As Bill pointed out yesterday in our debut here at Getting Blanked, we are new here. You might have read our work at our blog, The Platoon Advantage, or caught us occasionally posting at the WWL that shall not be named. But we’re also trying to figure out how we’re going to fit in around here. You’re lucky we figured out how to turn the lights on. So rather than be original, which I totally promise to be from now on,I’m absolutely going to rip off the same idea that Bill ripped off. So, in honor of the holiday today, here are things I don’t believe in anymore:
Alexi Ogando is like Santa Claus
Every kid loves Santa Claus. I mean, he’s an old dude who is always watching you and wants you to sit in his lap, so what’s not to love? After all, he brings you presents each year, probably to buy your silence, so that’s great. So when you found out that your favorite jolly old elf/probable pederast wasn’t real, it undoubtedly crushed you like it crushed me. You learned the horrible truth that your parents were dirty liars. Get ready to feel that way all over again.
Like Santa, Alexi Ogando keeps giving presents to good Rangers fans every time his turn in the rotation is up, but Ogando is pretty much all smoke and mirrors at the moment. With just 14 strikeouts in 24 innings, he allows far too much contact. And most of that contact is in the air and hit hard, with a 0.68 GB/FB ratio and scary 11.8% HR/FB. Fortunately for the Rangers, Ogando has benefited greatly from luck and his defense, and is buoyed by a ridiculous .155 BABIP. This is all about to come crashing down around his head.
The irony is that he was an incredibly effective reliever, who struck out almost a batter per inning and induced a ton of grounders. But in dialing back his stuff somewhat so that he could go deeper into games, Ogando has unwittingly sealed his own doom by becoming much more hittable. Unless he can reverse the course charted by his first four starts, Ogando’s probably headed back to the bullpen by the All Star Break. Meanwhile, the best pitcher the team has continues to rot in the closer role, waiting for his team to “need” him to protect a three or four run lead in the 9th.
Jake Peavy is like the Easter Bunny
Every year, when I was a kid, I looked forward to Easter Sunday, eager to get up early and find out what the Easter Bunny brought me. And you know what? It was never any good. The return on toys was so pitiful compared to Christmas, and, since my father is a dentist, we never got much in the way of candy. All in all, it was hugely anti-climatic.
Which is how it’s going to be when Jake Peavy comes back, if he comes back. When the White Sox acquired Peavy in 2009, he was supposed to give them a rotation anchor, a 1A starter to help them vault the Twins in the AL Central. Instead, they got a fragile doll who has pitched 20 games since June of ‘09, and who is currently suffering setbacks while doing rehabilitation in Birmingham.
If and when he comes back, Jake Peavy is not going to be the man Kenny Williams thought he was trading for when he gave up four young pitchers. He’ll spend the rest of his career bouncing between the active roster, the DL, and rehab assignments. In about a year, he’ll announce that he’s interested in becoming a reliever, but that too will prove too taxing for him. He’ll wind up on the same circuit as Brandon Webb, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets, getting one-year make-good deals that he’ll end up not being able to follow through on, given his healthy problems. As a Twins fan, I’m pretty glad a rival’s weakened, even as I feel horrible for the frustrations that Peavy’s got to be feeling and that will only get worse as he struggles to get healthy.
Pedro Alvarez is like Someday, I’ll Get Another Good Night of Sleep
When I became a parent, I was sure that there was going to be a split division of labor. That we’d share equally in things like: putting The Boy to bed, getting up in the morning, etc. What I neglected to account for is that The Boy has his own preferences, all of which include making sure that I am with him for as long as possible to bookend his day. Therefore, since he was roughly one, I haven’t slept past 6:30, nor gone to bed before midnight. Frankly, I’m a wreck. And we decided to have another one of these things! God, what idiots. I feel stupid for even believing this lie for a second.
But, then again, there’s Pedro Alvarez, who had a 111 OPS+ last year in almost 400 PAs. That looked pretty impressive for a 23 year old. He had me believing just enough to look past his horrible strikeout rate (34.3%) that would have been third highest in baseball last year if he’d gotten enough plate appearances and eye-gougingly bad defense. This year, his BB% has fallen, his K% is way up, and his power has disappeared.
No more! Now I see Alvarez for what he is: a hacker with no ability to recognize a breaking ball or off-speed pitch, who probably needs more time in the minors to work on pitch recognition and to get read for a transition to 1B. As it is, he’s just wasting at bats at the Major League level.
Joe Mauer is Superman
OK, so this isn’t a simile. And it’s not a metaphor either. I’m pretty convinced America’s Catcher is Superman. And don’t you want to believe in Superman so badly? I do. A guy who just flies around and is good all time (unless exposed to the red kryptonite, obviously). Superman, who became a symbol for what Americans felt were their natural might and strength and morality in the middle part of the 20th century, is an ideal to aspire to, and a little part of every kid believes in a man fast enough to make the world spin backwards or strong enough to stop a runaway train.
As a Twins fan, I want to keep believing in Joe Mauer, I really do. But despite being in the “Run Joe Mauer Into the Ground” camp for a long time now, I’m starting to think that he can’t stay behind the plate beyond the end of 2011. His recent bout with Bilateral Leg Weakness, while a freak occurrence, is another in a long pattern of injury for Super Joe. His Injury History on Baseball Prospectus is starting to read like the last Harry Potter book: long, confusing, and depressing. I just cannot imagine that he’s ever going to catch more than 110 games a season again. The pressure his long legs and big frame puts on his knees and back simply seems to be too much for Mauer to handle on a regular basis, and a move to a corner outfield spot (which the Twins will have opening up next year) seems fairly inevitable.
He will not be as valuable there, but he will be an above average hitter with great patience and decent line-drive power. And he will, presumably be able to be in the lineup more often as he struggles to live up to the big contract he earned last offseason.