May 2010

Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10

For the SSI take on the bottom half of the inning, see the articles on Gutirrez and on Figgins - Lopez.  The M's battled Francisco Liriano verrrrry tough. The fever may have broken on this 9-runs-in-7-games delirium. In the meantime, Doug Fister falls to 3-3 despite a 2.45 ERA that, after fully 10 starts (and 70 innings in only ten starts!) has him #2 in the American League. While we're on the subject, "Hoss" Fister is also #2 in the AL in innings-per-start.  Let me read that sentence again. Partly on the strength of his 1+ walk rate, he leads the AL in WHIP (the pitchers' analogue... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10
3 Comments

 === Dead-Arm === Now, the second thing Wok said, that Fister's arm must be tired after so many looonnnnnnnng (read: successful) starts, that one is true. Not only was Fister's velocity down to 86.5 average ... moving his FB from "questionable" to "very minus" ... but, more importantly, the bite was gone, the RPM, the swerve.  Both the Kubel and the Cuddyer back-to-back homers, occured on slow fastballs that broke only 6 inches apiece. .......... For all that, Fister was hardly defenseless.  He fanned 6 Twins and walked none, gave Mauer an O-fer, fanned Thome twice, working with a non-... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10

The M's lost Monday, but they had 10 hits against a really vicious pitcher who was having a great (0 BB, 95 mph) night.  Per their body language, I'd have thought they were 30-and-19:  they battled with two strikes, they executed hit-and-runs, they executed rundowns with alacrity, they fought back in the 9th.  Even Dr. D would not blame the M's if they had given up by now, but they have not. Somebody with more patience than I might care to (A) look up the M's total bases and walks, the past week, and even (B) index them against strength-of-opposition.  They'll like what they see... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10

=== On a Roll Ba-Beh ==== Just like it's cool to look past a pitcher's ERA/xFIP and look at his K/BB, strike %, and toolbox, it's also cool to look past the W/L and notice when a team is starting to gather more bases. Though Kotchman played in every April game but one, he has started only 3 of the M's last 7 games.  This has coincided with a revival of the Mariners' scoring: 5 runs and a win vs. a red-hot Justin Verlander 5 runs and a win vs Jeremy Bonderman 8 runs and a win vs the Angels (Kazmir) a loss 7 runs against the Angels (Saunders) 4 runs against the Twins (a red-hot... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10
1 Comments

=== Mighty Casey, Dept. === The pinch-hit for Tuiasosopo was logical.  No complaints there.  The complaint arose on March 30, when Kotchman was installed as the fulltime 1B... Most M's fans wuz optimistic about the 27-year-old Kotchman.  You will tire soon, very soooon, sez SSI, of the two-bounce double plays ending rallies. We didn't say the GIDPs would end a lot of games necessarily, but we trust you have tired of the in-rally worm burners anyway.  Kotch has 6 GIDP's in 25% of a season, which neatly echoes his OPS bar chart (100 x 6). . === POTD === We think you'll derive some... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10
13 Comments

=== Closure === Since our "Attaboy" post in April, Kotchman has gone on to hit approximately .000/.000/.000 and SSI hasn't said much.  But let's put it to bed.  Here are Kotch's May numbers: 84 at-bats 10 hits 9 singles, 1 double, 3 GIDP's .151 SLG (not average: slugging percentage) 4 runs scored, 5 RBI in the month .401 OPS ............. Here are his season totals: .193 AVG .282 OBP .320 SLG .542 OPS home .666 OPS away ............. Kotchman still has an EYE of nearly 1.00.  The problem is that he still has that static arm-swing, and Safeco hasn't helped it:  his BABIP is .177 in Safeco... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10
6 Comments

You don't play for one run -- unless you know for a fact that that run is the ballgame.  - Earl Weaver . === Blamed if I do and Blamed if I don't, Dept. === With every other blog sticking Wok on a skewer and roasting him over Styx, for the lack of pinch-hitting... SSI feels pretty bad about finally weighing in ... to excoriate a decision TO pinch-hit. With the M's down 5-3 against Vanilla Shaq in the 9th, Jose Lopez turned on a pitch and laced it into the corner for a double.  "That's the same as if we were down 1, nobody on," I reminded John.  He nodded and bore down on his PSP. Josh... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10

=== Backdrop 1995 === For those of you who just joined us from the East Coast, or perhaps who weren't born yet, in 1995 the Mariners rescued baseball from the ugly 1994 players' strike.  With a new stadium voted down, and one foot literally out the door to Tampa Bay, the Mariners saw Edgar Martinez post a 165 OPS+ ... and 20 runs created more than anybody else in the league, including 50-50 man Albert Belle ... and charged from -13 games down to overtake the Angels. The city finally "getting it," 20 years on, as to what Major League baseball is all about ... they voted in a new stadium and... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10

=== EMBARRASSMENT === A team that should have won 100-and-plenty was instead staggering up to the trade deadline in a virtual tie for first place -- with a numb post-1995 Angels team that would finish only 84-78. The problem, of course, was a bullpen that literally became the biggest baseball joke that Dr. D ever witnessed. Norm Charlton, to whom Lou Piniella was fanatically loyal, finished with a 7.27 ERA, and it seemed much higher than that.  Norm-Norm's WHIP?  1.96, full season.  Imagine a reliever giving up an average of 2 baserunners per inning -- and your manager sticking him, game... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10

