Padres bloggin' since 2007

Petco Park Wallpaper HDR

August 25th, 2008 by

Petco Park Wallpaper HDR
[1280 x 1024] [1024 x 768]

I mean, as much as I love endless complaining, the reality is life is what you make of it.  I’ve learned that when I focus my energy on something positive, or at least something else, I’m a happier person.

Yes, drinking counts.  By all means, focus on booze.

Anyway, this is a Melvin Nieves Original Photo © 200Abillion. It’s HDR, so the real photographers out there will probably thumb their noses.  I’m used to it, the real baseball bloggers do the same thing.

I hope you like the photo.

Posted in petco park | 3 Comments »

Trevor Hoffman: Everything we’ve ever done is exactly perfect

August 23rd, 2008 by

Baseball is a perfect delicate flower that can do no wrong:

What if the scoring rules were changed so that, say, if a starter leaves after seven innings with a lead, the bullpen blows it, but the team regains the lead for good in its next at-bat, the official scorer has the discretion to award the win to the starter?

Baseball’s all-time saves leader did not think much of the idea.

“I think it’s trying to reinvent the wheel as far as statistics are concerned,” Padres closer Trevor Hoffman said. “It’s not the way statistics have been run thus far.”

SF Gate via Baseball Think Factory

Trevor Hoffman

Photo: SD Dirk

This is why blogs, or at least someone with backbone needs media access.  To ask, “Ok, yes, indeed, games have been scored this way for awhile.  But isn’t it still obviously, grossly, unfair and wrong?”  No?  Nobody’s going to ask that?

Just as funny is the way we bend over ass-backwards to make up for the complete crapulence of Wins and Saves.  Instead of using qualifiers “hard luck losses” and the like, can’t we just admit they were bad ideas to begin with and just fix the problem?

Why do I feel the need to ask so many rhetorical questions?

Bonus points: Leave a comment using only rhetorical questions.  Super bonus points if it’s extra snarky.

Posted in media, statistics | 4 Comments »

Mediocrity isn’t fun: Why the Padres had to trade Greg Maddux

August 20th, 2008 by

Where you’re going is just as important as where you are.  And where the Padres are is in last place, with or without Greg Maddux.

What I find funny about trading veterans for prospects is the fans’ selective memory about where the prospects come from when they turn into useful Major Leaguers.

Remember the Matt Herges trade for Clay Hensley?  Hensley was a nobody.  He was the empty, worthless, nameless, proverbial minor league player you hear so much about.  Just like prospects in the Dodgers’ system, apparently:

The Padres save $1.15 million and get two Minor Leaguers that will never amount to anything or a little bit of cash.

-Jbox, Gaslampball

Sounds about right.

Jump forward to 2006, and Hensley becomes a 187 inning rotation anchor to a division championship.  Not necessarily a star, but a useful player nonetheless.  Please don’t forget, he came from a deal like this!  It took an unpopular move to get him, we traded a popular player.  Hensley wasn’t just born a Padre!

The rumored deal is for two Dodgers players. When it comes down to it, we’re comparing one month of Maddux to 12 salary controlled years, and they don’t add up.  The fun of watching 6 more starts on a last place team isn’t worth what we would pass up, even if the return is a bit hard to conceptualize at this point.  And considering Dodgers GM Ned Colletti’s less than stellar ability to value minor league talent, the return could be quite a bit.

Plus, since Towers & Co. originally held on to Maddux based on what was offered, we can infer that players of value are headed our way.  Though admittedly, it is difficult to have this discussion without knowing exactly who they are.

The guys we get for Maddux, whoever they are, become essentially free players to us.  Maddux, from a baseball stadpoint, is of no value to the team.  Winning baseball games trumps all for this baseball fan.

Posted in hot stove, players | 5 Comments »

There are better deals in August

August 18th, 2008 by

Dodgers Close To Acquiring Maddux

It’s a pretty incomplete story, and I/we’ll talk more when it comes through. I just wanted to get that headline out before Mel or Preston said anything.

Melvin update: Too bad I can edit your posts, sucka!

R. update: Pff, whatever. If you touch my title, I’ll be trying to post before Prestone can say anything, if you catch my drift.

Preston update: Dude, weak.

