Game 20, Mariners at Tigers

Dave · April 26, 2012 at 9:01 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Noesi vs Porcello, 10:05 am.

After hitting home runs in each of the team’s first two games in Detroit, you had to be pretty certain that Alex Liddi was going to find himself in the line-up once again. And, so, Kyle Seager gets another day off, with Liddi getting the start at third base again. I know there’s going to be some outcry about both Olivo and Figgins getting playing time while Seager sits – and trust me, I’d rather see Seager in there too – but the reality is that, for one game, it’s not a huge deal. For all the talk about Kyle Seager’s “strong start”, he’s not really doing any better than he did last year, producing at a slightly below average rate. He’s gotten even more aggressive, swinging at 52% of the pitches he’s been thrown, and as a result, he’s drawn just one walk in 61 plate appearances. For a low-power guy, that’s not good, and the Seager’s absence from the line-up isn’t going to cripple the team’s offense today.

Seager sitting while Figgins plays isn’t going to be a regular occurrence. When asked about Figgins this morning, Wedge said this:

“We’re still giving Figgins an opportunity, but he has to do it, simple as that. I mean, if he does, we’ll keep him in there. If not, we’ll make a change.”

Mike Carp’s lingering injury and struggles on his rehab assignment bought him a little bit of extra time, but the leash on Figgins is tightening, and the batting order excuse is out the window now. If Liddi keeps swinging the bat well, Figgins will find himself on the bench sooner than later. Even when Liddi cools off, Carp’s return is going to force someone out of the line-up more often, and right now, Figgins is the guy on the chopping block. He probably has a few days left to get hot and save his job, but he’s clearly on the chopping block.

Figgins, LF
Ackley, 2B
Ichiro, RF
Smoak, 1B
Montero, DH
Liddi, 3B
Saunders, CF
Olivo, C
Ryan, SS

Comments

128 Responses to “Game 20, Mariners at Tigers”

  1. Logger on April 26th, 2012 9:17 am

    You would think that this would be a prime opportunity to insert Jaso into the line-up at C. You would think…

  2. Edgar4Hall on April 26th, 2012 9:31 am

    Logger, who is this Jaso you speak of? Don’t you know that Olivio is the way, the truth and the arm behind the plate? :)

    Is it bad that I am just rooting for Figgins to be terrible now just so that we can get rid of him? I don’t mind Olivo getting hot, sticking around for a few more months and traded for something marginally decent. All I want for Figgins is that he wouldn’t mind taking out the trash from the locker room on the way out the door.

    And has anyone heard how Liddi has done in his pregame OF work?

  3. FelixFanChris420 on April 26th, 2012 9:36 am

    Edgar,

    I feel the oposite way. Would rather see Figgins get hot and stick around for a few months and Olivo keep swucking and get DFA’d. Figgins speed and versatility in the field make him more valuable than Olivo’s lack of ability to hit field or run.

    Also, theres literally no way that Olivo is traded for anything of even minute value.

  4. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 9:37 am

    Figgins seems to be hitting the ball harder, putting him close to what he was in 2010, which is marginally better than 2011, but not good enough.

    2010: .259-.340-.306
    2011: .188-.241-.243
    2012: .206-.286-.309

    Although, his strikeouts are way up so far.

  5. Edgar4Hall on April 26th, 2012 9:44 am

    Honestly I would rather not see either of them here but with Wedge’s love affair with Olivo, he is the better chance to stay, so in other words, if he has to stick around, I’d rather him play better. Figgins is already skating on thin ice with Wedge so i think he will be gone soon. The playing badly will only accelerate it so thats why I am rooting for it.

  6. thedude1987 on April 26th, 2012 9:55 am

    I read somewhere, probably here, that Wedge only plans to use Jaso 4-5 times a month. He looks like a scrappy ball player so far to me. So, when Olivo is DFA’d or traded are we still not going to play Jaso?

  7. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 9:57 am

    Also, theres literally no way that Olivo is traded for anything of even minute value.

    Z got a minor league pitcher named Chaz Roe for Jose Lopez. But I think Roe is out of baseball? I see he went 0-7 for Tacoma last year.

    So, yeah, maybe he can get some organizational filler for Olivo.

