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    Sunday, April 28, 2013

    Could the Phillies Pull Off a "Red Sox"-Type Trade?

    The other day, Dan Szymborski wrote an interesting article for ESPN where he looked at the current state of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies, just over one year removed from a 102-win season, are off to a 9-14 start this season, and Szymborski recommends a rebuild for the team.

    That may sound harsh for a team that was that good that recently, but this very much seems to be the case in this instance. The division-rival Braves and Nationals look to be the strongest teams in the league, giving them a big-enough challenge to start with. On top of that, the roster is looking older and more broken down as time goes on.

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    Why RBIs are Dumb, Reason #3023

    Justin Upton is off to a hot start; he's probably the hottest player in baseball right now no matter how you look at it. Whether you take a traditional look (10 home runs in 19 games) or a more advanced one (1.4 WAR, Fangraphs), he more or less leads the league.

    But, as Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot writes, he still is missing something from his game: RBIs. Upton has only 14 of them, despite his 10 home runs. That seems incredible-is Justin Upton un-clutch?

    That's a ridiculous thought. Let's look at Thursday's box score, the first game of a double header and the game where Upton hit number 10 out. Upton batted third-that's unsurprising. Ahead of him in the lineup? Andrelton Simmons and Justin's older brother B.J. They have on-base percentages of .292 and .247 so far, respectively. That won't last, but for the time being, the three batters ahead of Justin in the order are a pitcher and two guys with OBPs below .300.

    People have to be on base for you to drive them in.

    EDIT: After game two, those figures are now 11 home runs, 1.9 WAR, and 16 RBIs.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    The Battle of the Titans: Who Would Win?

    Bill James’ Online Mailbag had an interesting question the other day: Could a team of the best players not in the Hall of Fame beat a team of the worst players in the Hall?

    Bill’s answer? Of course; you’re picking the best players from one group and the worst from another, and especially with a group with such amorphous boundaries and a lot of overlap, that isn’t really a close call.

    But what about a variation of that question: Could a team of the best players not in the Hall beat a team of median Hall of Famers?

    The first question would be what would each team look like? The question asker offered his own idea of a full roster, but I want to try and construct my own lineup. Going by position for the best snubs (which is primarily drawing from 50 Best Players Not in the Hall list):

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Scott Rolen: Reflecting on an All-Time Great

    There hasn’t been an official announcement yet, but each day further along the season gets, the less likely it gets that Scott Rolen will play in 2013. He was flip-flopping on whether to hang his cleats up all winter, with even the last news from him being uncertain (although leaning towards retirement). Unless the Dodgers or some other team realizes that their third base hole is worse than they thought midseason, he’ll probably be sitting this year out. It is somewhat fitting though, if upsetting, that one of the best and most underrated players ever can’t even be the best third baseman to retire this season.

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Johan Santana, Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax, and Aces

    Last week, Johan Santana tore a muscle in his shoulder, more or less knocking him out for the rest of the season and casting doubt on his chances of ever pitching again. I do think we’ll see a little more of him, just because someone will want to take a chance on him once he’s back. However, just in case, people are already discussing his place among the all-time greats.

    The consensus seems to be that he comes up short. He did only pitch for twelve seasons, after all, and he’s been hurt several times after all. I wouldn’t agree with those sentiments, though. There are actually several Hall of Fame pitchers with a similar amount of work in their careers.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    2013 Predictions: NL West

    And lastly, we move on to the division of the reigning World Series champions. But the Giants find themselves being challenged this season by a Dodgers team that spent big this offseason, as well as the retooled Diamondbacks. I know that this is a little late for the start of the season, but most teams are only 1/81 of the way through the season-these still count as predictions.

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    2013 Predictions: AL West

    I didn’t quite finish this series before opening day like I wanted, but I still intend to finish it. There are several other stories I would like to cover-most notably Johan Santana’s injury and possible retirement. Those will still come; but first, this.

    The AL West may be the best division in baseball this year. It might have been last year, when the A’s, Rangers, and Angels all topped 89 wins. Although the Astros have joined the division, the only other division with that accomplishment (the AL East) seems to have gotten worse, while the AL West seems to have only gotten better. With the three teams at the top again looking to be in a dogfight in 2013, how will it all shake out?