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Self-Assessment, Part One

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One thing I always thought it'd be fun to do is to go through the archives of this blog and look at things I wrote to see if they held up over time. With no real news today, I dug through to find a few things I got right and laugh a little at the things I got wrong. Anyone who wants to dig through the archives and make fun of some stupid thing I've said is welcome to post their findings here.

ABOUT ONE YEAR AGO

On free agency, 10/02/05:

So, short of them grabbing Nomar, I don't see how the Pirates are going to acquire an impact bat [in free agency], at least not without displacing someone who needs to play. (They could acquire Garciaparra or Rafael Furcal and let one of them play a lot at shortstop; that would help. But they seem commited to Jack Wilson there.)

It's likely, then, that the Pirates are going to A) not use this money at all or B) use it to acquire role players, or to turn potential key players they already have into role players. For example, I could see them acquiring someone like [Reggie] Sanders, then using Craig Wilson to get 450 at bats filling in at the corner outfield positions and at first base. That might help the Pirates a little, but it would hardly provide the jolt the offense needs.

Assessment

I was wrong about Sanders being able to help - he hit .246/.304/.425 with the Royals - but I got everything else right.

On small sample sizes, 11/12/05:

As for [Chris] Duffy hitting "nearly as well as he did last season," well, that's very unlikely to happen. Duffy had a .385 OBP in the majors last year, which is higher than he's had at any level since he played at Williamsport in 2001. Since he was 25 last season, it's very likely that .385 was a sample size fluke rather than a legitimate spike in performance. Duffy is clearly better than Tike Redman, but the season he had was reminiscent of Redman's in 2003. The Pirates then spent the better part of two years learning the hard way to beware of players who put up strange numbers in small sample sizes.

The same could be said of Paul Maholm, a good prospect who suddenly turned into a spectacular one the day he stepped off the plane in Pittsburgh. Maholm's 2.18 ERA in the majors this year was a mirage - his peripheral numbers don't support it. I think he'll be a good pitcher but there isn't much solid evidence to support the notion that he'll be a "top of the rotation pitcher" the way [Bob] Smizik thinks he will.

Assessment

Not bad.

On 2006 breakout candidates, 01/13/06:

1. Oliver Perez (5.85 ERA in 2005) and 2. Kip Wells (5.09 ERA). Perez and Wells may have already peaked in 2004 and 2002/2003, respectively, but they're unlikely to be as bad as they were in 2005. They could both break out and still be viewed as disappointments - that is, they could both put up 4.20 ERAs next year and people would still be upset. Perez hasn't done anything too exciting in winter ball, although Dave Littlefield has cautioned writers to not read much into his stats there. The range of possible outcomes for these guys is pretty huge, but I'd bet on Perez falling just about squarely between his 2005 and 2004 stats and Wells being around the midpoint between his 2005 and 2003 stats. For Pirates fans, that won't be good enough.

Assessment

Ouch. This isn't too different from what anyone else thought at the time, but still, ouch.

From the same thread, though:

3. Ian Snell (5.14 ERA in 2005). No, his changeup still isn't good and yes, his attitude is probably terrible, but the extremely low expectations for Snell (from the Pirates, who seem to dislike him, and, anecdotally, from the fans) are hard to fathom. His minor league record is outstanding, and he has produced remarkably consistent stat lines as he has moved up the chain - although he actually markedly improved his control in AAA in 2005. If Snell doesn't improve much, he could still surprise people by putting up a league-average ERA in the rotation; if he defies his reputation for being uncoachable and does improve, especially by learning to set hitters up, watch out.

Assessment

I feel pretty good about that one.