Posts Tagged ‘play-offs’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out on the Flip Side: Ruppert Jones

I’m pretty sure I picked this card out of the thousands I go through because I thought Ruppert was misspelled (it isn’t) and the name makes me chuckle. It probably makes me chuckle because of Family Guy, but, in my head, Ruppert is really Higgins from Magnum PI – the mind does funny things.

I figure I also liked the rather mundane factoid as well. He enjoys both karate and racquetball (presumably not at the same time). I don’t really like either. Karate wasn’t my thing and I’m not a fan of Martial Arts movies (unless it is Mortal Kombat or stars JCVD). Racquetball I enjoyed a little, but it reminds me of old fogies with short shorts and smelly socks. I also hate squash (the game, not the food, acorn squash soup is delicious).

Anyway, the reflexes and agility required by both enjoyed activities must have helped Jones during his career. In 1977, he made 465 putouts, the 27th most in a season ever. In a game on May 16, 1978, Jones recorded 12 putouts, thereby tying the major league record for putouts by an outfielder in an extra-inning game. He batted fourth in the contest, went 1/6 with two Ks and his average stood at .213. Former flip-sider Shane Rawley took the loss.

The following year, 1979, Jones recorded 453 putouts, the 44th most ever in a season. The man could track down balls (even though his defensive abilities seem suspect – 2.2 dWAR for his career).

Even before all that, Jones was the first pick in the 1976 expansion draft by the Seattle Mariners, after being selected in the third round of the amateur draft by the Royals in 1973.

His 1977 season made the Mariners look like geniuses. He went .263/.324/.454 with 24 bombs – he was worth 3.3 wins above a replacement player.

However things wouldn’t progress. Aside from his record setting put-out game in ‘78, his season was a disaster. But he bounced back and played well for the Mariners in ’79, finishing his career there worth 6 WAR.

He’d spend one year with the Yankees and then three with the San Diego Padres. He played his best ball for the Padres (7.5 WAR), but they granted him free agency after the 1983 season. He signed with the Detroit Tigers.

He appeared in just two games for the Tigers in the postseason that year, didn’t contribute much, but was part of a win in the World Series against the Padres.

The majority of his post-season experience came the year before this card was printed. He went 3/17, but walked 5 times for the Angels against the Boston Red Sox. And that would wrap his last real season in the majors.

He came back in 1987 but couldn’t buy a base hit. He played another year in Japan before hanging it up and focusing on Karacquete, a new sport that never quite caught on.

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Lock, Stock and Taking Stock, Part 2

Lock, Stock and Taking Stock, Part 2

http://razzball.com/lock-stock-and-taking-stock-part-2/

h2h Corner ~ Check you out on the Flip Side: Ron Roenicke

I think, initially, this card stuck out for two reasons. One, I love Gary Roenicke (more on him later) and, two, tennis is one of the more exasperating sports (second only to golf in my opinion). What is it with rich people and bizarrely intricate athletics?

When I was a kid, it was important to my parents that I be fluent in the art of the hardcourt. They had grown up without much money, put themselves through school and ascended to the upper middle class. So, on vacations, I’d always have to take tennis lessons. Mostly, during these lessons, I pretended I was Ken Griffey, Jr. or Barry Bonds and tried to hit every return over the fence. Exasperated, the tennis “pro” would send me off to the wilderness to retrieve the balls. Repeat this for one hour and you get the gist of my lessons. (Why I always emulated lefties is beyond me – maybe because I had a horrid backhand).

Anyway, I’d also play my father in tennis at the end of every trip. While he isn’t all that athletic, he was better at tennis than me. I was faster/quicker and in better shape, but I could never get the ball to go where I wanted (maybe it had something to do with those lessons). My dad would play well enough to keep me around in the match. Invariably (because we’re both poor losers and intensely competitive), though, he would put me away and I would get frustrated. I knew it was happening and couldn’t stop it. Well, I knew one way to stop it. I would slam my racket on the ground like a petulant child. Consequently, tennis is not relaxing but anxiety producing – worse than swinging a driver and missing the ball completely.

Roenicke had no problem with hand-eye coordination though, so tennis must have come easily to him. After all, he was a first round pick of the hometown Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. He never really lived up to that billing though. He wouldn’t make it to the majors for four years (1981), when he was 24-years-old and he didn’t fare well in 22 games that year.

