What should the Seattle Mariners do about Erikkk?
Posted by jemanji on 08/30/12
. Q. Where is Erik Bedard's performance going to be, going forward? Assuming he feels okay. A. If he fixes his pitching motion, he's going to be the old Erikkk (a #1-2 starter when his arm's fresh). If he does not fix his pitching motion, he's going to be fairly good, like he has been in 2012 -- almost 9 K's, but a sloppy 4 walks, and a high'ish HR rate that is deserved. . Q. Say WHAT? What's wrong with his pitching motion?! A. In the shout box, amigos wanted to know whassup with Erikkk. Sigh. We pulled up a vid from his last good Pirates start, August 6th. Here came the first pitch... Read More
A plethora of pinatas, El Guapo
Posted by jemanji on 08/30/12
. Q. How tough to fix Erikkk's mechanical problemos? A. Assuming that weird motion is not a response to pain, probably it would be quick and easy. It's not like Erikkk never came over the top before. He dominated his whole life by doing that. This is about 10 degrees off subject, but you remember how effortlessly the Royals fixed Gil Meche, by getting him to land on the ball of his foot and to throw offspeed stuff. You remember how easily the White Sox fixed Matt Thornton, by getting him to sink his weight a bit and not "teeter" down the centerline. Some of these fixes are a two-... Read More
Guess the number of jellybeans in the jar Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 08/28/12
The last pitcher to throw four 1-0 complete games was Bert Blyleven in 1976, or so they said on TV. Also Fergie Jenkins in 1974. And Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale in 1968, the year of Gibson's 1.12 ERA. Thinking about Drysdale's spectacular accomplishment, and reflecting on the fact that Sandy Koufax was the ace of that staff, you grok why that rotation had the mystique it did. This means Felix would be the first in 35 years to have four 1-0 complete games in a season, and one of those was a perfect game ... here, let's chart the facts that amplify his achievement. He completed four 1-0... Read More
Jaso is stretching that strike zone back to front.
. With two out and the bases empty in the second inning Monday, the left handed Ryan Doumit (.285/.333/.466, a 118 OPS+ this year, a 130 OPS+ last year) came to bat against Felix Hernandez. John Jaso, who has now caught 7 of Felix' last 8 starts, called for a first-pitch fastball on the outside edge of the plate. I replayed it several times; Jaso did not move his glove even one (1) inch to catch Felix' 93 MPH fastball. It literally was not possible for Jaso's glove to remain more stationary than it did. Doumit did not arrive at a 118 OPS+ by swinging at first-pitch, 0-0 fastballs two... Read More
Sure, why wouldn't a club VP analyze a deal for the fans?
. We're constantly hounding you guys to add classical education to your resumes :- ) but this one was unreal. James, as a member of the Boston front office, participated as part of the committee in constructing the biggest ($$-wise) transaction in baseball history. Don't underestimate James' role in the Boston front office. He's not the GM, but he's at the Big Table as org consensus is built. One of his readers, preposterously, asked him to remark on the deal and, even more preposterously, he replied. My guess, based on past experience, is that reading the popular reaction to the deal and... Read More
I am amused by the simplicity of this game, Dept.
. G, Spec*, are you guys now wavering as to whether you'd have grabbed Zunino with the 1-1? I certainly am. If Houston had had this information on draft day -- 13 homers in 38 games with massive walks, 10/23 CS, etc., they wouldn't have taken Zunino? Of course, SSI will cheerfully admit that it doesn't know much about the HS hotshots. . But! Usually a high school hitter would have to be pretty close to Hamilton-, Griffey-level talent for modern ML teams to pass on a college hitter who is head-and-shoulders over the crowd. Never heard anything about Correa or Buxton being THAT good.... Read More
NASCAR = 'reckless indifference murder'?
