Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Underdogs...Or Why We Root for the Return of Jo-Jo's Mojo

Everybody loves the Underdog. (Or at least that's what I'm1 led to believe by that song by the Spoons or whoever.)

But at this point of the season, well before anything worthy of note2 actually happens, I find myself picking out a handful of guys for whom I start to root and get overly attached. It happens most years: A couple of years back, I began touting a pre-Garfoose, pre-publishing empire, still-tolerable Dirk Hayhurst as my springtime mancrush , and I'd like to think that the positive vibes that I sent out into the universe precipitated his brief Major League tour with the Jays.3

This year, as others devote blog entries and tweets of praise and worship towards Darin Mastroianni or Eric Thames or Scott Richmond or Zach Stewart, we've (gargh! Tough habit to break) I've misappropriated my affections for the following long shots in this Spring's camp.

Jo-Jo Reyes: Yes, Jo-Jo has been shelled as a Major Leaguer. But we're (fuck it) of the opinion that he was tossed into situations that he was too inexperienced to step into by the Braves. A look back through his minor league numbers shows a guy who may well have some merit as a long reliever (even though newly tweeting Wilner says Farrell sees no use in long men). Reyes posted a 3.11 ERA in AAA and a 3.40 in AA, and had better-than-decent K/9 rates of 7.6 and 8.3 respectively.4

Reyes just turned 26 this year, and he's out of options, so we'd at least like to see him get a kick at a healthy few weeks at the big league level to show what he can do.

Josh Roenicke: Lost amongst the cascade of potential closer acquisitions this off-season, Roenicke's is unlikely to start the season with the Jays this April. With Camp, Dotel, Francisco, Frasor, Janssen, Purcey, Rauch and Villaneuva slotting in as the top eight relievers, Roenicke is likely to find himself in Vegas or elsewhere when the curtain rises. Still, there is something about those minor league K/9 rates above 10.0 that make us think that he could be a legitimate back of the rotation option.

On the other hand, he'll be 29 this August, so the future for Roenicke is right about now.

Edwin Encarnacion: We'll never be able to quit Edwin. Even when he was gone (for a week or so), we still figured that 2011 was going to be a year filled with monster homers and huge production for the Jays putative DH.

And are we wrong in thinking that Edwin, shorn of any responsibility for playing in the field, has the capacity to turn the corner like David Ortiz5 did in his 27th year and becomes a premium power hitter? Because that's not beyond the realm of possibility.

At least not in my, er, our, er, my mind.

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1. Trying out this "I" thing over the "we" for a day. Just to see how it feels.

2. No, three runs in three FAKE games is not notable. Stop noting it. You're not even allowed to make a mental note.


3. Really. I'd like to think I have that power.

4. His AA numbers stack up pretty well against Zach Stewart's, for whatever that's worth.

5. The distinction, of course, is that Ortiz had always had a good eye at the plate which only improved with age, whereas EE's OBP has declined throughout his career. Edwin posted a .359 OBP in 2006 versus a .305 last season, and this is part of a pretty consistent trend line downwards.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Something doesn't feel right reading a Tao post that uses "I".

Navin said...

"I" and "we" in the same post. Amazing.

Tao of Stieb said...

I know. It's hard to break out of that mindset. I've written thousands of posts with the "we"...It's not going to leave without some serious electro-shock therapy.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

How about if you type your post in a word processing program and not worry about it and then do a search/replace of all the "we's" to "I." Just an idea.

Edwin won't have the benefits of chemicals like David Ortiz did. But he could be very effective as a DH.

Tao of Stieb said...

There's always the conjugation to consider...

Peter DeMarco said...

It would be interesting to see someone do a study on what minor league relief pitching numbers mean? It seems there is an abundance of very dominant minor league relievers that are never even considered for major league spots. Does Jo-jo Reyes' success as a minor league reliever mean anything? Or should we ignore those numbers and focus only on his starting pitching results in the minors?

Anonymous said...

One other strike against EE matching Ortiz's sudden turning of the corner? They actually test for that magic now...

Beating a dead horse? Maybe...I just hate how Ortiz has (for the most part) managed to weasel his way out of the same scutiny as other guilty parties...

Tangent aside, all three of those guys are hard not to root for...had no idea that Roenicke was that old though - he definitely has to make his mark soon...

Pete Toth said...

I must have missed something. Why the "I"? Was nothing wrong with the "We". I mean if the queen can do it, why the fuck shouldn't the Tao? It just seems right.

Pete Toth said...

"The Tao is manifest as everything and yet the Tao, in the world of material senses, appears to be nothing and nowhere."




"We" :)

G Man said...

"Really. I'd like to think I have that power."

No, I don't, but WE do.

Chad said...

Stop footnoting so damn much.

This isn't supposed to the anotated Samuel Pepys, ya douche!

Pete Toth said...

Chad's right. At least the first bit.

peteybrigade said...

Bring back "we"!

mlaffs said...

Edwin? Really? Did I miss the part where this was introduced as a guest post by Cory Schwartz?

Anonymous said...

What have you got against Hayhurst? Did he get too popular and now, in order to uphold the Hipster's Credo, you can't like him anymore?

Tao of Stieb said...

Cory Schwartz is my stats guru.

Anonymous said...

Keep the "We". With respect, it is a minor eccentricity lowering the global conformity ratio and adding an extra level of amusement to already interesting posts. Don't be self-conscious about it: just do it! ... but I also agree w/ Chad: end-notes are tedious on a web post. Find another mechanism for your alternate internal dialogue.

Pete Toth said...

Anonymousse is right.

A good mechanism would be text mouse rollovers. The HTML code is quite simple, but it won't allow me to write it in here.

Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Or everybody could just fuck right off!

Pete Toth said...

LOL Or that.

Anonymous said...

Either that, or brackets and/ or indents. While I am glad to say that I have learned a lot by reading this site, ridding myself of biases bestowed on me by sportscasters and others whom preach from on high atop a mountain of our ignorance, reading back and forth like that makes me feel like I'm still in school reading (marking!) term papers(I am not "the" Anonymous. See how it works???).