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Okay, we're going to talk about two things today, and the first is last night's game. Last night's terrible, terrible game.

The thought of having to re-live that game, think about it a whole bunch, analyze it and then write about it, well, that just about killed me. However, I unwound by watching insurance company videos of a Jaguar X-Type crashing into a concrete barrier at 40 miles per hour. Try it -- it's very helpful.

It's been a while since I've written a Game Report. Not because of laziness or writer's block, but because the schedule conspired against me: I took alternate Thursdays, and then Thursday turned out to be an off day for most of the season. I was starting to feel a little like Scott Downs... I'm here, I'm ready... put me in, coach, I can play today... or tomorrow... or next week...

I was hopeful going in: Orlando Hudson was back; Ted Lilly has been just magnificent lately; Tampa Bay stinks; the game was on TSN, but Rod Black is in Scotland; the first pitch from Lilly was a strike, my favourite good omen; and some guy who looks (and dresses) like Mel Lastman is at Baseball Control on TSN. Who could think of a better scenario for a Jays win? Nooooooobody!

Well, it didn't go that way. Lilly was great, allowing only two runs, one of which came across the plate on the suddenly-mortal Vinnie Chulk's watch. Batista gave up a solo homer, too, but none of that really mattered after the first run, since the Jays were almost totally stymied by the normally terrible Casey Fossum. Aaron Hill got a pair of hits, but no one could get him home. Maybe I should blame the Rogers Centre crowd a bit for that: in the bottom of the second inning Orlando Hudson was at the plate with two men on and only one out, and the place was nearly silent. I miss the O-Drum, even if Rogers Centre security doesn't.

I was thinking that for one of these games against the D-Rays I should try to sit near a microphone and start shouting HEYYYYYYY TAMPA BAY HECKLERRRRR! ENJOY THE BASEMENT, BABY! TWENTY-NINE AND SIXTY-ONE, SIX-TY-ONE non-stop until my lungs give out. Maybe someone in Tampa will laugh.

A guy was audibly heckling Cantu when he was at first base in the top of the 8th, shouting "Steal, Cantu, steal!"

There were a couple of good moments between Gord Miller and Pat Tabler, including this gem during a conversation about how hard it must be to belong to the Devil Rays:
MILLER: You played for that awful Cubs team in the early '80s. How did you deal with it?

TABLER: I was in the minors most of the time.
Gord Miller also informed us that Gathright can jump over a car with a running start. Now while I'm very happy to learn ridiculous information of this kind, I'm curious as to where it comes from. Was that in the game notes issued to the media? Was he demonstrating in the underground garage before the game? Did Gathright jump over the FedEx ball delivery car during the pre-game ceremonies? Is he willing to jump over the delivery car before every game? In a Superman suit? Because that would be cool.

Then I started fantasizing about a garishly decorated paperback, conveniently pocket-sized, with a title like Bud Selig's BELIEVE IT or NOT! that featured astoundingly useless baseball-related trivia and bad illustrations. I would buy this book. Wouldn't you?

One thing made watching this whole game worthwhile. In fact, I wish I had recorded it so that I could play this moment over and over and over again: Menechino has been brought into the game to pinch hit. The broadcast cuts to Lou Pinella and his lineup sheets. He takes his red marker and crosses out HINSKE and writes M-E-N-E... and stops. And pauses. Then he moves to write another letter, but then stops. Then he looks down at another piece of paper, and back up at M-E-N-E. Sadly, at this point the broadcast cut away, so we never found out if Sweet Lou figured out how to spell Menechino.

Mrs. Hank suggests, in answer to Gord Miller's question about what you'd call five strikeouts in five at-bats (Tabler answered "I don't think I've ever seen that") that this fantastic feat should be christened the Platinum Sombrero, should anyone pull it off.

Okay, enough of that. I don't want to talk about that game any more. I want it to simply become a number in the team's record, never to be thought about again, unless I'm thinking of Lou trying to spell Menechino.

Instead, let's talk about a guy whose signing was met with much derision, whose career-high first half has done very little to end the carping about him: two-time All-Star Shea Hillenbrand.

I issued the original NFH Challenge for two reasons: first, I felt that the guy wasn't being given much of a chance; and second, because I believe that anything is possible, and that predictive statements that are absolute ("this WILL happen" or "that WILL NEVER happen") are silly. I didn't actually expect to win; I was just trying to make a point. And I suppose that a point was made.

