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Columns or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Myself

June 29th, 2008 by

There’s little more dangerous than someone who thinks they’re clever. Even if they are clever, once the idea gets in their head, it’s over. Take Chris Ballard, for instance.

Let me take a step back first. Before George Clooney dropped out of the W.G.A. to protect him from having to take responsibility for “Leatherheads,” Rick Reilly was the cornerstone of Sports Illustrated for over 20 years. That ended recently, though, when Reilly made his way over to rival E.S.P.N.

Left Reilly-less, Sports Illustrated established a section, “Point After,” in which a carousel of writers take over the space left by Reilly. Ballard is one of those writers and this week, he wrote an article entitled “Let’s Play Milton Bradley!” The gist of Ballard’s article, which I can’t find online, is that Bradley’s life is a board game because, as you may or may not know, Milton Bradley is also the name of a company that manufactures board games. So Ballard has combined both worlds, making the player a board game/making a board game of the player.

Reilly had a tendency to get really sanctimonious, which is one of the reasons I was never able to really get into him, and Ballard keeps it up. He really hits the Milton highlight reel: the incident in Los Angeles with the plastic bottle (in 2004), the incident in Los Angeles with Jeff Kent (in 2005), and the incident with the three-day stay in jail (in 2003). For good measure, he does mention the incident in San Diego with Buddy Black (in 2007), but a lot of the article is based older Milton Bradley incidents.

For his own good measure, Ballard mentions Bradley’s positive qualities, like his Run a Youth Charity, his role as a good teammate in Oakland, how The Fountainhead is his favorite book (that’s a good thing?), and his incredible year this season. But this part of the article comes off as incredible hollow, as if Ballard strove to be fair in his scathing expose of the Milton Bradley the public doesn’t know.

Oh wait, this is the same shit that’s been following Bradley his entire career. The same shit that prompted him to try to confront Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre, after Lefebrvre brought up Bradley’s struggles to highlight teammate Josh Hamilton’s redemption. The same shit that made Bradley break down in tears and say “All I want to do is play baseball and make a better life for my kid than I had, that’s it. I love all you guys. … I’m strong, but I’m not that strong.” after manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels brought him back down to the dugout.

It’s time to change the record and recognize that Milton Bradley is a human being. He’s not the first baseball player to be hounded for what he’s done, just ask Barry Bonds. But where Bonds’ actions threatened the integrity of the game itself, Bradley is only a threat to himself. And he’s been trying, Ringo; he’s been trying real hard. Ballard makes note of Bradley’s six different teams in a very pejorative tone, ignoring that his departure from Oakland was more an act of philosophy and his departure from San Diego wasn’t from a lack of trying by the Padres. Bradley would have to start taking steroids to be strong enough to survive the hounding he’s received. The hounding he’s receiving.

It’s interesting to note that Ballard’s column comes in the same issue of Sports Illustrated as articles about Hope Solo, goalie for the U.S. national soccer team, battling back against her criticisms of her coach and teammate, and Jared Allen, defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, battling back against his troubles with the law. But while Allen and Solo got a couple thousand words each to cover their troubles, Bradley got a couple hundreds predictably sarcastic words covering his.

The problem here isn’t that Ballard’s article is sloppy, ill-informed, and reeks of self-satisfaction. The problem is that it’s about someone whose problems have been well-documented, much less so than his efforts to clean up his image. Any good writer has been told that sometimes you have to kill your babies. That not everything you write, no matter how good it may be, has to be published. That there are a number of reasons why your gem, your baby, just isn’t going to work.

But, of course, it’s easy for me to point that out. I don’t write for Point After.

Posted in gripes, media, players | 3 Comments »

Smithers… are they booing me?

June 25th, 2008 by

Following Trevor Hoffman’s departure from last night’s 3-1 loss to the Twins, boos rained down from the bleachers. Boos, it would seem, intended for the future Hall of Famer after surrendering back-to-back home runs, including the game winner. This didn’t sit well with the Padres clubhouse.

“I didn’t like it,” said manager Bud Black. “This city should be very proud of a player like that for everything he’s done on the field and in the community. I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s fair.”

—–

“It’s disheartening, knowing what Trevor has meant not only to the organization but the city, and his level of accomplishment is unmatched in our game,” (Tony) Clark said.

—–

Jake Peavy, who started the game, said he heard the boos in the clubhouse. “I could not believe that,” he said. “That is as disheartening as it gets. I don’t understand it. When you look at all of his achievements, what he has meant, it’s ridiculous.”

—–

Said teammate Shawn Estes: “How soon they forget.”

—–

(Heath) Bell didn’t hear the boos that came after Hoffman gave up two home runs in an inning for the eighth time in his career. “If the fans were booing him, shame on them,” he said.

Hoffman hears boos in Twin killing

While we here at The Sacrifice Bunt don’t condone booing, we don’t condemn it either. There is a time and place to boo, although we couldn’t say if that time was following Hoffman’s poor performance. While there are shades of grey when discussing the merits of booing, the merit of the Padres post game conversation seems a bit more black and white.

The Padres lost last night 3-1. They again squandered a great performance by Peavy. In the bottom of the eighth, they had runners on first and second with no out and neither runner made it to third. In the seventh, they had runners on first and third with no out and two ground balls ended the inning with only one run scoring. Jody Gerut was caught stealing on what appeared to be a botched hit-and-run attempt when Edgar Gonzalez flailed futilely at what would’ve been ball four. In back-to-back at-bats, Gerut and Craig Stansberry were unable to get down sacrifice bunts. Oh, and the team’s increasingly unreliable closer came in and jumped his ERA up half a run.

It was an ugly game.

The fact that the Padres find it shocking that the fans could boo their performance seems naive or arrogant, or maybe a little bit of both. The team has fallen back into last place, setting themselves up for a potential rematch of the worsts this weekend when the pitiful Mariners come to town. The offense and pitching are below average. They let Milton Bradley slip through their fingers in the off-season and now he’s leading the A.L. They signed Jim Edmonds to man centerfield, then dumped him after a month and now he’s caught fire with the Cubs.

Now, it should be said that this season is an aberration. The current Padres management has put together the best run in the team’s almost 40 years and we haven’t even begun to reap the benefits of the new farm system. But that doesn’t affect the team that is currently taking the field right now. And the responses of the players from last night suggests they are more concerned with something other than their performance.

Again, we want to be fair. We’re sure that the players are as concerned about their performance as we are. But when the topic on the tips of their tongues is the reaction they got from the crowd, red flags go up. Maybe the fans aren’t what the players should be concerned about. The boos from the stands are a reaction to what is taking place on the field.

