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2011 Florida Marlins: Still defying the odds

The Philadelphia Phillies have been the talk of Major League Baseball ever since they pulled off a coup and signed Cliff Lee out from under the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. But as the wheels start to come off the bus a little in Philly, the NL East suddenly looks like it might be up for grabs, and surprisingly, the Florida Marlins might be the team in the best position to take advantage.

2011 Washington Nationals: Not done with the past, but not ready for the future

There can be no doubt that if everything goes as planned, this is going to be an exciting team in 2013, and will in all likelihood be the team to beat in the NL East, if not in the entire National League.

Nevertheless, while there is a chance that the Nats will look good in 2012, when Stephen Strasburg returns from injury and Bryce Harper starts making the case for his spot on the big club, there is absolutely no chance of excitement for this squad in 2011. While they may not finish in last place — this is the division with the New York Mets after all — a shot at the playoffs is just going to be too much to ask from this squad.

January, 21 - The First Boner of 2011

What happens when the Los Angeles Angels deal for the 4th-worst contract in Major League Baseball?  Boneheaded analysis ensues.  Asher takes an AP article detailing the three-player Vernon Wells trade to task, and the piece receives Baseball Evolution's first Boneheaded Sportwriter Award for the new year.

When did everyone start hating Jeter?

Derek Jeter winning his fifth Gold Glove in recognition of his play at shortstop on Tuesday has caused quite the firestorm on both sides of the issue this week, with objective baseball fans lashing out as the notion that a bad defensive player would win a Gold Glove, and New York Yankees fans, predictably but understandably, fighting back in defense of their hero.

In response to some of Asher's own smarmy comments on the subject, a reader made the following astute comment (the proverbial "rare valid point"):

"It's also hard for me to believe that anyone can criticize Jeter."

Here is Asher's response.

Time to Pay the Jeter

After another fine season and trip to the post-season in 2010, Derek Jeter got a little more good news on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that he'd received his fifth American League Gold Glove award in honor of his tremendous defensive play at shortstop.

This award could not have come at a better time for the shortstop, as Jeter is a free agent and will soon be negotiating his latest, and potentially last, contract with the New York Yankees. And while there will be those who say that Jeter had a down year in 2010, and that he may be at the beginning of the down-side of his career, to this we say "hogwash." Derek Jeter proved once again in 2010 with not only his play but with his leadership and gamesmanship that he remains one of the elite players in Major League Baseball on both sides of the ball, and deserves to be paid like it.

The 2010 Dave Kingman Award

As baseball enjoyed its statistical revolution of the last 30 years, the Kingman analysis became greatly enhanced. To home runs and on-base percentage we were able to add runs created, OPS, OPS+, adjusted batting runs, WAR, and a host of other offensive statistics, to say nothing of the tacitly present defensive factor, measured by fielding runs, plus/minus, ultimate zone rating, and defensive WAR.

Indeed, the statistical revolution has brought us into a new era of Dave Kingman analysis, which is really great, because there have certainly been seasons in which the Kingman candidates have abounded, and simple reference to home runs and on-base percentage haven’t given us the necessary information we’ve needed to parse the Pedro Felizes and the Chris Youngs.

Where we’ve needed more, we’ve gotten it, as we discuss in our analysis of the 2010 Dave Kingman Award.

NEW YORK - MAY 17:  Marcus Thames #38 of the New York Yankees celebrates his two-run walk off home run in the ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox on May 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 11-9.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
May 18, 2010 - Marcus Thames Enjoys His Yankees Moment. It was the type of moment that Marcus Thames probably thought he’d enjoy many times during his career when he was coming up in the New York Yankees farm system: tie score, two outs, bottom of the ninth against the hated Boston Red Sox. Thames, a former Yankees prospect who is back with the Yankees this season after seven years with Texas and Detroit, became the latest hero in the Yankees-Red Sox saga when he hit a walk-off two-run homerun last night to cap off a wild game in the House That Jeter Built.

May 18, 2010 - A New Paradigm for Hall of Fame Predictions. Is Jamie Moyer a future Hall of Famer? How about Albert Pujols? What about Joe Mauer?

Playing the Hall of Fame prediction game is always fun. Every baseball fan does it, from you and me to Bill James and Rob Neyer to Darren Daulton and Mike Missonelli. But to ask whether Moyer, Pujols, or Mauer will one day be in the Hall of Fame is to ask three different questions.

By looking at the careers of Phil Niekro, Sandy Koufax, and Dale Murphy - two of whom are Hall of Famers and one of whom improbably turned out not to be - we can get a better feel for how to handle this question.

Indeed, it can give us a whole new paradigm for this analysis.

May 18, 2010 - The Recent History of Early Call-Ups. By all accounts, Stephen Strasburg looks to be one of the greatest pitching prospects in baseball history. Curt Schilling has even gone so far as to say he'll be the best pitcher in baseball when he inevitably makes his major league debut next month. Strasburg has obvious skills, but what does recent history tell us about bringing pitching prospects to the majors with only minimal minor league seasoning? Let's have a look.

An Actual E-mail from Actual Reader Josh S.:

Asher, I'm sure you have boats to represent but if you get a spare moment, can you use your skillz to come up with the percentage of times that Wilson Valdez has converted on GIDP opportunities? That guy is responsible for oodles of outs.

Actual Answer from an Actual Writer:

Actually, Josh, you’ve really nailed this. This morning, you commented that it seemed like if Valdez weren’t in the lineup, the Phillies would never stop batting. This is closer to true than it has any right to be. You also said during last night's game that Valdez hits double play balls even when it isn’t a double play situation. Also dead on.

May 9, 2010 - A Record Setting Weekend. Baseball players made baseball history a few times this weekend, though some cases were a little more obvious than others. For example:

On Friday night, Jamie Moyer became the oldest player to throw a complete game shutout in Major League history, besting Phil Niekro’s 1986 record by about a year (47 plus vs. 46 plus). Meanwhile, Chicago Cubs rookie Starlin Castro – the first major leaguer born in the 1990’s – set a record for most RBI in a major league debut, with six, and became the third youngest player ever to homer in his first at-bat.

The biggest moment of the weekend came on Sunday, when Oakland’s Dallas Braden – heretofore known as the guy who taught Alex Rodriguez about not treading on an opposing pitcher’s mound – went out and pitched a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

It's been a while since I said something crazy, so here goes:

I am shocked at just how close those two games were. Seriously, it took Moyer four fewer pitches to get through his game. He only faced one more batter, he only struck out one fewer batter, and he only allowed two more baserunners, one of whom was wiped out by a double play. The two hits allowed by Moyer were both singles by Troy Glaus that got through the infield. If the infield makes those two players, Jamie Moyer becomes Dallas Braden.

April 27, 2010 - Washington’s got a live one. In Reading, Pennsylvania, Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg was in town with the Harrisburg Senators and went five near-perfect innings (a passed-ball on strike three accounted for the only base-runner) while striking out six. Not only that, but Strasburg also drove in the first run of the game for Harrisburg.

