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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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News and Notes
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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
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June 30 - Keith - Top 100 Quiz

With our 2007 Player Rankings coming out soon, Keith has been poring over a lot of stats. In the process, he has compiled a quiz concerning many of the candidates for our lists, particularly among the Top 100 Players. Take his quiz, and while you're at it, try your hand at one of our earlier trivia games.

June 28 - Asher - All-Star Picks -

With the 2007 Major League All-Star Game, and with it the unveiling of the 2007 Player Rankings, looming right around the corner, here are Asher's picks for who should represent the two leagues at the mid-summer classic.

Importantly, Asher has filled every position with someone who plays that position; thus, the outfield will have a left, center, and right fielder, rather than clumping all outfielders together and picking the best three.

3,000 and 500
On the very same Thursday night, Craig Biggio collected hit # 3,000 and Frank Thomas slugged his 500th career home run. According to Keith, neither feat should define either player.

June 25 - Asher - Week 12 Power Rankings -

While three AL teams vie for the top spot on this week's Power Rankings, one NL squad's lack of an offense and uncharacteristic clubhouse turmoil has it flirting with the infamous Line of Death. Also, the White Sox have thrown their name into the hat with regards to Asher naming the worst team in baseball, particularly with the Rangers finally showing signs of life.

June 25 - Richard - Saying Goodbye to Shooter -

Rod Beck passed away on Saturday. He was just 38.

Rod Beck was a great Giant and a great closer. But far, far more than all of that, he was a great person.

Join Richard as he bids a fond farewell to Shooter.

June 20 - Asher - Week 11 Power Rankings -

Asher has an early prediction for this year's World Series Champions. When he looks at the Halos, Asher sees a team that has no weaknesses, and has not yet met its full potential.

In other news, three teams that dipped below Asher's Line of Death now have winning reacords, and Asher is starting to sweat (with regards to two of the teams, at least). The discussion begins in our Week 11 Power Rankings

Sosa Joins Elite Five
Sammy Sosa became just the fifth member of the 600 home run club Wednesday night. Appropriately, the solo blast to right-center came against the Cubs. Even more appropriately, it came against the Cub pitcher who wears Sosa's #21 on the back of his jersey (Jason Marquis).

Read more about the connections between the Cubs and Rangers.

June 20 - Tony - Defying Logic

Chien-Ming Wang can throw strikes and he can keep the ball in the ballpark, but he couldn't strike out ten batters in a game even if he faced a lineup full of Richie Sexsons. Can a pitcher like this be successful? Logic says no, and Tony sets out to examine whether Wang can continue to defy this logic.

June 16 - Richard - Top Hitting Streaks

It's once again time to review the current hitting streaks around baseball. Yuniesky Betancourt, Casey Blake, and Brandon "On Top" Watson headline notable hitting streaks through Saturday's games.

June 11 - Asher - Week 10 Power Rankings

We are truly in the half-empty/half-full stage of the Major League Baseball season. There are an assortment of teams which, depending on your disposition, are either excitingly competitive with the potentional to make a playoff run, or decidedly mundane with a chance to finish at .500 while putting together truly uninspiring baseball.

Depending on how you look at things, the Yankees, Phillies, Twins, Blue Jays, Rockies, Marlins, and Devil Rays are all either on the brink of greatness, or merely on the brink.

In other news, we've had the Line of Death for one week, and already the Yanks and Phils are starting to make Asher sweat. Will this lead to the abolition of the Line of Death? Find out in the Week Ten Power Rankings. And as always, feel free to comment.

June 10 - Keith - Buehrle Finally Hits His Mark -

On his eighth attempt to do so, Mark Buehrle finally became a 100-game winner at the young age of 28 years, 2 months.  Let's see how that compares to the top five active pitchers in wins:

Pitcher Age Wins Age at 100 Wins 100th Win Date
Greg Maddux 41 338 27 years, 2 months 5/31/93
Roger Clemens 44 349 28 years exactly 8/4/90
Tom Glavine 41 295 28 years, 2 months 5/18/94
Mark Buehrle 28 100 28 years, 2 months 6/10/07
Mike Mussina 38 241 28 years, 7 months 6/30/97
Randy Johnson 43 283 32 years, 7 months 4/6/96

Buehrle would appear to still have a decent shot at 300 wins despite only winning in only six of his last 28 starts. 

