Two teams very evenly matched

If baseball were like Greco-Roman wrestling, going through teams on a position-by-position would make sense.

Updated: September 23, 2003, 1:52 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
If baseball were like Greco-Roman wrestling, then going through teams on a position-by-position would make sense. If Mike Leiberthal had to face Ivan Rodriguez in some sort of one-on-one competition, then it would be perfectly logical to assess one's season against the other's. Baseball isn't that kind of game though, yet writers continually do this kind of comparison. You're going to see a lot of it come playoff time.

Why do it, then? Well, for one thing, because it's fun. With the Marlins and Phillies set to begin their three-game showdown in Miami tonight, let's take a look at the clubs' position players using that old matchup format.

Catcher: One of the smartest moves of the 2002-03 off-season was the Marlins signing of Ivan Rodriguez. Knowing that the Braves were loaded and the Phillies were on a spending spree, the Marlins did what they could by getting Rodriguez for one season at $10 million. It's paid off nicely. With the departure of Mike Lowell to a broken hand, Pudge has been Florida's best player. Offensively, Leiberthal and Rodriguez have been about par. Pudge is to be commended for a new-found patience at the plate. He is walking more than he ever has in his career. While Leiberthal has never quite rediscovered his 1999 power stroke (31 homers) he is having a decent season. Pudge gets the nod on defense as the Phillies have the absolute worst record in the league against the stolen base. The team ERAs are comparable.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at