Noted this morning that the M's now have the FOURTH BEST OPS+ in the American League. And this is INCLUDING all the putrid offense of the early months. One problem is evident, though. They don't do a good job of translating OPS+ into runs. They rank THIRTEENTH in Runs per Game at 3.98.
The M's have launched +5 missiles in a row, each one cratering a Houston or Oakland elementary school. Let's go exploring for bugs, Hobbes! Next up, 7 easy little walkovers against Texas and Colorado, leaving the M's +2 games over .500. Would this leave the M's in position to fire upon the Wild Card turrets over the next rise?
Toronto has, predictably, wrestled the AL East steering wheel away from the Yankee$. The Yanks and stRangers are +7 over .500 for the two WC slots, Minnesota is +4 over chasing them, and beyond that you have the pack at .500 or worse. What if either of the the ballclubs in NYY and TEX play sub-.500 ball for 27 games? The Mariners have 7 games head-to-head in this battle of the September titans. Then you just need Minnesota to play weakly, and you've got a shot at the playoffs with (say) 83-85 wins.
With 25 games left, the M's would have to go about 18-7, including a nice 5-2 record against Texas. So, not as unpossible as it was 5 wins ago.
We recognize the fact that none of you watch the games. Exec Sum for you 4-star generals in the war room, then. How in the world did the M's land 5 missiles in a row, against "hard" targets on the road?
|Missile 1||Elias vs Feldman||7-5||Astros pitched lousy. Gutierrez & Trumbo with big blasts|
|Missile 2||Taijuan vs Kazmir (!)||8-3||SUPER job vs. AL's #13 starter (all hitters, 9x)|
|Missile 3||Olmos vs ... Aaron Brooks (?!)||11-8||M's offensive juggernaut (Seager, Romero) tromples over paltry 1st-inning grand slam|
|Missile 4||Felix vs Jesse Chavez||8-3||KO Chavez after 2 IP. Multi-hit games for 5x M's|
|Missile 5||WBC-san vs ... Sean Nolin||3-2||Nice crisp game. Iwakuma gets the game ball.|
As you can see, the M's have gotten some meatballs here. That's not their fault, and they've chewed the meatballs unmercifully. They're winning in Bench/Rose 1976 Reds style, racking up five runs by the fifth inning and taking whatever pitching they get that day. Tom Wilhelmsen has, momentarily, grabbed the bullpen with both hands and pointed its mast straight up into the sky.
The M's OPS+ the second half is up to 122, based on a .271/.334/.462 slash line in Safeco. Other OPS+ lines in history:
- The 116-win M's = 117 OPS
- The 1976 Big Red Machine = 120 (4 HOF'ers plus Foster and Griffey)
- The 1961 Mantle-Berra-Maris Yankees = 118 non pitchers
The idea isn't that these M's should be immortalized in an MLB Street Legends of the Game DLC. The idea is for us to notice that for two months, the hitters have NOT been "suprisingly good." For two months they've been a walking death machine. Keep that in mind as they attempt to launch an 18-and-7 missile at the last Wild Card slot.
Trumbo has a 99 OPS+ and Logan Morrison's is up to 96. We're that far from having nine guys at 100 or better. Get with it, derfs.
We've got a "marker for negotiations," as Pete Carroll would put it. It's ten days since we last checked on k'TELL marTAY's batting eye. Alll righty, then, here is a fangraphs table that sports eye stats for all M's together at a glance.
Marte's whuff rate is 6.5%, no longer outlier-great but certainly terrific. Erick Aybar's, by the way, is 6.3%.
Marte's swing rate is 42%, compared to the MLB average of 48%. The ML "average" is not that posted by the worst established regular. It's that swing rate posted by a seasoned, productive 5-year* veteran, such as Kendrys Morales or Jose Reyes (who are each a little worse than 48% this year). So after 140 at-bats, Marte continues to keep a crazy-tight strike zone by his own standards. This doesn't make him an All-Star; Chris Taylor also got here and started peering over the pitches in a very studious manner. Maybe it's just that a confused buyer is a "No" buyer. :: shrug ::
marTAY's EYE generally is 0.60, very very solid for a 21-year-old kid trying to fight a rearguard action against the best pitching on the planet.
