Mike Carp Slims Down (2)

Q.  Has Carp been getting lucky in Tacoma?

A.  That's weird, yeah, we remember seeing some complaint like, calm down, Carp is nothing special.  He's just 2010, plus some BABIP luck, so don't expect much.

I don't get that, because:


(1) So .... suppose he is only as good as 2010, like that's damning?   Check this out:  

  • 48 homers in his last 167 games, 2010-11  
  • 43 in the previous 343 games, 2007-09

Now you're going to say, "well, he's no different in 2011 than 2010."  um, ???


(2) I mean, I guess you're saying that in 2010, he "only" slugged .516 in Cheney ... ergo, that's who is now ... ergo, an MLE of .440 SLG or something.

First off, it looks like BABIP (and therefore the .516 SLG) was unlucky in 2010:  you've got a guy with very controlled K's, and high HR's, batting only .257?  That's got to be a lot of gloves he hit.

The BABIP doesn't look out of line this year:  a .348 AVG boosted by boatloads of HR's?   What does a guy with 55 homers and only 120 strikeouts usually bat?

And, of course, powerful LH hitters run BABIP's higher than Chone Figgins does.


But the fact is, Mike Carp IS a lot better in 2011 even than he was in 2010.  Check his HR, K, and doubles rates compared to 2010:

  • 36 homers, 21 doubles, 121 strikeouts - Carp 2010, per 600 AB's (and he was terrific)
  • 45 homers, 31 doubles, 104 strikeouts - Carp 2011, per 600 AB's

We're going to look at this player and adjudge him to be a BABIP fluke, a guy who is making zero progress?


Q.  Does SSI predict that Carp will be okay in left field?

A.  It does, yes.

The man has lost 25 lbs. at least.  Baseball-reference shows Carp with a 2.20 range factor in LF over the course of 70 games in 2010-11.  ... Mike Wilson's was 1.9 ... Ezequiel Carrera's (!) was 1.6, but of course that's a small-data quip... a real good LF in Cheney will run RF's up towards 3, so you're not talking about a glove-first player.

But I'll tell you what.  There is one cyber-city in the majors that demands glove-first players in LEFT field, and that's Seattle.  Other cities recognize The Macro Trend To Big Players, and they want Manny, Braun, Jason Bay, Rauuuul, Carlos Lee, etc. in left field.

Baseball's getting bigger, because bigger wins.  You can't fight city hall.  You want 30 homers in left, not pretty defense.


Q.  How much does it matter, that he's been up twice, and spent exile periods absorbing his lessons?

A.  A whale of a lot.  The entire roto theme of "Post-Hype Sleeper" is a strategy wins championships.  It wins because it is born in the reality that most ballplayers need several cracks at it, to get rolling.

Fans are interested in players who dominate in their first week.  MLB teams win with players they stuck with, through three, four trials.


Q.  Can you name me a post-hype sleeper?

A.  Check first base, amigo.


Q.  So SSI would guarantee Carp a 400-AB look?

A.  Yes.  Here is a player I would not just "try," but give a good fair chance to.  As they did Saunders.

Because Carp is an intersection of (1) mammoth saber production and (2) wonderful physical progress, he's a guy who's a little more than just a random flip of a card.  Here's a guy who deserves confidence, and a good long chance.

Carp looks like a good 50-50 lotto ticket to become a Matt LaPorta, Kevin Millar-level player for the minimum wage, and maybe 20%, 25% chance to become a Jason Kubel type.  You can't afford to blow off those kind of card flips when you get them.

If it's him or Cust, the choice is easy.  You got a shot at a minor star here.



Dr D



paracorto's picture

Great comments. That's the way anyone should examine situations, with fairness and respect. It's a pleasure to read you especially having floated in the M's blogosphere only to note that a personal, nonsense war vs Wedge is just started.


Truth in advertising:
1. Nobody whined more than I for a M. Wilson call up. I know, I know....I was a boor!  That call up didn't really workout, but I'm not sure 20 (or so) PA's, spread out over a month, is much of a real chance. I advocated 300-400 PA's.  But, it is true that he didn't light it up.
2.  I said that Peguero was a better option than Milton.  That one's a draw.
3.  I discounted a Halman call up.  Scoffed at it, in fact.  Yikes, that looks like a bad call.  Maybe real bad.
4.  I liked Carp when he was a Mets' farmhand.  Thought he should have had the Opening Day 1B job last year rather than Kotchman and I thought the Cust acquisition was silly because Carp was at least his equal.  I've written that a bunch of times.  I loved his command of the strike zone and his gap-ish type power.  All of that before this years leap forward.  Know I like his game and chance even more.  Carp can play!
And you're right, Doc...the stars and scrubs mentality means you keep playing guys until you find the scrub who lights it up. 
I just hate the marriages to the veteran who can't.


