Archive for April, 2010

John Buck Has a Big Night

Toronto Blue Jays catcher John Buck had a big night on Thursday, blasting three home runs against the Oakland As.

The graph doesn’t really convey Buck’s contribution (only showing two of his home runs). Any team’s total WPA (adding up WPA plus and minus) is always equal to either +.500 or -.500. Buck’s WPA last night was .449. That doesn’t mean his offense was worth almost 90% the Jays’ victory, of course, since there were negative WPA contributions (as always for any team) as well. But it’s still an impressive number. WPA is a cool toy for quantifying a game story, not one responsibly recommends it as a way of evaluating player skill. But it is fun to look at occasionally.

But about player skill… Now, if less than four weeks of a season is a small sample size, then one game is, well… But Buck’s power surge wasn’t a total fluke. Full disclosure: I’ve always irrationally liked John Buck. I can be pretty honest about him, though. He’s not a defensive whiz, especially when it comes to controlling the running game. Marc Hulet has been impressed with Buck’s work with the Blue Jays pitching staff this season; I’ll have to take his word for it.

As for offense, Buck hasn’t quite turned out to be the second coming of Mike Piazza. Buck hit 18 home runs in 2007, although his problems with contact and poor BABIP skill resulted in only a .319 wOBA. In 2009, when he was clearly on his way out with Kansas City, he had a career-high .332 wOBA — good for a catcher. Still, in 2009, as in every other year of the Dayton Moore Era, Buck was sharing time (at best) with another catcher, in this case Miguel Olivo* (and before him, in 2007, there was Jason LaRue).

* To be fair, Olivo is so awesome that he’s currently displacing Chris Iannetta in Colorado (ahem).

While Buck has a putrid .296 career on-base percentage, this is less because of an refusal to take walks than a poor batting average grounded in low average on balls in play. In 2007 and 2008, Buck had above average walk rates, and wasn’t too bad in 2009 in limited playing time. But he very high strikeout rate (around 25% for his career, and edging upward). While his O-Swing percentage in 2010 reflects his overall struggles at the plate in 2010 (until last night, at least), he’s usually only slightly below average. It’s his poor contract rate that kills him, around 75% for his career, and under 70% in 2009 and almost down to 60% so far this season.

Buck isn’t what you’d call a good hitter, although he’s adequate for a catcher. However, one thing he has done increasingly well is get the ball in the air (which also contributes to his low BABIP). Starting in 2007, he began to hit flyballs around 45% of the time, and a respectable amount of those flies have gone out. While he had a bit of bad luck with that in 2008, more recently years have seen him at about 14% HR/FB and up. According to Hit Tracker, other than 2008, Buck’s true home run distance and speed of bad have been clearly above average almost season. While 2008 can’t be ignored as a ‘mere outlier’, 2007 and 2009 do seem to be closer to his true talent level, power-wise. Buck’s current ZiPS Rest-of-Season projection calls for a .211 ISO, which is in-line with his 2007 (.207) and 2009 (.237) numbers. Perhaps moving out of the home run-suppressing Kauffman Stadium will make a difference as well. It will be interesting to watch.

Anecdotally, I’ve personally heard some cool stories about monstrous John Buck homers, which is sort of fun, because those stories are usually told about players like Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard. Objectively speaking, John Buck isn’t anything particularly special as a baseball player. But he’s got some power at the plate, and last night, it showed up.

One Night Only: Weekend Edition

Is it possible to have too much of a kinda decent thing? This edition of One Night Only seeks to find out!

[Note: All minor league numbers are courtesy of StatCorner. HR/BIA = Home Run per Ball in Air. MLB average for starters is 6.5%. MiLB average is I-don’t-know-what.]

Arizona at Chicago (NL) | Saturday, May 01 | 1:05 pm ET
Starting Pitchers
D-Backs: Dan Haren (R)
34.0 IP, 10.06 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, .310 BABIP, 47.3% GB, 18.2% HR/FB, 2.90 xFIP
Projected FIP: 3.15 (FAN) 3.24 (CHONE) 3.17 (ZiPS)

Cubs: Carlos Silva (R)
26.0 IP, 5.19 K/9, 1.04 BB/9, .215 BABIP, 41.0% GB, 3.3% HR/FB, 4.10 xFIP
Projected FIP: 4.89 (FAN) 4.67 (CHONE) 4.53 (ZiPS)

Persons of Interest
Sabermetric orthodoxy suggested that, at the time of its consummation, the trade between Chicago and Seattle that sent Carlos Silva to the Cubs was a win for the Mariners and for Mariner GM Jack Zduriencik. May 1st is too early to draw any hard and fast conclusions, but if you’d asked a fair sample of non- or only semi-drunk people which player — Silva or Milton Bradley — would have the higher WAR on this date in the history of our nation, very few of them would’ve gone with “the considerably more obese one.”

And yet, here we are, with Silva having earned almost a full win above replacement for his new team. “What gives?” maybe you’re asking. Don’t worry: Dave Cameron’s all over that. A couple-few days ago, he wrote:

Silva, who throughout his entire career has struggled mightily with left-handed hitters, has held them to just three singles in 37 plate appearances in his first four starts. And all three of those singles came in his last start. In his first three appearances, he was perfect against LHBs, as they went 0 for 22 against him.


So, naturally, the first thing I did was take a look at his pitch selection. Silva’s lived primarily off of his two-seam fastball for most of his career, which is why he’s posted such large platoon splits. The pitch works against righties, but not against lefties.

Sure enough, Silva has finally decided to abandon his fastball-only approach to pitching. He’s thrown his sinker just 56.5% of the time (compared to 83.1% last year), and has replaced with his change-up, which he’s now thrown 30.7% of the time.

If you’re like me (spiritually ambidextrous, needlessly hifalutin), one thing that appeals to you is to watch a player just after you’ve been given some razor-sharp analysis on his play. In this case, I predict that an entire nation of baseballing nerds will watch with rapt attention as Silva unleashes his changepiece all over some D-Backs*.

*Yes, this is as gross as it sounds.

All-Joy Alert
Kelly Johnson was a pre-season All-Joyer. This is me telling you, “I told you so hard.”

An Historical Fact
On roughly this date, in 1886 in the Year of Our Lord, in this same exact city, the eight-hour work day went some way to becoming a reality.

If I Had My Druthers
• The work day would only be six hours.
• Actually, make that four hours.
• Everyday would be Saturday.

Colorado at San Francisco | Sunday, May 02 | 4:05 pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Rockies: Jhoulys Chacin (R)
21.3 IP, 8.86 K/9, 4.64 BB/9, .280 BABIP, 54.9% GB, 4.6% HR/BIA, 3.53 FIP (Triple-A)
Projected FIP: N/A (FAN) 5.02 (CHONE) 4.79 (ZiPS)

Giants: Jonathan Sanchez (L)
24.1 IP, 12.21 K/9, 4.81 BB/9, .282 BABIP, 34.6% GB, 0.0% HR/FB, 3.58 xFIP
Projected FIP: 4.02 (FAN) 4.07 (CHONE) 3.93 (ZiPS)

Persons of Interest
Tonight marks the first Major League start of the season for young righty Jhoulys Chacin, who the Rockies have chosen to take the place of the injured Jorge de la Rosa in the Colorado rotation. In terms of watchability, Chacin’s start is right up the baseball nerd alley*, on account of he’s a pitcher, he’s a prospect, and he’s making (more or less) his debut.

*Yes, this is as gross as it sounds.

What kind of prospect? Depends on who you ask. Our own Marc Hulet placed him second on the Rockies prospect list, writing:

With the ability to keep the ball on the ground and a repertoire that includes two plus pitches (fastball, change-up), Chacin should develop into a No. 3 starter at worst.

Baseball America roughly agrees, placing special emphasis on his changepiece, which the authors describe as his best pitch, and one capable of negating left-handed batters. In either case, it appears as though the challenge for Chacin is his control. Stay tuned as this situation develops!

The reader might also care to cast a gaze at the San Francisco outfield, where Andres Torres and Nate Schierholtz are getting their share of starts in center and right, respectively. Torres, in particular, presents an interesting case to the baseballing nerd. Did you know, for example, that CHONE projects Torres at 2 WAR for the season? Or, how about, did you know that said WAR are projected to come in only 107 GP and 346 PA? After you’ve wiped all the coffee off your monitor, you might consider pointing your web browser to Torres’s player page, where you’ll see that a large portion of his projection is based on the 10.0 UZR — again, in limited playing time.

None of Which Is Even to Mention
Giant starter Jonathan Sanchez and Colorado prospect Eric Young Jr. The former is among the league leaders in strikeouts; the latter has recently been called upon to replace a more-hobbled-than-usual Brad Hawpe. Reports suggest that Colorado will try to get EY more than his share of reps at the Major League level.

