February 2010

Posted by jemanji on 02/28/10
3 Comments

=== Playing in 0.6 Gee === Baron has surprisingly small legs and obviously doesn't weigh much -- either that, or Baron missed his calling for Olympic pommel-horse gold. Those fantastic  squat-jumps that Baron does all game long ... you realize that those tend to disappear after the grind of 500 games or so in the pros.  The knees start hurting. Dan Wilson, when he was very young, also played catcher like a hockey goalie.  (Wilson actually was a hockey goalie.)   Sat high in the crouch, super mobile, kept everything in front of him, cat-quick, pitcher couldn't throw a ball through the 5 hole... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/28/10
1 Comments

=== Throwing === You can see the accuracy, and for sure you can see the instincts and excellent field vision, especially for his age. The kid is the very definition of pop time on the front end -- clocked time to get rid of the ball -- but I didn't see this power arm they credit him with. Against high schoolers, Baron was so incredibly fast into the throw that he essentially just flicked the ball around the bases.   It's a little tougher to flick a throw (or a punch) and get anything behind it.  Baron was exactly over-rotating his shoulders there. I'll take the scouts' word for it, but I'd... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/28/10
2 Comments

Shields pointed out this YouTube video, a full 7 minutes' edit, scout-style. Dr. D is hardly a high school scout :- ) but at the rates youse guys pay, you get full-service shtick on demand. . === Hitting === I was quite taken aback by the plusses here. Baron doesn't look like a powerfully-built kid at 18 -- surprisingly small legs, frame more like a high school center fielder.  But watch for it and see:  how many hitters do you see who take a nice short path to the ball, and then generate enough batspeed so that the bat whips around and bruises their back? That's a Jose Canseco signature,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/28/10
11 Comments

Looking around for ways to E=MC2 on Jose Lopez' keister and the 30-HR first baseman pool: Carlos Pena isn't a Jose Lopez trade match, with Evan Longoria 3B and Ben Zobrist 2B there.  Pena is Tampa's best way to shed salary, which they will definitely do at some time in the future, but Tampa's holes are at C, OF, P, and of course a small-market team is always interested in minor-league talent. Prince Fielder would apparently not get here by way of Jose Lopez, considering Tampa has two 20-somethings > 125 OPS+ at second and third. But San Diego has a big hole at 2B and perhaps an issue at... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/26/10
8 Comments

"UNC Mariners" blue, that is.  Ackley in 2010?  If he hits .400 in March, it's okay by me. . Q.  Say what? A.  One of the M's coaches got to camp, walked out, and watched a slick young 2B dazzling people on the infield... and a few minutes later, realized that this glove-first middle infielder was Dustin Ackley. Early word is that Ackley is already looking like a quality second baseman. .............. Another beat writer, asked who could surprise-impact the 25-man this year, named Ackley.  ...if he really is a "special, special, special" talent (quote unquote), well, John Olerud didn't get... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/26/10
8 Comments

Q.  How serious is the switch at this point? A.  Larry LaRue had an interesting point.  The old soldiers are used to this kind of "look-see" taking place later in training camp.  To arrive the first day, and find Jose Lopez at 3B from the word Go, had the air of a switch that they were serious about sticking with. ............ Word is that Lopez will play at least the first week of games at 3B. . Q.  What is the determining factor? A.  Gathering info from round about, it's clear that putting Chone Figgins at 2B is a non-issue.  Figgins would be at 2B if Jose Lopez can make it work at 3B. ... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/26/10
14 Comments

=== Waterboy Dept. === Folks on the radio have been talking about 19-year-old Steve Baron in the first few days of training camp.  Calls reporters "sir" and "ma'am," can't do enough to please people, runs everywhere he goes, etc. etc. Think it was Larry LaRue laughing about Baron's reaction when Ken Griffey Jr. walked in... for two days "it was like the puppy following the tennis ball, you move your hand right, his head tracks with you..." "He's a charmer" was a phrase we heard about 42 times on the radio. .......... What had happened, according to Baron in his live segment, was that Baron'... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/10
18 Comments

Q.  Is this just spring intel-gathering, or does the switch have legs? A.  Jose Lopez' remark Thursday, about Figgins having better range than Jose does, raised my eyebrows.  These are the kinds of noises you hear when the in-house discussions are serious. That's great with SSI, of course. . Q.  How much stock do you put in "comfort zones" and "experience"?  Are you risking errors, or losing D-positioning, or what? A.  If either of the two started having balls go off the heels of their mitts, they'd switch back.  Errors aren't the issue. At 3B, positioning isn't much of an issue, obviously... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/10
4 Comments

I/O:  Spec' sez in this thread, Z and Towers had a 6-for-1 deal close to consummation for Adrian Gonzalez last July 31, but it fell through when Towers was holding out for a 7th player!  Would be interesting to know who the six were, and who the 7th would have been. CRUNCH:  Caveat (1) from a distance, and caveat (2) if true ... then (3) I take this to mean that Kevin Towers was extremely squeamish about the second-guessing that he would take on the deal.  SSI reads this 7-player thing as a cover-your-backside, "Look it was a complete no-brainer" protest to the naysayers. There is nothing... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/10
13 Comments

