Paxton and Gordon the topic du jour
. Q. Why would the Royals trade Alex Gordon? They just traded for Ervin Santana, trying to win in 2013. A. The Royals' payroll these days is below Oakland's. Their entire team payroll last year was $63.1M. Here's their 2012 payroll; sort the dollars column. Gordon's and Butler's contracts, by Angels or Rangers standards, are small. But by Oak, KC or TB standards those are big checks the teams are writing. The guy behind Gordon is Wil Myers, supposedly THE number one prospect in baseball. We are not talking about waiving Alex Gordon here; we're talking about cashing him in for super-... Read More
Only realistic fantasies need apply
. Q. Does SSI like Alex Gordon? A. Me? Actually I think he's something of a WAR mirage. My guess is that Zduriencik wouldn't give Paxton and Nick Franklin -- both wayyyy underrated in the blog-o-sphere -- for Alex Gordon. Could be wrong. Anyway: if Alex Gordon were to be our franchise player, the guy we built around, I'd shift my attention to pitching pretty quick. But if I were going to make the case for Gordon - the centerpiece of 13's fine offseason plan - I'd point out that he's not very different from Shin-Soo Choo. Here they both are, neutral park, neutral team, 2013, if both... Read More
Blockbuster 3-for-1's, Dept.
. The last couple of weeks, Dr. D has returned to an old favorite pastime. What did they call it ... dowsing ... no, lousing up ... no, BROWSING the net. Thass it. Surfing and stuff. D has been clicking on hyperlinks in the sidebars of websites. It's got to stop, or we're going to hemorrhage the rest of what little quality we'd been trying to retain. One reason it will ruin us, is because we blow our legs off on land mines like Thirteen's Offseason Plan Post at Lookout Landing. It cost me like, two hours' worth of noodling up data on scrubs like Logan Morrison. Thirteen's plan is so... Read More
Putting the Zoom in Zuumball, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 10/30/12
. === Game Recap, Dept. === Going into last year's June ammy draft, we M's fans were underwhelmed. But if you read this pre-draft discussion of Zunino, you'll have to give SSI denizens their due. Pre-draft they prophesied Jay-Z's and McNamara's comments about the pick; post-draft they echo'ed Jay-Z's and McNamara's comments about the pick. These three things converged: Pre-draft SSI crunch Mariners' staff P.R. about Zunino Post-draft SSI crunch All of these things lined up neatly. In particular, Gordon's take on Zunino was a carbon-copy of what the GM and the scouting director had to say... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 10/30/12
. Does Mike Zunino go into March with a chance to hit .423 and to start at catcher on Opening Day? ... in this case Dr. D will shoot for the Derek Jeter oppo-field single, take his base, and let better men round out the discussion. Only have time for a couple of the most fundamental talking points; we'll let better men attack the more sofistikated issues, such as how Zunino's timeline affects Jesus Montero's position. . === Skipping the Minors: SLOPS === If you look at this record of the 2011 draft -- not the 2012 draft, now, the 2011 draft -- you won't find a single hitter who played in... Read More
Fans' hearts swell with courage at the Giants' Series sweep
. === All Apologies === When there's anything going on the Land Of Rocking Horse First Basemen and Broken Bat Ties, Dr. D reads ... not much. Usually he hits the Bakery, and often he reads Lookout Landing, and he's not completely unfamiliar with Prospect Insider. Mariner Central is an old friend we check in on. Nowadays Bill James Online serves a Brendan Ryan-esque throwback function of addicting Dr. D. His skin feels itchy if he misses anything over there. Once a month he gets lost among the trees at Tango's site. Fangraphs op-ed pieces are interesting if over a month old. MLB Trade... Read More
Bunts don't work. Unless they do.
