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Dyslexia's 2006 Predictions

Recently, Schuyla and I posted our predictions for the 2006 season. What we lacked was justification for our picks. Coming up in a series of articles, I'm gonna give you
a. Not just the winners of the divsions, but how the teams will place/how many games I feel that they'll win.
b. Justification for every choice I made in the previous article. Good times promised. We start with the NL East. Controversy abounds.

NL East:
1. Hotlanta
2. New York (otherwise known as the Kaz Matsui's)
3. Washington
4. Philadelphia
5. Florida

Why would you say such things?

Starting at the top: Bobby Cox is hands down the best manager in the league. Back to back MOY (trendy, isn't it?) reinforces that. With Cox on the bench, Atlanta is just absolutely unbeatable in this division. And what does everybody say every year? 'The Braves won't win the East this year, I like the (insert trendy pick here).' This year, in a vastly improved division, that trendy pick happens to be the Mets. Sorry, Flushing, the Braves aren't going anywhere for a little while longer. They have better starting pitching (Smoltz, Hudson, Ramirez, Thomson and Sosa. Also, throw Kyle Davies into the mix) than the rest of the division. They've got a scary infield. If Renteria produces, he and Larry will form a ridiculous left side. They have Andruw, who will not fall on his face as many have said. (You heard it here. Repeat 50 HR season.) And of course, they have Francoeur, who, apart from Zach Duke, is my favorite NL rookie who didn't play in many games last year but still was ridiculously successful. Reitsma is shaky, and now, injured, as a closer, but they've got some semi-decent/questionable middle inning and set-up men so if he can do an o.k. job, this team has pretty clear sailing. 96 games.
The Mets. They're good. Good enough to compete for a Wild Card spot. But there are just so many questions surrounding this team that it's impossible to pick them. You look at the Mets' depth chart and they're just absolutely loaded. There is not a hole in this team (other than 5th starter and 2nd base). But the whole thing has the look of a train on some unsteady tracks. Willie Randolph has proven nothing as a manager save that he can tell us what Asian relievers he believes have funk. The pitching could collapse Jenga style if Glavine is too old/injured or if Pedro can't recover. Will they crumble in August like they always do? I can pick them 2nd and possibly winning 88/90 games, but they're not stable enough to dethrone a perennial power like the Braves. Look for an exciting race with an anticlimactic conclusion, like the Mets getting swept by Atlanta in the 2nd to last series of the year.
The Nationals third, ahead of the Phillies you ask? I don't like the Phillies. I don't like the way they're built. I don't like them without Bowa (NY pride). Most of all, I don't like that Lieber is their ace. The Phillies can't win jack with a bunch of 12 win pitchers. (Lieber won 17, but with a 4.2 ERA) All the moves they made suggest that they are ready to make some significant noise. But when they let Millwood go they doomed themselves. As you may have already been able to glean, I believe starting pitching wins championships. In fact, I am an eyewitness to countless years of Yankee baseball that support this theory. And even with these great players like Utley and Howard and Rollins and Abreu, they're just another o.k. team because of their pitching. The Nats have a vastly underrated one in Livan. And don't sleep on John Patterson. It wasn't too long ago that after like 5 starts last year he had an ERA under 1. Nick Johnson is gonna be huge. I can't believe we let him get away. Now, granted, the left side of their infield is Guzman and Zimmerman, probably the worst left side in the league. Plus, Guz just went on the 15 day DL so who the hell they're gonna start at short I haven't the faintest clue. However, in Guillen, Johnson, Vidro, and Soriano, they have the players to get things done. Throw in the league leading save men Cordero, and they finish with around 82 or 83 wins. Phillies are close, I'll give em 80.
Oh, and the Marlins? I'm not writing about them. They are a goddamn joke. Dontrelle and Miggy (the new Miggy) can only take you so far. Cabrera is top 10 or 15 players in baseball but Willis was more than shaky for the U.S. The New York Ranger loving part of me says they can do it with one great player and a helluva goalie/ace... but nah. Look for a ugly season. Really ugly. 65 wins.

