While we at Razzball are content toiling within the modest confines of fantasy baseball blogdom, we occasionally like to flex our journalistic muscles and take on a challenging interview.  (Click here for our interview archive.)  Sometimes that’s not enough of a challenge and we answer for our interview subject.  Luckily, our subject today – Morgan Ensberg – is a blogger himself and took care of his end of the interview.  His blog is one of my two favorite ex-player blogs along with Brent Mayne‘s blog.  Don’t believe me?  See it for yourself: Morgan Ensberg’s Baseball IQ.  His Twitter feed can be found here.

Morgan EnsbergOur interview subject today is Morgan Ensberg – undoubtedly the finest MLB player ever with the first name of Morgan (cry me a river, Morgan Burkhart and Morgan Murphy).  Ensberg grew up in Southern California, played college ball at USC, and was in the minors for 4 1/2 years before being called up for good in 2002 by the Astros.  He eventually wrestled the 3B job away from Geoff Blum despite Blum’s clear advantage of having a surname starting with B.  Ensberg played 3B for the Astros through 2007 with his best year coming in 2005 when he finished 4th in the MVP voting and helped lead the Astros to their only World Series appearance.  In addition, Morgan Ensberg fell into the category of “Is his name Jewish, European, both, or neither?” along with players such as David Eckstein, Ben Zobrist, Gabe Gross, and Royals’ prospect Kila Ka’aihue (scroll to end of interview for the answers!)

On to the interview…

Rudy:  Fans generally expect players to have the typical ‘bell-shape’ career where they might struggle at the beginning, ramp up to a peak in their prime and come back down as they get in their upper 30s.  But there are numerous careers – like yours – that defy these expectations.  Your first full season at 27 was very good (.377 OBP, 131 OPS+), you had an MVP-caliber season at 29 (86/36/101 with a .388 OBP and 144 OPS+), and you were out of the league at 32.  What do you feel were the main reason(s) why your peak wasn’t longer?

Ensberg:  Each situation is different.  Most of the reason I didn’t continue to do well was because I got down on myself and didn’t have perspective.  Other players simply loose their skills, but that was not the case for me.  Mine was mental.  I have said before that I would be a better ball player today because I have had a year off to gain perspective.

Rudy:  Moneyball – for better or worse – is credited with bringing OBP into vogue.  You had an excellent eye – walking 101 times in your last full season.  How much of a good batting eye is a skill vs. a choice?  Did it frustrate patient hitters like yourself, Berkman, and Bagwell when a guy like Willy Taveras and even Craig  Biggio took so few walks?

Ensberg: OBP is important if your organization thinks it is important.  Your real underlying question is more about defining the brand of ball that your team plays.  My belief is that most teams won’t define themselves because they don’t know what sort of team they are.  With that lineup in 2006, what sort of team do you think we were?   (Rudy:  Man, you know I can’t pass up a question like that!  See my lengthy analysis below the interview.)

Rudy:  A number of hitters with seemingly average speed pull off 15-25 SB seasons seemingly out of nowhere.  Case in point:  Lance Berkman stole 18 in 2008 after never stealing more than 9 in nine prior seasons.  Paul O’Neill set his career high of 22 in his last year (at 38).  How hard was it for a non-stealer like yourself to get the opportunities to steal?  Do coaches slowly gain confidence in a player throughout the year or do the runners themselves lobby hard for the increase?

Ensberg: Some managers don’t understand how important stealing is to winning.  Most managers will look at a players speed and give him the “green light or red light”.  I was always given the “red light”.  But good teams constantly apply pressure to the other team to make the plays.  If you look at bunting in the Big Leagues, it is terrible.  If players were taught correctly how to sacrifice then more teams would use it and those teams would win more games.

Rudy:  I hypothesized (https://razzball.com/20-risky-pitchers-for-2010/) that the most effective pitch on average is the slider but it’s so tough on the arm that most starting pitchers with above-average stuff will avoid overusing them (leaving the more fringe starting pitchers to throw out their arms for a season or two of effective pitching).  So two questions:  1) Did you find the slider to be the toughest pitch to hit (on average)? and 2) Do you think this hypothesis has any merit?

