Monday, October 29, 2007

Alex Rodriguez: Future Member of the Hall of Compiled Baseball Statistics

This is well-worn territory but hey, A-Rod might be leaving his Yankee Mystique behind so take it away Buster Olney!

He is one of the greatest players in history at compiling statistics, the greatest ever at compiling wealth, and his next employer will have to buy into that.

Compiling statistics. A-Rod's not a great player who gets meaningful baseball hits! Those 156 RBI this year?

SCIENCE FACT: Not a single one helped the Yankees win a single game

And remember how every time he hit one of his 54 home runs he would make a cash register noise? And then like, bring out a table and actually set up one of those old timey adding machines with the crank and put on a plastic visor and smoke a big cigar and throw monopoly money in the air and go on for like 20 minutes so he never rounded the bases or anything? REMEMBER?

He should be more like Ted Williams and lead his team to...what? Ted Williams never won a World Series? Oh.

I...I guess he wasn't that great then. Because GREAT PLAYERS FIND A WAY.

If A-Rod was truly great then he would have found a way to make these teams,

ERA+ AL Rank
2007 Yankees 96 Tied for 10th
2006 Yankees 99 9th
2005 Yankees 98 7th
2004 Yankees 96 9th

more like these teams,

ERA+ AL Rank
1996 Yankees 109 Tied for 3rd
1998 Yankees 117 1st
1999 Yankees 108 2nd
2000 Yankees 107 3rd

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Odds and Ends

Brief regular season summary (pre-season rankings in parentheses):

AL East
1. Red Sox (2): Despite the worst regular (Lugo) getting the second most atbats, the worst pitcher (Tavarez) throwing 134 innings, one of the best pitchers (Papelbon) only throwing 58, and the team underperforming their expected win total (from run differential) by 7, the 2007 Red Sox still tied for the best record in all of baseball. Some things went wrong, but most things went right, as they finished with the best run differential since the 2001 Mariners. In my opinion Boston is in position to play on a different level from the rest of MLB in the next couple years. *Remembers saying the same thing about the A’s 3 years ago*, scratch that, they were a fluke.

2. Yankees (1): After an up and down year with more roster shuffling than was anticipated, the Yankees actually finished 2 wins ahead of BP’s preseason prediction. Much like the Red Sox, lately they’ve had the knack of quickly picking out the young guys who will be immediately productive and letting the rest go. This has kept them afloat despite about 10 disaster contracts clogging the team. There’s a lot of talent, they’ll still be one of the top 10 (at least) teams next year, but there is enough disorganization to keep them chasing the Red Sox for a while.

3. Blue Jays (3): The pitching staff really came together for the Blue Jays in 2007, even after losing B.J. Ryan for the year and beyond. They allowed 50 less runs than 2006, which would have been great except for the fact that the offense got cold and scored 50 as well. They’ve now had a positive run differential of 50 for 3 straight years, as any gain they make seems to always be offset by some other loss. It’s a shame because in the National League they might have made the playoffs each of those years. The Red Sox and Yankees are setting a breakneck pace and don’t seem to want to let up so I don’t see much hope for Toronto.

4. Orioles (4): Wow that was a bad year. In November last offseason Mike Flanagan set out to improve upon a 2006 bullpen that finished 29th in baseball with a 5.25 ERA. He signed Jaime Walker, Chad Bradford, and Danys Baez for a combined $42 million. The result was that their 2007 bullpen finished 29th in baseball again, but this time with a 5.71 ERA. On the one hand I could say Bradford and Walker pitched decently and Baez was clearly injured all year so it wasn’t his fault, but on the other hand I’ll just say if you have a shitty team don’t spend money on the bullpen!!! This team is going nowhere until management changes.

5. Devil Rays (5): This would be the only team to finish behind the Orioles in bullpen ERA, with a remarkable 6.16. And this was with a somewhat capable closer. It’s not all bad in Tampa though, as they now actually have not one but 2 good starting pitchers and several young productive hitters with more soon to contribute. They’re a lot better than they were a couple years ago, but so is the rest of the division. Special 2007 MLB Garbage award goes to Jeff Ridgway, for compiling a 2007 ERA of 189.00 in 3 appearances.

