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Baseball: Judge, Bogaerts, Devers, Ohtani, Mays, Wilcy Moore, 1986 ALCS

Thursday 9/8/22

* The best great season in baseball history that no one talks about: Willie McCovey in 1969. OPS+: 209. For comparison: Yaz’s in 1967 was 193. 200 was the highest of Musial’s career. 194 for Aaron. 185 for Mays. 176 for A-Rod. 209 for Cobb. Judge is at 204 this year.


* Aaron Judge is going to end up leading all of baseball by twenty home runs. There is no MVP debate. He’s not just the most valuable player in the context of his team’s needs and prospects, he’s the best, and this is one of the finest seasons anyone has had in fifty years.


* Xander Bogaerts has never finished in the top ten in the AL in WAR. He’s currently fifth. He could win the AL batting title. But I would still say, don't be fooled. He's a below-average defender, his power is mostly gone--save his doubles power--and shortstops decline, pretty much whomever they are, at his age and going forward, obviously. His career OPS+ is 117. That's really good if you're a catcher. That's not a star hitting non-catcher. This is a good ballplayer. Dependable. Solid. Well above average. But not great. It's a pretty good player with weak defense, who has lost his power, and who is aging at a position where that shows more than others. It is okay for him to leave. He's only going to get worse. By the way: Dave Kingman's career OPS+ is 115. Kingman hit for a nothing average and didn't walk, so his OBP was always low.


* Rafael Devers hasn't had much of a year. He's underachieved. A disappointing season for him. The numbers won't be there at the end.


* I didn't expect Shohei Ohtani to have the year he's had. If he's just a hitter or if he's just a pitcher, he's this minor star, but if he's both, he's what he is. I like that he's having a better year as a pitcher this year, whereas last year it was the other way around. He needs to get out of Anaheim. This guy starting Game 7 of an ALCS and being in the line-up would be something and baseball could really use that. I saw on Twitter where someone said that the only reason that Gerrit Cole doesn't do what Ohtani does is because running the bases would tire Cole's legs and hinder his pitching. Again: It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people are. Sports are so simple, really. And this was someone whose whole life was following sports. Because I looked. They had the decked-out-with-sports-stuff man cave and all of that. People actually think like this. Because his legs would be tired. Not the whole "it's hard to hit" thing. Ohtani runs less than I do, too, as a DH.


* The Red Sox have had four players who drove in ten runs in a game. That is a lot. I'm not sure, but I would assume this is the most of any franchise. Williams and Yaz are not among the four. Neither is Jimmie Foxx.


* It was very forced that the Mets retired Willie Mays' number. Contrived. Why do that? Simply because he put the uniform on? It's really almost disrespectful, if something like this can be disrespectful. I'd want to be honored for my actual achievements, or not at all.


* I have a feeling that Jacob deGrom will make the Hall of Fame. He will be enshrined with a paucity of wins. A third Cy Young would clinch it, but I don't think he needs that. He needs one more good run. That can be ten stars where he gives up three total runs. These concentrated samples will make him the first guy to get in with practically nothing, win-wise, as a starter.


* Trevor Story has appeared in 91 games this year and has an OPS+ of 106. Albert Pujols has appeared in 86 games and has an OPS+ of 143.


* Wilcy Moore was a thirty-year-old rookie on the 1927 Yankees. He was mostly a reliever, but started 12 games, completing half of them, and registering a shutout. He saved 13 games, compiled a record of 19-7, with a league-leading ERA of 2.28. He was their best pitcher that year. Or, put another way: the best pitcher on what is probably the best baseball team of all-time. And then he was never good again. He ERA the next two years was over 4, then he got dealt to Boston in 1931, and wasn't any better. He returned to the Yankees in 1932, and was out of the game after 1933. In two World Series--1927 and 1932--he pitched 16 innings, and allowed one earned run. A fascinating, bizarre career. I can't think of one like it.


* This is Game Seven of the 1986 ALCS. I had it on last week when I was going to sleep. A few items to note. This is the most hopping I've ever heard Fenway Park. The atmosphere sucks you in. Also: Al Michaels and Jim Palmer were an excellent broadcast team. A pleasure to listen to them work. Further: Watch how Roger Clemens balks every single time a runner is on base. It's actually every time. He never comes close to a full stop. Pay attention and you can see that Jim Rice's eyesight is gone. There's a bunch of talk about how he's not seeing the ball. He means in the baseball sense, but the real issue is in the physical sense. Watch Bill Buckner, too. Should not have been on the field, allowing that he's not playing up anything for attention or sympathy, and I assume he wasn't. How could you not see disaster coming? Marty Barrett, meanwhile, is a good example of a player who is more than his stats and advanced metrics. He's a good ballplayer, better than WAR or OPS+ suggests. Finally: Note the pace of the game. The rhythm, the flow. It's not a close game, but the rhythm and the pace holds your attention, it builds drama. That rhythm and pace is gone from today's game.