Ensberg: The toughest pitch is the straight fastball.  A well located fastball cannot be hit hard.  Sliders are tough, but anytime there is more that one plane, we have a chance.  So sliders cross 2 planes and that gives us another indication of its location.

Rudy:  What do real baseball players think of fantasy baseball?

Ensberg: I have never met a player who talks about fantasy baseball.  Fantasy is a derivative of the game and fun for fans.  It has no impact on us at all.

Rudy:  You wrote a very interesting piece on how Pujols’ HR against Lidge in the 2005 playoffs wouldn’t have happened if you had been put in the right position against David Eckstein (http://morganensberg.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/lidge-vs-pujols-i-was-in-the-wrong-spot/).  Why didn’t one of the coaches look at the hitting charts and position one of the outfielders up in the left field train tracks against Pujols?

Ensberg: That is a question that I find myself asking every night.

Bonus feature #1 – Rudy’s analysis of the 2006 Astros (in response to Morgan Ensberg’s question, “With that lineup in 2006, what sort of team do you think we were?”)

Short answer:

With their strong pitching, the 2006 Astros only needed average offensive performance to win their easily winnable division (Cards won NL Central with 83 wins).

The 2006 Astros offense was poorly constructed and management focused on empty power (Preston Wilson, Jason Lane) in their corner OF spots rather than OBP to compensate for the limited offensive contributions that should’ve been expected from Everett, Ausmus, Biggio, and Taveras.  The lack of speed in the lineup (short of Taveras) made it difficult to put pressure on competitors.

The 2006 Astros would’ve been better served offensively to focus on OBP by promoting Luke Scott to start the year and acquiring a high OBP guy (like Scott Hatteberg) to help maximize the RBI opportunities for the heart of the lineup as well as moving Biggio or Taveras further down in the lineup given their below average OBPs.

Long answer:

It’s always easier to judge a team’s construction and lineup choices after the season than before.  So I’ll try to minimize the ‘hindsight is 20/20′ by basing decisions based on the end of 2005 when Phil Garner (Manager) and Tim Purpura (GM before they nabbed Ed v. Wade) were mapping out their 2006 team.

The 2005 NL Champion Astros were clearly a team driven by their pitching.  The trio of Oswalt (20-12, 2.94 ERA/1.20 WHIP, 184 K/48 BB), Pettitte (17-9, 2.39/1.03, 171/41) and Clemens (13-8, 1.87/1.01, 185/62) all had Cy Young-caliber seasons and amounted to an astounding 18.3 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).  The bullpen was excellent as well with Lidge, Qualls, and Wheeler all having above average seasons.

The 2005 offense was in flux as Jeff Bagwell’s early shoulder woes led to only 24 ABs after April and took one of the best bats and OBPs out of the lineup (in 2004, he’d hit .266/.377/.465 and played in 156 games).  The team’s best hitter coming into the season was Lance Berkman and he performed well but missed all of April with a knee injury.  He took over Bagwell’s place at 1B forcing UTIL Chris Burke into OF duty and adding a 4th weak bat and below average OBP into the lineup (Burke, Adam Everett, Willy Taveras, and Brad Ausmus all finished between 70-80 in OPS+ with Ausmus’ .351 OBP and Everett’s 11 HRs moderate bright spots).  Biggio and Jason Lane provided solid power (26 HRs each) which helped balance their pedestrian OBPs (.325 and .316 respectively).

The breakout season of the 2005 Astros, though, was this post’s subject (Morgan Ensberg) as he went .283/36/101 with a .388 OBP that, based on WAR, was the 3rd best season in the NL that year after MVP Albert Pujols and Andruw Jones’ career season. ( Ensberg’s WAR was higher than Derrek Lee’s monster .335/46/107 season driven by Ensberg’s defensive value).

So going into 2006, the Astros retained two of their aces (Oswalt, Pettitte) and got back Roger Clemens on June 1st after Drayton McLane paid him the king’s ransom of a pro-rated $22 million.  With promising young pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brandon Backe, this was definitely set to be an above-average pitching team BUT it would have been ridiculous to expect as dominant a collective pitching season as 2005.  So the offseason goal should’ve been to improve the offense.

Specifically, the #1 priority based on the 2005 team should’ve been to upgrade the team’s OBP which at .322 was tied for 2nd worst in the NL with the Mets, Nationals, and Pirates (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=nl&type=1&season=2005&month=0).

Here was the returning starting lineup with some in-house options in parentheses:

C: Ausmus
1B:  Berkman (Carlos Rivera)
2B:  Biggio (Burke)
SS:  Everett
3B:  Ensberg
RF:  Lane (Luke Scott)
CF:  Taveras
LF:  Burke (Lance Berkman, Luke Scott)

C – It’s hard to look at Brad Ausmus’ stats and not see potential for an upgrade.  He was turning 37 and posting 5 straight subpar seasons (as chronicled here – https://razzball.com/razzball-historical-spotlight-brad-ausmus/).  I can only assume he was deemed to be a great receiver which may be tough to measure via traditional stats and in-house options Eric Munson and Humberto Quintero weren’t much better.  I didn’t see any great upgrade on the FA wire and it’s hard to postulate trades so I’ll leave him be.

1B:  Berkman was set here but could’ve been moved to the OF if a 1B was found.  27 year old prospect Carlos Rivera was coming off a solid .312/.363/.505 season at AAA.  Free agency also an option.

2B:  Biggio was coming a league-average season and was turning 40.  It would’ve been natural to assume he’d regress to slightly below average.  The best in-house option – Chris Burke – wouldn’t have been an upgrade.  Given Biggio was towards the end of his march to 3,000 hits and was one of the two best Astros ever, this wasn’t the position (or player) you were going to upgrade.

SS – There was little reason to upgrade Adam Everett’s below average offense as his glove made up for it.

3B – No reason to change from Morgan Ensberg after an MVP-caliber season.

RF – Jason Lane – At 29, he was coming off his first full MLB season where he showed he could be a servicable slugger type (26 HRs, high K rate).  Not an ideal platoon candidate given he had more success as a right-handed bat against RHP than LHP in 2005.  Luke Scott was a left-handed bat turning 28 and had nothing left to prove at AAA after posting .286/.363/.603 with 31 HRs and a solid BB rate (near 10%).

CF – Willy Taveras – Still young, a solid glove, and plus speed.  Just coming off his first full season which held more superficial promise (.291, 33 SBs) than actual promise (high K rate, ridiculously low BB rate, no power).  Worth taking a shot on but should’ve been forced to do 20 pushups every time he hit the ball in the air a la Willie Mays Hays.

LF – Chris Burke was an emergency fit at LF and was an obvious area for upgrade either with Luke Scott, shifting Berkman back and replacing him at 1B, or a free agent.

In summary, the biggest offensive team need was for a 1B or corner OF with high OBP to offset the below-average OBP of Everett, Ausmus, Taveras, Jason Lane, and Chris Biggio.  The last thing the team needed was a low OBP guy regardless of the player’s power or speed.

So whom do they acquire via free agency but a gamy Preston Wilson whom, at 31, was coming off a .260/.325/.467 split-season between the Marlins and Rockies that was eerily similar to Biggio and Jason Lane’s 2005 seasons.

Who would have been a better choice?  Carlos Garcia profiled as an AAAA type so an in-house option probably wouldn’t have worked.  But none other than Moneyball favorite Scott Hatteberg was a free agent that year after an off season at 35 for the A’s (.334 OBP with no power).  The Reds signed him and, in 2006-2007, Hatteberg posted OBPs of .389 and .394 for the Reds.  Preston Wilson, on the other hand, had 9 HRs and a .309 OBP before being dumped on the Cardinals in late 2006.

