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Originally posted by Glevin

It's more the 34 HR allowed in one of the hardest parks to hit HRs that is worrisome. The Tigers' starters also didn't strike out anyone.

Bonderman can strike guys out, or at least he did a pretty good job of it as a 20-year-old rookie with no changeup last season. The rest of the starters are just plain bad. I can deal with Johnson further down in the rotation, but in 2005 the Tigers are going to have to look for upgrades to fill the other three spots. I think Sleeth will be up, but we've still got to get some more pitching or we will never win in Comerica.

That said, I was looking at the projected Tiger offense by their OPS+ last season and I was pleasantly suprised as to where the Tigers players stack up against their opponents in the AL Central.

Catcher

1. Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers (124)

2. Benito Santiago, Royals (96)

3. Victor Martinez, Indians (87)

4. Miguel Olivo, White Sox (70)

5. Joe Mauer, Twins (N/A)

First Base

1. Doug Mientiewicz, Twins (121)

2. Mike Sweeney, Royals (115)

3. Carlos Pena, Tigers (107)

4. Ben Broussard, Indians (103)

5. Paul Konerko, White Sox (85)

Second Base

1. Ron Belliard, Indians (89)

2. Fernando Vina, Tigers (82)

3. Luis Rivas, Twins (80)

4. Juan Uribe, White Sox (78)

5. Desi Relaford, Royals (73)

Shortstop

1. Jose Valentin, White Sox (103)

2. Carlos Guillen, Tigers (102)

3. Angel Berroa, Royals (96)

4. Omar Vizquel, Indians (80)

5. Cristian Guzman, Twins (77)

Third Base

1. Corey Koskie, Twins (121)

2. Eric Munson, Tigers (101)

3. Joe Randa, Royals (99)

4. Casey Blake, Indians (95)

5. Joe Crede, White Sox (94)

Leftfield

1. Rondell White, Tigers (119)

2. Carlos Lee, White Sox (116)

3. Shannon Stewart, Twins (113)

4. Matt Lawton, Indians (107)

4. Aaron Guiel, Royals (107)

Centerfield

1. Milton Bradley, Indians (151)

2. Carlos Beltran, Royals (126)

3. Aaron Rowand, White Sox (104)

4. Torii Hunter, Twins (97)

5. Alex Sanchez, Tigers (82)

Rightfield

1. Magglio Ordonez, White Sox (142)

2. Juan Gonzalez, Royals (123)

3. Jody Gerut, Indians (122)

4. Jacque Jones, Twins (106)

5. Bobby Higginson, Tigers (86)

Designated Hitter

1. Frank Thomas, White Sox (149)

2. Dmitri Young, Tigers (142)

3. Travis Hafner, Indians (118)

4. Matt LeCroy, Twins (115)

5. Ken Harvey, Royals (80)

Looks like they should have a competent offense in this division and if they can replace Higginson with Ross and get a CF who can hit, it could be better than that. Plus I think we can expect some improvement out of Munson and Pena this season now that they have some protection in the lineup and aren't expected to do as much.

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Originally posted by tigersrok

Hmm ... Baseball Prospectus thinks he'll be the best hitting catcher in the majors next season by their predictions. Posada and Lopez are older than him and had career years playing in some of the best offenses in the game.

and lord knows some of us are only allowed to promulgate the beliefs of BP! for the record i do think irod will be more productive at the plate than javy lopez. also, jorge posada was actually a little better in 2000 i believe. that said, I think irod will probably be the third most productive (solely in terms of offense) catcher in 2004, behind both posada and piazza.

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Originally posted by lionstigersand...

and lord knows some of us are only allowed to promulgate the beliefs of BP! for the record i do think irod will be more productive at the plate than javy lopez. also, jorge posada was actually a little better in 2000 i believe. that said, I think irod will probably be the third most productive (solely in terms of offense) catcher in 2004, behind both posada and piazza.

Actually, Posada had never been more productive than IRod until last season

Posada OPS+

1996 -46

1997 102

1998 114

1999 97

2000 134

2001 119

2002 123

2003 146

Rodriguez OPS+

1996 104

1997 114

1998 120

1999 125

2000 152

2001 130

2002 123

2003 124

So Posada has one career year and all of the sudden he's a better hitter than IRod? There's so much talk about IRod declining because of his age, but what about Posada? He's older than IRod, so shouldn't he decline faster?

