Wednesday, March 7, 2007
American Idol Thoughts
Who would you Build Around?
Good morning! We are back today with Part 2 of the "Who Would You Build Around?" discussions. Yesterday, we discussed the Hitters. Today, it is the pitchers.
I will be using the same format as yesterday, but there are a few differences with the pitchers. I came up with a list of 30 pitchers under the age of 30 (I figured out that I could use AA, AB, ...). The question, however, was the same. "Which Pitcher under the age of 30 would you choose to start your team?" Again, it is a lot more difficult to do than you would think. Do you take the 28 year old righty with 7 years of good pitching under his belt, or do you take the 21 year old lefty with 30 big league innings thrown? Do you take a guy with an injury history or not?
As was the case with the hitters, I only included players with big league experience. So, guys like Homer Bailey and Philip Hughes are not on the list. However, Jered Weaver and even Andrew Miller are included.
So, who are the players that were analyzed? Which 30 pitchers under 30 did I include? Here is the list (alphabetical):
Erik Bedard - LHP - Baltimore Orioles
Jeremy Bonderman - RHP - Detroit Tigers
Matt Cain - RHP - San Francisco Giants
Jeff Francis - LHP - Colorado Rockies
Jon Garland - RHP - Chicago White Sox
Roy Halladay - RHP - Toronto Blue Jays
Cole Hamels - LHP - Philadelphia Phillies
Rich Harden - RHP - Oakland A's
Danny Haren - RHP - Oakland A's
Felix Hernandez - RHP - Seattle Mariners
Josh Johnson - RHP - Florida Marlins
Scott Kazmir - LHP - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
John Lackey - RHP - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Francisco Liriano - LHP - Minnesota Twins
Gil Meche - RHP - Kansas City Royals
Andrew Miller - LHP - Detroit Tigers
Roy Oswalt - RHP - Houston Astros
Jonathan Papelbon - RHP - Boston Red Sox
Jake Peavy - RHP - San Diego Padres
Mark Prior - RHP - Chicago Cubs
CC Sabathia - LHP - Cleveland Indians
Ervin Santana - RHP - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Johan Santana - LHP - Minnesota Twins
Justin Verlander - RHP - Detroit Tigers
Chien-Ming Wang - RHP - New York Yankees
Jered Weaver - RHP - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Brandon Webb - RHP - Arizona Diamondbacks
Dontrelle Willie - LHP - Florida Marlins
Carlos Zambrano - RHP - Chicago Cubs
Barry Zito - LHP - San Francisco Giants
Again there are some names missing. The Baseball Savant asked me how I didn't include Josh Beckett in this. Well, I'm not a big Beckett fan, but he could be included. That said, I am more upset at myself for not including Daisuke Matsuzaka.
A couple other notes on the list: I know Gil Meche isn't probably someone who should be included. His massive contract was why I did include him. Barry Zito still had not signed when this list was made, but we knew how much he would make. I was interested to find out where he would finish. I included Josh Johnson, the Marlins rookie who led the NL in ERA much of last season. It now appears that his 2007 season could be in jeopardy. I included Francisco Liriano to see where he would wind up despite the injury. I do have to wonder where he would have finished if he had remained healthy! I also included guys like Chien-Ming Wang and Jon Garland who are not dominant starters by any means despite the fact that they have put up good Win totals. But again, those who have read this site for awhile know that the "Win" stat means essentially nothing to me since it has very little to do with how well a pitcher pitches.
Again, I didn't get as much participation as I had hoped. Ten people filled out the hitters list. Eleven people completed the form for the pitchers and sent it back to me. There were the other bloggers. Others were just baseball fans. Jeff Peek, of the Traverse City (Michigan) Record-Eagle, was kind enough to participate in this one as well. So, it was a fairly diverse group, and the responses were across the board for this one as well.
Well, if you were to rank the above players just by moving them up and down until you felt comfortable with it, how would it look? Well, using our a little more detailed method, here are the results. Here are who we would "Build Around."