=== Train Wreck === I had a friend, not much of a baseball fan, and he and I would turn on the game in the 7th precisely to see at what angle the trains would collide that evening.  No joke.  We'd talk to each other on the phone as it happened.  We would tune in, just in morbid fascination, to watch the suffering amplify and amplify and amplify.  It was a bizarre sight, the way in which the June-July 1997 Mariners gutted themselves every night. . === July 31, Trade 2=== On July 31, the Mariners did the only possible thing they could:  they traded for bullpen help.  What else are you going to... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/31/10
5 Comments

=== Echoes, Dept. === The second thing that angered the faithful was (2) their weird insistence that Jose Cruz Jr. was a likely future Hall of Famer.  They saw Cruz as a franchise player for the next 15 years.  The Mariners' administration (and, incidentally, Jemanji) cried from the rooftops that Cruz was not going to be a great player.  This was one of the great 2-on-1,000 firefights in which Silentpadna and Jemanji tried to single-handedly hold back the cyber lynching.  We had exactly as much success as we did in the Bedard trade.  :- ) And in this case the M's were right.  Cruz... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/29/10

=== Dennis Raben === We did a double-take when we saw the M's liner notes on Raben last week:  "Dennis Raben led the Mavs with 4 runs scored, 2 home runs, 5 RBI and 4 walks in his 1st game with the club since being called up from Class-A Clinton." Um, say what?  Four walks, two homers, a bunch of stuff.... in what period of time? After that first game, he added five more hits in the next three games, so he's doing all right at .438/.571/.875.  Note that Raben was hitting .221 at class A ball when the M's promoted him.  Note once again that the pros look at process, not results, when... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/29/10
12 Comments

Q.  Does SSI crunch this as the end of the Angels' season? A.  The mainframe was surprised to notice that the Angels have had the most balanced offense in the league. They've done a great job layering their 25-man roster with player after player who goes after it the Angel way.  Don't sell the Angels' org depth short. Here are the OPS+ finishes for all of their 2009 hitters: 137 - 1B Kendry Morales 126 - CF Torii Hunter 118 - C Mike Napoli (in a full 432 PA's; he slugged .500) 116 - "RF" Bobby Abreu 109 - LF Juan Rivera 108 - 3B Chone Figgins 107 -- #10 hitter Maicer Izturis 106 - DH Vlad... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/28/10
5 Comments

No political message intended (this time) with the cartoon.  We're sure that the economy will do better than Cliff Lee's opponents... . === Stamina === Not many guys make it through the 8th inning of a game in which they fired 10 strikeouts.  In the 8th inning of this one, on a 3-0 count we saw Cliff Lee heave a giant siigggghhhhh, gathering energy like Skeeve tapping an underground Magik line to impress Aahz. Check the back foot on the next pitch.  It's the "tell" as to whether a pitcher is launching his CG forward with smooth power and with finish. Lee's back foot came way up above... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/28/10

=== Proliferation, Dept. === Here are Lee's 10 strikeouts on Friday.  Visualizing the strike zone as a 3-D box, the strikeout pitches appeared in these locations: Matsui:  back of zone (91 mph), inside on hands, jam pitch Abreu:  front of zone, inside black, high (85 change), doesn't swing Hunter:  front of zone, far away (swung over an 85 deadfish change) Morales:  front of zone (85 change), away, swung over it Matsui:  wayyyy front of zone (79 curve), looks waist high, drops into dirt Napoli:  middle depth, away (87 cutter) Aybar:  back of zone behind the plate, very high ladder pitch (91... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/28/10
2 Comments

=== You Can Apologize After the Game, Dept. === Mike Blowers pointed out that the first two times through the lineup Friday, Cliff Lee went 0-and-2 on half of them.  Nine of the first 18 hitters faced 0-and-2 counts. Blowers then observed that Cliff Lee, on 0-2, buries the hitter with the very next pitch.  Blowers once asked Greg Maddux about doing the same thing.  "I don't have any pitches to waste," Mad Dog sez.  "You've made two good pitches.  Why not make a third one?" Lee therefore completed 8 innings -- handing the ball to a 1-inning closer -- despite 10 strikeouts. ................. Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/27/10
7 Comments

=== Compass Rosy === Rosy points out that Doug Fister, with even a few more runs, could have an 8-and-1 record. This brought back childhood memories, in which I enjoyed watching SP's who blasted out of the gate with huge W/L records.  Rick Honeycutt comes to mind: in 1980 he started out 6-0 for the fourth-year Mariners.  Actually, he was 6-0 after six starts.  Sports Illustrated ran a little story, "Unsinkable Mariner," which thrilled me. Bill Bonham started 8-0 for my 1977 Cincinnati Reds, IIRC... For me back then, this brought visions of 25-5 records.  Who knows?  I watch for no-hitters... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/27/10

