POTD Alex Liddi (bat)

 Q.  Why do you say Casper Wells at the plate?

A.  Only because everything's the same.

Similar size, similar body type, same natural power where if either man connects with a pitch (THWOCKKK) the ball travels a considerable distance over the fence.

Similar flat-arc'ing RH swing shapes.  Similar desire to pull everything over the LF fence.  Similar compact paths to the ball -- both men prefer to let their muscles, not their backswings, do the talking.

Similar K/BB ratios at the same age ....

Liddi has been running 50:150 ratios while maintaining a blue-chipper's age-arc (20 = A, 21 = AA, 22 = AAA).  

Wells, on the other hand, ran exactly that 1:3 ratio, with the 1 strikeout per game volume, at age 22 ... but while in class A baseball rather than AAA.  Wells' ratios were a bit better in the upper minors, but that's because he was a couple of years behind where Liddi is.

They're just cut from the same cloth.  Big RH hitters, short to the ball, oodles of natural power, and they'll try to learn to match their attributes and come up with an ML game out of those attributes.


Q.  What does Liddi need to work on, specifically?

A.  The Twinkies were pitching him away, away, away, trying to exploit that pull orientation...

Wells, before he got his face crushed by a fastball three weeks ago, tended to let the outside FB go or else "gather it in" by leaning out and pulling it for a homer anyway.

Jay Buhner developed the ability to check his swing on a slider low-away, and to guess "away" and hit homers over the RF fence...

Liddi did exactly this tonight, get fooled away but his hands bailed him out even as his backside flew out into the 3B stands.  He skied it to RF...  

Liddi will go to winter ball, we understand, and like Wells he'll need to get comfortable dealing with outside stuff.


Q.  How is he on the curve?

A.  Pitchers won't want to throw him many, or if they do, they'll want to miss down.  Both of Liddi's moon shots were off curve balls.

You throw Wells, Liddi, or Buhner a curve ball, and you'd better not miss even THIS much.  If the ball catches the sweet spot of the bat, it's four bases, because these guys never let you get away with a warning-track shot.  It's a Nelson Cruz problem.


Mike Blowers was raving about Liddi's second home run because "it was a 3-2 pitch and Liddi was ready for the breaking pitch.  That's what you see from a veteran."


Q.  What's the overall age-arc on him?

A.  Hey, blue chip is to hit cleanup in A+ at age 20, and keep moving one league per year.  ...... and what, exactly, has Liddi done?

We're not saying that Liddi's a foregone conclusion, no way no how.  But hey:  you do not have to be blue-chip to be a quality major leaguer, either.  Liddi is ahead of where he needs to be.

He's not my kinda player, really.  Pull RH hitters with dubious EYEs don't float my boat, in general terms.


Q.  ML prototype?

A.  Actually, hitting lines like Adrian Beltre's don't look too unlikely to me... see Malcontent's remarks below.  Tough to ask anybody to play defense like that, of course.

Guys like Jose Valentin and Tony Batista used to hit .250 with 25-30 homers.  It would be interesting if Liddi, an Italian, had a statline that was stereotypically Latin.  The two languages are more alike than different.

All sorts of LO, MID and HI scenarios for Liddi at this point, including not making it... 

Edit to add, if you're seeking precision then maybe the upside is Dean Palmer.   Same 60:160 EYE, same 250/325/375 slash line, 30 doubles and 30 homers.

Or Jose Valentin fanned 120-140 times per year, with 30 doubles and 25 homers.


Not saying that Liddi is a best bet, but the mainframe grades him wayyy up based on a real-live centerfield camera viewing.  Casper Wells at 3B, even a Casper Wells wannabe at 3B, that's an exciting player.

Tuesday, they had Liddi 3B, Seager SS, Carp LF, Trayvon CF... Milton Bradley seems about five years ago, don' he?



