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jabrch
08-27-2003, 03:41 PM
Roberto Alomar and the Joe Hardy Syndrome
By Jim Baker
MLB Insider
Send an Email to Jim Baker Wednesday, August 27
Updated: August 27
10:28 AM ET


"What," you are asking, "is the "Joe Hardy Syndrome?""


I would best describe it as a mythical circumstance in which the arrival of one single ballplayer on a team suddenly changes the rest of the roster into much better players. The name is taken from the lead character in "Damn Yankees." Hardy, an older man transformed into a superstar slugger by Old Scratch himself in exchange for his soul, shows up on the Washington Senators roster and almost immediately makes the rest of the team better.

Roberto Alomar
Second Base
Chicago White Sox
Profile


2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
116 3 32 60 12 .261


If we are to believe the Chicago White Sox (who damned the Yankees themselves Tuesday night, 13-2), then Roberto Alomar has done this very thing for their ballclub. "He makes our team older, and I think we've gained some credibility," Chicago's Paul Konerko told Dave Caldwell of the New York Times. "Thinking back to the point when we got him and Carl Everett, from that point on we've been playing good, solid baseball. You definitely have to say that's because those guys showed up on the scene."

Said his brother Sandy, the catcher, "He has really changed this team dramatically," the 37-year-old Sandy said. "Not only fundamentally, but defensively. He has changed the style of play. We were more of a team that wanted to bang the ball around - and we weren't banging the ball. It's not just batting average and runs batted in that win games."

How true. It's slugging average and on base percentage and Sandy's brother has not been very forthcoming with either of those things. Therein lies the main difference between Alomar and Joe Hardy. While Hardy was an offensive monster, Alomar is actually playing worse for the White Sox than he was for the Mets -- and what he was doing for the Mets was way below his previous career numbers. Caldwell is quick to point out that Alomar has not been hitting all that well.

In fact, dare I say it, he has actually been less productive than the man he replaced -- D'Angelo Jimenez.

On Base Percentage: Alomar, .340 to .332
Slugging Average: Jimenez, .410 to .313
OPS: Jimenez, .742 to .654

To this point with the Sox, Alomar has left his power stroke behind him. On the defensive side of things, Alomar has a slightly better fielding average but his Zone Rating and Range Factors are not quite as good. I would not go so far as to say Jimenez played second base better than Alomar, but Alomar has not been demonstrably all that much better.

While everyone is quick to point out that the White Sox record is better with Alomar than it was before he got there, the other side of the coin is that the Mets were playing .432 ball before he left and have gone .469 since he left. Is his departure the reason for the improvement? Of course not -- just like his arrival isn't the reason the White Sox have gotten better. What has happened is this: the team's slumbering giants have woken up. Many people picked Chicago to win its division this year. This was a prediction based on the personnel on hand before the season started. Unfortunately for the White Sox and their fans, their best hitters came out of the gate slowly and the team could not get untracked. Let's look at the four players who homered off of Roger Clemens in last night's big win:

Paul Konerko: Through June, Konerko was bad. Then, he got even worse. He perked up in July, however, playing like the Konerko of old. There has been some backsliding in August.

Magglio Ordonez: Decent numbers before July 1 but still below what he had done the previous three seasons. Exploded with a huge July while falling back somewhat in August.

Joe Crede: Was miserable through June, failing to live up to the promise shown in his rookie year. Improved somewhat in July and is having an outstanding August.

Frank Thomas: Thomas has been fairly consistent all year.

Now, one can choose to believe that Alomar's arrival sparked something in these men that made them play better or one can choose to believe that, as athletes in their primes, they are bound to move toward their career expectations eventually. For their part, the White Sox seem to have bought into the concept that having Alomar on the field with them makes them a better team.

If that's what works for them, then so be it. It certainly worked for the fictitious Senators.

You can contact Mr. Baker at http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/writeback?name=Jim+Baker to set him straight...I did. The highlight to my response was "talk to Cashman and Williams who both traded Jimenez for almost nothing and you will find that he is amongst the dumbest (Baseball IQ-wise) players to ever be on a major league roster."

WinningUgly!
08-27-2003, 03:51 PM
I don't care what he says...all I know is that I no longer cringe every time a ball gets hit to 2b, like I did when Jimenez was out there.

Stupid Mets fan. :angry:

MarkEdward
08-27-2003, 03:53 PM
Um, where was the 'bashing' in this article? Baker just gave the facts: Jimenez has the better OPS, and they have been about equal on defense. He also points to the increased production from Thomas, Ordonez, and Crede as to why we've been playing better as of late. Alomar hasn't hurt our team, but I don't think we'd be much worse if we still had Jimenez starting in second.

