is the post-season flair and self-promotion of Schilling.

  148. @Sam as far as best pitcher in the league, I definitely see Schilling as having an argument for that in the years prior to, as well as the year of the 2001 World Series. Kevin Brown was good, but the lack of post-season success will definitely hurt, as well as the many down years as his career sputtered out towards the end.

  149. and as a side note: word on MLBTR is that the Braves were pushing for Colby Rasmus. Thoughts and possible trade scenarios?

  150. Kevin Brown = HOF? No way.

    Black Ink – 19, Average HOFer 40
    Gray Ink – 166, Average HOFer 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor – 93, Likely HOFer 100
    Hall of Fame Standards – 41, Average HOFer 50

    Some very intersting HoF decisions are coming up the next couple of years. I have no idea what they will do with Bonds and Clemens. It’ll also be intersting to see if Maddux gets 100% of the votes. Some jerk will not vote for him, I bet.

  151. dont stop there sdp…
    melky, ankiel, mclouth, farnsworth and kawakami for rasmus and poolholes.

  152. Has the lineup been announced yet? I’m kinda looking through my fingers fearing a McLouth / Ankeil combo or Melky’s name anywhere.

    Btw, is that short for “Melchior”?

  153. Bonds has already been blacklisted. His exclusion from the HOF will be the death knell of Cooperstown. Any HOF that doesn’t have Barry Bonds in it isn’t worth pissing on. Best player of our lifetimes by far. Clemens will get more support, but may also be blacklisted stupidly.

    Maddux will not get 100%, even though his case for first ballot induction is unassailable (like Bonds and Clemens.)

  154. Baseball Reference, which tends to know everything, lists Melky as simply “Melky.” That suggests to me that his name is not shortened from Melchior, or that if it is no one outside of his family in the D.R. knows it.

  155. Barry Bonds is a HOFer. I don’t like that he cheated, but heven before his head blew up and his feet grew two shoe sizes, he was going.

  156. @297,

    Well, he kind of didn’t cheat, it wasn’t against the rules of the gmae at the time.

    However, we have already had that arguement on here like 56 times, so let’s avoid it.

  157. If the Yankee game runs over into the Braves, will they start the game on TNT and then move it to TBS?

    Hudson’s future does worry me. He had a great (if, perhaps, somewhat fluky) year. He has had a very solid career, but, as we have seen, if those ground balls start going through, we have a problem here. Hopefully, Hanson will be ready to be the ace by next year.

    Unfortunately, competing with the Phillies will be difficult for the next few years, barring injuries. Halladay was as good yesterday as any pitcher I’ve ever seen; it was pretty obvious he was going to pitch a no-hitter from the fourth or fifth inning.

    Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer. I don’t like the SOB at all (for things besides the steroids), but he was a Hall of Famer regardless of what he took and, really, who knows how much the steroids helped? It’s absurd if Bonds and A-Rod don’t get in; if that happens, as Sam noted, the HOF is a waste of time. I mean, even if they did cheat, it’s not as if the steroids made them hit the ball.

  158. @297

    1. I have never seen any evidence that Barry Bonds broke the rules of MLB or the law.

    2. I don’t give a crap what professional athletes do as part of their training regimen.

    Barry Bonds was, by FAR, the best baseball player anyone from my generation or later has ever seen. He was as far above Albert Pujols as Pujols is removed from Ryan Howard. His separation from his contemporaries is Ruthian.

    Did he use PEDs? Probably. I don’t care. Mark McGwire used PEDs his entire career and Bonds was still miles better than him. PEDs have been confirmed in starting pitchers, relief pitchers, beloved Cardinal first basemen, Ranger DHs, and 25th-men reserve infielders for the Red Sox “curse breaking” squad. None of those players compare remotely to Barry Bonds. Because PEDs don’t really help you play baseball better. (They help you recover from workout/injury faster.)

    Barry Bonds is the best player anyone but the eldest amoung us have ever seen. He’s better than Aaron. Maybe – maybe – Mays in his prime.

    A HOF without Barry Lamar is not a HOF worth pissing on.

  159. @Another Alex R,

    I doubt it. They haven’t forgotten about Pete Rose, and it’s been a long time since he gambled on baseball. If the writers don’t vote in Bonds or Clemens (which they most probably will not), I don’t think they’re gonna have any hope from the Veteran’s Committee. If they’re gonna put someone in, they worry not only about statistics, but the person as an ambassador of the game, etc.

    Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro – no Hall of Fame. Count on it.

  160. Hudson’s future does worry me. He had a great (if, perhaps, somewhat fluky) year. He has had a very solid career, but, as we have seen, if those ground balls start going through, we have a problem here. Hopefully, Hanson will be ready to be the ace by next year.

