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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Way Back!
2008-10-22 10:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

On the occasion of Game 1 of the 2008 World Series, Dodger Thoughts reader Bigcpa was kind enough to pass along the rarely heard Don Drysdale call of the Kirk Gibson's homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

* * *

The publishers of The Bill James Handbook 2009 announced today the book's rankings of the top 25 players under the age of 30:

 1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
 2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
 3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
 4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
 5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
 6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
 7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
 8. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
 9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
11. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
12. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
14. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
17. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
18. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
19. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
20. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
21. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
23. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
24. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
25. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24

To achieve his inventory, James ... employs two widely used statistics - Runs Created for position players and Runs Allowed for pitchers - as the basis for comparison. He makes several adjustments, including for injuries suffered during the year and the differences in predictability between pitchers and position players, and then takes into account the number of years the player should be at his peak performance.

About the Dodgers, James said that "they have very impressive young talent in Kemp, (Andre) Ethier, (Chad) Billingsley, (James) Loney and (Clayton) Kershaw, Broxton and Martin, but their issue is depth."

I'm not endorsing these rankings - there seem to be some obvious flaws - just presenting them for discussion.

Comments (71)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-10-22 10:44:38
1.   underdog
Kemp and Loney -- Huzzah!
2008-10-22 10:47:28
2.   cargill06
I'm sorry, this list has to be bogus. Kemp ahead of Longoria and Sizemore??? If I were offered either of those players 1 for 1 I would think it's a joke.
2008-10-22 10:51:38
3.   Jacob Burch
2 Just so you know, your questions were answered by Zak in the last thread (who found a much better link than what I was about to post).
2008-10-22 10:52:05
4.   silverwidow
No PUJOLS?!?!?
2008-10-22 10:52:48
5.   Eric Stephen
bigcpa is a scholar and a gentleman!

The worst part of trying to search for the Drysdale call was Googling "Drysdale Gibson" and getting a bunch of links regarding 1960s pitching and HBP stuff.

2008-10-22 10:55:06
6.   Zak
2 Yeah, there's about 10 players below him who I would deal Kemp for... and I love Kemp. How can Loney be in the top 25, but not Billingsley?
2008-10-22 10:57:58
7.   Zak
4. Peavy, webb, cc? There must be something we are missing about how this list is computed.
2008-10-22 11:00:06
8.   Jon Weisman
7 - Yeah, I agree. It was flawed enough that I thought twice about publishing it, but I figured on a slow day, why not ...
2008-10-22 11:00:38
9.   Tripon
Why is Prince Fielder ranked first? His defense is pretty bad, even for a first baseman.
2008-10-22 11:01:02
10.   old dodger fan
There is no one over 26 on the list. No good players 27, 28 or 29?
2008-10-22 11:02:28
11.   Eric Stephen
4 ,7
The only thing I can think of is the list is only accounting for years of production in their 20s.

Pujols will be 29 next season, so he only has one more season.

I'm not sure how that is relevant, but it's the only reason I can think of.

2008-10-22 11:02:44
12.   kinbote
4 Maybe because gods are immortal and have no true age.
2008-10-22 11:05:38
13.   Eric Stephen
I like how James lists seven good young players, then says the issue is depth. How many other teams have as many young contributors as the Dodgers? I can think of Arizona, and Tampa Bay off the top of my head. Maybe Florida.
2008-10-22 11:09:42
14.   kinbote
13 By "depth" he must mean "complementary veteran players."
2008-10-22 11:10:10
15.   cargill06
Zak, thanks for that link. Very interesting stuff, I'm thinking about not using that site anymore.
2008-10-22 11:15:20
16.   Zak
and then takes into account the number of years the player should be at his peak performance.

Here's a bigger question. What's considered peak ages, and has that definition changed in the past 10-15 years? It seems like superstars have peak ages that can be over 10 years. A-Rod, Pujols, etc... you still expect them to be really good hitters say, 6-7 years from now, and I'd bet even more. So, how do you measure peak performance then. It is not unreasonable to expect someone like Webb to have a long streak of peak performance. I don't know how you can account for years at peak performance for superstar players under the age of 30. They all should have about 10 years at least, other than obvious health and injury list.. in which case, Fielder probably shouldn't be top of this list.