. As a True Believer in the values of the Founding Fathers, I'm not quick to hand the government control over the personal choices of individuals. However, there is a point at which choice crosses the line. Society doesn't permit ritual duels on a reality show - sign a contract, both agree to a life-or-death manhunt, survivor gets five million. We think that Mojician will confirm that if two men voluntarily enter into a duel, the survivor is chargeable with first-degree murder. It's hard for some young folks to get ahold of the idea that you can be committed to a cause (e.g. the government... Read More
Situation, Mahoney?! Not that good sir. ::directs Lt Harris' attention to charging mob::
. === Damage Report === The Sox looked a more powerful team, top-to-bottom. Disheartening. The Tigers, exactly as Merks prophesied, have won 7 of 10 and now the M's are -7.5 to them on the WC2. Dreary. The M's 3-4 starters, Vargas and Beavan, showed their keisters and gave convincing imitations of #5 starters and (lower-half) AAA starters, respectively. The triage decision: go with first aid, get to Minnesota, and hope that another winning streak cuts casualties to a minimum. Nothing easier than to laugh at the M's mini-run now, but baseball is up and down. . === Gameflow === Ackley... Read More
Won't be the first time that Fenway egos had to go
. In a recent "Dynasties" article at BJOL, James points out that the 1900-1912 Pirates became a dynasty by absorbing a second team: 7. The Pittsburgh Pirates, 1900-1912 19 Points, Tied on our List as the 14th-15th greatest team of all time Key Figures: Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, Deacon Phillippe and Sam Leever. The "Pirates", as I suspect most of you know, became the Pirates by stealing the best players from the Louisville team. In 1898 Pittsburgh went 72-76, Louisville 70-81; in 1899 Pittsburgh went 76-73; Louisville 75-77. Neither team was great, but they had about a half a team... Read More
The damage is shocking, no doubts there, but...
Matty sez, compassionately and logically, I've been looking at the data regarding our national obsession (baseball is our pastime...football is something else, considering it occurs only weekly and generally involves only 5 total hours of time per week...yet we Americans give it far more money than we give to baseball). This isn't meant to tick people off...just to start a dialogue...I'm becoming very concerned that what we do with American Football is the moral equivalent of ritual sacrifice. Did you folks know that the oldest man alive today to have ever played at least 4 years of NFL... Read More
"No value judgments" zone at SSI
Posted by jemanji on 08/24/12
Dr. Naka, in response to the discussion about Iwakuma-san's care with each pitch, remarks: The Japanese fans like the ”間” "space" the same as in Kendo, Jujitsu and other Budou "martial arts". They like the mental or spirit fight between pitcher and batter. And Taro adds, More on "ma". One of the things I enjoy most about an MMA fight is the gauging of space, the feints, mental tactics, etc. You get booed out of the house for that over here. Which goes again, I believe to the American tendency toward instant gratification. (If McDonald's pulls you through the window and you wait 4 minutes... Read More
Is this the $20M+ hitter you want?
Posted by jemanji on 08/23/12
. Q. How confident would you be that Gonzalez' first half was a hiccup? A. Not all that confident. Among his first ten b-ref.com comps are Kent Hrbek, Mo Vaughn, Will Clark, and Justin Morneau. Clark and Morneau were accused of being the best players in baseball, pretty much, during their (very short) peaks. Also, his HR's are real short this year, as are his fly balls + home runs. Also, he's never had a real quick bat launch; he's a pitch-recognition guy with a smooth, Olerud-style swing. He's an old-player skill guy. Also, his BB rate is trending down over the last four years; it's... Read More
Poison Pill in the AGone deal
Posted by jemanji on 08/23/12
. Oh, okay, so we went and read MLB Trade Rumors. For the first time in a month or two. And saw what you amigos was talkin' about with respect to an AGone + Beckett deal. Sure sounds like it, doesn't it? "Only in a franchise-transforming deal" also sounds to me like they mean "you want AGone, you're going to bail us out on Beckett or Crawford." So, what do you think - could the M's cobble enough value out of Beckett to justify swallowing the poison pill? Lotta youse, but not alla youse we sez, seen Beckett's velocity trend: ....................... That's not the end of the discussion... Read More
