Sunday, May 3, 2009

New* Generation* of Baseball Stars* Emerging*

First of all, let me VWOOP! say that as I type this VWOOP! Chris Berman VWOOP! is hosting SportsCenter and he is a VWOOP! motherfucking embarrassment. That's all there is to say about that. Oh, except for: THE-UHHHHHHHHHH RAAAAAAAAAAIIIIDAAAHHHHHHHHSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Moving on.

The title of this post is the actual title of this article by Richard Justice about some MLB players who are off to hot starts this season. Why the asterisks? Well, I don't want to get too bogged down in legal technicalities, but that title needs some clarification. For example, some of the players named in the article aren't "new" to the league at all. (I know "new" is modifying "generation" and not necessarily the individual players, but bear with me. Just this one time.) They certainly, as a whole, do not constitute a "generation." Many of them are not "stars," and never will be. And some aren't "emerging" at all- they either have already emerged or simply are not doing anything that could be construed as an emergence.

They all do play baseball, though, so I didn't have to put an asterisk by that. Which is good.

Maybe you haven't heard of Aaron Hill. You will, though. Trust us on this one. Likewise, you'll soon know all about Zack Greinke, Nyjer Morgan, Nelson Cruz, Joey Votto, Heath Bell and Brandon Inge.

So if you're a baseball fan, you should already be able to tell why I used those asterisks up there.
This baseball season is interesting, not just because the Royals, Tigers, Mariners and Marlins are in first place,

Well, of course- I know my heart is still going a mile a minute because of the emergence of those plucky Royals.

not just because the Pirates and Padres are hanging in there,

Thrills abound in the NL West! (For clarification, I'm not some kind of Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs loving asshole. My favorite team actually happens to play in the NL West. I just have to point out, it's not exactly the most compelling division even with the Padres not starting to suck just yet.)

but because all over baseball, a new generation of stars is emerging.

Well sure. Evan Longoria, Carlos Quentin, and Jay Bruce are all having great years so far. And you've gotta like what Yovani Gallardo and Chad Billingsley have been doing.

Sure, Albert Pujols is still doing amazing things.


So is Kevin Youkilis and Johan Santana and Roy Halladay and a lot of familiar names.

We've got a subject/verb agreement problem there. But sure, that's true.

What would life be without a Red Sox-Yankees series meaning something?

You just named a Cardinal, a Red Sock, a Met, and a Blue Jay. The fuck is this sentence doing here?

Let's run down some of the people that are doing great things in the first month of a new season.

First, Aaron Hill. He does things at second base that will remind you of Roberto Alomar, meaning his glove work can occasionally take your breath away.

He also leads the major league in hits

After 20some games.

and is one of several reasons the Toronto Blue Jays are in first place in the American League East. Teammates Ricky Romero and Jason Frasor are on that list, too.

OK, Richard's first choice: Aaron Hill. Great. Let's break down young Mr. Hill's credentials. He's now 27, which means he should have entered his offensive prime last season or so. He has a career OPS+ of.... 100. He is, by that standard, an exactly average hitter. He has also hit 34 career home runs in more than 2000 career plate appearances. Hmmm. If you put a lot of stock in fielding metrics, he's a little above average as a second baseman in range factor/9 innings for his career. He's at 5.02- the league over that period of time is at 4.95. So he makes an extra putout or assist over the average second baseman every 15 games or so. Nothing to sneeze at, and perhaps he does have a penchant for the highlight-reel play, but he's not exactly the second coming of Ozzie Smith (at second base) either.

My analysis? Maybe new, not a star, probably not emerging unless he's a late bloomer. We're off to a great start.

The Blue Jays were only going to go as far as their young pitchers took them, and so far, Romero and Frasor are a combined 5-0, but Romero was placed on the 15-day disabled list this week.

Therefore, Aaron Hill is somehow an emerging star.

Hill was Toronto's first-round pick in 2003, was in the big leagues for good in 2005. He moved from short to second when Orlando Hudson was traded

And because he was not a very good defensive shortstop.

and has gotten better and better.

Yes, as most athletes tend to do in their mid twenties. Those who do not usually find themselves selling insurance by age 30.

He missed 107 games last season after suffering a concussion in a collision with David Eckstein.

Goodness! I'm surprised Eckstein's hustle and grit didn't decapitate Hill upon impact! I hear running into Eckstein is like driving a car at 90 mph into a 4 foot high wall of solid concrete. With spikes sticking out of it. While Darin Erstad lobs grenades at you.

He's back now. Boy is he back.

And having a great 20 game stretch.

The Blue Jays are a model organization in some ways. That is, they're forced to build through player development because they don't have the resources to spring for the big-ticket free agents.

Probably because they wasted $52 million on B.J. "Exploding Elbow" Ryan a few years back.

When teams do it this way, even when their scouts are making good decisions, there can be frustration among fans because fans want everything done yesterday.

That sentence reads like it was translated into Finnish and then translated back.

