Dear Tigers fans: I don't hate Justin Verlander.
David, please tell me the Giants starting pitching will recover and have a good season.
That's a really good question. I do think people need to start revising the idea that the Giants have this great rotation. Cain looked better the other night, but that was against a crappy Dodgers lineup (I think Crawford sat). Vogelsong is getting hammered. Bumgarner isn't nearly as good on the road. I'd be concerned, yes. Plus, no depth behind the top five.
Can I look at yesterday as a turning point for my beloved Jays?
I don't think ONE game will turn things around but if the Jays do embark on big things, I'm sure everyone will point to that one game. Still need Mark Buehrle to start pitching better. Speaking of: When did he grow his second chin?
What has the biggest overall effect on the amount of wins a team has at the end of the season? The Lineup order or ability to play Right-Way/Little-Thing baseball, Having your players almost always take the extra base. Having a team that go from 1st to 3rd on singles, even with two outs. Having a team that starting pitchers are more proficient at getting a Must Out when they need one, to stave off a big inning. Is this just luck, or do you think this is more important than the batting order or plugging a bullpen guy in one game but not the next
And Yes I do think the batting order is important, I'm with Dusty and would rather have a chance to score in all 9 innings though, and not bunch everyone up so that you pretty much make it that you need to score in 6 innings
Batting order doesn't really make much of a difference. They're fun to discuss and not UNIMPORTANT but it's really no different than some of the other little things you mentioned -- first to third, getting the big double play, having the starter go one extra inning to help the bullpen. They all add up. But the best thing is still to have the best players.
Any chance the Reds keep Choo and trade Bruce in the off-season?
I think Choo is a Scott Boras client and if Choo has a big year I'm guessing he prices himself out of Cincinnati. Bruce has a pretty team-friendly contract, so I think he stays. He's not this bad.
Is David Ortiz going to be a hall-of-famer?
Right now, I'd say no. As good as his peak hitting was, his career totals are probably short, especially for a DH. He's similar to Edgar Martinez (actually, Edgar's career WAR is much higher) and Edgar has struggled to get support. Ortiz's postseason clutch play will help, but I think he has a tough road unless he keeps hitting like this another 3-4 years.
Do you see Ryan Howard's power picking up?
Well, he's on pace for, what, 25 to 30 home runs? Had 31 and 33 in 2010 and 2011 so 30 sounds about right.
What is the Hottese & the Coldest MLB Game that you Have Been to?
A college football game in Montana. Oh, baseball ... last year's World Series games in Detroit were brutal. I think Game 3 the wind was gusting 20+ mph, temperature around 40, felt like 20. I was in the left-field stands. It was not baseball weather.
Is it a stretch to say Gio Gonzalez is showing signs of mimicking AJ Burnett: guy who relies on a good curve to be effective and can be lights-out/a disaster depending on the stuff he has that night?
That would be an interesting study: Who is the most consistent/inconsistent starter in baseball? Gio seems to fit that Burnett mold, but I have no idea if he actually has been inconsistent over his career.
Better rest of the season: Josh Hamilton or Delmon Young?
Man, how far has Hamilton fallen if you're comparing him to Delmon?
Hey Dave, Do you think Choo is one of the best leadoff hitters, and do you think The Reds are still the overall Favorite in the central
He's been terrific so far, although he can't really hit lefties. .184 I think, with some walks but no power. I'd say the top ones now are Choo, Austin Jackson, Alex Gordon and Ian Kinsler. I'll hold out for now in believing Carl Crawford is back.
I don't know if you have the power, but can you turn auto-update on?
Any speculation on the closer role in tampa changing hands? Rodney hasn't been as good, and he can't place his change up which was his money maker-
I haven't read the morning papers, but the problem is Peralta is really the only reliever pitching well right now. So if you pitch him in the ninth, that still leaves Rodney in the eighth, which doesn't really solve the problem. You're right about the changeup: He walked five guys on the change all last season but has already walked five this year.
Kershaw for most reliable? Hasn't allowed more than 3 ER in a start since July 24th last year.
Right, that's what we'd be looking for. Kershaw is consistent AND great which is why ... well, why he's Kershaw.
Craziest game you've seen so far this year? The Jays coming back against the Rays was close, but I don't know if anything tops the A's-Angels 19 inning game.
