Justin Verlander is a Solid MVP Pick

by JohnBowen

In this video, Ken Rosenthal says that he’s “not buying” the talk of Justin Verlander winning the American League Most Valuable Player this season.

He kicks off his argument by claiming that Verlander might not even be the most valuable player on his own team, citing first baseman Miguel Cabrera and catcher Alex Avila. Indeed, all three gentlemen should receive MVP votes (and he didn’t even mention All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta) but Verlander leads his team very comfortably in both versions of Wins Above Replacement:

Player WAR – Baseball Reference WAR – Fangraphs
Justin Verlander 7.4 6.3
Alex Avila 5.0 4.9
Miguel Cabrera 4.6 4.4
Jhonny Peralta 3.9 4.4

Now, naturally, it would be silly to just pick MVP by blindly plugging a player’s raw numbers into a computer and having it spit out a result (though at least that way, we wouldn’t have ridiculous and completely indefensible results). But I look at that chart and feel fairly confident that Verlander is at least the most valuable Detroit Tiger.

Rosenthal continues with an assertion that, given a choice, he would always take a position player over a pitcher for MVP, due mainly to the fact that a pitcher will throw in around 35 games whereas a position player will play in 140 or more.

That seems to be a commonly held notion. No starting pitcher has won MVP since Roger Clemens won in 1986 (though Dennis Eckersley got it in 1992, when he saved 51 games).

Not Pedro Martinez in 1999 or 2000, when he dominated the steroided-up American League harder than anyone ever has.  Not Greg Maddux or Randy Johnson, or Johan Santana. Not even Orel Hershiser the year he shut-down the National League for 59 consecutive innings.

Why is that? Take the man in question, for example: Justin Verlander has faced 803 batters this season, meaning that he has already dealt with more at-bats than any batter will possibly have this year. Compare him to New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, another MVP candidate, who has had 565 plate appearances of his own (through Thursday). Sure, Granderson has been about 50% better than the average batter (based on his 154 OPS+). But Verlander has held the average American League batter to rate statistics of .185/.233/.296 over more plate appearances. That’s right – he has made your league average American Leaguer look like Jeff Mathis at the plate.

There’s a reason that pitchers are awarded wins and losses (with which they are foolishly compared to their peers). It’s because a starting pitcher has more potential control over the game than any other individual on the field. Even if they only pitch in one-fifth as many games, they have the capability of being five times as important as their teammates on days that they do pitch.

If I was picking MVP, I would choose Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, who has had an absolutely historic year at the plate – head, shoulders, and probably torso above the rest of the American League. However, there is a very clear precedent of giving the award to a man on a playoff team. In the last 15 years, just one American League MVP has been given to a player on a non-playoff team (Alex Rodriguez in 2003). That is, of course, a whole other debate, but since the definition of MVP isn’t clearly spelled out, it’s at least a defensible position.

And if the award must go to a gentleman on a playoff team, I can think of no better candidate than the ace of the Detroit Tigers and the best pitcher in baseball this season, Justin Verlander.

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212 Responses to “Justin Verlander is a Solid MVP Pick”

  1. Raul Says:

    The Tigers should have a German announcer. A German pronunciation of Justin Verlander would be fantastic.

    A similar thing should occur with the Boston Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon should the Red Sox get an Indian announcer to say “Papelbon”.

  2. Bob Says:

    In alphabetical order, are these the 6 most worthy candidates in the A.L?
    1. Batista
    2. Ellsbury
    3. Gonzalez
    4. Granderson
    5. Pedroia
    6. Verlander

  3. John Says:

    Haha.

    My middle name is Armbruster.

    Say that with a German accent.

  4. John Says:

    @2, very well done.

    I think Avila should definitely be in that mix. Cabrera too.

    Konerko’s having another great year.

    Weaver should get top-10 votes.

    And even though he’s a less sexy pick, Asdrubal Cabrera has been huge for the Indians this season and definitely deserves a lot more consideration than his raw numbers would indicate.

  5. Cameron Says:

    Avila won’t win, but I’d throw him… Probably high as a sixth-place vote.

  6. Cameron Says:

    Jose Bautsita’s OPS+ is 196… Fucking hell.

  7. Raul Says:

    Jose Bautista is not the most valuable player in the american league.

  8. Bob Says:

    Possibly higher. The 3 Sox guys are going to fuck each other up. Personally, I think it boils down to Granderson or Batista. Of course 6 months ago I predicted Longoria.

  9. Bob Says:

    I was refering to Alex Avila possibly being higher than 6th. And on that note, time for me to purchase a 5th!!!

  10. John Says:

    “Jose Bautista is not the most valuable player in the american league.”

    He’s the best player.

    I don’t care if he sucked in 2008.

  11. John Says:

    LOL @ 9.

    Get blitzed brother.

  12. Raul Says:

    Bautista is not even the best player in the american league. He’s not even among the Top 10 best players in the american league.

    A 300 OPS+ wouldn’t change that.

  13. Cameron Says:

    Lemme guess, Josh Hamilton sucks too because he took ten years to get to the majors.

  14. John Says:

    @12, based on what?

    Seriously.

    He’s easily the best player.

    He plays for the Blue Jays and might not win MVP.

    But everything he’s done has been EASILY better than the rest of the league.

  15. Raul Says:

    If Josh Hamiton woke up as Jose Bautista, he’d go back on a drug binge.

  16. John Says:

    What, woke up as the AL leader in OBP and slugging?

    Woke up leading the league in HR despite playing in a shit lineup?

    Woke up with the highest OPS+ by an AL player in 10 years?

    Yeah, that would really suck for him.

  17. Chuck Says:

    For a pitcher to be in the discussion for MVP he has to have an extraordinarily good season, his team has to have a good season, and no offensive player is having an off the charts year.

    On no planet should a guy hitting .278 be MVP. Granderson’s out.

    No one takes Ellsbury seriously, he’s having a great season for him, but pretty benign compared to what an MVP is expected to do. He’s out.

    Adrian Gonzalez is CLEARLY having the best season of any postseason team (offensively at least) and he SHOULD get more votes than either Ellsbury or Pedroia.

    25 of Bautista’s homers are solo shots, and 19 have come with the Jays either up or down by two or more runs. By comparison, Mark Teixeira leads the major leagues in homers with runners on base with 23, and no one is listing him as an MVP candidate (rightfully so, by the way).

    Avila is having a good season FOR A CATCHER, but I wouldn’t vote for him.

    If the Tigers hang on, and Verlander ends up with 24-25 wins (he goes for #20 tonite, still in August), he should be the winner.

  18. John Says:

    “On no planet should a guy hitting .278 be MVP. Granderson’s out.”

    Batting average is silly.

    “No one takes Ellsbury seriously, he’s having a great season for him, but pretty benign compared to what an MVP is expected to do. He’s out.”

    Eh?

    “25 of Bautista’s homers are solo shots, and 19 have come with the Jays either up or down by two or more runs. By comparison, Mark Teixeira leads the major leagues in homers with runners on base with 23, and no one is listing him as an MVP candidate (rightfully so, by the way).”

    The fact that he has mostly solo shots and Tex hits more with runs on base is purely a function of the gentlemen in their lineups.

    And ok, he has 19 with the team outside 2. That gives him 18 within 2 runs. How does that rank?

    “Avila is having a good season FOR A CATCHER, but I wouldn’t vote for him.”

    Do catchers ever get to win?

    “If the Tigers hang on, and Verlander ends up with 24-25 wins (he goes for #20 tonite, still in August), he should be the winner.”

    What the hell?! After all that, you’re going to AGREE with me?!?! UGGHHHHHH.

  19. Raul Says:

    “The fact that he has mostly solo shots and Tex hits more with runs on base is purely a function of the gentlemen in their lineups.”

    It actually isn’t.
    Of course, you probably think pitchers make mistakes when they give up solo homers with a 5 run lead.

  20. John Says:

    “It actually isn’t.”

    Uh huh.