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Originally posted by Tigers2156

I think Maroth will do alright, people look too much into his 20 loses last season.

I don't care about the losses (otherwise - why should I be optimistic about Bonderman, he lost 19?), they don't matter to me. What matters are his ERA, his WHIP and his k-rate. And how he developed statswise. His stats, especially at home, were much better 2002 than last year. But I like him and I hope he'll improve, I'm just not that optimistic.

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He's older than IRod, so shouldn't he decline faster?

haha! i don't know if those 3 months will play quite as significantly as one might think! here's the difference for me: i see posada's offensive skill set as being less affected by age than irod's. irod is a contact hitter with marginal plate discipline and above average power. posada, for their careers, has 30 points of obp on him, in order for him to continue to stay in that .350 obp neighborhood he needs to continue to hit .300+, and i don't think he will, the only question is when will the decline become more noticable, i'm guessing soon. both players will most likely see slug% declines over the coming seasons, i just see the disparity in the other area as the main difference. all of ignores the fact that piazza (he did say all of baseball) is still a better offensive player than both of them.

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Originally posted by lionstigersand...

haha! i don't know if those 3 months will play quite as significantly as one might think! here's the difference for me: i see posada's offensive skill set as being less affected by age than irod's. irod is a contact hitter with marginal plate discipline and above average power. posada, for their careers, has 30 points of obp on him, in order for him to continue to stay in that .350 obp neighborhood he needs to continue to hit .300+, and i don't think he will, the only question is when will the decline become more noticable, i'm guessing soon. both players will most likely see slug% declines over the coming seasons, i just see the disparity in the other area as the main difference. all of ignores the fact that piazza (he did say all of baseball) is still a better offensive player than both of them.

You're ignoring the fact that Posada has only been more productive than IRod for one season. You're right that Posada does walk more, but IRod took 55 walks last season; his OBP was .369 last year. He showed improvement in that area. If he can continue that trend, he will be fine. IRod might actually see his SLG% improve this year since Comerica played better for right handed power hitters last year than Pro Player, I believe.

Piazza is moving to 1B. He is 35 years old and can no longer play catcher without being susceptable to injuries and his defense, which was always bad, has deteriorated to abysmal. By your theory of players decling at an older age, it would seem like Piazza would be the least productive of all three. He had injuries last season, but wasn't any more productive than IRod was last year.

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irod did walk a career high 55 times last season, and if can continue to illustrate that type of plate discipline, then i imagine there's a decent chance i'll be wrong, i just don't happen to think that he will. your primary problem imo, trok, is that you're using a rate stat that doesn't take playing time into account, and playing time/durability is a good portion of my argument - since we're talking about 2004 expectations.

now for some other numbers:

career EQA's:

irod - .282

posada - .295

now obviously irod's numbers are significantly downgraded from his first few seasons - however even if we take note of his increases in production over the course of the last 7 seasons - we also have to take note of the fact that he's already aging worse than posada imo. basically 2000 was a wash in terms of productivity (irod .318 EQA, posada .317) however when one takes into account the fact that irod accounted for 71 EQR's compared to posada's 103 - due to the fact that posada enjoyed a better than 200 plate appearance advantage over irod. coincidentally, irod has averaged just 468 pa's over the past 4 seasons compared to posada's 591. while their level of productivity has remained actually quite similar, irod's relative fragility over these last few seasons (and the one year in which their pa's were similar, last year, posada was better all the way around) have made his team contributions on offense, less than posada's - i'm wagering on this trend continuing.

is piazza's move to 1b full time? i was under the impression that he was going to get a decent number of ab's while catching next season. if this is the case, i'll still probably refer to him as the most productive hitting catcher - assuming his offensive line merits such a claim.

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"if he can continue to illustrate that type of plate discipline, then i imagine there's a decent chance i'll be wrong, i just don't happen to think that he will."

Gosh, you don't "think" that he will keep up the walk rate? It seems to me that your argument is COMPLETELY based on your suppositions and beliefs and isn't rooted in factual evidence at all. Read every scouting report and it will tell you that IRod was willing to go deeper into the count last year than he previously was. If he keeps seeing/taking more pitches, he should be able to keep up the walk rate.