Anonymous's picture

I missed both of Liddi's shots...but have found video on them.  I'm impressed.
And I told you (albeit, 3 weeks early) that we were gong to start seeing Seager at SS. It is well worth the M's time to play with that scenario for a while.  He does't have to be a league average SS to be valuable there, just so he's decent.
Interesting times.
Minus Ichiro and Olivo, the M's could start a decent MLB lineup of kids (25 or younger) right now.


The mariners brass seems to be intent on stocking powerful bats at every position.  And why not? Olivo's team leading 18 home runs and 60 RBI's are better than his OPS would indicate.  Point being that RBIs are always the bottom line, and big monster hits tends to produce them.
From Rocky Balboa:
You know all there is to know about fighting, so there's no sense us going down that same old road again. To beat this guy, you need speed - you don't have it. And your knees can't take the pounding, so hard running is out. And you got arthritis in your neck, and you've got calcium deposits on most of your joints, so sparring is out. 
So, what we'll be calling on is good ol' fashion blunt force trauma. Horsepower. Heavy-duty, cast-iron, piledriving punches that will have to hurt so much they'll rattle his ancestors. Every time you hit him with a shot, it's gotta feel like he tried kissing the express train. Yeah! Let's start building some hurtin' bombs! 
On that note, how about a POTD for Kyle Seager, SS? 

Lonnie of MC's picture

While he may hit the majority of his extra-base hits to left, he does use the whole field more than your tag would imply.  I'm not sure how this will look, but here is all of his extra-base hits that he had with Tacoma this year and generally where they went:
4/8  - linedrive double to left
4/18 - homer to left center
     - linedrive double to right
4/19 - linedrive double to left
4/23 - doubles on a flyball to right
4/24 - linedrive double to left
4/26 - flyball/homerun to left
4/28 - doubles on a grounder down the left field line
5/01 - linedrive homerun to left
     - flyball homerun to left
5/02 - flyball homerun to left
5/07 - linedrive double to center
     - linedrive homerun to left
5/10 - flyball double to right
5/12 - flyball homerun to right
     - linedrive double to center
5/13 - flyball homerun to center
5/14 - groundball double down the left field line
5/16 - groundball double to center (left/center?)
5/23 - flyball homerun to left
5/24 - flyball double to center
     - linedrive double to center
5/30 - flyball double to center
     - groundball double down the left field line
     - flyball double to left
6/04 - groundball double to center (left/center?)
     - linedrive double to left
6/05 - flyball homerun to center
6/09 - flyball double to center
6/10 - flyball double to right
     - flyball homerun to left
     - linedrive double to center
6/11 - flyball homerun to right
6/16 - linedrive double to left
6/17 - linedrive homerun to left
6/24 - flyball triple to center
6/27 - linedrive homerun to left
7/02 - flyball homerun to right
     - linedrive double to left
7/06 - flyball homerun to center
     - ground-rule flyball double down the right field line
     - flyball homerun to center
7/15 - flyball homerun to left
     - flyball homerun to right-center
7/18 - flyball double to left
7/19 - flyball triple to center
     - flyball triple to center
     - flyball homerun to left
7/23 - flyball double to center
7/29 - linedrive double to left
8/03 - flyball homerun to center
8/04 - flyball homerun to left
     - flyball homerun to left
     - flyball homerun to right
8/07 - flyball homerun to center
     - linedrive double to left
8/09 - flyball double to right
8/12 - flyball homerun to left/center
8/14 - flyball homerun to right/center
8/17 - linedrive double to center
8/21 - linedrive double to left
8/25 - flyball double to right
8/26 - flyball homerun to center
9/05 - flyball homerun to left
     - flyball homerun to right/center
That sure doesn't look like a RH pull-hitter to me...


