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Baseball Evolution

TheHardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 is overflowing with articles on baseball history, the 2006 season, and sabermetric analysis. It also has stats and graphs you can't get anywhere else. Read Tony's Review for more info.

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In the Big Inning

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News and Notes
Previous News and Notes

July and August
May and June
March and April
January and February

October through End of 2006
August and September
June and July
April and May
Richard's DN&N

June and July
April and May

2003 | 2004

October 30 - Keith - Trade Analysis: Renteria to Detroit -

On Monday, the Atlanta Braves traded SS Edgar Renteria to the Detroit Tigers for for RHP Jair Jurrjens and OF Gorkys Hernandez.

"The Tigers don't wait around for the winter meetings, when all the owners and agents get involved. I think this was a good move because Renteria is a great player, who is a winner with a championship under his belt." --Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez

We can file this quote under Why Players Don't Make Good General Managers. While I-Rod lauds the Tigers for acting quickly, he should be chastising them for acting foolishly.

October 30 - Same Old, Same Old -

In case you hadn't heard - and you almost certainly have, given that it was tastelessly announced during Game Four of the World Series - Alex Rodriguez unsurprisingly elected to opt out of his contract with the New York Yankees. Gregory Pratt writes that Alex Rodriguez is half the man he could be, and that the new Steinbrenner resembles the old one.

October 30 - Breaking News: Dodgers to Hire Torre
The Journal-News of Westchester, NY reports that Joe Torre will replace Los Angeles Dodgers manager Grady Little, with Don Mattingly likely reprising his role as Torre's bench coach. Torre is 8th all time in managerial wins, but actually owns a worse career win percentage (.539) than does Little (.552).

Joe Girardi has been offered the Yankees' vacant managerial position, but is still in negotiations with the club.

October 29 - World Series Review -

Why were the Rockies swept in the World Series? Was it divine intervention? Were they just Rusty? Or were the Red Sox simply the better team? At Baseball Evolution, we tolerate all faiths and beliefs... well, excepth the belief that Rube Marquard belongs in the Hall of Fame. In fact, scratch that whole tolerance thing.

Keith's take
Gregory Pratt's take

October 28 - Richard - 2007 San Francisco Giants Review -

It was an exasperating year for Giants fans, and Richard Van Zandt has all the gory details in his four-part Giants review:

The Infielders
The Outfielders
Starting Pitchers
The Bullpen

October 25 - Scott Boras and Voodoo Economics -

It's been happening for years. Clients of agent Scott Boras have garnered long-term contracts well above market value thanks to Boras' forked tongue. Most recently, the Red Sox overpaid for Japanese star Diasuke Matsuzaka. But as Gregory Pratt writes, the real travesty is likely to occur when Alex Rodriguez hits the open market again this offseason.

October 25 - Letter to the Rockies -

Guest contributor Gregory Pratt isn't shy about making it clear where his loyalties lie for the 2007 World Series. In a letter to the Colorado Rockies, he spends as much time expounding on reasons not to like the Red Sox as he does lauding the Rockies themselves.

October 23 - Keith - World Series Preview -

The Colorado Rockies took two of three from the Boston Red Sox this June, demolishing aces Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling in the process. Tim Wakefield gave Boston their only win of the series with a 4-hit 8-inning masterpiece.

This all happened in Fenway Park, and in this World Series, Boston will need to not only dominate at home, but also to take a game or two in Colorado. This should hardly seem an impossible task for a team that has won 103 games in a difficult American League, despite how ridiculously hot the Rockies are.

2007 World Series Preview

October 16 - Purple Mountain's Majesty -

Jeff Francis keys the Purple Mountain's
Majesty, engulfing October
In thick Fogg, as the Rocks avalanche
From the sky onto Earth crushing snakes,
Cities and men but elevating
Its own a mile above the ground
Higher than a Holliday homerun
Passed past peaks of American lore
So that new men can be immortal

Even the timezone fits -- Mountain Time,
For this team of destiny and fate,
Which found itself "Out of it" in June
But flatly refused to take the Third,
Striking back at ev'ry change and curve
The league threw its way, winning fourteen
Of its last fifteen against Dragons,
Smashing through spider Webbs, Dodging ghosts
And even beating God for a chance
To achieve their immortality

Yet, some question Colorado's club
Wondering if they truly belong
With the Red Sox or the Indians
Because their television tells them
That no other teams exist outside
Of the "major" cities in the East
But in this great month of Rocktober
Todd Helton has built his dream season
On that great polished jewel of Coors Field
With Corpas and Bridges and Tulips
They have achieved their Immortality

--Gregory Pratt

October 12 - Keith - ALCS Preview -

The Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians five out of seven times during the regular season, had a Pythagorean record of .624 to Cleveland's .564, and played a tougher overall schedule than the Indians did. Yet they scored only one run in 15 innings against dual Cleveland aces C.C. Sabathia and C.C, Fausto. We take a closer look at this pairing of two excellent teams in our ALCS Preview.