=== Jack Wilson and Milton Bradley === I/O:  Wilson opened up to the press about retirement.  Wakamatsu reached a big paw in and pulled him out of the ocean by the nape of the neck. CRUNCH:  Bradley's recent frank conversation about thoughts of suicide have a professional parallel here, IMHO. Those who have worked in the trenches on this subject will tell you:  nobody wants to die.  There is no such thing.  What people want is for the pain to stop.  This might take on confusing and misleading manifestations, but the point is always the same. A person is in too much pain, for too long, and... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/27/10

=== The 2005 Astros === I/O:  Larry Stone with a sahl-eed! article comparing the 2010 M's to the 2005 Astros.  He compares several things: Clemens & Oswalt, vs Felix and Lee The 19-32 start, vs the 18-28 start The offense that underperformed for two months The hail of crumpled paper cups that, ever-more-insistently, demanded the 2005 Astros admit defeat The fact that the 2004 Astros had played reasonably well (as did the 85-win M's) It's a compelling line of reasoning. . CRUNCH1, BINOMIAL CALCULATOR:  The knee-jerk response to this type of "model" is to go, "Well, 91.2% of... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/27/10

CRUNCH3, UPSIDE:  Relevant question #3 is, do the Mariners have a good chance to become a good team? Here's where Stone's article gains traction, because their blueprint is the one that the Astros demonstrated to be an effective one.  (1) Cy Young starters, and (2) an internal effort to pull the offense up to "mediocre", without major adds?  That's a perfectly viable strategy -- provided that one of those two things is in place, before you start.  We'll let you guess which one needs to be in place. The M's strategy is (1) doable, and (2) rather easily doable. I can't imagine an easier job... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/27/10
4 Comments

San-Man, as usual, brings solid game onto the SSI hardwood: Frustrating to see you mention the back issues - followed immediately by the question about should he be playing 1B - and you don't link the two. Pretty sweet to hear that my shtick frustrates somebody.  My wife has taken to smiling bemusedly at it. Okay, more frustration to follow, what say?  -DrD  . Can Sweeney play a competent 1B?  Absolutely.  The reason to not play him at 1B (IMHO) has absolute zero to do with his defensive skills there.  It has to do with how much you are willing to push the back issues.  One quick step to... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/26/10
5 Comments

I/O:  Our sister site debating whether Ackley should be ripping up AA yet. Crunch:  Just as one example to illustrate the point, look at the #2 overall of the 2008 draft, Pedro Alvarez.  Alvarez is another bats-left, throws-right NCAA monster, albeit not given credit for Ackley's talent level. Alvarez hit .217 in his first month as a pro -- starting in the low minors, not in the high minors where Dustin Ackley is.  He hit .270 in May and then .217 in June.  He had line drive %'s around 6% the whole time. In the heat of the summer, June-July, he ran an EYE of 18:52 (in part because of a... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/26/10

Q.  Would the mainframe consider Sweeney's exploits a case of "small sample size"? A.  Stop me if you've heard the punch line, but a "statistical sample" is a fraction of a data universe that fairly represents the E-N-T-I-R-E universe. If you flip a coin 20 times, that's a "sample," because the first 20 trials are completely representative of the next 2,000.  But if you let Matt Tuiasosopo bat 20 times, what does that sample?  He's not going to be the same hitter one month later. If we're going to try to sound as if we've scientifically "solved" baseball, we might want to start by... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/26/10
9 Comments

Q.  How's he look, tools-scouting wise? A.  Thing I like, at least four of his HR's are off pitcher's pitches.  Wednesday's, Sweeney had to dip the back knee to dig out a ball, and it was at most 6 inches off the ground when he made contact.  The ball went 409 feet off the bullpen fence. At least twice, he has hit outside-black pitches over the LF (!!) wall.  Another time on the road, he took a ball way out to CF, the right side of CF, for a no-doubter. Sweeney's EYE is a robust 0.70 and we are not talking about warning-track power here.  You've got a former All-Star with no holes in his... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/26/10

No, the losing and futility had not fried the mainframe.  Au contraire, a mondo-cool week in Silicon Valley provided a much-needed refurbish for the motherboard.  :- ) If the M's go 18-144, you'll still be forced to endure your slimy-but-agile D-O-V shtick.  :: famous last words :: . === 2nd Quarter, dept. === No, going down -7.5 at game 50 doesn't mean you get to quit (if you're an actual Mariner, that is).   I suppose we all know what would happen if, in a Lakers-Celtics Game 7, the Lakers went down 16 points in the 2nd and then walked off the court snuffling.  Roberto Duran, 30... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/26/10
4 Comments

=== Retool, dept. === You could theoretically claim that, if the M's were to tip over their King early, that they could get on with decisions that would help them in 2011-12. In this specific case, that would mean very little: . They're trying to convince Cliff Lee to come back in 2011-14, so why deal him for a pittance* It's not "hunting season" and not the right time to sell off anyway Lineup-wise, I somehow doubt that cyber-Seattle is clamoring for Matt Tuiasosopo's PT The Ken Griffey Jr. situation is being resolved etc. Nah, I think that down 15 in the second quarter, the M's should... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 05/25/10
7 Comments

