Archive for the ‘General’ Category

GirlieView (12/11/2014)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • Outstanding work EVW, Buhsmills on you this Thanksgiving Day. I give thanks to green vines, sunny summer days at Wrigley, the W flag when it fly’s and Lizzies- not necessarily in that order.
  • Oh man – the best Thanksgiving ever. Thanks Lizzie!
  • I’m thankful EVW pulled his head out of his ass and improved the leaderboard, and I’m thankful we found our Johnsons. And for the rest of you guys and my family and job and stuff. Go Cubs.
  • I’m thankful for excel – without it what would become of the spreadsheet
  • More importantly, what would become of you?
  • As an accountant I’m also thankful for Excel, although I generally keep my spreadsheets limited to work purposes.
  • I’m thankful I’m not an accountant.
  • I’m thankful that it was 72 degrees in Omaha when I caught my flight back home Saturday. I’m thankful that I’m an owner of the best team in the NFL. And I’m also thankful that I am not an accountant.
  • I’m thankful for my daughter being home for Thanksgiving, my son being studious; my wife being the best cook on the planet; our treadmill and endorphins…and you all.
  • Aaron freaking Haarang.
  • I’ll give the Cubs slightly better odds than the Red Sox and Giants, although there’s always the mystery team to be concerned about as well. If the mystery team is the Cardinals, however, we may need to cancel Christmas.
  • If the mystery team is the Cardinals, I am all for canceling 2015.
  • I hate premature anything.
  • I wonder if Dave Martinez is waiting to see where Lester (and his wife) land before committing to his own future.
  • That’s great, but I said something funny on the newer post so let’s wrap this up.
  • Wait…wasn’t that the batboy?
  • I hurried right over here in search of a funny comment – was not disappointed.
  • Where is said funny comment? We already have one person who grandiosely self promotes and disappoints, don’t need another.
  • It’s the one up there about the batboy. I said “Wait…wasn’t that the batboy?”
  • Narry a snicker.. Maybe it needs a smatering of Johnsons mixed in.
  • Wait…wasn’t that the batboy’s johnson?
  • Yes that’s better. A hardy LOL to you sir.
  • VFTB must behaving technical difficulties, that funny comment hasn’t been posted yet. I will check back later, I have to go promote myself in grandiose fashion else where.
  • I equate being known as a good bunter with being known as a guy that likes to ride a scooter. Fun to do and probably personally rewarding, but not really something you want known about yourself.
  • So the “S” in SBardo stands for scooter?
  • Not according to my wife, but if I told you what SHE says it stands for, I’d get banned.
  • I don’t know – things are really slow on the blog right now. I doubt if Lizzie would ban you – maybe scold you a bit.
  • I get you two mixed up all the time.
  • How about Moises Alou and his comrades that would pee on their hands…what was that worth in the world of WAR?
  • It’s well established that pee hands is worth 0.5 WAR.
  • That would be the fPEE stat over at fangraphs.
  • what if you just had a bad run of luck with your pee?…pee hands WAR needs a BABIP to sort that out.
  • Now that Lester is the ace for the foreseeable future, I’d love to see the Cubs add another #2/#3 type guy. It’s not a need, it’s a luxury…but one that would instantly make them a formidable contender.
  • WhooHoo!!!
  • Log that in as 2 WhooHoos.
  • it is hard to type a really good excited shout.
  • Just hit the keys real hard.
  • Caps lock helps too.
  • Also add a lot of !!!!!!!!!!

Lizard

  • This is what year 4 of a 5-year plan looks like, guys. We’ve been trying to say this. Go Cubs!

Shout Outs

  • No one had their very first 2014 off-season Lizzie this time so let’s have a shout out for everyone! Thanks for being here!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Eddie von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Third time around, go Eddie!

Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Eddie Von White
2. Doc Raker
2. jswanson
4. Seymour Butts
5. Doug S.
6. Dork
7. Jerry in Wisconsin
8. Jedi
9. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy
10. Sean

Chit Chat

It’s hard to believe, but the next GirlieView will run on Christmas Day! If you could ask the Cubs to make one more move as a gift to you between now and Christmas what would it be?

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Reactions to Tuesday’s Mass Cubs Hysteria at the Winter Meetings

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

As I was driving in to the office yesterday, I was thinking about the baseball off-season. I was a bit frustrated at how long the process is from start to finish when it comes to the big names being traded or signing new contracts. When it comes to the NFL or the NBA, there is a ton of buildup to the day the period opens and then a slew of moves within the first week or so. Then it’s about done. It’s not that way with the MLB off-season and that frustrates me. Instead, we’re stuck listening to rumor after rumor (which I hate) and watch people create spoof Twitter accounts to try to get their one minute of fame by tricking a certain four letter network. It’s all so petty. Yesterday, however, when it comes to the Cubs in particular was exciting. If you were like me, you went to bed refreshing Twitter for that last nugget of info that might suggest when and where Jon Lester might end up. This morning we got our answer so let’s talk about the things that went down yesterday.

Late last night it was reported that Lester had made his decision and had chosen the Cubs. The deal is reported to be six years and $155 million. Before you react, let me remind you of three things. 1) The Cubs current payroll is ridonkulously low. 2) To acquire an impact talent on the free agent market, you have to “overpay”, and 3) When all is said and done with this Wrigleyville expansion, the Cubs are going to be swimming in an even deeper pool of money than they already are.

I don’t even look at the cost of the deal. I look at the player and see how he fits into the plan and when I do that, I smile. Lester instantly slots in at the top of the rotation with Jake Arrieta right behind him. We talked a little about the rest of the rotation a week or so ago. At that time it was Arrieta and a bunch of depth, but no real locks. With the addition of Lester and Jason Hammel, we know three locks for sure. Most likely Travis Wood slots in there as well since the Cubs wouldn’t have picked up his contract for this year to convert him to the bullpen. Unless he is traded, Wood should be in the rotation. Beyond that, you have a ton of guys making their case for the last spot. It figures to be a fun spring training watching guys battle for the last spot. Yes, you read that correctly. I said I might even be looking forward to spring training.

Overall, this was a move that had to be made either this off-season or next. The impact bats are basically ready to go. If you’re going to be true to the rebuild then you have to be ready to bring in the arms when it’s time. If it wasn’t Lester, it would have been David Price or someone of that ilk. I’m good with it being Lester.

What excites me the most about the signing is that there was talk that the Cubs, if they landed Lester, would also look to bring in an impact bat to go with him. It’s hard to say exactly who that will be, but you’d have to figure it to be an outfielder given that you don’t want to block anyone at the other positions. I don’t see that guy left on the free agent market, so if it was going down this year, it would have to be via trade. Nick Markakis would have fit perfectly, but he signed with Atlanta.

With the acquisition of Miguel Montero behind the plate, I would also look for the Cubs to try to deal Welington Castillo this off-season and sign David Ross to back up Montero given Lester’s familiarity with him and the fact that he’s played in and won a World Series. That’s the kind of presence you bring in to show the young guys what it’s like when Kevin Costner isn’t available to bring in.

It was a wild ride yesterday. We’ll see what today holds.

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Happy Jon Lester Day?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

There are a lot of rumors right now for the Cubs. Since nothing is official, we’ll just wait till they are.

  • Jon Lester decision down to the Cubs and the Giants with a resolution expected today or Wednesday at the latest. I still say he chooses Chicago.
  • Cubs are rumored to be involved in a deal to bring in Miguel Montero from the Diamondbacks
  • Supposedly Jason Hammel is coming back, though terms have yet to be officially announced.

Discuss

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Breaking Down The Free Agent Pitching Market

Monday, December 8th, 2014

After a bit of a layoff, I’m back at it. Given that the season has come to a close, my weekly story is going to have to switch up a little bit. With free agency in full swing and the Winter Meetings underway, this seems like the perfect time to take a look at what the market has to offer over the next few months.

The Cream of The Crop

Max Scherzer

Living in Michigan, I’ve had the opportunity of watching essentially every Scherzer for the Tigers over the past 5 seasons. He’s had some pretty good teammates in the rotation with him (Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister, etc.) but over the past three years it’s safe to say that he’s really taken his game to a different level.

Coming to Detroit, Scherzer had a bit of a control problem and really wasn’t able to command his pitches all that well. He’s figured that out now, which makes him one of the more lethal pitchers in all of baseball.

He’s not mentioned with the Clayton Kershaw’s and Felix Hernandez’s of the league, but he’s still more than capable of anchoring a rotation. At 30 years old you have to wonder how well his repertoire is going to age (given that he works off of his mid-90’s fastball), but for the next few years, at least, he should be a solid investment.

