Welcome to the Hilton Chicago

Arriving at the Cubs Convention, I was pleased with how smooth parking and hotel check-in went at the Hilton Chicago. There are Cubs signs and fans everywhere and the staff is wearing Cubs logo “Hilton Staff” t-shirts. There is definately a nice vibe developing here.

Cubs branded room key, Vine Line & schedule

I was greeted in my room with a copy of the Ron Santo commemerative VineLine magazine, a Cubs Convention 2011 pocket schedule, and the room key is advertising the “Pick 13” plan! 

I’m off to check in at the convention now – will have more later.  Follow me on Twitter @ClarkAddison for more timely updates! Use hashtage #CubsCon

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    January 14, 2011  Tags: ,   Posted in: Chicago, event, live report, observations  One Comment

    Reporting live from the Cubs Convention

    Beginning tomorrow and running through Sunday is the 26th annual Cubs Fan Convention at the Hilton & Towers on South Michigan Avenue in the great city of Chicago. After 25 consecutive years of waffling on whether or not to attend my first Cubs Convention, I’ve finally decided to grab my camera and go this year. Maybe it’s all the change in the air – new ownership (Year Two!), new field manager, and well, tickets were available.

    So watch this spot for commentary and photos from the convention all weekend long. Those on Twitter can follow me @ClarkAddison. I’ll be using hashtag #CubsCon rather than the tag others are using, #CubsCon2011. Characters are precious commodities on Twitter and we all know what year it is by now.

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      January 13, 2011  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Chicago, event, feature, live report, news, observations  One Comment

      John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

      The Winner of the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

      Bill James Handbook 2011The wait is over: on Monday night, Cliff Lee agreed to a five-year contract with the Yankees Rangers Phillies. There’s good reason Lee was so highly coveted this offseason, as his 2010 season was one of the most masterful seasons in baseball history. In 212 innings, Lee struck out 185 batters while unintentionally walking just 18. From the Bill James Handbook 2011:

      American League SO/BB Ratio Leaderboard (2010)
      Pitcher SO/BB
      Cliff Lee 10.28
      Jered Weaver 4.31
      Shaun Marcum 3.84
      James Shields 3.67
      Francisco Liriano 3.47

       

      Not only was Lee’s 10.28 ratio miles ahead of every other pitcher in baseball last year, but that figure also rates as the second-best season in baseball history.

      Best Single Season SO/BB Ratio
      Pitcher Season Strikeouts Walks Ratio
      Bret Saberhagen 1994 143 13 11.0
      Cliff Lee 2010 185 18 10.3
      Curt Schilling 2002 316 33 9.6
      Pedro Martinez 2000 284 32 8.9
      Greg Maddux 1997 177 20 8.8

      Note: since 1900, minimum one inning pitched per team game

      Additionally, Cliff Lee joins a Phillies’ rotation which already features Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, making the Phillies the popular favorites in the National League. Here are our projections for the Philly aces from the 2011 Handbook:

      Phillies’ Pitcher Projections for 2011
      Pitcher ERA Wins Losses Innings Walks Strikeouts
      Roy Halladay 3.16 18 9 245 38 190
      Roy Oswalt 3.38 16 9 221 52 176
      Cole Hamels 3.45 15 9 219 58 209
      Cliff Lee 3.50 14 10 216 49 169

       

      Make sure to follow us on Twitter!

      Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, http://www.statoftheweek.com/.

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        December 14, 2010  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: biz of baseball, John Dewan, news, players, Stat of the Week, stats  One Comment

        Ron Santo and Kerry Wood’s 20-K game

        The celebration of the life of Ron Santo has been wall to wall on WGN radio. It’s been really great to hear all the stories (some for the first time) and to hear tons of audio replays from the Pat & Ron Show (aka Cubs baseball radio broadcasts). Today WGN replayed the Kerry Wood 20-strikeout game from May 6, 1998. Pat sounded exactly as he does today, and Ron was pretty much Ronnie but perhaps a little sharper than the last few years. Actor Joe Mantegna was in town plugging a revival of his Bleacher Bums play and sat in the broadcast for several innings, right through the end.

