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It was Josh Towers versus Mark Hendrickson in a Tropicana Field matinee, and Towers made a run at history before allowing a hit in the 7th inning. That was way more interesting than a 12-3 game had any right to be. Russ Adams shows his power and the Jays win big.
Game 79: Battle of the Fifth Starters | 21 comments | Create New Account
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TorontoDan - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#121036) #
Hey it says they got over 20 thousand today. That's Tampa's problem! Everyone's in bed for the evening starts, just play all games at noon and they'll get respectable crowds.
Flex - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#121037) #
Sadly, our shortstop now sports a higher slugging percentage than our first baseman.
Petey Baseball - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#121038) #
It seems as though at the start of every weekend series there is excitement about the Blue Jays turning the corner and really getting into the thick of things. Then Sunday afternoon rolls around and we are right back to square one. Hopefully that pattern of activity changes with a series win in Boston.
VBF - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:54 PM EDT (#121039) #
Yes, but Dan, won't a noon game interfere with their dinner plans?

Excellent game by Josh Towers. Damn his inconsistency!
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#121040) #
Yeah.. a .255 EqA from a 1B is pretty lousy. Other than Aaron Hill, nobody is above .280 on the team, though Shea is close. Shea seems to be a weird combination of the bat of Shannon Stewart fused with the GIDP "ability" of Jim Rice.

But hey, why be negative today? The Jays won! The Jays won!
Jonny German - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#121041) #

Before the season, the general (and justified) concern about Russ Adams was that he wouldn't hit for any power. Some made the point that it didn't really matter if Adams hit for much power if the game plan all along was for him to be a leadoff hitter.

But things haven't exactly panned out as expected...

Year  Team        AB   AVG   OBP   SLG  IsoD  IsoP  PA/BB  PA/XBH
2005  Toronto    190  .242  .292  .432  .050  .190   13.7     9.8
2004  Toronto     72  .306  .359  .528  .053  .222   15.4    11.0
                 
2004  Syracuse   483  .288  .351  .408  .063  .120   11.7    11.7
                  
2003  New Haven  271  .277  .349  .387  .072  .110   10.0    16.7
                  
2003  Dunedin    258  .279  .380  .388  .101  .109    7.8    17.4
2002  Dunedin    147  .231  .321  .306  .090  .075    9.2    23.6
                  
2002  Auburn     113  .354  .464  .469  .110  .115    5.7    13.7

Since arriving in the big leagues, Russ has enjoyed a noticeable increase in power while at the same time has shown much more disdain for the walk than he did as a farmhand. The irksome overuse of Johnny No-bat has Adams on pace for just 390 at-bats this year, and 43 extra base hits. Bump that up to a more reasonable 450 AB, and he projects to crank out 50 non-singles. Blue Jays who did that in 2004? V. Wells. C. Delgado. O. Hudson. ---End of list---

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#121044) #
There is more good news in Russ Adams' picture. His career line is anomalous in that his BABIP is under .260 despite him having good power and speed. Hitting for power and striking out less than once every 10 PAs and possessing speed is a terrific offensive combination.

His poor OBP this year results from his terrible BABIP, and that will change. Give him 550 PAs (resting him once every a couple of weeks against the toughest lefties), and he'll put up a .280/.340/.460 line.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again. I was completely wrong to be concerned about Adams' lack of power in the minors.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#121046) #
The line between a 2nd starter and a 5th starter is quite narrow. Ted Lilly's career ERA is 4.67. Josh Towers' is 4.81. Lilly had slightly better environments to pitch in prior to his Toronto work in Oakland and New York.

Towers has made progress with his K rate this year, and if he can keep that up, he'll have a career. His current K rate of 5.7/9IP is perfectly acceptable for a pitcher with his kind of control. Whether he can sustain it remains to be seen.
westcoast dude - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#121047) #
Do we really need an Ortiz-style masher when we have a slugging shortstop? Adams is making believers out of us.
A front of the rotation starter? Today, Control Towers could be the man.
MatO - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#121050) #
Adams has 10 career HR's in less than a season's at bats. Walt Weiss had 25 career HR's (including 14 while playing for Colorado) in nearly 1500 games played. I guess those Adams/Weiss comparisons can be laid to rest for good.
R Billie - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#121051) #
I said after last season that Russ Adams should be fine power-wise. I predicted he'd eventually hit double digit homeruns with plenty of doubles. It looks like he's on pace for 15-20 homeruns in a full season THIS YEAR.

