Monday, November 28, 2011

Yoenis Cespedes: The Showcase


I have paused the showcase video of Yoenis Cespesdes at 5:17 right now because I realized how amazing it is. I am also not sure how I have lived this long in my life without ever seeing a video of this magnitude. Anyways, since it has been a rather slow and boring MLB off-season so far, I have been searching near and far for anything relevant to baseball. Then I found what might be the greatest showcase video ever created. A showcase video so amazing that only a running diary can truly capture what is going through my mind as I write it. Here we go.

0:49 - I honestly had to stop the video to tweet about the sweet inspiring music that is going on right now. While I haven't actually seen his picture or any type of baseball being played, listening to some dude speak Spanish while being accompanied by inspirational music really has me wanting to go dunk a basketball, punch a random individual, or go spend $13 at Taco Bell.

2:09 - UPDATE! The inspirational music, Spanish speaking gentleman, and Star Wars credit words have finally stopped. I have enough adrenaline pumping to punt an elephant.

3:34 - Shortly after the credits stopped rolling, we get a glimpse into the baseball player that is Yoenis Cespedes. Using a rather slow song (no clue what song it is) and extreme slow motion, the viewers get strange little video clips of Yoenis hitting home runs. While I am excited to see him swing the bat and hit the ball as far as he can, the music has me feeling sad and confused. Did Yoenis just get dumped by his girlfriend? This mark in the video is also of a clip where he hits a long home run, stands to watch how far the ball goes for 8 seconds (not lying), all while someone in the stands plays some sort of trumpet.

4:53 - This mark shows a clip of Yoenis hitting home run #32 of the year which also ties the Cuban single season home run record. While that is nice, this is America. With all of this hype and a 20 minute Youtube showcase video, I thought he would be tying the Cuban home run record at 86, not 32. Disappointed.

5:36 - Shows the record breaking grand slam that Yoenis hits. How did I know it was record breaking? Because a rather loud "glass shattering" sound effect plays and scares me into choking on my cookie cake. This is followed by the Spanish speaking announcers going on for 30 seconds and I have no clue what they are saying.

6:13 - AIRPLANE SOUND EFFECT!!!! "I've done all I can in Cuba, now I must move on." Apparently this is the transition from baseball player to work out guru. Suddenly, I have no clue what is going on.

6:41 - Now we all get to see Yoenis work out without a shirt on. Classy move. It's a well known fact that baseball players work out better without a shirt on. Also, if I'm not mistaken, that is Chris Brown blaring out of my computer speakers. Final note, whoever is filming this video on the track is either running along with him, riding a bicycle, or is purposely shaking the camera as hard as he/she can. I may get sick.

8:23 - Still rocking the Chris Brown music, we all get to see Yeonis do some leg press. Not only is he leg pressing a lot of weight, he is leg pressing two of his friends who are most certainly "too excited" that they are helping him out. Seriously, look at their faces, that is pure arousal. It also just came up on the screen that he is currently benching 1300 lbs. Not sure if that is true or not, but I'm pretty sure that isn't that much.

10:29 - We get to see Yoenis shagging fly balls in right field. Apparently they don't teach catching the ball with two hands in Cuba.

10:47 - I was going to talk more about his poor fielding skills when the video transitioned into an extremely erotic workout between Yoenis and his workout partner. While this part of the video made me uncomfortable, it got worse when they used slow motion to show off his "CORE POWER!"

11:24 - They are still working out in slow motion. . .

11:27 - Now we see how Yoenis handles the center field position as he shags fly balls once again. More importantly, this clip shows how focused he is on catching fly balls. It doesn't even phase Yoenis when a random four wheeler drives behind him. That is an important skill that will transfer into the MLB. He also catches a ball behind his back. Well done Yoenis. I could do that when I was 9.

12:53 - I didn't update for the last minute and a half because I was enamored by how amazing his "CORE STRENGTH" was. At this point the viewer gets another look at some fielding practice that Yoenis is taking with the kids from the Cuban movie El Sandlote.

15:39 - DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO BE THE BEST!!!!!!!! AIRPLANE SOUND EFFECTS!!!!!! I am totally thrown by the fact that his little airplane graphic lands in ?, USA. What does this even mean? Does he not know the cities that certain teams play in? Would he really play for the Astros if they signed him?

16:22 - Now a map of the United States with each of the MLB teams logos on their respective cities. The ? logo is right in the middle but is right about the Twins logo. Is that subliminal messaging by Yoenis? Does he want to play for the twins? Has he ever seen snow?

16:38 - Here comes a slow scrolling stat sheet on various aspects of his career. Mind you, we have had complete silence in this video for the last two minutes or so. Not sure if this is done on purpose or not. Either way, it is making me want to see him leg press more and more weight! It also just scrolled through 3 paragraphs of text. No human can read that fast.

18:02 - A "Thank you" message is being posted on the screen. Strange because there are still over 2 minutes remaining in the video. Also, still in complete radio silence.

18:22 - Some words just flashed on the screen for a mili-second as a strange woman softball player is shown. I like the applause sound effects. We now find out that it is his mom. Strange children are cheering.

18:48 - Did he really just thank Ahman Green? Is this where Green went after his days with the Texans? Also, right after the "Thank you" went away, why was there a cow mooing sound effect?

18:55 - Yoenis also has a nice thank you tribute to his family and friends at this point. It shows three of his "friends" dancing to some sweet music while being shirtless and bad at dancing. This goes on for more than 30 seconds.

19:27 - No more thank yous, but just in case any of the MLB teams were wondering, yes, Yoenis can cook a pig.

19:58 - I almost thought that the pig part was an accident and wasn't meant to be apart of the showcase video, however, then Yoenis tells everyone The End with a red letter H and a pink letter N. Extremely confused.

If this video took me over an hour to watch and critique, how long did MLB execs take to watch the video. I am still currently sitting in silence because I am not sure what to do next. I do know though, that I need to work on my abs, pig cooking, and behind the back fly ball catching. After I have mastered all of the above, I will be ready to sign with the Twins.

FINAL NOTE: I am in shock right now and cannot proof read. This is raw, uncut, work out watching emotion right here. If you care that much, you shouldn't be reading it anyways.

Monday, October 17, 2011

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!


Never thought this would be happening in mid-August.

Cards in five.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Start Wedman MVP Voting

Time to show our support for the democratic system around here again and decide who ultimately deserves the MVP. Since our opinions are just as dumb as those of the typical BBWAA member, I like to think that last year's winners, Jose Bautista and Joey Votto, were more honored to receive our first inaugural MVP award. And once again, shenanigans are about to be had.

The process remains the same as last year with the writers of this great site contributing their votes and Fangraphs offering a WAR buffer vote to counteract any Steve Bartman-esque nominations. The only difference is that there were only four voters instead of five this year. First place votes will be in parentheses next to the player.

We pride ourselves in being gentlemen through and through here at Start Wedman, so we will allow the oldest (and worst) of the two leagues to go first. And the 2011 Start Wedman NL MVP award goes to...

1 Matt Kemp (4) 47
2 Ryan Braun (1) 43
3 Justin Upton 27
4 Roy Halladay 25
5 Albert Pujols 19
6 Joey Votto 17
7 Jose Reyes 15
8 Clayton Kershaw 12
9 Lance Berkman 12
10 Troy Tulowitzki 8
11 Bruce Chen 8
12 Cameron Maybin 6
13 Dan Uggla 5
14 Cliff Lee 5
15 Prince Fielder 5
16 Starlin Castro 5
17 Emilio Bonifacio 3
18 Logan Morrison 3
19 Brandon Phillips 2
20 Michael Morse 2
21 Nyjer Morgan 2
22 Shane Victorino 1
23 Rick Ankiel 1
24 Michael Bourn 1
25 Andrew McCutchen 1

After leading the Dodgers to a season one game above break-even, Matt Kemp has taken the award with his off the charts season. I was the only one who slotted Braun above Kemp, mainly because I believe that his season mattered more since he was on a playoff team not cleaning up against the scrubs of the NL West. Plus, I don't see Kemp as the type of person who would be able to endure this sort of joking around. And that's what I ultimately want in an MVP candidate - a bro with a sense of humor.