Winning is alternatively (1) impossible and (2) verrrrry easy
. Zach McAllister was cruising along rather easily, whereas Iwakuma was holding the Indians down through grim determination. After six innings, the Tribe had outhit the M's by 7-3, just about like Tuesday's game. The score was tied 1-1, just like Tuesday's game. And with the M's new power bullpen, the win felt scripted, just like Tuesday's game. Kyle Seager scrounged a double and my son looked shocked at something ... Seager's slide, maybe? "Man, Dad, this game is exactly like last night's." ................. With the score tied 1-1, Seager grounded that long single past the second... Read More
And we found one conceivable way G might be right about something
. === Photo === Why the pic from the night before? Who knows. Write your own segue. "Supreme Court In Session Nightly"? "Less Fanfare, Same 1 Run"? "Golden Days In Safeco"? I just like yellow. Cindy spent a grand on that camera. . === John Jaso === Took his sniper position, in the batter's box, four times. Dropped the pitcher three times. The unintentional walk happened to be one of those that a lesser hitter would not have achieved. ................................. McAllister was throwing well, and on pitches 1 and 3 the catcher Santana had put down index and pinky fingers,... Read More
Same 1 ER as on the floor of the Supreme Court. Don't All Rise, though
. === Mr WBC === If it seemed like a grind, that's because it kinda was. For two basic reasons. First, because his fastball was sinking and swerving armside. If you just joined us, when a RHP throws a tailing fastball, it tails itself right onto the barrel of a good lefty hitter's bat, where it is liable to hurt somebody wearing leather on one hand. Iwakuma threw 17 "sinkers" that averaged 10 inches' swerve and only 3 inches' "rise" ... although they were located well, they were still crushed for an obscene run value by the Indians' stacked lefty roster. Not much you can do about that... Read More
ERA 3.02 as a starter, with 7.7 strikeouts per ball game
. Q. How much extra time does Hisashi Iwakuma use to prepare himself for a pitch? A. He uses 3.3 seconds per pitch more than does the average MLB pitcher. The average is 22.0. Iwakuma's average is, you guessed it, 25.3. . Q. Do any other pitchers have "pace" that is slower than average? A. Have you augured Dr. D's mood yet? That will happen when our #2 starter wins us our 8th in a row, holding the game to 1-1 late innings, and all they can blinkin' talk about is that he should pitch faster. No, I take that back, not all they could talk about. There was one comment, as they cut to... Read More
.310, 30 HR, 105 RBI (prorated) since July 16. Montero Watch En Gage.
Posted by jemanji on 08/21/12
. === Gameflow === Felix strolled in slowly from his bullpen warmup and the cheering crescendo'ed, like it used to in 1995 when the Big Unit strolled around the mausoleum. Willis said something to Felix, they both laughed and then Felix got solemn again. He looked choked up, actually, then raised his hat high and did a slow 360 like Thomas Crown entering the museum he's about to scam. The Indians looked as green about the gills as Rene Russo had under the same circumstances. If anybody else had done it, the other team might have taken exception. Felix is an asterisk to the rule. His warm... Read More
Felix runs into pitchability issues, gets lit up for a run
Posted by jemanji on 08/21/12
. Felix had good stuff, even by his own standards, on Tuesday night. His fastball averaged 92.9 MPH and would have been even higher if the last seven -- 15% of them -- had not dropped off in velocity. Felix' speed is, more or less, back. Here is a movement chart for Tuesday night. The blue spots are from the perfect game; the red spots are from the start before that. As you can see, his breaking pitches were pretty much where they were for the perfect game. The fastball did not cut in as much on lefties as it has been doing -- it was about 50-50 half way between a regular 8" armside... Read More
What's a piddling 7.5 games when you have Felix
. 1. Dr. D is wayyyy too old to apologize for enjoying sports. Here there be standings-watching. SSI refuses to reenact a grad-school class, in which we take turns trying to gain an occasional "solid work, old chap" from six or eight highly-specialized peers. SSI's intended audience, which does happen to contain grad-school graduates, has a considerable joy-and-hope tolerance. Whether the tolerance was natural or was developed through slow introduction of toxins, we're not clear... So per Matty's adroit recommendation, we're hereby going to wallow in the wild card race until the M's next... Read More