    Shouldn’t we take into consideration that Hudson’s performance collapsed about the same time that the entire infield exploded, starters started playing out of position and backups started playing as starters? Hudson’s late season woes coincide preneatly with Chipper’s injury, Prado moving out of position to cover 3B, and then Conrad moving into the starting lineup. I would suggest that a better means to “improving” Tim Hudson would be to start a better defensive infield. That’s really hard to do this post-season. (The single greatest reason I have no faith in Atlanta to advance in the playoffs is because their defense is f*cking atrocious.) But it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to address this winter.

    Get Chipper back to 3B if possible. He’s never been a gold glover (except that one year where David Wright won it instead) but he’s dependable and makes the plays he should make, if not the spectacular ones. Rely on Gonzalez to be a steady defender at SS and move Prado back to 2B where he was more comfortable. (Work Infante in as a 2B when Prado spells Freeman against tough LHP, and as part of the OF mix.) As long as Hudson and Lowe continue to induce ground balls, you have to focus on defense on the infield.

  161. @Sam Hutcheson,

    He definitely broke the law. And Bud Selig’s turning a blind eye to PEDs doesn’t mean that that makes it “okay.” There are plenty of moral gray areas, yet you don’t see people exploiting it at every given second. In fact, in life, people are more likely to call someone immoral, even if they didn’t necessary do something that can be defined concretely as illegal.

    The fact is, the entire Juiced era put a major black eye on the credibility of a sport that backs itself completely on its statistics. Anyone who says it’s just a game isn’t a real baseball fan. The players themselves have voiced their displeasure over the fact that everything they do now is met with skepticism, and a lot of them (to their credit) have stepped up and stated they were fine with more in-depth testing.

    I don’t think Pete Rose should be in the Hall, and I don’t think Bonds should be either. Guys like Bonds or Clemens or Rose are complete egomaniacs who think they’re bigger than life. They gambled and lost, Rose doing so literally.

    A Hall of Fame without known juicers is more than fine with me.

  162. I doubt it. They haven’t forgotten about Pete Rose, and it’s been a long time since he gambled on baseball. If the writers don’t vote in Bonds or Clemens (which they most probably will not), I don’t think they’re gonna have any hope from the Veteran’s Committee. If they’re gonna put someone in, they worry not only about statistics, but the person as an ambassador of the game, etc.

    1. Pete Rose committed a far greater “baseball sin” than any alleged PED user. PEDs are no more than this era’s greenies. They help players get ready to play at their best (at least theoretically.) They’re nothing even close to betting on the game. Gambling calls into question the fundamental integrity of the game. It makes you question whether or not a team or manager is playing to win. PEDs don’t raise those fundamental questions. Rose and the Black Sox are rightly banned for life. There is no reason to levy such a punishment on PED era stars. At worst, all they were doing is trying to win.

    2. That “ambassador of the game” bit is total crap. Ty Cobb is a founding member of the HOF. So long as a rat-f*cking b*stard like Cobb is baseball royalty the concept of “ambassador of the game” is a joke.

  163. @Sam

    We’ll just have to wait and see. It’s gonna be interesting to watch this all unfold.

  164. He definitely broke the law.

    Can you please show me the legal proceedings wherein Barry Bonds was proven to have broken the law?

    And Bud Selig’s turning a blind eye to PEDs doesn’t mean that that makes it “okay.” There are plenty of moral gray areas, yet you don’t see people exploiting it at every given second.

    Please. Players cork bats. Players throw spitters. Franchises water down the basepaths to slow down fast teams, or play games with humidors to give their guys a “rabbit” ball to hit in the late innings. Every superstar, HOFer from the 60s and 70s played his games wired on amphetamines (greenies.) PEDs are nothing more than this year’s model. People “morally” upset about players trying to win at all costs don’t understand professional sports.

    The fact is, the entire Juiced era put a major black eye on the credibility of a sport that backs itself completely on its statistics.

    If your only concern is era adjustment of statistical records, then treat 1993-2004 the way you treat the “dead ball era.” Everyone knows the scoring environment from the 1930s was significantly different than the scoring environment of the 1910s. We just adjust for era. No reason to treat this any differently. You could double downgrade Bonds’ performance for “steroid era” or whatever and he’s still a first ballot HOFer.

    Anyone who says it’s just a game isn’t a real baseball fan.

    Sorry. I didn’t realize I need to kiss the Pope’s ring or something ot prove my “real baseball fan” credenials. What the f8ck ever.

  165. Actually, korobeiniki, I don’t think those two cases are similar, but I also think you’re engaging in selective memory. Before Pete Rose wrote “My Prison Without Walls,” there appeared to be a kind of thaw towards Pete Rose, when a lot of people inside and outside of baseball were interested in exploring whether any kind of reinstatement might be possible. Reinstatement despite, of course, Pete Rose’s personal signature on a voluntary lifetime ban. Then the book came out, and public opinion shifted back towards viewing him as a hopeless self-aggrandizer who still didn’t believe he’d ever done anything wrong.