A Little Known Fact About Jhoulys Chacin
His first name, when spoken aloud, sounds exactly like the call of the Russet-backed Oropendola, a bird found commonly in Chacin’s native Venezuela.

If I Had My Druthers
• Andres Torres would get the start in center for San Francisco.
• Eric Young Jr. would get the start in left for Colorado.
• The dulcet tones of Jon Miller’s voice would put me into a state of blissful waking sleep.

Ryan Howard’s Extension

In the four seasons from 2006-2009, Ryan Howard has accumulated 16 wins, according to . If we look at all players born since Babe Ruth, for the same age group as Ryan Howard, that puts him in the top 200 players, along with teammates Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins.

Ryan Howard was already signed for the 2010 and 2011 seasons before he signed his latest extension. Therefore, we are looking to see what happens to the great player in the third through seventh seasons following his established performance level. Focusing on the 178 great players born between 1895 and 1971, the list is headed by Willie Mays at 37 wins, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, each at 36 wins. Here’s how these great players aged:

Age 27 to 30: 21 wins
Age 31 to 32: 9 wins
Age 33 to 37: 11 wins
Age 38 onwards: 2 wins

This does not look good for the Phillies. While a win costs about 4 to 5 million dollars today, each win in the 2012-2016 season will cost somewhere around 7 million dollars. Granting a five-year extension, two years out, to a typical star player should be worth around 77 million$, not 125 million dollars.

Perhaps Howard is a special case. We already gave him a special consideration, seeing that the group average was 21 wins at age 27 to 30, while he was at 16. We’ll give him the following two further considerations: let’s set the minimum win level for the previous four seasons at 20 (which brings us down to 87 players), and a minimum win level of 8 wins for the next two seasons (which implies that we expect Ryan Howard to be healthy and very productive for the next two seasons). That leaves us with 61 players, with the following results:

Age 27 to 30: 25 wins
Age 31 to 32: 12 wins
Age 33 to 37: 16 wins
Age 38 onwards: 4 wins

We are being extremely generous to Ryan Howard with our comparables. We’ve got the four prior seasons totalling 25 wins (compared to the 16 for Howard’s last four seasons) and 12 wins for the two upcoming seasons (of which Howard has played only one month so far). And under those very unrestrictive parameters, the expectation is to get 16 wins for the five years that Howard signed. And if we increase the cost of a win to 8 million dollars per win, that’s 128 million dollars for five years.

Therefore, in order to justify this contract, we have to take the most optimistic position we possibly can on every parameter we have considered in order to justify the extension as a fair deal. And when you are that optimistic, you probably have a big chance of it blowing up in your face.

Given that we’ve shown that, on average, this deal was not good, the question remains: what are the odds the deal will turn out to be good? It’s a bad deal to buy a lottery ticket… unless you are the winner. Looking at a more restrictive pool of players (minimum 16 wins in the previous four years, at least 4 wins in the next two years, paying 7 million dollars per win), we have a total of 161 players in our pool (who averaged 22 wins in the 4 previous seasons), of which 20% generated at least 18 wins in the five years that we are focused on. And generating at least 18 wins is worth at least 125 million dollars. The odds are therefore as follows:

50% chance of deal being worth at least 10 wins (for an average of 18 wins)
25% chance of deal being worth 4 to 9 wins (for an average of 7 wins, or a value of 50 million$)
25% chance of deal being worth 3 or fewer wins (losing over 100 million dollars in value)

This means the Phillies have a 50/50 shot of either breaking even or facing an albatross. Ideally, you want a 50/50 shot of having a good deal and 50/50 on a bad deal. And that’s presuming that Ryan Howard was a superstar who averaged 22 wins, not 16.


There’s 101 players born since Babe Ruth, limited by the following:
– 2400 or more PA in the 27-30 age group
– at least 16 wins in the 27-30 age group
– at least 4 wins in the 31-32 age group

The totals for these 101:
– 22 wins at age 27-30
– 10 wins at age 31-32
– 11 wins at age 33-37

Here’s everyone born since Mike Schmidt (29 of those 101 players), ordered by best to worst at age 33-37:

27-30   31-32   33-37   Player Name
32	17	34	Schmidt	Mike
27	19	22	Henderson	Rickey
20	10	21	Palmeiro	Rafael
20	11	21	Sosa	Sammy
35	11	20	Boggs	Wade
16	9	18	Butler	Brett
16	14	18	Thome	Jim
27	6	18	Yount	Robin
17	10	17	Gwynn	Tony