The problem with the numbers you just used is two fold: (1) IRod was rushed to the majors at age 19, and his production those first few years brings down his overall numbers (as you said), while Posada, I believe, spent 3 years at AAA. Why don't use use the numbers from the time on that both were in the majors as I did? That only seems fair, as Posada had a significant advantage of seeing plenty of high level minor league pitching. He was at an older age when he made his debut and was more ready for the majors. (2) How do IRod's injuries affect the caliber of hitter he was? The statistics show that he was absolutely a better hitter than Posada every year than last. The only way you are able to skew the stats in your favor is to take injuries into account and use the numbers from when IRod was 19-20 years old and rushed to the majors. It seems to me you are making more suppositions. You can't say that "because IRod was on the DL a few times from 200-2002 that he will be on the DL again in 2004" or that "Because Posada had a career year in the year that they were both healthy, 'I'll wager' he will be better again." Javy Lopez posted better stats in a season where both he and IRod were completely healthy, why don't you believe that he will be better than IRod next season? You can't have it both ways. The fact remains that before last season, Posada had never had better pure hitting stats (OPS+) than IRod. So I'm not sure how his career year definately makes him the better hitter.

Bottom line, I'll take the word of Baseball Prospectus/PECOTA over your "beliefs" and "wagers." They are actually using a complicated statistical projection system while you are basing your argument on hypotheticals and what YOU THINK will happen to each player next season. And Baseball Prospectus obviously doesn't agree with your point of view.

And Piazza is going to play catcher enough to get the 5 or so HR he needs to set the all-time HR record at catcher and then shift to first base. At least that's how I understood it.

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The Detroit Tigers have the worst starting pitching staff in all of baseball. By far. This team as a whole isn't better than 2002, and without some late acquisitions, the 2004 version is guaranteed to lose 95 games, even without injuries. Gaping holes in the defense will make all optimistic predictions null and void. More of the same. 12 years saddled with the worst owner in all of professional sports.

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Originally posted by tigersrok

" The statstics show that he was absolutely a better hitter than Posada every year than last.

I'm not sure what the argument is here? Who is a better all-time catcher or who is a better hitter now? Neither one is all that close. IRod is much better all time, and Posada has been better every year since 1999.

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Originally posted by Woodpecke®

12 years saddled with the worst owner in all of professional sports.

This is something I will never understand. How can anyone seriously believe this?

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Originally posted by Glevin

I'm not sure what the argument is here? Who is a better all-time catcher or who is a better hitter now? Neither one is all that close. IRod is much better all time, and Posada has been better every year since 1999.

Posada has been a better hitter or has he been healthier? I think it's the latter.

I'm just going to drop this argument, because neither you nor LTW is going to convince me that Posada was a better hitter from 1999-2002 "because he got more playing time and therefore scored/created more equivilent runs" when his OPS+ was clearly inferior. That would be like me calling Juan Gonzalez a better hitter even though Barry Bonds posted a better OPS+, but Bonds was injured for part of the season so he didn't create as many runs for his team. The fact of the matter is that Posada had a career year last year playing in one of the best offenses in MLB. I don't think that one career year definately makes him a better hitter. But you both can have your opinions and Baseball Prospectus/PECOTA and I can have ours.

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Gosh, you don't "think" that he will keep up the walk rate? It seems to me that your argument is COMPLETELY based on your suppositions and beliefs and isn't rooted in factual evidence at all.

no i don't "think" that irod will reproduce the bb rate we saw in 2003, and i'm "basing" that "supposition" on the 5600 major league ab's irod recorded prior to 2003! now i really don't know why irod was apparently more "willing" to work deeper into counts last season than at any point prior in a 13 year career, and i'm going to wager that you might not either - that said, i guess i'm just slightly more willing at this point in time to chalk it up to something other than a new skill - hopefully, i'm wrong.

