Saturday, April 29, 2006

Eyes Wide Shut

Pedro Martinez treated the Braves like 7-up, improving to 5-0 and lowering his ERA to 2.94. David Wright ripped two home runs. God's in his heaven. All's right with the world.

If you look at Wright's record, you'll see that he continues to improve in every offensive category. This is what his projected season line looks like:

Wright: 604 AB, 44 2B, 15 3B, 37 HR, 44 SB .329/.392/.634

This can't continue indefinitely, but don't confuse this for mere precociousness. He's one of the five best offensive players in baseball, and instead of reverting to some kind of normalcy he's just getting better. He needs to tighten up the defense. A lot. At the same time, there's raw talent there too, as the barehanded catch among other plays has demonstrated. I'm not saying he'll ever quite outhit Albert Pujols, but if he's not already that inner circle of truly unique players, he's making a B-line for it. I no longer think Scott Rolen should be held out as his best case scenario.

I saw on this afternoon's Mets Weekend Special or whatever on SNY, and saw that they had the authors of Eddie Kranepool Society, Faith and Fear, and I think maybe one other blogginghead doing commentary on Piazza in San Diego and other subjects. It's good to see them getting some pub.

Kranepool does a good job, but I find his take today on Endy Chavez to be very different from my own. He expresses indifference for the return date of Carlos Beltran, because Endy Chavez is opening a lot of eyes. He calls him the best centerfielder in the game right now, and that he is "even growing in confidence with the bat as well. His ability to lay down a bunt and beat it out is outstanding and a lost art. Chavez is a throwback player."

Yeaahhh. I've been impressed with his defense too, and would even concede for the sake of argument that he's better than Jones, Hunter, Cameron and Edmonds with the glove. It's not enough. The only people whose defense could possibly be good enough to make up for Endy Chavez's hitting are all comic book characters. Watching him take his hacks is just infuriating. It's nice that his speed allows him to beat out bunts and infield singles, but he's clearly not doing it frequently enough to keep his OBP above .285. He can make all the catches he wants. I want Carlos back ASAP.

Update

McConnell does a great job with Tim Marchman's heretical claim that "Lastings Milledge is a fraud." First of all, I didn't read Marchman's whole article because it requires a subscription to the Sun which I just won't do, but he's basically pointing out that Milledge hasn't hit any home runs. McConnell finds some very good centerfielders (headlined by Edmonds, power-wise), who were also not clearing many fences in their age 20 seasons. I still give Marchman credit for calling attention to a rather important number which has been really glossed over for a long time, all the more so now that Milledge is looking great.

2 comments:

MKD said...

Interesting argument. Wright's tight, but Top 5?

Pujols
Berkman
ARod
Ortiz
Manny

Travis Hafner
Healthy Roiding Bonds
Mark Teixeira
Vladdy Daddy
Miguel Cabrera

Healthy Helton
Healthy Thome
Healthy Roiding Sheffield
Andruw Jones
Adam Dunn

I don't know about you, but I'd say that in reality, at the present time Wright slots in somewhere in that third list of names.

Of course, given that his 23, that's pretty decent company.

Doyle said...

You're right. Top 5 doesn't work out. There are more than 4 players with legitimate claim to being better hitters than Wright. The list has been shrinking awfully fast, though, and he's got the speed going for him. I guess he only enters the top 5 on a "Most Valuable Player" basis (giving him credit for being 23). BP's Nate Silver has him at #2 on his Top 50 list on Page 2.