March 12, 2008
IMPACT OF THE BUCKET:
Still batting around those 'Abstract' ideas (Gordon Edes, March 12, 2008, Boston Globe)
Bill James can, and will, tell you lots of things about baseball that you don't know. That it doesn't pay, for example, for the Tampa Bay Rays to shift their defense against David Ortiz so that it looks like "a town meeting in right field." That Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez hit just one ground-ball single through the right side all last season. Or that the White Sox had the worst record in the major leagues (13-44) in games in which they didn't hit a home run.Posted by Orrin Judd at March 12, 2008 6:45 AM
He'll tell you Brad Hawpe of the Rockies was the majors' best clutch hitter last season, that Matt Cain of the Giants may have been the game's unluckiest pitcher, and that Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels, the king of the bad-ball hitters, swung at 604 pitches out of the strike zone last season, almost double the number of nonstrikes he swung at in 2005.
But ask James what impact he has had on the Red Sox, and he'll answer with a riddle.
"The things Jason Varitek does other than to hit are very difficult to measure," James said. "The impact of the things that I do are like seven generations further removed from the field than the things Jason does. It's like taking a bucket of water from the sea and asking, 'What was the impact of this bucket of water?' "