  8. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:00 am

    “Is it bad that I am just rooting for Figgins to be terrible now just so that we can get rid of him”

    No.

    Also, you won’t need to spend a great deal of time “rooting” for it to occur. It will continue to happen, naturally. Have faith.

    Also to MrZDevotee (continuation from yesterday’s thread): Don’t watch today’s game

  9. marc w on April 26th, 2012 10:00 am

    If Olivo’s dropped, Jaso would see plenty of time. It’s not only that they want to limit Montero’s games caught, it’s that Adam Moore is broken again.
    Moore’s latest injury shouldn’t impact the decision on what to do with Olivo, but I worry that it will. Wedge doesn’t seem like he’d ever be comfortable with Montero and Jaso as his primary catchers.

  10. Sports on a Schtick on April 26th, 2012 10:05 am

    If you’re gonna call out Olivo and Figgins then Smoak deserves to be part of that conversation as well.

  11. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:10 am

    I don’t think you will find a lot of arguments with that. Plenty of people have been calling out Smoak. He still has a lot of leash left, but it is getting shorter.

  12. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 10:10 am

    Yeah, he is struggling. But they need to decide on whether to count on Smoak next year, whereas I’m betting they won’t be planning to use either Olivo or Figgins next year no matter what happens.

  13. Edgar4Hall on April 26th, 2012 10:12 am

    Schtick, not really, not yet at least.Smoak still has a chance to do something. We know what we get with Olivo and Figgins and they are getting older on a young team.

    Also, one other reason why I’d rather see Olivo on the team rather than Figgins is that from what I’ve heard, he is a positive presence in the locker room while figgins is a negative one. And if both are equally as bad, I’d rather get the one who won’t bring anything to the table out first.

  14. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:14 am

    Smoak is much better on the radio than the TV

  15. Nate on April 26th, 2012 10:14 am

    oh baby!

  16. Swungonandbelted on April 26th, 2012 10:14 am

    SMOAK!

  17. Sports on a Schtick on April 26th, 2012 10:14 am

    Like I said, I’m really glad Smoak is batting cleanup today LOL.

  18. StorminGorman on April 26th, 2012 10:15 am

    Hu-zzah. Earl Weaver would be proud.

  19. Breadbaker on April 26th, 2012 10:17 am

    Sims and Blowers were rooting for the productive out. Justin had a better idea.

  20. MX on April 26th, 2012 10:17 am

    Speaking of struggling, Figgins hit a single and Smoak got a HR.

  21. DarkKnight1680 on April 26th, 2012 10:19 am

    Honestly, the continued employment of Olivo I put on Z and not on Wedge. It’s clear that Wedge isn’t able to take Olivo out of the lineup, so he needs to be taken off the roster. I’ve been on the fence with Z for the last while but the failure to simply release Olivo (or to dictate to wedge that he is depth and nothing more and should only play if both Jaso and Montero are unable to go) is basically unacceptable. He’s the worst defensive catcher around. He’s the worst hitter in baseball (check the OPS numbers among qualified hitters). He’s not a part of the future and he’s blocking better players from playing. It’s embarrassing, frankly, that he’s on the roster.

  22. Edgar4Hall on April 26th, 2012 10:24 am

    Oh Smoak!

  23. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:25 am

    “It’s embarrassing, frankly, that he’s on the roster.”

    Yep, but he speaks Spanish. That might count for something (especially today) and with Montero needing a day off ??? from catching (day game after night game plus his reaky 22 year old body)

    I don’t think Liddi, Kawasaki, Ackely or Smoak could help with translations today and I do not know of Jaso’s specific language abilities. However, I would bet that Ryan can habla’ some impersonations.

  24. JoshJones on April 26th, 2012 10:26 am

    I can’t stand watching Olivo in the lineup either. However, despite every form of statistics proving how bad Olivo is…we are a very young team. And an old school coach like Wedge probablly likes having a veteran guy on the field and in the clubhouse especially at catcher (the closest thing to a coach on the field).
    So while I would LOVE to see Jaso as the everyday catcher I really just believe the M’s see him as the veteran leader.

  25. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 10:26 am

    Is Noesi an every other start pitcher?

    Bad, good, bad, so good today?

