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Is Mat Latos better than Jake Peavy?

September 8th, 2010 by

What a stupid question. Jake has more than twelve hundred innings on Latos. We’re not even close to being able to make such calls. But let’s try anyway.

Last night, Latos set a major league record by pitching in his fifteenth straight game of five innings or more while allowing two runs or less. The last time he gave up three runs was on June 4th, which was also the last time he allowed three runs in a game since April 26th. Since May 1st, his ERA has been 1.64. He may be young, but Latos has muscled his way into Great talk.

I don’t know about you, fellow Padres fans, but my barometer for great Padre pitching is Jake Peavy. The break up may have been less than amicable but he’s still the greatest Padre I’ve ever seen toe the rubber in the first inning. So how does new hotness measure up?

Here’s a sampling of what the tattooed one has done this season, at age 22:

FIP 2.96
xFIP 3.25
ERA+ 163
K/9 9.41
BB/9 2.38
WPA 4.4
WAR 3.7

Not bad. For starters, let’s look at how Jake did at age 22.

FIP 4.99
xFIP 4.35
ERA+ 96
K/9 7.21
BB/9 3.79
WPA 0.32
WAR 0.3

I think it’s safe to say that Latos found his feet a little earlier. Now, Jake’s Cy Young season.

FIP 2.54
xFIP 2.84
ERA+ 158
K/9 9.67
BB/9 2.74
WPA 3.50
WAR 6.1

Latos actually holds his own. Jake’s got him at FIP and xFIP, the big kahunas of the moment, strike outs, and WAR (it should be noted here that WAR is a cumulative stat on Latos is on pace for less than 200 innings this year) but Latos takes ERA+, walks, and WPA so far. His K/BB also bests Jake’s, 3.95 to 3.53. It’s highly doubtful that Latos will get the award this year, Johnson and Halladay have just been too dominant, but that takes nothing away from what he’s accomplished this year.

In case you were wondering, Latos has set career highs in every category this year. How do they compare to Jake’s career highs, you ask? Let’s find out.

FIP 2.84 2007
xFIP 2.99 2009
ERA+ 171 2004
K/9 9.74 2009
BB/9 2.22 2005
WPA 3.59 2005
WAR 6.1 2007

With the exception of WPA, Latos still has a ways to go before he reaches Jake but he’s off to a fast-start. It should be interesting to see how much ground he gains next year, don’t you agree Tom Verducci?

Posted in players, statistics | 5 Comments »

You play to win the game?

February 4th, 2010 by

With talk of the Twins and Joe Mauer close to coming together on an extension, it would seem that Adrian has jumped to the top of the waiting list. Whether he’s waiting to be extended or traded is yet to be seen.

At last week’s Town Hall meeting, the Padres told the crowd that they were committed to the name on the front of the jersey and not the ones on the back, and Jeff Moorad was later quoted in the Union-Tribune saying “I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interest of the organization. As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we’re mindful of players’ individual popularity, we won’t put one player ahead of the long-term interests of the club.” Jed Hoyer gives a more diplomatic response, saying that it is still early in the process, but it would appear that the writing is on the wall.

The details have yet to come out on the Mauer extension, but let’s assume he’ll exceed $25 million a year (and that’s being generous to the Twins). With their new stadium, the team should see a boost in payroll, but Mauer will still eat up a large portion of their moneys. For their sake, I hope the payroll gets bumped to the $150 million range, just in case Peter Gammons was on to something when he pointed out that no team has won the World Series in 25 years with one player making 16% of the payroll*.

*Hilariously, A-Rod made 15.88% of the 09 Yankees payroll

I quoted Gammons two years ago, just before Peavy signed his extension with our San Diego Padres. At the time, I referred to it as an “Eric Owens extension,” meaning it was more populist than strategic. For you younger readers, replace Owens’ name with David Eckstein and you’ll get the idea. A well-rounded team with dreams of a World Series ring cannot afford to sink so much into one player. But then, who’s to say we want a well-rounded team?

This is not a Twins blog, and I don’t presume to know anything about their team or the way it operates, but a quick glance across the baseball landscape shows me that a Mauer extension will be a tremendous success for everyone: the Twins will have won a victory for small-market teams everywhere, Mauer is a hero for ignoring the bright lights of the big markets, and baseball writers get a new Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn, Sr. (combined!) to gush about. At this point, a World Series win would be the icing on the cake.

