Point Counterpoint, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 12/31/12
. ... well, okay, "Talking Points," not GameDay, probably. I been reading too many traffic-seducing Euro soccer headlines. Guess I shoulda went with "Is Walter Jones Preparing to Play This Sunday?!", followed by an article mentioning that he's not. . === Point === Dr. D will be watching the Vikings-Packers playoff game with more interest than almost any NFL game this year, that didn't involve the Seahawks. Not only is this the most traditional rivalry left standing in 2012, but ... Minny has a decent chance of beating the Packers, with Adrian Peterson running the ball in cold weather, and if... Read More
Tell it like it is, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 12/31/12
. Dr. D settled in last night to carefully analyze Robert Griffin III's pocket passing, on display in a context in which the defense did not fear his running. He was shocked by Griffin's slowness to read the field. ............ You can watch Russell Wilson drop back and read the field, and you can apply a standard consisting of "Joe Montana." The way that Wilson checks off to his second, third receivers, the way that he spins in the backfield like Fran Tarkenton and then INSTANTLY spots a weakside receiver and flicks him the ball ... his downfield vision gives away zero to the rookie... Read More
Make 'em Bleed
Posted by jemanji on 12/26/12
. Imagine if you gave up watching baseball right now. How much would you know about it, 20 years on? When your son said "Hey Dad, what do you think about this new lefty closer who throws 88 miles an hour?" You'd be a little out of date as to the current players. And you'd have missed the latest developments as to whether UZR is reliable or not. But you'd still know an Erasmo Ramirez starter's rhythm from a max-effort Charlie Furbush relief motion. :- ) Dr. D didn't exactly give up football 20 years ago, but it's been a pretty casual thing. In the 70's and 80's, though, he was pretty... Read More
No Mas, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 12/26/12
. Raider free safety / hit man Jack Tatum, who wrote a book, and John Madden, who wrote about fourteen, revealed that the key to Oakland's talent acquisition was that the Raiders always avoided "turf players." They wanted players who were "grass players." They didn't want twinkle-toes athletes who used finesse to step around the action. They literally sneered at finesse players, and believed that such players would always chicken out at some point or other. You can make an argument that they were right. In the 1970's, and into the 1980's, the Super Bowl was almost always won by Cellblock... Read More
The time comes to overpay
Posted by jemanji on 12/25/12
. You know, the word "shrill" gets thrown around a lot ... Slamming a 41-year-old in there to take AB's, when previously those AB's were spent so generously on pure experiments like Carlos Peguero, smacks of ""we need to see progress this year." Not that such a warning is out of order. This is year five and though the talent pyramid is miles better, the on-field product is not. Shuffling the Scrubs as the offseason plan? From the 30,000-foot view that looks Pretty. Cotton-Pickin'. Feeb. ............. Mike Carp was .286/.325/.494 in the second half of 2011. He had 12 HR and 46 RBI in... Read More
One of yer all-time great 41-year-olds
Posted by jemanji on 12/24/12
. === Slow Down One Second, Guys === It's not far-fetched to believe that Rauuuul could be a better hitter, at age 41, than any of the in-house options available to Zduriencik. I was surprised to see that a fair number of age-41 players have hit well, including recently: Brian Downing - .407 OBP (!), 138 OPS+ in 400 plate appearances for Texas 1992 The Edgar - 300/400/500 season at age 40, roughly league-average hitting at age 41 Carlton Fisk - a 135 OPS+ at ages 41 *and* 42 for Chicago 1990-91 Paul Molitor - more BB's than K's, nearly league-average hitting for Minnesota in 1998 Dave... Read More
Walk down the middle of the hall or against the wall?
