Friday, June 25, 2004
40-31At this point last year, the Minnesota Twins were 39-32, and 2.0 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals for first-place in the AL Central. As of today, the Twins are 40-31 this season, and 2.0 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox for first-place in the AL Central.
Given all the injuries (Mauer, Stewart, LeCroy, Koskie, Hunter) and Johan Santana's bad first two months, I think 40-31 is a great place to be. However, Chicago's offense scares the hell out of me and the Cleveland Indians are a much better team than I thought they would be this season.
Last year, most people thought it was going to be a two-team race between the Twins and White Sox, but the Royals wedged their way into things until the final month. This year might be much of the same, with the Indians taking the Royals' spot.
Taking the series from Boston, in Boston, was a big deal. I really thought the series had the potential for disaster, and I wouldn't have been surprised if the Twins dropped all three games. To win two out of three is just great.
Some thoughts on yesterday's game ...
I am not usually a fan of sacrifice bunting, but Jose Offerman's bunt in the top of the 10th inning was perfect in every way. First and foremost, it was a situation (extra innings, tie game, runner on second with no outs) that made a bunt the smart play. Beyond that, Offerman executed it perfectly.
He squared around from the very beginning, instead of waiting for the pitcher to start his motion like most bunters do. He didn't getting a running start before the bat actually made contact with the ball, which is another mistake many bunters make. And, most importantly, he truly sacrificed himself for the team by not attempting to get a hit out of the play. He simply wanted to trade Boston one out for one base advanced. Picture perfect all around, and he was rewarded when Lew Ford drove the go-ahead run in from third with a sacrifice fly.
Then Joe Nathan came in to close it out. Now, I hate the way closers are used today about as much as I hate bunting in most situations, but what Joe Nathan did yesterday was truly a save. He came into the game with a one-run lead, not one of those three-run advantages that anyone could close out 90% of the time.
And not only was it a one-run lead, Nathan had to face, in order, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra. After giving up a far-too-long-for-my-taste fly ball to right field to Ortiz, he struck Ramirez out on a nasty breaking ball diving down and away, and then got Nomar to foul out to Henry Blanco.
The shame of it all is that Brad Radke once again couldn't pick up a win. Radke now has a 3.22 ERA in 103.1 innings this year, including three runs in 6.2 innings yesterday. And he has four wins.
The guy who did get the win, Grant Balfour, pitched well, so it's not as if he wasn't deserving. Still, Radke's going to end up going 10-8 or something, and he deserves better. Balfour is a guy I've touted for a while now, and I've even said I wish the Twins would give him a chance as a starting pitcher, so it was nice to see him pitch well and stay out there for a while (2.1 innings of scoreless ball).
There was a huge deal made late last night and I have a big write-up of the trade over at The Hardball Times, so please go check that out ...
The Hardball Times: The Beltran Three-Way
Chicago (Prior) -140 over Chicago (Garland)
Montreal (Day) +110 over Toronto (Towers)
San Francisco (Schmidt) -130 over Oakland (Zito)
Atlanta (Ortiz) -100 over Baltimore (Lopez)
St. Louis (Williams) -140 over Kansas City (Reyes)
San Diego (Valdes) -100 over Seattle (Nageotte)
Total to date: -$2,705
W/L record: 110-147 (3-1 yesterday for +205.)
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Thursday, June 24, 2004
Waiting AroundIt's been an interesting few weeks for me. As I have mentioned (or at least hinted at) here several times, my grandfather went into the hospital three weeks ago. He originally had surgery on his gallbladder and went home just fine, at which point he developed an extremely severe infection. It wasn't looking very good for a long time (he was even "code blue" at one point, which is about as bad as it gets) and he spent nearly two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit.
The ICU is just a dreadful place. So much death, so much depression, so many families hurting. I spent long hours there with various members of my family, but also spent time with complete strangers. You see people in the waiting room day after day and you almost can't help but talk to them. You tell them why you're there and they do the same. There is something strangely comforting about knowing everyone is, more or less, in the same boat.
The hardest part is that, once in the ICU, someone either improves enough to move to another floor of the hospital or they die. What ends up happening is that everyone celebrates when someone gets the news that their patient is moving to a "regular" floor. But just as often, I saw someone pass away, and the pain that brought their family.
Anyway, my grandpa left the ICU last week and, although he is still in the hospital, he is doing far better. Not as many tubes connected to him, not as many drugs dripping into him, and not as many nurses and doctors buzzing around his room.