More disconcerting is the reaction of manger Buddy Black. For starters, he’s called out the entire city, which seems disrespectful given everything this city has done for the team. At what point does protecting become coddling? A good manager should stand behind his players, but at what point do these players take responsibility? If they continually fail to put down a bunt, a skill practiced by children, does he simply give them a pat on the back? And this doesn’t even get into the idea that Black is asking players ill-equipped to handle a task attempt to perform it anyway.

It’s not like this kind of whining is anything new. Be sure that if the Padres decide to trade a player sometime between now and July 31st that the Union-Tribune will be filled with quotes from players, decrying the actions of the management. We’ll leave you with some past highlights.

“Incomprehensible,” was Trevor Hoffman’s reaction. “Four other teams in the National League West are awfully excited. I probably need to take a day before I say something about this because I’m going to say something stupid.”

—–

“You have to trust your front office when you are in the middle of a playoff run,” Jake Peavy said. “But, man, to trade away your setup man . . . what kind of a message are we sending here?”

Padres trade Linebrink

Posted in gripes, media, petco park, players, postseason | 5 Comments »

Maddux Not A Dummy

June 22nd, 2008 by

Greg Maddux

In a recent Lyle Spencer MLB.com column, Greg Maddux is asked the kind of question that says all one needs to know about the person doing the asking.  Would the Braves be better off had John Smoltz closed games his entire career? After shaking his head with “an expression of exasperation”, Maddux’s response:

“I don’t remember [the Braves] winning a World Series when Smoltzie was a closer,” he said.

“A good, solid starting pitcher is going to give you 210, 220 innings or more,” he said. “You have three of them, that adds up to a pretty good percentage of your total innings for the year. Usually, a good starter will pitch three times more innings than a closer.

To sum up:  One of the best starting pitchers of our generation playing in ~2,700 fewer innings is not the best of ideas.  And Lyle Spencer of MLB.com needed The Professor Greg Maddux to tell him this.  Though the Braves not winning a series isn’t a great example of causation, I’ll give that one to Greg due to his “exasperated” state of mind.

The rest of the article has quotes from Jake and Trevor, including a bit on why Jake wants to be a closer himself.

In other Maddux tidbits, watching him warm up with long toss Friday night gave me an opportunity to see one of those fantastic rarities that really sets the man aprt.  His long, lazy, warm up tosses were dancing in the air.  I easily made out sinkers and sliders careening across the sky out of his hand.  Check it out next time you’re at Petco for a Maddux start.

Posted in sacrificial links | 1 Comment »

The champ is here

June 18th, 2008 by

As Brother Melvin already filled us in, Chase Headley, the God third baseman has arrived. After two games, he’s hitting .375 (wait, who cares?) with a home run. Not bad. And while he spelled Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base tonight, he made his left field debut last night. He made an error, but it was likely the first night of many that we’ll see Headley patrolling the area opposite Jody Gerut.

Left field has been manned by five different outfielders this season. Scott Hairston, Justin Huber and Paul McAnulty have spent the most time in left, although Huber is now in Portland. The survivors, Hairston and McA, will likely see their playing time decrease with Headley in San Diego.

Where have they set the bar for the Tennessee Stud?

Overall, as of last Friday, the Padres left field as a whole produced an OPS of .759. McAnulty is leading this charge with a .913 OPS. He’s second in at-bats to Hairston, who has an OPS in left field of .666. Huber is at .569, for good measure.

Clearly, Headley has come to save us from the horrors that are Scott Hairston and Justin Huber. What this means for McAnulty, though, might be scarier.

Hairston is sticking around. He’s the only player on the team that can back up Gerut in center, and he still has goodwill leftover from those walk off jobs he hit last season. With Huber wearing Beaver blue, that leaves McA on the bench. Despite his defensive deficiencies, another blast was added to the “high”light reel tonight. One would hope that he’ll stick around given his superior hitting: an overall OPS+ of 110 is fourth on the team for players with 100 at-bats. But barring an injury somewhere, it would seem doubtful that McAnulty will find decent at-bats in the near future, which might not be best for the Padres.

(DC and Brother Preston contributed to this article)

Posted in hot stove, players, statistics | No Comments »

2008 Draft Recap: The Best of the Rest (Part 2)

June 17th, 2008 by

On Friday, I began reviewing the 2008 Padres Draft. This is a closer look at the remaining first day draftees and some choice selections from the second day of selections.

#42 – Jaff Decker, OF/P, Sunrise Mountain HS (AZ):

Despite Decker’s plus power, a lot of teams scouted him as a P as he throws a 93 MPH fastball with a good curve. I’ve seen comparisons from Matt Stairs to Brian Giles although he looks like the lovechild between Joba Chamberlain, Paul McAnulty, and the Little League World Series version of Sean Burroughs. That’s to say he’s got a live arm, good offensive approach, and well, he’s kinda short and stocky. The kid has a plus arm, great defensive instincts, and had 14 HR in 72 AB last season. I’ve got to be honest, I’m not crazy about this pick. Yes, he’s incredibly talented and is much more athletic than he appears, but his projections at the next level will have to be near the most optimistic end of the spectrum to possibly justify going after him at this spot.

Dacker confirmed that early next week he’s crossing the T’s and dotting the lower-case J’s on the nearly $890k contract that will put him in a Padres jersey next season.

#46 – Logan Forsythe, 3B, U Arkansas Fayetteville:

One of the great things about Forsythe is his versatility. Not only is he seen as a good defensive 3B, but DePodesta indicated that he’s played all over the diamond for Team U.S.A.:

Logan is a 3B for the University of Arkansas, though he played all around the diamond for Team USA last summer (he has also caught in the past).
Known for incredible makeup, Logan has been a coach and fan favorite. He played the entire summer for Team USA with a broken foot and refused to come out of games. Furthermore, he continually showed his best performances against the best competition and in the biggest moments.

In short, we think this is a very well-rounded player with great intangibles.

Now, I’m not so sure that drafting a guy with amazing versatility and then bragging about him playing on a broken foot is a way to win over many critics, but DePodesta obviously has different values than I do. I guess that’s just a way of saying he’s a “gamer.” And he isn’t the only person who believes that Forsythe could be an impact player behind the dish. Keith Law, while down on the rest of our draft, seemed to have nothing but good things to say about him:

[The Padres] got a potential sleeper in Logan Forsythe, who is a much better hitter than his overall stat line indicates and is a potential convert to catcher (he’s caught some before, and one team that worked him out as a catcher predraft said he was a natural fit there).

