Pot Shots
Hey, if the target could defend himself, would we be shooting? I think NOT

"I think we finally got to a point where we settled things down a little bit," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It [the bullpen]was so hectic with so many guys getting hurt or released or whatever it was and we got it to where we want it to be right now ...


Note that if you were an active GM and the field manager said that, your uncomfortable meter would bob up several notches.  Managers are supposed to be very, very eggshell walkable on this idea.  Never do you even hint that the 25-man roster is any part of the problemo.  Now, McClendon sighs and (obliquely) expresses his frustration with the swap-and-shop bullpen in 2015.  ... and that's several times now that Dr. D has gotten the vibe that McClendon is relieved to have Zduriencik out.

But, why wouldn't he be?  Is McClendon so different from Eric Wedge, who went nutso on the M's the moment he was free?


Carson Smith is once again kicking booty and taking names in the 7th and 8th.  Tom Wilhelmsen is doing all anybody has to do in the 9th:  throw strikes and not panic.  You get a closer and a setup guy lookin' solid, and suddenly everybody else looks way better than they are.

If you want to squint hard and kick Jack Z when he's down for the "dozen decisions" that went wrong ... a Pat Gillick might have looked at the 2015 Fernando Rodney and said, "I don' think so."  In Dr. D's mind, this is the obvious place to shop in the offseason, for an absolutely reliable 9th inning guy.  That guy doesn't have to be Craig Kimbrel-talented.  Half the time he is pitching to a 3-run lead with a clean set of bases.  How hard IS it to get three outs before two runs score?  Don't you EXPECT any mediocre starting pitcher to do that, tonight, in the first inning?

When they anoint Dr. D GM, he goes out and gets a Grant Balfour type to "close" the game and uses Wilhelmsen as a backup closer (or as the #5 starter).  They've got the bullpen shimm'ed up now, but don't get overconfident, there.


Kingston says that after the Logo gives us 30 games in center, the M's will know whether they need to go get a center fielder this winter.  Pot shots:

1.  He's right about that.  The M's have crazy internal defensive metrics, calculating start-and-stop OF arrival time to the 100th's of seconds.  Sure, thirty games will be plenty.

2.  If that's what the M's do -- purchase nobody who can play CF -- then the Logo is ossified there.  And that means SS is "Ketel Marte if he can hit already at 21," or Chris Taylor if Marte can't.  One negative about Logo, CF:  Miller is a perfectly competent defensive shortstop, a 2-3 WAR man as a given for 2016, and you're stripping yourself of that.

I'm down with that idea, I guess.  But it's one of those dozen decisions for 2016.  Right HERE is where you'd see different GM's do different things, and do them differently with gusto.  And since you bring that up, what is the new GM's role in this?  Apparently it's to take the info "Brad Miller can cover CF," which he of course can, and then decide whether it's a config that will win.

Will it?  Well, right NOW the M's lineup is on a rampage.  With the Logo in center.


Jerry DiPoto, you say?  Dr. D has a few thoughts at his second site.


Does it matter whether a pitcher has been "hot" his last five games?  If Hisashi Iwakuma has been great his last 4 starts, is he more likely to be great his next start than he would otherwise be?

James studied it and found that yes, if a pitcher was good in his LAST start, he's more likely to be aces this time.  And he's that much more likely to be good if coming off 2 good starts.  And more likely yet if he's coming off 3 good starts.  And so on.  This surprised his readers, but does not surprise roto champions.  That's the first thing you do if SABRMatt offers you Matt Shoemaker for Brad Miller, last 2 months of the year.  You look up Shoemaker's "Shandler Quality Starts" the last five games.

As part of the study, James also checked if it matters that a SP has been good his last THIRTY starts ... and what would you rather have?  A good pitcher who's not hot, like Hisashi Iwakuma after he was blasted his first game back, or an ungood pitcher who has just thrown two shutouts, like Mike Montgomery?

You'd rather have Iwakuma.  Surprise surprise.  But that doesn't mean being "hot" doesn't matter too.


Applying this to Taijuan Walker ... Taijuan is what he is right now.  Wednesday night, he was sloppy and annoying the first three innings, and then settled in.  It's like his arm was a little tired.  Here's an example where --- > his last four starts don't matter that much.  You'll get what you get, either Taijuan Sharp or Taijuan Sloppy Joe Mix, and there's no predicting it.

But in certain situations, you can indeed "guess" where a pitcher is headed, short-term and long-term.  Bill gets some grumpy sabes who want to know why people ever use their eyes instead of stats, and he nicely replies, 


And, of course, one can sometimes "see" changes in a pitcher's skill level without relying on the stats. Zack Greinke in 2008 was kind of a .500 pitcher most of the year, but I moved back from Boston to KC in August, 2008, and went to a game in KC. I happened to have really good seats behind the first base dugout, and after the game I wrote back to the guys in Boston that Greinke had become the best pitcher in baseball, which he demonstrated the next season that he was. You could just see it. . .he was throwing 96 with no effort and had A+ command of every pitch. I remember a similar game that Dave Stewart pitched in KC (against KC) in late 1984; Dave Stewart in 1984 was 7-14 with a 4.73 ERA, but I remember thinking "I don't know what's up with the record, but that was one whale of a pitcher I saw tonight." He actually didn't get it turned around until mid-season 1986, but it was always there.


You're not going to see it in the stats, and you can't even see it with your eyes yet.  But the template's there, and the download's there, and Taijuan is one plateau leap from being Chris Archer.

- See more at: http://baseball.seattlesportsinsider.com/node/217436#sthash.Tw3PtJID.dpuf



CblakeWork's picture

Miller may be able to play a competent CF, but should he?  I belive that its easier to find a competent CF than it is to find a good SS who can hit.   Positional scarcity.  Miller is a much more valuable chip as a good offensive and defensive Short Stop than as a competent CF.  Even if he plays CF defense well, its still a hit to his value.  

There are so few good offensive shotstops that if you had one to trade, you should be able to get a good CF plus another good player in trade.  I think its a waste to move Brad to the OF, unless you are really unsure about Marte and Taylor and want a safety net.  (but then you are back to having a hole at CF).  He is the 6th best offensive SS in all of baseball, and in the top 10 of SS defensively (rf), but offensively as a CF wouldn't be in the top half of starters.

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