Thoughts From Last Night’s Game

Dave · July 17, 2007 at 6:25 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Good to see the M’s taking care of business against an inferior club. The Orioles aren’t a good team when healthy, and when you take Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada away, well, they just stink. Picking up a game on Cleveland in the wild card chase, and half a game on the Angels, is exactly what the M’s needed to do last night. Their playoff odds, depending on which of the mathmatical models you want to buy into, are sitting somewhere between 35-45% right now. Nothing wrong with that. So, how about the game itself.

Horacio Ramirez threw the Jarrod Washburn Special, putting the ball over the plate against a lousy team in Safeco Field and watching them get themselves out. He did exactly what he should have done – realized he was facing a line-up of talentless hacks and gave them the opportunity to put the bat on the ball, knowing they aren’t good enough to do anything with it. Against this kind of team, it’s the right gameplan. But, as I’m sure regular readers know by now, this is also not any kind of recipe for continued success. If he pitches the same way in Toronto next Sunday, he’s going to get torched. I’m encouraged that we won a game where we started one of the worst pitchers in baseball – I’m not at all encouraged that this was any kind of indicator of Horacio Ramirez’s future performance level.

Jose Lopez bunting in the first inning – yuck. I know Ichiro loved it, and Lopez’s selflessness motivated the MVP to steal 3rd on the very next pitch, but that’s still a lousy tactical decision.

8th inning, 2 run lead, we get Sean Green and George Sherrill. Awesome. Those guys are the two best non-Putz relievers in the pen, and for a team that is dead set on defining predetermined roles for their relievers, those two should be the ones being used in that spot.

J.J. Putz is on pace to finish the season throwing 79 2/3 innings and allowing 7 runs. The whole year. Seven runs. Jeff Weaver has given up 7 runs in a single game three times this year.

And, on a final note, Happy Felix Day.

Comments

202 Responses to “Thoughts From Last Night’s Game”

  1. Carson on July 17th, 2007 6:36 am

    Dave, I got scared quite a few times at his pitch selection. And several pitches were just missed. What was it, the 6th? All three outs were sharp line drives right to the outfielders. I think it all three got one, actually.

    Anyhow, you’re right. Safeco Field can make a bad pitcher look good when a non hitting team isn’t selective.

    Happy King Felix Day!

  2. BrianV on July 17th, 2007 6:53 am

    HoRam was a lucky pitcher last night. Nice to see the win, but he’s going to get destroyed if he keeps throwing that crap up there. As Carson said, many of his out were right at ‘em.

  3. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on July 17th, 2007 6:59 am

    Hey Dave,

    I agree the HoRam’s not an MLB pitcher, but I was wondering if you make anything of his higher velocity (hit more consistently according to Jeff). I don’t think it translates into Ho sticking with the club long-term and blowing us away, but it’s interesting to me.

    Is it just a once-tired arm starting off pretty fresh, such that he’ll eventually revert to his slower even more sucky self? Of course, velocity means nothing if you can’t use it in such a way to get major league quality batters out, but I digress.

  4. oh poker on July 17th, 2007 7:00 am

    Oh Ichiro. He obviously just thought “screw it, I’ll steal third then”

  5. VivoEnSafeco082 on July 17th, 2007 7:00 am

    I’m glad that we are at least attempting to play some small ball. A couple steal attempts and a couple sacrifices, things that Hargrove just refused to do. I do question bringing Sherrill in to face Patterson after Green had got the first two guys of the inning. If the coaches would have looked at Patterson’s splits vs. lefties and righties, they would have realized that leaving Green in would have been better. Patterson ended up roping a double down the line. All in all, I’m encouraged by McLaren to this point.

  6. oh poker on July 17th, 2007 7:01 am

    Also, Ichiro isn’t in the dictionary for Firefox. The first suggestion is Chiropody

  7. Dave on July 17th, 2007 7:03 am

    Is it just a once-tired arm starting off pretty fresh, such that he’ll eventually revert to his slower even more sucky self?

    MLB Advanced Media is tinkering with the cameras that control the Pitch F/X system right now, so I’m not taking the Advanced Gameday velocity readings at full value. He might have been throwing harder, he might not have. If he sustains it, we’ll wonder if its useful.

    I’m glad that we are at least attempting to play some small ball. A couple steal attempts and a couple sacrifices, things that Hargrove just refused to do.

    Bunting is almost always a terrible idea. Hargrove did it far more than he should.

  8. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on July 17th, 2007 7:06 am

    “. . .so I’m not taking the Advanced Gameday velocity readings at full value. ”

    Does that mean Felix might not have been back to his pre-DL velocity the other night? I can’t remember which readings I was paying attention to.

  9. Dave on July 17th, 2007 7:12 am

    Right.

  10. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 7:15 am

    If the M’s are going to win over 90 games this year, they are going to have to win some games where JJ does not pitch.

    Somebody else on this team is going to have to get some saves. I nominate GS.

  11. gag harbor on July 17th, 2007 7:25 am

    Man, Adam Jones just keeps hitting homeruns. This whole “don’t disturb the team chemistry” thing that the M’s appear to be standing by is such a travesty. Generating 4 runs last night was pathetic and Sexson/Vidro have to come out. Even replacement-level would be an upgrade over them.

  12. bergamot on July 17th, 2007 7:33 am

    6: That’s absurd. Chiropody has no range in the outfield, and never came close to George Sisler’s hits record.

  13. CC Rosco on July 17th, 2007 7:33 am

    Dave, What are your thoughts in regards to Daniel Cabrera? Is he the worst case scenario of what could happen to Felix? I’m optimistic that Felix will right the ship, while it appears that it may be less likely for Cabrera to do so. Felix may have a larger array of plus pitches, but it seems there was a lot of hype around Cabrera and his potential as well.

  14. awolfgang on July 17th, 2007 7:33 am

    #10
    The only way JJ doesn’t get the ball in a save opportunity is if he has pitched in the previous 3 games on consecutive days, and even then I bet he’ll be begging to get the ball.

    Until we are leading in the Wild Card or Division, JJ needs the ball every time we need a save, we don’t have room for error.

  15. fdeezle on July 17th, 2007 7:39 am

    Dave – I’m curious to know why Felix isn’t starting Sunday versus Toronto. With the off-day on Thursday don’t we have the opportunity to skip Horatio’s turn in the rotation?

  16. vj on July 17th, 2007 7:44 am

    Paul B and awolfgang: Not every win has a save. Putz hasn’t pitched in all the games the team won this season, either.

  17. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 7:59 am

    Correct. If we score enough to get 7-8 runs ahead, we don’t need JJ.

    Might be able to do that better if we get a young, power hitting outfielder who can field. Wonder where we can get one…

  18. AuburnM on July 17th, 2007 8:02 am

    Agree about HoRam last night. That was a Safeco win.

    However, isn’t he the best option for 5th starter right now?

  19. Dave on July 17th, 2007 8:03 am

    Dave, What are your thoughts in regards to Daniel Cabrera? Is he the worst case scenario of what could happen to Felix?

    Felix would have to take several steps backwards to reach Daniel Cabrera level.

    Dave – I’m curious to know why Felix isn’t starting Sunday versus Toronto. With the off-day on Thursday don’t we have the opportunity to skip Horatio’s turn in the rotation?

    The M’s don’t skip their 5th starter – they use offdays to just give everyone an extra day of rest.

  20. Manzanillos Cup on July 17th, 2007 8:15 am

    Having HoRam in your rotation is never a good idea. He is comically terrible. Keep in mind that his GB tendencies are very slight, and take a look at his K/BB – it’s an absolute joke. And to top it all off, he’s gotten pretty lucky with his HR/F%. He’s easily one of the 3-4 worst starters in baseball. I’d take Weaver over HoRam any day of the week.

  21. fdeezle on July 17th, 2007 8:17 am

    #19 Dave, what are your thoughts on the M’s policy of not skipping the 5th starter? Is it effective? Or maybe with the hellish schedule the rest of the way it’s more of a benefit to give them all an extra day off?

  22. thamiam on July 17th, 2007 8:20 am

    As the game ended last night, I had to call for a moment of silent reflection on the wonder that is JJ Putz. How does he get every hitter in the league to swing at chin-high 96 mph fastballs? I’m pretty sure either Satan or Obi-Wan got involved in young JJs life at some point.

    #18 – The problem with having HoRam as your 5th starter is that means you are counting on Weaver to not be the worst starter on your staff. Frightening proposition, that.

  23. Carson on July 17th, 2007 8:22 am

    Bunting should be reserved for pitchers, and players who are in the lineup due to an injury, and they have no other option. Even then, if you can’t be trusted to get a single, maybe you shouldn’t be in the major leagues?

  24. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 8:32 am

    Paul B and awolfgang: Not every win has a save. Putz hasn’t pitched in all the games the team won this season, either.

    My thought is that this team tends to win close games and lose blowouts.

    McLaren stated his concern that he wants to limit JJ to just one inning per outing. I think it is much more important to limit the number of outings.

    If they want JJ to be the stopper 2 years from now, they are going to have to use some care in not blowing them out. Too many outings and his career line will end up like Thigpen.

  25. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 8:34 am

    Bunting should be reserved for pitchers, and players who are in the lineup due to an injury, and they have no other option.

    Late innings of a tie game where you need 1 run is the other use of a sac bunt. The sac bunt increases your chances of scoring 1 run but decreases chances of scoring more than 1 run so that overall it is a counterproductive strategy. Unless the batter is really bad (like a .130 hitting pitcher, as you noted).

  26. Carson on July 17th, 2007 8:41 am

    25 – (Paul B) It also decreases your chances of scoring, as you just handed the opposing team a free out.

    For whatever reason, I’m a fan of the suicide squeeze. But your average bunt a guy over to second sacrafice seems to fail more than it works.

  27. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 8:52 am

    Horacio’s comment was that it was adrenaline. That makes sense.

  28. awolfgang on July 17th, 2007 8:55 am

    #16 vj Says:
    Paul B and awolfgang: Not every win has a save. Putz hasn’t pitched in all the games the team won this season, either.

