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    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    Replacement Level AL East Preview 2013

    For the second straight year, I’ve been asked to participate in Replacement Level’s AL East Preview on behalf of the Baltimore Orioles. I participated last year, but the resulting piece was sadly lost in a tragic fire on the Internets, and I’m certainly not avoiding linking to it to cover up the fact that I gave the Orioles close to no chance to finish with even a winning record, let alone a Wild Card birth.*

    *But seriously, it’s here.

    To be fair, I had no way of knowing that the Orioles would be historically good in one-run games. The real question, though, is can they do it again in 2013?

    Probably not. But there are other ways for them to win, other than never blowing a lead again.

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Retired Numbers Series: Post-Script 3

    Well, I guess I got this one done just in time; the Braves are retiring Chipper Jones’ number in June

    To be fair, that wasn’t a huge leap of a prediction, but it’s still right. So, with that, my updated predictions for the Braves:

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Retired Numbers Series: Kansas City Royals

    The Kansas City Royals were one of the eight expansion teams to begin their lives in the 1960s, and as I’ve found while doing the Retired Numbers Series, these teams tend to run the gamut with regards to how stingy they are at retiring numbers. Some, like the Padres and (especially) Astros, have tried to recognize every stage of their history. Others, like the Mets and the Astros’ ideological opposite extreme the Rangers, have only recognized one to two players. The Royals, while not as extreme as those two, tend to fall in to the latter category. Would they turn up a similar wealth of potential honorees?

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Knee-Jerk Reactions: Michael Bourn Finally Signs With...the Indians?

    I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming; the Cleveland Indians have signed Michael Bourn, according to Jon Heyman. On top of that, it makes the overall result of the 2013 Indians’ offseason more confusing.

    The Indians were not great last year, losing 94 games and landing in fourth place in the AL Central. That was bad enough to get them a top ten draft pick, which means that they instead lost their competitive balance pick (71st overall). That’s one good thing about this signing, but it still looks strange coming from a fourth place team. The AL Central is a weaker than most divisions, so maybe they could make a run at it with all of their moves.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Mike Trout, the 2013 Los Angeles Angels, and Improvements

    We’re drawing ever closer to Spring Training (at long last), meaning we can finally begin looking at the 2013 in earnest. And, like last year, the Angels look to be one of the most interesting teams in the league, thanks in part to one of the game’s most fascinating players.

    Mike Trout was kept in the minors for the first month of the season, then absolutely dominated everybody else upon his call-up. In 139 games, he hit 30 home runs, 27 doubles, 8 triples, stole 49 bases, posted a .326/.399/.564 batting line, and played stellar defense. It was a pretty historic season; even with the missing month of time, Trout still managed over 10 Wins Above Replacement, only the 47th such season in baseball history since the start of the AL. Fangraphs rated it similarly, at 10 WAR.

    No matter how you look at the season, it was good. Which brings up the question: how good will he be this season? It’s easy to just say as good as he was in 2012, but that’s not a given. Players generally improve as the get closer to 27 or 28, but that isn’t a given. He could very easily be the best player in the league for the second year straight and see his value drop.

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    The Hall of What-If

    In a continuance of things on my “Dead Period To Do” List (see here) is examine two players in depth, a hitter and a pitcher, respectively. These two don’t really have much in common, on the surface. I mean, obviously, there’s the hitter-pitcher dynamic, but on top of that, they played almost entirely different games. The hitter retired nearly eight decades before the pitcher even debuted. But there is one bigger thing tying these two together; under different circumstances, they might be thought of as Hall of Famers.

    I am talking about Gavvy Cravath and Orlando Hernandez, of course.

    Yes, those two, who combined for no All-Star selections* between them, might arguably both be Hall of Famers.