Run on Offense
… Jonez stops the conversation


MisterJonez said, 

Let’s back up a second and absorb a single factoid here: not one average-or-better SP has signed yet this offseason, while literally every. single. bat. that was team-changing is off the board.

Think about that for a second. JackZ just effectively preempted the SP market by acquiring a #3/#4 SP for a 4th OF with injury issues and chemistry problems (team-specific though they may be). He only got him for one year, but I don’t think there’s any continent argument which suggests that there are major bargains to be had early in the offseason when it comes to SP.


Had you noticed that?  Boy do I feel sheeeeeeepish



WHY would this be the case?  Why would all the teams be grabbing bats with both hands, and holding their noses to even sidle up to any starting pitcher?   Scratch that.  Andrew Miller did not bust the combination, either.

It has happened before, but 2015 is the reductio ad absurdum.  The hitting orientation couldn't be more extreme if there'd been a rule saying "Batters First."  It's like the Angel of Exodus has passed over every pitcher with blood on the doorpost, while grabbing every hitter that refused to mark the door.


Well ... supposing in the NFL, you had offensive players drafted with the first 12 picks.  You would assume what?  That defense was "ahead" of the offense.

These two beverages, when chemically combined, produced an explosive sneeze from the addled but always amusing mind of Dr. D.  The Founding Father just signed off on rule changes to help the offense:


Is there a way to lower league wide strikeouts (assuming you see it as a problem) while keeping offense at a reasonable level? Reduce the strike zone but deaden the ball a little perhaps? Thanks.
Asked by: izzy24
Answered: 12/4/2014
That would work. At the moment the league offense is at such low levels that eliminating 20% of strikeouts would merely push us back toward historic offensive norms.


There have always been teams that wanted to start with offense, and add pitching later -- and vice versa.  John Hart, with the 1990's Indians (Belle, Thome, Manny, Lofton) always believed he could rent his pitching if he got reliably great offense.  (Is that what he's been doing in Atlanta, or no?)  This had the advantage that he avoided all high-risk Darren Dreifort pitching contracts.

Other teams want the big rotation.  The 1990's Braves did well, though their main signing was Maddux.  The Yankee$ seem to want the glitzy rotation first.  (SABRMatt might be able to comment, from inside the org.)  

When the Mussina-Clemens-El Duque club throttled the 116-win Mariners, Lou Piniella was bitter.  "They spend a lot of money on their rotation, and it shows," he answered one postgame reporter.


Which would you do, as GM?  Kinda hope you don't say "neither."  Prime Directives orient the mind and produce clear thought.  The last thing Dr. D would do is reactively purchase anybody who was the $/War Special of the Day.  In chess, life lived move-to-move is nasty, brutish, and short.

So far, the Mariners have put their money into no risky pitching contracts.  We'd all have given Felix that money, right?  In Dr. D's heart, he loves the glamor rotations but in his head, he's got to admit that as GM he'd be using the John Hart approach.  Zduriencik seems to be doing this for us.


You've also got the question of skyrocketing TV revenue and rising salaries.  That situation must be kinda white-knuckle for club owners on an emotional level.  Maybe they grab for safer players then?


Jonezie's original point was to give Zduriencik props, and give you hope (that things are going well).  The pitching market is weird, and Zduriencik secured his power Safeco lefty at the cost of ... a player who was a DFA in his terms.

Here's what really got me, though.

SABRMatt gives us this scouting report:  Happ now loves to pitch up in the zone.  Diderot adds this:  he went to a 2-pitch combo in the second half (Fangraphs article available).  Fastball 95 MPH up, yellow hammer keeping guys honest, and the cherry on top:  the Death Valley of Safeco left-center.  

I don't think I'm talking myself into the deal here.  If Happ has switched from 3 pitches to 2, well, that's a core Dr. D axiom.  50% more pitches is 400% tougher to execute.  And here you have RESULTS that were time-linked exactly with Dr. D's pet theory.  Can you blame him for being jazzed?