Coming up in the predictions of Dyslexia:
The Central.
The rest of the divisions (except the AL East. You can get my predictions for the East in my coverage on each team. Next is Baltimore by the way)
MVP's, ROY's, CY's and managers of the year.
Plus, my playoff spots.
a bracket!


More, more more.

There have been plenty of hot news items this offseason. A busy FA period meant plenty of new faces in new places, Game of Shadows, the inaugural WBC, and the demise of Alfonso. To a certain extent, Crosstown has been covering these stories. What we haven't been following is the day to day news that might not make huge ripples in the world of sports but that are important or humorous nonetheless. For example, while I might cover lightly the end of the WBC, I haven't written anything on Jorge's poor little nose. And while Schuyla' wrote on Soriano, he hasn't written anything about Billy Wagner's bird. This small entry is just a reminder/informant that if you scroll on down the sidebar past the ad and 'what we're reading', you'll find 'Mets and Yankees player news', courtesy of Rotoworld. That has pretty much all you need to know. Check it out if you're looking for news about injuries, performances, or other day to day nuances of the baseball world.

p.s. 1,000th hit recently. That's a nice milestone, thanks for reading.

Rank the NL East! (Outfield)

As part of the lead-up to the season, I am ranking every team in the NL East by position and then establish a clarion dominance from one squad. Today: Outfielders.

Left Fielder:
1. Pat Burrell (PHI) (.281/.389/.504/32 HR/117 RBI/0 SB in 154 G with PHI)
2. Cliff Floyd (NYM) (.273/.358/.505/34 HR/98 RBI/12 SB in 150 G with NYM)
3. Alfonso Soriano (WAS) (.268/.309/.512/36 HR/104 RBI/30 SB in 156 G with TEX)
4. Ryan Langerhans (ATL) (.267/.348/.426/8 HR/42 RBI/0 SB in 128 G with ATL)
5. Chris Aguila (FLA) (.244/.272/.282/0 HR/4 RBI/0 SB in in 65 G with FLA)

A very talented group that now includes Alfonso Soriano, but Burrell's stats are clearly superior to those of the others. He's younger than Soriano and Floyd and he's a better hitter than Langerhans and the sorry excuse for a starting outfielder Aguila. Floyd had a season on the rebound and he became one of the first sluggers to conquer Shea, where he put up an OPS more than 120 points higher than on the road (.927 at home versus .805 on the road). Burrell's stats, despite playing in a much smaller park than Floyd, Langerhans, and Aguila, represented a comeback from his disappointing 2003 and 2004 seasons. Those seasons he put up OPS+ numbers of 89 and 110, while this year he put together a season with a 125 OPS+, although still far from his career high of 149 OPS+ in 2002. Pat the Bat is also a Metslayer, having smacked 14 homers against the Metropolitans in 193 AB over the last three years. Aguila, although a disappointing fifth outfielder in his major league career, put up strong stats last year in 35 games at AAA Albuquerque (.355/.412/.630/7 HR/25 RBI/8 SB). Langerhans is an interesting character as he put together a strong season in terms of getting on base, but a weak season as far as power was concerned, as he hit 20 homers at AAA the year before. The case for ranking Soriano third is argued similarly to the case against acquiring him, except RFK is an even tougher park to hit in than Shea.

Center Fielders:
1. Andruw Jones (ATL) (.263/.347/.575/51 HR/128 RBI/5 SB in 160 G with ATL)
2. Carlos Beltran (NYM) (.266/.330/.414/16 HR/78 RBI/17 SB in 151 G with NYM)
3. Aaron Rowand (PHI) (.270/.329/.407/13 HR/69 RBI/16 SB in 157 G with CHW)
4. Ryan Church (WAS) (.287/.353/.466/9 HR/42 RBI/3 SB in 102 G with WSH)
5. Reggie Abercrombie (FLA) (.274/.317/.485/15 HR/45 RBI/19 SB in 76 G with High-A Jupiter)

