Monday, May 31, 2010

Week Four Countdown

We're back to pitchers now in franchises from one old franchise, the Detroit Tigers, two recent expansion teams, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins, one team that's been around forty years or so in the Houston Astros, plus eight teams that no longer play major league baseball, but used to. And it's only fitting that we give a taste of the Houston squad and some of their best pitchers in history, because, of course, it include the no hit wonder, Nolan Ryan, although he's not at the top of the list, actually #4, which has more to do with his relatively short stay there and stints in New York, Anaheim, and Dallas.

The Top Five
1. Roy Oswalt. He may be mad about players who cheat him and explore the PED usage to gain an advantage, but through the first nine seasons of his career, it does not seem to have affect his prowess. Currently averaging 18.440 PEVA points per season, with a total of 165.964, and with some talk that this could be his last year in an Astro uniform, Oswalt ranks as the top pitcher in franchise history. 137-70 wins to losses and a 3.23 ERA pitching a large amount of time in a park where a train can be hit by a batter, and there's a short porch in left. Maybe they should keep him.

2. Mike Scott. Another one of those pitchers that baseball fans seem to shortchange, he won 110 games for Houston, a Cy Young, and did so to the tune of a 3.30 ERA and 131.199 PEVA Rating Points. Yes, many of those came in a short time span, but, oh, when he was good, he was certainly good.

3. Joe Niekro. Joe, the other brother, lands here at #3 due to 11 seasons, 144 wins, and 122.547 PEVA points while pitching in the Astrodome for 2,270 innings and a 3.22 ERA until his last season in Houston in 1985.

4. Nolan Ryan. Ryan spent his career in New York, Houston, Anaheim, and Texas and did not land at the top for any team, although in the minds of many, he was the best pitcher Houston, Anaheim, and Texas ever had. Ranks #6 in Houston, #2 for the Angels. For his Astro career, he won 106 games and 110.250 PEVA.

5. J.R. Richard. At his best, he was stellar, and dominating. For the ten seasons he played in Houston, there were 107 wins and a PEVA rating of 99.479.

Fill in the blanks of the Top Twenty in Houston Colt 45s and Astro history. Where do they rank in the list? ... Roger Clemens, Jim Deshaies, Larry Dierker, Ken Forsch, Mike Hampton, Pete Harnisch, Darryl Kile, Bob Knepper, Jose Lima, Andy Pettite, Shane Reynolds, Joe Sambito, Dave Smith, Billy Wagner, Don Wilson.

For the full list, plus the Top Twenty batters, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book. Check sample pages at Google Books.

Best Players by Team (Cubs, Reds, Indians)
Week Four Countdown Sample

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Week Three Countdown

Week three and we're back to batters, including those from some long suffering franchises, i.e. the Chicago Cubs, and current teams in down years like the Reds and Indians, but who've won their share of titles in the past. Who can forget those Big Red Machines. And as the summer starts to heat up in earnest soon, let's count down five of the mid-level exceptions (oh, no, a basketball reference) in the Top Twenty of the best historical Big Red batters, and yes, there are two Big Red Machine player among them, and four more above them, too.

Five of the Best
8. Vada Pinson. There's more than a few old-timers who consider Pinson Hall of Fame worthy and one of the most exciting players of his era. For the eleven seasons he ran the outfield and bases for the Reds, he garnered 159.183 PEVA Career Points, 186 HR, 814 RBI, 1881 Hits, while batting 0.297. Not too shabby for the #8 player in franchise history.

9. Charley Jones. You have to reach back to the pre-1900 baseball era to get the #9 player in Reds history, with the last of his nine seasons coming in 1887. This was a time of short seasons, many years about half of the current 162 game schedule, but even with this limitation, Jones held his own with career stats of 839 hits and a 0.301 batting average. When compared to his peers, this added up to a PEVA Career in a Reds uniform of 152.276 and an average season of 16.970 PEVA.

10. George Foster. Here comes one of the Red Machine, who shook the stadium with a lean frame and thunder bat. Always thought it was amazing he could hit the ball that far; it was like steel was in his arms. And his 1977 season, the 4th best year in Reds history, was a year of pure amazement; 52 HR and 149 RBI in a pre-steroid year. Foster didn't have as many of those years as others, so he's ranked down at #10, but it still added up to a PEVA Reds Career of 151.263.