. There's a cool article here that offers, admiringly, In 2011, the Giants scored 570 runs. They finished with a wRC+ of 87, the fourth worst mark in baseball. Put simply, the Giants couldn’t hit, and their best hitter — Carlos Beltran — was a free agent. The Giants didn’t re-sign him ... in fact, they didn’t sign anyone of note last winter. ... they traded for Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera and signed Gregor Blanco to a minor league contract, essentially building an entirely new outfield from scratch with players that weren’t wanted by their previous organization. Then, they handed shortstop... Read More
Three Russell Branyans in one offseason? I could go for that
. Get You One, supposedly a rummy-type card game that Puggy Pearson cut his teeth on. It was a game in which each player maneuvered for position, then had to give his opponent Last Chance to draw and play out whatever points he could. "Get You One" (from the draw deck). The 2012 Giants were put together ... using a model the 2013 M's might want to snip? Well, let's see: The Giants' pitching had a teamwide 95 OPS+ The Giants' hitting had a teamwide 107 OPS+ The hitting was based on a 170 OPS+ from Posey, three Russ Branyan scrubs, and a long slew of 85-95 OPS+ from internal guys The Giants... Read More
Spinnin' the volume on the guitar, compressor and amp
Posted by jemanji on 10/27/12
. "I like to have the stacks cranked up, y'know? I mean I like to feel the hairs on my arm move out there." - Eddie Van Halen From Hey Bill: .............. In re Lincecum. Let's presume Lincecum is or has been a great pitcher on a peak basis. Steve Carlton had a crappy year in his late-20's, Vida Blue had a lousy year in his late-20's, and they came back, though Lefty obviously more so than Vida. I assume you can come up with examples of pitchers who did not. Is there a way to tell which ones will come back, and which are through? It seems likely that there is not, but it also seems like... Read More
A. ... anybody
Posted by jemanji on 10/27/12
. We're like you. A little bit different. -- ad seen on a bus ... for an insurance company, of all things . The Seattle blog-o-sphere has definitely always been a little bit different. One of the ways in which it is different is the way in which we all one-up ourselves in the hustle and bustle to take 1st place in line at the Most Objective counter. Monday, Dr. D will smile wryly as a writer informs The Faithful that Hultzen, Franklin and Wilhelmsen aren't worth nearly as much as we homers assume that they are. Tuesday, he'll smile sardonically as we're warned to stop noodling about deals... Read More
Props and Slops, Dept.
. "But, Grandmaster, how could you lose to that young man? You yourself wrote the book on how not to lose at chess!" "The victory is ultimately still mine. They beat me because they have all read my book!" - Attributed variously to Eugene Znosko-Borovsky (pictured), or to the demon Zorax who used his brain as a transceiver .......................... Dr. D threw out a dime's worth of shtick on the shortstop position, and SSI denizens buried him in ten bucks' worth of style and substance on the issue. Thirteen made the interesting point that if you really believe in Brad Miller - who's also... Read More
N.B. LrKrBoi29: We said "trade," not "waive"
Q. Earlier you said that Kyle Seager would lose value in the new stadium. How can you say that?! Zorax, indeed. A. There was one (1) significant player on the Mariners' roster whose hit chart showed no benefit from the new fence overly. No benefit. No extry homers, at all. That was Kyle Seager. Seager pulls the ball in the air. When he does go the other way he's like Ichiro; it doesn't go far. Seager's last year were mediocre in an absolute sense -- a .259 AVG with a .316 OBP and a .423 SLG. The AL average was .255/.320/.411, so Kyle was riiiiiight AT! the middlin' level. Now,... Read More
One does not simply... trade one's only good player, Dept.
. Q. Whew. So Kyle Seager needs to get the powerflush, but fast. A. Reasons to keep Kyle Seager do exist, if you strain your eyes hard enough. Starting with the fact that he was a rookie who posted 3.6 WAR, at a scarce position, and provided $15.5M in net profit value to the Mariners in 2012. PROPS to a potential $50-75M in net performance profit over the next five years. You could always trade him at the deadline in 2017, and rent Michael Pineda for the World Series run. . Q. You argued that he has no upside. Do you believe that he has no upside? A. No. I think there's an upside... Read More
Shoot yourself? Suit yourself Dept.
