We had a pretty big day today. The Giants traded for Jose Guillen and announced that he'd be their regular right fielder. Rocco Baldelli has officially gone from special instructor to Triple-A Durham in the course of less than a month. Chipper Jones told the media that he plans to play in 2011. Reports came out that Francisco Rodriguez beat up his girlfriend's father inside CitiField. You know, baseball stuff.
But there's actual stuff going on in actual games, too, and I thought I'd mention a couple passing thoughts I've had of late.
Did the Giants just make themselves worse?
I'm just saying, I think this is a question worth asking in regards to the Guillen acquisition.
Three of the teams five best hitters this season have been Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell and Travis Ishikawa. But now the Giants are benching Ishikawa, moving Huff back to first base, and installing Guillen in the outfield. Not only does this downgrade the team's defense at first base while maintaining the team's awful corner outfield defense, but I think that it's questionable whether or not Guillen can improve on the .339 wOBA that Ishikawa's put up so far. ZiPS projects Ishikawa to put up a .329 wOBA through the rest of the season, one point higher than Guillen's rest-of-season .328 wOBA.
I mean, I know they didn't give up much of anything to get Guillen in the first place. I'm just not sure if getting Guillen for free would even be worth it for San Francisco.
Miguel Cabrera's officially having a special season.
The Tigers first baseman is currently projected by ZiPS to finish with 35+ homers, 50+ doubles, 85+ walks and a batting average over .330 for the season. These are numbers that have been reached within a single-season on only seven occasions in MLB history, with five of them coming since 2000. Todd Helton is the only place in history to accomplish the feat twice (2000, 2001), while Hank Greenberg, Lou Gehrig, Carlos Delgado, Derrek Lee and David Ortiz have also done it once.
We're witnessing a truly impressive career when it comes to Miguel Cabrera.
Another example of why ERA is flawed
Tim Hudson peripherals: 1.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 65% groundball rate, 4.06 xFIP
Justin Masterson peripherals: 1.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 63% groundball rate, 4.11 xFIP
Tim Hudson BABIP: .235
Justin Masterson BABIP: .347
Tim Hudson ERA: 2.24
Justin Masterson ERA: 5.47
He may not qualify for the batting title, but he's been by far the most valuable shortstop in baseball this year.
Raffy's line currently sits at .316/.380/.492 with 20 doubles, 5 triples and 8 homers in 76 games. Factor in his above-average defense (+6.3 UZR, +5 DRS) and base-running value (18-for-22 on SB attempts), and you're looking at some elite-level performance from the Dodgers shortstop.
Yeah, there's been a peculiar lack of star-quality performance from shortstops this year. But when you've played in only 76 of your team's 112 games and you're still the most valuable player at your respective position in all of baseball, you're obviously having a damn good season.