February 2017

minor significance, major enigma
Posted by jemanji on 02/28/17
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. FOREWARD:  AHEM Travis Sawchik has an excellent Fangraphs article on "The Yips."  As Chris Collinsworth put it once, "there's no way to practice the 3-foot putt to win the Masters."  What happens is that the athlete starts caring too much about failure, and seizes up.  Your conscious mind is not strong enough to control your subconscious mind; you can't lie to it and say "It's not that big a deal to throw the ball away in front of 40,000 people."  It is a big deal, and for a few guys it has become the end of the world. Nuthin' Rick Ankiel coulda done about it, short of prayer, maybe.  In... Read More
's ok by us, but he'll have to bid for it
Posted by jemanji on 02/26/17
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. Longtime MVP poster Wishhiker politely wonders about it: . I'm feeling good about joining that wagon before there was a band though. The earliest positive comment on Haniger I can find anywhere, after the deal, was when, 6 hours in to the 24th, I said; "Aaaannd .290/.370/.490 in 1866 MiL PA from a decently glovey CF (Very glovely corner)? .276/.349/.512 is where O'Neill sits at 1398 PA, 2 promotions behind. .293/.374/.508 this year for Tank if you prefer. Haniger has basically done that, with way less strikeouts (17% of PA), his entire MiL career including .321/.428/.670 in 312 AAA PA.... Read More
Opening Week Looms. but what Dr. D wants to know is, what are those front sights for
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/17
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. JIM BOWDEN:  If all the Mariners' starters pitch good, they'll make the playoffs.  LINK. RANDOM 'NET WAG:  How many teams could you say that about. DR. DETECTO:  Not many.  Not in this sense. ..... Random 'net wag hangs a slider and gives Dr. D a chance to wheel out his fave "true but not accurate" malapropism.  Sure, any team could have its #3-4 starters come through, but ... remember 2011?  Felix was epic, Michael Pineda was a rookie with a 9.1 strikeout rate and 2+ walks, Doug Fister had a 3.33 ERA, and the Mariners had Erikkk Bedard coming off a #1 xFIP finish in the AL.  Even Jason... Read More
Namely, the hardest thrower in the American League by 2.0 MPH
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/17
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. 96.8 MPH average fastball for Zeus last year, with Danny Duffy second at 94.8 MPH. . It's a Bob & Groz show, which is great for what it is.  The DJ's are not there to make Mel Jr. regret that he showed up to the studio.  So when Mel sez stuff like, . “He’s always known he’s had great stuff; he never really had a feel for what he was trying to do with it,” Stottlemyre said. “He worked his butt off … and in the process, when he came back up, the confidence was there, it carried over in the pitches, and then you really started to see him kinda grow up and have a much better understanding... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/25/17
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. I/O:  Nelson Cruz hits a routine fly ball, classically into his power alley, to start this season's 3-run festivities.  Segura and Cano trot in ahead of him. CRUNCH:  Reminds me of the Big Red Machine, where the first inning was scripted like a Bill Walsh first half.  Sniff.  I think I'm going to cry. . I/O:  Matty wants to know what he wins, after his 24-karat solid gold guarantee Mitch Haniger comes through in right field. CRUNCH:  The undiscovered country:  Best Bet Gloatage.  There is simply nothing like rehashing and rehashing a 145-lb. UW pitcher for fifteen years after he last did... Read More
7-year overnight successes, Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 02/24/17
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. First word out of Mariners camp is that Haniger and Servais are pals.  For uus older Denizens, this is eminently preferable to the Ken Phelps-Jay Buhner trade when Jim Lefebvre groused of the new arrival Buhner, "the only place he's not professional is in the batter's box."  Lefebvre had grown up in the palmy days of the 1960's NL West, where hitting 8 homers and batting .266 could get you the cleanup slot.  Frenchy didn't much cotton to Bone's 450-foot swings and misses. Dutton, however, relays a rather different first impression from Servais: . There was no hesitation Thursday from... Read More
aka Stop Whining and Do Something About It
Posted by jemanji on 02/24/17
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. My Northwest has five, count 'em, five ideas worth thinking about.  Servais hoping Dyson will fill more than platoon role. ... “I would like to see what he can do against left-handed  pitching in spring training,” said Servais. “He can impact games in other ways than just the bat. I would like to give him an opportunity and see what happens.” Last year in Kansas City Dyson had just 34 plate appearances against lefties and hit primarily 8th and 9th. He is looking forward to having the opportunity to settle in at the top of the order with the Mariners. “I prefer to lead off. I feel like I get... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/24/17