AL Central
1. Indians (4): Who saw this one coming? Well, pretty much anyone who watched baseball in 2006, which evidently I must not have. Anyway lots of things went wrong for the 2007 Indians and it didn’t matter because Carmona came from nowhere to be a dominant starter alongside C.C. There’s plenty of young returning talent for 2008 so it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll even improve on their run differential from this year.

2. Tigers (2): It’s pretty much a given in baseball that when you pitch way above your head one year, you can expect a lot of injuries and drop-off the next year. The Tigers actually improved significantly on offense thanks to Magglio’s video game season and Granderson’s emergence. The pitching though gave up a staggering 125 more runs. They are a very good young team and more reinforcements are coming, so I expect a return to the playoffs within the next year or 2.

3. Twins (1): Minnesota clearly didn’t take “Offense 101” and they continue to be their own worst enemy by giving tons of at bats to players who wouldn’t make most teams’ rosters. The only guy who gets on base (Mauer) can’t stay on the field so the only guy who slugs (Morneau) has no one to drive in. You’d think a team blessed with so many amazing pitchers would at least notice what nearly every other team in baseball has and improve their on base skills. They just seem very set in their ways of defense first, which is pretty silly considering the strikeout potential on their team. I don’t know if I’d recommend this for any one else, but they really should trade a couple starters for some offense immediately or else their pitching is just going to be a waste until they start losing guys to free agency.

4. White Sox (3): Seeing them fail so miserably this year with nearly the same roster as the 2005 world champions almost makes that whole ridiculous playoff streak bearable, but not quite. I really want to see Guillen and Williams pummel this team into the basement for multiple seasons, then maybe people will say, “Wait, were the White Sox just dumb lucky that year?” The answer is yes, incredibly, absurdly, and unjustly lucky.

5. Royals (5): Hooray for the best Royals team since 2003! They’ve got some good starters (Meche and Greinke and Bannister sort of), some good relievers (Soria, Greinke, Gobble, and Riske), and not much hitting. Most unfortunately they only have one Greinke, and he can’t fix both the bullpen and the rotation at the same time so perhaps just maybe they might want to keep him a starter where he can contribute more innings? Just a thought. They could finish 4th in 2008 pretty easily, and only light years behind the Twins.

AL West
1. Angels (2): They prove once again that the most flashy way to score runs is through dumb luck. Trust me no amount of aggressive (bad) baserunning can score the 6th amount of runs in baseball with only the 14th best OPS. They won’t repeat the offense next year. They will make the playoffs however, thanks to their pitching which never seems to slow down year to year. This could be a team that adds a lot in the offseason and turns from very good to great.

2. Mariners (4): I had no idea how annoying Mariners fans were before this year. Now I list them right up there with fans of any team. This team was pretty annoying as well, but I think what they proved is that if everyone on the team is only kind of crappy, and no one is absolutely horrible, then the overall sum of the parts isn’t as bad as you might once have thought it would be. Batista, Washburn, Weaver, Beltre, Sexson, Putz, Johjima, Broussard, Ibanez, Guillen, Ichiro, and Vidro are all getting older and most are pretty average. This team looks a lot like the Giants did a couple years ago before the bottom dropped out. Except they don’t have a Bonds to prop them up, so they might just fall even harder.

3. Athletics (1): Looks like Beane’s shit doesn’t work in the regular season anymore either. Just kidding, this team would have been a playoff contender if not for a stunning parade of injuries that made you think something must be in the water. They need to do that thing again where they draft 3 number 1 starters. Or the players they have could just stop getting hurt. Since that probably won’t happen we may see a dismantling happen soon. Not a total dismantling, just a Billy Beane style dismantling where he actually increases the talent level exponentially while everyone else screams “you traded Mulder and Hudson??? You monster!” And then some random weirdness happens causing the A’s not to win the World Series.

4. Rangers (3): The Rangers really suck at everything. Don’t be fooled by the respectable run differential, they have little to no upside. They rival the Pirates for the least talented roster in baseball. Now that Teixeira is gone the only reason to talk about them is Ian Kinsler, who might be one of the better hitters in the AL pretty soon.

