January 2016

inquiring minds want to know
Posted by jemanji on 01/30/16
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. My own local version of Soccer Mom axed me this question today.  Are the M's gonna do good this year.  Just like you, I had no idea how to answer.  This is the phenomenon known as "paralysis by analysis": . Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person... Read More
not that the M's scrum is crystal clear just yet
Posted by jemanji on 01/30/16
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. HMMMMmmmmm this stopped me short.   For five years, the depth chart on the M's website has normally been (a) 45 days obsolete, (b) almost completely senseless, or worse (c) evocative of something Dr. D might suggest.  But we hopped through the page, intending a 4-second stick, just to get 7-8 rotation names and ... Whhhaaaaaa?  Looks like a real depth chart!  And it boasts the "LAST VERIFIED JAN. 30" banner top left!  Granted, it's also got the disclaimer top right, but you can imagine why the M's want plausible deniability if Luis Sardinas moans and groans about a web page. Even if the... Read More
a three-pointer either way should do it
Posted by jemanji on 01/30/16
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. In 2012, after Obama beat Romney, James wrote a political piece that included this good-natured chide: . Post-Election and Sportscasters In a basketball game, if one team jumps off to a 20-11 lead and holds the lead until late in the game, the broadcast color man in most cases—19 times out of 20—will spend most of the game browbeating everything that the trailing team does.    They can be trailing 83-78 with two minutes to play, and the announcer will still be dogging them:   They have no energy, their offense is out of sync, they’re not taking care of the ball, they’re not blocking out on... Read More
aka "Big Boy" in Korea
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/16
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. JUST THE FA'ACTS, MA'AM BaseballHQ listed a dozen Pacific Rim prospects for 2016, including Kenta Maeda, Seung-hwan Oh and Dae-ho Lee.  All HQ has on Lee is the stuff you'd get on RotoWorld or somesuch: 1) Dominated Korean baseball hilariously, including a 9-game HR streak that, um, broke Griffey's record 2) Transferred quite well to Japanese baseball, becoming a .280/.370/.525 hitter even in the Japanese "deadball era" 3) Has elevated his game in international contests (against new pitchers) 4) At age 33, it's now or never . FOR THE MARINERS Several sites are conjecturing the 3 teams have... Read More
DiPoto M's unbeaten, untied, and unscored upon
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/16
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.  Bob Dutton must have gotten his over-medium eggs done tender but moist this morning.  Dr. D counted at least six discreet "yeah baby" Tweets before he rushed off to an Arizona travel site.  Hey, no cheering in the press box, babe.  We are Journalists here, not sportswriters.  Get with it behind the mixing board wouldja. . Dut' Tweet:  Dipoto says #Mariners will have two lefty relievers. Furbush expected to be one. Other candidates: Nuno, Montgomery, Hultzen and Fry. . SSI denizens expect Furbush NOT to be one, based on his medical issues.  However, the Mariners themselves are (1)... Read More
What works better for you, the global inefficiency or the local?
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/16
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. The first "market inefficiency" I remember was in the 1980s in Oakland, after Rickey got there.  First Bill James, then Sandy Alderson reading Bill James, and then the rest of us became aware that BB's were awesome.  For several years it seemed like a few sharp teams could purchase BB's for pennies on the dollar. Market inefficiencies have since gone through several mail stops.  Stars, believe it or not, were undervalued for quite a while, which actually caused the explosion in silly contracts.  In the 1980s there were AstroTurf inefficiencies.  UZR you know about.  "Invisible bases"... Read More
Let's give some love to our 22-yr-old shortstop
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/16
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. All y'all longtime DOV season ticket holders probably remember Dr. Naka.  He took the board deep with a prediction that Michael Morse would have a big league career.  Morse was the 3rd player we got back for Freddy Garcia, after Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed?  The Mainframe has a VR-chip recording of USSM walking around with Cheshire Cat grins on their faces for days, murmuring "What a great trade."  Hey, if other sites are going to photo-brush Bill Bavasi into a Special Ed student, least we can do is remember that teaching moment. Anyway, Dr. N insisted "physical talent is approximately the... Read More
synergy in the batting order?
