Echo Box, 4.18.16
Shouts resonate at SSI


Mon 4:06pm: MtGrizzly  Also note that Sueng Hwan Oh, the "Final Boss" that we all wanted, has been the best reliever in baseball thus far and it's not even close. 42% contact rate is just...ridiculous. That slider is just savage and he knows how to use it.


Here is the October 2015 POTD on Oh and his "stoneball."  the Think Tank gingerly slid Oh into the category of "probably the right decision."  The M's didn't, not that we blame them especially.  We're sure they've evolved way past the MLB(TM) conceit that used to hold NPB relievers as huge gambles.  

There have been 43 pitchers who came from Japan to the majors, with a collective ERA of 4.05 as compared to the typical AL ERA of 3.95.  But that 4.05 is torpedoed by Ichiro's ERA of 9.00 in one inning.  More relevant to Sueng Hwan Oh's projection were people like Koji Uehara, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Takashi Saito, Akinori Otsuka, and their ilk.  

Oh has 6 appearances for the Cardinals, in which he's pretty much been Carter Capps.  Here's a Fangraphs article which puts Grizzly's 42% observation into some, err, relief.  What we wouldn't give to deal Steve Cishek for the Final Boss.  This one stings.  Underestimate NPB pitching at your peril, babe.


Mon 3:32pm: MtGrizzly  We should note the absolute TEAR that Zunino is on in AAA. Dude is hitting .447 with 6 HR's. Be nice to see him keep it up and dismantle AAA for three or four months.


Didn't know it was SIX. ... hm, this says four, which is also a lot; did he get two today?  Either way.  If DiPoto actually has any magic sparkle dust for developing players the Major League way, here is your primary test case.

Stefen Romero is the one player in the M's system who is out-hitting Zuumball.  Want to know a real quick way to check, every morning, which M's minor leaguers have been performing?  This table right here:  Baseball-reference > Mariners > More > Minor Lg Affiliates > Org Batting and then here's the key:  sort the table by total bases.  Presto, the guys who have been laying Grandpa's hunting club to their fellow bushmen.   

Note Romero, Zunino and Chris Taylor.  Boog Powell is the guy with the real good EYE ratio to start.

For pitchers, sort by strikeout, raw strikeouts, not ratios.  That creates a Time X Performance rectangle.  Raw totals still have their uses, Egbert.  Your eye can wander down the BB list from there.


Mon 2:57pm: MtGrizzly  Seager needs to get a better off season routine. Notorious slow starter - I remember being very concerned last year too.


Just one more celeb eaten by the K-Swag winter circuit... 

Dr. D will take the other side of this one.  It's two weeks, and his BABIP is .129.  Last thing on my list to fret about, is anything connected to Kyle Seager :- )

Piling on Dept:  Here are his plate discipline numbers, notably the OOZ%.


Mon 9:58am: SABR Matt (1)  aside from that, the biggest surprise to me has been Iannetta. Really thought he was toast last year.


As you know, there is nothing Dr. D hates more than pointing to "Tomorrow's News Today" groks.  He does it only out of a sense of community service, obviously.  Here is SSI's Nov. 2015 player of the day, which noted his lifetime Runs Per 27 Outs as 5.1 and gave the following roto projections:

HI - .240/.360/.385 in Safeco, 4.5 runs per 27

MID - .225/.340/.370, 4.0 runs per 27

LO - He's done as a starter, but can OPS+ 80 for four or five years in part-time play

Looks like the HI wasn't HI enough, though.  :- )



Mon 9:58am: SABR Matt  Mike Montgomery is better than Furbush was in his prime.


11 K and 1.9 BB is a high bar to clear, but ... we kind of know what you're getting at.  There is a class of reliever, Scot Shields, Mark Melancon, Zach Britton, Tyler Clippard, who seem to effortlessly throw 80, 100 overpowering innings a year.  That is kind of a throwback nowadays.  But I hope that Servais gives Montgomery a shot to fill the old Shields-type slot on the pitching staff.

At times Montgomery has looked almost scary.  The fastball alone, from the high angle, is tough enough if he had zero to go with it.  But he has eliminated the changeup -- which used to be his #2 pitch for sure -- and has gone 77 MPH curve, 94 MPH fastball.  Dr. D is shocked to see that Montgomery is completely comfortable throwing the curve, first batter out of the bullpen.  And its run value is over +2.00 early.

Eyes slideways.  If Montgomery throws these pitches, just keeps executing what he has already executed so far, he will be effective.  It's a given.

And would that be so farfetched, for Mike Montgomery to become an impact reliever?  Other teams come up with star relievers out of failed rotation projects.  About time we should have one.


In the bigger picture, Jerry DiPoto is firmly of the conviction that you should be able to construct a bullpen in-house.  First two weeks, returns are solidly in his favor.



Dr D



Dipoto brought a new (I think) Moneyball approach to your pen.  So far it's been a good bet.  Thumbs up.

Montgomery went ballistic for a couple of starts last year.  It's REALLY hard to do that if you don't have something that gets guys out.  Would be interesting to know what his heater topped out at in those two starts......vs the one that smokes guys now.

Doc, there is something to be said for telling a guy, "You can get MLB studs out.  Here's the ball!"  vs, "Hey kid, go down to Tacoma and prove you're really any good!"  

Is that all the difference between Monty and Pax this year?  Nah.  But I'm betting that it is some of it.

There will be weirdness in our giving Nuno or Monty a start the first time one of our aces gets tweaked.  The weirdness is that we don't have Paxton in the bullpen to get that we've said you have to be stretched out in Tacoma.

Anyway, I hope Paxton is first guy up.  Bullpen or not.


It's my mantra. To build your bullpen, scavenge through the starters in your system. Show me a All Star closer, and I'll show you a one time mid-level pitching prospect who appears stalled out as a starter.

But I didn't see Montgomery in that bullpen role.  Should have. His projectory is so similar to Furbush's himself.


Didn't know it was SIX. ... hm, this says four, which is also a lot; did he get two today? 

Indeed he did - 2 HR/4 RBI. Curto notes that he's homered in five strait games. PCL record is seven. 

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