But still, people out there are down on Hillenbrand. Mike D summed up my feelings on this issue in the All Star Break Roundtable thread:
... I'm sick of the "he's not sabremetric, and I predicted he would suck, so he sucks" arguments.
Obviously, I'm not a guy who crunches the numbers. I enjoy reading about them, and I respect the people who do the crunching and more often than not I'm interested in the conclusions that can be drawn. But what kind of conclusions can be drawn about Hillenbrand that are bad?

Frankly, I don't understand it; his first half has been better than expected. Arguments can be presented that he either won't keep it up or that it's an anomaly, but so what? He did it. Why is there so much effort to reduce his contribution to the team?

Shea Hillenbrand is fourth on the team in OBP, behind Frank Menechino, Aaron Hill and Gregg Zaun.
Shea Hillenbrand is third on the team in SLG, behind Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill.
Shea Hillenbrand is second on the team in average, behind Aaron Hill.
Shea Hillenbrand is second on the team in home runs, behind Vernon Wells.
Shea Hillenbrand is second on the team in RBI, behind Vernon Wells.
Shea Hillenbrand is leading the team in doubles.
Shea Hillenbrand is leading the team in hits.
Shea Hillenbrand is leading the team in runs scored.
Hell, he even has two stolen bases and hasn't been caught.

According to ESPN.com, Hillenbrand is the third-highest paid player on the team, behind Roy Halladay and Miguel Batista, slightly above Corey Koskie, and about half a million dollars more than Vernon Wells, Ted Lilly and Eric Hinske. Is he "overpaid"? I don't think so -- he makes a strong contribution to the team. And at the third highest he still makes just over a third what Halladay makes and a full million dollars less than Batista.

Besides, the Jays have a whole bunch of room in the budget, so Hillenbrand's salary doesn't matter because it makes no difference to the club's competitiveness.

So let's have it all out, right here and now: what's wrong with Shea Hillenbrand? Explain it to me, because I just see a guy doing a great job. And while we're at it, let's have your fearless predictions for his end-of-season numbers (and anything else you'd care to predict about him). Personally, I think he's going to improve slightly from where he is right now, with an average around .305 and an OBP around .365. Don't be shy -- there will be a fabulous prize at the end of the season for whoever gets the most stuff right.
Rays beat Jays / The Mother of All Shea Hillenbrand Threads | 53 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Original Ryan - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#122787) #
Mrs. Hank suggests, in answer to Gord Miller's question about what you'd call five strikeouts in five at-bats (Tabler answered "I don't think I've ever seen that") that this fantastic feat should be christened the Platinum Sombrero, should anyone pull it off.

Alex Gonzalez once struck out six times in six at-bats during a 13 inning game in 1998. What would that be called, the Double Platinum Sombrero?

Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#122788) #
"Mrs. Hank suggests, in answer to Gord Miller's question about what you'd call five strikeouts in five at-bats (Tabler answered "I don't think I've ever seen that") that this fantastic feat should be christened the Platinum Sombrero, should anyone pull it off."

http://www.enlexica.com/sp/bb/000DD.html

3 Ks - hat trick
4 Ks - golden sombrero
5 Ks - olympic rings or platinum sombrero
6 Ks - Horn O'Plenty (after Sam Horn)

After going to Retrosheet I've learned that there's been 6 players with 6 Ks in a game (and another 87 with 5):

Rick Reichardt - 1967
Billy Cowan - 1971
Cecil Cooper - 1974
Sam Horn - 1991
Alex Gonzalez (Tor) - 1998
Geoff Jenkins - 2004
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#122789) #
Tabler said during the broadcast that three was a Golden Sombrero, and that four was a Golden Sombrero Plus One. I had heard that three was just a sombrero and four was a Golden Sombrero, but I'll defer to Tabler because he was a player -- if anyone would know how players put down other players, a former player would.
Jonny German - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#122791) #
When we discussed this yesterday via e-mail, I gave a prediction of .295 / .355 / .440 as Hillenbrand's final line. I based that on slightly less second-half regression than his career norm.

