Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Things

Random thoughts on a Thursday evening, as I sit here with a couple of Coors Light tallboys.  No, I'm not abandoning your precious 6 things format, but I can't sit here just married to it, night after night.  I'm sorry I'm not like you and can't just have the same thing over and over, night after night.  Some of us need a little variety.  A little newness.  So settle down.

By the way, I have Friday off.  Do you? 


-  I'm sitting here watching Alexi Casilla flail away haplessly at yet another pitch, it strikes me that this Casilla/Tolbert combo must be one of the absolute worst offensive double-play combos of all time.  So let's play around with baseball-reference.

Casilla's career OPS+ is 68.  Tolbert's is 72.  According to BR, there have been 134 seasons where a player had an OPS+ of 72 or less while playing 2b 75% of the time and acquiring 500 plate appearances, and using those same parameters we come up with 238 shortstops.  The question is, did any of those 2b's play with an of those SS's, or, if they hit at their career averages, do the Twins have the worst offensive double play combination in history?

I'll save you some suspense.  I found 16 teams where the SS and 2B both had an OPS+ of 72 or worse, so the Casilla/Tolbert combination is only one of the 16 worst in history - not THE worst.  BUT.  14 of those come from pre-1980 teams.  Back when nobody even gave a crap if your middle infield could even hit the ball out of the infield as long as they could field their position well.  Since 1980, only two teams (2003 Dodgers with Alex Cora (67) and Cesar Izturis (60) and the 2007 Giants with Ray Durham (64) and Omar Vizquel (60)) had a worse hitting middle infield than the Twins.  So yes, in case anybody asks you can feel comfortable telling them this Twins combo is the third worst since 1980.  Comforting.

-  Speaking of shitty baseball players I'm really sick of Austin Jackson, who is on my fantasy team.  The guy has zero plate discipline and apparently almost zero ability to actually make contact when he swings.  Now I'm not against strikeouts per se, despite their being fascist, but when you have a player who strikes out a ton you expect to get a little bit of power along with it.  Not so with Mr. Jackson, who struck out 170 times last year while countering with just four home runs (and this year he's at 24 to 1).  Bizarre, right?  Let's check Mr. Baseball-Reference again.

Prior to Jackson last year, the fewest home runs hit by a player with 170 strikeouts or more was 13 by Jose Hernandez in 2003.  Next fewest was Mark Bellhorn with 17 in 2004, then Curtis Granderson's 19 in 2006.  The fewest home runs by a player with 160 strikeouts was Mickey Tettleton with 15 in 1990.  150 strikeouts was Delino DeShields with 10 in 1991.  In fact, the most strikeouts by a player with 4 or less home runs was Michael Bourn, who struck out 140 times with just 3 home runs in 2009.  Simply put, Jackson is about to become the world's greatest strikeout artist with no power, because he's going to pretty much repeat last season's numbers.  Only 8 players have ever hit five or less home runs while striking out at least 125 times, including that illustrious firecracker Vince Coleman, and only Gary Pettis has done it twice.  Can Jackson match the feat of Gary George Pettis?  It's exciting, isn't it?

-  I'm pretty sure if there's a heaven, at least one of the main rivers is made up of Buffalo Wild Wing's Spicy Garlic sauce.  Not their version of the Nile or the Amazon or the Mississippi, because those are probably reserved for booze, but maybe like the Congo or the Mekong.

-  Former Twin Kyle Lohse pitched a hell of a game today, specifically a 2-hit shutout.  I was going to write more about it but really who the hell cares?  He's a completely average pitcher who occasionally has moments of brilliance, like today, just like he was 10 years ago or whatever on the Twins and just like ten million other pitchers in the major leagues.  God he's so boring.  He's like the pitcher version of a MASH episode.

-  Jesus christ is Parks and Recreation funny.  Community is awfully good too, but there's nothing better than Parks and Rec right now.  It's knock it out of the park funny every time.  I think the five funniest characters in tv history are Ron Swanson, April Ludgate, Tom Haverford, Rob Lowe's character, and Bill Haverchuck.  Four of them are from Parks and Rec.  And Andy Dwyer is a runner-up, and we haven't even gotten to comedic genius Amy Poehler yet.  Really, if you're not watching this show you're a god damn idiot.

- How does Chris Bosh only get 6 rebounds in 41 minutes?  Both Wade and LeBron grabbed more rebounds than him, when really his biggest role on that team should be "rebound getter guy."  Ugh.  He's so lame.

-  ohmygodohmygodohmygod you guys I am so freaking excited right now.  Mrs. W just showed me a video (settle down, pervs) of a movie coming out this summer from SyFy called Swamp Shark about, well, a shark in a swamp.  It stars D.B. "shoeless joe" Sweeney and Kristy "hotter than fire or at least I used to be" Swanson (who was also in Red Water which I desperately want to blog but is apparently never ever ever replayed on tv even though it had Coolio as an evil mastermind in it) which is simply an awesome pairing of two awesome people.  I don't know if I could come up with a better male and female lead for a crappy SyFy shark movie.  I'm like Jessie Spano on caffeine pills right now.  Here's the trailer but I want to warn you - you're going to end up with a boner.

