Friday, July 31, 2009

Ugliest MLB Players Part 3: Bartolo Colon

I mean look at this guy. He has the physique of a bowling ball (see below), he's got crooked eyes, a near uni-brow and his nose takes up 3/4th of his face. He looks like Andre the Giant for god sakes. Looking at his body, it's no wonder he's pitched nearly his entire career in the American League; if he had to bat and actually run he would be, hands-down, the laughing stock of Major League Baseball. Can you imagine him swinging a bat with those tiny arms trying to avoid that gut and then, if he did manage to make contact, running down the 1st base line? It would be hilarious, in fact, they should have a feature at next year's All-Star game, "Watch Bartolo Run." They can pay him $500K to do it which would prevent him from having to try and pitch for another year in the big leagues. You could even have people bet on how long it will take him or how many times he will trip and fall on his face.

He's currently on the DL with the White Sox, he's managed to piss everyone off there, including Ozzie Guillen, and he disappeared for a week right around the time Michael Jackson died because he said, "[unable] to cope with Michael Jackson's passing." (Source) He's lazy, I get the feeling he really doesn't want to pitch, so making him a circus-show act at next year's All-Star game sounds like the perfect idea to me.

Anyway, he is the bowling ball's career pitching stats (13 seasons):

153-103 (not bad)
Career 4.10 ERA and 1.338 WHIP
2076.2 IP
1607 Ks
7 SO/9 ratio (again, not bad)
31 career CGs
2005 AL Cy Young Winner
2-time All-Star

So he's had a decent career, big deal. Most of his success is probably due in part to the fact that most Major Leaguers aren't used to having a 5'11" 250lbs. behemoth pitching to them, it scared them. Anyway, if you want this author's prediction; he won't pitch in the Major Leagues again after this season. He's been mediocre, at best, for the past few years and he needs to go.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Halladay Trade Deadline Wish

My hope in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes is that he gets traded to...the Rangers.

It makes perfect sense from them from a baseball perspective. To wit:

(1) The AL West is weaker than it has been in recent memory. The Angels are looking good but not great; their pitching is weak and their offense is old. The Rangers are within striking distance, only 3.5 GB.
(2) Their farm system is ridiculously deep. They have all the pieces to get a deal done and have some awesome prospects left over. Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Justin Smoak and Elvis Andrus are all worthy of being the centerpiece of the deal.
(3) Their pitching is weak. They trot out Vincente Padilla every five days. 'Nuff said.
(4) Toronto doesn't want to deal within the division if they can help it.
(5) Toronto wants MLB ready pitching (Derek Holland, for instance), and a SS (Elvis Andrus, for instance)
(6) As I read on, the Rangers are scheduled to see Marlon Byrd, Vincente Padilla and Hank Blalock, become free agents at the end of this year. This reduction in salary could offset Hallday's $15MM 2010 salary.
(7) Roy Halladay is Nolan Ryan's type of pitcher - the workhouse, finish-what-you-start, innings-eating fireballer.
(8) Their offense is hella good.

Go for it, Texas. As AK47's and my fantasy baseball email said today, "Flags fly forever".

Ugliest MLB Players Part 2: Aaron Harang is UGLY!

Welcome to a new series where, for a week straight, we are going to give you the bio's of the ugliest players in Major League baseball. Usually, major league baseball players are good lookin' guys, athletic, Adonis-type figures. But sometimes you guy a guy who is just downright gnarly, this series is all about those guys.

Today's segment centers around one ugly-ass mofo named Aaron Harang, starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. Aaron Harang looks like a degenerate. Or at very least, he looks like he spends all his days indoors, in a basement, playing World of Warcraft in a reclining leather chair, going outside only when he needs more Pepsi and cheese doodles. Either that or a degenerate, someone who has been disfigured by the sheer force of their own wicked actions. Either way, Aaron Harang is one ugly dude, good enough for a spot on our All-Ugly Team. I hope he and Jack Wilson never get elected to the All-Star Team for the same year and get drunk in the hotel jacuzzi together and have a love child. The world cannot fit all of this ugly.

Aaron Harang also happens to be a half-decent pitcher. Check out these career numbers:

1311.2 IP
4.27 ERA
1.33 WHIP
.277 BAA
1096 K
7.53 K/9
360 BB
3.05 K/BB ratio
Doesn't change the fact that he's ugly. I've nicknamed him the Harangutan (or at least I've never heard anyone else call him this). See the similarity?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Just saw that the Pirates got Alderson from the Giants in exchange for
Freddy Sanchez. This is a major, major coup for the Bucs. I literally
gasped when I read it. What are the Giants thinking? I will post some
reactions when I see them start to come in.