19	15	16	Biggio	Craig
21	14	16	Ripken	Cal
28	13	15	Bagwell	Jeff
24	6	12	Murray	Eddie
28	12	10	Giambi	Jason
21	11	10	Hernandez	Keith
22	8	10	Thomas	Frank
21	10	10	Williams	Bernie
22	10	9	Trammell	Alan
18	6	8	McGriff	Fred
16	8	8	White	Devon

17	6	7	Salmon	Tim
18	10	6	Puckett	Kirby
22	8	3	Belle	Albert
30	7	3	Griffey	Ken
19	8	2	Cirillo	Jeff
16	5	2	McReynolds	Kevin
19	10	1	Murphy	Dale
16	7	0	Vaughn	Mo
18	6	-1	Barfield	Jesse

So, you have a one-third chance of being Jim Thome, a one-third chance of being Frank Thomas, and a one-third chance of being Mo Vaughn.

Ryan Howard was paid like he had a 100% chance of being Jim Thome.

The Quick Trigger: Prospect Promotions

Lars Anderson, Mike Montgomery, and Drew Storen share few things in common, aside from the fact that they’re both professional ball players. However, all three players can be lumped together as top prospects that recently received minor league promotions.

Anderson was moved from double-A to triple-A by the Boston Red Sox. The big first baseman was repeating double-A for the second straight season after an uninspired .233/.338/.345 in 447 at-bats. His ISO dropped from .211 in ’08 to .112 in ’09 and he lost more than .100 points on his wOBA.

Despite the struggles, I felt pretty good about predicting a rebound for the 22-year-old prospect while writing the 2010 Top 10 list for the Red Sox. I ranked him fifth overall and said: “There were a few good signs, including the fact that he maintained a solid walk rate (12.3%) and his strikeout rate did not skyrocket (25.5%, similar to his career norm – which admittedly is high to begin with)… Anderson will be just 22 for much of 2010, so he has time to turn things around.”

Other prospect rankers felt he was still a Top 10 prospect, as well. Baseball America and Keith Law both ranked Anderson at No. 4, while John Sickels had him at No. 8, and Baseball Prospectus had him ninth overall.

Anderson was hitting .355/.408/.677 at the time of his promotion. With the positive impact that the Mets organization has received from the promotion of Ike Davis, perhaps the Red Sox organization is hoping for a similar spark at some point this season. That seems a little too aggressive but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Montgomery proved to the Kansas City Royals that he was far too good for A-ball so he was bumped up to double-A. The southpaw is just 20 years old so it’s mildly surprising to see the organization be so quick to promote him. With that said, the club is lacking pitching depth at the upper levels of the system. As well, Montgomery had success in nine high-A starts in ’09 after beginning the season in low-A.

During the off-season, I ranked Montgomery as the No. 1 prospect in the Royals’ system. I was joined by three of the other four rankers. Law chose to rank him third behind Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

At the high-A level in ’10, Montgomery allowed just 14 hits and four walks in 24.2 innings of work. He posted an 11.88 K/9 rate and a 55% ground-ball rate. Despite his early success, the Royals would have to be pretty desperate to bring Montgomery up this season. He’s still young and has a limited number of pro innings under his belt. And the club is not in a position to win this season.

An ’09 first round draft pick by the Washington Nationals, Storen was a slight-overdraft in part because he was considered near-MLB ready. It took less than a month of the 2010 season for him to move within a step of the Majors with a switch from double-A to triple-A.

All four of the prospect rankers had Storen as the third best prospect in the system behind Stephen Strasburg and Derek Norris. In the 2010 Second Opinion, I ranked Storen at No. 4 on the Top 10 list, after giving a little extra love to current MLB starting shortstop Ian Desmond.

Storen projects to be the club’s closer of the future, although a rejuvenated Matt Capps will give the prospect plenty of time to ease into the Majors. Last season, Storen pitched at three levels and compiled a 1.95 ERA with 21 hits allowed in 37.0 innings of work. The 22-year-old former Stanford pitcher had an ERA of 0.96 in seven games and had allowed just five hits in 9.1 innings. He walked just one batter and struck out 11.

It’s great to see the prospect values increasing for all three players. However, don’t get too excited and expect them to make significant MLB impacts in 2010.

Ian Kennedy Settling Into the National League

In the past few days I’ve discussed two components of the Yankees-Tigers-Diamondbacks trade over the winter. Both Austin Jackson and Edwin Jackson present interesting cases. The former has gotten off to a hot start despite some concerning peripherals, and the other has gotten hit around a bit in two of his five starts. Arizona has actually seen better from another pitcher their received, 25-year-old right-hander Ian Kennedy.

