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Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever, #199 CHET LEMON

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


#199 CHET LEMON CF White Sox/Tigers
1975-90
OPS+ 120
BFW 18.5
WARP3 98.3

Like Cey, a player from the 70s and 80s who you would not automatically think of as being one of the 200 best major league baseball players ever - like Cey, Lemon's value was overlooked because of the offensive spike which followed his career and a lack of awareness of the value of defense. Lemon also spent his career pretty far outside the baseball media centers; Lemon had a 9.8 WARP3 for that '84 Tiger team that won 104 games and the WS - second highest to Trammell (11.1) - that was a helluva team; Trammell, Whitaker, and Evans all oughta be in the HOF with Lemon in the next tier - and then Parrish (87.2 career WARP3) and Morris (85.0) at the next level. Throw in Gibson and a career year from Willie Hernandez (9.0 WARP3) and that's just a great, great team. If you started asking even hardcore Tiger fans who had the best seasons from their WS team - I wonder how many would be able to place Chet Lemon second. It is an absolute coincidence, literally with no massaging whatsoever, that next on the list, at #198, is going to be Bob Lemon.

2008 AL All Star Roster

See the previous post please for the prefatory discussion of the rosters.

AL All Star Roster w/ WARP3

STARTERS
C
Joe Mauer
Minnesota
9.1
1B
Kevin Youkilis
Boston
7.9
2B
Dustin Pedroia
Boston
8.1
3B
Alex Rodriguez
New York
8.1
SS
Derek Jeter
New York
3.5
OF
Josh Hamilton
Texas
7.6
OF
Manny Ramirez
Boston
5.9
OF
Ichiro Suzuki
Seattle
7.6
DH
# David Ortiz
Boston
2.9


PITCHERS
RHP
@Justin Duchscherer
Oakland
6.7
RHP
Roy Halladay
Toronto
8.4
LHP
Scott Kazmir
Tampa Bay
4.5
LHP
Cliff Lee
Cleveland
9.1
RHP
@Joe Nathan
Minnesota
5.9
RHP
Jonathan Papelbon
Boston
5.7
RHP
Mariano Rivera
New York
8.9
RHP
Francisco Rodriguez
Los Angeles
6.7
RHP
Ervin Santana
Los Angeles
6.1
LHP
Joe Saunders
Los Angeles
6.4
LHP
@George Sherrill
Baltimore
4.8
RHP
@Joakim Soria
Kansas City
6.4


RESERVES
C
@Dioner Navarro
Tampa Bay
7.3
C
Jason Varitek
Boston
3.4
1B
Justin Morneau
Minnesota
7.9
2B
Ian Kinsler
Texas
10.4
SS
Michael Young
Texas
8.5
3B
Joe Crede
Chicago
5.5
3B
@Carlos Guillen
Detroit
6.6
OF
J.D. Drew
Boston
7.9
Carlos Quentin
Chicago
6.1
OF
Grady Sizemore
Cleveland
7.9
DH
Milton Bradley
Texas
8.4


Mauer and Navarro are the two catchers I picked; having a 3rd catcher makes sense, but there really isn't one deserving. Pudge Rodriguez is 6.1, and not for nothing, but he's a first ballot Hall of Famer. In fact, keep reading the relaunched list of the 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players ever to see the historical esteem in which Ivan Rodriguez should be held. He should be the 3rd catcher this season instead of Varitek. I took Giambi (6.2) as my backup to Youkilis at first, but Morneau's having a better season, they got that right. The fans picked Pedroia, who is having a good year, but not as good as Kinsler, who still has the highest WARP3 in the AL, or my choice for backup, Brian Roberts (9.6). Adding Roberts would allow the AL to drop Sherill as the Oriole rep, which would be an upgrade. My AL starting shortstop is also the backup, also from the Rangers, and he's having a wildly better year than Jeter, who frankly, has been terrible. I named Jeter as my backup, but that's dumb; Orlando Cabrera's WARP3 is 7.3, he should be the backup to Young. But Jeter, as the SI player poll correctly noted, is the most overrated player in baseball and the fans voted him to start.


My third basemen were ARod, Guillen, and Longoria (10.2) Evan Longoria not only is having a better year than Joe Crede (and is a rookie playing for the best team in baseball) but he's having a better year than ARod. The worst decision made this year was not naming him to the team; you should vote early and often to make him the 32nd player on the AL roster. They did a great job with the AL OF, my only difference was Jermaine Dye (8.5) instead of Ichiro. Ichiro and Manny won the fan vote - actually, Ichiro's WARP3 is significantly better than Manny's and Carlos Quentin's - it's the two of them who shouldn't be going to the All Star game, Ichiro's a good choice. In the NL post, I said that Brian Wilson was the worst All Star this year; technically, it's David Ortiz (2.9) elected by the fans, but he won't play with the injury - he's replaced by Bradley and should be. Taking Quentin over Dye is a weird decision.


There are 6 closers on the AL roster. This is ridiculous. I speak to this at more length in my NL post where I'm irritated with their having 4 closers. I chose 3 for each league, and that's probably 1 more than I'd actually pick if you put me in charge (and you should). As with the NL, 7 of my 12 pitchers made the roster. Instead of Kazmir (4.5) Sherrill (4.8) KRod (6.7) Santana (6.1) and Papelbon (5.7) I had Danks (7.6) Marcum (6.3) King Felix (7.8) Harden (4.5) and Greinke (6.5). Sherill was chosen to get an Oriole, but as discussed, Brian Roberts could fix that. If they replaced Varitek with Pudge, they'd have a Tiger; then they wouldn't need Guillen, who could be replaced by Roberts. Replace Kazmir with Danks, Sherill with Felix -- KRod is a better choice than Harden, Marcum's had a better year than Santana, but he's hurt, so that's a reasonable swap - and then take Greinke over Papelbon. Cliff Lee should start for the AL. Go vote for Evan Longoria.