Meanwhile, in an at-least-for-now wide open National League East, the Nationals are currently a game over .500 and one game out of the divisional lead. Sure, the Phillies have had some injuries and the Mets are playing over their head, but what if the Nationals are one player away from competing for the NL wild card, and that one player just threw five perfect innings in Double-A ball? Asher takes a look at this and other events of yesterday which may prove to make April 27, 2010 a red-letter date in the history of baseball.

Brian Matusz
April 20, 2010 - What's Up with the Orioles? The Baltimore Orioles are off to an abyssmal 2-12 start. The Orioles are last in the AL in runs scored, and second-to-last in runs allowed. The team's meager pitching and hitting stats look even more meager when you consider that five of their 13 team homeruns so far have come from Ty Wigginton, 11 of their 37 bases on balls have come from Nick Markakis, and their only two wins have been credited to Brian Matusz. Nevertheless, Asher says, the problem with this team is not the hitting, and it's not the pitching. As the Clinton political team would say: It's the defense, stupid!

Dave Stieb
April 14, 2010: A Glaring Omission: In August of last season, I had a bout of obsession with AL vs. NL pitching during the post-DH era. Naturally, this led me, at one point, to Dave Stieb. As I began to take a long look at Stieb, I became relatively enamored with his interesting career, and I proceeded to do a brief run down of the highs and lows of Dave Stieb. However, as Keith recently mentioned to me, I failed to note his incredible comeback after having been out of baseball for almost four full years. Let me do that now.

Kevin Maas
A funny thing happened last season. After several seasons of thinking about it, we finally decided to create an award to honor Kevin Maas’ place in the annals of baseball history. Kevin Maas, as our generation will remember, looked like the next Lou Gehrig for one summer in 1990 before making baseball fans around the country feel stupid for having bought the hype.

Well, no sooner than we'd created the Kevin Maas Award, it was pointed out that this was actually two great awards: an award for a rookie who we would be stupid to expect to see a duplicate performance from, and an award for a player whose performance was so out of character with the rest of his career that we would be stupid to expect him to duplicate it.

And so it was, the Kevin Maas Award gave birth to the Brady Anderson Award.

The Legend
Each year we honor the player “doing the least with the most” with the annual Dave Kingman Award. Usually, the sine qua non of the Dave Kingman Award is the combination of the high homerun total and the low on-base percentage; we generally look for something in the 25/.280 range. Some years Kingman candidates are plentiful, and some years they are few, but every year we find a player that uniquely contributes to his team in such a vain, self-centered way that he is unquestionably fulfilling Kingman’s legacy.

April 8, 2010 - Four Decade Club Update – It happens less frequently than the Olympics, Presidential Elections, World's Fairs, or Leap Year, but certainly more frequently than Halley's Comet, and just about as frequently as the U.S. Census. Every ten years, we get to induct new members into Major League Baseball's Four Decade Club. About 11 months ago, things were really looking up for the Four Decade Club. The surprisingly long list included Ken Griffey, Jr., Omar Vizquel, and Randy Johnson from the 1989 Seattle Mariners; Tom Glavine and John Smoltz from the 1989 Atlanta Braves; and Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, and Jamie Moyer from other teams. So where are they now?

April 8, 2010 - Omar Vizquel Sits Waiting – Having debuted with the Seattle Mariners in 1989, when Omar Vizquel next appears in a game he will become a member of the Four Decade Club (former 1989 Mariners teammate Ken Griffey, Jr., joined the club earlier this week). I am not sure if any shortstop has ever joined the club before, but Vizquel’s second milestone would indicate not: with his first appearance at shortstop, Vizquel will extend his major-league record by playing at least one game at the position in 22 different seasons. Finally, Omar Vizquel’s next hit will put him in a tie for second all-time on the career list for hits by a shortstop, tying former White Sox shortstop, and fellow Venezuelan, Luis Aparicio. And this is where it starts to get fun.

April 7, 2010 - Yankees Trio Makes History – During the Yankees-Red Sox telecast on the MLB channel last night Bob Costas said something I found to be unfathomable: apparently, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera are the first trio of teammates to play together for 16 seasons in baseball history.

November 21, 2009 - Temporarily Dominant Pitchers – We all know about Fernando Valenzuela, Vida Blue, Dwight Gooden, and Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, four pitchers who had magnificent bursts onto the scene but could never match their early career brilliance. What do they all have in common? Could it be that their success, while fleeting, was also the product of their environment and not necessarily a product of their own talent? Let's have a look.

November 10, 2009 - Dave Stieb – Asher recently became obsessed with the difference between pitching in the AL and pitching the NL during the Designated Hitter Era, something he probably should have paid more attention to for the last half decade or so. Better late than never, this new obsession has caused him to re-assess the value of a pitcher he has not paid as much attention to as he should have, though he still doesn't think Dave Stieb merits a look for the Top 200.

November 4, 2009 - Pitching in the AL vs. the NL – What does the enormous and extensive list of players whose ERA was better in the National League than in the American League tell us? Lots. It tells us about guys we've been overrating, about guys we've been underrating, and about another way of evaluating overall pitcher talent. In at least a couple of cases, it tells us that a whole generation of American League pitchers has been undervalued, but that isn't the most striking revelation.

November 4, 2009 - Pitching in the AL vs. the NL – Think your favorite awesome pitcher was one of the greatest of all time? You must make sure you are considering all the factors - home ballpark, era pitched in, defensive help behind him, expansion eras, strike seasons, and steroids make up a few of the most important factors to consider. Another important factor is whether a guy pitched most of his career in the American League or the National League, as sometimes the league is all the difference.

October 27, 2009 - World Series Previews – This is the matchup that most people were expecting and most people were hoping for: The Philadelphia Phillies versus the New York Yankees. The Phillies are the first team since the Yankees to defend a World Series title. The Yankees go for World Championship #27 and World Championship #1 in their new stadium. Who will prevail? Keith and Asher take sides:

Asher: Yankees in Four | Keith: Phillies in Seven

October 15, 2009 - NLCS Preview – The first time two teams faced each other in the NLCS in consecutive years occurred in 1977-1978, when the Dodgers twice defeated the Phillies for the right to lose to the Yankees in the World Series. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies once again face off in the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row, with the Phillies hoping to do the unthinkable and the Dodgers hoping to avenge last year’s loss.  Which team will prevail?

September 15, 2009 - Using DIPS% to Predict Success – How do we measure the degree to which a defense is undermining its pitching staff? In part, by looking at hits derived statistics: hits per game and BABIP for example – hits are almost completely (hmm, too strong a phrase; how about “mostly”) dependent upon the defense behind the pitching (except of course for homeruns), so when you see a team giving up lots of hits per game, chances are it has more to do with the defense than with the pitching. A very useful statistic for this sort of analysis is "DIP%," which is the ratio of a team’s defense independent ERA and a team’s defense dependent ERA. This stat can be very predictive of a team's future success.

