The "other" Wolfpack
Canis Lupus First Base-us.

Over on USSM, they were whining a bit about Ryon Healy and his inability to be anything more than a below-average bat at 1B.  Ah, I'm not so sure.  He hits .877 vs. LHP, and that was very consistent from '16 to '17.  All the evidence says he flat out bashes lefties.  He's a .271-.304-.476 bat vs. RHP, which means he's not the original Boog Powell, but if you do that batting 6th behind Seager, you will be more than fine.  Danny Valencia, who the braintrust hoped would be our 1B guy, hits both righties and lefties worse; RHP considerably worse and lefties marginally worse.  If Healy just does what he's done for 1.5 years, he's more than fine at 1B.

And then there's Vogelbach and Ford.  Let's compare the three of them (including Healy) this way:

Healy hit .318-.362-.505 in (only) 210 AAA PA's, in the PCL, of course. 

Vogelbach has hit .291-.403-.480 in 1104 AAA PA's. split between the IL and PCL.  The PCL is much more hitter friendly, you will remember.

Ford only has 115 AAA PA's. all in '17, and has a .266-.383-.543 line.  He's been swinging in the IL. 

Healy has lost about 80 OPS points off his AAA numbers, since arriving in Oakland.  If you figure his rookie year performance vs. RHP was fluky (he BABIPed .359 VR in '16  vs. .303 in '17) then you can figure that Healy might not be the .861 hitter he was as a rookie.  Fair enough, I buy that. But if he's a .780 hitter, then he's the equal of Kyle Seager over 3 of the past 4 years.  It isn't Killebrew, but I can live with it.

This is a highlight video from '17, several things jump out to me.

1.  I love his relaxed/natural stance and leg kick.  I would bet that it hasn't changed much since he was in high school.  He doesn't get tied up and he gets his arms easliy extended.

2.  He kills middle/inside pitches, as he should, but he also has the LHB ability (as a RHB) to drop the barrel and cream the low/inside stuff.  And he can jack the pitch up in the zone, or above, as well.  

3.  He is decently nimble for a big dude.  Watch him field a bunt, charging from 3B, and cut down new teammate Dee Gordon.  

For a relief arm, and you know that DiPoto considers those guys as expendable security guards on the USS Enterprise, we got a guy who has ISOed .208 in 1.5 big league seasons.  Over the last two seasons, his best slugging ones, Seager has ISOed about .211.  Just sayin'.

Vogs and Ford are full of "promise," of course.  But promise isn't really jack until it is validated.  I like Ford in the vidoes I've seen; quite a lot, in fact.  He's quiet at the plate, with a great eye, and can turn on a ball.  Folks have blogged some hullabaloo about his lack of power, but let's just say that it is coming.  At A+ he homered in 1.6% of his PA's.  In AA it was 3%.  Last season, in his AAA go-around, it was 6%.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but those numbers are moving in the right direction.   Now that 6% may not continue, but both AA & AAA numbers compare nicely with Healy's 2.7% in AA and 5% in AAA.  Vogelbach's numbers are 2.5% at AA and 3.8% at AAA.  Ford has enough pop.  As a comparison, Kyle Seager (a late homer bloomer, himself), homered in 1.3% of his AA PA's and 2.6% at AAA.  In the bigs, he's been running a  3.5% rate.   

I'm going to be surprised if we don't find some way to keep Ford around after spring training, despite the Rule 5 MLB requirement.   Which leaves Vogelbach out, unless we trade him.....or unless we trade Nelson Cruz, a move that I have advocated, unless we're dang sure we can get a 1-year deal out of him after this one.  How likely is that?  Besides Paxton, he's our most fungible veteran.  Boston would love to have him rather than run Hanley Ramirez out to DH.  But that is another discussion.

And BTW, did you know the M's had added 32-yr old 1B Matt Hague, on a minor league contract.  Hague has all of 94 PA's in the bigs, none since '15. He's a .301-.376-.430 hitter in about a gazillion AAA PA's., but was terrible in Japan in '16, .231-.339-.346.  He's AAA stuff unless in a dire emergency, so I'm not sure he is part of the AAA wolfpack.  I'm not sure it indicates the intent to trade a guy above him, either.  

But 1B types, we have 'em.  

The M's seem set on an 8-man bullpen, even USSM has that down as likely fact.  If we keep Ford then our bench is short, in terms of positional flexibility, but Healy can go to 3B and Gordon could go to 2B so we retain some options. All the same, Marjama, Romine, Ford makes for a sparse bench.  If Ford or Healy could go to a COF spot, in a pinch, it would work better.  Vogs sure isn't getting an OF trial.

Speaking of OF's, I blew it twice, in relation to the OF, lately.  Not only did I point out that we had added Astro WW guy Preston Tucker, when we hadn't, but I missed the fact that we HAD added former Cubby farmboy John Andreoli, on a minor league contract. Andreoli has spent the last three seasons in Iowa, of the pitcher friendly IL, and has run out a .258-.365-.410 line.  He's got a fine eye and has his 12 and 14 HR's the past two seasons, after 5 (a career high at that point) in '15.  He's started 80/99/68 games at LF/CF/RF respectively over the last two seasons.  He's generally a better AAA hitter than recent WW guy Cameron Perkins.  Perkins AAA line is .270-.323-.393, that in the IL, too.  Perkins also has played CF extensively in AAA and brings 1B experience, as well.

