The Big Hurst - Hisashi Iwakuma
skoormit - Matt Harvey
La Osa Rosa - Chris Capuano
The Big Hurst: The Cardinals/Athletics game seems like a possible World Series preview. I've also been wanting to comment about the Giants. By wins, this team looks pretty run-of-the-mill, but by my calculations, they've got the second-best hitting in the league (losing only to the St. Louis juggernaut) but the worst defense in the league. So what they're gaining with hitting goes right out the door on defense. They could improve this team a lot by the addition of just one solid pitcher (or one formerly solid pitcher getting back into shape). The Padres also seem to have this problem, but to a lesser extent. Over in the other league, it's all backwards. There are three teams with good defense but rotten hitting (White Sox, Royals, & Yankees). One or two good hitters might improve them a lot. In July, I expect the Yankees to buy the full Giants lineup for cash and future considerations.
skoormit: We expect players to improve after age 20 because it is very unusual for a hitter who is good enough to play in MLB in his age 20 season to then fail to improve through his mid 20s. But last year Trout had perhaps the best season ever by a 20 year old. 10.9 WAR is a tough bar to clear. That's "HOF player at his peak" territory.
There have been only 18 seasons of 11+ WAR since 1901. Five of those are Babe Ruth. Since 1975, only Cal Ripken (once) and Barry Bonds (twice) have done it.
Only three other 20 year olds have surpassed just 7 WAR (ARod, Kaline, Ott).
Kaline had an 8.3, and only barely beat that once, with an 8.4 at 26. He had more than 6.6 only one other time (7.5 at 32).
Ott had a 7.4 at 20. He bested that three times (his best was 8.9 at 29).
ARod had a 9.3 at 20. Since then he's had two 9.4s (29, 31) and one 10.3 (24).
I'd take the under on "Mike Trout's Career Best Single-Season WAR: 10.91."
The Big Hurst: Good work! That's pretty much my thoughts. But my brain tells me he's supposed to improve, right? Then, what's the over/under bar on what'll be the highest post-2012 WAR for Mike Trout? Also: Dear baseball gods, I'm picking Hisashi Iwakuma today only because he has a nice smile. With love, The Big Hurst.
La Osa Rosa: Hisashi Iwakuma does have a nice smile! He looks sweet. So does Chris Capuano.
RESULTSThe Big Hurst: I think we have a new leader. Didn't I just say something about how good the Giants offense is? Doesn't the best game really look like Chacin's against the high-octane Giants in Colorado? That's an under-acknowledged great game in difficult circumstances. According to YCPB, two different position players pitched yesterday in two different games, which is very cool. At this moment - and not just in April - the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball.