Going to Grad School on the HIT Tool
Robby offers a glance into the game from field level. The O looks ok to Dr D



The sabermetrics tables on Fangraphs, of which my faves (for hitters) include EYE (K/BB), BABIP, WAR, UZR, OSwing%, ZSwing%, among others, and the Mighty StatCast Crew including Average Exit Velocity and Average Launch Angle, are valuable stats and capture, probably, 80-90% of what we need to know about what's happening on the field.

I'll wager that almost all Denizens can sense, intuitively, that algebra cannot complex ALL of what is happening in a super-complex world.  As a chess junkie, I know that math CAN capture all of what is happening -- in a super-ultra-simplified game with super-ultra-simplified rules and, certainly, no human psychology or variance affecting the outcome.

Bill James, to his credit, insists on exactly the same point.  The world is billions of times more complex than the human mind (and, following, any computer) can understand, he'll say, and yet the human mind desperately craves the feeling that it understands everything perfectly, can fit everything into its preconceived paradigms.



A rich harvest of ideas sown by the Denizens in the Robby thread.

Hannibal sez:

You're right it's not very sabe. Cano is smarter than me on baseball stuff, but the only issue I have is that his perception of Gordon/Segura don't match their reality. Both are in the bottom half of "pitches per plate appearance," which I personally don't think matters much, but Robi seems to think they "see pitches."  Gordon himself would probably laugh at the notion he goes deep in counts for his teammates' sake. 

Every study since THE BOOK came out shows fairly convincingly that OBP is MOST important to the success of 1&2 hitters. Speed is more fun, for sure, and may have some unidentifiable effect on sequencing, etc which can benefit the lineup, but OBP = runs scored (and by association, RBI for ROBI). Both players' OBP is tied neatly to their BABIP. Let's hope for plenty of line drives, bleeders and bloops (or by some stroke of conscience either player sees a plateau leap from their career 4.5% walk rate, which I kind of expect from Segura, actually. In either case, Cano will look like a genius.)

Lastly, I love your examples of historical 1-2 punches, and Cano is right about their value. Notice the OPS+ of all those guys. Now check out Gordon's lifetime 93 (last year: 94).


Great comment amigo.  Without a doubt OBP is the most important single offensive statistic -- as Bill James pointed out in 1975.  He was the one to alert the movie theater that Rickey Henderson was a 2x Hall of Famer, and not based on his SB's, but based on his BB's, which were valued at practically zero when Rickey got started.

To a certain extent Hannibal we are talking at a great overlap, no?  Which .370 OBP hitter would not be the #1 leadoff guy that Robbie craves?


The only interesting little difference I'd offer here is that "getting deep into the count" may not be QUITE as critical to the job that Robbie is talking about.  If a 200-hit player with mediocre walks -- say Michael Young, Dee Gordon or Steve Garvey -- steps to the plate to start the game, then Corey Kluber has to throw his best pitches from the jump and that is what the MOTO players get to see.

Joey Cora cobbled a nice .360 OBP in front of Griff and Edgar, back in the day, but .... I was there, and I can tell you that the Corey Klubers or the world futzed around with Cora, giving him nothing near their premium effort.  That phenomenon is not going to be captured by computer -- but perhaps Robinson Cano is trying to tell us something about baseball that you can't find on StatCast?


Matty sez:

Contrary to intuition, statistical studies have shown that teams score more runs when they're all slugging or all on base or all high contact hit tool players than they do when there is a mixture of hitting types of roughly equivalent value. So...Which do the Mariners have more of? Hit tool, on base, or slugging?

I'd say they are about equal in all three...Which doesn't bode well.

If you think about it...here are the scouting scores for each skill for the starting nine plus two biggest bench players.









So, the thing w have most of is unclear but maybe leaning toward contact? In which case, Segura and Gordon make for a smarter 1-2 than other iterations of this club?


I hadn't seen that one, but, thinking about it .... yeah, I could see it.  If you're struggling to avoid power zones on each hitter's heat map all day, or if you're trying to razor-out the called strike areas on a group of EYE hitters, I could imagine this being true.

