King Felix Moving Up the K Record Book

Despite the Mariners loss to the Rangers Wednesday night Felix Hernandez hurled a gem.  Seven innings, one walk, one run allowed and a two-to-one groundball-flyball rate.  He also whiffed nine Rangers which brings his career total to 1,742.

Just last night King Felix passed Bob Friend, Tom Candiotti, Ed Walsh (HOF) and Dave Stewart on the all-time strikeout list.

A great night’s work despite the loss.

30 Months Later, a “Home Run!”

Texas Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a home run on Tuesday night in Arlington.  This was the first long ball off his bat in over thirty months.  3-0 months.

The former Padres standout hit his previous three major league home runs off the following pitchers: Xavier Cedeno, Lance Pendleton and Henry Sosa.  These names make it clear that it’s been a while.

Welcome back Kouz!

Ten Facts: It’s Early in the Baseball Season

Here’s ten facts that prove it’s really early in the baseball season:

Power Hitting Catchers

After averaging 36 HR’s and 39 doubles in two short seasons in the minor leagues the Seattle Mariners have inserted Mike Zunino into their starting lineup.

Take a look at this long bomb he hit last night.

Zunino reminds me of former slugging catchers Mike Stanley and Mickey Tettleton.  At 23 years old and with power like this I would think they are set at receiver for at least the next five years.

 

Speed Kills a Billy Hamilton Highlight Reel

The St. Louis Cardinals were simply outrun yesterday by the Reds Billy Hamilton.

Yikes…

 

The Upside of the Cabrera Contract

Now that the Detroit Tigers have locked up future hall-of-famer Miguel Cabrera through age forty we are hearing a lot of backlash against the contract.  The criticism is fair and relevant but I want to peek at the upside.

In the past six decades I found a dozen productive power hitters at age 40 or older.  One occurred just last year in Seattle.  Raul Ibanez hit 29 home runs at age 41.  This just happened!

Will Miguel Cabrera be a better hitter at age 40 than Raul Ibanez?  If so, then this deal doesn’t look that bad.

Other really good power hitters after age 39 include: Darrell Evans (34 HR’s, 135 OPS+), Harold Baines, Dave Winfield and Edgar Martinez.

The worst of this lot was Ibanez and he went for 20 doubles, 29 HR’s and 123 OPS+ at age 41.  I think the Tigers would be pleased if Miggy had an Ibanez-like year in 2023.

Tom “Big Hall” Verducci

Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci was interviewed today on The Dan Patrick Show.  When Dan asked about hall-of-fame voting (specifically comparing the baseball vs. football HOF process) Verducci replied with:

“I don’t know that anyone has been voted info the Hall-of-Fame that doesn’t deserve to be in there, as far as the baseball writers go.”

I would say that Tom Verducci’s statement is mostly correct.  Of course this depends upon how big you like your hall.  A “Big Hall” guy would include the writers’ recent inductees Jim Rice, Kirby Puckett, Tony Perez, Bruce Sutter and Catfish Hunter.  If you are a “Small Hall” guy then these five inductions from the past three decades conflict with Verducci’s statement.

If Tom is a “Big Hall” guy then his statement is accurate and he would support the hall cases of Tim Raines, Kenny LoftonTommy John, Curt Schilling, Billy WagnerLou Whitaker, Larry Walker, Trevor HoffmanFred McGriff, Jeff Kent and Alan Trammell.  Consistency would merit eliminating the cap on the number of players that the writers could vote for leading to a much larger Hall.

That ill-timed Dan Duquette quote concerning Clemens

There is a common misconception that Roger Clemens was toast when the Boston Red Sox decided to not re-sign him after the 1996 season. Sox GM Dan Duquette became infamous in our little world of baseball for saying that Roger was entering the “twilight” of his career.

The Blue Jays disagreed with Duquette’s assessment of Clemens and signed the 34-year old starter to a four year deal worth ~$31 million.  To put the money in perspective, Clemens was paid more than Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey in ’97 & ’98.

What made the Blue Jays so sure that Clemens was worth MVP level money when Boston said good riddance to him?  It’s pretty simple actually.  In 1996, Clemens last year with the Red Sox he led the American League in strikeouts.  He whiffed 42 more batters than the league runner-up Chuck Finley.

Roger Clemens was far and away the best strikeout pitcher in the AL when Duquette said he was in his “twilight”.  This is akin to suggesting that Cliff Lee today is nearly washed up.

In addition to leading the league in strikeouts by a mile the ’96 version of Clemens was top-ten in the AL in strikeout/walk rate, fewest home runs allowed, innings pitched, complete games and E.R.A.  In his 32nd start of the 1996 season “The Rocket” went to Detroit and tied his own MLB record for most strikeouts in a 9-inning game by sending down twenty Tigers batters on strikes while allowing no walks and no runs.

Roger Clemens did not have to go to Toronto and use PED’s to revive his career.  When the Red Sox let the former Texas Longhorn walk he was still an elite major league pitcher.

Tom Glavine’s HOF Election Paves Way For…

Career stats:

Tom Glavine – 4413 IP

Tommy John – 4710 IP *advantage*

Glavine – 3.54 ERA

John – 3.34 ERA *advantage*

Glavine – 3.95 FIP ERA

John – 3.38 FIP ERA *advantage*

Glavine – 86 ERA minus (park and league adjusted, 100 is average)*advantage*

John – 90 ERA minus

Glavine – 14 wins, 16 losses, 3.30 ERA in postseason

John – 6 wins, 3 losses, 2.65 ERA in postseason *advantage*

Finally, the baseball writers view of each pitchers career…

Glavine – 92% of HOF vote in 1st year on ballot

John – 32% of HOF vote in 15th year on ballot

The Reverse Insanity Hall-of-Fame Ballot

I count a bakers dozen retired MLB stars who would get my 2014 Hall-of-Fame vote…including only the returning players.  This excludes newbie shoe-in’s Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine.  Can I vote for seventeen guys?

Since the maximum players you can choose is ten, the voter is required to strategize their selections.  In that case I have to leave off newcomers Thomas, Maddux & Glavine since they will surely be voted in and vote for the least deserving of my seventeen to make sure they don’t fall off the ballot.

Therefore my 2014 ballot includes (in order of least deserving to most):

For the most insane of reasons I need to leave off Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Mussina and Jeff Bagwell because they are too deserving!

Thanks stupid rules and stubborn baseball writers :-)

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