You could look it up, but the answer's this: Steven Goldman's chatting today as we count down the hours until Opening Day.
Steven Goldman: Good afternoon, seekers of wisdom and truth, on what is a gloriously beautiful day here in the Garden State. I've got my super-mug o' tea, my banjo, and my keyboard, so I'm all set to go through the afternoon talking baseball. And since I said I was also interested in your opinion of the annual, here is my first question for you: in this Internet-y age of easily available stats, is it necessary for us to have a minimum of three years of stats for each player plus PECOTA, or does one year-plus-PECOTA do it for you? Keep in mind that these questions do not equal settled plans on our part or even things we've discussed seriously, but just some things I've been kicking around in the vast space between my ears.
Guillermo (Montevideo): Hi Steven!! So, imagine I fell asleep in the year 2000 and now just woke up and the reg. season is almost starting, how would you answer me asking "why are all teams carrying 12 pitchers?"
Steven Goldman: I'd say "Tony LaRussa" and change the subject.
JDLloyd10 (Biscuits' Stadium, AL): In re the cover of BP 2010 and the blurb regarding Adam Lind taking a shot at Mike Jacobs: While I love the snarkiness that comes with the analysis found in the book and BP in general, I thought the question posing the aspirational comparison to Bay and the pejorative comparison Jacobs was a little biting. It seems to me it's one thing for your blurb about Jacobs to say that he's underperformed, not met expectactions, etc., and another to ask if one player -- on the cover no less-- "is going to disappoint like Jacobs?"
I just thought the comment dipped a little too far into the negative and unnecessarily called out a player by comparing him to another, especially in the context of this being the cover of the book.
Thoughts? Was this discussed amongst the staff?
Steven Goldman: Let me put it this way: we spend so little time thinking about those blurbs that I had to pull the book out to see what you were talking about. I don't write them, we don't really write them. They're thrown together by a combination of people including the publisher and passed along very quickly. I find it very difficult to think up cover blurbs when I'm desperately trying to edit the book and I haven't seen more than a few chapters. I think your comment is fair, though; in the future we'll try to discourage those comparisons except maybe in a more broad historic sense, like "Is Jayson Heyward the next Dave Winfield?" or something like that.
Bonds Fan (Bay Area): Has it always been common for spring training games to end in a tie? Is the frustration of old school pitchers argueing about the deflated value of wins in Cy Young voting quietly relevant? Where does Lou Gehrig rank as an all time Yankee?
Steven Goldman: (1) Yes. No reason to stress your pitchers in an exhibition.
(2) No. Wins never should have been part of the discussion. Sorry that the march of progress has devalued something they were brought up to believe in, but that's the way it goes (see also race relations or our current debate on homosexual marriage).
(3) Gehrig is way up there. Not the very top, because he wasn't a great defender playing one of the easier positions, but he was a hell of a hitter, and the way he was built he would have been a strapping physical specimen in any era.
Wonko The Sane (Earth): Isn't the deification of Jack Z amongst the interwebs types getting to be a bit much? He appears to be a very good g.m., but is he really head and shoulders above everyone else, as some seem to be suggesting?
Steven Goldman: I think we should let them play the games first. How this M's club is going to score runs remains a big mystery, and as for the back of their rotation, well, there's a reason they've been talking to Jarrod Washburn.
dianagramr (NYC): OK ... so *IS* Jayson Heyward the next Dave Winfield, OR Eric Davis?
Steven Goldman: I lean Winfield. Is there ANY player in baseball who is going to have a 30 HR/50 SB season any time soon?
Jquinton82 (NY): Do you think Gordon Beckham over the next two years becomes a better hitter than Cano?
Steven Goldman: It really depends on how his plate judgment evolves and if he picks up a little more in the way of power production as he peaks. It's not a sure thing, but it's in the realm of possibility.
RMR (Chicago): BJ Upton seems to be the better comp with Eric Davis, right down to the build.
Steven Goldman: He seems like the most likely guy to do it, but after the last couple of seasons I'm just not sure what to expect from him. A 30-50 season seems a long way off when you've hit 20 HRs in your last two seasons.
frampton (Alameda, CA): Re your question about the annual, I have to say I like seeing the three-year context there on the page. It helps me see at least a little trending. If the annual were online that might be a different story.
