Happy Birthday….

As the Mets’ sage named Ralph (Kiner, not Waldo Emerson) once said when announcing a Mets Father’s Day Game: “On Fathers Day, we again wish you all happy birthday.”

The Jose Reyes “Injury-Prone” Myth

Jose Reyes is known to many, including apparently Fred Wilpon, as a guy who gets hurt a lot.  But the facts tell a different story.

Since the age of 21, when most current Major Leaguers were still in the Minors, Reyes has played in at least 133 games in every season, except one (5 out of 6 years). And in a four-year stretch (2005-2008), Reyes missed only 15 games–Total.   This year, Reyes has played in all but 3 games.

True, in 2009, Reyes played only 36 games, but that was the only time since the age of 21 that Reyes played less than 133 games.

Reyes is a lot of things (extremely fast, otherworldly talented albeit undisciplined, an MVP candidate thus far this year, baseball’s best shortstop at the moment), but injury prone is not one of them.

At least the Mets have a sense of humor

“Maybe David [Wright] will be back for [Johan] Santana’s first start”.   Mets GM Sandy Alderson, answering a post-game question about when the injured Mets third baseman may return from a stress fracture in his back.

Ravens’ Player Ray Lewis on Why the NFL Lockout Needs to End

Ray Lewis, to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio:  “Do this research if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game.”

When asked why, Lewis said: “”There’s nothing else to do Sal.”

Roysaidit Note: After a Super Bowl party on January 31, 2000, a fight involving Ray Lewis resulted in the stabbing deaths of two men, for which Lewis and two others were indicted on murder charges. The charges against Lewis were dropped in exchange for his testimony against his two co-defendants, and Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and admitted giving a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings.

In 2004, Lewis reached a civil settlement with the families of the two murder victims. 

Replacing Castillo in the Other “Second” Spot on the Mets

Now that the Mets have finally acceded to the constant fan drumbeat to replace Luis Castillo at second base, they need to make perhaps the more important decision of who should replace Luis Castillo as the second hitter in the lineup. Like Castillo or not, the Mets do not currently have any second basemen who represent a clear upgrade from Castillo.  So, aside from pleasing the legions of anti-Castillo Mets fans and signifying that the new management has some leeway to undo the prior administration’s bad decisions, firing Castillo is not anticipated to lead to an immediate improvement at the position (certainly not defensively).

However, the best improvement the Mets could immediately make in the post-Castillo landscape is to think long and hard about who should occupy the second position in the lineup that Castillo so woefully manned last year.

The hope is that GM Sandy Alderson and his performance-based front office will work with new Manager Terry Collins to decide whom to bat second, not based on reputation (as was generally the case for the prior administration), but on how guys are expected to, and actually do, perform.

The vote here is for the 2d batter to be Josh Thole.  Yes, new catcher Thole.  Why?

Did you know that Thole led the Mets in on base average in 2010?  Surely, the guy who reached base more often than any Met last year would be of value in the #2 hole.  In fact, Thole is again leading the Mets in OBP so far this spring.  Granted, it’s only the spring, but Thole is again finding ways to reach base.  Plus Thole is a low-power, high contact guy who does not strike out a lot.

Thole batting second and seeing plenty of pitches would allow Jose Reyes time to steal a base and would give the Mets’ top hitters multiple looks at what the opposing pitcher’s offerings.

Plus, adding a high-OBP, low power guy would extend the Mets lineup, so that power hitters go “deep” into a lineup that might look like this:

 

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Josh Thole, C

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Angel Pagan, CF

5. Carlos Beltran, RF

6. Jason Bay, LF

7. Ike Davis, 1B

8. Daniel Murphy, 2B

9. Mike Pelfrey, Pitcher

 

All of a sudden, the Met lineup, although lacking in superstar hitters besides Wright, would go 7 deep, with Ike Davis as one of baseball’s better #7 hitters. Bay, too, could go from overrated cleanup hitter, to one of the league’s top #6 hitters (along with less pressure to perform in that spot). All in all, this lineup (if healthy of course) would have the depth, if not the star talent, to match most offenses in the National League.

Add in a starting rotation that, while currently lacking an ace, may go five deep, and the Mets are on their way to……improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball Break

Time for a break from football to ask: What is up with SI Writer Jon Heyman?

Heyman has for years touted Jack Morris and recently has hyped Andy Pettitte for the Hall of Fame, yet for 14 years consistently voted against Bert Blyleven, a demonstrably better pitcher than those two (plus of course Nolan Ryan, whom Heyman also voted for).   Heyman even mocked Blyleven and those who support him because they dare to go beyond pure Win-Loss records when comparing pitchers.

One little piece of information for Heyman and other Blyleven detractors who avoid the facts.  Bert Blyleven’s rookie season was 1970, about the time Nolan Ryan was becoming a full-time starter.  Over the next 10 years, Blyleven had a better ERA 8 times, compared to Ryan’s 1 time (they tied once).   This, by the way, included all of Ryan’s record-setting strikeout seasons.  In other words, year after year, while Ryan was setting strikeout records, Bert Blyleven was outpitching him.

Pettitte’s supporters cannot show a decade’s worth of dominance over a current or future Hall of Famer. Yet guys like Heyman, now having lost the cause of keeping Blyleven out of the Hall of Fame, are going to try to get Pettitte in, all based on wins-losses, the most archaic way of measuring pitching performances.  Yikes.

Congratulations to Bert Blyleven on Your Well Deserved Hall of Fame Election

And congratulations to those voters who valued performance over perception.

10 More Reasons Why Bert Blyleven Deserves Enshrinement in the HOF

1.       Blyleven’s 287 wins are 27th all time. Despite pitching for mostly bad teams, he won more games than Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Robin Roberts and Whitey Ford.

