=== I GOT ONE THING TA SAY, Dept. ===
The Rangers' run differential last year was 765-757. The year before it was 751-733. They did win 95 and 88 games to make the playoff both years, so apparently they "know how to win." ... But I'd rather face a team with mystical knowledge than one that scores lots of runs.
=== THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU'LL READ ALL MORNING ===
Read an archive around the 'net that listed player-pairs who are easy to confuse. They had:
Lenny Randle and Elliott Maddox
Abner Doubleday and Alexander Cartwright :- )
A.J. Burnett and Ryan Dempster
Jake Westbrook and Jason Johnson
Carl Everett and Milton Bradley
That was true for me last year with a bunch of Mariner relievers. Now it's true for me with respect to the Mariners' 5-thru-10 starting pitchers. For one or two years it was the case for me with Tim Raines and Ron LeFlore, who admittedly had rather different personalities.
Oh! Don't forget Donald Trump and Barack Obama, who are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Tick off the similarities on your fingers. The American populace swings the pendulum like MLB owners change managers, first one "type" and then his opposite...
=== MICAH OWINGS ===
Also ran across a James archive from 8 years ago, opining that Owings could be a really good position player, but that he probably wouldn't amount to much on the mound. He'll be in camp this March, trying his hardest to bequeath the Mariners a 26-man roster. Might not be as crazy as it sounds, seeing as this Mariners outfield does not need two defensive replacements...
=== WORST OUTFIELDS EVER ===
Another BJOL archive was musing about the worst defensive outfields ever:
- 1973 Braves with Garr LF, a 40-year-old in RF, and Dusty Baker in CF
- 1996 BoSox with Greenwell, ex-Mariner Darren Bragg and Troy O'Leary
- 1997 A's with Giambi in LF (?!) Matt Stairs in RF and Damon Mashore CF. They lost 97 games in 97, which was a big Mariners year
- 1946 Reds, who James gives as starting three of the worst 8 defensive outfielders in the National League
- 1961 A's, perhaps the worst two-way OF of all time
Had the 2016 Mariners put Aoki in center with Seth Smith in left and Nelson Cruz in right, hmmmm... did they ever start that lineup? :- )
But then some reader won it with the 1980 Chicago Cubs, with a gimp Dave Kingman playing alongside Jerry Martin and Mike Vail.
=== CARLOS RUIZ, Dept. ===
You know what I bet? I bet that when John Cleese FIRST applied to the studios, his 22-year-old 8x10 glossy had him as a romantic lead. Think about it. Same with Bruce Campbell, who is a most-comparable cover shoot for Cleese.
We all start out thinking CEO. Most of us fit in better elsewhere. Story of Young Frankenstein's life.
=== SABR LEARNING CURVES ===
And for our final entry :: cue game show music :: we have two James counting principles:
(1) Supposing a player is already fully mature, allow 51% of one season for him to learn a new league (applies NPB to MLB, AAA to MLB, and kinda-sorta NL-AL)
(2) Supposing a player is not at all ready to play in the majors, allow 200-225% of one season -- 300-400 games -- for him to get destroyed by pitch sequences he doesn't understand
Principle two would have applied to Ketel Marte, of course. Mike Zunino has now played exactly 350 games, and the eye test concurs that he may be a perfect candidate for this principle. Jean Segura, who was pushed the bigs at age 22, had 480 games before last year's explosion. It's not clear to me whether this would apply as much to Nelson Cruz or Robinson Cano.