Grumpy sez:  Dr. D,  Do you have any suggestions on good rescouces (books, instructional vids) you found helpful in the context of helping you son?  Thanks, Grumpy Rockies Jeff sez:  Grumpy, I look forward to the Doc's answer.  For what age level were you looking for material?  (Jump right in Jeff!  We defer to you on this one - Dr D) .............. Thanks for asking Grumpy.  Note carefully that it is two separate questions, (1) what should an accomplished high school coach like RockiesJeff do with a 10-year-old?, and (2) what should a dad do with his 10-year-old?  Those questions are as... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/10

=== Taking It To the (non-)Mound === Assuming that your child gets very good at long toss, it's not hard to sit down in a crouch and just get him to take the same motion into a pitch with the following 10-year-old checkpoints: Modest knee kick, but get the baseball cap high in the air Step straight towards dad Use your sidearm long-toss throw Throw the ball *through* dad's upper body Finish nose-to-leather ............. And then practice, reps, and fun are going to have your son miles ahead of all the other poor little kids who are doing high school drills and having their dads make them... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 02/25/10
2 Comments

Z and Towers had a 6-for-1 deal close to consummation for Adrian Gonzalez last July 31, but it fell through when Towers was holding out for a 7th player!  Would be interesting to know who the six were, and who the 7th would have been. The article makes it clear: no hometown discount.  Z and Towers go way back, so even though Towers is no longer with the Pods, I'm sure Z has a good sense of how likely it is that AG will get dealt and what it will take to get him.  (Which is certainly consistent with how indifferent Z was this winter with Branyan and Bay.) http://m.nctimes.com/sports/baseball/... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 02/24/10
4 Comments

Shannon Drayer's Lopez quotes, and M.Twain's reply, got me thinking about the number of guys in camp in fairly similar situations. Namely: Guys in mid-to-late 20s, considered potential big talents coming up, have gone through various types of adversity, facing career turning-point seasons: Lopez, 26, deaths of brother and sister, some maturity questions Kotchman, 27, near-death of mother, two consecutive midseason trades that didn't work out Snell, 28, loss of confidence, hated Pittsburgh Cordero, 27, injury, interrelated weight problems Lowe, 26, unusual injury problems Z keeps making it... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/10
10 Comments

Q.  Lopez hasn't played 3b in the majors to speak of, and is a very solid second baseman statistically.  Figgins has great numbers at 3b the last two years, and what little time he's had at 2b, his numbers are lousy. Why would a sabermetric organization want to make this flip? . A.  Because the Mariners aren't a sabermetric organization in the way that we assume they are.  Their decisionmaking is not dominated by $/RAR ratio -- check, for instance, the Morrow-League trade, the Wilson-Clement trade, and the Lee trade.  Numbers aside: ....... Jose Lopez is a natural third baseman. 1.  If the... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/10

Q.  Aren't you the guy who complains when there's too much soup off of one oyster? A.  Granted, but we're goofing off, not presenting tablets of stone. You don't make trade proposals because you expect to see them in the paper the next week.  You make them because you're more logical than the real GM's..... . Q.  Okay.  I'm on SSI because I'm bored anyway.  You might as well ahead now. A.  Trade scenarios we infer off the Figgins-2B concept.  If you're wont to using "just a look-see" spring training reports to try to Kreskin the local GM: Offers for Lopez are jelling, so Tui/Hannahan figure... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/10
2 Comments

Part 1 === Throughstroke === For all that, DePaula's arm stroke is absolutely scintillating. After he steps easily down the CL, the front shoulder unsnaps, and then the Felix Hernandez-like arm asserts itself.  The amazing RPM develops into a whistling release that you can almost hear through the videos. DePaula is the definition of "easy velocity" and, mechanics aside, it is the arm itself that is the bill of goods with this pitcher. Obviously from the beginning of the motion forward, you've got a Grade A+ that is producing the $1,000,000 rumors. .............. We've got to add, we aiki-... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/10
1 Comments

=== Executive Summary === DePaula has a gorgeous, easy, clean motion ... that serves mostly to get out of the way of his electric arm. Many power pitchers, such as Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, develop a lot of their velocity out of their thighs, backside and abdomens.  Others, such as Felix Hernandez, Bob Gibson and Randy Johnson, have loose motions that mostly serve to provide their arms with simple, reliable fulcrums. DePaula is mostly in the latter category.  . === Windup === Begins windup with a long rock-step to 1B, but does so without exaggerating the sideways deflection of his head.... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/10
9 Comments