. At BJOL, they just published the Fielding Bible awards for 2012. The article is in front of the pay wall. According to Dewan's calculations, Brendan Ryan gloved the Mariners -27 runs last year, with the #2 shortstop in baseball (Andrelton Simmons) saving the Braves -19. You've got to figure that these single-season numbers could be outliers that present warped perceptions of real things actually, you've got to assume that these single-season numbers ARE outliers. And that the numbers given are going to be misleading. For example, Jason Heyward is credited with -20 runs saved from a... Read More
Needin' a name to go with Sickels' nine
John Sickels has four Mariners arms in his baseball-wide top 50 pitching prospects: Danny Hultzen, a Cole Hamels wannabe whose control hiccups were 50% a function of the fact that 90% of the PCL'ers never wanted to swing at his pitches and 10% of them never wanted to call them strikes James Paxton, the personal darling of SSI Taijuan Walker, the almost-Felix Victor Sanchez, who at 12 years of age could hit 90 MPH and who at 17 years of age just had an Erasmo Ramirez season He has three Mariners bats in the top 50 bats: Zuumball, who is amused at the simplicity of this game Nick... Read More
Career OBP of .428 to date ... using Ichiro's swing
. === Up To Speed, Dept. === Lonnie of MC gives the following Executive Summary: .................... Some of you may have heard of Ji-Man Choi, and some of you may not have. No matter, I planned on rehashing his story for you all anyway...Back in the summer of 2009 a group of Seattle scouts attended a pitching demonstration in South Korea by a High School pitcher with the name of Seon Gi Kim. Catching him that day was converted third baseman Ji-Man Choi. The Mariner scouts liked what they saw from young Seon Gi Kim and signed him to his first professional contract. The kid behind the plate... Read More
. At Bill James Online today, ten years on, Bill released a behind-the-scenes blow by blow that reveals what happened at the Boston Bullpen By Committee debacle in 2003. As many of you know, James was hired by the Red Sox in October 2002, after having been baseball's wisest man for 20 years past. One of the first things the Red Sox did was try to exploit James' insights on relievers' Leverage Index: it's theoretically more efficient to use your Closer in a tie game, 8th inning, than it is to use him when ahead 5-2 in the 9th inning. The Boston press misconstrued this as a Closer By... Read More
4.9 WAR last year, 5.4 in 2010
Posted by jemanji on 10/21/12
Talking points, as opposed to a POTD. If we had any sort of confident conclusion about a player, we'd have a POTD. Instead, you get a chat board post. Ah, the memories. . 1) The Mariners have two CF's who play approximately as well as Pagan does. They've got one who will hit 32 homers :- ) for peanuts, and they are paying the other one $7M next season. G-Money says: Buster Olney name-checked us in an Angel Pagan post, in which he said we might help drive up the price to 4/50 or more. We'd better not actually pay that for Pagan. I would be seriously irked to add him to a club that's... Read More
2012 playoffs glimmer with glamor
. === Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting === ... except when it doesn't. Dave Fleming, at BJOL, goes over the four Division Series matchups to see if Good Pitching won. He's not trying to prove a case in a court of law. He's just cracking peanuts, and watching baseball. ... Of the Final Eight teams, in four matchups, how many qualified as Pitching vs Hitting matchups? NYY vs BAL: both teams had 109 ERA's. NYY had a far better offense. No test case here. The better team squeaked out a win. ..... A's vs DET: both teams had ERA's of 114 and 112, and both had OPS's of 97-104. Fleming... Read More
2013-16 M's would set quite a rotisserie table ... IF
. Cory Schwartz won this year's mixed Tout Wars with a record points total. He's won multiple championships in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship and is currently vice president at the stats department of MLB Advanced Media. So he's the state of the art. It's interesting to see that the state of the art in roto is precisely where Dr. D left it four or five years ago, and where Ron Shandler left it twenty years ago. (In the Hardball Times article, Schwartz is taking the Yoo-Hoo shower made famous by Shandler in a galaxy far, far away.) It's possible that there are no fundamental... Read More
57% curves for strikes in September
