Monday, November 5, 2007

Some off season baseball notes

I just finished reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It was awesome. For those of you that aren't familiar with the book, it's about Oakland A's GM Billy Beane and how he fields competitive teams with a low payroll by figuring out which stats are undervalued. Since I'm a pretty frequent reader of Baseball Prospectus and Fire Joe Morgan, I had a basic understanding of Sabermetrics before reading Moneyball, so I'm not going too get into why old-school baseball conventional wisdom is retarded and OBP is the shit. What I do want to know is when are Billy Beane and/or Michael Lewis going to apologize to Prince Fielder?

You see, there's this section about the 2002 draft. A's GM Billy Beane is creaming his jeans over a slugger named Nick Swisher, but he's not sure whether Swisher will be around by the time Beane gets his first pick. In order for that to happen, according to Beane, either the Brewers or the Tigers will have to make a stupid pick. According the Beane, the Brewers did make a stupid pick. They took Prince Fielder. You know, that all-star that became the youngest player to clout 50 dingers this year and was like 3rd in the NL MVP voting. Lewis recounted how Beane mocked the Brewers because Prince Fielder is too fat to be a good baseball player. Beane says he's too fat even for the Oakland A's! [Now I wouldn't go so far as to call the brother fat, I mean he got a weight problem. What's the nigga gonna do? He's Samoan. Or the son of Cecil Fielder]. Whatever. The point is that the whole purpose of Moneyball is to explain that you can't pick players because of how they look. Stats tell you what scouts can't. And Prince Fielder is a prime example. Because he's really really awesome, even if he's built like Babe Ruth. Wait, he was pretty good at baseball too. If you're going to suggest that it's important to judge a player by how he plays rather than how he looks, Prince Fielder was obviously a pretty good pick.

Speaking of baseball, an interesting possibility has recently entered into the consciousness of the Brewers' front office and fans. Blogger/starting pitcher Curt Schilling announced on his blog that he was filing for free agency for the first time in his 21-year career. He also put up a list of teams that he wanted to play for:

The list of teams that our family has talked over, that we think would be a fit for next year, should we not come back, are pretty much teams in cities we agree would be ok for our last year, and teams I think have a legitimate shot at being in the post season and/or World Series. Teams we didn’t include aren’t for any one reason. There are a million little things that go into this from stadiums to school districts to travel to spring training to etc. etc. etc. but the list represents the teams after Boston that have some of the off the field things that are big to us, plus the potential to go into October next year.

Cleveland, Detroit, Anaheim, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A., S.D., Arizona, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis, Milwaukee

Huh? Milwaukee makes your list due, in part, to it's chances of making the post season? This is outstanding for a number of reasons.

To begin with, it speaks volumes about what Doug Melvin, Mark A and the rest of the Brewers organization have done with the team over the last few years. A big ticket free agent is looking at us. Granted, he's in his forties, but he just won a bunch of post season games and I think he's got another good year left in him. The fact of the matter is that if Curt Schilling thinks we're good, we just might be.

Secondly, I really hope we actually sign him! He's looking for around $12 to 15 Million for a one year contract. That's pretty spendy, but rumor has it we're considering throwing that much at Cordero and he's a closer. Now, I love CoCo, but if Billy Beane was wright about one thing, it's that closers are overvalued. They're main stat, "saves," is easily faked and they usually have short shelf-lives (is that the plural of "shelf-life?"). A kick-ass SP is a better use of $15 Million than a kick-ass RP.

Update: And like that *poof* he was gone.

1 comment:

PaulNoonan said...

Unfortunately, he's resigning with Boston.