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The Orioles, fighting for their post-season lives, come to the Dome-by-the-Lake this weekend.


The Orioles are in tough as they try to return to the post-season, sitting 2.5 games out of the the playoffs. Everyone knows how lucky they were last season, but they also emerged as a legitimately good team over the last two months of the 2012 season. They've carried that over into this season, but their luck, so historically remarkable in 2012, has spun in the other direction. The 2013 Orioles have the worst record in the major leagues (16-27) in one-run games. That's with essentially the same team that posted one of the best records in such games in all recorded history. They certainly ought to be looking back at Tampa Bay and (especially) the Yankees.
Game Thread - Baltimore | 91 comments | Create New Account
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92-93 - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#279047) #
http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/davidi-analytical-look-at-jays-poor-defence/

I was surprised by how bad the metrics think the 1B defense has been, and reading this article confirms my previous feelings on Lind. It seems the easiest way to save money and improve the team's defense without compromising the team's run production is to find a cheaper LH bat that doesn't tie up the DH spot, preventing Melky & Encarnacion from being able to take more advantage of it.
BlueJayWay - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 05:53 PM EDT (#279048) #
In a lot of ways the Orioles are a better team than they were last year.  Luck hasn't been on their side.  Jim Johnson's also been pretty terrible.
smcs - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#279049) #
He wouldn't be cheaper, but Shin-Soo Choo would be an awesome FA pick-up.
John Northey - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#279050) #
Uh, who still believes JPA can be 'an elite offensive player'? Anyone who says that should be ignored by the Jays - this is a guy who has yet to reach a 95 OPS+ in the majors over 3 full seasons.  C'mon, time to accept that Vegas numbers are not repeatable in the majors.

The big issue now is what to make of Goins?  The defensive stats for him are 'wow' and beyond belief.  If he is that elite then he could hit for a 600 OPS and be a valuable player.  FanGraphs has his UZR/150 at 56.4 which is far beyond anything I've seen over a full season. Checking the FanGraphs database, of all players they have a UZR/150 for who have played 130 or more innings Goins 56.4 is #1 by a mile - #2 is Kyle Seager at 33.8.  Now, this is for career, not just one year but still... of course #3 is Mike McCoy at 32.3 in 189 1/3 innings so take it with a grain of salt.  Even cutting to 50 innings he still leads.  Until you get to 33 innings (Danny Sandoval) you don't get a higher figure (he was at 58.7).  For guys with 1000+ innings at 2B the record is 16.3, or less than 1/3rd of what Goins is doing so far.  So to get a more realistic figure we should cut Goins figures to 1/3rd or less of its current level.  That would drastically reduce his crazy high value (obviously) but still put him up there as valuable.  I'd say use him as John McDonald was before and try to get a better everyday 2B while Izturis you try to find a sucker to take.
Magpie - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#279051) #
Jim Johnson's also been pretty terrible.

Johnson's struggles have had a fair bit to do with his team's struggles in close games, and it's unusual that once can see so direct an effect. He's lost 8 games, and 7 of them were one-run decisions (as are both his wins.) He's had 3 additional Blown Saves, all of which resulted in a one-run loss taken by another reliever.

Only 11 of Johnson's 43 saves came in a one-run game - and on one of those occasions, Johnson himself created the one-run game by allowing a run when he had a two run lead. Further proof that anyone can rack up a lot of saves...
Magpie - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 06:44 PM EDT (#279052) #
Geez, that was a wild night for Roy Halladay on the comeback trail. He gives up a home run on this third pitch of the night. Then in the bottom of the inning, he comes to bat with the bases loaded and draws a walk to cash his first RBI in almost exactly a year. Two pitches later, he's trying to score from first base on Ruiz's bases loaded two out double but gets thrown out easily at home plate. He then cruises through the next three innings before completely falling to pieces in the fifth. With a 7 run lead, and 4.1 IP in the books, he suddenly walks four consecutive hitters for the first time in his career. Then he caps off his night by fielding an infield single and throwing the ball away.
John Northey - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#279053) #
Halladay can probably hardly wait for this nightmare season to end. His ERA+ is now down to 53, just barely over his nightmare year here when he had a 48 (but an ERA of 10.64...it was a more offensive era).  At this point I'd hesitate to sign him to any guaranteed money.  His 4 starts since coming back he has a 5.06 ERA over 21 1/3 IP (4 starts) alternating good with horrid (runs = 2-5-1-5 innings 6-5-6-4 1/3).  He walked 5 in each of his last 2 games, something unheard of. He also has hit batters in each of his last 3 games (5 of them in total).  His 9 HBP this year is his 2nd highest total in his career (12 is his peak, in over 200 innings). 

Sad to see.  Maybe coming back here would help him but I doubt it. Hopefully he does make a comeback next year somewhere though.

greenfrog - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#279055) #
I think there is a good chance the Jays will miss Lind next year if they trade him or decline his option, at least when players start getting injured and the lineup starts getting shallow.

The theory behind jettisoning Lind is reasonable. I think it could well founder in practice. In the meantime, his excellent year continues apace.
greenfrog - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#279056) #
Redmond has been impressive as the Jays #3 this season. Nothing fancy, but the results speak for themselves. He's been better than Rogers.
Nigel - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#279057) #
Redmond has been impressive and the underlying peripherals back up the ERA. But in the continuing theme of tools being valued over results, Redmond was skipped earlier in the week and pulled early tonight. I think it fair to guess that he is behind Rogers on the team depth chart.
John Northey - Friday, September 13 2013 @ 11:58 PM EDT (#279059) #
Lind is making it hard to decline the option or to just dump him in a trade.  This team has quite a few guys who probably should be at DH in Encarnacion, Lind and Cabrera all of whom will play more or less regularly if healthy (hopefully Gibbons benches Lind as often as possible vs LHP).  Encarnacion I doubt will be traded unless it is to get something really good (high end 2B or starter) while Cabrera you would have to eat salary to get rid of.  Lind, on the other hand, can be dumped at a cost of $2 mil or kept at a further risk of $6 million ($5 mil in salary plus $1 mil buyout at years end).  Hitting like he has this year he is worth the $6 mil risk.  Hitting like he did before isn't.  His fielding is very poor based on the stats. 

Hard one for AA.  You need offense and Lind & EE provide a lot of that.  You also want defense and neither provides that.  Perfect world someone thinks Lind has turned a corner and offers a 2B who can field and hit for a 100 OPS+ or a 120+ ERA+ starter for him.  No way I can see that happening, even for EE. It'll be an interesting winter.
ogator - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 09:26 AM EDT (#279060) #
If you have to sacrifice defense for offence, then 1B is where that should happen. It shouldn't happen at C, SS, CF or 2B. Maybe Encarnacion or Lind aren't terrific on defense but defense at 1B should not be a major priority. It only jumps out at you when you combine weak 1B defense with Bonifacio at 2B and Izturis at either SS at or 3B and a hobbled Melky in LF. Even then, crying about defense at 1B is failing to see the forest for the trees.
Jdog - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#279061) #
You would be crazy to trade EE for anything other than a young stud. EE is one of the best hitters in the league and has a very affordable contract.
CeeBee - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#279062) #
I agree with ogator on defense at 1B.. You can live with average or slightly worse if you get the offense. I would also say that left field would be a second position where you can as well, but that left fielder better hit like Bell, Canseco, Encarnacion ...etc. Not like Melky of this year for sure!
krose - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#279063) #
I'm of the opinion that first base and DH are not the biggest problems on this team. John N just posted about catching. I've watched most of the BJ games this year (and last year). And I've watched many other teams. My personal take is that a good catcher will offer the greatest single upgrade for the team.
ayjackson - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 03:28 PM EDT (#279064) #
I'm fine with EE at first. Only about one hundred balls per season in a 1B zone. His offence more than makes up for it. Right now I like a Sierra/Lind DH fine for next year.
greenfrog - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#279065) #
I agree that C is a key position for 2014. I've previously posted that the biggest free agent miss of last off-season may have been Russell Martin (4.5 bWAR / 4.3 fWAR in 2013), who ended up signing a team-friendly contract for 2/17. He's one of the main reasons why Pittsburgh is in a strong position to make the playoffs this year.

Martin is another player who falls into the "we liked him before he was cool" category for the Jays. If I recall correctly, they were interested in signing him prior to the 2011 season, but he chose to sign with the Yankees instead.

The Jays seem to be in on a lot of the right players (Beltran, Latos, Martin, Chapman, probably Darvish too), but for whatever reason, seem unable or unwilling to cinch the deal.
krose - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#279066) #
How much of a difference might Brian McCann make to the Jays in 2014?
BlueJayWay - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#279067) #
Huge.  Just massive.  McCann is a good catcher and a legit middle of the order bat.  If the Jays got him, they'd turn the weakest spot on the top into a real strength.

Almost certainly won't happen though.

krose - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#279068) #
Almost certainly won't happen though.

Why not?

BlueJayWay - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#279069) #
He'll require a shit tonne of money, money that I'm not sure will be there given the payroll already and raises due.  In any case, why would McCann come here?  The Jays aren't a preferred destination if they're not winning. 
krose - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#279070) #
Sorry about the extended quotes. Not sure how it was done or how to stop it.

McCann will be a free agent. What would increase the odds of getting him? Perhaps Zaun, or another person with the Jays could have a conversation; add a little wining and dining. And yes, it would cost, but the return looks "huge".
Wildrose - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#279071) #
A few observations about the whole Adam Lind conundrum.

1.) At some point the anti-Lind faction has to name, some names It's all well and good to pine for a cheaper, better hitting and fielding alternative, it's another to actually give a realistic option, otherwise it's just frustrated fanboy wish casting ( trust me this season has tried my patience to).

2.) There's a problem with the entire Adam Lind is a terrible fielder narrative in that the data doesn't actually reflect this conclusion. One year fielding metrics are notoriously volatile, in fact in 2012 Lind was + 3 in DRS/150 and +2 in UZR/ 150. It's much better to examine career numbers and adjust for age. Lind  has a career UZR of 2.1 and DRS of about -5 , certainly not Gold glove material, but hardly " horrible" numbers, and as many have mentioned teams, seem willing to go with slightly below average defence at first to get a good bat into the lineup.

3.) Many have opined, get rid of Lind and get a full time first basemen. There is I think some merit to this argument if you have the resources to do so. What's not considered though, is how is your best hitter Encarnacion going to react to this arrangement? Currently he's started only about 54 games at D.H. Most players don't react well to being exiled to D.H. on a permanent basis, they generally like to play in the field as well. Most of us are old enough to remember how fellow Dominican George Bell reacted when Jimmy Williams back in 1988 tried to make the outfielder a D.H. Is Edwin going to tell Gibby to kiss his purple butt?

4.) Funny , Adam Lind is the team's longest tenured positional player starting with the squad in 2006 ( Janssen and McGowan were on the team as well). He's also married to a Toronto girl of Jamaican descent ( I'm biased as I'm married to a T.O. girl as well and I heartily endorse the brand). Through all that time he's been a quite steady presence. Even the most jaded fan has to admit that there is something to be said for continuity and actually in having a few players who seem to enjoy the entire Toronto experience.

