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Jay Gibbons and B.J. Surhoff hit 6th inning homers off Dustin McGowan to bring the Orioles back from a 3-1 deficit. Dustin threw a heavy ball, and rarely gave up the long-ball, in the minor leagues prior to his Tommy John surgery. It often takes 2-3 years for pitchers to return to their pre-surgery level of effectiveness; perhaps Dustin's struggles in the big leagues are a part of the usual recovery process.

On offence, the Jays hit 7 singles, 2 doubles, drew 2 walks and hit into 3 double plays. There will be better days. That's enough doom and gloom, so instead of wallowing, let's spend some time with the best part of this year, the team defence.

It has been a real pleasure to watch the Jays play defence this year. Orlando Hudson has been consistently spectacular, while Vernon Wells, Reed Johnson, Corey Koskie, Alex Rios and Aaron Hill have been very good with gusts to great. On the field, the team has displayed gusto even when the bats have been quiet. Toronto fans' scouting report reflects our high opinion of the defence. What do the readily accessible measures say?

We'll use Baseball Prospectus' Rate 2, an index stat, and defensive win shares per adjusted game, using data from the Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus.

So, here are the results:

player     Adj games  Rate 2  Win Shares    Win Shares/Adj. G
Zaun 100.3 97 5.2 .052 H'brand-1B 48.6 93 1.8(total) Hinske 83.4 91 0.8 .010 Hudson 113.1 117 7.6 .067 Hill-3B 30.4 109 1.5(total) H'brand-3B 47.6 99 1.8(total) Koskie 51.2 103 1.4 .027 Adams 98.7 84 2.3 .023 Hill-SS 8.0 100 1.5(total) Cat 73.3 107 2.2 .030 Wells 122.9 107 5.3 .043 Rios 102.2 105 3.3 .032 Johnson-LF 54.8 107 2.2(total)

The objective measures support our subjective impressions of the defence of Hudson, Wells, Rios, Koskie and Hill. Russ Adams' defence has been significantly below average according to the measures, with only Edgar Renteria faring worse among regular American League shortstops. Subjectively, it appeared that he started off the season poorly defensively and has improved as the season went on. I am surprised by how poorly he rates according to these measures, although it is not a surprise that he is below average.

Few have criticized Eric Hinske's defence at first base this season, and so it is also a surprise to see him faring so poorly according to these measures. Oddly, according to Rate2, he went from being an effective defensive third baseman in 2004 to being an ineffective defensive first baseman in 2005. Hinske's rating may reflect an anomaly in the Rate 2 and Win Shares statistics. His zone rating according to is higher than that of any other American League first baseman with significant playing time.

On the other side of the ledger is Frank Catalanotto. Subjectively, he seems to be an average defensive leftfielder at best, but the objective measures have him as solidly above average. According to the Rate2 measure, he has been average or above average defensively in left field each of the last three years. It seems prudent to take these measures with a grain of salt, but perhaps it can be safely said that he is an average defensive leftfielder at worst.

I will come back to this topic again at the end of the season when other measures will be publicly accessible.

Orioles 5 Jays 3- The Defence Never Rests | 22 comments | Create New Account
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Christopher - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#127244) #
This is really, really off-topic, but...I was reading the free Metro paper on the GO Train this morning and noticed that Marty York is now a columnist for them. In his column for today, he makes mention that Clemens might be the next big name linked to steroids.

Marty York

Haven't noticed anything like this anywhere else.
John Northey - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 11:04 AM EDT (#127245) #
I heard the rumours about Clemens via Baseball Primer awhile ago but who knows with these rumours. Basically York is a few weeks behind the times on this one. Much like his 'Hinske on waivers' bit. Gee, who'd have thought the Jays would be trying to unload Hinske? .</sarcasm>
Gerry - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#127248) #
Corey Koskie made a couple of key errors last night. In the first inning, having driven in two runs, he was out trying to get to third on his double. He was out easily and the mistake was compounded when Hillenbrand followed with a hit that would have scored Koskie. Also Baltimore scored their first run when Koskie let Castro make it to first on a routine play to third. Either Koskie had not heard of Castro's speed, or he forgot, but it cost the Jays a run.