Posted in hot stove | Comments Off

Sacrificial Link: John Sickels’ Prospect Update

August 14th, 2008 by

Sacrificial LinksJohn Sickels from Minor League Ball updates his Padres top 20 prospects list with performance so far this year, and mostly has good things to say.  His thoughts on the Antonelli conundrum:

Matt Antonelli, 2B, Grade B+
.204/.329/.297 for Triple-A Portland. One of the biggest Whiskey Tango Foxtrot prospects this year. Drawing lots of walks, controlling the zone well, but no power and the base hits aren’t falling. Finally got his average over the Mendoza line this month. I have no clue what to expect in the future.

To me that’s good news.  It isn’t, “well he sucks now and isn’t as good as we thought he was” which I was kind of expecting.  Sickels actually had a similar opinion on Wade LeBlanc, saying the standard numbers don’t represent his performance.

Reminds me of the Bloodhound Gang jam “Foxtrot Unicorn Charlie Kilo”.  Very clever these guys.

You probably already knew this, but Geoff at Ducksnorts is doing essentially the same thing, but better.

Posted in sacrificial links | 1 Comment »

Trade Khalil because he sucks

August 11th, 2008 by

…why sports talk radio will rot your brains.

You can’t trade bad players just because they’re bad.  If baseball were that easy, Padre fans would never have the pleasure of telling the thrilling tales of Mark Bellhorn.  You trade players when their perceived value is greater than their actual value.

And yes, we at the Sac Bunt already put our money where our mouth is.  Yes we know, 97 RBIS!  Completely relevant!
Khalil Greene's Trade Value

Even more importantly, trading players who are performing worse than their career norms is a terrible, horrible, god-forsaken idea that should only be argued by someone with the memory of a goldfish*.

Here’s why:  other teams don’t follow ours as closely as we do. We’re less likely to receive equal return for Khalil Greene’s entire, all encompassing true skill level.  We get the talk radio version.  Nothing worthwhile.

That’s why the only rational move with Greene is to hold and see what happens.  If his offense continues to drop off the face of the earth, though I wouldn’t that rule out entirely, we still don’t lose much of anything.

But considering nobody is depending the dude for offense in a stretch run, we can afford to wait.  Give him a chance to rebound.  And that isn’t out of the question.

*The rumor that goldfish have a 3-second memory is an urban legend, but I couldn’t think of another reference.

Posted in gripes, players | 1 Comment »

Padres 101: Rebuilding Through the Draft

August 6th, 2008 by

Build, Break, Rebuild

“The draft has never been anything but a fucking crapshoot. We take fifty guys and we celebrate if two of them make it. In what other business is two for fifty a success? If you did that in the stock market, you’d go broke.” -Billy Beane

Padres101While 2003 may have been the end to an era, it would be difficult to argue that much had changed following the 2004 Amateur Draft. In a draft where the executive decisions were inexplicably carried out by owner John Moores, the Padres drafted local Mission Bay High School product, Matt Bush. The team immediately felt the return of their $3.15 million investment when, 13 days later, Bush was arrested in a night club scuffle under suspicion of “felony assault, and misdemeanor trespass and disorderly conduct… [and] underage drinking.” What’s worse, the dude’s a biter.

The move was immediately scrutinized as many believed it was merely predicated due to a financial bottom line as opposed to acquiring top shelf talent. While this isn’t necessarily a fair assessment (Bush was considered a Top 10 prospect in many circles and the Padres weren’t the only team who refused to pay premium prices for first round picks), the move ushered in a new philosophy and face for the front office:

Sandy Alderson and John Moores

John Moores rebuilt the Padres’ entire draft and development department, from the top down. Sandy Alderson, former executive with Major League Baseball became a part owner and team CEO. Grady Fuson, who nearly worked his way to general manager in the Texas Rangers’ system due to his extensive experience as a scout and talent evaluator, was named Padres Director of Scouting. Paul DePodesta, former Executive Vice President and General Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers became Padres Special Assistant for Baseball Operations.

The franchise distanced itself from frivolous spending and settled with modest payrolls ranked either near or below the Major League average; fan favorites left via free agency. While the casual fan saw departing players and the concept of a modest player payroll as a black mark upon the franchise, the team began a new approach to the draft to create an advantage.