I made it through 17 innings of that one. Fun game. The Giants-Dodgers game on Saturday was pretty wild. Giants take a big lead, Dodgers have a seven-run inning, Giants tie it and then win it on a walk-off home run from Guillermo Quiroz on an 0-2 pitch.
David, I'll cut you some slack on Verlander, because there are too many ifs in the story and Justin has been an innings eater since 2007...talk to me about Darvish in 2019. Regardless, how concerned should Tiger fans be about Avila's anemic start? He often looks utterly lost at the plate offensively.
Good question. I wrote something pn Avila before the season where Leyland suggested he needed to be more aggressive at the plate. I pointed out his 2012 approach was basically identical to 2011, just with worse results. Well, I don't know if he's trying to follow Leyland's advice, but if he is, it isn't working. He's striking out more and walking less. Anyway ... sure, I'd be a little worried. It's possible 2011 was just a fluke.
As a guy schooled on Bill James, I know I shouldn't think this way, but lack of patience be damned, Starling Marte is just flat out exciting on a baseball field. Great to watch this guy use his tool kit every day.
I haven't seen much of the Pirates, but he keeps popping up on all the highlight reels, that's for sure. I'll admit that's one guy I may have underestimated.
The Yankees are 18-12 but have gotten a little lucky (only +10 run differential). That being said, between banking these wins now and getting Granderson, Tex, Arod and Jeter back at some point, things are looking pretty good for the Yankees, right?
Yankees are eighth in the AL in runs and sixth in runs allowed. They've played a disproportionate number of home games (where they play well). They've weathered the storm, but I'm not sure that they're suddenly going to score more runs when those guys get back since we can also expect regression from Hafner, Wells and catcher (where Cervilli had played well). Still iffy on them as a contender.
If Miguel Cabrera can play third, could Brian McCann move there in 2014?
No. Catcher-to-third transitions don't work. Only guy (I think) who sort of made it work was Joe Torre, and he was pretty bad defensively.
Jedd Gyorko is finally showing signs of life. Over/Under on 20 HR for him this year?
Under. Still a tough park for a rookie to crank 20 in.
Madison Bumgarner not that good on the road?? Dude is 2-0 with an 0.83 ERA, 14 K's and only 3 BB's. Granted small sample size of 3 games, but let's give the guy some credit.
4.40 ERA last year.
David, as a Royals fan should I be: a) super excited about the 17-11 start; or b) super bummed about Hosmer and Moustakas? You can only choose one as I am an all or nothing type person.
Always look on the positive side of things. Your team is six games over .500! Don't act like a Red Sox fan. (I kid, Red Sox fans, I kid.)
Can't you make the argument that the Yankees will actually be worse when Granderson comes back? Wells has been their MVP so far (outside of Cano)
Well, he's been slumping of late. .339 OBP, .486 SLG. Kind of sounds like a Granderson line to me. But this will allow Girardi to mix-and-match in the outfield, sit Ichiro against lefties, so you can argue it should make them a little stronger perhaps.
Yeah, the Yankees should be excited about relying on 4 guys coming off injury, whose combined age will be 142 by the end of the season.
Dave, tell me the Dodgers aren't as dreadfully bad as the won/lost record indicates?
They're dreadfully bad.
In the early stages, is Shelby Miller the front runner for NL ROY?
Will Coors field help Nolan Arenado put together ROY numbers?
Sure, but I think Miller has to be the favorite right now.
Matt Harvery: over/under an ERA of 2.75 this year?
I'll take the under. How many starts will get he get against the Marlins and Phillies?
Madison Bumgarner is 23 years old, younger than Matt Harvey. And every writer seems to think he has no upside and is over rated. It's a joke!
I didn't say he's overrated. Just said he's not as good on the road, which last year is a statement of fact. But maybe last year was an aberration in that regard. He had good splits in 2011. But let's not get carried away buy small sample size. Two of his road starts came against the awful Dodgers and awful Cubs.
Give it to me straight -- is Roy Halladay done?
He's going to have re-invent himself. But I wrote something back in April how the end has come suddenly for some great pitchers.
I'm not paying money to watch Hirshbeck ump third base. I'm paying top dollar for a ticket to watch Bryce Harper hit. Selig needs to address this umpire behavior. They are waaaay to throw people out
I thought that ejection was an embarrassment. OK, Harper glared a little too long. Get over it.
so at what point do you admit your heinous mistake that seattle will finish ahead of the Rangers? or did you mistype and mean that they would finish ahead of the los angeles of anaheim headcases?
