Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mailday Post: Hot Corner Cards

Just before the Fourth of July, I got an unexpected PWE in the mail from Pat from Hot Corner Cards.  I thought about songs that mention corners and the obvious choice is clearly the correct one here:

I listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival as much as the next kid who grew up in the 1980s.  Then, I got to college and had a friend and later roommate who played Chronicle, a greatest hits compilation by CCR so much that I ended up buying it myself and listening to it regularly.  So, I figured out that I really liked the CCR song "Lodi" a lot more than "Down on the Corner," but "Lodi" doesn't fit here.  So "Down on the Corner" it is.

Pat sent me an interesting three-card melange in that envelope.  First, I got a Cy Young Award condition upgrade:

Vuckovich won the Cy Young Award probably at the height of the BBWAA's infatuation with wins over performance.  I mean, Vuke is a Brewer and all, so I'm biased toward him, but his stats are those of a pitcher who got excellent run support and a lot of luck -- 102 walks, 105 strikeouts, 234 hits allowed -- a 1.502 WHIP!  He won the Cy with a Wins Above Replacement of just 2.8; very clearly, the best pitching season that year was authored by Dave Stieb, whose 17-14 record masked a 288-1/3 inning season with 19 complete games and 5 shutouts. 

But they can't take that Award away from Vuke now.

Speaking of a guy whom some want to take an award away from, the second card I got from Pat is a Bowman Chrome (rookie?  I don't know these days) of none other than the Biogenesis Most Valuable Player, Ryan Braun:

I mean, y'all know my stance on Braun.  He's a convicted PED-user, but he is my PED-user, so I welcomed the Hittin' Hebrew's USA uniform right into my Braun binder.  

Finally, Pat sent a brand-spankin' new purple mini parallel from this year's Bowman set, serial numbered 20 of 99 -- a card, by the way, that I'm told by Night Owl (once I get the olives out of my ears) will fit wonderfully into the new UltraPro mini-plastic sheets:

Devin Williams came into the year listed as the Brewers third-leading prospect by Bowman.  Now, that was certainly done on the weight of his high draft-pick status -- 2nd round pick last year -- and his physical talents and not necessarily on results.  Certainly, he was an 18-year-old kid in the Arizona Rookie League last year, but he walked a ton of guys per nine innings last year -- 22 in 34-2/3 innings. This year, he is in Helena in the Pioneer League, and, well, it's not going that well for him. He has cut his walks -- a good thing -- but his homers allowed has normalized more, which means more runs allowed and more hits allowed too.  

It just goes to show that old adage from Baseball Prospectus, et al., is true -- There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect -- TINSTAAPP. I'm hopeful that Williams will continue to develop, find better command of his pitches, and that he'll help the Brewers sometime in 2018 -- when Williams will be 23 years old.  He is still a long way away.

But this card is one that will not go any further.  

Pat, thanks again for the cards!

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