Also, just because a player has been traded many times doesn't mean he's a bad player. Bobby Bonds was traded, what, seven times? He was pretty damn good.

kempsted
08-27-2003, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by MarkEdward
Um, where was the 'bashing' in this article? Baker just gave the facts: Jimenez has the better OPS, and they have been about equal on defense. He also points to the increased production from Thomas, Ordonez, and Crede as to why we've been playing better as of late. Alomar hasn't hurt our team, but I don't think we'd be much worse if we still had Jimenez starting in second.

Also, just because a player has been traded many times doesn't mean he's a bad player. Bobby Bonds was traded, what, seven times? He was pretty damn good.
I agree it was not bashing. It just overlooks a lot. Jimenez was brutal at every position he played. I have never seen anyone miss as many easy plays as he did. (That missed pop up at Oakland being the most extreme example). He also was a stupid base runner and couldn't bunt. Robbie is a better base runner, can bunt and still plays better defense than Jimenez. Also Jimenez did all his hitting early and then took a 2 month vacation hitting bellow .200.

I think it is wrong to ignore numbers but these are not computer players they are human beings and it is wrong to ignore the human element. Everyone has been executing better on defense and better on situational hitting since he came. Even when he strikes out he makes the pitcher throw a lot of pitches and Lee says that helps him. Carlos has been a monster when he has hit behind Robbie and almost no other time.

Jimenez also got in a fight with Big Frank and the players didn't like him in SD either. Alomar seems to not be a disruptive influence.

faneidde
08-27-2003, 04:28 PM
Originally posted by MarkEdward
they have been about equal on defense.

Are you kidding me?

Lip Man 1
08-27-2003, 04:36 PM
As has been debated here before and I'm sure will again, how much do "statistics" tell the WHOLE story?

Is Alomar a better base runner then Jimenez...yes

Is Alomar a better fielder then Jimenez...yes

Do the White Sox themselves "feel" better (intangibles) when Alomar is at 2nd...it sure looks like it.

Who cares if his OPB or XYZ or ABC is worse then D'Angelo's? Or his "zone range" (?????) The only thing that matters is winning. The Sox are doing it with Alomer...they weren't doing it with Jimenez.

"You have lies, damned lies and statistics"...Mark Twain.

This is a perfect example how statistics by themselves are inaccurate. There's a lot more to baseball then raw numbers.

Lip

hold2dibber
08-27-2003, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by MarkEdward
Um, where was the 'bashing' in this article? Baker just gave the facts: Jimenez has the better OPS, and they have been about equal on defense. He also points to the increased production from Thomas, Ordonez, and Crede as to why we've been playing better as of late. Alomar hasn't hurt our team, but I don't think we'd be much worse if we still had Jimenez starting in second.

Also, just because a player has been traded many times doesn't mean he's a bad player. Bobby Bonds was traded, what, seven times? He was pretty damn good.

I agree that there was no bashing in the article. I do note, however, that Baker didn't tell the whole story. For example, Robbie has had a better OBP than Jimenez and OBP is much more important than SLG, IMHO. Also, Jimenez was a brutal base runner, couldn't bunt and showed a total lack of focus. I've played enough sports to know that focus and desire can be contagious, and I think that Alomar brings that to the table, whereas Jimenez was the antithesis of those things. Is Robbie Alomar still a top-tier 2B? No. But I'd take him over Jimenez in a heart beat. (And even after all that, I don't think Jimenez was that bad; I think he will put up better than average offensive numbers and if he ever matures he'll be a fine player -- better than Aaron Miles or Willie Harris will ever be).

MarkEdward
08-27-2003, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by faneidde


Are you kidding me?

Fielding percentage: Alomar- .982; Jimenez- .986
Range Factor: Alomar- 4.61; Jimenez- 4.66
Zone Rating: Alomar- .745; Jimenez- .824
Defensive Win Shares: Alomar- 2.72; Jimenez- 3.48


Originally posted by hold2dibber
I agree that there was no bashing in the article. I do note, however, that Baker didn't tell the whole story. For example, Robbie has had a better OBP than Jimenez and OBP is much more important than SLG, IMHO.

I don't know about that. I do tend to favor OBP over SLG too, but is a .400/.300 player more valuable than a .350/.350 player? I think the players would produce or contribute the same amount of runs in any given season (more or less).

Also, Jimenez was a brutal base runner, couldn't bunt and showed a total lack of focus. I've played enough sports to know that focus and desire can be contagious, and I think that Alomar brings that to the table, whereas Jimenez was the antithesis of those things.

