Padres bloggin' since 2007

Things I’ve been wrong about (Ray tells me I’m modest)

July 26th, 2010 by Melvin

Yes, a post!

What can I say, coming home and websites seems sisyphean when you spend all day working on websites.

Ok, maybe it’s not that bad. Unless Ray changes his mind at least no one at The Sac Bunt is hell bent on including animated gifs on our home page.

So about this article. I know this is a novel concept, but I must make one admission: I talk about sports on the Internet, and yes, sometimes, very rarely, I’m wrong about things I’ve said. In the interest of searching for truth, and not feeling so bad about making fun of other people for being wrong, here are some admissions that need making.

David Eckstein is having a great year

I make fun of his supporters, but I never completely hated his signing and certainly never disliked the guy as a person. I hear he spends a ton of time before ballgames signing autographs for fans, which is admirable and rad. He just hasn’t been as good of a player as people think he is, and I didn’t see why he can’t use his magical “make other players play better” powers from the bench.

This year David sits fourth out of the position players in WAR, though his .309 wOBA drops him to 6th of those with 200 plate appearances. Cheers David, I’m glad to be wrong about you this year.

That marketing campaign behind Everth Cabrera may have been premature

Back in January I provided an array of uninvited Padres marketing opinions in which I suggested the team market the trio of Kyle Blanks, Mat Latos, and Everth Cabrera. Promise, I never expected Cabrera to provide the kind of value Blanks or Latos will likely produce. And I refuse to apologize for including Blanks in the marketing mix, as his slow start was only 120 plate appearances and still has huge potential.  I included Everth in the group because he is the kind of  exciting, speedy, defender at the romance position I would expect fans to rally around. His youth and price tag mean fans can rally around him a long time into the future.

Unfortunately, 440  plate appearances of average production (101 wRC+ ) above A ball meant less than we would like about Cabrera’s future as a hitter. He’s been hurt as well, and he can still become the player we thought we would be, but it is hardly a sure thing.

!!!!!!!!!! Speed never slumps!

This isn’t about speed not slumping, I just can’t help giggling at that phrase.

The Padres’ recent trend in taking risks on the bases isn’t exactly a recent trend. As far back as 2008, we’ve heard spring training stories profiling an emphasis on the running game. The rule of thumb when stealing suggests an 80% stolen base rate , anything less and you’re hurting rather than helping. 68%, 74%, and 71% are the Padres’ success rate the past three seasons.

And as is my usual behavior (leave your psychoanalysis in the comments, plz) I dislike anything that is overvalued. During 2008’s 22 inning gamestravoganza against Colorado, I experimentally live blogged and complained, among other complaints (psychoanalysis again requested) about the Padres focus on base path risk taking.

Well, turns out that in a low run environment like Petco Park, it might just maks more sense to go for the extra base.

How much so? I have no idea. If a lower run environment drops the success rate to say, 79%, then I’m not wrong after all (I will henceforth pretend this is the case in my head). But what if the Petco break even rate is drastically different? That break even rate might be 55% in which case, hell let the McAnultys and Stairs of the world go crazy.

The first place Padres!

I thought even my 78 win prediction leaned toward the homer side, and went as far as renewing that prediction about a month into the season. The link is down (come back Peter Friberg!), but ole Melly would never lie to you. Especially about his being wrong.

I simply didn’t believe in the team’s offense, who currently rank at exactly 100 OPS+.

But then, defense is the new Moneyball right? Our boys lead the legue in UZR/150 defensive metric by a wide margin. The team’s winning ways may be sustainable without much offense thanks to outside the box thinking and scouting.

Some younger players don’t have me convinced me they’re long term starters on a good team. Hello Mr. 109 wRC+ Nick Hundley, where’d that come from?

But things are working well right now and being a Padres fan is simply marvelous.

Melvin Update: According to Baseball-Reference’s Pecota updated playoff odds report, the boys in blue-and-sand and soon-to-be-gray have a 75% chance of making the post-season either via a division championship or wild card.

Posted in misc | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Things I’ve been wrong about (Ray tells me I’m modest)”

  1. Steve says:

    Mel,

    When you say that the success rate with steals has been 68%, 74%, and 71%, do you mean that 71% is this year’s rate, or last year’s?

    What is this year’s rate so far?

    Also, I think your reconsideration of speed based on the sudden realization that Petco is a low run environment bolsters a problem I have about general rules or axioms in baseball (based off probabilities or tradition) — generalities may be right most of the time, but they make fans and some stat folks ignore the importance of context.

    • Melvin says:

      Thanks for the comment Steve, the padres SB percentage is 71% this year, so 74% and 68% in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

      I should point out that I didn’t reconsider the stolen base because I realized Petco has a low run environment. That’s been apparent since Petco’s first season. I reconsidered it because I learned that a low run environment favors risk taking on the bases rather than discourages it.

      And you’re right, generalities sometimes can cover the important of context. This is exactly my point. The general rule of the 80% stolen base break even point deserves more context, one of which is run environment. Other things come into play as well, and I didn’t mean to imply that they don’t.

  2. [...] Things I’ve been wrong about (Ray tells me I’m modest) (Sacrifice Bunt). From the article: “I thought even my 78 win prediction leaned toward the homer side, and went as far as renewing that prediction about a month into the season… I simply didn’t believe in the team’s offense, who currently rank at exactly 100 OPS+.” [...]

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