Thursday, August 30, 2012

Alexei Ramirez 2012: A Terrible, But Useful Year

James Fegan of the White Sox Observer had an insightful article on Alexei Ramirez today, pointing out something I would not have guessed in a bajillion eon. That is, Alexei Ramirez is killing it with runners in scoring position this season:
In 120 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Alexei Ramirez is hitting .355/.381/.476, for 46 RBI.

.355/.381/.476 !!!

That's the breakout season we dreamed of, and then a fair bit more. But, this doesn't validate RBI [as a statistic] either. We have no reason to believe Alexei Ramirez is especially capable of turning it on during run-scoring situations, certainly not to this absurd degree.
Fegan is quite right -- doubly right, in fact! -- to predict this production will not continue.

But at the same time, the Sox are very fortunate to have it & and Ramirez could regress to his career norms (which are rather good for a shortstop, especially of his defensive talent), which could provide a boost to a post-season hunting / rebuilding White Sox team.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chicago Bears Uniforms Ranked No. 2 By Uni Watch

Look, I think these uniform rankings are a no-win situation. In the world of art -- and sports art -- the only surety is disagreement and subjectivity. I personally think it's nuts the Yankees rank No. 9 with a black and white yawner, but the Rays -- who sport a similar, pinstripe-less blue and white alternative -- get ranked No. 68.

Nonetheless, the Chicago Bears and their strait impressive blue and orange get reasonable due, ranking No. 2 out of 122 teams:
True, the helmet design is starting to look a tad dated. But the striped sleeves, striped socks (now a rarity in the NFL, alas), unique number font, and even the perma-memorial to Papa Bear all score major points, and the Bears may be the only team in the league who look as sharp on the road as they do at home. The cream of the NFL crop.
I actually think the Bears look much better at home than away, and the Colts -- who rank pretty low themselves -- look better on the road than any pro sports team.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Astros Assault On Traditional Fielding Continues

As before, here is this:



To listen to while watching these:

Look friends, I fully believe the Houston Astros are going to be a straight dynasty in the AL West at some point in the next 10 years -- I really like their leadership group, and the trades they have made over the last 10 months have already set them apart as an organization.

But this current iteration of folly is nearly bad enough to get the MLB to cancel the remainder of their games. Which would be a tragic loss, quite obviously, for the GIF-making community.

(By the way, that is 37-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey legging out the infield explosion RBI error there.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't Like Starlin Castro's Offense Or Contract? Just Wait

So the Cubs signed SS Starlin Castro to a whole mess of extension. Had Jim Hendry not promoted Castro from Double-A — in an apparent effort to extend his own tenure with the Cubs — maybe Castro would still be earning the MLB minimum. But alas, he has been extended.

And though he led the league in hits last season, many of those were for singles. And this year, he has a not-impressive 90 wRC+ (though the defense has improved considerably) and the concerns are mounting as his discipline numbers continue to move away from the Cubs Way and toward the Corey Patterson Way.

Fear not, though, as Dave Cameron (full disclosure: my boss) has a list of brow-wrinkling (in a good way) comparables:
The list of shortstops who have posted better offensive numbers than Castro in 1,000+ plate appearances through age 22 is very, very short. In the last 60 years, in fact, the list is only four players long – Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Jim Fregosi, and Wil Cordero. Shortstops who got to the Majors early and hit worse than Castro has to date? Gary Sheffield, Alan Trammell, Robin Yount, and Jose Reyes all fall in that category. These are the kinds of history lessons that make you want to lock up Castro now, before he takes a big step forward offensively and starts seeing free agency looming in the near future.
Even if Castro is just the second-worst guy on that list — and he's not — then the Cubs have themselves a quality infielder.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Houston Astros "Defense"

Play this:



While watching this on mute:



No matter what, at least we're not Astros fans this season.

Hat tip NotGraphs.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jeff Samardzija On FanGraphs Audio

David Laurila gets the single best interviews in all of sports right now, and he recently took a trek to Wrigley Field, where he sat down with Jeff Samardzija and talked about his season stats, his pitches and velocity, and Ryan Dempster.

It's a great listen: