April 16, 2003

Miscellaneous, etc

I don't know if it's the weather or a 24-hour case of Attention Deficit Disorder or what, but I can't seem to concentrate long enough to think up a subject for a long blog entry for today. So, instead I'll do a "quick hits" entry and try to touch on a few subjects that I have been thinking about lately...

I wrote the Twins "Season Preview" for Baseball Primer last month and one of topics I discussed in it was Cristian Guzman:

I do think a lot of [Guzman's] disappointing play over the last season and a half has been due to various injuries. At times over the past two seasons it seems as though Guzman is simply being lazy on defense; making lazy, off-target throws to first base, not bending enough on routine grounders and occasionally letting one go right through his legs and simply not showing the range he showed when he first came up in 1999. I believe Guzman is a little lackadaisical by nature, but I also think a lot of that "laziness" is actually the effects of leg and foot injuries.

When you look at his stolen base and triples totals, it becomes painfully obvious that Guzman has something wrong with him:

2000 + 2nd half of 2001 = 45/61 in stolen bases (74%) with 33 triples in 998 at bats (1 every 30 ABs).

2nd half of 2001 + 2002 = 20/35 in stolen bases (57%) with 7 triples in 769 at bats (1 every 110 ABs).

There was nothing more exciting than watching Cristian Guzman smack a line drive into the gap someplace and seeing him sprint around the bases, knowing full well he’d be sliding into third base before the play was over. Cristian Guzman has not been the same player since he came back from the all-star game in 2001.

There were some signs of life in the second-half last season. After a miserable first-half that included a .273 OBP and going 6/16 on stolen base attempts, Guzman hit .292/.315/.440 in the second-half and even managed to steal more bases than times caught (6/9). I am cautiously optimistic with Guzman, as I think most Twins fans are. I could see him putting together a .290/.320/.440 season and I am hoping to see him sprinting around second base as the relay throw comes in from right field at least 10 times this year.

It's still very early, but Cristian Guzman tripled in the 5th inning of last night's win over the Tigers and already has 3 triples in 41 at bats this season. He should (literally) fly by that goal of 10 triples I mentioned. Guzzy's triple total is something I am defnitely going to keep an eye on this year, because it's the most exciting play in baseball and, in 2000 and most of 2001, Cristian Guzman was as good as it gets for three-baggers.

Devil Rays' rookie Rocco Baldelli is currently hitting .426.

As if that weren't amazing enough, Rocco has yet to walk in over 50 plate appearances and he is on pace for about 60 doubles and 25 triples.

As long as I am quoting myself from my Baseball Primer articles, I might as well show you what I wrote about Baldelli back in January, when I did my "Top 50 Prospects" article:

#10) Rocco Baldelli

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Age: 21

Pos: CF

Bats: Right

Yo, Rocco! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

When someone with as many "tools" as Rocco Baldelli puts everything together and has a season like he did in 2002, a lot of people get excited, and rightfully so.

Toolsy high school outfielders tend to have problems actually performing well, so it is big news when a guy jumps through 3 levels of a minor league system, wins Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year and hits .330 with 19 homers and 28 doubles - all at the age of 20.

Before you get too excited, keep in mind that Baldelli only drew 23 walks combined between those 3 levels and 2 of them were intentional. Plus, he didn’t draw a single walk in almost 100 plate appearances at Triple-A.

Baldelli is a line drive machine with plus speed and solid base stealing instincts that should get even better with more experience. On defense, he is a natural centerfielder with good speed, great athleticism and the ability to glide to balls in the gaps.

There is an awful lot here to get really excited about and the Devil Rays have shown a willingness to promote players very aggressively. However, the fact is that most players not named "Soriano" have a pretty difficult time being superstars while walking twice a month.

Baldelli is a step ahead of most toolsy high schoolers at this point, but the coaching he receives in the near future will play a gigantic part in whether or not he becomes a star. I’d feel better if that coaching was coming from an organization other than Tampa Bay, but he’ll have to make the most of what they have to offer him.

Rocco Baldelli’s "ceiling" is as high as anyone’s and he looks like a potential MVP candidate, but he’s going to make it very difficult on himself if he doesn’t start taking some walks. Short term, I wouldn’t expect him to hit .330 in the Majors anytime soon, which is what he’ll have to do to make himself valuable with such an atrocious walk rate.

I still don't expect him to hit .330 (or .430) "anytime soon," but that doesn't mean he won't, of course. Every time I watch Baldelli play I am even more impressed with him. I still think he will need to learn to take some walks before he becomes a star, but his ceiling is definitely "as high as anyone's" and he sure is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Speaking of my "Top 50 Prospects" article for BaseballPrimer.com...

