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Maddux P(s)TBNL

September 30th, 2008 by

Southpaw Michael Watt and righty Eduardo Perez.

Not much to add aside from what the the man himself shared.

The players are about what we expcected. Low level prospects, pichers with high K rates and what appear to be decent ceilings. Read my thoughts on the deal and a Maddux update.

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More end of season thoughts

September 27th, 2008 by

Unlike Melvin, I kind of like drama. Spice of life kind of thing. And for me, this season has been filled with intrigue. It hasn’t been fun, but there’s been a lot to talk about. For instance:

Genuine draft: The Padres will have the third pick in next year’s draft, which will probably be too late to grab Strasburg, but still very high. High enough to grab a potential star. Of course, it’s potential to grab a star anywhere in the 175 rounds that are in the draft, but the higher the better.

Gimme the loot: One of the benefits of playing terrible in a season that you didn’t plan on being terrible is a glut of moveable parts. This summer, the Padres moved Tony Clark, Randy Wolf, and Greg Maddux. What will actually become of the minor league pitchers and players to be named later that we acquired for these players is still to be seen, but if just one of them becomes a key part to a future Padres club, it’s a win.

If it’s broke, fix it: For five years now, the Padres have been sending out a makeshift team. They have, essentially, been rebuilding years, but competitive rebuilding years. And this was the season when the bottom fell out. The strong pitching staff that has carried this team since it started playing in ridiculous Petco Park faltered, with names like Baek and Banks seeing significant playing time. Adding to the mess was regressions, disappointments, and injuries that depleted the team on the field.

With the introduction of Chase Headley, however, the Padres have begun to turn over a new leaf. He was soon followed by other top prospects Wade LeBlanc, Will Venable, and Matt Antonelli. It’s only a matter of time the clubhouse is filled with players that came up, and have been neutered, in the system. Not more forcing square players in the round holes.

Jody Gerut: He’s pretty good.

Hey, it’s baseball!: It still is, technically.

Posted in gripes, misc | No Comments »

End of season thoughts

September 27th, 2008 by

The Padres soap opera is bothering me, I’ve never been one to embrace drama. The media is also bothering me more than usual, though this is probably a reflection of my own frustrations for the losing season as well as theirs. Here are some thoughts I’ve been ruminating over.

  • 62-97 doesn’t reflect a commitment to this year at all costs, or true talent level. Tony Clark was traded July 17th. That day represents the moment the team began their focus on 2009. Since then they’ve traded Randy Wolf and Greg Maddux, and held auditions for others. Runs score / allowed expectancy puts the team at 67 wins. PECOTA, the best projection system in the business, predicted 79 wins. Judging expectations for 2009 based on simple 2008 record is just lazy. Check the media’s 2008 Rays predictions and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Sandy Alderson isn’t paid to tell jokes. He’s paid to run a multi-million dollar business. If you don’t do what he asks you to do, you get fired. If someone at the NyQuil factory fills bottles with Flaming Moe alcoholic beverages rather than cough syrup, he might think he’s improving the product but he still deserves to be canned. Sandy kind of does act like a jerk on the radio, but the way those clowns on air talk to Sandy like he ran off with their mother I would also be tempted to treat them the way he does.
  • JC Bradburry points out that $700 billion dollars builds 437.5 Yankee Stadiums. That’s two Yankee Stadiums for every city in the country with a population larger than Denton, Texas (pop. 115,000).
  • Darren Smith and Philly Billy practically ran the front-running AL MVP out of town. Granted the front office deserves some criticism for not pushing harder to sign him in spite of the radio clowns’ tomfoolery. But Darren and Billy chewed the shit out of Alderson for having the gall to take a small risk on the best outfielder in baseball this year. Those two have forfeited their right to have an opinion ever again.
  • Mike Adams will be a good guy to have around next year. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the hell’s going on in the bullpen with all the hullabaloo back there. If you haven’t noticed, Adams has set himself apart from the pack with a 156 ERA+ and a 3.13 FIP in 64 innings out of the pen. It seems strange that the pitching is so far behind the offense this year as opposed to those previous, but Mike Adams is a welcome addition in 2009 as the Towers Bullpen Come-Out-Of Nowhere Guy™ for 2008.

Posted in gripes, media, misc | 2 Comments »

Wally Joyner Steps Down as Padres Hitting Coach

September 22nd, 2008 by

Here’s what the Wallster had to say:

“It bothers me a lot that I have come to the point where it is clear that I need to move on,” Joyner said Monday afternoon. “I came to the job hoping to put my experience and ideas to good use in teaching and coaching the Padres’ hitters, but it has become obvious to me in the past few months that the organization’s approach is different from mine.”