With Berkman back in left, Jason Lane and Luke Scott could fight for the RF position with the potential for a left/right platoon (though the right-handed bat of Lane hit better against RHP vs. LHP in 2005).  A projected lineup with some assistance by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andy Dolphin’s ‘The Book‘ for lineup construction (great summary at http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-by) would be:

#1 – Willy Taveras
#2 – Morgan Ensberg
#3 – Scott Hatteberg
#4 – Lance Berkman
#5 – Luke Scott/Jason Lane
#6 – Chris Biggio
#7 – Brad Ausmus
#8 – Adam Everett
#9 – Pitcher

The lineup still has its holes (painful to put Taveras up 1st but a 40-year old Biggio doesn’t make sense and the slow-footed Hatteberg – stats be damned – would be ugly to watch at leadoff.  The only speed option (Taveras) is hitting in front of the three best hitters so his SB potential is less utilized than if he hit lower in the lineup.  Switching the two ‘bergs to #2/#3 is also a possible alternative.

The lineup used most often in 2006 was:

  1. Biggio
  2. Taveras
  3. Berkman
  4. Ensberg
  5. Wilson
  6. Lane
  7. Ausmus
  8. Everett
  9. Pitcher

While the team’s OBP went up to .332, this was driven mainly by getting a full season of Berkman.  The team’s OPS was 2nd worst in the NL and was 5th worst in Runs.

Preston Wilson and Jason Lane had the type of disastrous seasons that’s a greater risk with power/high-K/low BB guys.  You know it’s bad when your most valuable opening day OF (measured by WAR) turns out to be Willy Taveras.  While Ensberg regressed in some areas (AVG, HR), his stellar .396 OBP was wasted hitting in front of these two.

Luke Scott was inexplicably kept in the minors until July and had a fantastic 2nd half with .336/.426/.621 that wouldn’t have held up the whole year (high BABIP) but proved he was a better option than Jason Lane.  Hatteberg would’ve been a much more productive player than Wilson though this would’ve nullified the positive impact of Aubrey Huff who was picked up for the stretch run.

The incremental wins of Scott Hatteberg vs. Preston Wilson as well as starting Luke Scott from the beginning might’ve netted about 2-3 extra wins throughout the season (guesstimated looking at WAR – also worth noting that Preston Wilson was an atrocious fielder).  That’s generally inconsequential for a team that ended with 82 wins except for the fact that the Cardinals won the division with only 83 wins.

While any number of factors could’ve helped boost the Astros by an extra 2 wins (like, say, Roger Clemens pitching the whole season, any sort of contribution from Wandy Rodriguez, a healthy Brandon Backe), it’s hard to look at the team and not blame Garner/Purpura for not optimizing the offense.

Bonus feature #2 – Are these players Jewish?

Morgan Ensberg – No.  He is of Norwegian descent (see comments in this link).

David Eckstein – Nope.

Ben Zobrist and Gabe Gross – Not even close!  Ben and Gabe would organize Bible studies when they played together for the Tampa Bay Rays and Ben is married to Julianna Zobrist – a Christian rock singer.

Kila Ka’aihue – Unknown.  I can’t find any info out there that confirms his religion.

130 Comments
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Chase
Chase
12 years ago

What a great writeup of my team–thanks Rudy

2005 was my favorite year of all time btw..

its all been downhill since then

Aaron
Aaron
12 years ago

@Stephen: 2010 preseason content has been the best yet. Someone out there has to be wondering what the largest daquiri costs.

herschel
herschel
12 years ago

@Grey: I may be reading into Scioscia’s words a bit, but this was from todays OC Register:

Jeff Mathis got the start at catcher on Opening Day. Scioscia said Mike Napoli had “made a lot of improvement” this spring after his defense became an issue last season. But he seemed to indicate Mathis will be the primary starter at the position for now. “I think that’s one position where if someone plays well, they could really take off and run with it for awhile,” Scioscia said. “Right now we’re going to give Jeff’s defense a look tonight and a little in this first series. Mike will catch.”

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@herschel: I’d want Iannetta, where did you read it’s a 50/50 split?