Well, it would be difficult to write an article about Jimenez's bad base running 'rubbing off' on other players. How can one prove that (I'm not disagreeing that DJ was a bad base runner)?

Also, how has our running been since Jimenez was traded? Is our SB% up? Anecdotally, we seem to be making the same base running gaffes (Konerko's blunder last night, for example).

I think he will put up better than average offensive numbers and if he ever matures he'll be a fine player -- better than Aaron Miles or Willie Harris will ever be).

True.

jeremyb1
08-27-2003, 08:28 PM
If I were to congradulate Baker for any reason it'd be to congradulate him on an insightful well written argument. I've been arguing most of these points for a while now. As others have pointed out, its not "bashing", its pure objective fact.

Originally posted by Lip Man 1
As has been debated here before and I'm sure will again, how much do "statistics" tell the WHOLE story?

Is Alomar a better base runner then Jimenez...yes

Is Alomar a better fielder then Jimenez...yes

Do the White Sox themselves "feel" better (intangibles) when Alomar is at 2nd...it sure looks like it.

Who cares if his OPB or XYZ or ABC is worse then D'Angelo's? Or his "zone range" (?????) The only thing that matters is winning. The Sox are doing it with Alomer...they weren't doing it with Jimenez.

"You have lies, damned lies and statistics"...Mark Twain.

This is a perfect example how statistics by themselves are inaccurate. There's a lot more to baseball then raw numbers.

We could also play "Do Lip's personal observations hold any weight?" How is it that Alomar is a better fielder than Jimenez because you say so? Lets just throw out all the statistics, they're obviously wrong because Lip's personal observations conflict with them.

That's the entire point of statistics. Don't take this the wrong way Lip but I don't place much any value on how well you think Robbie Alomar plays defense or runs the bases. I don't even place much value on my own personal observations. As far as I know you're not any kind of expert on baseball and even those that are regarded as "experts" have been shown to be dead wrong on numerous occasions.

The entire point of the article is that as far as the big picture goes intangibles make a very small difference. We know this because we can predict a teams wins and losses based on how much they get on base (OBP or call it xwy if that makes you feel better) and how much power they hit for (Slugging percentage) as well as how much they allow hitters on base and how many extra base hits they allow. There aren't any known trends when a baseball player lands on a team and magically makes the teams production improve. Maggs gets hot around the break every season, Frank's been consistent all season, and Crede and Konerko couldn't continue to hit so poorly forever.

FJA
08-27-2003, 08:31 PM
Are we really going to start up this Jimenez argument again?

PaleHoseGeorge
08-27-2003, 08:36 PM
Originally posted by FJA
Are we really going to start up this Jimenez argument again?

I'm afraid so. Sigh... :?:

jeremyb1
08-27-2003, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by FJA
Are we really going to start up this Jimenez argument again?

I didn't start the thread.

PaleHoseGeorge
08-27-2003, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
I didn't start the thread.

Yes, let's blame the real culprit. It was WinningUgly who noted what an improvement Alomar has been over Jimenez. He is such a crusader on this subject!

I want to know what happened to all the Friends of Armando Rios. Man that guy got the shaft. We kept Willie Harris over him!!!

TornLabrum
08-27-2003, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by Lip Man 1
As has been debated here before and I'm sure will again, how much do "statistics" tell the WHOLE story?

Is Alomar a better base runner then Jimenez...yes

Is Alomar a better fielder then Jimenez...yes

Do the White Sox themselves "feel" better (intangibles) when Alomar is at 2nd...it sure looks like it.

Who cares if his OPB or XYZ or ABC is worse then D'Angelo's? Or his "zone range" (?????) The only thing that matters is winning. The Sox are doing it with Alomer...they weren't doing it with Jimenez.

"You have lies, damned lies and statistics"...Mark Twain.

This is a perfect example how statistics by themselves are inaccurate. There's a lot more to baseball then raw numbers.

Lip

Everything you say is right on target except for your attribution of the quote. I was told it was Gladstone.

LuvSox
08-27-2003, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by PaleHoseGeorge
I want to know what happened to all the Friends of Armando Rios. Man that guy got the shaft. We kept Willie Harris over him!!!

Do the Reds have anyone else we can use? :D:

fquaye149
08-27-2003, 10:29 PM
this is precisely why ops is gay

MarkEdward
08-27-2003, 10:36 PM
Originally posted by fquaye149
this is precisely why ops is gay

What a compelling response...

maurice
08-28-2003, 11:54 AM
Well, the issue is which 2B gives the Sox the best chance to win this season. The article completely misses this point and compares the players generally. It should be clear to everyone by now that KW intended to pull out all the stops this season. Alomar is better for the Sox this year.

