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Monday, May 24, 2004

INJURIES REDUX
Reader Eyespy pointed me to this article on Halo injuries at FoxSports.com, written by Dayn Perry (formerly[?] of Baseball Prospectus). Perry argues that the Angels are better off for Erstad's injury, as Kotch is the better player.

This may well prove to be true, but I honestly think some may be expecting too much of the kid. BPro, in general, is often too hasty with predicting greatness for prospects. Perry does temper his language on Kotchman, but he still insists that he is an immediate improvement on Erstad. Hey, we still have a month or so, so Perry may be proven right. I certainly wouldn't be surprised; but I also wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if Kotch cannot surprass Erstad on his first taste of the big leagues.

Perry also tries to put Glaus' injury in perspective (sorry for the huge quote):

"As for Glaus, he was off to a tremendous start with the bat ... but it's doubtful he would have been able to maintain that pace even with good health. Glaus, like Erstad, has only one brilliant season in his career. Also like Erstad, that came in 2000. Glaus was a good player in 2001, but otherwise he hasn't been much of a producer given his corner-defender status. In other words, Glaus, based on his history of performance and exceedingly hot start to the season, was likely in for a hefty dose of regression to the mean .... the preponderance of the evidence suggests Glaus was playing comfortably over his head. [emphasis mine]"

Well, 2000 clearly was Glaus' best year, when he put up a scrumptious 150 OPS+. And it is true he had declined since then, falling off to a 127 in 2001 and a 115 in 2002. (He managed a 118 in his injury-shortened 2003). Does this mean he wasn't "much of a producer"?

Let's look at 2001. Do you know how many AL third basemen had a higher OPS+ than Troy Glaus' 127 in 2001? Here's the list.

1. Eric Chavez -- 131

That's it. I guess I should look at the NL, too, huh? Here's that list:

1. Chipper Jones -- 162
2. Phil Nevin -- 158

Scott Rolen and Aramis Ramirez came close that season, with marks of 126 and 125, respectively. In fairness, Perry does concede that 2001 was a "good" year. I guess ranking fourth in the majors at your position only merits a rating of "good" now.

How about 2002? Here are the guys in both leagues who surpassed Glaus' 115:

1. Scott Rolen -- 132
2. Edgardo Alfonzo -- 130
3. Eric Hinske -- 124
4. Eric Chavez -- 122
5. Robin Ventura -- 121
6. Corey Koskie -- 118
7. Mike Lowell -- 116

What a terrible collapse! Eighth out of thirty! Clearly, Glaus was not a sufficient run-producer. Of course, 2002 is the entire "otherwise" to which Perry refers, unless you want to count his getting-his-feet-wet season and his injured year last year.

Glaus' 2000 was so good that people tend to think of him as a disappointment. This is foolish. The man is (was?) a fine hitter and a fine player, and his absence creates a big gap in the Angel offense which the combination of DaVanon and Shane Halter will struggle to fill (though one of these guys is much closer than the other ...).

(I don't want to come down to hard on Perry; I pretty much found two parts of the article to rip on. He's pretty optimistic about the team, and it's an oddly optimistic article, as he argues that the Lads should survive these injuries and still win the division. That's downright heretic from someone associated with BPro ...)

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