October 10 - Keith - NLCS Preview -

The Colorado Rockies won 10 of the 18 contests between these two teams, but their final two wins against the Arizona Diamondbacks came with low-stakes for Arizona, as the D-Backs had already clinched a playoff berth. Not only are these two teams evenly matched, they are similarly matched; both squads are laden with young talent with a couple of veterans sprinkled in.

Both teams have excellent bullpens as well. Get an in-depth look at how these underrated clubs match up in Keith's NLCS Preview.

October 10 - Richard - A Giant Scapegoat -

The San Francisco Giants wrapped up the regular season with a record of 71 wins and 91 losses, good for last place in the NL West. There were many reasons why these Giants lost 90-plus games for the first time since 1996, but their starting pitching cannot be counted among them. Richard analyzes San Francisco's starting pitching, and then corresponds with the real reason the Giants lost 91 games.

October 8 - Keith - Nothing Left in the Pen -

When the New York Yankees released left-handed specialist and submariner Mike Myers, it raised a lot of eyebrows. He was ostensibly the Yankees' most effective reliever at the time, taking a 2.66 ERA with him as he was booted off the team. Even though it was his third straight excellent season, Myers wasn't handling left-handed batters as well as he had in the past.

But after Myers got walloped outing after outing with the White Sox, Brian Cashman and company looked like geniuses... until Game 2 of the ALDS, that is. With the bases loaded, two outs, and Travis Hafner at the plate in the 11th inning, Joe Torre had to stick with Luis Vizcaino (1.58 WHIP vs. L), who gave up a game winning single to the Cleveland slugger.

Myers may or may not have been the answer, but the Yankees failed to replace Myers with any left-handed specialist whatsoever. For the record, Hafner is 1-for-7 lifetime against Myers, and had walked in his only 3 plate appearances against Vizcaino before the clutch single.

Division Series Previews -

Baseball Evolution did not fare well in predicting the winners in the first playoff round last year. We're going to do better this time around:

NLDS- Rockies vs. Phillies
ALDS- Angels vs. Red Sox
NLDS- Cubs vs. D'backs
ALDS- Yanks vs. Indians

Final Standings

Top 10 Lists with Final 2007 Stats -

- ERA and BA Leaders for Players & Teams
- 2007 Wins and Home Run Leaders, plus All-Time HR Leaders
- RBI Leaders for Players, plus Strikeout Leaders for Pitchers and Teams
- OBP Leaders for Players, plus Losses Leaders for Pitchers and Teams
- Individual Save and SB Leaders, plus Active Hits Leaders

September 28 - Keith - The Rockies Are for Real

The Colorado Rockies have won 11 straight games, possess the best record in baseball since the beginning of each of the last four months, and have an excellent chance of reaching the playoffs entering the final weekend of regular season play. They have already won more games than any Rockies team in their 15-year franchise history. This isn't some fluky team that is getting hot at the right time - the Rockies are for real.

September 26 - Asher - NL MVP - Not Rollins -

Think Jimmy Rollins should be the National League Most Valuable Player? You’re not alone – most of the population of the nation’s fifth largest city agrees with you. And not without good reason – Rollins has had quite a season. While playing every game for the Phillies, Rollins has amassed 200 hits, 38 doubles, and 18 triples. He leads the league in runs with over 130, and he has gone 30-30 for the first time in his career. In a season in which the Phillies have been marred with injuries, Rollins has been the team’s rock, playing solid defense and batting leadoff ahead of an impressive group of hitters.

But as Asher explains, Rollins' numbers have largely been driven by his pursuit of two somewhat dubious records, and while he is a candidate, Jimmy Rollins is not the National League's Most Valuable Player.

September 24 - Asher - Nine Teams Left -

Only the NL Wild Card and playoff seeding are seriously up for grabs entering the final week of play. Get Asher's pick for that final playoff spot, his new/old nickname for the Tigers, and his thoughts on a Chicago Cubs playoff drinking game in Week 25's Power Rankings.

September 20 - Keith - Remaining Schedules: NL West/NL Wild Card

The Padres have won seven in a row, the Rockies have won five, and the Phillies are 17-8 in their last 25 games. Billy Wagner's absence (back spasms) allowed the Florida Marlins to mount a come-from-behind victory against the Mets Thursday night, and the minus-21 run differential Diamondbacks appear poised for a nosedive themselves.