Ranking (with Average Points - Max 29)
Seth Avg Take Out Top/Btm Min Max Range Top Score Santana, Johan 29 28.9 29.0 28 29 1 10 Oswalt, Roy 17 24.8 25.3 17 28 11 0 Halladay, Roy 14 23.7 24.3 14 28 14 0 Zambrano, Carlos 7 21.6 22.6 7 28 21 0 Kazmir, Scott 25 20.4 20.4 11 29 18 1 Webb, Brandon 15 20.3 20.6 12 26 14 0 Liriano, Francisco 25 18.8 18.9 9 28 19 0 Willis, Dontrelle 26 18.5 19.2 4 27 23 0 Bonderman, Jeremy 11 18.5 18.7 11 25 14 0 Verlander, Justin 27 18.1 18.2 8 27 19 0 Peavy, Jake 13 17.5 17.1 10 28 18 0 Sabathia, CC 7 16.5 16.4 7 27 20 0 Weaver, Jered 19 16.1 16.6 2 26 24 0 Haren, Danny 17 15.8 15.8 9 23 14 0 Zito, Barry 12 15.6 15.9 4 25 21 0 Hernandez, Felix 21 15.4 15.8 1 26 25 0 Harden, Rich 9 14.6 14.9 3 24 21 0 Papelbon, Jonathan 7 13.4 13.3 5 22 17 0 Cain, Matt 21 12.5 12.6 0 25 25 0 Lackey, John 17 10.8 10.9 3 18 15 0 Hamels, Cole 27 10.0 9.2 0 27 27 0 Santana, Ervin 19 9.8 9.4 4 19 15 0 Wang, Chien-Ming 3 9.7 9.7 1 19 18 0 Bedard, Erik 8 7.5 7.6 1 13 12 0 Garland, Jon 3 7.4 6.2 1 24 23 0 Johnson, Josh 2 7.1 6.3 2 19 17 0 Prior, Mark 2 6.9 5.9 0 23 23 0 Francis, Jeff 11 6.5 6.2 2 13 11 0 Miller, Andrew 18 5.1 4.1 1 18 17 0 Meche, Gil 0 1.2 1.1 0 3 3 0
Pretty clear who the top pitching choice is, huh? Johan Santana finished in the top spot in 10 of the 11 entries. He finished second on The Baseball Savants' chart, and here is why:
If I could, I'd put Santana & Kazmir at 1 each. It's hard to put Santana at #2 given all that he's accomplished, but if we are talking RIGHT NOW then I'm going with Kazmir because his stuff is absolutely electric and he's 5-years younger than Santana.
That is fair, and I have no problem with that especially with the explanation. One thing I found interesting was the Range for Cole Hamels. I know that on my list, he came in second behind only Santana yet, on another entry, he came in last, ahead of no one! Andrew Miller is another guy that I ranked far higher than anyone else did. That is why I think it is also important to look at the column where I took out the Top and the Bottom scores for each player to take away any bias.
A few questions... Had this same type of assessment been done one year ago, how high do you think that Felix Hernandez would have been? If it was done two or three years ago, how high would Mark Prior be on the list?
Again, I think if I try to summarize the above chart too much, it takes away from it. So, I would encourage you to just take a few minutes to review the chart and develop your own opinions on what it says. Then, make some Comments below and let's get a good discussion going.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Last night, the final eight guys performed. Tonight, the final eight women will perform. Tomorrow, we will have our final 12 contestants! Here is how the guys did last night (in my humble opinion).
Blake Lewis - All Mixed Up
Go Jimmy Walker Blue!! Anyway, great song choice because it was fun. A little reggae, some hip hop, and some really good high voice and low choice. He is different than anything on the show before.
Sanjaya Malakar - Waiting on the World to Change
He does a nice job of picking good songs so that he can't sound horrible. But he also doesn't bring anything exciting to the table. Was I the only one who was NOT surprised that Sanjaya knew how to hula?