Is there a site that tracks on base outs, because my impression is that Koskie has run into a few outs this year?
sweat - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#127249) #
They should have tried to unload koskie. At least someone may have bit on that one.
Rob - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 11:53 AM EDT (#127251) #
I always felt that Cat got a bad rap on his defense in left. Seeing him as above average is a little high probably, but still not all that shocking to me.

However, If I'm reading that Rate2 right, it says Catalanotto is roughly the same as Rios? And Wells? I don't know much about how that's calculated, but something must be wrong (or I don't understand the measure) when Wells and Cat have the exact same number. There should be no comparison. Win shares per adj. game seems more accurate.

Hinske's rating may reflect an anomaly in the Rate 2 and Win Shares statistics.

Here's my stab at an explanation: When Hinske started off the year at first base, we compared him to Delgado, and it was no contest. We could also see Hillenbrand and I'd bet the majority of Bauxites thought Hinske's defense was better than Shea's at first. So as far as we're concerned, Hinske is better than any option we've seen in years.

But when Hinske started his slide, maybe some people overrated his defense in order to get something positive out of his terrible slump. So we think he's better than he is, and that's why the numbers surprised Mike Green (and others, most likely).

Or maybe he just isn't that good, and my complaining over Gibby playing Hillenbrand at first and having Hinske DH means nothing.

R Billie - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#127254) #
Well Koskie did drive in 2 runs with a double.

Those Castro plays will happen from time to time. You don't have much time to decide whether to charge and take the tough hop or stay back and take the good hop. Frankly I thought Castro was out on the play the very least he got the benefit of a tie.

Anyway, it's getting to the point of ridiculousness to continue to expect perfect pitching and defence game in and game out, inning after inning. Errors, forced and unforced are going to happen. The Jays are 2-5 in their most recent games and have been outhomered 13-0. That's 13 runs the opponents have put on the board with one swing of the bat, not counting people that were on base at the time.

I've said it before but this offence isn't any good right now. Their overall runs scored may place them above the middle of the pack, but the consistent struggle to even scratch out runs has been deceivingly padded by the occasional big game where they score more than 6.

Boston just swept a 4 game series vs Tampa. In the last 3 games they bailed out their starters who had put them down by several runs early. If you can't mount consistent offensive threats you can never go on a winning streak. And you can certainly enjoy the type of streak the Jays are on now.

Yep, Halladay would make a difference but the lineup has to be responsible to support the team for the remaining 80% of the games. Build a team 5 games over .500 without Halladay and you have a good shot at the playoffs. Right now I don't think this team is even .500 without Halladay long term.
R Billie - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#127257) #
The defensive win shares support some of my own subjective impressions.

Hudson is pretty good which was clear.

Hillenbrand isn't terribly good at 1B and neither is Hinske but Hillenbrand is servicable at 3B which pleasantly surprised me earlier in the year.

Johnson isn't any better defensively than Cat which I kind of suspected...what he has in speed and arm he loses in tracking certain kinds of flyballs.

Koskie has been decent at 3B but not at the gold glove calibre he's been in the past. Hill already appears better than him in raw ability and could improve with experience.

And Hill also holds a distinct edge over Russ at short. Russ has really had his problems in the field this year and they haven't all been related to throwing. Maybe he can get better but starting 15% below an average shortstop is a tough place to begin.

The thing that is clear is that Hill deserves to play a lot more than he has lately. The Jays are losing a little bit on defence, especially at short, when he's not out there. He's capable at short and more than capable at third.

Based on these numbers, if I had to make a decision today, Adams would be traded to a team needing a middle infielder who could hit 1 or 2 in the order (Oakland?). Hopefully in a package that could bring back someone with power or someone that could pitch a lot of quality innings. Hill would be the everyday shortstop and leadoff hitter. Hudson stays in his position. Koskie and Hillenbrand should platoon at third with Hillenbrand DHing or playing 1B on other occasions.

