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Marty Noble is brilliant, even when he isn't

Jan 2, 2010, 5:11 PM EDT

People often needle Marty Noble of MLB.com because he doesn’t really get sabermetrics, or even embrace “newer stats” like OPS and WHIP, which makes his analysis of David Wright’s odd 2009 campaign pretty interesting to read:

Will David Wright hit more than 20 home runs?


Yes. But more important is whether he drives in runs as he did in each
full season before 2009. His power plunge was a curious and troubling
development for the team. He seemingly became spooked by the
dimensions, shape and karma of Citi Field in ’09. His RBIs dropped from
a four-year average of 112 to 72, partially because his home run total
decreased from an average of 29 to 10. But he also missed two weeks
because of a concussion, returned without a full sense of comfort in
the batter’s box and struck out 140 times. All that undermined his RBI
and home run production.

Yes, these are all legitimate reasons for Wright’s subpar season, but the
drop in RBI? He’s leaving out that Jose Reyes, who was regularly
sitting on a tee for Wright at second and third base from 2006-08, didn’t play a lick after May 20. Some nice table-setters can do wonders
for certain players (see: Jorge Cantu’s 2009) and Wright was missing
his for most of the season. No matter. It’s easy to forgive Noble when
he can spin webs like this:

How can the Mets avoid a run of debilitating injuries like they endured last season?

Drink more water, stretch properly before games, avoid walls, slide
feet first and never slide into first base. Abandon the split-finger
fastball, hang around with Ripken, keep the dugout steps clear (see
Luis Castillo last summer). Reach back for something extra only if
something extra is available. Improve bunting technique (see David
Cone, 1987), don’t take Dave Kingman swings in batting practice, learn
how to cut the bases properly. Abandon all maple bats. Don’t bat
against Perez in intrasquad games. Keep the oblique muscles stretched
and strong. Avoid collisions — no, avoid all contact with Padres first
baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks (he’s 6-foot-6, 285 pounds). Don’t
wrestle with Santana — he’s Kingman strong. Never play catch with Jeff
Francoeur at distances fewer than 250 feet. Heed the warning track.
Don’t accept assignment to the Citi Field lockers assigned last season
to Santana, John Maine, J.J. Putz, Ryan Church, Reyes, Beltran, Alex
Cora, Carlos Delgado, Fernando Nieve, Gary Sheffield, Jon Niese,
Schneider, Wright or Pagan. Don’t sign Ben Sheets. Don’t smoke. Cross
at the green, not in between. Duck, get out of the way and, if at all
possible, rub the belly of Yogi Berra, the luckiest man ever to play
the game.

Noble may never know Wins Above Replacement (WAR) from the funk band of the same name, but few understand the pulse of the franchise better than him.

  1. john pileggi - Jan 2, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    I’d day Mr. Noble understand this franchise and this club very, very well.

  2. GimmeSomeSteel - Jan 2, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    War–Great band. I think I’ll go listen to “Gypsy Man”.
    I love the answer on how to avoid injuries, even if he did forget “Close cover before striking (out?)”, “An apple a day keeps our medical staff away”, and “Remember that objects in mirror are closer than they appear”.

  3. Bryz - Jan 2, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    In Noble’s defense, he said the decrease in home runs “partially” contributed to Wright’s decrease in RBI.

  4. Tommy2cat - Jan 3, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    Marty Noble understands the pulse of the franchise. However, his writing style drives me nuts. He often backs into his stories with anecdotes and historical muses before he gets to his point, if ever.
    When I read his stories, my foot starts tapping and I start thinking, “What’s the point, Marty…get to the point, Marty…what’s the freakin’ score, Marty…” All the while, he’s drawing references between Choo-choo Coleman and Jeff Torborg’s dugout demeanor. That’s when I want to show Marty an alternate use for a Louisville Slugger.
    He’s perceptive and a nice guy, but he must spend hours on the porcelein throne contemplating his next movement.
    Whew!

  5. willmose - Jan 3, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Buzz kill. Reyes won’t return to what he was pre-2009. Speed is a major part of his game. He now has seriously bad wheels. So many Mets have gotten used to staying on the DL and collecting big bucks. I don’t know how you break that culture. All the things that Noble suggests common sense. It’s hard to believe this Met team has any common sense from the top down.

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  7. Phillip Mahle - Feb 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM

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