Although the biggest item to note is that Bruce Chen received 8 points despite never donning an NL uniform this year. But I allowed the vote to stand, unlike Fangraphs. Democracy rules!

Let's see how Chen fairs in the AL MVP vote. Could he take home the award?

1 Jose Bautista (2) 40
2 Jacoby Ellsbury (1) 39
3 Miguel Cabrera 34
4 Justin Verlander (1) 28
5 Curtis Granderson 25
6 Dustin Pedroia 18
7 Ian Kinsler 16
8 Bruce Chen 11
9 Josh Hamilton (1) 10
10 Michael Young 10
11 CC Sabathia 7
12 Melky Cabrera 7
13 Ben Zobrist 5
14 Adam Jones 5
15 Adrian Gonzalez 5
16 Brandon Allen 4
17 Paul Konerko 4
18 Adam Dunn 3
19 Alex Gordon 2
20 Coco Crisp 1
22 James Shields 1

Well, fiddlesticks. Sorry, Bruce Chen; so close though with your 8th place finish. Instead, Jose Bautista takes home his second straight Start Wedman AL MVP award by another single point, over Jacoby Ellsbury this time.

And once again, the AL voting has been lampooned by our quality writers. First, Josh Hamilton received one single first place vote, which amounted to his only vote; I hope something similar happens in the real MVP voting sometime. Despite all the hype, Start Wedman clearly does not support Justin Verlander's bid to Eckersley the awards this year. Brandon Allen is flattered. Alex Gordon's vote is actually not a joke vote; he was tenth in WAR this year in the American League. And finally, Adam Dunn probably did have the greatest impact of any one player on his team's season, so he receives his deserving points.

Congratulations once again to Jose Bautista as well as newcomer to the MVP posse, Matt Kemp. I would love to get you two awards and send them your way, but this blog kind of fails to create revenues for itself.

Better luck next year, Bruce Chen!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pointless Analysis, Part 2 of likely 4

Now that the season has fully wrapped up, the time has come to apply some more Pointless Analysis. Luckily, this time, I will refrain from jinxing any remaining teams, sorry Braves and Red Sox.

Today's session is a nice and easy appetizer for the more intense waste of time I will bother with in the next two posts. Two quick comparisons of my previous, early season predictions to the finalized standings, in order of final win/loss record find their way to the menu today. The two main reasons for this are to one, figure out well my process predicting the final standings, and two, add to the pointlessness of this entire endeavor since baseball's unbalanced schedule makes a one through thirty ranking of the teams' records fairly pointless.

When I ultimately compared the final standings to my original predictions, here are the five biggest winners and losers based on the number of rankings spots they jumped or fell, respectively:

WINNERS
1. Arizona Diamondbacks +21
2. Milwaukee Brewers +17
3. Detroit Tigers +14
4. Cleveland Indians +12
5. Toronto Blue Jays +9

LOSERS
1. Minnesota Twins -19
T2. Colorado Rockies -17
T2. Chicago White Sox -17
T4. San Diego Padres -14
T4. Baltimore Orioles -14

In addition, the "worst player" process correctly predicted the final standings of three teams (Astros, Angels, and Rays). When looking at the losers are winners, for the most part, the most surprising teams (Diamondbacks, Indians, Blue Jays) and biggest disappointments (Twins, Rockies, White Sox) overall based on anyone's initial predictions all make an appearance. So the "worst player" ranking system was unable to identify those unexpected results. The system also proves that no matter his best efforts, Mark Kotsay was unable to hold back the Brewers this year.

For the second course, I decided to take the ultimate WAR rankings of my "worst players" and compare those to the final rankings as well, just to check and see if the players I chose held some sort of magic theory that could predict the final win/loss standings. Much to my surprise, that also failed.

Here are the biggest winners and losers using that method of comparison:

WINNERS
1. Tampa Bay Rays (Dan Johnson, funny enough) +23
2. St. Louis Cardinals (Miguel Batista) +21
3. Philadelphia Phillies (Pete Orr) +20
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (Melvin Mora) +18
5. Detroit Tigers (Carlos Guillen) +17

LOSERS
1. Houston Astros (Carlos Lee) -29
2. Baltimore Orioles (Derrek Lee) -23
3. Minnesota Twins (Jim Thome) -20
4. New York Mets (Chris Capuano) -17
T5. Colorado Rockies (Jason Giambi) -15
T5. Oakland Athletics (David DeJesus) -15

One team came out spot on with no difference at all, the Atlanta Braves with Brooks Conrad. Again, there is a slight, but unsurprising trend. The good teams with terrible years from their "worst players" jumped into the winners category while bad teams with (relatively) great years from their "worst players" fell into the losers category. I am also constantly amazed at how Carlos Lee and the Astros keep screwing everything up since Lee posted a 3.2 WAR, which actually was the highest on the dead last Astros team. I think that if it wasn't for him and his terrible team, things would be far more stabilized.

Hopefully these two quick bits of analysis wet your pallet for the rest of the Pointless Analysis that will follow in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pointless Analysis, Part 1 of ?

Remember those pre-season rankings I concocted back in April in order to figure out my best guess for the eventual World Series winner this year? No? Well, then maybe you should click that link?

So you probably didn't click the link, knowing the overall lack of motivation around here. Here's a quick rundown of how five months ago, I chose the Chicago White Sox (yeah... my bad) to win it all. I went through the highly specialized and scientific process of picking each team's "worst player," and proceeded to rank each MLB team by its "worst player" in order to arrive at the conclusion that the most useful "worst player" would result in the season's eventual champion. Like I said, highly scientific.

Well, now the time to analyze the results of those picks has come because there is nothing better than spending valuable time on a pointless task. This is why I apply all of my free time and energy evaluating minor leaguers for fantasy baseball instead of making money off the stock market. Although, given today's returns from the markets, I may be better off with the hauls from my fantasy winnings.

The season isn't quite over yet, but my ultimate picks weren't too terrible compared to what what actually happened. Two of the picks (Phillies and Rangers) are going to cakewalk into the playoffs (watch the Rangers collapse now, sorry Texas). Two (Red Sox and Braves) are on the verge of making it in; although, I personally think the Braves are likely to choke. My other four picks (White Sox, Rockies, Rays, and Reds) will be playing golf in October for a myriad of reasons ranging from injuries to Adam Dunn. Honestly, that's not too shabby, considering no one outside of Phoenix (apart from a lonely soul in Valparaiso, Indiana) could have seen the Diamondbacks being competitive this year.

But I want to dig a little deeper, mainly to burn some free time, and look more closely at the original "worst players" I picked did and whether they actually had any bearing on the ultimate standings at the end of the season. Like I have titled the post, pointless analysis. And this is just part one, I have more up my sleeve for when the season ultimately finishes. But unlike those smarty pants statisticians at Fangraphs who do multi-part posts, I'm pretty sure the final results won't end in me being right, and I promise I won't chalk things going wrong up to luck (that would please Buster Olney tremendously).

A couple quick facts about the "worst players" I picked at the season's start. The highest WAR put up was 3.0, the lowest was -0.9. Three players never saw any Major League playing time (Kendall, Newhan, and Robertson). Seven players played for more than one team, three of them were traded (Diaz, McDonald, and Thome), while the other four were cut/waived and re-signed with another team (Batista, Bush, Helms, and Wood).

