January 2018

Dipoto begs to differ
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/18
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.  Topic of the week:  the M's farm system.  Terrible, terrible, terrible, says everybody not from Seattle.  Take it easy there can'cha, sez Dipoto.   Let's take our usual SSI-eccentric look at whether he might be right, and if not, how much it would matter anyway.  Hey, we got a 25-man roster.  It's young, not old.  Do you even need any sub-flooring in Tacoma? Hmmm..... The HeraldNet contains the factual information that baseball's #1 minors ranking service -- Baseball America -- thinks that Jerry Dipoto runs the worst amateur system in either the American or National Leagues.   Jerry Dipoto... Read More
Well, depends how good your opponents are
Posted by jemanji on 01/29/18
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. ZEN KOAN, DEPT. I dunno what it was, 1990 when chess computers got super good, way better than me anyway.  By 1995 the gap was ridiculous.  In 1997 came the last big-money, national chess tournament Dr. D played in.  Can you guess what is coming next? Smartphone apps weren't yet that great, as I recall, but laptop apps most certainly were.  Second round of the 1997 Philadelphia Open I drew White against this high-school kid ... move 8, I spring a "novelty" on him.  A very strong, surprising, unexpected opening move that must be met with several precise moves to save the game, right out of... Read More
Best thing that happened to the M's in a long time. Naturally we try to rid ourselves of it
Posted by jemanji on 01/23/18
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. As y'know, Dr. D used to never miss a Geoff Baker column.  As it turns out there is no more Geoff Baker.*  A good facscimile is Greg Johns, who also has: A good feel for the game The ability to direct his attention to germane issues "Access" and the willingness to use it, without causing unreasonable problems for the Mariners Natural intuition So, here's his latest Inbox.  Let's kibitz. The first Q had to to do with pending FA Nelson Cruz:  to sign, or not to sign?  That is the question. 1.  It is better that a die at birth than to fumble in the Super Bowl, or to pay a player $8M for $7M... Read More
Who YOU got YOUR eye on, amigo
Posted by jemanji on 01/23/18
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. Dr. D, unlike Kenny Rogers, does NOT make his living by the way people hold their eyes.  It runs against his general ethic of not taking others' money in absence of providing them a fair good or service in return.  ;- )  He does, however, enjoy the attempt to pick up on "tells" that may offer clues as to whether others stand, especially when he can avoid detection doing so .... what would you expect from a charlatan billing himself as "Dr. Detecto" ... Greg Johns is asked about the quality and quantity of the M's starting rotation and responds, . Well, they have eight starters on the 40-man... Read More
well, a 106 here and there might give the wrong impression
Posted by jemanji on 01/20/18
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. Bob Dutton was always quality.  Now that he's retired, his Twitter feed is improved, maybe because he's got more of a License to Fill.  Us in, that is.  Tim Williams had opined, regarding MLB prospects: Untested in the MLB. In theory they are geniuses, but in reality how can you judge a player who has not yet been tested and the upper levels? Many said the 747 couldn't fly. Let time be the answer. . To which Dutton responded, correctly in Dr. D's view, Absolutely true. I think the @BaseballAmerica rankings are the best available because of the work that goes into them, but there's still a... Read More
a "moneyball" move, in at least one way
Posted by jemanji on 01/20/18
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. SABRMatt pushes chips in toward the bet that the Mets have simply botched it, in letting Bradford get away: Ms not done adding bullpen depth They did what I hoped they would and took advantage of the Mets' stupidity. NY released Chasen Bradford to make room for Adrian Gonzalez' crusty old butt. Seattle pounced. Hey look, a groundball specialist with pretty decent numbers in the majors last year who has three option years left. . THE ARSENAL As Lookout Landing points out, Bradford is a tight-spin (2600+ RPM) slider guy.  You can feast your eyes on the perfect version of this pitch... Read More
Dr. D and Silentpadna remember a sad day in late 2000 also
Posted by jemanji on 01/18/18
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. The thoughts in the CMS boxes are more interesting than the ones on the MLBTradeRumors headlines.  :- )  To root or not to root? TJM sez, Obviously, Doc, you weren't in Saigon in 1970 where the weed was a dollar a gallon and we hooped for five and six-hour stretches in 90 degree heat and monsoon humidity. . And there are a few world-class chessplayers who drink beer at the board in big-$$$ tournaments.  There are plusses to altering your mind, of course.  And will cheerfully stipulate that some athletes perform BETTER on almost ANY drug, especially cocaine. Can easily picture a... Read More
Those who don't know history ...