Once the talent pipeline starts flowing, teams like the Blue Jays — and the Marlins — have a chance to remain in contention for a long time.

As long as they can retain their homegrown stars, like Roy Halladay. (Coming soon to a Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, or Boston-based team near you!) Which they usually can't. But good for them for inking up Vernon Wells I guess. Enjoy paying him $18 million a year for $5 to $10 million a year's worth of production until 2014, Toronto.

Nice going, Blue Jays.

Here's an ice cream cone and a firm pat on the ass.

Now about Zack Greinke.

You need a verb.

You probably have a vague recollection of him somewhere in the back of your mind.

You remember he was a top prospect that couldn't cut it and briefly gave up on baseball.

Yes, it does seem like he has been around forever. He was the sixth pick of the 2002 draft and in the big leagues two years later at the ripe old age of 20. He was going to be the next great thing.

His story is really complicated. Somewhere on the road to Cooperstown, he came undone. He walked away, saying it was no longer fun.

Listen, I don't want to rip a guy who had a serious mental illness, but listen to this interview from a couple years ago and try not to laugh at Zach the dipshit. If ever there was a pinhead simpleton idiot... it's probably him. His ability to have a conversation is unrelated to his ability to play baseball, of course. I just think the link is worth sharing. Seriously, pop in your headphones and take a few minutes to listen to it. Wow. Wow. Wow.

In any case, this is probably Richard's best pick. My analysis- not new, but probably going to be a "star" of some kind, definitely emerging. Two out of three ain't bad. Especially when you have trouble with the idea that you have to use "are" when your sentence contains multiple subjects.

The Royals have built from the ground up as well and they're drawing big crowds at home and there's a feeling that a franchise has been reborn this season.

As Richard would say: Nice going, Royals. (end analysis)

Joey Votto is also only 25 years old. He was also a high draft pick in 2002. He needed five years to get to the big leagues. He's a big, strapping kid that is hitting .358 and driving in runs.

When the Big Red Machine is fully back in business, he'll be a household name.

Another decent choice- probably new, maybe going to be a star (but slugging first basemen aren't exactly hard to find), probably emerging. Let's move past this and get to the crap.

Nyjer Morgan plays center field for the Pirates. He's 28 years old, but playing regularly for the first time.

Hmmmmmmmm. This is like being single in your mid twenties and having a friend say "Hey, I know this great chick I'm going to set you up with. She happens to be 34 and has a kid-" And then you kind of just stop listening and tune the friend out. If you haven't played regularly before age 28, there is a 99% change that it's because you suck.

He leads the NL in triples

You know how the saying goes- if you're leading the league in triples in early May... well, you probably have like three triples.

OK, scratch that, I just checked. He has two.

and stolen bases and is hitting .319.

The day this article was written, last Monday, Dexter Folwer stole almost as many bases (5) as Morgan has all season (6). Oh, and his average his since dropped to .309.

He's one of those guys your kids will want to be like.

You mean a professional baseball player? True, I guess. Same for anyone else in this article though.

To see him run the bases is to take a memory home from the ballpark.

Ah- the piece of human poetry that is Nyjer Morgan. You suck, Richard. Nyjer Morgan: perhaps new, but never ever ever going to be a star and most definitely not emerging.

Sometimes, you just have to give a guy a chance. That's the lesson of Heath Bell, who at 31 leads the major leagues with seven saves.

Segue! That's why this guy gets paid the big bucks.

He was drafted by the Mets, traded to the Padres and worked anonymously in both bullpens for most of the last five seasons.

Yeah, about that- in San Diego, prior to this season, he was a dominant setup guy who usually worked the 8th inning in front of a first ballot hall of famer. I really don't think you can accuse the Padres of "not giving him a chance" until now. Although I will concede that the Mets might have given up on him a little early. On the other hand, during his last season with them (2006), he allowed 51 hits and 6 home runs in 37 innings.

The Padres bumped him from the eighth to the ninth inning after Trevor Hoffman's departure. He has been in eight games this season and has yet to allow a run.

But does he make you leave the ballpark with a smile? Is he Nyjer Morgan? My analysis- not new, not going to be much of a star, maybe emerging as a solid closer.

Nelson Cruz was also seen as a guy not ready for primetime. He was a part-time player with both the Brewers and Rangers.

He recorded five career at bats with the Brewers. And he OPSed under .700 during both 2006 and 2007 with the Rangers. I think they were pretty justified at that time in not seeing him as "ready for primetime."

This season the Rangers have put him in right field and seen a very solid major league player emerge. He's hitting .277 with six home runs already on a team that believes it will contend in the American League West.

Well, there are only three other teams in the division and none of them are that good. Way to be, Rangers. Way to dream. Cruz is 28 years old, has had one good season in which he recorded 115 ABs, and is playing in an amazing lineup in one of the best hitters' parks in baseball. I'm unmoved. My analysis- probably new, probably not going to be a star, probably not emerging.

Haven't the Detroit Tigers tried to get rid of Brandon Inge about a dozen times the last few years?