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The 'Linkage' post to the right will be in the barn shortly. We had a slight bend in the URL wheel.  - Ed. At Hey Bill: . HeyBill: have you ever analyzed the Korean War to end of Nam draft on the effect on pennant races due to absence of certain players? I assume Mays being out'52-'53 had to effect the Giants who won in '51 and then won again on Mays' return in '54. You've mentioned Martin, and Williams being out. There has to be many others who missed time due to military service, whether or not in combat. Carew missed (I think) a few weeks of reserve service for several years. Asked by:... Read More
a spot o' good cheer for yer
Posted by jemanji on 02/24/17
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. KEVIN MATHER:  M'S FANS DESERVE OCTOBER BASEBALL Excerpting: Kevin Mather is beginning his third season as Mariners president, which puts him in perfect position to pass on a Presidents Day message for Seattle baseball fans.  The Mariners have made a host of changes to their organization since Mather replaced the retiring Chuck Armstrong. MLB.com asked him to share his thoughts as the team prepares to embark on the 2017 campaign.  Here's what he had to say: It is time to play October baseball in Seattle. Our fans deserve playoff baseball, and I'm not just talking about a Wild Card Game... Read More
Welllllllll maybe 2018
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/17
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. Ah!  Thought the "Opening Day" game was Sunday, with Heston going.  There's a game Saturday, what, a charity game or something?, with Ariel Miranda going.  Monday it would be Gallardo for Glory and then Felix on Tuesday.  No, these aren't the droids you're looking for. If you're just joining us, Jerry Dipoto acquired Ariel Miranda based on "athleticism," a quick fastball, and an out-pitch splitfinger.  Didycel later proposed that by "athleticism" Jedi meant propioception, a verdict which left us all cooing in admiration.  During the 2016 season, Miranda went 5-2, 3.54 and this winter got... Read More
Well, this Sunday vs the Pads, at least
Posted by jemanji on 02/23/17
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. Ariel Miranda has been promoted to #6 starter, meaning that he'll probably stay leaned up against a Cheney fence pole in wait of a pulled calf muscle from on of the big 5.  Possibly Yorvanni Gallardo. This gives Chris Heston both the (1) noniminal emergency starter role, according to m's.com, and (2) the scheduled start in our first TV game on Sunday.  Heston is a 4-pitch major league starter who reminds Dr. D a bit of Brian Holman, and the velocities have read thusly: 2014 - 90 MPH - didn't pitch much  2015 - 89 MPH - 12-11, 3.95 with 141 strikeouts and 61 UIBB in 178 innings, plus a no-... Read More
Looks like Hagadone is getting his drop ball over today
Posted by jemanji on 02/18/17
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. Interested in Hagadone's rhythm this spring, more or less?  Probably more "More." . Q.  What's the template? A.  At 9+ strikeouts for his ML career, 4.5 walks is quite a few.  There aren't all that many managers who want to put out a fire by walking the next hitter, so it's problematic to LOOGY him against a lefty cleanup hitter with the bases loaded. His pitch mix is an inverted Farquhar:  can hit mid-90's but is in love with a little 89 cutter.  Has a Zito-esque curve but for some reason F/X says he barely ever uses it.  You can safely presume what that "some reason" is, as you can with K... Read More
eyes slideways
Posted by jemanji on 02/17/17
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. The word on James Paxos is that he's got an Arthur Rhodes-type combo with lefty heat and put-em-away slider.  Also that he's unhittable when "on," which is not usually.  Pazos supposedly took some advice from Andrew Miller in New York, toned down his leg kick, and jelled.   Early word is that he's looked good throwing the ball, but the point is, here is one of the Big Watches for Arizona.  All it takes is any one of the M's SP's to have a problem, and then if Ariel Miranda hits the rotation, James Pazos could have his shot. ... F/X had him at 95.4 MPH average last year, with this slider at... Read More
to 'Bach or not to 'Bach
Posted by jemanji on 02/17/17
