A number of people* have asked me whether my torrid love affair with the Almost Entirely Invulnerable Colby Lewis-san will persist through the offseason, into 2011, and proceed all the way into the friscalating dusklight of my life. To those people I reply, “Hey, get off my Colby Lewis, ‘cuz I just, uh, got off your, uh, Colby Lewis.”
*And by “number,” I very well might mean either the number “two” or “three.”
Then, after an awkward pause, during which both myself and the interlocutor feel the weight of the human condition settle upon our relatively tiny human shoulders — after that, I say, “Probably not, no.”
As Roger Angell and/or David Halberstam have probably noted, like, a thousand times in their myriad works on the sport, the baseballing calendar — much like the liturgical and Gregorian varieties — is cyclical.
With the World Series about to begin, we are, indeed, entering that portion of the baseballing calendar characterized by death (of the present season, that is) and, then, rebirth (of the 2011 one, starting with the free-agent filing period directly after the Series).
As such, it’s also a time for the baseballing enthusiast to let go (sometimes quite literally, as a certain “restraining order” has dictated) of his heroes, and to find a new ones for the 2011 season. Another year of data reveals a new set of minor leaguers toiling unnecessarily in obscurity, of defensively gifted center fielders blocked by
Aaron Rowand underwhelming veterans, of CHONE and ZiPS projections with which to get inappropriately intimate.
Indeed, much of the electronic ink I’ll be spilling this offseason will be dedicated to identifying players like the pre-2010 Colby Lewis — that is, those players who’re likely to succeed and surprise millions in so doing.
Over the next two days, I’ll get this particular party started by discussing some curious names and curiouser numbers from Dan Szymborski’s 2010 Minor League Translations (a document you’re more than willing to peruse by clicking here and doing your worst). As Szymborski himself would almost definitely say, those minor league translations are intended to be entirely accurate representations of each player’s true-talent level, no matter the smallness of the sample.
One early name to think about until then: Daryl Thompson. The Cincinnati farmhand not only had an (estimated) MLE FIP of 4.31 in 46 Double-A innings (12 starts) last season, but also did this in the Arizona Fall League last year: 11.0 IP, 17 K, 2 BB, 1 HR. He’s playing for Peoria (Arizona) this fall.
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