More Random Notes
You know the drill by now.
1. Adrian Beltre doesn’t suck anymore.
I know the general baseball public hasn’t caught on yet, and because of his contract, he’s likely going to be considered a bust for the rest of his time in Seattle. But for the last couple of months, he’s been the Mariners best player. Here are some breakdowns:
April: .189/.284/.233, 90 at-bats
May: .264/.302/.355, 110 at-bats
June-Current: .287/.354/.539, 230 at-bats
In April, he was the worst player in baseball. In May, he just sucked. Since the beginning of June, he’s been playing at an all-star caliber level. A .900 OPS from a gold glove third baseman who plays half his games in Safeco Field and never takes a day off? That’s a borderline MVP candidate. And that’s what he’s been for the last two and a half months.
He’s not the guy he was in 2004, and he’ll never be that guy again. But since the beginning of June, he’s been the guy we thought we were signing. It’s still a small sample, and we can’t ignore April and May – they did happen, and the potential for them to happen again is still there – but we also can’t ignore that he’s now been Good Adrian for longer than he was Bad Adrian.
2. Chris Snelling apparently stole Bad Adrian’s Mojo.
On the other end of things, we have Doyle. After another 0 for 5 last night, he’s now hitting .218 for the season. But he hasn’t been consistently bad. Look at his montly splits:
May: .297/.371/.333, 48 at-bats
June: .301/.391/.507, 73 at-bats
July: .169/.286/.273, 77 at-bats
August: .000/.045/.000, 21 at-bats
He’s 9 for his last 98 dating back to July 1st. 9 for 98! In his last 64 at-bats, he’s walked twice.
The reports on him are similarly poor. He’s popping balls up, swinging through fastballs, chasing pitches out of the zone, and his mood has soured. At the end of June, he was hitting the ball well and on the verge of a major league callup. Since the calendar turned to July, he’s turned into an automatic out with no discernable approach at the plate.
Clearly, something is wrong. A kid who is this good of a hitter doesn’t go into a slump like this without there being an underlying cause. Almost everyone agrees that its mental, but we just don’t know. Here’s to hoping he snaps out of it soon.
3. The Mariners and Twins have the best bullpens in baseball.
And the average baseball fan has probably never heard of any of these guys. The Twins bullpen is the only one who can give the M’s end-of-game quartet a run for their money, and its made up of Joe Nathan, Juan Rincon, Pat Neshek, Dennys Reyes, and Jessie Crain. The M’s foursome of Putz, Soriano, Lowe, and Sherrill are just as dominant, but throw strikes a little less often. The final four for the Twins bullpen (Nathan, Rincon, Neshek, and Reyes) have a combined FIP of 2.27, while the M’s combined FIP is 2.49.
Either way, if you’re losing to the M’s or Twins after 6 innings, you’re probably done. Both of these teams have built lights-out bullpens that cost them nothing. Even after all the evidence, though, you still see teams throwing good money at big name relievers. It’s amazing.
4. My mother could beat up Willie Bloomquist.
Willie Ballgame has an Isolated Slugging% (SLG-BA) of .032, thanks to his whopping four extra base hits on the season. Among players with at least 100 plate appearances, WFB’s .032 ISO ranks 374th out of 374, unsurprisingly. But how bad is an ISO of .032?
The average national league pitcher has an ISO of .043. Willie Bloomquist has hit for less power this year than the league average hitting pitcher. Yes, he does some things well enough (mainly, steal bases) to keep a roster spot in the major leagues, but the idea that he’s any kind of major league player who deserves regular playing time is a joke.