I/O: Geoff Baker just angled a doggy-ear up into "radar" position on Michael Saunders. Perhaps this means that Saunders is arriving.
CRUNCH: Geoff Baker is one of the best baseball writers I have seen. Since 1970. We'll give you the advance scouting on him.
=== OBJECTIVITY - 80 ===
Baker is the one guy in Seattle who doesn't give two french fries off of his car's carpet whether the Mariners win or lose. And I love him for it.
You could say he's a Blue Jays fan, except he's not. He's not particularly a baseball fan. He's a Habs fan. I strongly suspect that if MLB(TM) folded tomorrow, and Les Canadiens doubled his salary to cover them, he'd be a far happier man than he is right now (which is pretty happy as it is).
And the result of this is a tremendous sense of proportion as to what matters and what does not. Think about it. Baker covering the Mariners is exactly like you covering the Royals.
And so if (say) Cool Papa Bell was to say, "The Royals other than Butler and Greinke should be 'processed' downstairs at 7,000 degrees ... Meche is done, Guillen's a total mirage, there's nobody in the pipeline ... but hey you know what? Luke Hochevar the last month has finally started to turn it around," then guess what. Cool Papa's remark on Hochevar is pretty interesting.
That's how it is when Baker raises and eyebrow and says, "Hey, maybe the M's have something with Saunders now and maybe they don't. Watch this kid awhile," it interests Dr. D.
The one other writer who used to do this in Seattle, was Steve Rudman in the 1970's. ... Art Thiel was willing, and was also a sharp guy, but his shtick was diluted with a 20% sourness that angled his material too far toward the cynical (which is to say, biased him too much).
Baker and Rudman are the two guys I have seen, on the Seattle scene, who knew what was going on and would tell you what was going on.
=== SABERMETRICS - 60 ===
Baker is perfectly comfortable with xFIP, with UZR, with age-arc and with everything else. He's not a 70 or 80 on the sabr meter for a reason.
He's not going to spend four hours developing a paper like this one on Jered Weaver ... why? Because he doesn't have 4 hours to sit there and cook something like that up. He's too busy hopping airplanes and recording Baker Live! feeds that hit 10,000 users and stuff like that.
Part of the "problem" leading to the 60 grade is that Baker shares SSI's worldview that 25-man rosters are much too complex to "solve" with fangraphs.com-style formulas. He believes, rightly in my view, that he's going to turn on as many light bulbs by listening to Zduriencik and Wakamatsu as he's going to by scouring Hardball Times.
So the attention (not expertise) directed is less than in some quarters.
Think about it for a second. You and I scour Baseball Prospectus because we don't have access to Zduriencik and Wakamatsu and Ichiro. If you could spend tomorrow night around them, rather than on the internet, you really doubt which you'd choose?
So let's not scoff at the guy for not spending his Friday nights with the mouse. :- ) You'd trade him places.
Anyway. Somebody else might try to sell you that Baker's not smart enough for them. I wouldn't know, but can definitely tell you that he is more than smart enough for me.