As a fellow Padres fan, I don’t have to tell you that we don’t even have a cake. Our enjoyment of our star player has been hijacked by seemingly non-stop trade rumors and our young core doesn’t really add up to much more than a Hostess snack cake. The 2010 PECOTA Projections put us at 74 wins and last place in the NL West. Las Vegas, for its part, gives us 80/1 odds of winning in October, putting us ahead of only the real train wrecks of the league. What we do have, despite everything I just said, is hope. With Blanks and Latos and Cabrera, the future looks brighter, and we still have a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove-winning first baseman, even if just for now.

With all that said, I pose this question to you, the loyal readers:

What would you rather the Padres do?

Would you rather see the team trade Adrian Gonzalez and maximize their resources in hope of building a small market contender like Colorado or Tampa Bay? Or would you rather see the team commit to Adrian and take their chances with one superstar making up to a third of the team’s payroll, crowning a new Mr. Padres in the process, even if it lowers our already low odds? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in hot stove, players | 15 Comments »

The new Mr. Padre is…

August 13th, 2009 by

the old Mr. Padre. And the new old Mr. Padre.

As you might recall, when Petco first opened, it was adorned around the outside with pictures of Padre heroes, like Phil Nevin and Sean Burroughs. As these players made their way out, they were replaced by the new guys, like Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez. But now they’re gone (wait, what?) and Petco has updated accordingly.

Drumroll, please…

Thanks to PadreHomer for the picture

Credit to PadreHomer

So Peavy and Gonzalez have been traded for a bunch of little kids. Wave of the future! But that’s not all, these kids have player jerseys on. Along with the old Tony Gwynn, these kids are representing for the new Tony Gwynn and the only Everth Cabrera.

Update your allegiances accordingly.

Posted in petco park | 4 Comments »

Links for the host of hurlers from Chicago

July 31st, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksI’ll post reports on the Padres pile of pitching prospects they received in return for Jake Peavy. I tried to work Aaron Poreda in that sentence too, but that would be just silly. I’ll update this page as I find more.

Avenging Jack Murphy posted some great info, stolen fair and square from Baseball America.

Aaron Poreda

Midewest Sports Fans (March, 2009)

So for his brief minor league career thus far, Aaron Poreda is 12-9 with a 2.69 ERA in 207.1 innings, with a K/9 rate of 7.2 and a WHIP of 1.10. All very good numbers, and certainly predictors of future success. Draft Reports (2007)

Strengths: Plus, plus fastball with above-average movement and the ability to throw strikes consistently.
Weaknesses:His secondary stuff. The slider and changeup will have to come a long way. Even though he’s a lefty, he’s not good at getting left-handed hitters out.

Minor League Ball (December, 2008)

Grade B+: Power lefty was a bit more polished than anticipated. Does he start or relieve? (November, 2008, h/t SDPads1)

Don’t be surprised to see him in the big leagues at some point in 2009 — with his outstanding fastball and improving secondary pitches, he is the system’s top pitching prospect. “Organizational player of the year.”

Baseball America (November, 2008, h/t SDPads1)

Named best fastball in the organization, #2 prospect

Clayton Richard

Minor League Ball (December, 2008)

Grade C+: Throws strikes, nice sinker, not a big margin for error. (November, 2008)

The control freak walked only 20 in 127 2/3 Minor League innings while fanning 86. Richard was an eighth-round pick in 2005. “Organizational player of the year”

Baseball America (November, 2008, h/t SDPads1)

Named #3 Prospect in organization

Dexter Carter

Baseball America (July, 2009)

Carter’s changeup was coming in at a firm 83-85 mph earlier in the season, but Owens said they’ve lowered that figure to 78-80 now. Carter has the added advantage of standing 6-foot-6, enabling him to generate a good downhill plane for all his pitches, though issues with staying on a straight line to the plate still creep in from time to time.

Given the assets he already has, it’s not hard to imagine Carter having success at higher levels if his changeup progresses.

