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2009 Marcels Depression Inducers / Projections

November 29th, 2008 by

Having brought you Tom Tango’s fan scouting report, we now present the Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System, or simply Marcel 2009. In plain speak, here are projections for your/our 2009 San Diego Padres. At least, the players still on the team as of this writing.

PITCHERS ERA K/9 K/BB FIP
J. Peavy 3.25 9.0 3.0 3.45
C. Young 3.59 8.2 3.0 4.05
C. Baek 4.43 6.3 2.2 4.37
J. Geer 4.07 6.8 2.0 4.31
W. Leblanc 4.92 6.9 1.8 5.11
H. Bell 3.58 8.3 2.6 3.58
M. Adams 3.72 8.2 2.7 4.03
C. Meredith 3.74 6.8 2.8 3.61
C. Hensley 4.27 6.0 1.5 4.35
J. Thatcher 4.73 6.8 1.9 4.60
J. Hampson 4.67 5.9 1.7 4.43
C. Reineke 4.35 7.1 1.8 4.33

FIP by the way stands for Fielding Independent Pitching. It uses strikeouts, walks, and home runs, 3 results all pitchers have direct control over, to evaluate performance. It is scaled to look like ERA so it’s nice and easy.

HITTERS AVG OBP SLG OPS
N. Hundley .260 .316 .401 .717
A. Gonzalez .284 .356 .494 .850
M. Antonelli .259 .338 .410 .747
T. Denker .270 .345 .449 .794
E. Gonzalez .270 .331 .396 .727
K. Greene .239 .291 .408 .700
L. Rodriguez .258 .317 .353 .669
K. Kouzmanoff .264 .316 .441 .756
C. Headley .272 .343 .429 .772
S. Hairston .253 .319 .459 .779
J. Gerut .282 .342 .462 .804
W. Venable .272 .345 .414 .759
B. Giles .270 .363 .409 .771

These stats were all compiled using Fangraphs.com, a Sacrifice Bunt endorsed website. Fangraphs also features another series of projections by Lord Bill James. We chose Marcel for reasons of totality: it simply projects more players. And these two are definitely independent projections. While some are eerily close, others are far off.

Where Marcel predicts Jake Peavy with a 3.25 E.R.A. and 9.00 K/9, James has the Peavs at 3.26 and a 9.00 K/9. Not all players are so close. Marcel predicts Chase Headley posting a .772 O.P.S. where James puts him more than 75 points higher at .848. James also sees Will Venable at .688, 71 points lower than Marcel.

Clearly, prognostications should be taken for what they are, especially since Marcels is touted by creator Tom Tango as “the most basic forecasting system you can have, that uses as little intelligence as possible.” But let’s assume that this are true predictions. What/who jumps out?

(Besides Travis Denker. WTF?)

Posted in statistics | 5 Comments »

2008 Scouting Report By The Fans Prettied Up

November 28th, 2008 by

Here are your Padres. League average for each trait is set to 50. My first post on the subject generated some great dialogue.

The same caveats still apply: no defensive metric, including the fans’ scouting report, is everything you’ll ever need for accurate evaluation. What our eyes see and our brains remember is startlingly suceptable to bias. The best way to deal with this is to spread the information we use around, like a bet on a roulette table. Leverage the eyes of other baseball fans, plus the brains and labor of smart people who have developed other metrics and create a well rounded understanding of players’ abilities.

Posted in statistics | No Comments »

The Sacrifice Bunt Theme Song

November 25th, 2008 by

It is a well known fact that writers who regularly cite equivalent average, Pythagorean record, and major league equivalences are known as “dope” and “super rad” by hip urban youth.

In order to cement our image of popularity in the eyes of the Dragonball Z fan club, where the hip urban youth hang out, naturally, we are excited to announce The Sacrifice Bunt Theme Song. It will now play automatically every time our site is loaded.

Don’t worry, we’re well aware autoplaying music never gets old.

Warning, there is swearing. Yes, we also wish swearing was illegal.