Q.  What is SSI's background in pitching mechanics? A.  We do get asked this question.  We answer once a year, only because it's relevant to the discussion at hand... ......... 1.  Aikido training attunes an aikidoka to the movement of the center of gravity (CG). In teaching and in waza training, over the course of time you get a feel for how the movement of this arm, or of that leg, relates to weight transfer. Weight transfer is connected to intentionality, to passive or aggressive state-of-mind, and to power.  A difference of only a few percent in weight acceleration translates to a huge... Read More
Posted by Sandy on 02/23/10
21 Comments

Doc sez: The M's prejudice in favor of slick defense gets awfully annoying to Dr. D at times ...  Interesting to me that even with the results of 2009, very bright people continue to dismiss the value of defense as if it is some trivial component of the mix, of (obviously) lesser importance.  Here are some facts about 2008 to 2009. In 2008 - Texas and Seattle finshed 14th and 13th in DER in the AL.  In 2008 - Texas and Seattle finished 14th and 11th in runs allowed in the AL. In 2008 - Texas and Seattle finished 13th and 11th in FIP in the AL.   In 2009 - Seattle and Texas finished 1st and... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/21/10

=== He Don' Call It Inside for Nothin' === Kudos to Jason for a bangin' report on the M's division chances through the lens of eight or ten field scouts. . I/O:  First scout says, tons of offensive holes -- even if you lead the league in ERA, scoring 650 runs won't win a division.  Angels the faves. Crunch:  Blengino acknowledged this on the radio a week or two ago:  "The bottom line is, we finished ten games out because we scored 640 runs," or somesuch. The offense is a legit question -- in terms of winning the AL West.  Notice how each response takes 81, 85 wins as a given.  The... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/21/10

I/O:  Fifth scout says, it's about how the fringe guys progress.  "There's more there" on Casey Kotchman, and LF could come through. Crunch:  That'll do for us too. Zduriencik has indeed created a Moneyball offense in lieu of the legit marquee talent that he plans to install as time goes on.  Byrnes, Bradley, Garko, etc are question marks, but this year they're not deadwood.  They're question marks with vitality to them. I agree with the scouts' consensus, that the platoon guys and health questions and "fringe guys" are the swing votes on the 2010 season. . I/O:  Sixth scout says, they need... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/21/10
2 Comments

Q.  I thought Tuiasosopo was your #2 Doc? A.  In an expansion draft -- in a vacuum, not knowing the other GMs' prefs -- I'd protect Ackley first, and then Triunfel or Tuiasosopo #2. We're taking things on the scouts' terms in some of these threads.  Tui and Triu are special cases, outside the "dan" heirarchy.  :- )   So we speak in terms of Ackley, Saunders, and Moore as the ML-ready blue chippers. But yeah, to me, there are now five M's prospects who are four clear lengths ahead of the pack, coming down the straightaway. . === Foxsports.com and Scout.com Fantasy Baseball === Picked up a... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/20/10
2 Comments

Picked up an issue of Baseball America off the newstand.  Two 11x14 pages of 3-point font on M's prospects -- all of which have been disseminated by G and J long ago.  :- ) MC / SSI denizens have already hashed and re-hashed 95% of the ideas that you'll find in the BA Top 10, but in the next three articles, let's mosh a bit off the last 5%... . === Sizzlers:  Dustin Ackley === Cockrell said, on the radio, that Ackley will get tons of spring training AB's, especially the first half.   OK, we cheated already... The magazine sez "Ask any scout about Ackley and he'll focus immediately ... on... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/20/10
7 Comments

=== Sizzlers:  Adam Moore === Moore also was on the radio this last week.  Clearly uncomfortable with the attention, he spoke hesitantly and was breathless for most of the segments.  Crossing the on-air nerves was his latent irritation with the DJ's questions about making the roster.  Moore evidently saw himself as the frontrunner to be the starter. Moore was also commendably annoyed at the fact that catchers like him are pegged as either defensive or offensive players -- as though a young catcher who could do both, is so rare as to be too-good-to-be-true. Defense is first, sez Moore, and... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/20/10
3 Comments

I/O:  M's hitting coach Alan Cockrell, on KIRO's Hot Stove League radio show, raves about Michael Saunders' progress as a hitter. Cockrell states that when Saunders arrived in Safeco, he was overmatched because of a below-ML-par swing and approach, and that the M's "shut him down" to rebuild his swing-and-approach "from the ground up." He reports that the plan was to keep Saunders in dry dock until the winter leagues, but that Saunders' progress was so remarkable that the committee decided he needed to see some game action over the last 10 days. Cockrell, from memory, remembered that in... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/10
39 Comments

Now, here's a late-at-night-out-of-my-mind-bleary post for yer :- ) ............ Does anybody care to explain why some communities find minimal chatspeak, and emoticons, as annoying as they do.  This isn't a challenge.  It's a request for information. We were skimming a comments thread at a big M's blog and somebody threw "LOL" into a comment. Immediately, in Terrence Stamp fashion, another poster icily intoned "please do not use chatspeak here."  (Of course, wtf is acceptable and encouraged.) ............ Taking a quick surf around the 'net, the argument I've seen against it is a straw man... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/10
20 Comments