'preciate it.
Haven't seen the war vs. Wedge.  You mean Baker or something?


Definitely have dibs on the adopt-a-player here, if Carp becomes our second RBI man :- )
Wilson came up and was immediately thrown into the deep freeze.  Talk about icing the shooter.
Still want to see what he can do, at some point.  But no way his pedigree equates to Carp's.  So in his case it really is the proverbial numbers game.


Got to admit that was witty... am sure they feel the same about us...
The annoyance there is over removing Smoak and Cust from the lineup, but just to take a few things real quick:
1.  Cust's fastball and change run values are a train wreck this year, and Verlander is pitching.  
Even if the Scrub Rotation wasn't a factor, the aging Cust would definitely need to be spotted against guys who don't throw 100 mph.
This aging-warhorse-vs-high-octane-gas factor is one that Eric Wedge has experienced -- it's perfectly obvious to him, while perfectly opaque to non-athletes.
2.  Have to plan lineups w/r/t a long series of games, and not as if you were playing a single Strat-O game for pink slips.  
For example, when DO you rest Justin Smoak?  Maybe his tongue's hanging out a bit and his bat is a little sluggish right now (against Verlander)?
3.  There is information to be gathered.  This is a decision-rich season and winter.
The usual SSI mantra pops up again:  life is more complicated than we tend to assume.
Though oblivious to factors like the above (and 100's more) --- > that (very widely-read) article is nothing less than a condescending indictment of Eric Wedge's understanding of baseball.  
I don't understand why the classiest guys in the cyber-sphere enable this.


Guess here is that Jack Cust is about 10-20 Mike Carp base hits away from being out of the majors permanently.
Would bet you that Jack Zduriencik wants only to make sure that Carp can hit, and that he will at that precise moment --- > shed Jack Cust.
Today's lineup involves much broader questions than who gives you 0.04 theoretical runs in today's game (even assuming Cust's aging bat could catch up to Justin Verlander's heater).  
There is a roster transition to attend to.  And there are decisions to be made this winter.  You want information sooner, not later.

Steen#'s picture

I don't think you understand his complaint w/ regard to the lineup.


My call on Carp wasn't simple numbers.  It was the order ... (in baseball order matters).
After a decade chasing "upside" quick-twitchers down the rabbit hole, I was thrilled with the Carp throw-in because Carp did NOT hit great his first 400 ABs in AA, but he did in his next 500.  You don't go from pedestrian (.720) to All-Star (.870) in those kind of samples unless you fixed "something". 
IIRC, I pegged his upside as Abreu without speed.  After losing the weight, he's stolen 6 of 8 bases in his 57 AAA games this year.  Not Abreu ... but here's a guy who is not SATISFIED with putting up a thousand OPS.  He starts swiping 15 bases a year, too?!? 
To borrow a phrase ... I luv eeeeeeeet!
Of course, like all specs, he could fail.  But, his previous performance in the majors certainly didn't indicate that the talent level was beyond his ken. 
I will only add that I *like* the patience the club is showing with its prospects.  The seemingly chaotic choices (Pineda immediately ... Peguero before Carp and Ackley.  Halman out of the blue.  This actually gives me a LOT more faith that the previous paradigm of "promote-until-failure" is kaput.  I see the chaos as comforting, because the decisions do not seem to be knee jerk, nor overly influenced by promoting-the-hype. 
I may loathe Peguero's 8:1 K/BB ratio ... but I certainly cannot complain about what he's managed to do while running that rate.  And if he can lower that to a more realistic 4:1 ... wow ... imagining a Carp, Halman, Peguero OF ... (sigh)

TAD's picture

Mike Curto wrote the following "...I was surprised the DH'd Carp and Peguero played left field - it seems to me the defense would be better if they flip-flopped."
Carp also commented to the media that he primarily played the outfield as he was coming up thru the Mets' minor league system.  So this is not Carp's first rodeo when it comes to playing the outfield and Curto sees a noticeable difference in ability between the two - any reasonable person should not have any worries if Carp is placed in the outfield, as long we are not using Gutierrez as the bar we judge our outfielders by.


