2011 Season     

   Edition No. 17        

May 19, 2011


Guilty as charged.  I volunteered to do a FTB, and due to a combination of a heavy work and travel schedule (nothing new there), and a rare (for me) lack of anything relevant, fun, insightful and/or humorous to say, I just didn’t get the job done. 


My apologies.


I volunteered with the best of intentions, but the response from some league members was something akin to this classic scene from one of my favorite movies:




“You were saying something about . . . best intentions?”


In order not to end up like Brett in this scene, I guess I will offer this up for what it is worth (in my estimation, not much) . . .


(and if you want to see the longer version of the “best intentions scene”)




The more positive spin on the hue and cry about the lack of a FTB from me is that some people actually enjoy reading what I write.  I consider myself a generally optimistic, positive, and glass half full type, so we’ll fun with that  . . .with the caveat that I still don’t feel as if I have a lot to say (at least in the FTB essay format --- I do still seem to find enough to say on the message board.  Maybe I need to start taking those meds again . . . ).



Thoughts on the season to date –


We are exactly one quarter through the season, and per usual, the first part of the season is rife with surprises.  Who would have thought that –


1)      Jose Bautista has surpassed Albert Pujols as the best player in MLB?


2)      The number of rainouts season to date this year is more than ALL of 2010?


3)      A player would do something that has only been done one other time before in MLB history (Brian MCann hitting a game tying home run in the bottom of the 9th inning, and then hitting a walk-off home run in his next at bat)?


4)      The Indians on May 19, 2010 were 15-23, 8 games back of the Twins (24-16); this year on May 19, the Indians are 26-14, 12 ½ games AHEAD of the Twins (14-27). 


5)      Tampa Bay starts 0-6, and is now 25-18, ahead of both New York and Boston?



Anyone else sensing that offense is down this year?


It is.


A lot.


I think these numbers are very interesting ---












































2001-02 might be considered by some observers as  the hey-day of rampant PED usage by most, if not all MLB players.  The prevailing view in 2001-2003 was that game was compromised, because offense got totally out of hand.  You can see it in the numbers!!!  Oh wait. . . 2001-2003, for all of  MLB, are not that much different than . . .2006, the year in which random and extensive drug-testing was implemented in MLB.


2009, the fourth season of drug-testing, saw offensive production essentially in line with 2001-2003, the peak of rampant PED use.  Essentially, the players are clean, but offense is “normal” relative to the standard production of the prior decade.


But – 2010 sees a notable drop in offense, followed by an even larger decline in 2011.


This phenomenon cannot be explained by “more good young pitching” alone.  Sure, Jose Lima and Carlos Silva have now moved on, but a quick glance at the KC Royals staff shows that “young pitching” does not equal “effective” or “better” or “dominant” pitching.  Something else is at work . . .larger strike zones?  A subtle change in balls?  Colder spring temps?  There are probably other theories, but the overall MLB offensive numbers 1) argue against rampant PED usage in the beginning of the decade, 2) argue that the effect of those who did use were not hugely significant on the overall numbers in the game itself, and 3) the decline in offense is not related to testing, because that should have shown up in 2006-07.  We may have an episode topic for Agents Mulder and Scully . . .



The other notable aspect to 2011 to me is that, even more than in most seasons (when there are always a few players that are performing far above or below their established career norms), TONS of players are underperforming their established levels of offensive production.  This goes hand in hand with the observation that offense is down across the board.



Here are some examples (with current batting average and OPS compared to career average and OPS) ---






Adam LaRoche




Vernon Wells



Angels rue picking up his contract

Kelly Johnson



Not as good as ’10, better than ‘11

Dan Uggla



He’ll bounce back fine

Adam Dunn



Horrid spring...should be ok

Carl Crawford




Hanley Ramirez



Even more inexplicable

Nick Swisher



Married in offseason

Torii Hunter



Karma for Latin comments

David Wright



Hitting is hard w/a broken back

Aubrey Huff



Avgs 23HRs per year in career

Justin Morneau



Hitting is hard w/a concussion

Jayson Werth



Nats rue the $126 mil contract


If you walked out of the draft with these guys as your top 12 hitters. . . .you would have expected to run away with the HSL.


Others just missing the list – Choo, Cargo, Pedroia.


Average required over last 3/4s of this season to get to career batting average (and my estimated odds of actually getting to career average and the O/U for my estimated actual 2011 ending average) --


Adam LaRoche


odds 1 in 20

O/U .230

Vernon Wells


1 in 50


Kelly Johnson


1 in 15


Dan Uggla


 1 in 10


Adam Dunn


 1 in5


Carl Crawford

.324 (yikes)

1 in 15


Hanley Ramirez

.340 (wowsa)

1 in 50


Nick Swisher


1 in 5


Torii Hunter


 1 in 8


Aubrey Huff


1 in 15


Justin Morneau


 no line


Jayson Werth


1 in 3



The obligatory standings:





Lincoln Tribe












Millard Monarchs








West Des Moines Cubs




Bronx Bombers








Kansas City Blues




Da Bums












Omaha Senators




Last standings update: Thu May 19 04:27am CDT



Final Comments –


Max graduates from Bowdoin a week from Saturday.  How did THAT happen?


It is early in the season, and patience is a virtue.


Mean reversion is your friend.


Congrats to EMM on a nice run at state.


They are never as bad as they look when they play bad, nor are they as good as they look when they play well, except Seth Smith, who ALWAYS looks good.


Draft who you like, because it is a long season.


IaNNetta is spelled with 2 N’s.  I before E except after C.


Emote-icons rock.


It is the Year of the Chiefs, but if it was all about pitching, it might be the Year of the Tribe.


It is all about hitting.


It is better to be the luckiest man in the world, than the most interesting man in the world, but both are good.  Speaking of luck, check out the pitching section of the “full HSL standings” on Yahoo. . . .


Lotion is good.


Focus.  TB