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Something quick for your Tuesday afternoon:

Biggest Contribution: Joel Pineiro, +25.8%
Biggest Suckfest: Yuniesky Betancourt, -7.6%
Most Important "Hit": Sexson homer, +23.2%
Most Important Pitch: Cabrera out, +7.6%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +27.8%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +19.4%

(What is this?)

After his most recent performance last night, everyone and their mothers are talking about Joel Pineiro's late-season resurgence. You can see some of it directly below this post, and some more over here. However, I like to think of myself as part of "everyone" too, so why should I be any different? I present to you a chart breaking down Joel's performance in his career peak (in this case presumed to be 2002/2003), earlier this year, and since his early August start in Chicago:

The two main points:

  • Joel is way better now than he was earlier in the summer

  • Joel is not close to being what he was during his peak

If anything, Bad Joel was closer to Peak Joel than Good Joel is (say that five times fast). Compared to Peak Joel, Good Joel's strikeouts are down 20%, and he's cut his walks by 42%. There's variation in the home run rate, but that's just random noise - with a lower GB/FB, we can actually expect Good Joel to give up more homers than Peak Joel did, over a long enough timeline. By no means is 2002/2003 Joel Pineiro "back." They're similar in name only, as this new guy is a completely different pitcher, the type that we've seen have flashes of both apparent brilliance and agonizing suckitude in Ryan Franklin (although Good Joel's better). This kind of stat line, dragged out over a full season, will give a guy an ERA around 4.50 in an average park with an average defense; for Pineiro, it would be somewhere in the 4.1-4.2 range. That's fine, but nothing to get excited over. Keep your expectations in check.

It's often said that, if you had an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters, over an infinite amount of time they would re-write all the classics. The problem, of course, is that you'd have to hire people to check everything every monkey wrote, and that requires a lot of manpower. By the same token, given an infinite amount of monkeys, an infinite amount of typewriters, and an infinite amount of time, they would also eventually transcribe Rex Hudler's inane narrative chatter from a baseball game. However, the monkey who finally does this would be easy to spot, as his entire body would shiver and his head would explode.

As long as we're talking about Hudler, when's the last time you looked at that Anaheim lineup?

Top OPS: (minimum 200 plate appearances)

  1. Guerrero (.950)
  2. Molina (.771)
  3. Anderson (.750)
This is just remarkably bad. They have hope in Casey Kotchman, who's sitting at .824 in 96 AB's, but honestly, why does anyone ever throw Vlad a pitch to hit? It's not like the Angels have any other big threats in the batting order. Guerrero's being protected by Darin friggin' Erstad, for chrissakes. In his rush to piece together an offense that does all the little things right, Bill Stoneman evidently forgot about the big things, like getting on base and hitting for power.

Yuniesky Betancourt: .213/.240/.312. His .185 EqA ranks third-worst in baseball among shortstops with 100 plate appearances, just ahead of Cristian Guzman and, ironically, Wilson Valdez. At his current rate, he'd need to save 22 runs on defense just to break even as a replacement-level player over a full season (150 games). 40 runs to pass as "average." It's been a lost story in a lost season, but Betancourt has been miserably awful in his Major League trial so far, and he definitely doesn't deserve to have the 2006 starting spot handed to him in ST.

Spiroid and Paul Byrd tonight, 7:05pm PDT.