September 12, 2009 - The 2900 Hits Club – An emailer wrote me recently to assert, foolishly, that Craig Biggio had been a better second baseman than Rogers Hornsby. Amongst the paltry evidence cited in support of Biggio was the fact that Biggio had 3,000 hits while Hornsby narrowly missed reaching that milestone. While absurd, this assertion deserves some discussion because of the common mis-practice some baseball fans have of ranking players according to their career rankings in certain statistics. Perhaps far too little attention is paid to another slightly less well known club – the 2900 Hits Club.

September 18, 2009 - Asher's Response to Nomar/Flick/Terry – A funny thing happened today – I checked and saw an article by Keith calling me out for failing to rank Elmer Flick, Nomar Garciaparra, or Bill Terry on my Top 200 list.

What makes this funny is that when Keith and I revealed our lists to each other, those three guys really were guys that I thought Keith had no excuse for, and whose absurdity spoke for themselves.

Apparently, Keith feels that they are not only not absurd, but are actually the crown jewels of his list. And to be truthful, I get it. I get why he likes those guys. I just don't agree.

That's not how I rank players.

September 6, 2009 - Boneheaded Sportswriter – We haven’t maintained the Bonehead Sportswriter as well as we did in the early years, potentially because we have discovered how hard it can be to be sportswriters, and we’re amateurs. Nevertheless, Mike Lupica recently had a classic New York Daily News gush-fest that simply must be pilloried. Needless to say, it involved Derek Jeter. The ironic thing is, I find myself uniquely open to praising Derek Jeter this year. No matter, though, because when New York sportswriters start talking about Derek Jeter, it becomes impossible to like him, even if you want to.

September 10, 2009 - Revisiting the Class of 2001 – The first baseball column I ever wrote was for an audience of one, me. I had noticed a similarity between the 2001 season’s combination of sage veterans and up-and-comers, and a similar group of veterans and youngsters during the 1986 season, and wrote the article as more of an intellectual exercise than anything else.

Reading that article, I am struck by how similar my writing was then to how it is now - I was either a pretty good writer in 2001, or I simply haven’t progressed much as a writer at all since then.

But let’s stay on topic

September 8, 2009 - The Curse of the American League – At this point, we may need to start considering the possibility that a curse has been put on the American League's sluggers. As Asher details in his debut column at, for the third time in four years, one of the AL's elite power-producers has had his season ended a month early by an injury. So what's next for Carlos Pena? Hopefully, he'll fare better than his predecessors.

September 1, 2009 - The Baltimore Orioles Fab Five – Not since the Fab Five were taking Michigan’s basketball team to two Final Fours in two years have we seen as exciting a crew of young rookies as the Baltimore Orioles own Fab Five starting pitchers. The Orioles, out of the AL East race essentially since announcing that Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson would have roles on this year’s team, are kind of going for broke at the end of the 2009 season, hoping to showcase their youngsters and get them some valuable experience that they can build on in 2010. Amazingly, the five pitchers – Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, David Hernandez, Christopher Tillman, and Brian Matusz – are all in their first ever major league seasons, making them all true rookies.

September 1, 2009 - Ivan Rodriguez's 1999 Season – In 1999, when Ivan Rodriguez enjoyed his best offensive season, he also became the fourth major leaguer to hit 30 homeruns and hit into 30 double plays in the same season. Why?

September 1, 2009 - 2009 Post-Season Awards – Last season, I decided to make my post-season awards predictions on September 1st in an effort to gauge the extent to which the final month of play, and the resolution of the divisional races, impacts the post-season awards. We got immediate payoff in the endeavor when, moments after I published my predictions, the apparent AL Most Valuable Player Carlos Quentin broke his hand and took himself out of the running for the award.

So, maybe we should make a tradition of it, eh?

August 26, 2009 - Walking in Boston – Asher Chancey has not liked the Boston Red Sox since 2004, when the team won its first World Series title since 1918 and the fan base transformed from die hard fanatics into obnoxious twits. So what happened when Asher visited Fenway Park for the first time on Tuesday and the Red Sox defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-3 in front of the 500-somethingth consecutive Fenway Park sellout crowd? Find out inside.

August 6, 2009 - The Phillies Rotation Problem – The Philadelphia Phillies ended a three game slide in which they were outscored 17-6 Wednesday night in Philadelphia by beating the Colorado Rockies, one of baseball’s hottest teams, 7-0. The biggest story of last night’s game is without a doubt the performance of J.A. Happ. Happ pitched a complete game shutout, allowing four hits, striking out 10 and walking two. Happ is now one of three National Leaguers to pitch two shutouts this season, the others being Tim Lincecum and Joel Pineiro. Despite his performance last night, Phillies fans have to wonder: Could Happ be headed to the bullpen?

August 5, 2009 - What's in a Double Play? – Double Plays Grounded Into is a statistic that has been kept since 1933 in the National League and 1939 in the American League. Obviously, a double play can be ruinous to a team, because it invariably involves going from at least one runner on base with less than two outs to eliminating the runner and often ending the inning. Double Plays are almost always rally killers. But I am skeptical as to whether tallying the number of double plays a player hits into necessarily tells us something about that player, or if it tells us something about his team. Indeed, just take a look at the names of the guys who were teammates with the "27 or more double plays club." It is a vertible Who's Who of great on-base machines.

August 7, 2009 - The Naughty 300 – Players Who Have Hit 300 Homeruns in the 2000s. Remember when 300 homeruns was an impressive career milestone? Only 124 players have ever hit 300 homeruns in their career. Amazingly, 11 of those players hit 300 homeruns in this decade alone (a number that could swell to 13). As we begin the second to last month of the last season of the naughts, here’s a look at this decade’s most prolific homerun hitters, the Naughty 300 Club.

August 2, 2009 - Trade Deadline Analysis - In what was truly a dizzying trading deadline, the biggest name on the market didn’t move, several players who weren’t on the trading block radar did move, and perhaps the most underrated player of 2009 was shipped to a fifth pace team. Many players moved, including one who is returning to the site of his only major league success, one who is moving for the second time in a year, and two who were just signed to their team this off-season and are already moving out.

Let's take a look at the biggest moves.

July 30, 2009 - What Has Happened to Jeter's Defense? - It has become one of the most well-known stories of the Delgado Era – Derek Jeter is a terrible defensive shortstop. Bill James knows it. The University of Pennsylvania knows it. Even the Yankees know it. No longer impressed by Gold Gloves and fielding percentages, the baseball public has learned how to judge defense, and Jeter is judged poorly – he doesn’t have range, he gets to fewer balls than any other player, and he makes the ordinary look extraordinary because he is so bad that he has to be a hero to make rudimentary plays. With each new defensive metric that is developed, Jeter looks worse and worse.

Except . . .

One of the greatest challenges when ranking players is trying not to be fooled by their statistics. Looking at a player’s statistics, you want to know whether the statistics purely represent the abilities of the player, or whether they represent factors that have nothing to do with the player that makes that player look better than he should. In particular, one should beware any elite play in certain seasons, such as 1930, 1961, 1969, 1977, 1987, 1994, 1996, 1998, or 2001.