Yesterday I visited with him and my grandma for a few hours, during which time we talked Twins, took two walks, and shared some ice cream. I am not a big fan of hospitals, but a "normal" floor is infinitely better than the ICU. I hope I never have to go back there, although I am sure I will.
My mom's side of the family is an interesting bunch. We do a nice job rallying together in times of tragedy, and we were actually too present and too talkative at times in the ICU. Because of the sheer number of nurses you come across in the ICU, you get all sorts of different personalities and different "rules."
Some nurses are friendly and talkative, some nurses get to know the family and chat with us even when they aren't taking care of our room, and some nurses see us around the hospital and speak to us like friends. At one point, my grandma looked at a male nurse very closely, pointed at him and said, "You know who you look like? Rodney Dangerfield." And he liked us so much by then that he didn't kill her or anything.
And then there was one nurse who kept forcing all of my grandpa's visitors to leave the room while she did whatever minor thing she was doing, and told us that, "You know, you're only supposed to have two visitors at a time, and even then you're not supposed to stay this long." This was despite the fact that my grandpa told everyone and anyone who would listen that he did not want to be left alone, even for a short time.
This nurse -- I guess I can say that her name is Doreen, since I doubt she's a huge baseball fan or blog reader -- had the gall to actually ask my grandma and myself to step into the hallway so that she could lecture us on the rules for visiting sick relatives. At that point we had been spending days and nights in the ICU for nearly a week.
And it wasn't even a good lecture. Just as she did with my grandpa, she spoke to us like 4-year-olds. Actually, she spoke to us like 4-year-olds who were both deaf and stupid. She talked loudly, repeated everything, used small words, and kept saying stuff like, "I just want you to understand." My favorite moment of the past month came when my grandpa, after receiving yet another stern talking to, said, calmly, "I understand what you're saying, because you said it already. I am just not going to listen to you."
Nurses are, I've come to realize, one of many professions that are underappreciated until you really need them. A nice nurse -- or even a mediocre one -- can make the day pleasant, or at least as pleasant as a day in the ICU can get. But a bad nurse can really ruin things. A bad nurse can dampen the whole mood and actually take over a family's thoughts from what really matters, which is the person lying in the hospital bed that they're all there to see.
So I have a new appreciation for nurses now, and I also have a new appreciation for a couple other professions too.
You see, in addition to spending huge chunks of my time at the hospital, I've also spent long hours waiting around for service people to show up at my house to fix stuff. In the past month, we've had a problem with our phone, with our internet connection, with our DirecTV and then, Tuesday night, my mom went into the kitchen and saw a mouse.
She screamed (I believe her exact words were "Oh s---, a mouse!") and then called "The Orkin Man." The guy showed up right on time yesterday, stayed for a little while, and supposedly cured us of all mouse-related problems. He even did stuff to get rid of "spiders, ants and whatever else" while he was at it. I have a bit of phobia of bugs, so I told the guy I wouldn't mind it if he came back once a month for the rest of my life. He laughed, but I was serious.
I figure there isn't a whole lot of other stuff in my life that can break at this point. As many of you know, my laptop crapped out on me last month. Then the phone, the internet, the DirecTV and my ability to think that my house is uninhabited by rodents all went away. And, of course, the big one is that a member of my family was "broken." All that stuff is fixed (or in the process of being fixed), and I hoping nothing else will break in the meantime.
Oh, by the way, I was watching last night's Twins game (nice win ... another good performance from the starting pitcher) and Bert Blyleven (the Twins' color commentator) got an e-mail question asking him if he enjoyed pitching in Fenway Park. He said (paraphrasing), "I liked it when I got good run support." Bert also went on to say that his shortest career start took place in Fenway and he lasted just one-third of an inning.
I was wondering for myself how Blyleven actually did (since his answer wasn't much of one at all), so I looked it up. Bert Blyleven made 13 career appearances at Fenway Park, 12 of them starts. He went 3-9 with a 7.25 ERA in 63.1 innings, giving up 89 hits, including 12 homers. Not pretty. Outside of Fenway, Bert Blyleven went 284-241 with a 3.26 ERA in 4,906.2 innings.
Also, here's the boxscore from Blyleven's aforementioned worst career start. The pitching line ...
IP R ER H SO BB HRYou know, that's not even really that bad. I mean, it's bad, but I'd be willing to bet that most managers today would leave a pitcher who did that in for a lot longer than one out. Of course, Blyleven was a rookie at the time and had a grand total of 15 games of major league experience, so he was probably on a short leash.
Interestingly, Blyleven came back the very next day to pitch 5.2 innings in relief of Luis Tiant, who lasted just 1.1 innings against the Red Sox. Blyleven actually picked up the win, his seventh of the season, giving up three runs. The Twins won 9-6.
I guess this means Blyleven has a good memory and is a little shy about admitting the Red Sox used to crush him at Fenway. Incidentally, Blyleven faired much better against Boston away from Fenway, going 9-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 20 starts.
Retrosheet really is a wonderful thing. And so are (most) nurses and guys who are willing to come to your house and get rid of mice.
Pittsburgh (Burnett) +230 over Houston (Clemens)
Chicago (Rauch) -105 over Cleveland (Westbrook)
Detroit (Robertson) +105 over Kansas City (George)
New York (Vazquez) -170 over Baltimore (Ponson)
Total to date: -$2,910
W/L record: 107-146 (0-2 yesterday for -240.)
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Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Starting to Come AroundThe Twins lost last night and their bullpen basically imploded, but that's not totally unexpected playing against the suddenly healthy Red Sox, at Fenway. The good news from the game is that the Twins got another solid effort from a starting pitcher, as Kyle Lohse went six innings and gave up three runs. Nothing great, obviously, but I'll take a "quality start" against Boston any time.
Lohse's start continues a pretty impressive run of starting pitching for the Twins this month. Ignoring their Seth Greisinger/Matt Guerrier fifth starter combo, Minnesota's front four have come up with the following performances in June ...
OPP STARTER IP ER SO BBPretty impressive. That's a total of 16 starts. Fifteen of them were at least six innings. They haven't had a starter throw shutout baseball, but no one has allowed more than four earned runs, either. A starter has walked more than two batters in game just once, which is remarkable to me.
Overall, the Twins have a 3.00 ERA in those 16 starts and they have gone an average of 6.75 innings per game. Perhaps the most impressive thing, to me at least, is that they have combined for 84 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 108 innings.
The most encouraging thing is that the solid performances have come from all four of the Twins' regular starters; this isn't just a case of one or two guys getting hot for three weeks.
PITCHER GS IP ERA SO BBNow, if only the team could remember how to hit, we'd be on to something. After scoring 6.05 runs per game in April, the Twins have scored just 4.15 runs per game since. After averaging over six runs per game for the entire first month of the season, they've scored more than six runs in a game exactly eight times since. Not pretty.
On a completely unrelated note (or not) ... Justin Morneau is now hitting .310/.388/.625 with 18 homers, 18 doubles and 52 RBIs in 56 games at Triple-A Rochester.
Mr. June, Luis Rivas, went 0-for-3 last night, dropping his average this month all the way down to .487. I got a really great e-mail regarding Luis' amazing hot streak yesterday from long-time reader Jim Mohl. It's so good that I'd just like to present it in its entirety, without comment ...
His performance post-injury is certainly remarkable. Using the binomial distribution, the chances of a .261 hitter suddenly going 19-for-36 (or better) is about 1-in-6,000. To put that in perspective, the chances of being dealt 4 of a kind in 5 Card Stud is roughly 1-in-4,000. Definitely a rarity. But given enough players and enough time, it's bound to happen to somebody. Rivas could be this year's Mr. Lucky.Folks, that is a great e-mail. I am notoriously awful at answering e-mail, in part due to the sheer volume of them I get each day. However, if you ever want to be assured that I'll read what you write and pay close attention to it, all you have to do is write something as good as what Jim just put together.
Of course, that's much easier said than done. I'd say the ratio of e-mails like Jim's that I get, compared to e-mails that are essentially asking me for advice on which middle reliever to start this week in fantasy baseball, is about 1-to-1,000.
See ya tomorrow ...
Chicago (Buehrle) -140 over Cleveland (Lee)
Detroit (Knotts) +105 over Kansas City (May)
Total to date: -$2,670
W/L record: 107-144 (1-3 yesterday for -200.)
*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Pinto Talks Twins (and other ramblings after an off-day)The other day I was thinking that my team, the Minnesota Twins, whom I rant and rave about in this space five times a week, don't get all that much attention in the blogging world. Now, don't get me wrong, there are a fair number of Twins blogs, such as Twins Geek, Seth Speaks, Twins Chatter, Bat-Girl and Will Young.
