04
May 09

Mike Cameron, I love you

mike cameronI've known Mike Cameron since before he was ever a Brewer, before Miller Park existed. Well, not known him known him, but I have been a fan of his work for quite some time. He was the key to the trade that sent Ken Griffey to Cincinatti and I lived in Seattle at that time so we became well acquainted. His defense in Center Field was the best I've ever seen. He struck out a lot, but when he made contact it went a long way and when he got on base he could steal. Basically, if Ichiro never existed he would be my favorite player and right now he is my favorite Brewer. Now? He's the same player with a slight dropoff in defense.

Now I've let my love for Rickie Weeks be known around these parts, but that's mostly because I hate people saying he sucks when he so clearly doesn't. With Mike Cameron I truly like the guy and want him to succeed. I will argue his value to my death. To me he is THE most important guy to this team's success and it might not even have anything to do with how he plays. Take yesterday's game for example. Prince hit a homerun and Mike Cameron gave him a choreographed high-five. Then Mike Cameron hit a homerun and he gave Rickie Weeks a different choreographed high-five. The more I watch the Brewers (and you notice this after wins) I see Mike Cameron do a different high-five for every player on the team. I even saw him give Ken Macha (!) the up-down high-five. Mike Cameron is without a doubt the glue that binds this team together. When CC Sabathia was around he called Mike Cameron a friend. Do you know why? Because Mike Cameron is EVERYONE'S friend. He is probably the coolest guy in all of Major League Baseball and everyone should be glad he is on our team. You know the stories about how the Brewers truly like eachother? That's got Mike Cameron's fingerprints all over it. He's a good guy and he's a winner.

The reason I am bringing this up is not to sing his praises from the mountain tops. It's to prepare you for what might happen. You see Mike Cameron has never hit higher than .273 in a season and he's only hit above .260 in 4 out of his 11 seasons. Right now he's hitting .321 and as much as we'd all like it to be true, 36 is not the season you suddenly learn to hit .300. It's just not. So there is going to be a dropoff and there will probably be a slump at some point. At some point this season you may say to yourself that Mike Cameron sucks and I just want you to know that I will have none of it. Mike Cameron does not suck. He is who he is. He's a plus defender, with above average power and speed. He is good, but he is not this good. He will decline this season and that will be okay because he will still be Mike Cameron and Mike Cameron is still the most valuable guy in the locker room that this team has.

So remember those rules of booing? This is #1 on mine: Never, ever boo Mike Cameron.


16
Apr 09

I <3 Mike Cameron

Mike CameronA good friend of mine hates Mike Cameron. I mean, HATES. He's one of these people that thinks strikeouts somehow count for more outs than any other out. I am not one of these people. I love people who are above average defensively, hit home runs and steal bases. I don't care if they strikeout as long as when they make contact it counts. Maybe this is from years of playing fantasy baseball, maybe it's because I like a little pain with my pleasure. Either way, I love Mike Cameron. After Rickie Weeks he's my favorite player on the team (I have issues.) Obviously I LOVED yesterday's game where he went 3-3 with 3 RBIs, two HRs, 3 Runs and a walk. (Of course, I don't really understand why he couldn't do this at the four games I went to (you'd think he'd want to impress his biggest fan), but I digress.) Mike Cameron playing like this at the beginning of the season where he has struggled throughout his career is something to get excited about. I can't believe the team ever seriously considered trading him for Melky Cabrera. Sure, it was a pure salary dump but do you realize that Cabrera is just a backup now (and before Nady got hurt the 2nd backup)? Mike Cameron is one of the top 5 Center fielders in the National League. That'd be like trading Alex P. Keaton for Skippy. Skippy isn't taking you to the playoffs. Or the homecoming dance. I don't know about you, but I want the Wolf.

Think about this in tailgating terms. You've got the whole set up. You start with the most important thing which is the beer (Ryan Braun), then you have the bags (Prince Fielder), the food (JJ Hardy and Corey Hart), your friends (Yovani, Weeks, Hall) and the close proximity to the port-o-potty (the bullpen, whoever I forgot). You are all set up for a good day at the park. You can have a good time with just these things, right? Of course, but isn't your day a lot better if someone brought chairs (Mike Cameron)? That's what Mike Cameron brings to the table. You don't necessarily need him, but you are a lot better off with him and at the end of the day a lot happier too.


11
Apr 09

Today my purchase of Rickie Weeks’ jersey doesn’t look so bad

Rickie Weeks


16
Mar 09

Bill James is wrong about Rickie Weeks

I really like Rickie Weeks, and I feel strongly that he has major league ability that just hasn't come out yet. One of the reasons it hasn't come out yet -- one of several -- is that they keep playing him at second base, and he really is not much of a second baseman. I would compare him to Don Buford, a player of three or four generations ago who came up as a highly touted second baseman for the White Sox, but never really could put it together as a second baseman. But Earl Weaver moved him to left field, and he was a very valuable player as a left fielder/leadoff man.

The godfather of sabermetrics Bill James decided to talk about Rickie Weeks. It seems like everyone has wanted to talk about Rickie Weeks lately. Some people go so far as to say that he is a failure at life. I am not one of these people. I love Rickie Weeks, have his jersey and everything. That's why I am not afraid to say that Bill James is wrong about Rickie Weeks. Weeks is flawed, but a move to left field is not going to help him. For the Brewers to extract maximum value from Weeks he needs to make it at 2B.

Where Rickie Weeks against other 2B, 2008 MLB:

Runs: 9th
HR: 9th
SB: 6th
BB: 5th
OBP: 10th
OPS: 12th
RC27: 10th
Isolated Power: 8th

A conservative estimate would have him as maybe the 10th best offensive 2B in the MLB, at worst 5th in the NL. The biggest problem with Rickie has always been his batting average. Batting average is a pretty empty statistic as far as value goes, but the fact is that .234 isn't good enough. If Weeks hits .260 he is 10th in OPS and we have a completely different view of him as a ballplayer (oh, and his OPS would be higher than Corey Hart).

Before we hate him and his BA, consider this: Weeks' .234 average was 15th out of 16 qualifying 2B in 2008 and he leapfrogs 5 out of those guys when you add in walks. It is clear that Weeks has talent. (I am even leaving out that most of the guys ahead of him in the counting stats had 100+ more plate appearances than him.)

His defense, no matter what stat you use, has him around average. Maybe slightly below. He's not Mark Ellis and he's not Dan Uggla.

When you add his offense and defense together, Weeks is a slightly above average 2B. He has never played below replacement level for the Brewers and has always given them positive value.

Rickie Weeks is a victim of expectations. He was a top pick and is expected to be like his top pick teammates. He never lead off in his life and he was thrust into the role when he was 24, when he probably should have been batting towards the bottom of the order. Yet he's supposed to know how to do it and succeed. Give Weeks credit for all the work he's done with the coaches this spring to figure this out. He knows there's a problem and he knows he can be better. This is a good thing.

It's good because the upside is still there. He's only 26 years old. Will he ever be Chase Utley? No, but over a full season I think he is a lock for 15HR/20SB/100R with a .350-.370 OPS. Does this sound like a player who fails at life? Or someone very similiar to (but with a lower BA/higher OBP) the beloved Corey Hart?


16
Mar 09

Links for a spring morning

Holy cow, is it nice out there or what? I went shopping for softball gloves yesterday and was too hot in my pants. Crazy. Speaking of softball, what is the deal with that? This is my first year joining a league and there are multiple ball sizes. Seriously? Is this a tremendous difference between a slow pitched 12.5 inch ball and a 14 inch? Is this really necessary for me to have different sized gloves?

On to the links..

Anthony Witrado's English Adventures Continued...: Al points out another classic A-Dub mistake. I love that it's Al pointing it out because he is quick to point out that he's no English major himself.

USA beats itself by slaughter rule: I remember when I was in little league and we lost a game once by slaughter rule. Even though I was 0-3 I still wanted to fight every single one of my teammates for letting this happen. I hope Youkilis doesn't feel the same way, he could probably do it.

Wait a minute, why am I talking about this?: BRAUN IS INJURED??!? I HATE THE WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC!!! I HATE THE DUTCH!!!

You know who else hates the Dutch? Matt Lindstrom: The WBC is no longer fun and games.

Brewers too reliant on home runs: You know, because that strategy worked so horribly for the Phillies.

Bill James wants a piece of me: Bill James comments on Rickie Weeks. I'm going to comment more on this later, but I'll give you a preview: I am going to challenge a 59 year old man to a fight.

Mets owners are greedy, jerks: Shocking, no?

We'll be back with more later. (A lot more actually.) Until then if you want links done right check out Brew Crew Ball who have been very kind to us in our short existence. (Sidenote: Does it bother anyone else that the Brewers and Cubs blogs on SB Nation both are initialized BCB? That bugs the crap out of me.)