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View Full Version : BP's Joe Sheehan on the Central Race


jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 01:33 PM
Over in the AL Central, I'm inclined to say it'll be a two-team race again, but then I look at the Adjusted Standings Report....


AL Central third-order standings:

White Sox 45.7 38.3 --
Tigers 43.6 43.4 -3.6
Indians 41.0 46.0 -6.2
Twins 40.8 46.2 -6.4

The Tigers have actually outplayed everyone but the White Sox, while the Twins are fourth among the four major-league teams in the Central.

The difference in the actual standings is almost entirely due to the teams' bullpens. The Indians have had the worst bullpen in the majors, one of the worst in recent memory. The Tigers' pen ranks 28th in MLB, although with a performance about four wins' better than the Tribe's relief corps. The Twins have an above average pen, and its raw ARP score (7.2, seventh in the AL) is perhaps distorted by 12 horrific appearances by three relievers no longer wearing the Twinstripes. Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan have been exceptional, and Grant Balfour is coming on strongly as a third power right-hander. The Twins are 30-22 in games decided by three or fewer runs; the Tigers are 21-25 and the Tribe 26-30 in those games.

As has been the case for years, the Twins are unable to get their best players on the field. Justin Morneau is well on his way to an International League MVP award while Jose Offerman hits .217/.343/.358 as the Twins' DH. Jacque Jones makes $4.35 million to hit .260/.313/.441 with one walk a week and a 60% success rate on the bases, while The Three Michaels--Restovich, Cuddyer and Ryan--scrap for at-bats (Ryan, admittedly, was hurt for much of the first half). Shannon Stewart comes back this week, creating the possibility that Lew Ford will be squeezed for playing time now that all three overpaid outfielders are active.

The White Sox would likely be blown into Lake Michigan in either of the other two AL divisions. In this one, they look great, thanks to a power-laden offense, some underrated defensive players, and a solid, unspectacular pitching staff. They need a left-handed hitter and some top-of-the-order OBP, and they made a terrible trade for Freddy Garcia instead of getting those things, so they're not above shooting themselves in the foot. In this group, however, they have the fewest glaring holes, the most money to spend, and the best team so far.

The red flag for the Sox is Frank Thomas' health. As good an offense as they have, they can't make up for the loss of a .430 OBP in the middle of the lineup. As it is, they start middling or poor OBP guys at four lineup slots, and can ill afford having to fake DH, given that they have a terrible bench. Thomas' ankle injury should allow him to come back next week, and as the one indispensable Sox hitter, he'll have to play upwards of 65 games the rest of the way for the Sox to hold off the Twins. I think he will, and the Sox will win their first division title since '01.

The Tigers and Indians will both finish the season safely under .500. The Tigers' offense relies heavily on two players not known for playing 150 games in this century, while the Indians' offense has been boosted by a number of players performing well above expectations. As the two lineups regress a bit, their pitching problems will be exposed, and they'll lose more games. I can see both teams in the 72-75 win range; at least for the Tigers, that will be a great achievement.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=3079

Iwritecode
07-15-2004, 01:39 PM
They need a left-handed hitter and some top-of-the-order OBP, and they made a terrible trade for Freddy Garcia instead of getting those things, so they're not above shooting themselves in the foot. In this group, however, they have the fewest glaring holes, the most money to spend, and the best team so far.

Terrible trade? I hate to break it to ya Joe but the fifth starter slot was a pretty glaring hole too. At least KW mananged to fill ONE of the holes before the AS break and is STILL looking to fill those other two...

I think he will, and the Sox will win their first division title since '01.

Try first division title since 2000...


Isn't it great that the media double-checks their facts before sending an article to print??? :angry:

Malgar 12
07-15-2004, 02:00 PM
Terrible trade? I hate to break it to ya Joe but the fifth starter slot was a pretty glaring hole too. At least KW mananged to fill ONE of the holes before the AS break and is STILL looking to fill those other two...