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. EQUALLY well!  I just knew I'd been slacking. . A few weeks ago, Ryan Divish put up an interesting article on first basemen past, present and future.  There were some lines between which the presumptuous Denizen might read.  Detect-O-Vision translations may bear little resemblance to anything Divish actually said, but ... hey.  Scott Adams says we have gone from "fake news" to "imaginary news."  One notch past that is me.  So: 1)  The M's never believed in Dae-ho Lee last year.  They were left with a choice of evils; Jesus Montero got everybody excited with his 40-lb. weight loss but then... Read More
pictured: Armando, a little ahead of his time in approach to political discourse
Posted by jemanji on 02/17/17
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. The buzz around Vieira seems to be building to a crescendo .. .the first day in camp.  Ryan Divish's Twitter feed gloated over a pitch that looked 100 MPH first day.  The News Tribune was not a little amazed, either; they put a feature piece up based on --- > a workout.  In mid February.  Fine by us.  Baseball's back. Armando Benitez was always a guilty favorite of mine.  Huge physical guy whose fastball compressed the air in front of it to about 400 PSI.  His breakout year was 1997, the season that Mike Mussina & Co. broke the Mariners' hearts in the playoffs.  Unit, Fassero, Moyer... Read More
even the wisest cannot tell, Frodo
Posted by jemanji on 02/17/17
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. NEWZ Felix Hernandez comes to camp packing seventeen extra pounds, tight, as in.  In the immortal words of Keith Hodge:  You ever seen 17 pounds of hamburger, dude? About 8 times out of 10, a player's fitness on report is noiz.  Not always.  There are a fair share of pitchers who did good because of their physical condition, such as Jamie Moyer, and usually that fair share was not the guys who gained +1 MPH.  It was the guys who sharpened their command a little bit.  Felix was out of shape his first two years in the majors period, and his command suffered.  Personally allow some chance that... Read More
if the Red Sox don't do it for you, there's always Kei Nishikori
Posted by jemanji on 02/17/17
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. SERVE:  Jeff Sullivan measured the up-and-down volatility of MLB hitters and pegged Danny Valencia second in the last 100 years - just ahead of Clyde Barnhart, who played against Ruth and Gehrig.  Lou Piniella was also on the list. . RETURN SERVE:  Luke Mounger of Lookout Landing presents some first-class saber shtick and 'finds' that this is an illusion.  Actually, sez Luke, Valencia is a lefty-masher who has matured into a solid right-hitter.  Platoon opportunities explain the difference. . GROUNDSTROKE:  Ron Shandler sez that Valencia was great in 2015 and 1H2016, but that his 2H2016... Read More
I respect your love for these guys. I do.
Posted by jemanji on 02/14/17
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. DaddyO brought the house down with his "Next Team Up!" flowchart.  Obviously, the post is one of the best ever in the Mariner blog-o-sphere.  But it's even more relevant because we've been considering a second SSI team. You didn't default to the Dodgers amigo, where you could have come full circle.  But that's very understandable for me at least - any resemblance between The Big Red Machine and today's Cincinnati Reds is purely coincidental.  I tried rooting for them and couldn't, even with Griffey there.  So maybe today's Dodgers would taste like diluted root beer to you.  But it seems to... Read More
the sun came out tooo daayyyyyy
Posted by jemanji on 02/14/17
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. Breaking News:  Two lengthy Hey Bills -- in front of the paywall for another day or two -- on the way that major league teams look at Spring Training.  A bit of an excerpt: . The principle that little can be told from a small number of games, compared to a player's larger history, would seem to debunk the whole idea of "competing for the job in spring training." Do you in fact think the idea is largely misguided, and that teams would be better off forgetting about any such thing? BTW I'm aware that the answer might be different or more complicated for pitchers (I think it is), so let me... Read More
Have No TV-Team, Will Travel
Posted by DaddyO on 02/14/17
20 Comments

* * * A simple question to anyone who cares to contribute.                           IF: * You chose to cancel cable/satellite an forgo watching the Mariners on TV for the foreseeable future (never mind why), and * You eliminated prior loyalties as a primary consideration, and * Your MLB TV-watching was limited to, um, MLBtv, which allows you to watch every MLB game EXCEPT that of your local team, and * You were  determined to focus on a single MLB team as your new, long-term rooting interest, THEN: What MLB team would you choose? And why? Have fun with it. Your contributions will help me... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/13/17
