ESPN Watch: More of the same

Don't get me wrong, there is a good deal of accurate commentary on ESPN, but at times they simply don't bother to take enough time to do any real analysis. Sure, Gammons might be doing something, but whatever he's writing is trapped behind the impenetrable curtain of Insider. Another article out today exhibits this almost complete lack of critical thought. Most of Sean McAdam's column (found here) was well written, but in his analysis of the NL West, he seems to have lost it. I've reproduced the worst paragraph here.

The Dodgers (Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra and Danys Baez) have made great strides and the Giants figure to be more of a factor with Barry Bonds healthier. Then there are the Diamondbacks, who continue to take steps back to contention.

Half true, complete understatement, and completely false.

The Dodgers have taken steps to improve, but I don't really think that losing Milton Bradley, adding a huge injury risk in Nomar and adding Dany Baez are completely offset by acquiring Furcal. They got better, but not much.

The Giants have a solid number two behind Schmidt, for the first time in memory, Bonds proved last season that he was healthy enough to keep playing like himself (see his HR at RFK if you doubt this), and Randy Winn seems to have had a renaissance. The Giants will win significantly more games than last year; count on it.

The Diamondbacks made a trade to make Vazquez happy, and picked up a pitcher who isn't much better, or much worse. But more to the point, I have the two most important statistics from the D'Backs 2005 campaign: 696 runs scored, 856 runs allowed. Using the Pythagorean Win Theorem, they had a predicted winning percentage of less than 40 %, which roughly equates to 64 wins. The Padres, by the way, were at 684 RS and 726 RA. Statistical anomalies do not persist season after season, and the snakes play the way they did last season, they could rival the Rockies for last in the West.

Just doing my part to keep your heads on straight, Confines readers. With the season ramping up, and the Classic less than two months away, expect more in the way of articles, especially with the return of Aho from overseas. Just 54 days until Opening Day.

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