I love the new statistics, mostly because they make Matt Cain look better than a .411 pitcher. Win percentage? Old school, dawg. Waaaaaaaay old school. The best part of my fascination with the new statistics is that I don't really do any of the homework necessary to understand them. If I can't skim a 2-line definition in a glossary of cool acronyms then I just skip the analysis as too burdensome. After all, this is baseball, an escape from tedium and hard work. Oh sure, I have the dilettante's skill of quickly cobbling together factoids and stringing them along in a seemingly-intelligent discourse, but the joke's on you, my friend. I don't know shit and I'm too damn lazy to work out what I do know. Statistics, for me, are like a salad bar. Those artichoke hearts look a little grey to you? Skip 'em. Heap on those luscious cherry tomatoes instead. The feta cheese stinkier than usual? Stick to the sunflower seeds--stolid, reliable, nourishing. If I develop a hopeless bias in favor of a ballplayer then I'll pull every fookin' bizarro statistical metric out from the brains of basement-bound mama's boys in the saber-geek universe and sing them out from the mountaintops. (Post them on my blog, at least, my cyber-equivalent.) And I'll make Richard E. Nixon look like a milquetoast when it comes to information suppression if anyone tries a nerd-stat counterstrike.
So I was breezily dashing about the 'net with Google and "Venezuelan Winter League stats" and I came across one of those difficult and time-consuming articles by one of those really smart guys at Baseball Prospectus. Lord, I thought, what a bother, and I tapped anxiously on the PAGE DOWN key until I saw this:
2000 2001 2002 2003 AvgValue
.831 .838 .812 .833 .829
Now we're talking. Quick. Easy. The Venezuelan Winter Leagues are, like, 83% as good as the big leagues. Junior high math! I'm loving it. Which, of course, brings me to Our Savior, the MVP of the VWL this season, Señor Jesus Guzman. He hit .349! Multipluy that by 0.83 and you've got a .28966666666 major league hitter!!
Quick check time: who on the 2008 Giants hit better than .290? Bengie Molina. Randy Winn, Nate Schierholz, and Pablo Sandoval. We've now arrived at that elusive marriage of the modern, analytical, weighted, adjusted, averaged and re-averaged, and simulated 10,000 times acronym-dependent statistics with old-school, Real American, God-fearing, and always-faithful batting average. They said it couldn't be done, but by golly, this is America as I think I said already, and if it can be done it will be done. Hope. Change. I'm down with it. I'm in the Big Tent and I'm drinkin' the kool-aid. Here's the rest on Our Boy Jesus: a .435 OBP (.361 in big leagues!) and .616 SLG (.511!!). That's an OPS of 1.051 (.872, my friends, that's Adrian Gonzalez country).
If that line doesn't get you a job with the 2009 San Francisco Giants, what will?