    Steroids are different, in my opinion, because they fall in a long tradition of performance-enhancing drugs and other illegal and banned substances in baseball. Greenies never bothered Hall voters a bit, and Paul Molitor’s role in the cocaine scandal was essentially forgiven and forgotten when it came time to induct him. Bat-corkers, spitballers, and other various cheaters have all been inducted. I disagree with Sam that they’re no different — the effect that anabolic steroids have on helping build muscle mass in the body is a difference of sizable degree — but I think that they’re along the same paradigm.

    I don’t know whether Palmeiro, Sosa, or McGwire will ever make it — they’re sort of the poster children for the era, because they’re viewed as being essentially creations of steroids. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are generally perceived as great players who decided to become even better through chemistry. If we accept the “Game of Shadows” chronology that said that Bonds started seriously using around 1998 or so, he’d already submitted a decade’s worth of work that was already enough to make him a borderline Hall candidate; so had Clemens, by the same time period. I think there’s just no way that they get excluded.

  166. Sticking up for Barry Bonds, amusing. Like telling people that Donald Segretti was actually doing God’s work.

    The steroid users & the steroid era have put the HOF & its voters in an awkward position.

    Maybe put Bonds & Clemens in while they’re on their deathbeds. But make ’em twist.

    From the Ken Burns “10th Inning” doc, I liked Howard Bryant’s explanation of the Bonds HR #756: “I just didn’t care. I didn’t wake up my son to watch it. I felt nothing. I didn’t care. There was nothing to celebrate.”

    I get that. Steroids in baseball ruined something for me & if, in the minds of the media or the fans, those guys are considered scumbags, liars & cheaters for the rest of their lives & their legacies are tarnished like shit on a windshield, I’m fine with it.

  167. “Rely on Gonzalez to be a steady defender at SS.”

    Sam, that’s probably the nicest thing you’ve ever said about your favorite player.

    I remember the movie “Cobb” being pretty terrible, which is too bad because Ty Cobb seems like a really fascinating subject for a movie.

  168. You hit it ububba, via Howard Bryant. I think what Bonds did to baseball was make everyone careless about the records.There was a time when you could name most of the important baseball records, now it doesnt’ mean as much.

    If someone comes along and breask Bonds’s records, I probably won’t even care.

    He has changed the cultrue of baseball.

    He is going to the HOF, maybe he will get punished first ballot, but he will get in and no one will care.

  169. PITCHERS (11): Brandon Beachy (RH), Mike Dunn (LH), Kyle Farnsworth (RH), Tommy Hanson (RH), Tim Hudson (RH), Craig Kimbrel (RH), Derek Lowe (RH), Cristhian Martinez (RH), Peter Moylan (RH), Jonny Venters (LH) and Billy Wagner (LH)
    CATCHERS (2): Brian McCann and David Ross
    INFIELDERS (7): Brooks Conrad, Troy Glaus, Alex Gonzalez, Diory Hernandez, Eric Hinske, Omar Infante and Derrek Lee
    OUTFIELDERS (5): Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth

  170. Time to predict tonight’s line-up. I’ll go with:

    Infante, 5
    Heyward, 9
    McCann, 2
    Lee, 3
    Hinske, 7
    Conrad, 4
    Gonzalez, 6
    Ankiel, 8

    That’s the one I’d like to see. Wouldn’t surprise me to see McLouth in there instead of Hinske, with Conrad hitting 5th and McLouth hitting 6th.

  171. @317, I think Gonzalez hits 6th and Brooks hits 7th, but otherwise that looks pretty good.

  172. I can live with that lineup. Rather see Diaz in LF, but …

    As my screen name might indicate, I have precious little respect for Bonds, but Sam is correct – he was the best player of his generation and it’s not close.

    If he and, say, Sosa were the only players ever suspected of using PEDs, that would be one thing. But damn near everybody was using so for the HoF voters to try to sort ’em out is madness. Baseball fans will supply their own asterisk.

    And I still want to know why HGH should be banned.

    Pujols? Did I miss something? I’ve never seen anything credible that would accuse Albert of juicing.

  173. FWIW (which is nothing) Rose should be in and Bonds should be in and Clemens (who I hate) should be in. This notion that the HOF is about “character” is beyond ridiculous and, as people have pointed about the Georgia Peach, hypocritical in the extreme. I’ll go one step farther and say Shoeless Joe should be in as well. It’s what you did on the field that ought to count…. not what the press thinks about you, or Kennesaw Mountain Landis, or Bart Giamatti, or Bud Selig. But if we’re going to go with character, let’s put Dale Murphy in, and while we’re at it, Barry Bonnell.

  174. Though the Giants set their National League Division Series roster on Thursday, clarifying the playing status of their two highest-paid performers, both considered to be on the proverbial bubble.
    Center fielder Aaron Rowand is on the roster. Left-hander Barry Zito, who earned $18.5 million this season in the fourth of a seven-year, $126 million contract, is not.