Smack by Zion I and The Grouch.

We make pesos
Plus we do want we want
Rather swing for the fence than go for the bunt

Protip: Listen for references of blogging and free agency as well.

P.S. Who in San Diego isn’t depressed after that Chargers loss to Baltimore? This photo of LaDanian is the only good thing to come out of it.

Posted in the funny | 2 Comments »

Prospects are like that band you listened to before they were on the radio

November 14th, 2008 by

Sacrificial LinksHeadline written by R. Lankford during the course of an AIM conversation. Headline stolen by M. Nieves during the course of that same conversation.

Now that’s settled, a pair of recent articles on the Fangraphs site are relevant to Padres fans’ interest, with an added bonus that you probably haven’t seen this stuff on mlbtraderumors already.

The first is a quick overview of the Padres farm system’s performance this year. Marc Hulet names Chase Headley, Matt Buschmann, Matt Antonelli, Cole Figueroa, and Eric Sogard as the graduate, the riser, the tumbler, the 2008 draft pick, and the sleeper, respectively. I’ve heard (and written) about the success of others in the system, but I haven’t seen much coverage of some of these guys. That’s a good, albeit anecdotal demonstration of the organizational depth we enjoy these days, especially in the lower levels.

Next, Dave Cameron checks in on the results of four major prospects for star player trades from the previous offseason. Go ahead, guess how they’ve turned out. Ready to be wrong? Here’s Dave:

Four big trades of all-star caliber players, and in every single case, the rebuilding team either held steady or got significantly better while the contender didn’t improve at all, and in some cases, got a lot worse.

Poor results for the team acquiring the star don’t necessarily mean there is a correlation between trading for stars and playing worse the next year. But to paraphrase Cameron, it pretty well confirms what some of us have been saying: one player cannot carry a team.

Posted in sacrificial links | No Comments »

Hoffman Negotiations: Ready, Set, Judge

November 13th, 2008 by
Trevor Hoffman by SD Dirk

Trevor Hoffman by SD Dirk

I know it isn’t going to sell newspapers or generate controversy, but I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly who is responsible if Trevor Hoffman is no longer a Padre. We have a lot of opinions thrown around as to why that may be, coupled with a heaping truckload of confirmation bias ready to jump at the chance to condemn whichever side of the argument we happen to usually approve of.

For the most vocal of fans and columnists, this generally means blaming the arrogant, ivy league nerds who run the team front office. As a matter of full disclosure, more often than not I give those arrogant, ivy league nerds the benefit of the doubt in their decisions.

Where I do find fault with the front office, and I think many will agree, is in their PR abilities. The dysfunctional relationship between Padres President Sandy Alderson and Billy Werndl plus Darren Smith, hosts of the radio show Alderson frequents creates a public relations nightmare. The result is less of an interview and more of a grilling designed to trap Alderson into saying what meets the obvious negative bias the hosts hold toward the team. Alderson often responds in kind with an insulting, arrogant tone which is seems directed towards the broadcasters, but gives a poor impression towards the fans. It does make for controversial, attention grabbing radio, so I guess the hosts win the battle. But I digress.

Only thinly veiled in the media coverage of an emotional event like the possible departure of Trevor Hoffman is a search for truth. Each side gives their version of events, and just as in other aspects of life, the reality often lies somewhere in between. My interpretation of the events goes like this:

Trevor’s Side

  • Hoffman received a 1 year offer of $4 million and team option for 2010 with no buyout, about $3.5 million less than his salary last year, which he saw as an insincere PR move.
  • The club refused to allow Hoffman and agent Rick Thurman to negotiate with Padres owner John Moores.
  • Sandy Alderson may have animosity towards Thurman, perhaps because of Thurman’s agenting style, or perhaps for another reason.
  • Hoffman deserves special treatment from Moores due to Trevor’s icon status.

Front Office Side

  • The team received neither approval or disapproval of the contract offer one month after the offer was made. They also were willing to negotiate the price of the deal.
  • Moores hired Alderson for the exact purpose of distancing himself from baseball decisions, the team found a meeting with the owner inappropriate.
  • It is possible that Moores was willing to meet with Hoffman to discuss the direction of the team, but not for contract negotiations or with Hoffman’s agent present.
  • Thurman went public with negotiation details after the club asked to keep them private.
  • After about a month with the offer on the table, the team took it off.

To me, the fault for booting the situation could go either way. My question is, who are we to judge the culpability for Hoffman’s departure? We’re outsiders! Even the people with fancy press passes and radio shows, the sources of our information, are outsiders. All they do is talk to those actually involved, then usually form an opinion based on who slanted the story the best, or go with the side they intended to believe from the beginning.

For whatever reason, even if it’s his own fault, I will be deeply saddened if Trevor Hoffman isn’t a Padre for the rest of his career. Like many people reading this, I grew up with Trevor as part of my life.

And you know what? Writing with the caps lock key stuck with lots of exclamation points doesn’t make anyone more of a fan than me. Neither does asking ill informed questions or giving ill informed rants on radio shows. That stuff doesn’t demonstrate intensity. It characterizes an emotionally fragile person with messed up priorities.

I’ll miss Trevor. But lets not kid ourselves about who we are and what we know.

Photo

Posted in controversy | 4 Comments »

Now you’re Jennifer Aniston

November 7th, 2008 by

Have you ever had two friends who dated each other? Two friends that both hung out with you in the same group, that you had many mutual friends with? Did they ever break up?

That’s what Jake Peavy and the Padres are doing.

As Mel pointed out, Peavy’s desires are all over the place. He wants to play on a contender, but he also wants to play on the Braves and Astros, and he wants to stay in San Diego. This we can easily chalk up to confusing. Break-ups are hard to go through. But then there are the comments his agent is making. Comments like:

“It’s a big decision,” said Axelrod, who noted a no-trade clause would have to be part of any trade. “You have to look at all the factors and moving parts. We’re usually pretty deliberate. … At times, (Peavy’s frustration) bubbled over. He’s a fiery competitor. You don’t want to take that out of him. You don’t want to tame that too much. But I heard Jake say it, I heard Brian (Giles) say it and I heard Trevor (Hoffman) say it —- they’re not that far away. I think if they kept (Mike) Cameron, (Geoff) Blum and (Doug) Brocail, they’re in it last year —- 84 games wins this division.”

Cooling off period for Peavy talks

Oof.

Much like the break-up of your friends, this has gotten ugly. Jake has always been one to tell Kevin Towers how to do his job/suggest better alternatives to his own teammates (like Kenny Lofton). I’m even surprised Jake’s agent didn’t throw Milton Bradley in everyone’s face. But those two aren’t done yet. They’re piling on:

“One of the things we will want to look at some point is, ‘Who are you giving up? How much are you weakening your team to make this deal?’” Axelrod said. “If Team X trades three starting pitchers and a starting shortstop to get Jake Peavy, that lessens their chance of being a successful team.”

Peavy throws a curveball into Padres’ trade talks with Braves

The specific player in question is Yunel Escobar, who is looking more and more like the centerpiece of a deal with Atlanta.

It was one thing when Jake told Towers what to do. But now he’s telling Frank Wren, the G.M. of the Braves (the team Jake is not on), how to do his job. What if Wren had a plan that didn’t involve Escobar? Jake’s all but gone from San Diego, but he’s also making it very difficult for the Padres to send him anywhere else.

It’s almost as if he’s playing a game of chicken with Towers. “Trade me for nothing or keep me. Your call.” The scary part is that Towers might actually blink.

Posted in hot stove, players | 3 Comments »

Adrian Gonzalez Wins Gold Glove

November 5th, 2008 by

Cheers to our boy.

My unofficial, probably not very accurate survey of defensive metrics puts Adrian as a good, but not best in the league first baseman. His offensive goodness and his success with the stupid fielding percentage stat probably helped attract attention as well.

Still though, cool news. No Yankees, you can’t have him for in exchange for a bag of baseballs. He’s ours, you spoiled clowns.

Maddux wins one too. No surprise there. How can he just keep being so good? The voters are screwed next with Maddux retired and no shoe in.

R. update: I hate to have to do this, but this was a bad call.

The Gold Gloves have long been a gag gift, highlighted by Palmeiro winning the award for first baseman in 1999 despite playing 28 games at the position.

Adrian was not the best defensive first baseman in the N.L. According to the Fielding Bible, he wasn’t in the top 10. Using their plus/minus system (which tracks the number of plays made more or less than the average fielder), the Fielding Bible ranked Mark Teixeira the best first baseman in baseball at +24. The best N.L. first baseman was Pujols at +20. Other National Leaguers in the top ten are Joey Votto (+19), Lance Berkman (+18), and Todd Helton (+6). Casey Kotchman’s in there too, so I guess he and Teixeira combine to make one National Leaguer. Either way, you’ll notice that a name’s missing from this list.

I love Adrian, but our principles are most important when they’re inconvenient, right?

I’m sorry.

Posted in awards | 6 Comments »

History says writers should use examples to support, not contradict, an opinion

November 3rd, 2008 by

History says trading Padres ace Jake would be a huge mistake

This Nick Canepa article is chock full of unintentional lulz. Here’s his contention:

I’m beyond tired of seeing San Diego stars either shipped off or simply allowed to walk away. In this regard, our history is horrible.

Essentially he says good players have played for San Diego sports teams. Then they played for teams in a different city. How inconceivable.

Next, Canepa gives us examples that apparently apply specifically to the possibility of trading Jake Peavy, even though his evidence comes from different decades, ownership groups, payroll sizes, even different sports.

Of course, he doesn’t mention that one could come up with a similar list of good players for any city across the country who have moved from one team to the next.

Don’t forget, this is supposed to be evidence for why the Padres should not trade Jake Peavy. Why trading him would be a bad idea. Here are my favorite parts.

Drew Brees, the Chargers’ Pro Bowl quarterback, left with very little compensation. Everyone knew Philip Rivers was going to be the guy, so the team should have traded Brees the year before, when he was healthy and at peak value.

The Chargers allowed running back Michael Turner to leave, and he’s not having a bad time in Atlanta, where he’s gained 655 yards in seven games. He should have been dealt after the 2006 season.

The Bolts seem poised not to re-sign linebacker Shawne Merriman when his contract expires after the 2009 season. If Merriman’s healthy, this would be a grievous error. He’s the NFL’s most dynamic defender. Let’s hope, at the very least, if the Chargers decide they’re not re-signing him, that they trade him, rather than cut him loose and get last week’s bagel in return.

The Padres should not trade a star like Jake Peavy because (somehow this makes sense) San Diego teams should have traded other stars.

There’s more:

The 2007 Cy Young winner makes a lot of money, he’s vocal, and the team lost 99 games with him. He has a violent delivery, and pitchers have been known to be brittle. But, while having a few problems, Peavy hasn’t had arm or shoulder surgery. And, at 27, he’s hardly out of his prime. He may not have entered it.

Those are some pretty good reasons to go through with a trade. The Padres lost 99 games with Jake on the roster, that goes to show how one player does not necessarily make a successful season. Also his violent delivery causes serious concern for injury, and pitchers are injured more often than position players.

But don’t worry! All of those reasons are completely negated because Jake is 27 years of age, and while he had injury trouble last year, surgery is not immediately required.

In reality, 27 year olds (Jake will be 28 most of 2009) can and do get injured.  And not needing surgery (yet) doesn’t alleviate concerns about a pitcher with elbow trouble. Finally, Canepa doesn’t bother to attempt a rebut to the argument that Peavy will likely take up 20% of the team’s payroll and still can’t do enough to save a 99 loss season.

Isn’t the generally accepted practice to provide evidence in support of your opinion, not against it?

Posted in gripes, media | 8 Comments »

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