I'm no longer concerned; now I'm alarmed.  Where did you GET that information?  
:- )
My reaction to that list is similar to what it would be if you'd told me that Casper Wells had hit 1/3 of his homers to right field... it just doesn't seem to jibe with the way the guy swings.
EVERY swing I've seen Liddi take has been geared to LF.
Therefore:  if he's got a dozen HR-type balls the other way this year... he's apparently in possession of a "decide late" swing that I just haven't happened to have seen yet.
His natural strength apparently provides the danger, in those cases that he pulls the trigger late.
If true, that's another stock upgrade for Liddi.  Good stuff Lonnie!

paracorto's picture

I followed play-by-play for almost every Liddi's game in Tacoma and while Lonnie was able to put numbers on paper as for extrabase hits I can confirm that also many of his flyouts were to rightfield. Anybody can watch some of his dingers to right or dead center just through Milb.tv highlights. However he always hit to all fields, even in his teenager years.


Move him up in line several more places, then.
... Zduriencik spoke of Nick Franklin as competing for a 25-man roster spot next March.  The traffic jam is getting honkable.
So this is what a minor league system looks like, eh, G?


If you let go of Liddi's April and look at his season in progress, Liddi was much better than his overall season suggests, his post April OPS was .857 (compared to his overall .821), his strike out rate was 25.9% instead of 27%.  In fact, his strike out rate fell every month:
APR     35.9%MAY    28.0%JUN      27.0%JUL       25.9%A/S       23.4%
That's pretty dramatic progress, it doesn't exactly make him Dustin Ackley, but those last 2 months and change hold real promise if he can maintain and build on them.
And I have to disagree with the Adrian Beltre comparison, in his worst season, Beltre struck out 118 times, that's likely to be a career low over a full season for Liddi.  I like Matt Williams a bit better for comparison.  Still not enough strike outs, but he had percentages near 25% early (ages 21-23) and relied almost exclusively on his impressive power for production neither walking, hitting for average, or stealing bases, which also figures to be Liddi's most likely route to being a productive hitter.

paracorto's picture

I do not know what it means but I clearly remember somebody this season saying that "pitchers do not like to throw to Liddi" (Mike Curto if I'm not wrong). That's pretty curious for a 22-year old rookie in AAA.


1.  With Beltre we're talking merely production ... the AVG-HR-RBI lines rather than the overall skill set.  Asterisk cheerfully conceded.

Thanks for the education, sirs.


He worked HARD on his defense, and he's gonna stick at 3B, which is something I didn't think he would be able to do last year.  I thought he could play part-time at 3rd but not full-time.  I also thought since he's just huge, he'd get too big.
He's good enough to be there, no worries.  I'm not sold on him being the hitter I'd like him to be, but he'll hit enough to hold down a gig.  Troy Glaus offense at 3B would be wonderful but not required. 
I'm curious to see if he'll do it with us.  I don't think he's ready yet and I'm not positive how many more options he has - started at 17, so he had 4 years before the options started, so next year should be his last option, I believe.
I'd use it, and send him back down for 2012.  That creates a problem, since Francisco Martinez will likely be in AAA then too and trying to man 3B.
But yes, Doc, I'd much rather have too many prospects.  I've been waiting for a long time to have that problem. A system of vibrant prospects pushing for major league jobs is a wonderful thing.  How much fun is it to hear somebody like Jim Callis says Walker might be better than Hultzen or Paxton?  Teenage Campos might be a top-100 prospect and an afterthought in the system.
We have disposable (or at least redundant) 98 mph starters, several blue chip prospects at multiple positions, and a huge chunk of promotions already made with talented folks.
Look at it this way:  How much trouble would we be in trying to do this rebuild with Bavasi's guys?  We're ALREADY the worst offenses in DH history, and I think we would have been substantially worse.
Patience is hard, but at least it looks like there's a better reward at the end than we were given after the 2004 "reload."

Lonnie of MC's picture

...I have to, by law, promote him in every conceivable way :)
I got those extrabase hit types and general locations just from the daily recaps at MiLB.com.  It was a bit tedious, but it was also fun in that it helps to prove my point that Liddi isn't a pull hitter.  This is something that I have been trying to point out to folks since his breakout year in 2009 when he mauled the Cal League.
Not to toot my own horn, but here's a piece I wrote on him back in March of 2010: Linkity-doo-dah!

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