        Kerry Wood pitching at Wrigley Field

        Kerry Wood delivers at Wrigley Field

        The game featured a young Kerry Wood in the pinnacle performance of his young career. Complete game shutout, one-hitter, no walks, and an NL & Cubs franchise record 20 strikeouts. It was a masterpiece that promising “kid-K” would never again match. I must say while I was mourning the loss of Ron Santo, this game made me feel again the disappointment of the potential of Kerry Wood and later Mark Prior. So promising, glimpses of once in a generation greatness, but ultimately crushing disappointment. 

        The re-broadcast was a fitting tribute to Santo (among the many) but I have to say it was also great to hear Cubs baseball on the radio on the day of Chicago’s first snow fall of winter 2010-11. Cubs radio broadcasts will be very different starting next year with ol’ Number Ten not part of the mix.  Whoever the next radio color analyst will be for WGN, he will have some big shoes to fill from a personality standpoint. Ron Santo was larger than life – a beloved fixture in Cubs lore and as Pat Hughes was quoted as saying, “The Cubs just lost their biggest fan.”

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          December 4, 2010  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Chicago, game of baseball, observations, oldschool, players, the media  One Comment

          Pat Hughes tells his favorite Ron Santo story

          Here is a replay of this post from April of this year – in memory of Ronnie…

          Last spring Pat Hughes, the Voice of the Chicago Cubs sat down for an exclusive interview with CubHub.net. I asked him to share his favorite Ron Santo story. Of course it is about the the early April road trip to New York to play the Mets at old Shea Stadium – a place Ronnie despises. Pat tells of how Ron’s hairpiece was set ablaze by a space heater in the broadcast booth:

          Get the Flash Player to see this content.

          This is a great story, and thanks again to Pat for sharing it. During a spring training broadcast this year, Pat & Ron were discussing the April schedule and Pat noted the Cubs have a trip to New York coming in the middle of the month. Ron said at the time that he wished it were later in the season (because he usually takes a road trip or two off mid/late season to tend to his health and rest up). But Ron said begrudgedly at that time that he would make this trip. Well the road trip begins tonight at Citi Field but will go on with no Santo. Dave Van Dyke reports that Ronnie won’t be going after all. And it seems Santo doesn’t seem to mind too much.

          Ron Santo at Wrigley Field

          Ron Santo at Wrigley Field

          Ron Santo takes a lot of heat for being less a color analyst than die-hard fan in the booth. But despite his analyitcal shortcomings, he is fun to listen to. Subbing for him on this trip will be Keith Moreland. Zonk did some Cubs broadcasts last year and really sounded good – even with his sometimes ‘aw shucks’ approach. Maybe we are glimpsing Santo’s eventual replacement?

          I heard some of yesterday’s Cubs radio broadcast and I have to say, Ron did not sound good. His speech was slow and he seemed confused. Not the lovable confusion and befuddlement that is his trademark, but obvious to me is was not feeling well. Get well soon, Ronnie..

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            December 4, 2010  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: interview, oddities, the media  No Comments

            Goodbye, Ronnie.

            Ron Santo 1940-2010

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              December 3, 2010  Tags:   Posted in: news, oldschool, players, the media  One Comment

              John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

              MVP and Rookie of the Year – Who Should Have Won?

              Now that the Rookies of the Year and Most Valuable Players have been announced, which players were most deserving?

              Josh Hamilton won the American League MVP by a comfortable margin, but Total Runs (see below) and other analytical metrics depict a closer race. While Hamilton sat out much of September resting an injury, Robinson Cano and Jose Bautista kept producing and surpassed Hamilton in the Total Runs standings, with Bautista edging Cano by a single run in the end.

              AL MVP Candidates
              Player Total Runs fWAR bWAR
              Jose Bautista 158 6.9 5.6
              Robinson Cano 157 6.4 6.1
              Josh Hamilton 145 8.0 6.0
              Felix Hernandez 144 6.2 6.0
              Evan Longoria 143 6.9 7.7

               

              While Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) still rates Hamilton as the best in the league, Baseball-Reference’s version (bWAR) prefers Evan Longoria and gives Cano the edge over Hamilton. MVP runner-up Miguel Cabrera’s weak defense at first base dragged him below the analytical leaders, making any of Bautista, Cano, or Hamilton an acceptable choice. Personally, I would have voted for Cano.

              Over in the National League, the analytics say that NL MVP Joey Votto was the right choice. He led a competitive field with 148 Total Runs, and also led in the Fangraphs version of WAR. Matt Holliday finished twelfth in MVP voting but second in Total Runs with 146, while MVP runner-up Albert Pujols finished third with 144.

