Sunday, June 6, 2010

6/6: The Sunday Night Column: ESPN, Brewers-Cards & My Dislike Of The Super-2 Rule

The Brewers are facing off against the Cards on Sunday Night baseball. In the I knew this year was bad but can it get any worse......the Brewers need to win tonight to avoid dropping to a tie for last-place with the Houston Astros.......ouch.

In the I feel a bit old already category, ESPN used music that I actually grew up with (Tumble In The Rough-Stone Temple Pilots). The reward for national tv...the Brewers get to go up against the buzzsaw that is Jaime Garcia.....counterting for the Brewers......Manny Parra.....if his last couple starts are any indication, we could be seeing a lot of the not so vaunted bullpen tonight.

In terms of imagery, Jon Miller was talking about the Cardinals going for a sweep as they cut to an image of a groundspeople sweeping dirt off of the right-field foul line.......yes it's been that type of year when even the groundspeople.

I haven't watched very many ESPN broadcasts this year and i'm getting a refresher course on listening to Joe Morgan. They brought up the fact of the lead-off man changing....prompted by Rickie Weeks leading the league in strikeouts amongst lead-off men and a conversation about how back in their day the lead-off man role was to bunt their way on to base. While I would prefer Rickie Weeks to play closer to his hype......its not like he's been that terrible despite the strikeouts despite the strikeouts and a .248 average he has a passable OBP (.340) and an okay OPS+ other words a lot better than your stereotypical light-hitting middle infielder leadoff man from back in the yesteryear.

Another thing to note is the broadcast team mentioned Macha and Melvin having a conference call discussing the rest of the season (primarily seeing if they can improve the pitching staff).....on the speculative side, it does trigger my thinking to what else (that they're not going to tell the public) that they are thinking about doing (i.e. will Suppan (finally) get released? what about Hoffman? does Macha get to finish the year or will they go in another direction? are they thinking about trading one of their hitters (i.e Hart to upgrade the pitching staff?). These questions and many others are likely to at some-point (maybe tomorrow maybe in a couple months, maybe in the off-season, who knows).

Taking a shot in the dark but it's safe to assume ratings for tonight's games are probably going to be lower than average.....even if the Brewers weren't south of .400, this would still be the case as this game has the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final games (despite the Onion constantly bashing the NHL for having no fans) going on at the same time.....but hey, ESPN is showing the crew Wednesday against the Cubs.

So, Weeks just went deep for the 10th time this year leading to more discussion revolving around Weeks in the context of his spot as the lead-off hitter, leading to a couple backhanded compliments. Joe Morgan praises his power (despite him being on base less than you'd like from the leadoff position. At this point I would like to note that Weeks has a higher OBP (.340) than the two Brewers players who typify the stereotypical "traditional" lead-off hitter (lack of power coupled with lots of speed) those being Carlos Gomez (.297) and Alcides Escobar (.297).

Jon Miller counters by saying Rickie Weeks has the batting line of a #5 other words if Weeks keeps his average in the .250-.260 range, i ain't too worried about it because he draws enough walks to keep his OBP/OPS within a respectable range (even if he isn't a "traditional" lead-off man).

OMG!!!!!!! Strasburg is making his big league debut on Tuesday. I find it a bit ironic that ESPN is going to be covering this story pretty much all day Tuesday but they weren't even able to pull off getting the broadcast for the game (which went to MLB Network instead). On a side note, this indirectly led to me making some tweaks to my Razzball team as i've ridden Craig Stammen's 5.88 ERA as far as I could as he was the pitcher who got sent down to make room for him on the roster (I also had to find someone to replace Oliver Perez who went on the DL with an inflated ERA).

As we are into June (i.e. far enough into the season to avoid the Super-2 arbitration rule) means one thing.....super-prospect call-up season. Strasburg isn't even the only mega-prospect from the NL East getting the call this week as the Marlins are calling up Mike Stanton. While he hasn't gotten the hype of Strasburg, the way Stanton has absolutely killed the ball in the minors has a better chance to be a game-changer than Strasburg.

Even if Strasburg is as good or better than advertised, the Nationals are slowly but surely coming down to earth after a better than expected start and even with a strong performance from Strasburg, there's only so much he could do every 5 days to cut into the 6 1/2 game hole the Nationals have dug (thus far).

The Marlins, while they aren't much better (28-29 5 1/2 games out) get an impact bat in the line-up every day. Stanton should give a nice jolt to the Marlins line-up and replacing him with whoever goes to the bench (probably either Chris Coghlan or Cameron Maybin). Either three things happen in the context of the playoff race. A) This isn't enough to get the Marlins into contention B) It's enough to get them in contention but not enough to get them in the playoffs C) It helps put them over the top and into the playoffs.

If options A or C happen, 2 months in the minors isn't going to be that big of a deal. However, option B seems to be the most likely at this moment. The Marlins have done enough with their hitting and pitching wise to indicate that they have at least a shot. If this happens, this (should) and likely will bring in more discussions of the "merits" of working around the Super-2 rule (i.e. would two more months of Stanton versus two less months of Coghlan or Maybin) would this have been the difference between playoffs and no playoffs.

Seriously, the yearly manipulation of the Super-2 rule is one of the things that is wrong with the game. One of these years, some GM is going to mis-calculate the 17 percent rule and have the combination of a partial season for an uber-prospect but still having to go to arbitration as a Super-2. You, know how i'm going to react? I'm going to sit back and laugh at this act of karmic retribution.

Seriously, this super-2 loophole needs to be eradicated. It doesn't benefit the prospects as they have to toil around in the minors for a couple of months even though their game is major-league ready. It doesn't benefit the fans as they are usually stuck with a less than optimal (i.e inferior product) as less-talented players like Maybin, Stammen, etc. are filling roster slots and contributing little to their teams success (versus what Stanton and Strasburg) are expected to do. Seriously, most of the time this happens it is pretty clear that the GMs are under-mining their teams chance of a playoff spot in an attempt to delay arbitration.


  1. How enjoyable has running your first razzball team been?

  2. It's been an interesting experience.....It would be more enjoyable if I was doing better than 9th place....but thats what I get for forgetting to bench/release Rod Barajas for a few weeks....Jeff Francoeur I dropped him after he had a few good weeks and then goes on a massive slump right after I dropped him

    Ryan Church hit a pinch hit 3 run double and Willy Taveras drove in 4 runs on opening day which set the tone for a rough season (so far)