The problem with the numbers you just used two fold: (1) IRod was rushed to the majors at age 19, and his production those first few years brings down his overall numbers (as you said), while Posada, I believe, spent 3 years at AAA. Why don't use use the numbers from the time on that both were in the majors as I did?

a, i agree and have already acknowledged as much. but then again, i'm not arguing that jorge posada has had a better major league career than ivan rodriguez - you seem to want to make that into our argument, but when i'm in agreement with you regarding that, i'm not sure where that gets us. but to indulge this new discussion - as far as pudge's first few season's hurting his career numbers, of course the same is true of posada's (and virtually every other major leaguer's) first few seasons). one more time - i'm not saying that jorge posada has had a better (see more productive) majore league career - frankly, it's not even a contest, but this thread was about who's going to be the more productive major leaguer in 2004 - i think it's going to be posada, you think irod. oh and by the way, pecota, contrary to your assertions, seems to think they're going to be damn near identical (irod has a .1 advantage in terms of value over replacement player) in terms of offensive production in 2004!

How do IRod's injuries affect the caliber of hitter he was? The statistics show that he was absolutely a better hitter than Posada every year than last. The only way you are able to skew the stats in your favor is to take injuries into account...

first of all, if you don't think playing time and injuries factor into a players production, then i really don't know what to say to you. and while you're correct in that i can't say that i know irod will be injured in 2004, or that posada won't - i think the fact that posada has averaged nearly 130 more pa's over the course of the last 4 seasons is clearly something that works in posada's favor in terms of providing value to his team. i'll tell you what, jsut for kicks, why don't you take a look at the 2000 season and you tell me who think had the more productive season? the problem with your assertions, and use of ops+ (besides the very obvious one i pointed previously), is that the rangers gave as much pt to bill hasselman, randy knorr and bj waszgis as they did pudge! just as in 2004, if the tigers lose pudge for any extended period of time, we'll be forced to endure more binge, and a side of difelice - now i realize the same could be said about NY and posada, but the recent health trends both players are establishing don't suggest that it's quite as likely - other factors that might contribute to this, and i actually read this in BP so i'm sure you'll really take to it, is that posada didn't start catching until much later in his career (relative to irod) so his knees and back haven't been subjected to nearly the amount of abuse that pudge's have.

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a little more fuel to the fire:

pecota projections for 2004:

ab/bb/bavg/obp/slug - eqobp/eqslug/eqmlvr/vorp

Irod:

454/41/.285/.347/.465 - .352/.495/.112/35.4

podada:

417/67/.261/.368/.460 - .377/.478/.108/35.3

incidentally, they also think that their relative defensive contributions will be pretty similar too! wow! not exactly the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it!

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The point you made earlier in the thread was "actually he's probably not even the best hitting catcher in the american league."

So I showed you a 2004 prediction system that liked I-Rod to be the best offensive catcher in the majors (and yes, I was aware of the margin) and showed you some career stats that say that Posada has only been a better HITTER than I-Rod in one year, last year's career year. Obviously, if someone is getting 130 more plate appearances a year, they are going to create/score more runs for their team. I don't see why that's even an issue. You can't compare the stats you are when the playing time differs so much. I am used OPS+ because it is a very relevent stat to this discussion despite your cries that it's not. It's park adjusted and accounts for differences in playing time, and when put on the same level, Jorge Posada has only been a better HITTER than Ivan Rodriguez one year of his career. That's what I thought this discussion was about. You said "the best hitting catcher" so I pulled out some stats that showed who the best hitting catcher has been. But you seem to want to make this discussion about playing time now, which doesn't make much sense to me at all.

Honestly, you are looking a little hypocritical in my eyes. Mike Piazza had an injury plagued season last year, is 35 years old, and posted the exact same OPS+ as I-Rod last year, yet you seem to still think that he will be the best hitting catcher. You're ignoring his low plate appearances last year, and the fact that he's 35 years old and can no longer catch and his offensive production is very likely to drop off. But at the same time you are using Rodriguez's injuries from a few seasons ago against him. In case you missed it, he was fully healthy all season last year. Why use Rodriguez's old injuries against him while ignoring Piazza's injurues FROM LAST SEASON? It's also a little hypocritical to say that you don't think Javy Lopez will be a better hitter than I-Rod but Posada will. In case you missed it again, both were 32-year-old catchers who had career years last year and who had never been better HITTERS (OPS+) than Rodriguez in the past. It seems to me that posters like you and Glevin would like any player from any other team over the ones on the Tigers. There is a cause for negativity, but to you guys the grass is always greener on the other side, and I would bet that the fans of most major league teams would love to have I-Rod as their catcher (on an ESPN survey 54% of the people thought he was the best catcher in the majors, while 30% chose Posada and this was a sample of 100,000+ people). And maybe the fact that Rodriguez had those injuries a few seasons ago could actually extend his career because of the time he lost behind the dish that would have been putting more wear and tear on his body. Posada was being subjected to that strain while Rodriguez was on the bench, so that could actually be working in his favor.