Posted by jemanji on 01/28/16
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. There has been a spirited debate this last week or two about the disappearance of Rod Carew and Ichiro types.  Guys who could hit .300-and-plenty while chipping the ball in front of the outfielders.   They are rare nowadays, perhaps because nobody launches the bat quickly and then drags it through the zone in Wade Boggs fashion.  A few guys lately have hit .300 with low power, Jose Altuve, Ben Revere, Marco Scutaro.  It will be fun to see if Ketel Marte can make a run at this. ... A corollary is that --- > when you stack a lineup with HR hitters, they may bump into each other, for lack... Read More
The John Smoltz shortcut to the next level? We kin hope
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/16
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. Level 551?, sure, seeing as level 451 was last year.  We've chattered each other up on this kid worse than Kevin Hart just before Ice Cube decides he has a fly on his face.  Worth another clarification / obfuscation / you be da judge, because Tony Blengino "predicts a big season for Walker," on the following grounds: 1) Taijuan's bad start in 2015 doesn't really count 2) He allowed hard-hit balls in 2015, which will naturally smooth out as he learns 3) Other things behind the ESPN paywall ..... As to 1), this raises the question:  Fo shizzle.  On or about May 25th, in the vicinity of the... Read More
Is the 'net more like a book or like TV? Well, are we talking SSI?
Posted by jemanji on 01/27/16
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. Jeff Sullivan has a typically sparkling writeup as to --- > the rise and fall of pitch framing.  For sure umpires are calling the zone much more consistently from one catcher to the next, and more so all the time.  And the theory is that umpires realized that this statistic was making them look like braying donkeys, and so they targeted the pitch framers for termination. This is good for you and for me, seeing that we like fairly referee'd sports decided between two parties, not three.  Who it ain't good news for, is Mike Zunino.  And particularly the tandem of Felix Herandez and his... Read More
ya pays yer nickel and ya takes yer chances
Posted by jemanji on 01/23/16
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. Baseball America has an excellent discussion page up.  An excerpt: ... Brandon F (Poulsbo, WA): Ackley, Zunino, Peterson ... I think it's fair to say these guys were drafted where they were expected to go. It's not like the M's reached on them. So I'm wondering is this just a run of bad luck or can a team's deficiencies in player development really have that dramatic of a negative impact? John Manuel: Great question. I think it’s a different answer on all three. With Ackley, I was incredibly high on him out of college. I always thought he just should go out as an outfielder or first baseman... Read More
The Mick got there pretty early
Posted by jemanji on 01/22/16
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From BJOL: . We sure are getting a lot more cuban players now. How good is the CUBAN baseball league? Is it as good as AA, AAA, AAAA?  Asked by: shthar Answered: 1/22/2016 It is more like Negro League baseball, with superior talents but nothing like the depth of the American rosters. There are 16 year old kids who play in the Cuban majors, sometimes 15 year old kids, I guess. That's why you have highly superior 21-, 22-year old players. In the same way that Willie Mays, Roy Campanella and others became highly superior players because they were playing against high level competition at a... Read More
What do you MEAN, you don't have this month's BB's
Posted by jemanji on 01/22/16
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. James today pointed out it was weird for the majors to have five (5) players with >40 homers and <99 RBI.  It never happened in baseball history until 1957; in fact in the 1930's, 40-homer men averaged (!) 163 RBI apiece. 40 homers and 99 RBI had happened only 16 times in history before last year, but here we were watching Nelson Cruz, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Carlos Gonzalez all do it together.   The problem wasn't that Nelson Cruz was an overrated slugger, any more than Harper and Trout are.  It's the disappearance of the tablesetter.  There used to be all kinds... Read More
anybody else wanna negotiate?
