09/23/09: Move Over, Mark Reynolds. Make Way for... Mark Reynolds
With 206 strikeouts in 621 plate appearances and 10 games remaining on the 2009 schedule, Mark Reynolds has broken his single-season record of 204 strikeouts set last year. To put that in perspective, his teammate, Dan Haren, is third in the National League among pitchers with 208 strikeouts. Haren has faced 853 batters this year, meaning that while he fans a batter every 4.1 plate appearances, Reynolds whiffs every 3.0 plate appearances.
But while Reynolds was barely an adequate hitter last season, he probably ranks among the five best-hitting third basemen in all of baseball this year, and 2009 has been a very strong year for third basemen.
When Asher and Keith went over their Top 200 Lists this summer, they were actually
quite surprised at the similarities between the two lists, given their different valuation of players
and the different methodology for their rankings. Still, there are indeed differences, and
what better way to break the ice in discussing them than to examine the highest
three players Keith has ranked that do not appear on Asher's list at all? In
order, they are Elmer Flick, whom Keith ranked as the 111th-best player of
all-time, Nomar Garciaparra (#129), and Bill Terry (#167). Asher can
apparently name 200 superior players to this trio, but
Keith just doesn't see it.
Of course, if you ask Asher, he'll tell you that issue isn't that Keith doesn't see it, but rather that Keith doesn't get it.
September 10, 2009 - Revisiting the Class of 2001 – The first baseball column I ever wrote was for an audience of one, me. I had noticed a similarity between the 2001 season’s combination of sage veterans and up-and-comers, and a similar group of veterans and youngsters during the 1986 season, and wrote the article as more of an intellectual exercise than anything else.
Reading that article, I am struck by how similar my writing was then to how it is now - I was either a pretty good writer in 2001, or I simply haven’t progressed much as a writer at all since then.
But let’s stay on topic
September 6, 2009 - Boneheaded Sportswriter – We haven’t maintained the Bonehead Sportswriter as well as we did in the early years, potentially because we have discovered how hard it can be to be sportswriters, and we’re amateurs. Nevertheless, Mike Lupica recently had a classic New York Daily News gush-fest that simply must be pilloried. Needless to say, it involved Derek Jeter. The ironic thing is, I find myself uniquely open to praising Derek Jeter this year. No matter, though, because when New York sportswriters start talking about Derek Jeter, it becomes impossible to like him, even if you want to.
September 8, 2009 - The Curse of the American League – At this point, we may need to start considering the possibility that a curse has been put on the American League's sluggers. As Asher details in his debut column at DugoutDoctors.com, for the third time in four years, one of the AL's elite power-producers has had his season ended a month early by an injury. So what's next for Carlos Pena? Hopefully, he'll fare better than his predecessors.
Our most recent Top 200 list was supposed to be unveiled in July of 2007. Perhaps it is a testament to what a task ranking the top 200 players of all time can be that it took over two years beyond the purported release date to bring you this list. And even with over two years of extra time, there are still guys on the list we aren't happy with.
So, here they finally are - the Top 200 Lists of 2007, er, 2009. Open up, devour, digest, and enjoy.
September 1, 2009 - The Baltimore Orioles Fab Five – Not since the Fab Five were taking Michigan’s basketball team to two Final Fours in two years have we seen as exciting a crew of young rookies as the Baltimore Orioles own Fab Five starting pitchers. The Orioles, out of the AL East race essentially since announcing that Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson would have roles on this year’s team, are kind of going for broke at the end of the 2009 season, hoping to showcase their youngsters and get them some valuable experience that they can build on in 2010. Amazingly, the five pitchers – Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, David Hernandez, Christopher Tillman, and Brian Matusz – are all in their first ever major league seasons, making them all true rookies.
September 1, 2009 - 2009 Post-Season Awards – Last season, I decided to make my post-season awards predictions on September 1st in an effort to gauge the extent to which the final month of play, and the resolution of the divisional races, impacts the post-season awards. We got immediate payoff in the endeavor when, moments after I published my predictions, the apparent AL Most Valuable Player Carlos Quentin broke his hand and took himself out of the running for the award.
So, maybe we should make a tradition of it, eh?