    Giants manager Bruce Bochy repeated on Wednesday what he initially divulged in a Tuesday morning interview on KNBR, the Giants’ flagship radio station: Rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner or Tim Lincecum will start Monday’s Game 4 at Atlanta (if necessary). Left unsaid was that Bochy would prefer to use Game 1 starter Lincecum on three days’ rest, one fewer than usual, than Zito.

    Zito has built a 4-2 record with a 2.43 ERA in six Division Series starts. That apparently didn’t supersede his 9-14 record and 4.15 ERA in the regular season.

    “I’m disappointed in myself for not cracking that rotation, obviously,” Zito said on Wednesday. “Playoffs is why we play this game. It’s a team effort to get to this place, but we have to go with the guys now and I feel like I can help this team in the playoffs and I have experience. But I stand behind Boch. He’s the skipper. I stand behind his decision.”

    Zito, 32, may have sealed his fate last Saturday, when he lasted one batter into the fourth inning in San Francisco’s 4-2 loss to the San Diego Padres. He allowed four runs (three earned) and five hits while walking four (one intentionally). Even Zito admitted that game “was the thing that sticks out. Money was on the table and I didn’t attack the zone the way I should have. That’s a huge disappointment to me.”

  175. “I’d walk through Hell in a gasoline suit just to play baseball.” –Pete Rose

    Too bad there weren’t any gasoline suits on the way to the sports book. Pete Rose blew it in baseball by breaking the rule that every infant knows, that’s posted in every single clubhouse. He should have sought help and gotten treatment for his gambling addiction, rather than lying about it for 20 years and agreeing to be banned from baseball.

    Overcoming addiction is tremendously hard. But, then again, so is walking through hell in a gasoline suit. The difference is that the former is a problem that he had in his life that he chose to deny rather than to face, and the latter is a snappy soundbite.

  176. Steroids in baseball ruined something for me

    I am trying to avoid my tendency to go completely snark-tastic here, but honestly, I have no idea how people can make this statement. In what way was baseball “ruined?” Players have always “cheated” if they thought they could get away with it, from spit and snot on the balls to bowls full of amphetamines in the locker rooms of every major league clubhouse to Sammy Sosa’s corked bat. It’s professional baseball. Millions of dollars ride the line between good and great. The difference between being the 25th man on Atlanta’s roster and being the starting 3B in Gwinnett is literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS per year. Players will do anything for an edge, just like they always would have.

    Steroids and PEDs are part and parcel to every other major sporting endeavor of the modern world, as well. Ray Lewis doesn’t look like that naturally. Dwight Howard is not averse to better living through chemistry. Lance Armstrong did *not* return from testicular cancer through his unstoppable will to succeed. Why on earth would we think baseball players are somehow different? They never have been. If Babe Ruth thought he could get an edge by drinking Red Rock soda, he would have. If Hank Aaron thought a greenie in the morning helped him concentrate in the box that afternoon, he’s popping them by the handful. Paul Molitor would snort coke off of the damned third base bag if he thought it would help.

    I simply can’t grasp the “PEDs ruined baseball for me” mindset.

  177. [Bonds] has changed the cultrue of baseball.

    If we accept the worst-case scenario against Bonds – if we take the allegations in Game of Shadows to be the gospel truth – this statement is still categorically false. In the worst case, Bonds reacted to the “change in the culture of baseball” when, in 1998, his stupendous season was overshadowed by the ‘roiding brothers of McGwire and Sosa. Basically, being the best baseball player on the planet wasn’t enough in the era where “chicks dig the long ball” so Bonds decided to play their game. At which point he then “hit the long ball” better than anyone in the history of the game.

  178. @324
    well, one can say that steroids probably ruined multiple world series rings for the braves…

  179. @326 – I don’t really think I’m the one that needs “help” here. I am rationally assessing the situation. The difference of degree is minimal at best. We live in a world where John Smoltz and Tim Hudson put together HOF or near HOF records by ripping a knee ligament out of their leg and surgically implanting it in their busted arms. We live in a world where Chipper Jones is going to attempt to play again next year with the heel cord of a CADAVER in his left knee. There is nothing more “unnatural” about PEDs than there is about those things. I mean, we’re putting pieces of a DEAD MAN into Chipper Jones. We’re taking pieces of pitchers’ legs and robotically attaching them to their elbows to extend their careers. Yet I’m supposed to be aghast because Barry Bonds rub some HGH creme on his thighs after working out in the weight room?

    I just don’t get that at all.

  180. Yet I’m supposed to be aghast because Barry Bonds rub some HGH creme on his thighs after working out in the weight room?

    I just don’t get that at all.

    Sam, it’s not all about you, or what you’re “supposed to” do. People have different opinions sometimes. That’s what you don’t get.

  181. Sam, it’s not all about you, or what you’re “supposed to” do.

    This seems to be a sentence constructed using modern English, yet it makes absolutely no sense at all.