              NL MVP Candidates
              Player Total Runs fWAR bWAR
              Joey Votto 148 7,4 6.2
              Matt Holliday 146 6.9 5.5
              Albert Pujols 144 7.3 7.2
              Carlos Gonzalez 143 6.0 4.5
              Jayson Werth 140 5.0 5.2
              Ryan Zimmerman 140 7.2 5.3

               

              The American League rookie crop was thin, but Total Runs loved Austin Jackson’s full season of production at the plate and in Detroit’s center field. The voters, however, selected Neftali Feliz, who had an excellent season as the closer for the AL’s eventual champion. Both versions of Wins Above Replacement suggest that Brian Matusz deserved better than three third place votes he received. I’m good with Feliz winning despite Jackson’s bigger Total Runs figure.

              AL ROY Candidates
              Player Total Runs fWAR bWAR
              Austin Jackson 134 3.8 2.5
              Brennan Boesch 75 0.6 1.3
              Neftali Feliz 73 1.7 2.4
              Brian Matusz 71 2.7 3.1
              John Jaso 67 2.5 2.4

               

              In any other year, several NL rookies would have had a chance at the award. The voters turned this into a two-man race between Total Runs leader Jason Heyward and late May call-up Buster Posey, with Posey winning in the end. Total Runs and both versions of WAR prefer Heyward’s full season of production, but the voters might be figuring that Posey would have surpassed Heyward’s number if he hadn’t spent two months in AAA. I would have voted for Heyward, but Posey’s choice is fine as well.

              NL ROY Candidates
              Player Total Runs fWAR bWAR
              Jason Heyward 123 5.0 4.4
              Ike Davis 102 3.4 2.5
              Gaby Sanchez 94 2.4 0.7
              Buster Posey 92 3.9 3.0
              Starlin Castro 90 2.0 0.4

               

              A few words about Total Runs and Runs Created. In The Fielding Bible—Volume II, we introduced “Total Runs”, a method to combine a player’s offensive and defensive contributions into one number. Total Runs incorporates a hitter’s Runs Created and Baserunning Runs on offense with his Runs Saved and a Positional Adjustment on defense to fairly compare players across different positions.

              Since then, we’ve added Pitching Runs Created (PRC), an effort by David Gassko of The Hardball Times to translate a pitcher’s performance to the same scale as a hitter’s Runs Created.

              Since relievers often pitch in more crucial situations, their performance is more valuable than their statistics would otherwise suggest. We can measure the significance of the situation each pitcher faces with Leverage Index. The average situation has a 1.0 Leverage Index, while a tie game at the start of the bottom of the ninth rates at 2.3.

              We account for pitchers’ performance under pressure by multiplying their Pitching Runs Created by their average Leverage Index over the course of the season.

              Make sure to follow us on Twitter!

              Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, http://www.statoftheweek.com/.

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                November 30, 2010  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: awards, fielding, John Dewan, Stat of the Week, stats  No Comments

                John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

                Gold Gloves as They Should Have Been

                Contrary to what some might think, I agree with most of the Gold Glove awards. However, there are a few that I take exception to. Let’s compare the Gold Glove winners to the Fielding Bible Awards voting.

                American League

                AL Catcher Gold Glove Winner: Joe Mauer
                Should Have Been: Kurt Suzuki

                The best defensive catcher in the American League is Toronto’s Jose Molina and he tied A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox with the most defensive runs saved at catcher in the AL with six, but he didn’t play enough in 2010 to qualify. In the Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL, I listed Kurt Suzuki as the best in the AL. I stand by that vote, but I have no trouble with Joe Mauer winning the award. Using our enhanced version of Runs Saved factoring in Misplays and Good Plays that we provide to Major League teams, Suzuki and Wieters each had 8 runs saved while Mauer had 5.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Kurt Suzuki 58
                Joe Mauer 53
                Matt Wieters 37

                AL First Base Gold Glove Winner: Mark Teixeira
                Should Have Been: Daric Barton