Jon Lester

Though it’s debatable as to who is the best starter on the market this offseason between Lester and Scherzer, it has become clear that Lester is going to be the first one to sign. With Scott Boras representing Scherzer, he’s going to wait to see how the market plays out before accepting anything, which makes Lester’s signing all the more important.

Whichever team signs Lester is going to acquiring one of the best left-handers in baseball and much like Scherzer, a bonafide ace. He was at the top of the Boston Red Sox rotation for the past 6-½ years (with two World Series titles under his belt) and they reluctantly shipped him off to the Oakland Athletics, where he shouldered the load in their playoff push.

He’s 31 years old, but given the fact that he doesn’t rely on overpowering hitters and has had no injury problems throughout his career, Lester should be as safe a bet as any on the free agent market this offseason.

James Shields

He doesn’t belong in the same conversation as Scherzer and Lester, but he was the leader of the Kansas City staff that wound up leading the team to an improbable World Series appearance.

His regular season was impressive (though he somewhat drastically outperformed his FIP), but his numbers took a dip when October rolled around. “Big Game James” didn’t live up to his nickname this year, which may end up hurting him in negotiations; even it is an incredibly small sample size.

He will be 33 once the 2015 season begins, which will also work against him. I don’t see him getting $100+ like the two aforementioned starters will, but I will say that he’s the most likely to leave the team he played for in 2014.

Second Tier

Ervin Santana

After waiting out the market last year and going without a contract until March, you have to believe that Santana will be a bit more eager to get a deal done within the next month or two. With the way that he pitched last year, he shouldn’t have any problems finding a suitor.

He will soon be 32, but it’s clear that he has quite a few more innings left in him. He pitched far better than his 3.95 ERA from last year indicates and although he has had quite an inconsistent career, he could easily plug into a #2 or #3 spot in most team’s rotations.

Francisco Liriano

It’s been quite a whirlwind of a career for Liriano, who many saw as the future of the Minnesota Twins rotation while he was a youngster behind Johan Santana. Following a few surgeries to his elbow, Liriano’s stock massively fell off the table as he failed to get back on track.

Now 31, Liriano has reinvented himself over the past few seasons in Pittsburgh and is looking to cash in. His track record and injury history might hurt him, but what is working against him the most is the draft pick compensation that is tied to him. He’ll still get in the $40 million range, but I don’t know if I’d personally be comfortable with that.

Kenta Maeda (If posted)

It seems like every year there are a few international players that draw the eye of the scouts around the league and this year is no different. Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas has already signed a big deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda could be the next domino to fall.

He’ll be just 27 years old when next season rolls around and he’s been one of the best pitchers in Japan over the course of the last 3 seasons. He has a low to mid 90s fastball, a big 12-6 curveball, a decent slider and a major league-ready slider in his arsenal and although he won’t be in the Yu Darvish/Masahiro Tanaka level of starter, he could fit in the middle of a rotation.

Fliers

Justin Masterson

Once a top prospect in the Red Sox organization, Masterson has had a tumultuous last few seasons. From a breakout All-Star campaign in 2013 to a disappointment of a 2014 season; it’s tough to tell what he’s going to bring to the table. At his best, Masterson will keep the ball in the park and eat innings, but at his worst he won’t find the strike zone and would be useless to a team.

Josh Johnson

It’s starting to feel like Johnson is going to be in this section every year, but I just can’t bring myself to give up on him, which seems to be the attitude of most general managers in the league. He was once one of the top pitchers in baseball, but injuries have derailed his promising career. It’s not going to take much, but if Johnson can get healthy after another Tommy John surgery, he can be very, very productive.

Brandon Beachy/Kris Medlen 

The Atlanta Braves turned some heads recently when they declined to bring back this pair of oft-injured starters, but it’s not hard to see their line of thinking. Beachy is coming off of a second Tommy John procedure and Medlen is rehabbing from one, as well. When healthy, either of these two can provide support at the back end of a rotation. I’d prefer Medlen to Beachy given their medical records, but either can be seen as a low-risk, medium-reward type of player.

How do you rank the top pitchers in this year’s free agent class? Are there any under-the-radar names that you have your eye on?