June 10 - Keith - 500 Value Over Replacement Player?

You'll often see Sabermetric player rankings based on how players perform versus how a player's likely replacement would perform. All of these metrics run under the premise that if a star player is injured, traded, or lost to free agency, that his replacement would not post league average numbers, as often this replacement player is simply a callup from AAA.

But a replacement level player can mean several different things, and the actual mathematical calculation for these statistics takes none of those meanings into account.

June 6 - Keith and Asher - 500 Saves

Trevor Hoffman recorded his much-anticipated 500th career save Wednesday night. At age 39, Hoffman may have lost some velocity, but he's as effective as ever. After recording his 500th save, Hoffman's 2007 ERA dropped to 2.35, and his career ERA+ rose to 150.

While Asher believes that those numbers prove that Hoffman is the third best reliever of all time, Keith notes that Lee Smith held the all time saves record for more than 12 times as long as Hoffman has so far, and no one has put Smith on a Top 200 list yet.

Asher and Richard - Giants Batters and The Line of Death -

No, we don't mean the Mendoza Line, although several Giants hitters are flirting with the infamous marker. We're talking about The Line of Death, the point below which a team effectively becomes eliminated from postseason play. The Giants and the Rockies have essentially the same recored in a good division, but according to Asher's Week 9 Power Rankings, the Giants are still clinging to hope, while the Rockies never had any to begin with.

What must happen for the Giants to remain above The Line? Richard writes that the Giants' GM must work that old Sabean magic and acquire another hitter. And no, Brian, Richard does not mean Shea Hillenbrand.

June 3 - Asher - Cleaning out the Fridge

Like many writers, Asher will often get interesting ideas for stories in his head, stockpile them in his refrigerator, then forget about them for a while. Today, Asher gives us the chance to rummage through his proverbial leftovers, headlined by such tasty dishes as Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game, the resurgence of Oliver Perez, a glove/anti-glove collision, and the demise of Craig Biggio.

Top 2007 Hitting Streaks - Some general, rambling information you may or may not know about hitting streaks so far in 2007.

June 1 - Richard - Ding-Dong, Armando's Gone

It’s over. Finally and mercifully it’s over. The acrimonious and tumultuous union between the San Francisco Giants and Armando Benitez ended on Thursday night when Giants GM Brian Sabean informed the beleaguered closer as his now former teammates battled the Mets, that he had been unceremoniously dumped onto the Florida Marlins’ doorstep. In return for Benitez and most of the $7.6 million still owed him, the Giants received 25-year old Randy Messenger, a hard throwing six-foot-six, 240-pound right hander. Of course, what the Giants actually got in return hardly mattered. Messenger…Matt Lindstrom…Rick Vanden Hurk…it just didn’t matter. What mattered was eradicating the team of the quite possibly the biggest clubhouse cancer the city of San Francisco has ever seen.

May 29 - Giants Report - Pitchers

Week 8 Power Rankings

We thought that once Albert Pujols got hot, so would the Cards. As it turns out, they could not handle the Nats. Meanwhile, Boston can't handle its arch-rival, yet remains the cream of the crop.
As we check in with the San Francisco Giants' pitching staff for the third time this season, we find that the rotation has stepped it up big time, even though the starter with the Giant contract has been a Giant disappointment. A schitzophrenic bullpen has ruined one starter's record, but by and large, the pitching is not to blame for the Giants' mediocre start.

