Happy Tuesday. Let's talk some baseball!
Which team is going to win the Stanley Cup?
Same team as the World Series -- Rangers.
has the fox in your yard started making those awful mating calls that sounds like a crying baby yet?
Indeed it has. Work me up at 4 a.m. the other morning.
OK, on to baseball. I promise.
David, 3-4 MPH off the fastball, no sliders, getting hit hard....Lincecum's gotta have elbow issues, right?
He threw at least one slider in the first inning last night that Hunter Pence lined up the middle for a base hit. Until Lincecum SAYS something is wrong, we can't speculate. His defense didn't help last night. Miscommunication between Pagan and Melky on a flyball and then Pagan was playing way too deep and let Victorino's flare drop. Still, he gave up a couple hard-hit balls that winning. Injury or not, something isn't right.
Dave, Cards in a stretch of 27 consecutive division games to start the year. Seems very atypical...do you agree? Also can they put significant difference between the Brews & Reds in that span?
I'm not sure there's any rhyme or reason to schedules, but that does seem a little odd. With the way they're hitting and the Reds and Brewers struggling, it is a great chance to build any early lead. Because of that I think the Cards-Reds series this week has some importance for Cincy.
Please tell me there is a reasonable excuse besides that Dusty is the manager that top prospect Mesoraco only has 12 ABs while the REDS offense is terrible so far??
I mentioned that the other day. Hanigan isn't terrible, mind you, and rates very well at framing pitches but I thought it would be more of a 60/40 time share with Mesoraco getting the 60. It's been more 70/30. Dusty also needs to decide how much Scott Rolen has left in the tank. How long do you give him in the cleanup spot?
Hey David, is Tim Beckham still a top prospect for the Rays. I never hear about him and they could use some help at SS.
His stock did increase last year. Keith Law ranked him No. 8 in the Rays' system. He's still very young and some now think he may be able to stick at shortstop. He needs to do a better job at controlling the strike zone, but he's looking like maybe a fringe MLB regular. Kind of like what they have now, I guess.
Is Brendan Ryan on the hot seat at SS? It seemed early on that Wedge thought so. Kawasaki seems like a decent idea.
Ryan is arguably the best defensive SS in the majors. Had the highest Defensive Runs Saved total last year and I believe over the past three seasons. Ryan doesn't bring much with the bat, but I'm not sure Kawasaki does either. Would be a mistake for Wedge to bench Ryan in my book.
I want to be a baseball purist, I really try to believe this is just a game. But baseball robots need to happen. Now.
Wally Bell would disagree.
Nationals pitching: Best in the Majors? They have arguably the best rotation and relief pitching. They lead MLB in ERA and BAA.
Staff has been amazing so far. Rotation ERA was 1.75 before yesterday. Great strikeout/walk ratio. Still not sure I would rank it ahead of Halladay/Lee/Hamels or even the Rangers (underrated), but so far, so good. And they have a pretty easy schedule in the next few weeks: HOU, MIA, SD, LAD, ARI, PHI, PIT, CIN, SD, PIT, BAL.
Jeff Mathis is batting .500 for the Jays and the Angels have a losing record. Coincidence?...I think not!
Is it too early to worry about Hanson's drop in velocity? And do you think it's lingering effect from the shoulder problem, or something else?
I would be worried, yes. Shoulder issues are scary things.
Why isn't Wedge platooning Olivo and Jaso?
Why is he playing Olivo at all? Only Eric Wedge knows.
Seems to me the better defensive alignment for the Red Sox with Ellsbury out is Sweeney in CF and Ross in RF. What do you think?
I've always thought Sweeney was a little more highly regarded defensively than Ross, so yes I was a little surprised Ross played CF yesterday. Jason Repko played CF on Sunday when a lefty started, so it looks like he'll platoon with Sweeney, with Ross moving back and forth between CF and RF.
Your most recent Sweet Spot post compared Bumgarner's salary to a bunch of free agent pitchers. The salary of an arb-eligible (or pre-arb) is a completely different entity; he isn't on the free market. Why compare more than what Bumgarner's salary will be in what would have been his free agent seasons?