Here exists two wealthy All-Stars, one with eight straight gold gloves and 300 HR and one who's a back-to-back all star with a near 40-40 season under his belt and five 100-RBI seasons during his time. One was born on April 23, 1977 and the other on April 24, 1977. Although the slightly older one put up gaudy statistics, the 119 million dollar man put up stats comparable to those of #3, Aaron Rowand, who was acquired for Jim Thome. Andruw Jones had arguably his greatest year ever, as he put up phenomenal power numbers and his VORP went from 28.6 to 52.8. His average and OBP rose narrowly, but everything else went through the roof. Beltran was a disappointment. Although one can argue his speed (42 SB/3 CS to 17 SB/6 CS) was affected by nagging injuries all year, his power failed to translate to the Mets and he became mostly a singles hitter, as his VORP dropped from 65.5 last year in between Kansas City and Houston to a disgusting 17.6 in Flushing this year. Mike Cameron had an equal VORP. Despite all of his struggles last year, Baseball Prospectus gives him a 48% chance to improve and predicts a season of 23 HR, 81 RBI and a .283 batting average. The Phillies made a move by snagging the former World Champion centerfielder. Rowand is arguably an upgrade over the Jason Michaels/Kenny Lofton platoon in centerfield, despite the fact that Lofton hit .335 and Michaels hit .304, while Rowand hit .270. Lofton also stole 22 bases, more than Rowand. Yet Rowand has more power and is a player in his prime, while Lofton is obviously over the hill. Church is a promising prospect, after he put together a strong half-season in the District of Columbia last year. Abercrombie is an utter joke, as he was a 25 year-old in the Florida State League last year. He's the proverbial five-tool prospect who has never been able to put it all together, similar to an Alex Escobar, Jason Tyner or Alex Ochoa, guys who dominated the Mets' minor league system during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Right Field:
1. Bobby Abreu (PHI) (.286/.405/.474/24 HR/102 RBI/31 SB in 162 G with PHI)
2. Jose Guillen (WSH) (.283/.338/.479/24 HR/76 RBI/1 SB in 148 G with WSH)
3. Jeff Francoeur (ATL) (.300/.336/.549/14 HR/45 RBI/3 SB in 70 G with ATL)
4. Jeremy Hermida (FLA) (.293/.457/.518/18 HR/63 RBI/23 SB in 118 G with AA Carolina)
5. Xavier Nady (NYM) (.261/.321/.439/13 HR/43 RBI/2 SB in 124 G with SDP)

A down year from Abreu where he was nearly surpassed in NL East right field supremacy by the newcomer National Guillen and the hot prospect Francoeur. He still put together his seventh consecutive 100-walk, 20 SB, 20 HR season, something utterly phenomenal. Most of his homers were hit during the Home Run Derby, as he jacked a tournament record 41 dingers, while his post-All Star numbers were disappointing: .260/.376 /.411/6 HR/44 RBI. He is also clearly on the downside of his career, something that does not bode well for future Abreu seasons. Guillen, deposed hothead from LAA of A, came over to the Nationals for Juan Rivera after irreconcilable differences with manager Mike Scoscia. At 29, he still has some good years left in him, and, after a very strong first half last year (.310 BA, 18 HR), Guillen needs to fight the demon of trailing off during the latter half of the season. Francoeur put together a nice rookie season with the Braves, as he hit a solid .300 after a midseason call-up. Francoeur also tied for the league lead in outfield assists. However, he started to flame out at the end of the season (.235 BA in September/October). Braves fans must hope that it was fatigue from a long season, not that pitchers were finally learning how to get him out. The battle between Xavier Nady and Jeremy Hermida for the bottom of this list wasn't even close. Hermida, while young and inexperienced, put up great numbers at AA last year. He demonstrated power, speed and an even more remarkable statistic: 111 BB, 89 SO. He demonstrated excellent patience at the age of 21, something boding well for his future prospects. Another thing to note is that he smacked 4 homers in 41 AB as a September call-up for the Marlins. He had a memorable first career at-bat, which was a grand slam. He also hit .293, which was his average for the whole season. Nady is a platoon player at best: a prospect who has failed to harness his power. He's versatile and certainly has potential, but he probably won't do much for the Mets.

That was fun. Rotations later?