Try first division title since 2000...


Isn't it great that the media double-checks their facts before sending an article to print??? :angry:Both of your corrections are warranted. The Garcia trade price was stiff, but with the extension signed, you can't call that a terrible trade.

The rest of his analysis is right on though. Losing Thomas is tough. We don't have enough left-handed hitting. The top of the order is suspect, and our bench is terrible.

danjames
07-15-2004, 02:32 PM
How is our bench terrible? The Timo/Rowand platoon played admirably in place of Ordonez and Uribe came off of the bench to be one of our best first half hitters, in addition to playing solid defense all over the field. Seems all right to me.

Edit:
I had "bullpen" I meant Bench. Whoops! In conclusion, I don't think our bench is terrible.

Dadawg_77
07-15-2004, 03:01 PM
How is our bullpen terrible? The Timo/Rowand platoon played admirably in place of Ordonez and Uribe came off of the bench to be one of our best first half hitters, in addition to playing solid defense all over the field. Seems all right to me.
The article never makes that claim, it says Trib and Tigers bullpens are bad and it is costing those teams games.

If Thomas misses significate time, it will hurt the team more then when Mags was hurt.

SoxFan76
07-15-2004, 03:42 PM
That might be the worst article I have ever read.

The bench has been great, Garcia was a great trade, and the last division title was in 2000.

Flight #24
07-15-2004, 03:54 PM
The article never makes that claim, it says Trib and Tigers bullpens are bad and it is costing those teams games.

If Thomas misses significate time, it will hurt the team more then when Mags was hurt.
Thomas > Maggs, that's true. But the Frank of the time Maggs was out (esp the last couple of weeks), was not the Frank that we know and love. In fact, his #s tailed off dramatically (likely due to the injury). From that perspective, the team should actually improve by losing a subpar Frank and gaining a (hopefully) healthy Maggs.

patbooyah
07-15-2004, 03:57 PM
and for the record- the top three teams in our division all have winning records against both the east and the west. so blow me, mr. writer.

jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 05:37 PM
That might be the worst article I have ever read.

The bench has been great, Garcia was a great trade, and the last division title was in 2000.

I agree with you that the bench is not terrible but I think calling it great is a bit of an exageration. Our bench is solid because we don't have too many awful players (although we do have Burke and Davis who can't be described as anything other than terrible at least if Burke is filling in at the corner spots, the OF, and DH at all). However, a great bench has outstanding depth in that if a starter goes down you have a high quality player to fill in for him. For instance, at one point the DBacks had Durazo on the bench, the Angels have been able to fill in with Jeff Davanon when injury strikes. Timo Perez and Ross Gload are solid fifth outfielder, pinch hitter types but they're not particularly good at filling in full time in the event of long term injuries as we had with Maggs and may now have with Thomas. Our bench may not be terrible but it's far from great.

Also I think what Sheehan may have been referring to in his post wasn't just the calliber of our bench but how it complements our starters. Our biggest weakness in the lineup is that Harris and Valentin struggle a lot against lefties yet the best late inning options we have if the game is on the line and one of those two guys are up is Alomar? Burke? We don't have any good righthanded hitters on the bench with Rowand starting in CF and Harris, Gload, and Perez all lefthanded.

As for everyone picking on the '01 comment I find that pretty petty. This is baseball prospectus a webjournal built from the ground up. It's not Time magazine. They don't have fact checkers and editors. I know that I personally have confused recent seasons before and I follow only the Sox wheras Sheehan has to cover every team in baseball.

If you want to debate the Garcia trade, we have multiple forums in which to do that but simply wishing or stating that it was a good trade won't make it so. Personally through the many posts I've read I feel that many posters have no knowledge of the minor leaguers we gave up, lack the appropriate framework to evaluate the players we gave up, or simply stubbornly and closemindedly believe that all prospects are completely and total crapshoots. With that in mind I'll have to take any argument you put forth on the subject with a grain of salt until you show me otherwise.

jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 05:47 PM
and for the record- the top three teams in our division all have winning records against both the east and the west. so blow me, mr. writer.