    “Of course, you probably think pitchers make mistakes when they give up solo homers with a 5 run lead.”

    Pitchers don’t groove pitchers nearly as often as you claim.

  21. Chuck Says:

    “What the hell?! After all that, you’re going to AGREE with me?!?! UGGHHHHHH”

    Suggestion..read the ENTIRE comment before replying.

  22. Raul Says:

    “Pitchers don’t groove pitchers nearly as often as you claim.”

    Spoken like a man who’s never pitched with a lead.
    Enough of that though.

    John, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris?

  23. Chuck Says:

    “Pitchers don’t groove pitchers nearly as often as you claim.”

    Pitch to contact.

  24. John Says:

    Is there any evidence that teams pitching against the Blue Jays pitch to contact more than usual?

    I mean, we’re not talking about the 2003 Tigers.

    We’re talking about a .500 baseball team.

  25. Cameron Says:

    “Of course, you probably think pitchers make mistakes when they give up solo homers with a 5 run lead.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but you’ve fucked up when you give up a homer no matter what lead you have.

  26. Chuck Says:

    Raul, John did pitch.

    After practice and when the varsity was finished in the showers, John would walk around the locker room pitching dirty towels into the laundry basket.

  27. John Says:

    “After practice and when the varsity was finished in the showers, John would walk around the locker room pitching dirty towels into the laundry basket.”

    Hey man.

    When it comes to pitching in the showers, pitching to contact is the LAST thing you wanna do.

  28. Raul Says:

    LOL @ John 27

  29. John Says:

    If Jose Bautista was on a playoff team (like, if the Blue Jays were in the AL Central), is there any doubt that he would be in the MVP?

  30. Mike Felber Says:

    Not top 10, & a 300 OPS + would not change how worthy he is of the MVP? You are stone cold tripping out Raul. When we look at how often guys produce in closer situations, rarely is there much distinction-over a long enough time that randomness does not get ironed out. I doubt we are going to see that in late & close situations Bautista is a bum,

  31. Raul Says:

    All these numbers Bautista is putting up while on the juice means nothing.
    He is not a top 10 baseball player.
    Not even close.

  32. John Says:

    Evidence? Who needs it.

  33. brautigan Says:

    It is my own personal bias but I would never vote a pitcher for Most Valuable Player. I mean, it does say “Player” not “Pitcher”. A hitter can’t win the Cy Young, can he?

    So keep ‘em seperate. But hey, that’s just me.

    (And it is not always a given that a player needs to be on a contending or a winning team to win the MVP. But voters sure must think so sometimes………)

  34. John Says:

    The problem, as I see it, is that the Hank Aaron award gets zero publicity.

    That should be like the Cy Young for hitters.

    Then again, they usually just give it to Jeter.

  35. Chuck Says:

    I have to share this..funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

    I’m talking Yankees on an email to a friend, and I typed “ARod” into the message.

    When I’m finished and hit “send” spell check automatically pops up.

    When it came up, “ARod” was highlighted as a misspelled word.

    The first suggested correction was “ARoid.”

    I about pissed myself.

  36. Cameron Says:

    You know, I saw a possible move that San Diego can do with Heath Bell this offseason. Offer him arbitration and if he accepts, trade him before the time for arbitration hearings come up so someone else is forced to pay him. It’s what Texas did with Frank Francisco.

    …I didn’t know you could do that. I dunno why, but that just seems shady to me.

  37. Chuck Says:

    “Evidence? Who needs it.”

    You do.

    Re: Tim Raines.

  38. Chuck Says:

    Too easy.

  39. Raul Says:

    LOL @ Aroid.

    I’m willing to believe A-Rod was clean in 1995. But 2000? Not a chance.

  40. Raul Says:

    Baltimore smacked AJ Burnett to the tune of 9 hits and 9 earned runs in 5 innings.

    NINE EARNED RUNS.
    Burnett’s ERA is now 5.31 on the season.

    I have to say, I suspect even Joba Chamberlain as a starter would not be this ineffective.

  41. Raul Says:

    Among catchers with at least 250 PAs, Matt Wieters ranks 10th in OPS with .758.

    Certainly not what I would have expected out of a guy who slugged .576 in the minors.

    I suppose it’s positive news that his OPS is up 51 points from last season.

  42. Raul Says:

    Justin Upton projects to have the fewest strikeouts of his career.
    He’s hitting .300/.374/.543

  43. Raul Says:

    James Shields with a complete game, 7 hit, 1 run, 12k shutout.

  44. Raul Says:

    Poor Tim Wakefield fails to win #200 again.

  45. Raul Says:

    Chris Capuano, in what could only be described as a miracle, pitched a complete game 2 hit shutout with 12 strikeouts against Atlanta.

  46. Cameron Says:

    Guy can’t catch a break.

    And it’s only a matter of time before Upton solidifies himself as a perennial NL MVP candidate at this rate. First he was the hot rookie, then he was good, now he’s a guy who can have All-Star spots handed to him… And he’s only 23. This guy’s gonna be fucking scary for years to come.

    And congrats to Shields. He is, by far, having the best season of his career. I guess he found a way to reign in his streakiness.

  47. Raul Says:

    I thought Shields would be traded but I guess not.

  48. Cameron Says:

    Long as Tampa has an outside shot at contending (which they still somehow have…) they’ll keep Shields. Though this offseason would be a hell of a way to sell high on him.

  49. Raul Says:

    You’re probably right.

  50. Cameron Says:

    You know how much it costs the Rays to keep Shields through 2014? $28MM. If he’s anywhere near this good again, I’ll take it.

  51. Raul Says:

    Nelson Cruz had a 4-hit day with 6 RBI.

  52. Mike Felber Says:

    Tempting to assume a guy w/a sudden rise cheated-but without overwhelming evidence, not the best instinct for Americans. Finding a power stroke at 29 isw different than a better than ever peak in your mid ‘30;s or later.

  53. Raul Says:

    Mike you might be the most naive person in the world.

    OJ was innocent, right?

  54. John Says:

    Literally the only evidence on Bautista is that he’s been phenomenal the last two years.

    He has to take the same piss tests as everyone else.

    You thought he was a fluke and you were wrong. Fine. It happens.

    Denying that he’s been the best hitter in baseball is like me denying, point-blank, that the A’s suck balls because I picked them to win the west.

    Not everything in baseball works into a little tight knit circle where things happen as they should, according to prospect ratings and early career achievments.

    Just curious…at what point do you take a player seriously? Would you have bitched about Lou Gehrig because he didn’t seem as skilled as Wally Pipp when he was younger? Albert Pujols was drafted 400th overall. He can’t hit, and I don’t care what the numbers say.

  55. Raul Says:

    You people are getting dumber by the day.

  56. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes, & to state the painfully obvious, there was a ton of specific evidence against OJ. It is way to cynical to assume Joey Bats MUST be cheating.

  57. John Says:

    Anytime a player improves…it must be roids.

    Spoken like someone who knows baseball and definitely played.

  58. Raul Says:

    Clearly you two are gullible idiots.

    That aside,

    Verlander goes for #30 against Carl Pavano.

    Eric Surkamp makes his Major League debut for the Giants against Bret Myers and the Houston Astros.

  59. Raul Says:

    That should be #20.
    Not 30.

  60. Raul Says:

    The Yankees/Orioles doubleheader as been postponed due to the hurricane, as has the games between the Marlins and Phillies, and Mets and Braves.

  61. Jim Says:

    Great line during the RS radio broadcast today, talking about the upcoming movie Moneyball “two hours of geeks sitting around looking at computer screens.”

  62. Mike Felber Says:

    You are doing very well indeed Raul-if your goal is to be an angry, mean spirited, irrational Old Man while still young. Now most folks would know enough to not conclude Bautista is guilty absent any real evidence.

    Guess that makes most of the worlds gullible retards too. “You kids better not let that ball on my lawn! If so, I’ll know you must be juicing & I am keeping that ball as a WAR trophy. Where’s my pudding?! (Waves cane aimlessly.)