2008 NL All Star Roster

In a previous post, I put together my rosters for next Tuesday's MLB all Star Game as dictated by WARP3. Here is the roster for the NL as elected by the fans and named by the players and manager (Hurdle) along with the WARP3 for each.

NL All Star Rosters w/WARP3


STARTERS
C
Geovany Soto
Chicago
8.2
1B
Lance Berkman
Houston
11.4
2B
Chase Utley
Philadelphia
12.3
3B
Chipper Jones
Atlanta
10.4
SS
Hanley Ramirez
Florida
9.9
OF
Ryan Braun
Milwaukee
7.6
OF
Alfonso Soriano
Chicago
5.1
OF
Kosuke Fukudome
Chicago
6.8
PITCHERS


RHP
@Aaron Cook
Colorado
8.1
RHP
Ryan Dempster
Chicago
5.6
RHP
@Dan Haren
Arizona
8.2
RHP
Brad Lidge
Philadelphia
6
RHP
Tim Lincecum
San Francisco
7.9
RHP
Ben Sheets
Milwaukee
6.6
RHP
Edinson Volquez
Cincinnati
8.6
LHP
@Billy Wagner
New York
4
RHP
Brandon Webb
Arizona
6.9
RHP
Brian Wilson
San Francisco
3.2
RHP
Kerry Wood
Chicago
6.3
RHP
@Carlos Zambrano
CHC
7.4


RESERVES
C
Russell Martin
Los Angeles
8.2
C
@Brian McCann
Atlanta
8.1
1B
Adrian Gonzalez
San Diego
7.9
1B
@Albert Pujols
St. Louis
10.3
2B
Dan Uggla
Florida
10.7
3B
Aramis Ramirez
Chicago
6.6
SS
@Cristian Guzman
Washington
5.9
SS
Miguel Tejada
Houston
6.6
OF
Matt Holliday
Colorado
8
OF
Ryan Ludwick
St. Louis
8.2
OF
Nate McLouth
Pittsburgh
6.9


So, who's missing?


Well, the NL catcher with the highest WARP3 is Ryan Doumit of the Pirates (9.1) but with Soto winning the fan vote, McCann and Martin (who, as is Soto, are all having worthy seasons) Martin's the only rep from the Dodgers, but Doumit could have gone ahead of McCann. I had all 3 first basemen on my roster, so they got that right. We also match at second base; note that Utley continues to have the highest WARP3 in all of MLB. The fans got the starter, Hanley Ramirez, right at SS - but Tejada and Guzman don't make a lot of sense backing up. Jose Reyes's WARP3 is 9.7; he's having a much better season and oughta be the backup. I had Furcal as the last guy on my NL roster; that's also error as his WARP3 is 4.4, given his missed playing time. With Berkman, Tejada isn't needed on the NL roster; Guzman's the only National; I got around that by taking their closer, Jon Rauch. Put Rauch on the roster, take off Brian Wilson (he's my guy, but at 3.2, he's the All Star having the worst season of all 62) and add Pat Burrell as the 7th OF for the NL. His WARP3 is 9.1 and it's nuts he hasn't made the team. Presumably, if he doesn't win the 32nd player vote in the NL, he'll be named to replace Soriano, who won't be able to play. Chipper won the fan vote at third, which was right; my backup was David Wright, whose WARP3 is 7.9, higher than Ramirez, and he should have gotten that spot. My OF differences were Burrell (9.1) Bay (7.7) and Beltran (7.0) in for Soriano and Fukudome (both elected by the fans, neither should have been, but the fans vote for who they vote, and Fukudome's close enough to Beltran that it's fine). Of the reserves, McLouth should have been swapped for his teammate Bay.


Of the arms, I had 7 of the 12 selected on my roster - Volquez, at 8.6, has the highest WARP3, so he'd be my starter next Tuesday, if he doesn't start for the Reds this weekend. The fundamental disagreement I have with the structure of contemporary All-Star rosters are the number of closers named; 4 of the 12 NL pitchers are closers; I chose 3 - and honestly, even choosing 3 was bowing to the reality over closer overrepresentation. Starting pitchers are more valuable than closers, even elite closers. The innings difference worked is vast, and given that managers use closers around the save rule, there is a percentage of time where the highest leverage innings are actually thrown by the set up men. So, not on my roster were Wagner (a terrible pick, chosen because he's the only Met, but both Reyes and Wright should make the team) Wilson (the most undeserving All Star this season, there's no good reason he's on the team) Dempster, Webb, and Cook (he's deserving, they got that right). As mentioned, I had Rauch (6.5) which would have solved the Wagner, Wilson, Guzman, Reyes issues all with one pick -- Jurrjens (5.5 - shouldn't make the team, Cook's a better choice) Santana (6.5 - not as good as Webb but stronger than Dempster) Hudson (5.8, shouldn't make it) and Hamels (7.9). Swap Rauch in for Wilson, Hamels in for Wagner, and Santana in for Dempster. Neither of the Braves from my roster should make it; Cook's a better choice.


Both Burrell and Wright are on the list for the 32nd player, which you can go vote for at mlb.com; a Giant, Aaron Rowand (7.3) would be the 3rd best player (Corey Hart is 6.1, Carlos Lee is 5.4) are the other 2 eligible. Go vote for Wright; I assume Burrell will replace Soriano anyway.

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