NL East
1. Phillies (3): Jimmy Rollins: 1, sabesin2001: 0. Rollins backed up his pre-season boast with a career year, Pat Burrel had his best half of baseball ever in the second half, Howard had a strong year, Rowand had a career year, and Utley was an MVP candidate when he was playing. All that offense didn’t really offset the bad pitching, but the Mets were so underwhelming that it was enough to squeak into the playoffs just to get destroyed by a better Rockies team. They’re going to have to keep hitting a ton if they want a repeat as division champs.

2. Mets (1): When baseball players get old and die, they either go to heaven or they go to the Mets. Sure it is fun to endlessly replay late 90s allstar games, but at some point you need to let go and move on. Without uber-talent David Wright propping up the discheveled group of has-beens and never will bes then it’d be an easy call to blow it all up, but as is Minaya will probably keep buying up whoever he wants and the Mets will stay competitive, in the way that Michael Jordan was competitive in his 3rd un-retirement.

3. Braves (2): Second best run differential in the National League gets them 3rd place in their own division. Hmmm what was going on here? There was quite a bit of bad luck but there was even more bad starting pitching. Many other years J.S. would have acquired an arm late in the year and pushed them into the playoffs, but with most of the good arms in baseball signed up at the moment for multi-year deals instead they added Teixeira, who unfortunately didn’t throw any nasty curveballs (though he did pretty much everything else). With as talented a lineup in all of baseball, the Braves really need to add some pitching.

4. Nationals (5): Perhaps thanks to their very good manager, the Nationals outperformed all pre-season predictions. They’re still not much to look at though. Not much pitching, and not much hitting. Without Ryan Zimmerman the lineup is downright pathetic. If they keep re-signing guys like Dmitri Young then expect more of the same for the next 5 years.

5. Marlins (4): When it rains, it pours. Three of their projected starters were injured for almost the whole year, and the supposed ace was terrible. And people were worried about the closer in spring training… Since the hitting is decent, this historically up and down team could return to be competitive next year if the health improves.

NL Central
1. Cubs (3): Sort of the NL equivalent of the Blue Jays, the Cubs never seem to be able to get characteristic years out of more than half their roster at any one time. It didn’t matter though because 85 wins got them the division in 2007. Perhaps getting destroyed by an inferior Diamondbacks team will motivate them to spend even more money this offseason?

2. Brewers (1): Stocked with young studs all over their roster in the bullpen, rotation, and lineup, it’s pretty hard not to imagine the Brewers a perennial playoff threat for a while. The “failures” of 2007 came thanks to some pretty bad managing and some even worse pitching by the back end of their rotation. Adding a solid pitcher could really push the Brewers into the elite of teams for next year.

3. Cardinals (2): I’m sure I’ll miss something, but here goes anyway. What went wrong for the 2007 Cardinals: Josh Hancock died in a substance-induced car accident, Tony La Russa was caught asleep and drunk in his car, Chris Carpenter missed the entire year after his opening night start, Braden Looper to the rotation experiment went very badly, Anthony Reyes (2006 World Series hero) fell off the planet and was sent to the minors, mid-season hopeful Mark Mulder showed that he was still very much injured and ineffective to boot, Kip Wells was awful, late addition Mike Maroth was as bad as the guys he was replacing, the 2nd base Aaron Miles/Adam Kennedy was punch-less/injured the whole year, Eckstein missed a third of the season, Pujols didn’t miss many games but had the second lowest slugging percent of his career due to injury, Rolen missed a third of the year and slugged under .400 when he did play, Scott Spiezio (pinch-hitter extraordinaire and clubhouse glue) missed half the year due to rehab, Chris Duncan (the Cardinals best outfield hitter for most of the year) gave himself a hernia in a weight lifting competition with his brother (who received the same injury), Jim Edmonds missed a third of the season recovering from surgeries and only slugged .403 when he played, Juan Encarnacion had his left orbital bone shattered and eye permanently damaged by a foul ball while standing in the one deck circle and that was after missing half the year already with a knee injury, Preston Wilson only had 64 atbats due to knee surgery, and the one bright spot Rick Ankiel (who hit way too many of his homers for the AAA team) was de-railed by HGH allegations at a time when he was one of the hottest hitters in baseball. That all spelled a -50 run differential and 3rd place finish. They’re not getting any younger and might not get all that much healthier so I’d say they are in trouble for next year as well.

4. Astros (4): Hunter Pence looks pretty special, everyone else looks kind of old or really bad. I don’t know why the Astros have such a problem with moving on, but keeping Biggio on their team for at least 3 too many years typifies the Houston Astros experience. The 2008 Astros get my “not a contender” stamp of disapproval.