OK, I'll step into the breach. Assuming for the sake of argument, but not conceding, that: 1. Even with a sharp reversal of fortune (which, while due, may not be forthcoming), this team is probably sub-.500 and non-contending. 2. Jack Wilson may well never again be an every-day MLB shortstop (and if he's not that, he's not much of anything).  3. Erik Bedard may well not throw an MLB pitch in 2010, in which case who knows what happens with him. 4. Generation Tui may well produce only one regular MLB contributor: Doug Fister (and no matter how successful he will be, his stuff will always leave... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/24/10
1 Comments

What is up with the Mariners this past month? Their losing streak is embarassing! What a bunch of losers!
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/19/10
3 Comments

I used to love Norm in "Cheers!" But this is about a different Norm.   It seems that I remember Bill James once wrote about (I used to buy his Baseball Digest religiously, each year..going back to the ealy 80's) the fact that, over time, 1-run ball games tend to level out.  One year you win a bunch of them, the next you don't. Over time, teams norm out. Somebody can reference that...but I'm sure that I've read that somewhere in James. Last year the M's were hell-on-wheels in one run games.  This year they are 4-10, IIRC. If that 4-10 was reversed this is a 20 and 21 team.  At 7-7 in one-run... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/18/10
3 Comments

Last year's Tacoma farmhands Prentice Redman and Chris Shelton rip up the PCL. Redman is a .336-.378-.605 guy right now Shelton is a .324-.390-.532 guy. Sigh.  BTW....Can we figure out a way to get Kila Ka'aihue from the Royals?  Sheesh...his AAA OBP is .466!  My new guy to root for, John Lindsey with the Dodgers' AAA team. 33 years old, never had a cup of coffee in the bigs.  Currently hitting .421 with a .457 OBP.  C'mon Joe, call him up! moethedog
Posted by jemanji on 05/17/10

On the off chance that anyone remains interested in (a) my shtick, (b) the Mariners, (c) life and/or (d) giving Cliff Lee eight figures ... . === Code Blue === Monday's game was a loss that stamped this first half a real worry.  I wasn't real worried through Sunday.  Chone Figgins isn't a .262 SLGger.  Jose Lopez isn't a 44 OPS+ guy; he could OPS+ 80 swinging with his left hand in his back pocket.  Rob Johnson, all jokes aside, is not a .158 hitter wearing an 0.70 EYE ratio.  It just isn't realistic to worry about whether those guys might be that bad.  They are not... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/17/10
18 Comments

The reason that the offense flatlined the second time, is because this ballclub is in fact losing faith in itself. . Did you see the dugout Monday, with the score 7-2 and a cold drizzle weighing down the stadium?   When the score went 7-3 (IIRC), two on and nobody out .... and Griffey hit softly into a DP?! this club went into a panic. . It says here that this panic is liable to reach Griff real soon.  Zduriencik, seeing that specific double play, very possibly made a decision on the spot... ............... Man, what a weird season.  They'd have won 5 of their first 6 with Alonzo Powell,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/15/10

See also Replace the Hitting Coach? Another Great Move, posted May 9 ... . === Before May 9 === The Mariners had lost eight consecutive games, scoring 12 runs in those games.  They were shut out three times, and in the 8-game stretch they never scored more than 3 runs.  That's unpossible.  Even the 1977-83 Mariners would get you one game's production every week. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that by a lot of measures, those 8 games were the very worst 8 consecutive batting performances in Mariners' history.  You're talking to a guy who has watched them back to 1977. Before that... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/15/10
3 Comments

=== Blame Game Dept. === None of which is even to say that Cockrell did anything wrong.  He probably didn't.  It's just that sometimes relationships get stale. Bill James once said, "For a baseball fan not to notice that strikeout pitchers tend to be effective, would be like a basketball fan not noticing that NBA players tend to be tall." Paraphrasing Bill a bit:  for baseball fans not to notice that coaching changes can lead to winning streaks, would be like.... I dunno.  Like 'net rats not noticing that Dr. D is peddling shtick, I guess. . Tim McCarver made the observation on Saturday... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/15/10
6 Comments

=== In Case You Thought Jack Was Smart BEFORE === Ken Rosenthal revealed, during the Saturday afternoon game, something completely game-changing about the "As The Junior Turns" saga. With the M's (suddenly and momentarily) on his radar for the Fox game, Rosenthal asked the M's whether their benching of Junior was designed to force him into retirement.   (I think a few days ago we were talking about the ever-present fear, in clubhouses and Maginot trenches, that somebody might punch; this doesn't apply when you're dealing with TV personalities.) The M's (Zduriencik) responded by saying that... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/14/10
6 Comments

=== Adam Moore === No sooner does SSI bury Moore, for his 2:18 EYE pallor, ochre skin tone, and general inability to fog a mirror...  than Don Wakamatsu signals Moore's priority over Johnson ... and then Moore crawls out of the coffin to deliver one of the season's great offensive displays. First at-bat, Moore cracked a pitch to deep right-center and Neihaus said, annoyed-ly, "and pops the ball up" [camera cuts to outfielders screaming madly after the ball] "and Zobrist under it" [ball slams off the wall higher than the 370 sign] "and ...THAT WILL BE OFF THE WALL!" By five feet, Moore... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/14/10
1 Comments

