Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I think this is a first. The dumbs and smarts agree. In the Wily Mo debate, you've got three sides:

There are the dumb people, who really don't know anything about baseball beyond the score of the game. Those people see one big, long, impressive homer by Wily Mo, and are captivated. "Oh now this guy is good," they'll say. Ten consecutive strikeouts later, they're still thinking of him as "the guy who hits those long homers." None of us here are in that category, as those people definitely don't use the internet for their Red Sox information.

Then there's my group. People who know the game, follow the team, but don't go crazy following prospects from the time they're in short pants, and don't really care about the National League, or the AL Central or West for that matter. We see Wily Mo and we look at his stats and determine he's just not that good, and have to really hope that this upside argument is reality, because we see nothing to prove that it is. Me and probably some other folks are in this group.

Finally, there are the real baseball crazies, who can tell you who the 12th best prospect in the Pirates system off the top of their head. Those people see Wily Mo as a starting right fielder with lots of power who will become a dominant figure in the game in a few years. BSM and Andrew and STJellis are the founders of that group.

Group one, we'll call the clowns. Pennywise for short.

Group two, the one I'm in, is the middle group. The Middles.

The jokers in group three shall be named after Wink Martindale, because while he didn't host Joker's Wild, I still associate him with game shows of that era.

So, it's weird, how the Winks actually agree with the Pennywises. I got these clowns to the left of me, admiring Pena's HRs, thinking he's the next Jim Rice, jokers to the right, telling me how great the guy will be even though I just don't see it, and here I am, stuck in the middle.

Wink. Me (Middle). Pennywise.


[Note, for the left/right thing to work, you have to think of me being inside the WMP zone, looking out at you.]

Needless to say, terrible job, Wily Mo, in the Yankees series. We really couldv'e used a guitar-playing starting pitcher in that series. Over Jason Johnson, Lester, and Beckett, definitely.

I think you mistakenly used the title for this entry one post too soon.

What stats are you looking at, exactly, that determine he's "just not that good?" I haven't seen those.
I don't get your first statement.

And we've already determined that I feel his lifetime average is something that does matter, but you, not so much. Also, I am looking at him on the field with my eyes and seeing: Getting picked off on a 3-2 pitch, taking a crazy risk on the basepaths, striking out in very important situations, taking weird routes to balls, and getting credit for hits that should've been errors. And that's tonight alone!!!!
Regarding the first comment- just a joke, as in "Jere's Fantasy Land" fitted better for this post.

It's not that we disagree that his BA doesn't matter- of course it's part of the puzzle. I'll never claim it's been smooth sailing for him in his career so far. You just don't seem willing to admit that the context of his early career, playing time, etc effected this. For a guy not enamored of stats, you're taking a real hard-line approach there. There's some interpretation involved.

Moreover, Pena this year is hitting .303/ .347/ .515 with a .291 EqA. Is he a great defensive player? No. Is he a great baserunner? No. But among the issues the Red Sox have right now, the play of Wily Mo Pena isn't even in the top 50 most concerning. Where's all your Coco Crisp enmity? Is that because you weren't a huge fan of the guy HE was traded for?

IMHO, I can't believe anyone can watch these guys and dwell on Pena. Not having another arm doesn't mean that Pena's been doing anything but contribute.
Youu said "this entry" so I didn't know what you meant, which I guess was to say I used the title of the last entry too early.

I love stats. Just not projections.

This guy has been so bad at the plate lately. Like, a lot of at bats, not a lot of hits.

In the Coco situation, we have a proven player. He totally hasn't done what I expected at the plate. But in his case, we lost Johnny, and I think we did a good job getting someone to take his place. Whereas with Pena, we traded a pitcher which I feel would be a perfect fit for this staff for him. So, to me, I'd at the very least want a proven ballplayer for him. Preferably a pitcher.

So, that's the reason I --A-Rod just K'd to end the 9th in the clutch!-- reason I can't help but watch the guy go, like, 1 for 14 or whatever in the first 4 games of the most important series of the year, a series where we could've used Arroyo. In that case, though, we'd have had to also get, like, 4 other dudes in the bullpen to replace the ones who consistently shit the bed this weekend.
Building a baseball team has little to do with what someone has done in the past - it's all about what they will do in the future. That's why projections are important. Javy Lopez is a "proven player" and once hit 43 HR, but right now I'd much rather that the Sox had Kelly Shoppach or Josh Bard.

