Archive for May, 2008

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Happy Felix Day

May 18, 2008

Joe Posnanski recently wrote, “I never argue with people who say baseball is boring because, well, baseball is boring, But then, suddenly, it isn’t. And that’s why it’s so great.”

I appreciate that sentiment because it’s very, very true. You have a team winning by three runs, with a pitcher who is shutting the opposing team down. But then there’s a walk, a hit, and a homerun, and suddenly it’s a completely different ball game. Or you have a team who has lost eight of their last ten games, and they’re being beaten again, when boom! Their struggling (but tall!) first baseman charges the mound and throws his helmet at the pitcher. Maybe that’s a bad example, but the fact remains: anything can happen at anytime in baseball.

That’s why Felix Day is special. Because you know his potential for greatness. And you know that for every mediocre start he puts in, he’s going to give you a gem. And that even his mediocre still offer glimpses of his potential.

Last night I opted to go to a play with my girlfriend rather than watch Erik Bedard’s start. I knew he might pitch an outstanding game and that I might end up regretting having missed it. He did have a great outing, but I was able to handle doing something else instead (the play ended up being sold out, by the way, so we took a walk and watched a movie instead). But a Felix Day? There’s no excuse for missing that. Because while good pitchers, like Bedard, come and go, there’s only one Felix.

Eric

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Where They Were At Age 22

May 17, 2008

Last year USSMariner wrote a post that looked at where various pitching aces were at age 21, compared to Felix. The King is a year older now, and I thought it would be interesting to perform this exercise again. Below is a list of eight aces. The list features predominately younger pitchers, although Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez were included out of curiousity.

At age 22:

Jake Peavy – 194 IP, 156 K, 82 BB, 173 H, 77.8 LOB%, .263 BABIP, 4.99 FIP 

Brandon Webb – Spent the season playing for the Lancaster Jethawks in A+ ball.

Josh Beckett – Split the year playing in the minor leagues and with the Florida Marlins. For the Marlins that year his stats read 107.7 IP, 113 K, 44 BB, 93 H, 68.5 LOB%, .296 BABIP, 3.69 FIP.

Cole Hamels – Split the year between three minor league teams and the Philadelphia Phillies. For the Phillies his stats read 132.3 IP, 145 K, 48 BB, 117 H, 72.1 LOB%, .300 BABIP, 3.98 FIP.

Carlos Zambrano – 214 IP (Whoo Dusty Baker), 168 K, 94 BB, 188 H, 73.0 LOB%, .291 BABIP, 3.47 FIP.

Johan Santana – 43.7 IP, 28 K, 16 BB, 50 H, 72.6 LOB%, .316 BABIP, 4.87 FIP.

Pedro Martinez – 144.7 IP, 142 K, 45 BB, 115 H, 72.1 LOB%, .281 BABIP, 3.31 FIP.

CC Sabathia – 197.7 IP, 141 K, 66 BB, 190 H, 75.2 LOB%, .291 BABIP, 3.95 FIP.

So far in the 2008 season, Felix has posted a line of 61.3 IP, 52 K, 27 BB, 63 H, 77.7 LOB%, .324 BABIP, 3.79 FIP.

This is not a bad line. While there is room for improvement (K rate, hits, and his LOB% suggests that he’s been pretty lucky), Felix fits right in with the rest of those names.

As Douglas Adams might say, don’t panic. Felix has not reached his ceiling. He’s not a permanent number two starter. He’s an ace in training who, once he gets his command down, will quite possibly be the best pitcher in baseball.

Eric

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Jose Lopez

May 10, 2008

Jose Lopez has 3 BB on the year.

His most recent walk was on April 11th. His .292 OBP so far this year is actually better than his 2007 OBP of .284.

If the season really is lost, then I have no problem with eventually flipping Lopez to another team and promoting Chen. I doubt Chen is a longterm fix, and I don’t believe that a 30-year old Orlando Hudson is the answer this offseason. But I also don’t believe that Lopez is going to help us much at reaching the post-season.

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Call Up Reed

May 9, 2008

There is no better time than the present to call up Jeremy Reed from AAA Tacoma.

Reed has been a monster this season, hitting .437/.600. The problem is that there’s no way to know what’s causing this. Has he taken a step forward? Has he simply mastered AAA? Has he become a classic case of the AAAA-type player? There’s only one way to find out. He needs to be promoted to Seattle.

With Sexson suspended, this is the ideal time. Moving Raul to DH and Clement to 1B opens a hole for Jeremy in LF. It necessitates no further lineup changes, which is critical for a team so concerned with “chemistry”.

Considering the swoon the Mariners are in, it cannot hurt for the ball club to try new things. Who knows, maybe Jeremy Reed will hit well in the big leagues. He certainly can’t do as poorly as Jose Vidro (.546 OPS), Miguel Cairo (.243 OPS), or Willie Bloomquist (.505 OPS).

If the Mariners want to find out what they have in Jeremy Reed, and if he’s going to be a valuable part of the club’s future, now is the time to find out.