    Where exactly in my post do I say JJ has to pitch in every game? And, of course not every win has a save(that’s just insulting). I just think that the argument that we need someone else to help save (not close out) games is unwarranted until we are actually leading a playoff race. Now if there are some low-leverage 3-inning save opportunities for other guys, I’m all for it. We just don’t have the luxury to rest JJ for a playoff push later on, this is our playoff run right now

  29. Otto on July 17th, 2007 9:07 am

    haha Dayn Perry over at fox sports stated that Detroit took 2 of 3 from the M’s. Did he miss a game?

  30. scraps on July 17th, 2007 9:07 am

    this is our playoff run right now

    This is true, and management needs to understand that better than they seem to.

  31. Carson on July 17th, 2007 9:10 am

    27 (eponymous) – I closed that article at the second paragraph, where Andriesen tried to insinuate that the Mariners added a quality starter to their rotation last night. I hope the rest of the article was better, though I doubt it.

    As I stated above, there were a LOT of balls hit sharply. And others where the batters just got under the pitch. I would credit about 60% of HoRam’s performance to the Oreo’s bad hitting. He was hitting the zone, so I’m not going to say the guy was horrible, but where he put them in the zone, he got very lucky.

    On a positive note, kudos to the Mariners if they intentionally stuck him in there aginst Baltimore. Because, 24 hours earlier, the Tigers’ hitters would have mashed him (then again, I guess the result wouldn’t have differed much).

  32. PositivePaul on July 17th, 2007 9:14 am

    Oooh, but did you notice Ho-Ram’s infinite K/BB ratio!!!!

    //sample size
    ///he still didn’t walk anyone, so that’s progress

  33. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 9:31 am

    Meh. HoRam does well in Safeco. No big change from the beginning of the season.

    I’m afraid he’s gonna get mashed on the road. Can’t afford that….

  34. Ninja Jordan on July 17th, 2007 9:34 am

    Dave, why is bunting generally a terrible idea?

  35. Dave on July 17th, 2007 9:40 am

    Dave, why is bunting generally a terrible idea?

    Basic summary: The effect of reducing the chance of scoring multiple runs outweighs the marginal gain of increasing your chance of scoring one run. Here’s a link to one of the best bunting studies ever done. It’s mathy, but if you take the time to understand what he’s saying, it will make sense.

    Generally, bunting is only a good idea in scenarios where you’re trying to get a hit (and you have the right guy up there to attempt it with), you only need one run to win the game, or the hitter is of such a poor quality that it’s extremely unlikely he’ll avoid making an out anyway (pitchers are pretty much the only ones who qualify).

    An exception is the suicide squeeze, which I think is underutlized by most teams, and should be called for more often than it actually is.

  36. joealb1 on July 17th, 2007 9:56 am

    Right on Dave! I love the squeeze bunt, I think it is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. To have you substantiate what I’ve suspected for a very long time even more.

  37. joealb1 on July 17th, 2007 9:56 am

    Oops, should read “Makes me like it even more”.

  38. _David_ on July 17th, 2007 10:00 am

    If they aren’t going to call up AJ, shouldn’t they seriously consider platooning WFB or Ellison with Raul against LHP’s?

  39. Nuss on July 17th, 2007 10:15 am

    38 — If they haven’t done it by now, it’s not going to happen. They’re ignoring reality (a favorite Mariners past time) and it’s not likely to change.

  40. Nuss on July 17th, 2007 10:19 am

    For those curious, Ibanez is now .238/.250/.287 against lefties this season.

    I can at least sort of understand wanting him in the lineup. But why batting third? It’s almost as stupid as batting Jose Vidro in the two hole.

  41. Logger on July 17th, 2007 10:20 am
  42. joealb1 on July 17th, 2007 10:22 am

    38, Good point, small sample size caveat applies but Ellison does have a .845 ops over his last 147 A/B’s against lefties.

  43. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 10:27 am

    FYI – Article on Putz.

    Sounds like JJ thinks Morrow may be a closer in the future….

  44. Jack Perconte Dreamin on July 17th, 2007 10:33 am

    Nick Markakasis is a pretty good player, too. Regardless, the O’s do still stink.

  45. lokiforever on July 17th, 2007 10:40 am

    I think the M’s are waiting for an injury to Vidro, Ibanez or Guillen to justify the AJ call-up. This to ensure no hurt feelings or disrupting the clubhouse atmosphere with an embittered veteran demoted mid-season, brooding on the bench. I don’t agree with it, it’s just a hunch.

  46. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 10:43 am

    I think the M’s are waiting for an injury to Vidro, Ibanez or Guillen to justify the AJ call-up. This to ensure no hurt feelings or disrupting the clubhouse atmosphere with an embittered veteran demoted mid-season, brooding on the bench. I don’t agree with it, it’s just a hunch.

    I was wondering the same thing – maybe that they don’t want to toss a 21 year old kid into the middle of a soap opera if they can avoid it (and certainly not right after the ASB & against Bonderman/Verlander). At some point though, they’ve got to just bite the bullet.

  47. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 10:47 am

    I was wondering the same thing – maybe that they don’t want to toss a 21 year old kid into the middle of a soap opera if they can avoid it (and certainly not right after the ASB & against Bonderman/Verlander). At some point though, they’ve got to just bite the bullet.

    You may well be right, but look at what the Brewers did with Ryan Braun. (Granted, he’s a bit older, but still.) They brought him up when they had a division lead (talk about potentially disrupting chemistry!) and plopped him into the 3-hole, where he has raked ever since. A veteran was forced to the bench. Now that was a bold move!

  48. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 10:53 am

    You may well be right, but look at what the Brewers did with Ryan Braun. (Granted, he’s a bit older, but still.) They brought him up when they had a division lead (talk about potentially disrupting chemistry!) and plopped him into the 3-hole, where he has raked ever since. A veteran was forced to the bench. Now that was a bold move!

    Yeah, I know. I just think you can make an argument that it’s better for the kid & for the franchise if you wait a week or so after the ASB until you pull the trigger, especially with the Detroit series looming. Not saying it’s the right thing, just that maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing (waiting). If they don’t pull the trigger during/after the Baltimore series, then I’d be a little more concerned.

  49. SDRE on July 17th, 2007 10:55 am

    It was a bold move because they envisoned a long-term great young infield of Braun, Hardy, Weeks and Fielder for years to come.

    M’s should share that same vision of Jones, Ichiro, Lopez, Betencourt, Felix and Putz for years to come.

  50. SDRE on July 17th, 2007 11:07 am

    Yesterday game actually would have been the perfect first game of Adam Jones in 2007. Playing CF for Ichiro, who needed to rest, against a LH pitcher, on a Monday against Baltimore.

  51. Nick on July 17th, 2007 11:07 am

    I think a discussion of bunting needs to clarify the difference between the sacrifice and bunting for a hit. Lopez’ futility in the first inning last night was ultra-stupid; Ellison’s bunt in the third inning was good baseball.

  52. Carson on July 17th, 2007 11:10 am

    48 (Max Power) – I strongly disagree. I MIGHT be willing to agree with you if the M’s had the division lead. But trailing this closely requires attention. You need to make the upgrade before it’s too late.

    Keep in mind, AJ is not going to make this a playoff team by his self. So, the closer they get to the finish line, or the further behind the Angels they may fall, the less his impact will make.

  53. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 11:15 am

    48 (Max Power) – I strongly disagree. I MIGHT be willing to agree with you if the M’s had the division lead. But trailing this closely requires attention. You need to make the upgrade before it’s too late.

    I don’t think it matters whether they are in the lead or trailing by a couple games – ultimately they need to win just as much in either scenario. I don’t pretend to know how popular Vidro/Ibanez are within the clubhouse or how thick-skinned AJ is, I just think it’s reasonable to take that stuff into consideration.

  54. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 11:18 am

    48 (Max Power) – I strongly disagree. I MIGHT be willing to agree with you if the M’s had the division lead. But trailing this closely requires attention. You need to make the upgrade before it’s too late.

    Also – I’m not arguing that they keep him down indefinitely, just that if they decided to leak then wait a week to let it sink in then you might make the transition easier on everyone, including AJ.

  55. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 11:21 am

    Ramirez is known as a touch lefty in the mold of Jamie Moyer, with a fastball in the mid- to upper-80s. Monday night he routinely hit 92 mph and in the first inning twice touched 94.

    “I think that was a car that was passing by in the background or something,” Ramirez joked of the radar reading. “That doesn’t happen too often. The adrenaline was pumping a little bit.”

    It’s nice to know that Horacio’s velocity can hit 93-94 at times. That might make him slightly useful in the bullpen.

  56. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 11:27 am

    Not saying it’s the right thing, just that maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing (waiting).

    The M’s offense was considerably outhit this last weekend. It would have been nice to have better options than Raul and Vidro. In addition, Guillen and Ibanez have looked pretty awful in the OF (last night, Guillen misplayed a ball into a triple, for instance).

    If the Mariners lose a close race (1-2 games), letting Jones play in Tacoma a month or so longer than necessary is going to be a BIG part of why they lost.

  57. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 11:34 am

    If the Mariners lose a close race (1-2 games), letting Jones play in Tacoma a month or so longer than necessary is going to be a BIG part of why they lost.

    I’m not in favor of him staying down for an additional month – that’s not what I was getting at. Just saying that if you wait ~1 week or so after you’ve made the decision (and leaked it) to let it sink in (and let the kid skip Bonderman/Verlander as a bonus) one could reasonably argue that it might be better for clubhouse harmony and the development of young Mr. Jones. Basically that it wouldn’t be a totally irrational decision.

    I’m not justifying the length of time it took them to make the initial decision BTW – if that’s actually happened.

  58. Dayve on July 17th, 2007 11:42 am

    A win is a win, whether it was against a so called lousy club or not. It was a good pitching effort all around. Safeco didn’t help as much as you would like to believe. He got a lot of dribblers, easy grounders, pop outs. Give the guy his due–he did what he was supposed to do. Is that not enough?

  59. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 11:43 am

    26 (Carson), in response to my post 25 – It also decreases your chances of scoring, as you just handed the opposing team a free out.

    Not exactly. See Dave’s post 35.