Also I think we should all think of Kristy Swanson like this:
And pay no attention to any pictures of her from the last few years because hey, sometimes life gets in the way of being hot.  I'm sure she'll bring her A game for Swamp Shark.  I mean, she'd have to in order to beat out all the other actresses who were no doubt clamoring for that role.

-  So I came up with this formula to calculate how likely a player is to get a hit in any given at-bat against a pitcher and using that info can calculate games where a  player is particularly unlikely to get a hit and then wager on such, usually at a 2-to-1 payout or so if they don't.  I have to tell you it's nerve-wracking, especially when some dickhole (F you Melky Cabrera and Dan Uggla) is hitless all game and then gets one in the ninth.  Like right now I just watched a relatively meaningless Ryan Howard at-bat, but because I have him to get NO hit at +170 I was riveted, even though it's the 4th inning.  It's good, and it's bad.

-  Speaking of gambling, here are my season futures this year:
  • Jayson Werth OVER 21.5 home runs
  • Joakim Soria OVER 34.5 saves
  • Mark Reynolds OVER 30.5 home runs
  • Nelson Cruz OVER 27.5 home runs
  • Jayson Heyward UNDER 23.5 home runs
  • Adam Dunn OVER 35.5 home runs
  • Ryan Zimmerman OVER 26.5 home runs
  • Carlos Pena OVER 27.5 home runs
  • Jose Bautista OVER 29.5 home runs
  • Shin Soo Choo OVER 156.5 hits
  • Justin Verlander OVER 15.5 wins
  • Joe Mauer OVER 164.5 hits
  • Ichiro OVER 197.5 hits
  • Josh Johnson OVER 13.5 wins
  • David Price OVER 15.5 wins
  • Clayton Kershaw OVER 13.5 wins
  • Clay Buchholz OVER 14.5 wins
  • Troy Tulowitzki OVER 28.5 home runs
  • Phillies UNDER 96.5 wins
  • Marlins OVER 82.5 wins
  • Red Sox UNDER 96.5 wins
  • Cubs OVER 82.5 wins
  • A's OVER 83.5 wins
  • Orioles UNDER 77.5 wins
What?  No, YOU have a problem.

-  Oh crap I guess I should mention something here about Colton Iverson transferring to Colorado State.  So here, "Colton Iverson is transferring to Colorado State."  I can't think of anything else to write.  I'd rather have him here than there, but if you were to ask me if I care I'm not entirely sure I could even muster a "meh."  Maybe just a "m".  

-  I know Christina Aguilera has put on some weight lately, but I have to be honest with you - all the reports of her becoming a total drunk mess have me bumping her up in my rankings, extra weight or not.

-  You know what's a great snack mix?  Corn nuts and soy nuts.  Outstanding.  Throw some sunflower seeds in there and you have a little bit of heaven.

-  Finally, I started reading Sid Hartman's latest column on, and I just can't resist.  Let's break this down a little bit, Sid's writings in bold.