=== Fister === Ballplayers will tell you that when a pitcher has plus-plus command, it's as though he has two or three different weapons off his fastball. He has a jam pitch on their hands, and they have to cover that ... he has a teaser four inches off the plate, and they have to cover that ... they change the eye level up and down, and that's a different idea. .............. Doogie, with his computer-guided swerveball and its 11-inch corkscrew on impact, has four distinct weapons -- just off the fastball.  You can see the first three in the first-inning Evan Longoria strikeout: 1. ... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/14/10
4 Comments

... for those who just joined us, +1.00 on a pitch means it's a big weapon, especially if it's used more than 15% of the time.  +2.00 and you're talking about Erik Bedard's yellow hammer. Fister's run value on the fastball is +3.00, which is (a) about the prescription on my monitor glasses these days and (b) better than Nolan Ryan could ever dream of.  Seriously. Doogie snapped this electro-whip swerveball at the Rays' fearsome lineup on Friday and again cut their Formula 1 chassis in half.  Well, okay, it's not like he dominated, but c'mon.  Here was his pitch selection: 73x number ones (88... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/14/10
1 Comments

=== Type and Arche-Type === The Mariners continue to argue with SSI that "The Professor" is Jo-El Pineiro, as opposed to being Brad Radke.  Doogie's fastball percentage was every inch of 80% going into the ballgame, and it probably went up from there. Fister is #2 in the entire AL in fastball ratio, and there is one other sub-90 mph SP in the top 20.  Bet you'd never guess who. As time goes along, Fister is even triangulating into a ground-ball game.  His ratio is over 1.5 this year, up from league-average last year, and check his ratios in the last five games: 5 fly, 11 grounder -- Apr 19... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/14/10
1 Comments

=== Spec again === Having journalists in my family and some background myself, I can say with pretty good confidence that LaRue went with the story ONLY because it appeared to affect the GAME.  That is, Jr. did not pinch hit.  (Note that yesterday, in the 9th Jr. did pinch hit for RJ.)  That makes it a "story" in a way that just catching a nap does not. In a list of 100 great comments-points in this thread ... this one heliums to the very top of the chart.  :- ) ................ Great point Spec ... In the abstract, would cheerfully agree that this would be the key defense /... Read More
Posted by SABR Matt on 05/14/10
8 Comments

So here's the thing...13-21 and not scoring any runs at all looks TERRIBLE...it's painful to watch...it's BORING to watch...but I am here to tell ya...this team is horribly...horribly snakebit.  I still see a 90-win club on paper.  Some things have gone far...far against them so far in the luck column.  Let's list out a few of them: BABIP .278 as a team - with Ichiro on the club, the team BABIP should be .305 or .310.  To confirm just how much the baseball gods apparently hate the Mariners...player by player BABIP vs. last-three-seasons and how many hits that costs: ROB JOHNSON: .195 (.245 -... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 05/14/10
1 Comments

1. Bedard's Change Quoth Drayer: As for the stuff, Adam Moore who faced him gave this report. "He looked really good. There was a lot of life on the fastball, the curveball was good and the changeup had good sink and cut." The change up is relatively new for Bedard. I spoke with Rob Johnson about this a few weeks ago and he feels it could be a big, and needed pitch for Bedard. The problem in the past he said was that guys just couldn't square up the fastball. This is great until they start fouling off four or five pitches. Bedard has told me in the past that this is a frustration of his, that... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/13/10

. . . Caution:  unorthodox philosophy and/or political baseball application below.  If you don't like reading things with which you don't agree, please skip to the Triunfel and Ackley article.  Nothing to see here.  :- ) . I/O:  Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. They have put themselves in an absolute no-win with Jr.  Can't release him in the near-term or it will look like they're reacting to Nap-gate, and now they are out on a limb saying it was false.  Of course, that means they've designated two teammates as either  snitch-embellishers or liars.  Ugly. Clubhouse has gone toxic.  Even before... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/13/10
8 Comments

=== Clubhouse Code === Problem B is pettiness and small-mindedness by the young player(s) who reportedly themselves broke code, by running to the teacher and trying to get another kid kept after school. Sweeney reminded them that there is a certain amount of pettiness and small-mindedness that does not fly in a Marine Corps fire squad.  He's the perfect man to do a job that needs to be done. Army combat units in the trenches, nuclear submarines, and baseball dugouts are managed a little differently than are the cubicles downtown.  :- )  Part of what keeps the tension down, in a super-... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/13/10
13 Comments

=== Spectator === ... putting his finger on an interesting nexus in the M's minors, as usual, pontificates: Triunfel April: .268/.318/.366/.684, 6:17 BB:K Triunfel May: .333/.375/.444/.819, 1:1 BB:K (12 H in his last 10 G vs. 1 K) Not dominating AA at age 20, but if you wish away the cold start, he's likely to end up with an OPS around .800 playing SS everyday.  And he effectively missed all of last year.  Where does that put him on the Bill James age-evaluation chart, Doc? . CRUNCH:  If Triunfel were 20, he would need to show domination of A+ ball by the second half to meet James'... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/13/10
1 Comments