  60. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 11:49 am

    #57 Just saying that if you wait ~1 week or so after you’ve made the decision (and leaked it) to let it sink in (and let the kid skip Bonderman/Verlander as a bonus) one could reasonably argue that it might be better for clubhouse harmony and the development of young Mr. Jones. Basically that it wouldn’t be a totally irrational decision.

    I recall that McLaren used to work closely with a manager who brought people up and down all the time. Tacoma shuttle,it was called. I recall that manager had some winning ballclubs.

    Or does a couple of months with Grover cause brain damage? That would explain a lot.

  61. scott19 on July 17th, 2007 11:55 am

    24: I agree on JJ. Besides Thigpen, Eric Gagne also comes to mind.

  62. Benno on July 17th, 2007 12:01 pm

    I think the big problem here is that the team probably sees only Betancourt and Sexson (and possibly Lopez) as poor hitters right now. Meanwhile, people on this blog see the worst 3 hitters on the team being Betancourt, Vidro, and Sexson (regulars only). Since Betancourt and Sexson bring other possibilities to the table, defense and power, their question to management becomes, where does Jones fit in? I think it is an easy fix, where we go with 11 pitchers for the time being, bring Jones up and shuffle the lineup against RHP (as Ibanez and Broussard should be in against RHP, out against LHP). If he struggles with his defense, he can be sent back down. The message to the team should be that the front office is trying to win, not be polite to the veterans while trying to win.

  63. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:09 pm

    The thing that is the most perplexing about this team is their total refusal to use platoons. Vidro. Sexson. Ibanez. Heck, even Guillen. Each of those players should probably be platooned (Vidro should be flat-out benched) to one extent or another. This maddening one-lineup-for-all-purposes is truly bizarre.

    I thought there was some hope when Mac took over for Grover that he would start moving away from that, but he has simply continued it. I’m not sure why. It is costing us wins and must stop.

    Broussard should play against righties. Jones should spell Ibanez against lefties. Guillen should hit the pine against certain righties. Chemistry be damned!

  64. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 12:11 pm

    Re – Calling up AJ:

    This is essentially why I wouldn’t have brought up Jones until after Detroit (had I not brought him up already – another story):

    OPS against (RHB only)
    Bonderman: .691
    Verlander: .571
    League Average: .747

    K/9 (RHB only)
    Bonderman: 8.12
    Verlander: 7.58
    League Average: 6.43

    It’s not a series where you would expect him to thrive given the quality of pitching Detroit threw out there. I also don’t understand why you wouldn’t have called him up on Sunday.

  65. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 12:12 pm

    From my living room it looked like Horacio made only one mistake…the homerun ball to Hernandez. True he gave up some hits and forgot to cover first one time allowing a run but the run would have scored anyway.

    Do not be misled by Dave’s assertion the Orioles are not a major league team. They are. There is a difference between major league hitters and minor league hitters. Major league hitters can hit bad pitching. Horacio was good, like he always is at home.

    Let’s give credit where it is due. Good game last night.

  66. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:13 pm

    64 — Maybe their master plan is to call him up when they head out on the upcoming road trip (Toronto and Texas). The idea being that he will face less scrutiny and pressure away from home than he would debuting at home. Ease him in, if you will.

    If they don’t call him up Thursday, I will be truly perplexed.

  67. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 12:15 pm

    I thought there was some hope when Mac took over for Grover that he would start moving away from that, but he has simply continued it.

    If the change was between seasons, yeah. But with an abrupt, totally unexpected change in-season, there’s some value to doing incremental changes at first, with respect to managing player psychology (which is what the manager’s first or second function is).

    Mind you, I said SOME value….

  68. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 12:16 pm

    Jones hit a homerun in Texas last year. That might be the place they bring him up. I think he has some roots down there.

  69. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 12:18 pm

    Do not be misled by Dave’s assertion the Orioles are not a major league team. They are.

    They’re a BAD major league team. In a lot of ways, that means a lot of AAAA players—and that’s fairly close to minor league hitting.

    I’m not a fan of this “mystical” difference between minor and major leagues. The difference IS in the stats.

  70. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 12:20 pm

    Can JJ win the Cy Young? I mean by rule. I believe Rollie Fingers did once as a closer. If he is eligible and keeps up with this great season he has to get serious considersation. Especially if the M’s go deep into the playoffs.

  71. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 12:20 pm

    64- So what if he goes 1-8 with 6 Ks against those guys? If he going to learn to hit them in AAA? Hell, is there anyone with a decent fastball LEFT in AAA any more, now that the Lincecums and Millers are all pitching in the bigs? Is Jose Vidro a better bet to do anything other than GIDP against them? If the Mariners face the Tigers in the ALDS, are you going to bench Jones against Bonderman and Verlander? And how does the Bonderman and Verlander being good pitchers make Jones less defensively valuable than two poor corner OF’ers (Raul and Guillen)?

    Really, I think this is an extremely weak argument. If you think Jones is the 4th best position player on the Mariners 40 man roster (Dave’s/USSM’s position, which I agree with), then he deserves to play every day for the Mariners. Otherwise, the ONLY OTHER reasonable argument is arguing that Vidro/Guillen/Ibanez/Broussard are better players. I think the assertion that Vidro > Jones is laughable.

  72. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:21 pm

    Can JJ win the Cy Young? I mean by rule. I believe Rollie Fingers did once as a closer. If he is eligible and keeps up with this great season he has to get serious considersation. Especially if the M’s go deep into the playoffs.

    Yes. Eric Gagne won it as recently as 2003.

  73. Celadus on July 17th, 2007 12:23 pm

    Presuming for a moment that you like the bunt and that you’re a traditional thinker (e.g., believe that RBIs tend to reflect quality & not opportunities), the bunt in the first inning was still a bad idea.

    First of all, the runner was on second, and he could advance to third on a ground ball.

    Second, the runner on second (Ichiro) is fast and an excellent base stealer, so that if the hitter pops up (as he essentially did while trying to bunt) the runner still has the option of stealing third with less than two out (as he did).

    Third, no out in the bottom of the first against a bad team and a mediocre pitcher with one of your leading RBI men (remember, traditional thinking) at the plate (Lopez) just seems entirely too passive. Connie Mack wouldn’t have done it.

    Well, he might have if it were 1907 and not 2007, granted. You ain’t gonna score that many runs off Three-Finger Brown.

  74. Dave on July 17th, 2007 12:23 pm

    Let’s give credit where it is due. Good game last night.

    Value to the team – good game, yes.
    Indicator of good pitcher – no, it wasn’t.

    It was a bad pitcher being out-badded by bad hitters. This is where results based analysis leads you astray. There’s a difference between a guy making an out and the pitcher getting a hitter out.

  75. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 12:24 pm

    Gwangung.

    No. The difference is in the quality of play and the talent of the players. Coaching as well. Ramon Hernandez, Aubry Huff, Markakis, all of those guys would murder AAA pitching. They lost to Ramirez because he pitched a good game. Remarkable after being on the DL. In the major leagues if a pitcher makes a mistake he pays. Not so true in the minor leagues.

  76. fetish on July 17th, 2007 12:25 pm

    I’m getting the feeling that “we” are losing the “objective” in objective analysis.

    Ramirez goes 7 very good innings, throws just 83 pitches (how many times are we begging M’s hitter to run up pitch counts on the opposition?) and all I see is how Ramirez isn’t even worth to be in the Majors. Aren’t results worth -anything-?

    And, although it wasn’t a good trade, Ramirez almost by definition has been more valuable than Soriano could have been by simply being a warm body – how much better could yet another reliever make the M’s this year?

  77. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 12:27 pm

    And, although it wasn’t a good trade, Ramirez almost by definition has been more valuable than Soriano could have been by simply being a warm body – how much better could yet another reliever make the M’s this year?

    Well, you could have converted Soriano to a starter or sent Morrow down at the beginning of the season to learn how to be a starter. It’s not as though there weren’t other options.

  78. Jeff Nye on July 17th, 2007 12:31 pm

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hyperbole

    The Orioles aren’t very good hitters, and that should be taken into account when high-fiving over the “strong pitching performance” from HoRam. That’s what Dave meant (I think) by saying the Orioles are not a major league team.

    The win counts the same in the standings, yes, but it’s important to realize that his results from the exact same quality of pitching will be vastly different against a team with better hitters.

    It pains me that this requires explanation.

  79. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 12:31 pm

    This isn’t fantasy baseball. Stats are nice but the only one that counts in the end is the final score. Horacio has been Cy Young at home and did it again last night. There was also some discussion during the broadcast that he seems to have improved his velocity, getting his fastball up to around 94 or 95, something he never did before.

  80. Dave on July 17th, 2007 12:32 pm

    We have this same discussion with a different group of people every time this happens. We’ve had this discussion 10 times after Jarrod Washburn throws one of these no hit, no walk, no strikeout games at home against a bad team and everyone gets all aflutter about how he’s a #2 starter before he gets destroyed in subsequent starts and everyone remembers that he’s not. We had this discussion earlier in the year when Cha Seung Baek threw this same game. We had this same discussion when Horacio Ramirez did this the first few times around before going on the DL.

    We had this discussion about Aaron Sele, Paul Abbott, Ryan Franklin, John Halama, and James Baldwin.

    Every year, the Mariners throw a crappy pitcher or two on the hill, and every year, that guy throws a good game in Safeco Field and everyone gets all excited. And every year, we tell you that guy isn’t any good, and every year, that guy proceeds to turn into a pumpkin.

    Horacio Ramirez is just the 2007 version of that crappy pitcher who had experienced the confluence of a terrible opponent and Safeco Field and confused everyone into thinking he was good for one start. Don’t fall into the same trap.

  81. nfreakct on July 17th, 2007 12:32 pm

    Or you could have traded Soriano for a starter that’s actually good. You know, that was another possibility that could have happened.

  82. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:33 pm

    Or you could have traded Soriano for a starter that’s actually good. You know, that was another possibility that could have happened.

    Do you know what other offers Bavasi had for Soriano? Because I sure don’t.

  83. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 12:34 pm

    Fetish:

    Joel Pineiro had back top back starts that looked like this:

    17 IP, 13 H, 3R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6K

    He was the AL Pitcher of the week based on those. His season ERA after the second of those starts was 3.72.

