Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vote For The Muscle!

When you are casting your All-Star votes, you'd better be writing in Russell Branyan, King of the Three True Outcomes. Sure, Chipper should be there, but don't sell Russ short.

He's currently 8th in VORP (remember, VORP is a counting stat and Russ only has 67 PAs) among national league 3rd basemen with 11.4 (or more than a full win). Here's the thing though; while Chipper leads with 50.0 (50!), 2nd is Aramis Ramirez with 20.4. In fact, positions 2-7 are between 11.9 and 20.5. That's a lot of compression. Here are some more interesting numbers:

1. 288
2. 295
3. 325
4. 298
5. 268
6. 286
7. 291
8. 67
9. 153
10. 226

Those are the PA numbers for the top 10 3rd basemen in VORP so far. Russell in somewhere between 1/4 and 1/5 a many PAs has put up more than 50% of the value of all 3rd basemen between 2 (Ramirez) and 7 (Garrett Atkins).

In fact, if you use BP's VORP Rate stat (Runs/game contributed beyond what a replacement level player would produce) the numbers look like this:

1. Chipper Jones - .758
2. Russell Branyan - .728
3. Aramis Ramirez - .309

The difference is huge.

I grant you that Russ is likely benefitting from a small smaple explosion to some extent, and he's certainly benefitting from the platoon which screens out a bunch of bad 0-fer games that he would otherwise have, but his production in this limited time is off-the-charts good, so much so that if he just plays average for the next month he'll probably still be ahead of Ramirez.

If Russell Branyan was a hot young prospect (Ryan Braun, for instance) instead of a 32-year-old take-n-raker, he would certainly be getting All-Star consideration, but that is a pretty arbitrary distinction to make.

When you get cast your 25 All-Star ballots online, please, write in Russell Branyan for third base.

It's the write thing to do.

(Paid for by the committee to get Russell Branyan into the All-Star game, Paul Noona treasurer.)

Also, a H/T both to my brother, and to this thread at, which has turned into a Chuck Norris-style list of Russell Branyan accomplishments.

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