Aaron & Mike D are starting to get through to me, though. I didn't like the idea of Shea becoming a Jay in the first place, and I think I've held it against him that he's not Brad Wilkerson or Carlos Lee. He is what he is, and he's not part of the problem. Austin Kearns is another guy I would have preferred over Hillenbrand, and if they had done that it'd be looking like a disaster right now.

To add to Aaron's stat listing:
Hillenbrand is first among Jay hitters in VORP.
Hillenbrand is third among Jay hitters in VORP/100 PA (behind Hill and Zaun).
Gord Miller - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:51 AM EDT (#122792) #
Greetings bauxites...I've enjoyed reading your comments the last year or so, and a lot of the information is great (especially for someone who doesn't work the games that often).

An answer to the Gathright information...that strangely enough is the opening comment in his media guide bio. It doesn't say if he goes over lengthwise or from the side (I am assuming it is the latter).

I am now officially retired for this season, thanks for honest feedback, and for accomodating a hockey guy broadcasting your beloved sport- and team. I'll continue to read your remarks with interest.

Gord

Dave Till - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#122793) #
I have no problem with Shea Hillenbrand unless he starts taking playing time away from players that are better than he is. He's not doing that right now. (I do not believe that Gabe Gross is better than Hillenbrand, nor do I believe that he is ever going to be better than Hillenbrand.)

Hillenbrand is, however, symptomatic of a problem with the Jays' offense: most of their hitters are sort of OK, but none of them (except Wells and Hill, if he stays at this level) are really good. That makes it difficult for the Jays to improve. If you've got a really bad hitter in the lineup, you can improve your offense a great deal by punting him. But if you've got a bunch of middling hitters, you can't replace all of them, especially not at once.
Mick Doherty - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#122795) #
Gord, welcome aboard Batter's Box! We have a rule here about not using the name of active players or media as your username, but since you're really him, I think we can waive it just this once.

Jamie Campbell registered with an anonymous-type username, but that lasted about five minutes, despite our best efforts to respect/protect the anonymity. No such issues here!
Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#122796) #
The Jays need to upgrade their lineup, but right now there's a few areas more pressing than getting rid of a productive player who can play either corner IF. Everyone would love the big bat at 1B or DH, but there aren't nearly as many as one might think.

In the Rewind thread last night someone wrotet that JP said someone would have to sit when Koskie came back and it wasn't going to be Hill. It seems that Hinske would be the most likely candidate, and that upgrade would almost be like making a trade - Hinske out, Koskie in. What will be interesting is where Hill plays when Koskie returns. I would guess he'll float between 3B and DH, and perhaps play some SS when Adams gets a day off.
Mick Doherty - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#122797) #
Here's my one and a half cents on Shea, and a very specific prediction:

Finally mathematically eliminated from Wild Card contention in their Sept. 26 series opener at Boston, the Jays sit Shea, deep in a 5-for-46 slump, for the final series against Kansas City and fans, especially on Batter's Box, speculate that it's to protect Hillenbrand's .300(actually .2996) batting average.

That is all.
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#122798) #
An answer to the Gathright information...that strangely enough is the opening comment in his media guide bio. It doesn't say if he goes over lengthwise or from the side (I am assuming it is the latter).

Thanks for the info! That's just about the oddest informational tidbit I can imagine showing up in a bio.

VBF - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#122799) #
Do you guys have any idea how hard that is to do? Just thinking about it blows my mind. Has any other ML player done better than jumping over a car from standstill? I would like to know.

Although I'm sure Cecil Fielder could do that in his heyday, and if Jose Canseco can save a lady, her kid, a player piano, and a laundry machine from a burning building, he can probably do that too.
Jacko - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#122801) #
An answer to the Gathright information...that strangely enough is the opening comment in his media guide bio. It doesn't say if he goes over lengthwise or from the side (I am assuming it is the latter).

John Sickels commented on Gathright's leaping ability in one of his prospect books a few years ago. He said Gathright can leap a car end to end (though he didn't specify what kind of car). Gathright's contract with the Rays specifically forbids him from doing that anymore...

Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#122802) #
That's just about the oddest informational tidbit I can imagine showing up in a bio.

A friend of mine jumped over a car one time (over the hood) and tells everyone he knows about it. If this guy is the same way I can see how it shows up in the bio.

Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#122803) #
Gathright said he can jump "any car" from door-to-door, but hood-to-trunk exploits are reserved for compact models.
jimmylarsoni - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#122804) #
Bo Jackson could jump similar things from a stand still. I am not sure where I read it but then again the guy was a freak of nature. I loved when he used to snap baseball bats like twigs over his knee, head...

I was at the game when Alex Gonzalez struck out 6 times. The whole place broke out in laughter as he slammed his bat into the ground. It also shut up this 16 year old girl sitting near us that would stand up and profess her love for him everytime he batted.

NFH, great observations. The Menechino thing had me laughing during the game and the fact that they cut away from Lou writing in the full name added to my anger at the game last night. Whoa, that was really bipolar...
Mike Green - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#122805) #
There is nothing wrong with Shea Hillenbrand's play this season. The player who has been blocking Gross is Catalanotto.

My original point was that teams do not progress generically if they allow players of the quality of Catalanotto and Hillenbrand to block younger players. It's clear at this point that Hillenbrand is a better player than Hinske and should be the everyday first baseman until Koskie returns. It seems to me that Gross is a better player than Catalanotto and should be platooning with Johnson in left field; that is, I understand, where the real difference of opinion is.

Notwithstanding his 0 fer last night, Hillenbrand will end up at .300/.360/.450 (with an OPS+ on baseballereference.com of 102) in 640 plate trips and will be re-signed at the end of the season. I have no idea whether this will be a good or bad thing, as it will depend on what other moves are made.
Jonny German - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:22 AM EDT (#122806) #
That's just about the oddest informational tidbit I can imagine showing up in a bio.

In a 2003 game at the Dome, Jays vs. White Sox in extra innings, Brian Daubach came up to bat and the JumboTron informed us Likes strawberry ice cream. I kid you not.

Rob - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#122808) #
Hillenbrand's final line? I'll say he'll get .275 with .355 OBP and .450 slug. His July will be better than his season so far, but he'll drop off in August, and then when Koskie returns and Hillenbrand bats 5th again, his OBP will drop below the Dudek Line before returning to the .355 specified above.
Flex - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#122813) #
So, according to Mike Rutsey at the Sun, the Marlins want Gustavo Chacin, Gabe Gross and Brandon League for AJ Burnett.

That's a lot of future in one package. If you were JP Ricciardi, would you do that?
NDG - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:56 AM EDT (#122814) #
what's wrong with Shea Hillenbrand? Explain it to me, because I just see a guy doing a great job

I think there two seperate issues here. Yes there is a "Shea sucks" contingent, but there was also a few of us that didn't like this move for other reasons, and those reasons still stand today. I said this before the season and I'll say it again. It wasn't smart to bring in Hillenbrand when you already had two third basemen on the roster(Koskie, Hinske), PLUS two out of your three closest to the majors hitting prospects (Hill, Hattig) will also be of greatest value there. Moving Hinske to first just makes his production even worse, and Hill at DH also makes his production less valuable.

Magpie - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:01 PM EDT (#122815) #
If you were JP Ricciardi, would you do that?

Gross and League? For the difference between Burnett's potential and Chacin's? It would take more belief in Burnett's upside than I have.

Another pitching prospect, maybe. But I might have as much faith in League's potential as I do in Burnett's...

Screw it. Let's find a bat somewhere... or better still, someone who can hit the ball really really far with one.

Mike Green - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#122816) #
I wouldn't do the Burnett deal Flex describes.

As I understand it, Burnett is 1/2 year away from free agency. He's going to get $10 million or so there, and he is not likely to be worth it. The only reason to do the deal is if you think Burnett is going to help you win a championship.

I'd develop pitching, and buy hitting. The economics are better.
Magpie - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#122817) #
I'm willing to repeat what I said before the season started: Shea Hillenbrand will produce more offense than Dave Berg.

Shea Shea Shea. He doesn't suck, he's a legitimate major league player. He shouldn't be the centre of the offense, but that's certainly not his fault.

Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#122822) #
So, according to Mike Rutsey at the Sun, the Marlins want Gustavo Chacin, Gabe Gross and Brandon League for AJ Burnett.

I suggested Chacin, Gross, and Frasor in the latest roundtable, and would pull the trigger on that. I'm not sure I'd do the same if it was League that was included. But if it was Marcum or Banks instead of League perhaps that's worth it.

