Thinking Out Loud
Randy Wolf has a chance to pitch forever. He’s still going strong as a reliever, but if he ever chooses to (or has to) go to the bullpen, he’ll be a lights-out LOOGY. His numbers against left-handed hitters are almost unbelievable. Heading into Monday’s game against the Rockies lefties were just 7-70 against him (.100 BAA). Of those 70 AB’s … 34 ended in a strikeout. That’s outstanding. In his career he’s averaging over 10K’s per 9 IP against lefties so this isn’t a new thing.
I used to think that batting average was the most hollow of all statistics. I’ve changed my mind. It’s RBI. Runs Batted In is a product of opportunity. For RBI to have relevance, it should be computed as a percentage. What percentage of runners on base does a batter drive in? Then you can compare players who hit in stacked lineups versus players who don’t. Players who frequently come to the plate with runners on the base-paths … versus guys with fewer opportunities. There’s an old baseball adage, “Don’t tell me what you hit … tell me when you hit.” This takes that adage and gives it a modern spin.
The best baseball mascot I’ve ever seen? It no longer exists except in my mind … but back in the late 90’s in the independent Western League the Sonoma County Crushers struck gold. The Crushers got their name because of the many wineries in the area (crushing grapes). Well, the mascot also came from local lore as well. It was a yeti. A massive, hairy beast that went by the name of The Abominable Sonoman. The name was a ringing double, but the costume was a home run. This hairy-thing had a spot-on costume complete with purple feet stained from crushing grapes. Perfection.
I love the straight steal. In late-game, looking-for-one-run situations, why give up an out with a sacrifice bunt, if you have an average to above-average runner on first base? Pressure the pitcher and catcher. Make them throw you out on a straight steal. It takes either a smartly-called pitchout, or a close-to-perfect pitch, throw, and tag to get the base runner. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
Tampa Bay has figured this out. Joe Maddon is playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers.
I’m a trivia guy. Baseball players generally are not. But there are exceptions. The player with the most interest in baseball trivia that I’ve met? Albert Belle. No doubt about it.
Looking back at the last thirty years, I think I could make a case that Rickey Henderson influenced the games that he played in more than anyone else. I’m not sure that Rickey H. is respected enough for the career that he had. If you get a chance, take a look at his numbers.
While looking at numbers, take a look at the only “perfect” player in MLB history.
— Eric Collins