Swimming with Devil Rays

Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
2005- 67-95 (.414) 5th place, AL East
Manager: Joe Maddon (Why did you have to go, Lou?)
Strange Fact(s): 1. Zim is filling a position known as "senior baseball advisor". Huh.
2. They have Wiggy!
Key Addition(s): Sean Burroughs
Ace in the Hole: Delmon Young
X Factors: Can Kaz (the other one) be a dominant ace? Can Burroughs produce the way everyone always expected him to? Will Jesus become a reliable closer or will they have to follow the closer-by-committee idea as has been suggested? Carl Crawford.

Overlook: Well, well, well. Like they say, come April every team has a new slate. For all we know, the Diamondbacks could be an 110 win team and the Cardinals might be the new punching bag of the Central. Uh... not quite. The D-Rays might have a new mentality, a great one pitcher, and the best prospect in baseball, but they don't have enough to put it together as of yet. As much as everyone loves all their twenty-something players, they're still developing and they don't know what it's like to win yet. Regardless of how cool Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Jonny (yea there's no h wanna fight about it) Gomes, and Jorge Cantu are, they still have no bullpen, not enough power, and are playing in the best division in baseball. In the NL West, they could win 85 possibly 90 games, but when you're constantly bumping heads with the likes of New York, Boston and Toronto, they simply can't compete. Give it a few years, and then I like 'em.


Starting Lineup:

Catcher: Toby Hall- .287/.315/.368/5 HR/48 RBI in 135 games
Key Stat: 432 AB's, only 39 SO's. That's about 11 per. He's not wasting many at bats at the end of the order.
1st Baseman- Travis Lee- .272/.331/.426/12 HR/49 RBI in 129 games
Key Stat: Has never hit above .275 or had more than 90 RBI's in his career. The deifinition of slightly above average. He sucked as a Yankee.
2nd Baseman- Jorge Cantu- .286/.311/.497/28 HR/117 RBI in 150 games
Key Stat: With 117 RBI's, Cantu was 7th in the AL. Wow, I didn't see that one coming. Definitely gonna be a star. However, batting third he's ripe for hitting into too many DP's. Gotta work on better placement, finding holes. (He can get lessons from DJ perhaps?)
3rd Baseman- Sean Burroughs- .250/.318/.299/1 HR/17 RBI in 93 games w/ San Diego
Key Stat: As a 9th pick in the '98 draft, Burroughs has hit only 11 HR and driven in only 133 RBI in 4 years of play. (432 games) Also, injury prone. Only 93 games last year and was never effective. Hits fairly well for average, but no power. No wonder they stuck him in dead man's land- the 8 hole. Can he rebound?
Shortstop- Julio Lugo- .295/.362/.403/6 HR/57 RBI in 158 games
Key Stat: Good leadoff man. With that .362 OBP he's fairly reliable, and once he's on he's got a lot of speed. 39 stolen bases last year.
Left Field- Carl Crawford- .301/.331/.469/15 HR/81 RBI in 156 games
Key Stat: God who doesn't love Carl Crawford. He's on his way to becomig a 5-tool player. I mean he hit .300, 80 RBI's even from high in the order, good in left, fastest man in baseball not named Gathright/Suzuki, all-star in '04... oh right. The key stat. 22.6 power speed number last year. It's another crazy Bill James stat (what the hell is secondary average, anyway? whatever it is Bonds had a 1.086 secondary average in '04. How is that possible!?), but it means he's well-rounded okay.
Center Field- Rocco Baldelli- .280/.326/.436/16 HR/78 RBI in 136 games in '04
Key Stat: 30 BB in 637 AB's. I swear to God the guy never walks. He either hits it (184) or strikes out (128). His name is Rocco though, cut him some slack.
Right Field- Aubrey Huff- .261/.321/.428/22 HR/92 RBI in 154 games
Key Stat: In '03, he had a remarkable year. Since then, his BA, OBP, and SLG have all dropped steadily. In BA, the difference between '03 and '05 is 50 points, in on base, 25 points, and in slugging, 77 points. The guy is deteriorating.
DHing- Jonny Gomes- .282/.372/.534/21 HR/54 RBI in 101 games
Key Stat: a 3/1 K/BB ratio will not help. However, as he continues to play, he'll continue to learn, and with the experience will come patience. Most of the time. (reference Soriano) Also, questions abound? Does he have the tools to be effective batting 5th?
Bench: Well, OK I guess. They only go as deep as Gathright, Josh Paul (who I for some reason like even though he was a goddamn Angel), and Wiggy take them.
Key Stat: Joey Gathright is so good. Josh Paul as I've already explained has a soft spot in my heart. And Ty was a Met. (By the way how do Mets fans feel about him?) All this leads to the fact that their bench is pretty cool. But also pretty much can't produce. Paul is terrible and mostly is a defensive replacement, Wigginton just can't do jack for crap, and Gathright, although he has game-changing speed, has really no other baseball talent. Maybe their collective okness can mold together into one good player. I don't have a stat prepared. Deal.