Love the dead player of the day feature, btw. Another blog-type idea would be along the lines of the pennant-race book, highlight contributors (major or minor) to great pennant races. Personally, I would love to see a feature on the first race I remember, and I think others might too. (Mine was the NL 1962.)
Steven Goldman: OK, here's another question about the annual: how badly were the back-of-book essays missed? In forming your answer, keep in mind that the trade-off for getting them back is shorter player comments.
Your blog idea sounds like a good one, but I've got daily deadlines for the Pinstriped Bible at YES, Dead Player of the Day here at BP, my political blog, Wholesome Reading, and next week I will be launching a new blog featuring original songs written or co-written by yours truly, as well as other music-centric content. I'm also working on a novel. I am BOOKED!
Aaron (YYZ): Hanley went 29/51 as recently as 2007
Steven Goldman: True, he could do it. He's truly amazing and deserves to be more celebrated. Unfortunately, he plays for the team that used to be in Florida, I think... I hadn't realized his steals had dropped off so much the last couple of years.
workermonkey (CT): when jesus montero starts hitting .375 at triple A, doesn't he force him self into that line up this year? isn't he just waiting for the fragile nick the stick to break down at some point?
Steven Goldman: It would seem that way, but you're asking for two things to happen which always makes the odds longer. You also have to weigh things like the Yankees having the traditional reluctance to DH a youngster and what they want to do about service time, the fact that he's not on the 40-man, and how painlessly simple it would be to move Swisher to DH, play Randy Winn, and pretend that it will all work out in the end.
ripfan008 (Baltimore): Hi Steve, Thanks for chatting. I can't wait for Opening Day and would just like to hear your favorite (possibly semi-obscure) Babe Ruth anecdote.
Steven Goldman: Off-color, so hide the kids...
This is hardly a story but I think about this quote quite often. Big party in the Babe's hotel suite. Lots of women. At some point, the Babe appears in his robe and says, "Okay, anyone who doesn't want to [reproductive expletive], get out!" Lord knows what happened with those who stayed...
Related story: can't recall which of Ruth's roommates it was, but he liked to tell a story of Ruth's terrific appetites. Ruth took a woman to his bedroom. The bed would creak for awhile, and then the Babe would come out of the room, smoke a cigar, put it out in the ashtray, go back to the bedroom, the bed would creak for awhile, and Babe would come out and smoke another cigar... When the roommate got up in the morning, there were the remains of 20 cigars in the ashtray.
Tim (Chicago): The Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva deal will blow up in Seattle's face...
Steven Goldman: How could it possibly blow up in their faces? Getting something for Silva, even a player who is far from a sure thing, seems like a triumph.
Bill (New Mexico): How badly were the back-of-the-book essays missed? VERY badly. I could easily have gone with a 10% reduction in player essays. Speaking of which, do you have any beta on what fraction of the guys you write essays on actually play in the Show in any given year? Seems like there are always some preposterous long shots among the essays that really have no chance.
Steven Goldman: What did you miss about them? Why were those essays, only tangentially related to the main part of the book, better there than on the web site?
We cover everyone on a 40-man roster at the time we go to press, plus an assortment of prospects who seem either imminent or important in some other way, including all of the previous draft's #1 picks. We can't fully anticipate which of these will play in the forthcoming year, and in some cases we're pretty sure that they won't, but while we largely don't include players who are very far away, if we have something to say about a guy or think you should know about him, we want to share it with you.
roache26 (boston): you think about that quote quite often??!?!?
Steven Goldman: You know, I really do. You have to understand that I'm the kind of guy who feels very lonely in crowds. At any gathering of more than a few people I start to feel detached and become more of an observer than a participant. I wish I wasn't like that, but I am. And as I watch the pageant go by, among the things that cross my mind is, "Wouldn't it shake up these deadbeats if I shouted, "Anyone who doesn't want to [censored], get out!" I never do, though. If you're Babe Ruth, you get away with saying that. If you're me, you get bundled off to the mental hospital, I expect...