We actually have a good and growing group of Twins blogs, and I'm probably even leaving a couple out. Instead, I'm talking about outside of the guys (and girls) who are as obsessed with the team as I am; I'm talking about other blogs.
How many Twins-related posts have you read on non-Twins blogs this season? Perhaps I am just frequenting the wrong blogs or something, but I haven't see a whole lot. I'm not necessarily complaining, as much as wondering why it is. The more stuff about the Twins there is for me to read, the better.
So just a couple days after I started pondering that question, one of the original baseball bloggers, the guy whose innocent suggestion that his readers might have fun trying to start a blog of their own turned into 23 months and counting of me blogging every weekday, had some relatively lengthy thoughts on the Twins yesterday. Here's what David Pinto, of Baseball Musings, had to say about the AL Central leaders:
I find the Twins to be a very interesting team. Without the fanfare of the A's, they built a very strong farm system and developed a good team on the cheap. Like the A's, they were willing to let older players go (Ortiz, Pierzynski) to make room for younger talent. They are another nail in the coffin of the meme that you can't win without spending a lot of money.That's a solid post, especially from someone who doesn't follow the team all that closely on a regular basis. David actually talks about a topic -- the Twins "lucky" record -- that a lot of Twins fans I know have had on their minds of late.
Here's the thing though ... It's not just this season. The Twins have been just as "lucky" going on four years now, which is, not coincidentally, the same length of time they've been a good team again. Take a look ...
YEAR PYTH W REAL W +/-If the Twins continue to beat their pythagorean record at this same pace for the remainder of this season, they will have been "lucky" by 10 games this year and a total of 27 games over the past four seasons.
Meanwhile, check out the same table for the White Sox ...
YEAR PYTH W REAL W +/-The Sox actually managed to "beat" their pythagorean record back in 2001, but they've now been "unlucky" for three years in a row. The interesting thing, aside from their unluckiness coinciding with the Twins' luckiness, is that the White Sox have a new manager this season and are still underperforming just like they did in the past.
If both the White Sox and Twins stay at the same paces for real wins and pythagorean wins for the remainder of this season, the Twins will be +23 over the past three years, while the White Sox will be -15. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, that's just huge -- a 38-game swing.
Meanwhile, the Twins beat the White Sox in real wins by 13.5 games in 2002 and 4.0 games last year, and if they keep the same winning percentages this season, the Twins will win the division by about 5.0 games. All of which adds up to a difference of "only" 22.5 games in the real standings over that same three-year period.
In trying to figure out how the Twins have out-performed their pythag. so far this year, David says, "One of my rules of thumb in evaluating teams is that great teams win big. The Twins aren't a great team. But they are doing a good job of winning when they are able."
I agree with that 100%. The Twins are not, by any stretch of the imagination, a great team. In fact, I've gone on record many teams saying that if they were not in the AL Central, they probably would yet to have made the playoffs since 1991.
I honestly believe that if the Twins had been in the AL's other two divisions, they would probably have been fighting for third and maybe even fourth-place for the past few years. That doesn't change the fact that they ARE in the AL Central, of course, or that they are currently on track to make the playoffs for the third year in a row.
Now that I've complimented David on his Twins thoughts, let me just point out one thing that I think he has wrong. It's very minor, but it's something worth noting. David says, "Like the A's, [the Twins] were willing to let older players go (Ortiz, Pierzynski) to make room for younger talent."
Now, this is true in some cases, like, as David points out, A.J. Pierzynski being sent to the Giants to clear room for Joe Mauer. However, his other example of David Ortiz is not a good one. Ortiz was arbitration-eligible following the 2002 season, at which point he was 26 years old. The Twins let him go, in part because they didn't want to pay him what he likely would have gotten in arbitration, but they certainly didn't replace him with a young player.
The two spots Ortiz manned while with the Twins were first base and designated hitter. The Twins' first baseman since he left has been Doug Mientkiewicz, who is just over a year older than Ortiz. The Twins haven't had an everyday DH since Ortiz left, but the guy who has played there the most, Matthew LeCroy, is exactly one month younger than Ortiz.
In reality (or at least my reality), the Twins have been completely unwilling to replace Ortiz at DH with a younger player. That player is, of course, Justin Morneau, who is now hitting .311/.381/.622 with 17 homers and 18 doubles in 55 games at Triple-A Rochester.
And then the other part of David's comment that I don't agree with completely is his statement that, "[The Twins] are another nail in the coffin of the meme that you can't win without spending a lot of money."