2008-10-22 11:19:22
17.   Eric Stephen
Prince Fielding

2006: -18 (31st in MLB)
2007: -15 (28th)
2008: -12 (26th)

I'm not sure how much each play is worth for a 1B, but he's certainly among the very worst at first defensively.

2008-10-22 11:22:22
18.   Zak
15 No problem. Here's another link I look at from time to time. Just to monitor which sites have a lot of traffic. Sites with more traffic means 1. safety in numbers 2. more reason for site owners to keep things like collusion, cheating, etc. away and 3. more choices in games and it makes it easier to find weak games.

http://www.epokertraffic.com/current.php?q=latest

All that being said, it is an adjustment to sign up at a new site. I used to play at Party Poker exclusively and then they shut down in the U.S. and I was jaded for a while and stopped playing before trying out FTP and PS. I like FTP a lot, easier games. But lately, I'm playing at PS more because I'm running better there lately for some reason.

2008-10-22 11:24:43
19.   John Hale
Kim Ng aint coming to Seattle
Jack Zduriencik (zur-EN-sik) is the man
I was hoping for a new direction up here but at least the Dodgers keep some brains in their front office
2008-10-22 11:25:37
20.   cargill06
18 How is it depositing and cashing out at PS?
2008-10-22 11:26:03
21.   silverwidow
Mariners named Jack Zduriencik their executive vice president and general manager of baseball operations.

Kim Ng is still a Dodger!

2008-10-22 11:26:12
22.   kinbote
17 That brings back pleasant memories of Dunn's slip, kick, and fall late in the season on a Dodger bunt [Furcal?]. And speaking of defense, we really should've hit the ball to Burrell more in the NLCS . . .
2008-10-22 11:27:04
23.   Eric Stephen
Disappointng for Kim though.
2008-10-22 11:29:57
24.   Xeifrank
I'd expect better from Bill James. I assume from the way his list reads that he did not take defense into account. Also, why the under the age of 30 caveat when there are a few 26 year olds and then most of them are 25 and under. Also, would like to see Guo's name mentioned up there with Broxton's. The Huncharm gets no respect. :)
vr, Xei
2008-10-22 11:29:58
25.   Zak
20 I use a debit card from Wells Fargo for deposits. For withdrawals, I request a check. It usually takes about 4-5 business days, but I've gotten it as soon as 3 days, and once it took 11 days. For the record, they ask you to wait 15 days after request.

Wells Fargo has once refused to accept my check from PS. I went to another branch and another teller and she accepted it without calling her manager like the other branch. I have also used Washington Mutual in the past to deposit the check.

2008-10-22 11:31:04
26.   Zak
24 Well, to the fair, the injuries caveat does apply to Kuo more than Brox.
2008-10-22 11:31:07
27.   dianagramr
Chase Utley turns 30 in December ...
2008-10-22 11:33:08
28.   Zak
25 My point is that usually depositing the checks is easy, although I do expect more and more scrutiny into this once banks get out from under this economic burden. But that's true for any poker site.
2008-10-22 11:34:04
29.   cargill06
Xei, are you going to put any money on Philly to win the series?
2008-10-22 11:34:30
30.   kinbote
23 I don't know if I'd wish that mess on Ng. They have Ichiro, Felix, Morrow, and a charred crater that Bavasi left.
2008-10-22 11:36:18
31.   underdog
I guess they wanted someone with a lot of vowels in their name, instead of none. Poor Kim. Selfishly, glad she's still around though. I have a feeling post-2009 she'll be the Dodgers next GM.
2008-10-22 11:36:26
32.   bhsportsguy
Now that Seattle has hired a new GM and I would think Gillick's right hand man, Ruben Amaro will get the Phlillies job if Gillick does leave, the only possible GM spot that might open up is in DC.

So I think for another year, the Dodgers' front office remains the same.