Then you fit in the two more professional bats you're looking for into 1B/DH/OF in some manner. You have yourself a sound defensive infield and a respectable offence (hopefully).
Jonny German - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#127259) #
There's only one number of any relevance for Hill in the table: 8.0 Adj games. He might be fantastic and he might be terrible, and you might be able to tell that by watching him. The numbers aren't saying anything yet.
Named For Hank - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#127260) #
Who's headed to tonight's game? I'll be in 518 and have a spare ticket to the cheapies if someone wants to meet me at the box office. I'll be in my Shea Hillenbrand All-Star jersey.

Power's been fluctuating here, but you can either post here or e-mail me to claim the ticket. If I don't respond, look for me at the gate nine box office about fifteen minutes before game time.
Rob - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 01:05 PM EDT (#127262) #
Johnson isn't any better defensively than Cat which I kind of suspected...what he has in speed and arm he loses in tracking certain kinds of flyballs.

Nothing to add here except I agree completely with this.

Pistol - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#127264) #
I was reading the free Metro paper and noticed that Marty York is now a columnist. He makes mention that Clemens might be the next big name linked to steroids.

Apparently you get what you pay for.

Named For Hank - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#127265) #
He makes mention that Clemens might be the next big name linked to steroids.

Hey, he doesn't say that Clemens might be accused of taking steroids, just that he might be "linked". I can see the headline now:

Astros player suspended for drugs, once sat near Clemens on the bench

Or, wait... is Canseco writing another book? I'll admit, I'm sort of curious to read Juiced, but I think I'll wait until I see it in the delete bins.
Rob - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#127266) #
If you're looking for an easy joke from Clemens being "linked" to steroids, you do know Canseco and Clemens were teammates on three different teams, right? ('96 Boston, '98 Toronto, '00 New York.)
Named For Hank - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#127267) #
Rob, are you saying that Marty York's "inside" information comes from reading books? Because I don't know if I believe that.
Rob - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#127268) #
I'd hazard a guess that the intellectual level of a Jose Canseco-written book would be just about on par with a Marty York column, especially one in that GO Train paper.
Petey Baseball - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#127269) #
I totally forgot about Marty York...since when was he gone from Sportsnet?
Jay - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#127270) #
FWIW, and you may wish to highly discount this but...

A friend of mine has played golf the last couple of years with a certain member of the Yankees broadcast team. When the on-course discussion turned to Giambi's situation this last off-season, said member of the broadcast team said he was not even close to the biggest user in that clubhouse over the last few years. His statement basically came down to everybody in that clubhouse and the organization is fully aware that Clemens is the biggest juicer in the game.

Now, obviously this is merely a rumour and I know we don't partake in that here so disregard if you so choose, but it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility. If he were juicing though, I'd have to say that, like Bonds, the stuff has just made him from HOF member to out-of-this world good. I think both would probably still be great without.
Brian W - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#127271) #
The Clemens rumours surfaced a couple of weeks ago, apparently on some radio show. Johnny Damon was also alleged to have been caught using steroids. If you search Google News (or just plain old Google) you can find a bunch of coverage. An example
Named For Hank - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#127273) #
The question is this: is any member of the Yankees' broadcast team so loose-lipped as to say something like that, knowing that it would eventually come out and that they'd be I.D.'ed as the source?

I'm not taking a stand on the Clemens issue, as I have no idea, period. I'm just saying that rumor sources must be taken into account when evaluating the rumor.
Jay - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#127276) #
I can vouch 100% for the source of that Yankees broadcast rumour to me. That is, if this guy said it happened, you can take it to the bank. Having said that, none of you have ever met me in person so I would completely understand your taking my information with large grains of salt. Heck...if I didn't know me and had never heard the story before, I probably wouldn't believe it either.
King Ryan - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#127279) #
Hmmm. Where's the August Report Card, you guys? :)
BallGuy - Friday, September 02 2005 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#127282) #
"Rob, are you saying that Marty York's "inside" information comes from reading books? Because I don't know if I believe that."

I agree with NFH. I don't believe Mary York reads books either.
York has been gone from Sportsnet for a long time. Can't say that I missed him.
Orioles 5 Jays 3- The Defence Never Rests | 22 comments | Create New Account
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