Since the move to Petco Park, the Padres have struggled promoting from within due to years of neglect that relegated their farm system near useless, ranking near the worst in the league up until this past season (courtesy of Baseball America):

2005: 27th

2006: 29th

2007: 29th

2008: 12th

The marked improvement can definitely be attributed to the new franchise philosophy and although this couldn’t happen overnight, the franchise continues to exhaust every effort in order to restock their depleted farm system. The methods in which Alderson and company sought to improve this franchise were dubbed by sportswriter Tom Krasovic as “Sandyball,” and simply reiterated the importance of acquiring extra draft picks in any way possible:

[Getting extra draft picks] is done by offering salary arbitration to a free agent who played for your club the previous season. If the player declines and signs with another team, the original club gets one or two high-end picks in the next June amateur draft. Under Alderson, the Padres have obtained 12 extra picks, including seven in 2007 and another three for the upcoming June draft. From 2000-2005, they had two extra picks. “The farm system has improved,” Alderson said. “That’s partly because of more draft picks. But it’s also partly more effective use of draft picks.”

The method – from the standpoint of retooling the farm system – worked. As outlined above, over the past three years the Padres have hoarded sandwich picks more than at any other point in franchise history and, in that time, selected more players in the first three rounds than any other team in baseball.

Money allocated for contracts to Padres’ draft picks is also far more significant than in years past. In 2007, the Padres managed to sign all but one of their twelve first day draft picks and this year they not only had a successful Amateur Draft, but they locked up an additional $4.8 million in player contracts during the International Draft – which, not so coincidentally, is the first year in which the Padres’ $8.5 million scouting facility in the Dominican Republic has been open. That total, according to a report in the Union Tribune, was approximately five times their normal amount, “as the Padres spend about $1 million during the international signing period.” Of the five players taken that day, all four that played in Latin America made ESPN’s Top 12 “Best Latino Prospects of 2008” list.

The hope is that their growth and maturity as a franchise continues with an unshakable focus for sustained future prosperity, no matter how the major league squad is playing at the moment. With this front office and the impressions they’ve made through their accomplishments, there’s reason to be optimistic.

Posted in Padres 101 | 1 Comment »

Kyle “Banks” Blanks, head of Padres’ bright side department

August 3rd, 2008 by

Believe it or not there’s more to being a Padres blogger these days than crying to your friends that you and Khalil had something special, and it just isn’t like him to leave you for your best friend the way he did.

I have good news on a couple fronts, the first of which is that Baseball Prospectus released a bushel of minor league stats for our perusal.  The standard stats are nothing new, what’s great though are the translation stats which give context and comparability to the otherwise dubious minor league numbers.

The first set of stats, called “regular translations” adjust for factors we’re used to adjusting for on our fine web publication, The Sac Bunt.  They accommodate differences in ballpark factors and league difficulty, then they adjust for what we’d expect minor league numbers to translate to at the major league level.  Pretty sweet, eh?

The second grouping, dubbed “peak translations”, get even better.  They adjust for old men in unmarked vans playing among the kiddies.  In other words, a 30 year old non-prospect beating up a bunch of 19 year olds in rookie league isn’t impressing anyone but his tough guy friends from high school.  Peak translations give an idea of what kind of performance we can expect from a player based on these age and league considerations.

This brings us to Padre broadcaster Matt Vasgersian’s favorite prospect, the dude Vasgersian referred to on a spring training broadcast as “Kyle Banks”.  He normally goes by Kyle Blanks, and is tied for third in all double and triple-A in Equivalent Runs.

Equivalent Runs sums up batter’s total offensive value per out.  This includes on base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases, among others.  It is then adjusted for everything mentioned above, and converted into runs.  Then Kyle kicks its ass.

Kyle Blanks 385 21 .398 .551 .317 77

You can find the rest of the list in this helpful minor league translations breakdown.

Here are some other guys I’ve found of note.  Josh Geer is 9th in the PCL (triple-A) for Equivalent Runs Allowed, Joe Thatcher is 9th in Equivalent ERA, Sac Bunt favorite Paul McAnulty is 3rd for Equivalent Average, which is like EqRuns but looks like batting average.  Luke Carlin is 6th in the same category.

Moving down to double-A in the Texas league, Will Inman, Stephen Faris, and Steve Garrison stand at 2nd, 4th, and 5th in Equivalent Runs Allowed.  Chad Huffman is 5th in Equivalent Runs.  These are all peak translations numbers.

So there you go, things to do this time of year besides bitching and moaning.  On the other hand, bitching and moaning are what make the blogosphere go round (Reference:

Posted in players, statistics | 5 Comments »

Search Posts

The Sacrifice Bunt on Facebook The Sacrifice Bunt on Twitter


Sacrifice Bunt Shop

Sacrifice Bunt Shop