Posted by jemanji on 12/24/12
. I grok Russell Wilson's shtick. Tell you why. In sixth grade, Dr. D ran into the kid who was going to turn out to be a brotha from anotha motha. We spent the next seven school years taking the same classes, playing on the same basketball, football, etc etc teams, writing for the school paper, doing the Dungeons and Dragons thing ... on graduation we carpooled to the UW, and took jobs at the same Denny's on Pacific Highway. Dr. D married a Normandy Park girl from the same high school ... and brotha married this girl's sister, two grades younger. We've spent 30, 40, who knows how many... Read More
A strange species crossing the baseball tundra
. Bonderman's a two-pitch guy, and as you know, Dr. D is partial to these amigos. As a general rule, they can execute their pitches more consistently than average, and also they can get a very fine feel for when to whipsaw a batter with the "wrong" pitch. And they can get a feel for just how much of the plate is viable, at any given time. Lots of two-pitch starters dominate, and dominate consistently. Randy Johnson, of course. Curt Schilling. The young CC Sabathia, and Clayton Kershaw, and any number of high-octane lefties. Michael Pineda provided Seattle bloggers an object lesson in... Read More
Career ERA 4.89, career xFIP 4.03
. === Riddle Me This, Bat-Ter === If you just joined us, Bonderman is one of the game's great mysteries. His career xFIP is 4.03, because his career norms of 7.1 strikeouts, 3.1 walks, 1.1 homers, and 47% grounder rate --- > suggest a very good starter. For example, Ricky Romero's component stats for 2010-12 are very similar to Bonderman's, lifetime. Derek Holland and Matt Harrison are loosely comparable to Bonderman, from a Three True Outcomes standpoint. Jeff Neimann, 2010-12, is a carbon copy for Bonderman. Yet here sits Bonderman with a career ERA of 4.89. How in the world do you... Read More
To SP or not to SP ... whether 'tis nobler to close, Dept.
. Q. How likely, do you suppose, is Bonderman to be throwing the ball well in March? A. I'd be very surprised if he weren't. There's nothing wrong with bringing in a Kevin Millwood, see what he's got in the tank - if he's been garaged the last year or two, he's just as liable to come back with some octane in the tank. Note carefully that Capt. Jack is tabbing old workhorses who have been in dry dock for a while. Other GM's might think "rusty," or might have simply lost interest. Capt Jack seems to be thinking, "whey-protein recovery drink," and you might apply this to Hisashi Iwakuma to... Read More
Whether K'Mo IS such a thing, that's another Q
. === Chicks Dig the Long Ball, Dept. === I/O: Mojo sez in this comment, that Zduriencik likes the "balance for the offense" that will be coming through the Kendrys Morales pay station. He points out 28 one-run losses in 2012, a potential influence on Jesus Montero, and the third-order impact of having dangerous (HR-hitting) hitters. CRUNCH: Without a doubt, the first thing the Mariners need is GOOD hitters. Of any kind. Nick Swisher would help. Barry Bonds, even today, would help. Mike Hargrove 1972 would help. We all get that. A 6-run-per-27-outs hitter is what he is. That said,... Read More
Quibbles and bits, Dept.
. Excellent article today by Sully at LL. Now, there's a sentence that contains five trite observations in seven words. Dare you to top that, amigo. The excellent article is followed by a weird spitting match in the threads, but ... we'll raise one eyebrow, lower the other, and walk by. Like when you walk by The Crypt downtown. In any case, the question is interesting, and they have had it in the Cuisinart over there at BJOL this month. . === Talking Points === Talk to ANY big leaguer about giving up his switch hitting, and the conversation will last one-point-five seconds. "It's too late... Read More
Loch Ness Monster, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 12/20/12
. After, we sez after, our series that took y'down to Ko K'Mo, we heard from 'net legend autentico Inside Pitch. It had been, oh, two years since we'd heard from him, and he dropped us a line this morning about the Morales deal. Sitting atop the Trout-Hamilton-Pujols dragon hoard with a Cheshire Cat grin, he could afford to be magnanimous. You aren't going to believe this, those of you who aren't in on the joke, but this was Chance's scouting report without having seen the SSI shtick. More to the point, this was his scouting report not having cared about the SSI shtick, not having visited... Read More
Take me down to Ko K'Mo, dept.