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. ... according to KATOH, that is.  I hadn't paid much attention to this Fangraphs system, but Grant Bronsdon of Lookout Landing does a nice job of 'splaining it succinctly.  We'll succinct his succintity: 1.  Take the best minors stats we got for predicting ML success -- AAA strikeout rate, A+ homer rate, etc. 2.  Calculate everybody's major league futures off those. It's kind of like PECOTA for minor leaguers.  Well, okay.  Now that I know that, I care about the fact that last July's KATOH list had six Mariners on it: #23 in MiLB - Tyler O'Neill* #25 - Mitch Haniger #57 - Boog Powell #60... Read More
with ever more gusto as spring training draws ever nearer
Posted by jemanji on 02/11/17
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. 1  START THE 10th WITH A MAN ON 2B? Dr. D is not averse to new ideas.  And he is accustomed to watching historic soccer games decided by, um, five 60-MPH bullets at the 'keeper from 12 yards away.  In hockey they had some thing or other where you get a 1-on-1 breakaway against the goalie, I think? But in BASEBALL.  Yuugggghhhh. ... here's a better idea:  don't start the leadoff man on at second.  Give him a swat at a little league tee ball.  I guarantee you he won't OPS 2.000, much less OPS infinity.  Barry Bonds' world record 1.422 OPS featured a .609 OBP with two hundred thirty-two walks... Read More
talk about yer SUPER late bloomers if this went down ...
Posted by jemanji on 02/11/17
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. :: taps live mic ::  First workout THIS Wednesday.  Amirite?  Opening ST game against the Padres, two weeks exactly.  We made it through another winter!  :: crowd goes wild :: Bob Dutton's series on the roster groups has been very good.  This one on the outfield features his thematic structure.  I - Opinion/report on the likely winners and losers for playing time.  With surprising incisiveness and commitment.  II - Rotisserie-guide style 50-word summaries on each candidate.  III - Meaty little Keys To The Game.  Nicely done, amigo. ... Word is, Jarrod Dyson will get a chance to play full... Read More
for those about to rock, we salute you Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 02/11/17
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. SSI had not been aware that it will be Ben Gamel VERSUS Guillermo Heredia for a fourth outfield slot.  The loser figures to make the extended 29-man roster ... Nelson Cruz counts as one of the 5 OF's because you've got your 1B platoon, your backup SS, and your backup C.  Slap me silly, four reserves is light.  But "accessed" Dutton relays that the M's consider all five outfielders to be fairly legit in center.  Can anybody name another roster that had five jardineros with significant CF experience? ... Dutton's article puts the LH Ben Gamel for choice if --- > wait for it --- > Dyson... Read More
algebra is nice, but the scoreboard is nicer Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 02/10/17
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. James posted a full list of 200-some MLB players who had 500+ "James RBI Opportunities" over the last eight (I think) years.  In the comments thread we asked a question, which hasn't yet been answered.  Perhaps SABRMatt or another saberdude could give it some thought and help us out. . Would be interesting to know the correlation between slugging percentage (SLG) and RBI percentage as presented here. What is RBI percentage saying that SLG, HR rate (knocking yourself in) and 'clutch hitting' (e.g. SLG with men on) is not saying - and if we compare a batter's RBI percentage compared to his... Read More
of inmates and asylums
Posted by jemanji on 02/10/17
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. This was a fascinating James comment on several levels.  He doesn't usually comment on the Red Sox, especially off-field.  But the circumstances here were common knowledge. . I was wondering if you had any thoughts about Terrell Owens not making the NFL Hall of Fame. I find TO a fascinating figure, a top-5-ever wideout who infuriated just about everyone around him with a concrete list of specific bad acts that always seemed very paltry whenever I tried to get people to name what he had done that was so bad. Baseball has its PED barrier to the Hall but I don't think we have a true parallel... Read More
doubt the duct tape cost $5 mill a year, though
Posted by jemanji on 02/09/17
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. I/O:  Bob Dutton has a bullpen piece up that is written in pre-season rotisserie guide style.  Good stuff, with concise little roto captures of 21 different bullpen arms. CRUNCH:  Dutton sees the last bullpen spot being auctioned off to Dan Altavilla or Shae Simmons, whichever is the highest bidder.  If true, I like the idea that one of the two cloned rookie* flamethrowers has to scrabble his way to the majors.  Two men enter, one man leaves, baby. Dutton forecasts a stock rise for Ariel Miranda based on the idea that Miranda's third-best pitch, his curve, can be consigned to dry dock.  ... Read More
but Segura scored 102 runs. ... meaning? ...
