Carlton Ernest "Pudge" Fisk (born December 26, 1947) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for 24 years with both the Boston Red Sox (1969, 1971-1980) and Chicago White Sox (1981-1993). Known by the nickname "Pudge" due to his 6'2", 220 lb frame, he was the first player to be unanimously voted American League Rookie of the Year (1972). He is best known for "waving fair" his game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, one of the greatest moments in World Series history. At the time of his retirement in 1993 he held the records for most home runs all-time by a catcher with 351 (since passed by Mike Piazza). A testament to his durability behind the plate, Fisk held the record for most games played at the position of catcher (2,226) until June 17, 2009 when he was surpassed by "Pudge" Iván Rodríguez. Fisk still holds the American League record for most years served behind the plate (24). Fisk was voted to the All-Star team 11 times and won 3 Silver Slugger Awards which is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position. Fisk was known as a fierce competitor, a superb handler of pitchers and a natural on-field leader. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Season 7 Awards: Part III


Let's start by taking a look at the AL Cy Young Award nominees:

Jesus Lee
Stan Newfield
Jay Young
Everett Hunter
Ignacio Pineda

24-2. 214/51 K/BB ratio. 0.97 WHIP. 2.19 ERA. .206 OAV. Wow! Jesus Lee put together an amazing stat line and has led the Wichita pitching staff to the World Series and a likely championship. Lee's 24-2 record is good for a .923 WPCT, .201 points higher than the Ruby Slippers own .722 WPCT. Lee tied Pineda with his 24 wins, was third in the AL with 235 IP, finished second in Ks only three behind teammate Sidney Hall, topped the AL with his low OAV, WHIP and ERA. So, three strikeouts kept him from winning the AL Triple Crown of pitching.

Mexico City's Stan Newfield also put together an impressive campaign. His 2.26 ERA and 1.03 WHIP are very comparable to Jesue Lee. In fact, Newfield's numbers are nearly as good as Lee in all but two major categories: Newfield registered a 21-8 record and had a less impressive 203/60 K/BB ratio. Additionally, Mexico City posted a 91-71 record as a team (.562 WPCT); Newfield's own WPCT was .724 (.162 points higher). However, there is one key factor working in Stan's favor: Mexico City has a Park Factor of .959 vs. the Wichita Park Factor of .924.

Jay Young is another Wichita starter up for the award. Young went 21-7 with a 2.36 ERA and 205 K. He also led the AL with a .204 OAV. Jay has very good numbers across the board, but falls just shy of Jesus Lee is just about every category. Given the play for the same team, this allows for a quick and direct comparison, and Young falls just short.

Louisville's Everett Hunter is a perennial contender for the Cy Young. This season he accumulated a 22-4 record, a 176/45 K/BB ratio, and 1.10 WHIP. Hunter's ERA is not as microscopic as our first three nominees checking in at 3.55. However, Louisville is much more of a hitter's park. Everett falls short in most core statistical categories, but his 22-4 record is good for seven additional wins versus his team average (Louisville had a .580 WPCT vs. Hunter's .846 WPCT). He also was second to Lee in the AL in K/BB ratio.

Ignacio Pineda is yet another Wichita starter. Pineda went 24-5 for a better record than Young. However, Pineda pales in comparison to both Young and Lee in just about every other category. He gave up more runs, hits, home runs, and walks than both of them tossing fewer innings.

The winner is... Stan Newfield. Really?

Newfield: 30 WS
Lee: 25 WS
Young: 23 WS
Hunter: 22 WS
Pineda: 18 WS

What makes the difference? Most of the difference is due to the easier park conditions for Wichita pitchers. Newfield is credited with saving 114 runs versus a replacement level pitcher in Mexico City whereas Lee is credited with "only" 99 runs saved. The combination of the Park Factor and Wichita's defense leads to a half run per game advantage for Wichita pitchers. Lee's ERA also benefits from three more unearnerd runs which is enough to give Newfield a lower "RA" (run average) than Lee. Interestingly, Jay Young did not allow a single UER which closes the gap in the race as well (but not enough).

Footnote: Stan Farley and Russ Daniels also registered 22 WS and finish ahead of Pineda.

Moving on to the NL... the nominees:

Michael Hardy
Luis Ozuna
Ricky Kubinski
Tris McEnroe
Brendan Henry

Michael Hardy led Milwaukee and the ML with a 1.77 ERA. Hardy also led the ML with a .187 OAV, allowed only 8 HR (best among those with more than 162 IP), and led the NL with a 1.01 WHIP. Hardy was kept to an average of 73 pitches per game as Milwaukee went to a four man rotation. This led to him registering only 18 decisions (16-2) in his 37 starts.