Flex - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#122824) #
I'd say this on the Burnett deal. It's true we need bats and men to swing them more than we do pitching, but a rotation led by Halladay and Burnett looks pretty good. I don't like giving up Gross, but what if Ricciardi had another deal in the works for a heavy-hitting left-fielder? Say Lilly for Mench? So next year you have a Halladay-Burnett-Bush-Towers-Rosario (say) rotation, and an outfield of Mench-Wells-Rios... Maybe that's more balanced.

While I'm on the subject of trades, it's obvious we're not the only ones thinking of the ramifications. Here's a bit from today's Star:

SECOND TO NONE: Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was speaking to reporters in the Toronto dugout when catcher Gregg Zaun walked over to get a drink of water. Zaun then told the gathered scribes, with Ricciardi there, that he had something to say about second baseman Orlando Hudson ó who made his return last night from a hamstring injury. "Speaking for all the players here, we think that Orlando Hudson is the best second baseman in all of baseball,'' Zaun said with a smile.

I just want to go on record as saying I LOVE Gregg Zaun.
Jordan - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#122830) #
Aaron, maybe Mrs. Hank was merely reading my July 8 minor-league update, specifically, the details of that 21-inning Auburn game:

[F]irst baseman Josh Celigoy had 2 hits and scored 2 runs, but struck out 6 times to earn, what, a platinum sombrero?

Chacin and Gross, yes. League, no. Sorry, I don't see any point in dealing one powerful young pitcher with unrealized potential for another who'll cost about $10M more per season, and throwing two other guys into the bargain. Frasor probably wouldn't get it done, so a compromise like Rosario might eventually be reached. If it was me, though, I'd still be looking for a bat, not an arm, if one's available.

Thoughts on Shea Hillenbrand, in no particular order:

- His OBP is being inflated by a record number of HBPs.
- He hit .390 in April and hasn't cracked .260 in any month since.
- He's a much better third baseman than we'd been led to believe.
- His defensive flexibility has been a godsend during the Koskie injury -- Hill hasn't needed to be chained to third base.
- From all accounts, he brings an I-hate-to-lose edge to the clubhouse.
- From all accounts, JP thinks he's great and wants to keep him.
- From all accounts, Hillenbrand likes Toronto just fine.
- None of this precludes a deadline deal with a "We want you back next year" farewell party.
- He'll be back next year as a super-utility guy, getting 300-400 ABs at 3B, 1B and DH.

Ducey - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#122831) #
I think the Marlins are asking too much for AJ. Chacin, Cat, Hinske, and a pitching prospect (Banks, Marcum) for AJ and Encarcion is all I would do.

League has struggled but has WAY too much upside (he was the BA #1 Prospect for Torono) to give away.

The Marlin's will not offer AJ arbitration and therefore you can sign him for nothing in the offseason. I don't see much of an advantage to Toronto getting him now. He will drive just as hard a bargain now on a contract as he would in 6 months.
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#122832) #
- His OBP is being inflated by a record number of HBPs.

Do you think it's a fluke, or is he leaning in there, more willing to take one for this team? I like the second option.

Jordan - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#122833) #
I don't know if getting HBPed regularly is a particular skill -- outside of the Craig Biggios and Don Baylors, I think there's a lot of variance among HBP leaders from year to year, so I'm inclined to think it's fairly random. Has anyone ever run the numbers?

If getting HBPed is a skill you can acquire by leaning into the plate more often, it's certainly a dangerous one -- eventually, intentionally or otherwise, a fastball is going to break your elbow, and you're not much use to your team after that.

I forgot to add one more bullet point, above:

- Shea Hillenbrand for Adam Peterson was one hell of a trade by JP, salary dump notwithstanding.
Jim - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#122834) #
JP has done very well with Hillenbrand and it will go down as one of his better moves up to this point.

I just hope he sells high. Though if last year was any indication, there isnít much of a market for him. (see Peterson, Adam)
Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#122836) #
The Marlin's will not offer AJ arbitration and therefore you can sign him for nothing in the offseason

It sounds like they're going to trade Burnett making it a moot point, but the Marlins would almost certainly offer arbitration to Burnett. There would be almost no risk to offering it since Burnett will get multi-year offers from other teams. He'd almost certainly take 3 or 4 years over just one year with the Marlins (and given his numbers he'll get more per year as a free agent than through arbitration).