As I just said, one of the main reasons for Minnesota's playoff appearances is the division they are in. They simply have had to be better than the White Sox. The A's (who David mentions), meanwhile, have had to compete against the Angels and Mariners, who have been, at various points, as good and far better than Chicago.
If you stick the Twins in the AL West, the A's would beat them in the standings every year, and I think the Twins would have had a very tough time even finishing in second-place in any season, this current one included.
That's not to say the Twins aren't doing a very nice job on a limited budget, because they certainly are. Still, I don't think they are the perfect blueprint to follow. They play in baseball's worst division, against several other low budget teams. And, prior to starting to turn things around in 2001, they went eight straight seasons (1993-2000) without a record above .500.
The A's, meanwhile, play in a tougher division and yet will make the playoffs for the fifth year in a row this season and will have a winning record for the sixth season in a row. The Twins, if they can hold off the White Sox, will make the postseason for the third straight year and finish above .500 for the fourth straight year.
So what exactly am I saying? Basically, I think I'm saying the Twins and their management have done a nice job in the past few years, but they've also been lucky to play against weak competition. I'd say they aren't quite another "nail in the coffin of the meme that you can't win without spending a lot of money," but rather another nail in the coffin of the meme that you can't win IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL without spending a lot of money.
Because in the end, the Twins' ability to make the playoffs and to put those nails in that coffin, is only affected by their ability to finish with a better record than four teams: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City.
There's no Boston or New York there, no Oakland or Anaheim, not even a Seattle (before they went in the tank). That's Chicago, a good-but-flawed team, and three other small-payroll clubs.
Here are the payrolls USA Today credits the teams I've been talking about with having in 2004 ...
Minnesota Twins $53.6 millionBeing a "small market" team with a small payroll only matters if the teams you're competing against for a playoff spot are in bigger markets or have bigger payrolls. I think really the only nail the Twins are driving into anything is that they can beat the Chicago White Sox and three teams with even smaller payrolls than they have, and even that is still in question this season.
Meanwhile, look at what Oakland is fighting this year ...
Oakland A's $59.8 millionNow, that is a team putting some nails in some coffins.
And it was the same story last year ...
Minnesota Twins $55.5 millionWho knew? The Twins were the Yankees of the AL Central last year!
And here's what Oakland overcame to win the AL West last season ...
Oakland A's $50.3 millionI hate to say it, but this is why people like me praise Billy Beane so much. If you want to know why Beane is a favorite of statheads and you're willing to look at it in a reasonable manner, without reverting back to "they lose in the playoffs every year" when the discussion gets interesting, it's fairly easy to see.
The A's will make the playoffs for the fifth season in a row in 2004 (you heard it here first, I guess). In those five years, take a look at the average payrolls of the AL West teams:
Oakland A's $43.2 millionIn making what I believe will be five straight playoff appearances, the A's have been out-spent by an average of $24.8 million, $33.3 million and $41.5 million by the three other teams in their division, respectively.
I love that the Twins are winning, I think they have done a nice job and I really believe they have the players in place to continue to compete for playoff spots for the rest of this decade. But what the A's have done and are doing is on a completely different level.
You know, there's something special going on in Oakland. Someone really should write a book about it.
New article at The Hardball Times: Tale of Two Halves
Pittsburgh (Benson) +190 over Houston (Oswalt)
Arizona (Sparks) +150 over San Diego (Eaton)
Minnesota (Lohse) +215 over Boston (Schilling)
New York (Mussina) -160 over Baltimore (Riley)
Total to date: -$2,470
W/L record: 106-141 (1-0 yesterday for +100.)
*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****
Monday, June 21, 2004
.299/.327/.476That's what Luis Rivas is hitting. Seriously, .299/.327/.476. I don't know how to explain it either. And if you think that's amazing, consider that Rivas missed about three weeks with a groin injury and has the following before and after numbers ...
TIME PERIOD AB AVG OBP SLG OPS GPATo be honest, I just don't know what to say. Yes, it's only 36 at-bats and, yes, his season totals still aren't that great, but my god, the man is hitting .528 with an .889 slugging percentage this month! And not only that, his defense has been extremely impressive too.
Since coming back off the DL, Rivas has a four-hit game, two three-hit games, two two-hit games, and five one-hit games. And he's only played a total of 11 times! In fact, the only game this month in which he appeared but didn't get a hit was when he came into the June 11 game against the Phillies as a defensive replacement and never got to the plate.
