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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Tony Romo

11/2011 Player Profile: Torii Hunter

November 28th 2011 15:57
At the age of 36, Anaheim Angels right fielder Torii Hunter is obviously beginning to see a decline in skill. He is still a productive hitter, but his defense has fallen off ever since he has played for the Angels. His defense has been overrated, and those who think Hunter is still one of the best outfielders in baseball would be dead wrong. He's still a solid player, but his offensive value doesn't translate as well into a more hitter-heavy position (right field). The five-year deal worth $90 million dollars that he signed in 2007 has actually been a rather poor one, as Hunter has been worth about $55 million dollars through his first four seasons when he was expected to be worth $72 million through those years. It wasn't a huge mistake, but people who think this was a good deal would also be wrong.

I mainly want to focus on Hunter as a player now, than rather talk about his historical value (that's what the historical player profiles are for). The RF was worth 2.5 WAR last season, as he was solid in the field and decent- not likely to continue- on the bases despite just five stolen bases. With 82 RBIs, 80 runs, and a .332 wOBA, Torii Hunter was an above-average hitter last season. He only hit .262, but his on-base percentage of .336 was solid as were his 23 homers.

One of the most consistent hitters in baseball, Hunter's OBP is usually in the .330's and his home run totals are usually in the low 20's. Next season, he should walk less but hit more home runs and have about the same performance at the plate overall in the last year of his hefty contract.

Although Hunter's career LD% is a measly 17.4%, 21% of his hits were line drives last year. However, liners fluctuate from year to year, so there isn't much that can be drawn out of this. A problem is that Hunter chased more pitches this year, and although he did get more contact out of it chasing pitches hurt his overall value.

Torii Hunter will be 37 years old next season in July, but he has shown relative consistency at the plate; although his skills have understandbely, steadily declined due to age. Hunter is one of those guys who has aged gracefully, and he is still a solid player who provides some offense. It's not stupid to even hint that Hunter has been poor defensively over the past few seasons, because he is way on the wrong side of thirty and was playing center at that age. His play in the field was actually good in right field- a much easier position that requires much less speed out of an older player- thanks to a good arm in right.
109 wRC-plus in 2011

10/2011 Player Profile: Mat Latos

October 31st 2011 15:31
To celebrate Halloween, I have another exclusive Player Profile/Scouting Report of a current MLB player. Appropriately, for the holiday, my shuffled song is currently "Enter Sandman". It would have been plain freaky if I was planning a piece about Mariano Rivera, but I have an equally interesting piece written about a young pitcher on the Padres.

Last season, Mat Latos was a 4 WAR pitcher who was getting a ton of recognition as one of the best young pitchers in baseball. His fastball was sizzling as his slider electrifying. This season, his fastball is still relatively effective but is considerably worse. Last season, he was just mowing down hitters. All of his pitches have been worse this season, especially his curveball. Each of his pitches have also been much slower this year, and it is obviously a concern when a pitcher's fastball is ticks below what it was the previous season.

Although his BABIP rose this year, that is negated by a slight decrease in walk rate as well as a decrease in HR/FB ratio. Not only that, but his peripherals were worse in 2011 (9.21 K/9 to 8.57 K/9 and 2.44 BB/9 to 2.87 BB/9). I don't think he has been tired, and I actually think he was struggling from the lingering effects of an injury at the beginning. His FIP got much better as the season wore on. In fact, if you took out the first month, Latos was just as good this year as he was last year in terms of FIP.

Arguably the best stat out there for pitchers, Latos's FIP rose by only 0.16 this season. His WAR went down to 3.2, but he still pitched well this season and should continue to do so. I don't have any concerns for Latos's pitcher at this point, and I think he can continue to do well. While he was certainly nowhere near his 2010 form, Latos wasn't exactly awful this season either.
Watch for a bounce back year

It's Staind time (I put on Grooveshark as I write). Yo Tim, be sure to correct me if I get some stuff wrong and add in your opinion. Your the history junky who knows this stuff better than I do and enjoys the game as I do.

Harold Reynolds is one of my favorite baseball players of all-time, and he was arguably the best defensive second baseman of the late 80's and early 90's, and he won three Gold Glove awards for his efforts. In 1990, he had an insane season at second defensively, and he was also terrific the season before defensively. The speedy Reynolds stole 60 bases in his second season (1987) and had 250 career swipes.

