Sunday, July 24, 2011

Commish vs ex-Commish: HOF Smackdown II

It would be reasonable to ask – why do we need yet another catcher in the Hall of Fame? However, while Eddie Helms is a guy who may not have the flashy home run totals of Jones and Stanton, he was clearly a dominant force in his day, at his position and he has a World Series ring to show for it. On top of that, his career average of .320 is far and away better than Jones .280 and Stanton’s .267. Helms’ OPS of .937 is clearly superior to Jones’ and Stanton’s .906 and .862, respectively. Oh, and there’s this little thing called defense, fairly important for a catcher apparently. Helms has a superior CERA to either Stanton or Jones and threw out a higher percentage of baserunners than Stanton. It’s no coincidence that at the “helm” of the Anaheim Sharks, Eddie led the charge to playoff appearances in 10 of 13 seasons, but the Sharks have only done better than 3rd in their division once since his departure in S16. For serious students of the game, this really shouldn’t be a question.

Eddie Helms
Age: 39B/T: R/R
Born: Sonora, TX
Position(s): C/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Eddie Helms isn't a name that most people in Cobb are familiar with, and there is a good reason why. It's because he wasn't one of the best catchers to ever play the game, merely one of the good ones. If Patrick Stanton and Vernon Jones saw that Helms was elected to join their number in the Hall, I am pretty sure they would have to send a beatdown committee to visit the voters who put him there. Simply look at the awards, 6 AS appearances to Jones and Stantons 8; 3 Silver Sluggers to Jones and Stantons 4, less runs, hits, RBI, and HR's in similar games played. Quite simply, Helms just doesn't measure up to Jones and Stanton, who are the gauge by which all catchers in Cobb should be measured when being considered for the Hall of Fame.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Commish v. ex-Commish: HOF Smackdown

Part I of a two part series to inform and educate around a couple potential HOF candidates. Feel free to comment for either case! (Especially mine!)

First on the block: Marino Sierra

Marino Sierra
Age: 39B/T: L/L
Born: Puerto Piritu, VE
Position(s): LF/1B/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

FW - For all you young Turks out there who may not have been around the league during the good old days of seasons 1 through 10, you might not be familiar with Marino Sierra, who along with Fred McConnell was perhaps the most feared leadoff man in the early days of Cobb. At the time of his retirement he had nearly 2500 hits, hit for high average and got on base at an impressive clip, scored over 1,600 runs, was the all time leader in doubles at 578, hit nearly 300 HR's, and had over 500 SB's. When you take into consideration that he did this playing over half of his games in the pitchers parks in Omaha and Sioux Falls, those numbers have more meaning. Furthermore, his 529 stolen bases are even more impressive because before season 8, the SIM engine hideously lowered the amount of stolen bases by players in HBD. If Sierra had played in modern times, he would have been a 80+ base swiper every season. He may have never won an MVP, but when you are in your prime and play the same position in the same league as the legendary Jose Barrios, MVP's just aren't going to go your way. Despite this, Sierra still managed 6 AS appearances and 2 Silver Slugger LF's at the same time Barrios was manning that position! Don't hold it against Sierra that he was in his prime when the SIM engine and Jose Barrios were trying to keep him down, he's one of the all time greats of the early days of Cobb and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Furthermore, and on a serious note, there isn't a single leadoff man in the Cobb Hall of Fame currently, and that is a trend that needs to change. Just because a player hasn't hit 500 home runs doesn't mean he doesn't deserve a spot. Players like Sierra and McConnell have earned their place.

dwool - Oh, Nate. You lovable hayseed. Sure Sierra was good, but this is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good. At the end of the day we need to ask ourselves, was this player elite? A champion? In his era, was he a dominant force at his position? And here my friend, we have to acknowledge a couple key points, first NO RINGS. As good as he was, he didn’t pick his team up, put them on his broad, manly shoulders and carry them to the promised land. Second, there are a couple gentlemen by the names of Jose Cervantes and Hades Booker who also patrolled the outfield in the early days of Cobb, who are patiently waiting for the call – and both are flashing World Series rings and similar or better OPS. Once those guys are in, let me know and I’ll give Sierra another look.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rounding Second and Heading for Third

The last installment of beat reporter wihargo's FA analysis centers on potentially available second and third basemen. When bidding, always remember, fortune favors the bold!

Brad Mann is surrounded by questions this offseason: will his glove force a move off of 2B? will he be the next player to receive the max deal? The answer in both cases depends on how much teams value his elite bat.

Angel Vazquez still has good plate discipline and might have one more useful season in him. Lynn Curtis is a dependable defender at 3B and effective against LHP.

Mark Bigbie, still looking to recover his power stroke, might decide to go out on top and retire after winning the World Series.