Gord Miller - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:38 PM EDT (#122837) #
I am actually Bob McKenzie...
sweat - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#122839) #
I also hope JP sells high. For these 3 reasons:
1) Hill. No one wants to see him go, as he practically christ reborn
2) Koskie. It wouldn't be that hard to move koskie, but we need his above average D, and his power.
3) Hinske. No one wants him.
we have 3 guys for 3 spots, getting a power bat to fill DH so that hinske spends a lot more time on the bench should be priority number 1.
Mick Doherty - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#122840) #
Hill. No one wants to see him go, as he practically christ reborn

Well, then priority one should be to trade/cash in Batista, since Hill will obviously lead the team -- the world! -- in Saves.

I apologize.

Mike D - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#122841) #
I am actually Bob McKenzie...

Oh, please. You are so not Bob McKenzie, Gord. You didn't use the word "CBA" once. Bob is contractually required to use "CBA" at least once in every single sentence he ever speaks or writes.
Mick Doherty - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#122843) #
I admit, as an ignorant American, I at first thought this was a reference to the Dave Thomas character of "Strange Brew" fame and wasn't quite sure how to respond, eh?
dp - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#122845) #
Well, since I was one of Shea's biggest detractors, I'll chime in. He had an amazing start. He's done it before, and he looks like a great player when he's hot. The problem is that when he cools, he's an out machine because of his low walk rate. He hasn't had that problem yet.

So if you want a prediction: .290/.335/.430. I'm not going to repeat all the arguments. He's been better than I expected, but so has Estaban Loiaza...

Re: Burnett- I don't do that deal. Wait, grab him as a FA, and save the talent. Much easier. I don't think the Jays have much of a shot at the WC with Doc down and the offense being what it is. I don't think Burnett for Chacin makes that big of a difference in their playoff chances this year. Maybe I'm wrong. Going forward, Adams and Hudson should be better, Hill might come back to earth a bit, and hopefully Koskie will push Hinske to the bench, so there's hope the offense will improve this season without making a move.

Re: Gross- he has fans here, he has non-believers. I just wish they'd promise him 150 at-bats of regular playing time, no pressure to produce every game. It seems like they're really wasting him. He's got a good combination of skills, and would be a more valuable player than Cat if they'd let him. He won't be a superstar, but there are a lot of teams that could use him, including the Jays.
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#122848) #
The problem is that when he cools, he's an out machine because of his low walk rate.

But hasn't his walk rate improved this year? His OBP is a good 65 points above his average, and it's not all HBP, but those are every bit as good as walks in any case.

See, I have an issue with a statement like this -- yes, his walk rate was poor last year, but can you hold last year's performance against this year? What if he keeps it up all year long, will he still be "an out machine because of his low walk rate"?

Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#122855) #
Hillenbrand's walk rate has improved this year.
Season	BB/AB
2001	2.8%
2002	3.9%
2003	4.6%
2004	4.3%
2005	5.4%
However, he's still the worst on the team in walks per AB (among regulars):
NAME	        BB/AB
Gregg Zaun	17.1%
Eric Hinske	11.2%
Russ Adams	9.0%
O. Hudson	8.0%
F. Catalanotto	8.0%
Vernon Wells	7.8%
Aaron Hill	7.6%
Alex Rios	6.3%
Reed Johnson	6.1%
S. Hillenbrand	5.4%
But he is a ball magnet. Hillenbrand's HPB rate:
Season	HPB/PA
2001	1.4%
2002	1.8%
2003	1.1%
2004	2.0%
2005	4.3%
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#122857) #
What would be considered a "normal" walk rate and a "good" walk rate?
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#122858) #
By the way, I have no problem with "he was an out machine because of his low walk rate". But when you put that in the present tense, well, it just isn't true right now, in the present.
dp - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#122861) #
See, I have an issue with a statement like this -- yes, his walk rate was poor last year, but can you hold last year's performance against this year? What if he keeps it up all year long, will he still be "an out machine because of his low walk rate"?

