Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com MLB Insider Rob Neyer will drop by to chat some baseball.
Neyer's book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Send your questions now and join Neyer on Tuesday at noon ET!
Please tell me that my Mariners King Felix will win the Cy Young. I'm tired of hearing about CC cause he plays in New York, this is a two horse race between Felix and Grienke.
Rob Neyer (12:15 PM)
You're not hearing about CC because he plays in New York. Well, maybe a little bit. But w/r/t to the Cy Young, you're hearing about him mostly because he's got a shot at winning 20 games; in fact he's the only pitcher who's got a shot at winning 20 games. Voters have always liked 20-game winners, and some of them still do.
Grant (MPLS, MN)
As fun as it would be for the Twins to beat the Royals, White Sox, and Tigers to reach the playoffs, you have to believe they would be swept in the first round with their current starting pitchers. Right?
Rob Neyer (12:16 PM)
Oh, we can't predict a sweep, necessarily. But whoever comes out of the Central will be a huge underdog in the first round (and any successive round).
Steve (Middletown, CT)
How did Red Sox pitchers walk Royals batters 11 times last night? That doesn't even seem possible.
Rob Neyer (12:17 PM)
Well, most of those were Wakefield, and it just doesn't look like Kid '66 is healthy enough to pitch.
Keith Law said in his chat last week that Edwin Jackson's first half was a fluke and he's reverting back to the pitcher he's always been. The pitching coach says they found a flaw where he was tipping his pitches. Which seems more logical to you? The Tigers really need him to be strong down the stretch.
Rob Neyer (12:20 PM)
I'm always skeptical -- not completely disbelieving, but skeptical -- when a pitching coach claims to have "fixed" something. Usually a player's true abilities and normal statistical fluctuation do a better job of explaining performance than technical adjustments.
Did you see that Fielder hit into a 6-5-3 double play with Ramirez covering 2nd last week? Has that ever happened?
Rob Neyer (12:21 PM)
I've seen it, so I'm sure it happens more than you think. At least two or three times per season, and perhaps quite a bit more.
Eric (Hoboken, NJ)
Did you know that Mariano has a career .266 BABIP? It looks like his cutter acts the same as a knuckleball pitcher's knuckleball does with respect to BABIP.
Rob Neyer (12:23 PM)
Yeah, it sure does. We're talking about an immense number of at-bats, after all. I'd love to see a list of contemporary pitchers with similarly low BABiP's allowed.
Zac (San Diego)
As a fellow Wake fan, while back injuries are always serious this isn't career threatening is it? While we'd have to wait and see after the offseason surgery, I would hate to see him end his career like this.
Rob Neyer (12:25 PM)
Me too. But I worry about a 43-year-old coming back from back surgery. As my Magic 8-Ball used to say, THE FUTURE IS HAZY.
B-But is on his way to his 50th double. Is this what we can start expecting out of him on a regular basis? As a Royals fan I'll take it.
Rob Neyer (12:29 PM)
Nobody hits 50 doubles per season, but we might expect some of those doubles to become home runs as Butler matures. He's having a fine season for a Royal, which almost makes me feel bad about mentioning that he's ninth among American League first basemen in OPS.
Joe (Mansfield, MA)
On the topic of BABIP, Joe Nathan's career BABIP is even lower than Rivera's, but unlike Rivera, he gives up a lot of fly balls. How's he so proficient in not giving up hits?
Rob Neyer (12:32 PM)
I'd love to see a comparison of the top starters and the top relievers, BABiP-wise. Maybe the relievers, because they throw so few pitches per outing, are able to get more "stuff" on each pitch, resulting in lower BABiP's? Just spitballing here...
No blog about Angel Vilalona? What are you thoughts on this sad story? The Giants sure could have used a big bat in the future if he even panned out. Didnt have that good of a year just now.
Rob Neyer (12:33 PM)
I wasn't sure what I had to add to the discussion. As for his year, it was pretty good considering his age and his level.
Doesn't Brian Roberts have something like four 50-double seasons in the last six years?
Rob Neyer (12:34 PM)
Three 50-double seasons in six seasons. So, yeah. It can be done, sort of. But they don't strike me as similar players.
Sam (Minneapolis, MN)
The MLB standings page says the Twins have a 27% chance of getting in. Does that sound about right to you?