Sundance Head - Jeremy
Sundance is a skinny man... yeah... so am I! Ha! But anyway, he pulled out some Pearl Jam tonight and it really worked for him. he's not a rocker type (aka Doughtry), but he does sing better when he sings with a bit of an edge. This was good. Not spectacular or perfect, but very good.
Chris Robertson - some Keith Urban song
Chris went with a little something different, slower. And, although he did alright, particularly with a couple of runs, it was really off key a lot throughout the song. It wasn't very good. But he should still be safe.
Jared Cotter - If You Really Love Me
Stevie is the best, and if you've read these in previous years, you know that I like when the performers sing his stuff. Vocally, he was very good. I don't know that it is a great song choice for this competition, but it will get the lady's votes.
Brandon Rogers - Celebrate
Strange outfit. Not a great song choice and yet it was different. He was the foreground singer this week at least and he needed to do that. I don't' think that the voice really showed much range.
Phil Stacey - I Need You
Just a horrible start. Dude has a strange voice. Is it unique? Is it even good? I really thought it has been good in previous weeks, but I thought it was just really bad last night! Didn't sound on pitch through most of the song. And weird song choice too.
Chris Sligh - I Need You
I really thought that he was good. You don't hear a lot of DC Talk on American Idol. I think that he closed out the show VERY well. Gave the guys a little respectability heading into tomorrow night.
Any thoughts on my rankings or any of the performances? Paula was actually not nice last night. That was weird. Anyway, send me an e-mail or leave some comments below.
Today, we will start the Other Thoughts with a look at how the Former Twins did on Tuesday.
Luis Jimenez of the Red Sox went 0-2 as the team's DH. Alex Ochoa played some LF and went 1-3. JC Romero pitched and inning of relief and gave up a hit, no runs and struck out one.
Former Twins farmhand Scott Tyler struck out one batter in 1/3 inning for the Marlins. He also gave up seven runs on six hits and a walk.
Luis Rivas played SS for the Indians and was 1-4 with a double and two RBI.
Terry Tiffee played some 1B for the Orioles and was 0-2.
"Can't Hit" Corky Miller caught for the Braves today. Oh, and he was 1-4 with a homer and two RBI.
Michael Restovich went 0-2 for the Nationals.
Brent Abernathy went 1-1 with a run and an RBI for the Phillies.
Michael Ryan is getting some playing time in LF while the Pirates are waiting for Jason Bay to come back (later this week) after knee surgery. Yesterday, he went 2-3 with a run and an RBI.
Juan Castro went 0-2 playing 3B. Eric Milton started for the Reds and gave up a run on two hits in three innings. He struck out one.
Dustan Mohr played LF and was 0-2 for the Devil Rays.
A couple former Twins minor league relievers are in camp with the Blue Jays. Brian Wolfe and Beau Kemp each threw a shutout inning.
Todd Jones struck out two in his shutout inning.
Willie Eyre is trying to catch on with the Rangers. Yesterday, he went two innings and gave up a walk and a hit and struck out two.
AJ Pierzynski caught for the White Sox and went 1-2 with a two run homer.
Next, the Twins of the present fell to the Dodgers 7-4. Michael Cuddyer went 2-3 with a double. Jason Kubel had a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. Later in the game, Glenn Williams hit a home run. Trevor Plouffe went 1-1 with a double. Friend of the site, Eli Tintor, went 0-1 with a walk and a run scored. The story of the game, however, was Ramon Ortiz. He went three innings and did not allow a base runner. Glen Perkins gave up five hits in two innings for one run. That said, it could have been worse if not for the efforts of 2B Tommy Watkins who made a diving catch on a tough ball, got up and threw to first for a double play.
When they hear that Ramon Ortiz pitched so well, so many people want to dismiss it and say that it is early, it's spring training. Many of those same people wanted the team to get rid of Carlos Silva after his bad first outing.
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