Starting Rotation:

Ace- Scott Kazmir- 10-9/3.77/172 hits, 174 SO, 100 BB in 186 innings
2nd- Mark Hendrickson- 11-8/5.90/227 hits, 89 SO, 49 BB in 178 innings
3rd- Casey Fossum- 8-12/4.92/170 hits, 128 SO, 60 BB in 163 innings
4th- Seth McClung- 7-11/6.59/106 hits, 92 SO, 62 BB, 109 innings
5th-Doug Waechter- 5-12/5.62/191 hits, 87 SO, 38 BB, 157 innigs
Closer- Jesus? (Colome, but if he's not available, the real Jesus)- 2-3/4.57/54 hits, 28 SO, 18 BB in 45 innings
Bullpen- Terrible in general. They've got Dave Miceli and Chad Harville. And they're pretty good compared to the rest of the staff. Enough said.

Final Thoughts:

Maturity is what they need. I don't know what kinda damage this team'll be making 3, 4 years in the future, but as of now, they're going nowhere. Pitching is just all around a weakness, and their entire lineup is pretty much made of players who everyone knows can produce but who can't seem to get it all together. Also, I can't seem to find Victor Zambrano on their roster. He must of been left off the team. (ah that never gets old)

Prediction: 74-88 (talented enough to win 75 but no pitching = no .500) 4th, AL East

Rank the NL East! (Around the Infield)

As part of the lead-up to the season, I am ranking every team in the NL East by position and then establish a clarion dominance from one squad. Today: Infielders.

1. Brian Schneider (WAS) (.268/.330/.409/10 HR/44 RBI/1 SB in 116 G with WAS)
2. Paul Lo Duca (NYM) (.283/.334/.380/6 HR/57 RBI/4 SB in 132 G with FLA)
3. Brian McCann (ATL) (.278/.345/.400/5 HR/23 RBI/1 SB in 59 G with ATL)
4. Mike Lieberthal (PHI) (.263/.336/.418/12 HR/47 RBI/0 SB in 118 G with PHI)
5. Josh Willingham (FLA) (.324/.455/.676/19 HR/51 RBI/5 SB in 66 G with AAA Albuquerque)

No Piazza here anymore. A bunch of average hitters with average power. Schneider stands out being younger than Lo Duca and Lieberthal, but putting up better power numbers than Lo Duca and similar numbers to Lieberthal in a much tougher park. Schneider is also the best defensively, as Lo Duca and Lieberthal have deteriorated with age while McCann and Willingham are unproven youngsters, the latter who was moved to left field at one point. However, Willingham is a 27 year old rookie, while McCann is a 22 year old Met killer in training who left the Braves confident enough to trade Johnny Estrada. Expect him to be on the top of this list before long.