@Elijah: Ha!

TheQuestforMerlin
TheQuestforMerlin
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Totally agree with the standard 5×5 Rudy. The saber stuff is great for analyzing your favorite baseball team (in real life) and even helping you to win a fantasy league by looking at guys whose peripheral and advanced saber stats suggest an improvement in rate stats can be had. But when used in fantasy day to day, it just isn’t as exciting or as democratic. Tried it twice, can’t be bothered too again. Too fussy. Give me the pure stuff all day, everyday. It takes more skill and judgement in any case to predict rate stats, which in where the fun in funtasy can be found. So I vote, hell to the no on a RCL change for 2011!

Elijah
12 years ago

Oakland and Seattle: The Teams That Could Not Score.

Elijah
12 years ago

@Paulie Allnuts:

He’s OK. I wouldnt expect those bullets in the gap everyday but Im wishing I had him on a team.

herschel
herschel
12 years ago

@Grey

so apparently scioscia indicated napoli and mathis are in for a 50/50 split. who do you like as a possible replacement (5 x 5 roto, weekly changes).

ianetta (on my bench)
y. molina
aj pierzynski
pudge
c. ruiz
k. shoppach

thanks in advance.

Paulie Allnuts
Paulie Allnuts
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: It would be interesting to see if other Razzballers would want to experiment next year. But after thinking it over, tampering with the traditional cats probably wouldn’t go over to well.

Paulie Allnuts
Paulie Allnuts
12 years ago

@Elijah: Hope not. He just had a career day.

Elijah
12 years ago

EvCab sprained ankle, doesnt look too bad.

I Am The Liquor
I Am The Liquor
12 years ago

anyone watching oak-sea? Braden with 10ks through 7

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

Sigh. It’s been one of those days.

The guys I draft to be good have been awful and the guys I draft to be awful have been good.

Nathan
Nathan
12 years ago

I love the first two weeks of baseball, when the Comcast Extra Innings package is free to preview. It’s the only time I can actually watch Ian Stewart run through a stop sign for a triple and score me a meaningless run.

Headly did look good tonight, didn’t he? Wondering if he might be a better play than Dexter at this point, with news of the possible platoon with Smith.

sean
sean
12 years ago

ii goes yard off of blackburn. hefty bat flip upon contact.

sean
sean
12 years ago

Still no dice on the snuggie, Grey? Angels just broke the world record for largest snuggie-wearing gathering ever. Wonder how many (30?) times we’ll see that promotion this year across MLB?

Awesomus Maximus
Awesomus Maximus
12 years ago

The Nick Johnson HBP had me thinking 6-8 weeks. Nice to see him bounce back with a blistering bases loaded walk past Okajima just a few ABs later. Doode is an RBI machine.

I Am The Liquor
I Am The Liquor
12 years ago

4 RBI for evercab

Elijah
12 years ago

Headley sure looks good.

Dr. Orlando Schadenfreude
Dr. Orlando Schadenfreude
12 years ago

Loving MMD right now.

Loving Saunders’ Razzriffic start right now too.

spencer
spencer
12 years ago

MMD! MMD! MMD!!!!!!!

sean
sean
12 years ago

Aceves with the win (shocker)
Braden has 7ks through 4.1

I Am The Liquor
I Am The Liquor
12 years ago

MMD with a triple, running through the stop sign

Elijah
12 years ago

@sean:

He pitched pretty well, just a bad 2 out mistake cost 2 runs.

sean
sean
12 years ago

E-Jax’s line looks much more like second half than first.

Freak
12 years ago

@Grey: Maybe that could be the incentive to donating. Make it to the gold circle club and you get to make fun of Matthew Berry.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Freak: Waiting for Geraldo to find it.

Freak
12 years ago

@Grey: Have you released the tapes from that interview, or are you still sitting on that comedy gold mine?

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Robert: I like it.

@Freak: Shocking, I know.

@Eddy: Ah… I thought it might have been the Friends & Family public league thing.