I was. The two option years of his contract (post-free agency) are for $12 million (with escalators up to $14 or $16 depending on Cy Young voting). Still a bargain if he stays healthy. (I'll re-read the post to make sure I was clear on that.)
Question for users: What's your take on Bumgarner? Future Cy Young winner?
A lot of people locally have been talking about how the Padres got screwed by the bunt call, but why the heck was Guzman bunting in the first place? I mean, if your cleanup guy is up there to move runners over, what does that say about your team?
Mike, Mike, Mike ... longtime reader and chat participant ... I know that you know that you answered your own question there. But, hey, at least Jeremy Hermida was hitting cleanup last night. That's good news, right?
You create a pitcher using any 4 historical pitches (Pedro's change, Carlton's slider, etc..) What 4 do you want?
Good one. Let's open this up to the readers as well. I'll tell you the one pitch I wouldn't take: Nolan Ryan's fastball. Why? Too wild. How about Pedro's change, Mariano's cutter, Koufax's curve and Randy Johnson's slider (better than Carlton's?). And that still leaves me with a fastball ... Walter Johnson? Lefty Grove?
Pedro's change, Mo's cutter, Guidry's slider, Ryan's fastball
You were; sorry, I skimmed it! As for Bumgarner, per Fangraphs he's got one of the best sliders in the game, which is impressive given how often he throws it. So, great things if he can stay healthy.
Don't sleep on Danny Duffy, the Royals might have something there.
I was really impressed by Danny Duffy last night. 6.2 IP against a tough lineup, hitting 98 on the gun. Long-term, #2 SP potential?
Wow, didn't realize he hit that high. Didn't turn on Tigers game until eighth inning. I saw Duffy a couple times last year and liked what I saw, even if the numbers for the season didn't impress. But, yes, I do like him as a potential No. 2.
Niekro's knuckleball, Perry's spitter, Maddux's change, and Randy Johnson's fastball.
There's a funny story about a writer doing an offseason feature on Perry. He turned to his young daughter and asked her what kind of pitch daddy throws. "It's a heavy sinker," she says without hesitating.
Kevin Browns sinker Pedro's change Clemens splitter and Johnson's slider
How about taking prime Doc Gooden's fastball and curve as 2 of the pitches?
That 1985 curveball he had was awesome.
Mo's cutter, Koufax's curve, Verlander's fastball, Pedro's changeup.
Ryan's fastball has become underrated somehow.
That's easy - Bob Gibson's heater
Or slider. He was basically a two-pitch pitcher.
Definitely have to have Schilling's Split Finger in the discussion, too.
Re: Bumgarner; K rate up by 1.5 from 2010 to 2011, BB rate went down, still only 22, good pitcher's park. I think he has the potential to win one or two Cy Youngs. Of course Kershaw, Strasburg, Zimmerman, etc. may have something to say about his chances.
The Reds spent almost 300 million on two players they expect to be very productive this year. Neither have had much success early in the season, is their legitimate concern, or just early season jitters?
It's 10 games! And of the two guys struggling has a .444 OBP. I do think Dusty needs to stop worrying about going lefty-right-lefty and just hit Votto and Bruce back-to-back. Why hit your second-best hitter FIFTH in the lineup?
Satchel's fast ball
Still sticking to your Homer Bailey breakout prediction? Or was it Mike Leake?
(Cough, cough) It was Homer. I won't give up yet.
Kerry Wood's curveball, circa 1998
Good call. Fastball wasn't too shabby either.
Mo's cutter, Ryan's fastball, Mussina's knuckle-curve (awesome pitch in his prime), Pedro's change
Aroldis Chapman's fastball, Tim wakefield's knuckle ball, Johnson's slider, Sean Marshall's Slider Curve
1985 curve, best I've ever seen but Strasburg's is close.If Colby Rasmus out of baseball yet. :)
Ryan's fastball and Moyer's change. That's all you need.
98 on the ESPN GameTracker...so maybe more 95-96.
Mike Scott's splitter was alot better than Schilling's. Also, Fernando's screwball?
Hmm, Scott was pretty good for a couple years, although he had a lot of help from the Astrodome. Schilling's was pretty devastating; remember, his best years came in the heart of the steroids era.
