*cue the Jaws theme*
Posted by Spectator on 03/31/13
As noted in the Shout Box, I have cut and pasted Gordon's article into a new post. Unfortunately, it loses his pictures. Hopefully it can get patched up later, but at least we have Gordon's text for now. -- Spec Somebody's coming up on the majors looking for blood in the water. Some of you may know that I'm a huge Nick Franklin fan, and have been since draft night. When Jason Churchill called him the worst pick in the first round I was flabbergasted, so I went looking for the reasons that would be and couldn't find many I could agree with. And sure enough, he's a top-50 prospect with all... Read More
The key to his game on a night-in, night-out basis
Posted by jemanji on 03/30/13
. In last Saturday's cartoon section, we offered this little puzzle: Open this Brandon Maurer vid in a new window. See if you can find the reasons that his slider is functionally invisible... Here are the pitches, in sequence. 0:15 - 87 changeup 0:24 - 86 high slider to LHB (contradiction in terms) 0:34 - 84 slider low-away to RHB, garbage swing 0:44 - 84 slider cap-to-knees vs RHB, garbage swing 0:51 - 86 slider letter high, topped 1:00 - 74 change curve 1:15 - 85 slider low-away to RHB, garbage swing Per F/X, Maurer's slider has a normal break ... -0.0 sideways, actually +2.0 inches up... Read More
Go fer yer guns, pardner Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/30/13
. I/O: In the Times 2013 season preview live chat, a beat writer is asked why a reader should cough up $14 per month to read his shtick. The writer's acid reply: you can learn more in 5 minutes from actually being around a team, than you can in a month's worth of "watching the team on TV from 1,000 miles away, even if bloggers' guesswork turns out to be right once in a while." Or words to the same effect. CRUNCH: Way to draw down, pardner. Gotta love it :- ) ... HEH! To tell you the truth, Dr. D hates over-reactions on stuff like this. Who wants to read Blogger X going into a self-... Read More
VERY Comparable Players, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/26/13
. The problem we have is that we're doubled up basically everywhere on the field. We have too many players who can fill the same roles, with a similar talent level. Pretty Boy version--------Evil Goatee version Nick Franklin -------------- Brad Miller Jesus Montero ----------- Mike Zunino Danny Hultzen ----------- Erasmo Ramirez James Paxton ------------ Brandon Maurer Carter Capps ------------- Stephen Pryor I could trade ALL the guys on the left, and replace literally ALL of them with the guys on the right, and we might never know the difference on the field. Heck, we might be better with... Read More
Most-comparable MLB arsenal: Ryan Dempster
Posted by jemanji on 03/26/13
. If you like crossword puzzles, cool. If Sudoku's more your thing, great. If you want to try Baseball Sudoku, we got one for you. Open this Brandon Maurer vid in a new window. See if you can find the reasons that his slider is functionally invisible... Here are the pitches, in sequence. 0:15 - 87 changeup 0:24 - 86 high slider to LHB (contradiction in terms) 0:34 - 84 slider low-away to RHB, garbage swing 0:44 - 84 slider cap-to-knees vs RHB, garbage swing 0:51 - 86 slider letter high, topped 1:00 - 74 change curve 1:15 - 85 slider low-away to RHB, garbage swing Per F/X, Maurer's slider... Read More
Freddy Garcia v2.0
. I was Drop Dead Freddy's biggest fan. Brandon Maurer's emergence as ROY candidate is sweet. Like ice cream. The fact that he's 22 k, 6 bb, 0 hr after 20 IP is fine. But what we're talking about is the sheer repeatability of Maurer's game. In 1999, one game gave you All. You. Needed. to Know. There was no defense, practical or theoretical, to what Freddy was doing out there. And Freddy knew it. The sneer on Freddy's lip, right from his first game as a rookie, transcended any cliches about "we'll wait and see." Freddy won his first game, and he won his second game, and he did so... Read More
Wile E. Coyote Dept.
. === Just The Fa'ax, Ma'am === Coming into Monday's game against the Reds, Justin Smoak had the following statline: AB 2B HR AVG OBP SLG BB K 49 7 4 .408 .434 .796 3 13 90 45 35 140 Then today he had two more hits in his first two AB's. The third line gives a projected total over the course of about 550 AB's, after those two AB's. The single-season record for doubles is 67, set by Earl Webb in 1931; all the highest doubles totals are from the 1930's.* In recent times there have been a few seasons in which batters got their doubles into the 50's. We know, LrKrBoi29, we know. Eight... Read More
It's all in the marketing, young Padawan
PHXTerry turned us on to Ryan Divish' column. First look was pretty solid. Good call bro'. . Q. Is there anything cool about having Ramirez in the bullpen? A. Ryan's take was that if Erasmo is sent to the bullpen, it will be for positive reasons -- he's the one who is good there, and he's the one who can go three, four innings as needed. Dr. D, as you do, loathes the idea of having Erasmo throw MEANINGLESS innings out of the pen. If he went to the pen to get into 7-1 games, that would be a bummer. But that doesn't have to be the way. I think of the POSITIVE long man role as the Ramiro... Read More
He don' sweat the Swing Man role
. Q. The SP Stack role would buffer Ramirez' IP, too, right? A. Nah... In a vacuum, you could say, maybe it's a good thing to buffer Ramirez' innings a little. If you let him go one, two months out of the pen, then he can go full guns over his last 25 starts. He'll be fresh for our October stomp through the postseason, right? I might apply this to some pitchers. I would NOT apply it to Erasmo Ramirez. If he's not ready for 200 in 2013, there's no such thing as a pitcher his age who is ready. We're talking sabermetrically, not physically. The BaseballHQ "rule" is not to increase a... Read More
No crying in baseball, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/23/13
. dig if you will, the picture you and i engaged in a miss why do we debate each other? this is what it sounds like - when doc cries . Like Steve Martin said in My Blue Heaven. If you're sayin' that SSI was already rooting for Erasmo and Maurer? You got a point. But this is still da troot'. . === Release Point === The peanut gallery wanted to know, did Blake Fister give up 9 runs and 16 hits because his catcher was detonated by a bat to the hairline? The gallery has a sure answer on that one. That was not the reason. Not probably not the reason. It was definitely not the reason. From... Read More
J'ever Notice? He says more on TV than he says to the media
Posted by jemanji on 03/23/13
. During the March 23rd game broadcast, Zduriencik stepped into the booth and Mike Blowers didn't hesitate to ask sensitive questions. We leaned in close to hear what Z said and didn't say. . === Jon Garland === As we knew, Garland demanded a rotation slot guarantee - or else the opportunity to go get one some place else. What we didn't know was, according to Zduriencik, that the Mariners didn't like the idea of committing the year's salary to him. Zduriencik considered that Garland's layoff created doubt as to whether Garland would hold up the entire year as a starter. He'd maxed at (I... Read More
Glass Half Full, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/22/13
. The headline is tongue in cheek, LrKrBoi29. Just so you know. What do we as Mariners fans LIKE about powerflushing the potential 17-win seasons of Brandon Maurer and Erasmo Ramirez? .................... In 2005, Jon Garland went 18-10, 3.50 for the White Sox and finished #6 in the AL Cy Young voting. It's not like he threw a completely different arsenal back then. With the 2013 Jon Garland, we are not talking about the difference between the 1999 and 2012 versions of Freddy Garcia. Jon Garland got that done with pretty much the same stuff he has now. He had 4.7 strikeouts and 1.9 walks... Read More
Deal With It, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/22/13
. Loosely speaking, I put him in an Aaron Sele Yakker-Only template, as far as his attack style. Although his pitches look quite a bit different in flight. He pitches off the threat of a ball rolling off the table on you. Three distinctive things about him: . === 132 Wins === Garland's game is highly repeatable. He's not a Danny Hultzen 2013 who would lock you down one night, and get blasted the next night. He will execute his pitches the same way on a game-in, game-out basis. Sometimes the grounders will go through holes; sometimes a fly ball will go over the fence. As KGaffney has... Read More
Richard Sherman LESS' EAT! Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/19/13
. === Comments Thread === Fascinating performance by Brandon Maurer. Here's a comments thread in the hopes that G-Moneyball and Lonnie of MC will take a few bows :- ) .......... Maurer reminded me most of the 1999 rookie Freddy Garcia, if you disregard the specific shape of the breaking pitches. The MARINERS don't question whether Maurer is ready to pitch now; the question is whether they want to score the 7th year of club control. It would be the height of naivete, at field level, to question Maurer's place in a big league dugout. First thing they talked about on the broadcast was the... Read More
I am a wild and crrrrazy guy, Dept.
. Q. From the club that brought you Felix and Vargas doing the Bedard-O-Tron ... now we get Blake Fister? A. This goes way, way beyond Beavan taking "inspiration" from Fister. Blake Beavan is rolling a clubhouse comedy routine out there on the mound. Here's a video. Beavan: Does his rock step in sharp, mechanical fashion Rocks forward with hands tight into the belt buckle, keeping levers stiff and board-like Rocks backward in the awkward, Fister-like "bobbing thermometer bird" motion Kicks the knee comically high Rocks the shoulders back to the CF Sweeps the glove out at the batter in... Read More
Bring It!, dept.
. Q. Is the Blake Fister pitching motion actually affecting the flight of the ball? A. It has totally warped every breaking pitch in his arsenal. He now has three completely different breaking pitches from what he had in 2012. But let's talk fastball. More groundballs, you ask? Blake's heater has changed thusly ... Thanks to the gracious Brooks baseball site, here is the release point from October 3, 2012 below. Notice that the pitches cluster around the 5' 10" level: Release point from March 17, 2013 below. The spread is from 6' up to nearly 7'... if you don't think it's hard... Read More
ANY, um, Change from 2012 would have been good enough, but...
. Q. What's different about FistVan's changeup, now that he's coming over the top? A. That he HAS one. Here is the movement chart from his last start of 2012. See the big clump of pitches within the red circle? That was his "slider." So he threw two changeups -- the 82-84 MPH pitches that swerved armside (chart is from the catcher's point of view). And that was well advised. Beavan's changeup last year had ... WHAT run value? Here, we'll make you click over to the hyperlink, so that the point sinks in properly. As you know, Shao Lin disciples must wait lotus position in the rain... Read More
His 3rd-best pitch on March. 17
. Q. How was his slider last year? A. Average-mediocre, very mushy, pretty good command. It was the only self-defense he had out there. Here, check his pitch values ... the curve is on there with an OK value, but the change curve was thrown only for show. The curve was thrown less than 10% of the time and the only reason it had an OK value was because there was no pressure on the pitch. Last year, Beavan had a located fastball and a mushy slider. Here, we'll run his Oct. 3 pitch chart again: Fastball and slider. He was desperately trying to keep them off his fastball, throwing tons... Read More
Extreme Makeover, dept.
. Q. Beavan said that his yellow hammer was his K.O. pitch? A. If he says so, I guess. Looked to me like his 4th pitch for sure. But if that's his intention, great. That tells us where he's going with it. Cool by me. The Japanese 71 MPH change curve is one of my favorite pitches to watch, but I've got to admit that not many RHP's can get away with it in the majors. Lefties? You get David Wells and Barry Zito using those awesome bloop curves, but for whatever reason the righthanders don't seem very effective with it. . Q. Does ANY righthander throw the change curve well? A. Cue up... Read More
And Dr. D is getting wayyyyy too ticked off about it :- )
. HOT SEAT: The Times hanging on every Erasmo Ramirez pitch as though he were an NPB import trying to show who he was. DR D, in AUDIO MODE: The human mind is a funny thing. We have a wonderful capacity to re-set. We have the ability to completely forget the problems of yesterday, and simply move on starting with a blank piece of paper. This can be helpful, say, when you've caught your wife having an affair and she apologizes by bringing home a red negligee. It's not as helpful when you have a young kid who is a demonstrated 1+ BB pitcher with three strikeout pitches, and you forget that... Read More
Now we are talking SPORTS
. It was 1990 or 1991 when I went into work on a Monday. One of my bosses, a grave, dignified man, had just watched the Huskies destroy USC or somebody. With that hilarious defense that put 9 men in the box and just crashed everybody. Google STEVE EMTMAN, kid. Then he'd watched the Seahawks on Sunday, and in those days they weren't exactly lighting it up. Anyway, Jowls Executive nodded his head sagely and told me, "You know what, I'd rather watch college football ANY DAY than the NFL. Those kids really care about what they're doing." I thought, um, yeah, I've got a bit of a clue as to... Read More
Nice to know I still care about baseball, anyway
. Grumpy sez, The only justification for keeping E ram down is protecting his elbow with a light start for the season. Remember he was on the DL last year. Number one predictor of pitcher health (or lack thereof)? IIRC, injury or time on DL in the prior year. Maybe they want to have him available for a playoff push? Or may the the plan is to trade him? Those are the only scenarios that make any sense. . Dr. D is preaching to the choir here. We realize that much. And let's get one thing straight: if the local blogs have the M's ear on anything -- such as Brandon League's pitch selection --... Read More
