Thursday, May 12, 2005

5 early season myths

The Marlins are one of the two best teams in the National League.
I've heard this from everybody including announcers, writers and people who think that they're writers. I don't understand it. Their third best hitter is hitting under .200. Juan Encarnacion is a regular on this team. Their fourth and fifth starters (Leiter and Valde-something) are coureteously described as awful. What do they have going for them? Perception, Delgado and Cabrera. The perception is based on two falsehoods. One, that balanced teams i.e. teams that run and hit for power are better than teams that just hit for power, and two, the belief that their three young pitchers will manage to stay healthy all season, which has never happened before. I'd be more surprised if this team finished second than if they finished fourth.

The Angels are a great team.
ESPN commentators all seem to think that they're far and away the best team in the division, but I don't see it. They're probably the favorite now after the A's early season collapse, but I would estimate their odds of winning the division at under 33%. They have one great hitter a few league average hitters and then they have black holes at first and behind the plate. Their second best hitter is in Salt Lake City. Their rotation is getting by, but it doesn't feautre a frontline starter and K-Rod is as likely to breakdown as not. They might well make the playoffs, but that would be because they play in what is suddenly the weakest division in the Leauge.

Having a proven closer matters.
Dan Kolb, Danny Graves, Octavio Dotel, Braden Looper and Keith Foulke have all been varying degrees of awful. Brandon Lyon, Derrick Turnbow, BJ Ryan and Yhency Brazoban have all been great for their teams. If you don't have one of the top of the line guys (Wagner, Lidge, Gagne, Nathan and K-Rod right now although Rivera and Hoffman are still good and Chad Cordero looks great so far) there's no reason to pay for past saves.

The Phillies are done.
This one's just ridiculous. If they were the best team in the division before the season started, they're still the best team. Neither the Braves nor Marlins have shown much more than predicted and the idea of the Nationals competing while not drawing any walks is ridiculous.

The Dodgers are going to finish fourth.
At least the man who traded for Mo Vaughn thinks so. Steve Phillis recently stated that he thinks that not only are the Padres better than the Dodgers, but the two stars down Giants and the 100 loss Dbacks who signed Russ Ortiz to improve are also better than the Boys in Blue. It's fucking luncay.


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