September 30th, 2004

Calvinball

Hec Is Correct

You know what the difference is between hitting .250 and hitting .300 is? It's twenty-five hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks--that means if you get one extra flare a week--just one--a gork, you get a ground ball, you get a ground ball with eyes, you get a dying quail--just one more dying quail a week and you're in Yankee Stadium. -- Crash Davis

So I didn't see the conversation about Manny Ramirez's ability as a hitter in Natter until way too late to respond, so I thought I'd do it here.

Manny Ramirez is the best hitter in the American League. That's not just for his career. That's also this year. His last six seasons, including this one, have been remarkably consistent. Is he streaky within the season? Sure, but in the end he always seems to wind up with the same numbers year in and year out, and those numbers are always among the best in baseball.

Here's a list of AL hitters ranked by OPS (On Base Pct. plus Slugging Pct., a much better measure of hitting ability than batting average). The Major League list is here. Manny is easily the best hitter in the AL. There are only seven guys in the NL who have better numbers. One of them is Bonds, who's in the stratosphere. Four of them play for the Cardinals. The really scary thing is that three of those four Cardinals are Gold Glovers as well.

Ortiz is fifth best hitter in the AL right now. One of the things that came up in the conversation in Natter is the notion that the Sox don't hit as well as last year, so they can't afford to carry Pokey and Mientkiewicz in the lineup. Nonsense. The Sox are the best offensive team in baseball this year, just as they were last year. They've scored thirty more runs than the next nearest team. They can afford to lose a little offense to bolster one of the worst defenses in the league. It's probably no coincidence that their big win streak came right after the arrivals of Cabrera and Mientkiewicz.


You know what the difference between hitting .310 and .315 is? Two or three hits a season. One of these days I need talk about sabermetrics.

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Best line of the day, from Mike Francesa of WFAN after the Cubs lost another extra inning game: "When they do the autopsies on the Cubs at the end of the season, they should have no problem finding their hearts. They'll be in their throats."

The Cubs have been choking badly against the Mets and the Reds. They look like a dead team.

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More interesting stuff about the Expos move here. Apparently this won't exactly be easy, and will make future moves very difficult because of the precedent baseball is setting by paying off the Orioles to let Washington have a team. Best potential new name? The Capital Punishment.