5. Reds (5): Keep an eye on Edwin Encarnacion. And also watch for when Dusty Baker first calls out Adam “the franchise” Dunn for striking out too much.

6. Pirates (6): Really bad. Why sign Matt Moris? Moving on…

NL West
1. Diamondbacks (3): You know how I know this was all luck? Because in 2008 the Diamondbacks will probably be even better than this year and they won’t even sniff the playoffs. I do expect they will dominate the division once all the young talent starts producing, but I don’t expect the overrated bullpen to keep at it in the short term.

2. Rockies (4): Talk about coming together at the last minute possible. The Rockies received no respect all season despite playing very well, especially against good teams, but that all changed with an absurd September run to make the playoffs. Better yet, the additional revenue generated from that run and the subsequent postseason victories might be enough to keep a lot of their young players away from free agency in the future. All the sudden this division is getting pretty competitive.

3. Padres (1): They spent almost the whole year in a very good position to make the playoffs, but it all came crashing down the last month or so. It started with the Chris Young injury, and ended with the Milton Bradley incident. This was one of the strangest divisions I’ve ever seen as the Padres were the best team in the NL for a lot of the year and finished 3rd, the division winners were outscored on the year, and the 2nd place finisher Rockies were buried in 4th place for most of the year, but at the same time always had one of the best run differentials in the NL. As has been true for a while, the Padres’ hopes for next year rest mostly on the shoulders of Jake Peavy.

4. Dodgers (2): Another team that should have finished ahead of the Diamonbacks, the 2007 Dodgers were the worst team in baseball at situational hitting. It was perhaps due to the youngness of many of their hitters, or more likely just a luck thing. Someone has to be the least lucky each year afterall. On the one hand you have to like the Dodgers’ young hitters like Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Andre Ethier. On the other hand none of those guys scream superstar, and there is not that much pitching here anymore. The Dodgers might be getting passed while standing still in this division, or they could still be contenders if they catch some breaks next year or acquire some help (like A-Rod for instance) in the offseason.

5. Giants (5): I’m just going to go with my pre-season prediction here “They pay Zito $100 million and finish last. Barry Bonds breaks the most hallowed record in baseball and everyone boos. What a year…”


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Returning to the Fold (Part III)

Runs were down slightly in 2007, here’s a look at some of baseball’s most talented pitchers who looked worse than they are in 2006 (Part I and Part II). Most of them improved which accounted for some of the run prevention this year.

Rich Harden:
2006: 46 2/3 IP, 1.22 WHIP, .191 BAA, 4.24 ERA
2007: 25 2/3 IP, 1.13 WHIP, .202 BAA, 2.45 ERA

That makes 72 innings pitched in 2 seasons, which followed a 128 IP injury-plagued 2005. The time is coming to make a decision on Harden’s future. I think he should have some kind of exploratory surgery, but if the doctors keep saying there’s nothing seriously wrong, he should probably be put in the bullpen starting next year. It’s really unfortunate since he’s only 25 and could be the best pitcher in baseball starting, but he’s almost worthless doing little more than taking up a roster spot.

Zack Greinke:
2005: 183 IP, 1.56 WHIP, .309 BAA, 5.80 ERA
2007: 122 IP, 1.30 WHIP, .265 BAA, 3.69 ERA

Despite being moved between bullpen and starter by a confused Royals team, Greinke finished extremely strong. Still only 23, it shows a lot about his ability that he was able to be so productive after missing almost all of 2006 (and that after a terrible 2005). If it weren’t for his somewhat puzzling past he’d be one of the best bets going forward among under 25 pitchers, but as is he’s still a pitcher to build around.

Josh Beckett:
2006: 204 2/3 IP, 1.29 WHIP, .245 BAA, 5.01 ERA
2007: 200 2/3 IP, 1.14 WHIP, .245 BAA, 3.27 ERA

No surprise here. Beckett carried the Red Sox pitching staff in 2007. Adding to the fact that he’s still only 27, he’s never been overworked due to his blister problems. Beckett for Hanley could be the biggest trade of the 00s for both teams involved.

