Pentland, hitting coach, coaching hitting

DMZ · April 14, 2006 at 9:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

From the TNT:

“It would be easy after the three or four games coming into this series for our hitters to press,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “But they’ve bought into the approach Jeff has preached, they’ve been patient at the plate and we’ve given ourselves baserunners.

“You increase your chances to score, you increase the scoring.”

P/PA, 2006: 3.82, #8 in the ML. 2005 it was 3.74, 14th.

That’s actually fairly significant: the spread between worst and first over a season is .3 P/PA.

Also, it’s small sample size theater. And patience does not always mean success.


30 Responses to “Pentland, hitting coach, coaching hitting”

  1. Joe C. in Buffalo on April 14th, 2006 9:53 am

    Does it count as patience when the Indians pitchers were throwing over half of their pitches out of the zone for stretches? How about that stretch of 9 straight balls? Early in the game, the M’s were swinging early and often. It’s when pitches were nowhere near the zone that they stopped swinging.

    Walks does not equal patience. Even though it can appear that way, a deeper observation of actual events show otherwise, I think.

  2. Steve Nelson on April 14th, 2006 10:12 am

    Walks does not equal patience. Even though it can appear that way, a deeper observation of actual events show otherwise, I think.

    Yeah – if you’re facing Ryan Franklin, you probably shouldn’t be taking a lot of pitches because you’re going to be getting a lot juicy pitches aarly in the count. OTOH, if you’re facing Ryan Franklin, then maybe it doesn’t make any difference how deep you are in the count because you’re going to get juicy pitches to hit no matter what the count is.

  3. msb on April 14th, 2006 10:17 am

    #1– but as we know from last year and at time this year, this team is more than capable of not waiting on those sure-to-be-balls…

  4. davepaisley on April 14th, 2006 10:22 am

    Would have been nice if Reed would have laid off that ball in his eyes with the count 3-2, bases loaded and 2 out, no? Where’s the patience then? Oh wait, that’s just crappy pitch recognition. Well, that and panic.

    I wonder if Pentland started his tenure this spring with, “OK, guys. This year I want you to be patient at the plate. And I want you to start RIGHT NOW!”

  5. Dave S. on April 14th, 2006 11:18 am

    Well, Pentland was given a ton of credit for Sammy Sosa’s breakout into super-power hitter, by getting him to quit chasing bad pitches… And he did a heck of a job down in KC, too, with a team that overachieved it’s way to 80-some wins back in 2003. I don’t know if he can do the same with the Mariners, but he’s one of the better hitting coaches in baseball.

  6. JoeM on April 14th, 2006 11:22 am

    I’ll take this year’s hitting over last years. Not sure how much of that is Pentland, but there are definitely some changes. Now if he can fix Beltre and not fix Carl (so we can get Petagine) I’ll be happy.

  7. jtopps on April 14th, 2006 11:23 am

    I will be happy when Pentland gets Beltre to quit chasing bad pitches.

    And to hit the good ones.

  8. Ralph Malph on April 14th, 2006 11:29 am

    It would have been great for Reed to lay off that high fastball, but even the best hitters have trouble laying off high heat. Those pitches look great coming in. That’s not as bad as fishing for an outside slider in the dirt time after time, like a certain third baseman does.

  9. John Morgan on April 14th, 2006 11:36 am

    I don’t think we are seeing the forest for the trees. The team is more patient because more patient players like Johjima, Petagine and Everett have replaced hackers like Olivo, Spiezio and Wynn. I hardly think Pentland can be credited for personnel changes.

  10. Tek Jansen on April 14th, 2006 11:37 am

    By the way, Petagine’s P/PA rate = 5.00. He’s awesome. Free Petagine.

  11. joser on April 14th, 2006 11:41 am

    Yeah, we should be looking at the performances of players (like Beltre) this season vs last, rather than the team as a whole, if we’re trying to tease out the contributions of the hitting coach.

    On the other hand, since overall performance of the team is what wins games, and winning games is the actual goal, so far it’s an improvement (subject to SST of course) regardless of who is responsible.

