Introductory phrase designed to make you curious about what it is that I am presenting. Recall, if you will, these spuriously related moments of nostalgia that I am using to favorably prime you for my argument. Here is a small detail that I think you haven’t considered and find to be fascinating, but the rest of the baseball world looks at and goes, “well, yeah?”. THEY SAY it doesn’t matter, but I SAY that the future of the Cleveland Indians franchise relies on it.
Consider the following statistic, cherry-picked from FanGraphs. Also, here is a slash line from randomly selected dates in 2020. Doesn’t this clearly indicate that regression is due and that the True Talent Level of This Player is Way Below what we Actually Want?
You might not find that convincing, but consider this video clip of a relevant performance from last season:
RHP Trevor Stephan— Random Prospects (@ProspectsRandom) December 11, 2020
15th pick in 2020 Rule 5 Draft pic.twitter.com/Rd8LQ0DeL0
Notice this small detail about delivery/swing/fielding that I decided to call out because it looks funny. Is THIS the cause of all this tomfoolery? Now, I’m not saying that it is, but my goodness folks, does the broader statistical community really think that we’re so blind? Do they truly believe that we are sheep that may be led to a slaughter on the sacrificial altar of BABIP/Spin Rate/Launch angle?
You may not be convinced yet, but this embedded tweet from a Well-Regarded Baseball Mind is designed to make you question your own beliefs and soften your resolve against having your mind changed:
First class facilities and coaching staff that was more than welcoming to a random drop-by scout visit in to see a top international player. LMHS put on a show. Impressed with not just Jones but the whole program.— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) December 10, 2020
See, I’m not the only one that thinks This. Someone Else Who Is More Important Than Me said something that could be convincingly misconstrued to support my hypothesis!
This is where I pivot and question your commitment to the undefinable beauty and majesty of baseball. If you don’t see this tiny detail about the game of baseball that I have nearly invented out of whole cloth as tantamount to the future success of the franchise, do you really even like baseball? Why don’t you just watch six-year-olds play checkers and drink juice boxes, you profligate guzzler of counting stats?
I’ve been a bit forceful, so now I reel it in slightly and appeal to your broader humanity, which is a preposterous thing to attempt in a blog post on a team-specific baseball website. Still, I am unrelenting in my appeal to your curiosity, openness, and willingness to consider new ideas. It does not matter that my idea is undeniably stupid and deserving of ridicule because I’m funny, and I’m going to use that in the comments to make you look like a jerk. This will undermine your attempt to show everyone how absolutely ridiculous this entire post is. Slowly, they will see you as a menace to the revolution in baseball that we are creating, or so I believe as I craft a Delicate Metaphor that, in its surreal beauty, leaves you no choice but to quietly say, “huh, wow” while reflexively nodding. You don’t know it yet, but now you really believe me because I distracted you with humor and pretty words.
Finally, no off-the-rails analysis post is complete without some kind of screengrab or chart from FanGraphs
This has absolutely no relevance to the discussion at all, but your eyes are glossing over now and the presence of the Trusted Fangraphs brand subtly nudges you into thinking my idea is even more legitimate. It is not. If you really look at the graph you’ll see that it doesn’t have anything to do with my central point. But you’re already eager to comment, and might even leave during this paragraph to Make Your Voice Heard.
I reference a bad decision to bunt. You get fired up and agree with me. It is irrelevant, but now I have my foot planted firmly inside the door. You’re more open to this stupid idea now and don’t even realize it.
I appeal to our sense of community. This should have no bearing whatsoever on the validity of a take about someone’s tendency to make weak contact on balls low on the zone or inability to advance runners in scoring position, and yet the reminder of your Belongingess To This Community and What It Means to You is the last Shiny Thing needed to fully distract you from how stupid this idea is.
With my full arsenal deployed, I drop one last hammer on the conversation by pointing out this could all be fixed if only the Dolans weren’t So Cheap.