. === Topics Du Jour === Nick Swisher, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Kendrys Morales are all cut from about the same cloth offensively. Fill up a batting order with their ilk, and you're looking at 6.0 runs per game. If you stipulated, before the fact, that Morales would be feeling good in 2013 and playing every day in, Dr. D would take Butler first, Gordon last, the other two in the middle. Kendrys takes a different road to Rome than the ones traveled by the other three. The other guys walk 70, 80, maybe 90 times per season, and lack dangerous home run power; Morales knew he wasn't going... Read More
Kyle Seager, tack on 50 lbs.? ... well, 20, back then
. === HIT Tool === Kendrys Morales is like Jesus Montero: a natural hitter who just happens to be strong like the buffalo there, Tatonka. He certainly puts a lot of steam on his bat accel, but the mechanics and swing shape are more Kyle Seager than Josh Hamilton. Here's a checklist: Kendrys ... Sinks his weight underside, with heavy thighs Keeps his hands verrrrry quiet Pulls his hands inside the ball and swings on the plane of the pitch (KBIZLT) Follows through compactly, and low You might look at his EYE ratio and assume he's a hacker. He's not. If anything, his walks are low simply... Read More
Solving the case of the missing PX
. Morales -- we're talking lefty in all these articles, unless otherwise stated -- has effortless power wayyyy out to right field, and out to center. He takes a compact path to the ball, ssnnnnaaaps the bat into the hitting area, and immediately upon Mr. THOCKKK!, the followthrough dissipates into wrist-only decel. Morales is physically clumsy by MLB standards, and the swing isn't graceful, exactly, but it's beautiful as measured by economy of motion. This was Dr. Emanuel Lasker's pragmatic definition of beauty: Everything in a system doing exactly one thing, nothing doing anything... Read More
Ko K'Mo as mediocrity? AAAaaaarrrgghhhhh
. Q. Is Kendrys Morales one of the most average players in the major leagues? A. He made Fangraphs' top five, and that seems to be the consensus. Here's an article on the subject. The obvious implication is that he's a mediocrity. For example, the article notes Paul Konerko's WAR at 2'ish and sighs, "it's too bad," since Konerko actually looks kinda good at the plate. As our servant, the WAR statistic is useful. As our master, it is a deceitful, exploitative tyrant. As we observed in this article, real GM's consistently pay less for no-hit WAR heroes than fanboys expect, and real GM's... Read More
Meet Cute, Dept.
. We never had gotten around to tellin' yer about the Biz Meet that Rsvlts.com had with Dr. D and the Klat crew. It was during the last home series with the stRangers, whenever that was. The Roosevelts guys, one of whom is sitting with Dave Niehaus in this picture, called up and asked Grant for some help putting together a piece on Safeco Field. These three New York entrepreneurs had taken a site from 1 hit to over a million hits a month, mostly by running high-def sports photos with titles like "15 High Quality Photos of Blake Griffin Dunking." We kid. Steve and John have a pitch-perfect... Read More
Cheap at twice the price, Dept.
. === Talking Points === Dr. D has known Silentpadna on and off the field for close to twenty years, which in Internet terms is what, oh, two geological eras or so?. He can assure you that there is no such thing as a homo sapiens with a calmer or more pleasant personality. When this man takes a megaphone, holds it two inches from your ear, and reams you out, then it is time to take radical action. Must be time to leak that I almost signed Josh Hamilton. ............... The great and powerful admins behind the SSI curtain, in relation to whom Dr. D's most-comparable player is the little... Read More
Tapping the chin over Michael Bourn
. Again splicing general baseball strategic insight ---> against --- > current tactical situations: . I was wondering if players' offensive or defensive values are mutually reinforcing enough with their teammates to change their relative values for different teams, or is value value? Ok, that doesn't make a lot of sense, so let me try an example...if a good fielding / mediocre hitting team and an all-bat, no-glove team are both looking for a shortstop, should they value the available players differently? Should the first team look to improve their strength or mitigate their weakness... Read More
Retreating to a rearward foxhole.
Fascinating peek behind the curtain from, not James in this case, but the Red Sox' VP: . The phils new SP, John Lannan , is 2-5with a 6- plus era in Citizens bank park. How much stock do u give such things generally and how much does it mean for pitching in cbp for lannan facing the nats braves mets etc? Asked by: PeteDecour Answered: 12/16/2012 It doesn't mean anything, except it expands my respect for the Phillies a little. If a player plays well against YOU, you'd be surprised how much that drives demand for him within an organization. It's unusual that a team would sign a player... Read More
Back to the dreary winter.
. Talking points, as opposed to analysis. Jus' crackin' peanut shells, throwing 'em over the rail, and watching a game. ................. Dr. D bears the M's no ill will, none whatsoever, for the Josh Hamilton whiff. Jon Heyman has it that the Mariners offered 4x$25, with two more years pretty easy to get, and he has it that the M's were bitterly disappointed to lose out on him. As to this specific transaction, it doesn't sound like there was anything the Mariners could do. .................. Rumor has it that Arte Moreno slammed a take-it-or-leave it offer, to prevent Hamilton from going... Read More
Jane, you ignorant misguided blogger.