If you really want to get on someone for "a lot of at bats, but not hits", then why not Gabe Kapler? He is hitting .221, is something like 2 for his last 31, and he looks absolutely terrible out there defensively and offensively. Or Mirabelli, who is hitting .196?
It's one thing to look at stats to see what kind of player a guy is and use that to determine if he's going to be good in the future.

But the way some of these projections are done, I think, are just pointless. You guys were telling me how Pena will be because of the other players in the past who did similarly to him up to that point. But that doesn't mean that he's going to turn into them. He could just have a lot of bad numbers because he's not that good, as opposed to following some secret path to stardom that involves striking out and having a low average for years and then suddenly turning around.

Not a risk I'm willing to take if it means giving up a good pitcher.

I totally think a lot of stats are just BS. People think they've figured out the future, but they haven't. And my other problem is that if you could know exactly what's going to happen, I wouldn't want to.

It's ilke when BSM says a strikeout isn't as bad as any other out. I think that that can be right--when looking back on it. But to get a strikeout guy instead of a contact guy, that's going to hurt you in the future.
I'm gathering you weren't a big Bellhorn fan. :)
Put me in the Winks column with BSM. Sorry Jere, but TJ scapegoating WMP when, if you really need to assign blame for the Debacle D'Dunbar, there's about 15-20 guys on the roster more deserving of criticism. As BSM points out, if you need to make out that list, Crisp certainly deserves mention; I don't know how he qualifies as a proven player. Frankly, the only guys less deserving of criticism for last weekend than WMP are Manny, Papi, Papelbon, Schilling, and maybe Loretta.

WMP is third on this team in OPS; he's having a better season than Trot was. The Arroyo/Pena trade has, in retrospect, clearly hurt the team this season; you're certainly right about that. But I catch a fair amount of National League games, and I'm pretty skeptical that the Bronson Arroyo that I've watched pitch since the beginning of July would have had a good start against the MFYs in that series.

And with that said, Jere, you remain my favorite Sox blogger on the internets by a wide margin, particularly since BSM called it quits.
Thanks for liking my blogzone.

Anyway, this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion. I didn't watch the Yankee series and say "We lost because of Wily Mo." This is all just a continuation of the Wily Mo argument. And I did say I was worried about him going into the series, and he totally shit the bed, proving me right about that if nothing else.

He's hitting .259 this month, and that's after coming back with 4 hits in his last 7 at bats.

Again, I'm sure in the fantasy leagues, there's some mystery stat he has that has him at the top of everybody's list. But he seems to be doing pretty poorly at the plate, when looking at his stats of late, and watching him with my eyes, as well as not being very good in any other aspect of the game.

The guy isn't my main problem with the Red Sox. In fact, we have injuries so he has to play anyway. I'm just still talking about him and the trade as a whole. Wholes. And I like him and I hope he becomes a superstar. I'm just still not seeing it.
I think that WM is improving. At least since he first put on a Red Sox uniform. Since it's way past the point of no return, all we can do is hope that he continues to practice patience at the plate and, for the love of Pete, field a hell of a lot better than he's been fielding! Certainly, he can get some coaching in that department. I guess he'll have to work on that a lot in the offseason.

Seriously, I'm totally out of answers for this team.
I think he's, like, the opposite of improving. That average keeps dipping almost every night, toward his career average.
WMP had a very solid May a brief but great July, and a mediocre August. FWIW, his batting average has been increasing over the past two games. With that said, I don't understand the importance you place on BA. I'm hardly a sabremetician; I've read a fair amount of Bill James articles over the past 20 years, and know what VORP and EqA are, but don't get too caught up in advanced baseball statistics. With that said, I'm much more interested in a players' on-base % and slugging % than his BA, and I don't think that's a particularly radical way of looking at things at this point. It's what Branch Rickey used to look at back in the Forties, and even Teddy Ballgame intuitively understood that getting on-base and hitting for power were more important than his raw BA in terms of actual offensive contribution. I'll give you one extreme example: Adam Dunn. Dunn is one of the most feared hitters in the NL, and a lot of Sox fans were clamoring for Theo to try to obtain him last winter before the Lowell deal shifted Youks to first. It would have been a nice pickup; Dunn is again having a fantastic year. But his average is only .251.

Anyway, based on OPS, Pena has been the third best hitter on this team this year behind Manny and Papi. Unless Theo manages to have a helluva winter, it's possible that WMP will be the Sox' third best hitter again in 2007.

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