Talks and Groks, 3.28.17
and a new SSI nickname for a unique shortstop



We sez, if you'll throw a line or two in the comments, we'll try to be as daily as possible.  That way, we both get to read baseball with our morning java.  Dr. D maybe wasn't much in the mood, but this thread is here 'cause you did hit the like button.  So, you have only yourselves to blame for the following inane shtick.  That, and we wanted to change the subject off His Heebie-Jeebie'ness.

Speaking of which, we applaud the gracious attempts to be friendly.  Returning evil for kindness, Dr. D reminds that he admires said #5 pitcher.  Reminds him of Bosio, when Bosio was done.  And Bosio is one of my all-time faves.  Only jeebies here are that Gallardo's terrible.

:: innocent smile ::



The Hardball Times has a math professor who made a game attempt to quantify "Quality of Pitch" (QOP) -- using 3 factors:  velocity, location, and overall (not late) break.  HERE IS THE LINK.  On several grounds, Dr. D shakes his head No, smilingly.  But any stat, such as ERA or HR, reflect useful information at some points.  This article rated "nastiness" for each pitch from 1-10, 5 being average, and found this trend for batters 1-27 in a game:



So:  (1) Starters as a group don't "get loose" the second time through.  They get hit more.

More importantly, (2) number 9 hitters see really nasty pitches.   For that matter, 1-2 hitters see nastier pitches than 3-4 hitters.  This means that --- > when a pitcher is unafraid of a batter, he will pitch great.  When the guy in the box scares him, he'll make objectively worse pitches to that guy.  So it's a compounding effect:  Boomstick gets 35 homers both because he's good and 5 more because pitchers are tentative.  Or something.


Here is another Hardball Times link.  The author investigates whether the April 2016 Astros were +7 -17 because their SP's threw fastballs all the same speed (making it easy to "time" them in a series).  Great idea!  And if true, James Paxton would all by himself make a rotation better!

Unfortunately it ain't so.  All your SP's could throw the same 91 but it wouldn't hurt them.  Their angles are different, or something.



SWING - He's got a very unusual motion, doesn't he?  Very little action below the waist.  Hands low.  Turns inside a phone booth, like a golfer.  Lots of muscle.  Very explosive and short.  I think of this as the "Eric Davis" swing.  He's got a "sudden" swing and is a sudden man.

DEFENSE - Manny Acta was quoted, don't worry about his playing 2B last year.  Segura is a natural SS.  For his career he is average-plus by UZR at short.  Seems quite legit there.

BASEBALLHQ - says his power is overestimated but his speed is underestimated.  They've got CWAZY! speed indexes on Segura, like 165-190.  They see him as a .280 hitter with gap power and genuinely elite baserunning.

COMPS - if Segura turns out to hit .275/.325/.400 with excellent speed at SS then comparable players would be the older Jose Reyes, the slightly older Jimmy Rollins, and generally Asdrubal Cabrera.  Right now that's looking like the --- > floor.  Yes, if Segura had been a free agent add he would have counted as a "big fish" of the winter.



Digging in to the yellow pad archives fer yer ... Got a fastball up from Danny Duffy, who throws as hard as Yovani or harder.  Effortlessly topped it hard and far, off the RF fence.  Servais says Maniger handles all kinds of pitching.  And Dr. D sees all kindsa gainz for the lad.

He doesn't have to rake to get 3 WAR.  But he sure looks like he gonna.



Dipoto last year threatened to make the M's athletic.  Have we noticed that this objective has been completely attained?  Dr. D expects that this right here will be the fastest team of Jerry Dipoto's career, though it last 30 more years.


8 RP's

Had you noticed that the M's barely even have 8 RP's healthy?  Count them up.  Right now they would have to take 2 out of these three:  Pazos, Kiekhefer, Aro.  Two of 'em.  Maybe that's what Servais meant yesterday, "Right Left doesn't play in as much as people think?"  Maybe they take both Kiekhefer and Pazos, if there's no trade.

Random Servais comment, per Shannon Drayer:  "only 3-4 percent of relief outings are more than 4 outs."  And if the game is gone, who cares anyway.  So long men don't matter any more.



Thanks for the hookup BPJ!  Several hours of interesting reading on that and still going.

Was it Jonezie who brought up the Hypogeum of Malta?  Another amazing example of advanced ancient culture.  You think they got that 110 MhZ effect by just chipping at the limestone here and there, trial and error?  Or a few of those civilizations had their Da Vinci's?



Was totally back to All-Star status in his last start.  Had them trying to hit mosquitoes with willow switches.  Fastball up, shuuto down, sneak a strike with the change curve, just vintage Hisashi.  Had them all arm-swinging ... you remember the Billy Beane quote of yore, "We get better swings off of Pedro than we do off of Jamie Moyer."  That was the way with WBC-san last start.