But...I generally am a little concerned about what I see from him at the plate. He looks like he's consciously trying to pull everything. Despite not striking out a great deal this is resulting in a lot of weakly hit balls rolled over or flied lazily to left or centre field. I think this is what one Syracuse coach mentioned Russ had to work on...he can't make his living hitting the ball in the air to left. He needs to level his swing and open his sights to the whole field.

Despite his modest power he cannot take the approach of a power hitter and be a consistent contributor. How often does he hit a ball to LF or even CF with any authority? I would contend the reason he's hitting .240 isn't because of bad luck but because of an unbalanced approach. When I see him lining the ball consistently up the middle and to left-centre I'll be happy. Right now he's turning on anything inside and hitting it hard for the most part but not taking good swings at stuff that is up or outside.

He's also swinging at a lot more borderline pitches than he needs to...more patience is required. Concentrate on quality of contact, not quantity of contact.
R Billie - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#121052) #
Part of the problem I think is his stance is a little too open which makes him prone to pull off the outside pitches.
Ducey - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#121053) #
Here is an interesting fact. Toronto is tied for the best record in the AL East as against the AL East. ie. intra-divisionally

Toronto 20-12
Baltimore 20-12
Boston 15-16
TB 12-19
NY 12-20
Paul D - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#121054) #
Off topic, but I have a request for the Roster...

With the off day tomorrow, could we have a thread on the SABR conference? I'm debating going, and would like to see some discussion on it. And the early registration is a week from now, so it might be a good time for some talk about it.
Jonny German - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#121060) #

In regards to R Billieís suggestion that Russ is overly focused on pulling things for power, hereís his hit diagram at the RC this year:

(This accounts for 8 of Russí 12 doubles, all 3 of his triples, and 5 of 6 homers Ė he was slugging .237 on the road before todayís game. Iím not concerned about this yet, as itís only 190 AB and he showed no such split last year.)

To check this out first hand, go to MLB.com.

Now, does this support R Billieís conclusion? Iím not sure. The power is indeed that of an extreme pull hitter, but his singles show good scatter. If a lot of those singles to left and centre were accidents where Adams was didnít get the contact he intended, then weíve got something.

A few more charts for comparison Ė Vernon Wells:

Aaron Hill:

Shea Hillenbrand:

R Billie - Wednesday, June 29 2005 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#121079) #
Well Russ has pretty much nothing towards the left field line or corner. Someone his size should have at least one or two hits going that way just by accident. Also a guy Russ' size should have considerably more singles than he has here. Right now we're seeing almost twice as many extra base hits as singles. We all know that's not his game.

Anyway, I'm just going by memory here but I don't remember him hitting the ball hard to left very much...he's had a couple of well struck singles and extra base hits to the left-centre gap but again nothing towards the line which is strange in almost 200 at bats. I don't believe he can excel as a major league hitter without using left field.

He's established he's not a punch hitter both this year and last September. What he did last September though was hit a lot of balls crisply to the left side and up the middle while still turning on the inside pitches. We know he can pull the ball over the right field fence but he has to establish the ability to go the other way to complete his game.
sweat - Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 12:13 AM EDT (#121081) #
There are more than a few successful players who show almost no ability to go the other way, so I dont see it as a problem that Adams isn't painting the left field foul line. It's hard to know if this is a result of a little less luck to left field, or if the book on Adams is to pitch him inside, either of which could result in RF being a more popular destination. Certainly Adams average needs to get higher, and if his low average is at least in part due to BABIP then things should start to level out.
R Billie - Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#121083) #
Most of those players hit for power or at least have the strength and reach to pull outside pitches. Adams does not have that ability. If he tries to pull pitches tailing away from him as he has a lot this year he will get himself out fairly often.

In any he definately needs to get on base more in general whether by hit or walk. A sub-.300 obp he cannot get away with.
Eric Purdy - Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 06:03 AM EDT (#121089) #
Is Ernie Whitt gonna have to choke a bit...oh, family-friendly website, sorry. That was a fantabulous job by Ernie.
fattykid2000 - Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#121105) #
Blue Jays Rule!!!
Flex - Thursday, June 30 2005 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#121129) #
I say, Fattykid, quite so. You've really struck the nail on the head with that tasty bit of repartee. Good show.
Game 79: Battle of the Fifth Starters | 21 comments | Create New Account
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