I know that I didn't originally rank the teams in my picks since I basically pooled teams together, but I will ultimately from here on out use the list in order as my rankings. So, I predicted the White Sox to have the best record and the Astros to have the worst, in other words (thanks for helping me out, Houston). This will be another cog that makes everything even more (un)scientific.

The first thing I want to look at is what the ultimate standings would have been with those players I picked. Based on the logic of this scientific process, the team that got the most WAR out of its "worst player" should have done the best on the season. I know the season isn't finished, so WAR isn't a complete stat, but it shouldn't change much over the next week, especially since most of these players spend a majority of their days riding the pine. Also, for players who split their season between two teams, I have only used the WAR they produced when on their original teams, to get that split, I used Baseball Reference WAR, which can be a little more (or less, if the player sucked) generous, instead of Fangraphs.

Here are the rankings of "worst players" 2011 WAR:

1  Carlos Lee   HOU              3.0
2  Chris Capuano   NYM              1.8
3  Miguel Cairo   CIN              1.8
4  Derrek Lee   BAL              1.5
5  David DeJesus   OAK              1.4
6  Jason Giambi   COL              1.3
7  John McDonald   TOR              0.9
8  Aaron Miles   LAD              0.9
9  Jim Thome   MIN              0.9
10  Brooks Conrad   ATL              0.7
11  Jason Varitek   BOS              0.5
12  Luis Ayala   NYY              0.4
13  Mark Kotsay   MIL              0.2
14  Will Ohman   CHW              0.1
15  Nate Robertson   SEA             0.0
16  Jason Kendall   KCR             0.0  
17  Guillermo Mota   SFG             0.0 
18  David Newhan   SDP             0.0  
19  Dave Bush   TEX             0.0  
20  Brandon Wood   LAA            (0.1)
21  Pete Orr   PHI            (0.1)
22  Carlos Guillen   DET            (0.2)
23  Adam Everett   CLE            (0.4)
24  Melvin Mora   ARI            (0.5)
25  John Grabow   CHC            (0.5)
26  Matt Stairs   WSN            (0.6)
27  Matt Diaz   PIT            (0.7)
28  Wes Helms   FLA            (0.7)
29  Miguel Batista   STL            (0.8)
30  Dan Johnson   TBR            (0.9)

So based on this theory with the "worst players" I originally chose, the Houston Astros would have had the best record because El Caballo came out of nowhere this year.

Another fun comparison, here are the biggest "winners" and "losers" compared to my original rankings of the teams based on how many spots they moved up or down, respectively.

WINNERS:
1. Houston Astros +29 (Yes, that's a worst to first.)
2. New York Mets +20
3. Toronto Blue Jays +16
4. Seattle Mariners +14
5. Oakland Athletics +10

LOSERS:
1. Tampa Bay Rays -23
T2. Philadelphia Phillies -16
T2. Texas Rangers -16
T4. St. Louis Cardinals -13
T4. Chicago White Sox -13

Essentially, the teams I picked to do well and received crappy performances lost while the teams picked to by shitty and received good performances lost, pretty obvious. One team, the San Francisco Giants, had overall zero movement as I picked them to be 17th and Guillermo Mota was 17th in WAR of this collection of "worst players."

So that was a lot of wasted words on some pointless analysis, but what have you come to expect around here? Look forward to the season's end, when more of these posts will be on their way...

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 YSSW Midseason Awards

It's that time of summer again. Those three days of misery when baseball fans across the world are forced to watch the ever-annoying Home Run Derby (I miss the good ole synthetic days) that proceeds the All Star game that includes a quarter of the MLB population.

Thankfully, just before the final round of the Derby, I have enough blood left to type before the brain aneurysm Chris Berman and Nomar caused takes my life. Although, this is the first year that Boomer hasn't induced the internal bleeding. That honor belongs to the 15-year-old, polo shirt wearing, possibly mentally handicapped Sam Fuld that joined pre-Derby show.

But enough of re-hashing of the shitshow we were forced to sit through tonight (or flipping between watching Michael Jordan win his sixth championship). It's time to get to the good stuff. The always exciting, annual YSSW midseason awards. This year, we have two participants to hand out these highly coveted awards.

Now that Zach has had the chance to see socialism in action during his European vacation, his baseball mind has been skewed. And his picks represent so...

POST-EUROPE ZACH'S PICKS

Since I've barely watched any baseball this year, I'm making all of my selections based on the news stories that have been out about the players and the amount of fantasy yelling these players have produced. On that note, here we go:

NL MVP - Andrew McCutchen. He was an All Star snub (Has he replaced one of the 27 guys who backed out of the ASG yet?), but he has been one of the most valuable players this year. Or so says the Fangraphs WAR numbers.
AL MVP - (Tie) Josh Hamilton and Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter recently hit his 3,000th hit, which surely means he is worthy of an All Star Selection/MVP/Lifetime Achievement Award/Oscar/High Times Man of the Year Award. Josh Hamilton just killed someone. Which means he is creeping up on Ugueth Urbina in the PK (People Killed) category.
AL Cy Young - Justin Verlander. My first pick was going to be Old Hoss Radbourn, but I decided against it. 
NL Cy Young - Is Bronson Arroyo still good? No, crap. I guess I'll go Roy Halladay. 
NL ROY - Danny Espinosa. he's killing it for my fantasy team!
AL ROY - Eric Hosmer. He's good right? 
Worst Player AL - Juan Pierre. Not even a question on this one 
Worst Player NL - Raul Ibanez. A -1.1 WAR is a difficult task. Good work Raul.

POSTSEASON PICKS

AL EAST - Boston
AL WEST - Rangers (The team that kills together, wins together!)
AL CENTRAL - Tampa Bay (I'm giving this one to the Rays because no one in the Central deserves the postseason. If forced to choose I will side with the Tigers though)
AL WILDCARD - Yankees  
AL CHAMPS - Red Sox 
NL EAST - I really wanted to pick the Mets, to show the same amount of faith in them as I had last year, but I'm going to go Phillies
NL WEST - Giants
NL CENTRAL - Pirates! So what if this won't ever happen, its fun to dream
NL WILDCARD - Braves 
NL CHAMPS - Braves 
WS CHAMPS - Red Sox

Pretty crazy, but not completely out of his mind quite yet. When Zach picks Messi for AL MVP, we should all start worrying. Between Zach's lack of awareness and my insanity from last year, I am unfortunately going to be rather boring. I blame corporate America for whitewashing me.

COOLY'S PICKS

AL MVP - Curtis Granderson. Last time I checked, I think he's on pace for 175 runs, no joke. Okay, now that I check things, maybe that pace has slowed down. And Joey Bats is only six behind him. Alright, nevermind, I'm changing my vote to Bautista.
NL MVP - Lance Berkman. So shoot me, I came around on him finally.
AL Cy Young - CC Sabathia. It's rare that the dude with the most wins also happens to lead his league in WAR. CC wants his paper this offseason and is making it happen.
NL Cy Young - Doc Halladay. So boring.
AL Rookie of the Year - Michael Pineda
NL Rookie of the Year - Not Anthony Rizzo and his .166 batting average. So Danny Espinosa works out.

POSTSEASON PICKS

AL EAST - Boston Red Sox. Remember when Bill Simmons and Ken Tremendous were freaked out in April? That was hilarious.
AL CENTRAL - Chicago White Sox
AL WEST - Texas Rangers
AL WILD CARD - New York Yankees
CUTE TROPHY FOR PARTICIPATING - Tampa Bay Rays
AL CHAMP - Boston Red Sox
NL EAST - Philadelphia Phillies
NL CENTRAL - St. Louis Cardinals
NL WEST - San Francisco Giants
NL WILD CARD - Atlanta Braves
NL CHAMP - Philadelphia Phillies

Ugh, so boring. I know that a lot of people, mainly Buster Olney, have been making a huge deal about how 22 teams are within ten games of the playoffs right now. But when you look at the standings, are there really any surprises that anyone can see happening? The only races that will play out until the last week are probably both Central divisions. But in the AL, the winner gets a first round crushing from the Red Sox. And in the NL, the Cardinals/Reds was probably a coin flip before the season anyway.

