A Simple Kind of Fan. The Bizarro Yuni Watch– 8.10.11
Welcome to the Bizarro Edition of the Yuni Watch. What a great week for our favorite red hot, silver slugging shortstop. As usual, Yuni was scorching at the plate and was once again one of the main contributors offensively for the Brewers with six RBIs. For the week Yuni managed to pound out 9 hits in only 22 at bats and was a difficult out all week. In fact, opposing pitchers managed to strike him out only twice all week. To Yuni’s credit, he has been so dialed in that he often chose to drive a pitch early in the count and not let opposing pitchers get ahead. It’s a refreshing approach for a hitter that can sometimes get too comfortable in the box.
Yuni had his modest ten game hitting streak come to an end last night, but has a hit in 17 of his last 19 games, which is almost 12% of the season. He has been so hot for so long, you have to begin to question if he is finally starting to regress towards the mean of his highly anticipated offensive talent. That talent was on center stage Saturday night when Yuni pumped out 4 hits in a win over the Astros. As Yuni continues to feast on NL pitching, it is only a matter of time before opposing teams decide to roll the dice and avoid Yuni all together.
If that should happen, Jonathan Lucroy is going to be the man in the spotlight. National League teams simple will make a decision to not let a single impact bat like Yuni beat them. With Lucroy and the pitcher following him, it is easy to envision a scenario where teams start to pitch around Yuni and force the dialed in slugger to lessen his impact by merely walking. As we all know, each time Yuni takes a walk, it is less time he can be carrying the load offensively.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Yuni’s great defense he continues to display. As we all know, Yuni has gotten some tough scoring calls as of late. What probably has to be the most frustrating aspect of poor scoring is that while it protects the starts of the pitcher, it fails to take into account that Yuni gets to so many more baseballs defensively than most shortstops. In fact, if Runnin’ Ron Roenicke would do less tinkering with these silly shifts, perhaps Yuni could really have a chance to shine defensively.
A Season You Have Probably Forgotten About By Now
The 1993 season will always hold a sad place in my heart. It was the first season that Paul Molitor was not a Brewer since I could ever remember. Seeing him win a World Series was a bittersweet experience and one I hope I do not have to repeat with Prince in the coming years. The Blue Jays ended up winning the World Series and Toronto hasn’t ever let us forget it.
The 1993 AL Cy Young award went to Chicago White Sox Jack McDowell, as he tallied a 22-10 record with a 3.37 ERA. It was a fine year, but certainly not Cy Young worthy. In fact, it could be argued that any of five other pitchers deserved the award more than McDowell. This case, as is the case with most awards from sportswriters, was decided by taking the lazy way out. These writers looked at the two division winning teams and said, “Well, McDowell has the most wins with 22. He must be the best pitcher.”
However, with any type of analysis, it becomes clear that this simply was not the case. In fact, Kevin Appier was basically robbed when considering McDowell won. If you just used the statistic WAR, a case could also be made for Randy Johnson (7.1), Mark Langston (5.7), Chuck Finley (5.3), and Jimmy Key (5.2). I feel each of these players had better seasons that McDowell (5.1).
McDowell led the American League with 22 wins. To be fair, he was also second in the league with 256 innings pitched. His durability for a division winner should be recognized. However, so should his 158 strikeouts (13th in AL), 3.37 ERA (11th), 3.61 FIP (6th), and 1.29 WHIP (16th). Like I said, Black Jack was good all season, but not extraordinary. He simply was the best pitcher on a division winning team.
In contrast, Kevin Appier had a fine season. He led the league in three pretty important statistics with a 7.4 WAR, 2.56 ERA, and 2.90 FIP. He backed those stellar numbers with a 1.11 WHIP (2nd), 186 strikeouts (6th), 18 wins (6th), and logged an impressive 238 innings. In fact, Wins is the only appreciable statistic McDowell had a marginally better season than Appier.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that the White Sox ranked 7th in the AL with 776 runs. How did the Kansas City offense rank? Of course, they were last in runs scored in the AL with 675 runs scored. If Appier had been fortunate enough to play with a better offensive team, he would have surely have won the award. To further the outrage, Appier only got ONE first place vote. This was a travesty. Kevin Appier had a terrific 1993 season but was ultimately punished for having a lousy set of offensive teammates in a season you may have forgotten about by now.
Shameless Self Promotion
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