Postcard, 2


=== Und Take Zat Mit You, Dept. ===

Ichiro came up with Ackley on first and Wood got into a hitter's count.  "Hitting third, Ichiro has to take a cut," he sez.  Two pitches later, Ichiro goes 380-390 feet down the line, wayyyyyy over the "dugout" bullpen, way up on the grass.  We have to wait for him to start circling the bases before we know it's fair.

One of the young scouts asks one of the older ones, "What's our guy supposed to have?"  Shortstop the Elder kinda shrugs.  "Nothin'.  Savvy."

Travis Wood, a young Cole Hamels wannabe from the Reds.  Decent fastball, works off his changeup, but he's antsy around this fearsome Mariners lineup.  Ackley, Seager, and most of the Mariners are up there visibly wishing him harm.  I grok that he is a little bit afraid of them.

Justin Smoak leads off, what was it, the third?, with a rifled shot through the infield.  Wood falls behind Jesus Montero 2-and-1.  I decide to twiddle with the scouts again.  If I'm lyin' I'm dyin', LrKrBoi29.

On 2-and-1, with the score 7-2 his favor .... "Wood ain't gonna want to walk the second guy on with no outs.  If he grooves this one, Montero's going out on the bermmmmm CRACKKK!  Montero swings and there goes the ball ... TOLJA!! I said absolutely involuntarily.  ... the ball was maybe 10' off the ground.  I was seriously worried that somebody got hurt out there on the grass.  I did not notice the front row saying anything for several minutes. 

;- )


Kyle Seager is taking big, big swings at the ball.  Yesterday the game was hailed out, but before it was, he'd hit what would now have been (what's the verb tense on that phrase, Zum-Bro!? subjunctive future perfect?  Top that!) his fifth (5th) home run of the spring.

Seager follows Montero's blast with one that went even farther - 400 feet with ease, wayyyyy over the 385 mark, almost clearing the grass up there.

Ackley also:  he stands with his front foot actually touching his back foot, a little offset, almost as if he wished that he could two-step like Babe Ruth.  He still wraps that bat in such sinister manner, AND he takes a Jay Buhner 4-foot stride into the pitch.  His shoulders are jerked hard at the finish of his swing with the force of his effort.  We are talking about the hardest swing in major league baseball, pound for pound.  No wonder he's got 6 doubles, 2 triples and 1 homer already.

Today he had two walks off the lefty, who was visibly unnerved by the swing, or should have been...

The UNC teammates are getting their feet under them, and they are going out there with bad intentions now.  Justin Smoak was on everything all day.  The whole lineup .... well, Chone Figgins doesn't visibly look any different.  But I've got 10:03 left on my angry little timer...


Jesus Montero sits with his feet wiiiiiiiide apart, sinks wayyyyyy down into the at-bat. 

For those who just joined us, Jeff Bagwell and, to a lesser extent, Mark McGwire used to do this.  They're de-emphasizing their lower halves and emphasizing their arms and chests... run a little fantasy baseball game to see who can figure out why they might do that...

Montero also gets his face closer to the pitch by getting so low; Pete Rose patented this idea of getting your eyes Right. On. Top. of the pitch level.  Jesus takes advantage of his natural attributes to slow down the game; since he can simply swing his arms, he doesn't have to time his knees to his chosen activity, and yet he's still strong enough to go deep.

As a completely separate issue, he's an off-field hitter, which slows the game down.  Great.  He's at 1.10 speed, and the pitch is at 0.90 speed besides.  Anybody know what would have happened if Bagwell or McGwire hit off-field in Piazza style?  Guess we're about to find out.


Jason Vargas threw one off-speed pitch that I saw, and got a garbage swing.  He kept it low, but the Cubs set a world record for 6' high line drives in one inning.  It is a reminder to me that if Vargas can cobble his pitches into a Mark Buerhle game, he'll be ahead of the curve.  Jimmy Key, nada.

The plan for Vargas should be clear.  At the moment he can bring back Travyon Robinson, hit the flashing yellow game button.


OK, sorry, two postcards, 37 min's.  Cut us some slack now :- )

Stay cool,

Dr D




"Looks like he got a little under it, but because the wind's blowing out it carried well."
Blowers: "I look to see where it lands on the berm out there.  That one had some help."
Translation: "A little guy like Seager has doubles power, says my notes.  He's not a HR guy so there's no way he just out-powered Montero.  Wind took it."
I was watching the telecast.  If Seager missed it, he missed it in a way that still looked like it would have been off the wall with authority in Safeco.  He's got his aggressiveness dialed way up.  One of the things I've liked about the Ms all Spring:  everybody's looking to cause pain to the opposing pitcher.
We'll take our walks if we have to, but if you throw junk in the middle of the plate hoping for an easy strike you're gonna be in trouble.  We're gonna wear out some pitchers, especially mentally, if we can take that approach in all our big-league games.
And I still want to know how we're gonna fit Seager in enough with Catricala on his heels. I mean, here's a list of top 10 2B prospects and I want you to tell me which of them you would swap for Seager.
1) Cory Spangenberg: .316/.419/.418 (most of that damage done in short-season, skidded in brief A-Ball appearance), 1st round pick (10th) in 2011, #78 prospect BA
2) Jonathan Schoop:  .277/.342/.401 through age 19 (including Dom league), international FA, demolished SAL league as a teen, #82 prospect BA
3) Kolten Wong: .335/.401/.510 in partial season in A-ball, 1st round pick (22nd) in 2011, #93 prospect BA
4) Oscar Tejeda: .274/.319/.377 in 2000 at-bats, age 21, struggled in AA
5) Cesar Hernandez: .289/.352/.374 through age 21, international FA, 14% XBH rate last year (uuuugly)
Kyle Seager:  .321/.401/.474 in the minors with his .8 batting eye and serious "doubles" power.
Rather than arguing about the first three, would you agree that if Kyle Seager had not been promoted above Tacoma last year that he would have had to slot in ahead of Tejeda and Hernandez?  He has power that they don't, he's a couple years older but a couple levels higher...
So if Seager should be viewed as a top-5 2B prospect who is playing (pretty well) out of position at 3B, how do you keep him on the field or get good value for him in trade?  I wish he could play short consistently.  Our infield would be nigh unbeatable at the plate.  Montero / Smoak / Ackley / Seager / Catricala?  Please.
Catricala isn't on Mayo's top 10 3B list, but that's not surprising.  Everybody keeps telling me that he either can't hit or he can't field, neither of which is true.  At least Sickels has always been honest that he loves the bat but needs more info on the glove.
But how do you get both guys on the team and with enough at-bats to contribute?  I guess that might be a problem to be addressed in a post-Chone world, aka this Summer.

OBF's picture

jerk Ackley around, we may need to have him go to CF!  Smoak, Seager, Franklin, Catricala, Montero around the infield, Carp, Ackley, Ichiro in the outfield!  Now THATS a 1-9!  Oh BTW Liddi is the DH :)  He can sub for Catricala, Smoak and Carp every once in a while.  Of course where do you put Condor if he is for real in that situation, or where do you put Guti when he comes back and proves he fixed his tummy problems???  Seriously we have an embarassment of riches starting to build up!


I would consider CF with Ackley, but the Mariners won't.  They've already stated they didn't invest 2 years into turning him into an All-Star 2B in order to move him off position.  He might move to CF for Cano, but he's not doing it for Seager.
Seager's #2 on the 2B and 3B depths charts IMO, and an emergency SS.  Could you make him into McLemore?  Mac made 68 appearances in the OF in 2001, 36 at 3rd and 35 at SS, with 9 at 2B.
Seager could do that.  Would we let him?  I tend to doubt it, but we could.
I don't think Chone is gonna hold up mentally, so I expect Seager to get the lion's share of duty at third.  But if we plan to replace him with Catricala, I don't see how that helps his value, or his future with us.  So I hope they Swiss Army Knife him around the infield early on, to make sure he's comfortable in the role we'd want / need him in if he's gonna stay.
Trades are a-comin', though.  A little more data to gather, and the right deal to find, but they're coming.


I've been a huge Seager fan since last season, the guy can hit.
We need to find a place for him.  Right now, this year, it apears he'll get most of his time at 3B.  I would have loved to have seen him in 4 games, or so, at SS this ST.  I'm also surprised we haven't seen him chase fly balls in LF.
But Liddi and Catricala are pounding on the door, loudly.....and I like them both a lot.  Liddi is about to start crashing the ball regularly.  Catricala is Tony Perez.
What to do?
Most of us are all over just letting Figgins go, but it doesn't look like that is in the immediate cards.  Drats!
Can we get a petition together?   Would Z listen to that?
Something is about to break.  May know more with the upcoming cuts. And I'm not going to be surprised at a trade rather early.  Seager, as much as I like him, could be the guy.
Would miss the .280+-.350 and 35 doubles/15 homers he would bring.

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