I'm sure Matty would agree that such an effect would be SUBTLE.  The 1976 Reds were famously versatile, leading the NL in EVERYTHING -- #1 in HR, #1 in AVG, #1 in SB's, #1 in 3B's, #1 in 2B's, #1 in absolutely everything.  They scored 5.3 runs in a league where the #2 club, the Phillies, scored 4.7, the Pirates 4.3 and only 3 teams were above the league-average cut!  LOL!

So, yeah, if team A had 140 OPS+ and low synergy (like the 1976 Reds) and another team had 80 OPS+ and good synergy, it'll be lost in the wash.  I don't know how many OPS+ points "synergy" is worth but I'll take a guess at what it's worth:

Synergy -- if it is deployed by a VERY good hitting offense -- increases your chance of KO'ing the starting pitcher.  By a fair bit. ------  > That is Dr. D's guess.

Versatility, if deployed by a tremendous offense like the 1976 Reds' -- increases your chances of coping with a wide variety of pitchers, with Steve Carlton or Gaylord Perry or Tom Seaver.  ----- > That is Dr. D's guess.


Nick proposed that the 2018 M's WILL have the above-specified type of synergy - in the HIT tool.  Is that true?

1 Gordon - 200 Hit Man - automatic 70 (plus-plus) hit grade, enforced by the push-bunt skill

2 Segura - 200 Hit Man - automatic 70

3 Robbie - Lifetime .305 AVG automatic 70, with 500 doubles and 300 homers.  Yep yep yep

4 Boomstick - Hits "only" .290 which equates to 65 on this chart though I, as a pitcher, would feel much more comfortable going against a .300 AVG with 4 homers

5 Seager - life .265 which is about 55

6 Haniger - .282 last year; 60-65 if he does not improve

7 Healy - .282 AVG as a young-20's player; 60-65 if he does not improve

8 Zuumball - .270 post-callup = 55 = "Above Average"

9 Ichiro/Gamel - .275 = 55-60

Another way to look at it is that those four 70's equate to 5.0 WAR on the WAR scale; the two 60-65's equate to 3.5 WAR; the three 55's to 2.5 WAR.

Stepping back and looking at it from distance .... the 2018 Mariners indeed send 9 straight hitters in a carousel who are well capable of 2 hits on any given day.  Mike Zunino is the least of their threats looking strickly from a HIT standpoint, and he just got done blasting 4 authoritative hits in one game -- 3 homers, and a classic right-field, line-shot single.  That's from their worst HITter.

.... this team has its problems, such as the fact that it's starting from the outside 8th lane of a 78-win season, but .... I personally am thrilled with the offense JeDi has put together, with the CF mind trick and the C lightsaber slash.  Look,  Haniger and Zunino aren't even the front line batters.


Dr. D



Yes, I agree that overall ability matters more than the synergy thing.

The question was...do Segura/Gordon help the Mariners more than an offense with the same overall caliber of hitters, but not the same lead-off hitter package? I believe that they might.

Though I vehemently disagree with your assessment of Zunino's HIT tool. :)


Where do you see Zuumball's batting average at this year?

And, curious what you think of the M's offense overall?  Looking forward to a few runs here and there?  :- )


last 338 PA spanning 95 Games put up .281/.361/.589. To me .270 seems a reasonable possibility. 


He had an 18.5% swing-strike in the second half with that outrageous 170 Power Index which made it, "if he connects, duck."  30+ homers also affect the batting average, since a .240 AVG/BABIP can be supplemented by 30 hits out of play :- )

Also have an odd feeling that Zuumball is going to increase his contact as he goes along here.  He is looking much less confused, much more organized, ready to move into who he is as a positive ML player.  Just my own feeling.

But, again, will cheerfully concede the point that he has a lot to prove on batting average.  +1


He'd go no further than, "He certainly has put his name in discussion here as we get down to the final cuts."  Drives Dr. D batty.

Put his name in a Rangers trade discussion and see how fast he takes a position in the field.