From 1983-1994, Reynolds played for the Mariners, Orioles, and Angels with all but the last two of those seasons with the Mariners. Although he was extraordinary in the speed and defense departments, Harold Reynolds was a poor hitter. He had very little power and was a career .258 hitter despite having a walk rate that was significantly higher than his strikeout rate. Reynolds's best season offensively was in 1989 when he had 103 wRC-plus and had the best season of his career (defense added) with 4.6 WAR.

The only other season in which the former ESPN broadcaster- yeah, I brought that up- had 4 WAR was in 1990 (4.2) WAR backed by that aforementioned stellar defensive season (20 TZ) with some subpar hitting (92 wRC-plus). It was the only season in which he hit the century mark in runs scored with exactly 100.

In 1987 and 1988, 2.3 and 2.6 WAR respectively, Reynolds was an All-Star. His best award, however, came in 1991 in which he won the Roberto Clemente Award for his character and charitable acts to the community. The career 53 triples hitter is known as having the best range for a second baseman in recent history.
10 seasons with M's


A Giants lifer, Jim Davenport spent his 13 year career playing solid ball for the San Francisco Giants. The 1962 All-Star third baseman is currently with the Giants as a front office worker, and he used to be a manager for them; albeit an unsuccessful one. Davenport later went on to be a coach for the Philles and a scout for the Tigers.

Although he wasn't a good hitter- career wRC-plus of 90- he did play some nice D over at the hot corner and was a Gold Glover in 1962. That was easily his best season, as he was on their World Series squad and earned his only All-Star appearance. Jim Davenport posted a 4.7 WAR on the strength of arguably his best season in the field and his best season as a hitter (119 wRC-plus). Davenport crossed the plate 83 times that season with a triple slash of .297/.357/.456. I know that runs scored is a bad measurement of skill, but I just put that out there for the traditionalists and the guys who like to know (although I doubt anybody cares at all).

The Alabama Sports Hall of Famer lost his job in 1964, when this guy named Jim Ray Hart emerged as the starter. Davenport still managed to milk out some playing time as a utility player who wasn't set at a certain position and spelled other players of playing time. Although his defense was affected negatively from its previously high standard, Davenport still managed to be a quality player.

Consider, he had one of his best defensive seasons in 1967 playing mostly at third but also other areas around the diamond (shortstop and keystone). Jim Davenport's WAR was 3.2 with a 112 wRC-plus with a .366 OBP. Yeah, that was his highest OBP of his career.

Unfortunately, Davenport had only two other 2 WAR (average starter) seasons. His first was as a rookie in 1958, in which he had a WAR of exactly 2. In 1961, his wRC-plus of 111 coupled with some solid defense led to a 3.5 WAR season.

While Jim Davenport wasn't a spectacular player, most Giants fans who were born before the 70s know who he is. Davenport was a solid third baseman who played good defense, wasn't that bad of a hitter as he got on base, and he also accumulated a good amount of sacrifice hits (led the league with 17 as a rookie). Davenport pretty much did what every minor league baseball player dreams of doing: he played with Hall of Famers such as Willie Mays, he made an All-Star team, he won a Gold Glove award, and he also played in a World Series.
The Glove and bottle are iconic

9/2011 Player Profile: Howie Kendrick

September 22nd 2011 14:38
Before I begin this post, I want to clarify that the baseball player profiles will only be looking at the current season. I also would like to remind you that Old Spice Fiji is the best smelling cheap body spray out there. I was very surprised that such a product could actually smell good, and to those of you who are still using Axe, I would like to remind you that musk is for mold; not men.

Howie Kendrick is having the breakout season that many of us expected to come a few years earlier. Still, you can't ignore his 5.9 WAR and his stellar D at second. Kendrick has also been crazy good on the basepaths, and his wRC-plus of 123 is definitely a number that Kendrick can be proud of. He has been the Angels' best position player this season, and I have no concerns about his high BABIP. Kendrick is one of those guys who just swings to make contact and is not worried about taking pitches. It wouldn't hurt him to draw more walks, but it's all good in the end

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