  63. Raul Says:

    I would have a very deliberate way of waving a cane.
    Aimlessly is for suckers.

  64. John Says:

    Well, one of two things is happening.

    Either Bautista legitimately improved at baseball, mainly by fixing his swing.

    Or he has access to steroids that absolutely no one else in the game knows about which don’t show up on piss tests and/or has the ability to sweet-talk the guys who conduct piss tests, which, by the way, happen regularly.

    The first explanation has been shown about a billion different ways:

    http://www.mlbplayerworkouts.com/jose-bautista

    The second explanation is retarded.

  65. Raul Says:

    LOL
    It’s staggering how little you know about doping given the last 40 years of history.

  66. John Says:

    Ok, so we’re going to go with the “he knows how to fool the piss testers and somehow no one else in baseball does”

    Any player who ever improves must be on steroids.

    Got it.

  67. Raul Says:

    I forgot.
    You actually think Major Leaguers are clean.

    Hahahaha

  68. John Says:

    What is Jose Bautista doing that no one else is?

    Besides OPS+ing 200?

  69. John Says:

    I also love the straight denial about how dominant he’s been.

    He’s not good, and I don’t care what the numbers say. HE CAN’T BE GOOD.

  70. Mike Felber Says:

    I have followed doping testing for years. It would be a simplistic idiocy to conclude that all excellent performances are from cheating. Joey Bats did not even break any records. So according to you Raul, Bolt is one of many who HAS to be cheating. I mean, he shatters records-in his case having taken a few years to break through to the summit.

    No way that he did not figure out how to use his 6′ 5″ frame off the blocks in a way that other tall guys did not. No chance a combination of top genetics & tinkering with approaches made him the world’s fastest man.

    I guess Tyson Gay is safe from being smeared as a cheater absent evidence, as long as ‘Blot’ is around to be better. Otherwise he would have to be guilty too.

  71. Raul Says:

    Him having a great season and him being a top baseball player are completely unrelated.

    That you think Major League Baseball players are clean because of some piss test in 2004…you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.

  72. Cameron Says:

    You know what, I’m with Raul now. The best baseball player around is Craig Counsell, because he sucks so much he can’t be juicing. Everyone else? Filthy cheaters and whores.

  73. Hartvig Says:

    Why is no one claiming that Adam Dunn is juicing?

  74. Cameron Says:

    Because he sucks this year? I dunno.

  75. Bob Says:

    Cameron, by your criteria then is Wakefield the best pitcher, cuz he sure as shit ain’t juicing?

  76. John Says:

    Silly me, I didn’t realize that the 2011 MVP had to have good numbers in 2006.

  77. Chuck Says:

    Why do you think most players suspended/suspected of steriod use are Latinos?

    Because the synthetic stuff they use doesn’t show up in piss tests.

    It’s only when they start combining those drugs with those more commonly used is when they get caught.

    The FDA can’t regulate some back alley shit found in San Pedro de Macoris or Jose Bautista’s locker.

    Tiger Woods got his junk from that disgraced Canadian doctor.

    Canada…foreign country.

    ARod was also linked to the same guy.

    You know Toronto is in Canada, right?

  78. Chuck Says:

    “I have followed doping testing for years.”

    I’ve also heard that after awhile people who have pets start to resemble them.

  79. John Says:

    Jose Bautista: the only hispanic player in the history of baseball.

  80. Cameron Says:

    “Cameron, by your criteria then is Wakefield the best pitcher, cuz he sure as shit ain’t juicing?”

    You kidding? No one can get to 199 wins clean! STEROIDS! And John Lackey had good numbers in ‘06, so he juiced too.

  81. John Says:

    What about Granderson? Any reason why he gets a free pass?

    Anyway, Alex Avila just homered. He’s leading the AL in obp and slugging for the month of August.

  82. Cameron Says:

    “What about Granderson? Any reason why he gets a free pass?”

    He can’t be a juicer. He plays center field for the Yankees. You know who else did that? Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. You want to tarnish that legacy?

    “Anyway, Alex Avila just homered. He’s leading the AL in obp and slugging for the month of August.”

    Some no-name rookie is suddenly an All-Star? Writing’s on the wall… Oh yeah, Avila. That’s a steroid-y kinda name, innit?

  83. John Says:

    Avila was a fifth round draft pick who didn’t hit well last year.

    Must be roiding.

  84. Chuck Says:

    “What about Granderson? Any reason why he gets a free pass?”

    Y’know, John, if you want us to take you seriously, you got to be laying off the condescending sarcasm.

    Granderson leads ALL MAJOR LEAGUERS in homers vs. lefthanded pitchers.

    If you knew that before you posted the comment, shame on you for thinking you could get something past us; if you didn’t, shame on you for not doing your homework.

    From a guy with a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG history of not being able to hit lefties.

    As I pointed out in an earlier thread, which you obviously missed, Granderson is having a fluke year the same way Adam Dunn is.

    While nothing to brag about, Dunn’s career avg against lefties is .225.

    This year, he’s at .037.

    He’s a career .254 against righties and this year he’s at .202, so he’ obviously off all around, but that is just as attributable to adjusting to a new league and new pitchers and a new position as anything else.

    Dunn will be 2012 COY, mark it down now.

  85. John Says:

    Ok, so if Granderson is still dominating next year, we’ll know its steroids, as has been the case with Joey Bats.

    What’s so hard about adjusting to DH? Does Dunn need some pointers on fielding his position? I can help him there…

  86. John Says:

    Verlander isn’t having his best day.

    28-pitch first inning, but got out of it with nothing.

    Gave up back to back HR in the 5th and has given up another 2 runs in the sixth.

    He was getting knocked around that whole inning, even on his outs. He’s probably done now and unless the Tigers score in the top of the 7th, he’s not gonna get that 20th win today.

  87. Cameron Says:

    Chuck, you saying someone needs to lay off being condescending made me laugh so hard I almost shit myself.

  88. Chuck Says:

    Granderson had three 20+ homer seasons playing in Comerica Park.

    He’s had two top ten MVP finishes.

    He’s an All-Star.

    Bautista barely qualified as a replacement level player for his first seven years in the majors…all of a sudden he hits 54 homers?

    Based on the last 20 years of ML history, the normal assumption is steriods.

    McGwire hit 49 homers his rookie year…clean.

    Bonds won MVP’s in Pittsburgh…clean.

    Bautista never made a MINOR League All-Star team..and now you expect us to believe he’s clean?

    Bautista’s a ten year ML veteran who found the Holy Grail.

    He’s had seven years where he sucked dog balls and two where he was an All-Star.

    Yeah, it’s going to take another year or so for me to believe in him.

  89. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck, you saying someone needs to lay off being condescending made me laugh so hard I almost shit myself.”

    The way you eat, last thing you need is help from me.

  90. Cameron Says:

    …You know what, I’ll give you points for that one. That was good.

  91. Cameron Says:

    Well Chuck, I hope Jose’s clean. After going through the 90s, seeing another guy like him come around makes me hopeful, yet worried. Seeing how he is at the plate, the guy generates tremendous power, but the contact is new from him. He’s not a .300 hitter.

    I hope he’s clean, I really do. This is a hell of a story.

  92. Cameron Says:

    Time to lighten the mood.

    Ken Rosenthal has said that the choice between Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols is a no-brainer this offseason. Sign Prince Fielder because he’s hitting better and he’s 4 and a half years younger.

    …Discuss.

  93. John Says:

    “Bautista never made a MINOR League All-Star team..and now you expect us to believe he’s clean?”

    The only player who has ever improved.

    “Based on the last 20 years of ML history, the normal assumption is steriods.”

    The difference being that you’re assuming that Bautista is pretty much the only one juicing. In the 1990’s, there was no testing, and everyone and their mom was roiding and hitting 40 HR a year. Now there is testing, so for Bautista to be unclean, you’re pretty much saying he has access to steroids that NO OTHER BASEBALL PLAYER CAN GET which don’t show up on piss tests.

