Ah! So that's what's goin' on
never underestimate the power of hope, Dept.

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"Abba" had one hit after they broke up, that I know of.  Dr. D is not exactly the type who followed them through a 32-city tour of Europe, but he did enjoy this one song by, um, Frida I guess her name is.  Somethin' goin' on indeed.

Dr. D has been watching this happen downtown for 40 years, the M's talent go one way and their W-L record go another way.  The M's offense continues to clock in at 80 MPH, which converts to 109 in OPS+.  Their pitching doesn't seem THAT irredeemable that you couldn't cobble a mediocre staff to support them.

I mean, the other night they had a "long lineup" posted, with Shed Long at the 9 slot, no weaknesses anywhere ... and on the bench IIRC were Domingo Santana, Dee Gordon*, J.P. Crawford*, and Ryon Healy*.  Don't get caught up in the DL; the idea is that the M's can lose 4 regulars and still field a lineup 9 regulars long.  :: shakes head ::

.....

Been watching it for 40 years.  The first little sign of pressure -- this year, that being the first time they played a tough team -- they implode like spun glass.  Now, many many times it has been due to (1) clubhouse infighting or (2) a managerial farce of some kind.  But this team didn't seem to have those problems.  So what is it?

(Bill James also famously said, back when he was an outsider, that your view and mine isn't different from a beat writer's; it's just different.  They see lots of things we don't, obviously, such as their proximity to the players; with our saber tools and our top-of-the-stadium perspective we keep in mind certain things they don't.  So it's not like you can't learn from a beat writer.)

I mean, 24-35 doesn't look like such a tragedy, but 11-33 certainly does.  A team that is getting pounded on a 120-loss pace, mama mia.  You win more than that by accident.  There's some reason the Mariners are scoring one night, and getting pitching the next night.

I'm probably being dense here but ... This article by Brent Stecker hit my "Aha!" button.  In it, Mike Leake says

Starting pitcher Mike Leake’s comments stood out the most, as he stated that “There’s days where you wonder, if I’m not part of (the team’s future), should you trade me to someone who wants me more?”

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And Scott Servais said, about the veterans who are not "part of it,"

“I get it, they’re not all crazy about our situation or their situation, but there’s one thing they control, and all you can worry about is what you control. They control how they play on the field.”

One veteran player has stood out to Servais for making the most of the situation, however: Jay Bruce, who while hitting just .206 is serving as a bit of a coach for younger players.

“Jay Bruce carries a lot of weight in our clubhouse because Jay’s been around a long time, he’s been in situations where teams have struggled,” Servais said. “He’s a three-time All-Star, he’s off to a rough start (but) he’s starting to swing better now. Watching how he’s handled all this has been a bright spot for me. I got a lot of respect for Jay.

“He’s done a great job with Daniel Vogelbach keeping Vogey in a good spot, and Jay’s not afraid to speak his voice. It’s easier when you’re hitting .280, but Jay’s been a really positive guy in our clubhouse.”

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And Stecker said,

Servais is understanding of players that might not be excited about playing on a last-place team that has its focus on building a younger core that can help the franchise return to contention early next decade. But he also had a message about what they can do about it (above - Dr. D).

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There's a story about a thriving town that was built in a valley.  The state built a dam and started diverting water towards the dam.  Years before it was necessary, the town deteriorated and became an unkept cemetery.  The point of this American zen koan?  If you don't have hope, you don't have anything ...

The M's players with the highest OPS+ starts with Daniel Vogelbach, who has EVERYthing to play for in 2019:

155 - DH Vogey

125 - C Narvaez, again called out this week as their long-term catcher

122 - Encarnacion (just too good)

122 - 2B/SS Beckham

120 - LF Domingo Santana (where's he in the plan?  It's not clear)

117 - RF Haniger

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And the moral of THIS story is that the players are smarter than we give them credit for. M's told them very publicly that they were going through the motions in 2019.  And this is what happens to a 13-player-long lineup that has no hope.  Silentpadna and I been grindin' this gear since 1995, man.  In baseball more than any other sport, you gotta have hope.  It's a pretty long slog without it.

Cheers,

Dr D

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Blog: 

Comments

1

Leake is on the tail end of an $80 million contract.  He is making $16 million this year and $16 million next year.  Sometimes I wish these guys would tell the Mariners they will lose ambition after the Brinks truck is dumped on their house. 

That said, the team hasn't been the same since Edwin Diaz left.  He was the most core of the core players.   Mojo lightbulb No. 14:  Nobody wins any baseball with a bad bullpen.

2

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

M's bullpen FIP's (listing the guys with the most innings);

Elias:  27 iinnings, 3.59

Brennan 30 innings, 4.05 (but a 1.067 WHIP)

Sadzek:  23 innings, 4.43

Gearen 21 innings, 3.49

Rosscup:  14 innings 4.22

Our bullpen isn't great.....but it isn't terrible.