And for the record we're 0-2 against Oakland, 3-3 against Anaheim (the best two teams), 2-1 against Texas and 4-2 against Seattle. Take out Seattle, undeniably one of the worst teams in the game and we're less than .500. Also for the record 18 games is hardly a relevant sample size. As for the East, were you under the impression that the Yankees and Red Sox are the only two teams in those divisions? Nowhere has it been argued that the central as a whole can't compete with the East and probably even the West given Seattle's ineptitude but that the best teams in those divisions are better than the teams in the Central. I think it's extremely hard to argue that any team in the central is on the same level as Boston, New York, and Oakland.

jabrch
07-15-2004, 05:48 PM
That's assinine. For an AL team, our bench is fairly solid. How many teams have the depth we do to play guys in as many positions as we can, and to have as many guys who can hit on the bench?

What are the 7-10 AL team's benches are better than ours that would make ours terrible?

What a pile of crap. Take your head out of the stat sheet Joe - try watching a baseball game every now and then.

doublem23
07-15-2004, 05:56 PM
As for everyone picking on the '01 comment I find that pretty petty. This is baseball prospectus a webjournal built from the ground up. It's not Time magazine. They don't have fact checkers and editors. I know that I personally have confused recent seasons before and I follow only the Sox wheras Sheehan has to cover every team in baseball.


If only there was some sort of easily accessible "information superhighway" for things like this.

:rolleyes:

jabrch
07-15-2004, 06:03 PM
If only there was some sort of easily accessible "information superhighway" for things like this.

:rolleyes:

Or even a book where this information is held?

Or, best yet, if you are a professional covering baseball for a living, knowing what happened as recently as 2000, 2001 and 2002 might be nice.

jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 06:55 PM
Or even a book where this information is held?

Or, best yet, if you are a professional covering baseball for a living, knowing what happened as recently as 2000, 2001 and 2002 might be nice.

Well you guys are assuming he didn't know as opposed to he slipped up/made a typo. If you're aware of a fact you don't look it up but sometimes you might still mistype it or have a momentary brain fart.

Wealz
07-15-2004, 07:46 PM
I think it's extremely hard to argue that any team in the central is on the same level as Boston, New York, and Oakland.Yankees and Red Sox I agree with, but Oakland? Zito, Harden, and Redman aren't pitching well and their bullpen woes have been well documented. All this and they have a mediocre offense to boot.

owensmouth
07-15-2004, 08:00 PM
Re: Oakland... we should have a better handle on it in the next four days.

MarqSox
07-15-2004, 08:06 PM
Well you guys are assuming he didn't know as opposed to he slipped up/made a typo. If you're aware of a fact you don't look it up but sometimes you might still mistype it or have a momentary brain fart.Thing is, when you make an easily checkable factual error, it damages your credibility. It makes me doubt that he knows what he's talking about, and my doubt grows exponentially when he considers the addition of a #1 pitcher "a terrible deal."

jabrch
07-15-2004, 08:10 PM
Well you guys are assuming he didn't know as opposed to he slipped up/made a typo. If you're aware of a fact you don't look it up but sometimes you might still mistype it or have a momentary brain fart.
Why are you making excuses for this guy Jeremy? If it was a "momentary brain fart" then he'd have caught it when he proofread his article. He would have proofed it many many times and would have caught it. No - He didn't know and he didn't do his homework. If it were a Mariotti type - we'd rail him to death.

For a guy who's job it is to know baseball, that's inexcusable.

Lip Man 1
07-15-2004, 09:00 PM
You have to remember Jeremy 1 is a big fan of BP (stats you understand...)

and NO Frank Thomas will NOT be back next week Joe...