His homers are at 0. Big shocker there. But he has 9 doubles in 32 games, which would translate to 40-50 doubles full season. Beautiful. If he maintained a 35+ double rate, that would of course be the "extra skill" that we wanted to see along with a HIT tool. And the 9 doubles have not been lucky; Marte has stung the pitches and they've scooted between OF's all the way to the wall. Eyes slideways on the doubles.
Jesus Sucre is batting .098 despite a 5.4% swing-and-miss rate. What in the world ... ?! Oh. His Batting Average Balls In Play is .109, rather than .300. Okay, then. That's why he's still in there.
Lloyd McClendon Minus Jack Zduriencik is looking like a Billion. Just saying.
And no, it's not a chop block to the knees of the new GM if the execs hand him an inherited manager. Don'cha remember? The Mariners even did that to Pat Gillick. Worked out fine.
Stefen Romero has shown the relaxed makeup, and those Edgar-like wrists, that we loved when he first introduced himself in 2012. He hasn't walked yet in four games, but his whuff rate is real good and he's swinging at nothing outside the zone. Thing is, he has seen 10 first-pitch strikes in 11 at bats (!!) because the pitchers are so terrified of all his teammates. Let's see whether Romero can take advantage of the challenge pitches.
17 runs lost this season according to Fangraphs, worst of all MLB teams save Tigers -17.5. Last night they apparently threatened to run themselves out of the playoff hunt. Seven back now. Yeah, that will negate a lot of offense.
It will be interesting to see how the team addresses this absolute failure to run the bases in a major league fashion. Coaches heads must roll. The other night Logan was thrown out at third because he failed to slide. The third base coach gave him absolutely no indication that a slide was necessary. I've yanked parents out of the stands who would do a better job than whoever it is coaching third for us.
So, tonight we have to beat Cole Hammels or we're 8 games back of Texas. Hope Cruz and Guti are ready to go.
Hyper Ditto, rick82. The kind of baserunning I've seen this season ought to be a major embarrassment to the team, and any offseason franchise review must seriosly address it. It was literally Little League bad at times. Third base coaching has been a problem for the M's for many, many years. Being aggressive does not mean being aggressively stupid.
Subtracting 17 runs from our offense not only means we put ourselves into a 17 run hole all season, but points out something rather obvious to anyone who ventures next door to see how the Seahawks do things: that there are ways that coaches can make every little aspect of the game not only not a net negative, but a net positive, even a game changer. Baserunning might be considered the "special teams" of baseball. Why not work toward excellence in everything you do? Why isn't this team embarrassed enough by such ineptitude to actually, oh, I don't know, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
This is something you can't merely lay at Z's feet. Perhaps he overcompensated for the idea that we would run and pitch ourselves to a pennant in 2010. But Lloyd is primarily responsible here. I don't see the Seahawk culture (say it with Charlie Sheen everyone: "WINNING") blame upper management for anything. Carroll pretty much takes the rap if there are problems on the field. Or if not he, then the players themselves - you have to earn a role in LOB. and LOB means you are holding yourselves to a standard. Anyone here heard of a kangaroo court to shame players who do stupid things on the basepaths? Or is a base coach held responsible in like manner?
Imagine if the Mariners took pride in baserunning, and turned it into a team asset? Hey, there's a novel idea. It's not like we never had any raw material, or wheels in our offense. Jackson, Cano, Ackley, Miller, now Ketel. Guti has always had good wheels. Jones is always a phone call away.
I'm not ready to see them hand any managerial job in 2016 to Lloyd. Not after last night.
The problem with comparing baseball and football, though I love the Seahawk culture, is that baseball has a much larger lag between training and actual game-time deployment. You also face a diminishing returns issue as well.
Football, you have both specialization of the teams and skills.
This allows for a player to spend a larger amount on a given skill, whether that be instinctual or physicality or forward intelligence.
Because of this, the diminishing returns to training are fairly limited as well.
Baseball, you have to at least execute the 2 or 3 of the 5 major skills to be a successful position player.
You can't just polish defense or base running or power or zone control and expect to be amazing.
