Thursday, January 28, 2010

A More Absurd Acronym Than GTL

Guess who's turning 28 next month? That's right, everyone's favorite Red Sox pitching prospect Manny Delcarmen. Just as Josh Reddick is in the prospect doghouse, as nobody is recognizing that he might be a good baseball player someday, the beloved "MDC" is the exact opposite. Next time we see him, he will be 28, which would indicate he is no longer a prospect, but a player in the prime of his career. There is no more upside. So let's stop saying he has all this great stuff and great makeup and will be a really great relief pitcher someday. Let's accept him for what he is: A relief pitcher like probably 75 other middle relievers throughout Major League Baseball.

It's one thing to hear a one-time slipup, like when Buck Martinez said that Pedro Feliz (at age 33 at the time) had a lot of upside and could be a 25-HR hitter one day or when Kathryn Tappan said 30-year-old Nick Green was a young player. But it goes beyond Sean Casey, who got ripped apart already in this HYD classic. People say this kind of stuff about Delcarmen all the time.

I'm trying to figure out why this player is so highly regarded. Is he the baseball version of Brian Scalabrine? I mean, it's easy to see why Red Sox fans like both Delcarmen and Scalabrine: Delcarmen grew up in the same area (except he lived in Hyde Park instead of an affluent suburb near 128) and Scalabrine looks like them. If he is the baseball Scalabrine, Delcarmen should probably play a little more like Scalabrine. Scalabrine knows he's one of the last ones off the bench and that he's just not that good. But when he goes out there he plays hard--probably recklessly hard, taking advantage of every minute he gets on the floor. Delcarmen pitches with a sense of entitlement usually reserved for Colby College or other NESCAC students. It's as if he's unaware that he surrendered well over a hit per inning on the way to a heinous 1.6 WHIP.

Francona also deserves some of the blame. Despite pretty much two consecutive uninspiring or flat-out bad seasons, Francona continues to pitch this guy a lot. In high leverage situations. There is never any threat of sending MDC to Pawtucket. If he throws an inning and turns a 6-3 lead into a 6-5 lead after walking a guy and surrendering back-to-back doubles, oh well, it seems.

In 2009, MDC threw 80% as many innings as he did in 2008. Over those innings, he struck out 61% as many batters. He threw 20% fewer innings but gave up 16% MORE hits and 21% MORE walks. I don't like where those numbers are going. At all. And like Peter Gibbons at Initech, every month was worse than the previous one. MDC is NOT a good pitcher. He is NOT going to get any better. He's too old to be a prospect, just as Larry (the Pants on the Floor guy) is too old to be the American Idol. He is what he is. Let's stop talking about the upside. Let's stop talking about the great stuff and great makeup, both of which aren't actually evident.

Let's view MDC as what he is. An average to below-average reliever, who ought to assume and embrace the Brian Scalabrine role.

8 comments:

Patrick said...

good post gm. i think you hit most of the important points. at this stage expecting MDC to do big things is not well-founded. however i would note that, while you certainly don't go out of your way to hang on to a guy like him (if there is interest in a trade or you need a 25 man roster spot), if you can keep him around he's not a bad guy to have around. he can give you some solid work from time to time as your 5th-7th reliever. it's just important to recognize that he's your 5th-7th reliever, and use him accordingly. that seems to be where the disconnect lies thus far with many red sox fans and front office/management alike.

the yankees actually had news yesterday with their signing of randy winn. i'm going to hold off writing about it until damon signs somewhere, because that will ultimately determine what this decision looks like for the yankees. this will of course be assuming that damon would have signed for something similar with the yankees, which may not necessarily be true, but at least we will have a ballpark idea of what his market really was like.

the gm at work said...

You mention interest in a trade. Could you imagine being a rival GM negotiating a trade with the Red Sox for, say, Mike Lowell? I'd really like to see rival GMs' reaction when Theo Epstein or one of his minions does a counter-offer, adding Manny Delcarmen to the package. I mean, the guy is your prototypical journeyman reliever who just hasn't done the journey yet. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If I were the Manny Delcarmen of the US half-marathon/marathon world (which I probably am), I'd be happy with that.

But let's not kid ourselves and think he's going to be a ballin setup man or anything. Dude's turning 28 in three weeks.

Ross Kaplan said...

As much as I enjoy commenting on former Red Sox prospects who failed to reach their potential, there is something that I must insist that our fearless leaders comment on in the near future, that of course is the phenomenon that is Jersey Shore.

Considering DV's Italian ancestry and Patrick's New Jersey roots, I strongly believe that the two of you can provide invaluable insight into New Jersey's "Guido/Guidette culture." Also with the baseball season being a very far off glint in my eye, there is more than enough time to comment on this most important of topics.

the gm at work said...

Ross,

I was more disappointed about the end of Jersey Shore than I was about the end of the 2009 Red Sox season. However, despite my Italian ancestry, I feel like I am less of a guido than Pat is. Which is sad. But he's got the Jersey accent going on, he went to a high school that (by his admission) was like 50% Italian-American/guido. My friends from high school (H, Matt, John) can attest that we really only have one true guido friend. Pat's been immersed in the culture a lot more than I have, and while after Houston I'm trying to catch up, I think it's safe to say that my boy's consumed more Jagerbombs in his time.

That's one shot kid. That's one shot.

the gm at work said...

By the way, are you even supposed to say that word? It's okay for me to say it because I'm Italian. I'm not sure you're supposed to say it if you're not.

Ross Kaplan said...

Well I did say it in quotes and in the context of a question so I think that's okay, but who knows anymore in Barak Obama's America.

PF said...

a great majority of people that went to my high school were indeed italian (with the other great majority being irish), and i'm discussed this fact with dv because he is italian, but i don't think i said anything more than that because there isn't a whole lot more to it than that. none of them resembled the cast of the jersey shore or even close to it. to be honest i don't really know anybody like the cast of jersey shore, so i don't think my analysis would be any better/funnier than anybody else's. i like the idea, but i'm just not sure where we can go with it.

the gm at work said...

Pat, that is boring as hell. The least you could have done would be to say that you were like the cowboy who hooked up with Snickers.

As far as I go, if my doctor's appointment doesn't go well tomorrow and I'm told I can't run for several weeks/months, I might adopt the lifestyle of GTL (gym, tan, laundry) everyday because I have nothing better to do with my time. There is a legitimate guido barbershop next door to the office now, so it's really easy for me to look fresh whenever I want to, chief.