Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Rockies’

Any Player/Any Era: Larry Walker for Baseball Past & Present

Any Player/Any Era: Larry Walker for Baseball Past & Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/05/03/playerany-era-larry-walker/. A look at how Walker would have fared on the late 1930s St. Louis Cardinals, away from Coors Field and the steroid era.

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Me! Will Air at 7:00 ET

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang will air at 7:00 PM ET 3.12: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thefantasyinsiders/2012/03/12/baseball-daily-digest-radio-with-joel-henard-and-albert-lang.

We’ll be joined by special guest Steve Gardner of USA Today and talk Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Kenley Jansen, Yoennis Cespedes, Albert Pujols, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Kyle Seager, LABR, Spring Training and much more.

Check You Out on the Flip Side: Jason Marquis

A stathead…er…An untrained observer with a working knowledge of the National League for the last eight years who stumbled upon the back of this card would likely assume that some combination of Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy, Carlos Zambrano and Aaron Harang would fit the bill as the top starters in the National League from 2004-2009.

Not so fast! Marquis and his 9.5 WAR (Fangraphs) but amazing winability (80 Ws) is clearly involved, as noted by this fine 2010 Topps card.

Never mind that his 4.9 K/9 rate was the fifth lowest among starters with significant innings from that era (it was worse than Woody Williams, Kris Benson, Cory Lidle, Dave Bush, and many others). In addition, his ERA (4.49) was similarly amongst the worse, as were his FIP (4.84, which only bested Jeff Suppan) and xFIP (4.68). Like Jack Morris (who I revere), Marquis just pitched to the score. Right…

While that’s a lot of negativity, we can say that Marquis was durable (and averageish). He threw 1,177.1 IPs during that stretch, the fourth most behind Oswalt, Harang and Zambrano. Of course, that took its tool as he started the 2010 season late and struggled to win just two games. Apparently, it’s hard to pitch to the score when the Nationals are involved.

He pitched better on the surface in 2011, good enough to look like an innings eater to the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, shortly after he was traded to Arizona, he broke his fibula and missed the rest of the year.

Regardless, Marquis has come a long way from Staten Island and the Little League World Series. In case you don’t remember, Marquis was on the third-place little league squad in 1991. He even beat Chad Pennington.

Pitching and winning must have seemed real easy in little league. It probably seemed harder but not impossible from 2004-2009. I imagine wining seems a lot more difficult now after struggling with losing teams and injuries.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Neifi Perez

poerez backperesfrontAmidst all the recent Yuniesky Betancourt confusion, I stumbled upon this Neifi Perez card from 2002. I’m also in a surly mood because the holidays are over and I’m tired, so I wanted to go on a rantpage.

I assume Buddy Bell did not actually mean what he said, he was simply trying to be a company man, nice guy and player’s coach, but still, to ask if there is a better shortstop than Neifi Perez is like asking if there is a better looking man/woman than Fergie.

In his 668 games with the Rockies, Perez managed a .282/.313/.411 line. Not good, not abysmal for a shortstop, but, still, not good. He struck out 287 times in 2,728 ABs and hit just 43 HRs. He stole 33 bases, but was caught 24 times. In short he was worth just 1.1 wins above a replacement player. For someone who played most of his games at Coors field those offensive numbers are truly offensive.

So what gave Perez an edge? Well, he had a reputation of being a good glove man and did win the gold glove in 2000 (although ask Rafael Palmeiro how prestigious the award is). He also is tied for the sixth best fielding percentage among shortstops all time. When he hung up his glove, he finished with a .978 fielding mark, the same as Ozzie Smith, Orlando Cabrera and Devi Cruz. He was just behind the immortal Cal Ripken, Tony Fernandez, Larry Bowa, Mike Bordick and Omar Vizquel.

Unfortunately, his time in Colorado would represent the high watermark of his career, as he’d spend the next seven seasons whittling down his career WAR to 0.1. For the Royals, who traded for him, he’d be worth -1.9 WAR. This began a sad collection of trades involving Perez.

However, the Rockies did outstanding to get Jermaine Dye who was just 27 at the time and was putting up a .272/.333/.417 line. Not great for a corner outfielder but he was worth 10.6 WAR up to that point and had a career .285/.341/.481 line. That is where the Rockies’ (the team that gave Perez all those ABs) intelligence ended. The same day they would flip Dye to the Oakland Athletics for Todd Belitz, Mario Encarnacion and Jose Ortiz.

For Oakland, Dye was worth 2.5 WAR and put up a .252/.326/.444 line – certainly better than Neifi Perez.

Back to Perez who the Royals gave too much playing time and lost too many wins because of. Mercifully, he’d be in Kansas City for just two years before going to the San Francisco Giants (worth 0.3 during his time there) and then three years for the Cubs (1.6 WAR). Draw your own conclusions why…or think about Edgar Renteria’s recent contract.

To sum up the first Betancourt, in only five seasons in his 12-year career did Perez post an OBP above .300. Only once was it over .314.

Basically, July 25, 2001 must have been a shot to the ego for Jermaine Dye (perhaps moreso than the free agent market in 2010). I mean, he was traded for what?