The only people who could do that would be the 'natural' skill players like Griffey or Bonds.
And that's before you get to the scouting report.
All that ends up giving you an epic case of diminishing returns to training.
I do think the M's could adopt more of the Seahawks philosophy as an organization, but I think skills like base running and defense might have to come from the player development side.
And even then, you have to weigh the development angles, whether that's having better hitters vs. better power vs. better runners vs. better defenders.
At the end of the day, you probably want to polish a player's best skills, but the M's don't really appear to do that either...
I think that it has taken a deft touch at coaching for the Seahawks to get the most out of Marshawn Lynch all these years. He is very stubborn and eccentric. He nearly didn't play last year and went on his own strike. What did the team do? Pete Carrol killed him with kindness through the media. "He's a wonderful kid. I just hope he comes back some day." Lynch then came back for a guaranteed contract and the same amount of money that he would receive even if he didn't go on strike.
In return, Lynch makes the rest of the Seahawks offense work and makes the coaches look like geniuses. I think that the Hawk philosophy may be more effective than other systems for key players. Like the Rangers getting good results from Josh Hamilton by getting him his own life coach and always being nice to him. I think that other players are going to do what they are going to do no matter what the organizational philosophy is. I don't think you can coach Felix into having better games.
I am beginning to wonder a bit that Marte's walk rate may remain well above his MiLB rate because of his ability to foul big league pitches off. Those same pitches, in the same situations, he may have just put into play in A-AA-AAA because the throwers weren't so tough. His AAA rate "jumped" to 47 pts, after he was at 28 in both A and AA. Now he's jumped to 67 pts. (but down from the unsustainable 90 pts he had for a bit). He fouls off good pitches, not necessarily putting them into play, rather than missing them.
At a 30-40 pt walk rate he needs to hit close to .290, but at (even) 55 pts his .280-ish level is quite nice. And at 40 doubles, or so, a year, he becomes an Ozzie Smith type bat (although Smith walked more).....and even James pointed out that Smith was vastly underrated offensively.
He's running a .333 BABIP, which may be "generally" sustainable (or close) with his wheels. He may see it drop significantly
.....Oz ran a career .279 rate and he could slap and run. But even at .310, Marte is nice if he has the glovey chops and the 40 two-baggers.
Doc, time and again you've pointed out that teams sometimes "relax" after a change in the managerial seat, going on hot streaks that last for a long time. Perhaps our relaxation came when Z got axed. Would be interesting to see if you could ascertain the clubhouse vibe as a result.
Given the AB's, Romero can hurt MLB lefties. I've always believed that. And I've argued that O'Malley should have been on this squad coming out of ST. I just returned from a 5 day elk trip, so I haven't seen O'Mally in the field. What is your guy's scouting report on his CF range/glove? He's played CF three times in 4 games. He might be just the platoon partner I've been talking about to marry up with Brad Miller. AND he plays 3 IF positions decently well.
His MiLB pedigree is stout, when it comes to his hitting lefties (he's 3-3 vL since the call up), but his MLB tater came batting lefty vs. a RHP.
BTW, if I had been watching his 3-4 debut and his homer you may have heard my "Yahoo" whereever you guys are! Romero's blast, too.
I am mystified by Montero. He can undoubtedly hit lefties. There may be a character flaw that will never allow that skill set to really blossom. Such things do happen.
Morrison is now at 94 OPS+, which is basically the rate he ran in '12 and '13. At .778 he is basically at his career number vs. RHP. At .490 he's been atrocious vs. LHP. Deathly, in a word.
But with Cano-Marte-Seager-Cruz-Miller/O'Malley-Smith/Romero-Zunino/Hicks you COULD still carry both Trumbo and Morrison. $6-$7M may be a fair estimate (will defer to Matt) for Morrison's arb cost. Trumbo may come in at $9M or so.
Do you sign them both?
Guti would be sexy to re-up, but he's looking like Hank Aaron vs LHP (.349-.387-.674) and it is unsustainable because of his .397 BABIP.
This Guti (although he could be decently good, anyway) won't be back next year.
Do you pay for it and give him a spot?
We need a win tonight, btw.
Glad to be back....Moe