Rob Neyer (12:36 PM)
Sure, why not? I probably would have guessed a little lower, but usually someone's program is smarter than my guesses.
Wired had an interesting article on the idea of bringing a promotion/relegation system to American sports. I understand that it will (probably) never happen, but what do you think of that idea?
Rob Neyer (12:39 PM)
I think it's almost literally impossible for any number of reasons. Honestly, I don't know why people keep bringing it up. It's fun to talk about the first time, but then...
Brian (Long Beach, CA)
Come on Rob. The question about Billy Butler wasn't about where he ranks among 1B's right now. In 2006, Youkilis was 27 and was 8th among American League first basemen in OPS. Butler's only 23. What can we expect in the next 3-5 years? Can 10-15 of those doubles start going over the fence?
Rob Neyer (12:41 PM)
Sure. I can see him hitting 25 homers and 40-some doubles per season. When I see him, I see Edgar Martinez; you might also compare him to Greg Luzinski. He's going to be a good hitter.
Jon (Jacksonville, Florida)
Rob, I can only keep one for next year: Scott Baker, Wandy Rodriguez or Jair Jurrjens. Thanks.
Rob Neyer (12:43 PM)
Jurrjens. Or Baker. I wish I knew. Sorry.
Daniel (Victoria, TX)
Rob, What are your thoughts regarding Cooper's firing? It looks like 2010 will be a rough one for Astros' fans.
Rob Neyer (12:46 PM)
With the exception of the Astros' nice run for the Wild Card last summer, there's never been any particular feeling that Cooper was the right man to manage the Astros (or any other team). Which doesn't mean firing him will fix anything.
Travis C. (Lake Highlands)
Why did Texas let Millwood pitch enough to vest next year? Is it because they fear the union reprisal?
Rob Neyer (12:51 PM)
You sort of have to let the players determine their own playing time, based on what they're actually doing on the field. You've got a little wiggle room, of course. But the Rangers were in the hunt until about a week ago, so they basically had to pitch Millwood in his turn.
Herman Edwards (NYC)
You play to win the game! You play to win the game! I understand the point you saber-geeks make in saying wins is an overrated stat for pitchers, but putting your team in a position to win games should certainly count for something.
Rob Neyer (12:52 PM)
Greinke has put his team in a position to win almost every game he's pitched. It's not really his fault that they've actually won so few of them.
Rob, does John Henry have a point regarding David Ortiz's treatment in the media relative to the list leak?
Rob Neyer (12:55 PM)
Well, as I mentioned in the blog yesterday, the media bought into the Big Papi Legend for years -- including the notion that he had some magical clutch-hitting ability -- so should we really be surprised that the media overcompensated when the Legend was challenged? Naturally enough, Henry wants the writers to always be on his team's side.
Erik H (St. Pete, FL)
What do you think the Rays should do with Aki Iwamura after this season? He has a $4.5 mill option for 2010, but the Rays have cheaper, and better, in house options. Do they let him walk, or will they trade him?
Rob Neyer (12:57 PM)
I don't see how he plays every day for them next year, but $4.5 million isn't a lot, so I think they'll exercise that option, then trade him or keep him around for utility duties.
Charles (Los Angeles, CA)
Can you recall a season, since the advent of the wild card, with less September drama than this one?
Rob Neyer (12:59 PM)
I think there was one, right? Can't find it quickly ... But let's see what happens in the AL Central before we complain too terribly much.
Rob (Alexandria, VA)
Can you think of anyone out there that could act as a mentor to Milton Bradley? Someone who he would listen to and respect, who could sit down with him, tell him that it's his own self-destructive behavior that's causing these problems in his career, and straighten him out? Or is he a lost cause?
Rob Neyer (1:01 PM)
I think if Milton Bradley were going to mature, he would have started already. Which isn't to say that he can't. But it'll take more than a mentor.
Zac (Sacramento, CA)
Who do you think is going to win the World Series?
Rob Neyer (1:04 PM)
I reserve the right to change my opinion, but at the moment I've got a really good feeling about your Colorado Rockies.
Rob Neyer (1:06 PM)
Thanks for all the questions, and I'm sorry about Mark Teixeira and my computer issues today. Until next time, don't forget: "There is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead."