Weekend Round Up – 3/20/2011

Today, I thought I’d start the links over at the ESPN Sweet Spot.  On Thursday (on behalf of Fire Brand) Charlie and I had the opportunity to take control of the mother ship at ESPN.

  • Charlie led us off with an excellent piece about the potential breakout stars for 2011.  I agree with quite a few of his selections; especially Carlos Santana, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Morrow.
  • After Charlie started us off right, I steered the ship right into a bunch of angry Giants’ fans when I shared that the Giants were not likely to repeat as champions.  Exactly 200 angry comments, and three Twitter hecklers later, I think I was able to convince some of them that I wasn’t a total jerk.

As I shared last week, I am doing double duty over at It’s About the Money Stupid, the Yankee Sweet Spot blog.   Here are my latest articles from over there.

  • In my first non-reprint piece at IIATMS, I took an in-depth look at Mark Teixeira’s 2010 performance to see if he either suffered from bad luck, or started his decline phase.    Much to the chagrin of most you guys (I’m sure), I see Leigh Teixeira’s husband rebounding in a big way this season.
  • Over at the ESPN Sweet Spot this morning, I had a chance to post an article on behalf of IIATMS.  In my latest article, I explained that while the Orioles had made some key improvements, it was pretty unlikely those acquisitions would make any measureable difference either in the short or long term.  I’m eagerly awaiting the comments that ensue.

Now, onto the weekly round-up…

  • Co-Link of the Week:  Our co-link of the week comes from one of my new colleagues over at IIATMS named Anna McDonald.  In her first piece, she blew me away.  Tommy John?  Pitching mechanics?  The inverted W? You had me at hello.
  • Co-Link of the Week:  Did you know that Roger Maris wasn’t intentionally walked at all during his record breaking 61 home run season?  Neither did Joe Posnanski—at least until earlier this week.  In his article titled “Zero Intentional Walks,” he looks at five cases in which players hit at least 35 home runs in a season without being intentionally walked.  As always with, it’s an interesting read.
  • I’m double dipping with Joe Pos this week for two reasons:  (1) he’s awesome, and (2) who is going to stop me?  In case you missed it, he respectfully took down his friend and colleague Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle for his anti-stats view.  Word to the wise Mr. Jenkins, your anti-stat “get of your mother’s basement” argument comes across lazy and cliché.
  • On Friday, the amazing Rob Neyer jumped in on the ongoing Brandon Belt debate in San Francisco.  Should he start the year with the club?  Neyer shares his thoughts.
  • Keeping with the Brandon Belt discussion, new friend Julian Levine over at Splashing Pumpkins gives his take on the Brandon Belt situation.  Personally, I think Brian Sabean made a huge mistake in re-signing Aubrey Huff to a two year extension.  That extension either blocks the talented Belt, or it forces Huff to move to LF where he’s ill-equipped to play.  Another shortsighted move by debatably the worst GM in baseball.
  • Anyone else think that the Barry Bonds trial is ridiculous?  Yeah, me too.  The Common Man over at the Platoon Advantage gives his unique, coherent take on the subject.  Also, for some good laughs, check out the hilarious Final Four of the Twins Facial Hair Face-Off.  You can still vote through Monday.
  • Brien over at IIATMS “love” the mainstream media’s contraction speculation.   Of course, by love, I mean hate.  Guess what?   Contraction is never going to happen, so it’s time to stop perpetuating the rumor.
  • Rich Lederer over at Baseball Analysts graphs the LOB% and BABIP of pitchers.   As always, it’s a spectacular read, especially if you’re a geek like me.
  • Rory Papp of Hardball Times takes a detailed look at the scoring and run prevention of World Series teams.   Does good pitching always win out over good hitting?
  • Should the Phillies sign the recently released Luis Castillo?  Dave Cameron takes a look.  My thoughts are they should probably make a run considering he’s probably the best short-term option available.  If Chase Utley looks like he’ll miss a big chunk of the time though, they will need to look for a better solution.
  • Joe Pawlikowski wonders how much would Adam Wainwright make on the open market.  Interesting question since I’d say there’s a better than 50/50 chance the Cardinals decline to pick up his 2012 and 2013 options.   Healthy, Wainwright is among the best pitchers in baseball.  Coming off of Tommy John surgery?  I don’t know.  When Ben Sheets can get $10M from the A’s after missing an entire season, it’s anybody’s guess.
  • Do you remember when Mark Teahan was a key member of the Moneyball draft?  Matt Klaussen takes a look at the past, present, and future of once promising infielder.
  • Bill Baer is the go to source on all things Phillies.  This week, he asks (and answers) the question:  “How much did the Phillies rotation improve?”
  • Dave Cameron, this time with his U.S.S. Mariner hat on, explains why top Mariner pitching prospect Michael Pineda isn’t quite ready for the big time.  When he is ready, he should be pretty freakin’ good.
  • How many problems can Tony Gwynn, Jr. solve? Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness attempts to answer that question.
  • Daniel Moroz of Beyond the Boxscore asks an oft-pondered question:  Do closers always pitch in the situations of highest leverage?  The answer, of course, is no.  They don’t.  I don’t care what anyone says.  Coming into the ninth inning with a three run lead is not a high leverage situation.
  • Sean Yankee Analysts discusses Ivan Nova’s new slider.  How much of a difference would it make?  Would it project him higher in the rotation?  Also, check out Mike Axisa’s thoughts on the matter as well.
  • Pip over at Fungoes tries to take a realistic approach to evaluating Kyle McClellan’s spring performance.
  • More from Moroz, this time from Camden Crazies.  He shares his Oriole projections, and finds that the Orioles are likely to be a 76-78 win team.
  • Mets fans rejoice!  Oliver Perez will likely be released soon!

That’s it for this week.  As always, feel free to share any interesting stories as the week goes on.

Categories: Weekend Round-Up

After being slapped with a restraining order for stealing Nick Cafardo's mail, I was forced into retirement for a brief period of time. As fun as it was to lounge around the community pool and play shuffleboard with noted internet columnist, Murray Chass, I quickly felt a yearning to write again. Now in my second tenure with Fire Brand, I have set lofty goals of achieving world domination, ending the plight of the hipsters, and becoming BFFs with Mike Trout. I am fluent in two languages (Sarcasm and English, in that order); have an intimate relationship with M&Ms; firmly believe that Lucille is the best character on Arrested Development; and spend my spare time trolling select members of the Boston media. You can follow me on Twitter @Chip_Buck.

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