Sunday Morning Skinny Mocha


Interesting TNT piece that says --- > Chris Taylor's trip North stands or falls with his ability to play a quality defensive 3B. 

He's got to get the reps, man.  He's got four weeks to learn how to play a really tough position.  Bottom line is, the 25th man has to be able to play any position well on 5 minutes' notice.  All that is fine, but might Dr. D point out

  • Kyle Seager played 161 games last year.  159 the year before that.  160 the year before.
  • Tacoma is 30 miles south of the M's ballpark.  If Seager tweaks a hammy, you've got the entire Rainiers roster, the next night.
  • Any shortstop can play third base.  And does.
  • Stuff like Aoki and Romero and Sardinas to CF is much more farfetched than SS covering third for a day.

Except for that, I agree 100% with the party line.


Vidal Nuno had a terrible game on Saturday.  Doesn't matter.  Vidal Nuno is who he is, an average-solid left hand smoke-and-mirrors guy who makes you hit it over the fence or die.  Still, I'm rooting for the guys in front of him.  except that Dr. D much prefers Danny Hultzen or James Paxton in that role - or hanging on to Mike Montgomery, for that matter.

Maybe if I took to calling him "little Vidal," then about the 50th time I did it people would give me my way.


Wade Miley worked quickly on Saturday morning, it says here, and Scott Service loves that about a pitcher.  Yes, his pace last year was verily laughable, 17.5 seconds (!!) between pitches.  Compare Iwakuma's molasses-like average of 25 seconds per pitch.  8 seconds doesn't seem like a lot of air until you multiply it by 25 in an inning, at which point it becomes 5-6 minutes' worth of extra dead space in just a single inning.  MmwHeh!

Dr. D has played some 15,000 chess games at 3 minutes' clock time per game, which is about 3-4 seconds per move.  Believe him, he appreciates the benefits of being ready for problems before they present themselves to you.  But he does think that 90% of baseball's obssession with "pitch rate" is unnecessary.  Moyer, Iwakuma, Maddux ... Jack Nicklaus, these guys liked to putt when they were ready.

Still, it will be a nice little perk to Miley games on TV.  That's cleeaaannnnn viewing for yer.  Four different pitches, just grab the laces for one of 'em and keep coming at 'em like the Warriors in transition.  That can be a slick kinda game to watch.


Dan Robertson played again Saturday, "ahead" of Aoki, and got another hit.  He has played CF quite a bit the last two years, certainly more than Norichika Aoki has.  His lifetime AVG is .275 in the big leagues, which is most of his 83 OPS+, which 83 is about thirty points higher than Leonydas' floor.  Not sure why O'Malley is in the discussion and Robertson ain't.


James has had a real good week at Hey Bill.  He 'splains why Jesus Montero gets no credit for being an emergency catcher, why Chris Taylor's third base glove is 99.98% irrelevant and, one would think, why you don't need 6 different players backing up Leonydas King of Spalding:


Hey Bill, seems to me like the roster size limits have been in place forever, but generally speaking the same numbers have been in place since around 1910...not exactly, but pretty much 25 men during the regular season until around September 1 when they are expanded to a limit of 40. I mean, the numbers have changed here and there, but 25/40 is pretty close throughout the last 100 years or so. Anyway, doesn't the expansion of the rosters late in the season alter expectations quite a bit in favour of teams with strong minor league teams? The NFL doesn't do this, the NBA doesn't do this, the NHL doesn't do this. I don't see expanded rosters after August as a good thing for MLB. What do you think?
Asked by: Gfletch
Answered: 3/4/2016
Well, there are a couple of modifications of the roster system that you overlooked in saying it had been the same forever.   For one, when I was kid teams kept 28 players out of spring training, and didn't have to cut down to 25 until two or three weeks into the season.   For another, teams now make many, many, many more roster moves than they did years ago, so that we are in effect using the Triple A team as an extension of the 25-man roster, making daily adjustments to the roster so that you always have fresh relievers and don't have to carry a third catcher in case of an injury.   
I like the expanded rosters in September, and I don't see how we CAN get rid of it.   It does NOT provide a meaningful advantage to the team with a better minor league system.   You cannot and do not call up guys you think are potential stars, because you don't want to start their clock moving and you can't put them on the 40-man roster until their time comes.   The only real change it makes for a competitive team is that you add one or two pinch runners and maybe a defensive replacement in the outfield, but those are usually four-A guys who have been around for years and just don't have the complete package of skills that they need.  But all year you're calling up and sending down relievers; you CAN'T have a situation in which, come September first, those guys are suddenly not available to you because you don't have a Triple A team anymore.   If you don't expand the rosters, you are in effect SHRINKING the roster--and you would notice that right away.   Not in a postive way.
The REAL effect of the September callups is exactly what it was originally intended to do:  it allows teams that are out of the race to call up the players they think they may be useful next year, get an early look at them, start the sorting-out process, and start the process of getting those guys acclimated to the major leagues.


Dae-Ho Lee came to the plate on Saturday, stale as a dumpster donut, and smacked a single.  Servais came off as a little bit more engaged about it than you would have expected it, like it was a relief Lee got a hit.  Huh?

It's Just. Me. But. here is one case where Dr. D has real enthusiasm for the "sample size" complaints about 30 spring AB's.  Montero and Lee aren't going to solve the problems of the world this March.


Dr D



Like you, I can't understand the huge concern of Taylor not "being able" to play 3rd.  As you said, any good SS can handle the position and not kill you.   Boston played a 280-pound beached whale there last season, for goodness sake.

CF isn't quite the same deal.  In fact it is much more like asking 3B to go play SS.  Seth Smith "can't" really play CF.  Robertson has been pretty nifty so far, and like you, I looked up his career #'s yesterday or the day before.  He's played 7 games in his career at 2B.  O'Malley has him by the short hairs when it comes to versatility.  There's the difference.

I had never thought about it before, but I wonder if having a AA team (Jackson) and a AAA team on different sides of the land mass makes cool sense.  A catcher goes down in Toronto and you can still get another into the clubhouse by the next afternoon.  

When was the last time the M's used an emergency C in a game? 

Go Lee!!!!!  Sounds like he has to show he can pick it a bit, too.  Let's say that Romero has a 50 % chance to make the squad, Lee 30% and Montero 20%.  Ah, make it 60% for Romero (even witha Tacoma ticket that is still stamped and 10% for Montero.

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