All-Joy Team: All the Right Moves (and Other Notes)

I don’t think I’m exaggerating, reader, when I say that the study of baseball and its attendant joys is the single most important field of research in our time. It is — as we speak — the most commonly offered and pursued doctoral degree program among our nation’s universities. Not only that, but, despite these tough economic times, those same universities are actively pursuing qualified professors to meet the large and growing demand from their undergraduate communities. The Fidrych Institute — i.e. the think tank most integral to effecting joy-related policy changes — currently receives substantial funding from Republicans, Democrats, the Green Party (who, if my numbers are correct, allocated something like 37% of their annual budget to the Institute), and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who, despite knowing almost nothing about baseball, made a generous contribution directly from the pockets of working Italians. Finally, you don’t need me to tell you that President Obama’s recent initiative to make baseballing/joy-related curriculum a greater part of elementary education — well, it’s a testament to the capacity of the subject to capture the imaginations of every man, woman, child, and whatever Mickey Rourke is.

One thing that has recently come to light from the surfeit of excellent research appearing all over the place — a potentially joy-inducing quality not covered by the Very Hallowed Taxonomy — is the effect that player movement might have on our interest in a player. Certainly, this is part of the reason we anticipate great joy from new Mariner (and All-Joy reliever) Brandon League, who has gone from being a boring old Blue Jay to one of Jack Zduriencik’s Chosen Few.

It’s probably fair to say that player movement alone isn’t enough for All-Joy consideration, but when it appears in tandem with another joy-inducing quality or two, it’s enough to inspire what Emily Dickinson called the thing with feathers (and, no, it’s not Mickey Rourke).

Here are two players who’ve changed teams this offseason, with their respective All-Joy credentials.

2B: Kelly Johnson, Arizona (2,5)
Johnson has always been on the fringes of All-Joy contention, anyway. For one, His 13% walk rate and 121 wRC+ in 2007 — from a second baseman, no less — are notable. The fact that he posted those numbers after missing all of 2006 due to Tommy John surgery makes his 2007 production even more significant. Also, there’s the fact that he made the shift to second base from left field — which, even if his second base numbers haven’t been great (-7.4 UZR/150 over the last three years), is still worthy of comment.

What has catapulted Johnson into the All-Joy spotlight entering the 2010 season? Two things, really. For one, there’s the issue of his batted ball numbers. After posting BABIPs of .330 and .344 in 2007 and 2008, that number fell to .249 in 2009. Secondly, there’s the move to Arizona’s Chase Field. According to the most recent edition of the Bill James Handbook, Turner Field has had park indices of 97 and 94 for left-handed batting average and home runs, respectively. Chase Field rates as a 103 and 115 in the same categories. The likelihood of Johnson hitting something like 2007’s 16 home runs is pretty good, I think.

***

UTIF: Adam Rosales, Oakland (2,4,5)
As a 26-year-old in the International League last year, Rosales posted an MLE either of .297/.347/.505 (Minor League Splits) or .309/.373/.573 (Baseball Prospectus), depending on who you believe. A certain type of reader might cite the paucity of plate appearances (125) and cite sample size issue. To which gesture I’d reply: “Stop it with your Tyranny of Reason!”

CHONE projects Rosales to have something like a league-average bat, and, provided that TotalZone isn’t a lying liarface from Liarville, it appears as though Rosales can handle shortstop. Now that he’s in Oakland, the chances of him securing some playing time have probably improved. Yeah, he’ll still be a back-up at short and second, but at least he’ll be the primary back-up. That was less the case in Cincy, where he had Paul Janish sticking around and the specter of Dusty Baker with which to contend.

***

For those keeping score at home, here’s the current All-Joy Roster:

C	Kurt Suzuki
1B	Brian Myrow
2B	Kelly Johnson
SS	Ben Zobrist
LF	Chris Heisey
CF	Ryan Sweeney
RF	Daniel Nava
UTIF	Adam Rosales

SP	Billy Buckner
SP	Jason Godin
RP	Brandon League
RP	Kevin Jepsen


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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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Rick
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Rosales has a very good arm, both strength and accuracy, but is a bit light in the range department. As a Reds fan, I was sad to see him go. I think he’ll have a solid run as a Chris Stynes type utility player, perhaps with some Mark DeRosa upside. Oh, and enjoy his all out hustle routine — he’s a legitimate “squeeze every ounce out your talent” type guy.

WTF
Guest
WTF
6 years 5 months ago

Whew, I can see we’re finally back to baseball, here on FanGraphs…

Tim
Guest
Tim
6 years 5 months ago

As a Braves fan it’s been frustrating to see how they’ve handled KJ. Even during his good years, it never seemed like the Braves were quite committed to giving him the starting job (which, apparently, they are to Prado after a similar season).

I think part of the reason they didn’t appreciate him was his high K% (21% for career, 12% for Prado) and at times he looked a little lost on defense. Based purely on observation, he was awful at turning double plays and statistically he is not a good defender either (-7.4/150 for career).

Ironically, I think the predominant reason he wasn’t a favorite of Bobby’s was that he just didn’t seem to be having fun. He had no fire, no intensity, and frankly, no joy while he was playing the game. “Let’s go Kelly,” was a frequently heard during his at-bats.

Still, he was productive and underappreciated and it’s too bad he didn’t get the management’s support in Atlanta. Wish him the best in Arizona.

Levi
Guest
Levi
6 years 5 months ago

Bringing such joy to such a mundane Thursday could only be done by you, Mr. Cistulli.

Andy
Guest
Andy
6 years 5 months ago

moar garret jones damnit

?
Guest
?
6 years 5 months ago

Carson,

How the hell do you pronounce your last name?

Love,

This Guy

Andy
Guest
Andy
6 years 5 months ago

I’ve always assumed it was, broken down phonetically, “Cyst-tool-ee”

Steven Ellingson
Guest
Steven Ellingson
6 years 5 months ago

How do you pronouce YOUR name? ‘Tis Goo-ey?

Drew
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Brandon League belongs on every single baseball fan’s All Joy team. I’m going to miss him something fierce.

ofMontreal
Guest
ofMontreal
6 years 5 months ago

Now, just to be clear, if say Kelly Johnson were to regress to the point of being optioned out, would he revert to the all-sadness team? Cause I think that in fairness to the universe, a team of expected failures/bad ideas needs equal time. Carson.

And Andy indeed smeared you something good there.

Lorinda Appelt
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

Paper or Plastic? None. We always tell our grocery store after buying $100 of groceries. Since we started using the green supply bags, we have save some headache of thinking how to use all the plastic bags in the house that we got from the grocery store everyweek. These green reusable bags had helped me clean up our kitchen to a manageable way.

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