The 300 clubby Derek Ambrosino
August 17, 2011
Curtis Granderson is in the midst of a fantasy baseball season for the ages. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it by basically undermining the rigorous statistical analysis that this wonderful site, naïve enough to let me captain itsr fantasy ship, has worked so hard to build over the years.
Feeling a bit left out of the group of brilliant mathematically analytic minds over here, I invented a stat. It’s so glorious in its inability to account for context and its over-simplification of the production landscape that one might conclude that I actually froze Tim McCarver by inhibiting his basil ganglia, burrowed into his mind, and swiped it before he even had a chance to think it! In fact, my goal for inventing it wasn’t even to write this column, but rather this column is only the middle man, as the real goal of inventing this stat was to lure Ken Tremendous out of retirement. This column is but the vehicle that will do so.
This stat is so amazing that I will not even formally name it. In fact, to encapsulate the reaction that it is likely elicit from a hardened SABR-inclined readership like ours, there’s only one way to refer to it—with a symbol. The one and only interrobang! Alt 8253 for those scoring at home on PCs. ‽
This stat has all the elements of splendid junk fantasy baseball analysis. It is the apotheosis of statistical gallimaufry; it does all of the following:
- Relies on arbitrary round, milestone numbers
- Combines different category totals with equal weight
- Disregards entire categories
- Does not account for positional scarcity
I know, this is a hell of a buildup, right? Okay, here we are; here’s how we know Curtis Granderson is kicking booty! Granderson is firmly on pace to have more than 300 combined runs, home runs, RBI and steals! He’s going to put up a 300+ interrobang season! Sweet sassy molassy, that’s a fine year.
Over the past two seasons, only one player has turned out a 300 interrobang season, Albert Pujols churning out a 322 in 2009. Below are the top five seasons since 2009:
1. Albert Pujols 322 (2009)
2. Ryan Howard 299 (2009)
3. Jose Bautista 296 (2010)
4. Prince Fielder 292 (299)
5. Albert Pujols 289 (2010)
Granderson is currently on pace to flirt with 350 interrobangs, which is a number that has hardly been achieved outside of A-Rod’s 2007 (377) since the days of Jeff Bagwell's, Sammy Sosa's, and Larry Walker’s assaults on fantasy record books.
As I write this, Granderson has a combined 256 runs, homers, RBI and steals, has 34 iterrobangs in hand over his closest rival, Matt Kemp. Meanwhile more than a half dozen players are within 34 of Kemp’s total.
I’ve been clearly self-deprecating about this stat, but as ridiculous as it is, there are legitimate points to be associated with it, so let me offer a few in rapid fire.
- Granderson has been an absolute monster. While creating the “300 club” is an exercise in deifying the arbitrary, I do actually believe that if you set milestone bars high enough, you will only encapsulate greatness. Many have long feared the cheapening of the 500-homer or the 3,000- hit milestones, but to this day, only great players (perhaps some made that way by illegitimate means) have reached such milestones.
The point here is that when you combine Granderson’s skill set, home park, and lineup, this season is an inflection point for fantasy owners about the true potential of Granderson’s pedigree. Frankly, the same goes for Jacoby Ellsbury, currently third in the game in interrobangs. Yes, this season may be flukish, and most likely he will not approach another historic fantasy season, but the Grandyman has the goods.
- Production wins leagues; value isn’t a category. I have no qualms with paying premium prices for elite options at thin positions, but make sure those options are truly elite. Troy Tulowitzki, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano and the like can at least compete with the Miguel Cabreras and Ryan Brauns of the world in total all-out production, so they are absolutely fine premium priced options. However, coming into this season, Martin Prado had a higher ADP than Jay Bruce. I know that hindsight is 20/20, but when you think about things from a production ceiling standpoint, it’s pretty difficult to justify such a preference.
- For my buddy Jeff Gross, in 2007 and 2008, David Wright posted back-to-back seasons of 284 and 287 interrobangs, respectively. I’m not sure how anybody can argue that he didn’t return his price in those years.
- Finally, when you’re thinking about fringe first-round players, or looking at players who may be slipping in the draft, it’s not totally idiotic to think briefly about their potential paths to seasons of 275-plus interrobangs. Coming into this season, some people felt Ryan Braun’s stock was slipping a bit, but his history indicates he has one of the easiest paths to elite total production, seeing as how he put up 243 during his “off-year of 2010.” Players like Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira also tend to slip down the draft board a bit, but are virtual locks to produce big time total production numbers. Meanwhile, for some players—Brandon Phillips for example—it is just too easy to imagine them coming up on the wrong side of 200.
- For the past thee seasons (including 2011), Nelson Cruz has averaged right around 1.6 interrobangs per game. Cruz is injury prone, as we all know, but if the law of averages prevails and Cruz manages to make it through one of the next two or three seasons unscathed, he will put up a top 10 fantasy season.
Derek Ambrosino aspires to one day, like Dan Quisenberry, find a delivery in his flaw, you can send him questions, comments, or suggestions at digglahhh AT yahoo DOT com.
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The 300 Clubby John Brattain
November 16, 2007
Our good friend, and THT stalwart, John Brattain passed away on March 24, 2009. John was a prolific writer, whose work can also be read at Sympatico/MSN Sports and Baseball Digest Daily. John's work was also featured at USA Today, MLBtalk, ESPN Insider, Baseball Prospectus, The Baseball Analysts and The Baseball Journals. Never afraid to express himself in any medium, he was also a frequent radio speaker.
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