Minor League Ball (December, 2008)

Grade C: Excellent pro debut following horrible college season. Which is the real Carter?

Adam Russell (November, 2008)

A 6-foot-8 reliever who posted a 4-0 record and 5.19 ERA after his big league callup, Russell struck out 22 over 26 innings and earned a spot on the White Sox postseason roster. “Kept their footing.”

Posted in hot stove, sacrificial links | Comments Off

Peavy to Chicago, for real this time

July 31st, 2009 by

The Padres have traded Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox. And this time it’s a done deal.

The Padres will receive four pitchers from the American League team, right-handers Adam Russell and Dexter Carter, and left-handers Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard.

Peavy traded to White Sox

You might recall that Towers and the White Sox previously worked out a deal for Peavy, also headlined by Poreda, but the Cy Young-winner shot it down. This time he accepted, and Towers just found $52 million over the next three years.

And I was just about to come here and moan about not moving Heath Bell. Nevermind.

Posted in hot stove | Comments Off

Why is Adrian starting?

July 2nd, 2009 by

On Tuesday night, Adrian Gonzalez, aka Far and Away the Best Player on the Padres, had to leave the game after the fourth inning after he strained his right knee on a slide into third.

On Wednesday night, Adrian Gonzalez, aka Far and Away the Best Player on the Padres, was back in the starting lineup.


Let’s take a step back. On May 22nd, in another base-running mishap, Jake Peavy hurt his ankle. Five days later, on May 27th, Peavy was back out there anyway, giving up four earned in six plus against the Diamondbacks while only striking out five. He would start two more games, the flu-ridden debacle against the Phillies and a strong start against those same Diamondbacks, before being shut down for months, maybe even the entire season, with a longitudinal tearing in the posterior tibialis tendon. The severity of the injury caught both Peavy and the team off guard, which explains how a star pitcher can be handled so nonchalantly. One would hope that if the Padres had to do it all over again, they’d give Peavy’s ankle more time to build back its strength.

Cue Adrian.

Following the recent days off for Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau, Adrian became the active consecutive games leader. As of the writing of this article, Adrian has played in 284 consecutive games, which leads him 21 games behind Steve Garvey’s Padre record. Garvey, one of the four San Diego Padres worthy of having his number retired. From where I’m sitting, which is in my mother’s basement, something doesn’t seem right. Is risking Adrian’s long-term health worth this streak, if that’s what this is about? And if it’s not, what is it about?

As we’ve been over, this is not the season to be calling out all the stops. I would imagine that Adrian doesn’t want to come out of the lineup, but he’s not supposed to want to come out. That’s when Bud Black is supposed to take a step back, realize that he has the team’s number one prospect who also so happens to be a first baseman just sitting around, and make the best big picture decision.

Of course, to be fair, my mother’s basement doesn’t have all the answers. There’s many nuances that go into running a baseball team that I don’t know. I just have a bad feeling about this.

Posted in gripes | 3 Comments »

Peavy still Chicago-bound?

May 21st, 2009 by


According to Padres personnel, Peavy met with Padres manager Bud Black late Wednesday night to discuss a trade overture from the Sox.

Peavy, whose consent would be needed for a trade to any club, declined all comment after meeting with Black.

Within the clubhouse, though, Peavy referred to the situation as “something to think about” yet also restated his desire to stay in the National League. One of Peavy’s teammates said he believes Peavy respects the Sox’s aggressiveness in pushing for him but may have reservations about pitching for Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox’s volatile manager.

Peavy trade to White Sox may be near

There’s not a whole lot to say right now, so feel free to read everything we said over the winter.

We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, we recommend you Google Aaron Poreda. Or just click here. We really do spoil you.

RAY UPDATE: Nevermind. I feel naive.

Posted in hot stove | 1 Comment »

Hi hater

April 17th, 2009 by

With great power comes great responsibility.

With all due respect, Trevor who? The Heath Bell era has begun in San Diego. While we’re not even two weeks into the season, Heath (yeah, he’s already on a first-name basis) sits atop the league with his 5 saves, and he’s using this position to fight the good fight against ESPN and the East Coast Bias.

Heath, who grabbed headlines earlier in the offseason when it became public knowledge that he dropped 20 pounds using Wii Fit, took exception to the coverage his and our team received this past Monday, when they spoiled the opener of Citi Field by beating the Mets.

