Posts Tagged ‘Felix Hernandez’

Good Bye to 2016

December 29, 2016
Hopefully I won't have to be this old before the Dodgers win

Hopefully I won’t have to be this old before the Dodgers win

Another baseball season is over. The winners are crowned, the loser mourned. The postseason awards are announced, the winter meetings are through, and the Veteran’s Committee has spoken. Here, in my usual nine things for nine innings format, are a few random thoughts on what we saw (and didn’t see) in 2016.

1. The Cubs finally won. It hadn’t happened in 108 years and the Cubs fans are joyous. But I wonder if some of the mystique that surrounded the Cubs wasn’t harmed. The “loveable loser” moniker is gone, as is the “sit in the sun, drink beer, and don’t worry about the score” motif of Cubsdom is over. Will it hurt the overall fan base, or not. I have no idea.

2. Can the Angels find a pitcher? They have Mike Trout, arguably the best player in the Major Leagues in a long time. They have Albert Pujols, a shadow of what he was at St. Louis, but still a formidable player (He had 119 RBIs and needs nine homers for 600). C. J. Cron is 26 and Kole Calhoun is 29. And they still can’t win. Maybe the problem is the staff, maybe it’s the coaching staff (Scioscia hasn’t led them very far in a while), but they just don’t win.

3. Sticking with the West Coast, but moving to Chavez Ravine, we say good-bye to Vin Scully who, for 67 years, graced us with his voice, his wit, his stories. I liked Jack Buck and Dizzy Dean. I liked Bob Prince and Russ Hodges, but there was only one Vin. Maybe he’ll be the first broadcaster elected to the Hall of Fame itself, not just to the broadcasters niche. And the Dodgers answered the question, “who needs an ace?” by rattling off a ton of wins with Clayton Kershaw injured.

4. I loved that Royals team that won in 2014 and 2015, but injuries and free agency have taken their toll. I’d love to see them back in the mix again, but I’m afraid it will have to be with a very different set of players. That’s a shame; they were fun to watch.

5. Then there’s Cleveland. They now have the longest streak of not having won the World Series (since 1948). It’s a good team with a very good manager and I’d like to see them break their streak (but not at the expense of my Dodgers). And sticking with the Indians, I hope the Terry Francona method of using his relievers in key situations, not just the ninth inning, catches on.

6. So Bud Selig is now a Hall of Famer. OK, I guess. There have been better choices and there have been worse choices. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza also made it. They were better, and easier, choices.

7. We lost W.P. Kinsella this year. He gave us the book Shoeless Joe, which in turn gave us the movie Field of Dreams. We also lost Hall of Famer Monte Irvin and broadcast legend Joe Garagiola, and  current pitcher Felix Fernandez, among others.

8. Dan Duquette is an honest man. He told us that the Orioles weren’t interested in Jose Bautista because the fans didn’t like him. OK, I guess. It’s honest, but I don’t know how much baseball sense it makes. Thoughts, Bloggess?

9. Buck Showalter is getting another year. He’s a fine manager, but he’s gotta know when to bring in his relief ace.

And finally it’s time for my annual Dodgers rallying cry “Wait ’til next year.” Why change the cry now; it’s been good for 28 years.

 

Advertisements

Picking the Winners, 2010 Style

November 24, 2010

Now all the postseason awards are handed out and there’s cheering in some circles and weeping in others. In some previous posts, I stated my position on the various individual awards. How did I do?

I looked at the awards in two ways. The managers I told you who I thought should win. With the other three awards (Rookie, Cy Young, MVP) I told you who I thought would win. Here are the results, managers first.

I said I would vote for Bud Black and for Terry Francona. I also stated that Francona had no shot at winning, but that I felt he’d done the best job trying to win with what was essentially an ER ward. I did note that Ron Gardenhire was a legitimate candidate to win, but that I personally chose Francona. So I went one for two, getting Black right. That’s better than I normally do. Usually I get the managers all wrong unless someone comes out of left field to win a pennant or something. So I can pat myself on the back, at least a little.

On the player awards I went 5 of 6, which is a lot better than I usually do. Maybe this trying to figure out what the writer’s are going to do is easier than picking the people myself. I got both MVPs, both Rookies, and the NL Cy Young winners. I missed, as I stated in my last post, the AL Cy Young winner. I underestimated the amount of credence the writers would give to the new sabrmetric stats that favored Felix Hernandez for the award. So I guess I had a reasonably successful time picking postseason awards in 2010.