                Mark Teixeira is an outstanding first baseman, but he did not have an outstanding year. In the last six years he has done well, saving 25 runs defensively for his teams, but we estimate that he cost the Yankees one run defensively in 2010. Fielding Bible voters liked Teixeira enough to rank him second among AL first sackers, but they really liked Daric Barton, who topped all major league first basemen saving 20 runs this past year. Barton won the Fielding Bible Award for first base and should have won the American League Gold Glove. As we’ll see later on, it takes more time for the Gold Glove voters to recognize defense. But Fielding Bible voters, who are more aware of fielding metrics, discover defensive talent earlier than Gold Glove voters.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Daric Barton 86
                Mark Teixeira 52
                Kevin Youkilis 40

                AL Second Base Gold Glove Winner: Robinson Cano
                Should Have Been: Orlando Hudson

                With his well-known reputation and four previous Gold Gloves, I would have thought Orlando Hudson was a lock for the AL Gold Glove at second base. He also led second-sackers in baseball with 17 Runs Saved (tied with the Rays’ Sean Rodriguez). Robinson Cano had a very good defensive season saving seven runs for the Yankees, but I think there is a New York conspiracy going on here.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Orlando Hudson 80
                Mark Ellis 64
                Sean Rodriguez 58
                Robinson Cano 50

                AL Third Base Gold Glove Winner: Evan Longoria
                Should Have Been: Evan Longoria

                I imagine that the AL Gold Glove voting between Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre was close. They got this one right, selecting Evan Longoria for the second straight year. While Longoria lost a competitive vote for the Fielding Bible Award last year, he topped Ryan Zimmerman by one point in 2010. Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award – that’s real recognition of defensive excellence.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Evan Longoria 92
                Adrian Beltre 69
                Jose Lopez 31

                AL Shortstop Gold Glove Winner: Derek Jeter
                Should Have Been: Alexei Ramirez

                The New York conspiracy: Teixiera, Cano and Derek Jeter all win Gold Gloves this year when they shouldn’t have. It’s almost like the Gold Glove voters didn’t know who to pick so they simply wrote down the name they know the best. The names Alexei Ramirez, Jack Wilson, and Elvis Andrus are not as well known as Jeter. Jeter now has five Gold Gloves and he should have none. The trio of Teixeira, Cano and Jeter cost their team a total of seven runs defensively in 2010. By comparison, the Oakland A’s trio of Daric Barton, Mark Ellis and Cliff Pennington saved 37 runs. The AL shortstop Gold Glove should have gone to Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez who saved 16 runs defensively, the best total in the league. Compare that to Jeter, who cost his team an estimated 13 runs. It comes down to who makes the plays, and it’s not Jeter.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Alexei Ramirez 69
                Yunel Escobar 45
                Jack Wilson 39
                Elvis Andrus 39

                AL Left Field Gold Glove Winner: Carl Crawford
                Should Have Been: Crawford or Brett Gardner

                This is where the Gold Glove voters are catching up to the Fielding Bible voters. We’ve been touting Carl Crawford’s left field defense for years (three Fielding Bible Awards). Now the Gold Glove voters finally recognized his defensive prowess. While Fielding Bible Award voters voted Crawford second to Yankee Brett Gardner this year, I am absolutely thrilled that Crawford has finally been recognized by Gold Glove voters as well and won his first Gold Glove.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Brett Gardner 96
                Carl Crawford 86
                Josh Hamilton 40

                AL Center Field Gold Glove Winner: Franklin Gutierrez
                Should Have Been: Franklin Gutierrez

                Another catch-up award. Franklin Gutierrez’s Gold Glove is at least one year overdue. He already has two Fielding Bible Awards. The Mariners’ centerfielder blew away all of baseball last year with 32 Runs Saved and followed it up with 14 Runs Saved this year. While Austin Jackson had a fantastic defensive rookie year (as did Peter Bourjos in only 450 innings) and Houston’s Michael Bourn won the 2010 Fielding Bible Award, Gutierrez is still the top defensive outfielder in the American League.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Franklin Gutierrez 75
                Austin Jackson 54
                Julio Borbon 38

                AL Right Field Gold Glove Winner: Ichiro Suzuki
                Should Have Been: Ichiro Suzuki

                Ichiro. Ten consecutive Gold Gloves and three Fielding Bible Awards. Enough said.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Ichiro Suzuki 92
                Jeff Francoeur 50
                Shin-Soo Choo 32

                AL Pitcher Gold Glove Winner: Mark Buehrle
                Should Have Been: Mark Buehrle

                Mark Buehrle won both fielding awards last year, and his Opening Day play probably clinched both for him again this year. While he fields the position well, he also shuts down opposing baserunners better than almost everyone else, saving an estimated 4-5 runs annually in that department alone.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- AL
                Player Points
                Mark Buehrle 86
                Zack Greinke 63
                Trevor Cahill 52
                Ricky Romero 42

                 

                Let me summarize my take on the American League Gold Glove voting. I have big problems with the awards given to the three Yankee infielders, but other than that, I have no problem with the other six. I would probably have awarded Suzuki at catcher over Mauer, but it’s close.

