Archive for January, 2011

The Top Pitching Performances of 2010

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The 2010 season was dubbed “The Year of the Pitcher”, thanks in large part to the six no-hitters (including two perfect games and Roy Halladay’s postseason gem).

Bill James devised “Game Score”, a metric to rate a pitcher’s dominance in a given start.  A Game Score of 65 earns the designation “Gem” as a well-pitched game.  The highest Game Score in recent history was 105, achieved by Kerry Wood in a 20-strikeout one-hitter in 1998.

From the 2011 Bill James Handbook, here are the top Game Scores of 2010:

Pitcher Date Opp IP H R ER BB SO Game Score
Brandon Morrow, Sea 8/8 TB 9.0 1 0 0 2 17 100
Roy Halladay, Phi 5/29 Fla 9.0 0 0 0 0 11 98
Matt Cain, SF 5/28 Ari 9.0 1 0 0 0 9 94
Dallas Braden, Oak 5/9 TB 9.0 0 0 0 0 6 93
Johnny Cueto, Cin 5/11 Pit 9.0 1 0 0 0 8 93
Travis Wood, Cin 7/10 Phi 9.0 1 0 0 0 8 93
Matt Garza, TB 7/26 Det 9.0 0 0 0 1 6 92
Ted Lilly, LAD 8/19 Col 9.0 2 0 0 2 11 92
Anibal Sanchez, Fla 7/29 SF 9.0 1 0 0 1 8 92
Five tied 91

Perhaps surprisingly, the top Game Score wasn’t a no-hitter, but Brandon Morrow’s 17-strikeout one-hitter on August 8.  Morrow’s masterpiece reached the elite 100 Game Score, a level last reached by Randy Johnson in his 2004 perfect game.

The worst Game Score of 2010 belongs to Scott Kazmir, whose -8 Game Score on July 10 included 13 runs (all earned).  Felix Hernandez had the highest average Game Score of any regular starter last season, at 63.4.  Paul Maholm had the worst, at 44.1.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®,

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GirlieView (01/24/2011)

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Good Monday morning! With Randy Hundley’s fantasy camp in full swing, I’m anxious to hear from our fellow VFTB’ers who are annual attendees. Not sure if they participated in last week’s session or this week’s (or both?) but I’m hoping they’ll share some stories with us! Meanwhile, here’s last week’s best.


  • I’m fine with the idea of juggling lead-off hitters, as so long as Baker and DeWitt are not two of the juggling balls.
  • Our team is built for homers (pun intended)
  • I will forthwith be referring to the Cub leadoff platoon as the itty-bitty-hitty-committee, or IBHC for short.
  • if they are unhealthy (mentally and physically) they can easily sink to 70 to 75 wins and that will get you residence in Piratesville.
  • Raker, a man of your book learning should know the difference between insight and incite.
  • Actually my wife drives an insight.
  • Hey Seymour, I just figured out the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’, these things take time.
  • Seymour’s wife lacked the insight to marry better. Doc Raker is an expert in sight. Cap’t Obvious incited riotous laughter when he finished his last run at Sierra this afternoon cartwheeling ass over teakettle down Lower Main in front of roughly 80 drunken 19 year old snowboarders. End of lesson.
  • If they ask me to have Gorz turn his head and cough, I think I’m busy that day.
  • I find it ironic that the image verification for a review of a Hells Angels book to be “broad”. Only “chopper” would be more fitting.
  • I couldn’t help but day dream about doing a similar video, but it would have to be shot from the point of view of my avatar in the corner. Likely not too appetizing.
  • Take a crack at it Seymour.
  • I feel like I have just seen Norm Peterson’s wife Vera, Dr Niles Crane’s wife Maris , Magnum PI’s Robin Master’s , Mildred Potter of Colonel Potter, Mary Tyler Moore’s Chuckles the Clown, Dick Van Dykes Alan Brady, Wilson the faceless wise neighbor behind the fence of Tool Time’s Tim Taylor, Bob Newharts doorman, Charlie Townsend of Charlie’s Angels, Phylis Lindstrom’s husband Lars, The ugly naked guy from Friends, the Gong Shows unkown comic, the face of the Lone Ranger.
  • Excuses are like assholes, everybody’s got one
  • I don’t think Quade has the crotch taters to put [Zambrano] at number 2.
  • Gee, thanks Aramis, so glad you could stop by and grace us with your presence.
  • how do you replace Ron Santo?  Might be the single toughest decision of the season.
  • I like the idea of Doug Glanville though. Smart, funny, knows the game to actually be able to analyze. I think he and Pat could really do a great job.
  • I forsee a Milton Bradley reality show.
  • Small boy: Mommy gets mad at me because sometimes I don’t wear any underwear.
    Priest: Tell me more.
  • I used to think it was funny to change the channel to The Golden Girls to bug my wife. That was, until, we started liking the old bags. Thank YOU for being a friend.
  • If we’re talking bad TV that you can’t stop watching, I have four words….Saved by the Bell.


