Supporting our sports media
If you are in the fortunate position to have some income/job security, you might consider supporting some of our sports media. The Tampa Bay Times, for which a sudden loss of ad revenue has come on top of longer term decline, has reduced its print run to two days a week. You can subscribe to the digital edition here.
And if you, like me, have had Fangraphs bookmarked for many years without spending a penny on it, you might consider subscribing.
Corona Virus and baseball
Sorry to be disheartening, but my mind and Twitter feed are filled with disheartening things. This one is not baseball-related directly, but speaks to our hopes of getting the season up and running. If you search this database by state, you can see that while some places are likely to be seeing decreases in COVID-19 cases by mid-April (which doesn’t mean that the virus is gone, just that new infections are decreasing), others are just getting started - Florida among them.
And Andy McCollough ($) wonders what baseball does moving forward — let’s say cases have decreased to where games start up again, but a player tests positive. Do they shut everything down? Put the affected team in quarantine (and if so do they get to make up the games later?) It’s a mess!
Looking back on Rays players and seasons: Jason Bartlett’s All Star 2009
Those of us versed in Tampa Bay Rays history know that life begins in the 2007-2008 off season when the team ditched the Devil, and traded heralded rookie Delmon Young (along with shortshop Brendan Harris) to the Minnesota Twins for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett. In one transaction, the Rays had traded high on a player who never quite lived up to his projections, getting a top of the line starting pitcher, and a very good shortstop.
And Bartlett had a solid 2008. His season was worth 1.7 WAR, with a decent batting average (.286) but little power, reflected in a wRC+ of 87. His defense was reasonably good 2.7 UZR/150 (by way of comparison, that’s similar to Adames’ 2019, which was considered to be a strong defensive season). There’s no question that that having him at shortstop helped anchor a strong infield that took this team to the World Series.
But in 2009, his bat really came alive. His slash line of .320/.389/.490 and wRC+ of 136 (!) made this truly a career year for him at the plate. He hit 14 home runs, exceeding his home run output from the previous five years of his major league career.
His defense actually took a dip from the previous year (UZR/150 of -6.7) but his improved offense led to a place on the All Star Team and 5.3 WAR for the season.
A good defensive play:
His season included a mid-year 19 game hitting streak that is still the longest in Rays history.
You can read more about Bartlett’s 2009 performance.
He fell back to career norms in 2010, and was traded to the San Diego Padres before the 2011 season (the Rays received several players, most notably Cesar Ramos and Brandon Gomes, in return), and played a few more years before retiring.
As of a few years ago, Bartlett and his wife had opened a fitness center in Naples, Florida, the 643 Hiit Room. If you are down in Collier County, go check them out (once we are done distancing, of course).
Jason Bartlett meets the (real) Rays: