I received my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2005 earlier this week, but I haven’t really had a chance to dig into it yet. Until tonight. A couple of things caught my eye immediately.
First, take a look at this quote about Wily Mo Pena:
If Pena can ever learn to lay off bad pitches … well, a certain 574-homer guy with a hop-step home run dance looked pretty similar back when he was young — only when Sammy had his breakout season he was two years older than Wily Mo would be if he had his in 2005.
Wow. Where have I heard that before?
In the team essay, while discussing the number of moves made by the Reds in the offseason, this statement jumped out at me:
The flurry of moves made two things abundantly clear: that the Reds again were willing to spend money, and, unfortunately, they were liable to spend it poorly.
I’m going to ignore that, since I’ve made the choice to be optimistic about this season. It was good to see the Reds open up the checkbook during the offseason. Sure, I would have liked for the Reds to have signed some different players, but at least the team looks like they actually care about winning. For the last few years, you couldn’t say that; last year, they didn’t even pretend that they wanted to compete.
Finally, here’s a reason why I keep coming back to Baseball Prospectus year after year. They’re always clever, and always exceedingly fun to read. About our old friend John Vander Wal, BP wrote this (to the tune of “Wonderwall” by Oasis):
Today is gonna be the day
That he’ll slap a pinch-hit single for you
By now you should have somehow
Wondered how at 34 he slugged .562
I don’t believe that anybody
Thought he’d last 14 years except his mom
We tip our caps to his playing
And after all
He was our Vander Wal
That’s just brilliant stuff. Go buy the book now; it’s worth more than the purchase price.