But in the end, there will probably be a ton of teams over .500 that will help support Bud's ridiculous realignment visions. There will be run fixing involved, and I will be sad.

But whatever, here's the boring World Series winner from me - Philadelphia Phillies

And sneaking in last minute to steal my thunder (and giving me a bitch of a time formatting his picks), Mr. Anonymous is taking over...

MR. ANONYMOUS' PICKS

AL MVP - Adrian Gonzalez; 150 RBI on a great team should be enough to win it.
AL Cy Young - Justin Verlander; Another no hitter during the second half and its locked up.
AL Rookie of the Year - Mark Trumbo; Toss up, Trumbo is a sweet name.
AL East -  Red Sox; Just like AMPM, too much good stuff.
AL Central - Indians; Asdrubal Cabrera is overachieving, and the rest of the central sucks.
AL West - Rangers; Tight race…
AL Wild Card - Yankees; Like usual the AL East must have two representatives.

NL MVP -
Matt Kemp; going to have 30, 30, 100. The only problem is that the Dodgers are bad.
NL Cy Young - Cole Hamels; Could be anyone from the Phillies staff.
NL Rookie of the Year -  Darwin Barney; First his numbers are tops amongst rookies, and is gritty.
Second, his name is also sweet.
NL East - Phillies; Too solid of a pitching staff to drop off.
NL Central - Pirates; As a fan of a notorious losing team, you’ve got to have hope!
NL West - Giants; The NL West sucks.
NL Wild Card - Braves; A great combination of youth/experience and pitching/offense, just not enough to beat the Phillies consistently.

POSTSEASON PICKS

ALDS:

Red Sox vs. Indians
Rangers vs. Yankees

ALCS -
Red Sox vs. Rangers; Yankees don’t have enough pitching, and the Red Sox have too much of everything.

NLDS:

Phillies vs. Giants
Pirates vs. Braves

NLCS -
Phillies vs. Braves; Really wanted to go with the Pirates, but they need another piece or two (unless the trade deadline is good to them). Phillies’ starters are sick.

World Series - Phillies vs. Red Sox; Phillies in 6, a great match-up that would be exciting to see.

And there you have it, two Phillies picks and one Red Sox vote of confidence. Long live annoying sports fans.

Please note that I apologize in advance for the gratuitous errors probably listed within this post. There are not usually my style, but the combination of an evening of "BACK BACK BACK BACK BACK" and recent spurt of Words With Friends has melted all portions of my brain that form letters into words into sentences.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome Back!

I've been struggling (nay, thought about this a couple of times) with a pretty heavy decision relating to Start Wedman. I had been completely convinced that I was going to be leaving the blog, for greener pastures (there were no greener pastures, this is a lie). Honestly, I haven't posted anything in a few months, and with the rise to glory that Derrick Rose had this year, a hectic work schedule, and being out of the country for awhile I really have not been thinking about baseball all too much.

Since I've gotten back, I've started to pay attention to baseball again. Much to my surprise lots of things are still angering me. Yesterday, I read this (which I believe has been taken down from Grantland because of its terribleness). Juan Pierre continues to start and bat leadoff for the White Sox. Adam Dunn has gotten as many hits the past 2 weeks as I have.

The final straw that compelled me to write again occurred just minutes ago. Wrapping up everything I have going at work, I end up getting home early and flipping on MLB Network. Here are my thoughts in a rough retro active diary:

4:00 Finish up watching Jeopardy! feeling great. "Oh, hey I should turn on MLB Network haven't done that in awhile.

4:02 Great a live look in. So glad I turned this on. I think I've watched about 10 minutes of baseball the past 2 months.

4:03 Shit, Kevin Millar is one of the 2 analysts working. This is bad.

4:05 MLB Network shows a clip of Eric Byrnes screaming at Kevin Millar for calling San Francisco- "San Fran". Mind you, Byrnes is sporting one hell of a case of punchy face. His hair is some form of messy/homeless. He is screaming as if Stephen A. Smith and Jim Rome had a baby that sports a shit eating grin and bad hair. If you appreciate humor, happiness, intelligence, debate, breathing, arguments, laughter, puppies, boobs, baseball, or living everything Byrnes just said offended you.

4:08 Kevin Millar responds to Byrnes' rant by saying, "I'll call it San Fran!!!!! Because I'm not from San Francisco... I'm from the WEST SIDEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" (holds up West Side hand signal). This offends every fiber of my being. I want to vomit this makes me so angry.

4:15 I cannot remember what happened for the next 7 minutes. Rage blackout.

4:20 I have to find something else on. I can't watch this. It hurts me physically.

4:23 Really, the only thing on right now is Melissa and Joey????? I guess I'll go back to MLB Network.

4:32 Kevin Millar starts talking again. I'm forced to switch over to Melissa and Joey.

4:35 Head in hands, wishing I could be back at work.

4:40 Turn back on MLB Network, Kevin Millar is still alive. I begin to hate life.

4:52 I subdue my rage by sending out a few angry tweets that hopefully will lighten my anger.

4:53 I finally realize that this is the exact reason that I have the blog. Without StartWedman I would have had a heart attack at 22. Seriously, this is my outlet for venting on all the things I hate about baseball. If I didn't have this, I would be screaming at coworkers, yelling at them for thinking Juan Pierre is a useful player or that Derek Jeter is one of the Top 5 Greatest Players of all time. This website is my stress ball. If I could not go on swear word laced tirades here, where else would this anger be misplaced? I start writing.

5:32 Chris sends a Picture of Tower Bridge with a title saying "... I miss it." I realize how sweet my Europe trip really was. I look up and see Eric Byrnes on the MLB Network stage. Ugh.

5:43 MLB Network announces they are about to show Kevin Millar interviewing Terry Francona. I opt to turn the TV off.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Can The Indians Keep Their Current Pace?

After defeating Boston at home last night, the Cleveland Indians owned the exact mirror opposite record of the Twins (30-15 versus 15-30) before Minnesota finished its game. There is no doubt that in saying that tidbit there has to be the biggest shocker of the season thus far. However, will Cleveland be able to maintain what is now a 15.5 game lead on the Twins (after their loss) and 7 game over the Tigers for the AL Central division race? Only the numbers can help us tell - mainly because no one watches Indians games.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Cleveland.

In looking at BABIP, the Indians overall haven't been terribly lucky or unlucky. The team's overall BABIP on the offensive side is an even .300, which ranks sixth in the majors now and is slightly lucky, but isn't considered extreme. Plus, when you consider that the team has a relatively higher percentage of groundball and line drive hitters (Choo and Cabrera are the best examples), the BABIP will stay a little on the high side.

However, they have been relatively lucky on the pitching side, where Cleveland currently sports a .269 BABIP, good for fourth in the majors. Not to mention that the Indians currently have the third lowest HR per FB rate in the majors - something which can be chalked up partially to the fact that the average temperature in Northwest Ohio so far this year has probably been about 27 degrees. Overall, the Indians have the seventh most favorable ERA-FIP in the majors. All of these signs are major indicators that things will swing the other way for them in the near future, especially considering the warmer weather will aid the White Sox power bats and the Twins have been the unluckiest team in the Majors thus far (third worse ERA-FIP at 0.38 and league worse BABIP at .266).