As for the walk rate, it could be a fluke, but I tend to believe scouting reports that said he changed his approach at the plate. Even looking at his GB/FB ratio, you can see he changed his approach from what he was doing at the Ballpark In Arlington after he conceded that Pro Player wasn't nearly the HR park that the one in Texas was (from ESPN scouting report as well.) If he is willing to take more pitches as he was last year, his walk rate should stay at a good level.

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Originally posted by lionstigersand...

incidentally, they also think that their relative defensive contributions will be pretty similar too! wow! not exactly the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it!

Then why your insistance that Posada is the best hitting catcher in the AL? It works both ways here. You're the one that first made it an issue when you told the poster that Rodriguez is not the best hitting catcher in the majors, or in the AL. I showed you that he very well could be. Why even make the point if the difference is so miniscule as you are making it sound now?

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Originally posted by tigersrok

Posada has been a better hitter or has he been healthier? I think it's the latter.

I'm just going to drop this argument, because neither you nor LTW is going to convince me that Posada was a better hitter from 1999-2002 "because he got more playing time and therefore scored/created more equivilent runs" when his OPS+ was clearly inferior. That would be like me calling Juan Gonzalez a better hitter even though Barry Bonds posted a better OPS+, but Bonds was injured for part of the season so he didn't create as many runs for his team. The fact of the matter is that Posada had a career year last year playing in one of the best offenses in MLB. I don't think that one career year definately makes him a better hitter. But you both can have your opinions and Baseball Prospectus/PECOTA and I can have ours.

You're simple wrong on this.

2000-Pudge-382 PAs, 152 OPS+

2000-Posada-612 PAs, 134 OPS+

2001-Pudge-465 PAs, 130 OPS+

2001-Posada-546 PAs, 134 OPS+

2002-Pudge-433 PAs, 123 OPS+

2002-Posada-592 PAs, 123 OPS+

2003-Pudge-566 PAs, 124 OPS+

2003-Posada-574 PAs, 146 OPS+

You can make a case for Pudge being better in 2000, but Posada's 230 more PAs are very important. You really need to look at what replacement level was to say who was more valuable. @0021, Posada was better and healthier. In 2002, they were equal but Posada had 159 more PAs which gives him a huge edge overall. In 2003, Posada was just much better.

I don't see how you can seperate "better" and "healthier" anyway. Part of being good is being able to stay healthy. Quite frankly, I'm not even sure what stats you're trying to use, because all of them will say the same thing. Posada has been a better hitter than Pudge over the last 4 years.

Have a look at their 3-year splits from ESPN

Pudge-1476 ABs, .357 OBP, .516 SLG, .873 OPS

Posada-1731 PAs, .379 OBP, .486 SLG, .865 OPS

Even if you don't take park factors into account (Which is a rather large factor), Posada is a lot better because he's producing at very close to the same rate as Pudge for an extra half season of play. Once you take park factors into effect, Posada looks even better.

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The point you made earlier in the thread was "actually he's probably not even the best hitting catcher in the american league."

So I showed you a 2004 prediction system that liked I-Rod to be the best offensive catcher in the majors (and yes, I was aware of the margin) and showed you some career stats that say that Posada has only been a better HITTER than I-Rod in one year, last year's career year. "

and that's because i don't think he currently is the best hitting catcher in the american league, and the thread actually changed soon after your assertion that BP thinks he'll be the best hitting catcher in the majors in '04 which you obiously concurred with - this all despite the fact that BP thinks posada will be as good offensively as irod in '04.

after that we've devolved into a another semantical mess it appears. frankly, i still think posada has been a better hitter over each of the past 4 seasons. not only because the numbers are closer than you let on, but with the added benefit of posada's extra PA's, the disparity in the amount of runs created between the two becomes more noticable.