Speaking of, hypothetically, if you have a fringe starter in your organization that lacks an out pitch, why wouldn't you teach him a "junk" ball (e.g. knucklecurve, screwball, splitter, etc.) to at least give him a chance as a niche pitcher?
Totally agree. Keith Law was talking about this exact thing on the Baseball Today podcast last week. Not sure why teams wouldn't take 4-5 guys and say, "Try this, it's your best chance of reaching the major leagues." But there still seems to be a bias against "trick" pitches like the knuckleball or screwball.
Pitch F/X had Duffy averaging 96.6 and up to 99.5 last night. People don't realize he's one of the hardest throwing lefties out there.
Should I be worrying about Wainwright yet?
Not yet. Funny, I got ripped by Cardinals fans when I wrote during spring training that you can't expect Wainwright to be as good as he was pre-injury. Not everybody comes back from TJ surgery at 100 percent. But give him some time.
Wainwright will not have immediate success. But one of the best pitchers in the game, will rebound, just slower than hoped.
Johan's change. Blyleven's curve. Greg Maddux's strike zone.
Can we combine qualities of pitches? I think Verlander's power combined with Maddux's control on a fastball would be as unfair as it gets.
Right, as we've seen with Verlander his last couple of starts, he almost seems MORE hittable when he cranks it up because his fastball flattens out. His success last year -- as he as said -- is attributable to reigning in his velocity a bit but getting better movement. Maddux's fastball is one of the best pitches in the history of the game because of the movement and location (like Halladay). Which is why Nolan Ryan's fastball IS overrated. It was fast. But wild as hell. Walked 200 batters in some years. Ryan never really learned (or cared) what Verlander did last year, that going full-tilt on every pitch isn't always the best approach.
For Logan in Cincy...Aaron Boone liked Wake's knuckle, too
How about Goose Gossage's fastball and Sutter's splitter?
Wouldn't Moyer's fastball work as a change-up if you had Ryan's fastball?
Lets say Dusty gets over his lefty lefty fear. Who is 3 and who is 4? Bruce could hit 40+ HR's batting 3rd, but then who protects Votto?
Does protection actually exist? Votto is going to draw 100 walks no matter who is hitting behind him. Actually, the smartest approach would probably be to hit Bruce second and Votto fourth.
With teams rushing to lock down nearly all of their valuable young assets, do you think this will transform free agency over the next decade? With impact players being fewer and farther between, will that mean bigger contracts? Or will they be outweighed by the fallout from deals like Ryan Howard's or Alex Rodriguez's?
I think there is going to be huge ripple effect here. The "rich" teams won't find it so easy to reload like the Yankees did in 2009 with CC, Tex and Burnett. Those teams are going to find stars in free agency so theoretically will have to produce more talent or find a way to trade for it.
The flip side to this: A friend of mine made the argument that these contracts actually may make this guys better trade assets. Take Bumgarner. Say it's 2015 and the Giants are now horrible. They have Bumgarner, Cain and nothing else. Farm system hasn't produced any hitter. Well, Bumgarner is signed to a friendly deal through 2019. That makes him a very valuable asset ... maybe a player the Yankees give up three or four premium prospects to acquire.
Verlander's numbers so far disregarding his ninth innings; 24 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 21 SO, 0.37 ERA. And April is always one of his worst months!
The Yankees always get skewered as the super huge payroll who go out and buy anyone they want. Why aren't the Phillies, Angels and Tigers getting the same treatment?
That was just an example of how a team did that in one year. But, yes, there are other big spenders. But ... Yankees are still the biggest spenders.
Dodgers picked the wrong time to be a rich team again.
There is still Cole Hamels coming up this winter. I think the Dodgers have already ordered jerseys.
Worse than a fox: the Northern Flicker, a species of woodpecker that likes to pound on my metal roof at dawn.
A few short years back, Yanks' GM Brian Cashman said the team had to get "younger and more athletic." Isn't it fair to say that he has failed miserably in this area? The only young starter he's added through his system is Brett Gardner, the Yanks still have the oldest team in baseball, and it's fair to say that they are one of the slowest teams in MLB too. Not sure why Cashman gets so much credit for talking about a strategy, but not actually executing on it
Well, they did add Granderson a couple years ago, although I would no longer describe him as "young." Russell Martin is faster than Posada! See, Cashman hasn't completely ignored his statement.