Charlie Furbush is emerging, mate
. === Kevin Millwood === Preseason, we admired the onomatopoetic names of Kevin Millwood, Joe Blanton and Jeff Suppan. Blanton sounds like bludgeon - his pitching style and his physical appearance suggest un-subtle approaches to victory. Millwood's blue-collar approach does conjure images of a guy with three days' stubble bending over a table saw. Suppan gives you pitching enough to, well, we won't say feast on, but enough to subsist on. This might have been Millwood's table-saw'iest game of the year. He came into the game averaging 6.60 strikeouts and 2.99 walks; with Miguel Olivo... Read More
The makeshift outfield kicks booty, takes names
. === Michael Saunders === After he hit his two dingers, he went on the postgame and said that he's getting his swing back to where it was in the first half, after "the last few weeks" getting out of synch again. It's not clear to me why it's so tough for this amigo to get this one lesson through his thick skull. He comes to the plate armed with the 1-wood already. He doesn't need to open those hips up like a long-drive champ. Just arm-swing for left-center and he'll get him his 25-30 jacks. When this guy's knees vector at the shortstop, he can hit in the big leagues. For the last month... Read More
Excellent pitcher ... until he's ahead in the count
. Q. Wow, another 72-25 strike to ball ratio? A. And that was despite a very tight strike zone that had all the other pitchers issuing walks. Matthew at Lookout Landing pointed out that Beavan threw only 7 pitches all day when behind in the count. Matthew at Lookout Landing also pointed out that during Felix' perfect game, he threw 22 pitches when behind in the count. Matthew gives .975 as the OPS when hitters are ahead, and .523 when behind. These essential stats have been posted on clubhouse walls since approximately the days of John McGraw ... 's manager. Don't sell it short. ... Read More
Don't look now, but ... Dept.
Ghost sez, So...um...why is no one talking about the current Mariners' on-field performance anymore? In case you chowdah-heads missed it, the team is only 8 games out of the WC lead, has won 20 of its' last 31 games .... Doc...where are the articles about the current Mariners? I dig the scouting reports...I dig the discussion of future roster maneuvers...I'm not trying to be contrarian, but...the Mariners had your attention after they won seven in a row and seem to have lost it on that five-game losing streak...well take the longer view and add it up and they're playing some darned good... Read More
Pumpkins at midnight, Dept: the 30-day comps
. Okay, Kevin Millwood is not actually Tim Hudson 2009 or Derek Lowe 2010. You're not going to give him that contract. But, for the past 30 days (and indeed for this entire season), there's been no functional difference there. You could fit the past 30 days of Millwood's performances onto the back of a Hudson or Lowe baseball card and wouldn't notice anything awry. To put it another way: if the Mariners had given Hudson or Lowe a contract, and received from Hudson or Lowe what Millwood has given them, they'd have had no complaints. So, LrKrBoi29, note carefully that SSI ain't calling... Read More
And do what with a short, fat talent pyramid?
. Shawn Kelley has always had VERY good command of a decently-hot fastball ... but putting him at the top of this or that CMD list is going to overstate the situation, for two reasons. The minor reason: the difference between 1, 5, 10 etc on those lists is going to be subtle. It's kind of like saying Jeff Francoeur had the #2 doubles total in the entire American League last year... well, that's true, but he had 47, and then a bunch of guys better than him had 48, 46, 46, 46, 45, 45, 44, 44, 41.... and it's not like doubles, in and of themselves, are the end of the discussion. SLG is more... Read More
G warned ye not to quessstion the lad
Posted by jemanji on 08/17/12
. MILB gives you a quick-scan of a busher's last ten games. That box list, for Romero, contains nothing but singles, doubles, triples, homers, walks and a rampage towards next season's Top-100 list. Let them tasssste the trrrriple gunnsss. For those who just joined us, it's all the rage to heavily discount dismiss entirely everything that a batter does at the launching pad in class-A High Desert. The Mariners didn't discount it for Romero, and you'll get a broad grin out of these alphanumeric characters: Stefen Romero AVG OBP SLG A+ High Desert (60 games) .357 .391 .581 AA Jackson (46... Read More
Whoa, hold up there... I think that guy is going to try to get me OUT?