I don’t know what Law is referring to when it comes to implying that he’s a better hitter than his stats indicate, but a .353/.479/.533 line is impressive nonetheless. What impresses me is how creative the Padres have become when drafting catchers. Prior to the Ramon Hernandez acquisition, San Diego had a dark period when it came to backstops. Since, we have experienced a rather bright period and a lot to look forward to with Mitch Canham, Nick Hundley, and Colt Morton. One of the major similarities between these players is they weren’t necessarily full-time backstops. Plus they have the athletic ability to play elsewhere, allowing additional versatility.

To bring in a player like Forsythe, who has the potential to be as good, if not better, than some of our most recent catching draft picks is a thrilling prospect.

#111 – Sawyer Carroll, OF, U of Kentucky:

Carroll’s 2008 was a monstrous season; it speaks for itself, really:

AVG AB R H 2b 3B HR RBI TB SLG BB SO OBP SB – Attempts
.419 234 69 98 22 3 19 83 183 .782 44 33 .514 12 – 12

Carroll was just named to his fourth consecutive first-team All-American selection and ranked among one of the best in the SEC across the board offensively:

Carroll led the SEC with a .419 average and 83 RBI, ranking second in slugging (.782), second in on-base percentage (.514), fifth in runs scored (69), third in hits (98), second in doubles (22), fifth in home runs (19), second in total bases (183) and sixth in walks (44). Carroll, a senior from Henryetta, Okla., exited UK as a third-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, walking away as the career record-holder in batting average (.386).

I find it hard to believe that Carroll was overlooked because he was a senior, but I really can’t come up with any other reason as to how somebody who absolutely dominated SEC play for four seasons drops to the third round and nobody takes a chance.

A little deeper digging, however, reveals that there might be some merit to his modest draft position. Carroll wasn’t necessarily a power hitter prior to this season. As DePodesta chronicles in his blog, Carroll hit the gym, packed on some serious muscle, and saw his HR total jump from 3 to 19. Perhaps many believed that this season’s power surge was an anomaly, but DePodesta and company are willing to take the chance. Can’t say I blame them provided the potential outcome of Carroll replicating these results in Petco Park someday.

#135 – Jason Kipnis, CF, Arizona State U:

Despite DePodesta’s evidence to the contrary, Jason Kipnis is not destined to be a CF.

Jason has played both CF and LF for ASU, though he has become the primary CF as the season has continued. He is a left-handed hitter who hits at the top of their lineup and has had a monster year, hitting .363 with a .484 obp and .677 slg. He’s a pesky player who is a very tough out, hitting the ball to all fields and running the bases aggressively (24 bases so far this year). Over the summer last year, Jason hit .318 with a .505 obp and a .591 slg while stealing 24 bases. Despite a limited projection in terms of physical size, he plays very hard and is surprisingly strong – 13 homers this year and 9 over the summer.

The summer statistics that DePodesta references are from his time in the wood-bat Valley League last season, where Kipnis was not only named an All-Star, but also won the Home Run Derby. Sure, he was a contestant despite having only 2 HR at the break compared to his 29 walks and competed under the pseudonym “Kevin Bishop,” but he still won, dammit.

True, he has the ability to hit for average, great patience at the plate, suitable power, solid base running abilities, and the range to be a CF. It’s just that damned arm. Kipnis, a former red-shirt freshman for Kentucky U, was originally slated to play SS before being dismissed from the team due to rules violations. He eventually transferred to ASU, moved to the OF, and was a bookend in a lineup that featured offensive juggernauts Ike Davis and Brett Wallace (both first-rounders). Granted, the last thing this club wants is a malcontent, noodle-armed CF (Milton Bradley meets Dave Roberts?), but he’d likely be well-suited to fill out LF in Petco Park.

There have been comparisons to former ASU standouts Travis Buck, Andre Ethier, and Chris Duffy…but other projections are a little less glowing:

Kipnis caught on quickly as the new player at ASU, and ranked right with power hitters Brett Wallace and Ike Davis as key contributors as the Sun Devils raced out to a fast start to 2008. A smooth, lefthanded swinger, he was hitting .350-12-61 with 21 stolen bases as the team entered the final week of regular season play. His aggressive style of play, speed and occasional pop made an impression on Arizona-based scouts, but he didn’t show enough raw speed to profile as a fixture in center field or raw power to play regularly on a corner. His arm is best suited for left field. Kipnis is a draft-eligible sophomore who is not physically developed, and another year in school could significantly improve his standing in the draft. There is a prevailing thought among scouts that he could even re-invent himself as an offensive-oriented second baseman with another year in school.

We’ll see how he turns out, but the good money is on Kipnis being a capable but comparatively light-hitting LF, or an offense-minded 2B.

#165 – Anthony Bass, RHP, Wayne St. U:

Thank your local area scout, Anthony Bass. If it weren’t for Padres’ scout Jeff Stewart, you would likely be a second day draft pick. As Bass recounts to his school paper, The South Ends News:

“All of a sudden I got a phone call. I didn’t recognize the number,” Bass said.

It was from Jeff Stewart, the Padres area scout, congratulating Bass on being the 165th selection of this year’s draft. It wasn’t strange that the call came from Stewart, but it was ironic in the fact that Stewart had informed Bass’ advisor that the Padres didn’t consider him a top-10 round draft pick.

“My advisor told me that he got a phone call from Stewart, and he was so upset because his organization didn’t look at his guys as being top-10 round draft picks, when I was on his list as one of those guys,” Bass described. “In other words, they weren’t really looking at me. So my advisor crossed them off the list.”

But a change of heart could be a major gain. Bass, who throws in the 93-94 MPH range, has touched 96 MPH and is expected to crank it up there permanently with proper training at the next step. There are even some that see him as a Division-II Tim Lincecum:

Bass reminds scouts of a Division II-version of San Francisco Giants pitching sensation Tim Lincecum, with a full back-arched delivery, overhand release point and head-jerk on release. While Bass’ raw stuff isn’t quite in Lincecum’s class, few other pitchers are either. Bass does maintain a 90-94 mph fastball, though, and there are reports he’s been as high as 96 mph this spring.

He’s a little rough around the edges, but he has the raw talent to work with. Besides that, he’s the complete antithesis to the type of pitchers the front office has been working with recently, and will help improve balance in the team’s system.

GANG OF FOUR (OR SIX)

Prior to the draft, a lot of websites speculated that Reese Havens – who ended up going to the Mets – was at the top of the Padres’ draft board. Keith Law suspected this was because the Padres were looking at him as our next SS. I find that hard to believe seeing as every other blog thinks he’s best suited for a corner IF or 2B due to his lack of range.

