Archive for November, 2006

Rule 5 draft is December 8th

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

I’m wondering who’s eligible this year, my guess is that Ryan Harvey will be, as will Mike Fontenot, Jake Fox, Kerry Ligtenberg, Casey MaGehee and Carmen Pigniatello. I’d like to see the list of eligible Cubs if anybody has access to it; the Cubs have at least six to seven guys that can be dropped or traded from the current 40 man by my reckoning (Angel Guzman, Adam Harben, Jose Reyes, Brian Dopirak, Glendon Rusch, Roberto Novoa and Freddie Bynum.) You have to figure that they will use three or four of those spots for free agents, perhaps we can trade some of the others…

UPDATE: All of the names mentioned above ARE eligible. I’m not all that worried about losing any of them though. Pigniatello would be the only one I may consider protecting. He pitched well last year in AAA and is pitching well in Arizona this winter. Couple that with the fact that he’s a lefty and it means someone will give him a shot. Here is the criteria for being Rule 5 Eligible.

Any player that has played professional baseball for more than 3 years (or more than 4 years if signed at the age of 18 or younger) is eligible for the draft, provided he is not on a team’s 40-man roster. (The new Collective Bargaining Agreement approved after the 2006 season would extend those limits to 4 and 5 years, respectively.)

If chosen in the Rule 5 draft, a player must be kept on the selecting team’s 25-man major league roster for the entire season after the draft–he may not be optioned or designated to the minors. The selecting team may, at any time, waive the Rule 5 draftee, such as when it no longer wishes to keep him on the major league roster. If a Rule 5 draftee clears waivers, he must be offered back to the original team, effectively canceling the Rule 5 draft choice. Once a Rule 5 draftee spends an entire season on his new team’s 25-man roster, his status reverts to normal and he may be optioned or designated for assignment. To prevent the abuse of the Rule 5 draft, the rule also states that the draftee must be active for at least 90 days. This keeps teams from drafting players, then “hiding” them on the disabled list for the majority of the season. For example, if a Rule 5 draftee was only active for 67 days in his first season with his new club, he must be active for an additional 23 games in his second season to satisfy the Rule 5 requirements.

~ Wikipedia
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Book Review – Behind the Scenes Baseball

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

About two months ago, Acta Sports publications sent me a copy of a great book to review. Behind the Scenes Baseball by Doug Decatur, met all my expectations and then some. Generally, I don’t plug a book unless I really enjoyed it and this one fits that category. The book is broken into three distinct parts. Each part is very different from the others. It’s also broken into short snips, which make it very convenient for the casual reader.

Part I – Stories from a life as a statistical consultant.
The author brings some humerus and insightful stories of his time as a consultant for teams like the Cubs. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “The Cubs look at stats? Who would have though?” This was back in the Tom Treblehorn days with the great pitching coach, Moe Drabowski. In fact, one of my favorite stories is one about Moe and his pitching charts that determined who was able to pitch on a given day. What made the story the funniest was the confrontations he had with Jose Bautista. The story talks about how Bautista would get confused with all the different color codes on the chart and always tell Drabowski that he was unavailable. It’s really a lot more humerus when you read it, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

The author also muses on working with the Reds and Pete Rose during his managerial tenure. The first part of the book is a very solid read.

Part II – GM IQ Test
This is the main reason I was excited to read this book. It’s a section that contains 100 questions ranging from Multiple Choice to Formulas. It’s designed to test your baseball knowledge when it comes to the value of statistics and other areas. They have a scoring scale at the end that tells you where you rank. I scored a 62 out of 100, which put me at the minor league manager range. I was satisfied with that, especially because I don’t consider myself a stathead. Here is a sample of what they have in the IQ test section.

Question One
Which team would be expected to win the most games?

(A) a team which scores 1000 runs and allows 900 runs

(B) a team which scores 800 runs and allows 700 runs

(C) a team which scores 600 runs and allows 500 runs

(D) all teams will win the same number of games

Question Two
True or False: Almost all good young pitchers with strikeout rates below 4.00 per game disappear quickly.

Question Three
True or False: On the average, closers pitch worse in “non-save” situations than they do in save situations.

Question Four
Which free-agent strategy works best:

(A) sign to “fill a need”

(B) sign the “best free agent” on the market

(C) “whole-scale” signing

(D) let all your players become free agents and then blame your 100 loss season on the size of your market

Question Five
Calculate ERA for a pitcher with the following statistics: 180 innings pitched and 90 runs allowed including 10 unearned runs allowed.

Question Six
Late August 2004. The Reds decide to dump Barry Larkin. They have two choices for the replacement shortstop: Felipe Lopez or Andy Machado. Should the Reds immediately make a decision on who should play shortstop, or should they alternate each player, giving them 20 starts each the rest of the season and make a decision based on those 20 starts?

Want the answers? Too bad, you gotta buy the book.

Part III – An In-Depth Study of the 2004 Houston Astros
This section was hard to read as a Cub fan because of how sour the 2004 season made me feel. Nevertheless, the things Decatur talks about how he got the job working for the Astros as a consultant to Phil Garner. He would E-mail recommendations to Phil and that in turn would lead to changes in the lineup. His suggestions made sense to me, even with looking at it using hindsight. I know there are some people that thinks stats have no value in evaluating and making decisions, but I think they do have a value in the game today. It’s time people realize that and start using it to keep up with the Joneses.

If you are interested in this book, I highly recommend that you go pick it up. The publisher has it available right on their website and it’s only $14.95. Here is the link to Acta Sports where you can go to buy it.

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Maybe Maddux?

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

According to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, talks are not going well between the Dodgers and Maddux, and Maddux has said he wouldn’t mind playing in Chicago again. Given this year’s free agent offerings, I for one would love to see Hendry sign him as a fourth starter – you know he will chew up innings and he’d (again) be a great guy to have on the bench. Last year Gil Meche was 11-8 with a 4.48 ERA; Maddux on the other hand won 15, lost 14 and finished with a 4.20 ERA. And he played the better part of the season for a last place team…

What do y’all think?

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1992 Draft – Part III

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Here is where the meat of the draft comes. Not in the first round, but the later rounds. This draft produced a good number of serviceable Major League starters in the later rounds, including one hall of fame player.

21. Jamie Arnold – P (ATL / Stats) – Born on my birthday, March 24th if you plan on sending me a present, Arnold did not get his first shot at the bigs until 1999 with the Dodgers. He was eventually traded to the Cubs for Ismael Valdez.

22. Rick Helling – P (TEX / Stats) – Helling competed for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and went to Stanford University. His days are virtually over as a starting pitcher. He’s pitched lately out of the pen for Florida and Milwaukee and done a serviceable job. In his career, Helling has a career 93-81 record with an ERA of 4.68

23. Jason Kendall – C (PIT / Stats) – This is my favorite catcher in the game today. He also ranks very high on my list of overall favorite players of all time. I love his true grit attitude behind the plate. He always leads the majors in games caught and continues to hit the ball well as well as run. He is also almost always among the league leaders in hit-by-pitch. A three-time All Star, he has been in the top ten in batting three times. The year 2006 is his first year on a division-winning team. In my mind, there is no question that he will be a hall of fame inductee.

24. Eddie Pearson – 3B (CWS) – Never reached the majors after poking around in the Sox farm system for awhile.

25. Todd Steverson – OF (TOR / Stats) – Drafted out of Arizona State University. Only had 43 AB’s in the major leagues. Last I checked, he spent some time coaching with the Peoria Chiefs.

26. Dan Serafini – P (MIN / Stats) – Drafted out of high school. Played for the Cubs for one year. Career ERA of 5.98 in his major league career.

27. John Burke – P (COL / Stats) – Rockies first pick gives them two bad years and is never heard from again. Not a good start. I’m not sure why Colorado and Florida were given the last two picks though.

28. Charles Johnson – C (FLA / Stats) – Everyone raves about CJ, but it’s certainly not for his bat. His 162 game average as a Catcher is .245 / .330 / .433 with 23 HR and 78 RBI. His strength has always been his fielding. He’s a 4-time NL Gold Glove winner, winning from 1995 to 1998. He was also part of the 1997 World Series winning Marlins team.