                National League

                NL Catcher Gold Glove Winner: Yadier Molina
                Should Have Been: Yadier Molina

                There’s no dispute here: by all accounts, Yadier Molina is the best defensive catcher in baseball. He saved 12 runs defensively for the Cardinals last year, but when we add in his pitch-blocking ability, Molina jumps the rest of the pack to 20 Runs Saved, easily the most in baseball.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Yadier Molina 100
                Carlos Ruiz 74
                Miguel Olivo 46

                NL First Base Gold Glove Winner: Albert Pujols
                Should Have Been: Pujols or Ike Davis

                While Daric Barton dethroned Albert Pujols for the Fielding Bible Award, Pujols still finished runner-up in the voting and also captured his second Gold Glove. Rookie Ike Davis made a case for himself leading NL first baseman with 13 Runs Saved

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Albert Pujols 76
                Ike Davis 59
                Adrian Gonzalez 41

                NL Second Base Gold Glove Winner: Brandon Phillips
                Should Have Been: Chase Utley

                Chase Utley is the Rodney Dangerfield of defense in baseball. Despite leading the National League in Runs Saved at second base and despite having the highest three-year runs saved total in all of baseball by a wide margin (60 Runs Saved compared to 33 for Mark Ellis), he still doesn’t get any respect from Gold Glove voters. But he did earn respect from Fielding Bible voters, winning his first Fielding Bible Award in 2010. Brandon Phillips led the league in Good Fielding Plays and won the Gold Glove, but the Fielding Bible voters (and the most important numbers) suggest that Utley is the better choice at second base.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Chase Utley 86
                Brandon Phillips 62
                Freddy Sanchez 13

                NL Third Base Gold Glove Winner: Scott Rolen
                Should Have Been: Ryan Zimmerman

                This was a bit of a surprise. Scott Rolen has been a very good defender in the past and has several Gold Gloves to his credit. Fielding Bible Award voters liked him, just not as much as they liked 2010 Fielding Bible Award runner-up (and 2009 Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award winner) Ryan Zimmerman. The surprising part was that Zimmerman won both awards last year, but the Gold Glove voters forgot about him this year despite a truly superlative year defensively. Chase Headley also played very well in his return to the position this year, leading all of baseball with 21 Runs Saved. Zimmerman saved 20 runs while Rolen only saved 2. Maybe error totals played a disproportionate role for Gold Glove voters as Zimmerman had 17 to only 8 for Rolen. That’s what worked for Jeter as well, who only had 6 errors compared to 20 for Alexei Ramirez.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Ryan Zimmerman 91
                Chase Headley 61
                Scott Rolen 57

                NL Shortstop Gold Glove Winner: Troy Tulowitzki
                Should Have Been: Tulowitzki or Brendan Ryan

                Troy Tulowitzki is an excellent choice for the National League Gold Glove at shortstop in 2010. Brendan Ryan led all MLB shortstops with 27 runs saved defensively, but Tulo’s 16 Runs Saved is not too shabby either.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Troy Tulowitzki 97
                Brendan Ryan 81
                Alex Gonzalez 36

                NL Left Field Gold Glove Winner: Carlos Gonzalez
                Should Have Been: (none)

                Carlos Gonzalez had a breakout offensive season, but the numbers don’t see him as a Gold Glove caliber defender in 2010. He is a good defender and I think he will put up good defensive numbers in the future, but I wouldn’t have picked him for a Gold Glove this year. While several left fielders played well this season, none is a standout Gold Glove contender.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Jose Tabata 62
                Gerardo Parra 59
                Matt Holliday 49

                NL Center Field Gold Glove Winner: Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino
                Should Have Been: Bourn, Chris Young, and/or Angel Pagan

                Michael Bourn earned every bit of his Gold Glove, also capturing the Fielding Bible Award as the best center fielder in all of baseball. Shane Victorino again played above average defense for the Phillies, but the Fielding Bible Award voters thought that Chris Young and Angel Pagan deserved consideration. Personally, I am fine with Victorino winning his third Gold Glove in 2010.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Michael Bourn 91
                Chris Young 59
                Angel Pagan 52