. Hmmmmm. At the Bakery, our man Geoffy was pounding ants with sledgehammers, devoting 1500 words or so to the question of the 2012 Giants' lack of home runs. Somethin' seemed slightly wacky about the implied dialogue. Oh! It was 'cause the biggest blog has been doing its usual moral duty, overcoming emotion with intelligence. Guess we better re-read Geoffy's line of thought, this time with a little traction... oh. Nice job. He gets right to the point: the 2012 Giants did have marquee hitting, if not a lot of team HR's. . Q. The 2012 Giants won it all. They had no home runs. What do... Read More
Pooooor Dr. D and his gauche stimulus plans.
. Q. The Angels spent $300 million last year to bring in Pujols and Wilson, but the A's won more games. Money isn't very important. A. Dr. D is confused. The entire point of the WAR and VALUE statistics, woven into the fabric of Fangraphs' every page, is to position teams to spend money efficiently. And they want to spend money efficiently, of course, because if they spend money intelligently, they can get 45 WAR for their $100M instead of 40 WAR. ............ Then a team decides to raise its payroll by $40M, purchasing an extra 13 WAR, and now these 13 WAR don't matter very much? The... Read More
Quite a radical insight into baseball, if true
Posted by jemanji on 12/13/12
I thought you amigos would find this exchange pretty cotton-pickin' interesting. Any holdouts on that $3 a month over there? ;- ) . === RFox76 question at BJOL === Your thoughts on the Royals/Rays trade? Asked by: rfox76 Answered: 12/11/2012 === Bill James response === My local wrortes spider wrote a long column about trading "prospects" for major league players. I was just struck by what an absurd way this was to think about the puzzle put forward by the trade. The distinction between "prospect" and "player" is a distinction that exists in your head, a distinction based on... Read More
Kelly Gaffney takes the blog-o-sphere deep
Posted by jemanji on 12/13/12
. Dr. K's point right here: "The franchise value has increased from 48% over those nine years, but over the time period the value of the Rangers has increased by 120% and the value of the Angels by 417%*." Lemme pull rank here a bit, as (apparently) the Seattle blogger most familiar with 7th-floor steering committees. F-500 execs live and die by market share, live and die by the question of, "How are we doing compared to other people selling the same thing?" Dr. Kelly's point not only has traction; it's a point that has so much traction that it had buried jemanji in oblivion. It hadn't... Read More
Imagine throwing away a perfectly good minor leaguer just to get an ML star
. Q. Does SSI agree that the Royals were using 1955 evaluations methods to rationalize this trade? A. The analysis of this trade is way off the mark. Come on: the Kansas City Royals traded a real nice prospect for a major league #1 starter. And they traded three very replaceable prospects for Wade Davis, who is roughly compable to Hisashi Iwakuma or Charlie Furbush. When you've hit the point that you think it's Insane, or Feebleminded, or Nineteen Fifty Five, or whatever, to deal your best prospect for a great major league pitcher, your keister is being swallowed up by your... Read More
Myersmania run amok
. Q. Okay, when you put it that way, a blue-chip prospect for a ML ace. But why is everybody apoplectic? A. Because they tend see prospects as being worth about three times what they actually are, and because they wayyyy overrate Wil Myers. . Q. But this even looks bad compared to the Bedard trade. A. Trying to win an argument by the mind-numbing, machine-like repetition of opinion as fact? That is the very definition of propaganda. Jones scored 13 WAR in 5 seasons for Baltimore; the other players were manure. The M's traded for an ML ace who had led the league in xFIP the previous... Read More
Twelfth of Never, Dept.
. Q. You said there were two reasons that people overreact to the Royals' deal ... what's this shtick about people overrating Wil Myers? A. Let's run today's mailbox at Bill James' place: Bill any thoughts on why the Phillies just trade for Michael Young? The NL doesnt have a DH and Michael Young cant field. Asked by: Steve9753 Answered: 12/9/2012 1) He's a very respected clubhouse guy. 2) They could have a different evaluation of his defense than you do. It is precisely here, in this barren wilderness, that we find the water of life as it pertains to the human condition. "THEY... Read More
Never has Dr. D rooted so hard for the stRangers to sign an ace
. If you nodded your agreement along with the "Bourn and WAR Heroes" post, you'll probably be headbanging to this post. Hit 'em here, b'wana. That arrow still lights up Las Vegas-style, and Montero's got your back. Run Forrest Run, Dr D .
