FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Very very good stuff.

    Comment by Dave Gershman — January 26, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  2. Baldelli “would have been just 29 at the beginning of the 2011 season?”

    What, he won’t be 29 now? Did he die?

    The guy had all the tools and the right attitude. Kudos to him for hanging in there, but it’s a bummer nonetheless.

    Comment by Walt in Maryland — January 26, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  3. Rocco was prime man-crush material back in the day. During his rookie season, he reportedly destroyed Ichiro’s career best home-to-first time, and from the RH box no less. Crazy stuff.

    The Burks comp is a good one in that he was an aggressive player who spent a good chunk of his 20’s dealing with injuries, some of which he played through, some of which he didn’t. Rocco had a bit of Eric Davis in him as well, which is another reason I probably liked him. I’m a sucker for those those tightly-coiled super athletes. Unfortunately, they are the (too) well-bred greyhounds of baseball: a sight to behold but brittle as hell.

    Comment by Choo — January 26, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  4. Well, if he had played… I get used to using the phrase “…[age] at the beginning of the season.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — January 26, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

  5. This article was longer than Rocco’s career! Nonetheless, great writeup.

    Comment by ryanbyrne19 — January 26, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  6. too soon

    Comment by fredsbank — January 26, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  7. Didn’t Baldelli retire once before and try coming back? He is still young. Look at Sean Burroughs (although Burroughs didn’t have Baldelli’s health problems).

    Comment by gnomez — January 26, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

  8. Very good article about the retiring too soon Rocco, the former “Good Face.” I especially liked the easy to read charts…kudos!

    Comment by Paul — January 26, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  9. Hitters typically their walk rate. Is this bad?

    Comment by fagn2415 — January 27, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  10. Good stuff. Looking at the numbers, it’s likely that Rocco would’ve been a consistent .290/.350/.500 hitter with regular 20/20 seasons and great outfield defense for a lot of years. No Hall of Famer, but a very valuable player to have. I’m glad he seems to have a good attitude about his condition. Guess by this time he’s had a few years to go through all the stages of grief.

    It’s mind boggling to think that the sorry D-Rays had a potential all-time great outfield of Crawford-Baldelli-Hamilton fall apart, and yet they’ve still won the AL East twice in three years.

    Comment by zenny — January 27, 2011 @ 8:55 am

  11. @gnomez

    Rocco has actually had two comebacks already, three if you count 2006, when he came back from a torn ACL AND Tommy John surgery. This time, it looks like he’s finally decided that his body just can’t handle it and he’s really done.

    Comment by zenny — January 27, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  12. Well, only 2/3 of that fell apart, and if Hamilton hadn’t derailed his career and Baldelli didn’t have that disease, I’m guessing they would have been productive enough to keep the D-Rays from being in the position to draft David Price. So it wasn’t all bad.

    Comment by TK — January 27, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  13. I always thought Rocco would end up being a RH Steve Finley. Just too bad he no longer has the opportunity to do what he loves.

    Comment by TadowSean — January 27, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  14. Well, at least there shouldn’t be any more Rocco will become Joe Dimaggio arguements..

    Comment by Jim Lahey — January 27, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  15. Great ,now I need another outfielder for my current All Soprano’s team.

    Comment by psychUMP — January 27, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  16. I also thought he died after reading that first line :(

    Comment by microwave donut — January 27, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  17. Wow, I had no idea how worthless a player Gary Mathews was the last 6 years of his career after being a pretty damn good one over his first 8.

    Comment by PL — January 28, 2011 @ 1:24 am

  18. Though he doesn’t show up in the statistical comps, the guy Baldelli always reminded me of was Tony Conigliaro – whose career was also cut short. (Conigliaro’s early seasons were interrupted by National Guard service, and he always slumped afterwards getting his swing back, so he was actually better than his stats – which is pretty good as his early-career comps are Mickey Mantle and Frank Robinson.) The point is, though, that both these guys were New Englanders, who presumably had played less than sunbelt prospects yet became the youngest players in MLB – they were very raw. There’s a real possibility, it seems to me, that each had more upside than this apparent from the stats they compiled in their early, best years.

    Comment by Mr Punch — January 28, 2011 @ 10:59 am

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