Eddy
Eddy
12 years ago

@Grey:
I was gazing in through your window with a Jack Nicholson “The Shining” expression on my face as you were making it.

And I also happened to read it in one of the comments in a post a while back :P

Elijah
12 years ago

Go Morneau!

Freak
12 years ago

No Matthew Berry interview this year? What gives?

Robert
Robert
12 years ago

@Grey: I just traded Scherzer and F. Morales for Wieters. I have Lince, Johan, Nolasco, and De La Rosa to go with Qualls, Wilson, and Lindstrom. Good deal, right?

Yo Soy No Bueno
Yo Soy No Bueno
12 years ago

Zito strong tonight = Disregard.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Eddy: Stalker! How did you know that was our trade? I don’t think I’ve announced it on the blog yet.

@Jesse: Ha!

@sean: Nice!

sean
sean
12 years ago

Cano bomb

sean
sean
12 years ago

Joba do what Joba do

Eddy
Eddy
12 years ago

Although it wasn’t a save situation, Lindstrom looked pretty damn good.

Looks like he was locating the slider which he couldn’t do when he was with my Marlins. Bastard.

Jesse
Jesse
12 years ago

Here’s my question – if something as absurd as Scientology can be a religion with any considerable number of followers, how the hell is there not a religion devoted to the worship of Matt Wieters? That’s the kind of church I could get excited for!

Eddy
Eddy
12 years ago

@Grey:
Hopefully Garza can make that trade pay off for you tomorrow

Elijah
12 years ago

@Grey:

Raffy has some tasty WHIP.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Elijah: And it was for Mike Gonzalez! Joking. I would never do that trade.

Elijah
12 years ago

@Grey:

Hah.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Elijah: Damn, we just traded Soriano too. Damn, damn.

Eddy
Eddy
12 years ago

@Elijah:
You got it

Man, pitching has been horrible for me these first two days

Elijah
12 years ago

Could sure use a vulture win for Raffy.

Eddy
Eddy
12 years ago

Ugh, Mike Gonzalez is screwing me!

AL KOHOLIC
AL KOHOLIC
12 years ago

soriano with an escape after a scare

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@Grey: True. That Miguel Tejada guy can stay outside and freeze to death though.

Even in the 19th round it feels wrong.

Elijah
12 years ago

Key 2 out double for Ev-Cab

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Steve: It’s closer to the exit.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@Grey: You like to watch?

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@sean: That’s hilarious.

@Steve: I’m on the armchair.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@Grey: Another single for Headley. Move over Gaby – we need to squeeze another one on the sofa!

sean
sean
12 years ago

I might take up Ron Popeil’s lifetime guarantee and return my Iannetta rotisserie cooker.

mc serch
mc serch
12 years ago

@danimal35: those junky closers come in handy at times like these

Elijah
12 years ago

Edwin Jackson GAS!!!!

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@sean: At least Bonifacio kept it up for a week.

Having picked up Gomez, be nice if he could keep it going that long…

sean
sean
12 years ago

You heard it here first. Carlos Gomez = 2010 Bonifacio.

sean
sean
12 years ago

@Yo Soy No Bueno: No need to think twice for a roster-able starter against the Padres

Elijah
12 years ago

@sean:

Yep.

sean
sean
12 years ago

@Elijah: who is driving them in? blum? i’d take all the ‘stros on my razzball team before i took all the nats, or indians, or other suckhole team.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Yo Soy No Bueno: Start

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Bill Lumbergh: If Weeks is out there, sounds shallow (no MI maybe), but still a lot to give. Maybe Phillips and a lesser pitcher.

@Elijah: Yeah, kinda is.

Yo Soy No Bueno
Yo Soy No Bueno
12 years ago

Start or sit: E. Jackson v. Padres tonight?

Elijah
12 years ago

Is it too much to ask for Houston to score a couple runs?

danimal35
12 years ago

@mc serch: throwing in two closers and crossing my fingers

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh
12 years ago

Been offered Verlander for AJ Burnett & Brandon Phillips. Weeks & Sizemore are available on the wire. Pull the trigger? 12 team H2H dynasty points league. Thanks for the insight!

brad
brad
12 years ago

“C Pena reached on bunt single to third.” Did anyone see this?

