Back on the grid

Posted on November 19th, 2009 – 4:43 PM
By La Velle

I know it’s been awhile. I had to whittle down some vacation time that I was going to lose on Jan. 1. So I took a couple weeks off. Went on a trip. Read a very good book about the 1975 Reds (The Machine, by Joe Posnanski).

To be honest, I had reached a point where I needed to drop off the grid for awhile. So it was time to take some time off. Now I’m back. Joe C. is keeping up with Twins news this week while I help out with Gophers coverage. I’ll be back on the Twins on Monday, when the AL MVP is announced.

For now, chew on this:

Noted baseball seamhead Bill James, in the upcoming Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010, has predicted the top ten players likely to sustain or improve next season. The number on the right is the Strong Seasons Leading Index Score:

Player 2010 Team Score
Dioner Navarro Tampa Bay Rays 26
Chris B. Young Arizona Diamondbacks 25
J.J. Hardy Minnesota Twins 25
Russell Martin Los Angeles Dodgers 24
Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians 24
Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox 23
James Loney Los Angeles Dodgers 23
Ian Kinsler Texas Rangers 23
B.J. Upton Tampa Bay Rays 23
Nate McLouth Atlanta Braves 23

Here are the ten least likely to sustain or improve:

Jorge Posada New York Yankees 8
Matt Diaz Atlanta Braves 9
Craig Counsell Free Agent 9
Russell Branyan Free Agent 11
Jason Bartlett Tampa Bay Rays 11
Scott Podsednik Free Agent 11
Derrek Lee Chicago Cubs 11
Kendry Morales LA Angels of Anaheim 11
Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners 11
Rajai Davis Oakland Athletics 12

Figured that you’d like the J.J. Hardy part – although I’m guessing you all are rooting for him to improve and not sustain next year!

I would bet against James on Ichiro. I just think the Sultan of Slap will hit forever.

Here’s James’ explanation of his work: “Age is the most obvious indicator of likely movement. We also know that players tend to move back to their historical norms, so we look at last year’s On-base Plus Slugging percentage compared to his career OPS. We also factor in a player’s batting average on balls in play, his strikeout-to-walk ratio, and his speed before distilling all this into a single number that indicates how likely a player is to have a strong season in the coming year.”

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