That being said, it brings up a good question: are the Padres not so enamored with the idea of Khalil Greene as a long-term fixture at SS? Despite Havens going to the Mets with the 22nd pick, the Padres still managed to draft four SS. Six, if you take stock in DePodesta’s projections. Either way, the general focus at the position revolved around plate discipline and hitting to contact. So, if you’re a betting man, I’d wager against Greene having as much leverage with this organization as he did the past offseason when contract talks heat up again after his 2009 campaign.

Here are a couple of the more note-worthy selections at SS.

#255 – William Weems, SS, Baylor U:

A slick fielder, Beamer is known as one of the best defensive shortstops in this draft with great hands, a plus arm, and above average range.

Sounds familiar, huh? Well, it should because it kind of resembles our current

Offensively, he’s a switch-hitter who is more of a contact hitter who does a good job of controlling the strike zone.

…nevermind.

Patience, an ability to hit for average, and defense?! Be still, my heart. However, this may be a case of our crack squad of scouts betting on Weems’ high-end projections while biting off a little more than they can chew. Early spring reactions read similar across the board – high praise for defense, major questions with the bat:

[Weems] was much better as a switch-hitter, especially from the left side. He also got to a lot more balls in the field and had one of the best range factors among league shortstops. But Weems still continued to try to make major league highlight plays when he had little or no chance of throwing out a runner, often at the expense of messing up some more routine plays. He’s viewed by scouts as an above-average shortstop in all phases, however. The key with Weems will be how far his bat takes him. He hit .321-9-59 as a sophomore at Baylor and has shown power with aluminum (17 homers in two years) that he has never shown with wood in summer ball (no homers in two years).

After his junior campaign, however, those questions still exist as his .270-7-30 line didn’t inspire much confidence. Pending a painstakingly careful examination of his reaction to a slider low-and-away I’ll reserve further judgment, but the optimist in me believes that Willy Weems (hehe) could be the ideal SS for Petco Park.

#525 – Derek Shunk, SS, Villanova U:

As DePodesta tells us:

A big, physical SS at 6’2″ and 215 lbs, Derek just finished a stellar college career that saw him hit over .300 in each of his four seasons including over .350 in each of the past two.

His .349 AVG, .467 OBP, and .539 SLG all led the Villanova Wildcats. Just as his .933 FLD% was the team worst (for players qualifying with 100+ TC). Shunk is more of a doubles-hitter, and benefits from a patient approach with gap power more than the long ball. Essentially, his game is the polar opposite of Greene’s.

THE LONG SHOT

There’s always that one guy drafted in the middle of the second day who the front office will woo with more money than their draft slot would regularly dictate. Generally there are issues regarding health or signability that drive their value down, but in other years would yield a higher draft slot. Such is the example of these few players:

#465 – Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Buhach Colony HS (CA):

Simple issue: signability. Sure, Mooneyham signed with Scott Boras, the biggest asshat of all agents, but the real reason he tumbled down the draft board was because he has already committed to Stanford. Not only was he ranked #78 in Baseball America’s 2008 Top 200 Draft Prospects*, he’s also an incredibly gifted student and many believed that this combination of athletic talent and intellect would be worth the risk of a high second or third round pick. Some sites even said that a Top 10-15 pick wasn’t out of the question given his talent. As for DePodesta’s take:

Brett is 6’5″, 215 lbs, throws up to 94 mph and has a plus curveball. Furthermore, Brett’s dad, Bill, was a first round pick in 1980. Sounds pretty good, huh? That’s why Baseball America rates him as one of top 100 prospects in the draft, and many people believe that he is the best left-handed high school pitcher in the country. At this point, though, Brett is planning to attend Stanford in the fall.

Geez – no need to play your poker face, Paul…

There are hopes that the Padres drop a ton of cash in his lap and he bypasses Stanford altogether, but the outlook is bleak given how much further he could progress up the draft board in the next three season — a fact that he’s well aware of:

“It would have to be something really, really special,” Mooneyham said of the Padres’ offer. “Going to Stanford only comes around once and not a lot of people get that chance.

“I’m going to take my time and think about it. To pass that up would have to take a lot.”

So, as of now, it looks to be a dead issue. However, there’s still the possibility that the Padres could offer him a monster contract or get creative, and it wouldn’t be the first time a team played smart with a potential Stanford Cardinal. The Washington Nationals and Jack McGeary have an interesting contractual understanding where McGeary is Nationals’ property, but still attends Stanford for academic purposes. Under MLB and (I’m assuming) NCAA guidelines McGeary can’t use Stanford facilities or be in any way affiliated with Stanford athletics, yet he is permitted to join the Nationals’ minor league ball clubs starting in June of each year. Granted, this is a unique situation in which McGeary is more of a contractual test subject than anything else at this point, but the team was able to make concessions.

Do I expect this to happen? Probably not. But it’s still worth hoping that a player with his sort of credentials ends up in a Padres’ uniform. Plus, if my gut feeling is correct and the Padres cut ties with Khalil Greene, who better to replace his SoCal, surfer looks?

*For comparison’s sake, first day draft picks Allan Dykstra (#38), James Darnell (#58), Jaff Decker (#62), Logan Forsythe (#76), and Blake Tekotte (#85) are the only other players San Diego drafted in the Top 200.

#675 – Chris Wilkes, RHP, Dr. Phillips HS (FL):

Despite going to a high school with the weirdest name ever, Wilkes has a decent fastball (low-to-mid 90’s) with adequate handling of his change-up and curveball. Unfortunately, Wilkes already has a scholarship on the table from Ole Miss this fall–as their QB. Don’t know why you’d draft a guy who’s unpolished even as a high school pitcher and who already has a scholarship to a major university in another sport. But it’s not like I have the front office experience to make a case against this pick.

Here’s to hoping he can be the Padres’ very own Darrin Erstad (I don’t really mean that).

#705 – Nick Conaway, RHP, (No School):

Out of the 16 RHP selected by the Padres, Conaway was second to last. Yet, most every write-up would have you second-guessing the draft board:

Nich was the closer for U Oklahoma last spring during which he had a dominant season. His fastball has reached 97 mph, and he compliments it with a power curveball…his big fastball and 85 k’s in 63 innings last year enticed our scouts to keep in touch with him this spring.