BL (Bozeman, MT): Hi Steven - Absolutely LOVE the dead player of the day feature, and am hoping they will stay with us. Do you find that these are an outlet for knowledge that's just lying around your brain, or more an inspirationg to dig into a player you hadn't thought much of?
Steven Goldman: Hey, BL, who I always associate with "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (Almost typed "Motorpsycho Nightmare," which is one of Bob Dylan's funnier songs. Thanks for the good words on DPOTD. I intend for it to stay. It's a little bit of both, but I really am letting chance dictate the contents. I just close my eyes, feel around the book, and open it to a page. Sometimes I know quite a bit off the top of my head, other times I get to look around and find out some things. Today is a good example. Of course the story of Bill Bevens in the 1947 World Series was familiar, but I hadn't realized he had also lost a no-hitter 1-0 to Bob Feller.
P Bu (St. Louis ): I think that every BP book signing and ballpark event from here on out should start (or end) with someone yelling "Anyone who doesn't want to [censored], get out!"
Steven Goldman: Great idea! I will pass that along to Will Carroll. Maybe we could get Andy MacPhail to do that at our upcoming Baltimore event... Which I will be at, as will Jay and Will and Clay and Mr. MacPhail.
achaik (Maine): Just a random site related question... have things loading slooooooowly for everyone else?
Steven Goldman: Yes... My apologies for our momentary technical difficulties. There has been a tremendous run on our fantasy content this week and it's kind of clogging the pipes.
dianagramr (NYC): The best on-air personality on MLB Network is ...
Steven Goldman: You know, I haven't watched enough to identify one. I've always been a fan of Bob Costas and the interviews he does, though I'm not sure the Mark McGwire thing was his best moment.
Shaun P. (Medway, MA): Was anyone else temporarily transported back to December 31, 1969, or was that just me?
Steven Goldman: Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns, turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around...
dianagramr (NYC): I was looking over Yankees Opening Day rosters from past years. I do believe that Dave LaPoint (1990) may be the worst Opening Day SP in franchise history. Gosh those were some dark days.
Steven Goldman: Indeed. Those seasons (really 1982-1992) are the lens through which I look at the Yankees even today. I know that not everything works out the way you plan it to.
benrosenberg02 (boston): Just catching up here in re: "how badly were the back-of-book essays missed?".... it's the reason i skipped on purchasing the book this year.
Steven Goldman: Obviously I regret that you skipped it, but I'm not sure I understand why. First, you're talking about a small fraction of the book, second it was the longest book we've ever done, so we more than made up for the missing content with other, more applicable content, and all the stuff that might have been in the back of the book, like the introduction of SIERA, became part of the team essays. We didn't take them away so much as re-purpose them and use the freed-up space to talk more about players. If I felt like the decision had taken away some truly memorable work I would tell you, but we weren't presented with that kind of conflict.
willco97 (omaha nebrasta): Don't miss the back of the book essays that much - that content is the type of thing we're used to reading here on the website. I'd rather have the longer player comments and team essays.
Steven Goldman: Me too, but obviously I want to hear what you have to say. Let me pose my third annual-related question: how comfortable are you with the book's layout? The design has been roughly the same through all 15 editions. I'm not sure there's a radically different way we could present the player comments to you, but how would you feel if we changed it?
ripfan008 (Baltimore): Steve, how many World Series games do you think were less than on the level after the Black Sox series? I know Carl Mays came under suspicion for throwing games.
Steven Goldman: Miller Huggins seemed to think that something suspicious had happened, anyway, and buried Mays after that. I doubt many were compromised, and certainly no whole Series as in 1919. It's not that it became impossible, but the incentives for the players changed and the culture changed so that gambling on baseball became less prominent.
adamseth7 (Philly): I think the back of the annual essays are crucial to the book as a whole. Essentially, the essays stake ground as BP as a thought leader in baseball, not just people that run a projection system and have witty comments. The essays on business, and baseball revenues have been fascinating and it allows your team to really engage the reader in a different perspective. I think it's much more important than the 39th guy essay on the Astros 40-man roster.