Normally it’s hard for me to have an opinion of coaching changes, I look at these issues as internal matters. The importance of coaches tends to be overhyped by the media. This makes sense since coaches are central to the narratives writers love to make up tell.

What I do find interesting is the coaching ideas Wally refers to. Specifically: What is it the approach the team uses and how is it different from his?

We’ve heard of the Padres’ “patiently aggressive” hitting philosophy, where a player carefully waits for his pitch then unloads on it. How could that not align with Joyner’s philosophy? That approach could easily describe Wally, he rocks a .362 career OBP.

If only there were professionals paid full time to ask important questions like these. Then they could report their answers and we could read them. Oh the crazy ideas I have.

PS The sad looking file photo the UT uses to compliment Joyner’s announcement is great.

PadreHomer contributed to this post.

Melvin Update (9/23): Krasovic pulls a switchy changy and updates his story with slightly clarifying words from Wally:

“My experience in playing baseball at the major league level is that you cannot afford to not be ready for any pitch that you see. It might be the best pitch you see that night. I know how valuable that preparation was for me in my career. I wanted our hitters to be ready from pitch No. 1, and I think that was the difference.”

I can only assume this update was done due to the immense weight I carry down at the UT.

In any case, reading between the lines it sounds to me Joyner advocated more aggressiveness than the front office was looking for. Or was it Bud Black? We all kind of assume it’s Sandy and Co. pulling strings on the field. We’ll find out this offseason where Black stands as well.

Another Melvin Update (9/23): More from Corey Brock:

“It was just apparent to me I wasn’t being included in everything I think I should have been included in, and there was no way I could help without knowing it. And so I was frustrated and decided that I didn’t care for it,” Joyner said.

I tell you I’m not at all less confused. More like the opposite. Perhaps the front office didn’t like what he taught, so they skipped Wally and took instructions straight to the players. Who can tell, these quotable tidbits are so vague anyway they could mean anything.

Posted in controversy | 2 Comments »

Update on Greg Maddux: The Season Savior

September 21st, 2008 by

In exchange for Greg Maddux, the Padres will receive two as of yet unnamed players, likely prospects, also likely from the Dodgers’ 40 man roster.

Some argue in favor of keeping Maddux, they contend that watching him pitch for a team guaranteed not to make the playoffs would be worth more than the players to be received. Again admitting that evaluating a trade which we only know half of the players involved is kinda dumb regardless of your support for it, lets take a look at Maddux’s performance we missed out on since making the trade:

IP ERA+ FIP
Greg Maddux (LA)
34.7 77 4.11

Nope, still convinced the deal was a good one.

Even if he lit the world on fire in LA, I still probably wouldn’t be convinced. Obviously from looking at the data above isn’t a situation we need to worry about. Rumor has it Maddux might not even make his club’s playoff roster. (h/t MLBtraderumors)

In case you’re wondering, ERA+ is park and league adjusted ERA where 100 is average and less is below average. FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, scales strikeouts, walks, and groundball percentage to look like ERA.

Posted in hot stove, statistics | No Comments »

Sacrifice Bunt Craption Contest

September 15th, 2008 by

Craption this pic:

Extra support for the troops

My entry: Extra support for the troops!

Posted in the funny | 7 Comments »

Kevin Kouzmanoff can effing hit

September 11th, 2008 by

Sacrificial LinksJohn Sickels at Minor League Ball takes a look back at Kevin Kouzmanoff as a prospect.

I enjoy these retrospectives of MLB players when they were just prospects. Reminds me that all players at one point were guys I’d never heard of. There’s a point in there somewhere.

He was unstoppable when healthy however, hitting .389/449/660 for Double-A Akron and .353/.409/.647 for Triple-A Buffalo.

(snip)

I gave him the coveted Josh Willingham Award, annually awarded to the minor league player whose bat I am most comfortable swearing about. He can f**king hit.

That year of Kouz’s still blows me out of the water. As I recall his was near the top overall line in all of the minor leagues.

Too bad about his discipline this year, 20 walks in 600 plate appearances for a .304 OBP is definitely not optimal. I think with the weak third base market this offseason, and Chase Headley just hanging around and trying to look busy, this is the time to trade Kouz. Though a 120 OPS+ season or two from the Mashin Macedonian wouldn’t surprise me.

Posted in players, sacrificial links | 8 Comments »

To win or not to win

September 8th, 2008 by

The Padres have found themselves in a win/lose situation. As of the writing of this article, the Padres are a half a game ahead of the Washington Nationals for the worst record in baseball. For a team coming off of an 89 win season that expected to be in the hunt, this is a tragedy. Mathematics has already taken care of the playoffs, so the team is stuck in baseball limbo. They have nothing left to play for but pride.

But they do have something to lose for.

The question has become: should the Padres pack it in and try for the worst record in baseball? It’s all but guaranteed that the Padres will have a top 5 pick, and they’ll likely be in the top 3. But they have a chance to drop to number one and there seems to be a bonafide number one pick.

With a 23 strike out game already in his rear view mirror, Stephen Strasburg was the only college player on the U.S.A. Baseball team at this year’s Olympics. Coming out of San Diego State, Strasburg posted a 1.64 E.R.A. in Beijing and left with a bronze medal. On the Padres, he could give the team a rare 1-2-3 punch with Peavy and Young.

And yet, in the immortal word of another Aztec, Herm Edwards, you play. to win. the game. In order to win the sweepstakes for the number one pick, the team is going to have lose more than any other team. And this would run in stark contrast to the reason most players take the field.

What is more important for the Padres going forward?

(Hamlet once asked whether it is better to continue on, suffering the highs and lows of life, or to just quit. While there is no certainty in living, there is less certainty in death. Of course, Hamlet chooses to continue, only to die anyway after causing the death of everyone he loves, which may be all that needs to be said about the Padres.)

Posted in controversy, players | 3 Comments »

Matt Vasgersian everyone!

September 4th, 2008 by

Matt: I think we’ve become a little more sophisticated now in evaluating players & performance. We don’t just look at batting average, home runs, & runs batted in anymore.

It’s finally happened. Sweet Lord, I thank thee for this day. Your child, Matthew Eduardo Vasgersian is learning things. He has decided to augment his broadcasting ability with a thirst for knowledge. He is paid to explain baseball to people. Now he will compliment this position by learning what really smart people have studied about the sport.

Comeuppance, sweet comeuppance.  I can taste you. Vasgersian continues…

Matt: You look at things like “what they’re hitting after the 7th inning”, and “batting average with runners in scoring position”.

Mark: And [hitting with] Counts.  How many times we see that now?

Comeuppance!! Comeuppaannnceeee! You were my only friend, now you’ve left me stranded on the side of the interstate, mouth dry, contemplating drinking that gross radiator water even though the sign says not to. What a disappointing situation. I thought I was getting laid. Or at least, you know, an accidental boob graze.

This goes on.

Matt: Part of why baseball is so wonderful & why anybody thinks they can be a general manager [is that] information is available to everybody. Anybody can get access to just about anything they want.

(Padres-Dodgers, 9/3/2008)

Yes Matt, I’m aware of this. Are you? Because from your entire body of work as an analyst it’s clear that research is a brand fucking new concept.

And yes, I see the irony that Matt is insulting numbnuts like me because I’ve read a few Nate Silver articles and think I’m so great. I’ll admit my wealth of knowledge isn’t as broad as my stupid online persona might have you believe. But here’s the thing: I’m a dude and a keyboard.

Matt Vasgersian is paid to get on TV and explain how this stuff works. That’s it. That’s his career. And he’s using this position to tell people who rely on him that sabermetrics is all about how well you hit after the seventh inning, like somehow runs count more late in the game. And who exactly is it that uses batting average with runners in scoring position to evaluate players? Murray Chass?

Here’s a fun science project: over a reasonable population size, most players hit better with runners in scoring position than they do without. This is because bad pitchers tend to put more runners on base than good pitchers. So if someone claims a hitter isn’t clutch, more than likely you can drop the BA with RISP bomb to easily and irresponsibly get out of the discussion. Being right makes you more of a man, so that’s nice too.

Anyway, congratulations Melvin. The Sacrifice Bunt is now a low-rent Fire Joe Morgan. You should be proud.

Posted in misc | 3 Comments »

Bah Humbug

September 3rd, 2008 by

I’ve tried my best to stay positive on this blog over the course of the season. Some may call me a homer or a cool-aid drinker, I suppose that may be accurate. But like I said in my last post, life just isn’t fun when you’re complaining. Even if what’s going on sucks ass, complaining doesn’t help matters.

The world may love an asshole, but it hates a whiner.

That said, here’s the part where I do the exact opposite. There’s no question to me, and most other fans I’ve spoken with, this season has been a disappointment. The front office, (at least publically), and analysts like Geoff Young, expected more from the team. Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system was pessimistic about the team, perhaps that goes to show what we deserve for betting against science.

Avoiding those facts and sticking with my own preconceived notions, I expected continued development of the Padres’ core.  Think the progression we did see out of Adrian Gonzalez, only that kind of step up from Khalil, Josh Bard (thanks to playing time), Kevin Kouzmanoff, Paul McAnulty, and Justin Germano.

You know what though, injuries have to be brought up when talking about disappointments. Jake Peavy and Chris Young’s problems contributed to the team’s 89 ERA+ dip, a five year low.

Who did you expect more from this year?

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