Another rant on baseball writers — this one mercifully brief. Baseball writers, like all people, have their own set of beliefs. In order to reconcile actual outcomes with their projected outcomes, they often make the facts “work for them.” Typically this is done by using only the statistics that support their ideas about how baseball works, even if those statistics are not particularly telling or meaningful. (Think about how many times one closer or another has been praised and the number of saves he’s “earned” is cited as an indication of his success. Then think about the save rule….)
Though that may be frustrating to read, it’s much less so than an article that makes unsubstantiated statements of purported fact in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If you were to tell me that Shawn Chacon had a solid year, pointing to his 35 saves as evidence, then I would disagree and highlight his 7.11 ERA and nearly 18 baserunners allowed per nine-innings in my counter-argument. However, when a writer makes the following assertion, “Matt Morris was a given and he stepped up his performance over the second half of the season,” it’s hard to discern whether the claim was made negligently or lazily.
I promised brevity, so I’ll let Morris’s numbers speak for themselves.
ERA WHIP 4.33 1.21 Before All-Star Break 5.35 1.42 After All-Star Break
Stepped up? To me, this looks like an adequate job early in the season and a subpar performance thereafter.