But with the head start Cleveland has opened up for itself, the club can maintain its lead if they are willing to make a few tweaks and add pieces; otherwise, they will likely meet the same fate as last year's Padres, who didn't make the right additions and wound up finding themselves outside the playoffs when their luck ran out. Here's what the Indians can do:

1. Fix Shin-Soo Choo.
Although Shin-Soo has apparently been playing hungover all season, that does not seem to be his biggest problem. When looking at his numbers, they suggest that something is wrong with his swing. He has always been Ichiro-like in that he puts up crazy BABIP numbers (career .349) because of his line drive swing and great bat control. His current .296 BABIP does not come close to his normal rates. Plus, he is putting up the lowest isolated power number of his career (.140 this year versus career mid-.180's). Meanwhile, his line drive percentage is down while his fly ball percentage is up. All of these figures suggest something is wrong with his swing as opposed to luck pushing him to his worst season so far. If they can figure out what's wrong with Choo's swing can get him back to normal, they will be able to add a little more offensive firepower to help counteract when Asdrubal Cabrera cools off and the pitching luck evens out.

2. Acquire A Power Bat
Somehow, this squad has been able to manage its way through the season without much of a power presence in the line-up (unless you count Cabrera's explosion). Hafner and Sizemore, the usual source for power, have been doing their normal love affair with the disabled list. Plus, their numbers suggest a lot of luck that can't be counted on if/when they return (Hafner sports a .415 BABIP figure, while Sizmore has put up an unsustainable .359 ISO aided by a 19.4 HR/FB%). The trade deadline should prove to be pretty thin this year, but I think they should gamble on a veteran with a relatively cheap deal on a non-contender. Do they pursue Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero, or Jim Thome if they don't fully trust Hafner's health? I think even approaching the Astros and helping take Carlos Lee off their hands wouldn't be a terrible idea; although he is certainly less affordable. Something will definitely have to be done to bolster the line-up, and I think these routes make sense.

3. Acquire A Starting Pitcher
Yes, the Indians will need a pitcher too if they don't want to collapse. The rotation they have patched together so far is not going to continue its current pace. Josh Tomlin is second in the league with a -1.83 ERA-FIP, suggesting that the out-of-nowhere ace is in need for some serious correction as the summer carries on. Fausto Carmona and Chris Perez, number one starter and closer, respectively, are some of the most wildly unreliable pitchers currently around. But just like with the bats, there will be few to no high impact pitchers on the block come late July. If I'm the Indians, I make a serious run at Francisco Liriano. I think the Twins have had enough of his inconsistency and are probably going to let him walk in arbitration this winter anyway. If they can get a few prospects for him, I'm sure they would be happy. Those prospects would have to be mighty good though since trading a quality arm to a division rival will take some heavy convincing.

4. Get Rid Of Chief Wahoo
Seriously, is there any more racist logo in sports today (and it used to be so much worse)? The red face, the grinning buck teeth, the blatant disregard for Native American culture. The Washington Redskins may have the most racist name, but Chief Wahoo takes the cake in terms of logos. How the hell is he still around?

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 Rays = 2006 Cardinals?

There is nothing in the world cooler than a math equation headline that takes about four seconds to dream up. I'm sure that your interest is piqued and now you can't wait to continue on. Or maybe you are completely offended by the fact that I have just compared one of this year's best contenders with what is widely regarded as the worst World Series winning team of all time (although, they still won it all, suckers!).

My original inspiration for this happened last Wednesday afternoon when I noticed that Joe Maddon turned in a line-up card for a game against the Blue Jays thusly:

1. Sam Fuld, LF
2. Ben Zobrist, 2B
3. Johnny Damon, DH
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Matt Joyce, RF
6. B.J. Upton, CF
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
8. Elliot Johnson, SS
9. John Jaso, C

A line-up that rivals some of those put forth by the late 90's Devil Rays, who were battling the woes of being a new expansion team formed with the rejects of others. There is only one hitter (Longoria) there that strikes any fear into opposing pitchers. In fact, one could argue whether or not five of them, more than half, (Fuld, Joyce, Kotchman, Johnson, and Jaso) even deserve spots on a Major League roster.

Maddon has been putting this heap of crap on the baseball field all season long and somehow managed a 26-21 record, good for a tie with the Yankees atop the AL East. Yes, there has been a very large degree of luck in putting together that record (a .410 BABIP from Matt Joyce is a good starter), but can this roster pull off the impossible and topple the Yankees/Sox and rest of the American League this year? I think so.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but if the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals were able to pull of what they did, I think this Rays team can too because they are built similarly. Essentially, you take one crafty manager (La Russa/Maddon), give him one slugger (Pujols/Longoria), a solid rotation, and about fourteen utility men that alternate hot streaks. And boom, winning team is assembled.

Let's also not forget that the tiny Sam Fuld, currently leading off with his .278 OBP, is likely to be replaced with Desmond Jennings within the next few weeks as the Rays avoid Super Two status for their number one prospect. Although, his addition may push the Rays out of the cellar of association with the '06 Cardinals, since he's a slight upgrade over So Taguchi.

It's a formula that can surprisingly work in the AL East this year. Much to Zach's chagrin, a scrappy and grindy (and internet meme knowledgeable) team is what will work best in the long haul against the Yankees and Red Sox.

The Yankees have no pitching staff and have reverted to using gimmicky space age operations to fix the pudgy Bartolo Colon (although, that is unlikely to last, as Dave Cameron points out). Their lack of bullpen will catch up to them in the long run and postseason especially, when each pitcher is used to get one specific out. The average age of the Red Sox is 42, I think. They will probably win the division with the likes of Crawford and Gonzalez to carry them through the season, but in the postseason, the pitching matchups will not work in their favor like prior years and anyone outside of Crawford/Gonzalez will be likely worn down and unreliable. A team like the Rays that keeps battling late into ballgames and the season will wear out these two powerhouses, and eventually overtake them in the playoffs.

Although the Rays are currently on pace for a 90 win season, I think that might be enough to pull out the wild card in the American League, where no one seems to want to distinguish themselves. Outside of the  Cleveland Indians (wait, what?), everyone looks to be sporting a 500-ish ballclub. The matchups against the Red Sox and Yankees down the stretch will allow the Rays to keep even with those teams, and it's hard to see any of the other teams (Tigers, White Sox, Rangers) considered to be contenders at this point being able to hit 90 wins with the fatal flaws they have.

And if this Rays teams squeaks into the playoffs, they will do damage with a playoff-tested rotation outside of Hellickson. One has to assume that a solid veteran reliever will be scourged around the deadline, and then they will be set. If anything has been proven since the Cardinals 2006 run (and actually the entire decade since the Angels 2002 victory really), it is that solid, smart baseball playoffs will overcome raw talent every time. This isn't the 1990's, where teams can rely on the likes of roided out Chuck Knoblauchs to blast through the playoffs.

That's why my money is still on the Rays to come out of the American League in October, despite their current roster shortcomings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beat the Streak



Everyone has their list of websites that they go to on a daily basis. Email, ESPN, MLB Trade Rumors, Fantasy Baseball, Twitter, Facebook, etc. One of mine is MLB Beat the Streak, I suggest you add it to your routine. You will not get anything out of it, except being insanely frustrated. I may be becoming a masochist like ZTP because I do not make it easy on myself either (not that it would help) I have strict rules that I follow because alternating between Ichiro, Pedroia, and Castro takes the excitement out of it. Now the rules I live by:

1. Never pick the same player twice in one week
It is too easy and mindless to pick Tulowitzki against the Pirates and Padres at home. Challenge yourself.
2. Never pick a player from the White Sox or Cardinals
They both suck and have bad players (I hate myself every time I really want to pick Pujols and can’t).
3. Only choose the pick of the day if you thought of it first
See the response to #1.
4. Limit yourself to the stats displayed on the site only and personal knowledge of the pitcher/hitter
When you already spend way too much time on fantasy baseball during the day over analyzing everything and coming up with stupid trades you have to set limits. Unless you are unemployed, then go for it.
5. Get angry
How does Vlad go 0-4 against Jason Vargas? Why shouldn’t Granderson get at least one hit off R.A. Dickey? He has allowed 64 hits this year and opponents are hitting .311, and Curtis is hitting .300 off him, not to mention carrying the Yankees right now. How do you not play B.J. Upton against the Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie in Tampa Bay?