Here is a method for dealing with such seasons.

Asher's Cliff Lee trade analysis will be performed with the assistance of long-time reader Michael Krause, who wrote the following email:

What do you think of the Phillies sending Carrasco, Marson, Knapp, and Donald to Cleveland for Lee and Francisco? How will having lefties in the one and two spot affect them? The strong hitting teams in the NL seem to have a lot of righties, are the Phils at a big disadvantage? Is Moyer out of the playoff rotation? Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Happ/Pedro. That is an interesting possible lineup.

And here is my response.

July 13, 2009 - Ten Questions for the First Half - He was drafted in the first round in 2006, and arrived on the West Coast with much fanfare. He debuted in 2007 and, despite some bumps along the way, showed signs of true brilliance. In 2008, his first full major league season, he led the NL in win percentage, strikeouts, ERA+, hits per nine innings, homeruns per nine innings, and strikeouts per nine innings, and he won the Cy Young Award. In 2009, he has been even better than he was in 2008, and he is your All Star Game starter in the National League. Who is he? If you don't know, then this is one of the Ten Questions You Have if You Slept Through the First Half of the 2009 Season.

The Hunt for Roy Halladay - The entire city of Philadelphia is abuzz with talk that the Phillies are the leading contender to acquire Roy Halladay. I don’t like it one bit. The Philadelphia Phillies, right now, are a rare commodity in baseball – a team built to win now, and for the foreseeable future. They should not give all that up for one or two seasons of Roy Halladay. I would expect the team that was on the winning side of the Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome trade to understand that.

July 23, 2009 - Lots of Fun with Intentional Walks - It isn’t often that we think about intentional walks, but the statistic is a fun one for several reasons. Albert Pujols' early career was defined by the fact that, despite his greatness, he was consistently the second best player in baseball behind Barry Bonds. Now, even with Bonds having retired, it appears that Pujols is still being overshadowed, at least in some respects. Pujols will almost certainly finish the 2009 season with more intentional walks in a single season than anyone else has ever had – anyone, that is, other than Barry Bonds.

06/25/09 - Haul P. Suling Every now and then we get emails regarding a piece Asher wrote a while back entitled "the Bagwell Conspiracy," in which he mockingly accused Jeff Bagwell of having introduced the baseball world to steroids. Usually these emails fall into two categories - baseball fans who see this as evidence of what they have long suspected, or Astros fans who demand evidence. Needless to say, neither side tends to get the joke and the emails are usually pretty boring. But every now and then, we get a doozy.

The following is a real email exchange that took place earlier this month between the staff and a Houston Astros fan who shall remain anonymous, but whose name rhymes with "Haul P. Suling." And whose initials are the same as "Haul P. Suling" only in a different order. And whose Facebook page can be found here.

06/12/09 - Is Raul Ibanez Juicing? A minor controversy has been brewing in Philadelphia over the last few days over speculation – unfounded to this point – that Raul Ibanez may have used performance enhancing drugs in order to accomplish what he has accomplished so far this season. I think it is a rude and unkind thing to say about a guy who thus far has been a feel good story for the city of Philadelphia.

Of course, I am a Phillies fan, so that is what I am supposed to think. Maybe we should take a closer look.

Hall of Famer?

Hall of Famer
06/10/09 - Asher's Hall of Fame Tracker Is Nomar Garciaparra headed for the Hall of Fame? Probably not. But what did we think six years ago? We thought he was. What about Ken Griffey, Jr.? Yes, but it won't be nearly the lock it once was. In an effort to go on record about the Hall of Fame chances of current players, and keep track of how our perception of that changes, Asher has decided to keep a running tab. Check it out and see if you agree.

06/08/09 - Pitchers I've Fallen Asleep On At the last minute, in making my pre-season predictions, I picked Zack Greinke to win the AL Cy Young Award on a whim (as evidenced by the fact that I spent no time at all extolling Greinke’s virtues in my Royals Spring Preview). Basically, I’ve spent the season thus far freaking out about Greinke’s performance so far. So much so, in fact, I have almost completely missed several impressive statistics from the season so far. So, here’s a top ten.

Is Jim Edmonds a Hall of Famer? - I read a piece on Dugout Central about Jim Edmonds and his chances for the Hall of Fame. The author of the piece premised his opinion (that yes, Edmonds belongs in the Hall) principally on three factors: 1) Edmonds has the same number of career homeruns as Jim Rice, and Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame; 2) Ozzie Smith and Brooks Robinson are in the Hall of Fame purely based on their defense, which necessarily means Edmonds has to be in, because in addition to matching Rice’s offense, 3) “Jim Edmonds is arguably the single greatest defensive player at any position in MLB history.”

As much fun as it would be to bash this guy in the head repeatedly, I think the topic the guy raises is more important that the facile way in which he went about exploring the point. So, Is Jim Edmonds a Hall of Famer?

Asher's Running Steroid Meter - We know who has been busted and who has admitted to using PEDs. What about all the guys who haven’t been busted? I am going to start to compile a list of players and my own personal views on whether they used performance enhancing drugs and/or steroids. Feel free to comment, and we’ll keep the list as a running, on-going project.

Feel free to disagree with me. I'd love to discuss this at length..

Five years after rocking the baseball world with The Bagwell Conspiracy, a new bomb in the steroid scandal has been dropped. Only this time, I can’t take the credit. The credit belongs to baseball fan, aspiring screen writer, and stand-up comedian Brandin Augustine (his friends call him Jason). I can tell you, I’ve never been hit by a ton a bricks before, but now I know what it feels like. After lots of talking, exploring, discussing, and a stream of consciousness matched only by the mighty Mississippi itself, we discovered the key to baseball's steroid controversy. Right there, on the 1983 New York Mets, staring us straight in the face, was the actual source of all steroids in baseball.

You want the truth about steroids in baseball? You can't handle the truth..

This Friday, as Interleague Play 2009 commences, Randy Johnson is all set to take the mound against the Seattle Mariners. This means that Johnson will have a chance to face former Mariners teammate Ken Griffey, Jr. as a Mariner for the first time. It is too bad that Omar Vizquel isn’t still on the Giants – it would be a reunion of three players who were on the 1989 Seattle Mariners, and three of the eight guys from the 1980s with a chance to become four decade players next year. A couple of years ago it looked like Vizquel, Curt Schillng, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Johnson, Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, and Griffey would all coast into the 20-teens. But that’s the thing about playing into your forties – one day you have it, the next day you don’t. Most of those guys are either done or should be done, and if Johnson gets his 300th win and his 5,000th strikeout this season, it is hard to picture him coming back for next season.

Here are some reflections on guys who played Four Decades, and a whole bunch more.

"Scoop" Heyman of Sports Illustrated had this to say, in an attempt to console the baseball world after the Manny suspension:

“Josh Hamilton, Rangers star. If he can only get healthy, we can all enjoy the greatest talent in the game. How he kept all his talent after four years away being a drug addict nobody will probably ever know. His home-run display at the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium was truly remarkable. Just being alive and a contributing member of society was something unforeseen at his lowest moments.”