Posted by jemanji on 01/18/18
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. Don't forget the SSI article 'Life Lesson' if you haven't seen it.  We accidentally filed it under the "ALL" domain rather than inside the baseball subdomain.  It contains several profound comments. .... BaseballHQ has two basic things to say about James Paxton:  (1) He's the Real Deal, ace-wise, and (2) he hasn't proven a thing about pitching 200 things yet.  So its advisory is that in your $260 roto league, when the bidding hits $32, $33, $34, let somebody else pay it.  Dr. D /cosigns that as reasonable, as does BJOL's feeble ranking of Paxton as #50 starter in the big leagues, below CC... Read More
What are *Scott Servais'* chances of 5 WAR?
Posted by jemanji on 01/18/18
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. I'm 55, and I never thought 'a this: .. Hey Bill, what is your current understanding of the impact of managers on team won/loss records? In other words, how would you currently answer the question, "do some managers consistently move their team's win/loss record away from what would be estimated purely by the individual players?" To me, the question is impossible to separate from discussions about "clutchness" and year-to-year variance, but many fans act like it is obviously true (like clutchness). What do you think? Asked by: HF Answered: 1/17/2018  Not "consistently", no.   No manager... Read More
colder the 'stove is, the better we like it
Posted by jemanji on 01/13/18
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. Moe Dawg (one cubicle to the right; got a parentheses in there real quick, didn't I?) gave us just the kind of "bulletin" our Hot Stove viewers crave.  He reminds about Bergman: . 1. Christian Bergman:  He's back.  54 big league innings last season; 4 wins, 5 losses; 5.00 ERA; 1.41 Whip.  You will remember that he did have three stellar outings:  7.1 innings of 2 hit, shutout ball vs. the Orcs, 7 innings of 4 hit, shutout ball vs. the BoSox, 4 innings of 1 hit, shutout relief vs. the Angels.  In his other 40 innings he gave up 30 earned runs and 54 hits.  Feast vs. famine.  Bet the under on... Read More
Mostly, Bleh! But teams need piles of Bleh
Posted by moethedog on 01/11/18
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OK, according to reports, it appears we have recently added some new Tacoma kids.  Well some may be destined for  AA/A+.    Here's the quick rundown: 1. Christian Bergman:  He's back.  54 big league innings last season; 4 wins, 5 losses; 5.00 ERA; 1.41 Whip.  You will remember that he did have three stellar outings:  7.1 innings of 2 hit, shutout ball vs. the Orcs, 7 innings of 4 hit, shutout ball vs. the BoSox, 4 innings of 1 hit, shutout relief vs. the Angels.  In his other 40 innings he gave up 30 earned runs and 54 hits.  Feast vs. famine.  Bet the under on the feast line in '18. 2.  John... Read More
They've got the right orientation. Soon, grasshopper, will you
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/18
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. Q.  What does HQ expect from Felix in 2018? A.  They've got him for 11-8, 3.91 with 8.1 strikeouts and 2.9 walks.  I'll take it, bro.  The 160 innings they glibly schedule, that's a hedge.  He's as likely as the next guy to give you 27-30 starts.  On the one hand, he's got high mileage.  On the other, he recruits his big muscles and decelerates perfectly.  I'll take it. In their draft guide they've got him in the group #46-95, which group also includes Lance McCullers, Sonny Gray, Alex Cobb, and Johnny Cueto.  They're factoring in REL(iability) and everything else. On BJOL's starting... Read More
With the threatened defection of a beloved Denizen?!
Posted by jemanji on 01/09/18
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. BEN GAMEL and LOOKOUT LANDING This saber piece rat cheer is worth half a cup of your morning java, loaded as it is with 'zone charts, .gifs, and nervy analysis.  They like Gamer's ability to adjust-vs-adjust and his ability to deliever 2 WAR per season as a part timer.  Weren't we just talking about great bench players?  By "bench" we include platoon guys, of course, John Loewenstein types and the like.  You can't pay everybody $13M a year. But a Denizen like Moe Dawg might point to Gamer's excellent platoon split (.737 career vs LHP, as opposed to .715 vs RHP) and think more in terms of... Read More
A (completely!) feeble attempt to segue a chess question into a baseball article.