However, he did show some promise the following season, going .259/.359/.336. Sure, you’d want more power from a corner outfielder, but this was 1982 and he did get on base.

The Dodgers would release him in the middle of the following (unproductive) season, however. He bounced around for awhile, catching on here and there and not really getting to prove himself. From 1984-1986, he played for three teams and posted a .252/.389/.379 line in 535 plate appearances. That had to have been the highlight of his career (and he even played in a post-season with the Padres). It’s a shame he never got to show what he could do on the field. He finished with a .238/.353/.338 line.

So, why did the name Roenicke stick out (I pulled this card from a pack before he became the Brewers manager)? Well, his brother, Gary Roenicke, was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles in 1977 (along with Joe Kerrigan and Don Stanhouse) for Rudy May, Randy Miller, and Bryn Smith. He was an Earl Weaver type of player.

From 1979-1985, he appeared in 823 games for the Orioles, posting a .250/.356/.447 line. He hit lefties really well throughout his career (.255/.363/.454) and did a ton of damage for Earl Weaver as a platoon player. Gary finished with a .247/.351/.434 line, appeared in two World Series and won one. His final numbers are eerily similar to his brother.

I like to think that what Gary learned from Earl Weaver maybe had a little to do with how Ron Roenicke manages. But really, I just like to see Weaver and they heyday of the Baltimore Orioles in any successful baseball squad.

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h2h Corner ~ Check you out on the Flip Side: Jaime Cocanower

Hi, it’s me, Jaime.

Hi you!

Get it?

Ok, maybe not.

Let’s just say it’s a very good thing Cocanower was a numbers guy – as the numbers you see on the back of his card would be the last he ever compiled in major league baseball.

Oddly enough, he finished with a 3.99 ERA in 365.2 innings – seems like a usable pitcher, no?

Well, unfortunately, Cocanower was all wild thing (NSFW link)and no Vaughn. He finished second in wild pitches in the AL in 1984 and 1985 and second in hit batsman in ‘84 and sixth in ’85. He didn’t strike anyone out either – just 139 in his CAREER. He had a 0.69 K:BB rate.

Aside from the lesson on how to pronounce Cocanower’s first name on the back of this card, what stood out was the poor phraseology of the last sentence. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. There is a scant amount of space on the back of a baseball card, you’d think the goal would be an economy of words. Yet, instead of enjoying deep sea fishing, he “enjoys outings of going deep sea fishing.” I’m no accountant but that seems like three words too much.

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Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang Tape From yesterday

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang taped from yesterday for your mind’s enjoyment. Download it and see if we got the future of the play-offs correct. Also, some prospects for you to check out in the Arizona Fall League and we slammed the Red Sox and other squads for being too reactionary.

Have a listen! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thefantasyinsiders/2011/10/03/baseball-daily-digest-radio-with-joel-henard-and-albert-lang

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Steve Bedrosian

bedrosian back bedrosian frontJudging by his awesome facial hair and hobbies, Bedrosian seems to be the consummate flame-throwing good ole boy (never mind that he was born in Massachusetts). To me, four wheeling and breeding dogs screams hunter — of course, I’m not a hunter, so I might be completely wrong. Either way, given these three things: awesome beard, four-wheeler and breeds dogs, you would absolutely agree that he is capable of 120+ IPs in (predominantly) relief in back-to-back years.

Bedrosian did accomplish that feat and so much more. Outside of 1985, Bedrosian was basically a relief pitcher. It’s kind of odd because in ’85, he threw 206.2 innings and posted a 3.83 ERA. Of course he had a 4.14 FIP and recorded just 5.84 K/9 compared to the 8.71 rate he posted in the previous season. Another reason he’d start zero games for the rest of his career after posting 37 starts for the Braves? The organization would trade him and Milt Thompson to the Phillies for Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil. The Phillies saw his ability to strike guys out in relief and kept him there permanently.

It’d turn out to be a pretty smart move. Bedrosian finished his career with the 34th most relief wins all time with 65 — one more than Al Hrabosky, he of the awesomest facial hair ever. Of course, on the flip side, Bedrosian has the 31st most loses (61) in relief in MLB History — tied with Bob Stanley and one ahead of Mike Stanton.

