Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Baseball Thoughts...

1. Since Mighty brought it up, I thought it might be fun to look at Victor Zambrano’s season-ending injury in the context of what might have been for the New York Mets.

Obviously there is never a way to predict the future success of a young player and the success a young player may experience in one setting may not translate to another setting. Despite that, I’d like to match up Zambrano’s numbers with Devil Rays ace Scott Kazmir’s, the pitcher the Mets traded down to Tampa in July 2004. These numbers reflect major league totals only.

Zambrano: 201.2 IP/ 10 W/ 4.42 ERA/ 1.493 WHIP/ .264 BAA/ 141 K
Kazmir: 261.1 IP/ 16 W/ 3.96 ERA/ 1.500 WHIP/ .257 BAA/ 254 K

It is clear that the Mets got completely ruined in this trade, getting marginally less performance from an older pitcher who was never projected to be a front-line starter. The Devil Rays now have their ace for the next few years and Kazmir should only get better as he becomes more comfortable against major league hitters.

It’s also clear that former Mets GM Jim Duquette earned his firing with this trade alone. Although the speculation is that Kazmir exhibited poor work habits in the Mets minor league system and that the team grew tired of his prima donna attitude, the Mets never successfully sold this trade to the fans and, well, the results now speak for themselves.

Considering the fact that the Mets division-title hopes rest in finding a suitable replacement for Zambrano in the rotation, it’s fun to wonder what might’ve been if the rotation went Pedro-Glavine-Kazmir.

2. I’m really sick and tired of the media attention being paid to Josh Beckett’s upcoming start for the Red Sox tonight in the Bronx. Everyone keeps on talking about how he’s unafraid and how he’s returning to the site of his past glory. Jeez, he won the only game he ever pitched at Yankee Stadium so it’s hardly a fair sampling of things to come for him in the Bronx. Granted, it was the clinching game of the 2003 World Series, but really, why are we anointing someone with 44 career wins as heroic because he’s carrying a 1-0 career record vs. the Yankees?

And, for the record, no matter what media types would have you believe, no matter what happens tonight, Josh Beckett is not adjusting as well to the American League. Check for yourself:

2001-2005: 3.46 ERA/ 1.235 WHIP/ 2.72 K:BB/ 8.97 K:9/ 1.14 GB:FB/ .673 OPSA
2006: 4.87 ERA/ 1.297 WHIP/ 1.44 K:BB/ 5.59 K:9/ 0.98 GB:FB/ .760 OPSA

For Beckett/Red Sox fans, I would note the alarming drop in K:BB and K:9 and the nearly 100-point increase in opponents’ OPS. Good stuff for the rest of us...

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