. Sez Taro, Would love to see Capps in the rotation. Even if you shave 3-4 mph off, hes going to be one of the hardest throwers in the game. He could be a better SP prospect than Walker, but hidden due to circumstance and perceptive age arcs. You never know. Then go out and do your own Fister deal with those excess prospects. Sez Terry McDermott, I like the idea of Capps starting, too, but I don't think it's something that is likely to happen. I talked to two people in the org about this - one a player and one who would be heavily involved in the decision - and both said the same thing:... Read More
Gots him better stuff than Taijuan, tell ya that
Posted by jemanji on 10/19/12
. Dr. D wonders how much trouble he'd get in for adopting a Euro soccer style headline trend. You know, "TOM BRADY TO SEAHAWKS?" and article text starts with "There may not be much to suggest this, but here's why I feel it could be a good idea." Traffic that is disgusted with you is still traffic... Actually our little joke might be forgiven by some, since James (speaking here as Red Sox brass) addresses the issue of: does an org owe it to its players to deploy them as they wish to be deployed? ................................... Bill: Nowhere did you actually take Strasburg's own... Read More
Zuumball on tour at a city near you
Posted by jemanji on 10/18/12
. Spec is keeping us clued in, as is his wont, to the kids' celebrity tours in Arizona. Here's a stats table. Mike Zunino is slugging .630 in a week's worth of games. Nick Franklin is 8-for-16 with an .813 SLG. Stefen Romero is 4-for-9. James Paxton, who's always been my fave of the Big Three, probably has the best stats of any pitcher down there. I read a statement somewhere that AFL stats mean exactly the same as batting practice stats. This goes to the same issue that we take on in the next article: if I don't think much of a given piece of evidence, do I get to declare that it is... Read More
Slowly circling the drain
Posted by jemanji on 10/18/12
. Fangraphs stepped forward about 1.5 bases (out of a possible 4) by hiring Jeff Sullivan. There's no telling where the dude will take that site -- and they don't even know it yet. He takes on the ARod catastrophe with his usual light touch and flexible mind, and immediately runs into a classic sabertista (MGL, Oct 18 at 6:12 pm) who takes offense to the use of any "evidence" that isn't (1) mathematical, and (2) to his liking. Evidence is defined as "something that gives a sign or proof of the existence or truth of something, or that helps somebody come to a particular conclusion." ... Read More
Advanced NFL Stats captures the Patriots', Hawks' personalities
. === Team Stat Visualizations === Advanced NFL Stats creates a grid for you that captures the 'personality' of every team at a glance. The dynamic link there gives the embedded hyperlinks with info on each team: here's a small capture for yer convenience, brudder. .................................................. Teams stationed along the purple line are .500 teams.* As a team moves top right, moving along the green line up toward the arrow point, it's a better team. The Panthers and Titans are trailing the rest of the league. I'm very happy to see the 49er's where they are, aren't... Read More
Make up yer mind, Dept.
. === Odds, Blamed Odds and Statistics === Advanced NFL Stats gives the NE-Sea game as a coin flip: 51% New England. That's not enough vig for an oddsmaker to lay a line: a bookie would not (I don't think) take a bet on a coin flip based on you paying $51 or getting $49. Yet the Vegas line is that if you want the Patriots, you've got to give more than a field goal. A 24-21 Patriots win on the field is a Seahawks win in the casino. That's awfully good value, a field goal, if the game is really 51-49. Casual observers quickly reply: "the -3.5 is just to split the crowd." Dr. D always... Read More
Patriots, Seahawks at opposite ends of the 3rd-down spectrum?
. Brian Burke asks a first-grade question that, in 30+ years of watching the NFL, I'd never even considered. Is a team better off playing to create "manageable third downs," or is it better off just using its 1st and 2nd downs to avoid as many third downs as possible? This question reminds me of when Bill James asked, "Do Rickey Henderson's 130 stolen bases really matter?," and revolutionized the way in which "speed" was prioritized in the game of baseball. A stolen base causes an amount of psychological pain, or pleasure, that is far out of proportion to its actual impact. This is a... Read More
As long as you glove me, Dept.
