Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clearing the Notebook

Here is a quote I read that struck me as a poignant piece of advice to writers, particularly if you're like me and you have an idea, think about it, read about it, maybe write a little bit about it, then leave it. And, it never comes back to life. I was telling my friend, Josh, the other day, when he asked me how the ol' blog was coming along that it's frustrating to start something and not finish it. I told him I was sitting on over 3,000 words about Albert Pujols. Yeah, believe it or not, with all the sometimes pointless junk that gets posted on this space, I do occasionally censor myself out of pure boredom and insignificance. Okay, before I abandon this piece, here is the quote, taken from the fascinating Still on the Road, by Clinton Heylin.
"The thing to do, as soon as you get into [writing], is to realize you must get out of it. And unless you get out of it quickly and effortlessly, there's no use staying in it. It will just drag you down. You could be spending years writing the same song, telling the same story, doing the same thing... The best songs to me - my best songs - are songs which were written very quickly... Just about as fast as it takes to write it down is about as long as it takes to write it."
--- Bob Dylan, to Paul Zollo, January 1991
Heylin's two-part series, Revolution in the Air and Still on the Road, are must-have's for anyone interested in poetry and/or songwriting.

We're using the excerpt here as an suggested device to lose some inhibitions and clear the notebook, even if there is no point or conclusion to the thought. It's been about 20 months since we've cleared the notebook, and away we go...

Leading off, who is the best Shortstop in the American League? There are a couple of weeks left to vote in the poll, if you haven't already, at the top of the page. We nominated Andrus, Asdrubal, Jeter, Alexei, and grouped everyone else. The poll results are not surprising, but a few numbers I looked at were hard to believe.

Apparently, when considering a players' wOBA, Power/Speed Number, WAR from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, OPS+, and UZR, for the past season and the past three seasons, then factor in the wOBA projection from Marcel, the rankings are as such:

Perhaps, we should expect
more from Jed Lowrie.
1. Jed Lowrie
2. Derek Jeter
3. Alexei Ramirez
4. Yunel Escobar
5. Marco Scutaro
6. Cliff Pennington
7. Asdrubal Cabrera
8. Erick Aybar
9. Elvis Andrus
10. Orlando Cabrera

Anyway, I thought that was really interesting, especially for Red Sox Fans. This is a pretty cockamamie formula, but I was considerate enough to give some numbers more weight than others, as well as average the Power/Speed per 600 PA's to try to make everything a rate stat.

Mike Aviles, who's not a Shortstop for the Royals but could probably still play there, ranked 4th in between Alexei and Yunel.

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I'm glad the Cubs cut their losses and won't be wasting any real innings on Carlos Silva. What worries me is that maybe there's some truth to his griping that Mark Riggins, and/or presumably Mike Quade, hadn't earned his respect. I do not have Silva's back. I never wanted him on the team, but I'm just worried that the Cubs are running the show with what some people view is a Triple-A manager, a minor league pitching instructor. More importantly, are there pitchers on the staff who feel that way? I'm going to try not to worry about it. Quade is earning more points than demerits in my book lately.

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Late, Late Pick Pitching Projections
Just in case any of these guys are on your fantasy radar, here are a few projections numbers we put together:

Carlos Carrasco (ADP: 318)
Bill James: 159 ip, 4.47 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 1.42 WHIP
Marcel: 85 ip, 4.45 ERA,7.0 K/9, 1.39 WHIP
ZiPS: 173.6 ip, 4.87 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 1.45 WHIP

Justin Masterson (ADP: 386)
Bill James: 180 ip, 4.10 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 1.41 WHIP
Marcel: 148 ip, 4.23 ERA,7.4 K/9, 1.39 WHIP
ZiPS: 183.3 ip, 4.37 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 1.44 WHIP

Andrew Cashner (ADP: n/a)
Marcel: 52 ip, 4.24 ERA,8.0 K/9, 1.38 WHIP
ZiPS: 68 ip, 3.84 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 1.41 WHIP

Wade Davis (ADP: 326)
Bill James: 163 ip, 4.09 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 1.38 WHIP
Marcel: 148 ip, 4.01 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 1.31 WHIP
ZiPS: 177.3 ip, 4.52 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 1.42 WHIP

Cory Luebke (ADP: n/a)
Marcel: 60 ip, 3.98 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 1.32 WHIP
ZiPS: 124.3 ip, 4.71 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 1.42 WHIP

Erik Bedard (ADP: 378)
Bill James: 66 ip, 3.55 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 1.27 WHIP
Marcel: 68 ip, 3.71 ERA,7.9 K/9, 1.28 WHIP
ZiPS: 55.3 ip, 3.58 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 1.30 WHIP

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From the non-News department, Kerry Wood is throwing a cut fastball. He started throwing it a long time ago, and learned much of how to throw it last season, working with Mariano Rivera. Like I said, it's not news, but it's been on my mind, and I think as Cubs fans there are few things to genuinely be excited about. The 8th and 9th innings, with a lead, could be a lot of fun this season.

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Bob Dylan (to Leonard Cohen): "How long did it take you to write 'Hallelujah'?"
Cohen: "About two years... How long did it take you to write 'I and I'?"
Dylan: "Fifteen minutes."

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To wrap things up, we will foreshadow the sharing of some terrific stories from the Negro Leagues. It's been an interest for most of my life and I've been exposed to more literature lately, so how could I not share it with the five or six of you who have gotten to this point in this rambling essay.

Two prizes, please comment, which version is better? The first or second? Thanks!



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