Does it mean anything? Well, my picking doesn’t, but the writer’s picks might or might not (how’s that for being definite?). If you look down the lists of Rookies of the Year and MVPs and Cy Young Award winners you get a mixed bag. In rookie voting you get Cal Ripken and Ron Kittle in back-to-back years (BTW Ripken is the last ROY winner to make the Hall of Fame). Not all of the ROY winners go on to great careers. Sticking with Ripken, he wins the MVP in 1983 and is followed by Willie Hernandez. Not exactly the same quality player, right? The Cy Young gives us Sandy Koufax and Dean Chance in back-to-back seasons. Again, very different quality players. My point is simply that winning one of these awards is no guarantee of long term greatness. So we need to be careful about how much weight we put on these awards.

Having said that, congratulations to all the winners. I hope they go on to great and illustrious careers. Now if the Dodgers could just pick up one or two of these guys…

Picking a Winner

November 22, 2010

Juan Marichal

I’m frankly stunned that Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award. I guess I’ll have to chalk it up to not believing that the Baseball Writer’s Association had embraced the new statistics. It seems that the last couple of Cy Young votes in both leagues (Roy Halladay excluded) are evidence that the sabrmetric stats are beginning to overtake the more traditional stats.That’s neither a totally good thing nor a totally bad thing. Just because the stats are new (or old) doesn’t make them better. It also doesn’t mean that previous results were wrong. Take Juan Marichal as an example.

I’ve heard people say that Marichal is the best pitcher to never win a Cy Young Award. Actually Walter Johnson (or Cy Young) is. What they mean is that since the award was established, Marichal is the most overlooked. Well, maybe. There have been a number of truly fine pitchers that haven’t won the award, but I won’t argue against Marichal. But by using the traditional stats, is he really particularly overlooked? The heart of Marichal’s career is 1963-1969 with a nod toward 1971. I’ve heard it said that for the entire period Marichal had better numbers than any of the pitchers who won. So what? The Cy Young Award is for yearly, not career, excellence. You want career excellence? Look to the Hall of Fame. If you look at his yearly stats compared to the Cy Young Award winners the conclusion is at best mixed, and at worst you have to conclude Marichal wasn’t rooked. Here’s the stats for the Cy Young Award winners in 1963 through 1971 (with 1967 and 1970 left off because Marichal had down years those two seasons). The stats used are wins/winning percentage/ ERA/ strikeouts/shutouts. Remember from 1963 through 1966 there is only one award, so for Marichal to win he must be the consensus best pitcher in all of Major League Baseball to win. From 1967 through 1971 there are two awards, one for each league, so Marichal has to be only the consensus National League pitcher. Also remember that in 1964 the AL pitcher won, so the numbers don’t exactly compare. All other years the winner involved is an NL pitcher. Marichal’s corresponding stats follow each year’s winner.

1963: 25/833/188/306/11 (Koufax), Marichal: 25/758/241/248/5

1964: 20/690/165/207/11 (Chance), Marichal: 21/724/248/206/4

1965: 26/765/204/382/8 (Koufax), Marichal: 22/629/213/240/10

1966: 27/750/173/317/5 (Koufax), Marichal: 25/806/223/222/4

1968: 22/710/112/268/13 (Gibson), Marichal: 26/743/243/218/5

1969: 25/781/22/208/5 (Seaver), Marichal: 21/656/210/205/8

1971: 24/649/277/253/5 (Jenkins), Marichal: 18/621/294/159/4

So Marichal doesn’t win any of those. Who do you like? Maybe Marichal, maybe the other guy, but in each case you can argue that Marichal did or didn’t get jobbed. The closest, to me, is 1964.

Now remember that between 1963 and 1971 the statistics revolution hadn’t occurred. We didn’t have Whip or ERA+ or War or most of the other stats (even Saves was just being floated) so you cannot use those to argue the voters got it wrong, because those stats didn’t exist. Now that they do, we can see a drift away from the traditional stats that is probably good for the game,  but let’s not retroactively push them back into other eras and argue that they should have been used to come up with different results.

For those interested, I ran the Whip and ERA+ stats for Marichal and the Cy Young Award winner for the years above and list them below Whip/ERA+ with the winner first.

1963: 0.875/159 (Koufax), Marichal: 0.996/133

1964: 1.006/198 (Chance), Marichal: 1.089/144

1965: 0.855/160 (Koufax), Marichal: 0.914/169

1966: 0.985/190 (Koufax), Marichal: 0.859/167

1968: 0.853/258 (Gibson), Marichal: 1.047/123

1969: 1.039/165 (Seaver), Marichal: 0.994/168

1971: 1.049/142 (Jenkins), Marichal: 1.075, 117 

Do those numbers make you think the award went the wrong place? If they do, remember they weren’t around in Juan Marichal’s great years.