So is how it goes for MLB Beat the Streak. A true love/hate relationship. I think I have learned what fatherly pride is like from it too because you don’t know how happy I was when Denard Span got a hit off of Wade Davis. After writing those out I realized I sound like Vince Vaughn from Wedding Crashers with these but who cares. Rule #76 No excuses. Play like a champion!

Also just like Josh Hartnett there is no way you are going to make it, be happy with a streak of 15.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Early (Because Pre Has Passed) Season Preview

Pre-season previews are a dime a dozen, and no one truly enjoys the straight "these teams will their divisions and here are the awards winners" type of stuff. They're boring, full of careless guesses, and can be done by a grandma pointing at teams in a newspaper. Seriously, they are boring as shit.

That's why I admired what ESPN the Magazine did this year, in approaching the preview from a different prospective. Instead of the traditional rankings based on roster strengths and new acquisitions, they decided to look at the balance of each team's schedule between home and away, overall difficulty based on last year's winning percentages, and length of toughest road trip. For coming from such a crummy magazine, it was refreshing, and surprisingly, when they lined up everything, the projections were fairly savvy - unlike SI, who think that the Cardinals will finish 4th in their division.

Taking ESPN's approach, I tried to hatch up a scheme of ranking teams myself this week. When I began thinking about it, the player who actually impacts the roster the most is definitely not the superstar who puts up a 8 or 9 WAR, but rather the last guy on the roster. These last men off the bench define the team by saying how truly crappy it is as well as what kind of culture they are trying to establish.

Plus, everyone knows in playoff time, that the random dude of the bench is what always wins the World Series (see Jim Leyritz, Matt Stairs, Scott Spiezio, and Cody Ross).

So I have gone through the teams, and placed them into tiers based on the worst guy on their roster. It wasn't the most scientific, but if a team had more than one player that was super shitty and caused me to have a tough time deciding who was worse, that team was eliminated from contention and wound up in one of the bottom tiers. A team cannot be giving two roster spots to guys who should barely even have one, in theory. Another factor that eliminates a team from contention is if it has its worst player playing a major role on the team. That player should definitely not be in the starting batting lineup on a daily basis, nor should a pitcher have a major role in the bullpen or even starting. The last strike against a team/player is if an old, unusable veteran is taking time away from youngsters that could be developing.

When everything shakes out, the results actually aren't half bad. As you will see, the playoff teams I generate are not insanely questionable. There are surprises, however. But hell, let's just look at what happens:

BOTTOM OF THE BARREL

Houston Astros - Carlos Lee
Not only did I have a difficult time picking someone on this roster (only Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez deserve major roles on any other team, everyone else would be role players), but their worst player is, in fact, their highest paid player and clean-up hitter. No bueno. This entire team, and especially Carlos Lee, needs to be taken out into the field and put out of its misery.

Seattle Mariners - Nate Robertson
They are in a similar boat as the Astros, where only a handful of players should even be getting big playing time. The roster is loaded with shitty players, but I had to pick Robertson for his goggles. 

Cleveland Indians - Adam Everett
Mark Shapiro went on a bender of buying up washed up infielders this offseason, and Everett is the cream of the crap.

Arizona Diamondbacks - Melvin Mora
Any time a team is giving decent time to a rotting corpse, it will end up here.

Kansas City Royals - Jason Kendall
Although Kendall is on the DL now, you know that Ned Yost is dumb enough to make him his starting catcher when he comes back.

AT LEAST WE WILL MIGHT BE ABLE TO SELL A FEW TICKETS

Pittsburgh Pirates - Matt Diaz 
I have discussed with plenty of people how Diaz makes no sense on this roster. Garret Jones is about 80 bajillion times better than him. Diaz, on the other hand, has never ever been good or shown an ounce of talent.

Washington Nationals - Matt Stairs
Although I previously praised him, there is no reason for the Nationals to have Stairs. As an upcoming and coming team, this roster spot needs to be used on a either a youngster or a veteran who is actually capable of helping the team and not eating all of their chicken wings.

Toronto Blue Jays - John McDonald
McDonald falls into the same category as Diaz but is receiving less overall playing time, thank god. He is a no talent ass clown that has stuck around because he shows up on Web Gems every two weeks. Ooo.. so impressive.

New York Mets - Chris Capuano
Best example of the worst player being counted on too much as the Mets are going to use him as a fifth starter. Capuano should not even be starting in a slow pitch softball league since that pitching might be too strenuous on his glass arm.

Florida Marlins - Wes Helms
Helms is not actually a bad worse player to have. In fact, he may be perfect for it with his ability to pinch hit and play a few different positions. However, the Marlins bullpen is filled with the most random collection of crap I have seen in some time.

THE SURPRISINGLY BAD

This is the last tier where I had trouble distinguishing who the worst player would be, and thus, based on this highly scientific process, eliminate them from title contention. This middle ground is where we start seeing a few surprises.

Milwaukee Brewers - Mark Kotsay
Any time you can acquire a guy who was a starting-ish DH with an OPS of .683 the previous year, you have to do it, right? (Although I suspect the presence of Kotsay's wife at the ballpark had a part in the deal) Pair him with the worst bullpen in baseball (after seeing Axford this first week, I have a gut feeling last year was a bit of a fluke), and you have the potential for this great offense to get wasted.

Detroit Tigers - Carlos Guillen
Maybe this isn't so surprising, but some have been picking this team to compete in the AL Central. Not so when Guillen competes with Mora and Kendall as the deadest person in the majors.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Aaron Miles
This roster is truly horrendous. And why are teams still handing Aaron Miles contracts? He needs to be coaching T-ball instead.

San Francisco Giants - Guillermo Mota
Here's big surprise number one since lots of people have them winning it all again. I'm just not so sure how they are going to do it, and this process eliminated them easily. Mota throws beach balls out of the 'pen along with a few others. Barry Zito, who was in strong contention for the worst player title, is yet again sitting in the team's fifth starter slot. And I have questions about the outfield - Huff is actually playing there? Is Andres Torres a one year wonder? Pat Burrell? The backups? Too many problems for a team that has to play every game with a target on their back. Thankfully for them, they get a lot of time to pad their record with games against the Dbacks, Padres, and Dodgers.

Oakland Athletics - David DeJesus
Not terribly surprising that this team was caught in this category, but some will surprised with my pick. I have never liked DeJesus, he floundered forever in Kansas City without showing much and probably will continue to do so forever. I just don't see why teams keep giving him a starting role.

St. Louis Cardinals - Miguel Batista
The Cardinals are terrible this year. The infield outside of Pujols is a joke (Nick Punto will save us!). No Wainwright. The bullpen will be a sore spot all year (Ryan Franklin has run out of luck, if you ask me). And Lance Berkman will be shooting for the all-time worst UZR in RF all year long. On top of that, we have Miguel Batista, the only pitcher to ever be unwanted by every team in the entire world. Heavy drinking for me will ensue this November when Albert dons a new hat because we didn't feel like paying him. Fuck...

THE SURPRISINGLY GOOD

Everyone from here on out is in contention based on my asinine system as I could only point to one player being the "worst," which is good. The quality of that "worst" player will determine the ranking from here on out. 