Interesting bit of fresh perspective in the "1 Slot" thread, wondering whether Ichiro really deserves credit for any more RBI ability than the next leadoff hitter... . === Service === Looking at the ISO for both Ichiro and Chone, I really don't see any difference at all. Career-wise, Chone: .097 -- Ichiro .101.  So, we're arguing RBI machine based on 4 points of ISO?!?  Heck, if not for the .042 ISO from 2008 for Chone, (he HAD to be hurt), I think he might have a higher career ISO.  (It was .107 prior to the 2008 debacle - and he posted a .096 in 2009.) Look at their career 2B/3B/HR lines... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/10
5 Comments

=== Ichiro and Chone Figgins === Mojician with a sterling thread on Ichiro's spot in the batting order.   As anon noted, you can argue lost-AB's vs fielder's-choices vs RBI ... the only problem is that Ichiro simply wants to hit first.  Wakamatsu discreetly reminds everybody of this from time to time. Chone Figgins was quoted on this recently.  Hey, I take a lot of pitches, Figgins said.  You might as well let Ichiro run while I'm working the pitcher.  I'm willing to hit second. Figgins was being a good teammate.  He knows that Ichiro will hit where he wants to hit.  (Figgins played 158... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/10
1 Comments

=== Get Off My Lawn === John Sickels (about age 47) courageously bares his soul in this "No Mas" article.  In it, he says that the current sabermetric enviroment is fatiguing him, that it isn't any fun any more. Groping about to understand why, Sickels wonders whether it is for the same reason that he got tired of grad school when earning his Ph.D.  At that time -- almost 20 years ago -- he and friends decided that they burned out on academia when the studies became too "granular."  He loved history, but disliked getting wrapped around the axle on 19th-century Belgian weaving. I suspect that... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/10
6 Comments

=== Founding Father, Dept. === Bill James has never, to my knowledge, written Word One with the intent of proving that he's smarter than some other smart guy.  You will never find a word that James wrote that is written with the intent of earning a phantom Ph.D., as in my opinion most sabermetrics are written these days. James writes everything because he is ecstatically in love with baseball. The difference in the end product is subtle but critical.  You could read through Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract all day, because every new discovery (RC/27, new PAP, DER, whatever) is there... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/10
9 Comments

=== Roll Call Dept. === Bill James, at 62 or something, loves sabermetrics more than he ever did.  That is because baseball research was only ever there for one reason to him:  to help him enjoy the game at 7:05 tonight.  :- ) John Sickels, as I see it, has inadvertently studied sabermetrics for the wrong reason -- to keep his resume up-to-date.  If he would simply return to the James orientation, his ennui would quickly vanish IMHO.  Sickels himself put it, "I just wanna go see a game." ........... Jeff Sullivan, IMHO, writes like a guy who loves baseball, as James does. There's another... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 02/17/10
2 Comments

I don't play roto anymore (boring story), but I happened across the ESPN fantasy preview  which, I discovered, could be sorted by team.  So I did it for you: http://games.espn.go.com/flb/tools/projections?&display=alt&proTeamId=12 And I'll just toss out a few of the tidbits that I found of general (not just roto) interest.  FWIW.  These are all direct quotes sorted in order in which I found them interesting. Bullpen (upbeat on 4 guys): -- Aardsma: Expect some regression this year, but the real key will be showing he can keep his control in check for another season. Backsliding there... Read More
Posted by mojician on 02/17/10
9 Comments

The Seattle Times round table forum with the other beat writers raised some interesting issues. As they say: If you really want to know what's up, find out what your opponents think of you.  Who is the most feared hitter in the AL West?  Ichiro. What does 200 hits mean a year?  Well, not too much, if it just means getting on first or second base 200 times. One of the beat writers had the idea that Ichiro should bat third in the lineup, and transfer all of those marvelous hits into RBIs. Here's a theory: walks and hits are equal when the bases are empty, but hits become more valuable the more... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/16/10
10 Comments

. Japanese transfer student :- ) Taro has earned the moniker 'Champ' at SSI because of the outcome of the 2008 roto leagues (the last ones DOV/SSI sponsored): 20-team mixed league:  Cool Papa Bell the winner 12-team All-Star AL only league:  Justynius the winner Finishing a hair-fine 2nd place in BOTH:  Taro ... giving Taro the best aggregate season.  As well, Taro is one of the three mega-NPB analysts in the Seattle blog-o-sphere, so when he weighs in on NBP stuff it's worth considering. . === Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid dept. === Taro is wondering if Colby Lewis got lowballed because, once... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/16/10
10 Comments

Cool Papa Bell begs to differ on our Milton Bradley sales pitch.  As usual, he raises fair points... . === CPB === Your reasoning seems to be that because sportswriters dislike Bedard due to their own childish petulance, the criticism of Bradley must be because of the writer's bias and prejudice. I don't see how that follows. The two players are completely different people, and the complaints from the media are similiarly different. As you've pointed out, Bedard is a quiet warrior who maintains his composure no matter what calls he gets from the umpires. He hasn't gotten into... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/16/10
4 Comments