    He still sucked. We found out later.

    Aaron Sele in 2005, after his start of June 20th:

    6-5, 3.73 ERA, 82 IP in 14 starts

    Also still sucked. We found out later.

    That’s just two examples from recent Mariner teams. Pitchers who can’t strike guys out and have poor command sometimes get hot streaks because of defensive support and luck, but throwing the “at’em ball” is not a repeatable skill.

  84. AQ on July 17th, 2007 12:36 pm

    “Do you know what other offers Bavasi had for Soriano? Because I sure don’t.”

    While I don’t know the answer to this question, this much I do know: I’d just as soon have kept Soriano and had an equally marginal starter in the rotation (like Baek). I think this beats the alternative of trading a valuable bullpen piece for a pitcher who is not much different than Baek or someone of that ilk.

  85. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:36 pm

    Oh boy! A James Baldwin reference! How I disliked that guy — even his slow, deliberate walk back to the dugout.

    Dave, do you even like the Mariners?

    PS That was a joke.

  86. Manzanillos Cup on July 17th, 2007 12:37 pm

    And, although it wasn’t a good trade, Ramirez almost by definition has been more valuable than Soriano could have been by simply being a warm body – how much better could yet another reliever make the M’s this year?

    Ramirez is replacement level, probably worse. Soriano, reliever or not, is more valuable than HoRam

  87. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:37 pm

    While I don’t know the answer to this question, this much I do know: I’d just as soon have kept Soriano and had an equally marginal starter in the rotation (like Baek). I think this beats the alternative of trading a valuable bullpen piece for a pitcher who is not much different than Baek or someone of that ilk.

    I totally agree. My point was just that we don’t know what else was available or offered. We do know that the trade was probably not a good idea. OK, it was an f-ing horrible idea.

  88. Bearman on July 17th, 2007 12:39 pm

    Everybody here is speculating why the call up of Adam Jones hasn’t happen yet?
    Some say they don’t want to upset the clubhouse chemistry etc….
    Some say the M’s are waiting like vultures for a major injury requiring the DL to Vidro/Gullien/Ibanez to pull the trigger.

    I don’t think any baseball club that unfeeling or so dumb to hope a major piece is hurt so just call up a prospect to replace them no matter how talented and/or MLB ready.

    I believe with all my instincts that what is really going on is there is a possible trade deal going on for a need upgrade at SP with either prospects or that young but vetran RH setup RP to help the middle to short game to get to Putz.

    Look for the likes of Ellison/Mateo/Reitsma/Reed/Maybe Weaver along with for the right deal Balenien or Clement or both to be traded to aquire the above suggested needs.
    Then the call up of Jones/Lowe/maybe Lehr and you’ll see a very good chance that Ramirez is moved to the pen as the long man/6th starter.
    Broussard won’t be moved because of his value as a solid backup to Sexson at IstB and his newfound utility in the OF corners add in his very high effectiveness againist LHPers.

  89. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 12:41 pm

    Performances are not linear. The level changes every game. No one can predict with absolute certainty what will happen tonight just because it happened in last nights game. Statistics merely tell us what happened, they do not tell us necessarily what will happen. But I know through empiracal data Horacio pitches well at home and I expected him to last night. The Orioles are a team prone to streaks. Are they as good as the Tigers? No but they will continue to win games this year, just like every other team, because of the unexpected element of baseball. It IS why we play the games. And for anyone who has ever played baseball, you know once you start taking teams for granted you find yourself on the losing end of a disaster. There are no pushovers in Major League Baseball. To say the M’s won because the Orioles are the inferior team is unfathonable in my mind.

  90. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 12:41 pm

    This isn’t fantasy baseball.

    Yes–there ain’t mystical line that separates minor league hitters from major league hitters. For heaven’s sakes, this is an organization that kept Edgar Martinez in the minors for an extra two years because they didn’t think he was a major league hitter (or at least one good enough to replace a really crappy Jim Pressley).

  91. AQ on July 17th, 2007 12:42 pm

    “Look for the likes of Ellison/Mateo/Reitsma/Reed/Maybe Weaver along with for the right deal Balenien or Clement or both to be traded to aquire the above suggested needs.”

    Of the players you’ve listed, only Clement or Balentien are going to bring back anything valuable. No one will give you anything worthwhile for washed up relievers or 4th OF’s.

  92. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 12:43 pm

    Horacio Ramirez is just the 2007 version of that crappy pitcher who had experienced the confluence of a terrible opponent and Safeco Field and confused everyone into thinking he was good for one start. Don’t fall into the same trap.

    Or Jeff Weaver, for that matter (though Weaver’s better than Ramirez, he’s not MUCH better).

    I worry about the bottom of the rotation in a series against the Yankees/Detroit/Boston/Cleveland- and there are a fair chunk of games like that left (plus the Angels and Texas on the road).

  93. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 12:44 pm

    Of the players you’ve listed, only Clement or Balentien are going to bring back anything valuable. No one will give you anything worthwhile for washed up relievers or 4th OF’s.

    I think Reed still has some value as a trade chit — a relatively young, cheap, serviceable centerfield who may still have some prospect sheen. Otherwise, I agree.

    A Balentien/Clement + Reed package may get you something worthwhile.

  94. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 12:45 pm

    Performances are not linear. The level changes every game. No one can predict with absolute certainty what will happen tonight just because it happened in last nights game. Statistics merely tell us what happened, they do not tell us necessarily what will happen.

    That’s not a very intelligent post.

    Statistics are a very good guide for folks. Really now, you saying you want a .250 hitter over a .360 hitter? Because that’s EXACTLY what you’re saying.

    Stop running out those tired cliches. They don’t mean anything and, most importantly, THEY AREN’T TRUE.

  95. John in L.A. on July 17th, 2007 12:46 pm

    It’s uncanny… it’s the same rant almost word for word, just from different people.

    “Stats don’t predict…” “It’s why we play the games…” “If you’ve ever played…” “Yada yada yada…” “Bring Griffey back…” “I miss Aaron Sele..” “Ichiro is overrated…”

  96. AQ on July 17th, 2007 12:46 pm

    “But I know through empiracal data Horacio pitches well at home and I expected him to last night.”

    So, let me make sure I understand: You expected HoRam to pitch well last night because he was pitching at home, based on statistics. Yet, you don’t believe that statistics show that the Orioles hitters (as whole, without Tejada and Mora especially) are not very good?

    You admitted that you used statistics as support for your belief in a good game from Ramirez, but (in the next breath) you refute statistics as they pertain to the Orioles? I guess I don’t get that.

  97. AQ on July 17th, 2007 12:48 pm

    “I think Reed still has some value as a trade chit — a relatively young, cheap, serviceable centerfield who may still have some prospect sheen. Otherwise, I agree.”

    I see where you’re coming from. Perhaps I am bit more down on Reed than others. I personally see him (in the best case scenario) projecting to be a poor man’s Coco Crisp at this juncture.

  98. Hooligan on July 17th, 2007 12:49 pm

    Results-based analysis hasn’t served me well in life. The first major gift I gave my wife was an inscribed locket when we were dating; the second major gift was an engagement ring. After those two undeniable successes, we both came to the conclusion that I was good at picking out gifts.

    Larger sample sizes have subsequently proven otherwise.

  99. robbbbbb on July 17th, 2007 12:51 pm

    Oh, let’s pile on to #89. Because it’s so much fun, and we see the same rant all the time.

    Some statistics have predictive power, and others do not. See the sidebar article on predicting pitcher performance, for instance. I believe the statistical arguments that the USSM authors advance because they back them up by showing how similar statistics in the past have had predictive power.

    I don’t believe someone who just wants to believe that the shine is on a particular player, and who doesn’t advance a good argument to back it up.

    And this applies to all of the “don’t upset the apple cart and promote Adam Jones” folks, too. AAA stats are predictive of major league performance, when used judiciously. And watching someone like Dave use them to advance the case for Adam Jones is instructive.

  100. hcoguy on July 17th, 2007 12:53 pm

    98. Awesome.

  101. Colm on July 17th, 2007 12:54 pm

    “To say the M’s won because the Orioles are the inferior team is unfathonable in my mind.”

    Did you overstate that? Because the Orioles are an inferior team (slightly better pitching than the M’s; much worse hitting, especially without Mora and Tejada). If they played each other an infinite number of times at Safeco Field you’d expect the M’s to win 60 or 65% of the time.

    On any given night they have a 40% or higher chance of winning (run HoRam up against Bedard and I’m picking the Orioles) but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t the inferior team.

    How would you explain it? Is it all due to the “unexpected element”?

  102. Colm on July 17th, 2007 12:56 pm

    um, phrased that awkwardly, didn’t I? 65% plus 40% = 105%. Shucks, you all know what I meant. It’s just a rounding error.

  103. Karen on July 17th, 2007 12:58 pm

    Well, it was refreshing to see the M’s got a win last night, anyway. Let’s take it one day, and one pitcher, at a time, guys…

    /channelling Nuke LaLoosh

  104. JMHawkins on July 17th, 2007 1:03 pm

    And, although it wasn’t a good trade, Ramirez almost by definition has been more valuable than Soriano could have been by simply being a warm body – how much better could yet another reliever make the M’s this year?

    Well, you could have converted Soriano to a starter or sent Morrow down at the beginning of the season to learn how to be a starter. It’s not as though there weren’t other options.

    Yes, yes, oh yes. Then we wouldn’t have converted a top 5 pick into a reliever.

    If we’d started the season with Cha Seung Baek in the rotation instead of HoRam, it would’ve been about a wash. Baek as an ERA+ of 74 this year, HoRam 72. Neither one is really who you want as your #5 on a playoff contender (and never mind that HoRam was actually our #4…) but since the team squandered opportunities to fill out a starting rotation over the last couple of years, we were pretty much stuck with someone sub-par in that slot. Giving Baek a chance for essentially free made a whole lot more sense than giving up a quality reliever (causing the Morrow problem which makes the ’08/’09 rotation problem worse, but I’ve beat that horse enough already) and spending lots of $$$ on a marginal NL starter was folly.