And maybe the fact that Rodriguez had those injuries a few seasons ago could actually extend his career because of the time he lost behind the dish that would have been putting more wear and tear on his body. Posada was being subjected to that strain while Rodriguez was on the bench, so that could actually be working in his favor.

i'm not sure how this works to help rebut the argument. pudge has more than 6 full seasons worth of games caught than posada.

now regarding the tangent that you ran off on piazza, and my "hypocritical" view regarding his relative health record - he's been marginally more healthy than pudge over the stretch previously stated - the real problem here is that piazza has been so far and away superior offensively that it'll take a pretty nasty decline for his offense to dip below what i envision pudge will do in '04. certainly not impossible, but i like piazza's chances in at least one more go around.

I am used OPS+ because it is a very relevent stat to this discussion despite your cries that it's not. It's park adjusted and accounts for differences in playing time,

how exactly does ops+ account for playing time??? if you mean that it's simply a rate stat, and therefore ignores playing time entirely, than yes, but again, part of the argument or knock against pudge, has to be playing time over the past few seasons! once again, if he's not playing, then your backup catcher is, and that doesn't help a team.

Then why your insistance that Posada is the best hitting catcher in the AL?

because he was last season, and i think he will be again in 2004.

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Baseball Reference lists the stats as such:

Posada Pudge

2000 134 152

2001 119 130

2002 123 123

2003 146 124

It looks like you copied 2000's OPS+ line for Posada twice, unless the stats I'm reading are wrong, which I doubt because they have been right for every other year. Thus, Posada has only had a better OPS+ for one year, as I have been stating all along. You're the one that could make the case that Posada was better in 2003 and that's it. Also, Piazza's OPS+ last year was 124, the same as Rodriguez's so it could be said that Mike will decline even more due to his age. He wasn't so far above IRod last year as you make it seem.

I don't think this discussion even matters anymore. They are both very good hitting catchers. Lets leave it at that. This has gotten old. You're not changing my opinion and I'm not changung yours.

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Originally posted by tigersrok

Baseball Reference lists the stats as such:

Posada Pudge

2000 134 152

2001 119 130

2002 123 123

2003 146 124

It looks like you copied 2000's OPS+ line for Posada twice, unless the stats I'm reading are wrong, which I doubt because they have been right for every other year. Thus, Posada has only had a better OPS+ for one year, as I have been stating all along. You're the one that could make the case that Posada was better in 2003 and that's it. Also, Piazza's OPS+ last year was 124, the same as Rodriguez's so it could be said that Mike will decline even more due to his age. He wasn't so far above IRod last year as you make it seem.

I don't think this discussion even matters anymore. They are both very good hitting catchers. Lets leave it at that. This has gotten old. You're not changing my opinion and I'm not changung yours.

You are right about 2001. Pudge was better. But WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, Posada has been MUCH better over the last two years. There simply is no way around that.

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Originally posted by wendyw

They might win seventy games and thats only if they can get some consistent pitching.

Thank you Captain Obvious.

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The problem with OPS and OPS+ is that it weights OBP and SLG equally. Looking at a couple metrics that weight them closer to their actual value (OBP is more valuable than SLG in general) over the last three years:

OWP ('00,'01,'02',03)

Posada .657,.566, .576, .693

Pudge .649, .611, .568, .597

RCAA (includes playing time)

Posada 35, 12,13, 37

Pudge 24, 18, 10, 17

EQA

Posada .317, .288, .294, .317

Pudge .318, .293, .295, .292

Basically they are very close offensively, but in terms of rat eof production, Pudge has been slightly better, while Posada has been slightly better in terms of health.

Incidentally, Pudge is projected at a VORP of 35.4, while Posada is projected at a VORP of 35.3, so PECOTA at least, thinks they will both be essentially equal this year as well, at least on offense.

If healthy, the Tigers have a chance at having the best offense in the AL Central, and an above average offense overall (Top 5 is a stretch though). They also have a shot at the worst pitching staff in the AL, and their is no way Urbina is worth 5 extra wins for this team.

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their is no way Urbina is worth 5 extra wins for this team

Maybe not to Boston, New York, or Chicago...

But, I can see on why someone said that. I mean, how many "blown saves" would Matt Anderson had, if he was our closer for even the first half? I think he meant, Urbina could have cut that down...considering he is a proven, major league closer.

Oh, and if this team wins 73 games...

What -- that's like a 30 game increase, is it not?

That's the number I'm shooting for.

:classic:

GO TIGERS!!

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Motown Sports Blog



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