    “McGwire hit 49 homers his rookie year…clean.”

    I dunno about that.

  94. Cameron Says:

    MLB tests aren’t all-inclusive and then there’s HGH which is fairly common and only shows up in a blood test. There’s all sorts of possibilities for Jose Bautsita to be juicing that aren’t showing up.

  95. John Says:

    @92, I think the better argument is that Pujols has essentially priced himself so high that he wouldn’t be worth it no matter how good he is (see, ARod 2001-2003).

    Fielder is going to end up with a contract that will cost his future team about half what Albert Pujols gets…and he’s going to provide well more than half of what Pujols does.

  96. John Says:

    @94…what does he know that no one else in the league knows about?

  97. Cameron Says:

    I haven’t read the article, but know Rosenthal price isn’t an issue and he’s saying Fielder based just off this year and the bat alone. I’d still take Pujols because he’s the more complete player.

    And I don’t think he knows something that everyone else doesn’t know. I think he’s clean, but I’m just playing devil’s advocate. If you really wanted to do something, HGH doesn’t show up on major league drug testing, so that’d be a performance enhancer you could use without fear of getting caught (right now).

  98. John Says:

    “HGH doesn’t show up on major league drug testing, so that’d be a performance enhancer you could use without fear of getting caught (right now).”

    That’s fair…but why is no one else doing it?

    Or, if they are doing it, how is Joey Bats still better than everyone?

  99. Chuck Says:

    In almost 1500 Minor League at bats, Bautista hit 52 homers.

    In seven Minor League seasons, he had double digits twice..14 in A ball, and 23 in AA.

    He hit .280+ twice.

    His career OPS was .842.

    He’s in his eleventh year as a pro, and has played for six different organizations, seven if you count Pittsburgh twice.

    He hit more homers in 2010 than he did in seven minor league seasons covering fifteen hundred at bats.

    It’s not Bautista the person which makes me think he’s not clean, it’s his background.

    If he is, more power to him.

    His batting average this year is more of a fluke than his homers from last year.

    As pitchers adjust, so does he, and vice versa. It’s a never ending process.

    He plays his home games on an artifical surface and in a dome.

    Two strikes against him.

    He’s Latino.

    Another strike.

    My wife is Latino. My daughter is half Latino. I got my job with the Mariners because my wife’s uncle is Latino.

    I’m not prejudiced..I’m realistic.

    I KNOW what happens.

    You don’t even want to know the REAL reason Roberto Clemente got on the plane.

    (Won’t tell you anyway)

    I want to believe Bautista is clean. It’s a great story.

    But the facts and odds are significantly against him.

  100. Chuck Says:

    “Ken Rosenthal has said that the choice between Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols is a no-brainer this offseason. Sign Prince Fielder because he’s hitting better and he’s 4 and a half years younger.

    …Discuss.”

    Why would you listen/care about what Ken Rosenthal says?

    Discuss

  101. Cameron Says:

    I don’t care, but I listen to see what dumbass thing he’s gonna say next. He’s a one-man stupid factory.

  102. Chuck Says:

    Then why repeat anything he says?

    Doesn’t make sense.

  103. John Says:

    As with the Verlander thing, I feel like he’s right…for completely the wrong reason.

    Chuck – wrt Bautista, all that’s fair and if this were 2002, I would be in complete agreement.

    But all of that assumes that Bautista knows about something that no one else does.

    I just think its more likely that the changes he made to his swing gave him better results.

  104. Chuck Says:

    Rosenthal’s 49 years old.

    He’s married with three teenagers.

    As a sportswriter for the local paper, he has a nice, indiscreet life.

    Is unrecognized taking the kids to school, at the grocery store or the post office, just your average everyday Joe.

    Then he gets hired by a nationally known media conglomerate and all of a sudden 15 million people know you’re a dork instead of 1500.

    If I’m Mrs. Rosenthal I’m going back to my maiden name faster than I could spell it.

    The recognition is great, the paychecks are great, but knowing the father of my children is the biggest tool in the United States is something I’d have a real hard time living with.

  105. John Says:

    Verlander did end up getting #20 – not a good performance by his standards, but his team picked him up.

  106. Chuck Says:

    “I just think its more likely that the changes he made to his swing gave him better results.”

    The statement you made claiming to have played the game I don’t question.

    That statement says otherwise.

  107. Cameron Says:

    Admittedly, I know very, very little about hitting. That swing is a thing of beauty, though. He gets his whole body into the swing and muscles it like a motherfucker. I can see where the power comes from. The contact I’m having trouble with, though. It’s slow enough to where it looks like you can trip him up pretty easily.

  108. John Says:

    I just think it’s unlikely that Bautosta has special access to something that no one else does.

  109. Mike Felber Says:

    Having a hist of REASONS why someone MIGHT be getting away with cheating while drawing no firm conclusions is a rational & fair position Chuck. Very different from what we just were told by Raul. (Must be guilty, without all the reasons).

    I just wish you would not dangle someone like Clemente out there. I am not gonna assume you are right about a man who did tons of legitimate great work without evidence. And if you are somehow right but unwilling or unable to present anything-fair enough, but I do not think that you should imply anything then.

  110. Chuck Says:

    ” I am not gonna assume you are right about a man who did tons of legitimate great work without evidence.”

    Previous comments.

    You naivete makes you an easy target.

    When it comes to baseball, Stevie Wonder is less blind than you are.

    I’d throw boxing in there as well, but not the right forum for that discussion.

    You are so naive Mike I’m almost offended at your questioning me, but then I head to the liquor cabinet for a shooter and I feel better.

    You want the Clemente story?

    Email me at .

    I’ll warn you now.

    If my name is ever attached to what I say, you’ll be taking a dirt nap next to Hoffa.

    So, before I respond, make sure your will is updated.

    Not a joke.

  111. John Says:

    …wow.

  112. Chuck Says:

    Interested in the story, John?

    Go ahead, email me, too.

    Same rules apply.

    And don’t think the military can save you.

    Remember what happened to Rich Schroeder’s character in “NYPD Blue”?

  113. John Says:

    Meh.

    I’m interested, but you’re making this shit sound too serious.

    I’ll stick with a positive impression of him, whether ignorant or not.

  114. Mike Felber Says:

    What?

    You did not defend occupy nor defend Raul’s position. You have made an unsupported statement about me being so naive-it should be clear that refusing to conclude a man is guilty (which even you do) because he finally gets real good at 29 is not “naive”.

    Boxing? The question of being “naive” never came up. I just refused to accept your position, unique non this site & not popular amongst top boxing experts, that Tyson was never great at his peak.

    “Naive” that I dare to question the fairness of bringing up Clemente’s name-WHEN YOU LEAD BY SAYING YOU WILL PROVIDE NO EVIDENCE.

    This has nothing to do with me & my alleged naivety. This is your own drama. And that is being restrained & saying I honestly have no idea if you have anything on that deserved icon. Not questioning you belief, folks can be deeply wrong-or right.

    But you gotta be kidding with that warning. Now I believe you did hit that liquor cabinet. Let’s review how insane that statement is:

    1) You know me to trust that I would never attach your name? You are RIGHT, but why would you ever think it would be worth the risk to send it? That the threat would be adequate?

    2) Let’s say I revealed something but without sources. Then my easily traceable posts & replies here are found, how are you secure.

    3) You really are the kind of person who has, or could, murder someone for an indiscretion?

    The whole dynamic is just unhealthy Chuck. Please consider whether all this darkness needs attention.

  115. John Says:

    I’m not wild about all the discussions of murdering each other on my articles.

    Besides, I think I know more/less what Chuck is implying about Clemente.

  116. Mike Felber Says:

    Well sorry John, but he had to be called on the offer/threat, made to both of us. I just hope that he does not turn this around internally to say “these Nancy boys could not handle the truth….” I like you am not intimidated, but the whole “proof with a warning” gambit” sounds like someone who has watched one too many thrillers while habitually mixing their drinks way too heavily.

    Not healthy at all. Does not take away from all credibility, but sounds more like Mad or Evil Chuck.