What’s more – he posted a 12.08 K/9 and .209 BAA to lead the Big 12. Fantastic! Draft him high and sign him up! However, that’s where you’d be wrong. Conaway, as you can obviously see, didn’t list a school last season and those stats are from 2007. The reason they aren’t updated is because he didn’t play this year. Following his strong showing with Oklahoma in 2007, Conaway underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery last fall, dropped out of college (although he was planning to transfer to another school), and missed his 2008 season.

Although he has has overpowering stuff at times, his stat line wasn’t the most glamorous. In fact, a closer who posts a 3-3 record, 2 SV, and a 4.83 ERA is downright ugly. Yet, the potential upside yielded a low-risk pick in Round #23.

Bear with me…Part III is due Wednesday and should be short-winded in comparison.

Posted in misc | 3 Comments »

Destruction Derby

June 15th, 2008 by

Barring some amazing turn of events, Adrian Gonzalez is making this year’s All-Star team. With R. II (Lance Berkman) having an amazing season, it’s doubtful that Adrian will crack the starting nine, but he’ll be there. There’s no question about that. Which is good, because it leaves us more time to question whether or not he should take part in the Home Run Derby.

The Home Run Derby, while becoming increasingly irrelevant, is a staple of the All-Star beginning-of-the-week. In recent years, however, it has started to become infamous. Not because the league has cheapened it by forcing players into ugly souvenirs as opposed to the usual team representation, but because it seems that participating in the Derby drains the participate of their power. In 2005, Bobby Abreu came into the Derby with 18 home runs and a .526 SLG. After he hit a record setting 24 home runs on that fateful Monday night, he hit 6 home runs with .411 SLG in the second half.

But is there a correlation?

24 participants took part in the Home Run Derby from 2004 through 2006. I have decided not to include participants in the 2007 Derby because without knowing how their 2008 seasons play out, we can’t know their full stories. Of the 24, exactly half, 12 players, saw their SLG go up in the second half of the season. Of the remaining 12, three players saw only a minor drop in their SLG over the course of the next 81 games, leaving us with 9 players who saw their numbers dip substantially.

Of those nine, only three players (David Wright, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa) have a career SLG over .500. To be fair, Carlos Lee and the aforementioned Bobby Abreu are stuck at .499, so we’ll group them in. Those are five legitimate power hitters who saw their numbers fail. Of the other four, Jermaine Dye, Miguel Tejada and Hank Blalock saw their SLG drift down closer to their career marks, while Ivan Rodriguez has seen his power drop consistently over the course of the past four seasons. This leaves us with Wright, Thome and Sosa.

Let’s start with Sosa (2004), who took part during his final season with the Cubs. Not only did his SLG drop from the first half of 2004 to the second half of 2004, but it kept dropping into the first and second half of 2005. He then sat the 2006 season out before coming back and hitting for good power with the Texas Rangers in 2007. Given his steady decline, and participation in four of the previous five Derbies, I think it’s safe to say that the Home Run Derby was not responsible for his drop in production.

Jim Thome (2004), like Sosa, is no stranger to Home Run Derbies, having participated in three in his career. Thome saw his SLG drop from .653 to .484. Again, like Sosa, Thome saw his numbers continue to drop into the next season, down to .352 in the first half of 2005 before surgery cost him the second half. Once again, as with Sosa, I think it’s safe to say that the Home Run Derby was not responsible for Thome’s drop in production.

David Wright (2006) has neither age nor injury to blame for his drop. He hit 20 home runs before and only 6 after. His average and OBP dropped .011 points while his SLG dropped .106. This would seem to be our first piece of evidence that the Home Run Derby can affect a player’s power, as it didn’t do anything to any other part of Wright’s game. Making things worse is Wright’s improvement in 2005, the year before, and 2007, the year after.

Carlos Lee (2005), like Wright, saw a minor drop in his batting average, from .268 to .262 while his SLG dropped from .528 to .437. For good measure, his OBP dropped 27 points as well. From 2002 through 2004, Lee actually saw a significant rise in his SLG after the break, from the mid .400s to the upper .500s. In 2004, the year before, he went from .463 to .599. In 2005, though, things started to change. He began to SLG in the .500s in the first half. However, in 2006 and 2007, he managed to keep it in the .500s over the course of the second half. So I’m going to go ahead and present Lee as our second piece of evidence.

Finally, we come to Bobby Abreu (2005). The poster boy. In 2002, three seasons before he made history, he saw his SLG rise from .486 to .556. In 2003, two seasons before, he saw his SLG sort of rise from .461 to .478. Unlike 2002, though, Abreu saw his home run numbers drop, from 14 to 6, as well as his IsoP, from .187 to .143. And in 2004, one season before, he saw his SLG go from .569 to .515, his home runs drop from 18 to 12, and his IsoP to drop from .263 to .219. Looking at this context, it makes a person wonder why there was such a shock. Granted, during the season in question, his SLG alone dropped .115 points. From the first half of 2006 through the 2007 All-Star break, his SLG continued to drop, starting at .467 and falling to .456 and .372. In the second half of 2007, he slugged .528 but he’s evened out now with a SLG of .463. And for what it’s worth, in 2005, his walk rate dropped while his strike out rate went up.

By my calculations, of the past 24 participates of the Home Run Derby, only two players would seem to have a legitimate claim that it adversely affected their power: David Wright and Carlos Lee.

What does this mean for Adrian Gonzalez?

As of the writing of this article, his SLG rests at .565 and his IsoP at .268. His previous season high was last season’s .502 and his career splits see his SLG rise from .490 to .513 after the break. Funnily enough, according to Baseball Reference, Adrian’s fourth most similar batter is Justin Morneau, who took part in the Derby last season. For perspective, coming off his MVP season, Morneau slugged .581 in the first half, winning himself a spot in the competition. Following it, he slugged .384 till the end. The previous season, his SLG did drop but only .056 points. In 05, it dropped .080 points. On his career, his SLG has dropped .069 points after the break.

Should we let Adrian play? I say “Yes.” He’s shown an aptitude for improving as the season goes on, which is a good starting point. And since it would appear that only 8% of the 2004-2006 participants saw a potential Home Run Derby caused decrease in production, the odds are in the favor. The Morneau comparison does show some cause for concern, but not enough in light of everything else.

Posted in players, statistics | No Comments »

Headley, Finally

June 14th, 2008 by

Chase Headley LH swingPadres to promote top prospect (Padres.com)
Headley getting the call (Union Tribune)

If the Padres refuse to give the fourth most productive hitter regular playing time, Headley at least deserves the shot, considering he has the highest ceiling of our trio of left fielders.  And while Edgar Gonzalez is certainly carrying his weight at the dish, I feel a more comfortable with Headley available to backup at third.

