Tuesday, July 13, 2004


We are quoted in Brian O'Neill's new column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

If you just Googled us and wound up here because you read about us in the Post-Gazette, thank you very much for stopping by. Please visit us regularly - on the hour, if possible.

In the meantime, there are a couple of articles here about Jack Wilson. Here's one about Wilson's presence on this year's NL All-Star team. Here's an older article that has some statistics that are now outdated, but contains a more detailed explanation of why we should be wary of Wilson.

With nearly every member of the Pittsburgh sports media calling loudly for a long-term contract for Wilson (O'Neill is the first I've read that doesn't), I feel that we at VORB may now be able to play some small role in stopping or at least delaying the progress of a very fast-moving train. So I'll make one more effort to convince you that signing Jack Wilson is not a good idea right now.

1. There is absolutely no urgent need to sign Wilson anytime soon. The Pirates control his rights until after the 2006 season even if they don't give him a long-term deal. The Pirates have the luxury of waiting and gathering more information before they make a decision.

2. Players' batting averages often change dramatically between one half-season (or season) and the next, and those changes don't always have anything to do with a player's true skill level. Sometimes a player simply has a period in which more grounders and liners than usual get through the infield. Although Wilson has had a modest improvement in power this year, most of his improvement has been concentrated in a huge spike in batting average. The ability to take walks is a much more stable skill, and Wilson still doesn't take walks. It is very rare that a player can maintain a batting average over .320 over a long period without taking walks, especially if that player does not have outstanding speed. Next year, it is very unlikely that Wilson will be nearly as productive as he's been this year. I hope he is, and I'm rooting for him, but I would be shocked if he keeps this up.

3. Does anybody think Wilson is going to continue to hit .330? Even those in the pro-Wilson camp would have to concede that's unlikely, and if it's unlikely, it would be unwise to sign him now, with his value at its peak.

4. Wilson's fielding may not be nearly as good as we think it is. Please read the second Wilson link above to find out why.

5. Wilson has had about one season (half a year this year, plus the latter half of 2003) out of his three and a half in the big leagues in which his hitting has been any better than terrible. Like Mr. O'Neill says, let's see him do it twice before we sign him.

Really, thanks for stopping by. We're thrilled you're here.


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