Posted by jemanji on 01/21/16
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. Youse mooks probably read through all this stuff as it comes down.  Dr. D, in his curmudgeonly fashion, is just now reading Jan. 13 stuff as he types.  (More fun to simul-type-read.)  Hmmmm, this Shannon Drayer piece has quite a few DiPoto quotes... . "Most will be taught through development," he said. "The younger you can get with a player and give him a plan at the plate, the better off you are going to be. You don't hit very effectively in the big leagues without a plan. We're trying to instill that in our players, particularly our young players. It's something we are going to demand... Read More
neuro-linguistic programming dept: YERRRR OUT
Posted by jemanji on 01/21/16
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. Drayer says, "The Mariners brought 16 hitters - including Mike Zunino, Chris Taylor, Jesus Montero, Boog Powell, D.J. Peterson and Alex Jackson - to Arizona to participate in the hitting summit." And here we thought Montero was circling the airport until his flight could be diverted down to Oakland. ... no, more seriously, Montero does look like the kind of hitter who has been reacting on instinct.  If you took a shot in the dark, find 10 players around baseball, who could leap a big plateau through better anticipation, Montero would probably be on the Post-It Note. .... Chris Taylor was... Read More
Stephen Landazuri, RHP
Posted by jemanji on 01/21/16
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. The M's winter league stats are right here.  There are no batters who are batting anything of note, not if you've given them more than 30 chances.  ... we're leaving ourselves vulnerable here; Moe could notice that Tyler O'Neill can afford 30 dummy strikeouts into a batting line of note. There are three pitchers with interesting statlines; James Paxton you might have expected.  Vidal Nuno has been brought up before; he's up to his old 5 BB in 41 IP tricks.  He figures Babe Ruth is dead, so he can throw strikes.  The trouble is, Babe isn't all that dead in Texas and Boston. Then the third... Read More
perish the thought
Posted by jemanji on 01/20/16
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. === Mariner Outfield === So, we got three (3) mid-30 tomata cans plus Leonys Martin.  Boog Powell is the safety net.  SSI can't find the words :- 0 but they had better be closer to "re-load" than "re-build."  Which raises the question of how much wisdom is involved when you're "re-loading" a 76-win ballclub. In fairness, Nelson Cruz is the 5th outfielder.  And scoff though Baseball Prospectus might, there are a few bat-first outfielders in the game: . Thumper 2015 UZR runs "scored" Matt Kemp -24.1 Gerrardo Parra (coveted around the North Puget Sound last month) -22.1 Jose Bautista -18.9 (... Read More
Kyle Seager vs Yuniesky Betancourt, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/20/16
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. BJOL has two intriguing remarks on the problem: . How accurately do you think the Red Sox (or teams in general) evaluate players' desire to get better before drafting? Is it harder or easier than evaluating physical skills? Do you think it is more or less important than physical skills in determining how good a player becomes? Asked by: Ben from New York Answered: 1/19/2016 Well, there's a lot of information about it. In baseball there certainly is such a thing as wanting it TOO MUCH, and you have to be careful about that. There's a lot of failure in baseball, a lot of losses and... Read More
Just sayin'
Posted by moethedog on 01/16/16
13 Comments

I'm just sayin', mind you, but we're opening the '16 season with 4 principal OF'ers who might not be around in '17.  Each brings a question mark to the '16 plate, as well. CF:  Martin, we assume, will recover just fine from his hamate owey.  Here's a neat article that examines recovery from hamate injuries, especially looking at ISO:   http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/5/2/5672834/hamate-fractures-and-p...    Of course, Martin has no ISO to speak of, so any bounce there doesn't really impact him as much as it might a Tulo, for example.  And (also) of course, Martin was big league terrible... Read More
would you please just Go Away scott
Posted by jemanji on 01/16/16
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. FREE AGENT LAND MINES Six, eight weeks ago, Fangraphs laid out its WARNING: LETHAL FORCE AUTHORIZED placards to steer the public and private away from 5 free agents.   Dr. D agreed with all five, lining them up neatly -85, -75, -60, -45, -30 from riskiest to least risky.  Fill in your own Price Is Right guess cards as to which tag goes with who, but I betcha we'd all agree with Chris Davis at the head of the list.  Bet you, too, that GM's would tab this one as the most likely to blow your thumb off. . 7 x $161M Dave Cameron gleefully busts the Orioles for falling into Boras' trap.  EXEC SUM... Read More
Starry, Starry Scrubs dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/16/16
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. As Cameron himself just now argued, the Red Sox are (may be) justified in offering David Price $30M year / forever BECAUSE --- > the value of a postseason berth is far beyond what we ever imagined.  And, Dr. D kicks in annoyingly, the value of a team "Brand" is big, whether or not that team makes the playoffs.  The Royals have completely changed their "brand."  As have the Seahawks and Warriors and ... what's that worth to a jillionaire who owns a sports team?  That people look him in the eye differently when they shake his hand?  Ask a Manchester City fan. Anyway, Chris Davis could... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/15/16
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. The Shout Box turned out kinda good, so The Mighty Klat is working an a supplement - a running chat room.  Will be interesting to take a peek. At the moment, the chat room is simply a web page (URL to be posted shortly).  We'll be running an open chat in it Monday from 2-5 pm, so you can look around, kinda like a roto war room.  At 3:30 pm specifically Dr D will be there or be square. Would be nice to get a group, since part of the testing is to assess the number of users it can handle.  Amigos ax, "Can we PayPal Dr. D or anything for his efforts?"  Nah, but you'd be doing me a solid if you... Read More
Here's betting one more year
Posted by jemanji on 01/15/16
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. Q.  Is 33 old for a Seth Smith-type ballplayer? A.  There's this vivid memory that Dr. D has from back in the 1980s.  There was a good corner outfielder playing for the Mets, Kevin McReynolds.  AARP members will remember him as an archetype of the "fairly good" player that New York fans had literally in the Hall of Fame by age 29.  James wound up an argument sourly, going "if he's still PLAYING at age 33, he'll be horsefeathers."   This was back before anybody else fully bought into James' age-arc sermons.  I remember going, "Yowch!  He KNOWS that?  He's not PREDICTING it?"  But of course... Read More
If we'd offered you this roster on Oct. 1 ... ?
Posted by jemanji on 01/15/16
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. Since the last POTD Update, DiPoto has onloaded three (3) relief pitchers, we did the Marte shtick, and even threw in an Angel's Advocate on king Leonydas.  In all the tables we even swapped out the flava text.  Now tell me, would Harball Times do this for yer?  I think NOT . Grab HQ Bumper Sticker Dr. D's Micro Grok RP Justin De Fratus Volatile.  And that's with UP of "meh" Truly the "dime a dozen" GREEN BEANS can on the shelf RP Ryan Cook studiously avoids the subject Throwback to Zduriencik 8:4 CTL days, if not 1950s Phillies days RP Joe Wieland beneath their dignity My kinda steady-... Read More
sweet clearance, ain't it
Posted by jemanji on 01/14/16
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. Q.  What's the BEST case for him? A.  To become Doug Fister or Phil Hughes in the rotation, or a Koji Uehara Lite in the bullpen.  Hey, we're talking BEST case here. WEE-land has a Maddux-esque still head and CG , throws 1+ walks (as delights Jerry DiPoto), and now the question is whether he can deploy weapons that put ML batters on their back foot.  For Doogie, that started as a dynamic change speed and a surgeon-precise fastball, evolving into an overhand change curve later. For Wieland it will have to be superb command of the FB and deception on the change curve.  That's not far-fetched... Read More
wear a HELMET, bro'
Posted by jemanji on 01/14/16
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. LL has caught on to the idea that Tony Zych's slider is a weapon.  Yes it is, and the slider is -12 to -14 MPH off his fastball -- which is itself a weapon that puts you into the fetal position with a set of plastic keys in your mouth.  Tony's heat exceeds Wade Davis', so this high-deception, arm-active slider is obviously going to draw some garbage swings. LL has some stats that tell you Zych's slider got really good results.  Basic reason:  after 95 MPH, batters sit fastball with pepper swings.  Sell that slider with a whippy through action and you WILL be effective.  End of story. Zych... Read More
it's comin' ... come ON got to BE
Posted by jemanji on 01/14/16
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This from BJOL: . Hey Bill, what do you think of this idea? A stat for pitchers based on what percentage of the time they allow a hard-hit ball. Pitchers for the most part are trying to prevent the batter from hitting the ball hard, and batters for the most part are trying to hit the ball hard, right? And if I'm not mistaken they already keep track of hard hit balls. Asked by: manhattanhi Answered: 1/14/2016 I think it would be useless, but go ahead. . Wow.  Useless?  Lemme digest for a sec. My impression of modern ML-internal sabermetrics was --- > that it had "reduced" to the... Read More
a short finish, dude. don't leave home without it.
