.... I'd like to move the comparison machine way back past Fernandez and Stennett to the hero shortstop of my youth...Luis Aparicio. ... How can Marte--or anyone else--be compared to him? Well, the guy (Aparicio) wasn't perfect:
- Despite the eye, his career OBP was only 311 (compared to league-average 329). He neither struck out NOR walked very much.
- Career OPS+ was only 82...and exceeded 100 only once in 19 seasons.
Yes, Marte could exceed both of these last metrics. Last year's performance was fueled by a high BABIP. But neither contact nor hard contact indicated this was a total fluke.
But still, how do these two guys EVER compare?
The answer lies in the highly discredited 'eye test'. What Aparicio did was unnerve opponents. If the current play against the M's is to keep from facing Cruz in key spots, for the White Sox of that era it was to keep Aparicio off the bases at all costs. Because what he brought to that team (an AL team that went to the World Series instead of the Mantle/Berra/Skowron/Richardson/Kubek/Ford Yankees in 1959) was energy. Confidence. Spirit. All the things that WAR can't figure out how to measure.
Could Marte be that igniter for the M's? Well, it depends ... No way to tell at this point. But when you've got a fuse that's capable of igniting a team...don't play safe and pour water on it.
Diderot goes back to LUIS APARICIO? I knew there was some reason I liked him. Now in the Think Tank AARP group we've got Dr. D, Moe, DaddyO, Diderot, and ... who've we missed.
There is one point of difference at SSI that can never be matched by any rival blog. That is, of course, that we're decrepit. We might not be able to out-do Rany Jazayerli in math, but ... what is 135 pitches x 2 teams x 150 games x 40 years? That comes out to 1,620,000 pitches that Dr. D has viewed through the CF camera, most of which were after he started using the Bill James Template system.
"Eye tests" are one thing for you kids - worthless - but another thing for human beings aged 50 and up. There is just no way that a classical educumacation will ever be able to compete with a hole in the sofa the shape of your keister. Ask any Aston Villa supporter.
So Diderot's grok is towards Marte as an ignitor. Huh! Hadn't thought of that. But HQ does point out his 140 speed score. That's an interesting permutation on his future. One of many possible futures? From his point of view? I DON'T KNOW TECH STUFF.
In saber, the idea of a "lineup ignitor" is as passe' as rubber bracelets, Ja Rule and the American flag. But the 116-win Mariners got it going every night with "an Ichi-ball up the middle," sez Bret Boone. Jose Altuve may be passe', but there's still a place for him in baseball.
We had similar discussions about how Jose Lopez was destined for greatness because he was decent at a young age, so I'm skeptical of such general commentary, except to say it does help provide some template context.
:: smile :: I guess if you're going to encourage overreaction to your Lincecum and Pineda calls, you've got to accept overreaction when Jose Lopez hits the LO arc in his future possibilities.
We pointed out that with Lopez, as is true with Marte, that if you are an average-solid starter in the bigs at age 21-22, you have a 30% chance of becoming a great player, a Hall of Fame level player. This is known as the Ryne Sandberg Axiom. It's Bill James', not mine.
But Dr. D's math is still sharp enough to make some distinction between 30% and 100%.
Jose Lopez was an epic failure to capitalize on his early-20's results. At age 22 he was an American League All-Star; at age 26 he slid into the abyss. As James said of Claudell Washington and Edgar Renteria and Tony Conigliaro and Whitey Lockman and Buddy Lewis, "sometimes these seasons are platforms, and sometimes they're plateaus." A lot of exceptional young players fizzle out early.
But that doesn't mean I don't want the third overall pick in the draft. A baseball player who IS a quality major league player, at age 21-22, is a MUCH better lottery ticket than the #3 overall. Either one can disappoint, of course. As can Justin Verlander, or Steve Cishek, or anybody. There are no guarantees.
Tacoma Rain gave his prediction for a modest 78 wins, but he's optimistic about these players:
Miley - pitchers' park and better defense behind him... I'm liking a monster first half of 2.5 and settling in for 3 for year
Cruz - I expect him to drop a few homers and maybe a few points of OBP and SLG, but still be over 3
Felix - he always seems to get rejuvenated by change... solid 4.8
Cano - I just have a feeling he has something to prove... solid 4.4
Marte / Taylor - squeamish, but getting over 2.5 SHOULD be doable by this pair
Clevenger - I'm with Doc, there is something here... maybe over 2 by himself.
Paxton - The kid has got to stay healthy at some point, and then reaching 2 should be easy
Montero - yes Montero, but it will probably be on another team as well...
Just for the record, if I'm a GM and you're dumping Chris Taylor, I'll take him. ... which, come to think of it, if DiPoto was down on Taylor, maybe he wouldn't have felt so empowered to let Brad Miller go to Tampa and become a 7-WAR player.