Steven Goldman: You should see the email we get if we don't include the 39th guy on the Astros 40-man roster. BTW, the commentary on the essays here in the chat queue is running about even, leaning towards doing w/o if the benefit is longer comments. Again, I don't think we're giving up the thought-leader ground given that we're running that kind of content on the web site with great frequency.
Shaun P. (Medway, MA): If this was lost in the 'tubez, I want you to know: if the choice is between longer/more player comments and back of the book essays, give me the player comments, please!
If Girardi starts to "lock" Joba into a one-inning role in the pen - like he did with Hughes last summer - how upset should I be? What was the point of all this "keep Joba healthy so he can start and pitching a lot of innings" if they aren't going to let Joba start and pitch a lot of innings?
Steven Goldman: Hey, Shaun. I don't think the Yankees know quite what to expect from Joba right now. In this they are like the rest of us. As per Joel Sherman (I alluded to this in today's Pinstriped Bible - http://bit.ly/cX4qcA), they seem unhappy with him on a personal level. There's also this: until you see some consistency, who is to say you WANT him to be pitching multiple innings? There's also this problem - but for blowouts, the long-man role doesn't really exist in today's bullpens.
Phil T (Pittsburgh): A poor suffering Pirates fan with a question about the farm system. If there was an identified deficiency in minor league talent like the Pirates do, why wouldn't teams open the checkbooks and have an unlimited budget for a year or two to restock? I'm sure that would be pretty costly if you were to pay over slot on nearly every round for guys you think are worth it, say 20 rounds around $30-40M, but wouldn't that be a cheaper and more effective way of rebuilding? I guess you'd run into the question of playing time, but if you had high ceiling, hard to sign players they would probably move through the system at a faster rate than normal and there would only be a glut for the first year.
Steven Goldman: That assumes there are more than a couple of over-slot guys each year worth paying for. The Pirates have proven far beyond a reasonable doubt that you have to exploit the draft to its utmost to rebuild, and you do have to take what is available to you. That means paying the going price for talent, which they seem to have started to do, but it doesn't mean just spending for the sake of spending. You also have to develop the acumen to pick the right guys.
Aaron (YYZ): What I'm missing is a daily, topical column in a similar vein to Sheehan's Prospectus Today... Too often I end up on the main page, see a lot of technical looking articles, and wander off to read something else on the 'net.
Steven Goldman: One of the reasons that my new blog feature is called Dead Player of the Day and Other Notes is that as we get into the season, I intend to use the "Other Notes" part to explore some current events matters. I've done that in a small way in each of the four entries so far (not much feedback on those sections, though). I think you will see more material of this nature from the rest of the guys, too. It's funny... For a few years folks were saying we needed more statheads. Now we have more statheads and we hear that we need more generalists. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, it just shows how difficult it can be to fine-tune a product at times.
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles of Pasadena): So, watching John Lackey pitch right now for the Red Sox on MLB.tv and giving thanks that a) he's no longer on the Angels, so I don't have to watch his goofy, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing mug pitch every 5th day on local tv and b) not only *wasn't* he signed by my favorite team, but I get to double down on my dislike because he was signed by my *least* favorite team. I fully acknowledge the irrationality of it, but my Yankees' fandom dodged a bullet this offseason, because I just couldn't imagine ever feeling happy about rooting for Lackey. Is there anyone you would say you'd have an irrational (as opposed to a rational, performance based) dislike for seeing playing for your favorite team?
Steven Goldman: Not really. There are very few players where I feel like I have gotten to know them well enough, either through personal interaction or through the media, that I can say, "Oh, he's a bad person. I dislike him so much I must root against him." There are one or two guys I've tried to talk to in clubhouses and had a bad time of it, and I have faintly negative feelings about them, but I'm not embittered or anything. The only exception might be if a player comes out and says something that identifies them as suffering from some kind of intolerance... It's just performance-based for me. I can remember prior to 1992 saying to friends, "The Yankees can get anyone to play third base as long as it's not Charlie Hayes," and of course it was Charlie Hayes. That wasn't because I had anything against Charlie personally, but just because he was a career .247/.276/.361 hitter to that point.
