Friday, July 31, 2009

Reasons for Veto

After much thought and consideration, I have decided to veto the trade between Kimball and Weseloh for the following players:

Shane Victorino and Cliff Lee to Weseloh
Brad Hawp, Aaron Harang and Jason Hammel to Kimball

The reasons are as follows.

1. It was made clear a few weeks ago that because of mitigating circumstances Kimball would no longer be active in the league for an indefinite period of time. This statement was made aware to me after the approval of similar seemingly-lopsided trades. Had I been aware of Kimball’s intent, I doubt those trades would have been approved either. This is not to say I’m upset, but to allow context to my vetoing of this trade.

2. Kimball is not receiving adequate compensation for this trade. Cliff Lee, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner who has just been traded to an inferior league, has been one of the top fantasy pitchers in baseball.

Cliff Lee(2009): 7-9, 152 IP, 3.14 ERA, 107 K, 1.303 WHIP
Cliff Lee (since April 16): 7-7, 142 IP, 2.66 ERA, 97 K, 1.239 WHIP

Cliff Lee (08-09): 29-12, 2.78 ERA, 375.1 IP, 277 K, 160 ERA+
Roy Halladay (08-09): 31-15, 2.74 ERA, 394 IP, 335 K, 156 ERA+

*This is not to argue Cliff Lee is better, as good or worse than Roy Halladay, but to establish Lee’s value in comparison to Halladay, one of the top pitchers in the game. Clearly, Lee has been very impressive in comparison to Halladay.

- Lee has outscored Zack Greinke, Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Yavonni Gallardo and Felix Hernandez in the last month.
- Will be eligible to be kept for two more seasons at a cost of a 24th and 23rd round pick.
- Is now pitching for the defending World Series Champions in a pitcher’s league. (Think CC Sababthia last season.)
- Since April 16, all but one Cliff Lee start has been a quality start.

Aaron Harang: 5-12, 4.50 ERA, 134 IP, 115 K, 1.455 WHIP
Jason Hammel: Fantasy points in his last five starts – (-19.5), 5, 12.5, (-11), (-3.5). Over his last six starts he is 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA and .352 opponent’s batting average. But, yeah, I’d take him over Cliff Lee.

- Harang and Hammel have combined for 19 quality starts this season. Lee has 18 by himself, which is as many as Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Josh Johnson and more than Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, Chad Billingsley and Roy Halladay.
- Harang will be a 10th round keeper if kept. Hammel was not drafted and is thus a 15th round keeper.

In other words, I do not believe that an invested player would trade Cliff Lee straight up (if at all) for Aaron Harang and Jason Hammel.

3. In my mind, the trade is broken up into two parts: Lee for Harang and Hammel and Shane Victorino for Brad Hawp. When looked at from this view, I believe it give greater context to the trade. I would be surprised to see anybody construct a Victorino for Hawp trade in this league.

Consider that Victorino is out scoring ALL fantasy centerfielders and is a key part in the National League’s best lineup.

Shane Victorino
- Has outscored all fantasy centerfielder-eligible players on the season and in the last month.
- Has two more keeper eligible seasons at round 15 and 14.
- Has, on the season, outscored Brad Hawp by over 100 fantasy points.

Brad Hawp(Opening Day to May 15): .363/.437/.667, 6 HR, 11 2B, 30 RBI, 19 K, 14 BB
Brad Hawp (May 16 to present): .296/.381/.517, 10 HR, 17 2B, 34 RBI, 56 K, 31 BB

Shane Victorino (OD to May 15): .253/.296/.418, 6 2B, 3 3B, 12 K, 9 BB, 3 SB
Shane Victorino (May 16 to pres):.353/.431/.504, 21 2B, 3 3B, 33 K, 33 BB, 14 SB

I think this shows that Hawp had a great first month of the season and is falling back to normal and that Victorino had a bad first month and has had extended success for the last three months. I believe the overall fantasy points reflect this when one considers how poorly Victorino played in comparison to Hawp for the first month of the season. Since then, not only has Victorino caught up to him, he has surpassed him (along with every other centerfield-eligible player).

Hawp Notes
- Is the 8th ranked right field-eligible player on the season.
- Is the 32nd ranked right field-eligible player in the last month. (Behind players such as Jason Kubel, Jeff Francoeur, Jack Cust and Franklin Gutierrez.)

In conclusion, under normal circumstances, I would accept this trade. I feel that people should suffer the wrath of their stupid decisions. But this is not a normal situation. I don’t clearly understand Kimball’s intentions for next season, and feel that if he were for sure going to be in this league next season, he would never EVER trade Cliff Lee unless it was for Jesus or something. The motivation behind the trade in addition to its lopsidedness has led to my disapproval of it.

If either Kimball or Weseloh can provide a sound argument for the trades passage or a more suitable deal, I will gladly listen. But as of now, I don’t feel this trade is in the best interest of the league in the future. Because, as we all know, the best interest of this league is vital to national security.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

There Goes Adam Drinking The Cool-Aide Again or Why Albert Pujols Sucks

Let the rant begin...

I don’t want to get in a debate over who the best baseball player in history was (let alone who the second greatest player was), but I do feel a need to make some sort of retort to one Mr. Keller who recently tried to argue Albert Pujols was the second greatest baseball player ever to live. Here are his words:

“Best Baseball Players of All-Time: 1. Babe Ruth* 2. Albert Pujols 3...doesn't matter; everyone else is mortal. *-while it is true that Pujols is in fact a better hitter, Babe Ruth was a pretty darn good pitcher before he ever swung a bat for the Yankees.”


