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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thoughts on the ALCS

A couple of things occurred to me while I was watching ALCS Game Three between the A's and Tigers.

1. Eric Chavez is either incredibly overrated, or incredibly underrated.

Being named an All-Star is a fairly subjective measure of one's ability as a baseball player, so not making the All-Star team despite having an excellent season is a frequent occurrence (example: Bobby Abreu, who was in the top 10 in OBP in the NL for five of the six years prior to his first All-Star appearance in 2004). During that time, Abreu was frequently mentioned among the most underrated players in baseball.

Now, this logic is going to seem completely backward given that setup...but everybody seems to love Eric Chavez, the A's third baseman. I don't believe I've ever heard him called underrated...despite the fact that he has never been an All-Star. That's right. Eric Chavez - who one baseball mind that I respect considers him a future Hall of Famer - has never represented his league as one of the two best third basemen among the 14 teams in that league.

I want to believe that this means that Chavez is incredibly overrated (and yes, I know this is the opposite of what the same data led me to believe about Abreu). But if Chavez is a future Hall of Famer, or even the great player that he is alleged to be, shouldn't he have been on one All-Star team in his nine major league seasons?

Below are the 13 third basemen who have been selected to represent the American League in the past nine seasons instead of Chavez, with their All-Star seasons and career AVG/OBP/SLG. I've put their stats in bold where they are worse than Chavez's career numbers (.271/.350/.489).

Tony Batista, 2000, '02, .251/.298/.455
Hank Blalock, 2003-04, .272/.335/.455
Scott Brosius, 1998, .257/.323/.422
Ron Coomer, 1999, .274/.313/.421
Tony Fernandez, 1999, .288/.347/.399
Travis Fryman, 2000, .274/.336/.443
Troy Glaus, 2000-01, '03, '06, .253/.357/.503
Shea Hillenbrand, 2002, .287/.325/.449
Melvin Mora, 2005, .280/.359/.441
Dean Palmer, 1998, .251/.324/.472
Cal Ripken Jr., 1998-2001, .276/.340/.447
Alex Rodriguez, 2004-06, .305/.386/.573
Robin Ventura, 2002, .267/.362/.444

So Chavez has a better slugging percentage than 11 of the 13, and a better OBP than 9 of the 13. The answer, apparently, is yes, Chavez should have been an All-Star at some point. I think what this shows, if anything, is not that Chavez is over- or underrated, but instead, that All-Star selection processes are severely flawed somehow.

2. Magglio Ordonez looks like a thinner version of the fat guy from Lost.

Don't tell me there's no resemblance.


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