I think a lot of the frustration with Lind stems from him being around for so long. After awhile fans seem to focus more on what you can't do as opposed to what you actually can do well. I guess that's human nature for some. For me I just think there's bigger fish to fry on this team.
 



Admin - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 07:21 PM EDT (#279074) #

italics off.

Doublecheck

Admin - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#279075) #
Testing 1-2-3
92-93 - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#279076) #
1. There is no "anti-Lind faction", and it isn't frustrated fanboy wish casting to suggest the team can find a competent left-handed hitter for a part time role. Adam Lind's career line of .267/.321/.463 is very replaceable. James Loney cost the Rays 2m this offseason.

2. Nobody is suggesting you dump Lind because he's a bad fielder. You trade him for value because Encarnacion and Cabrera are also poor fielders, and because Bautista can't get through a full season without getting injured and could use the DH ABs.

3. Going to steer clear of this point because I've never been the one making it. The team doesn't need a full-time 1B, at all.

"I think a lot of the frustration with Lind stems from him being around for so long. After awhile fans seem to focus more on what you can't do as opposed to what you actually can do well. I guess that's human nature for some. For me I just think there's bigger fish to fry on this team."

I think you're creating narratives in your head to explain. There hasn't been frustration with Lind around here for months. There's a discussion about a possible way for the team to improve itself in 2014, and a very reasonable one at that.
92-93 - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#279077) #
Brian McCann would sure be nice, but let's not kid ourselves. This front office has yet to get serious about signing an elite FA, and unless Rogers is about to support a 33% payroll increase up to 160m I just don't see how you can even consider a McCann. The team's payroll has to rise significantly (around 20%) just to bring back the 2013 roster.
greenfrog - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 11:11 PM EDT (#279078) #
Someone like Pierzynski on a one-year deal is probably more the Jays' speed, and even that would probably require dumping Lind and Arencibia to clear salary space. And that's assuming he would consider slumming in Toronto after experiencing a season of elite baseball in Texas. Maybe he would do it as a favour to Buehrle.

92-93, you've mentioned a few cheap acqusitions who worked out in 2013, like Loney. Of course, this is easy to do in retrospect. Who would be your top choices in the $2M range to play C, 1B and/or 2B for the Jays in 2014?
Wildrose - Saturday, September 14 2013 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#279079) #
1. There is no "anti-Lind faction", and it isn't frustrated fanboy wish casting to suggest the team can find a competent left-handed hitter for a part time role. Adam Lind's career line of .267/.321/.463 is very replaceable. James Loney cost the Rays 2m this offseason.

I'm not trying to be a Dick, give me some names, alternatives. I mean you keep saying you can replace him for cheaper. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

2. Nobody is suggesting you dump Lind because he's a bad fielder. You trade him for value because Encarnacion and Cabrera are also poor fielders, and because Bautista can't get through a full season without getting injured and could use the DH ABs.

I don't quite follow your quote then to start this thread that linked the Davidi article on poor defence?

I was surprised by how bad the metrics think the 1B defense has been, and reading this article confirms my previous feelings on Lind. It seems the easiest way to save money and improve the team's defense without compromising the team's run production is to find a cheaper LH bat that doesn't tie up the DH spot, preventing Melky & Encarnacion from being able to take more advantage of it.

 
 
Your plan is to pick up Lind's option,  then sign a better hitting, better fielding replacement for cheaper. Again were back to square one. Who exactly are you making a play for? One problem is if you sign someone to replace Lind you do loose a certain degree of leverage trading him later, and as you say first basemen are particularly fungible.

I think you're creating narratives in your head to explain. There hasn't been frustration with Lind around here for months. There's a discussion about a possible way for the team to improve itself in 2014, and a very reasonable one at that.

I'm not creating anything in my head. I'm just trying to get people to make more substantial concrete suggestions. In terms of improving the team I just think the team has bigger issues to address than dumping or trading Lind. 


92-93 - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 12:18 AM EDT (#279080) #
I'm not a GM, so it isn't my job to know who is available and who isn't. Sure, I can go to Cot's and throw a few names out there, but what's the difference? I have no idea what certain players are going to cost and, most importantly, what sort of bats are available via the trade market. I've never suggested that the 2B and C solutions should be bargain bin buys; only Lind's replacement should be. Heck, this team is probably better bringing Kelly Johnson back for the same amount of money as they're going to spend on Lind, and he signed for less than half that this offseason. A guy like KJ would allow them to field a whole bunch of different lineups based on who Gibbons wants to put at DH at that day. Johnson doesn't have the severe splits of a Lind either in case you need to press him into everyday action. But again, I'm not advocating Johnson or Loney, as I've seen very little of either this year and am reading their stat lines. They are just examples of the types of guys that were available this offseason for a relative pittance.
92-93 - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 12:27 AM EDT (#279081) #
David DeJesus. Nate McLouth. Ryan Sweeney. David Murphy. Luke Scott. That's 5 names I got from a quick scan, all guys whose splits vs. RHP from 2010-2012 will compare well with Lind's, I think. And they shouldn't cost very much.

I proposed the suggestion of trading Lind before Davidi's article came out. I can see the confusion, though.
Magpie - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#279082) #
There hasn't been frustration with Lind around here for months.

Hey, I've been frustrated with him for years.