Was he just beating the shift? wtf?

Elijah
12 years ago
Baron Von Vulturewins
Baron Von Vulturewins
12 years ago

@danimal35: Wait, who’s E-Lo?

Man, I can’t keep up with the nicknames on here.

Signed,
B “Da Bozz” 2-Stash Thunderstick Von Vulturio Rationale DDS

mc serch
mc serch
12 years ago

@danimal35: If you can flip MMD for Votto you are a superstar GM!

Elijah
12 years ago

@danimal35:

My boy!

danimal35
12 years ago

Giant jack by E-Lo!!!

danimal35
12 years ago

EDIT: *you’re

danimal35
12 years ago

@Grey: Oooook…but if he hits 162 HRs this season…your gonna have to buy me a daiquiri…deal?

mc serch
mc serch
12 years ago

@Grey: oh yeah, i forgot…MMD!!!

brad
brad
12 years ago

I think I saw a blue ox following Wieters as he trotted around the bases.

mc serch
mc serch
12 years ago

@Baron Von Vulturewins: perfectly expressed sentiment Baron…I agree unconditionally.

brad
brad
12 years ago

MMD!

(still trade him for Votto. . .)

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@danimal35: I’d still want Votto.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

Mini-mini Donkey!

DonSlaughtsOnslaugh
DonSlaughtsOnslaugh
12 years ago

Of course the only league in which I have Stewart is my non-$ league.

Rich
Rich
12 years ago

Mini-Mini-Donkey!

I had him on the bench yesterday unfortunately, not today though.

Elijah
12 years ago

Another HR for Stewart…

danimal35
12 years ago

Do I still trade Mini-mini-donk for Votto? I feel like maybe I should pull that trade offer

Elijah
12 years ago

The Wandwagon is rolling.

danimal35
12 years ago

I wasn’t paying attention until the first pitch and since I’m at work I minimize in between ABs

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@danimal35: Since you were watching the game, did you see Todd Kalas in the beginning? Was he orange?

danimal35
12 years ago

@Grey: Well I’m a Rays fan, but as Rays fan I believe Shields to be the most overrated #1 SP in the league…he doesn’t make anybody struggle except himself…it ain’t no Johan change…not even a Johan II change

Yo Soy No Bueno
Yo Soy No Bueno
12 years ago

Napoli not in the starting lineup again.

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Martin: Davis

Martin
Martin
12 years ago

Snider or Chris Davis?

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@danimal35: Love anything negative on Shields.

danimal35
12 years ago

Great AB by Adam Jones! 2-2 with a double and HR

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@danimal35: Seriously.

danimal35
12 years ago

BJ just makes it look easy!!!

AL KOHOLIC
AL KOHOLIC
12 years ago

lets hope chris davis isnt the new ensberg

Mojo the Helper Monkey
Mojo the Helper Monkey
12 years ago

This just in: the Yankees are batting Granderson 9th tonight. Awesome.

David_C
David_C
12 years ago

LOL Morgan Ensberg….a true blast from the past!

Paulie Allnuts
Paulie Allnuts
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: I have to second the Baron, and state that this column, as well as so many of your contributions, are embarrasingly great. Morgan Ensberg’s blog is top shelf, and is now added to my Favorite List. I was wondering if you have read his article on Sabermetrics, and your thoughts on his analysis. His grandfather apparently understood the concept of Runs Produced back in the late ’80’s. He was conscious of the value of walks, OPS and OPS+ when he was 14 years of age.

Just a thought. The only sabermetric stat we use in standard Roto in our RCL is WHIP. In my Yahoo league, I use several sabermetric stats, including OPS, which are available if you want to develop a custom league. I was wondering if at some point our RCL leagues might be enhanced by using other metrics instead/alongside the standard cats.