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Chris Richard

chris richard backI’ve always liked Chris Richard- I can’t really explain why. Perhaps it is because he has a similar hobby to yours truly….namely a fondness for baseball cards. I love the make-believe involved in cards, the “kid at heart” feeling opening up a new pack and hoping to get a Griffey or Mauer or Posey rookie card. When it comes to hobbies, it doesn’t get much better than baseball cards – you can truly invent anything you want with them, rank them, trade them, write about them (what, you thought I’d link to myself?), look at them, etc.

As a 21-year-old, Richard was a 19th round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Oklahoma State in 1995. He’d post pretty decent minor league numbers culminating in 2000’s AAA slash line: .277/.366/.469. Based on that, Richard would get the call and appear in 62 games for the Cardinals, putting up a .265/.326/.544 slash line.

However, in the middle of the year, the Cardinals traded him and Mark Nussback to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Timlin. At the time, I was ecstatic. It looked like my team had secured a good young first basemen for the cost of a reliever, who, in my mind, simply blew games. Certainly Richard would be much better than Randy Milligan or Sam Horn (who went to high school with Mark McLemore – no joke). Unfortunately, Richard’s mediocre start would simply be his ceiling, as he posted a .262/.323/.445 slash line in 837 ABs with the Orioles.

chris richard frontIn 2003, the Orioles would move him to the Colorado Rockies for Jack Cust. Cust, a former first-rounder, had prodigious power. Again, I thought the Orioles had secured their first baseman of the future for the paltry some of an older player who never would fulfill the faulty promise I bestowed upon him. Unfortunately, Cust would get just 74 ABs in Baltimore before he left. He’d go on to have a pretty successful three year stretch for the Oakland Athletics.

But there is one thing Richard accomplished that Cust (and many others) certainly didn’t. In fact, only 24 players in MLB history ever did what Richard did, that being hit a homerun on the first pitch they ever saw in their career. This is by no means a great predictor of success, but the feat was also accomplished by such notables as Bert Campaneris, Jay Bell and Adam Wainwright.

I wonder what Richard’s favorite baseball card growing up was.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Larry Walker

Larry walker backwalker front













Shooter McGavin: Just stay out of my way… or you’ll pay! LISTEN to what I say!

Happy Gilmore: Hey, why don’t I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What’d ya say?

I mean seriously? Walker’s parents must have been pretty Brady Bunch quirky to name their children Larry, Gary, Cary and Barry. Larry I get — it was a big deal back in the day for the first born son to take his fathers name (heck I’m a third). And it’s merely coincidence that Larry married Marry — but seriously, how obnoxious do you have to be to rhyme all your kids’ names? Could you imagine introducing them at a party or school function? Blech.

While naming your kids ridiculous things (Apple?) is all fun and games, Walker’s career was seriously awesome.

No season would be more serious than his 1997 campaign: .366/.452/.720 with 49 HRs, 33 SBs and only eight caught stealings. Certainly, combined, it was a fine year, but his highest batting average (.379) and OBP (.459) would come in 1999. In fact, from 1997-2001, he would bat over .350 four times and over .360 three times.

Think I’m cherry picking some years to make him sound more phenomenal than he was?

Well, Walker has the 38th best average (.313) by a left-handed batter in major league history — tied with two others. He has the 46th highest OBP in MLB history – a sublime .400 – just .001 behind Ricky Henderson – but ahead of Joe DiMaggio, Cap Anson and many others. Walker is also tied for 15th all time with a .565 slugging percentage — ahead of Stan Musial, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Mike Piazza, Frank Robinson and many others. Combine those two stats and you get the 17th highest OBP + SLG, which equals OPS, at .965. That number is higher than Alex Rodriguez, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Gary, Cary, Barry and on and on.

During his career, four times he would bat .300 with 30 HRs and 100 RBIs — that is tied for the 24th most seasons of all time. Walker is also one of just 24 players to bat over .300 and hit over 300 HRs in his career. Of all the left-handed batters in all the world that ever played baseball, Walker recorded the 16th and 17th highest slugging percentages in a season. The only immortals he trails: Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams. Not surprisingly he posted two of the top 21 highest OPS seasons by a left-handed batter – trailing only seasons by Bonds, Ruth, Williams and Gehrig.

Finally, he is tied with Carlton Fisk for 69th in wins above replacement (WAR) — ahead of the likes of Eddie Murray, Pee Wee Reese, Craig Biggio, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, Gary Sheffield and Mark McGwire.

Of course, it’s hard to parse out the Coors effect and how that improved his numbers. But, if you remember, from ages 22 – 27, he played for Montreal and would accumulate a pretty decent line: .281/.357/.483. Sure it was super helpful to have played in Coors during his relative prime, but kudos to him for taking absolute full advantage of it. Ultimately, his career compares favorably to Vlad Guerrero, Duke Snider, DiMaggio and Ellis Burks. And, clearly, you could argue that he had one of the most devastating bats from the left-side in MLB history.

Quite simply, it’s amazing to me how many Hall of Famers his career is similar or better than. He is up for the first time for enshrinement this coming year along with first-timers Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, Kevin Brown and Juan Gonzalez. I’m betting he doesn’t get in, but I wouldn’t be surprised or upset if he and Bagwell (and perhaps Kevin Brown) enter Cooperstown.

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