  26. jase411 on April 26th, 2012 10:26 am

    Watching the game on gameday from the office, just saw the video of the Smoak-bomb. For anyone watching the game live, did they say the distance??? It look like he really nuked that ball….

  27. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:26 am

    … creaky

  28. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 10:28 am

    And an old school coach like Wedge probablly likes having a veteran guy on the field and in the clubhouse

    He can stay in the clubhouse.

    Ryan is a veteran, and he plays in the infield.

    Wedge likes Olivo because homers and RBI team leader last year. Wedge doesn’t need any of those fancy measures like on base percentage.

  29. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:30 am

    I think Noesi is sporadic with his mechanics. When he is “on” he can be pretty darn good.

    Those are good “issues” to have because they can usually be fixed. I am not sure what he is yet, but I think his issues so far this season have been blamed on “mechanical” issues.

    There aren’t enough machined parts in the world to be able to use the same excuse for Olivo.

  30. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 10:31 am

    Matthew just posted a “fire Eric Wedge” piece over at LL.

    http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2012/4/26/2977258/fire-eric-wedge

  31. JoshJones on April 26th, 2012 10:34 am

    You might be right Paul B…

    B. Ryan might be a vet..but not a Veteran leader.

    Wedge is a professional MLB manager with a full staff…He has to be aware that Jaso is a better hitter. Hes a veteran guy…Hell for all we know upper managment might be telling him to keep putting Olivo out there hoping he can have a hot streak so they can trade him. If nothing else Olivo is durable..At the catching position in this league durability, veteran leader, +19hrs last year is worth a backup poisition or platoon role.

    AGAIN..I can’t stand him and want Jaso in there. I think we would be 2 wins better right now with Jaso. But i’m just being the devils advocate.

  32. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 10:39 am

    Hell for all we know upper managment might be telling him to keep putting Olivo out there hoping he can have a hot streak so they can trade him.

    Olivo is the same player now he has been since 2003. His approach, strengths, and weaknesses have not changed at all in all those years.

    No way will running him out there every day fool some scout into thinking he has suddenly improved. He isn’t going to change, and every ML scout certainly knows it.

  33. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 10:40 am

    If the veteran is still a good player, I have no problem with the idea of having some veteran leadership around.

  34. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 10:44 am

    Wedge would be better off saying, “I like Miggy – he reminds me of myself … I am going to play him … they will have to pry him from my cold dead hands.”

    At least that would be honest.

    Some of the Wedge quotes posted at LL are just plain funny. And sad.

    FEW

  35. JoshJones on April 26th, 2012 10:49 am

    @Paul B
    Again, i’m being the devils advocate on this.

    Your right.. Since 2003 Olivo has been a durable veteran capable of catching everyday. The guy did have an all-star year once. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/416067-rockies-olivo-snubbed-by-all-star-picks

    I’m not going to get into the intagible speech on this site because i know if its not measurable its worth nothing to most people here. But thats the reason he’s in there everyday. You think thats worth nothing and I think its very valuable.

    However, we both agree he shouldn’t be in there.
    I honestly wish he would catch one pitcher a week.

  36. FelixFanChris420 on April 26th, 2012 11:03 am

    I’m calling it the curse of Lou Pinella at this point…every manager we’ve had since Sweet Lou left has been a bumbling, inept moron.

  37. FelixFanChris420 on April 26th, 2012 11:04 am

    So what’s up with Liddi? Real deal or just came up hot? I know its early, just curious wha peoples opinions of him are…

  38. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 11:06 am

    I think Z has had his managers backward. Wedge would’ve been a better guy for that older, lots o’ old contracts team Z inherited. Wak would’ve been a much better guy for the current group.

  39. JoshJones on April 26th, 2012 11:07 am

    ^agreed

  40. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:07 am

    These umpires are bad.

  41. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 11:07 am

    CRAP. Olivo just bought himself several more months – Wedge will see the homer as the “true” Olivo, while the 99.9% of the at-bats have been the aberration.

  42. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 11:09 am

    Give credit where credit is due.

    Nice rip, Miggy!

    Onward.

  43. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:10 am

    Take a look at Liddi’s minor league numbers. The big problem, a common one for the M’s, was way too many strikeouts, and not enough walks.