It's as if ... you might want to sit down for this ... Luis Rivas is actually improving as a player. Imagine that, huh? A young player getting better the more he plays. This whole time I had been looking for gradual improvements that never came, but apparently Luis just wanted to save it all up for about five years and then surprise us with it some random month.
Here's what I said on Friday:
I have decided that, as long as Luis Rivas is hitting like he is right now, I won't say a negative word about him. I don't expect this to last very long, but I certainly wouldn't mind if he continued like this for, say, the next 10 years or so.Well, I'm still giving Rivas the silent treatment, because he went 5-for-10 with a walk, a homer and two doubles in the weekend series against Milwaukee. The man is on fire, there's just no way around it. In 36 at-bats he has gone from horrible numbers, leap-frogged over "semi-respectable" and is now approaching a .300 batting average and .500 slugging percentage.
This is as good as Luis Rivas has ever played and this is as good as his numbers have ever been. I remain silent, hopeful and skeptical.
Meanwhile, Johan Santana is on a hot streak of his own. He had perhaps his best game of the season yesterday afternoon, going eight innings against the Brewers while allowing two runs. He had 12 strikeouts, gave up just four hits, and won his third game in a row. Check out what Santana has done so far this month ...
GS IP ERA W L SO BB OAVGI know everyone is all excited about Rivas, and rightfully so, but those numbers just make me smile. In addition to his dominant pitching performance yesterday, Santana also went 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI at the plate. He had a single and an RBI in his last start, too, so he's hitting .375 with two RBIs on the year and .313 in 16 career at-bats. I heard a rumor that he also sells popcorn and cotton candy between innings.
Finally, Twins play-by-play man Dick Bremer said something during yesterday's game that I wanted to comment on, before I forgot about it. During one of Lyle Overbay's plate appearances, Bremer said (roughly paraphrasing, since I was actually eating lunch at the time):
"It's not enough to just say that Lyle Overbay is someone who had good minor league numbers and is now putting up good numbers in the major leagues, because there are a lot of hitters who have good minor league numbers and never get it together like Overbay has in the majors. David McCarty had minor league numbers that were great, just like Overbay, and the Twins waited for him to hit and he never did."I am someone who believes that, for the most part, minor league numbers can be used to accurately project major league numbers, at least if they are used correctly. Now, certainly there are plenty of examples of guys who do well in the minors and never do well in the majors, but I disagree with the assertion that David McCarty is one of those guys, and I vehemently disagree with the assertion that his minor league hitting was similar to Overbay's.
Lyle Overbay put up some huge minor league numbers over the years. Just take a look at his batting averages at various stops along the way, while in the Arizona organization ...
YEAR LEVEL G AVG OBP SLGNow, Overbay played in some nice parks for hitting, but that is still some serious batting averages and some great all-around offense. All of which is why it is not that surprising that he is among the NL leaders in batting average this season.
In fact, here's what I said about Overbay two years ago, when I ranked him as my #38 prospect in all of baseball:
He won't hit many homers, but he is a left-handed hitting first baseman in the Mark Grace mold -- lots of doubles, lots of singles and some walks ... Overbay is very capable of hitting about .315/.365/.500 as a full-time first baseman.In case you're wondering, he is currently hitting .345/.408/.554 this season and .308/.381/.472 for his career. He leads all of baseball in doubles, with 29.
Anyway, compare Overbay's string of huge minor league batting averages to what David McCarty did in the minor leagues while a member of the Twins' organization ...
YEAR LEVEL G AVG OBP SLGI think it's pretty apparent that the comparison is not a good one at all. Lyle Overbay hit over .330 in each of his first five minor league stops, including hitting .352 in a full season of Double-A and .343 in a full season of Triple-A.
Meanwhile, David McCarty's "good minor league numbers" consist of one 15-game stretch in 1991 and one 40-game stretch in 1993. Surrounding those 55 total games of good hitting were about 200 games of sub par offense, including a .272/.356/.434 performance in a full season at Double-A.
If you're not a big believer in minor league numbers foreshadowing major league numbers, that's perfectly fine. But David McCarty is not someone you want to use to prove your point, especially when you pair him up with Lyle Overbay who, as of right now, looks like the poster-child for minor league performances translating to major league performances. Overbay was a hitting-machine everywhere he went; McCarty was a bust before he made it to the majors.
New article at The Hardball Times: My All-Stars
Cleveland (Sabathia) -110 over Chicago (Schoeneweis)
Total to date: -$2,570
W/L record: 105-141 (1-1 on Friday for +50.)
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