All in one post:
Defends Wedge from the cyber-secondguessers
Ups the ante on Ichiro
Takes on the "nice, friendly, little no-pressure baseball" mindset.

FNietzsche's picture

I have no knowledge on swing mechanics, but my goodness Carp's swing impresses visually.  It seems to be sharp and level through the zone and his head is quite still.  He hasn't made contact on one of his power swings yet but I can definitely see the ball going a long way as soon as he does.
Yesterday he was the only Mariner to draw a walk against Verlander, and he even threw one in against Valverde after getting behind 0-2.  What percentage of big leaguers are even capable of that? 50%? 40%?
Through two games he has a .777 OPS against 3 pitchers whose combined ERA's would be in the low 3's.  I think he'll be alright.

FNietzsche's picture

But how is that different from any lineup that Mariners have run out the past two seasons?  It's not like Wedge is being given anything to work with.

RockiesJeff's picture

Jeff, interesting that the bigger trend intersects here in mentioning Carp. But Carp is also bigger by smaller. I adhere to the growing trend among many to get away from developing the big muscles to the cat-like muscles with a strong core. The P90X generation has a lot for kids coming up serious about baseball. You don't need to move a 300 lb lineman but just hit the 5 ounce moving target. I find Carp's comments very interesting in a day where so many weight coaches want big muscles. I have greater fear of the mountain lion over the rhino.
Best to Carp. I hope he not only succeeds at the plate but can prove himself on the field.
Thanks for your insights!

PositivePauly's picture

I'm still skeptcal that Carp can produce enough in the majors, but I'm certainly an advocate of change.
While I know Ichiro needs his routine, it may well be that currently the best lineup, both offensively AND defensively, might include Carp in LF, Guti in CF and Halman in RF. Ichiro still looks lost and uncomfortable, and like he's lost about 3 steps in the OF as well. I don't get it - he's not the type to cliff dive, and he may well even still be one of the best-fit and best-prepared players in the game. But something is way off with Ichiro and maybe it'll take a day or three off completely to get it back on...
If I had one quibble about yesterday's lineup it's not that Cust & Smoak got a day off against a RH pitcher (that doesn't bother me nearly as much as it seems to have bothered Admiral Spreadsheet). Actually, my quibble is that they had an opportunity to try out Kennedy at 3B, a position he's played not infrequently, and get Carp some reps at 1B (even though he's been in LF mostly in Tacoma as of late). Smoak has definitely seemed in need of a day off. Against Verlander, a tough, tough pitcher especially for high-K guys like Smoak & Cust, it makes as much sense as anything, what with Smoak being a switchy.
Ackley for 2B and Kennedy for 3B. Figgins has been given plenty of chances. Let him battle for PT orts and fill in in the OF as needed or 3B or 2B... He's 'succeeded' in the role of super-utility player before. He's not entitled to starting 3B every day. Swap Peguero (who is completely overmatched, and likely would not have been called up had Halman not been injured at the time -- unless, of course, as may be the case, Wedge specifically asked for him) with Ackley and let Figgins be the roving OF option. Carp starts in LF, with Halman spelling Carp & Guti and even Ichiro on occasion. Let Peguero get the instruction and PT he needs consistently in Tacoma...

Steen#'s picture

Baseball players may not need to move 300lb lineman, but that doesn't mean p90x is the answer. The Mariner's new training regimen might very well be the future in baseball, but don't confuse that w/ the lunacy that is p90x. P90x is just aerobics for the 21st century. There's a reason Mcgwire, Bonds and Sosa wanted to look like they did. The bigger, stronger athlete *wins*. 


was complaining about who got in the starting lineup vs. Verlander.

RockiesJeff's picture

Steen, I am a bit curious to your comments about P90 and similar programs being "just areobics for the 21st century" for supposed lunatics. For the record, I don't believe I said that P90 and such are the future. I have no desire to be argumentative but to call it lunacy is a little extreme. I question how much you know first hand either from using or watching results on the field. Those three you mentioned all could hit it out of the stadium with or without cheating. Realize not every kid has the potential or needs to be a barrel chested linebacker to hit a baseball very hard. Kids like a Franklin can be skinny as a rail and have true baseball strength (maybe not hit it out of the county strength) and contain power to hit the ball hard. I am not an infomercial junkie but can tell you first hand along with some friends who are professionals and former professionals that owe much to such "lunacy." Not the future but amazing how many people are as idiotic as I.
See you in front of the TV!

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.