Fact: two Major League Baseball teams gave Jim Bowden the keys to the entirety of their baseball operations. Just thought you should remember that when you read one of the ways in which he likes to evaluate players:
I get asked all the time which two or three common statistics I would pick to evaluate a team or players. My quick answer would be the following:
1. For a team: Run differential
2. For a hitter: OPS + RBIs, or OPSBIs
3. For a pitcher: ERA, WHIP, SO
Yeah, it’s number two that stands out. He says “OPS + RBIs gives me a general feel for the level of player.” Setting aside why, from a hardcore statistical point of view, combining those stats makes no sense (it’s beyond apples and oranges; it’s in the realm of apples and nickel-metal hydride batteries), I’m struggling to thing what such a metric would even tell Bowden. Yes, when you add up those numbers you get a list of good players. But there are a lot of numbers that will do that for you while telling yourself something else useful too, which this does not.
And, thinking more broadly, if a man with decades of player development experience needs some complicated number to give him “a general feel for the level of player,” than there are much bigger problems afoot.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.