Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Ranking System For The Position Players

A few weeks ago, I ranked the bullpen using my own ranking system, developed entirely by rocket science. Today, I am going to rank the position players using a random yet fitting system that only I (or Bill Simmons) could come up with, movie quotes. Since the Rays were like a little pest who stayed in the way of the big guns who kept trying to take over, they reminded me of Bruce Willis in Die Hard. While Hans Gruber and his team were using their high priced weapons to take over Nakatomi Plaza, John McClane (Willis) kept thwarting their plans by staying in the way while staying out of the way, eventually killing the terrorists off one by one. Does that not sound like the Rays to you? In honor of one of the most underappreciated movies of all time, here is the ranking system for the position players.

1- “He’s still alive, only John could drive a man that crazy.” – Every time you step up to the plate, I just want to break things.

2 –
Dr Hasseldorf: “Well, Gail, by this time the hostages should be going through the early
stages of the Helsinki Syndrome.”
Harvey Johnson: “As in Helsinki, Sweden” – You just make yourself look like an idiot.

3 – “Hans, Bubi, I’m your white knight” – You are a career defensive replacement or backup, and should never be anything more than that. Your only role should be to come into the game in the end to try to save the day or give a starter a day off.

4 – “Oh my God the quarterback is toast!” – You are a regular starter, but wow are you struggling. You haven’t hit as well as you should or you haven’t really shown up in the field as well as you can. However, you have shown in the past that you were once good and can break out. You also may potentially be on the disabled list.

5 – “Welcome to the party pal!” –You have been an average player or even a backup for your entire career and now you are stepping up in clutch situations at the plate and in the field. You should be a regular starter. You probably can play more than 2 positions in the field as well. As Rays fans, we welcome you with open arms.

6 – “Now I know what a TV dinner feels like” – You are heating up and have been stepping up in clutch situations. Now it’s time to really turn on the heat.

7 – “Hit it again!” – You are a homerun hitter, and when you are on fire, you are unstoppable. However, when you are missing the ball, you are striking out far too often. So please, “Hit it again!”

8 – “I’m an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane” – You are stealing everything, including stealing bases, stealing away hits from your opponents, and stealing the hope away from the other team.

9 – “Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” – You were an above-average player for most of your career, and now you are just tearing it up. You absolutely should be an all-star.

10 – “Yippie-ki yay, Mr. Falcon” (censored version) – You are a stud, can be trusted in any situation at the plate, whether a clutch homerun or just an RBI single is needed. You have an outstanding glove. If all goes right, you might be on your way towards on MVP season.

Here is how the players rank:


Michel Hernandez : 3 - “Hans, Bubi, I’m your white knight” – Hernandez has been great off the bench. He has stepped up in clutch situations, has hit pretty well, and has been solid behind the plate. However, Hernandez is still the backup catcher. If it’s playoff time, I’d still trust Navarro behind the plate. If Hernandez keeps playing as well as he has though, he may be ranked a 5 quickly. Having only played 9 games out of a potential 40, that’s not enough yet to give Hernandez a higher ranking yet.

Dionner Navarro: 4 - “Oh my God the quarterback is toast!” – I have detailed Navarro’s struggles before. Although Navarro has improved since the first 2 weeks of the season, he still is not hitting or fielding to his potential. It is time to really step it up Navi, now. Batting .179 is just not going to cut it for the season.


Willy Aybar: 3 – “Hans, Bubi, I’m your white knight” – I was struggling with whether Aybar fit as a 3 or a 5. The determining factor between the rankings is that I don’t think Aybar should be an everyday starter when the entire roster is healthy. There are better players on the roster and it is holding Aybar back a bit. However, Aybar is a very solid option off the bench. He can play multiple positions in the field and is a switch hitter. With Pat Burrell currently on the DL, Aybar can really step his game up though and turn himself into a 5 or even a 6 quickly.

Jason Bartlett: 9 – “Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” – If Bartlett doesn’t make the all-star team, then the system is flawed. He is hitting .384, has 5 homeruns, 22 RBI’s, an on base percentage of .423, and 11 stolen bases. In terms of American League Shortstops, he ranks 1st in batting average, homeruns, RBI’s, stolen bases, and on base percentage, 2nd in doubles and triples, and 7th in fielding percentage. If he keeps these stats up, he can easily become a 10 on these rankings very soon. Last year’s team MVP is working his way towards more deserved honors.

Akinori Iwamura in the field: 4 – “Oh my God the quarterback is toast!” – This may be harsh for Aki, but his alligator-skin glove has not been as sharp as it had been in years past. Aki has 5 errors already this season, while he had 7 errors in each of the last 2 seasons.

Akinori Iwamura at the plate: 6 – “Now I know what a TV dinner feels like” – It would not be fair to rank a .291 hitter who is a regular starter at a below average rating. Aki has been hovering between .277 and .300 most of the season, and that is excellent for a batter at the bottom of the lineup. His 15 RBI’s show he is producing from the 7-8-9 spots, and have added many needed runs for the Rays at unexpected times.

Evan Longoria: 10 – “Yippie-ki yay, Mr. Falcon” (censored version) – Is there anything the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year doesn’t do well? If the Rays make the playoffs this year, Longoria is going to lead this team there. When that happens, his name will be in MVP discussions. By the time Longoria’s career is done, he is going need a trophy room, not just a shelf.

Carlos Pena: 7 – “Hit it again!” – When Pena is hot, nothing can stop him. There is a very good reason Pena leads the AL in homeruns. However, he has not hit a ball out of the yard since May 7. When Pena gets cold, he strikes out way too much. You are due for a hot steak Pena, so please, “hit it again!” If you don’t hit a homerun, can you please at least make contact with the ball?


Carl Crawford: 8 – “I’m an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane” – 24 stolen bases, 0 times caught stealing, and we are just a quarter of the way through the season. Crawford probably can’t keep this pace up, but I won’t be surprised if he gets close to 100 stolen bases on the season. He is a reason to watch games. Oh yeah, his .327 average is tied for 11th in the AL and only has 1 error on the season. Crawford is going to force the front office to pick up his $10,000,000 option at the end of this season if he keeps this up.

Gabe Gross: 3 – “Hans, Bubi, I’m your white knight” – You are the epitome of Maddon’s “white knight.” All you should do is come in to play RF in the 8th and 9th inning in a game in which the Rays lead is within 3 runs. Your .254 batting average and your .365 on base percentage is keeping you away from a lower rating.

Gabe Kapler: 2 –
Dr Hasseldorf: “Well, Gail, by this time the hostages should be going through the early
stages of the Helsinki Syndrome.”
Harvey Johnson: “As in Helsinki, Sweden”
- Kapler is hitting .212. He may be slightly faster than Gabe Gross, but Gross has a better arm and glove. Ben Zobrist is a better hitter. Kapler isn’t being developed into a future player. He keeps making himself look dumb at the plate. Gabe Kapler is dead weight on this team and look for him to be the first to go when Matt Joyce is ready.

B.J. Upton: 6 – “Now I know what a TV dinner feels like” – If I had done these rankings last week, Upton would be a 4 for sure. However, Upton is finally starting to hit the ball better. He had 2 homeruns, including a walk-off homerun, in the weekend series against the Indians. Upton has 2 games in the last week in which he got 3 hits. If he can keep this up, the average will soon make its way over the Mendoza Line. Baby steps, BJ.

Ben Zobrist: 5 – “Welcome to the party pal!” – I have written before that Zobrist should be the everyday Right Fielder. He still is in a platoon with the ambiguously Gabe duo. I do really believe that if Zobrist were to be an everyday starter, he would continue to improve. I want to see Zobrist continue how well he is playing over a long period of time before he moves up in the rankings. Maddon needs to first look at Zobrist and say, “Welcome to the everyday lineup pal!”

Designated Hitter

Pat Burrell: 4 – “Oh my God the quarterback is toast!” – Burrell has not lived up to his nickname, or his salary for that matter. He was brought in to be a right handed power bat, and currently has 1 homerun. This homerun was in the home opener against the Yankees, April 13. For someone making $8,000,000 only to be a right handed power bat, that’s unacceptable. I think Burrell will get better as the year goes on, but until he starts hitting the ball into the stingray tank, he stays ranked a 4.

This is how John McClane, Hans Gruber, and I all see the team shaping up right now. Currently, there are a lot of 3’s-6’s, right around average. This seems quite perfect for a team that is currently 20-20. There are a few players such as Jason Bartlett, BJ Upton, and Ben Zobrist whose rankings will increase will most likely coincide with an increase in the team’s winning percentage. Hopefully this team just keeps getting smarter and stronger, just as John McClane did as Die Hard progressed. If they can, well then the Yankees, the Red Sox, and Hans Gruber need to be scared.

These are all just comparisons and rankings of one person, they aren’t rocket science.

-The Rocket Scientist

1 comment:

DirtbagFan said...

My thoughts:
Navi should be a 1, so should Melvin... Aybar deserves more love (he's the perfect fit for a 5) and so does Gross... Dirt McGirt has slowed considerablly and may be getting a little too much love