The incomparable Stephen Brown is taking a break from the Player of the Day posts today in order to faithfully fulfill his car making and general motoring duties. Or he may just be driving around trying to find a mouth tobacco emporium, I really don’t know. Regardless, on this cool September day, you have Brad (aka @bradnarok) laying down the best and brightest of baseball for you to pick up. A word of caution, though. I love statistics and analytics, but I’m also pretty bad at them and have a wild tendency to ignore the ones I don’t care for. I am, at least, aware of this weakness, and it is why you won’t see me try to appeal to numbers too often. I’m a marketer by trade and my job relies on producing high numbers, so I tend to use those poor, unsuspecting cardinals and ordinals to tell whatever story gets me the most recognition and/or money. I’m a cold-blooded beast of a data interpretor, and I should never be trusted to do something like what Stephen has asked me to do today. You’d be wise to not read any further, in fact. You will be met with lies, perfidy, and banal observations. Stop reading. I’ve already got your page view for my numbers, anyways.
All right, let’s get on to our RAW PERFORMANCE Player of the Day! As I perused the tables given to me by Stephen, it became clear that the choice for this honor was between two players. Nick Markakis and Justin Turner. Markakis went 4 for 5 with 1 HR and 3 singles. He led the Orioles in a neat little victory over the Yankees on Derek Jeter Day DCCLXIII. (Did you know Jeter is retiring, by the way? The Captain is leaving the ship to rot and twist its way into oh so many weathered rocks on baseball’s shore.) Markakis’ performance was solid, but I am going to award the RAW PERFORMANCE award to Mr. Justin of the Long Beach Turners.
Justin Turner only went 2 for 4 last night, but he hit 2 HR off of Madison Bumgarner – not an easy feat. Markakis had more hits, sure, but Turner had more total bases (8 to 7) and he earned them off of the outstandingly talented MadBum as opposed to the somewhat talented Brandon McCarthy. In 2014 MadBum has given up a relatively stingy 0.87 HR/9 which is good enough for 47th in the majors. I may be bringing too much context into the RAW PERFORMANCE category, but I think it’s at least important to see that Justin’s bombs were not off of Scott Proctor or anybody of that ilk. Both of his home runs were big and beautiful and RAW. Just look at them.
The Contextual Player of the Day also came down to two people for me. By the strict storytelling numbers of Net WPA (0.47), I should give it to Ben Zobrist. But to be honest, I weary of his importance in deciding baseball games. So, I’m giving it to the also high WPA scoring Welington Castillo (0.42). The Cubs catcher hit a homer early in the game, but it was his 10th inning RBI single which earned him this high honor of the Braves General Store. With a line drive to CF, Castilo drove in Anthony Rizzo to give his team the win over the Cardinals. This last detail is very important in my decision to give it to Castillo. Harming the Redbirds chances of a division title is one of the finest things a baseball player can do, and Castillo’s single combined with the Pirates win last night to close the St. Louis lead to just 1.5 games. Important stuff. It’s also worth noting that the 27 year old catcher has the best nickname in baseball; “Beef” Welington. Yes, this too was taken into account in my decision.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Stephen should back on the POTD desk tomorrow. Until then, stay frosty and remember to honor Derek Jeter today.