    When the injuries hit, we wouldn’t have had Baek to call up – it would’ve been more of Feierabend, or maybe Lehr. And while neither is ideal (Feierabend isn’t ready yet, Lehr is a AAA starter who isn’t likely to get better) shoving guys like that in to fill an injury hole is okay. In fact, that’s sort of what guys like Lehr are there for, emergency fill-ins.

    It’s kind of wierd. The team is desperate for starting pitching, but that doesn’t chance the value of replacement level guys, and I think HoRam is replacement level at best. Since we have no other real prospects for getting a better rotaion, I’m hoping he continues to throw hard, get lucky, and look good.

    I think we’re the 5th best team in the AL, and with a little luck, we can make the playoffs. And once you’re there, you just have to go 7-5 to be in the World Series. So, some of that luck flowing to HoRam – hey, I’ll take it.

    But it was still a bad trade, and we still need major improvements to the rotation for ’08.

  105. robbbbbb on July 17th, 2007 1:05 pm

    But it was still a bad trade, and we still need major improvements to the rotation for ‘08.

    Well, Phillipe Aumont and Chris Tillman will be ready by then.

    (Kidding! Kidding! Don’t throw that rotten fruit.)

  106. doededoe on July 17th, 2007 1:10 pm

    That’s just two examples from recent Mariner teams. Pitchers who can’t strike guys out and have poor command sometimes get hot streaks because of defensive support and luck, but throwing the “at’em ball” is not a repeatable skill.

    This might be the silliest comment I have ever seen on this blog. I am not defending Ho-Ram. I think he is a stiff as well, but there have been HOF pitchers that have pitched to contact and were much better than “lucky”. I thought Ho did a pretty good job of keeping the ball down in the strike zone, and forcing a lot of ground balls. That being said, it wouldn’t shock me if he gets shelled his next start, but if he throws the ball the way he did last night he’ll keep us in the game.

  107. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 1:14 pm

    This might be the silliest comment I have ever seen on this blog. I am not defending Ho-Ram. I think he is a stiff as well, but there have been HOF pitchers that have pitched to contact and were much better than “lucky”.

    I don’t think that’s true. ANd I think that’s EXTREMELY silly.

    I thought Ho did a pretty good job of keeping the ball down in the strike zone, and forcing a lot of ground balls. That being said, it wouldn’t shock me if he gets shelled his next start, but if he throws the ball the way he did last night he’ll keep us in the game.

    And I don’t think that’s true either.

  108. Dave on July 17th, 2007 1:14 pm

    I think he is a stiff as well, but there have been HOF pitchers that have pitched to contact and were much better than “lucky”.

    Forget hall of famer – find me a major league pitcher who had any kind of real career striking out 4% of the hitters he faced.

    Good luck.

  109. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 1:18 pm

    doededoe,

    This might be the silliest comment I have ever seen on this blog. I am not defending Ho-Ram. I think he is a stiff as well, but there have been HOF pitchers that have pitched to contact and were much better than “lucky”.

    Name one please. Pretty much no one has a real skill at preventing hits on balls in play. If there is a skill, it can’t be measured due to the inherent noise surrounding it. There are 3 things a pitcher can control GB/FB, BB, and K. As has been said here many times before to be a successful pitcher you need to be able to do two of them well. Pitching to contact only works if you are going to get A LOT of ground balls. Ho-Ram may tend toward ground balls but he isn’t Felix or Halladay or Brandon Webb. That means he needs to be really good at either K’s or BB, I don’t see either of those as skills he posses.

  110. scott19 on July 17th, 2007 1:19 pm

    70/72: Also, Willie Hernandez won it as a closer for the Tigers in ’84, and Eckersley did for Oakland back in ’92.

  111. doededoe on July 17th, 2007 1:21 pm

    Greg Maddox comes to mind. He’s had a decent career.

  112. The Ancient Mariner on July 17th, 2007 1:23 pm

    doededoe — go look at Maddux’ stats and get back to us on that one.

    Give me a break here . . .

  113. Chris Miller on July 17th, 2007 1:24 pm

    Greg Maddux has struck out ~ 17% of the batters he’s faced over his career.

  114. Dave on July 17th, 2007 1:24 pm

    Greg Maddox comes to mind. He’s had a decent career.

    Greg Maddux – 3,229 strikeouts out of 19,271 batters faced. Over his career, he’s struck out 16% of the batters he faced. Not 4%, like Ramirez last night. Sixteen Percent.

    In his prime, he was striking out 20% of the guys he faced. You know who else strikes out 20% of the batters he faces? Felix Hernandez.

    The idea that Greg Maddux spent his life as some pitch-to-contact guy is a myth.

    Try again. Or just admit that you’re wrong. It’s up to you.

  115. Jeff Nye on July 17th, 2007 1:25 pm

    One thing that it might be useful to call out at this point is that, in the original post, Dave does in fact call out that HoRam used a specific strategy (of sorts) in that he “pitched to contact” and let the lousy Orioles hitters get themselves out.

    So some credit is given for his “strategy” being a successful one; people are simply pointing out that the success of the strategy being more due to the suckitude of the Orioles hitters than any pitching genius on HoRam’s part.

    It is being further pointed out that, against hitters with a smaller degree of suckitude, the same pitching “strategy” will lead to HoRam being lit up, particularly when he doesn’t have Safeco Field to help him.

  116. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 1:27 pm

    Greg Maddox comes to mind. He’s had a decent career.

    Um, I don’t think that proves what you want it to prove…

    Try again.

  117. johnb on July 17th, 2007 1:28 pm

    The Mariner’s traded Soriano because they thought his arm was about to fall off. No way to do you make that trade if you think he is going to be healthy.

    Anyway you slice it, it was a horrible trade.

    HoRam’s outting last night didn’t prove much to me at all. Let’s see how he does on the road against a good team. I guess we get to see that in Toronto.

    In my mind the Mariner’s have only one real starting pitcher. You can make the case for Washburn, you can talk about Batista, but let’s face it, they are pretty mediocre for the money and should be at the end of the rotation.

    For what it’s worth, enjoy the season, these guy’s are performing way above the level anyone thought they were capable of going in.

  118. doededoe on July 17th, 2007 1:29 pm

    But when Felix strikes out two in seven innings, all I hear is “he did a great job of keeping the ball down tonight, conserved his pitches.” No double standards folks.

  119. MarinerDan on July 17th, 2007 1:29 pm

    Perhaps the best (relatively recent) case I can come up with for a Hall-of-Fame “pitch to contact” guy is Jim Palmer. His career k/9 rate is 5.04. HoRam was sitting at 4.28 before this year.

    How about Bob Tewksbury? Obviously not a HOFer, but he had a nice career. His career k/9 was 4.04! Now, granted, he was a control FREAK, but it is still surprising he could have that much success with such a low (sub-HoRam) K rate. I always liked Tewks.

  120. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 1:30 pm

    Well, lets see…I didn’t say statistics had NO value..they do. Obviously. That is why I said I expected Horacio to have a good game last night.

    But should I point out that the team that took home the big prize last year wasn’t even close to having the best record in the major leagues? Were they or were they not the best team? Does a World Series championship count as being the best team? How about that austistic kid at that high school game on the east coast last winter who, even though he was a student manager, was allowed to suit up for the final home game. Came off the bench and threw in 20 points. Would statistics have predicted that? Don’t think so.

    My biggest problem with all of this is that we are undermining HoRam’s performance last night He doesn’t deserve that. It was a win. Would Gil Meche deserve the Cy Young if he wins half of his games pitching for the pathetic Royals?

  121. Jeff Nye on July 17th, 2007 1:32 pm

    Actually, if Felix strikes out two in seven innings, you’re likely to hear the words “Bad Felix” come up in the conversation quite a few times, along with “don’t throw ten straight fastballs”.

  122. Dave on July 17th, 2007 1:33 pm

    But when Felix strikes out two in seven innings, all I hear is “he did a great job of keeping the ball down tonight, conserved his pitches.” No double standards folks.

    Actually, after Felix’s 2 hit shutout against the A’s, I wrote “maybe Felix is just destined to overpower bad line-ups like Oaklands.”

    There isn’t a double standard. There are just basic principles of evaluating pitching talent that you don’t understand.

  123. scott19 on July 17th, 2007 1:34 pm

    83: Thank you for pointing that out. Though he never pitched for the M’s, Pat Rapp always comes to mind amongst such guys who seemed to base an entire career around well-placed mirrors.

  124. Dave on July 17th, 2007 1:35 pm

    My biggest problem with all of this is that we are undermining HoRam’s performance last night He doesn’t deserve that.

    We’re undermining his performance? The official scorers are going to take his win away because I don’t think it has any predictive abilities?

    No, we’re telling people that his performance doesn’t mean anything for how well we should expect him to pitch going forward. That’s it. If you want to make more of it than it is, that’s up to you.

  125. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 1:35 pm

    doededoe,

    When Felix pitches like that people are grounding out all over the place. If he gets ground balls and doesn’t walk people, he doesn’t need to strike people out. Last night granted Ramirez got 63% ground balls, but for his career he’s basically 50%… so we can’t expect that to contiune. If Felix gets 63% of his ground balls, we expect it because that’s what his stats say he’ll do.

  126. scraps on July 17th, 2007 1:35 pm

    120: You simply don’t understand the point of the conversation. It has nothing to do with whether Ramirez deserves credit. It is about whether his performance means we should expect anything different from him moving forward.

    Why are people so resistant to this point? You can both think positively and have your eyes open. They are not mutually exclusive ways to think.

  127. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 1:36 pm

    My biggest problem with all of this is that we are undermining HoRam’s performance last night He doesn’t deserve that

    Yes, he does. Because it was against a team that’s not very good. It was against a team that fits very well against his strengths and weaknesses. And there are not many teams like that in the American League.

  128. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 1:38 pm

    I believe your point was the Orioles are a minor league team. You led off with that. My point is they are a major league team and taking the mound against a major league team and coming away with a win is an accomplishment, one the M’s are happy with and they will go forward with that knowledge.

  129. Chris Miller on July 17th, 2007 1:38 pm

    About the best you’re going to find is Aaron Cook and Chien-Ming Wang and they strike out ~10 percent of their batters, and are both extreme groundball pitchers.