  12. davepaisley on April 14th, 2006 12:16 pm

    Free Petagine

    …with every 10 box tops you send in, kids!

  13. eponymous coward on April 14th, 2006 12:25 pm

    And he did a heck of a job down in KC, too, with a team that overachieved it’s way to 80-some wins back in 2003.

    …which promptly cratered in 2004 and 2005 into an awful offense. If he gets points for Sosa, does he lose them for Angel Berroa?

    Some select BB/K ratios for the 2005 Mariners:

    C: 24/122
    2B: 34/101
    SS: 37/88

    I believe the phrase I’m looking for here is “there’s no place to go but up”.

  14. scotje on April 14th, 2006 12:31 pm

    (Obvious SSST caveat…)

    Player, Year, BB/PA, BB/K

    Adrian Beltre, 2005, .058, 0.35
    Adrian Beltre, 2006, .122, 0.56

    Conclusion: Pentland is a god!

    Oh wait…

    Richie Sexson, 2005, .136, 0.53
    Richie Sexson, 2006, .071, 0.23

    Actual conclusion: Pentland is most likely mortal. Also, SSST is entertaining… 🙂

  15. Smegmalicious on April 14th, 2006 12:35 pm

    This guy should be doing nothing else but living in Beltre’s back pocket and getting him to recognize pitches. Once Beltre starts mashing the team will be actually really good, but if he keeps sucking we’re in trouble.

  16. scotje on April 14th, 2006 1:00 pm

    Just for fun (I told you SSST was entertaining), I crunched a few more numbers.

    I took the BB/PA, BB/K, and #P/PA numbers for last season and this season for the following players:

    Raul Ibanez (RI), Richie Sexson (RS), Adrian Beltre (AB), Ichiro! (IS), YuBet (YB), and Jose Lopez (JL).

    I subtracted last years numbers from this years numbers to get the change:

    Player, BB/PA chg, BB/K chg, #P/PA chg

    RI, 0.011, -0.16, -0.23
    RS, -0.065, -0.30, -0.72
    AB, 0.064, 0.21, 0.09
    IS, 0.039, 0.10, 0.46

    AVG for regulars: 0.012, -0.04, -0.10

    YB, -0.020, 0.04, 0.53
    JL, 0.018, 0.01, -0.51

    AVG for callups: -0.001, 0.025, 0.01

    AVG for all six: 0.008, -0.019, -0.063

    So for the 4 regulars, #P/PA has decreased so far this season and the mid-season call-ups are basically unchanged.

    The average changes are very close to zero overall, if anything, it looks like plate patience among returning players is actually down slightly.

    Of course, this assumes that in my frantic scribbling and calculating, I didn’t make a mistake somewhere… 🙂

    Also, little piece of trivia for you. Did you know that (according to stats) last season, Raul, Richie, and Adrian all had the same #P/PA number? (3.96)

  17. msb on April 14th, 2006 1:12 pm

    maybe if he kicked Adrian in the ankle to replicate the bone-spur injury of ’04…

  18. Jack Howland on April 14th, 2006 1:50 pm

    I was noticing the increased P/PA today too.

    There is also a significant BB/PA increase:

    2006: .096
    2005: .076
    2004: .077

    This is very encouraging.

  19. Joshua Buergel on April 14th, 2006 1:50 pm

    Amusing hitting note: your current Seattle Mariners 2006 VORP leader? Petagine at 5.6. Johjima is next at 5.4. I guess that’s what never making outs will do for you.

  20. Smegmalicious on April 14th, 2006 2:31 pm

    If the bone spur was really what was doing that, why don’t they put a pebble in his shoe or a tack or hack off his foot or something?

  21. Steve T on April 14th, 2006 2:44 pm

    Beltre will never, ever, ever get another good pitch to hit if he continues to swing at the garbage. That’s the whole point of not swinging at balls. It’s not to gain more walks, though walks are nice; it’s to force pitchers to bring it into your wheelhouse.