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The Flat Bat Awards

Friday, December 5th, 2014

While 2014 continued the overall decline in power of recent seasons, it was something of a renaissance for bunting. In particular, Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon took advantage of their first full seasons of major league playing time to attempt 43 and 40 bunt hits, respectively. With their speed, that approach makes a lot of sense, and their .349 and .500 batting averages on those attempts demonstrates its effectiveness. However, both players fell short of the top 10 bunters based on batting average.

We give the Flat Bat Award every season to recognize the best bunter taking into consideration his bunts for hits and sacrifice bunts. Here are the batting average leaders on bunt-for-hit attempts with a minimum of 10 attempts:

2014 Bunt Hit Leaders
Name Bunt Hit Results Batting Average
Carlos Gomez, MIL 8 out of 11 .727
Denard Span, WAS 8 out of 11 .727
Jarrod Dyson, KC 9 out of 13 .692
Jean Segura, MIL 8 out of 12 .667
Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE-WAS 8 out of 12 .667
Brandon Guyer, TB 7 out of 11 .636
Alejandro De Aza, CWS-BAL 7 out of 11 .636
Leonys Martin, TEX 17 out of 27 .630
Erick Aybar, LAA 10 out of 16 .625
Junior Lake, CHC 6 out of 10 .600

 

You can make a compelling case that Dee Gordon’s 20-for-40 was more valuable to the Dodgers than Carlos Gomez’s and Denard Span’s 8 of 11 on bunt-for-hit attempts, but there is one bunter who renders that debate unnecessary. That is 2013 Flat Bat Award winner Leonys Martin. Martin secured 17 bunt hits on 27 attempts, which is just three hits fewer than Gordon in 13 fewer attempts.

Next, here are the most successful sacrifice bunters with a minimum of 10 attempts:

2014 Sacrifice Bunt Leaders
Name Sacrifice Bunt Results Percentage
Jean Segura, MIL 10 out of 10 100%
Brett Gardner, NYY 13 out of 14 93%
Shelby Miller, STL 13 out of 14 93%
Zack Wheeler, NYM 12 out of 13 92%
Mike Aviles, CLE 11 out of 12 92%
Tanner Roark, WAS 11 out of 12 92%
Aaron Harang, ATL 9 out of 10 90%
Stephen Strasburg, WAS 9 out of 10 90%
Doug Fister, WAS 9 out of 10 90%
Jose Ramirez, CLE 13 out of 15 87%
Johnny Cueto, CIN 12 out of 14 86%

 

There is not much overlap with the two lists as most of the best sacrifice bunters from 2014 were pitchers. The one player who is on both lists, Jean Segura, happens to be the only player with 10 or more sacrifice attempts and a 100 percent success rate on those attempts.

As efficient as Segura was as both a sacrifice bunter and a bunt hitter, his eight bunt hits are fewer than half of Martin’s total. Meanwhile, Martin fell short of the sacrifice bunt leaderboard, but he did succeed on 7 of his 10 sacrifice attempts. His bunt-for-hit prowess is more than enough to bridge that gap, and that’s why Leonys Martin wins his second consecutive Flat Bat Award.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.

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What the Release of Wesley Wright Means for the 2015 Bullpen

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

 

We talked about the December 2nd date when we ran the post about key off-season dates. It’s important when it comes to roster construction because it’s the last day where clubs can release a player who is due arbitration and not be on the hook for paying him any further. It’s also important because at the conclusion of the winter meetings is the Rule 5 draft. In order to select a player in that draft, a spot must be available for him on the 40 man roster. That’s where the pruning aspect of December 2 is important.

The Cubs had 10 players who they had to make a decision on and the most intriguing name that was being debated was Travis Wood. I posted on Twitter that I felt Wood was worth tendering given the low cost and potential high reward. The Cubs did exactly that, tendering Wood and seven others a contract for 2015. The full list reads:

There were two players that were non-tendered late Tuesday night. Wesley Wright and John Baker were both informed that they were not returning, which instantly makes them free agents.

Someone expressed concern on Twitter about the release of Wright, saying that it leaves the Cubs without a lefty in the pen. Keep in mind that Zac Rosscup, Joe Ortiz, Doubront, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Eric Jokisch are all left handed and are all on the current 40 man roster, which now sits at 37. Wada and Doubront figure to at least get a look at one of the back end rotation spots, and I’m sure Jokisch will probably remain in Iowa in the rotation. That leaves Rosscup and Ortiz, who I think both have potential.