We're talking about a half season right now, versus his whole career. If he really has developed more plate discipline, that's great. He becomes a different player than he was in the past. But I'm not convinced yet. His pitching/pa rate is actually below his career rate this year, if that means anything. Maybe some of that is out of his hands (the HBP). But his walk rate hasn't been amazing, not that much of a fluctuation from his career norm. If you include the HBP in his plate apprearences, he's walking once every 20+ AB, for his career, he's around 1 every 26.
dp - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#122862) #
Sorry, didn't see Pistol's post before I put mine up...
Named For Hank - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#122865) #
We're talking about a half season right now, versus his whole career.

Oh, I agree -- but right now is he an out machine? Or has he been an out machine in the past?

Wedding Singer - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#122868) #
I would not include League in a deal for Burnett. I would give up Chacin, Gross and a lesser pitching prospect.

I would use League and Hudson as part of a package for Dunn. I would also deal League straight up for Kearns.

Thoughts?
Pistol - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#122869) #
What would be considered a "normal" walk rate and a "good" walk rate?

1 walk every 10 ABs (10%) I would consider good. Average is right at 8% of ABs.

dp - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#122871) #
but right now is he an out machine? Or has he been an out machine in the past?

Has been in the past. June and July he's been walking and/or getting HBP a lot. I'd be interested to hear if he's changed his approach, feels he can take more pitches, ect, or if it is just something that happened.
StephenT - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#122873) #
Gord, you did a nice job on the Jays broadcasts. I also have enjoyed your calling of hockey games (I watch the world juniors every year, and I wouldn't have watched so much of the world championships this year if not for the quality of the announcing (you and McGuire); P.S. if you could get TSN to do as nice a job on slow-motion replays of goals as the world championship feed did, that would be great; P.P.S. but please don't let TSN adopt the world championship graphic coloring scheme (do those colours have names? turquoise?)).
uglyone - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#122878) #
Hey Gord Miller, when can I sit down with you, crunch the numbers, and show you clear as day that you and Pierre don't understand how the Cap will affect the Maple Leafs, and that your hopefully pessimistic predictions on them are way off?

any chance of that?

I'm doing this just to be nice - I don't want you guys to end up looking silly at the end of the season when, once again, the Leafs have performed high above your predictions....once again.
uglyone - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#122879) #
<i>It seems that Hinske would be the most likely candidate, and that upgrade would almost be like making a trade - Hinske out, Koskie in.</i>

Yep.

I think this switch is being overlooked when looking at the Jays in the 2nd half.

That there is going to make a very nice positive difference for this team.
uglyone - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#122880) #
Not sure if this means anything, but Shea's HBP have heen remarkable consistent throughout the season.

I'd guess that could perhaps be used to support a "HBP as skill" argument. Maybe.

APR: 5
MAY: 3
JUN: 5
JUL: 3




Another note is this.....many people love to mention that Shea is "Mr.April", and that he always does well in April.

Well...it's also even truer that Shea has been "Mr.July" throughout his career. July is his best month.

And, before his homer today, his July OPS so far this month was .879....so he seems to be living up to his career stats, once again.
Matthew E - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#122884) #
The conversation so far:

1. Mrs. Hank suggests, in answer to Gord Miller's question about what you'd call five strikeouts in five at-bats (Tabler answered "I don't think I've ever seen that") that this fantastic feat should be christened the Platinum Sombrero, should anyone pull it off.

2.
3 Ks - hat trick
4 Ks - golden sombrero
5 Ks - olympic rings or platinum sombrero
6 Ks - Horn O'Plenty (after Sam Horn)

3. Tabler said during the broadcast that three was a Golden Sombrero, and that four was a Golden Sombrero Plus One. I had heard that three was just a sombrero and four was a Golden Sombrero, but I'll defer to Tabler because he was a player -- if anyone would know how players put down other players, a former player would.

Well, maybe Tabler is reporting accurately what he heard other players say, but the list Pistol provided was one I saw first attributed to Mike Flanagan (in a Tom Boswell book), also a former player, and one whose word Iíd probably listen to over Tablerís, no offense to Tabler. Besides, it fits in with every other definition of Ďhat trickí Iíve ever heard, so I think Iím with Pistol and Flanagan on this one.
Rich - Saturday, July 16 2005 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#122939) #
On the teams I played for, the strikeout "menu" always went like this:

3 K's: Sombrero
4 K's: Golden Sombrero
5 K's: Sombrero and Soup
6 K's: Sombrero, Soup, and Salad

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