Good thread at Mariner Central on Felix' workload.  SI's Tom Verducci finds that all pitchers under 25, whose IP went up by >30 in the big leagues, as a group 30-of-34 either "had an injury" or their ERA's went up. . e as you're going to be able to ask for. Cheers, Dr D
Posted by jemanji on 02/15/10
7 Comments

As mentioned in the MB article, kudos to Larry Stone for getting together a roundtable involving a media rep from each of the four AL West teams.  Good read.  . === AL West Race === 'Clay' asked this question:  In such a tight race, does strength in pitching and defense (Ms) provide an advantage over offensive-minded cubs (Rangers, Angels)? Angels' writer:  Say what? That's the first time I've ever seen the Angels referred to as "offensive-minded." Since Stoneman took over as GM in 2000 and hired Scioscia, pitching has been Job One for the Angels. They build everything on that. This year... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/15/10
8 Comments

Kudos to Larry Stone for getting together a roundtable involving a media rep from each of the four AL West teams.  Good read.  Milton Bradley has played in Los Angeles NL, meaning that the Angels'* Bill Plunkett would have had face time with Bradley, and of course in Texas, where Even Grant works.   Bradley also played in Oakland in 2006, so all four writers had their distinctive angles on him. . I/O:  Evan Grant:  Milton's a very talented player with a whole lot of baggage. If only he understood the team concept as well as he does the dynamics of a plate appearance. He's as disciplined... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/14/10
2 Comments

=== Devil's Advocate Column === About 18 media outlets have reported Jack Zduriencik's warning to Mike Sweeney that Sweeney faces long odds in making the club in the spring. M's fans, generally horrified at the traffic jam around the 1B coach's box and DH bench seat most proximate, have interpreted this to mean that Sweeney is coming in, in March, only to showcase for another job that Zduriencik will find him. Bear in mind that Sweeney will have asked this question.  And Zduriencik will have told him that yes, there are scenarios in which Sweeney is a 2010 Mariner. .............. Mike... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/14/10
1 Comments

Washburn is joking that "he never liked spring training anyway."  Good interview with Jim Street here, Street being the guy to break the Erik Bedard news, if I recall correctly. Washburn characterizes himself as sitting at home with no offers at all right now (after turning down the lowball from the Twins).  Here's an article on teams that could use rotation depth. The handwriting's on the wall:  baseball evidently sees Washburn's Safeco results as a context-driven illusion, and his Detroit catastrophe as the real Washburn...  nada.  Here's our article, following Nick Steiner, documenting... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/14/10
7 Comments

Hardball Times last week had a fun piece giving a Nickname Power Ranking.  Guess who came in first? When the NFL expanded to Seattle, the team released its plan for the logo and a large part of the city was offended.  It fought for a totem-like bird, no frown, a rounded beak, sort of a glazed-eye cross between an Orca and a duck... we don't want something "hostile" on a football helmet that represents our genteel city.  :- ) You think I'm kidding, I know... ..... As a fan of the Reds, and thoroughly shamed by the Pilots with gold piping on their hats, I was bitterly disappointed by the... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/14/10
10 Comments

=== Stealth Signings === Question arose, could the M's be the mystery team supposedly about to land Wang. If that were the case, we'd all find out about it simultaneously.  :- )  Which is what I love about this Royal Brougham crew...   hey, lemme sneak a digression in here second paragraph.  Thath high-quality H20 writin', ain't it... Shawn Kelley was asked on the radio last month, do you guys find out about all these signings before we do?  To which Kelley responded, probably later.  We find out about it on MLB.com or ESPN.com and you guys are local.   There's also the fact that players... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/13/10
5 Comments

BaseballHQ's minor league fanalytic can be ordered here.  It might be even better than their major-league Forecaster.  Not sure I've seen a better source, for the material it covers.  Infallibility isn't the bar; the bar is Baseball America, and IMHO, Minor League Baseball Analyst clears the bar by quite a ways. . === 7C Steven Hensley, SP === 7C being, as you know by now, a 50% chance at becoming an average major-league pitcher.  That's a lot of chance of doing a lot in professional baseball.  Indeed, they project him as a #4 starter or a middle reliever. Gordon and Deloney have Hensley's... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/13/10
17 Comments

Tony Blengino, on the radio, had some interesting thoughts on Ryan Garko.  His enthusiasm was contagious... . === Starting-quality first baseman === Was surprised (and pleased) to hear Blengino enthuse about Garko a la "we think we got a starting-caliber player there, who will be targeted to a role, at least at first." Garko, of course, switched from the AL to the NL in 2009, and struggled badly late in the year.  The M's give Garko a pass on this. . === League-average offensive first baseman === Blengino emphasized that "the bar is very high at first base" and that he regards Garko an "... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/13/10
6 Comments