First Base:
1. Carlos Delgado (NYM) (.301/.399/.582/33 HR/115 RBI/0 SB in 144 G with FLA)
2. Ryan Howard (PHI) (.288/.356/.567/22 HR/63 RBI/0 SB in 88 G with PHI)
3. Nick Johnson (WAS) (.289/.408/.479/15 HR/74 RBI/3 SB but 8 CS in 131 G with WAS)
4. Adam LaRoche (ATL) (.259/.320/.455/20 HR/78 RBI/0 SB in 141 G with ATL)
5. Mike Jacobs (FLA) (.310/.375/.710/11 HR/23 RBI/0 SB in 30 G with NYM)

Mets and Marlins make a swap. Mets go from worst to first; Marlins from first to worst. Delgado is a machine, driving in 100 runs nearly every year of his career. Howard is a player with a lot of promise who could produce a lot of runs this year. LaRoche and Johnson are enigmas, as they are not typical run producers at first base. Johnson is consistently a good hitter for average and he takes walks, making him more valuable than the challenged LaRoche. Jacobs, however, might have a case for bein on the top of this list this year, as his eyepopping numbers took place in one-fifth of a season. However, based on recent production, the Mets easily have the edge in this category.

Second Base:
1. Chase Utley (PHI) (.291/.376/.540/28 HR/105 RBI/16 SB in 147 G with PHI)
2. Marcus Giles (ATL) (.291/.365/.461/15 HR/63 RBI/16 SB in 152 G with ATL)
3. Jose Vidro (WAS) (.275/.339/.424/7 HR/32 RBI/0 SB in 87 G with WAS)
4. Kaz Matsui (NYM) (.255/.300/.352/3 HR/24 RBI/6 SB in 87 G with NYM)
5. Dan Uggla (FLA) (.297/.378/.502/21 HR/87 RBI/15 SB in 135 G with AA Tennessee)

Well, this group includes a talented yung thumper in Utley, a leadoff hitter and proficient on-base man in Giles, an erstwhile All-Star in Vidro, a former shortstop fallen out of favor, and another unproven youngster with a funny name. This is one funny bunch, despite the fact that it does not include new Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano. Uggla's numbers are quite nice, though he was a 25 year old in Double-A, something that gives him a distinct advantage. If Vidro can stay healthy, it is likely that he could lead the pack.

1. Jimmy Rollins (PHI) (.290/.338/.431/12 HR/54 RBI/41 SB in 158 G with PHI)
2. Jose Reyes (NYM) (.273/.300/.386/7 HR/58 RBI/60 SB in 161 G with NYM)
3. Edgar Renteria (ATL) (.276/.335/.385/8 HR/70 RBI/9 SB in 153 G with BOS)
4. Cristian Guzman (WAS) (.219 /.260/.314/4 HR/31 RBI/7 SB in 142 G with WAS)
5. Hanley Ramirez (FLA) (.271/.335/.385/6 HR/52 RBI/26 SB in 122 G with AA Portland)

An intriguing group. Reyes is only six months older than Ramirez, but he has put together 2 partial seasons and one full season in the major leagues. Ramirez stalled at AA in the Red Sox farm system and wound up being moved in the Josh Beckett trade. Rollins is the best hitter among the bunch, Renteria the most experienced, Reyes the fastest and Cristian Guzman the one who has played the most games in a Minnesota Twins uniform. Renteria is an interesting reclamation project for the Atlanta organization after he made 30 errors at short and fell out of favor quickly in Boston. I see Reyes and Ramirez maturing this year, while Renteria will not produce much for the Braves. Rollins will try to continue his hitting streak at the start of the season, but, as a .253 April hitter the past 3 seasons, it is unlikely he will match Joe D.

Third Base:
1. Miguel Cabrera (FLA) (.323/.385/.561/33 HR/116 RBI/1 SB in 158 G with FLA)
2. David Wright (NYM) (.306/.388/.523/27 HR/102 RBI/17 SB in 160 G with NYM)
3. Larry Jones (ATL) (.296/.412/.556/21 HR/72 RBI/5 SB in 109 G with ATL)
4. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) (.326/.371/.528/9 HR/32 RBI/1 SB in 63 G with AA Harrisburg)
5. David Bell (PHI) (.248/.310/.361/10 HR/61 RBI/0 SB in 150 G with PHI)

It killed me to write this one. When I originally typed it out, I had D-Wright ahead of Cabrera. Cabrera benefited from a productive supporting cast (he was protected by Carlos Delgado and had Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo ahead of him), while Wright protected Cliff Floyd. If Willie does as he says and bats Wright sixth, he should be fired. The lefties should, without a doubt, be split up in the order and Carlos Beltran should not be a #3 hitter. Larry Jones still had a productive season despite being overwhelmed with injuries. However, it is likely that his foot will continue to bother him this season and he will miss significant time. Normally, I don't take minor league stats that seriously, but Zim has been extremely productive. He put up a gaudy AA line after playing 61 extraordinary games at UVA, where he hit .393 with a .469 OBP. He was drafted in the first round last year, and he will be ridiculously productive in the future. David Bell is old, he's having back pain now, what else is new?