You add up that career and durability and you get the pitcher with the 46th most innings pitched in relief in MLB history — just 2.1 innings behind José Mesa (seriously – what? I’m as confused as you are).

However, the most surprising/confusing aspect of Bedrosian’s career would be the 1987 season. He did post a 2.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 7.5 K/9 and lead the league in saves with 40. Not surprising you’d say? A pretty average/above average year? Well, he won the Cy Young that year, yet had only a 2.0 WAR and only 89 IPs. Sure his win was by no means unanimous as he received just 9 first place votes (out of 24). The problem is no one could see through records and recognize the dominance of Orel Hershiser (16-16, 264 IPs, 3.06 ERA, 190 Ks, 1.21 WHIP).

Relievers are often a different breed – fiery and eclectic as always. Bedrosian, while not really remembered and with his Cy Young completely forgotten, is one of the more underrated useful relievers of all time. Plus, you can’t ignore that beard, ahem Brian Wilson.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Candy Maldonado

Maldonado backMaldonado frontReally? I mean, really? Travelling is an enjoyable experience? Maybe the mid-80s were different — there weren’t interminable security lines and strip searches that would make Demi Moore blush. Maybe back then you could bring whatever food you wanted on a plane and meet people at the gate.

I didn’t fly much as a youngster in the 80s — my family drove places. It was not a good thing…for anyone. The only saving grace was the Game Boy and Tetris.

I abhor travelling, but I like vacationing. Occasionally, air travel is fun – like on an overseas flight that isn’t too long but full of free booze. That’s my kind of travelling. But in reality, getting from point A to point B has gotten more painful than ever before.

I’m sure this isn’t want Maldonado meant when he marked “travelling” under the “enjoyable experiences” portion of the questionnaire. But I’m literal.

It’s a good thing Maldonado liked to travel, as baseball, at each level, involves a fair bit of it. In addition, Maldonado played 15 seasons in the pros for seven different teams (Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Blue Jays, Rangers, Cubs and Brewers). He was traded three times…for Alex Trevino, some nobodies and Glenallen Hill (more on him later). As mostly a part time player, he’d earn just 9.7 WAR for his career.

That doesn’t do justice to his career though. When you play 15 seasons in the Bigs you accumulate some interesting stats and, as it turns out, Maldonado was quite adept at hitting pinch-hit HRs. For instance, Maldonado is tied for 16th all time in MLB history for pinch-hit HRs. He hit 11, just two behind Hill and five behind Willie McCovey.

Perhaps the oddest thing about Maldonado’s career: only three times in MLB history has a pinch-hit homerun been the only run of the game. Maldonado accomplished this “feat” against Mark Davis on April 13, 1985.

Speaking of pinch-hitting, Maldonado had the 16th best season in MLB history in terms of pinch hit average — .425 in 1986. Not too shabby. He also earned roughly $9 million in his career – enough to make travelling at lot more relaxing…

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Shane Rawley

Rawley back Rawley frontThe cadence of this card is stunning. We learn that, seven years prior to its printing, Rawley earned his pilot’s license. Then, of his many interests (we assure you they are numerous) he likes to write. That’s pretty cool; writing is a fun thing to do for some people. Then, oh-by-the-way, Rawley also likes flying. Umm no **** Sherlock.

It would stand to reason if a guy was so motivated to get his pilot’s license it would be because he likes flying airplanes. I would imagine that he wasn’t flying commercial jets in the off-season to pick up pocket change. It’s just funny to me how weirdly worded this card is — there are four sentences that have very little connection with one another – and, in actuality, some are not even complete sentences.

Regardless, the ebb and flow of the narrative is kind of like Rawley’s career. In his first four seasons with the Mariners, Rawley would pitch in 159 games and amass 309.1 innings and 182 punch-outs while posting a 3.75 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. He started only five games for the Mariners.

He would then be traded in 1981 to the New York Yankees. In two+ years, Rawley would start 60 games, pitch in relief in 32 others and post a 4.11 ERA and 1.39 WHIP before being traded to the Phillies, for whom he would start 140 games and appear in only five as a reliever.

He’d be finished in the majors after the 1989 season, his first with the Twins, during which he’d start 25 games.