The Vikings seem to have a strong interest in securing a veteran quarterback once the NFL lockout ends.
I'm not entirely certain, but the fact that the QBs on the roster are Joe Webb, Patrick Ramsey, and Rhett Bomar make it seem like they may need somebody else
It also might be possible the Vikings and Redskins have had some conversations about a deal for 34-year-old quarterback Donovan McNabb, who definitely won't be a member of his current team once play resumes.
I'm definitely not saying anything with any certainty but possibly maybe it could be in the realm of existence that the Vikings have talked to the Redskins about Donovan McNabb.  I think I read that somewhere.
Of course, no deals can be made while the lockout is in progress, but I don't know if there is any rule against the clubs talking about making a deal.
I don't know if there are any rules against it, and this paper for some reason has a strict policy against looking things up or even asking someone who might know the answer.  Of course, to do either of those things I'd have to figure out this computating machine or the communication device on my desk.
One reason why McNabb might be the veteran quarterback the team will sign is because Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is personally familiar with McNabb. Frazier was a defensive assistant with the Eagles from 1999 to 2002, when McNabb was in his prime.
Way back in 2002, back when the Patriots were a Super Bowl underdog, the New Jersey Nets made the NBA Finals, the Indiana Hoosiers made the Final Four, and Mike Tyson still held a championship belt.  But I'm assuming with Frazier being on board, McNabb should be about the same player he was back then.
Last season, Shanahan's first year as the Redskins coach, McNabb played in 13 games, completed 275 of 472 passes for 3,377 yards, a 58.3 completion percentage and an average of 7.2 yards per attempt. He threw for 14 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a 77.1 passer rating.
AAAh numbers!  What are you, some kind of nerd?  Sports aren't played by computers or numbers or stats, they're played by people.  And Donovan McNabb is a people.
The big problem might be McNabb's contract, which calls for the Redskins to pick up McNabb's $10 million option if he is on the Redskins' 53-man roster the day after the first regular-season game. McNabb's base salary for the 2011 season, if it is played, is reported to be $2.5 million, but jumps to $12.75 million in 2012.
My head hurts.
I'm sure the Vikings would not deal for McNabb unless they could redo his contract. They are not going to pay that kind of money to a 34-year-old quarterback who is at the tail end of his career.
Sounds like a dare.
ESPN correspondent Adam Schefter wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he "believes McNabb would like to play for the Vikings" next year.
What's twitter?  Is that on the computationalator?
No doubt the plan is to sign a veteran quarterback, draft another and try to develop Joe Webb into the future starter.
What happened to all this "I'm not entirely certain" talk?  Now we've moved to no doubt?
Jerry Kill continues to coach the Gophers football team without a contract. Apparently University of Minnesota lawyers and Kill's agent can't agree on some of the clauses in the contract.
And I absolutely refuse to expound on this further.  I know stuff and you don't.  Neener neener neener.
Basketball coach Tubby Smith's lawyers still are trying to reach an agreement on an extension. Baseball coach John Anderson, who won the Big Ten title a year ago and advanced to the NCAA tournament, is operating on his old contract without any new negotiations taking place.
This is the part where I don't know where I am and forgot what I'm supposed to be writing about.  Since I just re-read the thing about the Gopher football coach, I'm just going to mention the only other two Gopher coaches whose names I remember.
Former Twins shortstop Orlando Cabrera is one of the big reasons for the Cleveland Indians' early success and first-place standing in the American League Central entering Wednesday's games. The 36-year-old is hitting .262, and his 11 RBI is second on the team. He's also hit two home runs this season after hitting five in all of 2009 for the Twins and four for Cincinnati last year. 
He's hitting .257, has walked all of twice in 72 plate appearances, and outside of those two precious home runs has one extra base hit.  His OPS+ of 86 actually says he's been a significantly below average hitter this year, equivalent to what Michael Cuddyer has done for the Twins so far this year (pre-tonight's home run).  But keep clinging to those 11 RBI, which are more a product of hitting behind Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana, and Michael Brantley - all of whom can't stop getting on base.  And how dare he hit more home runs for Cleveland than for the Twins.  He'll never work in this town again.
... Jon Rauch, who the Twins declined to keep after the 2010 season and instead signed a $3.5 million deal with Toronto, is 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA and three saves for the Blue Jays.
He also has a 5/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an insanely lucky BABIP.  He sucks.  And is lucky.
Another pair of relievers the Twins let go last winter are doing well with their new teams. Jesse Crain has been fantastic for the Chicago White Sox, posting an 0-1 record and a 1.93 ERA in 9 1/3 innings pitched, with 11 strikeouts and only two walks. 
And has been a huge part of two bullpen meltdowns that lead to Sox's losses.
Former Twins utility player Nick Punto appeared in his first game of the season for the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, taking a walk as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. Punto had been on the disabled list because of a sports hernia.
A real tough-guy, hard-nosed, gritty, hustley, gamer injury probably suffered by sliding into first base.
 ... J.J. Hardy, who was hurt a great deal in his one season with the Twins last year, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Baltimore Orioles because of a muscle strain. Hardy was off to a somewhat slow start for the Orioles, hitting .200 (3-for-15) through six games, but all three hits were doubles.
Not a gamer.  Pussy.


snacks said...

For a guy who supposedly knows a lot about sabremetrics, I can't believe you took Austin Jackson. EVERYONE was down on him this year due to his high strikeout rate and unsustainable BABIP last year. You are getting what you deserved.

Also, BWW's spicy garlic sauce is the greatest flavor on the planet. Probably in heaven too.

John R said...

Sid is old and quite possibly mildly retarded. You ever watch the The Sports Show on WB23 (or whatever) on Sunday nights? It's him, Mike Max, Reusse, and Dark Starr. There should be a drinking game invented for every time Mike Max asks Sid a question and he either a) needs to repeat it because the old fart couldn't hear it or b) the old fart doesn't hear it at all. You'd be drunk 1/4 the way through the show. And better be because the game involves actually watching the damn thing. ...I do like Dark Starr though, I won't lie.

Delmon Young is heading for an extended absense I am fearing. Here's to Rene Tosoni making his big league debut this year. Another Canadian. Eh? Eh.

Cheers on a Friday. Day off? Lucky S.O.B.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Red Water is available through Netflix if your really itching to blog it.

WWWWWW said...

I don't believe in Netflix.

Netflix Owner said...

Who wants to own a movie when you can rent unlimited movies for only $8 a month???

John R said...

**Ahem** April 22nd: "Delmon Young is heading for an extended absense I am fearing. Here's to Rene Tosoni making his big league debut this year. Another Canadian. Eh? Eh."

Last night - Delmon to the DL; Tosoni called up.

I scare myself sometimes.

snacks said...

John - why don't you predict a winning streak then?

John R said...

If I'm predicting DL stints and call ups of mediocre talent, it's tough to predict a winning streak as well. Nah mean?