On the one hand, I think the team has bigger issues. On the other hand, I think people seriously underestimate the impact of defense at first base. It's not just the fact that your first basemen are going to handle the ball at least 1400 times a year, far more than anybody else who actually lines up in fair territory. That large figure includes a number of balls in play comparable to what third basemen have to cope with. And the difference between a first baseman who is exceptionally good at fielding throws in the dirt from infielders (think Carlos Pena) and first basemen who aren't (think Prince Fielder) is in the range of 20 or 30 extra baserunners per year. That's a fairly big deal. It's not just throwing errors that get saved, because such plays often get scored as base hits.
Mike Green - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#279083) #
Right.  The compounding factor in this case is that the roster preferences (long bullpen) and Managerial preferences (ride the hot hand) means that Lind invariably gets more at-bats against LHP than he ought to.  The end result is that he plays the field, he faces LHP and he is on average barely above replacement in this role depending on how you measure defence.  If you include scooping ability, he's probably just a nick above replacement over the last 3 years (or 5 years). 

If you had a different manager and a different GM, you could use Lind in an effective way and if you had a larger budget, it would hardly be important.  As it is, Lind has only been slightly more effective than Arencibia over the last 3 years.  Both ought to be replaced.

Wildrose - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#279084) #
I'm glad that some concrete suggestions on players were made. Guys like Murphy and DeJesus are not going to come cheap, in fact DeJesus has a 6.5 million team option and Murphy is being paid $5.8 million  this year.

Generally speaking there is a dearth of free agent talent available in 2014, couple that with each team having an extra $ 30 million each with the new national TV contract ( and that's not counting other shared revenue sources that are also doing well like MLB properties) coming available and more parity with the extra wild card, I think you're going to see the salary floor move up quite a bit this off-season.

I note of the players suggested 4 of them are outfielders who haven't played first, Scott has but he is going to be 37 next year and hasn't played much in the field the past few years. I'm not sure what the plan would be then to replace Lind's starts at first ? More Edwin? Maybe have Bautista play there?

I sort of like the Johnson suggestion. I don't think he'd ever hit righties as well as Lind  who has a career 123 WRC +  while Johnson is at 105. He also hits lefties at 106, but this isn't really the hitting production you'd like to see at first/DH. Having played second though I imagine he could become a good defender at first. The salaries would be similar , you'd lose some hitting value but gain a bit of defence and in terms of positional flexibility. Overall though I'm not sure at the end of the day he'd be better than Lind, so it's more of a lateral move. 

 
Wildrose - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#279085) #
If you had a different manager and a different GM, you could use Lind in an effective way and if you had a larger budget, it would hardly be important.

I'm afraid my definition of  "effective" differs rather substantially than yours Mike. As of this morning, as measured by WRC+,  Lind is the # 19 hitter in the A.L. Could he face less left handers, sure, but it's been a pretty good hitting year overall for the guy.

Also I believe , scoops are incorporated into DRS, so while he's not gold glove material at  first -5 career wise, it's not a cataclysmic total either.

I think they started with the best of intentions limiting his at bats against lefties, but with all the injuries that plan went off the rails, maybe in the off season that can be revisited with a bit more roster depth.

 
krose - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#279086) #
Love this site! Whether I agree or disagree many interesting, mature, articulate viewpoints are presented.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#279087) #
If you have a useful player (one of the team's best hitters) at a not unreasonable cost who meshes well with your hitting coach but is being used incorrectly, wouldn't it make more sense to start using him correctly, rather than dumping him and taking a chance on a different player, perhaps one identified by the same scouts who recommended, among other moves, acquiring Izturis and Johnson and trading Hill and Gomes?
92-93 - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#279088) #
Sure, if you to ignore that the team needs the flexibility to be able to use Melky, EE, and Bautista at DH.

I don't need the LH bat to be capable of playing 1B. Between EE, Bautista, and DeRosa, you're covered. Maybe even JPA.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#279089) #
So, to sum up, your plan is to entice players like DeJesus, McLouth, Sweeney and Murphy with an offer of $2M and a chance to head north of the border and DH for the Jays and sometimes rotate through the OF and possibly play some 1B? And then use the $3M you'd save on Lind's contract ($7M less $2M buyout less $2M for your proposed acquisition) to fund your upgrades at C and 2B?

Just checking.
greenfrog - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#279090) #
$5M left for the C and 2B upgrades, I mean - you've said you'd be picking up Lind's option and expecting the acquiring team to pay full freight on Lind's contract.
ayjackson - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#279091) #
So in the "replace Lind" crowd, we have one well respected bauxite comparing his utility to JPA and another suggesting he has high trade value, when similar lefties are available on the cheap in FA.
92-93 - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#279092) #
No, my plan is to find a lefty who can hit a little bit for cheap, and I'm done repeating myself in the face of your snark.

It's a real shame the Jays didn't make Anthony Gose the starting CF in May cuz Rasmus sucks, and that they couldn't land Utley for Pillar and Nolin. Sheesh.
krose - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#279093) #
Sheesh!!!
krose - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#279094) #
It's fun to speculate on roster changes. There will likely be some predictable ones and some that come as surprises. After watching almost all of the Jays†games over the past few years, (Ya, I should get a life.) my perception is that strengthening the catcher position would contribute most to roster improvement. That does not mean there is a disagreement with some:-)of the other suggestions given in this thread.
smcs - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#279095) #
A cheap in-house platoon partner for Adam Lind would be Mark Derosa, which is what they kinda-sorta did at the start of this season. Arencibia DH'd if Dickey was on the mound. Bautista DH'd a few times, too. They finally started DHing Cabrera in May, with Davis going to LF. The platooning was abandoned in June in San Diego, with Reyes, Lawrie and Davis (I think) all injured. They tossed out an infield of Lind-Derosa-Izturis-Encarnacion, with Buerhle on the mound.