  • Thanks VFTB, you are the first blog I check every day and you are the classiest!

Monday Morning Discussion Question

I have a rather sacrilegious confession to make. I am not a Bears fan. Had they not been playing the Packers I may have rooted for them not as a fair-weather fan but just because many of my friends are fans and when my friends are happy that makes me happy. However I have a bit of a girlie-crush on Aaron Rodgers so the Packers got my vote today and I’m a happy gal. Condolences to Joe. Didn’t your Mama ever tell you it’s bad luck to flip over the calendar before its time? You started your Super Bowl countdown a few days too early my friend. :-)

As for the evening game (which is in progress as I write this) I’m in a quandary. I like Mark Sanchez however I found the Jets’ antics this year to be offputting. Conversely I like the entire Steelers team and coaching staff however I find Roethlisbergers’ antics to be offputting. In a perfect world Sanchez would play for the Steelers instead of the Jets and I’d have a clear favorite. No such luck, so I’m leaving this one up to the football gods and I’ll be happy with either outcome. How about you? Did the Sunday games go your way? And who will you root for going forward (if anyone)?

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A Look at the Prospects in the Gorzo Trade

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I’ve mentioned it before on the site. One of the greatest aspects of being affiliated with the Sweet Spot network is the collaboration that takes place with the other writers. Harper Gordek, who is ironically my bosses brother-in-law, writes Nationals Baseball and was kind enough to give us the rundown on the prospects we received in the Tom Gorzelanny trade.

Graham Hicks was projected to be a lefty starter when drafted out of high school 2+ years ago. He had the right build and a good fastball. Unfortunately, he hasn’t developed with the speed you want to see. While in the past two seasons he has worked his way up through rookie and low A-ball, neither were impressive showings. In A-ball last year he improved across the board with fewer hits and walks and more strikeouts than in low A, but all that did was get him to a 1.6 WHIP and a 5.00+ ERA. There was some talk that another unimpressive showing in A-ball this year and a change to relief pitcher might be in order. At 21 this year there is still time for him to improve but there’s a lot that needs to be done before he’d seriously be considered on track for the majors.

AJ Morris was a draftee that a lot of people were excited about having a fantastic senior year at Kansas State. Since he came out of college it was assumed he would dominate the lower the lower minors and move up quickly, but he was merely good and a 23 year old good starter in high A is nothing special. Figuring that he didn’t have enough pitches to hack it as a starter, the Nats began converting Morris to a reliever where he showed some promise. He’s probably ready for a AA stint as a reliever, but if the Cubs want to try him again as a starter you’re looking at a 24 year old A-baller.

Michael Burgess is the “key” to the package and is the biggest gamble to give up on for the Nats. He’s got great power (usually among the leaders in his current league) and a fantastic arm, but he hits for a low average (think .250) and more disturbingly strikes out a ton. The Nats organization has been working on him shortening his swing for 4 seasons now with minimal results. He’s also got a stocky body type that may not age well. Last year, after mostly repeating his fair high a-ball performance from the year before, he was bumped to AA to see what he could do. He responded with a nice little 20 game run, the average climbing up over .280, but the strikeouts remaining high. The Nats sent him to the Arizona Fall League to see if there was really a change and he responded with a .244 showing, with only 4 walks and 2 homers all the while striking out roughly every 3 at bats. It was pretty much exactly what the Nats didn’t want to see. The feeling from most in the system at this point is that if Burgess shortens his swing it’ll hurt his power which is where his value lies but if he doesn’t shorten his swing he’ll get eaten alive in the high minors and majors.

Conclusion: If you want to look at the brightside, the Cubs got three prospects in the deal, none of which are throw-aways. They all still have the potential to impact the major league team. On the other hand, there’s nothing particularly special about these prospects. The Cubs probably have 2-3 guys like Burgess and handfuls of guys like Morris and Hicks already in their system. Hicks is too young and too far down in the minors to know where he’s going to end up, but Morris should manage to be a major league reliever (if the Cubs go that route), and Burgess might just be able to hold that average up so he’s a useful lefty power bat off the bench. Expecting anything more than this would be overly optimistic.

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True Confessions: Movies

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

This morning we’re going to take a minute to talk about something that is far from baseball. It’s confession time on VFTB and this morning we’re confessing movies we’re embarrassed to admit we like. Since it’s hard to ask someone to admit something without also admitting something yourself, I’ll start off the discussion with a few of my own.