To avoid becoming a super two player, compounded by a slow start in Portland, Headley’s early season callup was delayed.  After the super two deadline has passed (it somehow changes every year), and the team’s chances of making the playoffs in 2008 slipped away, his promotion seemed imminent.  His play would at least provide some entertainment value while the team prepares to contend in 2009.

What’s interesting is similar thinking could argue against an early callup.  Since the team is out of contention anyway, why hurry his development and risk messing with his mind?  Kevin Towers, apparently, follows this line of analysis.

“I think the environment is much better than it was three weeks ago,” Towers said. “We have got a lot of guys contributing offensively. When he gets here, he shouldn’t have to feel like he’s got to carry this ballclub. We’re playing good baseball now.

In any event, Headley seems poised to create some excitement for Padre fans, even if the team doesn’t catch the Diamondbacks.  He is expected as available Sunday at the earliest.  Otherwise he will play in Monday’s exhibition game in Cooperstown, then Tuesday in New York against the Yankees.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ISU_79

Posted in hot stove, players | 3 Comments »

The Layman’s Review of the Padres’ 2008 Amateur Draft (Part 1)

June 14th, 2008 by

Somewhere, Matt Bush – and this time legally, might I add – is toasting the baseball gods for drawing the attention away from being a homegrown bust, albeit just for a moment. As expected, the local radio hosts and message boards are having a field day criticizing a draft that, seemingly, couldn’t get anything right. That is, when users aren’t busy being witty (“Can’tonelli?” Ray, you clever bastard).

And, to be completely honest, it’s easy to understand these negative perspectives. I’m not going to blow sunshine up your ass: there are a lot of big questions revolving around some of our top selections. Were they the best players available? Were they drafted due to financial reasons (cram it with walnuts, Scott Boras)? In the name of all that is holy, why did we draft four corner infielders in our first six picks?!

I have a slight inkling as to why the front office may have gone in the direction that they did, but seeing as the front office employs baseball minds much, much more intelligent than my own, I’d say my opinions are suspect at best. Also, keep in mind that most of these “kids” are younger than me (and I can’t even legally rent a car). There’d be no way for me to properly evaluate a bunch of rug rats without first taking into account that these pitchers are still tossing it up to juveniles and the sluggers are still hacking with metal bats. It’s an inexact science.

Having said that, the media wasn’t short on their opinions regarding some of the problem areas they felt the Padres should address. Every armchair GM and their basement dwelling friends had constructed a mock draft. Our biggest deficiencies, as documented ‘round the Internet, radio, and print, seemed to be in this particular order:

  1. CF: Actually, this could just as easily be expanded to the OF in general. Our organization hasn’t been particularly shy at acknowledging our shortcomings when it come to OF development. They tipped their cards on such issues when top prospects Chase Headley and Matt Antonelli were given a crash course in the OF back in January. As it stands, they addressed such problems when, early in the season, Jim Hollywood Half-Shirt Edmonds turned to bust and LF became a merry-go-round of offensive inconsistency. They stood in awe as they watched far younger outfields – such as the Arizona Diamondbacks – run circles around our club. Both Sandy Alderson and Kevin Towers made it clear during their weekly radio interviews on XX 1090 that those are the prototypical players to fill Petco’s OF. They vowed to target more “toolsy,” “athletic” players in June.
  2. SS*: I’m not sure if this was necessarily addressed directly by any members of the front office, but it sure as shit seems implied. The deterioration in discussions revolving around a potential long-term contract extension for Khalil Greene seemed to predicate a landslide of equal parts discussion and criticism from both the front office and critics. What’s Greene’s value on the trade market? Is he worth the investment? And, most importantly, who’s behind him on the depth chart? As it turns out, there isn’t a plan B within the organization should the organization let Khalil walk. Therefore, these issues compounded with Greene’s offensive struggles to this point, led to the hot topic discussion of who we’d be targeting at SS during this draft.
  3. P: It’s no secret – the Padres’ home park necessitates the need for quality pitching. This isn’t really a unique argument for any team, but it weighs greatly upon a team that plays 81 games in the most offense-stifling environment in Major League Baseball. What made the argument to select an impact pitcher in the top rounds of this year’s draft even stronger would be the failures to keep “safe” picks Cesar Carillo and Nick Schmidt healthy. Many critics pointed towards the Padres’ insistence on taking safer picks who worked with pinpoint control. Finesse pitchers, instead of those who fit more of the flame throwing archetype.

*On a minor note, the middle IF might be in greater flux as Antonelli’s well-documented struggles at AAA makes it appear as if our 2B situation isn’t as rosy as it looked two months ago.

With these positions at the forefront of Friars draft discussion and particular college prospects preemptively targeted by every mock draft available, it would seemingly appear that the Padres may have missed the mark…but that’s beside the point. My primary goal of this first installment is to provide the most rudimentary, layman’s introduction (dude, I’m not getting paid to do this [ed. Note: Preston, remind me to fire you. -Melvin]) to some of the newest San Diego Padres. Or, rather, their newest property. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you still have to live with ‘em…at least for the time being.

DAY ONE – THE CAPE COD FOUR

Here’s a nice bit of useless trivia: the Padres first round draft pick, Allan Dykstra (#23), played on the Cape Cod Baseball League’s 2007 East All-Star team with top-ranked catching prospect Buster Posey (#5 overall pick by the San Francisco Giants who was actually a reserve). He also played with fellow 2008 San Diego Padres’ draft picks Cole Figueroa (#195) and Blake Tekotte (#101). Another Padres’ draft pick, James Darnell (#69), played for the West.

Now I’m not sure if this is coincidence or not, or what it would even hint at…but it’d be hard to look past the fact that four of the Padres’ first nine selections happened to play in the same game; three of whom on the same team. Does it display the front office’s concern over the translation of power from college to professional ball? I’d like to think that their participation in such a league was a little bit of a free tryout to see what these kids could do swinging the lumber. And seeing as the CCBL is often compared to the high-A Minor League teams they’re set to join in a few short weeks, it’s probably a safe bet that they got a leg up on their development. Who knows?

#23 – Allan Dykstra, 1B, Wake Forest U:

Fun fact: when the Padres announced Dykstra as their first round pick, most of the Padres-centric baseball world collectively shat their pants (I can’t back this up with fact, but the collective groan heard round the county is enough evidence for me). Reasoning? The Padres’ absolute, no-doubt best player happens to play the same exact position. But there’s a lot to like here: insane raw power, outstanding discipline at the plate, not afraid to draw a walk. In a perfect world, if all holds true, he’ll be the prototypical middle-of-the-order hitter the Padres lacked the majority of their short tenure in Petco Park.

