M's 2....
Mike and Mike show


Mike Blowers

They shoulda had the announcer on the postgame interview tonight. One of yer all-time great nights in the booth, I'm tellin' ya. Three of his best were…

Before the fourth inning.  AJ Burnett came out throwing seeds for the Pirates, as advertised.  He had a no-hitter through what, five?  ... and back at control center they were asking, "so what can you do against Burnett?," you know, with an air of "is this game over after three innings?"

Blowers didn't hesitate.… You've got to do something to change things up (Dr. D would say, reframe the debate.  If you're losing at backgammon, change the game to poker). Maybe get a runner on, make them throw from the stretch, get him out of his rhythm.

Right on cue, Saunders works a tough walk and Blowers follows up. Now if Saunders can draw some throws and Bay can tighten the strike zone, we'll see if Burnett is quite as sharp.… Tough battle ensues, and Bay (whose "special" talent at this point is refusing to swing at anything outside the zone) works a walk too!  Men on first and second, nobody out. The Mariners scratched out a single run without a hit from there, tying the game 1 to 1.

Watching a low-scoring game?  Keep an eye on the pitchers' rhythms.  The first team to wobble the other SP's rocking chair has a big advantage.

Before Montero's home run.  Montero stepped up, tossing the bat back and forth around his belt, and Blowers chimes in confidently, "maybe he can help his battery mate out. Hit one into the seats." Quote end quote.  ... Burnett takes the stretch, fires, and --- > Montero blasts it over the centerfield fence.  Mariners up 2 to 1.

He said it on the same pitch.

By the way, probably not everybody is aware that --- > there's a plot-within-a-plot going on.  All of Montero's home runs have been hit in Felix starts.  Then he goes on the postgame and talks -- very earnestly -- about how badly he wants Felix to win his games...

After Saunders' third walk.  Now Mike remarks, "If you're going to be a legitimate base stealer in this league, you've got to go when everybody expects you to."

Think about it.  We'll come back to that, what it means in sabermetric terms.  For now, suffice it to say that Ichiro tended to steal low-leverage bases.

When two pitchers are throwing like Felix and Burnett did -- which is a very high % of playoff games, Bub -- a player who can manufacture a run becomes disproportionately valuable.  And if you know the other team has a Rickey Henderson, Kenny Lofton type, it affects a lot of things throughout the game.  

IF it's a pitcher's duel, that is.  We're not talking about games your #5 starters are workin'.  But in a playoff game between Felix and Sabathia, a .360 OBP, 30-SB man -- if he can steal the MONEY bags -- is worth a lot more than his stats say he is. There are times when one run is worth three runs, y'feel me?


Michael Saunders

Worked AJ Burnett for three tough walks, stole a base, moved up on the ball that got away from a catcher, scored one run and threatened another.

We've mentioned that as a Michael Saunders begins to scare the league with home run power, the high walk totals follow shortly after. Even if Saunders never hits much better than 260, his OBP may wind up around 360 and… If so, he's going to make a reasonable facsimile of Ichiro as a leadoff man.

Supposing we grant the comp, that Saunders winds up getting on base often, and running the bases like a little guy …

Now supposing Ichiro had a season wherein he hit 30 home runs and played center field?

We don't say that you're looking at a Hall of Famer in bloom, but the Mariners put that extraordinary effort into Saunders because they had a vision of a player who could become a star, a 5, 6 WAR player. How much credit do they deserve for that extraordinary effort?

Give it up for da M's.  They did good on this one.





Among the top 20 MLB outfielders in OPS (min. 50 PAs):
3. Shin Soo Choo 1.023
12.  Michael Saunders .914
20. Adam Jones .868
All three were considered "flops" at some point in their careers here.  All three could/should be at the All-Star Game


Also on the 2006 Rainiers with Choo and Jones (and Mike Morse):
Wladimir Balentien -- Yakult stats
102 PAs | 10 HR | 18 BB | 19 K | .313/.431/.735/1.166


But it would be interesting to know what the career arcs of Choo, Jones, Wlad and Saunders would have been if they had all been kept by the Ms, and Saunders hadn't gotten the outside "rubberband man" training.  Throw AsCab and Morse in there, too.
Seager, however, is an unqualified in-house success.  Maybe the first since A-Rod.

Mesully's picture

Last year in spring training I remember him saying to Shannon Drayer " I just got tired of these guys handing my a** to me".
You can preach drive and hard work but you can't give it to someone unless they really want it! Michael Saunders is poised to take full advantage of his God given talent because of his mental toughness and desire.


Blowers really does seem to have a knack for the timely prediction, doesn't he? He make calls with some frequency.
As far as Ichiro, IIRC, someone looked into the "he only steals in low leverage situations" meme and found that it was not supported by the evidence available. That was a few (2-3) years ago so it may be that as he has aged he did dial it back a bit.

okdan's picture

And since he was pretty much promoted directly from AA, he had much LESS minor league instruction time than a typical prospect. Maybe that's why he's so good?


Choo was not signed by Bavasi - he was an IFA from 2000.  Neither was As-Cab (2002).  The previous administration gave him that 40 WAR to flush. 
I'll throw together a list of Bavasi's "greatest hits" for its own article and we'll see what it looks like.
Shield your eyes. ;-)

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