And it's one of the great sports moments, watching Iwakuma strike a guy out and then frown at himself, sweeping his hip and right palm in a pantomime of what would have been a better pitching motion.  It ain't like Iwakuma just started pitching.

Reminds you of an old aikido shihan, age 70+, who went through a practice and end the end gushed happily to his American biographer, "I think I'm getting the hang of Shiho-Nage!"  ... stay curious, Matty.  You're interested in growing even though you're no longer a kid.  Not so many people are.  Lot of "growth" type baseball fans around here.

Iwakuma is a growth kind of guy too.




Still makes more sense to me.

I'm excited to watch this offense unfold once we get to finally watch them all together.  Rumors that may be today are hard to believe.  The speed game affecting the patience and power all together have yet to fully be seen.  Even the semblances have been refreshing though. 

I just went back to ZIPS projections. 134 OPS+ for Cruz, Cano 124 and Seager 122.  Only Valencia left in triple digits at 108.  134 will be the highest OPS+ here?  Hah! I'm taking the WAY over on that.  Or there's the fWAR projection with Seager atop at 4.1.  In either case we've got at least 3 players being projected for around or below average performance who could top the teams highest projected.  Haniger, Segura and Dyson.  Or Zunino.  Did I mention Vogelbach?  Would you believe Heredia?  Even Martin.  Less likely as I go but still possible. 

I hope this team crashes some records, I do think they could be capable.

Also ran across this phenomenal story just a bit ago:


had not heard, but does not surprise in the least.  Reality seldom matches up well with legend.

 I think babe Ruth himself got accused of having "Colored"  blood in him. things aren't always as nasty as they now seem when underlined by a Hollywood director.   that's not to say people cannot be mean of course .


I think the third and fourth place hitters and the 8th place hitter see weaker quality of pitches because those are the batting slots that get "pitched around" or intentionally walked.  In the NL, you pitch around the 8 hole hitter because the pitcher is next, particularly with people on base.  That is the dead give-away as to why those downward blips happen so cyclically.


the international walks won't muddy that by there not being pitches.  Is pitching around inherently less nasty?  I guess more outside the zone means less nasty just like that.  Careful means trying to make your best pitch, or nastiest though.  I still think there's something to this but separating it out would be a task.


And it is based on velocity, velocity differential from prior pitch, late break, location, and total break.

It tries to be fair to both fastballs and offspeed by balancing those factors.  It's nastier if you are yo-yo'ing speeds, if you throw harder, if you have more movement and especially more late movement, or if you spot your pitches well.


I literally have read this with my coffee this morning, and GROOVED on it. Thank you. I made my dutiful comment-per-article (though I'm finding I'm doing more than that as well!) on what preceeded, and even there was much more pleased with was written than I expected when beginning. Fun times afoot at SSI! Even with that nice burn on You Wish You Didn't Know Who.

I don't think I'm excited enough about Segura. Having the Cano-Cruz-Seager cheatcode is hard enough to get used to. (SERIOUSLY - hindsight is 20/20 but I still remember the kerfluffle that went up when we signed him! A few mea culpas came out later but not many... Cruz is a TREAT, even if he craters today and never recovers. Which he won't.) Point being - throw a legit Segura in there to lengthen the valley of the shadow of death in our lineup, and deepen its impact... see what happens if Haniger becomes what some are forecasting with trembling knee and drooling lip... what the heck is happening to this team?! It's been a long time since 1995-2003, you guys...

Athletic outfield... I bet JeDi surpasses this, if only because I don't see him giving up on trying to find the next breakthrough player of the archetype. Imagine a world where we cement in Dyson, Martin, Haniger - because all are too good to let go, et cetera. Is Jerry EVER going to give up on having the next Heredia/Gamel battle for OF4? Is he ever going to stop trading for Boogs to be the next contender after said previous battle wraps up? He'll hit on the next star and clear the table to make room. And clearing the table is going to mean one of the three established speedy OFers gets shipped off for sparkly things JeDi likes. If one of the three isn't so established... well, less sparkly things, but faster process perhaps? I think he's just getting started with the need for speed, and successful as this has been so far, more time to tinker will provide an opportunity to up the MPH at least once more.

Serious question - whatever happened to having your SP6 be the long man? Semi-regular reps, higher quality opposition, more stretched out than average-Joe RP... what gives? Is it the proximity to Tacoma in our case, or the need to develop the guys who would stand in that role, or has the long man concept simply been written out of usefulness by the rest of the current strategy book? I thought a chief benefit was sparing the rest of the wonky-health pen anyways.


I like a lot of these guys. Now I'm paying (even) closer attention to Scribner too... my poor attention span, it's being stretched like so much taffy at the candy store...


Exactly with the idea that if teams that are carrying a pitcher specifically for their ability to go 2+ innings but only use that ability in 4%of games or so you should just take the best pitchers and deal with the 4%when it comes. 