Brad Mann 0.403 5.69
Angel Vazquez 0.340 2.89
Frank Hartgraves 0.336 2.64
Lynn Curtis 0.344 2.53
John McGowan 0.330 2.36
Jack Carpenter 0.328 2.25
Joel Valentin 0.317 1.71
Garret Wells 0.280 1.47
Giomar Julio 0.314 1.41
Mark Bigbie 0.293 1.37
Wilfredo Henriquez 0.311 0.96

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flashing the Leather

No, we're not talking about another night of debauchery for FW_Kekionga at the local cowboy watering hole. No, we are talking about those defensive wizards who will quietly win games - usually by making the difficult look routine. According to our beat reporter:

The best of this group is very good; the rest is medicore but useful. Charles Reese has won 3 CF silver sluggers and is a perennial 20/20 man. Lorenzo, who also blends power and speed, has been an All Star at short and has hit for the cycle twice. Bonilla is probably the best SS available in free agency, and is also a 5 time All Star.

Alberto Gutierrez is a rangy fielder while D'Angelo Romero is the prototypical sure handed vet. Both might have to transition to a platoon or bench role this season.

Charles Reese 0.385 5.32
Erubiel Bonilla 0.360 4.21
Fernando Lorenzo 0.337 3.32
Willie Gandarilla 0.317 1.66
Alberto Gutierrez 0.302 1.62
Luther McNamara 0.291 1.56
D'Angelo Romero 0.301 1.55
Odalis Ramirez 0.292 1.18
Pedro Sojo 0.274 1.08
Raymond Sanford 0.324 1.07
Edwin Ward 0.278 1.01

Get 'em before your rival does or you'll regret down the home stretch.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Catch Me If You Can!

So you say you want to enhance your staff? (don't worry Kid - not naming names!) No better way than to add one of these capable receivers to your franchise. Get settled into your crouch and check out the dish on these potential FA's!

Several top catchers are available this off season. Serafini and Scalici are both above average bats who have won silver sluggers. Lowry and Mairena are good choices for teams that need an offensive minded back-up catcher. Juan James had a .336 wOBA against LHP last year.

Reggie Serafini .346 4.16
Ron Scalici .352 3.47
JP Wilfredo .330 3.21
Rich Perez .348 3.12
Sammy Hunt .321 3.08
James Lowry .379 2.85
Juan James .309 2.21
Al Lee .312 2.09
Louie Mairena .343 1.81
Vince Ferguson .300 0.880

Monday, July 18, 2011

Not Quite Franchise Cornerstones

A quick look at potential FA corner outfielders reveals that no more than a quick look is necessary.

Randy Rose and Yamid Mairena both have three consecutive 20 HR seaons and lead a relatively weak crop of free agent corner OFs. Darrin Barkley may have lost a step but his contact, bunting and baserunning skills could make him useful to the right team.

Player wOBA WAR
Randy Rose 0.348 3.16
Darrin Barkley 0.350 2.81
Yamid Mairena 0.339 2.50
Luis Nunez 0.351 1.94
Babe Williams 0.328 1.72
Tanner Carillo 0.325 1.72
Carlton Nelson 0.326 1.67
Jose Gandarillas 0.323 1.52

All of this implies that Mr. Rose might be in for a substantial "over"-payday. If you need a big hitter here, you might need be better off hitting the phones. In fact, mrploppie assures me he has (or can acquire) several high quality COF's for a very reasonable price.

Friday, July 15, 2011

FA Pitchers, a buyer's market

Depending on how things shake out during the window of time teams have to negotiate with their free agents, season 21 could be a real buyers market. Here are the free agent leaders in FIP with stamina greater than 50:

Long Relievers/Swing Men:

Tony Terrero 28.2 2.20 3.02
Matty Palmer 46.0 3.91 3.55
Sam Roberts 79.0 4.22 3.60
Bernie Almonte 54.2 5.10 3.64
Tom Gibson 171.2 4.46 3.88
Derrick Bird 44.0 4.50 4.14
Hector Chavez 76.0 5.33 4.34
Vance Weaver 138.2 4.28 4.36
Kenneth Mann 124.2 3.97 4.50
Humberto Diaz 57.2 3.90 4.52


Jesus Pujols 229.2 3.33 3.39
Zephyr Burns 194 3.71 3.69
Jerry Ross 152 3.32 3.80
Erubiel Owen 215.2 4.38 4.07
Talmadge Young 179 3.72 4.07
Peter Hinske 203 4.03 4.08
Kent Upshaw 125 4.75 4.30
Frank Harper 153.2 4.86 4.32
Parker Ellis 181 3.98 4.36
Roosevelt Fox 185.1 4.81 4.43

All-Time Great:

Kaz Ong 150.2 4.00 4.54