... or so it looks from section 329. . === Rob Johnson === Some good amigos are having fun scarecrowing Johnson dummies, and playing "beginner circus knife thrower" with them.  You know, like Kurt Russell 's fellow merc in Escape from New York. Dr. D sighs in disgust, saunters over and pulls the knives out in similar fashion :- ) It really is weird, and weird-looking, and weirder-pondering, that RJ drops so many pitches.  How does that happen at his level?  It's not an accident.  The first game we watched RJ at Cheney, he dropped five pitches, you know, just dropped them and they sort of... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 05/13/10
2 Comments

Strasburg: 2 GS in AAA -- 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K 6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K 3 baserunners, 13 K in his first 12 innings of AAA.  It does not have speed or break, but you can replay the at-bats with pitch locations on the Gameday here: http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2010_05_12_noraaa_syraaa_1 The Next Middle Infield Combo: Triunfel April: .268/.318/.366/.684, 6:17 BB:K Triunfel May: .333/.375/.444/.819, 1:1 BB:K (12 H in his last 10 G vs. 1 K) Not dominating AA at age 20, but if you wish away the cold start, he's likely to end up with an OPS around .800... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/12/10

=== Prospect Insider === I/O:  We all figured that the M's were lacking in AAA options to help out in the infield.  Chris Crawford does a tremendous job in documenting the specifics.  No need to assume that the Rainiers' infield can't help us; Chris demonstrates it. Scouts opine that Vazquez was always somewhat questionable defensively -- and that now, you can add to the equation the fact that he has slowed down. PI's sources also are quoted, interestingly, that Hannahan's swing does not allow for AVG or line drives -- that it's "worm burning or cloud crashing," LOL.  The mind's eye, now... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/12/10
3 Comments

=== FarFromPort === I/O:  Harrison Crow makes the interesting observation that both Josh Wilson and Matt Tuiasosopo are below-average SS's defensively.  Ergo, what is the logic is preferring Wilson as a defensive specialist.  In any case, sez Harrison, the M's should give thanks for Josh's little run infusion, and return to Jack status as soon as possible. . CRUNCH:  I hadn't really thought of it that way, but the eyes tend to agree, now that he mentions it.  Wilson's and Tui's range look about the same to me. Josh Wilson is a certified 69 OPS+ hitter.  Not on the basis of his actual 69... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/11/10

It seems there is some "kickback" against whoever spilled the beans about Griffey's "nap" the other day.  But I'm with those that think that if two "young" players are willing to tell this tale then perhaps Jrs. "leadership" isn't all that it is made to be this year.  Even if the "kickback" comes from other veteran players, and I suspect some of it must, it does indicate that Griffeys contributions to the team....and "buy in" are under question. A question I've had:  Were Beltre and Washburn that much better veteran leaders than Figgins and Lee or has there been another presence (or lack of... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/11/10

Ajzed maintains, reasonably, One of the interesting parts of this story to me that no one seems to want to talk about is why it was that it was young players who broke the story. It seems very possible to me that they weren't telling a humerous anecdote; they were ratting him out. For younger players, he's a millionare holding up service time and MLB paychecks for the wives and children of their frinds in AAA. There is a lot of compitition on a baseball team that doesn't have to do with wins and losses. If a guy I worked with was loafing around and living off past success... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/11/10

It says here, that if you ever win a real sports championship on a real field, you'll understand why the personalities of the team's best players matter so much.  You won't be able to convince other people of this :- ) but you'll understand it. The Mariners themselves, particularly Jack Zduriencik, weigh "chemistry" very heavily in the winning equation.  I think they're right. ......... Griffey is, on a subconscious level now!, the team's best player (along with Felix).  His personality is positive, upbeat, and focused on winning, and the Mariners' teamwide personality is also positive,... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/10/10
1 Comments

I/O:  Larry Stone, treading on a bit of thin ice to get the story, presses Jack Zduriencik about Ken Griffey Jr.  Capt Jack adroitly picks his way through the minefield without tipping his hand. CRUNCH:  Capt Jack has three primary objectives when asked about an employee on the brink, in this case the specifics of those being: To avoid saying anything that would be unfair or hurtful to Ken Griffey Jr. To avoid saying that Griffey's job is secure, since this is not in fact the case. To maintain Capt Jack's own 'integrity', not saying anything that would be misleading. As a public speaker... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/09/10
1 Comments

=== I/O ALGORITHM===   (1) Zduriencik changes hitting coaches.  (2) The Mariners go out and score 8 runs in one game, as opposed to scoring 12 runs in nine. (3) The cyber-consensus is that the move is unfair.  (Dr. D applauds the anti-kneejerkia implied in this.  Very mature, gents.  :c-points:) (4) SSI scores another chance to play village idiot.  ;- ) . === CRUNCH1 === Absolutely it is -- well, it can be -- very effective to change coaches even though the old coach "has done nothing wrong." Suppose you're a tennis player in a funk.  Not a physical funk, a mental one.  You'... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/09/10
5 Comments