Scribner has looked good to me but I haven't connected on why 120 IP.  Are you saying he should be long and 7th inning?  What recipe to 120, "everyday" Eddie was more like 90 which is the number I think as the top reliever. 


if 5+ out appearances are 4% All reliever appearances, then they occur in what Dash 10 or 15% of games. But those are usually lost cause games or runaway wins.  Servais called this stat this shocking and essentially a reason to dismiss long relief from his thinking.


Just because teams are CURRENTLY using relievers for long appearances only when the game isn't close doesn't mean that's how they SHOULD be used.  There used to be a time when relievers who were really good...the Gossages and Marshals and Tekulves of the game...pitched 2 innings, 3 close games to win.  You just saw it with Andrew Miller for crying out glaven.

The plan for 120 innings is simple.  Pitch him 70 times, each time for 3 to 8 outs.


 I share your confusion Corran.   It seems to me that these guys just get caught up in overthinking relief roles.  Good grief,  just send somebody out there to pitch. 

Glad  you are grooving on your morning coffee and Mariners, LOL.  Me too.   Funny how much more entertaining a baseball chat is, when there is a decent team to talk about .


For me, there are still more holes in the M's roster than the Mandela Effect theory.

Gallardo as a #5SP isn't the end of the world. But it's not exactly pioneering a new one either. 

Martin, in my opinion, should either be a 4th OF or, GONE. Not only is he no longer one of our best outfielders (he's our worst), but he's not even our best center fielder (he's our worst).

1B is a position that should have been taken care of by now, with conviction. Now, we're left with another roll of the dice this season. Only, it seems to be with weighted dice, because there isn't even the warm, fuzzy feeling about the 1B situation like there usually is. The upside is not evident, to me. Anybody really want to put money on a guy the A's cast off?! 

As far as the Mandela Effect goes, I wish I'd wake up one day to find that the Mariners actually DID win a World Series! Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. And then I'm presented with the choice, would I really rather they won a World Series, if I don't remember the wins?!

Hmm, quite a quandary. 


I'm not too worried about the poor spring Valencia has had. He has been pounding left handed pitching for a while, and he will be at least as good as Lind from the left side.

While Valencia has played in  more games and had more at bats this spring since 2012, he has a history of hitting roughly .300 in his first month of the year... so it seems he knows how to prpoperly prepare himself for the season... when he is healthy. 


We have 0 rolls of the dice on an Olerud there.  We have an Olerud at 3b kind of, but the sure handed 1b was a key to the otherworldly defense that year.  If you're after a top offensive/ defensive 1b I see the point.  We have average defense at 1b, maybe, with what we've got. 


 We have Dipoto praising him to the skies, so I am going to go with that until proven otherwise :-)


 The point on excellent defense at first Is resonant.   Will stick with me. 

2 good things – we have confident throwers in the infield - and scouts call Valencia fairly solid at first.

 Leaving me, for one, in the mindset of, hope for the best :- )

Nathan H's picture

I'm willing to give Leonys a chance. New approach after spending summer with Robinson Cano focusing more on striking the ball than whaling away on the ball. Let's see where he's at in June.


I don't think his ceiling is etched in stone although it's not so likely he really extends beyond what he's been.  If he does it would probably be because of where he is and who he's around right now. 


"Dyson is still bothered by his legs. The team is hoping that he’ll be ready for Opening Day, but we’ll see."

Dyson says this on Drayer's site:  "“My legs, they are good,” he said. “It’s not like I wake up sore every day. I think the pain in my hammy came from having tightness in my lower back. When I am running, that nerve don’t want to be bothered. Try to calm it down with some meds for the inflammation, try to make sure I am healthy for opening day.”

He is optimistic he will be ready.  M's hope to be able to use him tomorrow.

Charles Martel's picture

Tight hamstrings can be a significant factor in lumbar disc herniation. Even if it stays confined to his hammies, a 30+ speed guy w/ tightness already and still in Arizona is staring at never being right all year. I don't care if it means injecting his own concentrated platelets, sending a clubhouse attendant to the ID for some Bear spleen or finding his wife's placenta in the back of the freezer, Dyson needs to shut it down and do everything in his power to get RIGHT, before the grind starts. His season hangs in the balance. He'll be nearly worthless if he pops it, and even if he doesn't and is only worried about popping it, a Dyson limited to 75% max effort in the field and on the base paths equals a wasted season .


Haniger, Dyson, Martin, Heredia, Motter and Segura up to 22-0.  O'Malley at 4-1.  Gamel 0-2 if you hadn't noticed.  Freeman 2-0.  Valencia 1-0, eh, didn't see that one.  If O'Malley does come back without supplanting one of these it will make 7 speed weapons.   Freeman could be the 7th on opening day, but probably not.  No,  I didn't count Valencia.  I'm looking forward to this.

