...... M's 4

Chris Chambliss' age-27 season landed him #5 in the MVP voting

 ................................

=== Michael Saunders ===

Is swinging the bat very well.  He seems to be grooving in his stroke, the one in which his bat stops at the 1B foul line and the the one in which he finishes with his belt buckle pointed at the shortstop.  He is swinging that way more and more often, and looking more and more natural as he does it.

His OPS+ is slightly above 100, and he's on pace for almost 3.0 WAR.  Do you remember center field last season?

Player WAR
Guti (92 games)

+1.1

Saunders -0.5
Langerhans -0.7
Trayvon -0.9
Total -1.0

Gutierrez was nominally credited with 1.1 WAR, but don't let that mislead you.  His OBP was .261 -- think about that, now -- and his SLG was .273 also.  UZR credited him with +15 defensive runs in half a season, so the aggregate looked like things were okay there.

If a stat tells you that a .534 OPS center fielder is a decent player, that's an idictment of the stat.  Seriously.  Franklin Gutierrez 2011 calls into question the statistic of WAR.  ... I don't say it's the end of the discussion, of course.  But if you look at a .261 OBP singles hitter, and go "well, he's got a decent WAR," check your blog pass at the door amigo.

Anyway:  in 2010 and 2011 the Mariners were a laughingstock offensively, literally posting 1906-type offensive numbers, and lest you forget, a big part of that was the steaming dinosaur tar pit in center field.

Saunders is on pace for nearly 3.0 WAR.  Keep it in perspective.  Center field is fixed.  He says gingerly.

............

Michael Saunders was never going to hit .300.  His game is going to be a .240 average with 25 homers and real good speed.  He's a weird player.  Just forget his batting average, as far as wanting to see it look like Ackley's, we mean.

His swing looks real good, we predict hot streaks going forward, and if it's my club Michael Saunders is my center fielder.

.

=== Miguel Olivo ===

We notice that Montero and Jaso were right back in there after Olivo's entitlement start, first day back.

Jaso helped create Ervin Santana's pain, with two walks and four real tough AB's.  Montero caught a good game but was rubbish in the batter's box.  It was 5 men he left on base, if anybody's counting.  Even one good at-bat and the M's probably win.

Point is:  seismo's that Wedge is willing to re-think the team captaincies.  Baby steps, Marge, baby steps.

.

=== Justin Smoak ===

Chris Chambliss came up with a swing key that I hadn't heard of before - replant the front foot early.  Exaggeratedly early.

It has worked wonders for Smoak.  He almost hesitates now on 92 MPH fastballs, waiting for them to arrive.  And the HR he smacked was on an offspeed pitch.  He read the pitch calmly, and then simply swatted it into the Safeco porch out there.

You remember how Edgar used to keep his head wayyyyy back, almost rocking on his back leg as the ball arrived?  Smoak's been doing that for about a week now.

...........

He swatted the HR .... and then his gimp around 1B made me sad.  Jeff Sullivan pointed out that Smoak never, that is never, hits the ball 400 feet any more.  He can't plant the back toe.

Ah well.  Mickey Mantle used to get both his legs taped from hip to ankle like a mummy, and he limped through the second half of his career.  They "monitored that day-to-day," too.  This is hardcore baseball, dudes.

.............

Smoak isn't a 300/30/100 hitter at this point -- the legs are holding him back -- but Chambliss' cute little foot plant trick has Smoak out of the doldrums.  He can participate in the rallies now.

If anybody even cares about the rallies.  Is 2012 on, or what?

.

Bah humbug,

Dr D

 