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Dubya Tee Eff, Mate

May 4, 2008

First off, I don’t like writing articles that are inherently negative. On the other hand, I also don’t like articles that are hackey and attack blogs that provide legitimate analysis, like USSMariner. I don’t like that these hack-sites are tricking naive Mariner fans that stumble upon them.

I present to you the 5/3/2008 article from Detect-O-Vision, What Would Dr. D Do.

What Dr. D would do, right now, is put his two or three no-glove, bat-first benchies into the lineup.

Because the 2008 Mariner team is known for having all-D, no-O players.

Beltre – A ton of D, a ton of offense

Lopez – Some D, some good offense

Sexson – No D, no offense

Yuni – A lot of D, some offense<p>Ibanez – A DOV fit! no-glove, bat-first

Ichiro – A ton of D, a ton of offense

Balentein – Emerging D, developing offense

Johjima/Clement – Some D, maybe some offense, this being once Kenji comes around and as Jeff develops.

I’m left wondering who exactly DOV would remove from the lineup. There’s Richie, but replacing him isn’t exactly a new idea. Let’s read on to see if Doc explains.

Take the 1972 Orioles:  Bobby Grich (127 OPS+), Terry Crowley (112) and Don Baylor (119) on the bench.

Earl’s regular 9 were a mix of bat and glove specialists

The 2008 Mariners are not a team of bat and glove specialists.

He would flood his bats into the game, even if it meant bad defense for a little while.  This would include moving players to tougher defensive positions.  Earl would yank his glove wizard Mark Belanger from SS, putting a 2B in there (Bobby Grich), in order to maximize his offensive punch.

The defense might get ugly.  That was beside the point.

The defense giving up extra runs is beside the point.

Orioles would play 8-to-5 ball games for a week, and the slumping regulars would join in the festivities against long relievers, and boom.  The slump over, the glove players would go back in.

Interestingly, the 1972 Orioles did not win a single game by the score of 8-5.

Oakland is a modern example of the bench-bat model.  Last year they had literally 8-9 bat-first, no-glove players rotating in and out.   Cust, and Snelling, and Swisher, and Johnson, and Piazza, and Stewart, and Buck, and I forget who all.

I had no idea that many of those names were considered no-glove. Huh.

Anyway, a list of the following bat-first Oakland A’s benchies from last year, as well as their ’07 OPS+:

Cust – 147

Snelling – 131

Swisher – 128

Johnson – 108

Piazza – 96

Stewart – 101

Buck – 130

That’s a lot of OPS+ above 100! Then again, when you consider that Cust basically replaced Piazza as the every day DH at the start of May, that Swisher, Stewart, Johnson, and Buck were hardly bench bats that were truly “rotating in and out”, and that Snelling only had 20 AB for the A’s, the premise that the team was stocked with incredible bench bats is somewhat flawed. They had good bats period. It had nothing to do with a deep, slump-busting bench.

Defense is a wonderful thing and all that, but you guys are watching the downside to holding defense and versatility as an absolute.

I want to know what players Detecto is referring to exactly here. Is he saying we should sub out Betancourt? I also like his casual dismissal of defense.

What is the flippin’ big deal about losing your DH twice a year?  Why can’t Burke’s AND Cairo’s spots go to whatever the biggest sticks are that you can get your hands on?

Because Burke is awesome.<p>100% agree on Cairo.

What’s the big deal about switching positions around?  Betancourt to the bench, JLo to short, Raul to 1B, stuff like that.

He IS talking about moving Yuni to the bench! Because Betancourt’s 97 OPS+ is clearly what’s holding the team back.

And, um, who takes over at LF and 2B?

So it would be ugly when Jack Cust watched a ball bounce off the warning track four feet away from him.  Is that ugli-ER than what you are watching right now?!

Someone didn’t watch the Mike Morse start against Anaheim.

How many of these Mariners do you expect to win your next pennant with? 1. Ichiro 2. Beltre 3. Clement 4. JLo 5. Betancourt

Even though Betancourt ought not to be starting for the team.<p>Or does he mean that Betancourt ought not to start, until he busts out of his non-existent slump?

Put Brandon Morrow into the rotation and I don’t care whether this team wins or loses. 

Morrow is not ready for the starting rotation. DOV’s citations of Justin Verlander are not valid.

flip Sexson, Vidro, and Washburn for (1) a SU, for (2) Jr/Tex/rental/whatever and for (3) Morrow SP.  

Sexson, Vidro, and Washburn for Texeira? Brilliant. Let’s do Cairo + Reed for Pujols while we’re at it too.

I wouldn’t be about pleasing some invisible blog with 3,000 readers. 

I have no idea what he’s talking about here.

3.  11-man hitting rotation – Learn the lesson of a 5-man bench with 2-3 bats.   You might even address this in-season, with Eduardo Perez/Ben Broussard TYPE trades.

YEAH! Let’s repeat the Eduardo Perez trade! Because that move worked out so well in our favor.

Ugh.

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Class.

May 1, 2008

I really don’t want to go to it right now.  Grr.