Potato Soup
Braden Bishop a front-runner to make the squad?


Dr. D has an inkling for Mallex Smith, always has, which makes this Fangraphs (!) comment gratifying:


The structure of the rebuild indicates intelligent design, but chaos and entropy will play their role. Mitch Haniger (who looks like a star), Domingo Santana (who has the talent to be one), and the charismatic Mallex Smith (who may sneakily already be one) will be fun to watch while the kids grow up.


1.  The mainframe can't go too far on Mallex because if you look at his performances closely enough it's easy to see Dee Gordon -- a good year resulting in the .360 OBP and 40 steals, but the real possibility of an UP/DWN oscillation.

2.  It's interesting to see FG sell Santana fairly hard, by their standards.  I dunno a thing about him; don't ever remember bearing down on one of his AB's.

Here's a Times article that will have you thinking that Domingo Santana is ready to pick up where he left off in 2017.  After a beefy 30-85 season, The Brew traded his starting spot out from under him for little apparent reason.  Sez Dipoto:

“Santana was one of the most productive outfielders in baseball in 2017,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said after the trade. “He did not have the same opportunities last year, but his age and power bat from the right side make him a very good fit for our club moving forward.”

3.  Earlier this week we saw an article comparing Mitch Haniger to Bryce Harper - and concluding that Haniger was the more desirable.  Mitch woulda had 5.5 WAR last year if he hadn't been docked for glovework.  I doubt you project Haniger to negative glovework.


The M's got Jake Fraley back as a throwin in the Zunino/Mallex deal.  Here's an article on his big spring early on.  He's put up a 1.000 OPS and we hear about the infamous swing transformation:


“He was a speed/slap hitter,” Servais said. “He’s not trying to slap the ball anywhere other than over the fence right now. He has a much different approach at the plate with the swing change he has made and he has gotten stronger.”

Sound familiar? Swing change guys have been a target of Dipoto in his acquisitions. Haniger made a swing change after two seasons in the minors and then took off. But unlike Haniger, Fraley made the decision in quick order that what got him drafted might not get him far at the next level.

“I played the first month and a half (in the minors) and struggled tremendously,” Fraley said. “I had had a lot of success in college, but this was completely different. What I did in college did not work in pro ball.”


He's leading off again tonight, albeit he's 0-fer so far.


Braden Bishop is frontrunner for the OF4 job early in March.  He's a plus-plus glove, even in center, or so go the reports.  The trouble had been his bat and now there are noises that he's leaped a plateau with the bat.  Happily, the noises are mostly coming from the box scores; his OPS is over 1200 this spring.  Last month, Lookout Landing did a profile on him.  If you want technical-type details on whence the big bat.


Brian Kenny, and separately the MLB Network, believe that Mitch Haniger is a better ballplayer than Bryce Harper:

“Haniger actually over the last two years has been a better player,” said Kenny, who was at the Mariners’ spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Tuesday .... “He runs, he throws,” Kenny said of Haniger. “It’s not like, oh, these are hidden things. No man, he’s taking extra bases, he’s laying out and stealing outs left and right; he’s an excellent defensive player. So you can look at Mitch Haniger and say, hey, he’s a six-win player – that’s a star.”







Hey there Santa, I mean Doc!

Here’s what I see about topics above:

1.  Haniger isn’t Harper, or not as good as. Harper is nearly his defensive equal in RF and then there is that lifetime .944 vRHP.  That’s Junior-like.  Haniger hits a robust .849, but 100 pts difference is a sort of huge thing.  

2.  Bishop should be our CF for games 1 & 2.  Let Haniger stay in RF and Ichiro gets to DH.  Let EE stay in Arizona to stretch out the tweaked hammy he is about to get.  Bruce gets to sit, thank you.  Bishop is a + ball player, right now.

3.  I was a Kyle Lewis doubter, as last year’s numbers alarmed me, even with the bum knee.   I stand corrected.  And apologize. With that quick swing he can’t help but hit.   He is sort of a Big-League OF right now.   Mallex Smith is a guy I sort of really like, but if we’ve decided that Haniger is ours for ever and ever (thus extending him this season) then with Smith, Santana, Haniger, Santana, Fraley, Lewis, DTW, et. al. we are about to be knee deep in quality OFs.  

4.  I hate it when teams dink around with young hitting talents and don’t fast-track them.


For at least a couple years.  In recent slack chat conversation we went over arm ratings of the OF, finding grades of 60 or better (Note: We previously talked about a Ringer series on 73000+ Reds scouting reports they obtained between from 91-2003 where one point was that in an effort to be less wrong, scouts even beyond the sample tend not to give extreme 20-80 grades, 45-55 are oversaturated). Santana and Lewis have been given 60s and I found wording on Bishop that sounded like at least 1 standard deviation above average. Also Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic's arms have been graded 60. Those 2 have a couple video tweets a week and are giving hope of a pair of lefty/righty superstars that many have said we may never see together here again. Haniger I've seen mostly 50 or 55 but read an under average from a few years back. 

Matt, Mal, Gordon, Dan and I went through the fWAR and bWAR differences on Haniger and Harper. Brian Kenney used bWAR and when I mentioned and used the same quote, Matt looked up fWAR where Haniger did not have 6 wins. They're way closer than their dollar difference at the least.

I'm 100% with you on Lewis. I gave up on him before, but he's quickly become a part of that dream outfield. Lewis, Kelenic, Rodriguez... Haniger at DH? Maybe move White to 2nd to keep Haniger at 1st? White throws lefty or he'd have job opportunities on the left side. Left handed people are not a protected class, so it's ok for me to say that. Not sure how much longer I've got though. Freedom of speech is being squelched by ignorant loud people.

Doc, you recently missed a Slack convo on the etymology of disabled terms and their negative connotations (real or made up) in response to baseball having to change use of disabled after 103 years. Rather, we missed your perspective and your absence was noted. Disabled people are more and more preferring to not be called disabled. The medical field mostly stopped using disabled in place of less "disabling" phrasing decades ago, up to the current "Limited in Action". Written as LIA it has no such connotation, but it's still not as good as the actual definition of Handicap still in use in many sports "carrying an extra burden". Somehow everyone ignored the Handicap origin from horse racing weights starting in the mid 18th century and created a fantasy origin to remove the word from use. But loud uninformed people are changing the meanings of words everywhere. Everything has a spectrum and there's no better word for it, but we're supposed to suddenly start reserving that word for one LIA group? Literally?


Dollar for dollar, Haniger tops Harper.  Will see if that is the case when Haniger gets his first big-timesalary and a QO, then a FA Deal.

I really really like Haniger.  But will still say that we need to decide this year on whether we are doing a Seager deal with him.  If not, he is of greater value in the arms he might bring.

And Smith should be our CF for a couple of years, but I think he gets pushed at some point next season....maybe early. 


And that's where Kenny's particular brand of hyper-literal WAR'ism so often takes him.

We bring it up simply as a wryly amusing point of proportion on Haniger.  For 2019 he serves as our star.  Doesn't LAA bat Trout #2 also?

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