Bill (NYC): How in the world did the Yankees rack up the most wins in the 80s? Growing up in that period (I am 34; Pags was and still is my favorite Yankee of all time), it just amazes me. I guess it was really the tail end of the 80s and beginning of 90s when they hit rock bottom though.
Steven Goldman: Because they had some really good players. They were always just a bit short. They struggled with set-up relief, couldn't find a shortstop, couldn't find a platoon partner for Pags, couldn't develop a starting pitcher to save their lives, and made some spectacularly bad trades that exacerbated all of the above. Collusion had something to do with keeping them stuck just a little bit away from where they needed to be.
mafrth77 (Boston): If Heyward has Winfield's plate discipline, wouldn't that be disapointing?
Steven Goldman: Dave too, what, 60-70 walks a year? That's not bad, and in his best seasons he did enough other things with the bat that, like hitting .300 with 25-35 home runs, that the overall production was just fine, thanks. Winny also never played in a park that did anything for him, at least not through the first 15 years of his career. Anyway, if the Braves get .322/.398/.530 with only 69 walks out of Heyward one day, I every much doubt they'll complain.
mwball75 (Cincy, OH): The essays in the back of BP, I always thought of those as the hardest things I was going to read this year. I would usually have to read and reread, that doesn't lend itself to looking at a monitor.
Those siera stats would have been a good fit. Then whenever anybody asked "what's siera" you could tell them to go buy the book and read it 10 times.
even if you don't put the essays in there I'll still buy the book
Steven Goldman: But "what is SIERA" IS in the book. Besides, I think as nice as it is to have that hard copy, it's also valuable to be able to interface with the authors here on the web site and have them respond to something close to real time.
Jack (Chicago): Didn't Jack Z throw money at the Cubs too, putting them on a bigger hook for Milton Bradley?
Steven Goldman: The Mariners are giving the Cubs a total of $9 million, so assuming Bradley stays healthy and my math is right, they are out $30 million on Bradley/Silva vs. the $25 mil they would have had to pay Silva. They're paying an extra $5 million for something that MIGHT work vs. having something that almost definitely wouldn't have worked. That doesn't seem like a bad idea.
Slightly Bemused (Utopia): Everybody is 0-0. the Pirates are tied for first place! Which would surprise you more the Tigers winning the AL Central or the Cardinals not winning the NL central?
Steven Goldman: The latter, by a lot. Anything can happen in the AL Central, whereas the Cards arguably have the deepest pitching staff in the NL (assuming health, which you can't assume).
BL (Bozeman, MT): What books (non-baseball division) are you reading right now? One stylistic suggestion for book layout - I find myself spending a lot of time searching around for a player who has changed teams, trying to remember which team he played on last year. It's a fault of my fading memory more than anything, but thought I'd share. Also, I've always enjoyed the back-of-the-book essays, but to be honest never made it through all of them.
Steven Goldman: As always, I have roughly 10 books in progress right now, and they kind of swim to the top of the pile and I read a few pages before they dive back down again. I don't remember if I mentioned this in a previous chat, but I loved Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell I thought was exceedingly well done. Right now I'm spending a lot of time with Gordon Wood's Empire of Liberty, about the early republic. I read the very excellent chapter about religious culture at the time and the church-state separation last night. Wholesome Reading keeps me thinking about stuff like this.
Babe (Cloud 9): Love the dead player entries, Steven. But if you can't please the statheads with generalities, and you can't please the generalists with stathead stuff you kind of understand where I get the urge to tell everyone that doesn't want to [expletive deleted] to get the hell out. I just like that there's so much content here on a daily basis, so keep up the good work
Steven Goldman: Thanks, Babe. I hope you're enjoying it where you are.
Peter (San Diego): I don't miss the essays in the back of the book. They were usually one of the last things I read after making my way through the teams and Top Prospects. The lengthy player comments were certainly noticeable this year for a few players. Overall, I think it's the best edition of the book yet but (and I'm sure you've heard this alot)....the typos??