Given his handedness–he was a southpaw–it’s odd that he left the game just two years after being a 17 game winner. You’d think he’d at least get to be a LOOGY out of the pen. Unfortunately, Rawley would exhibit absolutely no platoon splits — righties hit .271/.340/.405 off him, while lefties hit .272/.333/.371.

He clearly had an up and down career – shifting from starter to reliever — lets hope his flying skills weren’t as rocky.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Fred Lewis

Fred lewis backWhen you compare the info from the older cards to the newer cards, you see a natural progression. There seems to be more professionalism, better information and a subtle sense of “stat-geek” influences with the new cards. Of course, in today’s modern world it is much easier to edit things and gather information.

Still, I like the neatness of the Fred Lewis card…the card calls his career highlights “unique” because they are – they aren’t “great” or anything he really controls, just unique. The factoids are beautifully odd: Lewis hit safely in his first three at bats, his first homer was part of a cycle, his next two dingers were grand slams, and he stole home twice (the coolest thing besides flying jets).

This card is part of the 2010 Series I, which means it doesn’t include the tidbit that on April 15 he was traded to the Blue Jays for cash/player to be named. Clearly the Giants were willing to give up on the 29-year-old outfielder who had been a second round selection in 2002. It’s not exactly clear why. Set aside the fact that the Giants were not bursting with hitting talent, Lewis managed a useable (especially in the NL) slash line (.277/.355/.420) over 1,528 plate appearances. Not surprisingly, Lewis would post a .262/.332/.414 line in the AL. Given the harder competition it makes sense that he’d hit a bit worse in the harder league.

However, the bizarre thing about this is the decision to trade Lewis for, essentially, nothing. He had done all those cool things — stole home, hit grand slams, hit for the cycle and was decidedly useful. The Giants would use Aaron Rowand (331 ABs), Nate Schierholtz (227 ABs) and an assortment of other players in a spot that Lewis could have manned easily. Sure Lewis earned .8 WAR this year, but Rowand earned a negative WAR and Schierholtz earned just .2 WAR.

Maybe I’m a sucker for players who act like Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez, but I found it incredibly odd the way the Giants handled Lewis this year. At the very least, Lewis has had one of the most unique careers of any baseball player — and that is saying something.

Fred lewis front

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Brian Buchanan

Buchana backBuchana front

I really find this card funny – for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that it allows me to make a little fun of the New York Yankees….

So let me get this straight. Matt Nokes walks in free agency because the Yanks have a young catcher in the minors who is playing pretty well and the team can obtain a supplemental draft pick when he signs with another organization. The Yankees then use that pick on someone named Brian Buchanan – a big 6’3, 190 lbs left-handed pitcher out of high school. Of course, as you (the reader) no doubt see, Buchanan played JV baseball for two years and didn’t pitch his junior season. So, the Yankees drafted a guy with exactly 42.2 varsity high school innings. Not typically the recipe for success.

He’d spend six years in the Yankees minor league system tapping out at AA. He’d finish with not exactly horrible minor league numbers spread over nine years (3.99 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 7.2 Ks/9). What really hurt him was his control; he’d walk 4.1 batters per nine in the minors. Unfortunately, like so many other draft picks, Buchanan would never toe the rubber for a major league ball club.

As for the other Brian Buchanan – and seriously was it the PR departments idea to draft guys with the same name in back-to-back years — he’d log 14 seasons in the minors, finishing with a .279/.341/.450 slash line and 141 HRs. He’d never play for the Yankees as he, along with Eric Milton, Christian Guzman and Danny Mota would be shipped to the Twins in exchange for Chuck Knoblauch. Truly this trade helped both sides. The Twins ultimately got two steady major league performers and Knoblauch played a solid second base for the Yankees. However, Buchanan would do nothing for the Twins – hitting a grand total of 16 HRs in 414 ABs before being traded to the Padres for Jason Bartlett.

Of course Bartlett would put up some great minor league numbers (.299/.373/.417) leading him to become a semi-darling of the stat-community. He was then packaged along with Matt Garza for, predominantly, Delmon Young.

So, the Yankees got no major league appearances from back-to-back Brian Buchanan first round draft picks. Of course, they did turn one into part of chuck Knoblauch — which is a pretty good thing.

You have to love the MLB draft – strange things always seem to happen which is decidedly the case with the only two MLB players to have been named Brian Buchanan.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

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