In March I wondered about Kennedy’s potential in the NL. He flopped during his limited exposure with the Yankees, but a move out of the AL East might have been the boost Kennedy needed to get going. He is, after all, a former first-round draft pick who so consummately dominated the minors during his first professional season that he essentially forced the Yankees to call him up (well, that and Mike Mussina’s breakdown). An impressive September earned him a rotation spot in 2008, but that ended in disaster.

In Arizona it appears things are starting to come together. Throughout the minors Kennedy displayed excellent strikeout skills, 9.9 per nine innings, or 28 percent of the batters he faced, while walking just 2.8 per nine. During his Yankees tenure he struggled in both areas, but with the Diamondbacks he has excelled. In 30.1 innings he has struck out 27, 8.01 per nine, or 21.6 percent of all batters faced. He has also kept his walk rate low, just 2.37 per nine. This success hasn’t exactly shown up in the results yet — he owns a 4.45 ERA — but there are some signs that could change.

Kennedy’s biggest problem this year has been the home run. He has allowed 2.08 per nine, or one every 15.6 batters faced. The home runs have been concentrated, with the Dodgers hitting three and the Phillies two, each in a single game. That type of home run rate stems from his ridiculously high HR/FB percentage. Kennedy will not see 17.9 percent of his fly balls leave the park this year, so his home run rate should drop as the season progresses. This shows up in his xFIP, 4.07.

In terms of batted balls, a pitcher like Kennedy, who doesn’t blow away hitters, could do more to induce ground balls. In the minors he induced about 39.7 percent grounders, which is just a tick above where he currently sits, 37.9 percent. He has mixed in a two-seamer more frequently this year, so perhaps as he throws that more he’ll generate more grounders. That will not only help produce more ground ball outs, but will also help his efforts to keep the ball in the park.

While he has always been a four-pitch pitcher, Kennedy showed reluctance to use his curveball in 2008. Instead he used his fastball 63.3 percent of the time. Some pitchers can get by with that usage level, but when the pitch averages 89.1 mph, secondary stuff becomes necessary. Kennedy went mostly to his changeup, but that apparently was not fooling AL hitters. This season he has thrown 56.5 percent fastballs, though that includes many more two-seamers. He has relied heavily on his changeup, throwing it 20.6 percent of the time, but has also mixed in his curveball much more frequently. It accounts for 16.9 percent of his pitches. This comes at the cost of his slider, a pitch that AL hitters destroyed in 2008.

There are still some negative signs with Kennedy, starting with his .225 BABIP. That will come up, but his declining home run rate could off-set that. Combined with a high strikeout rate — and only 2 of 27 have been of the pitcher — and a low walk rate, and he could certainly turn in a good season. It’s too early to definitively conclude that Kennedy’s luck will change for the better, but there are some indications that it will.

FanGraphs Chat – 4/30/10

A break from our usual Wednesday schedule, we’re doing this week’s on Friday, and we’ll run from 12 to 1 pm eastern. The guys over at RotoGraphs will also be here to answer questions.

FanGraphs Audio: Chris Liss of RotoWire

Episode Twenty-Four
In which the guest asks you to excuse his French.

Lost in Translation
Asking the Big Questions
Letting a (Fantasy) Player Play
… and other candid observations!

Chris Liss, RotoWire Higher-Up

Finally, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio on the flip-flop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Austin Kearns’s Career Revival

If anybody’s career looked over after the 2009 season, it was Austin Kearns. The right fielder was coming off two seasons with wRC+ numbers of 72 and 79 respectively. He only appeared in 166 games due to injury. His HR/FB rate and BABIP plummeted. His fielding fell from excellent to merely average in the corners. All in all, Kearns went from a nearly 4 win player to a replacement level player all in the span of two years.

Kearns is seeing a complete career revival in Cleveland this year. No, he’s not going to come anywhere near maintaining the ridiculous 205 wRC+ he’s posted in 51 plate appearances. Still, the .340 wOBA projected by the ZiPS rest of season projection is a far cry above the sub-.300 wOBAs he posted in his final two years in Washington.

The key to Kearns’s year so far is power – mostly in the form of seven doubles, but also in two home runs. Kearns’s seven doubles already surpasses his total from 2009 and is only three behind his total from 2008. His walk rate is down, but that’s partly because of a higher Zone% and Contact% than any we’ve seen in his career. As pitchers realize that Kearns is once again a major league quality and even possibly an above average hitter, they will likely nibble more, and Kearns’s walk rate will regress towards his career mean of 11.5%. His power will decline, as the doubles will likely turn into singles, but Kearns still, as the ZiPS projection suggests, has a chance at being an average hitter even after a good amount of regression.