If Heredia is really out early, then I would think that Andreoli has the slight upper hand on first OF up.  Don't ask me why.  But I still think we add a real MLB OF, if Herredia is likely a DL guy.  Of course, we could wait unitl ST and get one cheap.  

So here's the three $64,000 questions to you guys:  1.  How comfortable are you with Healy (two thumbs up for me)?  2. Is Ford going to be on the roster out of ST? 3. Do we bring in a real MLB OF?

Hey, you guys are great at audience participation.  Jump in.

And, Go team. 




has an option remaining.  I fully expect it's use.

1 more outfielder please.  Do I expect it? Not especially


I too like Healy's ability to get to the low-in pitch as a RHB, and sometimes people forget that he was just 25 years old.  From a dynamic-talent perspective he looks gifted from here.

Also as you say, the vs-LHP is there and then some.  He's .300-and-plenty vs LHP with the .500-and-plenty SLG.  Dipoto likes him as a cost-effective weapon and it's hard to see the problemo.


Leaving the 4-to-make-1 at first base situation where it is for a minute... if the 2018 M's don't have a problem at 1B, where do they have one, exactly.  Behind the three stars they've got some rumblings from C, RF, and SS, not to mention CF now.


Just the kind of article we appreciate Keith.  +1 :- )


I would also throw out there that Gordon could play SS in the event Segura has a lot of DL time.   After Motter's surge in the spring, SS was a black hole when Segura was out.   We have a few bodies capable of playing CF, and Gordon has the ability to play all of the up-the-middle defensive positions. 


#1.   Paxton, great when healthy, but he can’t stay healthy for a full year.  Since ’13, year by year, he has thrown 170, 97, 103, 171 and 140 innings, combined between the minors and Seattle.  He has shown the arm, but not the durability to be the war horse who glues everything together.  When he goes out, and he will, we need a solid #2.

#3A,B,C.  Felix, Leake, Ramirez.  For the past 3 seasons, Felix has been a blip better than a league average starter, give or take.  Same for Ramirez, except ‘16 was out of the pen.  Leake has been about the same, maybe a small degree better, going back to ‘13.  Over the last three years, Felix has topped out at 108 OPS and bottomed out at 98.  For Ramirez  it has been 106 & 96.  Leake has had a 112 and a 87.. Catch them all at 106 and 170 innings and you have something.  Catch them all at 98 and 140 and you don’t.

#5-6-7 Can Miranda quit giving up two homers a game?  If so, the rest of his stuff is dang good.  Moore?  Basically ditto.  Come on, guys.....miss off the plate, will you?  Gonzales gave up 13 hits/9 in the bigs last season, it was half that in the minors.  I would gladly send him back for O’Neill, but that isn’t happening.  As it stands, we need one of these guys to be a sort of durable 150 inning guy, with a 100-ish OPS+.  Miranda and Moore can certainly do that, with the MLB stuff they have already shown, if they only quit missing in batter’s hot zones.  If one of them is that durable and is a 110 guy, then this staff has a chance to be solid, as is.

Wildcard guy:  Iwakuma. if his arm holds up for one more season, he can’t help but be a 100-ish guy.  

There are a bunch of “ifs” in that analysis, which I suppose there always are with MLB rotations.  But a durable #2, would go a long way to providing some stability.

If everybody above is on form and Paxton throws 170+ innings, then we don’t ”need” to spend on help.  And if wishes and buts were candy and nuts, wewill all have a merry Christmas.

I could live without a Darvish or Arriata, but a Lance Lynn would look pretty, wrapped up and under the tree.  If we could only afford him, huh?

BTW, even USA Today’s suggests Cruz should get swapped out for the right arm.  Does Boston have that guy?  Would they give you Eduardo Rodriguez?

But I am with Matt, we can get by with our bats, but we could sure use a quality arm.  Unless all goes well with our question marks above.  

Possible cheap, low-risk signings with some upside:  Clay Buchholz, Jhoulys.Chacin, Miguel Gonzales, Jeremy Hellickson, etc.  Are they better than the guys above?  Probably not, but the more the merrier.


Is Mike Ford John Jaso?

Minor league career stats:

Jaso:  290/378/407, BB/K 301/313

Ford: 272/380/433, BB/K 267/245

If so, I'm fine with that in our system.


Evidently we had not claimed Tucker.  I was sure I had seen that, but was in error.  My bad, Matt.  But I wouldn’t have minded adding him.


That’s where I thought I saw it, too......then couldn’t find it again.  I am just assuming I am confused.  


but I *do* remember seeing Tucker's name hit the wire and going, 'Perfect waiver pickup!  Done dea!'

Who knows what really happened.  But two and a half of us scratching our heads probably means there was a report somewhere.

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