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Great interview, Rudy. It’s always a pleasure (not to mention a relief) to come across a sportsperson who is aware enough to know that there’s actually some important shizz going on beyond his chosen sphere – and is prepared to think so carefully about it.

Stephen
Stephen
12 years ago

@Aaron: what do you mean?

Mojo the Helper Monkey
Mojo the Helper Monkey
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Hey Rudy, do you think Sizemore puts up a halfway decent OBP? Better than Desmond or K. Johnson? Thanks!

mgeoffriau
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: The real question is…if Morgan Ensberg is the James Frey to your Oprah Winfrey, who is your Tom Cruise?

Tom Emanski
Tom Emanski
12 years ago

Nvm, just saw your S-Rod projection: 65/20/75/.250/5 in 400 ABs

You still sticking with those?

Tom Emanski
Tom Emanski
12 years ago

@Baron Von Vulturewins: Seconded. I love this site.

Grey, who do you like better, S-Rod or Sizemore? You have Sizmore down for 80/14/70/.275/16. What are your S-Rod projections?

Aaron
Aaron
12 years ago

Great article, content is improving…is it the end of Razzball?

Matt M
Matt M
12 years ago

Great interview, Rudy. Thanks for turning me on to his blog. Just read his Zito vs. Fielder post. Insightful stuff, even if it is a little “inside baseball,” know what I mean? Wink, wink, say no more!

mgeoffriau
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Holy crap, literary jokes. At least you’d get to sit down with Morgan and tell him how ashamed of him you are.

TheQuestforMerlin
TheQuestforMerlin
12 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Ha! That would make up for an interesting (and uncomfortably funny) follow up interview… Oprah-to-Frey-style, blogging in Phil Garner to verify any statements made.

Stephen
Stephen
12 years ago

Amazing article and stellar interview. I don’t have the time to read all of Ensberg’s blog currently. However, I am going to need to find the time, there are some great gems there. Also, “The Book” has a wealth of knowledge that takes forever to read (heavy). I’ve managed to read about 1/8 of it since i got it in December (I blame my studies).

When I clean up the drool I might be able to write my next article. Good job Rudy.

TheQuestforMerlin
TheQuestforMerlin
12 years ago

Awesome article and interview Rudy (again as per usual), and then I clicked on Ensberg’s blog. I had no idea such a (ex) players blog like that was out there. Terrific stuff, illuminating and at times mildly philosophical. New found admiration for Morgan E. Consider it Bookmarked!

Baron Von Vulturewins
Baron Von Vulturewins
12 years ago

Wow. This is kind of embarrassingly great.

I mean, you’re going to give away excellent fantasy advice for free AND pepper it with great jokes/Wu Tang lyrics/”Being There” references AND write parody reviews of fake books AND run actual thoughtful interviews with ex-major leaguers AND include an extensive break-down of the ’06 Astros offense AND OH BY WAY clarify for me that Ben Zobrist isn’t Jewish. (Which I totally thought he was.)

By the way, I mean embarrassing as in, embarrassment of riches. Truly well done.

Lou Poulas
Lou
12 years ago

NICE!

Brade
12 years ago

Top-notch article. Clicked the link to “The Book” and loved this exerpt:

If nothing else, we will consider this book a true success if all thirty teams were to never put a below-average hitter in the second spot. While the proper strategy will only gain you a few runs, why do something that is otherwise clearly wrong?

mgeoffriau
12 years ago

It’s kind of sad to read Ensberg’s evaluation of his own career slide. I’ll admit owned him a couple years in a fantasy league on the belief that he could turn it around.

Eric C.
Eric C.
12 years ago

Great writeup. Hopefully I’m not soiling the comments section with a fantasy help question. I propose Adrian Gonzo/Zimmerman/Granderson/Franklin Morales for Votto/Aramis Ram/Holliday. Is that offering too much? Thanks

Grey
Admin
12 years ago

@Hebrew Hammer: Rudy thanks you.

Hebrew Hammer
Hebrew Hammer
12 years ago

Brandon Backe…