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  1. Wells still had a decent month, he had one mini-slump where he went hitless for 4 games, but other than that had a fine month.

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  2. I wouldn’t say Ortiz “pounded the ball” last year. Except for a hot June, his “start-of-the-season” slump basically lasted through the month of August, as he posted an OBP better than .350 in just 2 months. He finished the year with his worst K rate since 1998 and his worst walk rate since 2004 (when he actually was pounding the ball). I had him written off to start 2010, but he’s proven me wrong. Last year, though, the only thing he proved was that the talk of a decline was warranted.

    Comment by Sean — June 1, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  3. It’s interesting that the beginning of the article “teaches us” that we shouldn’t get all up on a guy over a hot month, and the end of the article has the author bowing down to Ortiz over a hot month.

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  4. We all should notice that Pujols had a horrible 10 game stretch, as have the Mighty Phillies lineup … so when lesser players & teams do the same, we shouldn’t make more out of it then what is there … even if it’s a player or team we really want to rip/praise for various reasons.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — June 1, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  5. Agreed. I’d say the jury is out thus far on Ortiz. If he can come close to replicating his May success in June, I’ll be a believer. Otherwise, the downward trend in his numbers from ’07-’09 is tough to ignore.

    Comment by Sean — June 1, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  6. Yeah, last year was certainly a lot worse for Ortiz, who was hitting .185/.284/.287 with 1 HR on June 1. His numbers were never able to recover from 2 such horrible months, so he ended the year at .797 OPS. This year, he’s turned it around so quickly that he’s already above his career OPS.

    Comment by Greg — June 1, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  7. Ummm….Wells really shouldn’t be included on that list

    Comment by The Bunk — June 1, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

  8. Vernon Wells is really a terrible example of “Even bad players can play well for a month”. He’s a multiple time all-star and silver slugger winner coming off of a bad year. He’s been this good or better for most of his career and is only 31.

    Comment by Grant — June 1, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  9. Yeah, that seems like a bit of a low blow at Wells, and it only has any merit because he’s still not living up to his 7-year, $126 million contract. .278/.322/.500 is definitely a step down from his April triple slash of .337/.396/.717, but he is showing more power than he did last year. He’s now just 2 homers off his 2009 total. I still have hope that 2010 could be a renaissance of sorts for Vernon Wells.

    Comment by Sean — June 1, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  10. He listed as being under:
    April hitting “breakouts” aren’t real.

    The “even bad players can play well for a month” is just a statement afterwards that doesn’t tie to all april hitting breakouts.

    Comment by Jon — June 1, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  11. I don’t think the article is inconsistant. Ortiz’s May didn’t prove he’s the guy he was in May, but it proves he’s not the guy he was in April. It also doesn’t prove he’s not on the downslope of his career; just that the downslope isn’t a sheer cliff.

    Comment by Lucas — June 1, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

  12. Vernon Wells does not deserve to be on that list. a .353 wOBA hardly constitutes “being eaten alive by the regression monster. His career wOBA is .346.

    “Even bad players can play well for a month – in general, it doesn’t mean anything.”

    Based on your data points, I think you meant to say “an above average player can play like an above average player for 2 months.”

    Am I missing something here?

    Comment by Baron Samedi — June 1, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  13. I don’t know that your conclusions regarding the hitting breakouts and pitching breakouts are useful. For the hitters, you consider wOBA, which is not regressed for luck, but just measures actual performance. wOBA doesn’t punish “breakouts” who were largely a factor of BABIP or HR/FB flukes. But for the pitchers, you are considering xFIP, which does remove BABIP and HR/FB flukes. To be comparable, you should have considered either luck-regressed stats for both hittes and pitchers, or not considered luck at all and just looked at ERA or something.

    Comment by mymrbig — June 1, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  14. Dave,
    I read a lot of your articles and I tend to agree with you the majority of the time, but including Vernon Wells to make your point is garbage.

    In your article you said, “…[A]ll of them got eaten alive by the regression monster. Even bad players can play well for a month – in general, it doesn’t mean anything.”

    I understand the point you are trying to make, but seriously? Vernon Wells statistics in May were not bad. In fact, they were still above average. Yes, everyone knows that Wells hasn’t had a blockbuster season since 2006. However, his May statistics do not show any cause for concern, players aren’t always lightning in a bottle. Give the guy a break, and don’t rip him until it is deserved.

    Comment by Justin — June 1, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  15. When I want to diffuse a claim that someone was “pounding the ball,” I don’t usually reach for the stat that completely ignores power.

    Comment by Nelbowski — June 1, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  16. Calm down, Wells fans. I didn’t call him a bad player. Kelly Johnson’s on the list too, and I didn’t call him a bad player either. Vernon Wells had a monster April and a much less monster May, and that was the entire point of the post.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — June 1, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  17. He had a bad 6 game stretch in which he went 2-24. He was very unlucky in the series in Boston (3 of those 6 games), lining out a bunch of times. Outside of those 6 games (in which the Jays went 4-2), he hit .339 in May.

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  18. oops my math is off, he’d be hitting .339 on the overall year if you take out those 6 games. He’d be hitting .333 in May without those 6 games.

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  19. You’d be amazed how good everyone looks if you take out their worst stretch of performance.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — June 1, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  20. I’m aware, but I’m telling you that he didn’t go 2-24 with 22 strikeouts. He was very unlucky in the Boston series. Like an above poster mentioned, wOBA is not regressed for luck.