“haha ok, so i was joking about Pujols being a better hitter than the Babe, but look at the numbers...nobody in the history of the game has been better the first nine years of their career, and Rogers Hornsby is the only right handed batter ever to have a better nine year span than Albert (1921-29 with the Cardinals, Giants, Braves and Cubs in case you were wondering)...Hank Aaron has the numbers most similar to Albert year in and year out, but Pujols' career Batting Average is 30 points higher, Slugging % is 75 points higher and On-Base % is 50 points higher...Also, since his Major League debut, Albert leads the NL in AVG, HR and RBI - the career triple crown - and in each category the only guy in 2nd who is even close is Todd Helton, who's batting average is 8 points behind Pujols from 2001-2008. Nobody is more consistent, nobody has started better, and one more thing; at 29 Pujols is just now entering into his prime.”

Before I continue I want to make a few things very clear. First, stats are like Bible verses, they can mean different things to different people. I can lay out a statistical argument that Albert Pujols is not the best player in the National League this year. I can also lay out an argument suggesting he is the greatest baseball player of all-time. So I do not want to get into some kind of statistical debate and argue in circles all day. All I want to accomplish is letting Adam know that Albert Pujols, at the very least, has some very steep competition for the number two (or one) spot as the greatest player ever.

Second, Albert Pujols is a great player.

Third, Babe Ruth is a great player.

With this said, Albert Pujols sucks.

Case Number One: Ted Williams

Ted Williams is considered by some to be the greatest hitter to ever live. He made his major league debut at the age of twenty and played 18 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. It must always be remembered that Williams lost three seasons (from age 24 to 27) because he was serving in the Air Force during World War II. Here are the period comparisons to Albert Pujols.

From Age 21 to 24
Williams: .366/.497/.654, 96 HR, 110 2B, 22 3B, 388 BB, 132 K
Pujols: .334/.412/.613, 114 HR, 138 2B, 7 3B, 220 BB, 227 K

From Age 27 to 29 (Noting that Albert’s numbers are incomplete, but also noting that Williams age 27 year was his first season after the War since he was 23.)
Williams: .351/.498/.639, 95 HR, 121 2B, 20 3B, 444 BB, 132 K
Pujols: .339/.446/.631, 97 HR, 101 2B, 1 3B, 262 BB, 143 K

Ted Williams’ On-Base Percentage from 1939 (rookie year) to 1951 (age 31)
.553 (22 years old, 143 games in 156 game season, 2nd in MVP voting, 1.287 OPS, 235 OPS+)
.499 (217 OPS+)
.497 (first year back from WWII, 215 OPS+)
.499 (205 OPS+)

In 1957, Williams had an .526 OBP and a 233 OPS+ at the age of 38. Between 1940 and 1958 Williams never had an OBP bellow .442 and had a slugging percentage bellow .600 three times (.594, ’40; .556, ’51; .584, ’58).

Final Thoughts:
Ted Williams had only one season where he played at least 100 games and did not have an OPS of at least 1.000. Albert has had two seasons where he hit under 1.000. Williams is also the last player to ever hit .400 in a season. And while I expect Pujols to surpass him (assuming health), Williams did hit 521 home runs in his career. After returning from WWII Williams never struck out more than 50 times in a season. In 1941 Williams walked 147 times and struck out 27 times (he also slugged .735 that season, making he the youngest player to ever have a SLG over .700. Only Ruth, Bonds*, Gehrig, Hornsby, McGwire*, Bagwell, Foxx and Sosa* have ever surpassed .735).

Case Number Two: Walter Johnson

I won’t go into too much detail, but here are some of the arguments for him being the best pitcher of all-time.

417 Wins (second all-time)
110 shutouts (MLB record)
Career 2.17 ERA (11th all-time)
3509 strike outs (9th all-time)
1.06 WHIP (8th all-time)
147 ERA+ (4th all-time).

Case Number Three: Ty Cobb

I went too long with the Ted Williams deal so I’m only going to list the records Ty Cobb is in the top 10 all-time.

Career Batting average: 1st (.366)
Single-Season BA: 8th (.420)
Career OBP: 9th (.433)
Career Games Played: 5th (3035)
Career Runs Scored: 2nd (2246)
Career Hits: 2nd (4189)
Single-Season Hits: 8th (248)
Career Doubles: 4th (724)
Career Triples: 2nd (295)
Career RBI: 7th (1937)
Career Stolen Bases: 4th (892)
Career Runs Created: 5th (2522)

Note: Ty Cobb is 11th all-time in career extra base hits. George Brett is 13th.

Ty Cobb retired in 1928 and was among the first class to be voted into the hall of fame with Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Babe Ruth and received more votes than all of them. Cobb was voted as the best major league player ever by baseball writers in 1950.

There are more, but I’m getting tired and lazy. In 1998, The Sporting News listed their version of the Top 100 MLB Players. The top 10 were Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewson, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial. (Barry Bonds ranked 34th, Ken Griffey Jr. was 93rd... this was in 1998 mind you.)

Anyway, the point is to say that while Pujols is very good, he’s still got a long way to go if he wants to be in the discussion for best baseball player ever. That’s all I’m trying to say. I’m going to go eat my dumplings now.