What do you need to do then?  Put the ball in play, lay off bad pitches, taking walks, punish mistakes, good contact, use all fields, smart baserunning, power and even that to all fields?  His defense has even been decent. 


At 1009 Runs scored are the most since 1950 or the last 68 years of baseball.  1950 Red Sox then alll the way back 82 years to the '36 Yankees.  The '99 Indians don't represent a specific type of hitter.  They look to me like a very similar cast to the 2018 Ms offense, though older.  They do seem to represent a roster filled with players totaling 0 200 hit seasons,  so maybe not as diverse.  League OBP alone was .21 higher in '99 than last year so I'm not claiming the Ms have any real shot at clearing 1000 Runs.  4 guys with 90+ BBs?  Not expecting anything like that.  Lofton and Vizquel though?  In front of Alomar and Ramirez?  Dambed if that doesn't sound pretty familiar.


I see Segura as more of a .290 hitter...And neither Gordon nor Segura draw walks, so they won't be posting .410 and .380 OBP.

But I do like the mariner offense a good deal if everyone stays healthy. Problem is, we have zero bench depth. If Segura goes down again, we have to gag our way through Andrew Romine pretending to be a hitter. If Haniger gets hurt, there's nothing at all to replace his run production. And may the almighty have mercy on us and spare Zunino from any DL time, because if he goes down, we'll have easily the worst catcher in baseball as our starter.

If we avoid long DL stints, I think this club is capable of hitting 200 HR and OPS+ing 120


stacking up even only decently against the top offense of the last 60+ years is something.  Infield depth is almost entirely non-existent offensively unless Motter stocked a Joe's truck with lots of pops.  I have some hope for him but not much.


1) We do have 5 outfielders, as soon as Gamel's back.  If any one of them are hurt, another can snap into the jigsaw puzzle, though I'd rue the day Heredia replaced Haniger.

2) I'm almost hoping that Ryon Healy gets twinged.  And I hate to say but if Nelson Cruz goes down ... I'm THAT eager to see 'Bach conduct the orchestra.

3) Agreed there isn't much offensively at SS/2B/3B/C.

But 5/9 of the offensive spots have padding enough for me, FWIW :- )


I must admit to being pretty disappointed that Mike Ford has been sent back to the Yankees.  The guy will be a fine MLB hitter.

One year of an aging and dinged up Ichiro isn't worth the potential future value of Ford.


And surprised the Yankees didn't want to make a deal.  (Problem A) Even if we let Ichiro go, though, we'd have had to play ... who? ... as 4th OF till Gamel was ready, and had to play with two 1B's all year, and the problems like (Problem A) would present all year.

Also, for me, the total deletion of Dan Vogelbach for 2018 would be a horror.  I think that if Healy or Cruz sprain something, y'all might wind up real surprised at what is lurkin' here :- )  (Not you Moe who has been hard & early on 'Bach)

I'd have a 50-50 timeshare with Healy and Bach, and the guess here is that Bach would elbow his way into more PT as the year went along.


Boomstick has looked pretty dang pathetic this ST.  Surprisingly, there has been no discussion about that.  His 2nd half of ‘17 would indicate that there is still gas in his vintage classic tank, but let’s keep an eye on him.  


...And he's not had regular playing time this spring yet. I'll worry about Nellie if he's still not hitting after April.


Ford was the 1b option that had the best MiL platoon splits of the 3.  I still like all 3 but Ford was my second favorite.  Due to that I'd have used a Healy Option for a couple weeks at least if NY wasn't amenable to offers.  It sounds like they may have to move him to AA so I'm thinking it may have been more of the Mariners losing interest. 

I never have backed down on the belief that if Vogue started using his back leg, the pitchers will have nowhere to go but the showers.  Of course I wanted it to happen as soon as he put on the teal but I'm glad to see it finally.  Anyone else ready to finally have some semblance of Ortiz?  I can't think of anyone we've had who really has been (LH all field zone control big power) since he was traded.  We'll see if he approaches that level but I feel good about an All-star future anyway.  I don't consider Griffey as that kind of player and he was already here...

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