                NL Right Field Gold Glove Winner: (none)
                Should Have Been: Jay Bruce

                Jay Bruce finished second only to Ichiro in the Fielding Bible Award voting, and he topped the league with 17 Runs Saved. If an NL right fielder deserved a Gold Glove, it should have been Bruce (despite his memorable playoff miscues). In addition to their contributions at the plate, Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward also had impressive rookie performances in the field; Stanton tied Bruce with 17 runs saved while Heyward had 10.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Jay Bruce 87
                Jason Heyward 64
                Jayson Werth 44

                NL Pitcher Gold Glove Winner: Bronson Arroyo
                Should Have Been: Bronson Arroyo

                Credit the voters for the Bronson Arroyo selection, though Jake Westbrook and Jon Garland were also deserving candidates.

                Most Points in Fielding Bible Awards Voting- NL
                Player Points
                Bronson Arroyo 38
                Jake Westbrook 34
                Jon Garland 32

                 

                Summarizing the National League, like the AL, I agree with six of the selections. Regarding the other three positions, I don’t have a big problem with Carlos Gonzalez winning a Gold Glove, but Jay Bruce would have been my choice. Ryan Zimmerman and Chase Utley are better choices than Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips. But none of these three are as bad as the three Yankee infielders winning Gold Gloves.

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                Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, http://www.statoftheweek.com/.

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                  November 19, 2010  Tags: ,   Posted in: awards, fielding, John Dewan, Stat of the Week, stats  No Comments

                  John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

                  The Fielding Bible II

                  The Fielding Bible II via Amazon.com

                  THE 2010 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS have been officially announced after the first unanimous winner in the five-year history of the Fielding Bible Awards. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina won his fourth consecutive Fielding Bible Award with a perfect score of 100, 26 points ahead of second-place finisher Carlos Ruiz.

                  Joining Molina as repeat winners are Ichiro Suzuki (his third, second in a row), Mark Buehrle (his second, back to back), and Troy Tulowitzki (two also). First time winners include Daric Barton, Chase Utley, Evan Longoria, Brett Gardner, and Michael Bourn.

                  A panel of ten analysts, listed below—including John Dewan, Peter Gammons and Bill James—examined the 2010 seasons of every defensive player in Major League Baseball and then used the same voting technique as the Major League Baseball MVP voting. First place votes received 10 points, second place 9 points, third place 8 points, etc. A perfect score was 100. A complete record of their votes can be found in The Bill James Handbook 2011.

                  One important distinction that differentiates THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS from most other baseball awards, such as the Gold Gloves, is that there is only one winner at each position, including separate recognition for each outfield position, instead of separate winners for each league. The goal of THE FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS is to stand up and say: “Here is the best fielder at this position in Major League Baseball last season.” Another key feature of the system is that it also recognizes the runners-up for each position, instead of just focusing on the winners.

                  Here are the results of THE 2010 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS:

                  FIRST BASE—DARIC BARTON, OAKLAND ATHLETICS (86 POINTS)
                  Albert Pujols’ four-year lock on the award was finally broken by Barton thanks to the estimated 20 runs he saved defensively for the A’s, according to our Runs Saved statistic.

                  SECOND BASE—CHASE UTLEY, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (86 POINTS)
                  Utley has consistently proven himself to be one of the best second basemen around, and this year he was rewarded with his first Fielding Bible Award. Now the question, can Utley win his first Gold Glove award?

                  THIRD BASE—EVAN LONGORIA, TAMPA BAY RAYS (92 POINTS)
                  In the closest race of the awards, Longoria prevented Ryan Zimmerman from winning his second consecutive award by a single point (92 to 91).

                  SHORTSTOP—TROY TULOWITZKI, COLORADO ROCKIES (97 POINTS)
                  Tulowitzki’s bat garnered more of the limelight this season as he led the Rockies in another near-miraculous end-of-season comeback, but it’s his glove that saved the Rockies 16 runs and earned his second-career Fielding Bible Award.

                  LEFT FIELD—BRETT GARDNER, NEW YORK YANKEES (96 POINTS)
                  In the big upset of the awards, Gardner unseated three-time winner Carl Crawford by 10 points in the scoring. The judges recognized his speed and skill in covering the spacious left-field territory in the Yankees’ new stadium.