Rosscup got some time last season and didn’t post particularly good numbers with the big club, but reliever ERA’s can be decieving and his is due in part to a six run outing in August in which he failed to record an out. When you only 13 innings total and give up a six spot in one outing, you’re going to see an inflated ERA. He pitched much better in the month of September. While I don’t think he’s the automatic heir to the spot opened up in the pen, he should be considered one of the potential options.

Ortiz is another interesting name. He was selected off of waivers in October from the Rangers. He didn’t pitch in the Majors in 2014, but in his time in the minors, Ortiz has posted 31 saves and an ERA of 2.44 in 217 minor league appearances. He’s still under 25, so there is potential there as well.

Another name that has been mentioned is Andrew Miller, and I think that name becomes more of a possibility given the release of Wright. Granted Wright wasn’t all that effective against lefties, but it’s hard to just rid yourself of one of the only lefties with experience if you do not have another plan in mind. I think Miller may be that option that they are considering and may feel confident about.

All in all, I’m not worried about the lefty guy in the pen. It will sort itself out.

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Why Have No Significant Pitching Free Agents Signed Yet?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Once the Toronto Blue Jays outspent the Cubs on top free agent catcher Russell Martin by guaranteeing a fifth year, the free agent focus on the North Side turned to the strong starting pitching market. With two aces in Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, a guy one step behind in James Shields, and a host of second and third tier starting pitching options headlined by Brandon McCarthy and Francisco Liriano, this is the best group of free agent pitchers to hit the market in several seasons. It also happens to match a big need for the Cubs, who have holes at the top of the rotation aside from Jake Arrieta, and have publicly stated that they intend to: (a) add a couple of starting pitchers this off season; and (b) address the top of the rotation for at least the medium term through the free agent or trade markets between now and the start of the 2016 season.

So here’s the news on all of those starting pitchers. First, several teams are in on Jon Lester. Lester has met with the Cubs, Red Sox, Braves, and Giants. The Red Sox have reportedly made an offer for between $110 million and $120 million over 6 years, and yesterday’s rumors indicated that they are willing to go up to $130 million to get the guy who headlined their rotation for most of the past seven years back. The Cubs reportedly offered Lester 6 years/$138 million. The Giants are expected to make a significant offer, but no numbers have come out yet. Lester would have to take a huge pay cut to go to the Braves. Most expect Lester to either go to the Cubs or the Red Sox, but I think that’s a bit of a premature guess before we see what the Giants offer.

Second, A.J. Burnett took a $4 million pay cut to leave the terrible Phillies so he could return to the much better Pittsburgh Pirates.

That’s it. Literally, there are no meaningful rumors on Scherzer, or Shields, or McCarthy, or Liriano, or even on Aaron freaking Haarang.

Nor will you hear anything on these pitchers, at least for the next several days. That’s because every single one of these pitchers and their agents are waiting for Jon Lester. Jon Lester is going to set the market here, and he’s going to have to be the first domino to fall. Once Lester is signed, Scherzer is going to use Lester’s deal as baseline for his demands. As in the “you better offer me more if you want me to take your offer seriously” type of baseline. Once Scherzer signs, the teams looking for someone who can at least fake being a number one in a rotation will turn to Shields. The teams who aren’t comfortable giving Shields the sort of money he’s looking for will call McCarthy’s and Liriano’s agents. Or Jason Hammel’s. Or Brett Anderson’s, if they’re looking for a reclamation project.

So, until Lester signs, my suggestion is to just relax and save your energy. Odds are that free agency is going to become a much wilder ride once he does, especially with the winter meetings happening next week.

As to the question of where Lester is going to sign? My bet is that he’ll sign where he gets offered the most money. Right now, reports are that the Cubs are offering the most, but the Giants could change that, and the Red Sox could always decide they can in fact go up to $150 million for Lester. He might offer the Red Sox a chance to match the highest offer from other teams, but if Lester was so dead set on pitching in Boston, I have a feeling a deal would have been done already. I’ll give the Cubs slightly better odds than the Red Sox and Giants, although there’s always the mystery team to be concerned about as well. If the mystery team is the Cardinals, however, we may need to cancel Christmas.