Once in a while I stumble across a place on the web where I am mentioned, which never gets old for me. I mean, who doesn't like to be talked about (as long as it's nice)?

The newest case is on the "Christopher Newport University" website.

A student at that school, one Mr. Joseph Brucato, has his very own little min-website on the CNU server and used my "Top 50 Prospects" article for one of his homework assignments! Can you imagine that?

Here is what the assignment was (apparently it was for some type of "journal" or something, although I am not sure for what type of class):

"Use an Internet search engine to find an argumentative piece on a favorite pastime/activity, summarize and analyze it. Then, brainstorm about what you like and dislike about it. From these two resources, construct a thesis and write a two-paragraph essay."

And here is what Joseph wrote:

"After reading “2003's Top 50 Prospects” by Aaron Gleeman at http://www.baseballprimer.com/articles/gleeman_2003-01-27_0.shtml it puts a bad taste in my mouth. Gleeman speaks about players from the major leagues and also the minors. This in not the problem, many players are shuffled from the majors to the minors and back, so looking at both is very important. My problem is with the formula he uses to decide who is better than who and so forth. He even states in his article that it is “an extremely inexact science."

I do not understand how you can feel confident with your decisions when you say before hand that the way to the conclusion is extremely inexact. I do not know for sure, but I feel as if there could be more than a couple players that are on the fence and who could have made the top 50 and didn’t.

Thesis: Aaron Gleeman should refine his formula so it is more of an exact science before he goes ahead and ranks players. Only then can he have a half way decent list of players that fall into the top 50 prospects of 2003."

I don't mean to sound like a jerk and maybe I am crazy, but if he got a decent grade on that assignment, his professor should be fired immediately and there should be some sort of investigation regarding the overall quality of the university.

I mean seriously, "I do not know for sure, but I feel as if there could be more than a couple players that are on the fence and who could have made the top 50 and didn’t"? What a ground-breaking statement. A person makes a list of the 50 "top" things and you think that there may have been a couple of things that didn't quite make the cut? Well, yeah!

I also liked, "Aaron Gleeman should refine his formula so it is more of an exact science before he goes ahead and ranks players. Only then can he have a half way decent list of players that fall into the top 50 prospects of 2003." Yes, I really should get to work on "refining" the formula I use for determining THE FUTURE OF HUMAN BEINGS! Maybe during the Summer; I should have some more free time then...

Also, that "bad taste in your mouth" is probably from the bulls@#$ coming out of it.

(Geez, I really get defensive pretty quickly, don't I?)

I also stumbled across an interview Lee Sinins (of Sabermetric Encyclopedia and Around the Majors newsletter fame) did on NetShrine.com, back on April 2nd.

Lee was asked the following:

"What would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more about baseball? Of course, they should have the SBE and your book, as well as subscribe to your ATM reports. But, outside of those, what is the best route, in your opinion? And, what should people avoid?"

To which Lee responded:

"There's a lot of good material out there. I'd put subscribing to Baseball Prospectus at the top of the list. I also highly recommend Rob Neyer's columns and anything by John Sickels. There are some good baseball blogs out there, with my favorite one being Aaron's Baseball Blog. It's really hard to list specific sites since I'm going to inevitably end up also missing a bunch of other good ones. But, these are definitely among those that really stand out.

Stuff like that is really wonderful to hear. I really respect Lee Sinins and to have him talk about me in the same breath he does Baseball Prospectus or Rob Neyer or John Sickels...well, it is just extremely cool. Lee, if you are reading this, thanks a lot, I really appreciate it.

The only thing that could have made that even better was if they would have provided a link for people to click on so they could check out this blog after Lee mentioned he liked it. But hey, I am not gonna get greedy!


Remember our good friend Billy Koch, who talked so brilliantly about the Twins just being lucky in 2002 and not being a serious threat to the White Sox this year? Well, Mr. Koch blew his second save of the young season last night, giving up 4 runs in one-third of an inning.

Billy now has 2 saves and 2 blown saves, to go along with a sparkling 7.36 ERA.

There is nothing quite like hearing some guy run his mouth against your team during the off-season and then watch him have 2 complete meltdowns against the Kansas City Royals before the season is even 2 weeks old!

So, Billy Koch, I salute you. And may your pitching never be able to back up your mouth!

Today's picks:

San Diego (Lawrence) +130 over Los Angeles (Ishii)

Toronto (Lidle) +195 over New York (Wells)

Kansas City (Hernandez) +135 over Chicago (Garland)

Oakland (Hudson) +105 over Seattle (Garcia)

Total to date: + $1,165

W/L record: 30-26 (Went 2-2 yesterday and am now up $1,165 dollars on the season. I am starting to wish I was betting with real money...)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.