  130. raw1 on July 17th, 2007 1:39 pm

    127. He is 5-2.

  131. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 1:41 pm

    Over the course of his (short) career, Chien-Ming Wang has posted a lower K% than HoRam – he’s the only one I could find where I’d argue that he’s decent and strikes our really few batters.

    However, HoRam’s K% rate is partly a product of a decent rookie season – he’s had a 7.3% K rate since his rookie season, while Wang has been at 9.7% over his short career.

    You have to look pretty hard though to find anyone in HoRam’s ballpark (especially if you exclude his rookie season) who had anything close to a decent career.

  132. doededoe on July 17th, 2007 1:42 pm

    There isn’t a double standard. There are just basic principles of evaluating pitching talent that you don’t understand.

    Wow, I thought this was an open forum that you could disagree with someone. Dave, I didn’t catch where you spent your professional pitching career? Or was it your time as a pitching scout?

  133. Dave on July 17th, 2007 1:42 pm

    I believe your point was the Orioles are a minor league team.

    You should go read that definition of hyperbole again.

  134. Dave on July 17th, 2007 1:45 pm

    Wow, I thought this was an open forum that you could disagree with someone.

    You can disagree with me all you want. That doesn’t mean that we have to value your opinion, or give you any kind of credibility. Opinions are not created equal. Mine is based on tremendous amounts of empirical information, logically laid out arguments, and hundreds of years of history. Yours is based on… I have no idea.

    Agree with me or not – that’s up to you. But if you bring an uninformed opinion into a community of informed people, well, you should expect to get told that you’re wrong. And if you can’t defend your opinion, then you may want to consider that you are, in fact, wrong.

  135. doededoe on July 17th, 2007 1:45 pm

    Arbeck, I agree with you. I don’t think that Ho-Ram is going to continue to throw nice games. I’m just saying he did last night w/out 8 K’s

  136. Manzanillos Cup on July 17th, 2007 1:45 pm

    Hmph. Some guy named Ted Lyons made it into the HOF even though he had more BBs than Ks, and he never even played in a postseason game.

  137. Carson on July 17th, 2007 1:46 pm

    79 (raw1) – I shouldn’t even bother trying to convince you, but here goes..

    You’re right. This is not fantasy baseball. You’re also right in that wins are what matter. However, a team needs to set themselves up to win as many times as possible. Continuing to run a pitcher out there who has been lucky is not smart.

    Ever heard of Russian Roulette? The first time you pull the triger, you may not fire a bulet. Yes, you are still alive, and that is awesome. So, would you be dumb enough to pull the trigger again?

  138. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 1:46 pm

    doededoe,

    You can disagree when you have facts to back up your argument. Just disagreeing with your only evidence being your gut isn’t likely to get you far here.

    People have shown why the success Ramirez had last night is unlikely to carry him forward. If you have real evidence to dispute that claim, then by all means let us see it (don’t forget to show your work!).

  139. Jeff Nye on July 17th, 2007 1:47 pm

    Are we really regressing to the point that we’re using a pitcher’s win total as an evaluative tool?

    When there’s a great link about Evaluating Pitcher Talent, right there in the sidebar?

  140. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 1:48 pm

    doededoe,

    And no one is saying that last nights game wasn’t good. The argument is, that he unlikely to repeat that performance against any team, as he was extremely lucky last night. It doesn’t help him going forward that the Orioles are a bad offensive team.

  141. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 1:49 pm

    Hmph. Some guy named Ted Lyons made it into the HOF even though he had more BBs than Ks, and he never even played in a postseason game.

    Good find – I missed that one.

  142. msb on July 17th, 2007 1:55 pm

    For heaven’s sakes, this is an organization that kept Edgar Martinez in the minors for an extra two years because they didn’t think he was a major league hitter

    the only person still in the ownership & organisation from that time is Chuck Armstrong … do you really think he has that much influence on baseball operations?

  143. Beniitec on July 17th, 2007 1:56 pm

    Never a dull moment.

  144. Jeff Nye on July 17th, 2007 1:57 pm

    To both clarify, and vent a little frustration about how often we seem to be having to have these conversations lately (authors, feel free to cull this if you feel it’s out of line):

    If you are going to assert that something that is being presented as a post by the authors here is wrong, it is incumbent on YOU to prove them wrong. And you had better have an argument at least as reasoned as theirs, if not more so, since they have existing credibility to bank on and you don’t.

    If all you have to back up your assertion that HoRam didn’t simply get lucky against a bad team, you sure better have something better than “his win total is 5-2″ or “I just know that he got a win and that’s the only important stat”.

    Otherwise, don’t bother.

  145. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 1:59 pm

    the only person still in the ownership & organisation from that time is Chuck Armstrong … do you really think he has that much influence on baseball operations?

    God, I hope not…

  146. Dave in Palo Alto on July 17th, 2007 2:00 pm

    Ted Lyons is a statistical freak.

  147. JMHawkins on July 17th, 2007 2:01 pm

    I can’t believe that when Dave hands out free ice cream, he only has strawberry and vanilla. I’d really like some chocolate. How rude of him not to cater to my wishes on his free blog…

    BTW, in the NL, HoRam has a 4.4 K/9. In the AL so far, he’s 2.9 K/9. Now, maybe some of that is injury, but you gotta figure that in a typical NL game, a starter will see the opposing pitcher at least once, maybe twice. I should go calculate the real number (or maybe someone already has), but I’d guess that’s worth about 1 K/9 right there.

  148. JI on July 17th, 2007 2:04 pm

    Ted Lyons isn’t even a modern pitcher.

  149. Russ on July 17th, 2007 2:07 pm

    144,

    It’s not easy being right or smart. There will always be those who just don’t wish to be educated or have their existing beliefs swept away.

    I enjoy the work here. I typically agree with the conclusions of well-thought reasoning. I am also the first to admit that for many reasons I don’t do the work that the authors here are capable of. However, because I don’t do the work, I also try not to make myself too much of an ass of myself by posting drivel.

    Very simply, as you well said, it is incumbent on those who disagree to show their reasoning beyond gut feel. I especially love those who look for some sort of MLB resume from the authors. I’m pretty sure those asking about work history have a simillar lack of playing time yet their opinion is somehow more valuable.

    Popularity sucks.

  150. AQ on July 17th, 2007 2:09 pm

    Together, we can cure baseball ignorance. One person at a time.

  151. Colm on July 17th, 2007 2:10 pm

    Yeah, but sometimes you have to drive a few six inch nails through the bat first…

  152. Carson on July 17th, 2007 2:11 pm

    144 (Jeff Nye) – I agree. The hardest part is helping someone understand that they are partially correct in that winning is what ultimately matters, while showing them how luck contributed and how the team can continue to win without relying on said luck.

    To attempt to stay on topic, I feel the Mariners should sit down with HoRam and help him see that as well. I doubt they’ll do it, but showing him video of the sharply hit balls right to fielders, and the just missed pop outs could help him in his next start.

  153. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 2:13 pm

    think the big problem here is that the team probably sees only Betancourt and Sexson (and possibly Lopez) as poor hitters right now. Meanwhile, people on this blog see the worst 3 hitters on the team being Betancourt, Vidro, and Sexson (regulars only).

    Depends on whether we are talking against lefties or righties, but if we are limiting ourselves of overall ratings, here are my comments.

    First, I wouldn’t put Sexson in the bottom 3.

    There are 5 Mariner regulars that have OPS+ of under 100 for the year:

    Ibanez 96
    Vidro 94
    Sexson 90
    Lopez 90
    Yuni 81

    The last two listed are the only ones that have defensive value, of course.

    But if we look at OPS in the last month for those 5 players, we get:

    Sexson .819 (15 hits and 12 walks, 5 homers)
    Vidro .706
    Ibanez .633
    Lopez .563
    Yuni .475

    So in the last month, the worst 3 are Yuni, Lopez, and Ibanez.

    But Lopez and Yuni have defensive value, and they are better hitters than they have been in the last month, and I still expect both of them to improve year over year.

    OTOH, I expect Ibanez to continue to suck, and to get worse. Unless he really is hurt and he manages to heal while playing full time and creating outs in the 3rd spot in the lineup. Then he could temporarily get better.

    Sexson we just have to continue to hope he gets hot. Unless, he too is really hurt, in which case he should sit for a spell.

    Vidro, well we’ve seen the best from him and it isn’t that good.

  154. Manzanillos Cup on July 17th, 2007 2:13 pm

    Apparently, Ted Lyons was also the fastest throwing pitcher ever, and he once hurled a complete game in one hour, 18 minutes.
    I’m not saying he’s a good comp, by any means. I’m firmly in the “HoRam stinks” crowd. In fact, right now the only starter in MLB I’d put below HoRam is Steve Trachsel.

  155. awolfgang on July 17th, 2007 2:13 pm

    If Ramirez goes on to win 4-5 of his next 6-7 starts, I can already see raw1 and doededoe back on the blog saying “I told you so.” But if that were to happen, I can almost guarantee you that will see some fundamental change in his statistics (i.e, increased groundballs, more Ks, less BBs), if that were to happen, then I’m sure Dave and others might say HoRam has turned a corner, but most likely if he ends up winning that many games, it is going to be because of the hitters, defenders and ballparks compensating for his pitching suckiness.

  156. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 2:14 pm

    Hmmm….stats aren’t all, as the blog authors will often say. But what can trump stats are very specific bits of baseball details, such as “he has low bat speed and can’t get around on fastballs” and so forth. I don’t think we’ve seen a lot of that on here (and we’ve seen some easily refuted arguments).

  157. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 2:20 pm

    Ted Lyons played in an era where BB/K ratios were different, and he’s part of a very small group of pitchers who had good careers without striking out batters. Lew Burdette is another example who you could put in that class Bill Lee would be another one to put in. Same with Larry Gura.

    The odds are prohibitvely high, however, that Horacio Ramirez is not in a class with these guys (outside of Gura, they all were producing good seasons by the time they were 27)… and he’s rather in a class with guys like John Halama, who basically was an AAAA pitcher- moderately effective reliever, bad starter.

  158. awolfgang on July 17th, 2007 2:21 pm

    HoRam = Dave Fleming???

