Billy-Ball Daily: 2008-8-6

8/6/2008
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

Billy-Ball – From the diamond to your desktop…
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck

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The only spin here is on my screwball

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Top of the 1st
RECORDS ARE STARTING TO MEAN SOMETHING AGAIN
Zimbabwe has been so beset by inflation that they recently revalued their currency to make it more manageable. They reduced 10 zeros from their dollar reducing ten billion dollars and revalued it to one zimdollar. Independent economists say that inflation there is close to 12.5 million per cent. It seems to me that their economy has been using the same “artificial sweeteners” that home run hitters in baseball had been using until recently.

The use of these enhancers resulted in a dramatic corruption of baseball’s record book that unfortunately cannot be altered by simply removing zeros. Many records will never be reachable again, but in a sense all of baseball’s numbers are becoming valuable as a frame of reference again.

Home runs is always the best benchmark. No batter has ever legally passed Roger Maris’ mark of 61 in a season since 1961. Taking that a step further, last season in the NL only Prince Fielder reached the 50-homer mark and in 2006, only Ryan Howard reached that height (he hit 58), finally in 2005, only Andruw Jones did it, by hitting 51. But in Barry B*nds record breaking year of 2001, B*nd hit 73, Sammy S*sa hit 64, and Luis Gonza?ez hit 57.

Hitting 50 homers again means something.

How about career homers as a measure to get into the Hall of Fame?

Junior Griffey is the active leader one behind S*sa at 608, but 52 shy of Willie Mays. It is doubtful he will reach him. The 32-year old Alex Rodriguez is next with 542. If he stays healthy (and that is always a large “if” for any athlete) he could average 30 homers for the next eight years which would cleanse the record book of B*nds’ 762. The problem is that he has to front load in order to reach that mark because once again we are seeing athletes at 37 and 38 starting to act their age.

A good example of that is Gary Sheffield who is struggling this season. Sheff is 39 and has 489 homers. He probably will reach 500, but you have to, for the first time, say probably because he only has 9 this season and needs to come back next year and still hit homers to reach the mark.

Will the 36-year-old Carlos Delgado with 454 homers reach the mark? I don’t think so. Neither will the 36-year-old Chipper Jones who has 404, nor will Jason Giambi, 37, who has 385. The next batter most likely to break the 500 barrier is Vlad Guerrero who is 32 and has 384 homers. The one after that is Albert Pujols who is 28 and has 303 homers. So we may go a long time after Sheffield (if he reaches it) before we see another 500 homer hitter.

What about pitchers? The equivalent here is 300 wins. Greg Maddux is the active career leader and has 352 wins, and while he’ll most likely surpass Roger Cl*m*ns (354) who is eighth all-time, he may not reach Kid Nichols who is seventh with 361 wins. Tom Glavine with 305 wins will never get that high on the list.

So who is our next 300 game winner? Randy Johnson is closing in at 293, but the Big Unit is 44 and while pitching effectively is also one pitch away from his last because of his back and other hurts.

Mike Mussina trails Johnson but has only 264 wins. Mussina is 39, has never won 20 games in a season and while he has 14 this season, you do the math.

Take a look at who follows Moose on the active list of winners:
Rank Player (age) Wins
5. Jamie Moyer* (45) 240
6. Kenny Rogers* (43) 218
7. Curt Schilling (41) 216
8. Andy Pettitte* (36) 213
9. Pedro Martinez (36) 212
10. John Smoltz (41) 210
11. Tim Wakefield (41) 174
12. Bartolo Colon (35) 150
13. Aaron Sele (38) 148
14. Tim Hudson (32) 146
15. Livan Hernandez (33) 144
16. Steve Trachsel (37) 143
17. Kevin Millwood (33) 139
18. Tom Gordon (40) 138
Mike Hampton* (35) 138
20. Woody Williams (41) 132
21. Jon Lieber (38) 131
22. Jason Schmidt (35) 128
23. Esteban Loaiza (36) 126
24. Roy Halladay (31) 124
Jeff Suppan (33) 124
26. Hideo Nomo (39) 123
Javier Vazquez (31) 123
28. Matt Morris (33) 121
29. Derek Lowe (35) 120
Roy Oswalt (30) 120
31. Barry Zito* (30) 119
32. Freddy Garcia (33) 117
Chan Ho Park (35) 117
34. Mark Buehrle* (29) 115
35. C.C. Sabathia* (27) 111
36. Russ Ortiz (34) 110
37. Paul Byrd (37) 103
Mark Mulder* (30) 103
39. Jon Garland (28) 102
Johan Santana* (29) 102
41. Kelvim Escobar (32) 101
42. Chris Carpenter (33) 100
Shawn Estes* (35) 100

I think you will agree with me when I say that the only ones on this list with a chance to reach 300 are Sabathia and Santana and both would be put in the “unlikely” category. This is particularly true when you take into account that there have only been thirteen 20(+) game winners in the National League this decade and only 16 in the AL. But of those 29 only five have occurred since, and including, 2005.

Yes, baseball has changed and, in my very strong opinion, with homers and wins being two indicators, it has changed for the better.

We may even have an exciting post-season this year or am I getting too greedy?

Top of the 2nd
THE MARLINS AREN’T GOING AWAY
When pundits address their National League expectations for the remainder of the season, invariably they speak of the Marlins fading. Well somebody better tell the Fish and while they’re at it should mention it to the Phils.

Phils starter Jamie Moyer had been 10-0 in 10 previous starts vs. Florida but last night he picked up his first career loss against the Marlins in the Phils 8-2 loss. Josh Johnson pitched six scoreless innings and Jeremy Hermida drove in four runs for Florida who closed within 1