Luis Ozuna went 16-6 with 161 K and a 2.72 ERA. His ERA is good for fourth in the NL. With Tampa Bay going 82-80, Ozuna's WPCT clocks in .221 points higher than his team. Ozuna was also the best hitting pitcher in the league posting a .297 BA and scoring 14 runs in 74 AB. His 13 HR allowed was second best to Hardy among qualifiers.

Iowa City's Ricky Kubinski narrowly missed being a bona fide ROY the year candidate since he pitched 54.2 innings last year. The 23 year-old went 17-2 adding depth to the already great Iowa City staff. His 2.91 ERA and 1.16 were both very good but not league-leading.

I found a glitch in my spreadsheet formulas today which results in Tris McEnroe being dethroned as last year's Cy Young Award winner. He had another very good season this year in Milwaukee's new four-man rotation. Averaging just 75 pitches per game, he posted a 2.51 ERA and 1.06 WHIP which are best in the NL if you exclude teammate Michael Hardy. His 14-6 record is not as good either which, by direct comparison, shows that he will likely not be the winner this time around either.

Brendan Henry of Philadelphia put up a 20-9 record whcih was good enough to lead the NL in wins. The workhorse hurled 242 innings which was tops in the ML. His WHIP of 1.34 and 3.75 do not rate with the best of the lot, but he makes up for some of that in his sheer volume of work. He also led the NL in quality starts with 25, batters faced with 1040 and GB/FB ratio at 2.2.

The results please:

Hardy: 27 WS
McEnroe: 25 WS
Kubinski: 22 WS
Ozuna: 22 WS
Henry: 18 WS

Another footnote... several pitchers check in with more WS than Henry: Bonilla, Thomas, Harrison, Devereaux, Witt, and Rogers all had between 19 and 21 WS. I would suspect that Henry would be a likely contender amongst "typical" sportswriters due to leading the league in wins.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Season 7 Awards - Part II


The nominees are...

Wilson Truman
Christian Miller
Al Brown
Wiki Galvez
Gene Morris

Let's start by taking a look at Wilson Truman. The LF posted a huge .338/.412/.732 batting line on the shoulders of a ML leading 62 HR. His defense was less than stellar, but he made up for that with 127 runs scored and an NL leading 162 RBI. Truman missed the NL Triple Crown by only 3 points in batting average to Wiki Galvez. Monterrey proves to be a slight advantage for hitters with a Park Factor of 1.015.

Christian Miller is truly a stud 1B. Three straight seasons with an OPS over 1.100 and 60 HR is very good, and he's only 26. But, how does Season 7 stack up? 61 HR, 118 R, 124 RBI, and 18 more BB than Ks. His batting line checks in at .305/.407/.702; each number a little less than Truman's. Philadelphia calculates to a Park Factor of 0.985 - a slight disadvantage for hitters.

The other Philadelphia star is CF Al Brown. His play in CF was very good (not quite worthy of a Gold Glove) which is a a plus in terms of overal value versus Truman and Miller. Brown's line of .280/.335/.587 is solid, but does not stack up against our first two candidates. However, he did add 52 SB to his 43 HR, 119 R and 123 RBI.

New York's Wiki Galvez completed his third year at 3B recording 230 assists, turned 24 DP and committed only 6 errors for a FLD PCT of .980. Wiki also led the NL in batting average turning in a line of .341/.398/.511. Galvez doesn't have the big power that our first three stars have with only 51 extra bases. He doesn't have speed either stealing only two bases. However, Wiki struck out only 37 times which is second best amongst qualified hitters (Reid Hernandez of Salem registered only 33 whiffs in 549 PA).

Gene Morris rebounded from a sub-par season last year after a huge season 5 performance. The darkhorse in this race from the under-.500 Indianapolis Immigrants, Morris scored 104 R, stole 28 bases, smacked 43 doubles and led the ML with 12 triples. His batting line of .312/.390/.498 doesn't shine as bright as our big hitters, and his defensive play in LF isn't enough to put him in the same class as our big hitters.

So, who receives my endorsement? Based on Win Shares, the results are in:

Truman: 37 WS (35.5 OWS, 1.2 FWS)
Miller: 30 WS (28.3 OWS, 2.2 FWS)
Brown: 27 WS (19.3 OWS, 8.0 FWS)
Morris: 27 WS (24.9 OWS, 2.1 FWS)
Galvez: 26 WS (21.3 OWS, 4.9 FWS)

Truman and Miller were pretty close in their stats. Miller did have an overwhelming edge in BB (83 vs. 63) and K (65 vs. 104), but Truman's OPS edge of 36 points on 5 more extra base hits and 22 more singles offsets that advantage. Ultimately, Truman contributed a larger percentage of his team's offensive output than Miller (26.66% vs. 21.88%), and the offensive output of Philadelphia and Monterrey are quite similar. Philly had one less win and thus three less total Win Shares. The Cheese offense is credited with 46.7% of their value, while the Utley's have a slightly lower percentage at 45.9%. So, 3.5 more OWS are at-stake for Monterrey, and Truman gets a larger percentage of his team's output on a larger base. That makes the difference.

