This isn't really Pirates-related, except in that it's a good time to point out again that Zach Duke got jobbed, but the HACKING MASS results are up. The HACKING MASS competition is something like a reverse-roto game in which you choose a team based on who you think will be the least effective players by OPS and ERA. You're also rewarded if your guys also play a lot, so you can't just choose some minor-league callup who's likely to get pelted in a start or two. You have to find players whose teams are going to let them keep playing regardless of their mediocrity. That can be a challenge.
Anyway, no Pirates were "top" performers at their positions this year (although Jack Wilson finished 15th overall), but two former Pirates were, Tony Womack and Jason Kendall, and so was a frequent subject of Pirates trade rumors, Eric Byrnes. But the real reason I'm mentioning HACKING MASS because Willy "second in Rookie of the Year balloting" Taveras was the "top" HACKING MASS performer in right field this year.
Joshua at Crawfish Boxes and I have been having a bit of a feud about this. He posted a whiny, wishy-washy mock-protest about Taveras not winning the award on SB Nation's email list - essentially, he wanted to make a case for his player without exposing himself to ridicule by advancing the silly argument that Taveras should have won the award. I replied that Taveras shouldn't have even been a candidate and that Duke led all NL rookies in VORP, had an ERA below 2 and pitched more innings than Huston Street, who won in the American League. If anyone had a grievance, it was Duke.
Mr. Crawfish then posted that personal email on his blog without asking me - a major breach of internet etiquitte - and accused me of not being very rational, I guess for not agreeing that Willy Taveras is the bees knees, or for not thinking that an entire season of a below-average OBP and no power was somehow comparable in value to 85 innings of starting pitching with a 1.8 ERA.
So today I'm here to apologize to Mr. Crawfish, because Baseball Prospectus has convinced me that Willy Taveras was indeed at the top of the rookie class in... something. He was a bigger waste of time than any other rookie. It takes real talent to finish first in something.
(By the way, my team finished 645th out of 1859.)