2011 Moustakas Line EstablishedSeptember 29th, 2011 by terrybenish
Yesterday marked the culmination of a season, that given some time, will be only remembered as yet another in the horribly forgettable history that is most of the legacy of Mariner baseball.
That the history has been bad is clear when you examine the thirty five seasons. Eleven winning seasons and twenty four losing seasons. Thirteen seasons of ninety (90) or more losses. Five seasons of one hundred losses or more.
The golden era was from 1995 to 2003 where they had seven winning seasons and two losing seasons that included four trips to the playoffs. From 2004 through the 2011 season the team has had two winning seasons and six losing seasons. Of those six losing season there have been two seasons of over 100 losses and three 90 plus loss years, which are emblematic of expansion teams.
What was singular about the winning seasons that did not result
in playoffs was that they missed the playoffs due to a lack of
That is what stands out across the whole mural that is Mariner baseball. It is all about the players. It is not about the owners, the general managers, the CEOs or the COOs, it’s just the players.
In thirty five years of Mariner baseball, thirty five seasons and thirty five rosters amount to thousands of players. To be a player that climbs the steep, slippery pyramid of professional baseball to culminate at major league baseball and actually play in the league it is an achievement of huge effort and luck. For a working number lets say maybe 1,800 players give or take have played for the Mariners.
You can look at a successful team over that period, say the Yankees and discover that before 1995 they had been bad too for an extended time, but I digress. The reason teams win consistently is that they have more players that are good to great, than say the Mariners have had in any given year.
During the golden time and even on the fringe, say the years before or just after, they have had players that made it hard to beat them. When you lose twenty four out of thirty five seasons it means that the fundamental point made, about needing to have good players to win is missed or ignored in pursuit of other goals.
Many teams such as Minnesota, or the Yankees or Texas or Oakland strive to compete to win. Sometimes they do and sometimes such things as injuries or misjudgments about players occur.
All this coming fall and winter look at statements from the team and ask yourself is this new player going to make us better, or is this player going to get better, or is this marketing jibber jabber?
This week we heard the baseball people suggest that people need to come back with a better physical preparation and in a few instances they singled out players such as Ichiro that he had to be prepared for a changed circumstance.
Chuck Armstrong then ran out and made remarks that indicate a chasm exists between him and the GM and manager by saying Ichrio was one of the most productive players they had and a contract extension would be offered next year.
So the final stats are here and lets see who the Mariners have that are good players, productive players.
In between World War I and World War II the French who are to War what the Mariners are to baseball built this huge fortification of underground forts and pill boxes called the Maginot line. The Germans drove around the forts and the guys inside the fort were not aware that their Generals had surrendered or even the war had happened. Well the name Maginot line lasted longer than the forts. There is a player for the Orioles named Mike Moustakas who had the 127th best OPS in the American League. What is significant about being the 127th best OPS? Well with fourteen teams and nine lineup spots for each team, one hundred and twenty six players fill up each spot in every line up.
Life is more complicated than that, but for ever on from this moment if you are below the Moustakas Line it means you are not even an average player it means you are not worthy of playing. Or if you played in Brooklyn you’d be a bum.
The Moustakas line is a relative thing, it could be higher or lower from year to year. This year it is an OPS below .676. To qualify you had to have the same or more at bats than Brett Lawrie a magnificent young player for the Blue Jays. Highly scientific stuff.
The Mariners had five players above the Moustakas line. From best to least they were Mike Carp with an OPS of .791, 52nd best in the American league. He slid in September. Dustin Ackley is next at .766 and 63rd. Followed by Casper Wells at .759 at 68th. Justin Smoak is 91st with a .719 and the fifth is Kyle Seager at .691 and 117th.
There are some interesting items worth remarking upon; Wells and Ackley had almost identical numbers, but Ackley is the golden child. Wells was on fire until he go drilled in the face and elbow and the back and our manager and pitchers did nothing to protect him. He is awash in tools and he is being overlooked.
How many players are below the Moustakas Line and how many are still with the team? Lets find out:
The next best player is Jack Cust(released) at 129th with a .673, Ichiro is the 141st best with a .645, Olivo 142nd with a .641 and Brendan Ryan 143rd with a .639. Adam Kennedy at 148th is .632, Carlos Peguero at .622, Trayvon Robinson at 174th and .586, Jack Wilson (gone) 176th and .577, Franklin Gutierrez 184th and .534, Chone Figgins 187th and .484 and Michael Saunders .424 and 191st…Saunders had the worst season of anybody in baseball. These eleven guys, plus Milton Bradley who somehow disappeared from the data base are twelve guys that would not play for other teams on a regular basis, which all of these guys here did. That was fairly easy to type, but it means that the “veterans and a couple of young guys who played early in the year had terrible years and without the Mariners would be watching games on tv or in the minor leagues. Just terrible. Three or maybe four of those guys are guaranteed spots next year as per Chuck: Ichiro, Gutierrez, Olivo and Ryan… Maybe Figgins too. You will hear lots of hot air over the next few months but there it is.
Ichiro caused me to look at another stat, actually two other stats. Runs created is an old hoary number that the formula is runs+rbis-homeruns. So I calculated that and then divided it by plate appearance to see who’s the most efficient hitter. For the whole league the player that topped that stat was Curtis Granderson, followed by Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Napoli, Miguel Cabrera, Michael Young, Jacoby Ellsbury and Alex Rodriguez.
Just as an aside here are some underplayed and underpaid nuggets, Alejandro De Aza, Brent Lillibridge, both ChiSox. The best Mariners were Mike Carp and Casper Wells at 101st tied. Olivo at 109th next, Ryan and Ackley at 131st which is now Below this secondary Moustakas line. Ichiro was 153rd.
There are fights being played out in the papers over this very basic sort of assessments. One group suggests gently that he is old and really can’t play any more. The non-baseball people say we can sell tickets and there are other important considerations and then they follow and say, he can reinvent himself as a power hitter.
Meanwhile a good young player sits.