If you're a rotogeek, Jesus Colome has probably been on your roster several times.  He was an upper-90's relief prospect for the D-Rays in more than one "shaky-closer" season. Plenty of K's, plenty of potential, so far doodly in terms of helping his clubs win.   Will he be this year's Aardsma?  Very possible. . Q.  What's the basic idea, bringing in Colome, other than the vague spaghetti-against-the-wall cliche? A.  Spaghetti-against-the-wall explains some things, but doesn't explain others.  I mean, you don't bring in Dave Fleming or Dr. D for spring training.  Each player brought in gets... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/11/10

Well, a simulated roundtable, anyway... if Sheets can throw a simulated game, well... Hopefully we can get a couple of live chats going this February... ....... GLMuskie:  Z was on KIRO today.   He described the doctors' reaction to Bedard's comeback as very surprised, and 'way ahead of schedule'. He also said that he expects Bedard to be back 'way before' the trading deadline. ........ DrD:  A little out-of-character for Zduriencik, who likes to decompress the pressure on his signings, as when he brought Jack Wilson in and indeed as he soft-played the Cliff Lee signing. Capt Jack called... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/11/10

KGaffney:  While I agree that the doctors know better than the uneducated masses, medicine is still a black art as much as a science populated by people predisposed to overvalue their worth.  Who among us hasn't had to endure the self-important arrogance of an MD?   ....... GLMuskie:  So, I'm guessing your an MD then?  : ) Calling modern medicine a 'black art' seems a wee bit of a stretch, considering the ridiculous amount of real science being done, extended life spans, diseases eradicated, etc. etc.  And personally, no, I've never had to endure the self-important arrogance of an MD.  I've... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/11/10
1 Comments

Sandy:    I think one of the key points to Bedard is this ... his injury "likely" (IMO - from a chatty, non-scientific perspective), is a result of pushing too hard. ... I think it likely that a little LESS ego might well have shortened Bedard's DL time -- but this wasn't going to happen.  Why?  Because the very press that were whining about him being a wuss pushed him even further to take chances.  (LOL!, Dr. D)  That said -- this injury could EASILY be the harbinger of a miraculous turn-around.  As Doc has noted - Bedard is a gamer -- and if he's pushing, it's because he KNOWS that doing... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/10/10
8 Comments

Lot of chat on the 'net regarding 'precedents' for Erik Bedard's return.  At first glance, these 'precedents' leave a very clear impression:  don't expect anything from Bedard in 2010. We went through this with respect to the strength of Richie Sexson's shoulder.  The medical consensus :- ) in cyber-Seattle was that it was not reasonable to expect Sexson to return at full strength.  The surgeons' consensus was that it was reasonable to expect this, and on that basis, the M's gave Sexson a contract that presumed full health.  The fact is that the surgeons' consensus, and the M's $45m, were... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/10/10

The figures are out for Bedard's 2010 contract. the word is that he gets $1.5m guaranteed, plus $500k at the 14, 17, 20, 23, and 26 start milestones $500k for 75 innings, and $600k more for each 25 IP thereafter $250k at 65, 90, 120, and 150 days on the roster In other words, about $140k for 0-12 starts ... and $350-$375k for each start after the 12th ... or you could say About $200-250k per start, average ROI $140k for the first 12 of Erik Bedard's starts, and $350k for each one after the 12th?  Wow! . === Golf My Way dept. === Question comes up, is this an okay deal, a screamin' deal, or... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/10/10
5 Comments

=== Fangraphs Dept. === Anyway, still going back and you want to compare Harden's, Sheets', and Bedard's ROI per the $/WAR paradigm, let's look at Bedard's last three seasons, their actual value, and what he'd make on his contract: 2009:  $8.6m actual 2010 value, b/ 15 starts, 83 IP, 120 days - $3m salary 2008:  $4.9 ACV based on 15 starts, 83 IP, 120 days - $3m salary 2007:  $11.0 ACV based on 14 starts, 91 IP, 120 days - $3m salary If Erik Bedard came back for the 2nd half and fanned 8-10 men per game, he'd get $3m salary for doing it.  And he'd pitch the playoffs for nothing (well,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/09/10
2 Comments

As you know, Dr. D's day job is in the philosophy, ethics, and morality sector.  Marriage counseling, addiction recovery counseling, and the like are among the routine tasks assigned to him during the workaday week. This doesn't give us the final word, but ethics are the topic du jour, after Steve Kelley's interesting column.  Some might be interested in seeing this episode run through the prism of a counseling session. What is the output if you run this complicated problem through the Spirituality-21st-Century mainframe?  Hmmmm... . === Kurt Cobain All Apologies, dept. === More interesting... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/09/10
2 Comments