Posted by jemanji on 02/08/17
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. Just a little noodling about what an RBI means and what it doesn't.  Thinking about what Jean Segura's .499 SLG would mean to the Safeco scoreboard.  BJOL has an interesting revisit of RBI's at the top of the page right now.  James asks a dozen questions about RBI men, and number six was: . ... Jean Segura had more at bats than Encarnacion did in 2016, more hits, and exactly the same number of total bases as Encarnacion (318 each)— but drove in only half as many runs.    To what extent did Encarnacion drive in more runs than Segura because he had more chances to drive in runs, and to what... Read More
... with one whale of a lousy "brand"
Posted by jemanji on 02/08/17
3 Comments

. Sports-political commentary below.  Click on, mate, if that ain't your thing. . Personally I'm kind of a slob. And to me, glitz and glam are mostly affectations, the putting on of airs.  Folks who preen over the knobs on the kitchen cabinets, or coo about the leather in their cars, or primp their hair, make me roll my eyes.  But I go way too far that way; my lawn is often uncut because my house has no "pride of ownership."  Pride is a double-edged thing in the first place. ... This is not political, and I hope you can take it in a philosophical spirit.  It's not about who is good and who is... Read More
We Don't Want No Stinkin' Cable Company
Posted by DaddyO on 02/08/17
11 Comments

You gotta make a buck. I get it. But when in effect you hold people “captive” to a product, it’s only a matter of time before they find ways to break out. Of course nobody is actually captive to watching the Seattle Mariners through exclusive contracted channels like Comcast and ROOT Sports. That’s why I put quotation marks around the operative word above. We are free to make other choices. But MLB and it’s approved channels have conspired (legally) to trap those who want to watch local team broadcasts. If you subscribe to cable or satellite with a package that includes the approved channels... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/07/17
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. Here's a Greg Johns article on the 'value' of having Top Fuel Dragsters in the 1-2 slots of the Mariner lineup. Sabermetrics can get us wrapped around the axle, get us so engrossed in the new question of "What is Seth Smith's WAR really?" that we almost lose sight of our old question, "Is Seth Smith one of my favorite players?"  When that happens (for me, most of the time) we've gotten the cart before the horse.  True, it's part of baseball's charm that it is so easy to analyze, lends itself to math so well.  But our love for applied math is still secondary to good ol' baseball. ... STATS... Read More
Posted by jemanji on 02/07/17
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. Could be that some Denizens hadn't read that Peregrine falcons can power-dive at 242 MPH.  You've heard of a four-minute mile; that's a four-mile minute.  I've got that as 1.01 seconds to completely circle the bases on an inside-the-park nab the mole home run.  Faster even than Dr. D headed to the Arby's at 9:59 pm. ... In our latest exciting installment of BJOL, we found out that the last 40 World Serious champs had great closers.  Lots and lots of great closers.   This was an "unfashionable" thing to talk about, because it's unfashionable to allow that games between elite teams could be... Read More
who let the dogs out :: woof, woof-woof, woof-WOOF
Posted by jemanji on 02/03/17
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. ... well, General Mattis thinks we can.  Which is something like Bill James saying, "Sure, I think we can identify who belongs in the Hall of Fame."  It's a source worth considering. A great question came up:  What can Trump do to defeat ISIS, that hasn't already been done?  My answer:  I'd give my generals 30 days to draft a plan to annihilate - not contain - ISIS.  There are still Nazis and drunk drivers, but it's not as cool any more.  :- )  Firm resolve is half the battle. Trump's Executive Order on ISIS (delivered his second day in office) detailed that Secretary of State Mattis must... Read More
Aside from being the Great White Whale, that is
Posted by jemanji on 02/03/17
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. At BJOL -- just $3 per month -- James' latest article finds that the last 40 World Series winners tilted heavily towards great closers.  He freely confesses that this finding shocked him - he (and I) have always resisted the idea that great bullpens were very important.  Today, apparently, James changed his mind. . METHOD James took the last 40 Series winners, since the 1976 Reds, and counted up how many players a team had that were among the top 10 in baseball.   Is there more of a tendency for those 40 teams to rank a closer in the top 10, than to rank their catcher in the top 10?   The... Read More
where are you, Denizen, on high-risk high-reward players?