    Right now Beltre doesn’t look like he has a wheelhouse, though.

  22. Smegmalicious on April 14th, 2006 2:47 pm

    Isn’t Beltre walking quite a bit right now? I mean a bit more than he’s hitting at least.

  23. juustabitoutside on April 14th, 2006 3:01 pm

    I watched Beltre every chanced during the WBC.

    He wasn’t lunging at balls off the plate. He got himself into good hitter’s counts, saw better pitches and stayed back on the ball, driving it with power consistently.

    What happened between the end of the WBC and the start of the season?

  24. msb on April 14th, 2006 3:09 pm

    he really really wants to do well here, and is trying waaaay too hard?

  25. manzell on April 14th, 2006 3:10 pm

    The Mariners have the best RF/RA in the AL West, despite the fact that pitching has looked mediocre and hitting has been average to horrific. Of course, the could be the opposing pitchers effect; either way, the M’s hitting -should- get better.. and this is with essentially zero contribution from Everett and Beltre and below average Ichiro…

    what’s a revised estimate for the M’s record, if any? Does anyone dare dream 500?

  26. msb on April 14th, 2006 3:15 pm

    the TNT also has a Joh Gotta Love Him piece, and the PI has a discussion of what Pentland has done for Lopez which helped key last night’s victory…

  27. gwangung on April 14th, 2006 3:22 pm

    Interesting piece on Lopez. It makes the claim that hitting to the opposite field helps you on the balls you pull, too….

  28. Dave Clapper on April 14th, 2006 3:40 pm

    Interesting. I was just thinking yesterday that the next Billy Beane trick might be looking for players who have good P/PA and are available at low cost. Getting the best lineup of P/PA guys from 2005 (with at least 400 PA) looks like:

    C Gregg Zaun (4.25)
    1B Chris Shelton (4.26)
    2B Rickie Weeks (4.15)
    3B Bill Hall (4.16)
    SS Craig Counsell (4.08)
    LF Pat Burrell (4.27)
    CF Brad Wilkerson (4.21)
    RF Bobby Abreu (4.39)
    DH Travis Hafner (4.16)

    That seems like a pretty affordable lineup. And wouldn’t high team P/PA ultimately force opposing starters out of the game that much more quickly?

    Re #9: Everett’s P/PA last year was 3.73, lowest among qualifying DH’s. Spiezio’s P/PA last year was 4.25 (which was an anomaly–his career P/PA is 3.55), and he only had 51 PA, which is only 10 more PA than Everett has so far this season, so it’s not much of a comparison. And Petagine has had 3 PA so far this season, so he’s not that big a factor… yet. Here’s hoping that eventually, C-Rex will be pulled in favor of the far better hitter that Petagine is.

  29. BelaXadux on April 14th, 2006 7:55 pm

    Say there scotje, aside from the problems with small sample size, there’s a huge outlier in the woodpile: Sexon is off to a horrible start, striking out a ton, and generally dragging the group totals down. Aggregate numbers should be discounted in favor of year over year changes for players, as twas opined above in assessing Pentland’s impact, if any. I’m particularly looking for changes in Betancourt and Lopez. I’d like to see changes in Reed taking more pitches ’cause his walk rate is still way, way too low; I don’t expect that anyone not named Adrian will have the slightest impact on Beltre, and he already saw a fair number of pitches last year so there’s little room for improvement in that regard.

    The real reason for optimism with the Ms offense, in my view, isn’t Pentland but Lopez and Johjima. The latter two cats can hit, and they have significantly improved the ability of the Ms to finish off rallies for a tally at the pay station. Everybody else looks to me to be very much the same as last year. Sexson’s starting slow and Raul’s starting hot, but both are well within the range of their abilities and games, so.

  30. scotje on April 14th, 2006 11:27 pm

    I broke down all 6 of the players individual changes (in addition to the averages) in post #16 Bela.

    Sexson’s “patience” numbers are in fact way down there year. Beltre’s are up a bit. YuBet and Lopez combined are effectively a wash.

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