Chicago Cubs - John Grabow
Outside of Grabow, this is actually a pretty solid roster. I don't know if I am saying that because living in Lakeview has brainwashed me or because I am so down on the Cards this year. But the line-up isn't too shabby. For the NL Central, the rotation is solid. And Quade will do some good things for this team. I honestly would not be surprised if they gave the Reds a run for their money this year.

Baltimore Orioles - Derrek Lee
It really is too bad that this team plays in the AL East right now. They would win the AL West and contend in the AL Central. The pitching staff is reaching Rays levels of crazy good and young, and the line-up doesn't have too many easy outs. If only they didn't have to start Lee...

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Brandon Wood
I know that Brandon Wood probably isn't that bad, but it's the same story as David DeJesus, only worse. He has not shown anything that will make him useful in the majors. And unfortunately, the Angels are well past the timeframe of trading him away. He will be left to rot away on their bench forever.

San Diego Padres - David Newhan
Newhan is a solid last guy off the bench - veteran presence who will not demand any playing time because he knows how much he sucks. This team will surprise plenty with their scrappiness and ability to grind out games. What would you expect from a team from white-as-shit, rich, David-Eckstein-loving San Diego?


JUST ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE PLAYOFFS

Minnesota Twins - Jim Thome
I know that I just totally fucked the entire system because Thome is easily the best "worst" player (That sentence right there proves that this entire thing has melted the intelligence out of my brain.) But the rotation and bullpen except for Capps/Nathan is just not good enough to push them past the White Sox this year.

New York Yankees - Luis Ayala
Luis Ayala defines what is wrong with this team this year - the pitching staff and bullpen (man, I have been really huge on bullpens sucking this year, did like every good reliever leave the game, or were all of them that roided up a few years ago?). The line-up will smash all year long, but the entire rotation after CC is a question mark this year, which is no bueno.


THE PLAYOFF TEAMS

Atlanta Braves - Brooks Conrad
Can someone say "pity roster spot?"

Tampa Bay Rays - Dan Johnson
Until around 4 pm as of yesterday afternoon, Manny was slotted to be in this spot. Unfortunately, I don't get to spend a few dozen words talking about him now, damn. However, his retirement means that the inevitable move of Zobrist to first and start Desmond Jennings full-time will happen soon. (They have to call up Jennings to take Ramirez's roster spot - right?) That's bad for other teams because Maddon was shooting himself in his new specks by trying out that whole Joyce/Johnson platoon thing.

Cincinnati Reds - Miguel Cairo
Seriously, he is the absolutely perfect last guy off the bench. He's made an entire career out of it.

Philadelphia Phillies - Pete Orr
The second coming of Miguel Cairo.

Colorado Rockies - Jason Giambi
I think this team is going to slaughter the NL. With everyone looking at the Giants, they will sneak up on people, and before its all said and done, being sitting pretty with 95ish wins at the end of the year. They will have good ole Jason Giambi to thank for that. Then they will probably choke against the Braves in the first round of the playoffs. They will probably have Jason Giambi to thank for that, too.

Texas Rangers - Dave Bush
A worst player that's a spot starter/long reliever with a hilarious last name? Win win win.

Boston Red Sox - Jason Varitek
The age of this roster is bound to catch up with them again, like it did last year. Seriously Theo, you are counting on Mike Cameron and JD Drew... again? Didn't learn the first time around? But the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will be too much for other teams to keep them down.

That's right, that means...

Chicago White Sox - Will Ohman
When your worst player is a lefty specialist out of the 'pen that knows he sucks and shouldn't be used, so he won't be used - good things are bound to happen. Please tell me a weakness in this line-up that you are going to attack. Let's also not forget that the staff and bullpen are strong, and the minors are quite stocked. I think Kenny Williams built himself a juggernaut without others looking and is just sitting in his pimp chair snickering. They are my pick based on this ridiculous system to win it all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My AL and NL MVP are.......

I decided to submit my name into the MLB Dreamjob contest that Bob posted, and it asks you to do an essay for either AL/NL MVP or biggest story line of the year. Well I did the MVP essay and this is what I wrote.......feel free to bash and disagree as much as possible

AL/NL MVP

The 2011 National League MVP is going to be Joey Votto. Votto won the MVP award in 2010 and he will continue to tear up NL pitching, especially playing in the NL Central. I am a firm believer of players entering their prime around the age of 27 give or take a year, and Votto is right around that time frame as well.

Joey put up career numbers last year in nearly every category and will continue to become more productive. I like the protection that Votto will get in the line-up as well. He doesn't have that star power hitting behind him like he could have on other teams, but he has hitters that put the ball in play and can make you second guess trying to pitch around Votto. Just having the reigning MVP award will also give him an immediate leg up if he puts up traditional Votto numbers.

Playing on a winning team also gives a player a better chance at winning the MVP. The Reds have a great staff and will play in division that features a team that just lost their ace, a Brewers team that continues not to live up to expectations, and a Cubs team that continues to break the hearts of many around the nation. I won't even talk about the Pirates or Astros here. The Reds are a clear favorite to win the Central with Wainwright going down which only helps Votto's case over perennial MVP candidate and contract seeking Albert Pujols.

The AL MVP is a little tougher to predict, but I like Adrian Gonzalez. He is going to get a ton of protection in the Red Sox line-up, but very friendly right field dimensions at Fenway will also help inflate his numbers.

Gonzo put up good numbers after playing in a not so friendly Petco Park, so moving to Fenway and a better Red Sox team is going to help out his MVP case for 2011. I look for Adrian to hit 30 homers and knock in around 110 guys this year. Playing on a team that will compete in the AL East all year helps as well. He's going to be in the spot light all year moving from the West Coast to the East Coast.

Moving to the East coast he will get more national attention between different papers and national media. ESPN loves to favor the Red Sox and cover them extensively throughout the year. Gonzalez will easily put up the numbers to be considered a legit MVP candidate, and playing on a winning team that is highly recognizable will help propel him to the 2011 AL MVP.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Life and Times of Stump Wiedman

In an effort to make our site look respectable by actually posting (since we are not going to gain respectability with the content and journalistic integrity of our posts), I'm bringing you lucky few readers another post! Considering February is the Cooly of months (February is to short as Cooly's Penis Size is to short), 3 posts out of me is astounding. Anyways, while I was over at Fangraphs this weekend I stumbled upon their Worst Hitter Ever article, which is a fantastic read. In a throw away line, the author of the post mentions the name Stump Wiedman. Seeing that our website is called Start Wedman, and these 2 names are quite similar, I thought I should be the person in charge of revitalizing Stump's career, Old Hoss Radbourn style. What you will find below is a list of factual and completely made up information on Stump. My only resources here are Fangraphs, Wikipedia, and the lack of creativity that my mind displays.

George Edward "Stump" Wiedman played major league baseball from 1880-1888, giving most of his service time to the Detroit Wolverines. He was the Brooks Kieshchnick of his time, splitting his time as a pitcher and as an outfielder. While his prowess at the plate left much to be desired (I only heard of him because he was mentioned in an article titled The Worst Hitter in Baseball History), he preformed admirably on the mound compiling a 101-156 career record.

Stump Wiedman's career was not always peaches and gravy, in his freshman season with the Buffalo Bison Stump went on to post an 0-9 record in a whopping 13 starts. Historians say that Stump pitched so poorly due to a lack of confidence and that the overall grind of playing outfield and pitching was too much for the Grandfather of Grind. However, they are overlooking one important fact. Stump was drunk off his ass for most of that year. See Stump was devastated over the loss of his one true love, Clara Barton. Earlier that year that swarthy bitch Clara up and started the Red Cross leaving Stump to create his own pleasure. Not being much of a switch hitter, and having little to no control over his left arm meant Stump's only pleasure came from old righty. His arm was simply overworked from the stress.