=== Silver Lining dept. === Why run it at all, then?  As a commendable act of integrity. I take it that the writers' consciences are dinging them about calling (in essence) Erik Bedard a coward throughout all of 2009.  This happened repeatedly, and it turned out to be the opposite of the truth. You might remember the column we ran, "GAMER!," after Bedard's first start in Seattle.  We moshed off half-a-dozen unfair things that Bedard suffered in that game, and how after every single thing, Bedard got on the mound, re-set himself, glared in, narrowed his eyes, and threw an intelligent,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/09/10
10 Comments

Mariner Central thread here, discussing whether Washburn even merits a rotation slot in Seattle. Jarrod Washburn's ERA is 4.10 for his career, compared to a 4.86 xFIP.   That's over the course of 1,873 innings. 4.10 - Jarrod Washburn's career ERA 4.46 - AL average, 2009 4.86 - Jarrod Washburn's career xFIP Obviously you've got a major problem here; should you go by what the formulas say should have happened, the last 10 years, or do you go by what did happen, the last 10 years? Go by ERA and Washburn is much better than average.  Go by xFIP and Washburn is much worse than average -- he's a... Read More
Posted by SABR Matt on 02/09/10
3 Comments

Just for fun, let's say I could go back in time to October 5th, 2008. The Mariners have just completed a dismal 61-101 season. Their farm system is rated among baseball's worst. Their line-up's best contributor is a pending free agent and unlikely to return, and for the most part, the team is quite old. They're just starting the first year of a painful 3 year contract extension for Kenji Johjima. Speculation is rampant about who the full time replacement for Bill Bavasi will be going forward and whether it makes one bit of difference who the GM is, given the front office's tendency to... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 02/09/10
11 Comments

First, a word from a local paper: http://indy.liberationmedia.com/news/2008/feb/21/pro-ballplayers-train-santa-barbaras-peak-performa/  Elliott, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, said his love of sports prompted him to focus on athletic performance instead of traditional medicine. He has been dismayed by the rampant use of performance-enhancing substances. "The only way to curb it is to diminish the gap between the cheaters and non-cheaters," Elliott said. "Our faith is that smart training beats drugs." Lisa Mariner and Jay Yencich already pointed this out and I commented briefly on it,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/05/10
13 Comments

BaseballHQ.com's MLBA available here. Their first six M's prospects being: 1 Ackley, cf/1b :- ) 2 Triunfel, ss 3 Liddi, 3b 4 Morban, cf 5 Pineda, sp 6 Moore, c We've covered 1-5, I think.  Did we do #7?  Quick recap: . === 7 Greg Halman, 9E === #1 in Baseball America's list last year, Halman clocks in at a lofty #19 on Sickels' list this year.  Baseball America demoted Halman to #8 after the M's landed seven prospects better than him... :- ) no, it's fair for BBA to reconsider after Halman's results disappointed in 2009. Halman smoked A+ ball for a .572 SLG in 2008 at the age of 20, and... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/05/10
10 Comments

Q.  Love the site.  Philosophy over numbers, right? A.   :daps: good to meetcha, mate. As the information proliferates in the internet age, the challenge is to extract the essential information.  That's true in baseball, sales, climate change, political polling or anything else.  99% of the information is noise and 1% helps you understand reality -- and then control your life. Stats are necessary but backwards-looking by their nature.  August 12, 2009 is completely irrelevant to your life and mine. Any number of places run Fangraphs numbers and split them out, LH/RH, 1H/2H, etc. The good... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/05/10
2 Comments

=== Bryned or Rewarded? === In the Byrnes POTD, for example... everybody knows what Byrnes' numbers have been.  He was an All-Star in '07 and he was injured the last two years.  We could noodle around all day discussing his RAR in past years, and come up with the same thing everybody else does. The question is what Byrnes will be in 2010... The answer being, a very good 3-position platoon OF with a 30% chance of rebounding to his 2003-04 vintage.  As far as we can tell, anyway. The important thing about Byrnes is that he has SLG'd .500 against LHP's since he fell out of a crib.  He does... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/04/10
1 Comments

Q.  Do the Mariners have the coin to bid against Boston? A.  My answer is always the same.  Every org in baseball has dozens of attractive prospects.  In practical terms, almost any team could trade for Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, or Adrian Gonzalez -- if it could pay the superstar after it acquired him. If Zduriencik had given them a week to argue about it ... the pundits would guaranteed us, no way did Seattle have the wherewithal to trade for Cliff Lee.  Am I right? And supposing the pundits did surmise we could get Cliff Lee, do you think the analysis would have revolved around lower-minors... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/04/10
25 Comments

(Plot spoiler) No. . Q.  Do you need another pitcher after Bedard? A.  Understand and agree about Bedard being a wild card -- that you want to build your staff without him, and take his stretch-run and playoff wins as gravy. But I would definitely not overstate Bedard's risk.  He was great in June-July 2009 with the torn labrum.  If he can get the ball up to 90 mph at all, he's an All-Star Game starter; he just proved that last summer. . Q. Are you comfortable with the 2010 staff As Is? A. Yes, because I was comfortable with the September 2009 staff as is. Let's keep in mind: the M's second... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/04/10
29 Comments