Posted by jemanji on 08/16/12
Watcher sez, How 'bout a POTD for Trout? If he's as you suggest, the best player in the game, etc., how was he not drafted higher like A-Roid or Jr? Imagine if the Yankees had not signed Teixiera. They would have been able to draft Trout, and which would you rather have right now? Yeah, me too. And Trout vs Ackley? Even easier answer. I don't know much about Trout's pre-draft situation as such, but Terry McDermott hooks us up with the pitch-perfect sorry Freudian slip there interview on it: Link Man, Billy Beane lights Reiter UP on that baby. HEH! By the way, Terry ... how did you like... Read More
The quality of the pitches in flight: unsurpassable
. I hustled through my morning office work and then hustled down to the golf course. If I spedwalked the course, I could get nine in before my evening classes. Behind the counter, the nice kid had a wry smile. "Did you hear about the Mariner game?" No, what, I mumbled. "Do you wanna?" Whatever, I guess. No clue what he could possibly be talking about. Glanced at the TV. Golf, if you can believe that, was on the monitor in the golf clubhouse. Maybe like GreenPeace had staged a mock orca hunt on the field or something. "Felix threw a perfect game?" Wondered if the kid knew for sure what... Read More
Any one of which would make him a star.
There's such a thing as "feeling it," and thanks to the high technology of F/X we can put a lot better numbers on it than we used to. Now, pitch movement isn't everything, no definitely not Rain Man, although SSI sometimes makes it sound like it is. The F/X horizontal and vertical movement numbers don't convey sharpness of break. They don't convey RPM, don't convey arm action, don't convey a bunch of stuff. Still and all: when a pokey in the cheap seats tries to tell you that Felix was snapping off his pitches, it don't hurt none to have facts like this... Read More
Evidence continues to come in on Dr. Grumpy's side
As you saw from the graph in the previous article, Felix' heater wasn't cutting and rising quite as much as it sometimes does. However, it was still cutting hard, and this cutting motion has -- since he debut'ed it May 1 -- been the renaissance of his fastball. It was a well-kept secret that Felix' fastball had become his weakness. Adrian Gonzalez spilled the beans a few weeks ago: "Felix' fastball is usually straight." (AGone shrugged with an obvious air of, his fastball ain't nothin'.) "Today it was cutting." Check the run value on his fastball last season. You reaaalllllly want to... Read More
Saving is the new spending, and Felix is the new...
Q. Is Felix just on a hot roll? Is it even possible for a pitcher at such a high level to get better? A. If you just joined us, pitchers' careers aren't tethered to the slow, gradual assimilation of pitches, pitch release points, pitch spin patterns, and pitch sequences. Hitters' perceptions improve slowly, steadily, and predictably. Pitching is a different sport. Sure, excellent pitchers evolve to leap levels, sometimes three levels. Pedro Martinez at the ages of 22, 23, and 24 was a pretty good pitcher, 120 ERA+, and his Three True Outcomes were 8+ strikeouts, 3 walks, and 0.8 homers... Read More
Dr. D has been getting more of his usual fanmail lately
Muddyfrog writes, Is there any correlation on age arc and large men? The reason I ask is because we're seeing guys like Bryan LaHair, & Mike Morse peak in their late twenties. Do you think this may be the case for guys like Smoak, Montero, and Carp? Or more specifically can you single out a particular group or stereo type a group of players that tend to peak in their late twenties and early thirties. What's the median peak age? Provocative question! Lots of studies have been done on peak age for the whole population. Here's a series at Hardball Times and here's material from Tom Tango... Read More
And no, don't say "Players Who Escaped Seattle." SSI is a no easy jokes zone.
