‘Tis the season for asking for things that are unrealistic and I figured I should climb aboard that ship, but before I go any further, Ryan and I would like to sincerely wish you all a happy holiday season. This site has grown rapidly over its short, five-month life span and we truly enjoy writing it. Along those same lines, we really enjoy the interaction with readers and the comments have grown steadily during the last few months. Always feel free to drop us a line, whether you agree or disagree with our thinking. The conversation and dialogue that usually ensues is what inspires us to write. Thanks again and feel free to share our site with friends and family this holiday season when talking about the Diamondbacks.
Ok, so back to asking for things that are unrealistic. No, I don’t want a pony for Christmas (do little kids still ask Santa for ponies?), I simply want a Diamondbacks team that is free of slumps and injuries.
If there’s a story line that spans the entire 162-game season for the team in 2013, that story line likely involves underperformance by key players. Miguel Montero had a down year. Martin Prado had an abysmal first half. Gerardo Parra had an abysmal second half. Jason Kubel was so bad he got DFA’d, sold for nothing, then was never heard of again. Cody Ross was a bright spot once he got healthy. Then he dislocated his hip (I still cringe when thinking bout it). Ian Kennedy went from Opening Day starter to traded for a LOOGY and a relief prospect. Brandon McCarthy couldn’t find success and had his worst season in several years while Trevor Cahill was wildly inconsistent. Heath Bell wore out his welcome before the All Star Break and our closer-in-waiting, David Hernandez, was sent to AAA to work out his bugs. In the meantime, JJ Putz went down with an elbow injury that may or may not strike again and is pretty worrisome considering he’s going to be 38 next year.
And when it was all said and done, the team still won 81 games.
I know, an 81-81 season is not what we were hoping for, but given the list of deterrents above, it sure as hell could have been worse. With all the slumps and injuries piled upon themselves, it’s actually a bit of a miracle that the team did finish with fewer wins than 81. Which begs the questions: if these guys just played to their averages, how many wins would they have had?
I can’t really say, but I’m guessing it’s a larger number than 81. I suppose I could run each players’ projections before the season and compare them to their actual season performance, add up the additional WAR and make an educated guess, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. That’s just sour grapes. The point is, they clearly underachieved (again) and just average levels of output from the under-performers would likely have made a big difference. Maybe they would’ve gotten into the playoffs, maybe not, but it would’ve been close and surely more exciting than watching them fall further and further behind over the final six weeks of the season.
So what do I want for Christmas? I just want a healthy team free of career-worst slumps. The rest can be played out on the diamond and the chips can fall where they may. Of course this is unrealistic because slumps always happen, as do injuries. But if I’m making a Christmas wish, this is it. I’ll let you know in September if Santa comes through in the bottom of the ninth.
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FanGraphs Stats Glossary
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Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).