Have no fear chillens, Stump came back with a surge to lead the National League with a 1.80 ERA in 1881. Thanks in large part to the polio vaccine he got earlier in the year, another sign that anal injections lead to better baseball performance.

Wiedman struggled plenty with his control over the next few years, never gaining the success of his 1881 campaign. Then again, who else could have pitched so gloriously with a height of 0'0". Eddie Gaedel can kiss Stump's ass! Stump was really a thing of beauty at the plate, collecting a record 2 home runs and 112 RBI's in his 9 short seasons. Surely we can never forget the mammoth that was Stump Wiedman, and his remarkable -6.7 career WAR.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FJM: Something About Athletes Destroying Robots

Consider this a 2 day posting streak which can only equal the Cavs 1 game winning streak for major accomplishments of 2011. I actually wanted to do this post a few days ago, and since it has been picked up and bashed by several better outlets, but since I am not a real journalist and have very little integrity, here we goooooo:

Telander: Brain against the machines

Is there any chance that this article could be good? None, OK, well let's rip it apart.

Blows to the head are nothing new in sport, or life.

That little 'or life' is the first sign that Rick Telander should be committed.

I am reminded of the time I asked Mike Tyson at a news conference before a fight if he was concerned about the possible negative effects from some of the blows to the head he had received in his career.

You are reminded of this how? By the topic that you formulated and chose to write about? Or, was there a tiny green man perched on your shoulder waxing melodically about the rise of the machines?

He looked at me as if I were insane, giggled and said, ‘‘I think some of the blows to the head I’ve received have been good for me.’’

Einstein likely felt that way. Edison, for sure. Moses, too.

Einstein. Edison. Moses? Other candidates Telander was thinking of using: Boyle, Joule, Fran Drescher. Hawking, Hubble, L. Ron Hubbard. Ford, Gates, Chris Kattan.

But theirs were blows of enlightenment, ‘‘Eureka!’’ flashes of perspective and creativity dropped on them by God or the electric company.

Little known fact, electric companies existed before electricity.

Physical punches or whacks that rock the jelly-like human brain inside its skull casing cause no enhancement other than bruising, bleeding and temporary or possibly permanent damage down the road.

Why is this formula so important now...

The main reason you want to avoid getting hit in the head so many times is to avoid the future embarrassment that comes with writing an article comparable to what Telander is about to give us.

...particularly as it relates to popular sports like tackle football?

Two reasons.

First, only recently have scientists and journalists been able to put together the research and information that show conclusively the dangers of single or repeated blows, even minor ones, to the heads of athletes in training and competition. Before, it was mostly anecdote, low humor, obfuscation.

Wait, this sounds almost logical.

Just wait...

Consider it wasn’t until last year that the devious and know-nothing NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee was restructured with seemingly authentic and un-buyable neurologists at the helm, and the word ‘‘Mild’’ was dropped altogether.

Mild. Brain injury. Ha.

I am reminded here of ‘‘minor’’ surgery, which, of course, is surgery on somebody else.

Could there be a less direct way of saying the NFL didn't give a shit about concussions before this year?

We’d better change . . . or else

Once the new knowledge gets out there, it is wrong to continue on with certain rituals, even joyous ones, that we previously thought were morally fine. At least we shouldn’t continue them in the same way as before.

What? Is this in the same article as your first few paragraphs, or was there some sort of editing mistake that meshed your column with someone from the Tempo section?

You can ask me here why hockey fighting goes on, and I’ll say I have no idea. We banned bare-knuckle fighting decades ago, but .  .  . I surrender.

Second, we live in a world that is progressing into a vast arena in which mankind has never lived, never even comprehended, the stadium of human-enhanced computer dominance.

BOOM Goes the Dynamite! There you have it. The thesis to Telander's article a mere 13 paragraphs into the piece.

It is a place where intelligence, real or artificial, will be all. Scientists say that by as early as 2045 there may well be a computer that dwarfs mankind. By then, according to the current cover story in Time, a computer might exist that will surpass ‘‘the brainpower equivalent to that of all human brains combined.’’

Don't be fooled, this entire piece is just a mask. The only reason for this entire article is so Telander can let the reader know he read TIME Magazine. Now he can lord it over all his peasant followers heads. Hoity toity prick!

That’s smart. Unless we’re really dumb.

Well, we know that you are really dumb.

And we’re not,

If by we you mean everyone in the world except for you, I could see your point.

except when we do dumb things, like let our heads get damaged continually and call it something like ringing a bell.

Or write mindless drivel and call it a Sun Times column. "Call it something like ringing a bell" is one of the worst lines I have ever read. Rick Telander, you are not funny.

In our new environment, how can anyone allow his or her IQ, or their children’s, to be lowered?

In our old environment on the planet Xiquo the goal was to lower your IQ as much as possible then ring as many bells as possible, all while murdering as many strippers as time would allow. Alas, here on Earth we must use our combined brain power to team up and battle the rising of the MACHINES.

A new way of thinking

Physical labor is already disappearing in developed countries. Robots can do that.

This line cracks me up.

And the impoverished.

That is not even close to a complete sentence. It is also mystifying to think that a career journalist is writing this.

Physical labor is already disappearing in developed countries. Robots can do that. And the impoverished. Sports are for fun at low levels. Then they’re about something else — entertainment, escapism, wealth, voyeurism even.

That was the entire paragraph. Sports are about entertainment and voyerism, and somehow wealth, but robots are taking over for poor people in the work force. DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE????

If you think the talk of silicon joining and even replacing the organic mind is nonsense, remember that your own laptop does the work a global library once did.

Telander must have had this on his mind for a long time. This is the only logical explanation for the writing of his article. That or he is super freaked out that Watson just beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy!

Consider, as Time points out,

We get it, you read TIME, we don't. You are much better than us. Also, are there any other resources that you used to compile this piece, or was that one story in TIME all you needed to confirm Robots will kill us all one day?

...that ‘‘your average cell phone is about a millionth the size of, a millionth the price of and a thousand times more powerful than’’ the best computer at MIT 40 years ago.

When I think of Muhammad Ali, I always think of a proud, charismatic man who had to surrender his brain to get the attention he craved. And it always makes me sad, even angry.

Weren't we just talking about the rise of computers? Stick to one illogical subject please.

t’s ironic, and perfectly illustrative of our schizoid times, that two movies nominated for Best Picture in this year’s Oscar race are ‘‘The Fighter,’’ and ‘‘The Social Network.’’ In the former, brawler ‘‘Irish’’ Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, uses his brain cells as pawns as he fights his bloody way to the championship. In the latter, Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, uses his brain cells to invent the thing called Facebook, which connects 600 million people to one another, no end in sight.

Umpbump often does a version of these FJMings where they go through an article in bullet form. If anyone could tell me where in the fuck this paragraph fits into the rest of this writing I will personally murder the stripper of their choosing.

We’ve seen each journey before — indeed, they’re the same journey, the triumph-over-obstacle journey that humans are hard-wired to love.

Ward/Wahlberg is far more dynamic as a person, a recognizable hero, however. But Zuckerberg/Eisenberg is the one who resonates, who blows your mind — a bland, friendless, blank-faced, hyperactive tech weenie as genius winner. I have never seen anything like his onscreen character before. In olden days he would have been the nerd, lost in the rat lab.

But the olden days are gone. And you can be assured that if the battle between machines and humans ever becomes confrontational, it won’t be won by fists and forearms, helmets and sticks to our delicate heads.

I can't even comment on the rest of this. This escapes so far from anything in the previous paragraphs. I am utterly shocked that an editor let this piece of garbage into their newspaper. Rick Telander, you should be ashamed of yourself.