It is all about hitting, and to start the season, the Wahoos, historically one of the stronger hitting franchises in the HSL, are off to a slow start that would make even the most hard-core statisticians blanch. Without boring everyone with mind-numbing lectures on reversion to the mean, the law of large numbers (sample size analysis), and 3 standard deviation events (the ‘Hoos’ hitters are in the midst of one), let’s just say the ‘Hoos’ hitting ineptitude stretches the imagination. It is not just bad, it is unexpectedly, off the charts bad, and it is defying any rational statistical expectation in view of the historical performance of the players.
That said, I am not going Steinbrenner. I picked ‘em, and I am a buy and hold kind of guy. Quality will out in the end, and if the ‘Hoos’ sticks end the season at or near their historical averages, and RJ and Schilling don’t get committed to assisted living residences, hide the women and children, because some point limits are gonna get violated big-time.
The current ‘Hoos offensive numbers are presented below---2005 and Career batting average and slugging average numbers (’05 numbers are thru games of April 18):
Thru Monday, April 18th’s games, the ‘Hoos as group are hitting 38 points below their career batting averages, and a whopping 100 points below their career slugging percentages.
The bad news for me is that this is hard to watch on Baseball Tonight.
The bad news for the HSL is the ‘Hoos are in 4th place with a terrible hitting start, and RJ and Schilling are sporting ERA’s that you’d typically see in your local slow pitch men’s D league. They “should” come around (although as of Tuesday night, RJ had lost to the lowly, hapless, and offensively challenged D-Rays . . . at home . . .you have to ask yourself the question: “Self, if your staff ace can’t beat Tampa Bay at home, who DO you expect him to beat?”).
The ‘Hoos will hit, although at this point, the ‘Hoos seem like they wouldn’t seriously challenge a 100 home run limit . . .
Enough whining. Onto other stuff. . . .say, draft analysis?
First, I’ll sort of go round by round and give some impressions, then maybe throw out a couple of team comments.
Round 1---no surprises here, other than RJ is off to a 1-2 start, and has not looked sharp. This is a bit like the captain of the Titanic saying “don’t panic folks, this ship is designed not to sink.” If RJ doesn’t win about 20, the ‘hoos have no shot. Adam Dunn was the surprise pick of the round, and while he is not off to the best start, I think he will win the NL home run crown. Ballsy pick by the man famous for not paying real fast. Ichiro might also be considered a bit of a surprise, especially for a guy who really won’t do much to help a team toward the Promised Land of Home Run Limits (this being the Rosetta Stone of success in the HSL). I set EE-CHEE-RO’s over-under line on hits this year at 246 . . .
Round 2---Not much to say about Round 2 other than every one of these guys can play, and needs to---a round 2 tank job makes it hard to win the league.
Round 3---Thome? Teixeira? Thome? Teixeira? Thome? Teixeira? Study long, study wrong, and I think I took the wrong guy---homerless thru 12 games (a career worst start for a guy we’d all like to BBQ with at his house), Thome seems to be driven to single-handedly torpedo the ‘Hoos’ title aspirations with his lame effort out of the gate. Rock up, big man, it is time to play ball. Again, no obvious surprises . . . all the round 3 guys can play.
Round 4---Zito may have been a smidge early. He is under .500 over the past 2 ½ seasons. Soriano may be a steal---possibly the #1 2B. Peavy and Edmonds were core ‘Hoos last season . . .both can play.
Round 5---With 2 picks in a row, Bobby figured what the heck, I can snag BOTH star-crossed, injury-plagued Cubs starters. Wood has struggled, but Prior looks pretty sharp.
Interesting to note that of the first 57 players selected (culminating with Joe Nathan at pick #57), NINE were WAHOOS last year. That means that the other 11 teams would have had on average each taken in the first 57 picks. . . .hmmmmmm. (For those that care, and my hunch that is a pretty short list, the 9 were Dunn at #9, Schilling at #16, Zambrano at #26 (who was traded for Thome (#28) early in the year), Teixeira at #29, Peavy #41, Edmonds #42, Hafner #47, Posada #54, and Nathan at #57.
It will be a miracle if 3 of the this year’s ‘hoos go in the first 10 rounds of the 2006 draft . . . .
Enough of the round by round stuff . . . it was hard enough to live through at the time; it is even worse to READ about it 3 weeks later . . .
Senators---Pujols was a solid pick at #1. Shields in the 17th was pretty solid too. He is a nice MR. As Bone Daddy so eloquently put it . . .”looks like the no repeat thing is safe again this year.”