  117. Cameron Says:

    Mad Chuck sounds like some sort of cheesy 80s cartoon villain of the week.

  118. Chuck Says:

    “Besides, I think I know more/less what Chuck is implying about Clemente”

    I doubt it.

  119. Chuck Says:

    Comments #114 and 116.

    Clearly written by someone on the outside desperate to be on the inside.

  120. Mike Felber Says:

    No Chuck, a reasonable fellow would assume nothing of the sort. But you are incapable of saying something as simple as “I never should have implied that stuff”. even to yourself, so you come up with some twisted macho crap.

    This is just a distraction, I have no dissatisfaction whatsoever re: being on the outside. I also have no fear here, in part because I know I would not betray a confidence. But the whole dynamic is bad-I don’t know which is worse, you being a potential murderer, or not but after a fw drinks feeling compelled to speak that way. Not a cool way to conduct yourself. Nor convince anyone.

  121. Chuck Says:

    “But you are incapable of saying something as simple as “I never should have implied that stuff”. even to yourself, so you come up with some twisted macho crap.”

    See #119

    Proof.

  122. Mike Felber Says:

    Anybody can see otherwise Chuck. I am very honest, & not at all bothered being “on the outside”. All of which is beside the point though. You bare incapable of saying “this time I really Screwed the proverbial Pooch”.

    So you are grasping at irrelevancies & have no defenders here. See you another day.

  123. Chuck Says:

    Justin Upton just dropped a routine flyball.

    It was his 13th error of the season.

    As a rightfielder.

    MVP my ass.

  124. Chuck Says:

    “So you are grasping at irrelevancies & have no defenders here. See you another day.”

    Ok, Mike, right.

    Off to your weekly session with Dr. Drew?

  125. John Says:

    Well, that was fun and awkward.

    Anyone watching LA and Texas?

  126. John Says:

    Weaver is all over the place.

    2 homers, a triple, 3 walks, and a throwing error. It’s the first time he’s been on 3-day’s rest. I get it – this series is too crucial to not have your ace going…just hasn’t worked out.

    Torii Hunter looked like shit in RF on the Andrus triple.

    Mike Napoli continues to burn his old team with a double.

    That trade looks awful no matter how you slice it.

  127. Cameron Says:

    Was it bad enough to hand Verlander the ERA crown?

  128. John Says:

    Nah, Weaver still leads 2.28 to 2.38.

    Verlander didn’t exactly have his best stuff yesterday.

  129. Cameron Says:

    You think he can pull the triple crown off? After tonight, it’s a lot more attainable now.

  130. Cameron Says:

    And Jose Bautista has lost the MLB home run crown to Curtis Granderson. …The hell?

  131. Raul Says:

    Been away, you know…having a life and stuff.

    It’s completely staggering that anyone thinks because a player is passing a piss test (which as it is doesn’t catch shit and is EASILY passable) that he is clean.

    It’s flat out fucking comical.

    But it’s cool. Those same people think the SEC regulates Wall Street.

    14 strikeouts or something for David Price? Oh Yeah!

  132. John Says:

    Ok Raul, so the precipitous drop on offense the last few years to pre-1994 levels is just completely unexplainable (since everyone is still on roids) or, and I can’t emphasize this enough, you’re saying that Jose Bautista has secret access to something that no other player in baseball knows about.

    Seriously…is he a mad super genius chemist? Because if what you’re saying is true than ONLY he knows about this stuff…becauae, you know, he has been freaking dominant this year.

  133. Chuck Says:

    No one is saying Bautista is the only player still using, just that he’s the most obvious.

  134. John Says:

    And also the only one who seems to be doing it right.

    You know, because he’s the best hitter in the game this year, regardless of 2-out RBI in away day games versus lefthanded pitchers whose last names begin with R.

  135. Chuck Says:

    Yeah, maybe.

  136. Raul Says:

    “And also the only one who seems to be doing it right.”

    Alex Sanchez was the first player suspended for using PEDs.
    You would never have suspected HIM of juicing.

    The fact that you are too naive to even consider another player besides Bautista juicing doesn’t mean he is the only one.

    Doing it right? If there’s a guy out there getting an extra year or two or MLB service when he should be riding the bus in Akron, he’s doing it right. Doesn’t mean a fucking thing if he’s hitting 40 homers or 4.

  137. Chuck Says:

    99% of the players who ever take or took steriods fall into that category.

    For every Sammy Sosa there are 100 Alex Sanchez’.

  138. John Says:

    “Alex Sanchez was the first player suspended for using PEDs.
    You would never have suspected HIM of juicing.”

    In other words, appearances aren’t what they seem?

    “Doing it right? If there’s a guy out there getting an extra year or two or MLB service when he should be riding the bus in Akron, he’s doing it right. Doesn’t mean a fucking thing if he’s hitting 40 homers or 4.”

    Right, but why is no one else even in the same zip code as Bautista.

    If the tests are that easy to fool, surely SOMEONE else would want to fucking rule like he has for the past two seasons.

    Jose Bautista: Mad Genius Chemist.

  139. John Says:

    Also, if steroids were still as prevalent as you’re suggesting, scoring wouldn’t be down across the league.

  140. Raul Says:

    “In other words, appearances aren’t what they seem?”

    Sure. Bautista appears to have discovered the key to not being a good hitter, but a friggin historic hitter. That’s how it SEEMS. Reality is different.

    “Right, but why is no one else even in the same zip code as Bautista?”

    Who cares? Alex Sanchez wasn’t in the same zip code as Barry Bonds. Both were juicing their asses off.

    “Jose Bautista: Mad Genius Chemist”.

    If you think an athlete has to be a chemist to pass a piss test, just give up on life now.

  141. John Says:

    And yet, no one has used roids to the same effect as JoeyBats.

    Not even close.

    But I’m you know all about MLB piss tests.

  142. Raul Says:

    “And yet, no one has used roids to the same effect as JoeyBats”

    Meaning what?
    Kudos for steroids having a greater impact for you than someone else?

    Um… *shakes hand*

  143. Mike Felber Says:

    Raul. It would be wrong to assume that everyone is innocent just because they are not caught. Sure, tests can be cheated on. But you presume that everyone who disagrees with your firm conclusion about a player who MUST be using thinks that nobody could be cheating. That is not careful reasoning.

    An insistence that Bautista MUST be using is what John & I have a problem with. You folks are right that most are little fries who get good enough to stay in the Bigs, or maybe go from replacement level to decent player. No question.

    There is much we do not know. But just the intimidation factor of being caught has had a significant effect. It is NOT reasonable to assume that there is no cheating. It is also IRRATIONAL to assume that there is the same level of cheating as before, that the marked reduction in player size & outlier performances has zero correlation with total # of cheat.

    That Joey Bats COULD be successful cheating & happen to have a great response to PEDS, in no way shows it is fair or logical to conclude this must be the case.

  144. Raul Says:

    It would be illogical to conclude that he ISN’T cheating.

  145. John Says:

    If this were 1996, that would be the logical conclusion.

    But now, for him to be using, he would have to be getting around piss tests.

    For that to be true, one of two other things must be true:

    a) Tests are easy to fool, in which case, why aren’t more people jacking out 40 HR like the good old days?

    b) The tests are not easy to fool, but Jose Bautista is a super genius chemist.

  146. Raul Says:

    Jose Bautista doesn’t need to be a genius chemist any more than Barry Bonds or Ben Johnson or any of the countless other juicers.

  147. John Says:

    So you cite two examples of gentlemen who have been CAUGHT as evidence why a guy – who has never been implicated in steroids by anything besides good statistics – MUST be using.

  148. Raul Says:

    My bad.

    I should just cite players that weren’t caught, in which case you’ll just sit there and b*tch about no proof ever emerging.

    Must be nice to have it both ways.

  149. John Says:

    So, I’m just supposed to take your word that MLB piss tests are easy to fool.

    Got it. I’m sure you have all sorts of inside info.