Q. Since studies don't exist, or you don't know about them, where do you start? A. A little snippet by James might help here ... I have two points, and my only excuse for bringing them both up to you is that I think they are somewhat related. The first is that I believe a lot of fans think making successful, efficient moves as a general manager is some combination of sabermetric shrewdness and scouting acumen. I believe the merit of general manager decisions over time has at least as much to do with traits harder to define. Maybe good decision-making? Practicality? My second thought is... Read More
I can win my next pennant with ... two of those players, anyway
Q. What are the patterns? A. Looks like there is a strong tendency toward guys who got RBI, and who didn't do much else particularly well. You know what I mean. As a group, the above players probably don't have 0.70 batting EYE's. But, come to think of it, neither do they have very poor ones. As a group, they have midrange EYE's; you're not really talking about guys with "old player's skills," taking a bunch of pitches or anything like that. Rauuuuuul isn't a pitch stalker. They have VERY poor speed as a group. They certainly aren't defenders, either - maybe their gloves would have... Read More
Stephen Pryor busts out the low slider
. John Malkovich in Retired Extremely Dangerous, picking up an exotic Scandinavian machine pistol ... now thissssss. Is. Exxxxcccccciting. ... When we last saw our hero, he was throwing an explosive fastball that was not only 95-98 MPH, but that also was Thrown from nearly 7 feet off the ground Thrown with 2600 RPM and extreme late life Featuring 11-15 inches of rise, more rise than any other fastball in the majors Targeted consistently above the waist, where hitters had no way to get "on top of" the pitch With this pitch alone, Pryor was dominating. But if you know a baseball thing, the... Read More
Bring on that 'righty Big Unit' action, bro
Cindy took some burst shots of Carter Capps and casually remarked, when he throws sidearm he's 98 and when he throws overhand he's 95. You can't imagine my reaction to hearing my girlfriend say this sentence. :- ) Brooks Baseball has the release point graph rat cheer. Slap me silly and call me Sherrie, she was absolutely right about the release point: Capps' arm slot was all over the place. You can check for yourself whether the velocity correlated with the lower arm slot, but one thing is for sure. Unless Capps is deliberately doing a Luis Tiant here, the source of his control problems... Read More
News, er, Pics you can't get anywhere else Dept.
Jose Montero guns down Sam Fuld at second base. The umpire called him safe. Nice timing on Cindy's photo though, eh? Single shot. If you saw the slo-mo's on TV, you saw Seager get the glove down onto the leg, just as Fuld's hands were about 4-6 inches from the bag. Not sure whether you'd call that "bang-bang"; a hand's length is a pretty good separation as baseball "beat the throw" plays go. Had Fuld been called out, as he would have been if an Angels catcher had been throwing and a Mariner running, Montero's CS% would be at exactly the league average. You notice that Wedge, and... Read More
If you STEAL BASES on the Pitcher ...
. On Lookout Landing, there is a .gif'ly gift of baseball analysis from m'man Jeff Sullivan. This article is above average by Sullivan's standards, which is like saying that Felix' article in Yankee Stadium was above average by Felix' standards. In related news around the league , however, if you think that it is "reality" that Jesus Montero is going to soon be forbidden from catching, your basic problem is that you cannot distinguish between "my opinion" and "reality." This is a large problem to have. However, if you think that there is a strong case to be made that Jesus Montero will not... Read More
Maybe he could shuuut for >2.67 runs per 100
Posted by jemanji on 08/13/12
. Neophyte axs, I'm not anything approaching a baseball analyst. Just a fan who likes reading about the game. I'm always fascinated by your in-depth analyses of the mechanics of pitching and hitting. Which brings me to my question: While watching Iwakuma's last great outing, it struck me that his windup could be rather easily modified to include the Felix Twist. Given what this additional rotation has done for both Felix and Vargas, I'm wondering if it would make Iwakuma even more deceptive and add a little to his fastball? . My knee-jerk response was going to be that a classic Nippon... Read More
Better step off before something bad happens to you
Posted by jemanji on 08/12/12
. In 2011, there were four relief pitchers who averaged 96+ (96.1 - 96.9) MPH on their fastballs: Mark Lowe, Neftali Feliz, Craig Kimbrel, and Brandon League. This is not a shelf full of tomata cans, you'll pause to discern as you wheel your cart by. There were another six relief pitchers in the 97's: Aroldis Chapman, Daniel Bard, Jordan Walden, Bobby Parnell, Joel Hanrahan, and Henry Rodriguez. Rodriguez actually averaged 98.0 MPH on a full season. And we'll file the tomata can observation under "trite" on this one. What's not trite is this thought: it is cotton' pickin' TOUGH for a... Read More
"Where you goin'? You got a strike left, kid." ... "I don't want it."