Wow. Just wow..

As someone whose enjoyment of baseball has always been tied to player comparison, the 2009 bombs about Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez actually come as somewhat of a relief to me for a number of reasons - there are fewer and fewer players with each passing year that I have to account for in terms of performance enhancement, or lack there of; there's less guessing; I no longer have to wonder whether Barry Bonds, dirty, was better than A-Rod, clean. If everyone is dirty, then everyone is on a level playing field and it is easy to compare them.

And the more players that fall, the easier it is to deal with the steroid era.

A great hitter makes the whole lineup better, the same way Bonds did, and Pujols does. Hit ahead of him, and he protects you. Hit behind him, and he’s on base half the time, which creates opportunities. Even when he isn’t hitting, he’s taking walks. He always helps. So why does this matter? It matters because Adam Dunn is one of those players who makes the whole lineup around him better (oooh, it hurts to say it). When is off, he takes walks and hits homeruns as well as anyone. When he is on, he is an elite player.

And so far in 2009, he is on.

How dated can the comments of one Monday morning be just a week later? Here are comments that I jotted down to myself but never put into an article from last Monday. Not very, especially when the Rays keep on playing sub-.500 ball, Emilio Bonafacio continues to decline rapidly, Aaron Cook continues to give up homeruns, and Zack Greinke continues to pitch like a stud.

Check all of that and more in Asher's Week Four Comments on Week Three.

Power-Speed Number has never been an important statistic to Asher, so he has never bothered to look up how it is calculated. Asher also has not done so for the purposes of this comment, either. However, he can only assume that Power-Speed Number is a statistic designed to measure a player’s combination of power and speed. At present, Jacoby Ellsbury has a Power-Speed Number of 1.9, which is pretty awful, but better than the Power-Speed Number of 0.0 that both Carl Crawford and Bobby Abreu have put up so far.

Wow, look at that. Looks like Asher was right to not care anything about Power-Speed Number.

Should the Cardinals Move Some Players Around? - April 23, 2009 - Can the best defensive first basemen make serviceable defensive third basemen? As of today, the St. Louis Cardinals have four outfielders hitting .292 or higher, plus Rick Ankiel who is off to a slow start but could break out at any moment. One outfielder – Skip Schumaker – has been moved already to second base where he doesn’t appear to have played since college, if even then. But that still leaves four outfielders, and between Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Duncan, and Colby Rasmus, you’d like to have all four bats in your lineup.

All of this begs the question: could Albert Pujols switch to third base?

Most people of our generation remember where they were when Kevin Maas hit the scene like people from our parents’ generation remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was killed. It was the summer of 1990, six years before Joe Torre and Derek Jeter would return the Yankees to evil empire status. The Yankees had just completed an entire decade without a World Series victory for the first time since before they acquired Babe Ruth. The Yankee Hero of the day, Don Mattingly, who’d declined in recently years was suffering through his worst season, and the Yankees were on their way to finishing with fewer than 70 wins for the only time since 1925. And that was when the Yankees would call up Kevin Maas, and change baseball history.

The staff likes to create awards based on notorious baseball players. We’ve currently got the Dave Kingman Award, the Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Award, the Mark Redman Award, and the Josh Towers Award. We think it is time for a new award, and that award is going to be the Kevin Maas Award.

After a bit of brief debate at the Fan Forum, the Kevin Maas Award has been amended, or more appropriately, broken in two.

Week Two of the 2009 Season - April 21, 2009 - What do Ryan Howard, two Ryan Brauns, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Theriot, Ryan Ludwick, Ryan Madson, Ryan Sweeney, Ryan Doumit, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Franklin, Ryan Feierabrand, Ryan Jorgensen, Ryan Raburn, Ryan Perry, Ryan Spilborghs, Ryan Tucker, Ryan Vogelsong, Ryan Wagner, Ryan Shealy, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jeremy Hermida, Aaron Rowand, Noah Lowry, Matt Kemp, Austin Kearns, Dan Johnson, Chad Billingsley, and Chris Young all have in common?

Find out, in Asher's Week Two Review.

Javier Vazquez, Rich Harden, and DIPS - April 16, 2009 - Keith’s riff on Rich Harden and Javier Vazquez in his Fielding Independent Pitching analysis was probably dropped off the cuff on Wednesday evening in response to the events of the day. Nevertheless, the analysis was still less complete than it should have been. First, since when do we evaluate rules by looking at small sample sizes? Second, nothing about DIPS would lead us to believe Harden had a good day on Wednesday. And Third, Javier Vazquez’s nomadic journey through Major League Baseball does not allow us to discount the bad defenses in front of which he's played.

But since you brought up Javier Vazquez, check out this cool stuff.

Week One Pace - April 13, 2009 - Early Comeback Player of the Year front runner - and NL Cy Young frontrunner - Josh Johnson is on pace for several remarkable feats. After the first week of the season, Johnson is on pace to start once every four games, putting him on pace for 40 starts this season. He has pitched 15.2 innings, putting him on pace for 317.1 innings. He has 15 strikeouts and one walk so far this season, putting him on pace for 303 strikeouts and 20 walks, which translates to a 15:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

But wait, there’s more. He has two wins in two starts, putting him on pace for 40 wins and no losses. He’s already pitched a complete game, putting him on pace for 20 of those. And his ERA is 0.57.

In short, Josh Johnson is on pace to have the Greatest Pitcher Season of All Time. And if that seems utterly ridiculous to you, well, that’s what the Week One Pace is all about.

Adjusting the Homerun Clubs - April 11, 2009 - Here’s the premise of this series of articles – many baseball fans erroneously use homeruns as a method of judging a player’s overall value. The best example is those who thought that Hank Aaron hitting his 715th homerun made him better than Babe Ruth. I think homerun totals could be used in this respect, but I think we need to make an adjustment. So let’s do it.

Okay, so now we’ve adjusted the 700, 600, and 400 Homerun Clubs, and we’ve seen some definitely player movement. The task that now lays ahead of us is probably our most daunting one yet: The 500 Homerun Club Eek, eek. Twitch, twitch. Are we about to change the baseball world? Probably not, but let’s give it a try. As with the 400 Homerun Club, we should probably do this by era.

And remember, McGwire haters, this isn’t about era and it isn’t about steroids. Yet.

Adjusted 500 Homerun Clubs.

Adjusting the Homerun Clubs - April 11, 2009 - Here’s the premise of this series of articles – many baseball fans erroneously use homeruns as a method of judging a player’s overall value. The best example is those who thought that Hank Aaron hitting his 715th homerun made him better than Babe Ruth. I think homerun totals could be used in this respect, but I think we need to make an adjustment. So let’s do it.

Adjusting the 400 Homerun Club was so much fun, let’s keep it going. After all, the 400 homeruns club isn’t the only one with suspect members.