Shakespeare In Love – This one won the Best Picture award back in the late 90’s. The title alone is what makes me a little Leary of confessing it, but when you really sit down and watch it, it’s a great movie. I would have changed the ended to mirror the Romeo & Juliet ending since he was writing the play based on what was going on in the film. It seems only fitting for that to be the way it would end, but it didn’t. Call me lame, but I like this one a lot.

The Other Sister – I have no way to defend myself with this one. It’s a cheese fest with the premise of the story being a love that develops between two mentally handicapped people played by Giovanni Ribisi and Juliette Lewis. Both play the roles well, I thought, but the movie doesn’t get very good reviews.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – If this one comes on TV, I’m stopping what I’m doing and watching it. I actually saw the sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, in the theaters. I have no idea what it is that draws me to this one, but I love it. I could watch it over and over again.

Now you have a few of mine. It’s time to admit some of yours. What are those movies that you’re ashamed to like?

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Chet’s Corner: Don’t Quote Me On That!

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Every so often I start riding the Internet wave.  The one that starts innocently like a quick read of a new post on VFTB, and after a few clicks of the mouse on a random link or two, ends at ……well……let’s just say I may have found the end of the internet a time or two.

This past week provided a few interesting quotes and stories from around the Cub-o-sphere.  I wanted to take a few seconds and spill my thoughts and then of course give the VFTB readers a chance to share theirs.

We will start with everybody’s favorite, Sam Fuld! 

The following Q & A is an excerpt from a Fangraphs interview with Jonah Keri,

Keri: Then there’s the church and state idea, when you’re out on the field, that you try to shut [statistical thinking] out. Do you feel it needs to go that way?

Fuld: I think baseball, in a way, the more brain-dead you are on the field, the more success you have. Which is why you see some big old dummies who are Hall of Famers (laughs). That’s the way it goes. There is a time to think on the field, but when you’re in the batter’s box, it’s all reaction. Maybe there’s an opportunity when you’re in the dugout to think on the stats side, but really your job is simple as a player, and ultimately you have to do what your manager expects you to do.

I suppose it depends on who your manager is, and who your front office is. I came up in the Cubs system, and they’re probably not as involved in the statistics side of the game as some other organizations. It still is important to me to get on base, even though (laughs) there were some guys who, all they cared about was my average.

Keri: Were they telling you, “be aggressive, be aggressive, swing, swing, swing?”

Fuld: Yeah, I definitely got a lot of that sort of instruction. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. You have to please your boss before anybody else. That’s one of the things I’m actually looking forward to in going to the Rays, is maybe a little more advanced thinking when it comes to the numbers of baseball.

Hey Sam, what’s the old saying?  Excuses are like assholes, everybody’s got one? yah, that’s it!

Okay, so this alarms me a bit as a Cubs fan.  Yes, the Cubs finally got up with the times and hired a sabermetrics guy last year (about ten years too late) and yes , I know Jim Hendry is not a numbers guy.  Yes, Sam Fuld has a point.  Does this mean we will miss Sam Fuld?  His fielding….sure, as he did make some nice hustle plays.  Hitting ……probably not. 

I bid you adieu Sam Fuld, their was just no place at the table for you in chicago.

On to other things………

According to a few reports out of Cubs Convention, Carlos Zambrano wants to forget 2010.  Really Z?  You mean you don’t want to bathe in it?  I thought it was quite fun! 

Let me shed the sarcasm for a moment……Carlos, I have a great way to make everybody forget about 2010. When you take the mound in the first game of the season try not implode in the first couple innings setting up the preamble to your temper tantrum symphony which played out over the course of the first few months of last season.   By the way, unless something catistrophic takes place in spring training, “Big Z” will be your ace this year Cubs fans.  I don’t think Quade has the crotch taters to put him at number 2.  It could happen, I am just sayin’ don’t bank on it.

I am glad to hear Z is pumped about this season.  I would just like him to get through game 1 and we will take baby steps from there.

And then there’s this…….

Apparently Aramis Ramirez told Bruce Levine he hates the wintertime in the United States.  This is his excuse for not showing up at Cubs Convention in past years.  Well, it is a contract year and A-Ram is pulling out all the stops.  He attended his first convention this past weekend and with free agency looming stated it may be his last year as a Cub.  Gee, thanks Aramis, so glad you could stop by and grace us with your presence. 

I get this strange feeling A-Ram has never really liked his time here in Chicago. …at least April and May games.

And Finally…..

The Cubs will honor the late Ron Santo with a Statue outside Wrigley Field.  They will also wear a #10 patch throughout the 2011 season.  The names being mentioned to fill the vacancy left by Ron’s passing are not really exciting me, but then again how do you replace Ron Santo?  Might be the single toughest decision of the season.

To the readers, The Corner is now yours! What are your thoughts?

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