I can’t believe how close pitchers and catchers are to reporting. Baseball season is right around the corner, I can feel it!! It’s the only thing getting me through this awful cold weather. Let’s hit the dose for Tuesday:
I’ve been a fan of Daniel Tosh (@danieltosh) since he was an unknown comic doing Taco Bell commercials years ago. I saw him at the local comedy club around that time and the next time he was in Austin, I was one of the three comics who got to open for him. Once I heard he was going to have a show, Tosh.0, I didn’t really care what it was going to be about, I knew I’d watch it. I have not been disappointed as it’s easily one of, if the funniest show on TV. As much as it makes me laugh on a week to week basis, this clip might be my favorite of all-time:
A while back, Unreality Magazine did a piece covering the 10 Hottest Girls in TV Comedies. I figured it was a pretty good idea for a column. While I disagree with some inclusions and the order, it is hard to argue with the content otherwise. Alison Brie and Katrina Bowden were far too low given that they actually excel in both the hotness and the comedy whereas some were included merely because they are very pretty and part of comedy shows even if they aren’t particularly funny themselves.
No arguments for the picture of Kaley Cuoco they used as she looks great there, but anyone who watches Big Bang Theory knows that that particular picture is definitely Ms. Cuoco at her peak. I’d have had a bit further down the list despite the fact that she’s pretty funny on BBT. By the way, I’m sure I’m one of many, but I was saying that the eldest daughter on Modern Family looked like a younger Mila Kunis from the very first moment I watched the show. It’s a pretty easy link so I’m not trying to suggest I started it or anything. Any time you are getting compared to Mila Kunis, you know you’re awesome.
A pair of tweets about two of the best Cleveland Indians players had to give fans some hope for the upcoming season. Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) tweeted that Grady Sizemore is running and taking swings with April 1st, Opening Day for the Tribe, not out of the question. Meanwhile the Cleveland Indians Twitter feed (@tribeinsider) tweeted that Carlos Santana has been cleared for batting practice and catching activities. Olney mentioned that Santana is a bit ahead of Sizemore in the rehab process.
Over at Beyond the Boxscore, Justin Bopp (@justinbopp) created a sweet picture of Albert Pujols’ spray chart from last year. Click on the picture itself and it enlarges to about 3x the size. He also did one for Carlos Gonzalez last month. I’m a sucker for infographics like this which is why I can’t get enough of Craig Robinson’s work over at Flip, Flop, Flyball. If you’re familiar with Robinson’s work, you might want to pre-order the FFFb book due out in July. Hell, even if you’re not familiar with it, you’ll love it once you click the link and you’ll still want to pre-order the book.
ESPN is running a series of columns grading each team on their offseason grouped by division. Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) and Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) have done the first four (East & Central) and I’d assume they’re going to do the whole series. Crasnick covered the American League East and Central while Stark had the National League East and Central.
Sticking with the Worldwide Leader, they have been posting videos from their Fantasy Baseball Summit a few weeks back and it could be (read: most definitely is) because I’m kind of a dork, but I’m loving them. They started with a Mark Teixeira v. Kevin Youkilis debate and have since released clips on Jayson Werth, Joe Nathan and Adam Wainwright. The Wainwright clip is especially interesting and I suggest everyone in mixed or NL-Only leagues take a look.
One thing I really enjoy about John Sickels’ Minor League Ball site are his series articles. The ones I can think of off the top of my head that he does are Crystal Ball, Prospect Retro and Career Profiles. He’s been doing a lot of reader request Career Profiles of late and I recommend you check them out: Eric Chavez, Francisco Liriano, James Loney, Rickie Weeks and Jayson Werth are just a few that I really enjoyed. You can look through the rest here and find players that interest you most. In addition to Project Prospect, who I mentioned yesterday, Sickels’ site is another must-read for anyone interested in the minor leagues. Whether you already consider yourself a prospect maven or you’re interested in becoming one, his stuff is great.
Twitter Recommendation: CNBC sports business report, Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell), is an absolute must-follow on Twitter. Don’t let the sports biz moniker deter you either, he covers more than just sports and posts tons of interesting facts and great links about a wide variety of topics. If I could only pick five people to follow on Twitter, Rovell would easily earn a spot.
Knowledge Bomb: Be careful with stats, they can be dangerous. Houston Astros third baseman Chris Johnson came out of nowhere last season to put up 94 games of fantasy goodness including 11 HR, 52 RBIs and .308 AVG. Some will look at his line and think that a full season will bring about even better numbers for the 26 year old in 2011. In fact, I’ve seen him being trumpeted over Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez based on one stat: OPS.
In his 362 plate appearances, Johnson posted an .818 OPS. Make no mistake, that’s a pretty solid figure especially for an unknown like Johnson. Not many think he can repeat next year (including me), but those that do have dangerously wielded that .818 OPS around like a sword. In his 386 plate appearances, Alvarez “only” had a .788 OPS, 30 points away from Johnson.
While OPS is a useful stat for quick and dirty catch-all production estimations, not all OPS marks are created equally. The problem here is that OPS brings batting average into the equation so a fluky batting average, like Johnson’s which was powered by a .387 BABIP, can artificially boost one’s OPS. Alvarez had just a .256 average which cut deep into the OBP end of OPS. But when you go second level and look at the Isolated Power of each, Alvarez clearly has the brighter future based on their first 90+ games.
Isolated Power is Slugging Percentage minus Batting Average. Alvarez popped a .205 IsoP, 5th among National League third basemen. Johnson had a .175 mark, good for 9th. Alvarez probably won’t hit .300 in 2011, he may not even top .270, but as Johnson’s luck regresses his average will sink and he may end up struggling to stay above .270 himself. Without the batting average advantage, you start comparing the two in runs scored, driven in and home runs and Alvarez wins a walk.
Alvarez has legitimate 25 home run power already with the potential for more while Johnson is a middling power contributor who will likely top out in the mid-teens. He’s one to avoid for 2011 as his 2010 numbers, including his OPS, will undoubtedly inflate his value to a level that won’t be commensurate with his performance this year. If you want a bargain at the thin hot corner, talk up Alvarez’s down average and strikeout tendencies and then swoop in and take him and reap the hefty rewards.
Pitchers and Catchers report in five days…