Posted by jemanji on 01/11/16
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.  Dr. D will cheerfully bet something important, such as Carolina's weather forecast or SABRMatt's screen name, that Leonydas' 2016 hitting life will be nasty, brutish and short.  So will BaseballHQ.  We aren't backing off on that.  But still, if Dr. D received The Big Phone Call and were to go to arbitration with the lad, what reasons are there to believe? . The Mariners and Rangers agree that he's made out of gold.  If you cancel James Jones against Anthony Bass - and you DO, b'lee DAT - then you've got (1) a power RH with 67 (!) career saves and (2) an org top-5 prospect for Leonydas.  ... Read More
point counterpoint
Posted by jemanji on 01/11/16
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. Win, lose, or draw, I'm happy that Kevin Mather has tossed the ball to one man.  Here are a couple of today's Hey Bills, just $3/month "just to keep out the riffraff" in James' own words: . I hope DePodesta can convince the Browns to stick with a coach for longer than 2 seasons. Asked by: Steve9753 Answered: 1/10/2016 Excellent. Excellent, Excellent point. That's exactly what strategic thinking is, in my view. You make short-term decisions, one after another after another; each decision makes sense at the time that you make it, but each one cancels out the previous one so there is no... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/16
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. MARTIN-WILHELMSEN DEAL Tacoma Rain has an interesting comment: . I am having a tough time imagining how this trade ended up getting consummated. I would think GM's are trading for players that they want, or they think will improve their team... but that does not seem to be the case here. Texas immediately cuts Jones after Kivlehan is announced as the last player in deal?? why trade for Jones then? And I really wonder why there was a delay on annoucing Kivlehan at the time of the trade. Was there another player as an option instead of Kivlehan? Or did the trade happen so fast that Texas ... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/16
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. $/WO' NO MO, dept. Bill James was on the MLB Now show and Brian Kenny asked him whether he was behind the David Price and Craig Kimbrel moves.  He floored me by gushing over the moves.  9 times out of 10, he's going to acknowledge both sides of the argument, while 6 of those 9 times he'll take a "preferred position."  Not this time.  And don't ax whether he was carrying spears for Sox management; he was not. David Price got $31M x 7 years.  You can bet that Price will NOT be an ace for all seven years; in fact if he's an ace for even 3 of the years, he'll probably opt out.  But Dave Cameron... Read More
weebles wobble? let's hope this one DOES
Posted by jemanji on 01/08/16
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. Q.  Is he an upgrade from Anthony Bass? A.  Not for me, no.  I was looking forward to watching Bass, in the sense of being Bass being a good pitcher among bad pitchers.  I wouldn't trade you Bass for Cook, but ... you, Gentle Reader, can take comfort in two things. (1) Bill James' axiom:  MLB orgs pay too much attention to what their scouts say, and too little to how their players have performed. (2) Jerry DiPoto's axiom:  Relievers, if they're not Kimbrel or Chapman, wobble like Weebles.   You AARP subcommittee members recall the Weebles that Wobble But They Don't Fall Down?  In 2012-14, ... Read More
Bat, TJM, DaddyO and Rick arrange SSI high school reunion
Posted by jemanji on 01/08/16
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. I enjoyed this Full Disclosure.  So much so that we're going to troll for more old feebs confessing their allegiances to Roy Campanella and Preacher Roe ... "The glory of young men is their strength; gray hair is the splendor of old men."  In sabermetric terms ... a recent college graduate has more energy and interest to stay caught-up and cutting-edge with more clinical research.  You don't see 55-year-olds pick up a guitar and spend the next 8 years "sitting on the edge of my bed playing through Eric Clapton with a six-pack of Schlitz" as Eddie Van Halen put it.  You've got to have the... Read More
