By Michael Jong
Quick links here, as I’ve got a lot of busy stuff going on this week. Don’t look forward to too much in the way of posts this week, my school is catching up to me fast and I’ve got to prepare for my job as well. Here we go!
– Tonight’s matchup: the Marlins will visit the Giants in San Francisco for what Rich Waltz always calls “Late Night with the Fish.” Waltz has got a certain thing to his voice that makes him a decent play-by-play guy, even if him and Tommy Hutton aren’t all that up to speed with the right metrics. On the mound for the Fish will be Sean West, who has struggled terribly his last three or four outings and is at this point merely filling in the slot for Anibal Sanchez once he returns from the DL. Opposite the rookie will be newly minted All-Star Matt Cain, a tough matchup for the Marlins. Should be an interesting game.
– As you may have heard and seen, the Marlins picked up Brendan Donnelly, who was lingering in the Astros’ system when we got him. To make room, we moved Chris Leroux to the DL with shoulder problems. Kid’s got a nice arm and decent stuff, I’m interested in seeing more of him later. For now, we’ll hope Donnelly can fill in as one of the guys in the late innings. Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post says Donnelly can do it all in the pen. Sure, if this was 2002, I’d imagine he could. But it’s not 2002, it’s 2008, Donnelly’s 38 and coming off of Tommy John surgery, and the last time he was in the majors with the Indians, he was horrible. I don’t know what the Marlins are thinking with regards to the pen, but recycling veteran arms is no better than sending Chris Leroux out there.
– Joe Capozzi wonders if the Marlins aren’t done dealing yet. He mentioned trading Hermida, but as he should know, no one’s taking a league average bat who is a statue in the outfield. His only value at this moment is with the team.
– Dan Turkenkopf of Beyond the Box Score has a WAR chart of the All-Star starters and reserves. Some of this definitely has to do with poor choices in the lineup by the fans, such as the injured Josh Hamilton. But I can’t help but think some of this might have something to do with the NL being a weaker league beating up on each other. Still, qualitatively looking at the two lineups, you have to like the NL’s starters. Pujols-Utley-Ramirez-Wright is as good an infield as can be cobbled together, and maybe contains the best player at each position in baseball (Wright vs. Longoria is the only question mark).
– For some FanGraphs love, R.J. Anderson’s got the Defensive All-Stars teams for both leagues, minus the catchers of course. I’d venture to say that adding the catchers will include Joe Mauer for the AL and some Molina’s for the NL. Advantage AL.
– Finally, remember when Mr. Anderson mentioned Kevin Millwood was lucky? Didn’t get much fanfare over at FanGraphs, because people who read that understand and accept Anderson’s argument, that Millwood’s been the same pitcher and has had some defense and luck factor into his results this year. Well, Rob Neyer agreed and evidently a lot of people did not. VEHEMENTLY. Look at that comments section. Some of that was me, arguing the pro-article stance (SFiercex4 is my handle, I tried to be calm about it).
Then Evan Grant of InsideCorner took major offense on this stance, citing a lot of rubbish that you may read if you’d like. Some of the premises were on the right track, but the use of the word “luck” instead of “statistical anomaly” really got the Texas fans riled up. In any case, Adam Morris of Lone Star Ball defended the stats point articulately and very well. Just goes to show you that we have a long way to bridge between the statistics guys and the traditionalists who want to view differences in “conditioning programs” as reasons for stranding 86% of a pitcher’s runners. I’m not saying one of us is truly correct, but as a stats guy, I know the stats research is working towards some sort of truth about a player’s performance, and the views of people who revile advanced metrics as unnecessary, too analytical, or simply rubbish aren’t helping.