                  CENTER FIELD—MICHAEL BOURN, HOUSTON ASTROS (91 POINTS)
                  The ‘Stros are lucky to have Bourn patrolling their center field. He saved his team 16 runs, despite missing a handful of games due to injury.

                  RIGHT FIELD—ICHIRO SUZUKI, SEATTLE MARINERS (92 POINTS)
                  Winning his second consecutive Fielding Bible Award, third career win, Suzuki made three home-run-saving catches last year, saving five runs for the Mariners.

                  CATCHER—YADIER MOLINA, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (100 POINTS)
                  Hands down, bar none, Molina is the best catcher in Major League Baseball. This is his fourth-consecutive award, tying him for most career Fielding Bible Awards with Albert Pujols, and very nearly his fifth as he lost in ’06 by only six points. Factoring in his runs saved on Misplays and Good Plays, Molina saved the Cards a whopping 20 runs defensively in 2010.

                  PITCHER—MARK BUEHRLE, CHICAGO WHITE SOX (86)
                  Buehrle won this award handily—runner up Zack Greinke only had 63 points. Buehrle’s edge is his ability to control the running game. He only allowed six of 12 would-be base thieves to steal against him, and he picked off six additional baserunners.

                  Hardball Times Annual 2011 via Amazon.comThe Panel

                  1. Bill James is a baseball writer and analyst and the Senior Baseball Operations Advisor for the Boston Red Sox;
                  2. The BIS Video Scouts at Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) study every game of the season, multiple times, charting a huge list of valuable game details;
                  3. The man who created Strat-O-Matic Baseball—Hal Richman;
                  4. Named the best sports columnist in America by the AP Sports Editors, Joe Posnanski is a Senior Writer at Sports Illustrated and occasional columnist for the Kansas City Star;
                  5. For over twenty years, BIS owner John Dewan has collected, published and analyzed in-depth baseball statistics and is the author of The Fielding Bible and The Fielding Bible—Volume II;
                  6. Mat Olkin is a sabermetrics consultant to major league teams;
                  7. Hall-of-Famer Peter Gammons serves as on-air and online analyst for MLB Network, MLB.com, and NESN (New England Sports Network);
                  8. Rob Neyer writes about baseball for ESPN.com and appears regularly on ESPN radio and ESPNews;
                  9. Todd Radcliffe is Lead Video Scout at Baseball Info Solutions;
                  10. The Tom Tango Fan Poll represents the results of a poll taken at the website, Tango on Baseball

                  Bill James Handbook 2011
                  The three tie-breakers are Steve Moyer, President of BIS, Dan Casey, veteran Video Scout at BIS, and Dave Studenmund, one of the owners of www.hardballtimes.com and the editor of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.

                  Complete results and voting on THE 2010 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS are presented in The Bill James Handbook 2011, published on or before November 1 every year.

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                  Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, http://www.statoftheweek.com/.

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                    November 1, 2010  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: awards, book, fielding, John Dewan, Stat of the Week, stats  No Comments

                    Top 10 Reasons the Cubs Hired Mike Quade as Manager

                    Here are the top 10 reasons Jim Hendry (with a gentle nod from Tom Ricketts) hired Mike Quade to manage the Chicago Cubs through 2012 (with a team option for 2013). From the home office in Davenport Iowa*:

                    10:  Mike is a solid baseball lifer who began managing 25 years ago and earned his shot by finishing strong last year.
                    9:  He has a .649 career winning percentage as a major league manager.
                    8:  Eric Wedge is no longer available.
                    7:  To get back at Ryne Sandberg for abruptly retiring in 1994.
                    6:  Ricketts gives Jim Hendry that much more rope to justify his firing next year.
                    5:  Because he’s a fun guy.
                    4:  Quade says it’s our turn to win: “Why not us?”
                    3:  Because making the players happy campers is the most important thing.
                    2:  He’ll work cheap.
                    1:  Because Crane Kenney told Ricketts Jim Hendry wants it this way.

                    *The home office is in Daveport IA becuase that is about half way between AAA Des Moines and the major league club in Chicago. Quade’s hiring signals we Cub fans are in for some quality AAAA baseball in 2011.

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                      October 19, 2010  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Jim Hendry, manager, Mike Quade, observations, oddities  No Comments