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And then there were four. Who to cheer for? The big bad Yankees, the traditional enemy? The new bullies, the Astros, including Roberto Osuna? The sheriffs of playing the game the right way, the Cardinals? Or the ex-Expos, the Nationals?

Congratulations to Daniel Hudson who misses game one for paternity reasons. Reportedly this is the third child for Daniel and his wife.

Ex-Jay content includes JA Happ, Hudson, Osuna, Jake Marisnick, Joe Smith, Aledmys Diaz, Yan Gomes and Edwin. Did I miss any? The Cardinals might be the only remaining team without an ex-Jay.

James Paxton provides the Canadian content.

LCS Chatter | 149 comments | Create New Account
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scottt - Friday, October 11 2019 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#382421) #
Congrats to Hudson. Easy to cheer for the Nats. Washington had not won a playoffs series since the great depression.

I'm not upset about Osuna. Toronto seems to have gotten the better of the deal with Giles and although Paulino didn't make it, the Jays still have Hector Perez.

I don't mind the Yanks having Happ, I just wish they had Drury too.

The match ups will be:

  • Saturday Tanaka vs Greinke
  • Sunday Paxton vs Verlander
  • Tuesday Cole vs Severino
  • Wednesday Urquidy vs the Yankees pen (nobody is expected to go deep in this one)
  • Thursday Greinke vs Tanaka
  • Saturday Paxton vs Verlander
  • Sunday Severino vs Cole

To watch, which Yankees injures themselves during this series. Gregorius and LeMahieu are the only guys who seem unlikely to go down. Britton has as a  twisted ankle and Chapman has a swollen hand but both are considered available.

StephenT - Friday, October 11 2019 @ 10:29 PM EDT (#382422) #
Javy Guerra was added to the Nationals' NLCS roster (wasn't in NLDS).  Joe Biagini didn't make the Astros' ALDS roster.
hypobole - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 12:08 AM EDT (#382423) #
Impressive performance by Anibal Sanchez. Amazing that only last season, he was a $1 million dumpster dive by AA. 3.0 bWAR with the Braves, 3.7 bWAR with the Nats this year.
This after a 3 year stretch with the Tigers where he totalled -1.6 WAR over 300 innings.
scottt - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#382426) #
Sanchez  had signed with the Twins in February  last year before being released on March 11.

I wonder if he got any help from Strasburg and Scherzer.
At any rate, both Cards and Nationals play in pitcher friendly parks.

It's interesting to see Andrew Miller is still in the playoffs.
That's 6 years in a row with 4 different teams.

Thomas - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 02:48 PM EDT (#382430) #
The Cardinals might be the only remaining team without an ex-Jay.

Depends on whether you count the disabled list or not.

How quickly we forget about Brett Cecil.

scottt - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#382431) #
The Yankees will have 6 lefties. The Astros 0.

Sabathia and Hicks are back on, surprisingly.

Magpie - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#382432) #
This is going to get ugly:

A public relations employee for the Los Angeles Angels told federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs and abused it with him for years, and that two team officials were told about Skaggs' drug use long before his death, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

He doesn't think he supplied the drugs that were in Skaggs' system when he died.
Chuck - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 04:42 PM EDT (#382433) #
This is going to get ugly

I know precious little about drug abuse, but I have two questions for those who might know something. Is it even plausible that he could have hidden such an addiction from his teammates? Can you be a functioning oxy addict the same way that some people are functioning alcoholics?

And I know I am using the word addict. Maybe he wasn't and was just a dabbler. Again, I know nothing of this subject.

scottt - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#382434) #
Players get injured. Some painkillers can be prescribed, others cannot.
I don't know if you can hide it  from teammates.
I think it would be impossible to hide it from a spouse.
Teammates are not responsible for one another.
There's no accountability there.
Management is another story.

Back to the prettier stuff.
Great game by Swertzer.
Another save for Hudson.
Nats going back home with a 2 games lead.

scottt - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#382436) #
Greinke hasn't been good in the playoffs since 2015.
Hopefully he'll be more comfortable tonight than in Yankees Stadium.

scottt - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#382438) #
The playoffs balls are not juiced like the regular season balls.
It's definitively one of the reasons why the pitchers are dominating.

Magpie - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#382439) #
Is it even plausible that he could have hidden such an addiction from his teammates?

Maybe he didn't need to. Dirk Hayhurst has been discussing this on the Twitter, and he's got a lot to say about it. He makes it sound like opioids are today's equivalent to greenies:

My third book, Bigger Than The Game, was criticized for making issues out of (at the time) "non-issues", like clinical depression and anxiety, and the MLB's trainers/doctors' quickness to prescribed generous (limitless) servings of opioids and sleeping pills to players...

I used opioids to medicate much more than just injury pain, as did many other players I knew. Of course, back then, I had no real concept of how far-reaching the opioid epidemic was. But I knew one thing very clearly: It was far too easy to get opioids at baseball's top level.

An awful irony is, players who abuse opioids but produce on field are not seen as abusers, addicts or criminals. They're paragons of virtue, true grinders, doing whatever it takes to help their team win and deliver value.
None players doing similar things = human garbage.

The cost of players, the protective nature of trainers, the fact that any MRI on any career player will show abnormalities/damage/inflammation... it's just too easy to find a reason to prescribe. Factor in the length of the season and you get refill allowances liken to a buffet.

After the initial injury, abuse is often rationalized as follows: The need to "get up" for a game (which has its own cocktails and prescription abuses) is leveled out post-game by opioids, sleeping pills, and/or alcohol. In short, it gives hardworking players an "off" switch.

Yeah, this could get ugly.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 12 2019 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#382440) #
As dominant as Cole has been, it would not surprise me to see the Yankees represent the AL in the World Series. They have a very good roster, they’re rested, and they always seem to do an outstanding job of advance scouting the opposition.
scottt - Sunday, October 13 2019 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#382442) #
Houston only needs to win the 4 Verlander/cole games.
scottt - Sunday, October 13 2019 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#382443) #
The criminal investigation seems to focus on illegally made fentanyl.

There will be a discussion between MLB and the players union about what can be prescribed to players.
Personally, I avoid like the plague anything that can be addictive. Not everybody feels the same.

Dewey - Sunday, October 13 2019 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#382446) #
Personally, I avoid like the plague anything that can be addictive.

Except Battersbox?
bpoz - Sunday, October 13 2019 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#382448) #
That definitely applies to me Dewey!!
Thomas - Sunday, October 13 2019 @ 09:34 PM EDT (#382449) #
Even given the strength of New York's bullpen and the off day tomorrow, I thought the hook of Paxton was excessively quick. Maybe the pendulum has swung too far to the other side with Boone.

Verlander's looked very good tonight, except he lost his control to one batter and a mistake to Aaron Judge will be penalized.
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 07:56 AM EDT (#382450) #
Boone figured Paxton was tipping his pitches and pulled him out.
He didn't mind going to the bullpen because they have an off day today.

It almost worked out.
The Houston pen was good.

And first injury goes to the 325 million man.

Thomas - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#382453) #
Not sure where you read he was pulled for tipping his pitches, but there is an article on where Boone denied he yanked Paxton because he was tipping his pitches.
hypobole - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#382454) #
Haven't read anything on Boone's decision, but to me Paxton was pulled because he was having trouble throwing strikes.Kept falling behind in the count.
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#382458) #
He denied it because that's what was being reported.
Now the Astros only need to win one of the games at Yankees Stadium.
Starting Tanaka instead of Paxton was also a major factor in this.
They'll try to go as deep as they can with Severino, than the next day is a bullpen day and they'll need Tanaka to go deep again in the last game there.

dalimon5 - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#382460) #
There's a post on mlbtraderumors pertaining to the Rockies and their over-budgeted team with bad contracts.

It looks like the perfect place to go find some prospects or even a good MLB players if you take back enough salary.

Duds discussed w/ money left on their contracts:

Wade Davis
Bryan Shaw
Jake McGee
Ian Desmond

Over-the-hill or unaffordable in foreseeable future:

Charlie Blackmon
Trevor Story

scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#382462) #
Story is not over the hill, he's 26. He was worth more than 6 WAR this year.
He's not unaffordable. He's got 2 years of arbitration left, so he's going to make less than what he's worth both year.

The Rockies made the playoffs last year.
There's not dumping their stars to tank for the next 4 years.

Ian Desmond was the most stupid signing I've ever seen.
He was a shortstop with Washington. They gave him a QO and he was dumb enough to turn it down even though he was coming off a down year. He ended up in Texas where he mostly played center field. He hit more, but struggled defensively as he was learning the position. Colorado signed him to play 1B and LF, which made no sense. Worse, it was an absurdly long contract.

Blackmon is over the hill. He's 32 with 2 overpaid years and 2 players options left.
I don't think there is a thing that Shapiro hates more than player options.

Beyond that, the Rockies have 3 bad relievers signed to huge contracts.

If Shapiro has money to waste, he can just sign a Japanese center fielder.
2 excellent ones could be posted this year.

Thomas - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#382463) #
It's not clear to me why the Yankees would deny they pulled him because he was tipping his pitches if that was the actual reason, when they have openly admitted that he was tipping his pitches before.

Here's an article from April this year ( in which Paxton admits to tipping his pitches in a start a couple of days prior against Houston.

Why the Yankees would suddenly decide to refuse to admit Paxton was tipping his pitches is not clear to me. Perhaps I am missing something, Scott?
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#382464) #
All I'm saying is I read Paxton was tipping. That must have come out before the Boone interview.
It's not very important either way. Teams are paranoid about signs being stolen on the road.

James W - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#382465) #
Blackmon is over the hill.

He just put up a very-Coors-inflated .940 OPS with 32 home runs. Or, he just put up 2.3 bWAR. I hope I can do that when I'm over the hill.
dan gordon - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#382466) #
That Blackmon contract is really bad. He's not nearly the player he was at his prime. In his top 2 seasons, 2015/16, he had 4.5 and 5.9 WAR. The last 2 seasons, he had 0.8 and 2.3 WAR. In 2015 he stole 43 bases, last year he stole 2. His defense in CF was falling rapidly and they moved him to RF last year, and he wasn't very good there, either, with -1.5 dWAR. His numbers on the road last year - .256/.299/.432/.731 are about the same as Teoscar Hernandez' road numbers - .220/.296/.431/.722. He'll be 34 next summer, so he's likely to continue to decline, and he still has 4 years to go on his contract, counting the player options, at $21.5 M, $21.5 M, $21 M, and then $10 M. I wouldn't go anywhere near that contract.
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 08:06 PM EDT (#382467) #
Over the hill just means that his next years will be worse than his previous years.
Take Miguel Cabrera for example, He was over the hill at 31 when he was worth 5.1 WAR and his last 7+ WAR season was behind him. From there he was good for 2 more 5 WAR  years and he has been worth -0.1 WAR in his last 3 years.
So Blackmon might have a couple of OK years left in him and he could very well be unplayable in his 2 player option years.

dalimon5 - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 08:11 PM EDT (#382468) #
I feel like Dan Gordon is the only one that actually read the referenced article.
dalimon5 - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#382469) #
Here is the article that gives more context to the general descriptors I was using for Story and Blackmon:
Thomas - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#382470) #
Did Francouer do commentary last year? I don't remember him, but I've found him pretty decent so far this playoffs, which is a good sign for a novice broadcaster.
scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 09:09 PM EDT (#382471) #
It's possible to read an article and not agree with the opinions in it.
It's easy for people to look at teams they don't care about and suggest they tear everything to the ground.
That's not how baseball works.
The GM just promised the fans that they're going to contend next year.
So they will try. They will likely have a very painful rebuild because of the bad contracts.
They'll do that once they failed and attendance is down, not before.
Certainly, the Orioles could have traded Machado and co earlier.
Maybe, they would have gotten more, but they would have cut into their revenues earlier too.
There's too many teams rebuilding right now and they are fighting over the top draft picks.
This only works well when only a small number of teams are doing it.

Wasn't there an article last year about Washington trading their top players and speeding up a rebuild after losing Harper?

scottt - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#382472) #
Here it is again in my feed, Davis Samson, the World Series winning former Marlins president has a show called "Nothing Personal with David Samson". The first episode starts with "Don't believe Aaron Boone, James Paxton was tipping his pitches."

So, it possibly came from there.

dalimon5 - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#382473) #
Scottt, I still get the sense you haveb't read the article. It's called "Rockies Have Difficult Decisions to Make on Key Players," or something to that effect. It advocates for trading some of their players in order to make room to go after other team needs. Nowhere does the article or anybody's post talk about blowing things up or trading away you players for a rebuild.

3 bullpen guys all bad...the idea is to trade them to get the money off your books.

One OF who is clearly over the hill (if you read the article), and will cost you an arm and a leg.

One SS who has 2 more years of control (salary going up) and then will be unaffordable when he needs to be signed because of bad contracts your currently tied to.

I suggest you read the article it's a good informative take on the Rockies dilemma and makes it very clear that at the current pace they won't be anywhere near contending next year.
Magpie - Monday, October 14 2019 @ 10:40 PM EDT (#382474) #
Davis [sic] Samson, the World Series winning former Marlins president

That would be the same David Samson who called out Daniel Hudson for missing the first game of the NLCS and was, quite rightly, pilloried from post to post for his stupidity (Sean Doolittle had the definitve take.)

Happy Bat Flip Day!
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 01:28 AM EDT (#382475) #
I hadn't read the article. I just looked up Blackmon's stats and immediately saw how terrible that contract looks. Since the article was mentioned again, I had a look at it, and I have to say I strongly disagree with something it says - that Blackmon "is still a terrific hitter". It never ceases to amaze me that people still don't make proper allowances for the stats people produce when playing for Colorado. If you look at Blackmon's raw stats, sure he still looks terrific, but you can't do that if you want to have an accurate look at the player. As I pointed out above, last year Blackmon was basically Teoscar Hernandez with the bat in his hands, and worse than Teoscar with the glove. Is anybody calling Hernandez a "terrific hitter"? Didn't think so. Put it this way - how would you feel if Teoscar suddenly aged 6 years overnight, lost some of his already minimal defensive skills, and then the Blue Jays signed him to a contract that pays him $21.5 M, $21.5 M, $20 M and $10+ M the next 4 years? That's pretty much what the Rockies have with Blackmon.

While on the subject of Rockies' hitters, every baseball fan knows how good a player Nolan Arenado is, right? Great defender, one of the best hitters in baseball. Well, his defense has already started to drop off considerably. From 3.6 dWAR in 2013 to 2.3/2.4 per year in 2015/16/17, to an average of 0.9/year the last 2 years. He might need to move to 1B in a few years, and you know what his career road slash line is? Well, it's only .265/.323/.476/.799. Looking at the career road OPS's of a few other 3B types - Arenado's career road OPS is only 28 points better than Todd Frazier's, and 30 points lower than Matt Carpenter's, and exactly the same as Kyle Seager's. Arenado is not one of the best hitters in baseball - Coors Field makes him look like he is. Because Arenado was fortunate enough to be drafted by the Rockies, he's making $35 million a year - even the people handing out contracts like that don't make the proper park adjustments to see a player's true ability. That $234 million the Rockies are going to be paying him for the next 7 years isn't going to look very good in a few years when he's a mediocre fielding 3B or maybe a 1B, with a true OPS (not Coors-inflated) in the mid to high 700's.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 06:44 AM EDT (#382476) #
Road OPS is not a good measurement of how good a hitter is. Use WRC+ or OPS+ for adjusted numbers. Arenedo is a terrific hitter. He has a 127 WRC+ over the past 5 years.
scottt - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 06:47 AM EDT (#382477) #
When a team has back contracts, it needs to keep its good controllable players to help bring fans in to pay for those big contracts. That's probably also why Rogers wouldn't trade any controllable players in 2017.

I looked at the article plenty, what I had not look at is what the Rockies put on the field this year.
It's shocking that they had so many below average hitters in Coors.
It shouldn't be very had to find guys who can hit in Colorado.
A couple of Sogard/Glavis type could have made a huge difference.

ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#382478) #
While hockey may be different than baseball since it has a hard salary cap, the trend in that sport is younger players getting paid more than they used to, with older players, especially those with average talent, getting smaller contracts or none at all.
I'm wondering if baseball executives are looking at contracts like Cabrera and Blackmon and are finally realizing giving older players with declining numbers big contracts is lost money. The last few years of free agency has pointed that way.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 08:47 AM EDT (#382479) #
Glevin is right.  Road OPS isn't a very helpful marker, and it's been made much less reliable because of the unbalanced schedule.  Let's say you are comparing Cody Bellinger and Nolan Arenado.  They'll play 81 games on the road, and have the same games in the division in Arizona, San Francisco and San Diego.  Bellinger gets 9 or 10 road games in Colorado and Arenado gets 9 or 10 road games in Los Angeles.  Big difference.  Arenado has a career wRC+ on the road of 109, and that's with the disadvantage I mentioned.  The main difference between his home and road stats is a .327 BABIP at home (Coors-inflated) and a .276 BABIP on the road (PETCO, Dodger Stadium etc. deflated).

AWeb - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#382480) #
Colorado is such a weird place to build a team - the batting line in Colorado was around .300/.365/.510 this year, which would take 2019 Grichuk and turn his batting line into someone like 2019 Gurriel Jr. if they played there for 162 games. That's not an easy mental adjustment.

The franchise has had top-level position player talent on the roster most of it's history, but has rarely managed to fill in a roster with other good (instead of below average) hitters. Put a roster like 2019 Houston there and they might score 1200 runs? On the other side, they have a huge OF that needs capable defenders to cover. But players who fit that profile can play anywhere, and apparently don't want to go to Colorado very often. And despite the top-end success (Helton, Tulo, Arenado), the franchise has been terrible at developing average+ players too, kind of like Toronto for the last 15 years.
hypobole - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#382481) #
John Lott with Bill Lee at The Athletic. Why am I so captivated by a guy who hates Bill James? Because it's the Spaceman.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#382482) #
The difference between Coors Field and Dodger Stadium is big, but it's only about 11% of his road games. If the difference between the 2 parks is 15%, then the impact on the total season number would be .15 x .11 or about 1.7%, if the difference is 20%, then the impact for the season would be about 2.2%, so it's not really all that big a difference. On a .800 OPS, 2% is about 16 points. And if you look at the road schedule for Seager, who has the same career road OPS as Arenado, he has to play in Oakland and Anaheim, which are both pitchers' parks. Seager gets to play in Texas, Arenado gets to play in Arizona. As for OPS+, it makes a general adjustment for the park, but the impact of a park is going to affect different players differently, depending on their batted ball profile. Looking at the road OPS shows you directly how the player has actually hit away from his home park. Mike, you say that Arenado has a career wRC+ on the road of 109. That's not among the best hitters in baseball, though. It's good, but it's nowhere near $35 million a year good, which is what I'm getting at, even if you give him a few more points for playing more road games in LA, SF and SD than in ARZ. Same for his total career wRC+ of 120 - very good, but not among the elite hitters in the game. Arenado is a very good hitter, but he's not a great hitter, and he's paid like a great hitter.
AWeb - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 06:32 PM EDT (#382483) #
Arenado is paid like a star because he has played like one. He's a top 15 defender over the past 5 years, and a top 20 hitter. The combo makes him a top 10 player. Obviously if he gets worse, that's a bad contract, but it's more than fair right now. There just aren't many hitters consistently at a higher level than "very good", which is where Arenado has been for a while.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#382484) #
Adrian Beltre was probably a lesser player of the same type as Arenado in his 20s. He had a graceful defensive decline and actually improved his offence in his 30s. It is certainly possible that Arenado will decline gracefully both with the bat and the glove.  When you net out the park, he has good punch, doesn't strike out much and will take a walk. That broad-ranging skill set on average tends to age better.
scottt - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#382485) #
It's easier to sign a free agent by giving him an extra year--Russell Martin for example--than by paying him more for the same number of years. More payroll flexibility. You always hope the guy will age well and you get something for the extra year.  They Jays could have had Happ back for 3 years. They passed.

AWeb - Tuesday, October 15 2019 @ 09:29 PM EDT (#382486) #
Caught a game in Washington a few weeks ago when they clinched the playoffs (as I was leaving the park the Cubs lost). That night the crowd was late arriving and surprisingly sparse, but it was also the 2nd game of the day so maybe so folks took in the day game only. Great night for it, nice park, seemed like good natured enough fans, at least where I was.Kinda' cheering for them now, especially given the other options. If the reports of the ball being newly un-juiced are true, they seem like a team well-built for it - highest OBP in the NL, highest average, most steals. And obviously the starting pitching is great. The bullpen though...
Still not sure what to make of the AL "juggernauts", given how lop-sided the entire league was. It's still unbelievable to me that Toronto was only the 4th worst team in the league after losing 95 games, or that Tampa finished 5th with 96 wins. 2018 was similar. 96 wins gets home field advantage in a lot of years, and that's where the WS Jays teams were. I really hope 2020 sees things go back to "normal", where wins and losses cap out around 100.
Super Bluto - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#382487) #
near as I can figure, the Nets scored 7 runs on 16 pitches. I searched briefly but couldn't find any records for such a feat.
dan gordon - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 02:01 AM EDT (#382488) #
Arenado was 37th in mlb this year in wRC+, just behind Tim Anderson and Brian Reynolds, and just ahead of Joc Pederson. He's a very good defender at 3B, but not nearly as good as he was a few years ago. He doesn't steal bases. He's not worth anywhere near his current salary of $35 million.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 04:36 AM EDT (#382489) #
I don't know what your issue with Arenado is Dan, but he's a fantastic player. 4 straight years of over 5 WAR. Since 2015, Arenado is 8th in baseball in WAR. He should be one of the highest paid players in baseball and he is.

And nobody uses road OPS as a measurement for a reason. Mike alluded to part of the reason why but there are more reasons. Most hitters just do better at home. Josh Donaldson, for example, had a 163 WRC+ at home this year and a 105 on the road. Does that mean, if he went to another park, he'd be a 105 WRC+ hitter? There is also a specific discussion of Coors hangover effect. Here is a paragraph from a Fangraphs piece about it.

"Still, we could be robbing select Rockies players of up to a half-win per season (per FanGraphs) and a handful of points on their wRC+ simply by assuming that changing altitudes doesn’t create additional difficulties while batting."

That is, if anything, Rockies hitters are underrated by WRC+.
dan gordon - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 06:01 AM EDT (#382490) #
My issue with Arenado is quite clear from the above posts. He's overpaid. He was 37th in wRC+ this year and he makes almost the exact same money as Trout, who is a vastly superior player. Your point about players hitting better at home doesn't come close to explaining the difference between Arenado's performance at home and on the road. As I said above, Kyle Seager has the same career road OPS as Arenado. Doesn't your point about players hitting better at home apply to Seager? There has been a long standing issue with position players for the Rockies being over rated and often, overpaid, dating back to Dante Bichette, who wasn't a very good player, but who kept getting MVP votes and all-star game appearances because of the mirage created by the massive park effects of Coors Field. It amazes me that this improper evaluation of players persists, although it has diminished somewhat, despite all the statistical evidence that there is today.
Chuck - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#382491) #
Is the argument that Arenado is not worth what he is being paid now and that you disagree with BR and FG pegging him as a 5-win player? Or that he will not be worth the 35M per year into his early and mid 30s? These seem to be two separate arguments. The former would seem to be untenable.

As for he and Trout soon to be drawing similar paycheques, blame the overly charitable Trout for that. He should be paid like a top flight NBA player.

Not sure how much weight can be given to the Bichette comments. Yes, back in the day, both John Q Public and the BBWAA grossly overestimated his worth, even if the humble, powerless analysts didn't. Nowadays, I'm not sure he'd be given the same career opportunities. Not all front offices have become smart, but they have gotten smarter.

All that said, I think the Rockies, as an organization, are not great at valuating talent (Blackmon, Desmond). And Arenado may well not be worth his contract if he suffers a prounounced decline and inflation doesn't mask that decline. I just disagree with a methodology that chooses to ignore half his at-bats, rather than normalizing them, when valuating his worth. It seems needlessly reductive.

AWeb - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 08:25 AM EDT (#382492) #
One extreme example of home performance mattering - Wade Boggs. More than anyone, he was well suited (or tailored his game) to hitting in Fenway. His career in Fenway was .369/.464/.527, which is a better version of Ty Cobb. His career road slash line was .302/.387/.395, which is a reasonable approximation of Pete Rose's career. Being great in your home park is a huge advantage, and has huge value, even if it doesn't translate so well when you leave. If Arenado is, for some reason, benefitting from Coors more than most hitters would, that's still hugely valuable to a team that plays in Colorado half the time.
Gerry - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#382493) #
Julian Merryweather pitched an inning in relief in the AFL last night.
dalimon5 - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#382494) #
I'll jump in and add that the determining factor in whether a contract is good or bad is dependent on the team not on a theoretical comparison based on numbers. If you can have Trout or Arenado and you sign them both and pay more for Arenado does that make his contract bad or Trout's a good one?