The other in-house solution would be to platoon Lind with Moises Sierra, and have Cabrera or Bautista DH against lefties, but Sierra would have to play LF for Cabrera.

greenfrog - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#279096) #
I guess it's been a while again, huh, 92-93?
BlueJayWay - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#279097) #
Arencibia and Mendoza are now acquainted.
Magpie - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#279098) #
I missed today's game (I was at Smythe Park watching the TBBL All-Star Game) but I see Kawasaki pinch hit for Arencibia. Cool. How does that feel, I wonder.

Maybe the big drama in the final week will be Arencibia's grim quest to hit .200. I sure hope we don't see him sit out the final game to protect a .201 mark.
John Northey - Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#279099) #
Looking at the Jays site the stats are interesting.
At 2B: Goins now is below Izturis (597) and Bonifacio (579) for OPS by regulars at 2B by dropping to 570.  Kawasaki (632) and DeRosa (730) look much nicer on offense.  Cut down to what they did while playing 2B and it gets uglier. Even Lawrie when playing 2B had issues (385 OPS).  2B is just cursed this year as the only guy over 600 for OPS while playing 2B is DeRosa at 648.  Maybe Robbie Alomar would like to unretire.

As CA: JPA's 625 OPS is actually nice vs Blanco's 520 and Thole's 471. Ugh.

As LF: Gose in LF is at 1.097 OPS (21 AB's so don't get excited). Bonifacio was at 794 in LF, then a big drop again to Cabrera at 662, Davis at 629 and Pillar at 473. Only Cabrera and Davis reached 100+ PA so don't put too much weight on anyone else there.

Yeah, those 3 slots are the nightmares and the nightmare is never ending. Give Gose a few more games in LF and I'd bet that 1097 OPS will drop back to the rest of the pack.
krose - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 01:07 AM EDT (#279100) #
I smell cheese.
John Northey - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 09:07 AM EDT (#279101) #
Quick check on a few traded away guys...
Travis d'Arnaud: 169/235/234 over 85 PA with the Mets - he is playing regularly now (11 games in September) and in those 11 he has hit worse (293 OPS). Seems Ex-Jays for the Mets didn't work out so well (Marcum 5.29 ERA and released, Brandon Lyon 4.98 and released, Aaron Laffey over 7 and released, Frank Francisco only got 2 2/3 IP in, John Buck has a 84 OPS+ which is a bit better than JPA but not $6 million better. Syndergaard did have a great year in A+/AA while Becerra is just 18 and did poor in rookie ball (646 OPS in RF).

Jake Marisnick: 178/226/234 for the Marlins - a bit rushed and it shows. Alvarez has a 99 ERA+, Escobar a 101 OPS+, while Hechavarria (52 OPS+) and Mathis (58 OPS+) are as expected (poor bat, great d). Nicolino did great in A+ but not as well in AA and had a low K rate (just over 6) while DeSclafani killed A+ and did well in AA with a decent K rate (8.0 overall).

So few traded away would've helped this years disaster team, but Syndergaard and DeSclafani showed hope for the future. d'Arnaud would be making us very, very nervous if he was still here.
92-93 - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#279102) #
"Escobar a 101 OPS+"

With a .335 OBP and a 4.0 fWAR.
James W - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#279103) #
Am I the only one who believes that Melky will go back to being an average to above-average defensive left fielder next year? I suppose there is some assumption being made that all of his troubles can be attributed to the tumour he had on his spine, but that's not much of a leap, at least to me. He was a good fielder and baserunner in San Francisco.
Beyonder - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#279104) #
Melky hasn't been an above replacement level fielder since 2008, let alone above major league average.

Having said that, there is no reason for a 28 year old man to have been hobbling around the way Melky was this year. The tumour seems the most likely reason. So I think there is good reason to be optimistic that he could play something approximating replacement level defence.

The real question is whether he can go back to providing some semblence of offensive production. That's where he has historically provided value.
Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#279105) #
Whoa.  The metrics don't reflect that.  Cabrera was essentially average according to DRS as a corner outfielder from 2009-12, and somewhat below average according to UZR.  His overall numbers reflected that he was definitely a poor defensive centerfielder.  On the other hand, many who saw him regularly (at least in 2012) felt that he had lost a tremendous amount of range. Score one for observation...

I have no idea whether removal of the tumour from his lower back will result in an improvement in his speed.  He apparently has had a meniscus tear in his left knee also.  



Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#279106) #
I'm afraid my definition of  "effective" differs rather substantially than yours Mike. As of this morning, as measured by WRC+,  Lind is the # 19 hitter in the A.L. Could he face less left handers, sure, but it's been a pretty good hitting year overall for the guy.

In looking at what a 30-year old player is likely to give you in an upcoming season, I prefer to look at 3 year performance to 1 year performance.  If you could reasonably project Lind to deliver in 2014 what he did in 2013, it would be fine if he were used as a platoon player and paid $5 million (net of the buyout).
John Northey - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#279107) #
Yes, Escobar has had a great year. He is a frustrating player isn't he? All the talent and he puts it together then weird stuff happens (goes through a slump in Atlanta and they get rid of him, writes homophobic stuff on his eye black and TO gets rid of him, what next?).  I'd have loved to have seen him on a Billy Martin run team - probably would've either been a superstar or a total flop.

Escobar and Alvarez are the only guys traded last winter that would've helped in 2013 I suspect.  In 2014 and beyond it is harder to say.  Syndergaard and DeSclafani both show promise, d'Arnaud makes me nervous about his future after such a slow start and all the injury issues (they have to have an effect on his future one would think).  Marisnick I was never very big on (I think) and would be surprised if he would've been a regular here.  Well, right now he might be for September but in 2014 and beyond?
Beyonder - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#279108) #
I was looking at his DWAR. Looking at it again, I see that Baseball Reference uses "league average defense" as its definition of replacement -- not a AAA replacement. So I shouldn't have drawn that distinction. But he is still below average according to DWAR, and has been for a while.

Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#279110) #
Subjectively, I still like Marisnick and Nicolino as prospects (in addition to Syndergaard and d'Arnaud).  Marisnick ought not to have been promoted, but he did have a good developmental year in double A with the increased power more than off-setting the manageable problems with plate control.  He needs another 1/2 year in triple A, and might then be ready. Nicolino is more of a long project.  He passed through high A ball with no problem, but struggled to some degree in double A.  It didn't look too bad to me, and he is only 21.  They'll probably start him back in double A to begin 2014.  He might be ready at some point in 2015. 
John Northey - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#279112) #
Nicolino is interesting but this year saw a big drop in his K rate which is a bad sign for a pitcher. By year his K rate has been 10.8, 8.6, 6.0.  Generally (not always) a K rate below 6 is hard to survive with in the majors and below 5 needs super control and no HR.  His BB/9 rate has been nice (sub 2 every year) as has his HR rate (0 or 0.4 each year).  Entering his age 22 season with some AA experience I'd certainly list him as a prospect but closer to a C than an A imo just based on stats. Now, what scouts see could be completely different but that K rate dropping is a big red flag.

Still, this year really didn't work well for the Jays. Massive $$$ in that Marlins trade and in the end 4 useful 2013 ML players - Buehrle (2.2 bWAR) & Alvarez (1.1 bWAR) on the pitching side and Reyes (1.9 bWAR) & Escobar (3.4 WAR) on the offense/defense side.  Mathis (0.2 bWAR) & Hechavarria (-2.3 bWAR) & Marisnick (0) land under the 'potentially useful but not key' category and we'd all like to forget Bonifacio (-0.1) & Johnson (-1.5) I think.  So for the 4 useful ones the Jays got 4.1 bWAR but lost 4.6 bWAR - not exactly what was planned.  Mix in negatives and it is a bit closer but hardly worth it.
Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#279113) #
If Nicolino makes it, he will definitely be more like Jimmy Key than like Randy Johnson.  When Key was promoted to double A at age 22, he struck out 5 per 9 IP in 100 innings.  I make Nicolino a B prospect, as is Marisnick. 

Until just now, I had no idea that Tim Wilken signed Jimmy Key.

John Northey - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#279114) #
Don't forget it was a different time when Key was promoted.  In 1985 (Key's first year as a starting pitcher) the league K/9 rate was 5.3 while this year is is 7.6 - that is a big change.  Today 3.1 BB/9, 1985 saw 3.3 BB/9 - a minor change but interesting that it has got lower even though K's went higher.  HR/9 was 1.0 and now is also 1.0 - funny eh?  4.31 runs per game today, 4.56 in 1985.  So offense has completely calmed down from the steroid era and is back to the era when 100 SB guys existed - how appropriate that Billy Hamilton is up now (5 SB in 6 games despite being 0 for 2 as a hitter).
China fan - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#279115) #
"...Escobar and Alvarez are the only guys traded last winter that would've helped in 2013 I suspect..."

Looking at Escobar's career hitting numbers, he has regularly alternated between good seasons and bad seasons. And the "good" seasons have been trending steadily downward since his peak at the age of 24. In his "good" seasons, his OPS numbers were: .837 at the age of 24; .812 at the age of 26; .782 at the age of 28; and .714 at the age of 30. His "bad" seasons were: .655 at the age of 27; and .644 at the age of 29. Based on that trend, he's due for another bad season next year, and his subsequent "good" seasons will slip into replacement level. Of course he could surprise us and suddenly improve, but that's not the trend.
Thomas - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#279116) #

John, I think d'Arnaud would have helped this year, at least when healthy. His OBP is only 1 point lower than Arencibia's. Whatever advantage JP has in slugging percentage, I think d'Arnaud would more than make up with his glove.

Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#279117) #
I was talking about double A, John, but you are right anyways on that score.  The K rate when Jimmy Key went through the Southern League was considerably lower than it is now.  Key's K rate would have been a 'danger sign' though using the typical formulation.  Nicolino's K rate is a slight one now, easily reversed by a season consistent with his performance over the years prior to the last 40 innings in double A. 
China fan - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#279118) #
Speaking of catchers, I'm disappointed in Thole. This year could have been a big opportunity for him, given JPA's slump. He's now at 115 plate appearances (nearly three times as many as Blanco got) and still hasn't done anything much. And no sign of improvement as the season wore on. It's a reminder that a gaudy hitting line in the minors doesn't necessarily predict the future.
Ryan Day - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#279119) #
It wasn't just about Thole's minor league numbers - he was a career 261/331/333 hitter in over 300 games with the Mets, and that includes his concussion season. Even accounting for the move from the NL to the AL, you'd expect him to be a roughly average-hitting catcher.

But no. I realize that 115 PAs is not particularly meaningful, but he's been really, really bad.
Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#279120) #
He looked a lot better in Buffalo too.  I don't know what it is.  I wasn't happy with the role that Gibbons gave him from the outset in light of Arencibia's struggles, but obviously the best way for a player to increase his playing time is to hit.  He definitely crossed the line from patient to tentative.

