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It's A Whole New Generation

Valadius
Sep 20 2005 11:06 PM

It could be argued, many years from now, that this season, 2005, represented a turning point in the history of Major League Baseball. Some of the old flames are flickering out, and the new generation of big leaguers has begun to assert itself. Here's what I mean, position by position (I might forget somebody, so feel free to mention anybody I might neglect):

Catcher: Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez are on the decline. Hell, so is Jorge Posada. On the rise: Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, and the Three Molina Brothers.

First Base: Jim Thome, Jeff Bagwell, and Phil Nevin come to mind as fading. On the rise: Albert Pujols (MVP?), Derrek Lee, Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Ryan Howard, Lyle Overbay, and (ever so quietly) Prince Fielder. Mike Jacobs? It might take a few years to analyze that one.

Second Base: Bret Boone's fallen faster than anybody in recent memory. Joining him are the already retired Roberto Alomar and the shell of Tony Womack. Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent are still holding on, though. On the rise: Alfonso Soriano, Chase Utley, Brian Roberts, Jorge Cantu, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Freel, and Robinson Cano.

Shortstop: Barry Larkin retired. Royce Clayton's not the same. Omar Vizquel's in his twilight years. On the rise: Jose Reyes, Michael Young, Felipe Lopez, Jhonny Peralta, J.J. Hardy, Clint Barmes.

Third Base: Vinny Castilla only plays well in Colorado. Where have you gone, Mike Lowell? On the rise: David Wright, Chone Figgins, Morgan Ensberg, Aramis Ramirez, Bill Hall, Pedro Feliz, Garrett Atkins.

Outfield: Sammy Sosa is done. Steve Finley is done. Barry Bonds is inching toward his final seasons. Bernie Williams is on his way out. On the rise: Jason Bay, Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones, Grady Sizemore, Jeff Francoeur, Victor Diaz, Kelly Johnson, Matt Holliday, Emil Brown, Willy Taveras, Jonny Gomes, Nick Swisher, Brad Hawpe.

Starting Pitcher: The only thing that can stop Roger Clemens is his commitment, and that shows no signs of slipping. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson are showing their age, though. Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz have some juice left. Jose Lima, Kevin Brown, Hideo Nomo, Al Leiter, Woody Williams, Jamie Moyer, and Orlando Hernandez are on the way out. On the rise: Dontrelle Willis, Zach Duke, Jake Peavy, John Patterson, Chris Capuano, Felix Hernandez, Mark Prior, Jon Garland, Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Noah Lowry, Jae Seo, Gustavo Chacin, Jake Westbrook, Scott Kazmir, Jeremy Bonderman, Aaron Heilman, Joe Blanton.

Relief Pitcher: Troy Percival's career is likely over. Keith Foulke and Danny Graves blew up this year. It's nearing the end for Trevor Hoffman, Bob Wickman, Ugueth Urbina, Tom Gordon, Roberto Hernandez, Arthur Rhodes, and Chris Hammond. On the rise: Derrick Turnbow, Huston Street, Chad Cordero, Brad Lidge, B.J. Ryan, Francisco Rodriguez, Danys Baez, Brian Fuentes, Joe Nathan, Justin Duchsherer.

Edgy DC
Sep 20 2005 11:20 PM

Yeah, like Tony Womack was ever good.

The active leaders in homers going into this season had a lot of guys who have barely moved since, though it also features Ken Griffey getting back in the race, which is nice in it's own way.

1) Barry Bonds 703 (3)
2) Sammy Sosa 574 (14)
3) Rafael Palmeiro 551 (18)
4) Ken Griffey 501 (35)
5) Jeff Bagwell 446 (3)
6) Frank Thomas 436 (12)
7) Juan Gonzalez 434 (0)
8) Jim Thome 423 (7)
9) Gary Sheffield 415 (21)
10) Manny Ramirez 390 (36)
11) Alex Rodriguez 381 (44)
12) Mike Piazza 378 (16)
13) Larry Walker 368 (13)

Frayed Knot
Sep 20 2005 11:27 PM

]It could be argued, many years from now, that this season, 2005, represented a turning point in the history of Major League Baseball


I personally doubt that this year will wind up standing out a whole lot more than most other years. Players being on the rise while others fall is the norm not an oddity.