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  21. And he’s hitting .327 over his last 13 games.

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  22. I don’t think you can just ignore a 6-game stretch within a month. It’s like Jeff Suppan saying he has a 2.00 ERA and 10 wins outside of those 25 starts he gets shelled every year.

    (Or at least if you do that, you need to take out his ‘best six’ also, which is no more representative of normal Vernon than his ‘worst six’ would be.)

    Comment by Jason B — June 1, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  23. Wells didn’t do as well in May as he did in April. I don’t know that I would have put him on this list myself but he illustrates the point in that historically he’s not as good a hitter as he was in April. Note that both Kelly Johnson and Austin Kearns are on the list and both of them have lifetime OPS+ of above 100, though Johnson had a down year last year, and Kearns the last two in limited playing time.

    That being said, since Mr. Cameron did not limit this list to bad hitters, the statement that “even bad hitters can hit well for a month” should be seen as a generalization outside the parameters of the given list, not a conclusion drawn from it.

    Comment by Gary York — June 1, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  24. and .343 over the 9 games before that 6 game stretch. I get your point, but see mine?

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  25. and he likely has had a number of hits that should have been outs. Players get robbed and get lucky. What’s your point?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — June 1, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  26. That he hasn’t regressed yet?

    Comment by Brendan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  27. It’ll be interesting how the Red Sox handle 35 year old David Ortiz’s 2011 offseason.

    I wouldn’t be stunned if he’s playing himself up to a 2 year / $20,000,000 deal. Still seems to be a risky proposition for a guy of Papi’s stature, but a WAR in the high 2′s to low 3′s seems plausible in 2010, and with that would come money.

    Comment by Joe R — June 1, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  28. why do things like this always have to be explained step-by-step

    Comment by Alan — June 1, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  29. Ortiz has a lot more than a hot month to back up that he’s that type of hitter. His hot month proves that he’s not “done,” not that he’s going to hit like he did in May for the rest of the season.

    Comment by Reuben — June 1, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

  30. What does his OBP mean with regard to pounding the ball? While talk of decline was, and is, warranted, you miss the overall point, which is that a horrid April does not the end of a career make.

    Interestingly, his horrid August also included a huge spike in BB/9, a huge drop in K/9 and a horrid BABIP compared with his “better” June and July, which suggests that Ortiz was much more selective (supported by the fact he saw more pitches in August than any other month), and when he did hit the ball, he hit it at someone.

    I’m just not sure how your statistics support your point.

    Comment by Toz — June 1, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  31. Ditto for Ortiz, Dave? Let’s take off his Aprils. Or maybe his April-June last year.

    Just teasing. I can understand how mad Ortiz gets going through this stuff every year.

    of course, folks were saying don’t write off Brian Giles last year. Until he regressed himself into retirement. Or unregressed. He stayed bad all year. You know what I mean.

    Comment by wobatus — June 1, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  32. Yes, you are missing that he regressed to his career wOBA. That’s the point of the article.

    Comment by Steve — June 1, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  33. “Vernon Wells does not deserve to be on that list. a .353 wOBA hardly constitutes “being eaten alive by the regression monster. His career wOBA is .346.”

    Actually, that is the very definition of regression to the mean!! He has REGRESSED from his superb April back to his career average.

    Comment by batpig — June 1, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  34. You could have at least cited his .822 OPS in May.

    Comment by Gomez — June 1, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

  35. Wait, did anyone actually think Vernon Wells’ April was some kind of a breakout? Any fan has to know Vernon wasn’t going to hit like that all season: He’d be the greatest player in baseball today if he could.

    Comment by Gomez — June 1, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  36. What about Papi? The calls of his demise don’t seem entirely unwarranted. After all, his slump last year wasn’t just a month long; it was basically 2/3 of a season, with the months of June and August bringing his numbers up to respectability. 1 terrible month + 1 very good month seems anything but conclusive. He might still be on his way out.

    Comment by Sean — June 2, 2010 @ 12:19 am

  37. One of the big criticisms of Papi had been that he can no longer catch up to a fastball. I thought the career high k rate corroborated that point, as did the fact that pitchers were no longer being careful with him to the point that he was drawing a lot of free passes.

    To further illustrate that idea, look at his pitch type values. From 2005-2007, he hit fastballs at a rate of 43.5, 47.3, and 37.8 runs above average, respectively. In 2008, that number dropped to 10.6; last year it was all the way down to 4.5. This year, he seems to be getting around on more fastballs and is hitting them to the tune of a 6.8 wFB. Perhaps he isn’t done yet.

    The overarching point I was trying to make, though, was that Dave treated Papi’s 2009 season as if it was a bad April. In fact, Papi was quite terrible for 2/3 of a season.

    Comment by Sean — June 2, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  38. His 2009 line drive rate of 17.4% was also significantly below his career mark of 20.1, and he was popping up more balls in the infield. Combine that with a .224 ISO, and he had a pretty uncharacteristically bad year for David Ortiz–one that I think could be indicative of further decline, despite his hot May.

    Perhaps OBP wasn’t the best statistic to use to illustrate my point (I still think it’s relevant. He wasn’t hitting for average and he wasn’t drawing a lot of free passes. The result was a poor OBP). Taken with all of the other stuff, though, I think there may still be writing on the wall that Papi’s career is coming to an end. I’ll withhold judgment until the All-Star break.

    Comment by Sean — June 2, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

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