Padres bloggin' since 2007

Trade Kouz cause he doesn’t suck

June 28th, 2009 by

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.

-Melvin Nieves, 08/11/08

Following Khalil’s MVPadre winning season of 2008, we at The Sac Bunt made the case (cases, really) for why he should be moved. His value was at an all-time high and it wasn’t really representative of his actually production. For all of his power prowess, and Khalil hit 27 home runs that year, his complete inability to draw a walk more than evened things out, leaving him with a wOBA that season of .322. Yet the Padres attempted to sign Khalil to an extension, one that he fortunately turned down, and now he’s working through his problems both on-field and off, in St. Louis.

Lesson learned, right?

In a recent blog entry on Kevin Kouzmanoff, Paul DePodesta aptly quoted Mark Twain, saying, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” DePo was using Twain’s words to discuss Kouzmanoff random success after May 14th, but it might work better if used to talk about the third baseman’s current trade value.

In his discussion, DePo points out the tear Kouzmanoff’s been on since May 14th, which includes 9 home runs in 140 at-bats. Stretched out over a full season, that’s more than 30 home runs, an especially impressive feat playing in Petco. But DePo noticeably fails to mention Kouzmanoff’s 27 strike outs and 5 walks over the same stretch. That’s a BB/K of 0.19, which is consistent with Kouz’s 0.17 mark in 2008. It’s also lower than Khalil’s 0.25 in 2007.

At the time, trading Khalil wasn’t as simple as simply finding a trade partner. There was no one in the system to take his place, so the team would have to go outside to find a replacement. With Kouzmanoff, the same problem does not exist.

As we’ve discussed, Chase Headley has become a bit of an enigma in this organization, though he’s been hot over the past couple of weeks. He’s also a more-than-viable option for this team at third base. And it would seem that a decision is begging to be made, with the outfield becoming suddenly stuffed. Along with Headley, the Padres have the newly unretired Tony Gwynn, Scott Hairston, Brian Giles, Kyle Blanks, and Will Venable. While it seems that the sand in Giles’ Padres hourglass is just about out, there’s no benching an active Hall of Famer or the team’s best non-Adrian hitter. And Towers has also pledged playing time for Venable, while Blanks’ presence demands some as well.

(For our coverage of Blanks’ call-up, search ‘Chase Headley’ in our archives and look for articles from June of last year.)

The best reason to trade Kouzmanoff, though, is because this team isn’t any good. We’re currently 32-41 and something like seven games out of the Wild Card. We also have a Pythagorean of 28-45 and are absent our two best pitchers (although Kevin Correia has really turned it on as of late). While some of the young talent are playing surprisingly well, the aforementioned Tony Gwynn and Everth Cabrera leading the pack, by no means should the team think that this dinner party is going end without someone getting piss drunk and saying something inappropriate about someone else’s wife. Let’s just take it easy, explore what the market for Kouzmanoff is (the Indians recently traded Mark DeRosa for Chris Perez and a PTBNL, for instance), and get ready for 2010 and beyond.

Posted in hot stove, players, statistics | 3 Comments »

Some good news in my life: 6/15 Sacrificial Links

June 16th, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksIt’s times like these we look at our Padres’ 1.5% chance of making the playoffs, and decide to sit in and enjoy our cesspool of self loathing. Or we can stick our head out of the ground, look at what bright rays of light appear on the horizon, and enjoy a beautiful summer in San Diego.

Wait, The Padres’ ace, and potential trade bait for players the team can build a foundation upon is out for a month, possibly the rest of the year? What was the first option again?

Kevin Goldstein on the Padres’ Draft

Starting with the extra young’ns, the boys at Mad Friars posted a free interview with Kevin Goldstein, prospect guru of Baseball Prospectus. I think most Padre faithful are by now familiar with Donovan Tate.

Is he perfect? No, but in terms of star potential there was no position player like him in the draft. Obviously, he has risk, but no one comes close to his ceiling.

What you might not know is the Padres got great deals on players further down in their draft. One of whom, Everett Williams, scouts expected to go in the first round, while the Padres nabbed him with the 52nd pick overall in the second. And it isn’t just Goldstein who said this, though he does say that Keyvius Sampson, The Padres’ third round pick, could also have been selected in the first, but fell due to signability concerns. As a fan, I love that. We’ll take him.

You know it’s not only the high picks, but they took some players in later rounds that will also cost some money and didn’t flinch. If you are a Padres fan, you have to hope this is the new direction they will go in the future.

Jim Callis of Baseball America, same questions, *finger point to him*

Good info all around, what sticks out for me are Callis’ concerns about Tate. Callis does rave about what an athlete he is, but we already knew that. Lets look at Jim’s response to some possible roadblocks John Conniff might see in Tate’s bat.

I’ve seen [Tate] at a few showcases and while yes I can see some of the concern, it’s not at the same level of Anthony Hewitt, who the Phillies took last year in the first round. But its also going to take some time, I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the system either.

I agree with Ray, who has said it before, and Jim, who is saying it now. The team should give Tate all the time he needs. Repeat after me, “I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the sysetm.” Now say it again.