Starters: (just FIPs)

Gonzales:  4.06

Kikuchi:  4.64

Leake:  5.55

Felix;  5.35

Swanson:  6.66

Leblanc:  6.04

Those 11 guys have the most innings pitched this season.  5 of our 6 most used starters have been terrible.

Bradford and Swarzak have both pitched 13.2 innings with FIPS of 6.15 and 8.12, respectfully.  OK...their part of the bullpen has been terrible.

Right now, potential or not, we've got a #3, a #4 and 4 #6's in the pitching rotation.  Give me some more Tommy Milone, for sure: 2 starts, 2.49 FIP.

Gordon is Gordon, an 85 OPS+ guy, as he has been for 4 seasons.  Healy is Healy, a league average hitter at 1B.  Smith has been terrible.  Seager is at 60 OPS, in a SSS.  So far, including AAA, there isn't much to suggest that his multi-year cslide isn't continuiing.....but I will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.

As far as Bruce helping the young guys, we have only two bats (Crawford and Long) younger than 25. Maybe he is Vog’s guru?

I'm nearly to the point that suggests Servais should go.  Not that I'm blaming him, but that I'm not seeing him make a difference.

Go team.

3

They were 12 and 2 the day Dipoto said very publicly that they basically wouldn't be buyers even if they kept winning.  Deflation was almost immediate.  Not that he worded things that way, but that's definitely how the guys in the clubhouse could have taken it.

Some people are saying that the following losing proves that signing Kimbrel would have been a mistake.  I don't think things would have gone the same had it been supplementation and support they received on April 10th instead of a message that was possibly taken as "why even bother".  I'm not saying that Kimbrel should have necessarily been chased, just that it's not as simple as tacking on the numbers a projection has spit out to the teams numbers.  I don't think the pitching or any of that is as debilitating as the horrific defense anyway. 

Consider that many of the games in which those FIPs were accrued would often have been entirely different with average fielding.  Consider also that FIP loves velocity and the rotation has hardly any.  Particularly strikeouts are a component of the FIP calculation, which is not a strong suit of the rotation. Or Bradford, yet.  Walks are another factor and the bullpen is loaded with high walk totals.  Another thing that will raise FIP above ERA is lots of solo HR. Check again.  The only on field factors used in it are HR, HBP, BB, K and IP.  It isn't fielding independent in the way I think many take the term to mean.  It's simply ball in play ignoring.  Well the balls put in play against Seattle this year are more dangerous than anyone else's possibly ever. Not that the pitching has been good, just not nearly as bad as FIP suggests.  They have put 30 different players on the mound so far, Including Moore and Murphy.  And counting.

You may think that errors take the defensive inefficiency all into account but that's up to the scorer.  Players playing positions they don't belong playing don't get to balls that average fielders do as well.  That turns outs into hits which then changes your perception of the pitcher.  I don't want to look back at all the 2 out rallies that wouldn't have began if the out had been made there.  I already experienced them too recently.  You can trust me or check for yourself.  So many losses have started to creep away exactly that way this year.   Or rather, wins dropped or thrown away.  So many walks and HR given up later in those extended innings, further raising FIPs. This historic defense continues to be underrated and blamed on the pitching.  You've got it backwards if you think the pitching is affecting the defense. 

When do you think the first game of the season when Servais can finally put 2 plus defenders in the lineup together will happen?

4

We could do that now, put + defenders on the field, but it means you cut Encarnacion and Bruce adrift.  Put Vogs at 1B, Santana at DH, and Bishop gets CF, with Smith in left.  

Vogs isn’t +, for sure, but it looks to the future.  The market for EE isn’t going to grow.  We need to give him away, getting another fringe bullpen arm (we’re not getting much more) and call it good.  Bruce isn’t old yet....but finding a place for him is going to be tough.  Finding a trade is, too.....witness his $14M salary for next season.  The best fit for him might be Boston, really.  But that’s a tight fit, as Boston could offer up something for Panda Sandoval, who they are already paying $18M.  

6

Smith is a + defender in the corners.  Haniger is a + defender, even with more CF use.  Bishop has the reputation of a + defender in CF.  I am using dWAR and eyeball.  

That would be a decently glovey OF.  

7

Or have a different definition of plus than I.  Smith may have plus numbers in a position he's not playing but that won't help the actual defense on the field. 

8

MLBTR is reporting that we may be trading Bruce to the Phillies.  They eat most the cash, we get something in return.

Wow....was afraid we were stuck with him.