He ought to be looking for pitches to pull and drive sometimes.  He was hitting home runs to centerfield and left-centerfield in triple A, which means he is strong enough to do it.  His timing is definitely off, but whether that is fixable I have no idea.
John Northey - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#279121) #
Mike - I think most of us forget just how much the game has changed since the 80's.  In 1983 Key had 6.1 K/9 between AA/AAA at age 22 (5.1 in AA, 7.2 in AAA). The average for the leagues was 5.4 in AA and 6.0 in AAA.  Today those figures in A+ and AA (where Nicolino played) are 7.2 and 7.4 respectively.  Being above league average in K/9 is generally seen as critical to future success for pitchers.
Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#279122) #
The modern way of looking at it is K/PA%- the idea is that a pitcher who has more opposition PAs will perforce have more opportunities for Ks.  Nicolino's K/PA was pretty good in high A but not good in double A.  The line I would take on it is that Nicolino did not succeed in his first short effort at double A at age 21.   
Thomas - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#279124) #
There's an interesting article today about the advantage Pittsburgh has gained from defensive shifting, featuring old friend Nick Leyva's conversion to advanced statistics.

http://triblive.com/mobile/4689239-96/pirates-defensive-season
John Northey - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#279125) #
Funny - says something that I didn't notice that Janssen reached 30 saves.  This is the 16th time a Jays pitcher has reached 30.  The others...
Tom Henke: 4 times
Billy Koch: 3 times
BJ Ryan: 2 times
1 time each: Duane Ward, Kelvim Escobar, Kevin Gregg, Miguel Batista, Mike Timlin, Jeremy Accardo, and now Casey Janssen.

A bit of a surprise seeing just 3 guys did it twice.  Not surprising that Henke did it the most by far.  No one who I totally forgot about, but always thought Escobar or Batista did it twice for some reason.  The first was Tom Henke in 1987 btw.
Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#279126) #
The shifting is one part of Pittsburgh's success.  According to DRS, though, the big defensive gains arose from having Starling Marte in LF for  much more of the season and having Russell Martin behind the plate.  The Pirates have four excellent defensive players- Marte, Martin, McCutchen and Barmes.  The shifting shows up mostly visibly for Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.  They were always below average defenders, but now they seem to be much closer to average.  It makes a significant difference. 
Magpie - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#279129) #
The 2012 Pirates were a little below average in scoring runs (4.02 per game) and a little above average in preventing runs (4.16 per game - league average was around 4.24). Scoring is down in the NL this year, and the Pirates are still somewhat below average in scoring runs (3.89 per game - the additions of Martin and Marte have been cancelled out by the decline of Jones, mainly) - but Atlanta is the only team in the majors that allows fewer runs than Pittsburgh (3.58 per game.) Martin and Marte are the new defenders, and they've been good (although the guy losing playing time to Marte, Alex Presley, is also a good outfielder.) Walker, Barmes, Alvarez all returned in the infield. First base and right field have, as usual, been a revolving door - but Snider has played more RF than anyone, and while he can't hit, he's a better outfielder than Jones or Tabata.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#279134) #
When I was in San Francisco last month, I watched the Pirates face the Giants.  A.J. Burnett was on the mound.  Brandon Belt pulled a ball towards Garrett Jones at first base a bit in the hole. Burnett broke to cover first well.  Jones fumbled the ball back towards the plate, Burnett scooped it up on the dead run and beat Belt to the bag.  I have never seen Burnett make a play anything like that before, and he's 36 years old; nothing like winning to put the zip back into an old man's body.
Wildrose - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#279135) #
Thanks Thomas that was an excellent article on shifting. I'd read about the Pirates shifting propensities before, but what struck me was how much it was an overall organizational mandate.

It starts with the G.M. and is driven by Dan Fox the Pirates sabermetric guru , down to the coaches and players. I didn't realize they also had a mandate to throw more sinkers with the pitchers to encourage more groundballs. Given the propensity of homers at Rogers Centre is anybody listening?

Last year with Butter, the Jays were second in the league ( behind Tampa ) shifting , this year with Riviera they are at # 15. Here's the source.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/bluejays/2013/09/02/blue_jays_buck_trend_eschew_the_shift.html

Back in April, Jays infield coach Luis Rivera said he expected to shift less this year than his predecessor due to the teamís veteran pitching staff ó the implication being that they didnít want to demand their hurlers pitch in a way that is beneficial to the shifted defensive formation.



Mike Green - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#279137) #
According to pitch fx, the Pirates were 11th in the league in two-seamer percentage and not really much different from the Blue Jays.  The Astros and D'Backs threw a lot of them.  The Reds and Rays did very well when they threw the two-seamer, the Pirates did pretty well and the Blue Jays did terribly.  It is hard to suss out how much of that results from the quality of the pitches and how much results from the quality of the defence.  Interestingly, the Blue Jay record with two-seamers last year was poor too, even with Escobar at shortstop and Lawrie at third base and Butter shifting more liberally.  It may be that the hard surface at the RC has an effect. 

I am curious about positioning on the left side of the infield for this club.  It seems to me likely that you have to account not only for where balls are hit, but the strengths and weaknesses of the infielders.  Reyes has very limited mobility to his left and a strong arm.  Lawrie is extremely quick to his left and has a pretty good to outstanding arm.  My instinct is that optimal positioning (at least with a RHP going and nobody on base) would have Lawrie and Reyes shifted over a step or two from where they usually play and Lawrie a bit deeper.  It varies, of course, batter to batter, and I do wish that the club would use the statistical record that exists. 
Four Seamer - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#279138) #

I have never seen Burnett make a play anything like that before, and he's 36 years old; nothing like winning to put the zip back into an old man's body.

I certainly can't argue with this, but seeing as how AJ Burnett and I entered this world on the very same day in 1977, this might be the most depressing thing I've read on this site this year.

Wildrose - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 12:31 PM EDT (#279140) #
Interesting stuff. The Pirates do lead the MLB in groundball % by a rather significant margin, something is driving this. The MLB average is 44.5 % and they are at 52.4%, they are almost 4%  higher than their closest competitor.

