I read Tony DeMarco's article on MS/NBC explaining how the surprising Angels are in the playoff hunt. It is basically a love letter to Garret Anderson. The article is so poorly written that I cannot for the life of me understand why NBC paid for it. "I don't know what the artist got, but he should've gotten life." Here are some gems:
And still-underrated Garret Anderson, owner of the second-most hits in the major leagues over the past 51/2 seasons, delivering one clutch hit after another in the middle of the lineup.
Take away All-Star first halves by Washburn and Anderson, and there are no individual big seasons in the making. Collectively, the Angels aren't leading the league in anything. They are fourth in batting average, fifth in runs, third in ERA, fifth in fielding percentage, and 11th in home runs.
There are so many ridiculous comments and incorrect facts strung together that it's hard to know where to start:
1) Garret Anderson is probably one of the most overrated players in baseball. He can't take a walk to save his life. He is having a good year this year but is well over his career average in OPS. Second most hits over the last 5-1/2 seasons? If you're swinging at everything and your team let's you to do so on a daily basis then you're going to get some hits. Anderson has had over 600 at bats each of the last 6 seasons and is on track for another one.
2) Let's be clear about this Tim Salmon is the best player (with nods to Troy Glaus) and leader of this team. He had a lousy year last year and so did the Angels. He's having a very good year this year (though not as even as good as his career average OPS) and so are the Angels. Salmon was batting .167 with no home runs and had an OPS of .485 through the Angels first twenty games during which their record was 6-14 (Anderson hit .269 during that span). Since then he is batting .319 with 18 home runs, is getting on base about 40% of the time, is slugging almost .600, and has an OPS around 1 (.982). Salmon also plays a more demanding defensive position. Salmon is not even mentioned in the article.
3) The Angels are first (he said 3rd) in ERA and sixth (he erroneously said 5th) in runs. That's not a bad combination. The offense is not the best in baseball, but it's among the playoff teams in the AL (with poor pitching Chicago and Texas in the mix). Who cares about fielding percentage? They're number on in STAT's Zone Rating.
Here's more from his "Question and Answer" section:
Q - Who in your opinion is the most underrated player on a contending team who has put his team over the top?
- Matt, Phoenix
A - You could look at Craig Counsell right there in your hometown, Jacque Jones with the Twins and also Cesar Izturis with the Dodgers. But my pick has to be Garrett Anderson with the Angels. I'm not sure he qualifies as underrated anymore, since he did make the AL All-Star team this year. But I know that he is a better all-round player than most everybody thinks. Only Derek Jeter has more hits than he has over the last 5 1/2 seasons, and Anderson has been the key to the Angels' offensive production this season with a nearly .300 average and 81 RBI - and that despite slugger Troy Glaus struggling behind him in the batting order. Anderson also is a very good defensive left fielder.
Counsell is a third baseman with a .706 OPS who has gotten tons of postseason exposure. How can he be underrated? Izturis (.540 OPS) has been a drag on the Dodgers offense all year. You've read my comments about Anderson.
This is just uninformed, shoddy journalism. With all the great work that Bill James has done over the years, we still have to be subjected to this tripe. Shame on you, MS/NBC.