9

We sent Bruce and $18M to get a sort of long shot in  Jake Scheiner.  He’s 23 and in High A.  Sort of a 3B, more of a utility 4-Corner Guy.  

I applaud the deal.  

10

I agfree that Bruce was the "odd-est" man out: He's the one who had no place in the rotation, even with Seager down for the count. Seems like they still are "long" at least one 3B/1B/DH type: Could be EE or Healy, but one or other probably must move along. And, if they're happy with Long and Crawford and Moore and Seager and Gordon- well, that's probably at least one too many- but it leaves no room on the roster for Beckham (who I kinda wish we had traded after that first week in April!) So, perhaps Beckham gets traded or DFA'd, and either Moore or Long gets sent down. 

Is Gordon tradeable? He seems like a leader on this young team; I'd like to see him stay, but I suppose by July 31 he's gone as well. That would make room for Long AND Moore, alongside Crawford and Seager. 

I'm delighted to see Braden Bishop come up for (I hope) an extended trial. We seem to agree that he's stronger in CF than Mallex Smith.  Perhaps Smith has a role in RF or LF, but he's not the glove we need in CF (even if he can steal home!) 

Does this clear the way for Fraley to move up? He's ready. Does Liberato (or, Kelenic) backfill him in Arkansas? 

I'm glad to see an IF come back from the Phillies for Bruce. However, we also could have used a LH starting pitcher or (especially) reliever. But there is some "shine" to this new 3B: He sounds like a great "character" guy (ignored by MLB and colleges, he red-shirted at JC, then earned 2nd-team All America honors). And he's a West Coast guy (San Mateo CA). ANd he was on his league's All-star team last Fall. I'll take my chances. 

What's wrong with Marco? Is it mental or physical? For that matter- what's wrong with YK? I'm OK with a "step-back" year- I was not anticipating a "lie down and let 'em have their way with us" year! When our most relaible arm is Tommy Milone- nothing against Mr. Milone, but... we need to see more out of the guys getting the "big bucks"!

11

Who do you guys like in the draft, tomorrow? I like the sound of outfielders Connor Carroll (local kid, Lakeside- related to the famous Carroll's of Seattle?) and Hunter Bishop (mostly because I'm so fond of his big brother, but he can hit a lick). We're not going to get the catcher we drafted three years ago, but we might have a shot at the 2nd best catcher (Shea Langeliers). As far as I am concerned, we can never have enough quality receivers. However, the tug o' war is probably between drafting one of the competent college shiortstops- of which there are about seven targeted for Round 1- and an arm. 

The scuttlebutt seems to favor the Mariners targeting a HS shortstop from New Jersey- Anthony Volpe- and under-offering him. Apparently he has told the world he requires $millions in order to sacrtifice his college scholarship. If he doesn't sign- and I sense the Mariners may prefer it that way- then they get to draft #21 next year ( in what is supposed to be a superior field) One explanation of the rules suggests that, in that case, the Mariners would be able to use his draft pool budget to spend on their other picks- #s 2, 3, 4, etc.- AND spend it again,, next year. If this is indeed the case, then- this strategy does NOT seem totally daft! And, it fitst with the Mariners' timeline: be competitive in 2021/22. 

12

Going from the 2 big roundups around here, Times' Roundup and "My Guy" from LL;
https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/mlb-mock-draft-roundup-here...
https://www.lookoutlanding.com/2019/5/23/18636840/thats-my-guy-the-ll-st...
°Tyler Callihan, IF/C, Providence HS Jacksonville, Fla. (Keith Law, ESPN)
°Anthony Volpe, SS, Delbarton HS NJ Eric (Longen./McDaniels Fangraphs)
°George Kirby, RHP, Elon (Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com)
°Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS Austin, Texas (Jim Callis, MLB.com)
°Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Tech (Joel Reuter, Bleacher Report)
°Kody Hoese, 3B, Tulane (Corey Brock, The Athletic)
And LookoutLanding:
°George Kirby, RHP, Elon (Kate)
°Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, CA) (Tim)
°Logan Davidson, SS, Clemson (Eric)
°Quinn Priester, RHP, Cary-Grove HS (Cary, IL) (Grant)
°Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) (Ben)
°Brett Baty, 3B, Lake Travis HS (Lake Travis, TX) (Matthew)
°Matthew Allan, RHP, Seminole HS (Sanford, FL) (Nick)
Matthew Lugo, SS, Carlos Beltrán Academy (Manati, PR) (Denise)
°Daniel Espino, RHP, Bulloch Academy (Statesboro, GA) (John)
°Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor (Connor)
°Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina (Zach)
°Nasim Nunez, SS, Collins Hill HS (Lawrenceville, GA) (Amanda)


I eventually found what I'd think is a separator to focus on less of them. For position players, when I see 7.+ second 60 time I'm thinking pass. That includes;
Callihan, Baty, Kody Hoese, Cavaco (7.66 blech). Don't need a slow corner IF with White (6.90) and Long (? I can find Beckham at 6.33 but nothing for Long), the way I see it.  Not that they both necessarily stick. 
That leaves;
Volpe 6.62
Davidson 6.58
Lugo 6.46
Langeliers 6.70 (stud catcher)
Busch 6.93
Nunez 6.28


For reference
Kelenic 6.57
Julio sounding like high 6's but I couldn't find a time
Bishop 6.67 coming out of UW
Crawford 6.77
Mallex 6.48
Gordon 6.35
Billy Hamilton 6.2-something. Among the closest I found to Nunez.


