I had planned on writing a pretty lengthy piece tonight on the team’s defensive performance so far this year, with some explanations and updates of the earlier work we did. Instead, I helped some friends move into their new house, and I’m taking off for Memorial Day weekend, so that post will have to wait until next week. Here’s a quick and dirty version, though, highlighting the dramatic decline in outfield defense from last year to this year. All stats were from before tonight’s clobbering, so the truth is actually a little bit worse than displayed.
The 2004 pitching staff is allowing 12.5 flyballs per game, and 2.2 of those are going for doubles or triples. The 2003 pitching staff allowed 11.3 flyballs per game, and 1.4 of those went for doubles or triples.
18 percent of all fly balls are falling for extra base hits this year. 12 percent of all fly balls resulted in an extra base hit last year. (For this purpose, only doubles and triples are counted as extra base hits. Homers are not included.)
The Mariners have allowed the 4th most doubles in major league baseball this year. The Mariners allowed the 2nd fewest doubles in major league baseball last year.
At the current rate, the Mariners will allow 360 doubles and triples this year. They allowed 234 last year. That’s an increase of 53 percent. Fifty-Three Percent!
And, just for kicks, last year the Mets allowed 358 doubles and triples on 1738 fly balls for an astoundingly bad 20.5 percent rate of XBH/FB. This year, they have allowed just 71 extra base hits on 604 fly balls for a rate of 11.7 XBH/FB. At their current pace, they’ll allow 250 doubles and triples this year, a 30 % decrease from last season. Considering their pitching staff is allowing 3 more flyballs per game than last year, that is a remarkable accomplishment. The Mets pitchers are putting the ball in the air with 23 percent more regularity and watching the ball go for extra bases 30 percent less.
Say hello to the best defensive player of his era. There isn’t anyone in the game today who can come near the impact Mike Cameron makes with his glove.
As much as I rail on Fairly for being predictable, I will say this: Niehaus+Fairly is far, far preferable to Rizzs + any of the color guys he works with. At least Fairly will criticize mistakes and sometimes really unload on some dumb gaffe. These other guys go through such convoluted turns to try and praise someone for the same dumb move it would be laughable if it wasn’t so infuriating.
Balls dropping all around him all game, and Winn gets praised for a catch he made with the bases loaded that “saved the M’s a couple of runs.” Crazy.
It cracks me up too that the same guys who routinely heap praise on Melvin’s small ball tactics, even when used in totally inappropriate situations, were quick to point out that the Indians handed Meche outs he might not have otherwise gotten, and were baffled as to why manager Wedge had kept running. Arrrrrrrrghhh.
And teams are routinely taking the extra base on Winn now. They’re not putting the screws to him — right now if it’s a choice between taking the base and not, they’re taking it — but they’re only going to run on him more. If he’s in center field in September speedy teams are going to go first-third and first-home on him at will.
Meche faced 21 batters, walked three, beaned one — 17 batters put the ball into play, and 10 of those dropped for hits. That’s awful. I’m suprised one of our pitchers hasn’t snapped yet and tried to put Winn on the DL by way of surprise application of lumber to lumbar.
Today’s hits from the game log
1b to left: I
1b to center: II
1b to right-center: I
1b to right: II
2b to left: III
2b to left-center: I
2b to center: I
2b to right: I
The M’s gave up more doubles today than they did in an average four-game series last year.
On that Gerut play: Boy, Randy Winn sure can play defense in center field. Yup. Note that when Randy misses the catch, the ball skipping past him, he throws it in to Boone, who is practically standing where a center fielder normally would be, and Boone guns it to third.
I’ve got a column up on Baseball Prospectus on the Mariners attendence patterns over the last couple of years.
Given recent debate over whether the M’s can or should emulate the current Indians rebuilding project, I’d like to answer the first question:
No. Cleveland has smart people in their front office. The Mariners do not.
The second question then is irrelevant.
I know I could drag this out for 500, 1,000 words like a newspaper columnist with x column inches to fill, but why bother?
What are the Mariners going to look to get in trade?
Or, what should the Mariners look for in trade?
Think for a second about where the team’s likely to have holes in the immediate and long-term. Catcher. First base can be filled by whichever of Ibanez/Spiezio can’t be moved, opening a hole at LF/3B, or we can get a 1B. Shortstop. Second base — we’re unlikely to get Boone back after this year, I think. Then you think “where does Lopez play next year?” and possibly “how do I make Bloomquist disappear?”
Winn’s got an unfortunate rich 2-year deal, so unless we find a taker there the team’s got an extra OFers.
Rotation’s stocked: we’ve got a ton of guys who could step in, even if you keep Soriano in the bullpen when (if?) he comes back. It’s about time we started to use the park to our advantage — bring these guys up, let them be average, and punt them for shiny objects.
Bullpen, who cares? I mean, seriously, a smart team can patch together a good bullpen using seaweed and snot.
So we need positional prospects, particularly infielders. Up-the-middle players, including legitimate center fielders.
Here’s the problem with that: those guys are the most precious commodities a team has. Any smart GM running a team with their hands on (say) a Jeff Mathis isn’t going to trade Mathis to us for the joy of taking on Spiezio’s deal, or Guardado. The market for dumping costly veterans has been terrible the last couple of years, and only a couple of teams have been able to make the kind of “get two top prospects for a couple months of some dude” trade that used to be extremely common.
This would be much easier if the M’s hadn’t wasted their last what, five drafts, and had much in the low minors of value.