  150. Raul Says:

    cool

  151. Thomas Wayne Says:

    Bottom Line…a starting pitcher has an affect on his team’s chance to win a game 35 or 36 times out of 162. An everyday player will, most likely, have an affect on his team’s chances to win on a daily basis, probably between 145 and 162 times a year.

    Unless a pitcher goes 35-0 with a 0.00 he can’t even come close to what a solid everyday player can.

    This is why the Cy Young award was created. It’s the MVP award for pitchers.

    And yes…for those of you who notice….I’m back. Fresh Thomas Wayne articles coming this week.

    TW

  152. Raul Says:

    Welcome back…to your own site, Thomas.

  153. John Says:

    Holy shit, a TW sighting.

    “Bottom Line…a starting pitcher has an affect on his team’s chance to win a game 35 or 36 times out of 162. An everyday player will, most likely, have an affect on his team’s chances to win on a daily basis, probably between 145 and 162 times a year.”

    But a (good) starting pitcher’s impact on the games he’s in is far more than a position player.

    Possibly 5x as great.

    If a pitcher is 5x as valuable when he plays, doesn’t that cancel out the fact that he throws 1/5 as many games?

    Maybe he isn’t 5x as valuable. But data certainly does exist to suggest as much.

  154. John Says:

    TW – did you find the fountain of youth? Or Hossrex?

  155. Mike Felber Says:

    Welcome back TW. Where did you go?

    Nobody disputes that a pitcher’s impact on a game is far greater than a position player’s. If a guy does not get blown out early, he delivers the ball between a majority & every time the opposition has a chance to make an offensive impact. If a pitcher never gave up a run in 35 games, there would be no serious debate about him having the greatest season ever, by far. We are assuming commensurate peripheral stats, not freakish BBIP Stats + every fielder as good as Ozzie Smith.

    WAR shows pretty well value that can be created. It is harder to create quite as much value these days as when there was a 4 man rotation, & more CG. Thus Pedro’s best WAR was not as good as Bond’s.

    But still sometimes the pitcher can be most valuable. Examples are too easy, if anyone disputes them, I will provide. Though clearly it depends on how good the best guy happens to be on each side of game in any year. And if someone can be do more for a team in 200 & change IP in a given year than a position player-just imagine how many potential plays each has-he deserves the MVP.

  156. Lefty33 Says:

    “But now, for him to be using, he would have to be getting around piss tests.”

    Since you always love being Riddler-boy John with your inane questions and faux conclusions let me ask you this.

    If piss tests are so infallible like you always seem to believe they are (your statement above being an example) then why is the most contentious point of the next CBA going to have nothing to do with money but will have everything to do with blood testing drugs in general and more specifically HGH?

    Yes it’s partially just for PR so that the sport looks “clean” but it’s also because the 800 pound gorilla in the room is that everybody knows that Baseball’s current testing policy misses more than it catches and blood testing is highly accurate compared to a piss test.

    Why do you think the MLBPA is so against blood testing?

    It’s not privacy concerns like they try to spin it, it’s the fact that they know a ton of guys are using various substances that are currently not tested for and it would give the owners a huge negotiating advantage if they could say “Gotcha” when the blood tests start coming back positive for all sorts of freaky shit.

  157. Cameron Says:

    You know what I haven’t done in ages? Find a house that’s slated for demolition and get there before the crew does and loot the place. My dad replaced all the baseboards in his house that way. You find some nice stuff every now and then. Fun work.

  158. John Says:

    My response, Lefty: if drug testing is as fallible as you claim, then why is scoring down across the board in baseball?

  159. Raul Says:

    Testing may have dissuaded some players from using steroids.
    Doesn’t mean everyone’s clean.

  160. Lefty33 Says:

    “if drug testing is as fallible as you claim”

    It’s not just me.

    Why do you think there is a huge push for HGH and blood testing from the owners and from Bud?

    It’s not just because the players want to be used as pincushions.

    “then why is scoring down across the board in baseball”

    More reasons than we have time to discuss.

    1. More players are fundamentally unsound and instead of making contact they are up there swinging for the fences which is why strikeouts are up and OBP is down league wide.

    You can’t score when you can’t get on base.

    2. Teams, led by Boston, have switched to defensive based fundamentals as opposed to an offense based approach. It’s why one dimensional guys like Jermaine Dye are unemployed and defensive minded guys like Casey Kotchman are flourishing.

    Why do you think guys like Mike Martinez and Wilson Valdez are with the Phillies?
    It’s not because they can hit, it’s because they can play excellent defense at multiple positions and are versatile.

    3. It’s just simply a pitchers era.

    In the 20’s when the “lively” ball was introduced you had an offensive explosion that lasted for quite a while.

    Then in the 60’s you had a pitchers era where guy like Gibson and Koufax dominated and it didn’t matter what opposing offenses did they were not going to score against pitching like that.

    There have been several ebbs and flows between offensive and defensive supremacy over Baseball’s history. It’s not a new idea.

    Right now scoring in Baseball is down from the freak show levels of the late 90s and early 00s and has returned to an average that is currently right in line with scoring from ’73 thru ’92.

  161. John Says:

    “More players are fundamentally unsound and instead of making contact they are up there swinging for the fences which is why strikeouts are up and OBP is down league wide”

    More than say, 1998?

    and with point 3: there were reasons for these ebbs and flows, by and large (live ball, different strike zones, ballparks becoming bigger then smaller etc) … and, alright, you’ve provided two reasons, I just don’t know that “simply a pitcher’s era” is really a thing on its own. I dunno, probably just semantics.

  162. Lefty33 Says:

    “More than say, 1998?”

    There were 31,893 K’s in ‘98.
    Divided by the 4864 games played that would give you a number of 6.55 per game.

    So far this year there have been 28,161 in 4006 games for a number of 7.02 per game. So yes more per game than ‘98. On the current pace there will be 2200+ more K’s this year than in ‘98.

  163. brautigan Says:

    Say guys, I am going to a game Sunday at Frisco and I have never been there before. It looks like parking is a problem. Any other issues I should be concerned about? (I’m not worried about the weather, I sat through two 106 degree games in Fresno earlier this year, so 100 degrees in Dallas isn’t a problem).

  164. Lefty33 Says:

    “It looks like parking is a problem.”

    Sorry I can’t help as I was only there one time and I was watching the game on TV from a boat in The Cove.

  165. brautigan Says:

    LOL @ Lefty. I am referring to Frisco, Texas, not San Francisco. I haven’t been to a major league game in about 4 years. This year I’ve seen in order games in Reno, Lancaster, High Desert, Bakersfield, Modesto, Fresno, Sacramento and Visalia. This will be my first trip to Frisco so I have no idea of what to expect. But I will have seen the majority of these players previously, either in the Cal league or in the PCL.

  166. Thomas Wayne Says:

    Thanks for having me back guys….I’ve been writing and drawing a comic book and a re-writing a screenplay over the last five or six months and have had little time to do anything other than watch the Cardinals under achieve.

    But I should have an article or two…or 65….done and ready to post sometime this week. I look forward to some solid discussion, debate and polite name calling…(wink wink).

    Take care and enjoy the stretch drive,
    TW

  167. Chuck Says:

    Holy crap…

    Welcome back Thomas.

  168. Lefty33 Says:

    “I am referring to Frisco, Texas, not San Francisco”

    My bad. Total reading comprehension failure on my part.

    “I haven’t been to a major league game in about 4 years.”

    Understood. The one I saw last year was my second in 17 years and unless someone else is paying I have no intention of going back.

  169. heymybad Says:

    As a diehard Tigers fan, I am solidly behind Justin Verlander [which, by the way, sounds to me more like Dutch than German] for Cy Young, but can readily see the point of those who say a pitcher should not win MVP. MVP of the Tigers? I would argue for that. Hey, I have a niece who teaches in Frisco, TX—just thought I’d throw that in. Re R. Clemente: I don’t know what was being suggested as far as his wrongdoing, but the man was a brilliant all-around player, excellent in every aspect of the game. Not to mention that he died much too soon, on an errand of mercy to his native country to deliver disaster relief. Also, I don’t know how old the other posters are, but I am old enough to have seen Clemente play; and he sure didn’t look as tho’ he was doing any PEDs, at least not physique-wise. That was a time when baseball players looked like baseball players—like Clemente & my childhood fave, Al Kaline—as opposed to looking like football players; they just went with what nature & inclination gave them, and played super baseball.

