IF THE SEASON STARTED 7 DAYS AGO
We would have OPS's over 1000 from DH, RF, LF, and SS. 3B would be at 895. Only 1B and C would have started slow, really, and we'd have scored 5-9 runs in 6 games with Felix' 2-1 win being the other game.
Iwakuma's velocity had already been down his first two starts. As a GENERAL RULE that means a robust gain to the ol' ERA number. General rules are not absolutes and if anybody can pitch with a minus-minus fastball it's this guy.
So when he started off Sunday throwing 84, 85 MPH I'm thinking, "let's hope he's in the 10%." Very shortly thereafter the Rangers started gleefully playing pop-a-shot with the RF bleachers. And Dr. D returned to his senses, that MLB hitters punish weak pitches rather differently than NPB hitters punish them.
Blowers politely wrote it off as "Iwakuma didn't have it today" but Servais had scrambled to get Iwakuma's noble personage out of the ballgame quickly, like the -1st inning. You could see this was not a presentable scene.
IF this start means the beginning of the end for WBC-San, there are positive spins. Starting with the idea that Iwakuma might be able to cobble a 90-100 ERA for a few months. As a #5 starter that wouldn't be tragic, if you didn't already have a #6 starter and a #17 starter in the rotation now.
Taro was alarmed about Felix and Iwakuma already. But! If the outcome is to split the 9's, one SP goes real high and the other goes real low, that's cool. It's a microcosm of Stars & Scrubs, with one pitcher fungible. The M's are not nearly as married to Iwakuma politically right now as they are to Gallardo, I wouldn't think. The Iwakuma signing is no demerit to the front office even if you DL'ed him right now. The Gallardo trade would be.
The M's are shaping up to have a #1, a #2 and nothing much after. Except Povse and Moore, right? Or Overton? Or ... ?
Here is the March 15 article in which we threw in with SABRMatt, on putting this kid into the 6-member SSI Hall of Fame for best prospects. We axed, What's with Arizona? How could they give him up? Along with the attendant CF camera reasoning on the lad. We raised to pot to "Rookie of the Year" contender; this is now the buzz about Haniger.
Mike Blowers said he liked the 9th-inning walk better than he liked the [off-balance 407-foot] home run, better than he liked the RF catch. Because most rookies, with "the ground rumbling under their spikes" with the crowd as JeDi put it, swing at close pitches. Haniger is just so remarkable in his presence.
Forgetting about the fact that Maniger was the #8 player in the American League -before- Sunday's game. (Zeus I think was the #1 player in either league for WAR.) Forget the stats; Haniger LOOKS like he's going to be a star.
To the point where I have a question. I'm used to Griffey, ARod, the usual Seattle Mariner young star who is good at 22 or not good at all. I don't actually GET how he can look this good when he wasn't that good of a young minor league player. Yes, I know there are late bloomers. I still don't "get" how this guy wasn't good earlier. Do you?
Goodie gumdrops! And if you missed it, Scott Servais just said in no uncertain terms that Leonydas' 3-for-36 "isn't going to work" for us. Last year, he was the M's only center fielder, Servais said nicely. This year he ain't.
So, my bad jumping all over Servais for this one. M's face some LHP's coming up and we can assume Heredia has shaken out to get some playing time and -- importantly -- within the first two weeks.
NO MAGNA CARTA TODAY
Just threw this chat thread up so we could rejoice in the M's streak. 2-11 would have been one thing; 5-8 is a different thing. Lot of players we'd a liked to celebrate.
Haniger altered his swing mechanics less than 2 years back and has done nothing but mash since. Hes always had the natural talent (former high end 1st rounder), the defense, and never really had issues with pitch recognition. He just couldn't punish the ball when he got his pitch. Now he can.
His breakout is not that suprising. When we traded for Haniger I expected "above-average MLBer" to be his floor.
What I did not expect is for him to be the best player on the team from Day One. I had high expectations for Haniger and he is exceeding them.
It sure would be nice if Deej and / or V-Bach were able to make that same late blooming transformation this year by July or so.
Maybe Maniger could give the coaches a hint on what exactly got him be so much more effective with this newest swing than the others he had in the past.
Haven't had one of those in a long while.
The Maniger is a better hitter right now than Cruz or Cano. Yes really.
Being at the park was Griffey hitting a 3 R HR and snagging what would have been a 3 R HR from over the fence in the Kingdome's final game (5-3 win) . Sounds kind of like a certain RF's performance from yesterday.
He went I think 2 spots higher than Taijuan, 2 years later. But 17% K rate through entirety of his MiL time as well. He's actually approaching my ceiling call of .310/.430/.570 Actual: .294/.410/.588...OPS 1.000 vs .998? And doesn't he still look that good?
Is definitely worrisome. My first thought on his velocity slowly dropping for awhile know is the Dodgers medical issues. Is it time to reevaluate surgical need? The spot can be kept warm.
I know this post was more on starting pitching, and I realize AAA is not MLB, and SSS stuff...
However, have you guys seen what the local guy is doing out of the pen in Tacoma
Hagadone - 3 games, 3.2 innings, 10K!!!, 0 H, 0 W
That is 11 guys faced, 10 K's and a fly out.
xFIPs so far this year:
On the other hand, maybe somewhat fewer lightning bolts for Zeus?
YTD BABIP 103
YTD LOB 100%
Best single season marks ever recorded by Koufax:
...we realize the 1.12 ERA tpe comments re: Paxton are just for fun, not a serious projection...
And of course we're not making our analyses based on the statistics. Iwakuma threw 84 mph "fastballs" all night. Remember when we all correctly spotted that problem in Jered Weaver?
And Paxton isn't just racking up nice numbers...he's making enemy batters look spectacularly stupid without even trying.
Paxton ran .203 BABIP and his pitches physically looked like they'd run low BABIP. I think .103 is ridiculously low but at the same time I don't expect his to regress to .320. If he keeps pitching this way where will he be? His own career can't quite be compared because his stuff has morphed with an added pitch as well. And I've got no idea who else to compare him to.
Segura, Dyson, Haniger and Martin 12-1 in SB through 13 games.
If Kuma's arm is toasted, then let's just get to it and call up Moore. Really.
He didn't get the start today (Cishek did! 1 perfect inning), but came in to open the 2nd. Ho hum. 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run (first he's surrendered, this on a homer) and 0 BB/4 K's. Just 83 pitches, btw. Now at 19 innings, 9 hits, 3 BB's, 14 K's and 1 lone run. ERA? .047
Going into the game, RHB's were 1-26 against him.
Worst performance of the season. He must not like the bullpen! :)
Give him the 1st Class ticket to the west coast, already!
Povse up tomorrow.
...just call it a swap with Miranda. Not that he was actually in the pen, but would have been a useful tool there.
Felix-Paxton-Miranda-Povse-Moore? Okay, but let's not burn the young kids. Dominating AA is great. Let's make SURE they're ready to contibute here for the next six years. I don't know what that looks like; maybe they ARE ready and it's demonstrable. I just know we've exposed and rushed too many bright young stars in the past. The issue isn't figuring out what to do with them when Smyly returns so much as making sure we're not ruining anything.
My playbook would be to bring ONE of them up, if ready, to replace ONE of Gallardo/Kuma. The other one can come up instead if the experiment doesn't work out... or if it does, I still wait until Smyly comes back to consider bringing the second. At that point you have to demote Miranda to fit the other in, and I'm not ready to deny him more playing time just yet.