Why were they unsucessful? Probably because he's not that good.

Don't they give his job to someone else.

Fuck, man- just reread your shit ONE TIME before you submit it for publication. You'll probably catch stuff like this.

He has moved all over the field, too.

Yes, because he's not a good enough hitter to secure a full time starting spot at any one position.

He's playing third base this year, playing it well and is helping the Tigers hang onto a share of first place in the American League Central. His .322 batting average is 84 points above his career average.

And he's only 32 years young, with a mere 3700 plate appearances under his belt! I'm fairly confident he will continue to hit 84 points above his average for the rest of the season. Looks like he finally figured out major league pitching.

Maybe he won't stay at .322,

I'll eat a hat if he does.

but he has made April more interesting.

Oh yeah, here we go, here comes the trifecta. Brandon Inge: not new, nowhere close to being a star, and almost certainly not emerging. Awwwwwwwesome.

April is for dreamers.

And for a few mediocre-to-crappy players to have hot starts and get dumb articles like this one written about them.

Just ask the Royals and Mariners and Marlins.

Thanks for tying it all back together, Richard. I feel like I just collided with David Eckstein while watching Nyjer Morgan run the bases.


Martin said...

The demise of newspapers and the sad state of sports journalism is never more evident then in the constant brain dead declarations like the one pointing out how the guy leads the league in triples. One month into the season, he has two. Lazy ass fucking journalism. if the guy had something like 5 or 6, hey, maybe worth a mention. Not in the emerging new generation of superstars column, but maybe in a "Well, this guy might be worth looking at this year...he might not completely suck" kinda way.

Thank you for sharing your anger.

Tonus said...

How the fuck does someone who missed 107 games after colliding with DAVID ECKSTEIN qualify as anything but a loser? That's 2/3 of a season, lost because you ran into a six-year-old girl.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't think you understand Larry. These players are "new" because Richard Justice just wrote the first article about them. They did not exist prior to this. If the MSM does not mention an athlete in a column at any point, that athlete has not yet existed in the mind of the sports public.

Richard Justice just assumes that baseball fans are all incredible dumbasses who will fall for insanely stupid statistics like counting a player as leading the league in triples with 2 after a month and a half of the year.

What I get angry about is that the MSM thinks their asses have been crowned as the absolute ultimate decider of who is "new" to baseball because they write the fucking stories and tell all the idiots in the world what is what. Many of them think until they mention a player, none of the morons in the world know who the fuck that player is. They don't exist until the MSM says they exist. I hate lowest common denominator journalism. I wish they would quit acting like we are all idiots. I don't need Richard Justice to tell me Joey Votto is a good baseball player, I can figure that out on my own. Plus, if he was really interested in doing good journalism he would mention that Aaron Hill will come back to Earth very soon...and if he doesn't then we can all be incredibly shocked together.

I do love the line, "if you haven't played regularly before age 28, there's a 99% chance that it's because you suck." Not to mention he is playing for the Pirates. He just became a regular at the age of 28 and has played for the Pirates his entire career and just became a regular player. I am embarrassed for him.

Bengoodfella said...

Oh, and Chris Berman is a fucking embarrassment to human kind. You're not funny, not amusing, and most of all, I dislike you.

(That's my speech to Chris Berman)

When aliens come down to finally take over man kind, we should use Berman as a sacrifice to appease them. It would only take about 5.3 seconds before they threw his hair combed over, fat, lifeless body back to Earth though. "Back, back, back, back and he slams into the ground."

Jack M said...

-Nick Markakis
Age: 25
2009 OPS: .995

-Adam Jones
Age: 23
2009 OPS: 1.043

However, the Orioles aren't even close to first place, so there's obviously something fundamentally wrong with Markakis and Jonesy.

Larry B said...

Fuck, I should have picked Markakis over Quentin. Quentin may be an emerging star but he's like 28. I'm a dipshit.

Chris W said...

THE Carlos Quentin is 26 years old this year, dicktug

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

Wow, I'd never heard of this Brandon Inge guy. After all, who actually bothered to watch the 2006 World Series?

Elliot said...

Is Kofaxian a word? Greinke is pitching like a maniac. I love the chin music he serves up, it reminds me of 60s (pre-mound raise) pitching.

Oh and Richard missed one other hot new player: 40-year old rookie pitcher Ken Takahashi. If he keeps playing into his 90s he could very well break Cy Young's win record.

dan-bob said...

I just liked the part where Justice said that the Big Red Machine is going to be fully back in business.

I'm excited!

Also I watched Nyjer Morgan run the bases this year and I don't think I took any memories home from the ballpark except for Aaron Harang's shutout of the punchless Pirates.

Jeff said...

I love how it's relevant that the Rangers believe they'll contend in the AL West.

Can someone do a follow-up on this column in 6 months? Someone other than me? I want to see if it was worth anyone's time to point out that Joey Votto is hitting .358 and Brandon Inge, a career .239 hitter in over 1000 games, is hitting .322 in about 20 this season.