=== CRUNCH2 ===  SSI contends that this is exactly one of the things that America loves most about sports:  there is a black and a white.  There is a W and a L.  There is a judgment day -- it happens on the scoreboard, it happens on the 25-man cutdown, it happens on the 1-2 slider. Sports aren't like the K-12 educational system.  Sports don't exist for the purpose of being fair to the employees.  ::coughjarrodcough:: Sports are based on complete lack of bias -- sports impose accountability without condition.  The thrill of working without a 7-second delay is part of the rush. You do not... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/08/10

I/O:  Kirby Arnold with an entry on the lineup woes.  Kirby points out that there's not a lot you expect from randomizing nine 50 OPS+ hitters. CRUNCH:  I know you don't want to hear this, but it's just a slump.  (1) There's no such thing as a team that scores 2.0 runs a game.  The D-Jaxx would get that in the AL.  (2) There's nothing unusual about a team suffering for two months, and then everything just clicking suddenly, and the glory begins. Not trying to be pollyanna.  The M's could lose 100 games for all I know.  But with Felix, Lee, Bedard, and Fister in the rotation, let the offense... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/08/10
1 Comments

I/O:  Moethedog with an interesting midterm report card for Capt Jack.  Moe is quick to caveat that whether the report card comes in A or F right now, it doesn't necessarily make a great or lousy GM.  He persists, though, that the January-March decisions as a whole aren't lookin' too good. . CRUNCH:  Once The Original Sabermetrician sat down in the Red Sox offices, he was surprised to learn that GM Epstein "is judged on 10 or 12 huge calls a year.  If they work out he's a genius; if they don't he's a bum," or somesuch. I can't think of another job in which such complicated work gets hyper-... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/08/10
1 Comments

Liddi isn't my very favorite template of player, since Dr. D's mainframe always starts with the EYE ratio... ...................... But: 1.  If Liddi is a star in AA at age 21 -- and right now he's landing with a big splash in a league full of new pitchers, so it looks verrry good for 2010 -- he'll be one of the youngest players in that league to star.  This is 80% the same thing as saying that he'll be one of the most gifted, talented players in that league. . 2.  When asked about Mariners farmhands, Liddi is one of the two or three players that comes to Zduriencik's mind.  This "free... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/08/10
7 Comments

I haven't seen this posted, but I've been thinking about it. All in all (and it is VERY early), Z's 2010 Mid-Term Report Card isn't sterling. OK...grades for players signed. A+ = Getting Felix on the dotted line for the long term. A   = Making the Lee move.  This will be an A+ if Lee re-ups. A++  = Guti.  'Nuff said. Beyond that (and, again, in the VERY short term) the rest of the card is dismal. D-  = Signing Bradley.  This is't an F because it was basically a trade of sunk costs...but silva looks pretty darn good right now and Bradley's immediate future is very unknown.  D+  = Kotchman. ... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 05/07/10
2 Comments

Alex Liddi came over from Italy at 17 to play professional baseball.  He showed some promise in rookie ball before struggling through two sub-.700 OPS seasons at Wisconsin at 18 and 19. Last year, he busted out at High Desert at 20, racking up 23 HR, 72 XBH and 53 walks.  But guys like Carlos Pegeuro, not as highly regarded, were also running up huge XBH numbers, so it's always hard to judge the full effect of High Desert. The AA transition would be important, and his initial adjustment period wasn't too hot: 16 K in his first 16 games vs. 2 walks.  Since then, however, he's been on a tear... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 05/07/10
2 Comments

Sports Illustrated recently highlighted the Yankees' "Core Four" upon which their dynasty era was built: Jeter (born 1974), Pettite (1972), Posada (1971) and Rivera (1969).  Obviously, NYY have had the resources to keep them and add guys like A-Rod and Sabathia. But any team looking to build will want to start with a core of young guys at key positions.  The Ms obviously have a great head start with Felix. To that end, I sorted the guys I keep an eye on (Felix-age and younger) by year of birth: 1986: Felix (MLB), Saunders (MLB, for now), Tuiasosopo (AAA, for now), Carp (AAA), Paredes (AA)... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/06/10

While we're on the subject of MLB baseball as mano-a-mano, gladiatorial showdowns... Just last night, on TV, they were discussing the Griffey Shift.  ...John and I went to the first Rays game, and couldn't believe where their second baseman was playing -- halfway between the infield skin and the right fielder.  There was literally 0% chance of hitting any ball through the infield on the right side.   Not 1%:  0%. I thought of Vic Braden's "solid net" in tennis -- to train beginners, he puts a drape over the net, to get across the idea that you can't possibly score if the ball hits... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/06/10
6 Comments

Q:  More examples? A.  We've discussed the idea that in major league baseball, the fastball is "the coin of the realm."  Not so in Japan.  There, the pitch that achieves an out for one's team is the coin of the realm.  Here, the barrel-chested, 96-mph Roger Clemens is prototypical.  There, Daisuke Matsuzaka, with 6 different pitches and a brainy aura, is prototypical. A few American pitchers refuse to accept the idea that macho should rule the pitcher-batter matchup.  Jamie Moyer and Mark Buehrle don't pitch that way.  Greg Maddux obviously didn't. ..................... One of the most... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/06/10