Ben Sheets:
2006: 106 IP , 1.09 WHIP, .259 BAA, 3.82 ERA
2007: 141 1/3 IP, 1.24 WHIP, .253 BAA, 3.82 ERA

As reflected in his first good W-L record, Sheets finally pitched for a team that could score runs in 2007. Unfortunately his extremely strange injury history continued this year, which was the 2nd biggest reason the Brewers missed the playoffs (the first being Capuano’s injury/poor performance). Sheets’ K rate also dropped significantly in 2007, but most of that was from early in the year when he wasn’t 100%. When he’s healthy he’s one of the most reliable pitchers in the NL. Whether he’ll be healthy next year though is anyone’s guess. Since it always seems to be something new, hopefully he’s running out of body parts to injure.

Tim Hudson:
2006: 218 1/3 IP, 1.44 WHIP, .273 BAA, 4.86 ERA
2007: 224 1/3 IP, 1.22 WHIP, .261 BAA, 3.33 ERA

The Braves finally got the advertised version of Tim Hudson in 2007. Entering his early 30s with declining performance, he was starting to become a question mark, but this year puts him back among baseball’s best. If only the Braves had some other guys who could pitch.

Jake Peavy:
2006: 202 1/3 IP, 1.23 WHIP, .242 BAA, 4.09 ERA
2007: 223 1/3 IP, 1.06 WHIP, .208 BAA, 2.54 ERA

As good as those numbers look, subtract out his ill-advised start on 3 days rest in early September and the one game playoff stinker and his ERA goes down to 2.07. It’s unfortunate how the season ended for him but Peavy dragged the Padres towards the playoffs for almost the entire year. His violent motion makes him an iffier proposition going forward, but right now there might not be anyone better on a pitching mound.

Felix Hernandez:
2006: 191 IP , 1.34 WHIP, .262 BAA, 4.52 ERA
2007: 190 1/3 IP, 1.38 WHIP, .281 BAA, 3.92 ERA

Once again somewhat of a mixed bag here, but not at all surprising for a 21 year old. Like the Royals have done with Greinke, the Mariners have tried to simplify King Felix’s pitching arsenal, so it’s still a work in progress. As is, he’d be a very valuable pitcher for any team. Considering the fact that he’s much very likely to improve greatly makes him continue to be one of the most prized possessions in baseball.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leadoff Walks, Homers, Multiple Run Innings, and Stuff

If you're reading this you already know about the great Tim McCarver related debate on lead-off homers versus walks leading to multiple run innings. Conventional baseball wisdom says that base-runners create lots of runs while home runs clear the bases and kill rallies, whereas an unreferenced supposedly large data set says the opposite. A third opinion from "common sense" agrees with said reference, which is that immediately scoring a run to start an inning leads to more runs than just a walk because hey you've already scored a run, so less work to do now. And the slightly more (less?) thoughtful response to common sense says that only what the batters after the first one do matter for scoring 2+ runs, so doesn't matter if the first run is on a homer or a walk and advancement. In conclusion of all those ideas are wrong.

First realize there are two separate questions in this one issue. The first is given a lead-off walk or homer, in which scenario is your team more likely to score 2+ runs? Who the hell knows is the answer. It depends on whether the opposing pitcher is a ground ball or flyball pitcher, how he is pitching that day, whether he is going to be replaced by a better pitcher in one of those cases but not the other, how fast the base-runner is, how good his fielders are, what the score is, whether the manager likes to hit/steal, or not, how much worse the pitcher performs from the stretch, what part of the lineup is coming up behind, whether the runner on first is held on or not, whether the infielders have strong arms (whether they improve out efficiency with the possibility of a fielder's choice at 2nd) and on and on and on. To be safe, you'd probably need 10 years of data from every team out there to average out all of these variables (or 15 minutes and a Fortran compiler, but "the game's played on the field dammit, not a computer" some old crotchety baseball man said (I assume). Personally I'd like to see 100 years of data, but there aren't 100 years of data on modern baseball, so I think that we just need to think a little more, methinks.

Assuming an appropriate sample size, the overall question of what should happen on average is simple:

In case 1 (lead-off homer), that run has already scored safely.

In case 2 (lead-off walk), that runner can still make an out at some point irrespective of what the ensuing batters do.