TYPO! DEFINITELY A TYPO!!!
I didn't realize that M. Bumgarner had a brother named John that whined about unfair treatment in chats.
Weekly M's thoughts David?
Well, King Felix and Iwakuma are awesome. Rest of the rotation is abysmal. Have to get Morse out of the outfield, just awful out there. Would love to see Nick Franklin soon. They look kind of like what everyone pegged them ... a little under .500 team. Of course, I picked them to win 84, one more than the ANGRANEGLERS.
I forgive you then.
Can you name more than 5 Houston Astros without googling?
Sure ... Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Nolan Ryan, Cesar Cedeno and Terry Puhl.
As a Braves fan, it's getting very frustrating to see the boxscore and to find out at least 10 K per game. Please tell me that I'm overreacting and the Braves will win and go deep in October, despite this huge flaw.
It's a little too all-or-nothing for my tastes but the A's won with this approach last year when they set the all-time strikeout record. Braves are third in the NL in walks and fourth in OBP despite all the whiffs, so I do think it can work in October. If they get there, of course!
Weekly M's thoughts by David... "Man I miss Buhner, Alvin Davis and Langston"
Is Tulo twice as good as any other shortstop with Reyes out injured?
Well, by FanGraphs WAR he's barely better than Segura -- 1.6 to 1.5. But, you know, I guess it's possible he could end up as, say, a 6-WAR player and no other shortstop tops 3.
How do you weigh intangibles in players? Example: James Shields. The Royals got ripped mostly for the trade but all articles out of Tampa credits Shields for the nonstop work ethic with fellow pitchers. Seems he carried it over to KC and its going quite well. STUD STUD STUD pitcher. Agree?
Sure, stuff like that can be important and it's accurate to say that sabermetrics can't measure something like that. Alex Cobb, for example, apparently learned his spike curve from Shields. Now, that shows up in Cobb's numbers, so it is being measure in some regard, but maybe he's not the same pitcher without Shields' help. But intangibles can also be overrated and you tend to hear more about the overrated stuff (great clubhouse guy! nice to dogs!) than the baseball stuff.
Starlin Castro will get above 3 WAR
Are you buying the O's start?
Yes. If Machado and McLouth are for real, offense will be better than I expected.
Brad Pitt doesn't care about intangibles.
Reason to believe in Stolmy Pimentel's numbers in AA?
I answered this because I saw him pitch a couple years ago in New Britain and got absolutely hammered. Anyway, he's been though of a prospect for reasons I've never understood. K/BB ratio of 32 to 16 suggests that, no, the 0.74 ERA isn't for real.
Desmond put up 5 WAR last year... he's probably not 5 again, but over 3. Still has power.
Tulo has to stay healthy for the season to accumulate a 6 WAR.
How much did Seguera's WAR drop by stealing 1B?
Speaking of Segura...wow he's been good. Is this really the player he is? Because if so...wow!
whats miggy's war compared to trout?
1.8 to 1.4. Closer than you thought, I bet.
How real do you think McLouth's performance so far is? Let's not forget his September 2012 numbers either.
Really good at-bats so far. More walks than strikeouts, which is rare these days. Is he going to post a .900 OPS all year? No, but it does seem like some sort of adjustment has helped. I could see an OPS around .800.
Stolmy Pimentel's always been thought of as a prospect because his name is Stolmy Pimentel.
Speaking of Machado, how good do you think he can become? Will they move him back to SS.
I think he's so good at third base that he never moves. And his bat looks like it will obviously play there. Kid is special, special, special. May see his name alongside Trout/Harper in the near future.
You know who is going to be the surprise SS to end up with a 3+ WAR? Andrelton Simmons. dude can pick it already better than anyone else and it looks like his hitting is on an uptick.
Agreed. He just has to hit a little to be a 3+ WAR player.
Doesn't Trout have a 0.7 WAR??
I was looking at FanGraphs. But, yes, Baseball-Reference has him at 0.7. Must be a big split on his defensive rating so far.
Why doesn't a truly average player in MLB end up with a 0 WAR? Why isn't "replacement level" an average player? Seems like if you are going to create a comparison stat, which is very useful, you could go the extra distance and make it more metric.
Because on average player has value. The goal is to find players that are better than replacement-level. (The old Total Baseball book used a scale centered around average = 0 and it created some weird rankings.) Plus, it kind of works like this: A below-average player can still play regularly, but a below replacement-level player will almost be quickly out of a job. That's what I mean when saying an average player has value.