    One last thing: please discuss either “an 800 lb gorilla” or “the elephant in the room”—they are entirely different metaphors [see also: the guy on the Vonage ad who refers to "the white elephant in the room"---again: please learn your metaphors only if you can use them correctly; it helps to understand the origin & intent of the metaphor]. BTW, who is Thomas?

  170. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes, more of a pitcher’s era now. But at least a major cause is there is significantly less cheating, & cheating “big”. Lefty you are right that there are major holes in testing-but players still are intimidated by the names out there, from dirty tests & investigations like the Mitchell report. Public shaming works. Luckily that fear mechanism means many do not try to figure out exactly what they can get away with-& blessedly some are not even intellectually inclined enough to compute how to cheat effectively.

    Since there is less of a premium on offense, Ks can rise-my theory of why they are still so high even with HR extremes down is that the culture has changes, less stigma with ks & as Lefty said, less fundamentals.

    Adjustments to the pitcher’s mound of strike zone have helped shape or end eras. A big one not mentioned above: expansion. Add teams, a la ‘98, pitching is the scarce quantity that suffers.

    There really was no lively ball introduced in ‘20. Three major developments: one is that the doctored ball pitchers were banned, others than some grandfathered spitballers. Take away the slobber & especially deeply scarred balls, hitters gain some advantage. Big also was that after Chapman was killed in ‘20, they stopped using the SAME balls until they were quite darkened & semi mushy. Clearly helps hitters.

    Offense had a jump from ‘11 though, because THEN is when they introduced the cork center. The effect was not nearly maximized because nobody was accustomed, or yet so the value of, swinging for the fences. It was very frowned upon, line drives were the offensive currency of choice.

    But then you get a Perfect Storm: a wild kid who is a pitcher, so they give him wide berth with the uppercut. From as early as ‘18 he hit some Epic Shots here & there: nobody, even Ruth could have powered 500′ + drives without that rubberized core. Horsehide was not enough, even using a fresh ball.

    And in ‘20 Ruth got to bat daily, & batters got to hit fresh balls throughout the game. Smart players like Hornsby became even greater by hitting for power too, & they started to recruit or value guys naturally strong like Foxx & Gehrig.

  171. Raul Says:

    Players in the 1920s used damn near 40 ounce bats or heavier.
    You had to be strong.

  172. Mike Felber Says:

    I partially agree Raul. They always used heavy bats before modern times-you mean they had to be strong to hit HRs, not punch balls through the infield. Yes: though I recently came across some evidence that balls were livelier in that era, overwhelmingly physicists agree that the increased distance added using a heavier bat is more than counterbalanced by the reduced bat speed. And those bats were thick handled, less efficient.

    Makes Ruth & Foxx that much more impressive. Nobody then could hit with the same force, not even Gehrig, Wilson or Greenberg. Foxx had legendary strength from farm work, Ruth was just a freak.

  173. Chuck Says:

    “There really was no lively ball introduced in ‘20″

    “From as early as ‘18 he hit some Epic Shots here & there: nobody, even Ruth could have powered 500′ + drives without that rubberized core. “

  174. Mike Felber Says:

    I figure you transposed my 2 quotes to show the contradiction there. But there is nothing inconsistent, as a review of my whole statement will confirm.

    Briefly: I said that the rubberized core (lively ball) was introduced in ‘11. Offense rose, DESPITE not having the 3 factors below operational until 1920! great players like Cobb & Speaker did even better-& 3 things prevented the offensive explosion that came almost a decade later.

    1) They still used balls until they were darkened & getting softer. That did not change until after Chapman was killed in ‘20.

    2) Doctored balls including spitters were allowed. In ‘20 that was regulated, established spit ball pitchers were grandfathered in. Something like cutting the ball has a real impact.

    3) Players seemed largely unaware of the change in the ball. And to the extent they noticed, nobody realized the value of going for the uppercut swing/HR. The very strong baseball culture remained hitting to contact, small ball, & no more than slashing line drives to the gap.

    Ruth came along, big untutored kid, successful pitcher, who cared if a pitcher swung for the fences, little expected of him anyhow-& then he started changing the very nature of the game with unprecedented HR rates while doing double duty.

  175. Raul Says:

    I always wondered about the Chapman thing.

    People act like these players were throwing 70 mph back in the 1920s.
    I’m pretty sure Chapman would have been able to get out of the way of a 70 mph fastball. Even if it was brown and beat up.

  176. Raul Says:

    I really don’t buy the notion that Ruth came along and taught people they could hit home runs.

    I really think the philosophy was that making solid contact and running was simply a smarter thing to do at the time. Some of these guys in some of those leagues were playing in fields where to hit a home run, you’d have to crush it like 470 feet.

    I mean, Ruth was exceptional. But players like Ty Cobb were known to be perfectly capable of hitting for long distance. I think Cobb specifically said he thought it was against his philosophy of the game to do it.

    Trust me. If stadiums in MLB today moved all their fences back…if it was 410 to the gaps…Ryan Howard would be out of a job by the end of the week. And let’s not even start about the outfielders.

  177. Mike Felber Says:

    Those (& they are a distinct minority) that think an average FB was 70 MPH in 1920 are wrong. The average guy likely did not throw as fast. There is no reason to believe that the difference was that dramatic. And the outliers like Johnson really stood out. Chapman was NOT able to get out of the way, & even today some guys cannot-depends upon light/clouds too, & anyone can lose sight of something briefly. It also depends on just exactly how you are hit, & perhaps your particular skull. But you or I could be hit by the same pitch in slightly different places Raul-one day we are fine, another we have a bad concussion.

  178. Mike Felber Says:

    There is overwhelming evidence that Ruth came along & taught people they could hit HRs. Reade almost amything from the time. Even Cobb, who hated Ruth, admitted as much.

    The “smart” philosophy was correct-until ‘11. Then even with the bigger fields-on average, that still can be overstated-it did make sense for more guys to swing away. And to get guys who could do so. But the degree the ball changes, 7 the new possibilities, were simply outside of the paradigm.

    Cobb WAS perfectly capable of hitting for HR’s-after the ball was changed. It was against his philosophy because he absorbed the old school ideals & never questioned them. He would have been even greater hitting more GRs & drawing more walks. He would never have hit them like Ruth, but maybe like Hornsby.

    The friendship of Cobb & Williams, 2 cantankerous hitting behemoths, was broken up when Williams suggested that Hornsby was a better hitter than him. Truth was, at his peak, Hornsby WAS a better hitter. Due to throwing the mong ball into the mix, & also hitting for great average & other XBH.

    It would be harder if the fences were moved back. Though Howard could deal with 410′ to the gaps with his power, he would still have much value. Many would be out of a job, or have to learn how to compensate with other XBH.

  179. Chuck Says:

    Players learned to hit homers by watching Ruth, he didn’t teach them anything.

    But if you think MLB didn’t make the rule changes they did..outlawing pitches, lively balls, because of what Ruth did, then I’d have to say you’re over analyzing.

    Shocking, I know.

  180. John Says:

    Rogers Hornsby hit .402 for a five-year span (1921-1925).

    From 1920-1925, he led the National League in every single rate statistic every single year.

  181. Raul Says:

    LOL
    It often seems like the best athletes are the biggest assholes.

  182. John Says:

    In the last year of the dead-ball, Babe Ruth hit a then-record 29 home runs. It is worth noting, however, that two NLers hit over 20 – Gary Cravath and Frank Schulte. Cravath had two other seasons with 19.

    Not sure what the league did and why.