So given the exact same sequence of hits/outs/walks/etc after both the home run and the walk respectively, you will make more outs on average with just the walk because sometimes he will occasionally be caught stealing, picked off, called for interference, etc etc. And trust me, more outs mean less runs despite what managers think. Only in the hypothetical dull baseball game where all base-runners advanced mono-base-edly and could not make outs would the answer really would be "doesn't matter".

(Note: Yes I know not all the variables listed have 0 weighting on runs scored, but the possibility of making an out on the bases hinders runs much more than anything else listed.)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LOB and Runs Scored

Amazingly, it's very hard to track down team LOB stats. I couldn't find it on either ESPN or Baseball Reference. Fortunately, some USA Today Fantasy Baseball page had it.

Top 10 Teams in LOB:

1. Phillies - 1295
2. Red Sox - 1291
3. Athletics -1258
4. Rockies - 1251
5. Yankees - 1249
6. Indians - 1215
7. Braves - 1205
8. Dodgers - 1200
9. Mets - 1196
10. Marlins - 1192


Top 10 Teams in Runs:

1. Yankees - 968
2. Phillies - 892
3. Tigers - 887
4. Red Sox - 867
5. Rockies - 860
6. Angels - 822
7. Rangers - 816
8. Indians - 811
9. Braves - 810
10. Mets - 804


So 6 of the 10 teams are at the top of both categories. While it's not directly correlative (and only using 1 year is somewhat sloppy data gathering, but I have class in 10 minutes!), there's some sort of relationship between leaving lots on base and scoring lots of runs. It's really just common sense if one thinks about it, I suppose.

Just remember that next time your local broadcaster laments the team's LOB that day.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rob and Me

I don't know why I email columnists, they never respond with anything worthwhile. Ok so he stopped reading at the word vendetta. Good, that means he read all my data-oriented arguments and the vast majority of my email, right? No response to that whatsoever aside from accusing me of a (data) bias, thanks Rob? And what does the sentence "I was just doing my job, however poorly" mean? So I can totally fuck up at work and then say "nah it's ok guys, I was doing my job, just poorly." I understand that most ESPN baseball analysts do their jobs extremely poorly, but I didn't know it was so outwardly accepted over there.

Rob I didn't understand this piece when you wrote it, but I figured I would wait until the end of the season and be just as opportunistic when Beckett both reached 200 innings and pitched effectively:

The thing is you don't have to be a doctor, or know anything about blister problems to look at this situation more correctly. All you had to do was look at Beckett's career innings to see that he increased them every year from 2002 to 2006. Is that the mark of someone who is an injury risk? Clearly you can get better at dealing with blisters as a pitcher, since Beckett has. And to say Beckett wasn't effective last year seems pretty shortsighted to me, for someone who I would assume shouldn't be head over heals in love with era. We both know giving up a lot of homers doesn't make you a bad pitcher (Santana this year). And we both know that stats like k/9 and BAA are more important than era. Or they are at least a better indication of "stuff", which you were getting at with Beckett, implying that he has to "preserve" his finger by not throwing curve balls as well. Well in his ineffective 2006 Beckett allowed a BAA of .245 (ahead of lackey, sabathia, smoltz, halladay), and a k/9 better than oswalt or verlander. His stuff was definitely good last year, as it has always been. And he sure as heck didn't look like he was trying to prevent himself from getting blisters, judging by the high 90s fastball and wicked curve he featured in nearly every one of his starts last year. I think a much more sane and objective look at his 2006 season would conclude that his pitch selection was too predictable, his changeup was poor for most of the year, and his uninspiring superficial stats like era could have largely been because of sample size.

I can't begin to imagine what personal vendetta you have against Josh Beckett, but at least in this piece it made you look quite foolish. Not only does Beckett and the Red Sox staff have his blister problems under control, but we should look at Beckett as a one of a kind mid 20s fireballer, as he hasn't thrown nearly the innings that similarly gifted pitchers have in the past by his age. The Red Sox should be very happy that his shoulder and arm have been artificially under-stressed to this point, and there's no reason that I can see (either in his career peripheral stats or arbitrary belief that him getting a cut is related to his past blister problems) for him not to remain a top MLB pitcher for many years to come.

When you accuse me of having a "personal vendetta" you make me stop reading, because that's just silly. And your attribution of bias suggests that you're the one with the agenda. I was just doing my job, however poorly.