  182. sam, 329 might be the worst argument you’ve created yet. your intelligence seems to stop at just being intelligent, because you’re surely not very wise.

  183. Leave it to Sam to steer us toward a conversation about the capricious nature of taboos.

    But he’s right – why is surgery ok but chemicals an outrage? The idiots who are now trying to have coffee banned (I forget their names) are the same folks who will reach into your shower to turn the hot water down. The professionally outraged should be rounded up and shot before they gain power.

    I’m certainly not going to argue the case for steroids, but I do find it curious how society careens from one evil to the other. Live long enough and you’ll see it all come back again. Like bell bottoms. (Now there’s an evil I survived.)

  184. A story:
    Once when a very young, overly aggro & hopelessly obstinate Henry Rollins was on the road with Black Flag on one of the band’s seemingly endless nationwide van tours, his exasperated bass player pulled him aside.

    “Henry,” he told him, “you should really try some LSD. You’ll see things differently and, more importantly for the rest of us in the van, it’ll help you not be an asshole all the time.”

  185. Pretty sure Halladay is throwing illegal pitches. I mean, they don’t call him “Doc” for nothing, do they?

    Seriously, a story that I wish had more legs was the Phillies cheating story. They did seem to stagger a little after that.

  186. Lopez had cadaver tissue put in after his ACL tear – and I am very sympathetic to Sam’s point here about radial keratotomy, tissue replacement, lasik et al – I am struggling to find one morally reprehensible and a danger to fair competition, when the others have a set of potential risks inherent in their use that are pretty serious too. I get that steroids seems to inflame the notion of fair play more than these things, but I can’t see the “degree” of difference between risking blindness from eye surgery and risking side effects from steroid use.

  187. @339, it would be nasty if someone caught them sign-stealing in the playoffs.

    It’s not necessarily against the official rules, either, depending on how they do it. That could get ugly in a hurry.

  188. sam, 329 might be the worst argument you’ve created yet. your intelligence seems to stop at just being intelligent, because you’re surely not very wise

    It’s not enough to say I’m wrong. You have to show it. Where does wisdom part ways with my arguments? I know my position is not widely held, but being unpopular is not the same as being wrong. If you are so sure my position is unwise you should be able to explain, relatively easily, where it loses track of the wise path.

  189. surgery to repair a torn tendon – or – injecting yourself with HGH/steroids

    yeah, no difference there at all

  190. I know it doesn’t make any sense to you. If it did, you wouldn’t constantly antagonize everyone on the board.

    I’m not antagonizing anyone. I’m making arguments and stating opinions, just like everyone else. I tend to provide more argumentative heft for my opinions, in fact, because they are often askance of conventional wisdom. That is not antagonization.

  191. @345, not to be antagonistic, but I honestly would be curious to hear someone articulate the difference. Something like LASIK might be a better example.

  192. @345

    If the difference is radically obvious you should have no problem stating simply and elegantly what the difference is. How is an invasive, zombiefication surgical procedure to repair torn elbow tendons essentially distinct, morally or practically, from an injection of steroids (or application of HGH creme) to speed the healing of muscular micro-tears that result from heavy lifting regimens in the gym?

  193. If people would rather defend LASIK – Tony Gwynn, Greg Maddux and Brian McCann all opted for voluntary LASIC procedures to improve their baseball performance – than HGH/steroids I’m okay with that too. I find all three procedures to be the same in kind and scope. (Actually, to be honest, I’d say the ligament replacment surgery is far more radically unnatural, followed by the LASIK procedure, and that HGH/steroids are the least unnatural of the three.)

  194. @344
    one is immoral and one isnt. an intelligent person might argue that there’s no difference. a wise person would see the intelligent man’s folly. one fixes something that’s obviously broken. one enhances something unnaturally that’s not broken.

  195. @349, in McCann’s case, the difference is clear. LASIK is not against the rules.

    Gwynn and Maddux are different because a lot of PEDs weren’t necessarily against the rules at that time. So if Gwynn had followed his LASIK surgery with a drug cocktail, I’d have a hard time differentiating.

    @350, that’s why I brought up LASIK. You’re enhancing your natural vision. It’s a better example than repairing an injury, which you can differentiate from PEDs by severity of the damage being repaired.

  196. “Steroids and PEDs are part and parcel to every other major sporting endeavor of the modern world, as well. Ray Lewis doesn’t look like that naturally. Dwight Howard is not averse to better living through chemistry. Lance Armstrong did *not* return from testicular cancer through his unstoppable will to succeed. Why on earth would we think baseball players are somehow different? They never have been. If Babe Ruth thought he could get an edge by drinking Red Rock soda, he would have. If Hank Aaron thought a greenie in the morning helped him concentrate in the box that afternoon, he’s popping them by the handful. Paul Molitor would snort coke off of the damned third base bag if he thought it would help.

    I simply can’t grasp the “PEDs ruined baseball for me” mindset.”

    I agree with this, mostly. Sure, I’m glad steroids have been generally regulated, but it’s ridiculous to think that there would be a HOF without Bonds in it. Especially with guys in it who accrued their “records” while playing in an all-white league. There’s always something, and even if he did steroids, Bonds was still the best player who played in my lifetime, hands down.

  197. “one is immoral and one isnt. ”

    All these thousands of years philosophers have been discussing the nature of “goodness,” and so it can only be deemed a miracle that–finally– you have come along with your deep understanding of right and wrong to help us through the philosophical thicket.

    Go, do good work. The world needs you.

  198. Surely everyone recognizes how slippery the slope is. Eyeglasses… why are they allowed? What was “broken?” Greenies have been mentioned. What injury did they fix? There is no evidence that HGH has any effect at all beyond a psychological one (check out numerous posts on JC’s website). As far as I know EPO isn’t banned for baseball players and there’s no question it improves stamina.

  199. The entire point of steroids is that they do fix something that’s “broken”. They artificially promote the rebuilding of damaged muscle tissue. Muscle is built that way.

  200. Dont see how knee surgery is going to help Chipper run faster or hit a ball further. Its not going to increase his leg press or his overall strength. It may help him to return to his current level of play, but its not going to “enhance” anything. Its not going to help him recover faster from other injuries.

  201. One of my friends always says of Bonds “Best player before steroids, best player after steroids.”

  202. LASIK enhances sight. I still don’t understand the moral difference between LASIK and most PEDs.

    I’m not looking to pick an e-fight, but I’ve never understood this, and there are people reading this thread right now who can help elaborate.

  203. Lost in this steroids discussion is the enduring likelihood that the Braves are “dooooooomed.” If they do manage to get through the Giants, we all know there is no way they beat the Phillies, right? I, for one, am not sure I want to see that bloodbath. But that’s probably ’cause I live in Philly.

  204. Dont see how knee surgery is going to help Chipper run faster or hit a ball further. Its not going to increase his leg press or his overall strength. It may help him to return to his current level of play, but its not going to “enhance” anything. Its not going to help him recover faster from other injuries.

    Okay, this is a category error on your part, I think. Chipper’s natural level of play since 1994 was “not playing.” He tore his ACL, without which a man can not really walk naturally, much less leverage a baseball swing with the amount of torque Chipper produces, or run flat out on extra base hits, or launch from zero to horizontal dive toward the line on hot shots back at 3B. This is your error. Chipper Jones’ “natural” level of play since the last week of spring training, 1994, is virtually zero. Maybe “beer league softball.”

    But we went in an yanked a ligament out of his knee and “repaired” his other knee, so he got to “return” to his pre-injury levels of play. That’s not “natural.” Similarly, Kris Medlen’s “natural” level of play is currently zero. He will likley return to a better level than his natural level because of Tommy John surgery.

    It’s a distinction without difference.

  205. With it being Melk-tober, this is the linup we should have:

    Glaus 3b
    Diaz lf
    Melky cf (Melk-tober)
    Conrad 2b (to drive in Melk-tober)
    rf-empty, it’s Melk-tober, he can cover both!
    Hinske 1b
    AAG short fielder
    won’t need a catcher, Lowe will throw under hand and let melk-tober go get them
    Lowe -p

  206. @353
    i appreciate the boost of morale. i will go and spread the good news.

    you’re right, mac…just not in a baseball sense.

  207. Mac @ 355: I suggest that the real distinction here is arbitrary, based solely on the cultural distinction we make between “medicine” and “drugs.” PEDs have been lumped into the “drug” bucket and are thus part of the post-Nixon taboo. Surgery and LASIK is performed by “doctors” and thus is perfectly fine.

    It’s an arbitrary distinction that has more to do with cultural taboo than rational consideration of the process at hand.

    YMMV, of course.

  208. let’s shake it up a bit. conrad has a 1.081 ops since taking over for prado.
    my lineup…

  209. Sam – we’ll just disagree. I think a players performance is what they were at “prior” to an injury. Surgery to a knee/arm allows them to “possibly” return to that level of play, its not going to create a higher level of play for that individual.

  210. @366: Oh, really? Haven’t lots of pitchers performed better after Tommy John surgery than before? Tommy John, for one. Billy Wagner is naturally right handed and only learned to pitch left handed after he fell out of a tree. Should people make him pitch right-handed? Again, what about eyeglasses/LASIK/contacts?

  211. “Bonds was still the best player who played in my lifetime, hands down.”

    He was this before the steroids. A fact the lynch mob overlooks.

  212. Oh, really? Haven’t lots of pitchers performed better after Tommy John surgery than before? Tommy John, for one.

    That’s not really what happened to Tommy John. Tommy was 124-106 with a 116 ERA+ before, 164-125 with a 107 ERA+ after. He was pretty much the same guy, just older.

  213. @366 – so you’re opposed to Lasik, which improves the athlete’s physical state to higher than what would be naturally possible?