11. Edd Roush. This Reds player from the Babe Ruth era was a hits machine with 1784 of them and a 0.331 career average with the Reds. All totaled to 139.644 PEVA in a Cincinnati uniform.

12. Dave Concepcion. There's always an argument among baseball fans, and particularly Reds fans, on whether a player like Dave Concepcion, or perhaps the more recent a better version of him in Barry Larkin, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. We don't think so, but that shouldn't diminish the fact that Concepcion was an integral part of a great era in Reds history. He played a ton of seasons there, 19, and collected a lot of hits, 2626. Career PEVA with Cincy of 130.003.

Okay, we won't let you guess who was in the top seven, but we will let you ponder what position they are in; Top Seven Batters in Reds history are ... Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Bid McPhee, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez.

For the full list, plus the Top Twenty batters, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book. Check sample pages at Google Books.

Best Players by Team (Cubs, Reds, Indians)
Week Two Countdown Sample

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Buy Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book in paperback @
or Ebook @

Monday, May 17, 2010

Week Two Countdown

The countdown clock continues with a focus on pitchers in the second week for the franchises from Red Sox nation to White Sox lore, plus a bunch of teams in between. And what you begin to see when you start comparing the best better and best pitchers in the PEVA career totals is, ... geez, some teams were much better at hitting than pitching over their history, and for some, it's almost glaring. We're getting ahead of ourselves here, but the Philadelphia Phillies were so bad at pitching over their history that current players with limited years and accomplishments are already in the top ten, i.e. Cole Hamels and Brett Myers. And that's kinda true, in many ways, for those from Red Sox nation and explains why it took so long to get those championship seasons going again. In Red Sox history, only four pitchers have reached the 100 Career PEVA mark, while 19 hitters have done the same. But we're not focusing on that franchise today and those four pitchers mentioned, we're going to look at the second franchise in many Chicago hearts, the Chicago White Sox, where it's a bit more even with 11 batters and 7 pitchers reaching that rarified territory. And we're going to keep the suspense going a bit at the top and let you guess later who might top the pinnacle.

#3 - Red Faber 1933 177.153 20 8.858 254 213 28 4086.3 3.15
#4 - Billy Pierce 1961 163.992 13 12.615 186 152 19 2931.0 3.19
#5 - Wilber Wood 1978 140.663 12 11.722 163 148 57 2524.3 3.18
#6 - Mark Buehrle 2009 139.037 10 13.904 135 97 0 2061.0 3.80
#7 - Eddie Cicotte 1920 122.749 9 13.639 156 102 21 2322.3 2.25

Five of the Top Ten
3. Red Faber. He last pitched in a White Sox uniform in 1933 and he had been pitching there for awhile, twenty seasons in fact. And during those twenty seasons, he would win 254 Games, pitch over 4,000 innings, and all to the ERA tune of 3.15. There were two pitchers in White Sox history who were better, but not much, as the 177.153 PEVA Career Points are only 36 points behind number one. Can you guess who that is yet?

4. Billy Pierce. His career was shorter in Chicago than Faber, but more recent, ending in 1961. For thirteen seasons, he would toil on the mound at Comiskey Park and tally 186 wins, a 3.19 ERA, and 163.992 PEVA ratings points. The top two pitchers in franchise history would win more games, although the man in the number one spot only nine more.

5. Wilbur Wood. He won games, he saved games, he pitched alot a knuckle balls. And all that added up to the #5 spot in the career pitching list for the Chicago White Sox in a career that lasted twelve seasons, ending in 1978. Wood's a pitcher people remember. He was interesting to watch. And with those 163 victories and 57 saves, it added up to 140.663 PEVA for his White Sox playing days.

6. Mark Buehrle. Let's get current! Let's get loud! Let's trumpet the man who can pitch a no hitter and give the current White Sox team a chance to win almost every game he pitches. There are some in baseball today who dismiss Buehrle as one of the game's best, because not every game does he dominate. But he pitches innings and wins, pretty darn important stuff. In only 10 seasons, he has 135 wins and 139.037 PEVA. In an era of relief pitchers, that's pretty heady stuff, and if his career on Chicago's White Sox side last another five years or more, you could be looking at the #1 or #2 pitcher in their history. Okay, the ERA's a bit high, but that's a function of the DH and today for a large part, isn't it?

7. Eddie Cicotte. A bit of the antithesis to Buerhle in the fact that his career in White Sox land was short, under ten years, but his record great. He won 156 games and lost only 102. And his ERA can not be questioned at 2.25, although it certainly was affected by the dead ball era he played in for a good portion of his career. In the end, Eddie accumulated 122.749 PEVA Career points in a White Sox uniform, coming in at #7 in the countdown list.

Now, have you guessed who the Top Two are or their mates in the Top Twenty below those listed. Here's the remaining list of Top Two and Twenty players. Listed alphabetically, they are ... Dick Donovan, Richard Dotson, Alex Fernandez, Jon Garland, Joe Horlen, Ted Lyons, Jack McDowell, Gary Peters, Jim Scott, Frank Smith, Tommy Thomas, Ed Walsh, Doc White, Hoyt Wilhelm. For the full list, plus the Top Twenty batters, too, get Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book. Check sample pages at Google Books.

Best Players by Team (Red Sox, White Sox)
Week Two Countdown Sample

Read More @ Google Books

Buy Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book in paperback @
or Ebook @

Friday, May 14, 2010

Countdown to the Best Players by Team

We're going to start the clock. Over the next nine weeks, covering twelve franchises per week, we'll give you a taste of the best career players and best pitchers by all teams in history, highlighting one of the top twenty for each. Yes, this is only a taste. All teams have their top twenty or so listed in the Stat Geek Baseball, Best Ever Book, now on sale in ebook or at your favorite online store. We're trying to promote what the reviewers are saying is a great read, but, hey, we're new at this, and need you to see what we're talking about. Then if you like it, please check out the book. It will make a great Father's Day gift for a baseball dad, or a great summer read for the baseball fanatic of any age.

But let's get on with the countdown. Each week we'll focus on either batters or pitchers. In week one, today, it will start out with the batters of the top of the alphabet teams, including the long gone franchises like the Altoona Mountain City, plus today's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, and Baltimore Orioles. So there's something there for the deep baseball historian and the historian of today as well. You can read the webpage of the sample for the first twelve teams at the page listed below, but right now we're going to focus on the bonus coverage of one team among that twelve, the Baltimore Orioles and their best batters in the long history of that franchise.

The Top Five
1. Cal Ripken. It will come as no surprise to most that the best player in franchise history played not long ago, and captured the city's hearts, and still does, like no other player in their history. Yes, Cal Ripken plied his craft on the left side of the infield for that longest consecutive games streak and put up numbers and class that has not been outclassed by any other batter, or pitcher for that matter, on the club. He would accumulate 320.188 PEVA Career Rating Points, make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and run the gauntlet of all the many qualities of what a baseball hero should be. He hit 431 Home Runs, knocked in 1695 RBIs, and collected 3,184 hits.

2. Eddie Murray. For thirteen seasons in Baltimore, Eddie came to the park and plate with remarkable consistency and a dogged determination to create runs. No, he didn't do it with the style and panache of Ripken, although the similarities in day to day production are really a lot closer in quality than one would think. And while his Oriole career was shorter than Ripken's 21 seasons, his per year production was not. He would average 18.435 PEVA rating points and total 239.660 PEVA for his Oriole playing days. All in all this added up to Cooperstown, 343 HR, 1224 RBI, and 2,080 hits through his final Baltimore year of 1996.

3. Brooks Robinson. Prior to that Ripken fellow coming along, you'd have to say that Brooks held the favor of Oriole fans as their best player ever. Much of that came from the spectacular plays Robinson made in the field; his hitting always took second fiddle to the backhand stab behind the bag and seed to first for that out highlights. But while his hitting played that second string, it still accumulated to some great stats; 268 HR, 1357 RBI, and 2,848 hits. Gold Gloves, Cooperstown induction, and 239.660 PEVA Career Ratings points for Baltimore to boot.