Jaff Decker is a monster

Padres low A outfielder Jaff Decker is the second most successful 2008 draft pick, according to Baseball America. He is Baseball Prospectus’ peak translated Equivalent Average runner up, meaning he has the second highest EqA for someone of his age in his league, based on the advanced all-around offensive metric. More traditionally, his line of .283/.455/.543 for a high school draftee in his first full year looks really really really really awesome.

…it’s even more startling once one realizes he’s a supplemental first-round pick out of high school from the ’08 draft. Decker leads the MWL in on-base percentage and ranks fourth in slugging, as he’s had no trouble converting his plus raw power to game power (that’s eight home runs in 39 games)

Lake Elsinore third baseman and all-star Logan Forsythe gets a nod from Baseball America as well, second in the league in peak adjusted Equivalent Average and Equivalent Runs, plus a .327/.475/.540 line for second in good old OBP as well.

Posted in draft, sacrificial links | 4 Comments »

Draft Day Seligisms

June 9th, 2009 by

MLB commissioner Allan Huber “Bud” Selig provided some unintentional laughs at draft day today. Instead of posting anything substantive about the Padres picks, here are Selig’s pronunciations that had us giggling:

Cincinnatt-a

Car-din-als

Los Angeleez

Jorge Sanchez from Chester Hill (His name is Tony Sanchez and he’s from Chestnut Hill)

Posted in draft | 1 Comment »

Chase Gon’ Give It to Ya

June 4th, 2009 by

A little more than four years ago to the day, on June 2nd, 2005, Miguel Ojeda started the day’s game in right field. Though he was a backup catcher, Ojeda starting in the outfield wasn’t entirely out of a line, as he had a handful of starts in left earlier that year. The craziness comes in who Ojeda was starting over.

Xavier Nady was drafted by the Padres in the second round of the 2000 draft and was named the Padres number one best prospect by Baseball America in 2003. yet in his three years with the big league club, Nady never received consistent playing time, and was shipped out to New York in 2005 for Mike Cameron. Since then, Nady has jumped to Pittsburgh and then to the Yankees (the other New York team), breaking out last year with a .374 wOBA in 148 games, a career high.

On that fateful June day, Nady sat on the bench and watched Ojeda run out in right and go 0-for-3. And then five months later, he was gone.

Get to the point, Ray

Right.

The Padres have had a tremendous lack of success in developing homegrown talent. Outside of Jake Peavy, the second best player the Padres made for themselves this decade was Khalil Greene, and we all know how that turned out. Most of them busted, but at least Sean Burroughs got a chance. Nady never really got that chance in San Diego, and I’m beginning to worry about how big of a shot Chase Headley’s going to get.

Kevin Towers went on XX Radio last night for his weekly call-in. The topic of Headley, and why he’s been sitting so much, came up. Among other things, Towers said that he thinks Headley’s confidence level is down, that the strike outs are a concern, and that the team is out there trying to win games. He also said that it’s up to a player to make adjustments in game, and that maybe Headley should go back and look at video from the minors to see what’s changed.

Let’s start at the beginning: the team is out there trying to win games. Towers brought this up to explain why Headley’s sitting for Scott Hairston, but it begs the question: What are Kevin Kouzmanoff and Brian Giles doing in the lineup night-in and night-out?

Now, Giles has run into a hot streak, posting an .899 OPS in the past two weeks, which has raised his season mark up to .568. That’s an OPS+ of 52. He’s also played in 50 of the team’s 53 games. Kouzmanoff, meanwhile, has an OPS of .503 over the past two weeks, with a season OPS of .612, or an OPS+ of 63. He’s played in 51 games.

Giles’ recent hot streak and Kouzmanoff’s hot defense are two valid reasons for why these guys are still in the lineup, but I wonder why it comes at the expense of Chase Headley.

Like Nady, Headley is a former number one prospect, taking the title in 2008. And he’s also only 148 games into his major league career, but confidence in him already seems to be dwindling. In yesterday’s Union-Tribune, Headley was quoted as saying:

I’ve never had so few at-bats over a month. Since I hurt my shoulder, I haven’t played every day. I haven’t been given a chance to battle through this.

For a good number of my at-bats in May, I was fighting to get through the weakness in my shoulder. It was really weak. I had to change my stance because I couldn’t hold my hands in the same position.

Headley returns after Hairston hurt

Headley is referring to a shoulder injury he sustained in early May when he ran into the wall in L.A. This knocked him out for a couple of games, but based on Headley’s use of the past-tense, it doesn’t seem to still be bothering him. Surely not as much the position he’s found himself in.

He goes on to say:

It’s frustrating, the circumstance I’m in right now. I didn’t forget how to hit. I feel I have the capability. I think that in any capacity, I can help this team out. But this wouldn’t be the capacity I would choose.

That doesn’t sound to me like a player whose confidence is down.

Why is the team sitting on Chase Headley?

Headley’s supposed to be one of the young cornerstones of this franchise, but he’s sitting in favor of a 38-year-old in the last year of his contract. I hear Towers say that Headley’s strike outs are of concern, but more so than Kouzmanoff’s inability to draw a walk? Headley may be striking out 30% of the time, but his BB/K is still well above Kouzmanoff’s. Headley’s been the superior player of the three all year, but I don’t expect to hear the front office say so.

Finally, with Hairston on the DL, a spot in the outfield opened up. But last night, the newly recalled Will Venable got the start in left field over Headley, going 0-for-4 with an error.

One can only assume that Henry Blanco forgot his outfield glove at home.

Posted in gripes | 7 Comments »

Padres walkup music update

June 3rd, 2009 by

A large portion of The Sac Bunt’s search engine traffic comes from searches for Padres, and strangely non-Padres various walkup musics. If you’re here for that reason, welcome. I also write about other useless and esoteric sports subjects, like the amount of time viewers spend looking at advertising watching a game. With promotion like that, who could not check it out!?

Getting to the meat of the situation, Adrian is still riding his classic Pitbull, then mariachi music. Brian Giles is keeping it current with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. Chris Burke, apparently missing something in his past as much as I miss college, hums along to Kenny Chesney’s “I Go Back” on his way to the plate.

Tony Gwynn Jr. rocks “Nothin But A G Thang” by Snoop and Dr Dre, taking a page out of ex-Padre Greg Vaughn’s book. Scott Hairston keeps it hip with the cool kids using TI and all those other people’s “Swagger Like Us”.

And as a special retro walkup music feature too fantastic not to include, is Gary Templeton’s “Smooth Operator” by Sage. Marvelous.

The Padres walkup music page is updated accordingly.

Also, I think I have the poll fixed. Please vote your heart out. If it doesn’t work, tell me the error you get so I can fix it my heart out. Thanks.

Posted in misc | 4 Comments »

Adrian Gonzalez for home run derby: Taking matters into our own hands

June 2nd, 2009 by

Home Run Derby BallotYou might have noticed recently that the Padres’ league home run leader Adrian Gonzalez was not included in an online poll about the forthcoming home run derby.

Darren Smith apparently mentioned the oversight on air, which I have been unable to confirm since I refuse to subjugate myself to listening to XX 1090.

I didn’t see it mentioned in that Gaslamp Ball thread linked above, so I’m not sure if it was reported on air, but it is worth pointing out that the poll itself has no bearing on which players actually participate in the contest.

According to the statement printed directly below the online ballot:

Poll results will in no way determine the actual participants of the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby, since player participation is solely at the discretion of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball

Gonzalez’s inclusion in the home run derby was hotly contested last year. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was selected over Adrian as the final NL participant, despite sitting tied for 4th in home runs and seeing slightly more than half his opportunities for homers in a pitchers’ park.

Patrick Courtney, spokesman for the commissioner’s office, corroborated the selection rules:

Asked who decides which players are selected, Courtney said Tuesday, “We work together with ESPN, (Commissioner) Bud Selig, a committee of people.”

Gonzalez, as with any bid for a spot on the home run or all-star squad from a Padre, has an uphill battle. The Padres play in the most extreme pitcher friendly ballpark, and in one of the smallest media markets in the nation.

Hopefully, ballpark and league adjusted statistics will become the norm when measuring ballplayer contributions, but they aren’t right now. Instead we’re stuck with simplistic, misleading counting statistics like home runs and RBIs. There’s not much we can do much about the market size of San Diego.

Adrian Gonzalez Home Run DerbyStrangely, Padres.com currently displays a photo of Adrian Gonzalez with the caption “Enjoying a career year, Gonzalez needs your vote.” Just below is a link titled “Vote for derby participants,”  which leads to the famed ballot lacking any mention of our boy.

Not selected him last year was unfortunate. Not selecting the front-running league home run champ to for the damn home run derby this year is a joke. I have a hard time expecting such an oversight this year, but I also hope the team will step up its marketing efforts behind Adrian. Hopefully, since the actual selections are made internally, they already are.

It is also my hope Padres fans step up the pressure publicly. With the impending trade of Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzalez is clearly the face of the franchise. His participation in such a well viewed event brings recognition for him, and our favorite team.

Let’s be those obnoxious big market fans. Lets make a stink about it. Ok, you don’t have to be too obnoxious if you don’t want to. But it’s highly encouraged!

To help, I put together a little something something for your blog sidebar for forum signature. Below it is the HTML code to copy and paste. The photo is licensed under Creative Commons by Dirk Hansen.

Adrian Gonzalez for Home Run Derby
Adrian Gonzalez for Home Run Derby


Large:
<a href=”http://thesacrificebunt.com/1245/adrian-gonzalez-for-home-run-derby-taking-matters-into-our-own-hands/”><img src=”http://thesacrificebunt.com/blog/wp-content/2009/06/gonzalez4derby_large.png” alt=”Adrian Gonzalez for Home Run Derby” width=”300″ height=”224″ /></a>

Small:
<a href=”http://thesacrificebunt.com/1245/adrian-gonzalez-for-home-run-derby-taking-matters-into-our-own-hands/”><img src=”http://thesacrificebunt.com/blog/wp-content/2009/06/gonzalez4derby_small.png” alt=”Adrian Gonzalez for Home Run Derby” width=”200″ height=”150″ /></a>

Posted in awards, players | No Comments »

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