. Didn't watch that much TV this September. Don't even remember which game it was when we flicked it on and there it was, four years on. Carlos Triunfel at shortstop in Safeco Field. Dr. D is a mammal like most of those reading this, and sadly enough, classical conditioning overmatches his higher brain functions like Felix Hernandez vs. Elvis Andrus. He therefore expected, on a visceral level, to see a train wreck defensively. Intellectually he had no reason to have any expectations in either direction. Instinctively, though? He pinched his eyebrows painfully and hoped he wouldn't see... Read More
The potential starts to jell
. Carlos Triunfel has a long swing, meaning that he wrist-hinges the bat head way around so that it aims back at the pitcher. This of course means that the bat has farther to travel to get into the hitting area. It also means, in theory, that he hits the ball harder than average. He sinks his weight gracefully down onto the incoming energy and locks his eyes onto it decisively. His bat launch and throughswing, as well as his arc-y one hand swing plane, are solidly in key with the Alex Rodriguez school of music. His torque, balance, and power are all pretty to watch. The problem is that,... Read More
90 walks, 35 doubles, 28 homers per 162 games
. Q. Everybody knows who Nick Swisher is. What is the Mainframe's visceral reaction to him? A. That he's a good #3 bat for a bad team. Or a mouthwatering #7-8 bat for a good team. The Mainframe doesn't mean that as a backhanded compliment. Every team needs an Edgar Martinez type hitting third (or so). An OBP-first guy, a guy who is always on base, and a guy who can sting enemy pitching with 25-ish home runs and plenty of doubles. On the other hand, #3 hitters with 88 RBI don't hit in the middle of the order for big offenses. Swisher's a MOTO hitter... for the Royals or A's. . Q. ... Read More
That last name could be unfortunate in three years
. Q. What could be bad about a nice guy who does everything well? A. I guess I'm confused about the proposals for 5-7 year Swisher deals at big money. On the hardcore saber sites, I'm used to seeing calculations that take a Nick Swisher's 4.0 WAR, that set it at 3.5 for next year, and amputate 0.5 WAR per year until it hits zero. Calculations like these always seem to wind up proving that Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder are going to be bozos in three or four years. You think they won't do that with Josh Hamilton? :- ) Now here we are with Nick Swisher, who actually is the... Read More
Stars & Scrubs Dept.
. Q. In 50 words or less, explain again why all the roto champs (and current MLB contenders) play Stars & Scrubs? A. Your big contracts ossify your roster. You can't win any kind of game, board game or otherwise, if you tie your own hands. Your opponents will be working hard enough to do that for you. There's a solution. If you pile as much of your resources as possible into as few players as possible, say 5 aircraft carriers a la Verlander, Cabrera, Fielder etc., that leaves you able to swap players in and out of the other 20* roster slots. Agility -- dynamic options during... Read More
Six rings does bring it.
Posted by jemanji on 10/09/12
. Q. What do you think of the M's decision to fire Chambliss? A. There are SSI posts that know what they're talking about. Below that, you have SSI posts that are mostly guessing. Below that, you have complete and utter baloney. 50 yards below that, you have this post. ................. Chris Chambliss? For our purposes, suffice it to say that there are a whale of a lot of guys who are in ML clubhouses because they add street cred. The "presence" of a Chris Chambliss type of person, looking eye to eye, is immense. You've heard about Tim Johnson, who became a MLB(TM) manager because... Read More
... and to SSI, that's important
Posted by jemanji on 10/08/12
. Look like any GM's you know? :- ) If you want to see 85 seconds that capture the essence of Dr. D's complaint with the "win 85-90 games with efficient dollars" approach -- as Dr. D sees it, anyway -- this Lombardi video will give you a feel for it. Dr. D watches this as part of his pre-lifting routine. Ideas like these make the difference on the 12th rep, as well as in life generally. ... for the kiddies who just joined us, Vince Lombardi was a legitimate sports genius, a geniunely great leader. Just for example, he took a 1-10 Packers team to a 7-5 record first year, doing very little... Read More
The secret to the 46 Defense
Posted by jemanji on 10/08/12
. Another crunchy Field Gulls article on the Sea-Fence, this one using a By The Numbers format. My fave stat: 209.8 yards per game. And we're talking about Romo, Rodgers and the NFC West to date. After consuming the Gulls article, you'll be left with the question, is this the NFL's best defense? Is it one of the best ever? Dr. D., though not up to speed on this year's football fantasy, can help a bit with a question like this, one that involves sense of proportion. . === Bruce Irvin === Here's a neat .gif that catches Irvin circling his prey like a shark. Not a bad metaphor, as long as... Read More
O's have THE Joe Saunders out there to contain Texas
Posted by jemanji on 10/05/12
. Dave Fleming, at BJOL, points out that in Game 162 the Atlanta Braves had their best pitching performance: 9.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 11 K. And that this performance was chalked up by eight (8) different pitchers: Pitching IP H R ER BB SO Ben Sheets 1 0 0 0 0 2 Luis Avilan 1 1 0 0 0 1 Julio Teheran 2 1 0 0 0 0 Randall Delgado 1 0 0 0 0 3 Cory Gearrin 1 0 0 0 0 0 Eric O'Flaherty 1 0 0 0 0 0 Jonny Venters 1 1 0 0 0 2 Craig Kimbrel 1 1 0 0 0 3 Assuming that... Read More
Age 26 with experience (and new park!)