So let's not be bound by numbers - let's adjust. Here now is the Adjusted 700 and 600 Homerun Clubs.

Adjusting the 400 Homerun Club - April 11, 2009 - What does it mean to hit 400 homeruns? A lot more than it did in 1987, that's for sure. But what a peculiar club - seems like it is full of guys who should have hit 500 homeruns but didn't for some reason, and guys who weren't really good enough to hit 400 homeruns, but squeaked through somehow. So let's not be bound by numbers - let's adjust. Here now is the Adjusted 400 Homerun Club.

A surprising number of commentators think the Astros signing Ivan Rodriguez as their catcher was a good thing. Asher thought it would be so universally accepted as a bad move that he didn't even comment on it. However, many commentators, including Steve Phillips of ESPN, have spoken highly of this move, seemingly ignoring I-Rod's abyssmal play since the middle of 2007. In fact, not only is I-Rod no longer a major league contributor on the field, in Asher's opinion, but his keeping J.R. Towles in the minors for 2009 may even make him the inaugural winner of an award named after a former Astro.

When it comes to comparing players from the 1970s and 1980s to the players from the 1990s and the first decade of this century, Asher thinks we should examine figurehead players that quantify those eras. And he thinks that Carlos Delgado and Brian Downing are the perfect symbols of those eras. So from now on, when he compares players from the 1970s and 1980s (1973 to 1992, to be more precise) to the players from the 1990s and 2000s (1993 to 2009), he shall now refer to these eras by their names. From now on, it's "the Downing Era," vs. "the Delgado Era."

MVP Predictions with a Month Left – September 4, 2008

Last season, I wrote an article on September 26 in which I assailed the notion that Jimmy Rollins could possibly be considered the NL MVP, and laughed at Phillies fans for chanting "M-V-P" when Rollins came up to bat. But by the time the World Series was grinding to a close, I supported the idea of Jimmy Rollins as the Most Valuable Player because the Phillies actually wound up winning their division in shocking fashion, Rollins was the hero of the team. It is amazing how much can change in just five games.

With this in mind, along with other great September performances which have catapulted players into position to win awards (Vlad Guerrero's enormous September in 2004, when the Angels won the AL West by one game, comes to mind), I have decided to try a little experiment – let's take a look at the players we expect to win each league's major awards with just under a month to play, and then see how things ultimately turn out.

One Day Done, Already a Shift – September 5, 2008

Okay, so I didn't mean this to be a daily feature.

As you'll recall, yesterday I decided to do a little experiment to see how much of my perception of the persons most deserving of post-season hardware changes from shortly before the end of the season to after the season. Well, things have already changed, and its only been a day.

Beware the Bradley Ballpark Boondoggle – June 26, 2008 Sometimes a player's overall numbers for a season can befuddle post-season awards voters into voting for a guy despite the fact that his home/road splits indicate that his performance had a lot more to do with his home park than with his overall abilities. Dante Bichette in 1995, Ellis Burks in 1996, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Juan Gonzalez . . . the list goes on and on.

We have long known that the Ballpark in Arlington is a hitter’s park. Witness some of the seasons put up by the likes of Michael Young, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Gary Matthews, Jr., and others. However, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like what Milton Bradley is doing before. But beware voters, and don’t be befuddled again.

More on Ridiculous Splits – June 27, 2008 Seems I may have jumped the gun on Milton Bradley a little. What I should have done was researched a bit more thoroughly before I put pen to paper.


October 21, 2008: Derek Jeter's "dive" into the stands - the Greatest Lie Ever Told

July 29, 2008: Jon "Scoop" Heyman gives some useless commentary regarding the trading deadline.

July 25, 2008: Fred Lewis and the New Giants

November 1, 2007: Will joining the Los Angeles Dodgers finally expose Joe Torre?

July 27, 2007: Trade Analysis: Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians

October 1, 2006: Taking inventory on Ichiro Suzuki's Sixth Year in Major League Baseball

April 22, 2006 - Well, well, well. Mr. Big Talk appears to have missed the mark, at least here in the early going. When I say Mr. Big Talk, I mean me. And when I say "the mark," I mean my assessment of the Alfonso Soriano – Brad Wilkerson trade.

As I am sure you are all aware by now, Alfonso Soriano hit three homeruns on Friday night to bring his season total up to six. He currently has six dingers and four stolen bases. He is hitting .333, with an OPS over 1.000! He has struck out 13 times to go with four walks, but his OBP is still .377, so not complaining. Plus, after a dismal start, the Nationals have put Soriano at the top of the lineup more regularly, and they have won five out of six.

Soriano's Current Pace -
162 114 229 57 114 38 28 124 0.333 0.377 0.653 1.029

But we need not only look at Soriano's stats to be convinced that the trade was a good one for the Nationals, and that I was a bit off in my analysis. It appears that Brad Wilkerson and Soriano have united in conspiracy to make me look bad, and Wilkerson is certainly doing his part.

As of last night, Wilkerson's OPS, .585, is lower than Soriano's slugging percentage alone. Wilkerson has managed only 13 hits in 68 at-bats for a .191 average, and his four walks have contributed to an on-base percentage of .247. He has only two homers and six RBIs. But the truly alarming part of Wilkerson' game has to be his 29 strikeouts in 17 games. With 29 strikeouts in only 68 at-bats, Wilkerson is coming painfully close to averaging a strikeout every other at-bat!

Wilkerson's Current Pace -
162 105 124 19 57 10 38 276 0.191 0.247 0.338 0.585

That's right, Wilkerson is on pace to have as many RBI as Soriano has homeruns, and to become to strikeouts what Barry Bonds is to walks. I mean, it is not time to call it, but it is not looking good.

For my part, I just don't understand.

The D.C. Daily Diary


Lou Brock - Overrated, But Still A Hall of Famer
Is Lou Brock overrated? Yes, he is. Lou Brock is a member of the 3,000 hits club, but he got there because of longevity and because he hit leadoff and thus got lots of at-bats, not because of his hitting ability (though his .293 average does put him ahead of Ripken and Palmeiro). He is second all time in stolen bases, but as has been pointed out, his stolen base percentage was not particularly great, and he got to 938 on longevity, not because of any ability to get on base or steal bases efficiently.

Having said that, I must quibble with Keith on something over which we have quibbled before. Keith has, in my opinion, a misguided understanding of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Keith is under the impression that the Hall of Fame is kind of like a Top 100, that the only players who should be allowed in should be the best overall players in baseball history, based on overall value rating rather than based on individual accomplishments. Read more.

Matt's Email | Richard's Take | Keith's Take

Patterson Comes to Play
Run Corey Run. 
April 20, 2006 - The Orioles-Indians series which just concluded today in Baltimore was perhaps the wildest of the early season and may be the wildest we see for a while. (Warning - cross-sport cliché coming) The Indians won the first game by two touchdowns, 15-1, behind the solid pitching of Jason Johnson, of all people, a former Oriole who went 26-46 in four seasons with the O's. The series looked like a wash, but things changed in the bottom of the third inning of game two. That is when none other than Corey "Tools" Patterson came to the plate to lead off the inning. As Asher writes, that is when the truly unexpected happened - Corey Patterson came to play.