If you're the Rockies does it matter what Trout is getting paid if your options are either Arenado at $35 million vs no Arenado on your team?

If Arenado won't sign for less and the alternative is pocketing the money or taking a long shot at getting some other top 10 player to sign in free agency in Colorado...doesn't that make a contract more valuable to a team trying to contend? Who cares if you're the Rockies and there are better value options out there that don't apply to your team? You would actually make your team worse by trying that tact.

Even if you were right and he's overpaid, there's probably at least 10-15 other teams that would take that player and contract.

Name me one player that is top 15 who isn't underpaid and has been signed to an extension or through free agency...
scottt - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 06:54 PM EDT (#382495) #
One hit, one strike out. Good for a Hold as he was protecting a 2-1 lead.
That's a tiny step forward.

scottt - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#382496) #
I also see that Kevin Smith went 0 for 3 with 3 Ks and is now batting .122.
The Scorpions starting lineup featured 7 players hitting for under .200.
Their opponents had 5 guys hitting for more than .300.

scottt - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#382497) #
I've seen some complaints by the Yankees about the Astros whistling on certain pitches.
I'm guessing that's when the catcher gives a high target? Not sure what else you can see from the bench.

bpoz - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#382498) #
2 Bauxites have mentioned that the ball is de-juiced now. AWeb and Scottt? Are their any details known if the de-juiced ball is going to be 2020's regular season ball and also in AAA?
scottt - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#382499) #
MLB is saying that it's the same ball with a different stamp.
Statistically, it's not. Someone has  measured the drag coefficient to be higher by 3~4%. BA?
Some wonder if that's due to the colder weather.
It's could be random. It could be achieved just by sorting the regular ones.
There's no way to know.

This is not the first time that the long ball seem to die in October, so it's best to assume the ball will be the same next year.
Still juiced that is.

bpoz - Wednesday, October 16 2019 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#382501) #
Thanks scottt?
Glevin - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 03:32 AM EDT (#382502) #
"My issue with Arenado is quite clear from the above posts. He's overpaid."

Except, he very clearly isn't overpaid. Fangraphs had his value this year at $47.4M which means he was underpaid by about $12.5M. In his career, he's been worth about $250M and been paid around $61M. He's been underpaid every single year for 7 seasons. Will he be worth $35M a year in 5 years? Probably not but he could easily have built up enough surplus value early on to the make the contract worth it and more importantly, Arenado will end up his career being vastly underpaid compared to what he gave Colorado. You keep using the same bizarre arguments of road OPS and single season WRC+. Sure, he was 37th in WRC+ but he also had more defensive value than every single player ahead of him. I'm not sure why you want to ignore that. I mean, he has finished first in the NL in range factor at 3B every single season he's played and he's deservedly won gold gloves in every season he's ever played. You can't pretend that doesn't matter. He was roughly the 37th best hitter and 12th best fielder last year which made him roughly the 13th best player in baseball. I just don't understand why you are so upset about an elite player getting paid like an elite player.
scottt - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 07:51 AM EDT (#382504) #
With Maddon as the new Angels coach I expect them to be more competitive.
They might go after Cole or Ryu.
James W - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 09:06 AM EDT (#382505) #
Given park effect, launch angle, and exit velocity, Arthur calculated that there should have been 67 home runs hit in the divisional round, when in reality there were only 43. Included in the missing 24 were three balls that would have had a 95 percent chance or better of reaching the seats in the regular season. And while the cold weather of October is an obvious place to look for an explanation, Arthur pointed out that at the time he performed his study, the average 2019 postseason game had actually been played in warmer conditions than the average 2019 regular-season game.

This paragraph is from The Ringer's summary of Rob Arthur's piece at BP:
Mike Green - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#382506) #
Anthony Rendon turns 30 on June 6.  I wonder what his 5 year projection would be.  My thoughts:

-he's a slightly above average defender at this point
-he's had average durability during his late 20s
-he has been steadily improving with the bat- his xwOBAs the last 5 years: .335, .355, .382, .389., .413 (xwOBA over the period . 378; wOBA over the period .375)
-his offensive profile of a multi-faceted offensive player on average ages well

My projection:
-typical modest declines in durability and defence
-slower than average decline in offence in his early 30s

Ergo something like:
2020: 580 PA, .380 wOBA, +2 defence (which is roughly a 5.5 WAR player)
2021: 560 PA: .375 wOBA, 0 defence (a 5 WAR player)
2022: 540 PA, .370 wOBA, -2 defence (a 4.5 WAR player)
2023: 510 PA, .365 wOBA, -5 defence (a 3.5 WAR player)
2024: 480 PA, .360 wOBA, -7 defence (a 3 WAR player)

Sal Bando was the most comparable player that I could find to Rendon.  Bando wasn't quite as good a hitter, but was very durable in his 20s.  If I am right, Rendon will hit well enough to slide over to first base or to DH and perhaps be able to be more durable than expected.

In any event, it looks to me from the Blue Jay perspective (or that of any other AL team) that there's a 3 year period where Rendon is almost surely a capable third baseman and an excellent hitter and worth roughly 5 WAR per year.  Those years have a value of about $45 million per year on the free agency market.  I wonder whether a player like Rendon would prefer a 3 year/$130M contract or a 5 year/$185M contract. 

Back to the playoffs.  It's going to be very interesting how the Yankees and Astros manage their pitching over the next 4 days.  The Astros have said that they will go Greinke and Verlander on regular rest the first two games, and surely will go with Cole on regular rest in Game 7 if necessary.  They will probably do some kind of tandem in Game 6.  The Yankee situation is more complicated. 

bpoz - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#382507) #
Let me try this again without the question mark. Take 2.

Thanks Scottt.
dan gordon - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 12:04 PM EDT (#382508) #
Glevin, the only person who seems to be upset is you. I'm not the person calling other people's comments "bizarre". I really seem to have touched a nerve with you. We obviously disagree. Nothing wrong with that.
scottt - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#382509) #
The Yankees situation is very simple.
Tanaka, Paxton, opener + CC or Happ for as long as you can go, Severino.

They Yankees have to go to the bullpen early, but not too early.
They won't have all their best relievers available 4 days in a row, so they just need to sprinkle the other ones here an there.
Today, Tanaka for as long as he can go and all the relievers are available.
Tomorrow, Paxton for as long as he can go and and all the relievers are available if necessary.
Saturday, the score will dictate the strategy, but they are not saving anyone.
It it goes to Sunday, they'll use whoever is left.
They don't want to see Cole again.

John Northey - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#382510) #
An odditiy via MLB Trade Rumors -

I don't think it makes much sense at all. A pure DH is not what the Jays need right now.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#382511) #
I see that AFL prospect Victor Victor Mesa is an outfielder. That's good. It would be confusing if he were the winning pitcher in a game and broadcasters had to refer to "victor Victor Victor Mesa."
DH - Thursday, October 17 2019 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#382512) #
David Price has 3 years and $96m left on his contract. Given the payroll challenge the Sox have, what percent of that would you absorb and what would you give up to bring him back?
dan gordon - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 02:30 AM EDT (#382513) #
I'd love to see Encarnacion sign with the Jays. He's still a force. His OPS+ this year was 132, and his wRC+ was 129, better than a lot of big name hitters, including Goldschmidt, Abreu, Story, Torres, Harper, Chapman, Blackmon, Arenado, and Acuna. I think he would hit a lot better than guys like Tellez, Fisher, Hernandez, etc. who could fill the DH/1B role as it currently stands. Depends on what he wants, of course, and you can't give him more than 2 years at his age.

Don't think I want Price. That's a terrible contract, and he's 34 years old. Don't know what happened to cause him to miss most of Aug/Sept. How healthy is he? He's never been all that good in the post season. He's had ERA/FIP numbers in the mid-high 3's and low 4's the last 4 years, and at his age, you would expect those numbers to get worse. I certainly wouldn't give up any significant assets to get him, and I'd rather let Boston be hampered by that $32 million a year for the next 3 years.
scottt - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 06:22 AM EDT (#382514) #
Great game. The Astros put the ball in play and the Yankees made errors upon errors.
When there are many homeruns, many of them are solo shots.
When they are fewer homeruns, each can have more impact.
Those 3 run homeruns were huge blows.

ISLAND BOY - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 07:30 AM EDT (#382515) #
I can see the Yankees going after pitching in the offseason. Whether they want to put up the big bucks for Gerrit Cole is another story.
bpoz - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 07:37 AM EDT (#382516) #
Always sweet to have NYY on the brink of elimination.
scottt - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 07:41 AM EDT (#382517) #
It's more important for the Jays to use the DH slots to rest some players and give others more ABs.
EE will be 37. He only played 109 games this year due to injuries.
What's interesting about him is that he might keep J. D. Martinez from opting out.

The Astros base running was fun to watch last night.
Almost always first to third on an outfield single.
With runners in the corners, they send the runner to the plate and if he's caught he wastes time to move the other 2 second and third.
And the hustling to first caused many errors and a couple of infield singles.

Mike Green - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#382518) #
Edwin Encarnacion has produced 2.3, 1.0 and 2.5 WAR over the last 3 years. His xwOBA for those years has been .393, .362 and .359.   He turns 37 in January.  He's still a good hitter,  and I can see signing him on a 1 year contract as a final piece on a team really attempting to compete.  Like Dave Winfield in 1992. 

I don't think he's a good fit in Toronto.
Gerry - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#382519) #
I am not sure if this is paywalled or not but there are radical proposals on the table for changes in minor league baseball. We don't know if these are just negotiating tactics or if MLB intends to go through with them. The link to the Baseball America story is here. Among the proposals are the elimination of 20 teams. Moving teams from AAA to A and vice-versa. Delaying the draft until August. Eliminating the short season leagues. Re-configuring the leagues to reduce travel times.
Jevant - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#382520) #
The Yankees and 29 other teams should be willing to put up the big bucks for Cole. There's no reason why any team can't fit a guy like that on their roster, and build around it. Maybe not the Rays, but that's an ownership issue more than anything else.
Jevant - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#382521) #
For me, Edwin would always be a good fit. I would be 100% fine with him playing DH most days, the odd day at 1B, and being a presence around the young guys. I don't think he blocks anyone, and it couldn't hurt to reconnect with the best Jays teams since 93.
scottt - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#382522) #
No paywall.

Draft could be delayed until the end of the college series, not August.

The Athletic has something on this as well.

dan gordon - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#382523) #
On the new Fan 590 sports show Writers' Block today, they had a brief segment on possible divisional realignment to 4 divisions of 8 teams (2 expansion teams), with division winners getting a bye, and 2nd plays 3rd in each division - 12 teams make the playoffs. I'd like to see Montreal get one of the new teams and go into the same division as Toronto.
Vulg - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#382524) #
On the new Fan 590 sports show Writers' Block today, they had a brief segment on possible divisional realignment to 4 divisions of 8 teams (2 expansion teams), with division winners getting a bye, and 2nd plays 3rd in each division - 12 teams make the playoffs. I'd like to see Montreal get one of the new teams and go into the same division as Toronto.

I'd love to see that. Selfishly, what I want to see even more is the Jays separated from the Yankees and the Red Sox in any re-alignment. I hope they blow things up, maybe put the two NY teams along with Boston and Philly in a division (i.e. roughly by market size).

Alternatively, I'd like to see a more balanced schedule (i.e. no longer having to play any single team 19 times). Toronto, Montreal, Detroit and Washington. Let's go!
John Northey - Friday, October 18 2019 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#382525) #
I'm good with 4 divisions of 8 teams. What would they be and who would get expansion teams? No one in Florida that is for sure.

East: NYY, NYM, Boston, Philly, Baltimore, Washington, Rays, Miami (poor Florida teams)

Great Lakes: Jays, Detroit, Cleveland, Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Pittsburgh, Montreal (expansion)

Central: Cincinnati, St Louis, KC, Atlanta, Rangers, Astros, Colorado, Minnesota

West: Seattle, SF, Oakland, Angels, SD, Dodgers, Arizona, Portland (expansion)

Charlotte and Nashville are both viewed as possible choices too for expansion Both Charlotte and Nashville could go Central shifting Cincinnati to the GL. Vegas is often listed but seems too small to me. Vancouver makes little sense right now. Mexico was viewed as possible at one time but really makes no sense in the Trump era. Buffalo was once high on the list but I couldn't imagine it happening now.
dan gordon - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 01:05 AM EDT (#382526) #
Yes, Portland is the other expansion team that was listed in a 4 division set up I saw online. That one had the Jays in with Montreal, NYY, NYM, Bos, Cle, Det, and Pitt. They wanted 12 games against each division rival, for a total of 84. I hate the current schedule with almost half of your games against 4 teams. That seems absurd to me in a sport with 30 teams.
scottt - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 02:43 AM EDT (#382527) #
You have to think that west coast team don't want to play most of their away games away from the west coast.
I hardly watch the away games on the west coast because they are too late, so I don't want more of those.
It's a long season and the division teams you see in September are often much different from the one you saw in April.
It's also annoying to have out of division games in September when trying to win the pennant.

There are 2 separate leagues. That's why it's the World Series.
It's not 1 league with 4 or 6 divisions.

scottt - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 03:05 AM EDT (#382528) #
What's a "non-complex rookie-level team"?

5 minor league clubs would mean A-, A, A+, AA and AAA.
It would probably be great for Vancouver if the North West League goes full season.
The Jays are not moving from Dunedin.
If Montreal gets an expansion team, they might want to get their AAA back in Ottawa.
Montreal Portland would also mean another 10 US minor teams.

I don't quite get the Dream League.
It sounds like MLB teams would be paying scouts to follow those teams where the players would be under paid.
Also, any team can buy any player for 5K at any time? Those teams would lose their best players at any time for almost no compensation. The Ottawa Champions own the city 400K on unpaid taxes. It's hard to see the attraction of grooming pro player without subsidies.

When it comes to the players union, I get the feeling that the union does not want the MLB teams to spend more money on minor league teams.

BlueJayWay - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 08:03 AM EDT (#382529) #
If they expand to 32 teams, there's going to have to be some kind of divisional realignment, as baseball doesn't want to go back to the unbalanced divisions we had before they moved Houston to the AL. I'm sure it will either be 4 divisions of 8 teams, or 8 divisions of 4 teams. As far as the playoffs I'm not sure how that would be because I don't see wildcards being eliminated, but then it becomes awkward to keep the same number of playoff teams as now without using byes, which in baseball might not be a great idea. 

I also hate the current unbalanced schedule with almost half your games coming against just 4 teams. I would prefer a balanced schedule, but would be okay with a sched weighted a little toward your own division, but not to the extreme that it is now. If they played 4 series a year against divisional rivals instead of 6, that would come out to about 50 intradivisional games a season instead of the current 76.

John Northey - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#382530) #
If there is a radical realignment I figure it'll be to put regional rivalries up on the list. Reduce travel (thus costs) and build local rivalries. You'd want Toronto & Detroit to be in the same division ideally as they are physically very close.

I see it being a shift from AL/NL to East/West like virtually all other major leagues do. So via my selections above, you'd have East vs GL, Central vs West to reduce the time zone issues.

East: NYY, NYM, Boston, Philly, Baltimore, Washington, Rays, Miami (poor Florida teams)

Great Lakes: Jays, Detroit, Cleveland, Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Pittsburgh, Montreal (expansion)
Most EST (Chicago's, Milwaukee central)

Central: Cincinnati, St Louis, KC, Atlanta, Rangers, Astros, Colorado, Minnesota
(Atlanta, Cincinnati EST, Colorado MST)

West: Seattle, SF, Oakland, Angels, SD, Dodgers, Arizona, Portland (expansion)
Pacific or Mountain time.

You could put the Jays & Expos into the East and the Florida into the Central, shift Cincinnati & Atlanta to the GL as well.

Can't imagine anyone in the EST area would want to be in the Central as a semi unbalanced schedule would have them playing vs the West.

Ideally you'd have 1 series vs the Eastern 2 if you were in the western 2, 2-4 series vs the other division in your half, the rest vs your own. Not sure if that works out but it sounds good. Then have division winners go to playoffs automatically and the next 6 teams in each half go as well. Thus making for a big NHL/NBA style playoff. Division winners are ranked 1/2 regardless of record, thus get to play the weakest 2 teams that make it each round. Round 1 is best of 5, 2 and beyond best of 7. Playoffs would have to start earlier - might need to reduce regular season to 154 games to gain a week of playoff time. If you stick with 10 team playoffs then division winners and 3 wild cards with bottom 2 WC having a one game playoff followed by the rest of the playoffs (division winners play WC teams with stronger division winner getting to play the winner of the one game WC game, weaker gets the stronger WC).
scottt - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#382531) #
The problem with byes is that a team who sits idle for a week might not be able to get going.
You'd almost have to run all the series aggressively with no travel days for the bye not to be a disadvantage.
Either way, more baseball, but maybe brutal baseball.

scottt - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#382532) #
There's another way to eliminate 2 of 3 teams. A triple threat series.
The second place team faces the third place team.
The first place team faces the loser.
Rinse and repeat. Whenever a team loses 3 games it is eliminated.
In all games, the best place team has home field advantage.
The third place team would take a beating and not play any game at home, but that seems fair.

scottt - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 01:56 PM EDT (#382534) #
Sabathia actually dislocated his shoulder on a pitch
I can't remember that happening before.
That's the type of injury I expect from an outfielder running into a wall.

PeterG - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#382535) #
After listening to the podcast, it seems that none of this re-alignment or expansion is coming anytime soon. That comes more from Zwelling more than anything Shapiro said. What Shapiro did suggest at the end of the interview is that robo umps for ball/strikes are necessary and coming soon. They are being used in AFL now and will be used in minors next what extent wasn't said. I would think that with the way he was emphasizing relative immediacy with this, that it could come to MLB as soon as 2021.....if not then, very soon after.
hypobole - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#382536) #
If robo umps are coming to MLB soon, is there any point in spending time with young A ball catchers on pitch framing? Seems it will become a useless skill.
bpoz - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 07:51 PM EDT (#382537) #
Thanks Peter G. I figured that this was a lot of speculation. This off season is going to be difficult for me to tell what is fact and what is made up to boost personal writer interest.

J Merryweather has pitched twice. FB at 96 mph.
PeterG - Saturday, October 19 2019 @ 08:17 PM EDT (#382538) #
Yes, Merryweather is looking good. So is Jackson Rees. It should also be mentioned that Logan Warmoth has come alive, hitting .306 and playing several positions in IF and OF.
scottt - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 12:26 AM EDT (#382539) #
Walked off the Bronx Bummers! Yes.
dan gordon - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 01:03 AM EDT (#382540) #
Warmoth was also red hot this year prior to his promotion to AA. He hit .371 in his last 23 games with 10 extra base hits and 13 walks. Really struggled after the promotion, though. Keep in mind that he has been promoted very quickly, going from the Gulf Coast League to start the 2017 season to AA this year, a jump of 5 levels. His performance in the fall league is encouraging - if he has a good 1st half with NH next year, he probably gets moved up to AAA, and he'll still be just 24.
85bluejay - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 05:47 AM EDT (#382541) #
I don't think that Logan Warmoth has been promoted "very quickly" at all - fellow college position players from that draft like Hiura & Haseley have already reached the Majors, others have reached AAA and HS draftees like Jo Adell,Jeter Downs have reached at least AA - Heck, fellow Jays 2017 college picks Cullen Large & Brock Lundquist who are both younger than Warmoth have also reached AA - Warmoth may be coming around but so far he's been a disappointment.
scottt - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#382542) #
Jumping over the pitchers and some of the high schoolers who haven't passed A+.
Royce Lewis, shortstop, first pick overall of that draft by the Twins has followed the same path and is hitting .407 in the AFL.
Brendan McKay, 4th pick overall by the Rays played 20 games in AAA where he hit .239 and 7 MLB game where he hit .200.
Paven Smith, 7th pick, was in the AFL last year and didn't hit. He's spent the year in AA.
Jake Burger, 11th pick by the White Sox, played 4 games in the AFL in 2017 but has not played since.
Evan White, 18th pick by the Royals, same path, OPS .767 in the AFL right now but he's a 1B.
Jeren Kendall, CF, 23nd, one pick  after Warmoth by the Dodgers is in the AFL now with a .598 OPS.

Warmoth seems to be on track. Neither early nor late.
If he can play all infield positions and hit for average and get on base, there's a place for him on the team.

scottt - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 12:02 PM EDT (#382543) #
Going to be interesting to see what the Yankees do once the 60IL goes up.
Retired: Sabathia.
Free agents: Romine, Gregorius, Encarnation, Gardner., Betances, Maybin
Possible Non-Tender or trade candidate: Bird, Voit, Urshela, Andujar, Frazier, German?

Arbitration should not cost them too much.
Paxton 12.9M
Kahnle 3M
Lyons 800K
Bird 1.3M
Sanchez 5.6M
Judge 6.4M
Green 1.4M
Hale 900K
Montgomery 1.2M
Cessa 1.1M
Urshela 2.2M
Holder 800K
scottt - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#382544) #
MLB will now allow investment founds to hold minority stakes in teams.
I expect this will lead to more teams putting profits before results.

Also, MiLB President Pat O'Conner talks about negotiating with MLB through legal actions if necessary.
GabrielSyme - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#382545) #
The problem with Warmoth is not so much that he is slowly progressing relative to other mid-1st round college picks (I think he is, but only slightly); but that 1) he's progressing slowly relative to those college picks who are successes; and 2) he's showing way too much swing-and-miss without the power or walks to make up for it.

Even in the AFL, where he's been successful, he's striking out 31% of the time. That's not consistent with being able to "hit for average and get on base". It's not impossible to improve contact ability, but the outlook for Warmoth is fairly grim.
PeterG - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#382546) #
I wouldn't say it is grim though certainly not rosey either. One of the reasons he was drafted was because of perseverance and coachability. I think he bears watching at least....could still become a useful UT player.
scottt - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#382547) #
Sadly, a 31% strikeout rate fits right up with the Blue Jays.
Warmoth is a bench player, at best and he's in the AFL to play 2B.
I don't see any successful college player on his team.
The best hitter is Bart who was drafted 2nd overall.
Who's the last Blue Jay who put decent number in the AFL outside of Biggio/Guerrero?

In 2017, Gurriel was .291 .309 .494 with 1 BB and 11 SO over 81 PAs
Davis had a solid .295 .389 .410 with 9 BB and 15 SO over 91 PAs.
Pentecost only managed .195 .267 .293 with 4 BB and 17 SO over 45 PAs.
That's a lot worse than Warmoth's line.
And Smith is completely struggling right now.
PeterG - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#382548) #
Warmoth is not just playing 2b in AFL. He is playing OF as well.
85bluejay - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#382549) #
Warmoth with 2 doubles and a walk today, Ellenbest 1.2 scoreless with 2k while Smith,Buffo continue to implode - Jays should have replaced Smith at the break (Lundquist?) as he needs to end this nightmare of a year.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#382550) #
Warmoth has a .678 OPS in 947 PA across three seasons in the minors.

So far he has about 50 PA in the AFL. So expectations should be tempered for now (and it should be noted his AFL numbers are solid but not dazzling).
hypobole - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 09:59 PM EDT (#382551) #
Who's the last Blue Jay who put decent number in the AFL outside of Biggio/Guerrero?

Vlad and Biggio OPS'ed .850-.820. Jays have had someone around that range pretty well every year. There were a pair of Jays who OPS'ed 1.104 and 1.007 one year, which no one has come close to since, I believe.
scottt - Sunday, October 20 2019 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#382552) #
Andrew Case had a great year in 2017 and didn't allow a run in his 10 AFL innings.
He didn't duplicate that the next year and retired last April.

Rees has a fastball that moves a ton according to Large.
Ellenbest is Rule 5 eligible this December and not worth protecting.

At least, there's quantity for next spring.

bpoz - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:02 AM EDT (#382553) #
There are character players that just make themselves better than they were projected. Altuve, Pedroia and to an extent Pillar.

We may have had a few in our history. Bichette seems a candidate to grind it out and be excellent. Maybe a few more. I hope so.

Maybe Warmoth has that character. So far he has not shown it.
hypobole - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:22 AM EDT (#382554) #
The 2 guys who put up the great AFL stats were Adam Loewen and Big Mike McDade back in 2010.
Mike Green - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#382555) #
Here's a pitching strategy question.  The Nats are presumably going to go either Scherzer/Strasburg or Strasburg/Scherzer in Games 1/2 and 5/6.  What about Games 3/4 and 7?  Normally, you'd want Corbin going 3 and 7 and Sanchez going 4 but the Astros definitely hit LHP better than RHP.  And with Alvarez struggling, that may be more true than ever. It may not matter that much because with all hands on deck for Game 7, you may have both Corbin and Sanchez pitching relatively few innings.    I'd be inclined to start Sanchez in Games 3 and 7, and bring on Corbin to face Alvarez and clean out Reddick if the situation called for it. 

In the errata department, current Astros have hit .356/.431/.607 against Corbin in 51 PAs, with Gerrit Cole leading the way two PAs- a double and a homer. Current Astros have hit .318/.344/.500 against Sanchez in 90 PAs- Alex Bregman hasn't yet faced him.  Rendon is the only Nationals hitter who has held his own against Gerrit Cole- Juan Soto has never faced him (and that might be the most important matchup of the series).

I'm sticking with my Nationals over Astros prediction, with Strasburg and Rendon being the stars.

ramone - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#382556) #
When talking Jays hitters in the AFL we can't forgot 2006 MVP Chip Cannon!

"Cannon, 25, nearly became the first player to win the AFL Triple Crown, leading the league in home runs (11), RBIs (29), total bases (75), slugging percentage (.714) and OPS (1.188). He was second in on-base percentage (.474), tied for second in hits (37) and finished fourth with a .357 batting average."
Mike Green - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#382557) #
Rhame Berley (Chip) Cannon put in a monster AFL season one year in 2006.  He had done the same thing for 110 PAs in Dunedin in 2005- when he got hot, he got really hot. 
Thomas - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#382558) #
In your scenario, Mike, does Corbin start Game 4 after, potentially, throwing to several batters in relief the previous day?
Mike Green - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#382559) #
Coke to ramone.
Mike Green - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#382560) #
That was awkwardly worded on my part, Thomas.  Sorry.  Sanchez starts Game 3 (and Corbin does not pitch); Corbin starts Game 4 (and Sanchez does not pitch).  I was talking about Game 7 planning. 
bpoz - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#382561) #
This match up is great.

Both teams have fantastic 1,2,3 SPs. Who and how many will dominate? I absolutely love Ace/#1 pitchers.

How does each teams pen and defense rate?

Which manager will blow it? Luck is always a factor.

Washington is a WC winner that may be the WS winner. I expect a well built, for playoffs, WC team to win the WS now and then.

Mike Green - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#382562) # has the Astros as 60-40 favourites and fangraphs has them as 72-28 favourites. 
ramone - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#382563) #
Coke accepted thanks Mike, I was looking at the Blue Jays winter league stats this morning, looks like Elvis Luciano threw two innings last night in the Dominican League.

Also BNS from Sportsnet tweeted this article out on Smith and Warmoth, as expected the quotes from the scouts at the bottom of the article are not flattering
bpoz - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#382564) #
So Mike Green I assume you picked the Nationals before the playoffs started. They had to get past the WC game.

I am also assuming that you see their rotation as the key ingredient. Very few people picked other than LAD.

I happen to be a big follower of yours for actually believing the 2019 Jays had a chance. I liked your BG's challenge as well.

I hope you will show the same for 2020. To begin with anyhow.

GabrielSyme - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#382565) #
More encouraging than Warmoth's performance in the AFL is that of Cullen Large.

Large has had pretty consistently good walk rates and high-ish babips as he's advanced through the majors. He hasn't shown much power (although arguably more than Warmoth), and his strikeout rates have moved into problem territory - even as he put up a 130 wRC+ in Dunedin this year, he struck out 26% of the time. His performance after a late-season promotion to New Hampshire was dismal, with 1 walk to 31 strikeouts.

He hasn't been tearing the cover off the ball in the AFL, but he has cut his strikeout rate notably: he has 7 Ks in 59 PAs, a 12% rate, while still walking at a 10% clip.

One factor perhaps in Large's favour is that he missed most of 2018, only getting into 27 games in Lansing, and so hasn't had as many reps as his peers. He's a couple months younger than Warmoth, and as a switch-hitter, Large might be a better fit as a utility guy.
Mike Green - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#382566) #
I thought before the playoffs started that I thought that the Nationals were actually the best team there (although it was and is close).  However, they had the extra hurdle of a 1 game playoff and no one including me would have said that they were the most likely to win it all.  Once they made it past the wild-card game, they were my choice and I said so here. 

Obviously their series against the Dodgers could have gone either way. 
scottt - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#382567) #
All these talks of work ethics reminds me of Drury.

Obviously, with Smith struggling, there's not many interesting position players in the upper minors.
No that there's that many holes to fill, but Riley Adams should be in AAA.
Next year we'll see if Kirk, Connine, Young and Taylor can bridge the gap.

It's OK to have young guys in AAA who can be brought up to replace an injured players.
I'm happy with  guys who hustle and put the ball in play.

Also, Espinal was in the AFL last year, hitting  . 250 .328 .339 and he's looked good in AAA so far.
I just don't see him playing much shortstop.

bpoz - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#382568) #
For 2020 I would like to see us use mainly our top players like Vlad, Bo and Tellez. Note that Tellez relatively speaking is a top 1B/DH based on our 40 man roster IMO. Drury, Urena and B Velera can backup 2B, SS and 3B. But all 3 on the 40 man may be 1 too many. Espinal is an option if he survives the Rule 5 draft. I don't expect him to be protected. No point in adding F Wall and J Palacios because they are as mediocre as D Fisher, Alford and J Davis.

The pitching should be a "free for all" with the 3-4 quality FAs added in the off season being given preference status.
PeterG - Monday, October 21 2019 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#382569) #
Another strong showing from Julian Merryweather in the AFL. No runs in 2 IP, hit 96 mph, 3 K's and impressive off speed stuff. Beginning to look like he could be a factor in the pitching picture for 2020.
dan gordon - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#382570) #
Will be interesting to see the extent to which the layoff hurts Washington's hitters. In 2012, Detroit won the ALCS in 4 straight, then didn't play until 6 days later, against the Giants, who had needed 7 games to win the NL. The Tigers' hitters were terrible in the World Series, scoring only 6 runs total in the 4 game sweep by SF. Or look at 2007, when the Rockies won the NLCS in 4 straight, then didn't play again until 9 days later against a Boston team that needed 7 games to win the ALCS. Boston swept Colorado in 4 games and the Rockies only managed 10 runs total, 8 of them in their hitting haven in games 3 and 4. Washington will have a layoff that is 1 day longer than the Tigers had in 2012.

Good to see Merryweather pitching well. Another guy to throw into the pot for 2020. The more the merrier, you might say.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 02:29 AM EDT (#382571) #
Unbelievable. An Astros executive taunted 3 female reporters yelling at them 6 times "Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna!" Take that women! I have to say having Chapman and Osuna both blow games was pretty satisfying but sports in general is way too quick to forgive what are, IMO, pretty massive moral and legal mistakes.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 06:40 AM EDT (#382572) #
From what I saw on a sports highlight show, Houston as a team is saying that Sports Illustrated is trying to make something out of nothing in this case as the executive wasn't directing his remarks at anybody, just excitedly yelling. This may be true, or maybe he was being a jerk, who knows. Nowadays either could true.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 08:02 AM EDT (#382573) #
"From what I saw on a sports highlight show, Houston as a team is saying that Sports Illustrated is trying to make something out of nothing in this case as the executive wasn't directing his remarks at anybody, just excitedly yelling. This may be true, or maybe he was being a jerk, who knows. Nowadays either could true."

It's pretty clearly an issue IMO. There are about 3 or 4 journalists who corroborated the story including from the Houston Chronicle and another Astros staffer apologized to the women which is a pretty big tell (why apologize if he didn't do anything wrong) and why would an executive be yelling so happily about Osuna after he blew a save anyway? "I'm so happy we got a guy who blew a 2 run lead tonight" would be an extremely bizarre thing to be shouting 6 times when there were no players or interviews around.
scottt - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 08:12 AM EDT (#382574) #
Given that Osuna blew a 2 run lead that they had battled tooth and nail to protect all game long with some amazing defensive plays, there was no possible scenario in which saying "Thank God we got Osuna" made sense.

I'm switching side and cheering for Washington here.
Not because of the Expos, because this is a team over the tax threshold which has nothing in common with Nos Amours.
The Nats are built on pitching and defense. That part should hold up well. Can they get enough out of the bullpen?
It's going to be a huge challenge for Hudson. I wonder if the Nats will have the better DH in this series.
With Greinke, Cole and a bullpen game, Houston has the best hitters in the pitcher slot.

scottt - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#382575) #
Shogo Akiyama is an interesting free agent. No posting required.
31, solid left bat, decent power, declining defensively, but still quite good.

Not sure what kind of contract it would take and he wouldn't be a true veteran presence, but worth looking into.

John Northey - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#382576) #
Aklyama is interesting as a CF. However, he is entering his age 32 season so he is just a short term fix. Lifetime 301/376/454 in Japan so not a 'wow' but a solid guy, if his defense is higher end (not Pillar but closer to Pillar than Hernandez) then he might be a good fit. I'd kick the tires at least if I was the Jays. Not a massive deal though, more a $3 mil a year for 3 years max type.
Thomas - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#382577) #
Houston, as an organization, is quite detestable. I don't buy their "explanation" for the AGM's comments for one second. As noted previously, the initial account has been corroborated by several other journalists present. And, the Astros' explanation for the comments, don't make any sense (and they certainly have offered a detailed explanation trying to provide any context).

And, there's the whole history of how the organization has handled the Osuna trade since day one, such as suggesting it could be a positive move because "it raised awareness."
hypobole - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#382578) #
Moral bankruptcy is a competitive advantage.

Quite the God Taubman seems to worship.
85bluejay - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#382579) #
"Moral bankruptcy is a competitive advantage."

Sadly, that message is coming loud and clear from the very top.
DH - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#382580) #
Peter, all three of Merryweather (4IP, 0R), Ellenbest (11IP, OR) and Rees (7IP, O) are having excellent showings in the AFL. If Merryweather is healthy and has his arm strength back (up to 96), then he'll make for an interesting depth piece in AAA to start the season.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#382591) #
I've never commented in depth on the Osuna domestic assault charges, but I've been wrestling with the questions in my head since he was charged. 

I think everybody deserves a chance at rehabilitation, so I do not think the Astros trading for Osuna is a fatal moral error.   He served his suspension and the charges were dropped.  It feels likely that the charges were real, but that the victim didn't want to testify, and that is her choice.  

The Astros had a chance, in that moment, to trade for a 'depreciated asset', and acknowledge that they had done so, and take a meaningful stand against domestic violence.  I don't think they managed to do this in a meaningful way, and I don't think any team has, as of yet, done anything meaningful with domestic assault charges - just PC lip-service. 

But I couldn't be sure of this with the Astros until their response to the Taubman incident - which does feel like a fatal moral error to me.  I understand wanting to support an employee, but to imply that the journalists present were acting immorally - 'fabricating' and 'misleading'? 

The franchise needs to take decisive action to prove that they want to address the issue of domestic violence going forward.  Reporter Stephanie Apstein said it best:
“This is the miscalculation that teams make over and over again,” Apstein wrote. “They acquire players with reprehensible pasts for less than market rate and concede that they will have to pay a price in public trust. But when the bill comes due, teams act like they, not the people their actions wounded, are the aggrieved party. How dare you keep reminding us of the past? Don’t you understand we have baseball games to play?”
PeterG - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#382592) #
Why did the victim in the Osuna situation return to Mexico and decide not to testify? Methinks the answer is obvious. The fact that he was not charged in no way lessens what took place imo.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 22 2019 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#382593) #
the answer, most likely, is that she did not want to testify.  this does not lessen what took place, but it is, to me, a more humane and realistic way to look at the situation.  At the end of the day, it is up to her. 
ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, October 23 2019 @ 06:41 AM EDT (#382594) #
I'm glad the Jays were able to trade Osuna. It's downright miraculous they were able to get a capable reliever like Ken Giles plus a couple of prospects in return.
vw_fan17 - Wednesday, October 23 2019 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#382606) #
This brings up the question raised elsewhere - how MUCH punishment is ENOUGH punishment? Doesn't it somewhat depend on the actual events? I am very much against violence towards ANY AND ALL people. But, what should consequences for Osuna, both short and long-term look like?

I am not sure of the percentage, but let me just throw this out there: If we had a "view everything that ever happened in the past" gadget, and we were removing players from the HoF based on today's social mores, probably half the players in the HoF, if not more, would have to be removed. There are a ton of people in the HoF (I would be happy to be proven wrong) who were / are racist, bigotted, sexist, mysogonystic, violent towards women, homophobic, white supremacists, cheated on their taxes, gambled on stuff, DUIs (especially before they were illegal, I'm sure!) etc.

But - at what point has he "paid for his sins"? Never? When he passes? 25 years from now? 5 years from now? Today? Both in terms of his public and private life?

I.e. should he be banned from MLB for life? 10 years? 5? MLB determined 75 games - and he served it, without complaining, AFAIK. Can contrition / restitution EVER happen? What if if it was Bo Jackson? Should he also be banned from the NFL (i.e. all professional sports leagues)? What makes sports so exceptional? What about a job as a coach? Or ANY job anywhere at all? McDonalds? Should a CEO with a DUI where they kill someone be barred from ever being a CEO again? What about domestic violence? Even with no testimony, meaning there is no conviction, although generally it LOOKS like they were guilty? What about a cashier at McDonalds? No job ever again?

Now, I am appalled at Houston's response to this - I want to make that clear. But I also want to see some kind of path to let Osuna eventually get back to a semi-normal life, if he is done with his past. For example, I believe that a DUI at 19, even if you hit and killed someone, should not be an automatic "locked up in solitary for life" penalty. Nor should it be a "never hold another job again for as long as you live", IMHO. I do believe the penalty should be severe, though.
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, October 23 2019 @ 06:14 PM EDT (#382610) #
Doesn't it somewhat depend on the actual events?

Yes. And we still don't know what actually happened.
scottt - Thursday, October 24 2019 @ 08:20 AM EDT (#382620) #
In domestic cases, the victim is rarely willing to testify.
The proof is usually based on witness testimony and medical examination results.
Previous conviction history weights heavily.
In this case, they have a child together but are not married.
In Mexico, she probably stands to lose everything.
So like in most cases where the accused has a lots of money, things are settled outside the courts.

Now the Astros were an org standing against domestic abuse, with Verlander and his wife being quite outspoken, before the trade. It seems they've swept everything under the rug and we don't even hear from Verlander anymore. The outlook is not good.

They should have suspended the exec until the result of the MLB investigation.
It's not like they need that guy around right now.

85bluejay - Thursday, October 24 2019 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#382644) #
"how MUCH punishment is ENOUGH punishment?"

You've got to be kidding! Apart from some financial loses I'd say Osuna got off very lightly - he didn't have to answer to the allegation in public, which is the least that should have happened IMO,while the young lady had to pull a disappearing act and in most cultures gets blamed for causing a problem (as illustrated by MR. Taubman) - in fact, I will say that Osuna was rewarded for his actions - went from a last place team to a powerhouse contender, moved very close to home with a large Mexican population - I'd say Osuna would much rather play for the Astros than the Jays and be close to family/friends and to an organisation that seems to condone his behaviour from the top down - given all that, it would not surprise me in the least if Mr. Osuna repeats this behaviour in the future.

FYI - I'm sure you didn't mean it but your post comes off like Brandon Taubman's rant.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, October 26 2019 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#382683) #
There is an article in the Athletic about the Taubman affair, and the Houston front office in general and it doesn't paint a flattering picture. Winning seems to be more important than anything and employees are not treated especially well including their paychecks. Some employees were aghast at the acquisition of Osuna, and some have been let go or left on their own. I like some of the players on the Astros, especially Altuve, but I really hope they don't win the World Series.
jerjapan - Saturday, October 26 2019 @ 11:09 PM EDT (#382689) #
Easy on the self righteousness 85bluejay.  Comparing VW's post, even indirectly, to Taubman's rant, is wildly unfair.  
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