The power's coming! I swear! True or False?
Cool an Indians question hasn't been posted on an ESPN chat for over a week
That's not a question.
You want to go to WAR, I'll take you to WAR!
So on the HR scale: Kemp+Bruce Craig Hosmer Moustakas=Andrelton Simmons. Just saying
Yep, some serious power outages there so far.
Matt Kemp is terrible, please discuss.
how bout those brewers?
The 14-16 Brewers?
I thought fangraphs and BR agreed on a unified WAR stat?
They agreed on a baseline level for what defines replacement level. But they still use different defensive components and, I suspect, other minor differences in the formula (park effects, for example).
Just to explain why I ask about replacement level vs. average player: If I look at WAR ratings now and see a player has .3 right now, I have no idea if that is really good or bad without pulling up other players at his position, etc., to see if he's been player well or not.I get your point about an average player having value to a club, but all that would mean would be that a player with 0 WAR needs to be appreciated. And then we could always look at WAR and get the quick and dirty of how well a player has been playing. Just my thoughts, which I realize don't carry too much weight.
I hear you. These things aren't always intuitive.
so trout is at 0.7, so then its not as close as i thought,, but can we put to bed the trout is better than miguel talks?
It's been one month. You think Miggy is going to hit .390 all year?
Dave, and others curious: http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/war_explained_comparison.shtmlA list of all the differences between the different types of WAR.
Schoenfield, do you guys have anything to show for the TWO Cliff Lee trades?? Smoak is a flame out, and I can't even recall who you guys received from the Phillies.
He was acquired from the Phillies. Basically, all the Cliff Lee trades were wipeouts -- Indians and Phillies didn't get anything either.
Given that no one has ever run a random batting order for a full season, wouldn't it true that there isn't a control group to contrast for the "batting order doesn't matter" hypothesis? Until it's actually tested, it's just a notion.
Well, computer simulations are a good proxy.
WAR is not the answer.....
Apologies for the formatting error. Obviously needs a space after the "html". The new lines, they do nothing!
Re: Earlier post abt Ortiz for HOF, wasn't he linked w/PED's, and if so, no way he gets in.
True, good point. That will hurt him as well.
Likely Felix vs CC matchup next Tuesday at the Stadium. Gonna be there?
Ahh, wasn't aware of that. Yes, I may have to trek down for that one.
no miggy isnt gonna hit 390, but he has a proven track record is all im saying, but.. he has a shot to win his 3rd straight batting crown, trout is good but,, imo was annointed to soon,, great blogs btw
You may be right about that, but Trout was truly awesome last year. And he's starting to get it going ... I have a big Miggy piece coming up on Thursday or Friday, comparing him to best right-handed hitters ever.
Is a pitcher's offense a factor in their WAR?
Well, it can included, yes. Baseball-Reference includes both versions (pitching only + hitting).
Dave: As a great historian of the game, and, not putting on your Mariner uniform: An OF of Mays, Mantle, & Aaron, or Griffey Jr, Bonds, Winfield (or, any other great OF'er of the last 20 years)
Mays, Mantle, Aaron over your trio, but there's probably a better third guy than Winfield. I'd put Rickey in there and then it gets a little more interesting.
I've never seen the "Player A is better than Player B this year, therefore it proves he was last year as well" argument before, but it's been popping up a lot this week.
Drew Smiley or Rick Porcello?
Smyly. Is it really a debate for anyone except Jim Leyland?
Miggy is a all-time great, Trout had a better season than Miggy last year. Trout has a bright future, no one is saying Trout will have the career than Miggy has had till now. Just that Trout > Miggy last year. Not that big of a deal.
David, as a Mets fan (don't laugh), do you think Mike Piazza gets in the HOF next year? Who else gets in? It would be an exciting class.
Doesn't get in. 58 percent last year, so too far away and too many who won't vote for him because they think he used PEDs.
Is David Ortiz now the greatest DH of all time (might be hard for you to say yes as a Ms fan)?
Sounds like a blog post! I think Edgar is still better but I am admittedly biased.
True or false? WAA is a better metric for HOF qualifications than WAR.
I've seen others suggest that. Haven't really looked into it, to be honest.
OK, have to run. Thanks, everyone!! Got some good ideas for blog posts out of today's chat.