2.       Blyleven’s 60 shutouts are 4th most in all of baseball since 1921. Every other pitcher in the top 22 is in the HOF (His 60 are only 1 behind Ryan and Seaver , 3 behind Warren Spahn, and more than  shoo-in HOFers such as Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Jim Palmer, Ed Walsh, Mordecai Brown).

3.       Blyleven’s 3701 strikeouts are 3rd all-time since 1921. Every other pitcher in the top 17 in career strikeouts is either a Hall of Famer or likely to get in as soon as they eligible.  The only 2 live-ball-era pitchers ahead of him, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton, walked hundreds of more guys than he did.

4.       Blyleven’s 15  1-0 victories are the most in baseball since 1921.

5.       Somebody crunched the numbers and if Blyleven had even average run support, his career record would have been at least:  313 – 227.  This would explain why he did not win more despite finishing top 10 in the league in ERA+ 12 times (more than these Hall of Famers: Palmer 10 times, Perry 10 times, Roberts 9 times, Carlton 8 times, Ryan 7 times, Sutton 7 times, Niekro 7 times, Jenkins 6 times.

6.       Among the top 60 pitchers with at least 3500 innings, Bert is 5th all time in K/BB.

7.       Blyleven was 5-1, with a 2.47 ERA in the postseason.  Blyleven had the lowest starting pitcher ERA in all 4 of the post-season series that Blyleven pitched in.  In other words, in each series, if you look at all 25 of the starters in that series (6 inning minimum), Blyleven had the lowest ERA in all 4 series — better than Tom Seaver, Jack Morris, Jim Palmer (the latter two Blyleven beat head to head in 1979 and 1987).

8.       Many Hall of Famers struggled against Bert Blyleven:  Reggie Jackson (.214 batting average in 140 Plate Appearances); George Brett (.231 in 128 PAs); Robin Yount (.182 in 114 Pas); Paul Molitor (.257 in 80 Pas); Rod Carew (.260 in 53 Pas); Dave Winfield (.250 53 Pas); Brooks Robinson  (.250); Wade Boggs (.256); Gary Carter (.262); Andre Dawson (.195). Joe Morgan (.188). Ozzie Smith (.200); Johnny Bench (.235); Luis Aparicio (.188);

9.       In order for Jack Morris to approach Bert Blyleven’s career innings and ERA, you’d have to add Mariano Rivera’s entire career.

10.   Of the 38 starting pitchers enshrined in the Hall of Fame since the Deadball era: Only 8 won more than Blyleven. Only 2 struck out more guys than Blyleven.  Only 3 had more shutouts than Blyleven. And only 1 consistently finished more times in the top 10 in ERA+. Hall of Famers are Blyleven’s peers, not superiors.

Reason #287 Why Bert Blyleven Was Better Than Ryan and Sutton and Thus Deserves HOF Enshrinement

Bert Blyleven was a better pitcher than Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, but they are in the Hall of Fame, and he is not, largely because they got to 300 wins. But that was mostly because they, not he, pitched in pitcher-friendly ballparks (plus Ryan and Sutton spent large portions of their careers in the DH-less NL).

One way to reduce the “home-park advantage” when comparing pitchers is to compare their career Earned Run Averages ON THE ROAD (thus equalizing the playing field).

Bert Blyleven’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.34

Nolan Ryan’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.73

Don Sutton’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.77

Thus, Blyleven outpitched Ryan and Sutton when comparing apples-to-apples, even though they “appeared” to be better since they pitched in more pitcher-favorable leagues/parks.

Plus, Blyleven was one of the greatest post-season pitchers ever.

Blyleven was 5-1 in the post-season (2.47 ERA), and won 2 World Series Championships. (Head to head, Blyleven outpitched both Jack Morris (Morris’ only loss in his first 8 post-season decisions) and Jim Palmer (who up to then was 7-2 lifetime in the postseason).

In the regular season, Blyleven outpitched two of his HOF peers, and in the postseason, Blyleven outpitched two of the top post-season legends of his era.

Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Open Letter to the 3 Voters for CC Sabathia over Felix Hernandez for AL Cy Young

Dear BBWAA Members who voted for CC Sabathia over Felix Hernandez for AL Cy Young.

I know why you voted for Sabathia over Hernandez:  Because he won more games.  I get it.  Baseball is about winning games, and CC “won” more games.  But let us ask why CC won more games, despite giving up a run more per game than Felix gave up.  Please allow me to explore why Hernandez, who led all starting pitchers in ERA (yes, even lower than every NL pitcher facing pitchers instead of DHs), managed to lose 12 games.

Answer:  Sabathia won more games than Hernandez, because Sabathia played for the far superior team.  The Yankees scored the most runs in all of baseball.  Seattle scored the fewest runs in all of baseball.  Yes, it’s true:  Even every NATIONAL LEAGUE TEAM scored more runs than Seattle.  So, while CC was padding win totals on the power of the Yankee offense (which scored two more runs a game than Seattle), Hernandez was saddled with the world’s worst offense, leading to things like losing 1-0 on the second to last game of the season.  Plus, the Yankees had baseball’s fewest errors, and Seattle was among baseball’s leaders in errors.  Again, these are things that cost Hernandez wins, but were outside his control.

Oh, and Hernandez did face the “best offense in baseball” Yankees 3 times last year.  Results:

9 innings, 0 ER

9 innings, 1 ER

8 innings, 0 ER.

A Cy Young performance indeed!

Sincerely,

Roysaidit!

PS Speaking of not punishing players for how bad their teammates were, can we put Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven in the HOF already?

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