 


Mike Green - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#279142) #
I certainly can't argue with this, but seeing as how AJ Burnett and I entered this world on the very same day in 1977, this might be the most depressing thing I've read on this site this year.

The player younger than me, who is closest to my actual birthday, is Alejandro Pena.  When Pena started pitching for the Dodgers on August 13, 1981...
Chuck - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 01:49 PM EDT (#279143) #
Four Seamer and Mike have unwittingly potentially started a whole new thread. Brushes With Greatness. Who shares, or almost shares your birthday?

For me, Tony Fernandez. Tony was born. I was hatched the following morning. He was, coincidentally, my favourite player for a while.

Mike Green - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 02:00 PM EDT (#279144) #
Actually, the closest to the day of my birth was Mike Davis, who is two days older than me.  Although we share the week of our birth and a first name, I never thought one way or another of him.  Like Pena, he was a pretty decent player for a while there.

On the other hand, Tim Raines Sr. (my favourite player) and Jesse Barfield (in a group of favourites behind Raines) were both a few months younger.  Barfield, Bell and Moseby were all born within a 3 week span in 1959. 

92-93 - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#279146) #
Ken Singleton and Floyd Bannister highlight my birthday, but nobody from my year has made the majors.
John Northey - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#279147) #
Fun thread.  Mine (day) matches Lou Gehrig and Jerry Reuss, Eddie Cicotte, and the not so good Bob GibsonYasuhiko Yabuta was born 4 years after me on the same day.  Donovan Osborne was born 2 days after me.  Paula Abdul has June 19th as well but 7 years before me. Moe Howard also but in 1897.  Garfield also shares it, born 9 years after me.  Even Julius Schwartz shares it (he was the biggest guy at DC Comics for years, much like Stan Lee except he ran things more than writing).   My birthday is also World Sauntering Day.

Gotta love the web.
Eephus - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#279155) #
Joey Votto and I actually share the same birthday and the same hometown (pretty wicked awesome) but he was born 4 years before I was so he's not quite the closest to my actual birthdate.

Turns out that guy is Paul Goldschmidt, born the exact same day and the exact same year as me. So I have the same birthday as the two best first-basemen in the National League. Neat.

CeeBee - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 11:38 PM EDT (#279156) #
Frank Ortenzio shares my birthday. Other notables but different years are Honus wagner, Wilbur Cooper, Eddie Murray and even one Canadian, Stubby Clapp.
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, September 18 2013 @ 07:33 AM EDT (#279159) #
Cal Ripken Jr. was born 12 days after me. No famous players born on my birthday in other years except Christy Matheson.
vw_fan17 - Thursday, September 19 2013 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#279230) #
Same day/year: Chris Gomez, he of the lifetime -1.3 WAR, played for the Jays in 2004. And Fernando Hernandez, who had a sip of coffee (1.1 IP) with Detroit in 1997.
Same birthday, other years have a few: Wally Joyner, Kerry Wood, Calvin Shiraldi, Ron LeFlore (forgive me if names from pre 1980 don't jump out at me, I might have missed a notable name here or there)
non-sports: Tupac Shakur (same day/year)

Reaching a ilttle:
Same month: Ryan Klesko is 4 days older than I am. Carl Everett, 13 days older. Ron Mahay 12 days younger.
Jays connections from 1971: Raul Mondesi, Gregg Zaun, Kevin Millar, Frank Menechino, Todd Greene, Sal Fasano, Ken Huckaby, Chad Mottola, Willie Canate, Oh crap - HWSNBN, Miguel Batista, Mike Sirotka(!), Kerry Ligtenberg, Chris Michalak
Ouch. Seems like my year is mostly catchers and pitchers who (mostly) underperformed their expectations.

On the other hand, 1971 had some pretty bright lights as well: I-Rod, Jason Giambi, Brian Giles, Jorge Posada, Ray Durham, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner

Mike Green - Thursday, September 19 2013 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#279232) #
forgive me if names from pre 1980 don't jump out at me, I might have missed a notable name here or there

You missed the immortal Skeeter Scalzi, no relation to Bugs Raymond.
Mike Green - Friday, September 20 2013 @ 03:46 PM EDT (#279255) #
We talked a little bit about the effect of Pittsburgh's increased shifting this year.  BBRef's team pitching splits were down until today, and I thought that this nugget might help in sussing out the importance of infield defence and outfield defence in the club's run prevention improvement. 

In 2012, when Pittsburgh's pitchers gave up a ground ball in play, opponents hit .228/.228/.242 (.228 BABIP obviously).  In 2013, the figures were .225/.225/.241 (.225 BABIP obviously).  It is over 2000 balls in play, so we are talking about six extra hits.  Not a big deal.  In 2012, when Pittsburgh pitchers gave up a fly ball, opponents hit .214/.209/.591 (.126 BABIP) and in 2013, the figures were .174/.165/.491 (.092 BABIP).  This is over a little less than 900 fly balls in play.  Much more important.  It's worth noting that the IsoP is way down for the flyballs, as well as the BABIP.  This suggests that the credit is due partially to the pitchers making better pitches and Russ Martin doing his usual fine job of receiving/framing, and partly due to better OF defence with Marte playing much more. 

bpoz - Saturday, September 21 2013 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#279260) #
IMO promoting J Marisnick is a good move by the Marlins:-
1) He must be protected on the 40 man roster this winter as he is a 2009 draft pick. So he may as well get some ML exposure without burning an option. Next year he can burn his 1st option as he continues to develop in the minors.

2) The Marlins are out of the playoffs and he is not taking any playing time from a vereran who may complain.
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