I had to laugh at the report that the M's were already getting calls trying to pinch Happ from them.  His rising star, within baseball, seems to be as obvious as a coal pile in a ballroom.

Honestly, you start getting the sense that the M's were a little bit ahead of us here.  And you love the fact that they (in sharp contradistinction to bloggers) have signed off on 2-pitch guys like Pineda, K-Pax, and Happ.

Be Afraid,

Dr D



...I would assume I can get pitching cheaply by developing a ton of it and spend all of my big money on safer (less-likely-to-implode-suddenly-or-get-hurt) offensive free agents. Stars and scrubs in this league means spend big on offense, because the pitchers are still expensive but the return on investment is marginally smaller (because the baseline for pitching is too high now).
I'd do exactly what the Mariners are doing...I'd develop 20 relievers at all times and I'd have one air craft carrier in my rotation and I'd be grabbing pitchers in every draft using 6 of the top 8 picks I get, and I'd be making trades of offense for club controlled pitching with offensively-desperate teams.

CMB1's picture

Since coming off the DL 8/13 his fourseamer hasn't fallen below a 92MPH average per month. Last year he held at 93 plus all year. Before the knee/head injury he never had 2 consecutive months of 92 in his career. Maybe there is something there...


... he picked up +5 MPH after getting bonked.  Just make sure he doesn't get bonked the second time and we're golden.
More seriously, the Q in my mind is where he found the velocity.  It's a little bit like saying Jason Vargas, at 31, started throwing 92-95 MPH.  I don't recall a specific LH pitcher doing this at this age.

misterjonez's picture

where the little kid breaks his arm, and when they take the cast off he's throwing 100mph.
Only slightly more seriously, i was bench pressing on a pyramid schedule back in high school to see how high I could get my one rep max. I was stuck at 245lbs for almost two months, and my family took a 3 week vacation in our travel trailer out into the Arizona desert. Needless to say, I didn't get to bring the bench set.
So when I got back, the first thing I did was slide under the bar, and BAM, 245lbs went up like it was 205lbs. Pushing my luck, I added 10lbs and THAT went up like it was 225lbs. I added ANOTHER 10lbs and that went up easier than any prior attempt I'd made at 245lbs.
Within three months I had run up to 300lbs, where I hovered before peaking at 310lbs later that year. I'm convimced my block was a psychological one more than it was physical.
I wonder if getting hit in the head gave him a blank slate, as it were, and allowed him to start over psychologically. I know that I *felt* different when i hit 265lbs the first time, and it wasn't really about confidence. I just felt different, amd that was what let me beat the 300lb mark.


True Story Number 1. Legend tells of a young country boy who was  right handed, until he broke his right arm in a backyard football match when an older kid fell on it.  Then, he broke it again when the same older kid fell on it again.  During his many months in a cast, he became ambidextrous, and his left arm became abnormally strong from doing the work of two arms.  Then, one night while he went out with some other friends to go cow tipping, he was struck by a bolt of lighting that traveled down his left arm into the ground.  When he woke up in the hospital, the 1 billion volts had seared his sinews tight, and he could throw more than 100 miles per hour.  Then he became one of the greatest pitchers to ever live.  This is all true*

*Author takes artistic licence with the cow tipping and lighning part, but the rest of it is absolutely true.  
True Story Number 2. A journeyman minor league player hoped he might someday reach the bigs.  The only problem was that his stuff wasn't that good.  He was right handed and his velocity sat at 90 miles per hour, no matter how hard he tried to improve.  Then, one day, his elbow exploded in three places, and his pitching career was over.  When the cast came off, and after intensive rehab, he noticed a new strength in his arm.  Doctors stated that he was a medical anomoly, that his arm had grown the torx-fusion ligament, to compensate for his shattered elbow, and they wanted to write a paper about him.  He decided to go play baseball instead.  He began to regularly hit 96 miles per hour on the radar gun.  This is all true.**

**Delabar didn't really grow a special ligament, but the rest of it is true.

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