Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

Russ Smith at Splice Today reminds us that you never know who will come up big when October comes around:

Remember when skinny 22-year old Cuban rookie Livan Hernandez won four times to propel the ‘97 Marlins to an unlikely championship? Remember that wide-eyed nobody kid who came up from the minors to flawlessly pitch the Angels into their first World Series victory in 2002? That was Francisco Rodriguez, alias K-Rod, who just broke the all-time saves record this year. As a free agent, he’ll be one the highest paid pitchers of all time when he signs a new contract this coming year. Careers are born in the white-hot moments of October baseball.

Just ask Bobby Jenks, the portly kid who several teams gave up on because of past substance abuse (the Angels actually) who went from freaking double-A to dominating hitters in the postseason and closing the 2005 World Series for the White Sox. Nobody to somebody, just like that. Now he’s one of the best closers in the league, year in, year out. What would have happened if Price had come in, served up a meatball to Drew and blown the game? His life might be pretty different.
He gets demerits for mentioning Livan Hernandez without also mentioning his henchman, Eric Gregg. Other than that, it's a very enjoyable piece.

1 comment:

Pete Toms said...

Chad Ogea is always the name that comes to mind for me - that of guys who hugely exceeded expectations during October. And being a Jays fan, it's memorale that Pat Borders is a WS MVP.

This speaks to the randomness of baseball that stat guys always talk about. Sample sizes and the like. Not coincidentally, baseball is the most difficult sport to successfully wager on. In 7 gm series in hockey and basketball, aren't more often than not the impact players in the series also amongst that team's best players during the regular season? Baseball is more unpredicatable and you see more of "unheralded" players winning hardware during the postseason. I also think it's easier for a rank & file starting player in the NFL to win MVP in the Super Bowl. A 3rd reciever that has a big game or a DB who only the hardcores know picks off a couple at big moments.

You can examine stats, match ups, trends, sim games, chicken entrails, horoscopes but it's all random dudes.