Posted by misterjonez on 01/07/18
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I'm not going to even pretend this is a deep post, nor am I seeking validation from y'all on my currently feeble chess skills.  But I've run into something during my 3,727 games played over on Chess.com, where my rating currently sits at a woefully inadequate 1324, and I had the glimmer of a thought that it *might* have some bearing on this MLB offseason, so here goes: at what point is playing the clock, rather than the board, uncouth or otherwise socially/morally/ethically deficient?  To broaden the question: is it possible for playing the clock to be in bad form, or is it always acceptable... Read More
Good News, Bad News Dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/18
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. Here's an LL article on Mike Zunino with the essential evaluation, "will the real Mike Zunino please stand up?"  The idea is that in 2018 we'll find out whether Zuumball is going to be a good player in the majors or whether he isn't.  Not wishing to be harsh, the Mainframe considers this a rather facile position, a rather widespread position, and the 'Frame disagrees with conviction.  To Dr. D, Mike Zunino is now a .500'ish SLGger in the big leagues until proven otherwise.   Diderot asked us not to overlook the Zuumball comparables in HQ's draft-day cheat sheet giving players with these two... Read More
and those who would like to be
Posted by jemanji on 01/06/18
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. Flipping back through old articles at Bill James Online, we found this 2014 piece analysing the best bench players in history.  One thing it points out is that a team with an outlier 4-, 5-person bench has a huge leg up on winning a championship.  This isn't news; Dipoto speaks in terms of "raising the floor" around the M's top 6-8 players.  Indeed the M's had 12 position players last year who pitched in plus WAR, +0.1 or better, and ten guys pitch in +0.5 or more.  That was followed by 15 pitchers who were in the black, tailended by Miranda at +0.1. What's the possibility of the 2018 M's... Read More
and what it might mean for Brittany Arrieta's Twitter account
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/18
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. We mentioned last article that James hadn't answered a Hey Bill in almost two weeks, and then answered about 20 in one day.  Here's an interesting answer, in front of the paywall until 15 answers pop up in front of it: . Re the glut of free agents still unsigned: is it possible that managements are finally realizing that most free agents are a bad investment? Asked by: manhattanhi Answered: 1/5/2018  Maybe, but maybe the market is just "constipated", in a sense.   The normal process are working, but something is just stuck for the moment.      "Managements" are 30 different... Read More
yo, Wishhiker dept.
Posted by jemanji on 01/05/18
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. Wishhiker sez, Please forgive the bad math..."Eric Filia, RF, Peoria (Mariners). His lone plus tool is his hitting ability, and it showed when he led the AFL in batting (.408), on-base percentage (.483) and OPS (1.088) during the regular season."  Yeah, simple subtraction there gets you to .605 SLG which actually shows that hitting is not so lone in his abilities.  I guess we should ignore the readily available defensive videos of him in the AFL as well.  Like the ones embedded in the article?  Eh, it can't be easy to fill all that space, I'll cut Callis a break...It is not a world where I'... Read More
dicey. Let's hope for box cars, then
Posted by jemanji on 01/02/18
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. At least two of these guys will get ten starts in 2018.  At least two. . ARIEL MIRANDA - SO SAITH HQ Looking at him from 3,000 miles away, HQ sees the sky covered with fly balls and 2.0 HR rate (!!) although "there are #5 SP skills here."  Their general sentiment is a terse one:  "Pass." . ARIEL MIRANDA - SO SAITH THE MAINFRAME Miranda has explosive -- well, at least "turbulent" -- stuff (above-average lefty FB, nice arm action on a fadeaway 81 MPH change they call a "slider") and he is early in his career.  It is a general baseball truism that you have to give some players time to build,... Read More
k-swag may have a little more swag in mind than we realize
Posted by jemanji on 01/02/18
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. SO SAITH THE M'S:  Kyle Seager is baseball's #1 most consistent hitter. The argument is not super-sabermetric :- ) ... more in the mold of old-timey beat writers.  But it's still a cool little article with some interesting takeaways. It starts by cutting the MLB traveling squad down to the 31 batters who have 500+ BA's for the last five years in a row.  (So although Giancarlo Stanton has averaged way over 500 AB's for his 8 seasons, he misses the cut for sitting out half a season once.)  The M's site then trims the squad to the 12 such batters who have never been below 100 OPS+.  And so on... Read More