Replacements - Bastards Of Young
The concept of VORP or WAR or any of the various statistics which tout the mythical "replacement player" can be confusing to the casual fan or non-geek first toeing the SABR waters. Who is this replacement-level player? Who is he replacing? Is it like average?
The replacement player is the 26th man on any team; a guy freely available to any team for a very minimal investment. The proverbial "guy off the street/man out of the stands" filling in for a more capable player.
If this definition is still too hazy, too abstract for you to fully grasp the concept, allow me to introduce your 2009 Toronto Blue Jays. The late season edition of the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays any way. These Jays starting lineup featured 8 players at or near replacement level during their weekend series with the Rangers.
|Westerberg in Question||WAR|
Now, not even I am dumb enough to suggest these are all "replacement players." Vernon Wells is having a terrible year and capable of much more, also his enormous contract makes him irreplaceable. Travis Snider is 21 and still learning his way, 9 Ks at a time. Randy Ruiz's boom or bust start to his Blue Jays career is only replacement level because of his limited at bats. Were he to play a full season at DH, he'd surely
As I stated before, the moving target that is catcher's defensive evaluation keeps us from getting a true sense of Barajas's value. He's hit a bunch of home runs this week (two last night!) but don't get it twisted, he was terrible for a long, long time. Offensively he's been worse than many catchers that don't get nearly the at bats Rod does. Chavez doesn't get enough starts but he can't hit so what does it matter?
The rest? What's left is the true definition of replacement level. Guys with 50 PAs minimum (about 10 starts) that could easily be replaced by any available baseball talent. Millar, Inglett, Bautista, Johnny Mac, E5; they've seen reasonable amounts of playing time with as close to nothing to show for it as possible. Kinda sad.
The worst part of it is there isn't anyone beating down the door. The only players being blocked are Brian Dopriak aka Randy Ruiz 1.2 and quad A Buck Coats. All the food is on the table honey, looks like a lean Christmas this year.
A Few Random Thoughts
- I find it really interesting when Jays fans get all riled up over Sportsnet showing the Fenway Faithfuls singing "Sweet Caroline." The Jays are about the most soulless, bland, corporate, and guileless organization around. What's wrong with something with a bit of character? Don't we all constantly whine about the sterile atmosphere at the Dome? Let them sing and let Sportsnet broadcast it, it's a part of the game and that's the show you're watching.
- Another question along a similar line: are we fans unhappy with a lack of homerism from the Jays broadcast team? This shocks me, as nothing is worse than a cheerleader in the booth. Tom and Jerry never pretended only one team was on the field, I salute the numerous Jays broadcasters for avoiding the Hawk/Swirsk brand of blather. If Rod Black is praising Dustin Pedroia it's because he can play. We all hate on out-of-market announcers that do the same, we can't have it both ways.
- Listen to the Walkoff Walk Podcast. Seriously. We do it live every Monday, but you can download it after the fact via Itunes or by clicking the fancy button on the right. I mention the Blue jays every single show because I'm biased and my scope of knowledge is narrow.
- Not so narrow that I can't tell your 50 ways you could better live your life. I contributed A Handsome Man's Guide to Golf over at valued reader and rakish gadabout Archimedies home base; The Handsome Man's Guide to Life. I've played a lot of golf and done a lot of awesome stuff so consider yourself in good hands. Check it out and drop some valued golf/life nuggets of your own.