Kearns suffered from multiple injuries in 2008 and 2009, including loose bodies in his elbow, a stress fracture in his left foot, and a right thumb injury. Prior to these injuries, Kearns had been playing at an all star level. Thanks to a 10+% walk rate and solid power, Kearns was able to post above average wOBAs in both 2006 and 2007. Combining that with star-level defense in right field – +14 UZRs for two years in a row, Kearns was worth 3.8 wins a year in 2006 and 2007. With the injuries left in the past and with Kearns still only 29 years old – he turns 30 in May – there was still a chance for a career revival. The roll of the dice only cost Cleveland a minor league contract. Kearns has rewarded them well so far in 2010.

One Night Only: Awesome Is Their Middle Name

There’s no place like home, America — especially if your home has a sweet TV in it with the Extra Innings package.

Texas at Seattle | Friday, April 30 | 10:10 pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Rangers: Colby Lewis (R)
23.2 IP, 10.65 K/9, 4.56 BB/9, .317 BABIP, 36.7% GB, 8.3% HR/FB, 3.91 xFIP
Projected FIP: N/A (FAN) 3.99 (CHONE) 4.39 (ZiPS)

Mariners: Cliff Lee (L)
231.2 IP, 7.03 K/9, 1.67 BB/9, .326 BABIP, 41.3% GB, 6.5% HR/FB, 3.69 xFIP (2009)
Projected FIP: 3.16 (FAN) 3.43 (CHONE) 3.47 (ZiPS)

Persons of Interest
For the majority of tonight’s game, the Safeco Field mound will be occupied by a POI (that’s Person of Interest, people — get with it) to the Baseballing Enthusiast. Let me count the ways.

If spilling ink were a possible thing to happen on this wild and beautiful series of tubes we call the internet, then that’s exactly what you’d say this author has done in re Colby Frigging Lewis. And while I’ve been mistaken more often for developmental psychologist Howard Gardner than I have for a real-live Baseball Talent Evaluator, I’m thinking that maybe my very emphatic support for Lewis has earned me some kind of credibility in that area.

So, that’s one thing.

Another thing is how tonight represents the first start of the season for Prize of the Offseason Cliff Lee. Our very own Dave Allen wrote the killerest article about Lee in the Mariners Annual. Rather than reproducing it here in full, allow me to summarize for you: Cliff Lee is off the hizzy.

Want something more specific? You gots it: the cool thing about Cliff Lee is his location. His change-up, almost without exception, is in the low-away quadrant of the strike zone against righties; his cutter, almost always right on a righty’s hands. If hitting is timing and pitching is messing up timing, then Cliff Lee is awesome.

Five Bizarre Connections Between Colby Lewis and Cliff Lee
Put away those Ouija boards, kids, and prepare to get your minds freaked. Behold these five bizarre connections between tonight’s starters.

1. Both pitchers have two first names.
2. Both have the initials C.P.L. (Colby Preston Lewis, Clifton Phifer Lee.)
3. Both pitchers have pitched in the East: Lee in the NL East, Lewis in the Far.
4. Owing to the fact that they’re both so nasty, neither Lewis nor Lee has ever, in fact, kissed his mother with that mouth.
5. Lewis’s secretary was named Kennedy; Lee’s, Lincoln. Don’t even look it up, it’s true. You’ve got the Cistulli Guarantee on that.

Other Players Will Be There Tonight, Too
And all of them will probably strike out.

If I Had My Druthers
• Colby Lewis would steal fire from the gods and give it to humans.
• Colby Lewis would fashion all humankind from clay.
• Colby Lewis would continue to pitch out of his mind, thus validating my continued presence on this, the internet’s clearinghouse for baseball nerdom.

FanGraphs Audio: The Freak Out City Red Sox

Episode Twenty-Three
In which the panel is two doctors in the house.

The Red Sox: Freak Out City?
Barry Zito: Same Guy?
Should We Ever Throw Kyle Blanks a Fastball?
A Very Subjective Game Report: KC at Toronto
… and other learned ejaculations!

Dave Allen, Doctor of the Heat Map
Matt Klaassen, Doctor of Philosophy of Philosophy

Finally, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio on the flip-flop.

Read the rest of this entry »