4. George Sisler. It's always hard to reach back to a career that ended in 1927 and compare them to more current compatriots. But it's really not that difficult to see why George Sisler rises to the rank of the 4th best position player in Baltimore Oriole franchise history. He batted 0.344 for his Oriole career, which spanned 12 seasons. And while the home runs hit were low by comparison, with 93, to the three listed above, those 2,295 hits were not. This added up to 175.399 PEVA Rating Points for his Maryland career.

5. Ken Singleton. He didn't play that long ago, but for many, becomes the forgotten man in the Oriole current legend. And that's not fair. Because for the ten years he played with a bird on his shoulder, he collected 159.850 PEVA Rating Points, while knocking out 182 HR, 766 RBI, and 1455 hits. Yes, he was a better Oriole than Boog Powell, at least by the numbers, and ranks as the 5th best batter in their history.

Go to the Week One countdown to see the rest of the Top Ten, and the Best Ever Book for the Top Twenty batters and pitchers in Baltimore Orioles (AL) history. And before you get there, see if you can rank the remainder of the Top Twenty in order. Listed alphabetically, they are ...
Brady Anderson, Paul Blair, Al Bumbry, Harland Clift, Baby Doll Jacobsen, Melvin Mora, Rafael Palmeiro, Boog Powell, Frank Robinson, Burt Shotton, Vern Stephens, George Stone, Jack Tobin, Bobby Wallace, and Ken Williams. Good luck!

Best Players by Team (Angels, Diamondbacks, Braves, Orioles)
Week One Countdown Sample

Read More @ Google Books

Buy Stat Geek Baseball, the Best Ever Book in paperback @
or Ebook @

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ryan Howard: Was He Worth It?

Yes and No. Boy, now there's taking a stand for ya. But it really is a yes and no question. The contract Ryan Howard just signed for the 2012 to 2016 seasons, with a more than reasonable chance of having his option year picked up (it will only cost the Phillies $13 million more for one extra year), is where the market seems to be for MVP caliber talent. Just see the Joe Mauer deal, which was 8 years and $184 million dollars, or $23 million dollars per year. The Howard contract is essentially the same, including the option year, which makes it 6 years and $138 million, or $23 million dollars per year. We won't start discussing Albert Pujols here; he is in another class as a top of the Hall of Fame level player.

So how does Howard fare against the SPRO numbers? Where does the Salary Projection system place him?

Actually, pretty darn close. While we have some issue with the length of contract (essentially one year shorter) and do think that the arbitrator got it wrong and pushed Howard's arbitration year numbers too high, we're still only slightly on the low end of this salary scale. We think Howard deserves a 5 year contract, starting in the 2012 season, at $103.398 million, or an average of $20.7 million per year.

So now we get into the no territory.

We have no problem with his age or the fact that in the last years, the value of his performance may not keep pace with the contract dollars. That's the way of the MLB contract wars. We do, however, think, that the scale of dollars, which for Howard escalates from $20 million in 2012 and 2013 to $25 million in each of the last three years with a guaranteed buyout for $10 million if his 2017 option is not picked up, starts a bit too high. But perhaps we should be rethinking that as well. It is what it is, as they say.

But it does beg the question about why a stellar MVP level performer is worth $6.5 million more than a player, say a Jason Bay, who got 4 years and $66 million, with an option year for $17 million (average of $16.5 million guaranteed). It begs the question whether someone with a slightly lower pedigree, if he had played with perennial All-Star level talent above him in Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, would get if circumstances were different. BTW, the SPRO numbers for Bay were for 6 years and $99 million (average $16.5 million).

But I guess we'll never know, although Bay is doing pretty well in his current circumstance now with pretty good players above him and did the same last year in Boston.

So the answer is still yes and no. Yes, Ryan Howard was paid an appropriate level considering the salary scale in Major League Baseball today, although we think it should have been a little lower. But all in all, as Phillies fans, we're really glad the Phillies took the new bull by the horns and paid him. Now I wonder if we have any money left over for Jason Werth. Oh, well, that's a discussion for another day.

Note: The length of Howard's SPRO contract is inclusive of his two remaining contract years, i.e. would have been 7 years in length.