Steven Goldman: You know, Peter, I haven't heard a lot about typos this year. I'd like to think that they've been greatly reduced from several years ago, when deadline pressures made us forgo a copy edit. This year (and the last few) it did get a copy edit, plus the proofs were reviewed by Christina and myself. We do the best we can with those, but some, I think, will always be endemic to the process of rushing the book out. Most books just get far more scrutiny than there is time to give ours, and some of the scrutiny is non-ideal, IE in hour 16 of your workday. Ideally, you'd quit somewhere before that, go have a sandwich, watch a movie, and sleep on it before gagging down the Astros chapter.
tcayou (AZ): Love the expanded player comments...please keep them. My question has to do with the website. Last year, Joe Sheehan wrote an entire article about a single play Joe Mauer made in a game against the yankess. It was fantastic, the kind of informed sportswriting I can't find elsewhere. That's the kind of writing I miss the most and I'm waiting for one of the current bp authors to take over this role. Is anyone going to be doing this?
Steven Goldman: The short answer is yes. We just need some games first! On a related note, did you see Jay Jaffe's bit on Pat Venditte yesterday? http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10418.
Richie (Washington): So many teams have wanted so badly to rid themselves of Bradley. And yet that counts as nothing to you folks. For goodness' sake, who gets himmself thrown out of a spring training game??
And actually, that last one is a question for the historian in you. You never read of it happening. Isn't it massively unusual?
Steven Goldman: There is a tickling at the back of my mind that says that it happened for Billy Martin or Earl Weaver, but nothing specific comes to mind right now. As for Bradley's history, of COURSE it matters. It's a huge part of why he was available to the Mariners in the first place! The M's are taking a risk, but it's a risk with some upside, certainly higher than any upside that Silva might have had. I don't know what you want me to say, that Bradley will never, ever be a contributor to a winning team? I won't do that. There are too many examples of problem players finding the right team, the right clubhouse, the right manager, and fitting in long enough to help a team get where it needs to go. I don't know if Bradley can ever be one of those guys, but there's a non-zero chance that he could be. For his sake I hope it happens, because he turns 32 in two weeks. His baseball career is almost over, and while he'll leave it a rich man, it's going to be a very unhappy life for him if he doesn't find some peace, or acquires the insight to ask what it was he accomplished as a baseball player.
workermonkey (CT): ut-oh. A-Jax looks good for the tigers and is going to break camp at the top of their lineup, how quickly do the yanks regret this deal?
Steven Goldman: What did Jordan Schafer hit in spring training last year?
Jesus Montero (AAA): Good thing Yankees prospects haven't been overhyped for the last 20 years...
Steven Goldman: What's your point?
Charlie (Bethesda, MD): What kind of chances do you think Oakland has this year? They can't hit, but that pitching staff seems pretty impressive up and down, especially if Sheets starts over 20 games
Steven Goldman: In that division they have more than a fair chance. It's going to be interesting to see how fast they can reload on that offense if some of the holdovers disappoint and they seem to be making a race of it. Will Chris Carter or Michael Taylor arrive in time to provide some relief?
Jack (Boston): I agree with the general idea that the essays seem more like website content. Data and table-heavy work like you'd typically see in the back of the book really seems to lend itself more to the web. Besides, the player comments are what have made the BP Annual the preeminent bathroom reading material for the last decade!
Steven Goldman: Hey, I sign those things... With my bare hands!
Cult of Basebaal (Los Angeles of Pasadena): In your linked Pinstriped Bible you write, "A reader ... asks if the real issue with Joba is the rotator cuff tendinitis he suffered back in 2008, and if his velocity has been down since then maybe our expectations need to be realigned. I hesitate to give this position a complete endorsement because I havenít tracked his velocity start by start since that moment in August."
Uh, this is 2010, you don't need to. All you need to do is head over to one of several sites that store pitch/fx data and run a simple query. Which, of course, will tell you that Joba threw harder in every single start in 2008 than he has at any time since, either as a starter OR reliever.
Steven Goldman: I appreciate your bringing that up. I'm just not used to going to the Pitch/fx stuff myself. It's a very big point and it just underscores what I've been saying (and what the reader was saying), that maybe Joba isn't a starter and maybe he's not that special as an eighth-inning guy either. That said, he's still throwing hard enough to succeed if he just can show some command.
kevin (maryland): My grandfather was a politician. He hosted a lot of parties in his home. When he wanted people to leave, he'd go into his bedroom, and then come out in just his jockey shorts and say, "Good night everybody." The guests would leave very quickly. I can't get away with that any more than you can get away with quoting Babe Ruth.
