Here's Monday's edition of Saber-Links:
A guy who leads the league in average, homers, and RBI is a player a) having a stellar season, and b) enjoying an unusual conflagration of good fortune and skill. The runners are there. The hits are falling. Everything's coming up Milhouse. That combination of skill and circumstance is baseball. That's all baseball is. It's skill and circumstance
Bill Parker looks into Ichiro, the Yankees and arbitrary endpoints for Getting Blanked: TPA Dispatches: Ichiro, Reborn | Getting Blanked | Blogs | theScore.com
Isn’t it more likely that Ichiro is playing with the same amount of energy and effort as ever, but is just having a pretty good 200 PA or so? Well, I took a look, and it turns out that in virtually every year of his career, Ichiro has had a stretch of a similar number of plate appearances in which he’s played well above his overall season numbers, most of them considerably better than his current Yankees numbers; we just didn’t notice, because he didn’t change uniforms right before the streak started. Behold:
Russell Carleton of Baseball Prospectus, who I seem to link to daily, keeps making strides towards measuring a prospect's mental state. Today, he discusses intelligence, among other things: Baseball Prospectus | Baseball Therapy: Reading Lolita in Teheran, Part 3: Smoking, Hitting, and the Search for an 80 Brain
Baseball isn't as organized. But what if someone developed a short test that could be administered by scouts in the field that could determine whether there's any chance of upside in a player's learning abilities? Some intelligence/personality tests have been tried, but perhaps not perfected. If they were, it might cut down on those "wasted" draft picks of guys who looked good at 18, but couldn't make the most of that raw talent.
By things we can easily measure, Trout is about dead even with Cabrera in total bases while hitting and running at a higher level, doing so in 58 fewer plate appearances, and making 21 fewer outs via double plays alone. He is also 30 runs better defensively. It's just not close.
Look, if Miguel Cabrera wins the Triple Crown this year, he deserves to be put alongside Carl Yastrzemski, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. It just doesn't mean, on its own, that he was the best player in the American League. He's not. Mike Trout is.