2008-10-22 11:42:44
33.   Xeifrank
29. I was considering it, but I don't have any online betting accounts. Bodog doesn't offer a W.S. winner bet that I can see. If Vegas was nearby I probably would plunk down $500 or so on the Phillies as a hedge. As it stands currently, I won't be making any hedge bets. I made it this far with the Rays, mind as well stick it out. I have only made four futures bets (bets before the season started) in my lifetime. They were the Dallas Cowboys the first year they won the Super Bowl with Aikman, the Ravens the year they beat the NY Giants for the Super Bowl, the 2008 Rays and the other one ironically was the Phillies the year that they lost in the W.S. to the Blue Jays. I still get shivers when I hear the name "Mitch Williams" spoken. I have a good track record with futures bets, but the Phillies have been the only thorn in my side so far. Hope they don't mess me up again!
vr, Xei
2008-10-22 11:43:52
34.   regfairfield
I would trade James Loney for Grady Sizemore.

I remember this article from a year ago and I think he adjusts a ton for age. Something on the order of a 25 year old with the same numbers as a 26 year old would be twice as valuable.

2008-10-22 11:47:18
35.   Zak
I don't care how it happens, but I love being reminded that Matt Kemp is only 23.
2008-10-22 11:47:41
36.   Tripon
Matt Kemp is now 24.
2008-10-22 11:47:49
37.   old dodger fan
If it's that age adjusted I'm surprised BJ Upton's not on the list.
2008-10-22 11:48:00
38.   Eric Stephen
33
That's an awesome track record!

I seem to remember Phil Mickelson placing a rather large bet (in the thousands of dollars) in the preseason on the Ravens the year they won the Super Bowl.

2008-10-22 11:48:55
39.   cargill06
If it's age adjusted why is Longoria so low?
2008-10-22 11:49:38
40.   Eric Stephen
36
2008 is his "age 23" season though, since his birthday is after June 30 (September). Although since this is for the 2009 handbook, using his 2009 age seems more appropriate.
2008-10-22 11:51:00
41.   Zak
36 Bubble burster.
2008-10-22 11:51:54
42.   bhsportsguy
39 Because he bases it on how much you played during the season.

The thing to remember is that Bill James isn't making a best prospect list, he solely bases it on what you have done so far in the majors.

2008-10-22 11:52:26
43.   bhsportsguy
37 B.J. Upton did not have a great regular season.
2008-10-22 11:56:45
44.   cargill06
I'm done trying to figure it out. This list has done nothing but make my head hurt.
2008-10-22 11:59:46
45.   Eric Stephen
43
Upton did have 89 runs created (only 4 less than 2007), and ranks 13th in RC for 2007-08 among players 26 & younger (the de facto age limit for this list).
2008-10-22 12:00:23
46.   Eric Stephen
45
Forgot to add...

http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/9fE9

2008-10-22 12:01:31
47.   KG16
16 - that's a good question. I'm not really sure how you measure peak performance. I think, generally speaking, we figure that athletes in various sports enter their "prime" sometime around 26-30 and that it will last for a few years, usually ending sometime around 32-36. The problem is when you talk in generalities you ignore the individuals. There are guys who have insane training regimens that allow them to perform at a fairly high level well past their "prime" - see, for example, Nolan Ryan striking out 232 batters in 204 innings at the age of 43 (with an ERA+ of 115). And there are other guys who don't put out as much effort that fade very quickly when their natural talent fades - see, for example, Andruw Jones. I really think you have to look at individual players in much more depth (this is really true an any sport, for example in basketball, guys like Kobe who came out of high school have a lot more mileage on their bodies than a guy the same age who went to college for a couple of years, and that doesn't even account for all the extra playoff games he played - of course, Kobe is among the crazy trainers, so that muddies the water some).
2008-10-22 12:02:51
48.   bhsportsguy
Bill James projected Andruw Jones to hit 34 home runs in 2008.
2008-10-22 12:04:03
49.   KG16
48 - it's much easier to analyze what happened then project (or guess) what will happen. But the second one is always more fun.
2008-10-22 12:09:14
50.   old dodger fan
48 I think that's about how many Ned projected. I wish he had been right.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-10-22 12:10:52
51.   Terry A
48 - Two months left. I'm optimistic.
2008-10-22 12:11:38
52.   Sean P
42

Miggy Cabrera would not be 23rd on this list if that were the case.

2008-10-22 12:17:16
53.   Kevin Lewis
48

How many did Andruw hit in AAA and the Majors?

