Sizzlers & Fizzlers - Bottom Half of the Inning, 3.30.19
sunday santana, dept.

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Seems like you could give everyone in Seattle an A+ for their first 5 games.  They've got six regulars SLG'ing .588 or better, and they have scored 5+ runs for five games in a row.  ... 9, 6, 12, 6, 5.  That is against 5 TOR pitchers.

Sideways Stat:  Oakland SP's fired 18 shutout innings in their 2-1 series win over the Angels.

We'll start at the top:

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DOMINGO SANTANA

Never hath a player done so much in so few gameth to convert me to the Denizenth side.  Aside from the .389/.476/1.000 slash line, he's done it is such a way as to garner attention:

  • Spray chart all over the field, corner-to-corner (the grand slam was down the 1B line)
  • Leading the M's in walk percentage, 7+ AB (except for EE)
  • Only 25% swings outside the zone (the sweetest factor for me)
  • 72% swings at strikes (60% or thereabouts the ML average)

He just keeps going up there with that violent Jose Canseco swing, both hands on the bat allllll the way around, and zinging hard-hit balls everywhere.  That's 50.0% hard-hit vs 8.3% soft-hit.

True, he's got a .444 BABIP.  Also true that he doesn't need a 1.000 slugging percentage to stick in the major leagues.  Early evidence coming way in on your side, amigos.  He's looked fantastic.

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TIM BECKHAM

Batting .500/.556/1.188.  Leaving us all wondering: As a #1 draft pick, is it too late for him to bloom into a star?

With him as with Santana, the plate discipline is out of this world.  Up to this year he had a 28% strikeout rate and 6% walk rate; this year it's 5% strikeout and 11% walk.  Heh!  Component plate disciple stats (chase rate etc) follow along nicely.

Dr. D has no idea whether it means anything; probably not.  Just wanted to publish his own opinion that Beckham has looked as solid as his numbers have.

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RYON HEALY (semi-fizzler)

Looks like the same dude to me, having run into an extra mistake pitch or two.  ... well, maybe one of two of those doubles file under "came ready to play."  But he's still got a 0.25 EYE in the midst of the carnage.

Of course Dr. D thinks Healy can play baseball in the first place, and at age "27 with experience" he's a whale of a nice bet this year anyway.

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OTHER SIZZLERS

Mallexx Smith has a triple, a homer, and a 225 OPS+ start.  Mitch Haniger has looked kind of cool by his own standards, hasn't he?  He is .294/.381/.588 with a normal BABIP.  After Saturday's game-winning HR* give credit to Jay Bruce who, if he gets on a roll, is another 30-homer man.  At age 31 (32 next month) it's not a stretch to ask him to find his 2016-17 (uninjured) form.

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FIZZLERS

Guys who are looking for their form include the aforementioned Jay Bruce and .... who else?  Edwin Encarnacion is 2-for-14 but has 4 walks (vs 4 K's) and 2 HBP's.  Narvaez has an 87 OPS+.  Dee Gordon, I guess; he's rolling a 36 OPS+.

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Leaving us where?  .... Leaving us wondering not, perhaps, whether 7.6 runs per game can last all summer, but at least whether it can last into Wade LeBlanc's start Sunday.

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Be Afraid,

Jeff

Comments

1

I have two “Crawford” thoughts for you:

1.  Early last Wednesday, I took off on a last minute trip to spend a bit of time with my youngest daughter, Blair, who is a nursing student here in Havre, Montana.  Havre is hard up against Canada on the Hi-Line and home th the U of M-Northern.  I drove 860 miles on the first day, from the Oregon coast to Helena in just over 14 hours.  Helena greeted me with 2-3 inches of snow.  I am still paying for that drive as my neck and left leg keep bitterly complaining.  On Thursday it was the 3 hours or so through Great Falls to Havre.   Just across the street from her little apartment is Crawford Distillery, a little craft place that produces moonshine, rum and whiskey.  Their whiskey was still being barreled but I sampled two of their Strawberry-Jalapeño Lemonades, laced with the perfect amount of Crawford moonshine.  I have the recipe, if you want it.  Dang near a perfect summer afternoon libation.  I was so impressed that I bought a Crawford Distillery ball cap.  So if you see some dude at a M’s game in such, know it is me and that the cap has nothing to do with our own J.P. Crawford.

2. At this rate, there is no way in Havre that Beckham becomes a utility dude, as I had imagined he would become once his placeholder status for Crawford at SS ended with the kid’s call-up.  And so with Gordon’s struggles at the plate (Remember all those ST BB’s?  Dust in the wind that served to obscure a .185 ST BA), perhaps it is worth considering that DG is the M who gets kicked to the curb when Crawford escapes his Tacoma “service time” purgatory.  Dee Gordon seems to be an effervescent teammate, well loved in the dugout.  Great.  The problem is that he can’t get on base at all.  In three seasons with the M’s, Brendan Ryan (who wielded a World-Class SS glove) had an OBP of .290 and an OPS+ just under 70.  That’s almost exactly the territory Gordon has sunk to.  Sigh.  Speaking of sunk, Gordon is almost certainly a sunk cost for two season, at this point. We let him go in ‘21 as an interesting experiment that appears to be a failure.  Last season he had a smoking April/March (.309 BA) and July (.323), but his combined OPS over those two months was still only about .723.  In his hottest two months he was basically just above a league average hitter, a Ben Gamel with less pop.  Over the rest of the season, he hit below .600.  So I suppose an interesting decision for DiPoto, should Beckham continue to look like a Blue-Chipper, is whether to keep Crawford (a guy he REALLY wanted) in AAA (for no real good reason), cut bait on Gordon, or swap out a resurgent Beckham for somebody else’s pretty youngster.  There will be offers.  

3.  If we don’t see Vogs in the lineup tonight (OK, or tomorrow) it has to be seen as proof that he sleeps with the fishes, as far as Servais is concerned.  There is a Luca Brasi look to Vogs, now that I think about it.

2

Very interesting thought Keith.  ... what do you see as Beckham's ceiling?  His MID projection?  And if I get a 3rd question, is he blooming a little late for this to be a real development?

Congrats on the "ice trucker" day :- )

3

Doc, I don’t know how high his ceiling is, but he’s sort of a “best bet” to have dang good sEason, at least for a MI, sooner or later.  To wit: His ‘18 was his worst big-League season, but it was generally created by a .282 BABIP, about 50 PAs below his career average.  He’s a career .729 hitter VR and .768 VL, so he doesn’t really bring a terrible weak spot to the plate.  A hot season vs. either righties or lefties and he’s off to the races.  Just two seasons ago, he hit 110 OPS+, with 22 homers.  A 120 season would not be way out of the realm of possible.

4

7 runs already, and we’re still in the 3rd.  Even Gordon chips in (see above).  Somebody check what’s in out Gatorade.....or don’t check!

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