Comments

1

Smoak just ain't going to be the bomber we thought we got. Not at all. Oh, I suppose he could have a nice year, at some point (given enough AB's) where he whacks 28 homers (if he's playing in Colorado), but he's an 18-20 homer type guy, way top-side, as a year in & out production level. I mean, this guy hit 24 homers in 773 MINOR LEAGUE PA's.
OK, good enough. Then you think, maybe he can rope the ball around the field like Mattingly.
Well, no.
OK, then. Maybe he's got a 100 point eye, to go with a bunch of gapper doubles, like Olerud.
Well, no.
What we have is some kind of a lesser hybrid 1B. How about calling him a lower BA Chris Chambliss? CC was a hybrid. Smoak has shown some recovery of late. Chambliss may have found a bit of a fix, but I'm moving forward cautiously before I'm all in on Smoak, or even mostly in. Chambliss was basically a 110 OPS+ guy. That's where I start my Smoak evaluation. I round down from there.
BTW, not only does he not rip 400 ft shots, but he doesn't hit a lot of smoke-trail line drives, either. Uh....this guy has 2 doubles in 171 PA's. He is showing some signs of life, so I'll give him that, but he isn't really dangerous. He hurt a hanging off-speed pitch last night. Good enough. But if you can't hurt that pitch once in a while then you shouldn't be a MLB 1B. And I'm still standing by my concern over his general athletic ability.
I thought he got fooled on the HR, but hung back well enough to flick the ball into the seats. That's improvement....getting fooled but getting good wood. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but hedging my bets.
When he finds his best success, it will not be as an everyday player. 250-350 PA's as a 1B/DH/PH complementary player. That's where he'll find his niche.
Saunders, on the other hard, has found his way out of the wilderness back to the .240, 20+ tater, nice glove guy we thought he might be TWO years ago. He's on pace for more than 50 extra-base hits. There's a critical mass that occurs when you get 4-5 guys in that area.
I'm back in his camp. OK, OK...call me fickle. Remember, though, I was never in Guti's camp. And Wells' camp doesn't exist anymore. So The Condor Camp it is. And it's a pretty warm/comfortable place.
Of course, we will have to see Guti at some point this year. He'll get his Olivo/Figgins time. I've always said that Guti's best role is as a 4th OF. Alas, we don't pay him like one. And goodness knows, we play guys we pay.
BTW, the Olivo and Figgins and League camps all sit in a landscape something like Mordor or that of the Battle of the Somme. Avoid them. Bring a gas mask if you don't.
Here's your Green Plate special, Moe's prediction of the week: We're going to see a Seager start at SS in this weekend. Bet on it.
Moe

3

Smoak right now is aimed at Ben Broussard (.260/.320/.450) for his UPside. That's absolutely not where we need Smoak targeted, nor where his skillset should have him targeted. Although it would sadly be a huge improvement on Justin's .225/.310/.375 major league line thus far.
You remember that Smoak had a similar batting eye in college to Dustin Ackley's, right? In the SEC, no chump baseball conference.
Justin: 151 BB / 107 Ks = 1.41 eye
Ackley: 133 BB / 82 Ks = 1.62 eye
Now, wood bats are different than aluminum, no doubt. But if I believe Ackley's .5 batting eye will get better because it was always great before...then Smoak's should improve along the same premise. He was never a blind hacker, absolutely not 9/40 level.
It's been timing. Smoak's timing has been atrocious. I actually kind of expect him to underperform at hitting doubles, thanks to his speed and his tendency to short-corner the ball on line-drives, leaving him to long singles or taters. But TWO is ridiculous, especially after he hit TWENTY in the first half of last year.
And the longer he hits like he has so far in the pros, the harder it is to believe the 25 HR / 25 2B Smoak still lingers, let alone hoping for any higher numbers. When he makes flush contact the ball goes places, but until this last week he was making flush contact about once every fortnight.
I hope Chambliss found the fix and it can stay fixed until Justin's legs heal. But he's just been a beat up sort of guy early on, which I guess means you can hope that a healthy Smoak can start crushing the ball. No matter what, he has to do it this year. His last two weeks he has a .790 OPS, with a .880 this last week. He hasn't been striking out this week either, which is nice to see. He just needs this week EVERY week. .880 should be his goal, not his high point, and .780 should be the LEAST we can expect from him.
And those lines are all power driven, which I suppose provides hope that he's not doing anything unusual other than re-discovering his power stroke - he's not getting too many lucky hits.
Now he's got to KEEP it. The Smoak we saw in April last year needs to be our first baseman going forward, or we're gonna have to do something like play Liddi at 1st 4 days a week just to climb out of the hole Smoak is putting our offense in.
We designed the offense around him. He's the switch-hitter in the heart of the order who can play vs righties or lefties and hit cleanup. He's the one who's supposed to allow us to run all these lefties out there.
We need you Justin. Be the ball. Our first basemen in the minors are eons away, and while Carp and Liddi might be able to do your job it works out better for us if YOU do it.
If he doesn't, though, I see a Carp/Liddi first base thing in our future while we add a Carlos Quentin or someone in Left.
I'd rather Smoak be bombing it for us thirty times and make it easy on us.
~G

5

Right now I'm with James:  a Carlos Pena career path.
Don't know how *durable* he's going to be, though.  Some guys are fragile, and he carries a lot of weight on that frame.

6
Anonymous's picture

A Carlos Pena career path is very similar to a Jay Buhner career path. Just to add some perspective. Buhner played until age 36 Pena is 34 and not likely to last much longer. Assuming that Pena's feeble .238 career average won't withstand age-loss at the plate.
Age 26 to 29 seasons.
Pena .256/.366/.532 136 OPS+
Buhner .259/.360/.478 126 OPS+
Pena had one monster season at age 29, it's the only reason he has a slight edge over Buhner.

7

Except that Pena never had two full years' worth of at-bats in which he hit worse than an anemic shortstop, which is what Smoak has. Smoak has a thousand plate appearances now and an OPS under .700.
Like I said, he's got to Carlos Pena it from here out, this year. I think that's where he should be, but only Justin can claim it. Otherwise, Adam Lind it is - and Smoak should be better than that. Good to see another HR last night. His timing looks to be recovering and he's swatting balls again instead of flailing at them or popping em up.
400 more PAs like this last week, please.
And this isn't to say I don't believe Smoak can have a Pena-esque career - I do. I've believed in Justin since Day One and I'm not stopping now. We just can't have another year like his last 365 days have been, or he won't be around. A .650 OPS isn't survivable on a power corner, "unlucky" or not.
~G

9

It's hard to believe they can carry this offense, true. I'm not worried about Ackley long-term. He's getting killed by lefties right now, but he'll adjust. It's part of the sophomore slump.
But it's why I didn't want so many sophomores in the lineup doing the heavy lifting. Do I think Carp and Smoak and Ackley will be hitting the ball hard at age 27? Yeah.
But we ain't there yet, and they have no cover right now. Edgar put up an atrocious partial season at age 26 (and 19 year old Junior wasn't great) but that lineup had Mr. Mariner and a couple of other vets in it.
This lineup has...well, Ryan leads the team in walks. Startling stat of the first two months, I guess.
Ackley has basically a full year's worth of at-bats now and .260/.335/.390 isn't where we want him for his career...but if he was, he's still be a seriously plus player, scarily enough.
Chase Utley over a similar period hit .260/.310/.435. Just gotta be patient. Ackley will get there - and I hope Smoak will too.
The difference with Ackley is that he's a useful 2B right NOW. Brandon Phillips is a ~3 WAR a year player falling out of bed (in a hitter's park) at .270/.330/.440. Ackley's been worth 3 - 4.5 (!!) so over the last year, depending on whether you like B-R or Fangraphs more.
Ackley can't carry an offense right now, but he's absolutely a contributor at that position, in this park. Justin Smoak has basically been the definition of a RLP in his 2 years in the bigs. We'd have done as well (or better) to have LaHair or Wilson or Poythress play there.
LaHair, btw, is killing it as a platoon bat in Chicago. The NL is perfect for his skillset since he destroys righties and is murdered by lefties. Who here would have taken a LaHair / Liddi platoon at first over the switch-hitting of Smoak so far?
Smoak's gotta hit, because somebody's got to shoulder the load. Having him put up a positionally-average line would be a nice start.
~G

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Chat: 8/26/15 5:44pm
Interests: Baseball Film Money Music (212133)
DeflateHATE, by Tacoma Rain

Boy how I wish D'quell Jackson never intercepted Tom Brady in the AFC championship game. After dropping back in coverage he was able to jump a Tom Brady pass and intercept the ball for the Colts. Not much else happened positively from there for Indy, as the team lost 45-7...Show more.

DeflateHATE, by Tacoma Rain

Boy how I wish D'quell Jackson never intercepted Tom Brady in the AFC championship game. After dropping back in coverage he was able to jump a Tom Brady pass and intercept the ball for the Colts. Not much else happened positively from there for Indy, as the team lost 45-7 that day, but because that interception deflategate was born. This left me, and all NFL fans, the burden of the past 6 months hearing about psi levels in football. You see, that interception Jackson made left him wondering why the ball felt so different. He then alerted officials who rechecked the footballs to find the had been under inflated. Knowing that they checked their levels early, an internal investigation then followed. Jokes on social media were abundant, and everyone was talking about Tom Brady and the Patriots part in this all.  To date, not much has been ironed out. The case is still being settled in court through mediation. Brady is claiming innocence to all after the Patriots initially quickly accepted the 4 game penalty decided upon. The NFL seems upset that Brady never turned over his phone to go through text messages. Clearly the only one that would benefit from the under inflated balls is Brady, and while looking into facts it was easy to hate him for being the man responsible for what has been the most annoying NFL offseason to date.  As if Brady and the Pats are not hated enough, this just added fuel to an already blazing fire. For 100 seconds security footage showed an equipment assistant take the already checked game balls into a bathroom. This same assistant was the man Brady woukd soon be calling and texting back and forth after the story went out. Soon other information woukd come out including text about cash, shoes, and autographs. Clearly Brady was bribing the man to deflate these balls for his personal gain, yet we are still trudging through the court system as he tries to use his fame and fortune to exonerate himself entirely.  With the knowledge of Robert Kraft's strong relationship with Roger Goodell, and all the money the Pats must generate for the NFL it is hard to believe the NFL has gone so hard. Seems more than anything that they have no choice. I do worry it was more of a front though and something far more sinister is happening. I can not imagine Brady getting away with this, and maybe he should. How much can the pressure change the outcomes of games anyway?  Either way it's cheating though, Pete Rose has the most hits in MLB history and merely bet on games keeping him out of the hall. Brady is cheating too, and who knows for how long, but I don't see him missing out on the H.OF. Hopefully this will come to a conclusion sooner than later, but for now I remain deflated about the subject.Image via Flickr / Jeff_Golden- See more at: http://seattlesports...