Alomar lost his power, but he's a slightly better leadoff hitter in this power-ladden lineup, because he gets on base a bit more and is a significantly better baserunner. While Alomar's lost some range, he's also a much better defensive 2B. Finally, by all accounts, Jimenez sports a lackidasical attitude, making him one of the least liked players in MLB, and causing distractions in the clubhouse.

Iwritecode
08-28-2003, 12:01 PM
Speaking of Robbie, does anyone understand why the Yankee fans keep booing him? Why do they care at all? He played for the Mets! That would be like Sox fans booing Fred McWhiff because he played badly for the Cubs.

One more example why the Sox/Cubs is the fiercest inter-city rivalry in baseball.

MarkEdward
08-28-2003, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
Speaking of Robbie, does anyone understand why the Yankee fans keep booing him? Why do they care at all? He played for the Mets! That would be like Sox fans booing Fred McWhiff because he played badly for the Cubs.

One more example why the Sox/Cubs is the fiercest inter-city rivalry in baseball.

Well, Alomar played for the Blue Jays from 91-95 and the Orioles from 96-98. IIRC, Alomar and the O's played the Yankees a few times in the playoffs.

jabrch
08-28-2003, 12:15 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
Speaking of Robbie, does anyone understand why the Yankee fans keep booing him? Why do they care at all? He played for the Mets! That would be like Sox fans booing Fred McWhiff because he played badly for the Cubs.

One more example why the Sox/Cubs is the fiercest inter-city rivalry in baseball.

The Yanks Mets thing is very different than the Cubs/Sox thing. Ask any Yankee fan what team they hate the most, the answer will be Boston. Ask a Mets fan, they hate the Braves and the Dodgers far more than the Yanks.

New Yorkers tend to be a whole lot more unified than Chicagoans in general. The city, although divided into 5 buroughs (sp?) doesn't divide on Baseball the same way. Chicago, for the most part divides very cleanly between Sox and Cubs fans geographically.

In short, Sox vs Cubs is by far the most heated innercity rivalry in pro sports. None are even close.... If we should be so lucky to have a Sox vs Cubs world series, this city would come to a SCREETCHING HALT... We'd need the National Guard here to provide security...

I would love it!

PaleHoseGeorge
08-28-2003, 12:21 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
In short, Sox vs Cubs is by far the most heated innercity rivalry in pro sports. None are even close.... If we should be so lucky to have a Sox vs Cubs world series, this city would come to a SCREETCHING HALT... We'd need the National Guard here to provide security...

I would love it!

Personally, I'm not sure my ticker could take the stress. I vote for the Flubs blowing it in September.

:bandance:

D'Angelo F Death
08-28-2003, 01:22 PM
Mr ESPN insider is a fool who thinks performance on defense can be made with a glance at some spreadsheet. I'm no Luddite, I'll throw around OPS numbers with the best of them, but this thick-skull is a clown if he thinks "Defensive Win Shares" means anything. Yeah stats say Jeter's a lousy SS too...

And I know I watch enough of this team to say with no uncertainty that Alomar is far superior to Jimenez with the leather.

jeremyb1
08-28-2003, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by D'Angelo F Death
Mr ESPN insider is a fool who thinks performance on defense can be made with a glance at some spreadsheet. I'm no Luddite, I'll throw around OPS numbers with the best of them, but this thick-skull is a clown if he thinks "Defensive Win Shares" means anything. Yeah stats say Jeter's a lousy SS too...

And I know I watch enough of this team to say with no uncertainty that Alomar is far superior to Jimenez with the leather.

See the fact that defensive win shares uses a spreadsheet or that you don't believe in defensive statistics is not a reason its an invalid measure of defense. If you told me the earth is flat should I believe that too without any support of your argument. The fact that you believe something doesn't make it so. You need to explain why you're right if you want any credibility.

kermittheefrog
08-28-2003, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by fquaye149
this is precisely why ops is gay

YOUR INTELLECT CRUSHES US ALL!

D'Angelo F Death
08-28-2003, 05:40 PM
Dude, defensive stats are what need defending by some compelling argument. They are notoriously inaccurate indicators of actual ability, unlike, say, batting stats.

Alomar does the following things better than Jimenez and it's hard to see how any stat will measure it:

Gets rid of the ball much quicker
Gets to the ball much quicker
Has much better footwork around the bag
Pivots better and throws to 1st off the pivot quicker & more accurately

Neither his fielding pct or range factor numbers are going to reflect this superiority...

I mean range factor? C'mon, it's completely dependent on how many grounders the pitcher induces the hitters into.