. Q. Big winner in the new park? A. Just going off the overlay, we start with an indisputable 4 outs turned into homers: the double-red dot in LF, the one down the LF line, and the one up against the fence in CF. There was a 5th ball tonight that hit the wall; that one was a double. The overlay has two hits that convert to homers - the one to straightaway LF and the one deep to CF. There are three more deep outs, where it's tough to say whether they'd have been off the fence or over it. But counting Tuesday's double, the overlay gives 7 homers. . Q. Leaving him where? A. Here were his... Read More
As a healthy alternative, we're offering low-fat souvenirs
. Q. How much difference does SSI expect from the new dimensions? A. :- O Had the Mariners simply removed the scoreboard in LF, we'd have expected a large impact. What they actually did... ::golfclap:: can we get a stadium name change with that? I'll go for Funway Park. For those who just joined us, Dr. D does not quote Bill James because he's divinely inspired. We quote from him because he has a unique voice. Well, that and the fact that Dr. D is used to listening to Grandmasters with massive pattern recognition. Here is what James had when asked about the Padres' home park... Read More
The *changeup* wipes them out
. In Game 161, Carter Capps busted out a can of Changeup Flavor Whoop Up. When he threw the changeup down, it was screwing the hitters into the ground, and he threw it down all the time. Case in point, KKKKKendrys Morales: ........................... High fastball, juuuuust a bit outside Mr. Uecker, for 1-0. Capps right back with an 89 MPH changeup - pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain, who assumes that 89 is a fastball - and Morales was out in front and over the top of it. 1-1. We got a 98 MPH fastball just dyyyyyin' to MEETchoo. INside next pitch. Hey! Low-and-... Read More
Chapman in the NL, Rodney in the AL
On May 29, James commented on the NL Cy Young race: ............................ if the season were to end now, who do you think would deserve the nl mvp &cy young? Asked by: bill byrd Answered: 5/29/2012 David Wright and Aroldis Chapman. ............................. Notice that he said "Deserve," rather than answering "Who do you think would win." Here's a terse little reply on Rodney from September 2: ............................. Do you think Fernando Rodney could win the AL Cy Young? Asked by: bill byrd Answered: 9/2/2012 Yes. .............................. And now for... Read More
Won four 1-0 games to flip 9 wins, 13 losses to its reciprocal
Posted by jemanji on 10/01/12
. === WAR, What Is It Good For === Dr. D is a fan of the WAR statistic. He fears, however, that many casual readers may be under the impression that it gives a "correct" return to the question, "Who was the best pitcher?" In reality, the WAR f(x) formula inputs a lot of arbitrary opinions. Should we "correct" for a pitcher's defense, and normalize his BABIP? WAR does that. Should we "correct" for a pitcher's HR per fly ball rate, and normalize his HR rate? WAR doesn't do that. And many other such subjective factors are part of the WAR effort. Glancing at the AL leaderboard for pitchers... Read More