    And as has been discussed previously, the main advantage of steroids is that it reduces the amount of time lost to injury – which is what ligament replacement and Tommy John do (actually in those two cases, the athlete would never recover BUT for the surgery. Even steroids don’t artificially extend a career to that degree).

  214. LASIK and anabolic steroids are no different from a side-effect standpoint. Is that really what I saw someone just say?

    Also, if someone gets LASIK to bring their vision to 20/20, that is the normal human vision level. Steroids allow users to build muscle back up more quickly, and therefore go past the normal human level. If you wanna talk ligament-replacement surgery, you’re still being ridiculous IMO, but there’s at least an argument there, what with pitchers’ arms being stronger when they come back. But I really can’t believe so many people are agreeing with the LASIK=steroid-use argument.

    Clearly, if a Major League player catches pneumonia, he should just be allowed to die. If he takes antibiotics to clear up the problem, that’s no different than steroid use. After all, he is unnaturally alive. Back in the 1700s, before antibiotics, he’d be dead. So clearly, based on that argument, you can see that no one should harbor any ill-will toward Barry Bonds.

  215. Jonathan, named one “non injured” player who has asked for TJ surgery . If TJ was “performance enhancing” you would have players lining up for the surgery injured or not. You dont think these 34-36 yr old pitchers who are on the brink of retirement would be lining up for the surgery?

    Everyone took steriods in order to “enhance” what they were currently capable of producing. Mentally or physically, it created a higher level of play for them.

    Im not arguing about Lasik, I havent once mentioned lasik surgery. Why do you keep asking?

  216. Sam—Some good points, and I believe Bonds was a great player, and should be in the HOF. But, in my lifetime, I saw Aaron, Mantle, Mays, Musial, and Clemente. Bonds wasn’t better than any of them, and possibly not as good as Frank Robby and Mike Schmidt.

  217. I think steroids are bad because of the deleterious side effects they have on the human body. To my knowledge, neither LASIK or ligament replacement surgery have similar side effects. I don’t want people thinking they have to risk long-term damage to their bodies to become successful athletes. Obviously, athletes will do whatever they have to succeed. But it’s the responsibility of sports leagues and unions to place some limits, just as they enforce rules on the field, although those rules may be breached at times. I know there are lots of things that are bad for you, but PEDs seem to be worse.

    Having said that, unless you can show a direct correlation between the use of steroids and specific athletic accomplishments, then Sam is correct; there is no difference between steroids and LASIK. I mean, how do we know how many of Bonds’ home runs are attributable to the steroids? My point is, if the only reason players use steroids is to restore themselves to the level they would have had anyway, then it’s hard to differentiate them from Tommy John surgery. If it gives them some enhanced ability that they would not have had otherwise, that’s a different story.

    But, getting away from the health issue, what if we found that, due to advanced training techniques that were not available to Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, etc, players were able to increase their performance through weight training, for example. Why wouldn’t that render the records equally as suspect? Sports records are almost completely contextual; swimming records fall because of new suit materials (and, maybe blood doping). Passing records fall because of rules that make it impossible to defend. For that matter, people born post-WW II are far bigger, better-fed and generally healthier than those born in the early part of the 20th century. Look at some of the players in the 1930s; most born into poverty, a lot of them look downright haggard.


    Maybe we will find out about Ted Williams someday if they can ever find his head again.

  218. For some reason, Joe Maddon brought in Chad Qualls with two men on, and Qualls gave up a 3-run homer. Then the ump tossed Maddon out of the game. The Rays are awfully close to going down 2-0 in this series.

    They’re a hell of a team, but they have showed me nothing.

  219. Actually, there are more and more reported cases where high school aged pitchers are opting for TJ without serious injury precisely because the benefits of the surgery seem so “enhancing”.

    Speaking of enhancing, does Jimmy Johnson know no shame?

  220. “@366 – so you’re opposed to Lasik, which improves the athlete’s physical state to higher than what would be naturally possible? – Spike”

    where did you get this from? I havent mentioned LASIK in a single post of mine. Im stating that I think there is a difference in TJ/Knee surgery compared to steriods. Im not opposed to LASIK at all. Yes, I think it improves a players ability on the field.

  221. Im not arguing about Lasik, I havent once mentioned lasik surgery. Why do you keep asking?

    Because I’d like to hear where Lasik falls on your spectrum of acceptable versus non-acceptable sports physiology

  222. csg: But they have to give up a year and half of their careers. The discount rate is too high for that to make sense. As for Tommy John himself, when you can age and be “pretty much the same player,” as opposed to aging normally (see JC’s latest book) that’s exactly the sort of but-for effect I’m talking about. but I;d rather be talking about Melky and the “Butt-for” effect.

  223. I can’t understand the result of bravesjournal’s poll in the sidebar. just voted Hudson.

  224. Im not opposed to LASIK at all. Yes, I think it improves a players ability on the field.

    So how do you square this with your opposition to steroids based on the fact that it enhances performance?