That being said, save for Paul DePodesta’s blog — which, in case you haven’t visited yet, is incredible (please hire me) — there has not been a single site I’ve been to that hasn’t mixed one part optimism with two parts reasonable doubt. Make no bones about it – Dykstra appears to be a one-trick pony. He can’t field, he can’t run…but the man-child can absolutely hit, and that is a well-documented fact. Baseball America is not short on praise for his offensive abilities:

Dykstra adds to the long list of quality first basemen in this draft, and at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he possibly has the greatest raw power of the bunch…
…Due to his size, Dykstra has an intimidating presence in the batter’s box. Dykstra has an advanced approach but at times can be overly patient. combined with being on a Wake Forest team light on hitting, Dykstra is often pitched around and has set the Demon Deacons’ career and season walk records.

DePodesta, of course, sells their first round pick one better:

Allan has had an unbelievably consistent collegiate career, as he’s hit at least 15 homers while also drawing at least 50 walks in each of his three seasons – something nobody else in this draft has done.

So, three consecutive seasons in which he has displayed both outstanding discipline and power. Great news. But this is common knowledge, and mock drafts didn’t shy away from making note of his amazing raw power. To post anything more would be redundant. However, it’s about now that the questions start rolling in regarding the deficiencies in his offensive approach and the rest of his game. The Baseball Prospectus 2008 Live Draft Roundtable was particularly harsh:

Kevin Goldstein: This is surprisingly high. Most saw him as a sup 1st or 2nd rounder. TONS of raw power, not sure where he fits in that organization, but this is defnitely a Grady Fuson type pick.
Bryan Smith: Dykstra: Metal. Bat. Swing.
Kevin Goldstein: …I like Bryan’s scouting report on Dykstra more than Depos.

Now, let me preface this by reiterating how much I love Baseball Prospectus. But outside of questioning his place in the organization, I don’t follow Smith’s assessment. And to be completely honest — it comes off as rather pompous and suggestive without substance. Sure, there has been much to say about Dykstra’s inability to hit the inside pitch, that he’s pull happy, and at times many question his streakiness. But just “metal bat swing?” I understand this is a live blog, but I expect better. Granted, it’s a small sample size, but didn’t this guy make a pretty good impression in the wood bat using Cape Cod League last summer?

“Last summer, Dykstra was named a Cape Cod League all-star after hitting .308 with five home runs,” so sez Baseball America. And DePodesta? “Allan also produced in the Cape Cod League batting over .300 with walks and power, so he has also proven his skills with a wood bat. In short, his track record is impeccable.” Now, this isn’t an end-all fact that his talent at the plate will translate from the Cape Cod League to professional baseball, but if Dykstra has any problem, it’s his inconsistency to command and drive balls in all areas of the zone. As for those questions regarding his position, there’s already rumors – although, mostly unsubstantiated — that Dykstra is slated to try out a corner OF position.

#69 – James Darnell, 3B, U of South Carolina Columbia:

Darnell is an interesting case, for similar reasons as Dykstra. He’s an extreme talent at the plate, and had garnered notoriety as a prospect for being an RBI machine. Yet he was overshadowed by teammates Justin Smoak (#11 to the Texas Rangers) and, oddly enough, a player that many saw as a first round target for the Padres, Reese Havens (#22 to the New York Mets).

Like Dykstra, he also seems to be a player without a position. With Kevin Kouzmanoff currently entrenched at 3B and, whether people want to admit it or not, Headley second on that depth chart. However, fear not: rumor is that he’s a better fit for a corner OF position, which is also a spot on the depth chart the the Padres covet. Not only did DePodesta allude to this in his blog, but many other sites, such as Brewerfan.net, indicate that 3B might not be the ideal position for him on his path to the show:

He generates his power with long, strong limbs despite having a tall and rangy body. His swing can get long, and many believe that he’ll never hit for that high of an average while racking up his fair share of whiffs, but few may care about that if he continues to turn his power potential into power production as he has the past two years. While he’s a good athlete with perfect proportions and a very strong arm, he would be a better fit in right field.

As predicted, the Padres are banking on that corner OF power potential to justify taking Darnell as their fourth overall pick. And it’s a legitimate power threat; Baseball America had Darnell ranked as a Top 30 prospect – slated for the first round – prior to the 2007-2008 season due to his outrageous hitting ability. Contrary to what has been posted at the MLB Draft Central prospect analysis page, they listed him with above-average speed with a lot of athletic ability. It just doesn’t appear as such because the Gamecocks weren’t known for being aggressive on the basepaths (their lead thief was Whit Merrifield with 11). DePodesta makes note of this in his synopsis:

Darnell is a big, strong 3B who is athletic and skilled enough to play all over the diamond. His strength is what separates him, as he has hit 18 and 19 homers in the past two seasons. The ball absolutely jumps off his bat, and it was no different with wood as he hit 8 homers in just 128 ab’s on the Cape last summer.

Overall, this is a very toolsy player with a lot of life and power to his game.

His power generated in the CCBL is impressive as he quadrupled his total from his 2006 campaign then put an exclamation point on his contributions in 2007 belting a tape measure shot in the All-Star game. One of the major compliments that follows Darnell has been his diligence to weight training, and it shows with his output on the field. Either way, the Padres are banking on seeing him excel at the plate while filling a corner OF spot. With his credentials, there’s high hopes that will follow.

#101 – Blake Tekotte, CF, U of Miami*:

Really appreciating Blake Tekotte isn’t difficult. Considering his great collegiate career and our need for a fleet-footed, top of the order threat, he seems like the ideal player to draft. However, there people who have overlooked his talent due to the belief that there were better options available. Before the draft, a lot of Padres-centric sites focused on Jordan Danks, a White Sox seventh round draft pick out of the University of Texas, to fill our need for a the prototypical lead-off hitter. Danks was formerly projected by Baseball America to go as a first round pick in 2005 out of Round Rock High School (TX). He saw his draft stock fall after adamantly maintaining dedication to join the Longhorns. There’s a good synopsis of his risky decision and journey in this 2005 Baseball America article. This season, sites such as Mad Friars made a strong argument to sink our hooks in Danks early as our supplemental draft pick at #46.

His brother John pitches for the White Sox. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is a five-tool player (his power should had been better by now but is getting better). He has plus speed with his long-legged stride. Has a great eye and will take a walk. He played leadoff in the first two years in Texas.