  183. Chuck Says:

    Baseball games routinely started at 3:30 or so in those days, most accounts say it was a cloudy day and approaching dusk and with Mays’ submarine style Chapman lost the pitch at release and never found it again.

    Tony Conigliaro lost the ball out of Jack Hamilton’s hand as well, same with Dickie Thon.

    Things happen sometimes which defy common explanation

  184. Raul Says:

    Madison Bumgarner with 8 innings of 2-hit baseball.
    He walked 2 and struck out 11.

  185. Mike Felber Says:

    Good point John, but Ruth did it while also pitching 133.1 innings. The creeping HRs of the others also shows what could be done with a cork center: though league leaders like Cravath & Shulte also seemed to play in home parks that helped the HR.
    Ruth’s HR RATE in ‘19 was not approached before, & he did not need an unusually short porch somewhere to do it, like the former HR leader.

  186. Raul Says:

    The Giants DFA’d Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand.

    Tejada was hitting .239/.270/.326 for an OPS+ of 67. His salary was 6.5 million.
    Rowand was hitting .233/.274/.347 for an OPS+ of 74. His salary was 12 million, plus an additional 12 million next season.

  187. Mike Felber Says:

    Chuck, I tend to be literal, so maybe you also thought I was being so when I said Ruth “taught” others to hit HRs. I meant that only in the sense of by example. That others saw the success, attention, & money he was getting doing so.

    They did make changes due to Ruth-but the lively ball was there since ‘11. I am sure they were happy to have the ball effectively more lively by not letting them be used forever until softened as it supported the popular new game, but at least a big part of that was a reaction to the Chapman beaning death. Outlawing pitches & all to help the new profitable paradigm-absolutely that is true.

    And you are exactly right about unexplainable things. But here is an attempt at an explanation. A guy like Conigliaro had better baseball sjills & reflexes than any of us ever had. But everyone has a blind spot, & if we were in the same exact position as him that day, we would have not seen the ball either. We MIGHT not have been as damaged by the ball due to height, exactly where the ball hit. Or more likely, unlike Tony, we would not be fearless, 7 either bail or move away just due to worry.

    Either way, it is just chance that you lose a ball that comes in at the worst possible place. Also, T.C. may very well have had the most powerful throwing arm, at least for distance, of anyone known. bill Jenkinson documents as much in his great “Baseball’s Ultimate Power”.

  188. John Says:

    @180, imagine the following scene…Ichiro is digging in against the A’s and chats with his buddy (cousin?) Kurt. They’ve been friends going back a long time, because in John’s head, all Japanese baseball players are buddies. Possibly racist, whatever, not the point.

    And Kurt’s like, man, you’re great, but Pujols is just out of this world. He homered again today. He’s got that crazy ability to hit for average like you, but he has power and patience too.

    Ichiro: You’re saying Pujols is better than me?!?!

    Kurt: Yeah…

    Ichiro kicks Kurt in the chest protector and walks away.

    Friendship OVER

  189. John Says:

    Oh, turns out Kurt Suzuki was born in Hawaii and went to high school in California, so he and Ichiro probably don’t go way back.

  190. Raul Says:

    Not a whole lot of Asians named Kurt. Kinda figured something was up.

  191. Bob Says:

    The Sox acquired Conor Jackson for Jason Rice. Hot-diggety-dog!!!

  192. Chuck Says:

    No kidding, Bob, I understand your enthusiasm. Might as well fit everyone for rings right now.

  193. Bob Says:

    You do not know the half of it. The Sox also signed Joey Gathright.

  194. Chuck Says:

    Wow, really?

    I didn’t know they needed a centerfielder in Portland.

  195. John Says:

    Saw Silva liked your Montero letter, Chuck, cool stuff.

  196. Chuck Says:

    It was deemed “too controversial”.

    You should see the crap on Bleacher Report this morning, holy fack.

  197. John Says:

    Too controversial?

    He posted like half of it.

  198. John Says:

    The three articles I see…all the time:

    Ranking the dumbest players in Major League history.
    MLB All-Crazy Team
    13 biggest jerks in the HOF.

    Dear Bleacher Report,

    What lame shit do I have to write to get posted on your front page and remain there for a freaking month.

  199. Chuck Says:

    “What lame shit do I have to write to get posted on your front page and remain there for a freaking month.”

    “Tim Raines is a Hall of Famer.”

    That should do it.

  200. John Says:

    Tried it :D

  201. Chuck Says:

    Maybe you can write something about how good a baserunner Ryan Braun is.

  202. John Says:

    Topical right?

  203. Chuck Says:

    Haven’t confirmed yet, but Jack Curry of the YES Network is saying Montero is in the Yankees lineup tonight, hitting sixth and DH’ing against Jon Lester.

    Maybe I can turn off my air conditioning early tonight, I’m expecting an increase in wind currents.

  204. Lefty33 Says:

    “What lame shit do I have to write to get posted on your front page and remain there for a freaking month.”

    Hottest MILF’s over 75?

    Hottest WAGs that are more manly then their 6th inning middle relief husbands?

    Top 10 switch hitting cross-eyed slap hitters?

    Or just another article on how Jesus Montero will be the MVP of the WS.

  205. Chuck Says:

    There’s this guy who is a “Yankee Featured Columnist”, who actually wrote an article awhile ago about how depressed he was by not being able to watch the Yanks on his honeymoon because he was on a cruise ship.

    Seriously, nothing better to do?

    Anyway, he wrote an article today about Montero and the possibility of him being on the postseason roster.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/830172-jesus-montero-finally-called-up-for-yankees-what-kind-of-impact-will-he-have

    I questioned him because he obviously never read the rules regarding postseason eligibility, his fippant response was to quote a paragraph from ESPN.com.

    This is a Tri-State kid who claims to be a die-hard Yankee fan and who has a degree in journalism…and he quotes someone else’s fuck-up as a justification for what he said…without actually checking the rule?

  206. Chuck Says:

    For all of you who don’t believe the ball is jucied.

    Dustin Pedroia just homered to dead center in Fenway.

    I don’t need to say anything else.

    Dead.

    Center.

    Fenway.

    Either the ball is juiced, or Pedroia is.

    And he’s too small to be juiced.

  207. brautigan Says:

    For one thing, the guy is a sap for getting onto a cruise ship in the first place. Jesus, one guy gets diarrhea, the whole ship gets it. You want to sign up for that fun?

    Not me.

  208. Chuck Says:

    Third AB for Montero.

    2-1 Boston, top five, two outs, first and third.

    First pitch, 94 two seamer, knees, inside, strike one.

    Secong pitch, 96, four seamer, outside corner, ball.

    Third pitch, 93, two seamer, fouled off.

    Fourth pitch, 95, four seamer, down the middle, fouled off.

    As Jim Kaat said, “he got his pitch and missed it.”

    Fifth pitch, 88 curve, down and in, routine 6-3.

  209. Chuck Says:

    Fourth AB, still 2-1 Boston, bottom seven, one out. Andruw Jones walked, replaced by Chris Dickerson.

    Alfredo Aceves pitching.

    First pitch, 94, ball.

    Second pitch, down and away, fastball, Montero clearly trying to pull, fouled off to the right.

    Third pitch, same thing.

    Curve, outside, ball two.

    Fourth pitch, fastball inside, catches his jersey, HBP.

    I’m sorry, but if you’re 6′3″, 230 and hit with your hands, Obama will have a longer career than you.

  210. Danny O Says:

    Braun’s “trip” home was pretty frickin funny…

  211. John Says:

    David Robertson just walked Adrian Gonzalez on four straight pitches.

    He showed bunt on each one.

    LOL

  212. Chuck Says:

    Montero’s fifth AB.

    Facing Dan Wheeler, one out, runner on first, top nine, 4-2 Yanks.

    First pitch…slider, 86, up and away, ball.

    Second pitch, slider, 87, down and away, fouled off to the right.

    Third pitch, fastball, up and in, 91, ball.

    Fourth pitch, fastball, 90, middle, down, pop to short right.

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