Next post we will review the AL Cy Young race.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Season 7 Awards - Part I

I spent time over the weekend copying/pasting data off the site to my spreadsheets to calculate Win Shares for Season 7. Instead of posting all my awards here at once, I thought I'd put in an entry for each of the awards. Hopefully, I can get through the MVP, Cy Young and ROY award posts before voting concludes. So, without further ado...

American League MVP

Nominees (from website):
Antonio Chen
Nate Singleton
Phil Graves
Mario Kydd
Placido Ferrer

Chen got off to a slow start, but came on strong as the season progressed. His batting line ended at .322/.416/.724 good for top OPS in the AL. His 61 HR was good for the AL lead; he added 165 RBI and scored 152 runs. Did I mention that he had 95 SB in 101 attempts?! His numbers truly are amazing. Oh, he also played great 2B with .988 FLDPCT, turned 108 DP and had no "-" plays. One last note, I have Wichita at a Park Factor of .924 - good for the second toughest park in the league for offense.

Nate Singleton put together a great season for the Ruby Slippers as well. Singleton doesn't play the tough position that Chen plays, but played a very respectable LF. However, defense is not the key for him. Nate posted a .297/.350/.638 line and led the ML with 172 RBI. He homered 59 times and swiped 37 bases. While impressive, Chen is better on almost any meaningful comparison.

Phil Graves had another very good season for the Jaxsonville jarheads. Graves was a bit of a utility man on defense posting over 400 innings at both 3B and LF while receiving playing time at 2B, RF and CF as well. He didn't really excel at any of the positions. Graves hit 59 homers leading to a .316/.395/.702 batting line. These are very solid numbers, but, again, Chen still has him in just about every category.

The Rookie. Mario Kydd - .343/.408/.635. Pretty good. Kydd had arguably the best rookie season we have seen in this world driving in 135 RBI, scoring 132 runs on 47 HR. Kydd played a respectable 1B, but the pattern emerging is clear. No one is better than Chen.

But, let's look at one more player... Placido Ferrer. Ferrer played DH for Mexico City and put up a batting line of .298/.365/.603. His 47 HR, 125 RBI, 118 R, and 20 SB are all impressive. But, he falls short of Chen (sorry for being a broken record); he doesn't even earn the honor of team MVP according to Win Shares with that honor going to Greg Serra.

So, who is my AL MVP? You guessed it: Antonio Chen. Again.

Chen: 50 Win Shares (41.5 Offense, 8.3 Fielding)
Kydd: 38 WS (35.2 OWS, 2.4 FWS)
Graves: 36 WS (32.7 OWS, 2.9 FWS)
Singleton: 32 WS (29.2 OWS, 2.6 FWS)
Ferrer: 27 WS (27.0 OWS, 0.1 FWS)

Next post will look over the NL MVP candidates. It should be more interesting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sterling Dunston: Man or Demigod?

As suggested by Mr. Connelly, today we will look at Sterling Dunston, LF for the Seattle Dead Rockstars.

Sterling Dunston
Dead Rockstars
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Vandenberg Afb, CA
Position(s): LF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Man or Demigod?

What would make Mr. Dunston a "demigod"? According to Wiktionary, a demigod is the offspring of a god and a mortal. Whatifsports does not give us information on the lineage of our simulated athletes, so we'll take a less literal meaning in looking at our specimen.

So, how good is Sterling Dunston. Well, not good enough to qualify for AL ROY voting. But, we'll take a deeper look in case the award is indeed a sham as the Seattle owner suggests. Dunston went .269/.334/.559 in his rookie campaign. Hardly staggering numbers for a 25 year-old rookie. His 47 HR are quite impressive making him tied for 10th in the bigs. Houston ROY candidate, Mario Kydd, also blasted 47 HR. But the comparison stops there. Kydd had 219 H (good for 2nd in the ML) to Dunston's 145, scored 132 R compared to 78, smacked 40 two-baggers versus 14 for Dunston, struckout just 78 times as opposed to 128 whiffs by Dunston, ... I could go on. Kydd is clearly superior.

There are countless other examples. Dunston is solid, but unless the league is full of demigods or baseball talent is not the best measure to find godly DNA, then I don't think our study bears out.

I'm going to vote that Dunston is just a man. I suppose he is an imaginary man, but that's not relevant here.
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