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Reader/Writer Interactive Question of the Week

Last Week's Question

Question-Of all of the Rays' Non-Roster Invitees, which one has the best chance to make the final 25 man roster, and why?

Your View

I got only two responses to last week's question, which is somewhat disappoiting (come on Rays fans, I know you are out there), but I will try this for a couple more weeks and see if it gains popularity or not. Anyways, I also added a supplemental poll to the question which has appeared on the front page of the website for the past week. First, though, here are the two emailed reponses.

Frode-Mark Malaska, becuase of the lack of lefties in our (very weak) bullpen. Russell Branyan also has a good chance to make the team, especially if Huff is traded.

William Schaus-Mark Malaska as the lougy.  Unless Franklin beats him out, though I doubt it.

You see? These don't require long diatribes, just a simple elaboration to show me that this is actually a feature worth keeping. Anyways, thanks to Frode and William for responsding, keep up the good work guys!

Poll Results
Russell Branyan-34 votes/53%
Mark Malaska-14 votes/22%
Luis Rivas-8 votes/12%
Fernando Cortez-2 votes/3%
Travis Driskill-2 votes/3%
Wayne Franklin-1 vote/1%
Mike Rose-1 vote/1%
Other-1 vote/1%
Luis Ordaz-0 votes
None of the Above-0 votes

My lengthy, so I have rlegated it past the jump to save download time on the main page as well as cut some of the fat off of the article.

Question of the Week

I hope for more responses to this week's question, which is based of of my previous article. No poll on this one.

Take a look at the Rays' projected PECOTA stats, and take the over/under on their respective production level.

To Answer...

To answer this week's question, please email your response to, or click the 'Contact Patrick' button on the side of the page. So email your responses to me, answering this week's question, and I will post the responses I got in next week's column. Please include the name you would like your comment attributed to in the post, and I look forward to hearing from Rays Nation!

My View

Looking at those candidates, I think it possible that more than one makes it, and I probably should have rephrased the question that way. Still, because of poll reasons, it had to be most likely, only one. Overall, I don't think that this poll has a much to do with player quality as it does team necessity. For example, the Rays already have two crappy backup catchers, Josh Paul and Kevin Cash, so Mike Rose is out. The Rays also already have Nick Green as a backup middle infielder, and Luis Rivas as a non-roster invitee, and both are better than Fernando Cortez, so he is out, ditto with Luis Ordaz. I do think someone will make it, and the other invitees aren't a stellar group, so in my opinion, it will either be Driskill, Franklin, Rivas, Malaska, or Franklin. We can hit a few things with one throw, so let's compare pitchers Malaska, Driskill, and Franklin using the valuable tool that is Fan Graphs.

First, let's look at ERA, by age.

This graph shows us one of two things.

  1. Malaska is the youngest of the three
  2. Malaska has had the most consistently decent ERA, Franklin's has been poor for all but one year, and Driskill's 0 ERA came as a result of inning. Thus, two factors favor Malaska, he gets two points.
Let's move on. Their K/9 numbers are relatively alike, but their walk numbers sing a different tune. Observe.

See that? See Driskill's decent numbers? And then look at Franklin and Malaska. Oh, oops. You can't. You know why? Because they walk too many people to even show up on the map. Point to Driskill.

Despite Drikill's obvious control advantage, their K:BB ratios are nearly the same, and although their home run ratios make a pretty graph, what with all the yearly flutuations, it is hard to give anyone an advantage there. There averages boast no advantages, and their BABIPs and LOB% also fail to shoot out indicators. So are there any other things we need to consider. Well, subtract a point from Driskill and Malaska for not pitching at least 1.1 innings last year, and you are left with Malaska the winner with an amazing total point. Anyone interested in seeing the full tale of the tape can click on the link at the end of this article.

So now that Malaska is our pitching choice, who will represent the hitters? Let's compare Branyan and Rivas using the same methods. Their batting avergaes are relatively alike, as are their OBPs, but observe the slugging percentage difference.

That may not look like a lot of difference, but keep in mind that the intervals are .200 apart, and that is a lot of SLG%. Also, it shows that Rivas is younger. Give a point to each. Another big difference? Walk ratio.

Give that one to Branyan, and deduct a ;point from Rivas for his terrible numbers. However, just the same, give the strikeout argument to Rivas and deduct a point fromm Branyan for his terrible numbers. The BB/K graph is pointless, as both extremes even out. Now we move into the isolated power category. Gee, wonder who wins that one?

Both's BABIP numbers are essnetially the same, so no points there, and for positional necessity, give Branyan an extra point. So we end as we started, with Branyan and Malaska squraing off.

Malaska vs. Branyan: This time, its for a spot on the Devil Rays

Now that is what great promotions are made of. Obviously, there is no way to compare pitchers and hitters through graphing. So this will just be my opinion, substantiated by little facual backing. It is my opinion that while Sean Burroughs may not be the optimal solution at third, the pitching is much worse. So if you stick a gun to my head and say 'What would you rather have, Branyan or Malaska, on the 2006 Devil Rays?', I'll take Malaska. You see, the pitching in general, and espeically the bullpen, suck. There is just no polite way to say it, they are terrible, but I'd rather have seven bad releivers than six because...

  1. Those crappy releivers' already crappy arms have a greater chnce of getting fatigued if there is less of them to do the same amount of work, and...
  2. There is an oft-chance that one of them may be having a good day.
Sure, if you add Branyan to the hot corner, you will probably be a better offensive team, but that isn't the problem. Our offense is not going to be the reason we're doing terribly next year, it will be, if anything, the pitching staff. In the perfect world, we can kick some deadweight off of the roster and keep both, but this question was about one, and if you're telling me one and only one, I'll say Malaska.

-Branyan-Rivas comparison
-Driskill-Franklin-Malaska comparison