Fun stuff. Outfielders and pitchers later.


Sori, Mr. Bowden.

I said from the get-go I didn't want him. So did Willie Randolph.
But the rumors persist about some supposedly young, some supposedly athletic, some supposed slugger at second base. But what do we really know about Alfonso Soriano? He's a lot more like Mr. Matsui than you'd think.
  • One thing is his age: he's three months younger than Kaz Matsui. They're both thirty this year. And for all we know, Sori could really be fifty.

  • His home/away splits: His home OPS at the lovable bandbox Ameriquest Field (OBP + SLG) is 1.011. Phenomenal. His away OPS- .639. For a comparison, Kaz Matsui's OPS last year was .652. Moreover, Chris Woodward's was .730. And don't let OPS be the only factor: Matsui hit .255 last year. Sori's road split: .224. Alfonso played in the AL West last year. A good way to compare parks is by Park Factor, the so-called number to determine whether it favors hitters or pitchers. A park factor over 100 favors hitters. Ameriquest had a PF of 104. However, Angel Stadium had a PF of 96, Seattle's Safeco Field a PF of 99 and the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland a PF of 103. These parks, where Soriano played most of his road games, are favorable to the NL East parks, yet Soriano hit .103 in Seattle, .256 in Oakland and .150 at Angel Stadium. Imagine if this kid played 81 games at Shea (PF 99). Using the numbers generated at the other 99 PF stadium, we could be looking at a second baseman with a .103 batting average at home. Ugly. And don't get me started about his power numbers on the road. In 326 Road AB (he had 315 at home), he hit 11 HR and drove in 31 runs, while striking out 74 times. Considering he'd be playing his home games at Shea and his road schedule would be relatively similar, he could hit 22 HR and drive in 62 runs while hitting .224 with a .265 OBP and striking out 148 times. Yeah, I'd take that for ten million dollars if we could sign Mo Vaughn out of retirement to play first base for twenty...

  • He can't field. He made 21 errors at second base last year, down from his 2004 total of 23. His fielding percentage last year was .972, while Matsui's was .970. He, paired with Carlos Delgado on the right side of the infield, who made 14 errors at first base last year, would create a joke of a porous infield. Not to mention you can't move him to any other position.

  • He doesn't hustle. The man pauses to look at home-run shots; he doesn't run out ground balls and he mouths off to his manager. It's one thing if he can hit. It's quite another if he does what I said above. And you would definitely not want to hear him spout off at WIllie if he was ever forced to ride pine. Lest you forget, Willie coached him for five seasons as a Yankee. He must have learned something there.

  • He's strikeout-prone and doesn't walk. Simple. Season-by-season strikeout totals: 125, 157, 130, 121, 125. Any one of his totals would have put him in the lead on the 2005 Mets. Not only does he strike out frequently, he doesn't walk. Season-by-season walk totals: 29, 23, 38, 33, 33. Carlos Delgado (121 SO in 2005) and David Wright (113 SO) at least offset their high K totals with walks. Wright and Delgado walked 72 times. Even Jose Reyes walked 27 times. And he only struck out 78 times. Sori doesn't like to walk and he likes to strikeout. The man swings for the fences at all times.

  • One could think of so many better solutions at second. The best opportunity: Trade Kaz Matsui to the Nationals for one of their two second basemen: Jose Vidro or Marlon Anderson.

    What do you think? Is Fonzie redux at second the future for the M-E-T-S METS METS METS? And, if we could snag him for a petty Kaz Matsui or Victor Diaz, would you do it?

    I hope Wags' inflamed birdie isn't from anything more than a bad drive in the PSL, or "that hole", if you've read Adam Rubin's book.