Steven Goldman: I think I admire your grandfather.
mwball75 (Cincy, OH): Given that argument why have a paper book at all?
Why have a book at all why not just publish pecota online and let people comment on player pages?
So the only value is the remaining is team essays? Why wouldn't those be online? What could garner more comment than those?
And the stuff on Siera in the book is a subset of what was published online. I could never comment on that anyway, that's a small group of people in the world that can comment on that.
Steven Goldman: And that last thing you said is why I have a huge, huge reason with putting that kind of content in a book that is supposed to be penetrable by everyone.
Rob (Alaska): I'm wondering if it would be possible to run a feature like the KG article for today, only for major leaguers? Given that spring training stats have no utility, it might be nice to have a scouting notebook that says player x is doing something different this year and could break out (or fall back).
Steven Goldman: It's a fine idea, but you know the MSM has more of its guns pointed in that direction than they do at Kevin's beat, so I don't know how special it can be. But it does seem like something that would be a great fit for John Perrotto's on the beat feature.
Richie (Washington): The point re 'Bradley vs. Silva' is that Silva won't be a negative. He'll just be a zero.
But many baseball people have previously decided that Bradley was a sub-zero. He irritated important stakeholders such as teammates, fans, press, management, such that they didn't no longer want him. They wanted him GONE. That won't happen with Silva.
Steven Goldman: Two answers ago, that was supposed to be "huge, huge PROBLEM," not "reason." Sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain.
There's nothing here to disagree with, it's just that I think that it's a gamble worth taking, because maybe you get a .375 OBP/.440 SLG out of it. Yes, it can blow up in your face, but that's why it's a gamble. You're saying that Jack Z should have been so frightened of Bradley that he should have just sat on Silva? How does that help the team? And if Bradley has to go, how is he any different from Silva at that point?
ashitaka (long beach, ca): Hacking Mass?
Steven Goldman: I don't actually know. Posted here so as to pass it along.
Christopher (Nashville): Given the choice between more player/team content, an index, and the Fungoes section, cutting the Fungoes was an easy call. It's not like each team chapter isn't already a very insightful essay by itself.
Steven Goldman: Speaking of insightful essays, Jay Jaffe is kind of a walking, talking insightful essay. Tomorrow, he and I will be on New York's WNYC-AM on the Brian Lehrer show, 11:30 AM EST. It's also available on the WNYC.org web site...
Shaun P. (Medway, MA): This isn't a fair question for you, Steven - I'm not sure it's a fair question for anyone at BP - but do we know for sure that we can trust those pitch f/x velocities Cult cites in regard to Joba? I've read lots of stories over the years on how many different things can affect radar gun performance. Do we know for sure that all the different variables are being properly controlled for, so that the data is both accurate and precise, regardless of park? (Confession - I just skipped out for a few minutes and read Colin's piece, which got me thinking about this stuff.)
Steven Goldman: No, I don't think we do. Colin and others have pointed out some of the prejudices in the reporting, and there's no reason to think they don't extend to the radar readings. That said, it's what we have to go by, that and results, which would seem to dovetail with the readings.
Joe (Pa): Hope for Lastings?
Steven Goldman: I personally don't see it but he's still just young enough that I could be wrong.
Jeff Clement (Pittsburgh): Can I hit the ball enough to justify sucking at first base this season?
Steven Goldman: Color me skeptical on that as well, and you, you ain't so young.
Steven Goldman: Friends, as always thank you for taking the time to chat with me and raise me up with your collective and individual wisdom. I'll be back for more soon. In the meantime, I appreciate your patronage of Dead Player of the Day (don't forget, it contains reflections on current stuff as well!), the Pinstriped Bible, Wholesome Reading.com, and my new music blog, which I will announce next week. And of course on behalf of BP and myself, thank you for spending part of your day here. See you on WNYC tomorrow, in Baltimore on April 12, and on our opening day roundtable as well. Whew! Happy trails until then!