Lip

jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 09:52 PM
Thing is, when you make an easily checkable factual error, it damages your credibility. It makes me doubt that he knows what he's talking about, and my doubt grows exponentially when he considers the addition of a #1 pitcher "a terrible deal."

Well I don't think you should ever believe anything just because of someone's credibility unless it's a factual claim and you're trying to determine whether the person is intentionally lying. Whether or not the Garcia trade was a good move is an opinion based question so you should agree or disagree with a person based on the arguments behind claims that are made and the quality of the support given to those arguments. If you want to decide how you feel about the Garcia deal read several of the threads on the issue or read Joe's arguments that I posted in this thread (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=36188&highlight=sheehan).

I don't think factual errors are a good thing but they happen constantly. If you've ever read articles on the internet or even in magazines and newspapers you will find mistakes, it happens. I know a lot of posters make mistakes here as I know I have and I'm sure there have been errors in articles posted at WSI. I don't think it completely destroys a person's credibility particularly in this case when the focus of the article was not what season the Sox last made the playoffs.

MarqSox
07-15-2004, 09:55 PM
Well I don't think you should ever believe anything just because of someone's credibility unless it's a factual claim and you're trying to determine whether the person is intentionally lying. Whether or not the Garcia trade was a good move is an opinion based question so you should agree or disagree with a person based on the arguments behind claims that are made and the quality of the support given to those arguments. If you want to decide how you feel about the Garcia deal read several of the threads on the issue or read Joe's arguments that I posted in this thread (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=36188&highlight=sheehan).

I don't think factual errors are a good thing but they happen constantly. If you've ever read articles on the internet or even in magazines and newspapers you will find mistakes, it happens. I know a lot of posters make mistakes here as I know I have and I'm sure there have been errors in articles posted at WSI. I don't think it completely destroys a person's credibility particularly in this case when the focus of the article was not what season the Sox last made the playoffs.If you can't get an easy thing right like the year a team won a division, it makes me question how much you actually know about the Sox. Once I start questioning that, I'm probably not going to put much credence into your opinion, especially when the idea it's of questionable merit to begin with. That's all I'm sayin.

jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 09:57 PM
Why are you making excuses for this guy Jeremy? If it was a "momentary brain fart" then he'd have caught it when he proofread his article. He would have proofed it many many times and would have caught it. No - He didn't know and he didn't do his homework. If it were a Mariotti type - we'd rail him to death.

For a guy who's job it is to know baseball, that's inexcusable.

I just think it's a ridiculous thing to waste time discussing. That certainly wasn't why I posted the article, I thought people might want to discuss some of the actual content of the article. I wouldn't ever waste my time nor have I ridiculing Mariotti about a minor factual error such as writing '01 instead of '00. I blast Mariotti because he makes subjective, opinion based claims that I find to be untrue without adequate support for his arguments. If I've ever been upset - and if there ever is a reason to get upset about minor facts such as this one - it is when it is critical to an argument made in an article and even worse seems tailored to make a certain point. It's a waste of time to discuss this because it's completely inconsequential to every other word printed in the article. It was a trivial sidenote.

jeremyb1
07-15-2004, 10:00 PM
If you can't get an easy thing right like the year a team won a division, it makes me question how much you actually know about the Sox. Once I start questioning that, I'm probably not going to put much credence into your opinion, especially when the idea it's of questionable merit to begin with. That's all I'm sayin.

Probably not that much. He covers baseball nationally so while his strength is performance analysis and he can look up the team's performance an analyze that very well, his strength isn't in White Sox history. I've noticed numerous mistakes by the Sox beat writers in the past and that's in a major newspaper with fact checkers and editors and writers that are paid only to write about the White Sox. So if they can make mistakes then clearly someone covering 30 teams can.

I don't understand what knowledge he'd be lacking in making the assertions in the article. The topic of the article is the team that's on the field this season so what does 3 or 4 seasons ago have to do with anything?