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Flotsam and Jetsam

Tidbits as we enjoy the uncontested view from first place:

Marc Normandin, who runs our SBNation sister site Beyond the Boxscore, has placed a thoughtful piece on Craig Biggio and his Hall chances--even if Pigpen doesn't get the 3000 hits--at Baseball Digest.

Was trolling for content over at Baseball Prospectus last week and found something that was almost the catalyst for a long rant--only I couldn't get my disjointed thoughts organized. But a week later, I thought it might be fun to revisit their "Stat of the Day" from April 12. I've added the current, simple, stats.

Bottom Five NL Starters
PECOTA Projected Expected Wins Over Replacement
Player Team PECOTA Actual
Wandy Rodriguez HOU 7.00 0.8 2 - 0 2.84
Gavin Floyd PHI 6.02 0.9 1 - 1 6.23
Zach Day COL 6.33 1.2 1 - 1 7.45
Joshua Johnson FLO 5.62 1.3 0 - 1 1.59
Chan Ho Park SDN 5.81 1.3 0 - 0 5.59

Perhaps my biggest beef with the statheads is that as sophisiticated as their metrics are, they sometimes treat them as gospel testimony of future performance, rather than as a detailed record of what has occurred. Now, I'm sure that this is not a fault of the numbers per se, but is rather ingrained in the snarky commentary you so often see attached. But in assigning these metrics future significance they don't in fact possess, the sabermetricians often fail to acknowledge the possibility for improvement in a player.

My favorite example is of course Mike Scott, who was kind of mediocre until he learned a split-finger and became a Cy Young winner, but I'm sure you have your own. Not every player can improve, but some will, and for that reason, it is Wandy Rodriguez and Josh Johnson that I root for, rather than the editors of Baseball Prospectus.

Wandy, by the way, has now moved into a tie with Mike Madden and Mike Cosgrove as the 18th-winningest lefty in Astros history. . . .

Also, after reading littlevisigoth's post this morning, I find myself hoping this afternoon that Roger Clemens is not a visitor at the Prospectus site, because their most recent adjusted standings have the Astros in last place based on their adjusted equivalent runs scored and runs allowed. I promise not to tell if you won't. . . .

Also wanted to revisit that "black hole" theory that Jim Baker had written about the other day. If you hadn't been with us or just plain forgot, Baker claimed that the Astros' extreme lack of production from the 7-8-9 slots make them unlikely to have sustained success this year. I'll admit that it's convenient for me to come back to this right after Adam had the bust-out series, but what the hell. Like none of these knowitalls ever prequalify their data?

Anyway, checking this morning, I'm seeing that the Astros' seven slot is tied with five teams for fifth place in RBI's, and is sixth in the NL in OBP.

The eight slot is now third in RBI's, fifth in batting average, and seventh in slugging. The eight slot numbers at the least currently position the Astros ahead of such offensively-challenged teams as New York and St. Louis.