Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Quickies

Baseball Prospectus had a White Sox Notebook entry yesterday (no subscription required) focusing on Brian Anderson's defense.
Anderson is producing on defense at a RATE of 124, meaning that if he keeps up his current play he'll have saved an astounding 24 runs above the average centerfielder (think the once-spectacular Andruw Jones since 2004) over 100 games. Since 1900, no centerfielder has kept up a 124 RATE for a full season--not Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, Curt Flood, or Jim Edmonds.

They give the usual disclaimer about small sample sizes but conclude that BA's defense is worth keeping him in the line-up every day.

I guess I'll throw my two cents in about the latest Ozzie controversy. First, I think Ozzie was wrong to berate Tracy in the dugout after failing to hit Blalock. But it's not that big of deal. While Tracy is a rookie, he's 25 and I would hope he has the maturity to handle being yelled at by Ozzie.

Hell, when I was 16 I made two errors at shortstop that blew a game for my high school team. After the first error that led to the tying run scoring, my coach reacted by taking a bat and slamming it againt a fence-pole and then shouting out to the field "E-6!". That motivated me so much that when the very next ball was hit to me, I booted it again and let the winning run score.

Getting yelled is just part of baseball and my experience left no emotional scars on me whatsoever. Honestly, I was completely at ease with it by the time I turned 30.

The Chicago Rush won the Arena Bowl last week and Teddy Greenstein says:
The Rush's ArenaBowl game Sunday on NBC was popular in Chicago, equaling ratings for the French Open men's final earlier in the day.

Um, Teddy, I don't think popular means what you think it means.

The Cubs are planning on platooning Matt Murton with Fast Freddie Bynum in left and may possibly send Murton down to the minors.

At this point, I'm starting to feel sorry for Cub fans as this season is going from bad to worse. Certainly, Murton is having a ton of trouble against righties, batting only 226 with a 298 on base percentage against them. But the Cubs are probably going to have the worst record in the National League by the end of the month and are going nowhere fast. Why not let Murton, a rookie, try and work things out? He may actually have a long term future for the Cubs as a starter, as opposed to Bynum, who doesn't look like he should be on a major league roster.

And if you platoon Murton, how in the world does it make sense to platoon him with Bynum? Bynum is hitting 236 against righties with a a 263 on base percentage. He is slugging better than Murton against rights (455 to 297) but his other numbers suggest that he his at-bats should be kept to a minimum.

If the Cubs want to make a serious run at trying to get back in the playoff race (which I would not advise) they would be better off putting Walker in left and platooning Murton with Jacque Jones, who is hitting 204/232/407 off lefties, in rightfield. If you combined Jones' numbers against righties (316/350/546) with Murton's against lefties (375/444/571), the Cubs would get tremendous production out of their rightfield position.

Even if they made this change the Cubs would still have a lot of other holes to fill. Their best option is to let Murton play every day and see if he can develop some power and start hitting righties.