Red Reposter: Pete Rose sounds off on Ichiro!

Andy Lyons

What does the Hit King think of Ichiro's 4000th hit?

SLAM! sports: Pete Rose takes issue with Ichiro's 4,000 hits

I'm usually more than willing to criticize Pete Rose, but the Hit King is absolutely right in this case. Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has quality baseball, but it's not a major league. Underachieving American players such as  Tuffy Rhodes and Lastings Milledge see a marked improvement in performance upon transitioning to Japan. I have no doubt that the top flight talent in NPB can excel in the major leagues, because we've seen Ichiro!, Yu Darvish, and Hideo Nomo shine in the AL and NL. However, I can't believe that the average player in NPB is near as good as the average player in MLB. I have no problem saying that Ichiro! is a member of the 4,000 professional hits club as long as we count minor league hits for other players. The 4,000 hit club, as commonly defined, should only include Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.

Shadow League: In Case You Hadn't Noticed, Brandon Phillips Is A Superstar

Here's an article that's sure to please many media members in Cincinnati. I'm tired of the Phillips v. Votto nonsense, but I don't think we've seen the last of this non-issue yet. As pointed out by Sean Smith aka AROM (creator of the CHONE projection system) here, Brandon Phillips' situational has been worth two wins this season, depending upon which measurement you use. If you use a normal run estimator, such as Baseball-Reference's batting runs, Phillips has been worth five runs below average with the bat this season. However, if you look at his runs above average by the base-out states (RE24)*, then he's been worth seventeen runs above average.

*RE24 is a great tool for measuring the value of a player's batting performance in context. The "24" refers to the twenty-four base-out states, e.g. man on first with one out, bases loaded with nobody out, bases empty with two outs, etc. By measuring the expected run value of each state, we can then calculate the difference in value when the states change and assign that value to individual players. Lee Panas has a great explanation of the metric over at Tiger Tales.

Thanks to Repoz for the previous two links.

FanGraphs: The Most Dominant First-Place Finishes Ever

Alex Remington compares the Braves' big lead in the NL East to other historic margins for a first place team. One Reds team made the cut, and you can probably guess which one.

ESPN LA: Vin Scully to return for 65th season

The best broadcaster in baseball will return for another year behind the mic in 2014.

HardballTalk: Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews

Rodriguez hasn't pitched in nearly three months, but I'm sure the Pirates could really use the lefty as they try to stave off the Cardinals and the Reds.

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