the mainframe assimilates all lesser computers
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/16
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. WHERE WE WERE Marte played well in the Mariners' bush leagues, which is a little bit like saying Taylor Williamson got big laughs on America's Got Talent.  It doesn't exactly mean he's headed for Jerry Seinfeld book-movie deals.  Dr. D and a host of comrades, notably G-Money, waved off the Marte template.  But!  The Mariners' scouts kept insisting that Marte was Jose Reyes II.  SSI insisted that although quite reasonable, this proposition was looney tunes. Then Marte was rushed to Safeco, age 21, and played three or four games for the benefit of the Mainframe's CF camera.  Dr. D's mouth... Read More
of ignitors and Claudell Washingtons
Posted by jemanji on 01/07/16
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. Editor's choice. Diderot sez, . ....  I'd like to move the comparison machine way back past Fernandez and Stennett to the hero shortstop of my youth...Luis Aparicio.  ... How can Marte--or anyone else--be compared to him?  Well, the guy (Aparicio) wasn't perfect: Despite the eye, his career OBP was only 311 (compared to league-average 329).  He neither struck out NOR walked very much. Career OPS+ was only 82...and exceeded 100 only once in 19 seasons. Yes, Marte could exceed both of these last metrics.  Last year's performance was fueled by a high BABIP.  But neither contact nor hard... Read More
no images with "Magic 8 Ball" available
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/16
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. THEY SAID WE COULDN'T LAND THE BIG BOOKING!  So what do you have to say about THIS, LrKrBoi29.  Live and in the studio.  Yankee$ powerbroker, SABR speaker, New Jersey-hardened and nimbly able to cheer or slag the Seattle Mariners as his slide rule commands him. Let's get straight to the white meat.  We'll ladle on the gravy thrice deep in a moment: . M's SABRMatt's WAR Steamer Dr. D remark Ianetta/Clevinger 0.0 1.7 + 0.4 (These spaces intentionally left blank Lind/Montero 2.5 1.5 + 0.2    for future use) Cano 4.0 3.5 Marte 0.5 1.8 Aoki 1.0 1.0 Martin 0.5 1.2 Smith/Guti 2.0 1.2 + 0.6... Read More
Lessee whether DiPoto is better at 'dime a dozen' than Z was
Posted by jemanji on 01/02/16
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. We'll try to do this as objectively as possible, seeing as Dr. D is now as sympathetic toward Justin De Fratus as would be Oprah Winfrey to Rosa Parks. ;- ) . HQ SEZ Getcher Baseball Forecaster rat cheer.  You can be downloading a .pdf while the book's in the mail, too. Whatever went right in 2014 went wrong in 2015.  Wildly inconsistent month-to-month. (1) Righties 'lathered' him, though .410 BABIP played a role. (2) There were far fewer 1st-pitch strikes, swinging strikes (3), and runners stranded (4). All that in career-high IP. Even at his best, he's really just a guy.  [Roto stats no... Read More
Our Pizzano is pretty rare
Posted by moethedog on 01/01/16
6 Comments

This "Controling the Zone" discussion got me to thinking:  Just how rare is it to find a guy who really does control the zone, season in and season out. Well, if you look at AA guys, it is pretty rare. So last season, our Dario Pizzano was at 19 BB's and 20 K's, down on the AA farm, before he was injured. He was 45-38 the previous year at AA.  For his MiLB career he has 181 BB's and 163 K's. So I wondered how many AA guys walked more than they K'ed in '15 AND how many of them have more career BB's than K's?  And I do realize that Pizzano missed walking as often as he K'ed last year by one BB... Read More