...Show less
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-27 16:54

Mariners trade Fernando Rodney to Cubs for cash and the Curse of the Billygoat.... so now we have a reason for the losing in the future.

2015-08-27 11:05

No, I don't think .650 with defense is the floor. It is not established that Marte is more than an average-solid defensive SS, nor that he can/will hit .650. I believe it is entirely possible that he could settle in as a .260/.300/.320 player who is merely average on defense.

2015-08-27 10:03

Regarding the Marte discussion: Grizz, I use Aybar and Andrus as the "floor" because they both OPS around .650 this year. Aybar's OPS+ lifetime is 93. Andrus is at .656 this season and has a lifetime OPS+ of 83. If Marte gives us that with good defense (and I think his speed is there with Elvis's), I think we'll all be somewhat disappointed. I think we all pretty much figure Marte will at the least meet those productive levels. We're arguing whether he can go beyond that. Heck, .650 with good defense - that's kinda what we got from Ackley

2015-08-27 09:26

*sigh*

2015-08-27 09:20

Ugh. Just looked for the first time at the overall MLB standings by winning percentage. In the AL we are "ahead of" (=behind) only #Oakland and #Boston. BUT. There are six, count 'em, SIX really bad teams in the NL, with winning percentages lower than #Boston.I'm not up on draft matters like most around here, but that puts us somewhere around ninth in the draft order if the season finished today.
Not to worry, though. I guess it probably doesn't matter much, since whoever we draft usually ends up busting anyway.

2015-08-27 09:14

What ever happened to that new D-O-V site? It's sounding pretty good right about now...

2015-08-27 09:09

I guess we're all one big family now! Oh boy, a whole new group of people for TakingNotes and I to annoy with video game talk.

2015-08-27 08:57

Well welcome to all those whose shouts intended for some community other than this one are ending up here! We are a mostly genial and friendly bunch, but we are used to debunking things that, um, SHOUT for debunking.

2015-08-27 08:51

Well, I guess good morning, everyone!

2015-08-27 08:44

Composing of any real value is hard, demanding, often frustrating work. But when it all comes together, the sense of having created something wonderful is beyond description.

2015-08-27 08:42

Too bad our shout box has become a random dumping ground.

2015-08-27 08:41

Too bad composing isn't the way to riches! That would be fun.

2015-08-27 08:39

I keep getting warnings about shouts being to long but it appears to me they show up anyway.

Also, if there is a hard character limit to shouts, perhaps it would be helpful if we could be presented with a character count as we type. Just a suggestion.

2015-08-27 08:37

Composing is like any other artistic endeavor. A very few make a lot. More make much less than a lot. Some make a ilttle. And most who try never make anything to speak of. Few make a living.
Still, there are many excellent online resources if someone wants to take their shot. I recommend first getting grounded with a community like Virtual Instrument Control, a forum frequented by working and aspiring composers mostly oriented around #Film #Music, where the #Money is. Lots to learn, but personally rewarding if you have superior talent and the determination to persevere. Should you through perseverance get the right opportunity, who knows, maybe you will be one of the fortunate few.

2015-08-27 08:16

So, composing is an instant method to Make enormous cash online when you can create.

2015-08-27 08:16

So, composing is an instant method to Make enormous cash online when you can create.

2015-08-27 06:08

@all how do I get to the normal shout wall

2015-08-27 06:08

@all how do I get to the normal shout wall

2015-08-26 19:05

Copying over my recent shout from the column that was moved over minutes after I made it:

I think we need to go through a full spring training and first half of next season before we anoint Edgar as The Hitting Coach Who Saved The Mariners' Offense. Things look more promising now than they did earlier in the season, but #Baseball can be a deceiving game when it comes to short term effects versus long term effects. There is NO QUESTION Edgar was a generational hitting talent and he probably has few peers when it comes to knowing about hitting. So my caution is not a knock on Our Beloved Edgar. It is a caution born of long experience following #Baseball.

It is not common for a player to hit like Edgar hit. It is not common for a hitting coach to have a huge, long-term effect on the offensive performance of a team, even if in the short term players swear by that coach's effect on them. Let's give it some time to see if the one uncommon thing and the other uncommon thing correlate. If this was such a cut and dried thing teams would pay as much for such hitting coaches than they would for the very best players.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/26/15 8:50pm
Does he seem to be getting the key to the city already by most? I agree you need to atleast get a full year under your belt...just didn't know there was a lot of Edgar credit going around...or atleast on a more national level.
2015-08-26 17:44

Starting a conversation...

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