Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Apparently Idiocy Can Breed...

Do you look at the world around you and realize that the average person seems to get dumber every year? Yeah, me too. So where is all this raw stupidity coming from? There's only one solution. Jeff Passan's columns on Yahoo Sports are to brain cells, what kryptonite is to Superman. You don't even have to read them. You just have to be near them and your IQ errodes. Case in point...

The way Curtis Granderson figures, leadoff hitters actually lead off only once a game, so all of the attention they garner – it’s them and cleanup hitters with the recognizable nicknames, after all – isn’t necessarily warranted.

Yeah, and the studies have sorta shown that batting order really doesn't impact the output of the offense. That's where you're going with this, right?

Perhaps it was the romantic notion of the leadoff hitter: the scrapper who fouls off pitches and gets on base and dashes from first to third and manufactures runs, intangibles idealized.

And of course, the key component here is "gets on base" because your leadoff man gets the most at bats on the team, and thereby has the opportunity to make the most outs... so you should strive to use someone who makes less outs than the average player?

Oddly, Rickey Henderson was the best at this. I don't know how scrappy he was. And nobody ever talks about his "intangibles."

That player, of course, is a relic in the steroid and sabermetric eras, generally inefficient, and the prototype has evolved into Leadoff 2.0, the type of player Granderson and others across the game embody.

You're right. Rickey Henderson is a relic, but that's only because he's like 900 years old and nobody as good as him has come around again. Sabermetrics has most certainly never even IMPLIED that a guy who "fouls off pitches and gets on base and goes from first to third and manufactures runs" is inefficient. Sabermetrics has shown us that getting on base is incredibly valuable. It's also showed us how overrated stolen bases were.

And steroids? If anything, guys were taking steroids to try to do these things better. Getting on base more? Hello!!!! The poster child for steroids had an On-Base Percentage of like 2.842 or better for the last 10 years. No typo. Barry Bonds got on base 2.8 times per at bat. He was that fucking retarded.

They can run, yes, but they also hit for serious power, enough that they’d fit just fine in the No. 3 hole, the lineup’s true glamour spot.

We're talking about Curtis Granderson here? He of the .342 career OBP? Okay, that's not shitty, but it's also not what I want in the leadoff spot. And looking at last year, wouldn't the Tigers have been better off batting Granderson down in the lineup a little, where his 38 doubles, 23 triples and 23 homers could have produced more than 74 RBIs? And batting Placido Polanco (and his .388 OBP) first? Nah, you're right... it probably wouldn't make much of a difference anyway.

“You could have your old-school taking pitches so you get the pitch count up and let the hitters behind you see everything the pitcher has."

Yeah Curtis, working counts sounds like a good idea. Sure, this is an old school approach, but effective. Plus the more pitches you see, the more likely you are to draw a hit or walk, and thus, get on base.

"But if you’re a guy who can drive the baseball, you’re going to be aggressive and set the tone by either getting on base, getting an extra-base hit or, possibly, starting the game off 1-0.”

This season, Curtis is driving the ball to the tune of a .242 average and a .320 OBP, and he's on pace for 140+ strikeouts again. That's just what you want from the guy who hits before your run-producers. Keep trying to be Alfonso Soriano, Curtis. It's helping you.

His divisional and positional peer, Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore, socked 92 extra-base hits the year before.

Except that Sizemore got on base at a .390 clip last year, which is the kind of number you should want from the guy who sees the most at bats on the team.

And we can’t forget the leadoff hitter who best epitomizes the power surge – and the most misplaced – Alfonso Soriano, who must be telekinetic with his ability to convince manager after manager that keeping him hitting first is a stroke of brilliance.

Telekinetic? That's moving shit with your mind. MIND POWER!!! And suddenly I got an image of Alfonso Soriano giving Lou Pinella a telekinetic hand-job. The visual in my brain is like bad Star Wars porn right now.

The important thing here, is that Passan is writing an article praising Curtis Granderson and the "new breed" of power-hitting leadoff guys... and he ADMITS that Soriano is "misplaced" in the Cubs lineup, thus contradicting his entire fucking premise. This is why these posts are so long.

It [foot-speed] is managers’ last gasp at the classic leadoff hitter instead of one who resembles Rickey Henderson, baseball’s greatest power-and-speed combination at the top of the lineup since Ty Cobb.

Then here's the real question. What was more vital to Rickey Henderson's success? His "power-and-speed"? Or his ability to work counts, draw walks, and get on base?

Case in point... Henderson hit 297 career home runs. And stole 1406 bases at a success rate of just under 81%. For his career, he averaged a home run every 45 plate appearances. And as we know, stealing bases at an 81% rate really doesn't help an offense very much (because people have researched these facts extensively, and we trust facts.)

Power-and-speed: 1 homer every 45 times at the plate, minimal benefit from stolen bases.

Rickey on-based .401 for his career, with peaks of .420, .419, .423, .439, .432 and another .423 at 40 years old. In 25 seasons, Henderson made more than 400 outs 6 times. Alfonso Soriano, in comparison, has made 400+ outs in every full season he's ever played and has broken 500 twice. Juan Pierre has made 500+ outs in 5 straight years.

Walking/Getting On Base: Once every 4 games, Rickey Henderson is on base when Curtis Granderson is sitting on the bench after having made an out.

“I had Bonds hit a lot of leadoff home runs,” Leyland said.

Jim Leyland, speaking proudly about batting Barry Bonds in the lead-off spot... but at least Bonds was getting on base at an above-average rate. Still fucking stupid.

No one said being Leadoff 2.0 is easy. Which is just how Granderson likes it.

Umm... what? No one said it's easy? Which is just how he likes it? What are you saying here Jeff Passan? Are you saying that he likes it easy? So then Curtis Granderson hates being "Leadoff 2.0" because it's not easy, and he likes it easy?

Wit only looks witty if it makes sense dude.

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