R-Birds---get bad whichurself, this boy’s team gots da hits all over da place. Nice 1, 1A combo in right with Vlad and Abreu; Zambrano is a stud, speed with Crawford and Damon (how did he last so long?), and so nice jam-boy-lay-a ballplayers in Uribe and Matsui, and some late cheap pop in Byrnes and Dmitri Young. Should be in contention all year.
Le Tigres—ce pas j’nais ce quois. Top 5 picks are good, Varitek a smidge early but plays on a juggernaut and is the heart and soul of the best team in baseball; nice upside in Beckett who one of these years will reach and surpass the lofty expectations he carries; Kolb . . . not so much. Some DL Roulette with Alou, Sweeney and Griffey, all of whom can mash when healthy, which for the latter two is not often. Weaver, Ford, Donnelly, A. Boone, and Lawrence are all solid players picked up way late that could push the les Tigres down the Champs Elysees and into the Circque du Winners. Of course, we won’t be there to celebrate. It is France, after all. And we’ll always have Paris. Or Toldeo.
Wahoos----I knew going in that it would be tough to replicate last year’s edition of the Hanover 9. Sure enough, 9 of them were gone after 57 picks. Rolled the dice on Schilling, which actually is a hedge against what is turning into my worst nightmare---RJ woke up and realized he is 87 years old and is no longer able to get MLB hitters out with regularity. VMart, Blalock, and M Giles should be poised to have breakout seasons, but so far, the only thing they are breaking is my heart. Jason Bay seemed to be cheap in round 11, but the Pirates are on pace to score about 70 runs this year, so that is a real problem for the reigning NL ROY. On paper a solid, maybe potentially great team, but so far, they are playing like the boys on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
SJacks---Marketing does work. Johnny makes it happen, an even if Bonds never sets foot on the field at PacBellSBCDeutscheGramophoneCricketLevel3 Ball-Park, this squad will contend. The first 5 rock----Arod, Hudson, Teixeira (first time in his career he is not a Wahoo---look for large production), Peavy (same as MTex—a career Wahoo until this year, and my pick as Darkhorse NL Cy winner), A Jones are all on good teams and seem poised to put up large numbers. JT goes back to Burrell, and his patience is paying off early on. Burnitz and Bellhorn provide cheap late power. The alcohol kicked in round 19, but that is ok. This thing is won early, don’t kid yourself.
Reds---was he hung over? Pre-occupied trying to come up with newer and better ways to suck up to Sokol? Pondering an LBO of Level 3 (oh, wait! They already have more debt than most 3rd world countries)? Mitch was quiet, but he picked a contending, first division team. Really, not one in the bunch you’d toss back in the free agent pond . . .no one jumps out and says “upside surprise!!”, but solid up and down. Like butter. Tejada is my pick for AL MVP. Konerko will hit 40 HRs . . . I like Hidalgo as a later round pick to put up .285/.365/.500 w/ 25/100 in the Texas heat.
Chiefs---Love Wilkerson in the 11th. The kid can hit. Kotsay off to a strong start. Solid player. Todd Helton is my favorite player, so I think that is a good pick. It is getting late, and I am having trouble distinguishing nouns, verbs, and caffeine.
Bombadiers---don’t look now Mouse, but the Fat Loud Boisterous Ugly American with all the Scratch is barking about his team being 4-8. Wait a minute—he picked em, he is paying em, like what, he screams and they will Try Harder, like some Avis commercial gone off the reservation? $50 says the Sox win the division. But wait---you took Manny in Round One. He will NOT disappoint. He is way cooler than Matsui. Sheffield in round 2. At least he is smarter than Ron Artest. Rivera . . .fortunately for him, NY only plays the Sox 19 times. Buerhle was a great pick in the 9th. Ausmus went to Dartmouth, so that works. Bombahs wont win it this year, but Clemens will be fun to watch and could slide into RJs spot in the rotation in July.
Irates---Nice Adam Dunn pick. I wanted Morneau badly, would’ve taken him in the 9th had you not mowed my grass shorter than the greens at the US Open. What got into Brian Roberts????? Holliday is a fun hitter to cheer for. If you see Joe Mauer doing a Zimmer commercial, you’ll know your season is over.
(More to Come from Ted -- Check Back)
I have reserved a table at the "D.J.'s Hero Awards Luncheon" on May 2, 2005, at 11:45 a.m., to be held at the Qwest Center Omaha, 455 N 10th Street, featuring Cal Ripken, Jr., Baseball's all-time "Hero." I believe I have confirmations from John, Tony, Rick, Scott, Dave, Mitch, Mike and Ted. The cost is $85; please make your checks payable to me. Please let me know if any of the rest of you would like to attend, and of those who have said they will attend, please confirm that with me by e-mail. Should be a good time. Jim
TOP 15 PITCHERS - WEEK 2
Back to the top Home