Richard focuses on these Giant pitchers in part one of his periodic Giants Report

May 28- Keith - Transaction of the Week - Chicago White Sox sign Craig Wilson

Two ex-Pirates who were recently cut by the Braves found new homes on Monday. Mark Redman (0-4 11.63) signed with the Texas Rangers, while Craig Wilson (1 2 .172) inked with the Chicago White Sox. Both players will report to the Triple-A affiliate of their new teams.

Since the Craig Wilson signing actually has the potential to be beneficial, we'll focus on that. Sampson (Wilson's nickname after a June 2004 haircut plummeted his batting average from .355 in April and May to .220 thereafter) brings an .827 career OPS to the South Side, or .916 agains southpaws. As Jim Thome is the only Sox regular to have an OPS over .762 and only A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko currently have marks versus southpaws over .616, there is a good chance Wilson can find a spot on the major league roster, especially with a new injury to Pablo Ozuna and the expectation that Scott Podsednik will not return until July.

Craig Alan Wilson would actually become the second Craig Wilson to play for the White Sox. Craig Franklin Wilson played all 139 games of his major league tenure on the South Side, batting .272 as a utility infielder.

May 25 - Keith - The Wolf Who Cried Boy -

There once was a Wolf named Randy. Between the ages of 24 and 26, Randy threw 573.2 innings, going 37-30 with a 3.70 ERA. "Boy, if I stay healthy, I'm going to develop into a terrific pitcher," cried the Wolf.

Over the next three years, the Wolf was anything but healthy. He combined for 273.1 innings, going 15-12 with a 4.58 ERA between the ages of 27-29. After every disappointing season, Randy echoed, "Boy, if I stay healthy, I'm going to develop into a terrific pitcher."

But no one was going to be fooled after the Wolf failed to be both healthy and terrific for three straight seasons. No one except Dodgers GM Neddie Coletti, that is. Coletti signed Randy for $7.5 million, less than the Wolf made in 2006 and less than former teammate Vicente Padilla makes this year, plus Colletti carries a $9 million option for 2008.

Currently 6-3 with a 3.41 ERA and more walks than strikeouts, that option will surely be exercised.

May 23 - Keith - Outfield of Dreams -

Kenny Williams is definitely one of the best GMs in baseball, but even he can't be proud of the White Sox outfield this season. Take a look at the OPS+ numbers for the current White Sox outfield versus a trio of outfielders Williams let go:

Current Sox: LF Rob Mackowiak- 66 CF Darren Erstad - 96 RF Jermaine Dye - 97
Ex-Sox: LF Carlos Lee - 127 CF Aaron Rowand - 142 RF Magglio Ordonez - 196

By the way, Magglio Ordonez is quietly leading the AL in OPS, and is just 1 point behind Barry Bonds for the major league lead.  At least Frank Thomas isn't doing anything this year for Toronto.

May 21 - Power Rankings - Week 7 -
So, A-Rod was the hero of April - no big surprise. The hero of May, so far, has been . . . Jack Cust? The cool thing about Jack Cust might just be his pun-alicious last name. His name is so headline friendly, with such classics as "Twins get Cust out!" and "A's pick right time to take Cust-ody of outfielder." and "A's Phenom is no ordinary Cust-omer."

But all kidding aside, while Albert Pujols and Paul Konerko and Manny Ramirez and Bobby Abreu and Michael Young and a host of other players continue to struggle in 2007, Cust has 8 homeruns, 20 RBI, and 16 walks in only 14 games. He didn't even make his 2007 debut until May 6th!

This year's Chris Shelton Award goes to Ian Kinsler. Seriously, has that guy gotten a hit in May yet?

Without further ado, here are the Week Seven Power Rankings. Enjoy and, as always, feel free to comment.

May 16 - Keith and Asher - Top 200 Topics -
It may only be mid-May, is never too early to begin pondering Baseball Evolution's All-Star Weekend tradition – the unveiling of our staff player rankings. Each year, we unveil our Top 100/200 lists, which makes the months leading up to the unveiling a perfect time for deriding each other's past lists. 

Asher starts us off by mocking Keith's treatment of relief pitchers, while Keith prepares for his annual tradition of jumping the gun on active players.