Posted by jemanji on 08/12/12
. Michael Pineda had the Vanilla Ice "U Can't Touch This" stomp goin' on. He'd casually lean back and smoke that heater in there, while everybody in the stadium just sat there and enjoyed the swing-throughs. We count four guys like that in Mariner history: the Unit, Jeff Nelson, Michael Pineda, and Stephen Pryor. ..................... Here are the AB's from Saturday: .................... WHAAaaaaaa? Did F/X misclassify a 92 MPH pitch as a slider? What happened with that? Um, no. Check the Trout AB, four inches down the monitor, and you'll see two other sliders. The next one hit 93... Read More
Angry Birds Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 08/11/12
. If you want scary-good, and scarier-intense, analysis, you of course head to Field Gulls. There are times when we wonder about whether we take hardball a leeeetle too seriously. Then we head to a football blog and... everything's going to be okay. ;- ) Field Gulls had an impossible task, replacing that John guy who moved on to bigger and better, but they've done the impossible. It is as data-rich a cyber environment as it ever was. If you don't want scary-good analysis, but just a chat sitting in the top row of C-Link, you can get that at SSI this year. Here's what I'll be watching... Read More
Three CG shutouts this year: Texas, Boston, NYY
Posted by jemanji on 08/11/12
=== Velocity === A thought was floated, advertising that Felix' velocity is back. Nay verily. You can't interpret this chart that way. If you want to understand Felix' summer rocket ride at red line, look not to the radar gun. Felix' effectiveness, we've beheld, has little fellowship with his speed. In 2010, and every year prior, Felix' fastball averaged - averaged! - 94.0 MPH or better. Take a second and review the (MPH) figures on this chart. Then last year, in 2011, he faded to 93.3 MPH average, which was still smokin' hot - he ranked 13th in all the majors for average fastball velo... Read More
Bill James on 'overcorrection' and anxiety
Mike Schmidt, for about the first ten years of his career, got a boatload of boo'ing in Philadelphia: "They just want to spank me so I'll try harder and do better," Schmitty said with a wan smile one day. Y'ever notice, when an athlete is performing badly, our flinch reaction is to go get a hickory switch and give him a good lickin'. Bear down out there, you little pansy. We don't always grab hickory switches, throw AA batteries onto the field, or jeer. Sometimes we're more civilized about our bitterness and we indulge only in Booooo'ing, Chone Figgins for striking out (think about it)... Read More
Like Bone sez... gotta let the game come to you, kiddies...
Most amigos here have noticed that Dr. D isn't always right, have noticed that he isn't usually right either, and have also noticed that he's unduly interested in Eastern spiritual mumbo-jumbo. With those caveats and quid pro quo's, here's a bit of what he sees on the Shrill vs Chill Mariner front these days: . Dustin SHRILL Ackley - Deuce has his technical issues, such as the fact that he can't reach the outside edge, partly because his "chi" is generally to right field. This is particularly toxic on soft stuff away. Pitchers base their entire games around this - you probably saw Ackley... Read More
Felix' head is better than his arm
Felix CHILL Hernandez - I'm the last guy in the world who runs around demanding signatures for PC fealty contracts. But it isn't often that you'll find either side, on any issue, 100% or 0% right or wrong. There are substantive ideas in the class-warfare cause also. In my humble opinion, if nobody else's, America is pretty much down to the last finishing touches on social justice. But we still hang with our own kind, all of us, and there are subconscious generalizations that persist. It's a truism that in sports, people of color tend - tend! - to be regarded as physically talented, and... Read More
Tell this guy we want his 15 best pitches every night
Posted by jemanji on 08/07/12
.... it ain't right, but we'll still need a McDonald's Super Mo please. ......................... Q. Okayyyyy. 1.2 IP, 4 K, 0 BB. He's up to 11 K, 3 BB in 8 IP with Seattle. How was his fastball velocity on Tuesday? A. In his first inning, his ten fastballs were: 99 MPH x 2 pitches 98 x 4 pitches 97 x 1 pitch 96 x 3 pitches That doesn't really do it justice, though. Pryor's fastball is effectively about 2-4 miles an hour faster than somebody else throwing the same speed. Yeah you heard what I said. . Q. Why would his fastball be effectively faster than somebody else's? A. Huge spin... Read More