Ugliest MLB Players: Jack Wilson

Welcome to a new series where, for a week straight, we are going to give you the bio's of the ugliest players in Major League baseball. Usually, major league baseball players are good lookin' guys, athletic, Adonis-type figures. But sometimes you guy a guy who is just downright gnarly, this series is all about those guys.

God must have been feeling ornery when He made Jack Wilson. His teeth are not anatomically proportionate to his face, he looks like he was punched in both eyes and his ears rival Dumbo's. However, he is one of the better players in the ugly-bunch though and he was just traded to the team of the far-Northwest (probably to get him away from the majority of the population), the Seattle Mariners. Let's take a look at his career.

In 9 full Major League seasons:
Career .269/.311/.376 hitting line
Career .978 F%

You're not getting a masher when you bring in Jack Wilson. You're getting a stellar 2nd basemen and double-play artist with a pretty weak bat. You're also getting one of the ugliest players in the major leagues so you might want to hide your children's faces if you happen to see him walking down the street.

Lee to the Phils and other thoughts

The Indians traded Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco (defender savante) to the Phillies for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. They avoided including Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown, and they obtained a very good LHP, coming off a Cy Young Season. Excellent move by the Phillies, and I like the move for the Indians too. I don't see the need to include the Francisco, but whatever. Nice move for both teams.

I'd like to point you to USS Mariner's reaction to the trade of Clement for Wilson. They do an excellent job summarizing the pieces of the deal, and their conclusion is (from a Mariners' fan's perspective):
For two guys with minimal value, the Mariners parted with five young players...Pittsburgh is the easy winner of this deal, as they get some interesting young talent and shed some salary without losing much that will hurt them. The Mariners could still salvage this by moving Wilson before Friday’s deadline for a younger SS with more long term potential, but if they stand pat with Wilson as the team’s shortstop for 2009 and maybe 2010, color me disappointed.

Click through for more advanced analysis, its worth a read.

Lee to the Phillies? is saying that Cliff Lee may be headed to the Phils. This would certainly throw a wrench in the Blue Jays' attempt to deal Halladay.

Jack Wilson to the Mariners

Jack Wilson has been traded from the Pirates to the Mariners for Jeff Clement. Before I read anyone else's reaction, I'll say that I hate this deal for the Mariners, and love it for the Pirates. Makes no sense for the Mariners - if they are out of contention, and prepared to sell assets, why trade away a prospect and take on an aging veteran with a relatively big contract?

Dumb dumb, dumb dumb, dumb Mariners. I'll post more reactions as I see them.

UPDATE (12:50 pm): Ian Snell to the Mariners as part of the deal. Makes it slightly more palatable. says: "Wilson and Ian Snell for Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock."

UPDATE (1:03 pm): Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus agrees with my assessment. Good deal for the Pirates.

Trade Deadline

The Trade Deadline is one of my favorite times of year, up there with the Hot Stove and Winter Meetings. There is a near-constant flow of rumors, and through it all there exists the possibility that my team, or my rivals, could improve drastically through a trade. The Deadline becomes even more fun when you know the prospects involved in each rumor or potential trade. I'm going to try to post here often in the next two days as the deadline comes to a close, and for now I am going to list my predictions for some of the big-names out there.

Roy Halladay - Phillies. I still think it makes the most sense for him to go here. I look for the Jays and the Phils to meet somewhere in the middle.

Cliff Lee - Dodgers.

Scott Kazmir - Tampa (no trade)

Victor Martinez - Cleveland (no trade)

Jarrod Washburn - Yankees

Freddy Sanchez - Giants

Jack Wilson - Red Sox

George Sherrill - Angels

That's already a very busy deadline, should all those deals go through. I'll check back in later with more thoughts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two No-No's??

Who is this a picture of? Johnny Vander Meer, the only pitcher in major league history to throw two consecutive no-hitters. In a span of 5 days in June of 1938, Vander Meer threw consecutive no-hitters against the Boston Bees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. As I write this, Mark Buehrle has thrown 3 unblemished innings against my beloved Twins and, as is brought up anytime a pitcher throws one no-hitter, he could tie Vander Meer if he throws another one tonight (I really hope he doesn't. With Buerhle throwing three unblemished innings so far, he has tied Harvey Haddix with 36 consecutive batters retired, Haddix took a perfect game through 12 innings on May 26th, 1959 but his team ended up losing the game when a reliever blew it in the bottom of the inning. Anyway, quick update, I hope Buerhle doesn't do it, but I'll be honest, that would be pretty awesome.