And ... yep, now we're talkin'
. Q. Why 'talking points' and not 'player of the day'? A. The above phone-cam of Dr. D is the basic reason. It limits him to stream-of-consciousness, assuming that the consciousness part holds up for another half hour. His shtick will be off-the-cuff, with minimal bookwork, and anyhow Holland is a fleeting rumor as opposed to a potential Mariner. You know your two options. One of them is 'take it.' . Q. SSI is bullish or bearish? A. Wayyyyyy bullish. Last winter, we posted this absurd article about a young AL lefthander who'd been walking 4-5 men per game. We recommended giving a... Read More
Babies and Bathwater, Dept.
. Q. Is it possible for local fans to over-hype their own prospects? A. Asked and answered. . Q. Are Seattle fans doing this with Danny Hultzen? A. Danny Hultzen was THE NUMBER TWO PICK IN THE ENTIRE DRAFT. Look, gentlemen, if we were talking about Mike Carp or Alex Liddi or Kyle Seager or Carlos Peguero, that would be one thing. But don't paint every prospect hopeful with the same "he's just a prospect" brush. Each year there are four or five super-prospects. You don't luck into a Danny Hultzen, dump $10.6 million on him, and then lose interest when he walks a few guys in his first pro... Read More
5 WAR a year? I'd pay him for 2 or 3
. Q. This guy had 6.1 WAR last season, was a Fangraphs short-list MVP candidate. What is SSI's reaction to Michael Bourn? A. Dr. D knows jack about the NL, so he flipped over to b-ref.com for a quick eyeball. OHHHH NOOOOooooooo ... another one of these soft-skills WAR mirages who contributes everywhere EXCEPT in the batter's box. And: he's a leadoff hitter who fans 150 times a year?! Dr. D's stomach did a slow roll back from the left, to dead bottom, over to the right, and emptied itself over the rail. . Q. C'mon. He's a defensive specialist who contributes at the plate. He's not... Read More
Dr. D does respect the concept of leadoff hitting
. Q. Isn't Michael Bourn pretty much an Ichiro who plays CF? A. He is not, no. Ichiro racked up 6-7 runs per 27 outs for the decade of the 00's, this playing in Safeco Field. Michael Bourn is a 4.5 RC/27 player. As leadoff hitters go, that's like three standard deviations. Tons of leadoff hitters generate 4.5, 5.0 runs per game in National League, friendly-park conditions. Only a few leadoff hitters in baseball history could have posted Ichiro's 6-7 runs created at Safeco. . Q. What is the value of his UZR and baserunning? A. After SSI and friends, notably KGaffney and Dr Grumpy,... Read More
rrrreeeaaaaching for justification
. === Talking Points === 1. Jason Bay is, as Jeff Sullivan aptly put it, "another team's Chone Figgins." His article is perfect, with a capital P. ...................... 2. Bay is the equivalent of a non-roster invitee, a Kevin Millwood type, you bring him in to see what's left in the tank ... and it is entirely possible that his recent struggles are tied to shoulder problems. Especially in terms of his Power Index. There's logic in asking, "Have his shoulders recovered?" and bringing him to camp to see if he pulls a Millwood. .................... 3. Even if Bay felt really good in March... Read More
Dr. D's stomach does a slow roll to the left
Posted by jemanji on 12/03/12
. Q. Quick, Hobson - the good news. A. Gotta start with the bad, sorry. Take heart; it will make the good seem that much better. When a migraine lets up you feel like oxygen is a precious gift. . Q. Could he be a Raul Ibanez? Frozen out of the bigs until his late 20's, but then blooming (very) late)? A. He could NOT, no. There is as much chance of Anthony Vasquez becoming Jamie Moyer as of Garrett Jones becoming Raul Ibanez. Raul always had a solid EYE ratio; Jones will never have a decent EYE ratio. EYE is not only about telling a ball from a strike early in the flight of the ball... Read More
If you squint, you can see him helping
Posted by jemanji on 12/03/12
. Q. NOW could you get to the good? A. Jones is listed at 230, looks 260, and when he hits 'em they stay hit. His average HR last year was over 400 feet and the exit velocity was 105 - average. His HR's, in real games, are classic "Home Run Derby" shots, pulled to straightaway left, 425 feet. And here comes the good part -- in 2012, he got better at picking his pitch and launching it. His pull rate went up in 2012.* He's been in the majors a few years, he's acclimated, and he's launching home runs deliberately. We're going to keep going over it until it gains some traction ... right now... Read More