2008-10-22 12:19:32
54.   old dodger fan
45 How many runs did Ryan Zimmerman (#12) create?
2008-10-22 12:23:15
55.   Hollywood Joe
When do Pitchers and Catchers report???

I am tired of this dang hot stove already

Oh, forgot, we have a little baseball yet to play. I must admit a pretty significant man-crush on Evan Longoria.

Do we need a DT caravan to spring training in AZ this year?

2008-10-22 12:24:42
56.   Humma Kavula
I think Cargill has it right -- there's no way to figure out this list. Who's on it, who's off it, and the order are all mystifying. We'll have to wait until James gives us some insight into his method.

But this: no less an authority than Bill James believes that Matt Kemp could become one of the most valuable players in baseball.

2008-10-22 12:26:04
57.   Bob Timmermann
55
You'd probably be more excited about the World Series if it were played on seven straight days in Phoenix instead of this moving around between home parks.
2008-10-22 12:26:33
58.   Hollywood Joe
56 Kemp as a future MVP candidate has been mentioned by James, Onley, Neyer, and Law just to name the ESPN bunch

Everybody wants to see what this guy is going to grow up to be.

2008-10-22 12:26:58
59.   underdog
I just remembered today why I sometimes hate being an NFL fan: injuries. Especially when they happen to my team, which is not fair.
2008-10-22 12:28:58
60.   eusmus
I think Bill is failing to take into account the fact that James Loney has already peaked at age 24.
2008-10-22 12:29:42
61.   underdog
Posted in earlier thread but in case you missed it, MLB Trade Rumors focuses on the Dodgers' off-season outlook:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/10/offseason-ou-13.html

2008-10-22 12:29:47
62.   cargill06
60 Duck.
2008-10-22 12:30:36
63.   Hollywood Joe
57 Wow, what a good and novel idea! I bet you didn't think of that all by yourself

Maybe I can find a corporation with a bunch of people who dont watch baseball to take me with them and ply me with golf, hookers, parties, and booze

then none of us can watch the game, all of us can check our blackberries and wave to our familes while taking to them on the phone in between pitches

We will all go home and brag to our neighbors that we attended the world series but not one of us would be able to name 3 players on either team.

Baseball fever...catch it!

2008-10-22 12:33:05
64.   delias man
63 you should email that to plaschke
2008-10-22 12:44:54
65.   Jon Weisman
NPUT
2008-10-22 13:18:41
66.   briano
Jon,
Great job! This is the call that is so forgotten. Thanks for bringing it to everones attention. I've heard it many times but its been awhile. This call is my favorite of all-time! He sounds like he fell off his chair. I loved Drysdale as a broadcaster and believe his call was the best of the two (Buck's and Scully's). It (to me) captures the crowd and fans response better than anyones. I don't know where you got that but I would love to have it on tape.
2008-10-22 13:32:40
67.   Mariano Duncan Sheik
Taking a quick glance at the list, I find it hard to believe that there's 23 players period in the majors better than Sizemore.
2008-10-22 22:09:14
68.   WestCoastBiasB
I'm sorry, but these rankings are stupid. Kemp ahead of Longoria, Sizemore and Reyes?! You've got to be kidding me. I have a formula. It's called production. Which puts Kemp way out of this list. Some day, I hope Matty earns that spot. But not today.
2008-10-22 22:29:59
69.   popup
Thanks Bigpa and Jon. Don was almost as good a broadcaster as he was a pitcher. I taped Don's call at my home in Tacoma from station KNZR in Bakersfield, CA. The excerpt from Bigpa is much better quality than the tape I have. Tremendous stuff, thanks so much for posting it.

Stan from Tacoma

2008-10-23 22:07:57
70.   DadofMondy
I think Don Drysdale sounds a bit like Ted Koppel in this clip when he's relating the crowd reaction after the HR.
2008-10-23 22:54:56
71.   ThinkBlue
A wonderful call of the Gibson HR by Drysdale. I spent many, many nights in the Bay Area listening to Drysdale on the radio (only after it got dark, unfortunately, in those days before internet) and his style of calling the game really grew on me over the years. He still a close #2 to Vin in my book, but that is the highest praise possible as far as I'm concerned.

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