Vladimir Guerrero’s undeserved Silver Slugger award

12 Comments

Admittedly no one really cares about the Silver Slugger awards, so I’m not sure why I care enough to write about them, but Vladimir Guerrero being the pick at designated hitter is pretty clearly the wrong choice.

Guerrero had a good season, hitting .300 with 29 homers and an .841 OPS, but he just wasn’t the best DH in the league.

Compare his numbers to our Mystery DH:

               G      AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS    HR   XBH    RBI
Mystery DH    145    .270    .370    .529    .899    32    69    102
Guerrero      152    .300    .345    .496    .841    29    57    115

Mystery DH out-produced Guerrero by 25 points of on-base percentage, 33 points of slugging percentage, and 58 points of OPS. He also had three more homers and 12 more total extra-base hits.

Oh, and Mystery DH is David Ortiz.

So why did Guerrero win the award over a guy who topped him in OBP, SLG, OPS, homers, and extra-base hits? Well, the Silver Slugger is voted on by managers and coaches and the two categories that Guerrero topped Ortiz in are batting average and RBIs, which are obviously the epitome of mainstream numbers and the bastions of shallow analysis.

Beyond that Guerrero started hot and cooled down the stretch, while Ortiz struggled in April and then got hot. All of which means Guerrero spent most of the season with good-looking numbers and Ortiz spent most of the season building his numbers up after a bad start, likely shaping the perceptions of their respective seasons.

Again, no one really cares and it’s not a big deal, but the award still went to the wrong DH.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

Getty Images
2 Comments

You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.