  159. joealb1 on July 17th, 2007 2:23 pm

    Tommy John struck out 7.88% of batters faced post surgery. I know HoRam is no Tommy John when it comes to inducing ground balls. I’m just sayin’….

  160. Celadus on July 17th, 2007 2:24 pm

    #157. And don’t forget Halama’s impossibly great pickoff move, one that he had ample opportunity to practice.

  161. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 2:25 pm

    Ted Lyons is a statistical freak

    My first clue to that is looking at the list of comparable pitchers. When the top name on the list (Burleigh Grimes) is only a 917, that says something by itself.

    Ted Lyons isn’t even a modern pitcher.

    Starting pitching in the 20′s and 30′s was a different animal than in modern baseball.

  162. Mat on July 17th, 2007 2:29 pm

    Dave said:

    Horacio Ramirez is just the 2007 version of that crappy pitcher who had experienced the confluence of a terrible opponent and Safeco Field and confused everyone into thinking he was good for one start. Don’t fall into the same trap.

    Safeco and the terrible opponent definitely come into play here, but more than that, it just seems that if you throw anyone of marginal major league quality out on the hill, he’ll come up with a game like this every now and then. False signs of promise like this are hardly unique to Seattle pitchers.

    I’m fascinated with the commenters that seem to see Horacio Ramirez as having the sole power over game outcomes last night. It’s as though they feel the hitters really have no control over how hard the ball gets hit. I wonder if they never got upset with poor Mariners’ offenses of the past when they get shut down by a crappy pitcher, reasoning that the otherwise crappy pitcher must have just really been on that night.

  163. Paul B on July 17th, 2007 2:31 pm

    The similar pitchers to HoRam, through age 26, are a very eclectic group.

    hey, #2 on the list is some guy named Jarrod Washburn!

  164. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 2:35 pm

    Tommy John struck out 7.88% of batters faced post surgery. I know HoRam is no Tommy John when it comes to inducing ground balls. I’m just sayin’….

    Yeah, he’s in that class of no-stuff successes. So’s Jamie Moyer, who belongs in the PReacher Roe group of FLYball lefties with no stuff.

    It’s STILL not a big class, and HoRam throwing 7 IP and being OK isn’t convincing me that he belongs in it.

    Generally speaking, in the modern game, 5.0-4.5 K/9IP is the point where you go from “effective major league pitcher” to “AAA pitcher”. Guys who are below that with good careers generally have gimmicks that make the different and effective without Ks- they’re left handed (Moyer, Lyons, Lee, John, Gura, Roe), they’re extreme groundballers (Lyons, Lee, Gura, John), they have really good control (Burdette), they have good control (pretty much everyone), they cheat and throw trick pitches (John was suspected of doctoring balls, Burdette and Roe are well-known cheaters).

    So if HoRam wants a career, I suggest he cheats. Or stops walking guys. Seriously.

  165. gwangung on July 17th, 2007 2:36 pm

    Safeco and the terrible opponent definitely come into play here, but more than that, it just seems that if you throw anyone of marginal major league quality out on the hill, he’ll come up with a game like this every now and then. False signs of promise like this are hardly unique to Seattle pitchers.

    Yeah. I mean, great pitchers will, every once in a while, thrown a poor game and get knocked around. It happens for poor pitchers at the right hand end of the curve.

  166. JMHawkins on July 17th, 2007 2:36 pm

    Okay, did a little quick and dirty number crunching.

    In 2006, NL pitchers got on average 1.9 AB/G. During those ABs, they struck out 32.7% of the time, walked 3.4% of the time, and hit HRs 0.5% of the time. On average, a NL starter lasted 5.8 innings per start. Assuming most of the P at bats were the other starts (on the assumption most relievers get pinch hit for), that means during an average 9 innings, an NL starter faced the opposing pitcher 2.89 times, and got the following per-9 rates against the opposing pitcher:

    0.94 K/9, 0.10 BB/9, 0.01 HR/9

    So, I was just about right that the opposing pitcher is worth about 1 K/9. However, I forgot that DHs strike out too on occasion. In the AL last year, DHs struck out 18.9% of the time, walked 11% of the time, and hit dingers 4.3% of the time. If NL pitchers faced an average AL DH 2.89 times per 9 instead of the opposing pitcher, the theoretical difference to his rates would would be:

    -0.40 K/9
    +0.22 BB/9
    +0.11 HR/9

    Someone’s done this already, right?

  167. Beniitec on July 17th, 2007 2:37 pm

    Jamie Moyer’s is pretty low. He’s averaged 4.5 k/9 several times. 5.35 for his career. Just a different type of pitcher.

  168. Typical Idiot Fan on July 17th, 2007 2:41 pm

    Jamie Moyer is a statistical oddity. He has no effective comparisions.

  169. JMHawkins on July 17th, 2007 2:42 pm

    Generally speaking, in the modern game, 5.0-4.5 K/9IP is the point where you go from “effective major league pitcher” to “AAA pitcher”. Guys who are below that with good careers generally have gimmicks that make the different and effective without Ks- they’re left handed (Moyer,

    Agree, except Jamie Moyer is striking out 5.3 per nine this year, and has an even 5.0 K/9 over the last 4 years. He’s not below that line, he’s at it. Now, if my pitcher for DH math above is correct, he’s really about 4.9 this year, and 2004 was the last year he was “really” above 5.0. Still, 4,9 is a lit higher than 2.9, which is where HoRam is this year. Using my -0.4 NL ajustment, HoRam is a 4.0 K/9 at best guy in the AL.

    So yeah, maybe he should learn to throw a spitter…

  170. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 2:50 pm

    JMHawkins,

    Some soft tossing lefties (like Jamie Moyer) and knuckleball pitchers are consistently able to outperform their BABIP. That lets them get by with a lower than average K rate.

    I’d also redo your calculations for the effect of the DH. I would probably use all NL pitchers, and compare their K rate during inter league in AL parks versus their K rate in NL parks. I’d only use the NL pitchers because the NL teams tend not to throw out as good of DH as the AL teams. I’d probably also adjust the K rates by park.

  171. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 2:51 pm

    Washburrn’s BB/9 rate, career: 2.7
    HoRam’s: 3.5

    Washburn’s K rate, career (most without pitchers batting): 5.3
    HoRam’s: 4.2 (most of it in a league with pitchers batting)

    Yes, those are BOTH significant differences. So I don’t buy Washburn as a comp for an instant. If HoRam cuts the walks down to something close to 2 a game, THEN maybe he has a shot. I’m not holding my breath for that.

  172. AQ on July 17th, 2007 2:52 pm

    “So I don’t buy Washburn as a comp for an instant. ”

    Maybe HoRam is incomparable? LOL!

  173. robbbbbb on July 17th, 2007 2:55 pm

    “[I]t just seems that if you throw anyone of marginal major league quality out on the hill, he’ll come up with a game like this every now and then.”

    Baseball, like poker, is a high-variance game. There are a lot of low-probability events that can get strung together to create some really interesting scenarios, and there are enough chances for those things to happen that you can see unlikely things happen all the time.

    That means that over the short-term you can see some marginal players do some fantastic things. Think about guys who have thrown no-hitters and then had their career vanish out from under them.

    Long-term, it means playing your percentages and going with the best available talent. Over fifty or sixty games these things level out.

  174. jephdood on July 17th, 2007 3:08 pm

    Last night we got “Good HoRam”. And I’ll take it.

    Yes, he’s a bottom-of-the-rotation starter, and that means it’s a coin flip as to whether or not he’ll be successful on any given day. Everybody knows this. ALL teams are going to be like this. Ramirez is nothing more than a .500 pitcher (in a good season).. and that’s all that can be expected of him. If he has velocity he had last night, and he spots his pitches in and out well.. he’d probably do pretty well against anybody. If he doesn’t have that combination that day, he WILL get pounded.

    But my question now.. at this point in time.. what options are better than him in his spot?

  175. bhsmarine on July 17th, 2007 3:10 pm

    If HoRam can start half his games at home and win a very high percentage of those starts, that would give him some value to the Mariners. I know alot of number 5 guys who end up with a 5-15 record and kill their teams on the road and at home.

    I agree he won’t perform at this level unless at home and thats only some of the time at home. But if he keeps us in some games there is some good to look at.

  176. JMHawkins on July 17th, 2007 3:11 pm

    That means that over the short-term you can see some marginal players do some fantastic things. Think about guys who have thrown no-hitters and then had their career vanish out from under them.

    Long-term, it means playing your percentages and going with the best available talent. Over fifty or sixty games these things level out.

    Yep. Amazing how many “Huh? Who’s he?” guys show up on single-game record lists. I mean, Willie bloomquist could fill in for Ichiro tonight, hit five funk blasts, and put himself in the record books. Unlikely, but plausable. Anyone could be Babe Ruth for a game. Or Cy Young.

    But there’s no need to worry if A-Rod will be on hand in 15 years when Willie sets the all-time Career HR mark. He won’t do that. And HoRam isn’t going to win 300 games. He might throw a no-hitter. Heck, he could throw a no-hitter in the same game Willie sets the record for most dingers in one game.

    I hope it’s against the Angles this year…

  177. Carson on July 17th, 2007 3:21 pm

    176 (JMHawkins) – Um, I’d challenge the plausability of that happening. :)

    “Possible,” would be more accurate, but not really.

  178. Colm on July 17th, 2007 3:22 pm

    arbeck. I think you got that the wrong way around. Moyer is a pretty extreme example in Tom Tippett’s fabulous critique of Voros McCracken’s arguments about defense independent pitching statistics. His ability continually to supress BABIP is what allowed Moyer to ourperform his K/BB/HR numbers.

    “The bottom line is that Jamie Moyer has been a master at preventing hits on balls in play since 1996.”

    http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/ipavg2.htm

    By the way, if you haven’t read that article, and you’re thinking of posting here, make sure you check it out first. It can save a lot of time.

  179. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 3:25 pm

    robbbbb,

    It actually takes much longer to level out than you think. I ran computer simulations with Ichiro and even over seasons there is huge variance. If you think he’s truly a .331 hitter and will get about 750 PA a year, he can hit anywhere from .238 to .421 based on a simulation of 10,000,000 seasons.

