I believe in sabermetrics. I believe that sabermetrics do what they are supposed to do, and that baseball teams run more efficiently as a result of their existence. But sometimes, I worry about the aesthetics of baseball as a result of them.
Some advanced stat movements in sports (coincidentally) promote the sport being more fun. For instance, the most dreadful and awful thing about watching football is punting, and advanced football metrics believe that the strategy of voluntarily surrendering possession in order to put your opponent in slightly less favorable position is almost always a poor idea. Which is good as a fan, because it is boring to watch. The same goes for advanced metrics in hockey, which suggest that an optimal strategy, in layman’s terms, is to just shoot the puck at the goal a lot. Which is exciting!
But while I respect the virtues of batters who take a bunch of pitches and baserunners who do not steal bases, this doesn’t make baseball more fun to watch. Ultimately, I would rather my team win a game than play an exciting brand of baseball (I’d watch a Cardinals victory even if it meant a long succession of bunts, which may some day be the case in Mike Matheny’s beautiful dark twisted fantasy).
But Ichiro Suzuki, who has spent his entire career on teams in which I do not have a particularly strong interest, is not a sabermetric prototype. And that’s part of why I love him.
It’s not that 21st century baseball analysis suggests that Ichiro is bad. But the sheer joy of Ichiro Suzuki cannot be captured in numbers. At least not in chic sabermetric numbers. And again, I believe the numbers fairly accurately depict value, BUT I DON’T CARE ICHIRO IS THE BEST.
Anyway, Ichiro Suzuki is currently two hits away from 3,000 for his MLB career, despite not debuting in the majors until he was 27 years, 5 months, and 11 days old. Anyway, like I said, I could throw out more Ichiro stats, but instead I am going to watch him be awesome for a while.
And you know what? Whatever, let’s watch him pitch, too.
As a whippersnapper #millennial Cardinals fan, I have never understood the fascination that fans a generation or two older than I am have with Willie McGee. I’m all for fan favorites, and McGee seems like a decent enough guy, but the only times I saw Willie McGee play were when he was well past his prime. And the numbers tell me that McGee was a good player, sporadically a great player (even if during his 1985 MVP season, John Tudor was the better Cardinal and Dwight Gooden was the deserved NL MVP), but he wasn’t around for me to appreciate. He may not have been a Cardinal, but I (and many of you) get Ichiro. And it’s not a bad consolation prize. I hope he stops getting hits against the Cardinals but then eclipses Pete Rose and Ty Cobb. Because why not?
Here’s what VEB had yesterday.
Martinez vs. Fernandez
Joe Schwarz compared the pitching repertoires of Cardinals ace (YEAH I SAID IT) Carlos Martinez and Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. Despite a mediocre performance last night, Fernandez is one of the best young pitchers in baseball. With that said, as Joe observes, Martinez does compare favorably with him.
Another correct and good Martinez opinion
Lil Scooter wrote a piece titled “Carlos Martinez is a top pitcher in baseball.” Click the link for specifics.
Cardinals645 wrote the latest prospect report, so check it out to learn about future members of the Cardinals as well as guys the Cardinals are going to trade at the deadline for the pieces which will absolutely win the Cardinals the NL Central and eventually the World Series.
Craig Edwards previewed the series against the Marlins, whom the Cardinals should destroy. And given that the Cardinals managed to win what, on paper, seemed like the least winnable game of the series, he’s probably correct. As far as the game, dr. howl recapped a game in which the Cardinals...won another one run game? Is this a thing now?
Anyway, there’s three more games in this series. One of them is tonight. Stay tuned.