May 14 - Week Six Power Rankings
Asher is down on the Indians and Diamondbacks, high on the Brewers and Giants, and surprisingly impressed by the Dodgers and Padres pitching staffs. Find out his reasoning, as well as his predictions for the AL West and NL East in this week's Power Rankings.

May 12 - Keith - Splitsville: Pirates Plunder Better in the Dark -

Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates went 18-37 (.327) during the day and 49-58 (.458) in night contests. One need only look at the Bucs' three main starters' career splits in this department to determine why:

Pitcher Day ERA Night ERA
Zach Duke 4.36 3.66
Ian Snell 6.46 3.89
Paul Maholm 4.97 4.20

But there is hope for these Pirates when that big, annoying ball of light is traipsing about the sky.  Tom Gorzelanny boasts a 2.29 daytime ERA so far in his young career (4.46 at night).  This is unexpected, because as a flyball pitcher, you would expect him to perform better in the cooler, easier outfield conditions of nighttime baseball.  So the question of the day becomes: Should Jim Tracy tinker with his rotation to ensure that most of Gorzelanny's starts come at night?

May 9 - The Debut of thew Future
The Future arrived in San Francisco on Sunday. The present, however, was just a little bit bumpy.

After dominating hitters in the month of April at AAA Fresno to the tune of a 0.29 ERA (1 R in 31 IP) and a .119 BAA, Tim Lincecum made his highly hyped major league debut for the San Francisco Giants against Cole Hamels and the Phillies Sunday night. While the results were not what Giants fans had hoped for, there was still a lot to like.

Week 5 Power Rankings

You probably have noticed how in baseball, things tend to right themselves towards balance and equilibrium. The Yankees and A's are roaring back and the Nationals are again showing their true colors (what are their team colors, anyway?).
May 7 - Moves You May Have Missed
In the off-season, we often keep a watchful eye on the transaction wire because, well, there are no games being played. But during the season, it can be easy to miss the smaller transactions, and then one day you wake up and ask yourself, "When did Ryan Langerhans get traded to the Washington Nationals?" before you realize, "It was the A's that traded him to the Nationals?.

That is just one of the moves over the past week that the casual observer may have missed. In fact, that is one of ten that you may not have noticed at all.

Rocket to Rejoin Yankees
Roger Clemens announced to Yankee Fans on Sunday that he is returning to the Bronx this season. Clemens receives a 1-year, $28M contract that will be prorated to about $18.5 million if the Rocket makes his debut around the end of May.

May 4 - Keith - Want Amazin'? Try the Mets

Glavine: 3-1 3.27 | Hernandez: 2-1 2.53 | J. Maine: 5-0 1.37 | O. Perez: 3-2 3.41

Tony and Asher have each taken stabs at what are some of the most remarkable statistical feats of this young season.  Now it's Keith's turn.  Keith sees a pitching staff that was universally picked to implode this year currently leading the major leagues in ERA.  Yes, Kyle Lohse is a surprise.  But is he more surprising than the combined efforts of the New York Mets pitching staff?

May 3 - Tony - No Joshing Around -

You have heard the Josh Hamilton story, haven’t you? You know, the kid who is playing for the Reds. You know who we're talking about, right? Well, if you haven’t that’s okay, because it appears Asher hasn’t either, since he failed to mention in his article about the crazy April we just had.

Hamilton, now sober for 19 months and counting, has been the feel good story of the season.

May 1 - Asher - Top Ten Truly Unbelievable Stats Through the First Month of the Season -

We all know about Alex Rodriguez’s amazing start to the season, and the mind-boggling 85 homeruns he is on pace to hit this year. But there are some other stats which are also boggle the mind. Someone in Cincinnati is doing a Johan Santana impersonation, someone in Seattle is emulating Rob Deer, and Alex Gonzalez of the Reds looks suspiciously similar to Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins. Asher presents his Top Ten Truly Unbelievable Stats Through the First Month of the Season.

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