Has Randy Taken A Little Something Off?
Something a little more comfortable. 
Through three starts, the Yankees Randy Johnson is looking much more like his old self than he did in 2005. His WHIP is back down under 1.00, his opponents batting average is back to a respectable .213, and his ERA is 2.25.

The Unit's most intriguing stat, though, is K/BB ratio, which currently stands at infinity – 16 Ks to go with 0 BB. This is interesting for two reasons. First, obviously, he hasn't walked anybody this season, which is always good. But second, Randy's 16 strikeouts have come in 20 innings, which means for the second year in a row it appears that he is headed for less than one strikeout per inning.

In truth, Johnson's strikeouts have been declining for several years, and after his injury year of 2003 Randy acknowledged changing his approach and his arm angle slightly to reduce his risk of injury. Though this changed approach appears to have resulted in decreased strikeouts per inning, it also seems to have lessened the number of walks Randy gives up each year (47 and 44 in 2005 and 2004 compared with 71 in 2002 and 2001). Basically, Randy has traded some power for some control.

The Pace

April 7, 2006 - It was starting pitching gone astray day in the Majors today, as no fewer than four pitchers came through with outings which could easily get them sent back to the minors, or perhaps even little league.

As a caveat, it is always important to remember that at this point in the season, guys will be left in a little longer than usual in order to work out kinks, try to establish a rhythm, see how well they can get themselves out of a jam, etc. Nonetheless, these guys were awful, even relatively speaking.

For example, take Kyle Lohse. He gave up 11 hits and three walks on his way to allowing 8 earned runs in four and two thirds. Gavin Floyd continued Philadelphia's dubious starting pitcher run by walking four and giving up 5 runs, three earned, in two and two thirds innings. In Pittsburgh, Paul Maholm managed to be outshined by Eric Milton, giving up five earned on five hits and five walks in six innings.

Interestingly, there were a couple of guys yesterday who were terrible in their start, but their team ended up winning because the other team's pitcher was just as bad. In Kansas City, the 6-spot that Jeremy Affeldt gave up in four innings didn't hurt because opposing pitcher Jon Garland managed to surrender nine earned runs on ten hits in five and one third inning. In Toronto, the D'Rays managed to pull out the 9-8 victory despite Casey Fossum's six earned runs in four and two thirds performance.

But the King of the Eve was truly Daniel Cabrera. In an inning and a third, Cabrera allowed 7 earned runs on three hits and seven walks. Cabrera walked six in the opening inning and a seventh in the second before getting yanked. Cabrera threw 60 pitched in his 1 and a third inning, only getting a terrifying 22 of them over strikes.

The Notebook

2006 Season Predictions
Asher sees big things in the future of the Cleveland Indians. Oh, and he predicts things for other guys, too.

Ranking Relievers
Surely, Trevor Hoffman is the third best closer ever.

Asher Gabs about the Greats
Asher comments not only on the more interesting players among his top 200, but also on why several players didn't make his list.

Bill James
There is no one in the game today we enjoy disagreeing with more than Mr. James. It is done out of reverence and respect, because usually we find him insightful and ground breaking. But sometimes . . . . yikes!

Singleton vs. Rice
Asher, meanwhile, praises Keith for deftly leaving Jim Rice off of his list. Keith responds.

Sandy Koufax: What Could Have Been
Think Sandy Koufax is the best pitcher of all time because of four seasons of stellar play? Player Rankings Home

Lowe on Lowe
Asher mixes it up with Keith on the subject of Derek Lowe. Asher thinks Lowe will perform poorly, while Keith thinks otherwise.

The D.C. Daily Diary, Part II
Asher covers the Nationals from close up.

Alfonso Soriano
Asher foresees bad things for the Nationals big pick up.

Some notes on Sammy Sosa for 2006
Asher points out that Sammy's big homerun totals tend to obscure weaknesses in his overall game and career.

Top Ten Players to End Their Careers with the A's.
With Frank Thomas headed to Oakland, ostensibly to end his career, one may wonder whether he is the best player to end his player in Oakland. Not even close.

More on George Sisler
Apparently still annoyed about being the only person to have voted for George Sisler, Asher belabors the point by taking Bill James to task for his ranking of Sisler.

Asher Takes Some Off the Top
In response to Keith, Asher explains his feelings on a number of players, including:

- Eppa Rixey
- Toby Harrah
- George Sisler and Sam Rice
Lou Brock and Cesar Cedeno
Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis
Spud Chandler and Smokey Joe Wood.

Matt Williams and Graig Nettles
With a lack of third basemen in the Hall, Asher looks at two and determines that there may be a reason for such a lack.

Catfish Hunter vs. Ron Guidry
One is in the Hall, while the other one isn't. The one without the nickname was actually better.

Getting Defensive About Cooperstown on Defense
Asher amends some of his statements.

Not in the Hall of Fame, But Why Not?
Some players rank amongst the All Time Greats in certain categories, and yet remain unrewarded by induction into the Hall of Fame.

Similar Names, Similar Stats, Similar Snubs
There is a group of players from the old days whom I always get confused. Babe Ruth is not one of them, but he is relevant to this discussion because his name, George Herman "Babe" Ruth is similar to the names of a couple of guys I always get confused. Those players are Babe Herman, Billy Herman, and Stan Hack.

A Side Order of Baines and Rice
Harold Baines and Sam Rice are two players who, because of various external factors, were unable to reach certain career milestones. One thing they do not share in common is that one is in the Hall of Fame, while conventional wisdom says Harold Baines will not end up in the Hall.

Top Ten Hall of Famers Who Should Make it Obvious to Anyone With A Pulse That Gil Hodges Should Be in the Hall of Fame
Before we get started here, it is important to point out the possible misguideness of this venture. I do not think that a player belongs in the Hall of Fame simply because there are lesser players also in the Hall. What this really means is that such lesser players shouldn't be there in the first place.

Whether Gil Hodges is a Hall of Famer
Although Hodges will probably not end up in any of our Top 200s, whether or not he should be a Hall of Famer is a different question altogether, since there is no number limit on the Hall. So, we consider the merits and attempt to answer the question – does Gil Hodges belong in the Hall of Fame.

Top Ten Stories of 2005
As the new year approaches, a look back at the Top Ten Baseball Stories of 2005.

An Early Look at 2006 - Andruw Jones
Andruw Jones was very impressive last year, as he hit over 50 homeruns. But as Asher notes, his game was not actually significantly improved overall, and in 2006 we may see a regression.

Cubs Sign Jacques Jones
The Cubs announced that they have signed Jacques Jones to a 3 year $16 million deal. The Cubs will add Jones to an outfield already comprised of Corey "Tools" Patterson, newly acquired Juan Pierre, and youngster Matt Murton.