Posted by jemanji on 02/02/17
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. Ryan Divish has a long, comprehensive article up with many Servais quotes.  A few of the ideas offered: 1  The Mariners like Carlos Ruiz and won't ask Zunino to play 120-130 games.  So, probably a 2:1 split. 2  The Times expects a big leap in WAR, but the position did score +2.4 last season.  Jesus Sucre was at +0.5, Iannetta +0.9, Zunino +1.2.  Doesn't count pitch framing, global effect on pitching, etc. 3  Servais said the status of Zunino's scouting book is:  He solved the issue of chasing breaking stuff off the plate.  Pitchers came hard inside, and Zunino hasn't solved that yet. 4  ... Read More
Not so many party-line votes here
Posted by jemanji on 02/02/17
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. Five Thirty Eight linked this interesting chart: . . I had thought Kennedy was about where Roberts is, and that Roberts was closer to Alito; that would make me think the centerline should be a bit farther left.  On the other hand, is Ruth Bader Ginsburg really less of a liberal than Clarence Thomas is a conservative?  That would have made me think the line should be a bit farther right. .... Bailey's scores below (emphasized on Wikipedia) have every Justice right where I pictured them: . . Blue = Thomas Brick = Alito Black = Roberts Green = Kennedy Yellow = median Dot = Kagan Purple =... Read More
and havin' fun at it, looks like
Posted by jemanji on 02/01/17
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. Why does SSI lean into the monitor a few inches when Greg Johns has an opinion?  Of local sportswriters with access, Dr. D simply finds him to have the soundest baseball judgment since Geoff Baker.  Also, Johns is more willing than most to telegraph what is really going on.  Gotta love a writer who respects his readers as having the intelligence to handle the truth. Moshing off Johns' latest mailbag: . DUSTIN ACKLEY Hadn't noticed that he'd been cut at age 28 after hitting .161.  It's one thing to fall short, like a Mike Carp; it's another thing for a #2 overall pick to go home and farm... Read More
seeing that a .44 magnum is the most powerful handgun in the world ...
Posted by jemanji on 02/01/17
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. I made a comment about "peace through strength" and one of our friends asked, "What, you don't think Democrats believe this?" Thanks for the clarification mate.  Am glad that you and I agree on this.   But at Bill James Online we routinely argue this point and the Democrats there routinely argue for disarmament and mollification, following the line of thought that tough talk is a "recruiting tool" for terrorists - and then taking it to the Nth degree.  Also on TV in debate I hear that a lot, that (for example) the travel ban on 7 countries will REALLY make ISIS mad at us now.  Mercy sakes,... Read More
Time to Mash, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 02/01/17
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. Lookout Landing has a cool, fan (fun?) post up.  The funpost headlines "Tyler O'Neill might be Bryce Harper and Mike Trout." 1.  The author, knowing that O'Neill had "a gigantic jump forward in 2016," measures that by K, BB, and OPS+.  Well, wRC+, but ninety percent of the time OPS+ has the same number as wRC+, within the margin of error, and I interchange them because everybody here knows OPS+. 2.  He points out that this big improvement in numbers came despite a promotion from A ball to AA ball - from the low minors to the high minors, where they throw breaking balls behind in the count.... Read More
Seven Minutes, dept.
Posted by jemanji on 02/01/17
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. The other Korner thread got close to its 50-comment threshhold in a few hours.  And they weren't little snippets - most of the comments were essays in their own right.  The moderator was giggly with delight at the tone and decorum, too.  At any rate, fresh room for comments are in order.  Please feel free to continue that conversation in this thread if desired. A few thoughts on Gorsuch: . ON THE TACTICAL SIDE Last year, Trump the Candidate released a list of 20, 21 nominees he promised he would stick to.  That decision was unprecedented, even strange.  For sure it was outside the box to do... Read More