Bah humbug, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/15/13
. In the 1995 Player Ratings Handbook, Bill James taught us one thing we never forgot. (He reviewed each MLB player with the kind of Q-and-A-yourself shtick that we use here, and I liked the way it chunked the information.) He stated in the introduction that he wasn't going to "ask" any question -- ANY question -- that more than 50% of his readers already knew the answer to. In other words, he was going to keep it fresh. So when ventilating our outrage over the March decisionmaking, we're not going to restate these points: phxterry: At some point, talent & upside have to prevail in... Read More
Seahawks now officially a prime Super Bowl contender
Posted by jemanji on 03/12/13
. Even if you're a casual football fan, you're aware that a classic dynasty football offense includes the following: One star QB One franchise RB One truly feature WR To take one example among a host of others ... the Dallas Cowboys ruled the NFC with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Thomas and Michael Irvin. As long as they had those three components in place, they could shuffle the other things around and still go to war with an offense that left them afraid of no one. Back in the day, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann took the Steelers to four Super Bowl championships. It's not a 1970's... Read More
Place yer bets, genn'lmen
Posted by jemanji on 03/12/13
. Q. Will Saunders become a superstar? A. Every blog and every reader is going to do exactly the same thing here. Turn on the TV and watch Saunders in 2013 and find out. Our March vote as to whether he's an impending MVP candidate or not, it's not going to change reality. We'll watch and see. . Q. What's more impressive? Saunders' Sept. 2012, or his March 2013, or Ernie Whitt calling him a superstar? Or do none of these matter? A. Dr. D is intrigued as follows: Only slightly intrigued by Saunders' Sept. 2012. Not intrigued by the March 2013 in a vacuum. Moderately intrigued by the... Read More
Logically, Mr. Spock, the conclusion is inescapable
Posted by jemanji on 03/09/13
. Baker was axed, via Twitter, whether the Condor could suffer in competition because of being away at the WBC. His terse reply: "Nope. He's the starter in LF or RF" It registers in Dr. D's molasses-slow mind that this gives us a starting lineup, including batting order, though Smoak's slot especially is in flux. We'll skip the trite and cliche'd caveats about things being set in stone. We'll also skip the hackneyed caveats about spring training logic. EVERYbody knows what the caveats are. If I were an Angel fan, and playing roto, here's where I'd be pegging these guys on my draft... Read More
Talk spelled backwards, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 03/08/13
. Hm. The Bakery is going to start charging, you say? OH NOOoooooo... makes sense, though. Conversation in the Shout Box is running like so: Speaking of SSI not having a subscription (which I am thankful for!), but... How does Klat make money? I don't see any ads or anything...10 min 21 sec ago OBF: Wow, can Noesi just go away now... And Ruffin? What happened to him?? He was supposed to be the jewel of the Fister trade not Wells... oh well.14 min 45 sec ago DaddyO: Yes, the TImes decision will have interesting repercussions, Griz. Re: the conduct, that's for sure. I completely... Read More
Dr. D getting punch-drunk from victory reports out of every quadrant
Posted by jemanji on 03/07/13
. === Stefen Romero === RockiesJeff, our resident high school baseball coach, wondered if SSI had a prediction on this dude... Prediction? It seems that you get to looking at these prospects, more and more, as nothing more dice rolls. Sigh. At this point, wouldn't we give Romero the same chance we'd give most of the hitters who are in Baseball America's top 51-99 prospects? Which is to say, probably a 40-50% chance of getting 3,000 AB's in the bigs, and a good 10%, 20% chance of becoming an impact player. That's kind of a cop-out ... I'll tell you something, kiddies, I could see Romero... Read More
Batting line 5 4 4 7 as M's crush The Invincibles
Posted by jemanji on 03/07/13
. Q. Was this particular ballgame "intriguing" for Romero? A. It was, yes. Here's the video clip of his home run off Guillermo Moscoso. It intrigues us about the very things that intrigued us about Stefen Romero. Very intriguing. . Q. What intrigued you about Stefen Romero? Previously? A. Watching him hit in the minors -- via tapes -- we observed that there are three special things about Romero: Very compact into the ball, no apparent "load," yet with authority Special wrists and forearm Special relaxation This, of course, echoes a certain past Mariner who has a street named after him... Read More
What MADE Howard an outlier? Bill James explains ...
