Highlights of the Bill James Player Rater, 1993 Edition

As I’ve noted already in two posts here at the site, I’ve recently purchased the Bill James Player Ratings Books for the years 1993 through 1995.

What I perhaps have not made clear yet is how I love these books sooooooo much. So much that I’m willing to write “so” with seven Os like a 13-year-old girl would. So much that, yes, in fact, I do want to marry them (i.e. these books) even though, yes, that’s not allowed and, yes, I’m already married.

In any case, if the movie Old Yeller taught me anything, it’s that if you love something, and it gets rabies, you have to shoot it you should share it with other people.

It’s no chore whatsoever to find examples of white-hot prose in the 1993 edition of the book, but these five haphazardly chosen selections will give you an idea.

Player: Vinny Castilla, Atlanta
Notable Thing: Things, actually. Plural. First of all, Castilla’s listed as a shortstop, which is surprising. Second of all, James writes, “[T]here is no indication that he’s going to be a major league hitter… Probably no future.” Castilla, of course, went on to post a 22.9 career WAR.

Player: Jack Daugherty, Texas
Notable Thing: Things. Plural. Again. First, is listed as “Alleged Outfielder” — which, that’s tough love. Second, here’s the comment in full:

It takes a long time for stats to even out, a dozen times longer than people think it does. Daugherty hit .300 in ’89 and ’90, has hit around .200 the last two years. He’s been a .260 hitter all along… so he’s a .260-hitting first baseman with no power, no speed, a brutal outfielder. Who the hell needs a guy like that?.

Damn, Bill James.

Player: Juan Gonzalez, Texas
Notable Thing: James: “There are three players in baseball history who have hit 600 home runs: Aaron, Ruth, and Willie Mays. Juan Gonzalez will be the fourth.” Two things about that. First, Gonzalez didn’t, in fact, 600 homers; he hit 434. The other thing is, Gonzalez did this in 1993, as a 23-year-old: 587 PA, .310/.368/.632 (.323 BABIP), 6.0 WAR. Unfortunately, he crossed the 600 PA threshold just three times in his career.

Player: Pat Listach, Milwaukee
Notable Thing: James: “He… takes the widest turns around the bases in the league… has been known to go from third to home by way of downtown Chicago.”

Player: Bob Melvin, Kansas City
Notable Thing: Whole profile:

Almost never played with the Royals despite .318 average, most of it against Randy Johnson. For some reason he can hit Randy… does the worst job of framing pitches I’ve ever seen. He’ll lunge at a ball two inches out of the strike zone, time after time, makes every pitch look tough. It’s one of those things you can’t believe nobody has told him to stop that.


Bonus Thing: For some reason, in Mo Vaughn‘s profile, after Vaughn’s name and “Boston Red Sox,” James writes, in parentheses, “Boomer Jooner.” That sounds like “Boomer Sooner” (i.e. the University of Oklahoma fight song), but, so far as I can tell, that’s entirely irrelevant to Vaughn, who was born in Norwalk, Connecticut and played baseball at Seton Hall. Furthermore, the internet reveals exactly zero references to “Boomer Jooner.”

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

6 Responses to “Highlights of the Bill James Player Rater, 1993 Edition”

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  1. Danmay says:

    Correction: the internet reveals exactly ONE reference to “Boomer Jooner”; however, that one reference is written by some guy named Carson Cistulli, and that’s hardly a reliable source.

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  2. Rollo says:

    “Boomer Jooner” I always assumed was a reference to Vaughn bearing some similarity as a player to former Red Sox first baseman George “Boomer” Scott

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  3. Dayn Perry says:

    One of my favorite Bill James observations was from one of his annual abstracts (I forget which one). He said something like, “Lonnie Smith is amazing in the sense that really does find a way to fall down three or four times in every game.” Ah, Skates.

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  4. pdj316 says:

    Pretty sure Boomer Jooner is a George Scott reference.

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  5. rotofan says:

    One of my James’ favorites was his description of a player with particularly bad plate discipline:

    “Will swing at anything that doesn’t hit him first.”

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