October 5, 2009

Disagreeing with RAB’s Kabak, twice

If you are not that familiar with the Yankees blogosphere, it is important to note that the must read Yankees blog (besides mine, of course) by the fans is River Avenue Blues. A three-man team of Benjamin Kabak, Joseph Pawlikowski and Mike Axisa touch on literally every Yankees issue out there, and normally provide great in-depth analysis. However, I have read two things from Kabak in the past few weeks that have really stunned me.

I’ll start out with his post from Sept. 15: “Setting up the playoff rotation.” Kabak decided it was a good idea to explore the playoff rotation in the middle of September, saying how the rotation was already on schedule for CC Sabathia to start game 1 of the ALDS. When I read this back in the middle of September, I was shocked Kabak would post something like this. I said to my friends, “there is no way this projection holds remotely true.” And as expected, it didn’t. Of the 18 remaining games he projected the starter, six of his projections were correct (9/14-10/4).

Why would he ever decide to post about this so far ahead of time? Did he really think that the rotation was going to run seamlessly for the final three weeks? The order he based his projection on (Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain and Chad Gaudin) changed numerous times. The final rotation was Pettitte, Gaudin, Burnett, Chamberlain and Sabathia. So Kabak’s prediction could not have been more wrong.

Now, onto his most recent random hiccup: “One inning, under the microscope.” I certainly agreed with the majority of the article, that Chamberalin’s one perfect inning yesterday meant a lot less than people tried to make it out to be. But then he threw in this befuddling comment toward the end:

As Phil Hughes has shown this year, Joba illustrated the simple baseball truth that good starters make excellent relievers.

This is a very, very generalized statement and should never have been written.

I wouldn’t call Roy Halladay an excellent reliever. Or how about Johan Santana, Kerry Wood, or Edwin Jackson? All of these pitchers were more successful as a starter than a reliever.

There is such a small group of people that have converted from a good starter to an excellent reliever because the conversion doesn’t make sense. Why would a team convert one of its best starters to a relief pitcher?

It is a simple baseball truth that starters are more valuable than relievers. So this statement about Hughes and Chamberlain seems like it is entirely based on John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley.

Another thing that is wrong with this statement is that Hughes and Chamberlain have never really proved themselves as good starters in the majors. Unless you like the looks of these ERAs as a starter:

Chamberlain: 4.18
Hughes: 5.22

Bottom line is Kabak’s statement has hardly any supporting evidence, completely exaggerates a “simple baseball truth,” and uses poor examples from the Yankees this season.

Please, I’d love to hear someone defend him on these two posts.

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