. Spectator with an intruiging 3-parter about Peguero's intrigue. We were so happy with his series that we wanted to kick Spectator's excellent can down the playground a little ways. Hold it - that didn't come out quite right - . Spec outlines 4x kinds of power hitters for us and asks, "Into which sector do we put Carlos Peguero?" We're flattered that amigos are applying our ... um, James' ... habit of sorting players into templates. But let's kick that excellent can down the road by proposing a 5th template. In Bill James' groundbreaking February 2009 article, "What I Have Learned About... Read More
90+ losses with Swagger, baby
. Mojo sez, "So, is it safe to say that the Mariners are officially a good team?" . To which MVP-caliber poster MtGrizzly confidently says, "Huh?" "It's only safe to say that the Mariners have played well for the first two weeks of spring training. That is, unless it's safe to say that KC is also a good team. I won't take much seriously until after the WBC. Once those players come back and the kids are mostly all busted down to minor league camp - that's when things will get interesting." . Sully sez, I get a kick out of the people who feel like they have to remind me that it's spring... Read More
The one person we never ask
. There are three different ways to complete the same "Appeal to Authority" syllogism. Here's the way that Wikipedia completes it: 1 Most of what authority A has to say on subject matter S is correct. 2 A says P about subject matter S. 3 Therefore, P is correct. ............... Here's the way that a certain brand of grad student -- the contemptuous species, we mean -- dismisses all reference to any authority that is out of favor with him: 1 All of what authority A has to say on subject matter S is believed to be correct -- but only by mind-numbed robots who have fewer than 90 college... Read More
The Raul Rx reflects the correct diagnosis
Posted by Spectator on 03/03/13
Am I behind in my minor league responsibilities? Yes, but I'm gonna just pop in here for a quick response. First, a brief note about putting all of baseball into one number (be it OPS+, wRC+, WAR or whatever) -- it can and will blur things that ought not be blurred. On-base skill is yes/no, 0/1, on-base/not-on-base. ISO (SLG-BA) is weighted -- double worth more, triple more than that, home run most. When you smush them together, there's a tendency to think that one 120 OPS+ guy is more-or-less interchangable with another. But not so. *** 2012 Mariners diagnosis #1: ISO shortage! Three guys... Read More
Mess with us at your PERIL
Posted by jemanji on 03/02/13
. For those just joining us: Hot Seat, the way we'd sound on radio. Off the cuff. Virtual radio, no facts, no figures, light on the data, heavy on the human reaction. . HOT SEAT: Franklin Gutierrez looks great, and looks great in all the right ways. Tape-measure shots to CF. Whattaya think? DR D, NO MALICE AFORETHOUGHT, IN FACT NO AFORETHOUGHT aforethought: The 2009 Franklin Gutierrez was credited with 7.0 WAR, which was a giant blemish on WAR's face. Gutierrez was a league-average hitter playing a real good center field. The idea that this "7.0 WAR" player is worth more than, say,... Read More
Flotsam to be Jetsam'ed
Posted by jemanji on 03/02/13
. In January, SSI signed off on --- > the general idea of bringing in some vets who could get a "hard RBI" once in a while. There was a problem. That problem was that the kids were Overweight-and-Overwhelmed, as Tony would say. It says here that this problem no longer exists. Let's say that the spring offensive juggernaut is a complete mirage -- that none of it, 0% of it, is real. Justin Smoak is going to turn out to be a powerflush; his career will be a tragedy. Franklin Gutierrez is going to yak up his spleen in the fifth inning tomorrow and the M's will have to play 2013 with... Read More
"Can you come back from an 0.11 EYE?"
Posted by jemanji on 03/01/13
. Q. Can we call Peguero's spring "intriguing" yet? A. After today, I'm intrigued. Bear in mind that Zduriencik and Wedge believe that Peguero could learn to hit. They've had a good long look at him, and this is what they do for a living, and they can visualize a leap. . Q. Would there be any precedent for a guy with an EYE like THAT? A. Peguero's EYE so far in the majors is 0.11, which is gasp-inducing. You saw the strikeouts. Also very important is the fact that Peguero's EYE in the minors was 0.22. We are not talking about a good hitter who was called up too early. We're talking... Read More