Just how does the NL playoff picture stack up? We know that the Cubs will prevail over the Brew Crew in the Central, but Keith looks closely at the remaining schedules to determine who will take the other three NL playoff spots.

September 17 - Asher - Week 24 Power Rankings -

Despite a somewhat resurgent offense, the Los Angeles Dodgers have now dipped below the Line of Death in the Baseball Evolution Power Rankings. As ever, the team below the Line of Death with the best chance to make the playoffs according to is the Colorado Rockies, who are doing something both equal and opposite to what normally takes place in Colorado.

September 16 - General Manager Rankings-

At, we spend a lot of time evaluating hitters and pitchers throughout baseball history. For a change of pace, Keith and guest contributor Gregory Pratt do their best to rank the five best general managers in the game today as well as the five worst:

Gregory Pratt's Take
Keith's Rankings

September 16 - Keith - Bobblehead Magic -

Sunday was Jim Thome Bobblehead day at US Cellular Field. It was also the day that Jim Thome became the 23rd player to hit 500 home runs in his career, as Thome cranked a walkoff 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th off Dustin Moseley. Thome accomplished the feat at age 36. Frank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez, the other two players to reach the milestone this season, did so at the respective ages of 39 and 30.

"I'll cherish this the rest of my life, for sure," said Thome, after being carried around the field by teammates Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks.

September 14 - Keith - Power Outage -

Alex Rodriguez (52), Prince Fielder (44), Carlos Pena (39), Adam Dunn (39), and Ryan Howard (38) are currently the only players with more than 30 home runs. The last time as fewer than five players finished with 40 or more home runs occurred during the strike-shortened 1995 season. The last time fewer than five players was in 1992.

Time will tell whether this is a fluke year or the start of a new era.

September 10 - Asher - Division Races Still Tight? -

With just about 20 games left, only one divisional race seems to be decided, with the leader in the NL West simply running away from the pack. Meanwhile, the teams fighting it out in the other five divisions are all within 3.0 or fewer games of each other, and we even have a tie in the AL West. Anything could happen.

We are not, of course, talking about the races to see who is going to win each division, which are becoming less and less interesting, but rather the races to see who will finish last in each division, which have suddenly become quite compelling.

We also see two more teams drop below the Line of Death in the Week 23 Power Rankings.

September 9 - Keith - Helton Still Belton' Doubles -

Todd Helton has accumulated 35 or more doubles in a major league-record ten consecutive seasons. His 36 so far in 2007 give him 449 for his career less than one month after his 33rd birthday. When Tris Speaker turned 33, he had 445 career doubles. Speaker would go on to play until age 40 and set the still-unbroken major league record for career doubles with 792. It is not unreasonable to think that Helton could play into his early 40's and shatter what was once though to be an unattainable record.

Helton is also just two homers shy of 300, and already has over 1,000 runs scored and over 1,000 RBI in his career. His career .430 OBP ranks 10th all time among players with 3,000 or more PA. It may be time to start thinking off Todd Helton as one of the greatest hitters of our generation.

September 7 - Asher - Ankiel on HGH? -

Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals closed to within one game of the NL Central leading Cubs and Brewers, on the back of retread-phenom Rick Ankiel's two homeruns. The former pitcher turned outfielder now has nine homeruns and 29 RBI in 23 games since returning to the majors.

But the Hollywood Comeback may be over for the Cardinals newest star, as the New York Daily News reports today that Ankiel received a year's worth of Human Growth Hormone back in 2004, the year before Major League Baseball banned the substance. If the allegation is true - and at this point it remains an allegation - then it would certainly taint one of the great comeback stories in the modern era of Major League Baseball.

While this news may come as a shock to some, it has Asher wishing that he had called everyone he knew yesterday around 8:00pm Eastern Time, and wondering whether he should begin to trust his instincts again.

September 3 - Asher - Week 22 Power Rankings -

If we say the name "Bucky Dent," what will you automatically think of? October, 1978; Fenway Park; Yankees coming all the way back to tie the Red Sox on the final day of the season before winning the AL East in a one game playoff game capped by Dent's infamous homerun.

Pop Quiz: From how many games back did the Yankees come to tie the Red Sox on the final day of the season?

Answer: The Yankees were 14.0 games out of first place on July 19th; by September 1st, they were 6.5 games back in the division.

Throw in the 1951 New York Giants - who came back from six down - and the two arguably most famous division winning comebacks in baseball history featured teams who were 6.5 games or fewer back with one month to go in the season. In fact, since 1978, only 20 teams have won their division after trailing by any number of games on September 1st. What does it all mean? Find out in the Week Twenty-Two Power Rankings. And, as always, feel free to comment.

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