=== Adrian Gonzalez === Larry Stone, following Tim Sullivan, has an insightful article that alertly catches big "poker tells" from the Padres' brain trust. Padres' CEO Jeff Moorad issued the following quote.  Now, imagine if Lincoln/Zduriencik had, in December, said this about Felix Hernandez: “I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interest of the organization,” Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said yesterday. “As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we’re mindful of players’ individual popularity, we... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/04/10
6 Comments

Amigos are justifiably complaining that much of the media seems to be holding a last-ditch campaign to make Erikkkk drink at a different water fountain.  Part of this is the claim that Erikkk "made $8m last year and gave the Mariners nothing." . === Services Rendered, Dept. ==== Bedard in 2009 threw 82 innings at a 2.82 ERA (yeah, I know), which statgeeked out to normalized performance, equals .... $8.2m of value, per fangraphs. . === Services Not Rendered, Dept. === Quick reality check.  Which of these two performances would you rather have, from Cliff Lee, in 2010? 20 runs saved in 32 nice... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/03/10
14 Comments

I know nobody axed us, but if anybody did... . Q.  Does Erik Bedard have a high pain tolerance? A.  In 2009, he fanned 10 hitters -- American League (TM) hitters -- per game with a trashed labrum. I've slightly injured my labrums doing bench flyes and it is a deep, down bone-in ache in addition to the electric pain when you bend an injured labrum the wrong way. Bedard got a rep for phantom pain because the doctors couldn't find the problemo.  Picture yourself in that situation... When Bedard has gone onto the DL, the next number in this sequence has not been 15 (day DL).  It has been major... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/03/10

We had a bit of fun last week with BaseballHQ's Seattle Top 15.  Local minors conoisseurs went through a fair amount of candy-unwrapping, before coming up with HQ's "9E" Wonka gold ticket draw at a future ML All-Star. Dominican Julio Morban, 16 when he hauled in $1.1 mills from the M's in 2008, is now 18. Other authorities have Morban at 16, 19, 22, not on the M's list.  HQ, which rates the M's minors hitters the best in O.B., pegged Morban at a preposterous #4, ahead of Moore, Saunders, Tuiasosopo and... well, everybody, except UNC-Mariner Ackley and Carlos Triunfel.  (Liddi doesn't actually... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/03/10
2 Comments

=== Reconciliation Dept. === If the world is right and HQ wrong, the explanation is simple:  HQ just got it wrong.   If HQ wrote the above, after watching the player that Baseball America saw, their file folder needs kerosene and a match. Or, if HQ is right and the world is way wrong, the explanation is a bit more nuanced:  the world fell in love with Morban's gorgeous swing and mis-interpreted the beauty of the swing motion as professionalism at the plate. . === First Feedback Dept. === In the AZL, the high-school-aged Morban hit for a Jason Voorhees-level 0.14 EYE -- 7 walks and 49... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/02/10
6 Comments

Q.  Bottom line? A.  Byrnes and Garko have addressed a fatal flaw.  Zduriencik is not, IMHO, getting enough credit for his thinking here, but SSI mops the clammy sweat off its brow...  . Q.  Pretty sweet numbers against LHP's, yes? A.  Pretty sweet numbers vs LH, no. A right hand 1B is supposed to SLG LHP's for .500 -- um, come to think of it, he's supposed to slug all pitchers for .500.  It's just in Seattle that they don't. In a vacuum, I've got little use for a 1B/DH who hits .300/.400/.500 against the 20% lefthanders in the league.  I'd much rather use Byrnes, who its .300/.350/.500 as a... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/02/10
28 Comments

Q.  Garko compared to Kotchman? A.  I'd just as soon that Garko were simply going to play 1B full time, if Kotchman is the alternative.  He had an OPS+ of 121 in the first half last year, playing for Cleveland. (Then he went to a league full of new pitchers and had a bad couple months.) But that's okay.  Suffice it to say, if Garko gets hot, and Kotchman keeps hitting into 4-6-3's with Figgins on first, I trust Wakamatsu to give some extra AB's to Garko. . Q.  Garko a salary bargain? A.  I suppose, but I don't believe in the idea that a 1-WAR, $3m player for $0 is a bargain.  You'd... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/02/10
12 Comments

Lots of noodling in the Kotchman thread as to how the M's will handle their roster... . Q.  If the bench is Byrnes, C, Hannahan, and Garko, does that mean you need 11 pitchers and Ryan Langerhans? A.  Decidedly not. The bumper sticker ;- ) is "you can't have 4 OF's if one of them is Milton Bradley."  This (insightful) bumper sticker is pithy, clearly understandable, easy to process and is the diametric opposite of what Dr. D and Don Wakamatsu think about roster space. It weaves the following three thoughts into a braid: Bradley will have days -- not 15 in a row of them -- where his legs are... Read More