BILL BUCKLEY CAVEATS AND QUID PRO QUO's, Dept.
This dude is NOT my kinda player. True, Dr. D campaigns against the weirdly overreactive idea that HR and RBI don't matter at all. But! Trumbo's particular sub-category of RBI player consists of:
- Fairly good HR and RBI "newspaper leaderboard" numbers, with
- Low AVG
- Low BB's
- Crummy defense
That, gentlemen, is the Wall*E flub amidst the RBI Pixar collection of Nelson Cruz enjoyability. I'm biased against Steve Balboni, not towards him. Mark Trumbo averages 42 walks per year and hits only .250. This while playing in a corner, and playing the corner badly. Dr. D isn't exactly the most sensitive soul on the internet when it comes to defense, but you sit in the Hit It Here Cafe and watch two outfield dives-and-misses per ballgame, and you'll be offended also.
Isn't this where we came in, back in 1977? Newspaper-stat leaderboards vs sabermetric bases gained and bases lost?
TEE DRILLS and (non-)CHEAP THRILLS, Dept.
In the 8th inning Sunday, Salas threw him a knuckle curve on the centerline of the plate. Trumbo kept everything very tight and compact, his left hip glued to the outside corner, and hit a 1-iron right back up the middle, hard and far, over the fence. (Okay, onto the fence and then over it.)
Against Garrett Richards a few games earlier, Dr. D was particularly taken with a 1-2 count that Trumbo fought off. On or about the time of the 1-2 count, Richards threw that vicious slider to a perfect spot, low and away. Now, you tell me: back on July 4th, when Trumbo was .139/.171/.190 with a 3:24 EYE for the M's, what do you think would happened on that nasty 2-strike pitch?
This time, though, Trumbo was low and tight, starting his "ki" from the low-away point of reference and radiating from there. He cued the slider foul off the end of his bat, staying alive. Later on, he walked in this at-bat. It wasn't spectacular, and if you'd been chatting with a friend you wouldn't have noticed it. But it was all the difference between .139/.171/.190 Before Edgar and his .302/.358/.502 and 23:68 EYE in the 68 games After Edgar.
Dr. D does not think he's telling any tales out of school when he observes that .358 is twice .171, and that it's part of The Inner Game of Baseball to attempt being safe rather than out.
Robby Cano came to the M's and taught them "the fence drill," with a little wall just off the outside corner, keeping your hands in. This is the opposite way to organize a swing. How can both be right?
Take a life lesson from boxing. You can direct your focus to the opponent's right hand, and react to the left. You can "pat" the left jab away without having much of a counter to it, and then you can prepare a huge countermove when you see the loaded right hand you're looking for. Or, you can lean back off the right cross without countering, and you can exploit the left jab with a lean right and big right hook. But you know what doesn't work? Having no idea what kind of punch you're going to react to. That's going to get you beaten until you can't stand up to widdle.
I dunno if there's a single area of life to which this doesn't apply. When you put your poker opponent "on a hand," you can react to variations off that hand. But you got no idea what is coming next? Life speeds up till it's a blur.
Mark Trumbo is a mirror-inversion of Robby. When he is setting up off the low-away slider, Mark Trumbo is REALLY good at reacting to middle-in. He hits tough pitches on a LOW line (?!) to RF/CF ... yet, he can still react to mistake pitches by flicking the ball over the LF wall.
BACK OFF! IT'S STILL IN CONSULTATION!, Dept.
So, GM Detecto remains torn betwixt two. On principle doesn't like the Mark Trumbo kind of player. But Trumbo + Edgar have not only given excellent results and consistent results, but Trumbo has shown the core plate coverage that makes all the difference. GM Detecto doesn't know what to do. Best case: Trumbo really is a 130 OPS+ first baseman in Safeco, and we can spend the dough on Craig Kimbrel ...
GM Jerry DiPoto, will not be torn betwixt two. He had Mark Trumbo in his organization. His CIA files on Trumbo are robust. DiPoto is the guy to make this call. Dr. D is all for --- > instant gratification. There are many places for NEXT SEASON where DiPoto can play anti-Zduriencik, can see the blind spots, and make well-informed judgments.
Was surprised to hear Mather say that it was DiPoto's call whether McClendon returns. Wow, exactly like Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia. So it wasn't James Paxton that got DiPoto here after all?
World Baseball Classic-san is precisely the Beane/DiPoto type of pitcher. You can gingerly slide the chances of his return from 60% to, what, 70%?
It's an interesting facet of Iwakuma's hot streak that he is throwing exactly the same pitches he came into the States with:
- 88 fastball
- armside split, -5 MPH
- gloveside slider, -5 MPH
- 90 fastball thrown about 2.5 inches above the strike zone
Adjustments, schmabustments. As Shaquille O'Neal could tell you, some things in sports you can't "adjust" to. Or maybe Jamie Moyer could tell you.
Iwakuma has a 2.18 ERA in five September starts with a ... wait for it ... 3:29 control ratio in 33 innings. This shtick just never gets old. And since it's happening in September, you can gingerly slide his chances of returning from 70% to 80% ...
JAMES PAXTON, TAIJUAN WALKER
Buzz on the internet is that Mike Scioscia is dogmatic about keeping the ball low (as is Lloyd McClendon). Buzz on the internet is that DiPoto didn't agree with this dogma. That makes (1) DiPoto, (2) Bill James, and (3) Dr. Detecto among the three human beings that believe in a good high fastball, rather than "pitching to contact."
DiPoto, it says here, is nimble enough to notice issues like James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and to discuss them with McClendon in the "interview."
Bring it on,