Welcome to the first column in what will hopefully become a hilarious and occasionally insightful series. Each week, or whenever we feel like it, I will be debating a sports topic with Bleacher Report writer, Cleveland Indians fan and roommate Nick Dobreff. We definitely want your thoughts on the topic, as well as suggestions for future topics.
This week: Curtis Granderson versus Grady Sizemore. Who is better?
Joe Guarr: I'm about to fix this big misconception you have. Curtis Granderson is a better player than Grady Sizemore. It's no contest. If you weren't such a homer, you'd see the light.
Nick Dobreff: Oh Joe, how wrong you are...like always. While I admit to having a huge man crush on Grady Sizemore, my debate will be based solely on statistics and facts.
First let me start off by saying that these two young men are the most exciting center fielders in baseball today. They are both daily candidates for web gems and are bona fide studs who provide the proverbial spark for their respective teams.
With that out of the way, i'll start this off by crushing your very existance with a stat-oriented, pride-obliterating b*$%@ slap to the face. Sizemore is a year and 5 months younger than Granderson, the reigning Gold Glove winner in center (Granderson has none), and Sizemore has now been elected to 3 All-Star games to Granderson's 0. What do you have to say about that?!
JG: Because All-Star games are soooo important. I'm serious. This one counts. For real. I hate you, Bud Selig...
If you want to bring up certain games that Sizemore has participated in and Granderson has not (yet), I'll just bring up the World Series. Curtis 1, Grady...a big fat cup of Nick's tears for him.
So you want to talk stats? Good, because I took a stats class once in high school and I didn't sleep through it. I'll just bring up last year's 20/20/20/20 season. You know who else has done that? Willie Mays, Frank "Wildfire" Schulte, and Jimmy Rollins. I think that's pretty good company.
Lemme throw some more stats at you. Curtis has more assists and fewer errors in his career. Both are better fielders than the league average, so I was going to say that their defense was a wash, but it's not. Curtis wins this one, too.
ND: Erroneous! Erroneous on both counts! Sizemore has been a starter since 2005 while Granderson didn't become a full time starter until 2006. If you take their average errors from those seasons where they have been starters, Sizemore's average errors per year stand at 2.66 while Granderson's hover at 3. So dont give me that bologna about fewer errors.
While Granderson had more assists in 2007, Sizemore had more in 2006 and truthfully, their arms are both pretty average. So...yea I dont know if I can pummel that argument anymore. And like I said earlier, Sizemore's got the hardware.
Oh yea....I remember his quad 20 season last year. We were all really impressed. But that was Grandy's first season with over 20 steals; Sizemore has 4 including 32 last year to Granderson's 26. Sizemore has also been in the top 10 in runs scored every season since 2005; Granderson only once.
Their career batting averages are almost identical with Granderson at .282 and Sizemore at .281, but Sizemore is developing an impressive power game to go with his speed. He has had over 20 home runs in every season since he became a starter in 2005 and currently leads the AL with 23 this season. Along with his 22 steals at the break, he's on pace to become the 5th 40-40 player in history.Granted thats pure speculation and I accept that but i'll leave it to the readers to decide which accomplishment would be more impressive. But it's undeniable that Sizemore has by far the most impressive power game.
JG: The Tigers aren't a big running team. Usually when Curtis takes off, it's a hit and run with Polanco. And I guess we're just conveniently ignoring the fact that Granderson has as many career leadoff homers as Sizemore?
No way Sizemore gets into the 40-40 club this season. Once pitchers realize that the Indians are terrible, they won't have to give Sizemore pitches to hit. It makes a lot more sense to have him walk, steal a base or two, and get stranded by the subpar lineup that hits behind him.
I'll also just mention that Granderson's runs created numbers compare favorably to Sizemore's. Check baseball-reference, it's on there.
ND: Leadoff homers? Does this really matter?
Your point about pitchers not throwing to G-Size is valid but since that argument was completely speculative it matters not.
Here's something else to chew on. In the last 3 years Granderson is hitting only .203 against left handed pitching. And you know as well as I do that Leyland often sits Granderson against left handed starters. Not exactly the kind of liability I want from my star player.
JG: That argument is as tired and irrelevant today as the New Kids on the Block, which you also enjoy.
Granderson has improved his hitting vs. lefties immensely. He's at .280 this season. Granted, his power numbers aren't the same as they are against right-handed pitchers, but he's making his way into the lineup and finding a way to get on base. It looks like your man-crush Sizemore is only hitting .242 against lefties this year.
Alright, let's wrap this up with a couple of quick closing statements. Nick, will you be gracious in defeat?
ND: You know late at night you sing classic NKOTB songs to yourself while drinking a glass of wine and watching this.
I will end with this my delusional friend: Ask yourself who you would rather have on your team today. I'll take the 3 time all-star with a gold glove, who plays everyday (don't forget his 382 consecutive games played streak...not exactly Ripken-esque...but still noteworthy given the disregard he has for his body out there in center), has shown improving plate discipline (101 walks last year), gets on base, scores a ton of runs, and has a blossoming power game....but thats just me.
I hope you can take losing with as much class as this guy.
JG: That video was so uncool...I think I'm going to set your bed on fire. I'm so angry right now.
As for me, I'll take the run-producing extra base hit machine. I'll take the guy who is improving at a mind-blowing rate right in front of our very eyes. I'll take the catalyst at the top of the lineup who has helped take his team to a World Series. And just because I think this is a nice thing to see in today's athletes, I'll take the guy with two college degrees. A smart player on the field who is going to be prepared for life off it.
Unlike this guy.
Coming up next: Ivan Rodriguez vs. Johnny Bench.