With the official start of Spring Training less than a week away, everyone is making predictions and analyzing the depth chart. And if all the cool kids are doing it, then I obviously have to be a part of the fun too.
So I'm proud to announce that I've completed a highly analytical and über-mathematical study of each of the players in our depth chart, all the while wearing my "Science: It works, bitches" t-shirt for dramatic effect.
While I could have spent my time delving into statistical categories like OPS, HRR or GIDP, OBA or WHIP, to critique each players' abilities, I chose instead to utilize a much more comprehensive and valuable statistical formula which I have been perfecting for several years, and which has become a cornerstone of Those Girls' baseball philosophy.
Here's a brief run-down:
Each player has been ranked and graded on two unique categories:
AQ: Adorableness Quotient. This statistic factors in not only physical attractiveness and characteristics, but also how well the uniform is worn, endearing personality quirks and traits, cute accents, fan-friendliness and any number of random traits I won't bore everyone with.
GABF: The Good At Baseball Factor. This measures a player's general skill on the baseball field. This can include a review of pedantic statistics like batting average, or ERA, etc., but not exclusively. This also takes into consideration how well a player performs when Those Girls are physically present at games, as well as how many ulcers we estimate a given player has caused.
Each player is assigned a number 0.00-10.00 for each category. The two are then added up giving a possible total score of 20.00 as a TAR, or Total Awesomeness Rating. It's all very mathematical. I warned you.
This is my favorite group. So I'll start there.
1. Scott Baker
AQ: Scott Baker, or "Ace" as I now like to call him, has adorableness coming out of his ears. Just look at him. Having lived and worked in Louisiana for a short while, and having awful experiences there, I have a personal bias against southern Louisiana accents...but Baker's northern LA accent is a little bit charming, I'll admit. Bonus points for being genuinely humble. And this one time in '06, Those Girls witnessed Baker maneuver a giant U-Haul in reverse, without waking his sleeping baby. That is an AQ trump card, obviously. (If you were there, you would have been "awwwing" right along with us. Don't judge.) He loses a little for looking like he's 12. But still a good showing.
Final AQ score: 8.50
GABF: Baker had a great '07. Those Girls were there in Milwaukee when he was crazy good in his first game after being called back up. No one was screaming louder for him than we were. He continued to impress throughout the season, and with one exception, seemed to pitch particularly well when Those Girls were in attendance. Pitching a near perfect game seriously increases one's GABF as well. Alas, his final number is just slightly less than perfect. This is due to the fact that if I can still remember the U-Haul incident, I can also remember the games he pitched in '06 as well. One more awesome year this season should erase those memories. No worries.
Final GABF score: 8.15
Not too shabby. We'll see you on Opening Day, Ace.
2. Boof Bonser
AQ: Friendly, funny, pleasant generic south-eastern drawl, and has the best hair in the major leagues. And his name is Boof. I like it all. It's hard for me to be objective on this one. To be fair though, I do have to deduct a quarter of a point because now that he's lost 20 pounds, the new skinny Boof vaguely reminds me of my big brother Jason. Which is weird. Not that that's Boof's fault....but still.
I don't even want to hear about it from you Boof haters out there. Boof is my favorite, so just keep it to yourselves.
Final AQ Score: 9.75
GABF: 2007 was rough. I'll admit it. I drafted Boof for my fantasy team, naturally, and while he DID really help me in the K department, the long W-less stretch really hurt. He's got quality stuff and a presence on the mound, which is why he became my favorite in the first place, but he had trouble making past the 5th. I think the new physique is a testament to his commitment to change and improve and I think it'll be an exciting spring.
Final GABF: 7.00
(Once again: I don't want to hear it, Boof haters.)
3. Francisco Liriano
AQ: Meh. Maybe it's the fact that we haven't seen him in over a year, but it's hard to think of things to include in Liriano's Adorableness Quotient. He might have leveled out at a bland and average 5.00, but Roy Rowan's account of Liriano rising through the minors in "Throwing Bullets: A Tale of Two Pitchers Chasing the Dream" paints a pretty complimentary picture: humble, shy, professional and super serious about baseball.
Final AQ Score: 6.80
GABF: Now we're talking. Watching this kid pitch was SO exciting in '06. I don't really feel the need to tell anyone how awesome he can be, since judging by his insanely long autograph lines at Twinsfest, everyone already knows. He does lose a solid point for being constantly broken, having no guarantee of a '06-like return, and for ruining my Twinsfest groove with said insanely long lines.
Final GABF: 9.00
Look for this number to improve if we see a solid tommy john rebound performance, or the hint of a personality.
4. Kevin Slowey
AQ: Watching Slowey pitch on TV, my mother once declared "you're right, he is just about the cutest thing ever." Kevin Slowey getting my mother's stamp of approval is no easy task. This coupled with a clearly adorable "In Their Own Words" feature on FSN which showcased his penchant for the art of conversation, and a bizarre and entertaining pre-game stretching ritual, raises Sloweys' AQ game.
Final AQ Score: 9.50
GABF: Slowey had some bumps in the road to baseball awesomeness this season. "The New York game" comes to mind. But that's to be expected....he's still green. I think he'll settle down.
Final GABF: 7.00
Kevin is Lipgloss & Baseball's newly christened baseball boyfriend. Excellent choice!
5. Nick Blackburn
AQ: I feel like we don't know Nick well enough to give him a truly accurate score in this area. He's really pretty. (REALLY pretty) That's a given. And he seems nice enough. And he was a good sport about carrying the My Little Pony backpack. But we'll have to wait and see how his baseball personality shapes up. I have high hopes.
Final AQ Score: 8.25
GABF: Here too, we didn't really see enough of Nick to have a solid grasp of how Good At Baseball he is. What we saw in person seemed to show a lot of promise. And he did really well in the Arizona Fall League. I think this is going to be an exciting spring for him too...and a chance for him to pad his GABF numbers.
Final GABF: 7.50
There's room for improvement here, and I think both components of his TAR will increase as we see more and more of him.
So that's the starting rotation, as per the official depth chart. Stay tuned for the rest of the series of my highly mathematical analysis. You'd be surprised how much time and energy I can spend on something so ridiculous. Thank god for the internet.