“I saw ESPN’s promo for tonight’s game. They mention the Mets are opening Citi Field, they mentioned the starting time, but nowhere did they mention the Padres. . . .

“I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else,” said the closer, a former Met. “That’s why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I’m really turned off by ESPN and ‘Baseball Tonight.’ When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It’s all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”

Padres closer Heath Bell sick of ESPN’s East Coast bias

While Heath’s earned himself new fans with his comments, he’s also received backlash:

While I agree that MLB Network is far superior to ESPN concerning televised baseball coverage, this is pretty petty. The reason the Monday night’s game was telecast was because of the Mets opening their new stadium — just like last year when the Nationals did on Sunday Night Baseball. Bell would also be hard pressed to explain how ESPN doesn’t care about the Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, Phillies, Rays, Indians, Angels, White Sox, Twins and Dodgers. They may try to cater to the more popular teams — how dare they worry about ratings? — but it’s not limited to just three teams. Plus, do they actually have an obligation to cover each team equally? Without trying to speak for ESPN, coverage is generally slanted toward teams that matter to the mass audience — not just a small group of die-hards. The Padres simply don’t right now.

Simply put, things are going very well for the Padres right now. That’s not likely to continue, so they should be enjoying themselves instead of worrying about ESPN’s coverage. It would behoove Bell to take a page out of the Adam Dunn handbook and not watch or read anything, while remaining indifferent toward media coverage.

Outrageous, you say? While I agree that Monday’s night coverage of the Mets made sense, given that the entire event was built around the opening of that new New York stadium, it shouldn’t water down Heath’s message. Taking what was said about the three teams so literally is silly and a straw man argument.

Isn’t the idea that ESPN doesn’t have a responsibility to cover all teams, and that the Padres should be honored that they’re getting coverage now, the kind of arrogance that has grown undeserved? Not only has the Internet made the so-called experts on ESPN worthless, but the MLB Network has made Baseball Tonight highlights unnecessary? Let us turn to our leader, Heath Bell:

Well- nevermind. Moving on.

Speaking of crushing disappointment from Heath, his entrance music has left something to be desired. He started out at a disadvantage, replacing the man with the most iconic theme song in the history of baseball, but this? Listen:

We at the Sacrifice Bunt are taking it upon ourselves to find Heath’s new, true entrance music. Leave a comment giving your suggestions. Here’s mine:

(warning: pg-13 swagger in this video)

Posted in gripes, media | 6 Comments »

Introducing the Sac Bunt Shop: buy even more crap you don’t need!

April 14th, 2009 by

Literally every second, Ray and I get hundreds of emails from loyal SacBuntians clamoring for ways to advertise The Sacrifice Bunt for us, free of charge.

“I’m tired of wearing shirts with boring little green alligators, or apparel without hilarious sayings that show the world how witty and hip I am,” they say. And as is our usual policy when strangers on the Internet tell us to do things: we have wholeheartedly obliged.

The Sacrifice Bunt Shop is here, hipper and with more Padres related double entendres than previously thought possible.

Honest to goodness, we don’t make any money off this stuff, besides the good feeling in our hearts we get when people cover their bodies with the logo of our worthy to be on a t-shirt website.
Tony Gwynn Is My HomeboyThe Sacrifice Bunt T-Shirt
Most shirts feature a design on the front with a Sac Bunt logo on the back. AA means it’s American Apparel. So they’re a little further up the pricing scale, but the shirts are soft and well fitted. You can choose any t-shirt color your heart desires, but if you want a different color ink, or a different style of shirt (long sleeve or moar women’s styles, for instance) let me know.

Posted in misc | Comments Off


April 10th, 2009 by

I know it’s usually Melvin’s thing to highlight the ridiculousness of the Union-Tribune’s sports reporting, but I’m the one with the degree in journalism, damnit! 

As you, a devoted reader of the Sacrifice Bunt, knows, Petco Park is the hardest stadium on hitters in the entire major leagues. And it’s not even close. But today, we’ve learned that Nick Canepa’s yet to bookmark us. 