    Well, it's over. The whole mess is done and over with. Not that it was terrible. It was just so terribly unentertaining. Hell, I can watch Dodgers v. Marlins on ESPN in spring training, but I couldn't stomach the WBC final. It was off by the third inning. It's partly my fault. Nomar, Mueller, Raffy and Jeff provide just a little more comfort that that plucky Cuban catcher or Ichiro. No starpower = no interest. It's terrible, but I can't help it. I'm just the messenger. Just to put into persepctive how little the country cared, consider the Nielsen's. 0.8. That was the rating for the final. Earlier in the day, Arizona played Villanova in a fairly entertaining round of 32 game. 7.7. That means that nearly seven million American households preferred to watch 'the battle of the wildcats' (as it was so dreadfully coined) than the final of the World Baseball Classic. Most of that was the fact that the U.S. wasn't involved, and I could launch into a tirade to explain why. How can we really intend to globalize the game if here in the U.S., the Nielsen rating for filler of the NASCAR race scheduled this Sunday (it got rained out) was 3.3. It wasn't even a race, and 4 times as many Americans watched FOX's feeble attempts to replace it than they did the inaugural final that truly was a symbol of how global this game wants to become. It was Japan vs. Cuba. The very Cubans that many thought shouldn't be allowed to play because of the possibility of defection. The very Japanese that everyone loves to hate because of their cold calculating outlook of the game. It was poised to be the ultimate statement of how far baseball has come. But nobody in America even cared about its' national pastime. I know I didn't. And that's an issue that Bud needs to resolve before any 'globalization' can occur.

    Now, I was apprehensively excited against Mexico. I was laughing knowingly against Canada. I was just plain laughing against South Africa. Against Japan, I was partly disgusted but mostly patriotic. Korea, I was clueless as to how we got outplayed in every facet of the game against a team with no one I'd ever heard of ('cept you Hee-Seop). As Japan and Korea battled it out, I was on the edge of my seat with Sportscenter recapping every three minutes what needed to happen in order for us to advance. Korea won, I figured it was in the bag, I was just thinking about how when we made it to the semifinals, everyone would be complaining about how we had backed our way in, illegally. And then against Mexico again. WHAT? How can that be? And then quiet resignation understanding that once again American sports had humiliated itself on the biggest stage. I was a fool not to expect it. I was an idiot not to expect that the Mexicans would beat us in something besides soccer. And then the brief grieving was done with. DR vs. Cuba. I was mostly just glad that Big Papi got sent home. Japan vs. Korea. I didn't really watch. And finally, last night, as I have already told you, the TV went off at the third inning when Gammons was introduced as one of the finest and foremost minds in baseball. And that, I think, is the WBC in a nutshell for an American. (except that Big Papi part) It's a shame, but hey, like I said, don't kill me, I'm just the messenger.


    Homecoming is certainly a difficult concept and one that is far more prevalent in today's money-driven sports world. Odysseus struggled on his long journey home. Brian Leetch was nervous tonight in his return to Madison Square Garden for the first time in a non-Ranger sweater. With Leetch's team falling to the formerly disgraced but now strong Blueshirts, I couldn't help but wonder about a future homecoming. I'm torn.
    The PizzaMan slammed his way through Flushing for seven years, leaving some great history on the field. He goes down in history as the greatest offensive player ever to don a Met uniform, excluding a certain New York Giant great in centerfield.
    He took us to the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.
    He hit that shot off of Karsay.
    But then again, we wanted him back.
    We didn't need Lo Duca: he's not the PizzaMan. Hell, he's not even Ramon Castro and his head.
    But, wait... he hit that homer off of Blaine Boyer last year.
    He wanted more money and more playing time: it's called denial.
    He gave an "I'm not gay" press conference.
    But he died his hair blond.
    I'm sure his legacy will be great, as he deserves.
    But why am I so worried about a homecoming? Why can the hero not return in his chest protector and conquer Flushing once and for all?
    I don't know whether or not to miss the PizzaMan. It's not black and white like Leetchy. Mike needed to go to keep his ego alive.
    And that's a shame.

    p.s. this isn't good.