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Sunday, April 13, 2008

They're Trying To Get Me To Swear, And This Time It Might Happen

More in DT:
42. jtrichey
A question for Bob or any other baseball-reference search wizards. I would just like to get a historical perspective on Matt Kemp. Can you find another player 24 or younger who got 300 PAs one season and hit within 20 points of Kemp's .342/.373/.521, and did not get a full time job the next season? Not injury realted obviously. These are the kind of players teams usually seem to make room for, so I would be pretty surprised if you found more than a couple.

43. Bob Timmermann
Here is a link to players who were 24 or younger and put up the numbers described in 42


45. Icaros

Good lord. Reading that list makes me want to break something in this universe.

That is one hell of a list, by the way, littered with Hall of Famers, near HoFers, and multi-time All-Stars, names like Ted Williams, Paul Waner, Stan Musial, Johnny Mize, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Don Mattingly, Vladimir Guerrero, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Dimaggio, and Ty Cobb.
For years, I have been banging the drum to fire Mickey Hatcher, but only to the extent that I believe the Angels have identified and pursue a flawed offensive philosophy; Mickey Hatcher, in this instance, is merely the visible tip of the iceberg, a totem for the organization's other failings. Similarly, Dodger fans may wish for Ned Colletti to be fired, or for Joe Torre to come to his senses, but really, what is the ultimate problem with the Dodgers? Simply, it's Frank McCourt's risk-averse way of assembling a front office staff. Colletti made the cut, not because he had a track record as an AGM with a team like Cleveland or Oakland that had built a winner from within, but because he had come from a PR background and knew how to schmooze the press.

Fire Joe Torre? Okay. The Dodgers will have another veteran manager there within the week.

Fire Ned Colletti? Fine. Another smooth-talking PR man will be found to take his place.

Fire Frank McCourt? Now you're talking ...

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Beware the semi-misleading comparison -- in order to qualify for that list you have to have the minimum of Matt Kemp's stats for last year, which were produced in a hitter's park & hitter's era. By OPS, he's at the very bottom of that list, and nowhere near Williams/Waner/Musial/Mize territory. Kemp's circumstances are much closer to Jeff Francoeur, Travis Fryman, and, well, Vlad Guerrero.... This list gets closer to the heart of the matter, which is bad enough.

Some under-23s who raked but didn't win starting jobs -- Bernie Carbo, Kal Daniels (though maybe he was hurt), Ron Bloomberg, Sammy Byrd, Jackie Brandt, and Roy Weatherly.

As for firing Mickey Hatcher and bemoaning the state of the Angels' offensive philosophy, I would point out that the early sample size of this season suggests that despite everything (including predictions to the contrary), the organization is able to develop hitters.
The permalink for those not paying for B-Ref PI for Matt's search, above. Good stuff.

As for the Angels' philosophy, I still maintain it's far too variable, and ultimately, based on the wrong things... the early going also has had a preternaturally high SLG for the Angels, i.e., when was the last time the Halos led the league in SLG? This is inconsistent with the Angels' professed RISP2 smallball lovefest.
I'm keeping Kemp in my fantasy leagues, because I have to hope that Pierre Over Kemp is not going to last. Even if I hold him all year, in non-keeper leagues, and Torre doesn't budge, I'll still have my principles.

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