We pan across a desolate street in a town in the old west. Facing each other and separated by 10 paces or so are two figures, their hands hovering above their holsters. On one side is Wyatt Baseball Writer. On the other is The Small Sample Size Kid.
WBW: Stop trying to tell me he’s not good.
SSSK: It’s only been 24 games. That is not enough evidence to support your claim.
WBW: I’m tired of you and your rules.
SSSK: Tell me, Wyatt, what rule do you sputter out every April to explain away the struggles of a player or team you expected to be better?
WBW: That’s not the point!
SSSK: It is the only point.
WBW: JUST LET ME SAY STEVE PEARCE IS REALLY GOOD, DAGNABBIT!
SSSK: Let me get this straight. You want to proclaim before the fine people of this town that a 35-year-old journeyman with a career OPS of .785 is really good? If he’s so good, then why has he played for seven different teams in his 12-year-career? Why has he produced only two two-win seasons?
WBW: You expect me to explain this? To give you reasoning?
SSSK: Well you are the baseball writer.
WBW: How about his career OPS+ of 112? How’s that for reasoning?
SSSK: It’s not bad and proves he can certainly play baseball fairly well, but that doesn’t mean what he’s doing right now is what he’ll do going forward.
WBW: All I know is that since being traded to the Red Sox, Pearce has been worth 1.3 wins above replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which would rank as the second-highest mark of his career if the season ended today.
SSSK: That is all fine and dandy, but you’re talking about a grouping of 86 plate appearances. Anyone can have 86 great plate appearances.
WBW: But not everyone has them for the best team in baseball following a trade from a division rival. Not everyone of them posts an OPS+ of 185 and forces their new manager to insert them into the heart of the lineup. Not everyone of them makes it OK that Mitch Moreland has a wRC+ of 44 since the All Star break.
SSSK: All I’m saying is a few good weeks by a player getting the benefit of hitting around J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi doesn’t mean that said player is going to play this well for the rest of the season.
WBW: But what if it did?
SSSK: I don’t deal in what ifs.
WBW: Well I don’t care what you say. Steve Pearce is playing incredibly well for the Red Sox and someone needs to tell the world about it.
SSSK: Fine. Have it your way. Why did we have to do this in the old west?
WBW: I’m really stoked about Red Dead Redemption 2. Now, let me explain to you why its still too early to give up on Blake Swihart.
Could the Red Sox have the AL MVP and Cy Young winner on their roster this year? (Matthew Kory; The Athletic) ($$)
There are even more great players as well. That’s why this year’s team is in the discussion for best regular season ever. (Garry Brown; MassLive)
Jackie Bradley Jr. committed an error over the weekend. Or did he? (Sheryl Ring; FanGraphs)