Omar Minaya...Shut Up.

Besides being considered a racist by some (and for laughs read this and this), and being a mostly terrible General Manager, Omar Minaya is also apparently a dumbass. As is old news by now, he basically called Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News a 'black-mailer' of sorts, insinuating that Rubin's recent articles about Tony Bernazard, the vice president of player development who apparently challenged the entire Double-A affiliate of the Mets to a street fight, were motivated by a desire on Rubin's part to replace Bernazard or become the GM.

Omar, shut up. First of all, how can you even make such a claim with a straight-face? For one thing, Adam Rubin has no qualifications to become a member of the player development staff, much less the GM, so it's untenable to think that Mr. Rubin's motive for writing critical pieces about the Mets front-office would be because he wanted one of your jobs. Second, why don't you take a look in the mirror, your team is the red-headed step child in New York City. Your line-up is in shambles, your pitching rotation still features Livan Hernandez as a STARTING PITCHER, and your team is 10.5 games back and below .500 in late July. The reason this crap about your right-hand man got published is because the team you are responsible for running, SUCKS. If your team was performing like it should be, this article probably wouldn't have been published.

So shut up Omar and stop pointing fingers and making ridiculous accusations. The only thing you should be focusing on right now is your pathetic team, not attacking reporters for doing their job.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Which is "harder?": Perfect-game or 20Ks

I live in the Chicago area and on my way home, as you might imagine, all the sports radio talk shows were talking about was Mark Buehrle's perfect-game against the Tampa Bay Rays last night. I really hate the Sox, but I actually got to watch the end of the game yesterday and I couldn't be happier to have seen a perfect-game thrown.

One thing they were talking about on the radio yesterday afternoon, rather briefly, got me to thinking. The
question posed was this: "which is harder, throwing a perfect game or striking out 20 in a game?" As most baseball fans have heard over and over in the past 18 hours, Buehrle's perfect-game was the 18th perfect-game in baseball history and the 16th since 1900. How many times has a pitcher struck out 20 in a game? It's happened 4 times in a regulation 9 inning game, twice by Roger Clemens, once by Randy Johnson and once by Kerry Wood.

Just mentioning that fact and those three names brings me to one somewhat obvious question given the fact that no pitcher in the major leagues had even accomplished said feat prior or since; could steriods or PEDS been involved? But I'll leave that for others to judge, here are the vitals on the four times it has happened:

April 29th, 1986
Clemens Line: 9.0IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 20K

Just think about that for a minute, Clemens faced 30 batters and struck out 20 of them, that is crazy. Home plate umpire Vic Voltaggio told a batboy after the seventh inning, "This is best pitching performance I have ever seen." (Source: Sports Illustrated)

September 18th, 1996
Clemens Line: 9.0IP, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 20K

I would make the case that the first time he did it was more impressive because he faced less batters, but in this game he pitched a complete-game, 20K shutout. It's worth noting that he did not walk a batter in either 20K performance.

May 6th, 1998
Wood's Line: 9.0IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 20K

Oh what could have been. Can you imagine if Wood had not allowed that ONE HIT. It would have gone down as the greatest Perfect Game of all time. As it stands, it is easily the most impressive of the 20K performances the world has seen. The fact that it came on the road also adds to the overall greatness of this performance.

May 8th, 2001
Johnson's Line: 9.0IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 20K

Originally this was not considered to be in the same group as Clemens and Wood's performances because the game eventually went to extra innings. Later it was decided that it didn't matter, Johnson struck out 20 in 9.0IP, same as Clemens and Wood. Look at Randy Johnson's career though, it's quite impressive: a no-hitter, a perfect game (oldest player ever to do it), 2nd all-time in strikeouts, 300+ wins, and on and on. He's a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer.

So I'll pose the question again, which is harder? 20Ks by one pitcher in a game has only happened 4 times, a perfect game has happened 18 times. One is the definition of Perfection, the other is the definition of Dominance. If you ask me, I'd rather see a perfect game, but I'm not sure a 20 strikeout performance wouldn't be equally impressive...