And that's what he gets for damage control: a solid "B"
Posted by jemanji on 08/07/12
Looks like 17-9, 2.99 standin' still ........................... Q. Why do you say he had his "B" game? A. From the first pitch of the game, he looked like he was physically laboring through an 8th inning grind. After the game, sho' nuff, his velocity clocked in at 89.2 compared to his season average of 91.1. So the fastball was a good two feet short on his regular fastball, which is no ball of fire itself. For some reason ::cougholivocough:: Beavan threw one - count it - of his shiny new sliders during the whole game. Instead, he threw an amazing 32x change curves at about 69-72 MPH... Read More
Mr. WBC looks even better in travail than in prevail
Posted by jemanji on 08/06/12
Q. Which version of Iwakuma was that, getting beaten by the Yankees? A. The second version. Or the 2 1/2 version. As we recall, there have been three iterations of Mr. WBC: The spring training version with a short fastball and a nibble-and-pick game, the one who had MLB hitters standing on the plate and swinging from the back leg. The sharper version, with a 90 fastball he'd use inside and up in the zone, the one who is demonstrably an MLB middle-of-the-rotation starter. The Shaun Marcum comp. The elite version, the one with a 82 MPH "change-slider" who dominates. The James Shields comp... Read More
Some are nastier than othas
The first thing you've got to do here is visualize yourself as a major league pitcher, facing the New York Yankees with 7 of the 9 guys in the lineup making salaries over $10,000,000 per year, and 7 of the 9 batting left hand. Picture too, if you will, throwing a 90 MPH wiffleball "changeup" that dives like a spitball, and is perfectly placed on the low-away corner -- and watching Curtis Granderson sock a screaming line drive 375 feet away to center field: ............................................... That changeup dove literally 10-12" just as Granderson swung. It was thrown harder... Read More
Mr Incredible "they pick up the garbage about 7 am"
=== Baseball IQ, Dept. === Watching the replay Saturday, you had the feeling that you were watching a Greg Maddux game. An overwhelming sense of braininess saturated the room. Just to take a f'r instance, let's consider the way that Felix butchered the Yankees in the 9th inning. ... Keep in mind, now, Wedge was (wisely) breaking Craig Wright's Rule of 27: the batters were getting their fourth looks at Felix here. And two of them were LEFT hand hitters who were EXTREMELY capable of tying the score on one (small) mistake. Cano has 29 homers and Granderson 24 so far this season; they had... Read More
Bookie Dept: winning is one more, not five more
=== Eric Thames Plays Catch-Up === Let's say we didn't have any stats, any background, no performance to go off of? Let's say we'd just traveled to Cuba to catch a weekend series, and all these guys had been wearing Cuban uniforms? I'd have said for sure that the M's three good hitters were Carp, Jaso, and Eric Thames. Next time you get a chance? Check out how long Thames reads the pitch before he decides whether to swing. Man, he takes a looooong look. And then he whips that Jose Lopez speedy gonzalez Andale! Andale! Arriba! bat through the zone and he can pull anything. This was Ted... Read More
99 MPH dept.
Posted by jemanji on 08/01/12
.... and with their 13th win in 17 attempts, the Mariners crawl out of the coffin and back onto our GameDay watch. ::applause:: . === Tom Wilhelmsen === He's been great for a while. Tonight, though, he looked like he owned the stadium. Like Johnny Bench in 1976, like Pedro Martinez in 2001, like Jose Canseco in 1988, like Randy Johnson from 1993 on, Wilhelmsen was casually dominant. He needed to go to a higher league. When he was setting up for League, I remarked that his starter's rhythm, and his starter's body, was hurting him. He was wild entering the game, and looked out of his... Read More
Rollll out the sliiiiiider... we'll have a barrel o' fuunnnnn
Posted by jemanji on 08/01/12
Q. Remind me where BB was after his last start? A. With a newfound ability to miss bats. This was based on an 81 MPH slider that he was snapping off with a lot more elan than he'd showed in the past, and he used it cunningly to set up high fastballs for swingthroughs. The question was whether he'd reproduce this sequencing against the Jays. . Q. How was his slider Wednesday? A. Going into the game, the mainframe was programmed to sort for three things: Arm action that had the Jays taking some half positions. Spin that resulted in a 4x4 break, indicating an enthusiastic finish.... Read More