Carlton's slider was pretty unhittable
Yes and no. Some years it was (four Cy Youngs), but he mixed in great seasons with some mediocre ones, depending on the feel/bite of his slider in any given year.
You don't need to phrase it as a question: protection doesn't exist. It seems like it should, but it doesn't.
The ninth inning counts too. Take out any pitcher's worst inning and their numbers will be better.
Votto might draw 200 walks if Scott Rolen continues to hit behind him.
I try to be up on sabermetrics and all that jazz, but I'm definitely not smart enough to understand Joe Maddon's reasoning for batting Pena second and sometimes Keppinger fourth. I know Pena has a good OBP, but he also has a terrible BA. I do know that Maddon is very very smart, but can you help me understand this? Thanks!
The Rays' lineup versus lefties is pretty bad -- Pena second, Keppinger cleanup? Luke Scott and Matt Joyce also with sizable platoon splits. Yes, Upton will help when he's back but I think the Rays need to find another RH bat.
I didn't really answer your question. Pena works in the two-hole, at least against RHP, since he DOES get on base. Ignore batting average and look at OBP. Pena is fine. Not sure why he's hitting second versus lefties (why not move Zobrist up?), but maybe Maddon thinks he'll get more fastballs hitting second or something (assuming Desmond Jennings is on base).
In light of last night having some good offerings, what are the best pitching match-ups left this week?
Verlander and Neftali Felix on Saturday afternoon should be fun. Friday night in the same we get Darvish and Porcello. Darvish has had issues throwing strikes so far.
Trevor Bauer's long toss
Any sympathy for Jim Leyland???? Verlander 3 great 8 innings.Game 1: Go to Valverde: Blows itGame 2: Stick with Verlander: Blows itGame 3: Stick with verlander: almost blows itShould Leyland look into Extra Heart Attack Coverage?
Did you see Verlander's quote. He said when Leyland visited the mound he told him, "You're going to get me fired."
Best fastball? How about Billy Wagner.
Pena is hitting second, in theory, because with Jennings on he will see the shift less often, or something like that.Also, the Rays already have a decent right handed bat to play against lefties, but for some reason Brandon Guyer is in AAA while Elliot Johnson is still in the majors. Even the best front office in the game sometimes makes moves that drive their fans crazy.
Good point about the shift. And, yes, I don't understand Guyer not being on the team. I know he struggled in spring training and we all know the Rays love their defense, but Jeff Keppinger is still ... Jeff Keppinger.
To Mike in Long Island: Dont Forget, that Nova, Hughes, Pineda, and Robertson are all in the early to mid 20's.
Dave, I have to say that I have a new found appreciation for the junk you have to deal with in the comments section. I was having a back and forth with another commenter about Ryan Braun vs. Matt Kemp. When I referenced that Kemp's defensive numbers were better, this person countered by saying "Center Fielders get an extra point in WAR for defense." I don't even know what that means.
WAR does include a positional adjustment of some sort. You essentially get a bonus for playing a tougher defensive position (CF, SS, 2B, C). I *guess* that's what the user was trying to say.
I love Pena 2nd. Much like I love that Matheny has used Beltran in the #2 spot with a full lineup. Shows me that Matheny gets it.
Yep, I love Beltran No. 2 as well. Why not? Too many managers still stick to convention and would hit Beltran fifth or sixth because he's a power guy. But he's also an on-base guy.
I think Mike in Long Island is forgetting about the Phillies when he's talking about oldest teams...and the Yankees do get a bad wrap sometimes....yes Jeter and A Rod are old..but Cano, Granderson, Tex, Swish, Gardner, Pineda, Nova, Robertson, Martin, CC....that's not an old core there...people just forcus on Jeter, ARod and Rivera
what's up with Miggy's 0-21 streak?
I guess Prince isn't doing a good job protecting him. <Sarcasm>
Attended a game yet this year?