Could or will Dipoto ever put a roster together with more speed?  Maybe, I wouldn't put it past him.  How about when Cano moves to 1b?


 What was the stat, two teams last year with two base stealers at 30+?  Segura with that headfirst slide looked like 80%.

prefer Segura leading off in a vaccuum.  Also prefer Haniger #2.  Third inning today that really set things up.

let Jarrod do the damage from #9.


 Maybe you can keep us posted on the six guys wish?   The 4 OFs, SS, UT ...  could be a lot of fun, especially against the junk Baller ... 


I'm no swing expert, but the Segura comp that has stuck in my mind is Adrian Beltre. This is very high praise from me, because Beltre has my favorite swing of any major leaguer I have watched at length, period (Junior was before my time).

Of course there are some details that are clearly different, but I think the resemblance in my mind is largely based on form and intention. Both have swings that are remarkably short and compact, clearly designed for contact first, while still generating some vicious torque, topspin, and power. Their swings also seem unusually level, to my eyes, like they draw a straight line to the ball and then fire along that line, no looping required. Finally, as I believe someone recently quoted a Mariners coach, "He just puts the barrel on the ball." Seriously, some guys have the knack at an uncanny level. Hand eye coordination, I guess, fused with unselfish mentality and quick twitch "suddenness."

I dunno if the comp has any legs, but it popped into my head as soon as I watched film on the guy once we traded for him. Cemented further when I realized they're both Dominican. It's made me massively bullish on Segura: honestly, if he looks like Beltre in a shortstop's body for the first few weeks, I'd say give him 100MM and let him and Robbie grow old together, hitting RL 2 and 3 for eternity.


compact, explosive "praying mantis"  type kung fu philosophy, 4 inch punch with huge follow through  ...  many other similarities as you know, such as swing angle ... slash lines not absurd to compare either.

segura  could do worse than a Beltre career :-) 


He could do a lot worse, that's for sure. The thing is, I can't quite see how a guy with that swing wouldn't go on to be a hitting star. There's so little that could go wrong with something that simple and effective. I mean, horrific pitch recognition would do it, like Beltre's last year in Seattle where he basically gave up. But barring that, Segura looks to me like a Best Bet to be an All-star for the next 5 years, at least. Best Bet in the sense that I'd love to lord it over the poor sucker who still wants to wait and see more before agreeing with me :-P


especially the idea that he can get worse, and still be a minor star.  Same was true of the young LA Beltre.


There's an old school element to Segura's swing: Hands are held low and the attack is really short.  Williams and DiMaggio held their hands low.  It's old school and I think the modern game teaches a higher hands approach and more sepration as the arms move away when the stride goes forward. 

Beltre is a very nice comparison.  But as I just watched some of Segura's highlights he reminded me as much of Roberto Clemente as anybody else.

Go watch Clemente highlights.  His attack was a short slash, sometimes all elbows, it seemed.

Segura has that.

In the modern game, has it become more of a Latin thing?


Hard to get a read on Clemente's swing from the grainy black-and-white, but I see what you mean. Compact and sudden, for sure. I think one point of comparison, the body type, is throwing me off a little. Clemente was just an inch taller, but carried 30 fewer pounds. Sprinter versus... whatever the Beltre, Cano, Segura body type is. Solidly built infielder, I guess.

Also, side note MAN OH MAN Clemente had a career. One of those guys whose B-ref page looks half made up. 12 time Allstar, 11 Gold Gloves, MVP votes in 11 season, 5 seasons hitting +.340 (and another at .339). The man was basically Ichiro, plus some PWR and minus a little HIT, and he did that for 18 years. Wow.


it sacrifices torque, for suddenness and physical gifts.

Yes, I have never understood why Clemente didn't get even more press than he did.   I started following baseball right about the time he stopped playing,  my impression was that he was classy. But that there were a number of players and like him. That is 1970s baseball understanding for you.


Aaron, Mays and Clemente are listed at 180, 170 and 175 lbs on B-Ref (they got some bigger in their 30's, I'm sure).  The old school guy was supposed to be lithe and supple.  I think I read somewhere where Aaron said his power came from his wrists.  Watch his swing and you see that.

Players today are mostly big muscle hitters, meaning they use their big uscles....not that they have big muscles.  But they do, btw.

Aaron, Mays and Clemente (and their ilk) seem almost more cat-like than a creature-like Cruz, don't they?

Would be interesting to looks at longevity and body-type, back in the day vs. today.

Anonymous's picture

Aaron's strong wrists came from his boyhood job carrying blocks of ice to customers for use in their "ice boxes" (i.e., refrigerators). He had to earn money as a boy to help support the family.

Read this as a boy myself in an Aaron biography I found in the library.

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