Giants, Angels Complete Insignificant Deal of Off-Season
In perhaps the most meaningless trade of the off-season so far, the Giants sent Edgardo Alfonzo to the Angels for Steve Finley. How it is that the Giants expect Finley to fit into their plans next season remains to be seen.

The Cardinals Sign Troubled Pitcher Ponson
The signing of Ponson is similar to my plan to buy Enron stock because, like Enron, Ponson value on the free agent market is at absolutely rock bottom, as he has been plagued by poor recent performance and scandals which have made him a most unattractive investment.

Top Ten Reactions to Elliot Kalb's Top 100
Elliot "Mr. Stats" Kalb has a new 100 list out. A lot of it is good, but a lot of it is . . .

Marlins Firesale Continues . . .
The Marlins continued their firesale on Friday, trading Luis Castillo to the Twins for pitching prospects Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler. Bowyer appears to be a stud, standing 6'3" and averaging better than a strikeout per inning in the last two years. Tyler is a good looking Single A baller who is all of 23 and stands 6'5".

Moving and Shaking in the National League East
The Mets, it would appear, have made two moves which automatically make them the conventional favorite next year in the NL East – acquiring Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner. The great thing about these two moves if you are the Mets, other than the material benefit that will be conferred by these two players, is that they get the daily double which comes from knowing that your acquisition is your division-mates’ loss.

Paul Konerko Re-Signs with the White Sox – Two Things
I just got word that Paul Konerko re-signed with the White Sox. In this era of big free agent deals, and guys leaving winning situations to join losing ones (Derek Lowe?) simply based on dollar signs, Konerko’s resigning is an interesting one. I have two reactions to this – one immediate, and one that dawned slowly. I will start with the one that dawned slowly – “the bad news first,” if you will.

Thankful for November Trades
I had no idea that trade season was going to kick up so soon. But just like that, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell appear headed to the Red Sox, Carlos Delgado is headed to the Mets, and the White Sox have shipped Aaron Rowand in exchange for Big Jim Thome.

2005 Season In Review
After the World Series, a train of thought style exposition of somethings that stuck out in review of the 2005 season.

The 2005 National League Least Valuable Player
Derrek Lee, Albert Pujols, and Andruw Jones look to reign in the NL MVP. But Asher points out that there is a far more compelling race than that to watch in the National League this year.

Some Unconventional Picks for the 2005 American League Most Valuable Player
While David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez vie for the AL MVP, Asher offers some unconventional picks for AL MVP.

The Irony of Bartolo Colon
So, here I am mired in the reality of my Cy Young picks. I steadfastly picked Bartolo Colon to win the Cy Young in both 2003 and 2004, only to give up on him this year and see him finally take the trophy.

2005 Dave Kingman Award Winner
So, which player did the least with the most this season? Find out as we unveil the 2005 Dave Kingman Award.

What's the Deal with Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre?
Wanna see something weird? Check out how similar the careers of the Belt Brothers Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre have been.

Astros Headed to the World Series
As the Astros move on the World Series for the first time in their history, score another victory for teamwork and chemistry.

October 17, 2005 - Some Thoughts for the Evening
What goes through the head of a Cubs fan pondering the reality of the White Sox going to the World Series, and getting to face either the Astros or the Cardinals?

Some Year-End Observations About Albert Pujols
He is great. No doubt about it. But, amongst other observations about Mr. Pujols, did you notice that 2005 was actually a down year for him?

What's the Deal with Gold Gloves
Am I wrong to be ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS that Torii Hunter won the gold glove this year even though he only played 98 games? Surely, this is not Palmeiro '98, but still.

The Outfield Gold Glove Sham
Temporarily forgetting that every year, all the outfield Gold Gloves go to centerfielders, I was struck by the oddity of this fact, and I suddenly realized that this is an absurd system, and it is depriving deserving outfielders of their rightful hardware.

What Kind of Player Makes a Good Manager?
What do seven out of the eight managers in the post-season all have in common? Hint - the one manager who is not like the others is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated managers in the league today. Check it out.

The D.C. Daily Diary
Asher will be working in Washington D.C. for the summer, and while he is there, he will be keeping tabs on the Orioles and Nationals via a semi-Daily Diary that he will keep as he get the opportunity to watch these two teams close-up.

In Case You Missed It
So, is the Kid finally going to play all year? Why are the Astros and Braves starting to turn it around? And what National League catcher is having a career year? Asher knows and has it herein case you missed it.

The First Ever "Not A Bonehead Sportswriter of the Week"
Check out David Schoenfield's remarkably well thought out and well considered article about 40 current players headed for the hall of fame.

New Stat Page
What do Babe Ruth, Andre Dawson, Lou Gerhig, Eddie Murray, and Bill Nicholson all have in common? Find out in the new Double Crown Stat Page.

The Beane Watch Continues
On July 9, 2005, we have a look at a player Billy Beane cut loose and a plyer he picked up, and see how they compare as the Beane watch continues.

Another Double Crown
Derrek Lee is threatening to win the triple crown this year. But last year, Ichiro Suzuki won a very rare double crown, and it was the second time he has done it.

The Pace
As the season approaches the midpoint, Asher continues his obsession with Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, and the 300/300 club as he tries to keep up with The Pace.

Asher's Triumphant Return
Asher disappeared for a while (why remains a mystery), but after being gone nearly three months, Asher makes his triumphant return.

A Few Thoughts - June 25, 2005

The D.C. Daily Diary

Asher's Triumphant Return

The Pace

An Era of Aging Veteran Pitching

The Double Crown

The Curse of the Bambino Lives On.

Second Best Pitching Staff in Baseball

Asher's Triumphant Return

Finding Things Not That Hard to Believe

Just Give Him the Damn Ball

Dodgers, Angels set to Rock the Sports World

Top Ten “What Were They Thinking” Moves of 2004-2005 Off Season.

Sandy Koufax and the Importance of What Could Have Been

Yankees the Greatest of All Time?

The Quest for 200

Another Beane-er in Oakland

2004 AL ROY Pick

2004 NL ROY Pick

Top Ten Rookie of the Year Classes of All Time

Top Ten Rookie of the Year Busts of All Time

Some Things You May Have Missed

Ken Caminiti (1963-2004)

October 2, 2004: The Fifty-Fifth Annual Dave Kingman Award

Summer 2004: The Bagwell Conspiracy

July 7th: Over-Hyped Pitcher Acquisition Comparison Game

Daily Report: Grady Little's Effect on the Cubs

Jose Canseco: Person Most Living In His Own World

11/5/2003: A Warning for Andy Pettitte

10/5/03: Chancey on Rivera

Fifteen Years Later - 1986 Revisited

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at

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Pop Quiz
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He is an active player, but wasn't last year

The Next 300-Game Winners

Mailbag: Smoltz, Rice, Bagwell, & Wrigley

Should Ichiro Swing for the Fences?

Ode to Willie Mays

Dave Stewart Interview

Lofton Returns to Tribe

755: When the Record Falls

Pierce and Waner
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These Must Be Typos

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