Drove up to Boston on Sunday and saw Matt Moore pitch. And Felix Doubront. Whom I actually think will be OK at the back end of the rotation. Live arm. Not saying he's going to win 15 games, but he'll be a lot better than John Lackey was a year ago.
Delmon Young back to the Rays in exchange for . . . anything at all.
A bit of a homer pick, but why not Sergio Romo's slider? With the command he has of it combined with other elite pitches, this pitcher would be unhittable.
Whatever Maddux was throwing to make lefties stick their butts out to avoid being hit as the ball broke over the inside corner for strike three.
There has been a lot of discussion about the Bobby Valentine fiasco. Most of which has been concerning the statement and apology to Youk, however what has been missed in all of it is what this managerial behavior does to the other 24 players.
I think players have the ability to block that stuff out once the games begin. I think the more interesting factors are things like: Is Cody Ross really a better CF than Sweeney? (Maybe, I don't know.) How much rest does a guy like Youkilis need? Can Daniel Bard really start? Those are real things the manager has control over that affects wins and losses.
Best pitch in the game...Ankiel from center field. Did you see that last night? Strasburg said he would have called that a strike.
Youkilis has hurt feelings? I thought these guys were adults not overpaid self-indulgent prima donnas.
Right. Youkilis isn't going to do any better or worse because of anything Bobby V says to the media.
Miguel Cabrera is 9 for 18 against Bruce Chen, with three bombs. Maybe he breaks out of it tonight!
If you were Cubs management, when would you bring up Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo?
No, I think both need more time in the minors.
"...as the ball broke 4 inches off the plate and got called for strike three." There, fixed it for you Matt.
Hey Brian, you hear from a third party that your boss isn't happy with your effort. Does that affect you at all?
But if Brian is working hard and all his co-workers are happy with his effort, what is Brian going to do that will make him better at his job?
Ryan's fastball carried him to 4th most pWAR.
??? He's 16th on Baseball-Reference list. But you're right, I was a little too critical there. The fastball DID help him pitch forever and because of that he does rank high on the career lists.
You're right about lineup protection. People don't give Joey Votto pitches to hit because he's REALLY GOOD at hitting them! Under no circumstances do they EVER want to give Votto something to hit. Putting Barry Bonds behind him is supposed to encourage pitchers to give Votto more meatballs? I don't understand that logic..
Miguel Cabrera's walk rate this is 15.9 percent. Last year? 15.7 percent.
Which catcher do you want for the next 6-8 years: Matt Wieters or Carlos Santana?
I love Carlos Santana but I'd probably take Wieters if only Santana's knees are a legitimate long-term concern.
I respectfully disagree David. Baseball players are human beings first and there are reasons why managers deal with these issues face to face. If a player has one iota of a distraction outside the lines, then it's conceivable that it could have an affect inside the lines. Why take that chance?
Fair enough. I do agree with your overall point: Why take that chance? On the other hand ... playing a little devil's advocate here ... isn't it fair to then take the other side and say "Maybe Bobby V is right?" Maybe Youkilis will lose 10 pounds and play better because he's ticked off at his manager for calling him out?
I would think the only difference in Lineup Protection would be on Intentional Walks. Would you IW Votto to pitch to Bonds with another person on base?
I do agree with that. Miggy had 22 IBB last year, 32 in 2010. He'll probably receive fewer this year.
We need a Pirates question here! Do you think that the Pirates are as bad as their offense has shown? The BABIP seems far lower than where it should be, even if they are only so-so. Is this a creation of the pitching they've faced (Kershaw, Halladay, Cain, etc.)?
I will go out on a limb and say they won't hit .188 all year. But, yes ... it's a bad offense. 14th in NL in runs scored last year, not reason to expect that total to dramatically increase this year unless Pedro Alvarez suddenly morphs into Mike Schmidt.
OK, my analogy works. Brian is Youk. His boss is Valentine. I'll be the Boston media. Dave, you can be Mike Blowers.
OK ... if Mike Blowers' name is getting brought up, it's time to end the chat. Loved the discussion on best pitches of all time. Good idea for a post this week! Some good games tonight. Boston-Texas (Lewis-Lester) ... I'll probably keep an eye on Reds-Cardinals. Let's see if Scott Rolen can protect Votto!