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GirlieView (11/27/2014)

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2014 Offeason = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • I’m taking the Thurs/Fri off work to do what many of you are doing – watching football and overindulging.
  • I’m trying to find a way to get someone to watch my kids and then convince my wife to batch cook shirtless.
  • I just decided to go to Joe’s house.
  • Very generous of Doc to babysit Joe’s kids on Thanksgiving.
  • I’m trying to find a way to get to Joe’s house on Thanksgiving.
  • Party at Joe’s house!
  • I’ll be rushing to a computer to check out the latest lizzies. Shortly thereafter, I’ll be watching Joe’s kitchen webcam.
  • With both my sisters on the east coast, Thanksgiving is the one time of year in my family that everyone is together, which now includes 7 kids age 7 or younger, so lots of family stuff primarily at my parents’ house. Also putting up Christmas lights.
  • I’ll spend my morning running my girls out of the kitchen and the afternoon food comatose. We finally managed to pull hosting duty, so I bet we’ll get into the wine early. Should be great.
  • camping on the beach Sun.-Wed…traditional bird feast Thursday, and taking the new motor home to the Rose Bowl to tailgate for the UCLA/Stanford game on Friday. Should be a decent week.
  • Going to enjoy some food and football. Thanks Lizzie for giving Thanksgiving some blog time. Most people seem to view Thanksgiving as the bastard child of holidays, but it is personally one of my favorites!
  • Be funnier EVW…we’re counting on you.
  • Man, nothing like pressure…usually when I try to be funny I fall flat – it has to be spontaneous. For example, a horse walks into a bar and the bartender says: “why the long face?”
  • You see that is funny because horses actually have a long face.
  • Congrats to EVW on the MVL this time around. Watchout, Seymour and JSwan get a little irritable with the folks ahead of them on the Lizzie board. Pay no attention to any disparaging remarks they might throw your way. You deserve your ranking, don’t let them tell you different. Bushmills on EVW for everyone! Set em up!
  • I’ll buy a round of Bushmills any day if it gets me a Lizzie. Do Bushmills improve your eyesight?
  • Does Bushmills improve your eyesight? It adds 2-4 points on the opposite sex attractive scale but does not increase acuity. After 4 Bushmills every girl is a 10. I only drink 1 or 2 Bushmills per sitting. Seymour does not drink alcohol but does try to get his dates to drink 4 Bushmills in hopes of upgrading his attractive rating.
  • I’m off all of next week, so I’ll likely take advantage of that and sit around and watch football. The Canadian thanksgiving was last month, so I likely won’t be having any turkey next week though. EDIT: Whoops just realized U.S. Thanksgiving is not next week, but the week after. In which case I’ll be working and will miss watching football after all :(
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Ottowa Roughriders?
  • Roughriders verse Trojans, page 23 Hustler magazine July 2012, great read.
  • Trojans – Beavers is a way better match-up.
  • I’ll be glued to the Internet looking for updates on the Carlos Zambrano comeback.
  • Somebody is getting dealt. They didn’t trade for La Stella so he could sit.
  • As a Braves fan, I loved La Stella… He was an anomaly in our lineup… Someone that didn’t strikeout… ;) … The only negative I have to say about him is his defense… It is average at best…
  • So what you’re saying is he is the exact opposite of Darwin Barney.
  • Which reminds me…aren’t we supposed to be yammering on about platoons?
  • It is the time of year when our taste buds turn to yams, so it would be appropriate to be yammering about plantains. I wonder if Joe’s wife will be batch cooking some of those on Thanksgiving?
  • I believe Lester is the Cubs primary off-season target and to lose out on him would be a slight kick in the rebuild seeds, but not something that would knock everything off course.
  • I always hope to not get kicked in the rebuild seeds
  • Jeff Samardzija was an All-Star,
  • Remember his hair-do? Classic.
  • Heard a rumor he once played football.
  • Aren’t you curious as to who it was who told Joe to give himself credit for # 7? I’m thinking it was the same people who demanded he do that other thing.
  • Who wants to buy a free ticket to the Jets/Bills game in Detroit tonight? Some people are amazing.
  • We need a new post…this thread seems to have broke Doug.
  • What happened to that guy who was always hawking his 105 reasons book? I think he could bring Doug back.
  • I think we need a new thread, but to be clear I am not demanding 3 truths and a lie.
  • Shout-out to God for making the blog via re-tweet.
  • Don’t you just hate it when people try to play God
  • Somebody has to.
  • Pretty sure that is legit…beard and everything.
  • But the twitter account doesn’t have that little “verified” checkmark so perhaps it is an imposter.
  • I’m not one to question such things. Spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch.