  180. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 3:28 pm

    Colm,

    I agree with you, that’s what I said/meant:

    Some soft tossing lefties (like Jamie Moyer) and knuckleball pitchers are consistently able to outperform their BABIP. That lets them get by with a lower than average K rate.

    I guess to be clear I should have said their theoretical BABIP. Or even better post lower BABIP than average.

  181. Manzanillos Cup on July 17th, 2007 3:33 pm

    I know that a pitcher who excels in one of the Holy Trinity (K%, BB%, and GB%) can be effective, but I’ve always been interested in pitchers like Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer who seem to have the ability to consistently outperform their peripherals. How do they do it?
    I think the answer is pitch command, but is there a good way to measure that? BABIP is pretty rough.
    The best I’ve been able to come up with is measuring walk rates against good hitters. Theoretically, the Moyers and Glavines of the world would be using a disproportionate (compared to pitchers who perform more in line with their xFIPs) amount of their walks in situations where walks are more acceptable. In other words, their BB% could be much lower, but they utilize their great command by choosing to pitch “the corners” against hitters (or in situations) that fit a certain profile.

  182. Colm on July 17th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Manzanillos Cup:
    Go read that article!
    try this one too, by David Gassko.
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/uncovering-dips/

  183. Colm on July 17th, 2007 3:39 pm

    I guess your question is a bit more “meta” than that.

    My answer would be “I don’t know”.

  184. robbbbbb on July 17th, 2007 3:42 pm

    arbeck (179):

    What’s the standard deviation? I’ll believe that in 10,000,000 trials you see that kind of deviation, but I bet your 95% CI is more like .300 to .360.

  185. Jeff Nye on July 17th, 2007 3:47 pm

    If Willie Bloomquist ever hits five homers in one game, I’m preparing for the Apocalypse.

  186. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 3:57 pm

    robbbb,

    I didn’t bother to calculate it. If you want, I can. The point that I was trying to make though is that it takes longer than what is commonly expected before we can truly say we have a large sample. Most people think a season would be plenty, but it’s not.

  187. jimbob on July 17th, 2007 4:01 pm

    I know it’s automatic to beat on Jeff Weaver — even Steve Kelly has milked it for one of his depressing columns. I’ve actually grown fond of the guy. I mean, he’s a TOTAL punk, been a chronic underachiever, refuses to submit to AAA rehab and then goes out and pitches some quality games despite his electronic lynching in the media. He actually pitched pretty well Sunday considering the Detroit opposition which made me nostalgic for the old Junior-Edgar-Buhner wrecking squad. It was a Kamikazee mission made worse by a wretched Mariner defensive effort. Give the guy a break!

  188. robbbbbb on July 17th, 2007 4:06 pm

    I figure that the 95% CI (2 sigma) or maybe the 99% CI (3 sigma) is a better indicator of what you’d see for variance in a real season. And really, we’ve seen that. Ichiro’s had seasons ranging from .303 to .372.

    10,000,000 trials is something like the 5 or 6 sigma level. That’s a lot. There are only 750 active MLB players at any given time, and only ~240 of those are “everyday” players. (Less, probably, given platooning, injuries, etc.)

  189. JMHawkins on July 17th, 2007 4:11 pm

    The point that I was trying to make though is that it takes longer than what is commonly expected before we can truly say we have a large sample. Most people think a season would be plenty, but it’s not.

    Well, it depends on the level of confidence you want, and it’s complicated by the fact that the statistics are measuring an evolving commodity. Ichiro’s average over his first 10,000 MLB ABs really won’t tell us all that much about his true skill level over the first season he played, because he’d be 15 or so years older by AB #10,000 and almost certainly have a different skill level over the second 5,000 abs than over the first 5,000ab. I think Dave recently pointed out going back more than three years has diminishing value in evaluating true talent level.

    So, yeah, a season’s worth of data might not be perfect, but it’s a) better than a month’s worth, and b) better than waiting for five more years worth of data if you need to make a decision about next year’s results.

  190. Manzanillos Cup on July 17th, 2007 4:14 pm

    182: I’ve read those articles before – very informative.

    I guess my question is, what is driving the low BABIP for the overachievers? Gassko says that 75% of predicting BABIP is pure fielding independent stats – is this not true for them?

  191. arbeck on July 17th, 2007 4:16 pm

    robbbb,

    But I don’t have any thing better to do at work than write c programs to endlessly play baseball seasons. And now that my computer can kick out 10,000,000 trials in a minute, it’s fun to run them.

  192. robbbbbb on July 17th, 2007 4:19 pm

    Nice, arbeck, nice. I wish I could be rewarded for that. But no, I have a job that expects me to be playing with wood products all day long. Sigh.

    Hm, with that much processing power, and some time to play around with baseball ideas…. I should stop now.

  193. JeffS on July 17th, 2007 4:24 pm

    Maybe it’s my imagination, but doesn’t it seem like the Angels have had a far easier schedule up until this point?

  194. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2007 4:31 pm

    I know it’s automatic to beat on Jeff Weaver — even Steve Kelly has milked it for one of his depressing columns. I’ve actually grown fond of the guy. I mean, he’s a TOTAL punk, been a chronic underachiever, refuses to submit to AAA rehab and then goes out and pitches some quality games despite his electronic lynching in the media. He actually pitched pretty well Sunday considering the Detroit opposition which made me nostalgic for the old Junior-Edgar-Buhner wrecking squad. It was a Kamikazee mission made worse by a wretched Mariner defensive effort. Give the guy a break!

    Well, he has a major league job despite some of the crappiest performances in MLB history. And he’s going to get paid 8 million to do it, regardless of whether or not he succeeds or fails from this point onwards. I’d say that’s a pretty big break.

    Weaver has allowed close to 150 runs in his last 200 IP (outside of the playoffs). His K rates are cratering from his days in Detroit, and his velocity is around 88-90. I think he’s coasting on the fumes of when he had decent stuff the same way Pineiro is.

  195. terry on July 17th, 2007 5:00 pm

    #139: to be fair, it is kinda long… :-)

    For what it’s worth, Charlie Hough had at least 6 seasons in his 25 year major league career where his K/9 was below 5. He only pitched 17 innings in one of those seasons and roughly 925 over the other 5. Here’s those 6 seasons in the context of his career:

    career: 216-216; K/9: 5.59; BB/9: 3.94; ERA: 3.75; FIP: 4.72;

    K/95.00: 171-164; K/9: 5.95; BB/9: 3.83; ERA: 3.59; FIP: 4.38;

    I think most people would take the Hough that had a K/9 greater than 5.

  196. terry on July 17th, 2007 5:03 pm

    #139: to be fair, it is kinda long… :-)

    For what it’s worth, Charlie Hough had at least 6 seasons in his 25 year major league career where his K/9 was below 5. He only pitched 17 innings in one of those seasons and roughly 925 over the other 5. Here’s those 6 seasons in the context of his career:

    career: 216-216; K/9: 5.59; BB/9: 3.94; ERA: 3.75; FIP: 4.72;

    K/9 less than 5.00: 45-52; K/9: 4.53; BB/9: 4.30; ERA: 4.42; FIP: 5.21;

    K/9 grater than 5.00: 171-164; K/9: 5.95; BB/9: 3.83; ERA: 3.59; FIP: 4.38;

    I think most people would take the Hough that had a K/9 greater than 5.

  197. Max Power on July 17th, 2007 5:04 pm

    That means that over the short-term you can see some marginal players do some fantastic things. Think about guys who have thrown no-hitters and then had their career vanish out from under them.

    Bobo Holloman. Pitched a no-hitter in his first career start, played only 1 season (not surprisingly):
    K/9: 3.44
    BB/9: 6.89
    FIP: 5.17

    “This game would prove to be one of only three major league wins that Holloman achieved, against seven losses, all in 1953. Bill Veeck, then-owner of the Browns, in his autobiography described the 27 outs of Holloman’s no-hitter as consisting of hard-hit ground balls, screaming line drives, and deep fly balls.”

  198. Mat on July 17th, 2007 5:06 pm

    So, yeah, a season’s worth of data might not be perfect, but it’s a) better than a month’s worth, and b) better than waiting for five more years worth of data if you need to make a decision about next year’s results.

    But you can probably also do better with taking a season’s worth of data, considering the player’s performance before that year, and adding in some regression to the mean. That’s basically what PECOTA and all the other player forecast systems do. (I would also argue that’s basically what all talent evaluators do.)

    It sort of goes back to the distinction between value and skill. If a player hits .300/.400/.500 over 600 PA, there’s value in that. But if there are underlying reasons to believe his skill level won’t allow him continue to do that, then you might say that he was lucky over those 600 PA. Going forward, you expect more skilled players to be more valuable than less skilled players, but when assessing past performance, it is possible that over a 600 PA time frame, the less skilled player happened to be more valuable than the more skilled player, thanks to luck or other things outside the players’ control.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying that if all you care about is past value, then you don’t need to bother worrying about whether or not a player was lucky. If you want to know about future value, though, knowing whether or not a player was lucky in the past is important.

  199. Brian Rust on July 17th, 2007 5:11 pm

    arbeck,

    Actually, the Excel formula for the binomial probability distribution is a more elegant way to do it:

    =BINOMDIST(,,,TRUE) gives you the probability of the lower tail

    =1-BINOMDIST(,,,TRUE) gives you the probability of the upper tail

    The probability of 227 (or fewer) hits in 750 ABs for a “true” .331 hitter = BINOMDIST(227,750,.331,TRUE) = .0528. If Ichiro hits less than .303 over 750 ABs, the probability of it being merely random is 5.3%.

  200. Brian Rust on July 17th, 2007 5:13 pm

    Dammit, it’s those greater than/less than symbols.

    =BINOMDIST(hits,ab,avg,TRUE) gives you the probability of the lower tail

    =1-BINOMDIST(hits,ab,avg,TRUE) gives you the probability of the upper tail

    Sorry about that.

  201. terry on July 17th, 2007 5:17 pm

    #200: after the moron in #’s 195 and 196, you really have no excuse…. ;-)

  202. SpokaneMsFan on July 17th, 2007 5:28 pm

    Colm, thanks for those links, that was very interesting

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