********** Other Notable Selections **********

  • Johnny Damon – Picked in the supplemental 1st round by the Royals
  • Jon Lieber – 2nd round by the Royals
  • Jason Giambi – 2nd round by the A’s
  • Todd Helton – 2nd round by the Padres (Did not sign)
  • Jose Vidro – 6th round by the Expos
  • Frank Catalanotto – 10th round by the Tigers
  • Bobby Higginson – 12th round by the Tigers
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    1992 Draft – Part II

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

    Yesterday we looked at the first 8 picks of the 1992 draft, which on the whole appears to be an alright draft, especially in the later rounds. Here is the next piece of the puzzle.

    9. Preston Wilson – OF (NYM / Stats) – Something I didn’t know about Preston Wilson, who was picked out of high school, was that he played SS in high school and is the stepson of former Major Leaguer Mookie Wilson, who is the reigning Mookie of the Year Award, narrowly edging out Mookie Blalock from the NBA. Wilson had a great rookie year and finished 2nd in the ballot, behind Scott Williamson. For the most part, he has failed to live up to the hype and yet is still considered a major player in the league. The fact of the matter is, he doesn’t get on base at a high enough clip and strikes out way too much to be considered a major player. The Mets made a great move in trading him to the Marlins for Mike Piazza.

    10. Michael Tucker – SS/2B (KC / Stats) – Played for the US in Barcelona. Tucker was picked out of Longwood University, which has produced no other major league talent. He’s had a serviceable career, his best year coming with the Giants in 2004.

    11. Derek Wallace – P (CHC / Stats) – The pitcher out of Pepperdine University never even saw the field for the Cubs. They shipped him to Kansas City in a deal to bring in Brian McRae, who my friend Rob used to say was the “smartest player in baseball”. Unfortunately, I often wonder if Rob was a heavy drinker. =)

    12. Ken Felder – OF (MIL) – Attended Florida State University but never made it to the Majors

    13. Chad McConnell – OF (PHI) – competed for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but never reached the major leagues, spending his entire professional career with either the Reading Phillies or the Clearwater Phillies. He debuted with the 1993 Clearwater team and hit .240/~.350/.377. In 1994 he batted .317/.410/.525 for Clearwater and .232/.308/.356 with Reading. The 1995 season was spent with Reading, where McConnell hit .276/~.332/.423. He finished his career with that club in 1996 with a .247/~.318/.444 with 119 strikeouts.

    14. Ron Villone – P (SEA / Stats) – Competed for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Villone attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which has also produced the wonderful Jeff Reardon who was found not guilty by reason of insanity to the charge of armed robbery in 2005. Villone has spent time as a starter and as a reliever, most recently with the Yankees this past year.

    15. Sean Lowe – P (STL / Stats) – Attended Arizona State but was not special in his major league career. Out of baseball by 2003.

    16. Rick Greene – P (DET / Stats) – Attended LSU and pitched in only one major league game but his minor league career stretched from 1993 to 2000. He competed for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

    17. Jim Pittsley – P (KC / Stats) – I don’t know much about this guy other than the fact that he was selected out of Dubois Area High School in Dubois, PA. He was a FA Compensation pick from the San Diego Padres.

    18. Christopher Roberts – OF / P (NYM) – Competed for the United States at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. As a college senior that year he hit .286 with 12 homers and went 8-4 with a 2.34 ERA. He allowed one run in three innings in the Olympics. Currently, Roberts is a pitching coach at North Carolina State University.

    19. Shannon Stewart – OF – (TOR / Stats) – Picked out of high school where he was a three-sport standout in track, baseball, and football. As a senior, he was an All-Dade County selection in baseball. As a junior, he was an All-Dade County selection in football. Stewart has been criticized for his poor arm in the outfield and his dwindling aggression on the bases, largely as the result of continued hamstring injuries. Shannon is often seen as a liability in the field; opposing base runners frequently take bases they might not take if another fielder were playing his position.

    20. Benji Grigsby – P (OAK) – 9-3 in 26 games at San Diego State University in 1992 with 7 saves in 26 games and 107 SO in 79 IP. He never reached the Major Leagues.

    Check back tomorrow for the rest of the 1992 draft…

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