Don’t get me wrong, he fits the bill much of the same way Tekotte does. But there’s a reason he fell between a first round to projected third round pick. He is still rail thin and his the power many projected simply hasn’t come about as expected. Checking out any photo of him is evidence enough. Additionally, in what has become a very well-publicized story, both of the Danks brothers were represented by Scott Boras and the asking price likely drove his value down.

Anyway, the only reason I’m really going on about Danks is that I can’t understand how an overdraft obsession with Danks and his former value as a first rounder would keep anybody from being overjoyed with Tekotte. He’s essentially the same burner on the base paths, hits for average, gets on base at a higher clip.  Here’s the kicker: Tekotte he has greater power. During his time in the Cape Cod League, he received All-Cape Cod League honors while leading his team in SB, R, and ranking second in hits. A recent Baseball America writeup of Tekotte reads like most Padres’ fans wet dream:

Tekotte…owns an intriguing all-around package of speed, power potential and defense. He makes consistant, hard contact with gap power and enough bat speed to hit occasional home runs. Tekotte plays a shallow center field but has no trouble tracking down balls over his head thanks to his plus speed and excellent instincts. He also has an above-average arm and is an intelligent baserunner.”

He might not have the power that would translate as a five-tool threat at the professional level, but he’s a solid CF and the Padres are desperate for just that. DePodesta writes:

Blake is a true leadoff hitting centerfielder who is an above average runner and defender. The best part is that he’s also a hitter. Going into the regionals last weekend, Blake was hitting .374 with a .487 obp and a .598 slg to go along with 25 stolen bases. Blake is an exciting top of the lineup guy who sets the tone for that Miami team. He always seems to be in the middle of the action.

The Padres got a free preview of Tekotte during last week’s Miami vs. Arizona match-up on ESPN2 and will be getting an extended preview during the rest of the College World Series. I’d suggest taking a look if you get the chance, he’s definitely a player to watch.

*On a slightly more depressing note, Tekotte had an amazing homepage hosted by the University of Miami that was recently pulled from circulation. It was the inspiration for this entire draft overview. Rumor has it that he actually responded to a couple e-mails from fans welcoming him to San Diego. Either way, in hopes that Tekotte and the University of Miami come to their senses and reactivate his site, I’ve posted this link for your (possible) viewing pleasure.

**Edit: Melvin Nieves to the rescue.  Check out the banned photo of Blake Tekotte.

#195 – Cole Figueroa, SS, U of Florida:

Rounding out the Cape Cod League’s Fearsome Foursome (™, ©, ®) is Florida’s Stephen/Cole Figueroa (seriously, can we get some clarification on this dude’s name?). Figueroa is probably the player I’m personally most interested in. That’s because of his status as a draft-eligible sophomore, plus the minor fact that he has absolutely mashed these past two years. Outside of demonstrating an ability to improve upon his AVG, OBP, and SLG, he also demonstrates value from either middle IF position. Most importantly, many critics thought he was both one of the best freshman in last season’s Cape Cod League, but also them most polished. Bryan Smith, analyst for Baseball Prospectus, noted in a post-Cod League article highlighting the league’s Top 5 freshmen:

Perhaps, in my talk with Cape coaches, Cole Figueroa was the group’s favorite player in the league. All agreed that his upside wasn’t equal to those ranked above him, but his make-up and present ability are light years ahead of his contemporaries. From a baseball standpoint, Figueroa gets great points for his ability to repeat his swing and never give up at-bats. The two, combined with his hand-eye potential, give Figueroa the freshman class’ best plate coverage. However, Cole doesn’t have fantastic power potential, as coaches believe he will be a leadoff hitter at the next level. Figueroa might be able to stay at shortstop but could be a better fit at second base…

The plate coverage and consistent approach is one of the biggest positives of Figueroa’s game. Nearly every first round pick the Padres selected seem to have some sort of hole in their swing. DePodesta is equally impressed with Figueroa’s approach:

At the plate he is a handsy hitter who will hit the ball where it’s pitched but also has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Cole hit .350 this year with a .422 obp and a .534 slg to go along with 20 stolen bases.

A speedy, top of the lineup hitter, with great intangibles who’s seemingly destined for 2B. Sound familiar? To me, it sounds as if Figueroa is the Padres’ back-up plan for Antonelli should his struggles continue. But DePodesta is cautiously optimistic:

Cole is a draft-eligible sophomore, so he still has two years of eligibility left in school. Hopefully we can convince him to start his pro career, as he is a solid left-handed hitting middle infielder who has terrific instincts for the game. He’s another player who seemed to raise his game when it counted the most.

As everything is still up in the air regarding Figueroa’s place with the Padres, I’ll refrain from getting too excited about this pick. But the thought of having him and Tekotte as a staple one-two punch at the top of the lineup is enough to get somebody justifiably excited. Hopefully, things work out and we can add another vital piece to our ever evolving middle IF scene. But I wouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. From the sound of it, Figueroa has a great opportunity to build on two strong seasons and increase his 2009 draft value.

Thanks to Ray & Melvin, I’ve been invited back for two more installments of draft recap. Stay tuned tomorrow for the Best of the Rest (of the first round) as well as an overview of what other needs were met in day two.

Posted in players | 3 Comments »

Lets Think About This For A Minute

June 12th, 2008 by

In games Scott Hairston starts, why does he bat leadoff?  It’s happened 10 times in the last month.  The dude is an out maker extraordinaire, making an out in 72% of his plate appearances this year.  Why give him the most opportunities to do what he’s done so well?

I know batting order has been shown to have smaller effect on run production, at least compared to how much time we spend talking about the lineup.  But I have a beef, so evidence be damned, lets talk about it.

On Days Jody Gerut gets off (who, by the way, is a pleasant surprise getting on base at a .356 clip), somebody has to hit at the top of the order.  I suggest Paul McAnulty.  He’s one of the few Padres who knows how to take a walk.  Sporting a .364 OBP, he makes the third fewest outs (stay with me now) of all Padres starters.

  • Brian
  • Paul
  • Adrian
  • Whoever else

No question we’re short on samples, but Scott Hairston has never shown an ability to get on base.  A few late inning home runs be damned, his career OBP sits at a paltry .295.  And someone once told me runs are worth the same in the first inning as they are in the ninth.

We have a new poll relating to my Padres game advertising article below, so let me know if my time spent studying ads was worth it.  To check out the results of our previous poll on starting outfielders, click the polls link at the top.

Posted in gripes | 1 Comment »

Taking the L

June 3rd, 2008 by

oof

And this happened twice.

Posted in hot stove, players | No Comments »

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