Valadius
Sep 20 2005 11:32 PM

Well I personally can't remember a single year in which so many older guys were on their way out, and so many good new players either debuted, asserted themselves as good major leaguers, or rose to superstar status.

Edgy DC
Sep 21 2005 07:53 AM

This subject is studiable.

Take each all-star game roster and measure how many All Stars are first-timers and how many are last-timers. Label the years with the most turnover as the transition years.

When All-Star Game 2006 (and who can wait?) rolls around, compare it to those years you labeled as transition years.

sharpie
Sep 21 2005 08:54 AM

Soriano shouldn't be in the "on the rise" list. He's been a highly regarded player for years now.

Rotblatt
Sep 21 2005 09:24 AM

That's a good idea, Edge, but I'm not sure if the All-Star game is the best way of judging. I mean, fans, managers & players alike often go by reputation rather than success, and the whole "1 player from each team" thing hurts as well. AND the fact it really only includes contributions from the first half of the year.

And is David Eckstein REALLY part of the new generation of studs?

I'd think that looking at stats might be a better way of comparing. I mean, for years, SS leaderboards (AVG, OBP, SLG, HR, SB, etc.) were littered with A-Rod, Jeter & Nomar and more recently, Tejada. Who's popping up now? With first base, it was Helton & Giambi, Bagwell, Thome; 2B, Bret Boone & Jeff Kent, etc.

I'd think looking at the leaderboard for each position each year and comparing to subsequent years would be more valuable than looking at the All-Star.

Maybe we come up with a point system based on 1st, 2nd & 3rd-place finishes, then rank each position based on total points for each year. Could be a fun off-season project for someone.

Elster88
Sep 21 2005 09:28 AM

Valadius wrote:
Well I personally can't remember a single year in which so many older guys were on their way out, and so many good new players either debuted, asserted themselves as good major leaguers, or rose to superstar status.

I guess. I think that most of what you said about these guys was true last year, too.
_____________________________
This post had the designation 149) Willie Mays

Edgy DC
Sep 21 2005 09:32 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Sep 21 2005 11:06 AM

Well, the All-Star game may not always get the best players, but if the issue is stars, or "flames" as it has been put, it's a good measure of who the vanguard is in the public perception of the standard-bearers of the game.

The presence of an Eckstein may not always measure in part the presence of a new generation, but it's still relevant in that it measures the absence of a passing generation. No Garciaparra, no Larkin, no Vizquel.

Frayed Knot
Sep 21 2005 10:16 AM

The problem is in finding a way to make the cutoffs.
As it stands, the examples listed in the opening post lump among the 'up-and-comers' players who are nearly at (or in some cases past) their FA years: Soriano, Molina, Aramis Ramirez, Andruw, Sheets, Nathan, Ryan, etc., with some who have barely made a dent so far; Fielder, Diaz, Felix Hernandez, Jacobs, and so on. Similar differences exist within the fade-out group too.
As a result, that list doesn't represent a 1 year phenomenom but instead spans about a 5-6 year era.

Valadius
Sep 21 2005 11:19 AM

First, I never mentioned Eckstein.

Second, this list features a combination of rookies, rising stars, and younger established players taking their game to an even higher level.

Edgy DC
Sep 21 2005 11:29 AM

I think Eckstein was brought up because he fit my definition as a first-time All-Star.

Valadius
Sep 21 2005 03:00 PM

Oh, and I call that position leaderboard project.

Valadius
Sep 29 2005 06:26 PM

I'm going to start working on the position leaderboard project. Any ideas on where to get my stats from? MLB.com isn't working well on the stat front, so where else can I go?

OlerudOwned
Sep 29 2005 08:18 PM

You missed the biggest flameout of all at 1st base.

Rafael Palmeiro


"Shame on you"

Iubitul
Sep 29 2005 08:38 PM

="OlerudOwned"]You missed the biggest flameout of all at 1st base.

Rafael Palmeiro


"Shame on you"

He looks like he could be saying, "I did not have sexual relations, with that woman, Miss Lewinsky"

OlerudOwned
Sep 29 2005 08:40 PM