  225. spike, I havent onced stated that something should be acceptable or that it shouldnt be accepted. I havent even stated that steriods should be banned or accepted either. Only thing Ive stated is that there is a difference in surgery and steriods. Nothing more, nothing less

  226. 377—Well, Maddon got tossed because, by all rights, Qualls struck Young out. Not even a borderline check-swing call, and the buffoon at first blew it. Umpires are so bad.

  227. @386. My apologies then – from your making a distinction I assumed it was in support of your position on the subject.

  228. Joey T at 360,

    And I would hate to meet the eye surgeon with enough ego to think he could do an adjustment that would make vision that was 20/10 even better. That would be one annoyingly arrogant bastard.

  229. Also, if someone gets LASIK to bring their vision to 20/20, that is the normal human vision level.

    No, this is wrong. 20/20 is an arbitrary standard that optomitrists have set as “normal human vision.” It is in no way whatsoever some sort of natural standard.

    If I am born with 20/20 vision and you are born with 20/30, then I have a natural advantage over you. I see better. If you have surgery to improve your sight to equal mine, you have used technology to close a natural gap in our abilities.

    If Chipper Jones is born with better muscular genetics than, oh, Melky Cabrerra, and the Melkster injects himself with human growth hormone to grow better muscles faster, Melky has used technology to close a natural gap in his and Chipper’s ability.

    The two processes are identical. The player is using modern science to improve his physical abilities beyond their natural state.

  230. Who’s worse: umpires, generally, or national baseball writers, generally?

    National baseball writers, in my opinion. Umpires have a really really really hard job, and it’s not their fault that they’re not robots. National baseball writers have a much easier job, as proven by all of the terrific writers on the internet who write well about baseball despite not having a professional credential.

    I’m a big believer in old-school journalism, and I think that beat writers are still necessary, but a lot of the best baseball analysis is done by people who aren’t professionals.

    I sure as hell couldn’t step into a baseball game and do a better job than the umps, even if the tendency of some of them to draw attention to themselves — Bill Hohn, Joe West, Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez — gets awfully tiring. But I can write about baseball as well as some guys who get paid for it. That’s my subjective benchmark.

  231. @392 – umpires can only annoy me for maximum three hour stretches during baseball season (well except for Joe West but he’s singing/marketing his singing to annoy me besides umpiring).

    /and there’s more than a small fraction of good ones

  232. #389 – no problem. But no, I havent expressed my position on steroids at all. I just see a difference between steroids and TJ/knee surgery.

  233. Yeah, there’s just no legitimate excuse for national baseball writers to be so incompetent. I’ve taken to openly mocking them on Twitter, not that any will pay attention.

  234. Who’s worse: umpires, generally, or national baseball writers, generally?

    Umpires, for a couple of reasons.

    1. Bad umpiring changes the game. Bad writing doesn’t.
    2. Bad umpiring is structurally protected by the current MLB/Umpire’s Union agreement. Bad writing isn’t.
    3. I don’t have to read bad writers. I can’t choose not to have Bill Hohn call a game I’m watching.
    4. Sports writing is improving (or returning to better levels) as the first generation of sabre-bloggers are being hired into traditional coverage networks (Gleeman and Calcaterra at NBC, Szymborski at ESPN, etc.)

  235. Uh…

    Tonight’s lineup (9:37 TBS): Infante 5 Heyward 9 Lee 3 McCann 2 Gonzalez 6 Diaz 7 Conrad 4 Ankiel 8 Lowe 1 #braves #postseason #gobraves

  236. @399 – What’s with the “Uh…?” That’s pretty much the best lineup possible against a RHP, right?

  237. csg: what about this example. My cousin took HGH during preadolescence, prescribed by a doctor, because his parents were quite short and, to be honest, insecure people. He is 6’3″ today. Now, he happens to be a complete dork as well, but assume he weren’t. Would you allow him to play baseball?

  238. 400—Gonzalez hitting that high against a righty is nowhere close to the best possibility. And I’d have Hinske in there over Diaz, although, because of defense, that’s not a big deal.

  239. jonathan, pay attention… Name 1 post where I said a player shouldnt be allowed to play. I havent even stated that steroids should be banned from baseball or that players shouldnt be allowed to use them.

    but to answer your question – yes

  240. Agony hitting fifth is absurd. He finished the year reaching base three times in 39 PAs. Awful.

  241. What if someone was born on the planet Krypton and then came to earth because his planet blew up and had supernatural strength and vision? Should he be allowed to play baseball? Should the other team be allowed to use kryptonite against him? Bobby would probably have him bunt anyway.

  242. Not as absurd as Melky hitting fifth.

    Melky vs. righties: 2010, .266/.320/.365; career, .273/.330/.389

    AGony vs. righties: 2010, .260/.302/.456; career, .250/.295/.404

    It’s pretty close, man. Neither has any business that high in the order. Even this order.

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