Lizard

  • Condiment fingers – over exposed. Ask Joe Anything – under answered. 3 truths and a lie – anti-climatic

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Andy, Bryan, and Joe Aiello for their first 2014 off-season Lizzies!!!! P.S. Bryan, I agree, it’s my favorite!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Eddie von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go Eddie!

Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Eddie Von White
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4. Seymour Butts
5. Doug S.
6. Dork
6. Jerry in Wisconsin
8. Jedi
8. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy

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Mark Buehrle – One of the Most Durable Pitchers of All Time

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Cy Young, Warren Spahn, Gaylord Perry, Christy Mathewson. And Mark Buehrle. That’s an amazing list. How does Mark Buerhrle get on that list?

In recent years, baseball has moved more and more toward specialization. In the early 1900s, starters would routinely finish the games they started, often throwing every fourth day. Cy Young, the pitcher perhaps most famous for his rubber arm, topped 40 starts and 400 innings in multiple seasons. Now, the league leader in innings barely eclipses half of that total.

That’s what makes Mark Buehrle such an incredible pitcher. He has two no-hitters to his credit, but he is not known as a dominant pitcher. His 3.81 career ERA is definitely solid, but he has only received Cy Young votes in one of his 15 years in the majors. He just keeps his team in every game he pitches, game after game after game. Buehrle is a throwback to those early days of baseball. He never misses any time, which is why he has started at least 30 games for 14 consecutive seasons.

We know that Buehrle stands out among his contemporaries, but where does he stack up compared to pitchers like Cy Young through the entire history of baseball?

Most Consecutive Seasons with 30+ Starts
Pitcher Streak (Years) Time Frame
Cy Young 19 1891-1909
Warren Spahn 17 1947-1963
Gaylord Perry 15 1966-1980
Christy Mathewson 14 1901-1914
Mark Buehrle 14 2001-2014
Greg Maddux 13 1996-2008
Livan Hernandez 13 1998-2010
Steve Carlton 13 1968-1980
Phil Niekro 13 1968-1980
Tom Seaver 13 1967-1979
Mickey Lolich 13 1964-1976

 

It’s no surprise to see Young in the top spot with 19 consecutive seasons of 30 or more starts. However, it looks like the expansion era of the 1960s is even more popular than the turn of the previous century. Warren Spahn, Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver, and Mickey Lolich—6 of the 11 starters with at least 13 consecutive 30-start seasons—all touched the 1960s during their streaks. Livan Hernandez and Greg Maddux are the only starters besides Buehrle from the current era who made the list, although Maddux’s teammate Tom Glavine was one of three starters who just missed with 12 consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, but for the 1994 work stoppage that limited Maddux and Glavine to 25 starts each, they may well have ended up with incredible streaks of 21 seasons (1988-2008) and 18 seasons (1990-2007), respectively.

Buehrle is already tied for fourth place in MLB history with his 14 consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, Buehrle is still just 35 years old and is showing no decline in performance. He has half a decade to go to reach Young, but it’s not inconceivable that he could reach that total, especially since he does not rely on big velocity to be effective. If he does break the record, it will be in 2020 when Buehrle is 41 years old.

I had my idea for this topic because of a fascinating article Bill James recently wrote on Rotation Emperors, which you can read with a subscription to Bill James Online. Rather than look at pitchers on the season-level, Bill looks at consecutive-start streaks. On that list, Buehrle became the current Rotation Emperor when Justin Verlander missed a start in late August of this season. Buehrle currently has 228 consecutive starts, which dates back to September of 2007.

What’s interesting is that Buehrle did not miss a start then because of an injury. Instead, manager Ozzie Guillen skipped Buehrle to allow rookie John Danks to get a start off the DL; the White Sox were well out of the race, so he was simply looking at his young pitcher to help plan for the 2008 season. That snapped a 224-game streak Buehrle had entering that rotation turn, which dated back to his sophomore season in 2001, his first season as a full-time starter. Had Buehrle’s streak not been snapped in 2007, his active streak would be 452 consecutive games. That would have been the longest streak, by far, of any pitcher Bill studied, going back to 1955 where Bill started his list! The player with the longest streak Bill studied was Jim Bunning, who had a streak of 337 consecutive starts end in 1968. That’s almost 50 years ago.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.

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