The Padres have just begun their sixth season in Petco Park, and it appears they’ve finally called off the exorcists. Extensive and expensive studies by engineers have revealed the place is an expanse of grass and dirt, with fences along its outer edge. There is no cemetery beneath it. They don’t sell voodoo dolls in the gift shop.

It’s difficult to judge any baseball team after a few days, although it’s apparent to just about everyone who doesn’t believe in witchcraft that these particular Padres aren’t going to arrive in Cooperstown in the same bus. But there are enough new faces probably unaware of the Petco Curse, what with so many of the complainers having grabbed their Tarot cards and left the building.

This is not – not – the Petco Triangle.

No more singing the ballpark blues

Let us be very very clear: Petco hurts hitting. It’s very likely that it is in the hitters head, from Nevin and Klesko on up, but for good reason. From 2004 through 2007, Petco suffocated runs by almost 20%, and 2008 was worse. Any hitter that complains about the effect Petco has on their hitting is well within their right. Which is, presumably, why Canepa didn’t talk to any for his article.

Instead, to help show how the team has truly exorcised the hitting hurting demons, he interviewed Peavy and Black.

“I’m so tired of hearing that stuff,” Padres ace Jake Peavy was saying. “We can win here; we’ve won here. So it’s not a bandbox. Matt Kemp hit one off the batter’s eye against me the other day. Hit it hard. I’m tired of ballpark excuses.

For a little bit of context, here’s what Peavy had to say following Monday’s home opening loss:

“Today’s game was nothing new to me,” Peavy said. “It’s always been this way. I’m not knocking any hitters that we’ve had in the past or our hitters now. We’re just going to play low-scoring ballgames. That’s the makeup of our teams here.”

Exactly. For good measure, Peavy pointed out that the other guys don’t have a problem, and Black backed him up.

“There are ballparks that play bigger than this. Guys will tell you Pac Bell, or whatever it is (now AT&T in San Francisco), is harder to hit in. The guys who’ve been here are not going to let the new guys get in a negative frame of mind. This team has moved past that. It’s not like the Dodgers were batting in Arizona and we were batting here.”


“We don’t need players who have the ballpark in their heads,” Black said. “I feel as though our players are strong mentally, so the ballpark shouldn’t come into their heads. You’re playing a baseball game. Play the game.

“Eighteen players play at the same time. It’s a baseball game. When the wind blows out in Chicago, the same guys are playing. I hear about Safeco outs and Citizens Bank home runs and Great American Ballpark home runs. So what?”

Peavy being Peavy. I want to give Black the benefit of the doubt and say that he’s not telling the hitters to man up, but Canepa didn’t intend for that interpretation. I’d be curious what Edgar Gonzalez, who recently told the North County Times that it’s already Petco 3 – Gonzalez Bros. 0 and counting, thinks about Peavy and Black’s comments. 

If only press passes weren’t so hard to come by.


Whine and ye shall receive.

The North County Times is reporting that Moorad and new president Tom Garfinkel are looking at bringing in the fences.

Asked on XX 1090’s morning show Thursday about the possibility of moving in the fences, Moorad said he’s scheduled to meet with former president Dick Freeman to get an insider’s perspective.

Everything in this article is pretty ambiguous; it says that Moorad and Garfinkle “want to learn all they can about the outfield dimensions at Petco Park,” though I imagine Alderson knew a good amount without doing anything about it. But the implication is there.

In the comments, I threw in a quote from Adrian showing that he knows what’s up, and the NCT throws in some more:

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez favors bringing in the fences, particularly in the gaps. Gonzalez said he’s fine with the depth in right field but would like the gaps in right- and left-center field to be shortened to 385 feet. The current distances are 400 feet in right-center and 401 in left-center.

Gonzalez said the change not only would result in more home runs, but also would affect the way outfielders chase long fly balls.

“If he catches it, he’ll run into a wall,” Gonzalez said. “He’ll have to deal with the wall. Instead he’s running, he’s running, he’s running, and he catches it and is still short of the wall.”

And, to top things off, here’s a very fun fact:

This winter, Padres researchers discovered that fly balls hit more than 325 feet at Petco result in a .278 average as opposed to a major league average of .405.

Posted in media, statistics | 9 Comments »

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