Q:  Why doesn't Ichiro lead more? A:  No American MLB player would ever be looked to as team captain for an NPB team. He would be too "different" in the negative Japanese sense, different in the sense of doing things incorrectly, or at least in ways that are seen as unproven and unreliable.  In fact, as I understand it, an American star playing in Japan would serve himself best by saying relatively little, by working much harder than he does in the majors, and by "knowing his place." And for similar reasons, Ichiro simply isn't accepted as a leader by American ballplayers.... Read More
Posted by TAD on 05/06/10
6 Comments

Why isn't the club house chemistry working. Griffey and Sweeney are on the team primarily to do what??? Yes we want them to hit the ball but based on their salaries we can rightly assume their talent was not in demand throughout the league; ergo we should not expect any more then replacement player performance. Why isn't the Wak's belief system combined with the professional, calming/performing enhancing presence of Sweeney and Griffey working to promote increased or at least average/expected results from Lopez, Bradley, Figgins, Kotchman, or our Catching Tandem.  Griffey and Sweeney are... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/06/10
1 Comments

Dustin Ackley heating up in the Month of May.  It is still early but it looks like he is turning the corner.    John
Posted by jemanji on 05/05/10
5 Comments

=== Double-Class Dept. === Read the other day that Vin Diesel has been throwing the d12's off the Dungeon Master screens for about thirty years.  When we used to play the old-timey Gary Gygax signature modules, there was a competition to see who could come up with the wackiest yet playable double-classes.  My friend had a gnome illusionist/thief, and he was very effective with it.  One of my fave characters had four classes... I dunno, is sabermetrician / marriage counselor the internet's goofiest double-class?  Let's just s'pose the Mariners asked SSI to sit in a room, Milton... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/05/10
16 Comments

=== Great Day at the Counselor's Office, Dept.=== But! Once in a while, somebody will do the right thing, and do what Milton Bradley just (reportedly) did. He'll say he's sorry, frankly and fully admit that he needs to get better at A, B, and C ... without conditions !?  Wow!  There's a magic button that anybody gets to hit in a counselor's office, and that button is "I'm sorry / I repent / My bad / Can You Forgive Me."  Once a Daddy or Mommy hits that button with sincerity in their voice, it's a re-set.  Nobody gets to rub a man's nose in "I'm sorry."  From there it's hugs, smiles, and... Read More
Posted by anonymous (not verified) on 05/05/10
10 Comments

I began the season predicted a Milton Bradley meltdown by May 15th.  Moved that up (I think) to May 1st, then back to June 1st, then back up to May 15th.  There it has sat the last couple of weeks.  I jiggled it around a bit based on Meltdown's...er...Milton's perceived mind set and PA production. I think I posted all of those predictions.  I moved it up lately because I felt that because he was struggling and the team was struggling Bradley would revert to Bradley. Leopard's don't change their spots was how I put it, IIRC. Last night saw that meltdown.  I made it with a good 10 days to spare... Read More
Posted by Spectator on 05/05/10
4 Comments

Here's a much-needed bright spot.  Pineda's line for the season: 28.1 IP, 4 ER (1.27 ERA), 1 HR (0.3 HR/9), 6 BB (1.9 BB/9), 33 K (10.5 K/9) It's only 5 games in AA, but it's starting to look like he could move up a level already.  He's not really allowed anything in any of the five (worst ERA outing: 2 ER in 6.0 IP; worst K/9 outing: 4 K in 6.0 IP). Also encouraging: signs of offensive life outside of Carlos Peguero. Ackley (finally!) homered among 3 hits and a walk.  The BB:K ratio is 16:17 and the BABIP is .197, so maybe his luck is turning. Triunfel also had 3 H including a double.  He... Read More
Posted by DrNaka on 05/02/10
1 Comments

Eric Byrnes was not a good player and I am happy that he is gone now. That said but I want to defend him for the play he did in the bottom of the 11th of game against the Rangers. Looking at the video many times I think it was not a bonehead miss. Byrnes did know that there was a suicide play on. But he pulled back the bat on a suicide squeeze. That was a reflex of his body. His batting eye (BB/K) is not great but  he got up in the A's system. His nerves and reflexes has been build to pull the bat back if it is a ball he cannot make contact. I think bunts at major league level is not so easy... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 05/01/10
11 Comments

=== How 'bout them Cavs, Dept. === Even the sunny Dr. D is not going to sugar-coat one of the most painful Friday-Saturdays of Capt Jack's tenure... Here we were, 0.5 games out with Lee and Felix going. Cliff Lee is introduced to the organization with a glad-to-have-you 0-0 loss after 11.  Felix with a once-in-a-half-year bad game.  Lee's agent goes national and gleefully announces that he's just about talked his client into a mercenary offseason. Worse, the M's offensive woes look more than cyclical at this point.  . === Designated Hitter Dept. === Very true that unless Griffey starts... Read More