At that point I focused on Nunez who's still only projected 30th at FG (lower on most others), while most of the slower names previously mentioned are in the top 20.
https://www.fangraphs.com/prospects/the-board/2019-mlb-draft?sort=-1,1
His Overall skills and history made him my favorite by a ways. I saw that the Braves have been heavy on him and that they pick at 21. I think if he's there at 20 and not picked by Seattle he's still possibly gone before 22. We will see. Always possible they're hoping he drops past there or there's just someone they like better. I'll be surprised if he even gets to 20. Elite speed and arm with even more skills that make him a potential elite defender at SS with contact ability is too much in my opinion for the M's to let him drop past them. Did I mention he's a switch hitter?


https://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=16070


“I feel like with the game of baseball – or even with any sport – you’ve kind of got to know your strengths and weaknesses, so you can work on them,” Nunez said. “With your weaknesses, you know they’re there so you work hard on them. With your strengths, you’ve got to keep working hard on them, too, and make sure they get stronger and stronger every single day.”
He was barely 18 at the tournament when he was in the 99th percentile of both of the running and both of the throwing tests, 90th percentile in batspeed. This includes many college players;
https://www.perfectgame.org/Players/Playerprofile.aspx?ID=455754


With potentially generational defense at SS and SB ability I don't know how high I'd pick him. Not just projection based on speed. He has theft ability now and already knows how to slide to the base instead of past it (Dee/Mallex). Maybe the 10th of a second he has on them between bases makes the difference. The MyGuy link from LookoutLanding has 2 incredible tweets that highlight his defensive ability. I think calling him glove first ignores his other skills though. A couple more N squared links:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cooperstown-2013--2#/
https://youtu.be/IqrWpy68H7k


Jake Scheiner I'm coming around on. Speaking of non-plodding corners.

https://notesfromthesally.com/2018/04/23/4-unheralded-prospects-with-plu...
He is also mentioned at the 8 minute mark here;https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/podcast-prospects-impressing-in-...

13

Links and info I put into slack, you may have noticed 18 yo. Robert Perez who debuted in the States with AAA Tacoma.  He is another non-plodding corner, but with a pedigree.

https://rainierscurto.wordpress.com/

Sometimes listed as Robert Perez Jr., Perez is the son of Venezuelan baseball legend and former major leaguer Robert Perez. The elder Perez played all or parts of six seasons in the big leagues, mostly with the Toronto Blue Jays but also had a brief Mariners stint in 1998.

After he was done in the big leagues, Perez Sr kept playing… and playing, and playing, and playing. He played in Korea before that was common, he played in Japan, he played in the Mexican League until he was 40 years old, he even played in Italy. Each winter he went home to Venezuela and played for his local team, Cardinales de Lara, where he is a living legend after playing 27 years in the Venezuelan Winter League.

The Mariner signed Perez Jr. as soon as it was allowed, when he turned 16. He has played the last two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, performing well, and this year the Mariners Player Development Department decided to bring him into the country and give him a shot at short-season ball in the Arizona Rookie League.

Ever since Andy McKay took over the Mariners Player Development Department, when Triple-A Tacoma gets temporarily short on players the relief often comes in the form of extremely young players from extended spring training, and not the Double-A club. The results of this odd strategy have been mixed, to be kind. But we have a winner here with Perez.

Perez gives a good at-bat, and he has enough power to be a threat in Triple-A games. He’s looked silly a few times, as any 18-year-old in Triple-A would, and some of his singles have been lucky hits on soft contact. But he’s also crushed a few pitches, and he has helped the Rainiers win in a big way.

Curto is always the best to check with for Rainiers info.  He has quite a bit more on Perez, if you're interested.  I think Perez jr. has a chance to be only the 2nd second generation Mariner (The Griffeys.  Happy Birthday Craig.  Sorry you didn't make it to the show or you'd have been the second.) as his dad accrued 35 PA in Seattle in 1998.  I'm hoping to see Perez and Querecuto in Everett later this summer, can't get to Tacoma right now.  I'm not sure they'll be there yet. 

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