Friday, January 18, 2008


It's Urkel Day!

It's time for everybody's favorite...TGIF links! Here's a collection of random tidbits, most baseball-related, some not. I've also concluded that January sucks, at least in a baseball sense. Only one more month until pitchers and catchers report. One...more...month.

--Today on, Rob Neyer chatted with fans about which pitcher would be better, our own wunderkind Tim Lincecum, or Brewer uberprospect Yovani Gallardo. Lincecum has hellacious stuff and destroyed everything in his path in the minors, but Gallardo is younger and has shown better control. The answer of who will be better isn't exactly as clear-cut as we Giants fans might like.

It makes for an interesting read, and some good points are made, especially in counter to all the people freaking out about Lincecum's small frame, and the injury risk involved, and also just about the general unpredictability of pitchers. He's a pitcher and he exists, therefore he's an injury risk. It happens. Some chatters brought up the example of Mark Prior, who was considered a brilliant physical specimen who could never get hurt, hurt.

Another point raised is that just because Lincecum's delivery is bizarre doesn't mean it's dangerous. It seems like most of his power comes from his lower body, which would take a lot of strain off of the arm. Power pitchers like Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens had notoriously strong legs, which enabled them to throw hard as hell, and both those guys pitcher forever.

I also realize from reading this chat that some fans just don't live in reality. A majority of the people submitting questions come from the Bay Area, understandably, and some think Lincecum is a top ten pitcher right now. I'm just as excited about Timmy as anybody else, but let's get a hold of ourselves here. He's still young and he's thrown just 146 major league innings. Given the adjustments hitters are likely to make against him, and again given that pesky (knock on wood) injury risk just by him being a pitcher, there are bound to be some bumps in the road before true greatness.

--I try to stay away from Baseball Think Factory, really I do. It's not because the site has a bunch of bad baseball writing or anything. Au contrere, BTF is home to some of the richest baseball analysis out there by some of the most amazing fans of the game. It constantly blows my mind how smart a lot of these guys are.

No, I try to stay away because once I get on, I can't get off. First there are the front page articles, then there are Dan Szymborski's ZiPs projections, then there's the News Blog, which points out some really crappy articles from around the country, then skewers them. One interesting baseball thread leads to another, and before I know it, I've wasted away five hours, my complexion has developed that pasty-white sheen, and when I go outside I hiss at the sun like the Nosferatu or some other denizen of the night. For the sake of a healthy dating life, I try to stay off.

So I basically take it in small steps, kind of the Atkins Diet of baseball stat nerdery. During my 12-step BTF recovery process, I came across this writeup by Chris Dial, where he presents his choices for who should have won the NL Gold Gloves (because the real GG voting is a joke), using a number of (confusing) defensive metrics.

According to his analysis, Pedro Feliz was 2007's best defensive third baseman, which comes as no surprise. I've harped about that before. No, the real shocker is that he rates Omar Vizquel as the best shortstop. We all know Omar is still pretty good, but it seemed like common wisdom that he was declining rapidly. Not so, says Dial. In fact, check out this quote:

>That (outstanding defense) could have been enough to make Omar an average player in 2007, shocking as that sounds.>

Whoah. Omar must have been one hell of a wizard with the glove to make him average, as his bat reached Neifi depths of putridness. I'm not sure I agree, as this is the only bit of analysis that I've seen that rates Vizquel as the best (whereas just about every defensive metric has Feliz as the top 3B), but if true, it gives his re-signing a more positive outlook.

--There was an article today on the Giants official website about the Giants apparently letting Ray Durham and Kevin Frandsen fight it out for the second base job, but I think Chris Haft is just scratching for things to write about. When is the last time the Giants actually let a young player compete, fair and square, for an everyday job against a veteran? Remember the Jamey Wright vs. Brad Hennessey "contest" that really wasn't a fight at all, because Wright had the job as long as he didn't completely mess himself in the spring. Same with Russ Ortiz this past season. Do you really think the Giants are going to give Frandsen a fair shot at taking the starting job from the savvy veteran making $7 million? Please.

For the record, though, I do want to see Frandsen start at third base (assuming the Giants don't upgrade that position in the interrim), and I expect Durham to be considerably better this year. His track record is is just too good for him to fall apart this much, this fast. Plus, how could he be any worse?

--I discussed the lunacy that can go hand-in-hand with Hall of Fame arguments last week, especially involving Jim Rice, but if you want to take a head-long plunge into the darkest depths of the stark-raving-mad HOF argument, I direct you to this bit of wisdom from everybody's favorite Curly-Haired Boyfriend. FJM tears into poor Dan quite nicely here.

--Ten years after my Freshman English teacher in high school sent the class into a baffled stupor by citing it, I think I finally get this joke. Or do I?

--Ah, TGIF video, how I've missed ye. I'm not sure I can really explain this, but...just check it out.

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