Reading for the day

Dave · August 24, 2006 at 11:28 am · Filed Under Mariners 

More interesting stuff than usual in the local dailies.

Front office changes looming in the Times. Benny Looper is moving from his VP executive role into a scouting position. This will allow him to spend more time doing the things he enjoys, and less time riding a desk. The one and only Frank Mattox will inherit most of his responsibilities. At the bottom, it’s noted that the M’s have dismissed Glenn Adams, their minor league hitting coordinator. You knew someone was going to get blamed for the Matt Tuiasasopo debacle.

Also in the Times, another Chris Snelling profile, though this one written by notable scribe Larry Stone, so its better than most. If you’ve followed Snelling the past few years, it’s nothing new, but if you’re a new reader to the site, you may not be aware of his penchant for Yoda or the stuffed doll story.

Finally, the P-I has a bit on the M’s lousy approach at the plate, and has some quotes from Pentland and Hargrove. This one is my favorite:

“It’s not a philosophical thing. It’s our philosophy to get in good hitters’ counts,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “I think it’s a combination of hitters’ styles and the fact that we have younger hitters, less experienced hitters.”

Yes Mike, it’s all those darn young players. If only we had more old guys, we’d be doing great. Darn Bavasi and his roster construction.

It is a philosophical thing. You can’t say the word aggressiveness 842 times a day during spring training, reward guys who hack wildly with regular playing time, and expect them to simultaneously become walk machines. Yes, part of it is roster construction – players do walk more as they age. But it’s also a philosophy thing – the M’s overarching “put pressure on the defense” mentality does creep into the at-bats, and the organizations general lack of interest in players who draw walks reinforces the culture of free-swinging that has been fostered here.


109 Responses to “Reading for the day”

  1. gwangung on August 24th, 2006 6:55 pm

    The M’s major league coaching staff loves hitting the other way, even if it encourages hitters to chase pitches that they can’t drive. That’s a poor hitting philosophy, and one we’ve seen displayed over and over this year. Rather than laying off the marginal pitch and waiting for a better one to whack, the team has been trained to go with the pitch, which necessitates swinging at that pitch on the outside corner.

    Swinging for hits, I take it, not fouling it off (because if you foul it off, it’s just another way of waiting for a better pitch).

  2. joser on August 24th, 2006 7:08 pm

    Oh, c’mon — that fits right into the discussion! Who better to be choosy about pitches to hit than one of the Chosen People? (And, btw, was Choo choosy?) Sorry, I realize I just lowered the tenor of the conversation that so pleased Dave.

    I wonder if it would help Yuni to work on strength training? If he’s going to swing at those pitches, perhaps having a little more power behind them would help? I’m not talking about any kind of juicing here, of course, but judging from the “pro” baseball stadiums I saw in Havana I don’t think there was much in the way of strength training equipment there. And he’s a young kid who’s probably still growing a bit, too, so he’s likely to gain a little bulk anyway.

  3. BelaXadux on August 24th, 2006 7:54 pm

    Re: #41, JT, thanks fot the note on the PTBN; I’d been wondering. Nottingham isn’t a bad price. He’s well behind Feierabend, and even Justin Thomas at this point, so the Ms kept the better guys. About right.

  4. Steve T on August 24th, 2006 8:43 pm

    Can I mention that “free-swinging” Vlad Guerrero has more walks this year than anyone on the Mariners except Ibanez and Sexson?

  5. Mat on August 24th, 2006 8:59 pm

    I think Mat misses the point. Being a patient hitter isn’t necessarily about making the pitcher throw more strikes. Not everything Williams preached was exactly as he said. Hardly. The point to making a pitcher work is about being able to hit “your” pitch.

    I think you’re not paying very close attention to what I’ve been saying throughout the thread. Check out, for instance, part of my comment #40 here:

    Part of the point to being patient should be to get pitch counts up, sure. But the real point of being patient should be to get yourself into good counts so that you can swing at a hittable pitch.

  6. Mat on August 24th, 2006 9:14 pm

    No one is denying that. But MOST hitters are better with discipline.

    Sure, and it should be fairly evident to an experienced observer (like, say, a minor league hitting instructor) which hitters will be better with discipline and which won’t. The only thing I’m objecting to here is that there ought to be one set “organizational philosophy.” I just don’t see any point in taking an inflexible position on what the “right” way is when no one is forcing you to make one choice for every hitter in the organization.

    Maybe it hasn’t been perfectly clear, but if one had to pick “patient” vs. “aggressive” I think that “patient” would be the better option. I just don’t see the point in making yourself choose. I’m definitely against the M’s being so gung-ho about instilling an aggressive approach and I’m also against their fetish with going the other way.

  7. LB on August 25th, 2006 1:06 am

    Ted Williams didn’t preach taking fastballs down the middle to build up a pitch count. Rule #1 in his book (literally) was: Get a good pitch to hit.

    Francona said when he came to Boston that the A’s often took pitches for the sake of taking pitches when he coached in Oakland. If a Red Sox hitter sees a fat pitch early in the count, they want him to take a healthy swing.

    It’s reaching base (instead of making outs) that builds up the pitch count, not a high P/PA ratio as Kelly in Paly pointed out in #91. And that brings us back to OBP as the key to offensive success.

  8. LB on August 25th, 2006 1:09 am

    #97: The problem is that the Mariners are clearly trying to develop more Ichiros with the philosophies they are preaching to guys like Betancourt, Lopez, and Jones.

    So, are they planning to screw up Doyle, or do they see the value of having another LH pull hitter in the lineup in Safeco?

  9. Paul B on August 25th, 2006 9:15 am

    Actually, Pentland did say one thing in the article that gave me some hope. I’ve always thought that fouling off pitches that were too good to hit well was a skill that could be learned.

    “The thing that’s even more important than taking pitches is fouling off pitches,” Pentland said. “That’s something that has to be learned, and young players don’t know how to do it. Even some of the older guys don’t know how to do it.”

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