    If he can make contact, and be somewhat selective, I don’t see why he can’t be successful.

  44. Breadbaker on April 26th, 2012 11:10 am

    Exactly, Westside. We should trade him to Detroit since he likes to hit there. Perhaps they’d take Figgins as a late inning defensive replacement for Cabrera at third.

  45. Johnny Slick on April 26th, 2012 11:10 am

    Okay, but what are these intangibles? I think the issue with them are that:

    a. They are not easy to quantify,
    b. You can pretty well gauge the quality level of a given team in a given year without having to resort to intangibles (i.e. there’s no really large and detectable “dark matter” out there consistently skewing team performance outside of what we can already see with individual performance), and
    c. There is a long, long history, not just in baseball but in lots and lots of other things, of humans ascribing attributes to things that do not exist.

    “He’s a veteran” in and of itself really isn’t even an intangible per se. It’s manager-speak for “I know the general level of quality I’ll be getting from this guy day in and day out and I don’t want to skew the team’s chances by putting some higher-variance, potentially worse player in the position”. In this case, it’s horribly flawed by the fact that Olivo is a veteran with a recent history of not being a very good hitter and a longer history of being a very bad catcher. However, managers are notoriously risk-averse and one shouldn’t, probably, ever be surprised when a manager makes a risk-averse maneuver.

    Aside from that, which intangibles are you trying to invoke? Clutch? He’s just as crappy with the game on the line as in all other situations. A good rapport with the pitching staff? I haven’t heard any pitcher make that comment. Olivo owns pictures of Wedge in compromising positions? Perhaps but I doubt that’s the sort of intangible you were looking for.

  46. FelixFanChris420 on April 26th, 2012 11:12 am

    Sweet…one more month of Olivo! Is it bad that tha HR actuall made me sad…?

  47. Edgar4Hall on April 26th, 2012 11:12 am

    Paul, I agree and it seems that in ST and so far this year, he is more selective, I would even say more confident so far. I would love to see a spray chart for this year so far (I know, small sample size but I still want to see it.

  48. FelixFanChris420 on April 26th, 2012 11:13 am

    Ichiro!

  49. nvn8vbryce on April 26th, 2012 11:18 am

    Ugh.

  50. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:22 am

    There goes the no hitter.

  51. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 11:25 am

    We are going to need to score some more runs

  52. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 11:27 am

    Sweeeeet (at least sounding) double play

  53. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 11:41 am

    Yes, pitch to Cabrera. Good move

  54. jase411 on April 26th, 2012 11:41 am

    Who didn’t smell this coming….

  55. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:44 am

    We are going to need to score some more runs

    True that.

  56. argh on April 26th, 2012 11:47 am

    When Noesi runs out of gas the warning light doesn’t come on first — the engine just stops.

  57. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:49 am

    I get a laugh out of the Scout on MLB Gameday sometimes. It just said that Noesi had plenty left in the tank, and then single, homer, out of the game, just like that.

  58. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:53 am

    I wonder if there is a human that types that, or if they have it automated?

  59. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 11:56 am

    I think they have an actual gastroenterologist on staff, to make those determinations.

  60. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 11:57 am

    Woot!!!

    Figgins???

    Okay, whatever!!!

  61. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 11:58 am

    Figgins!

    Wind aided?

  62. lalo on April 26th, 2012 11:58 am

    Figgins!!!!!!!!!!

  63. argh on April 26th, 2012 11:58 am

    Figgy and Miggy – living, swinging proof that merely being called out by the skipper brings out the veteran goodness from the old sweats.

  64. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 11:59 am

    What is up with Figgins? It’s like have a couple amazing games, then 15 horrible games, now another amazing game…

  65. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:00 pm

    He is a riddle, wrapped within his own Figgnigma

  66. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:07 pm

    Can’t fault the pitching change logic. Hopefully it works out. Are they bringing in Luetge to face Avila? I Didn’t hear who is coming in.

    He just needs to get this one guy out, if that is the case.

    Come on LOOGY

  67. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 12:08 pm

    hahaha Mike!

  68. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:08 pm

    Thanks Rizzer. All clear, now

  69. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:09 pm

    We must have “easy to divert from” jobs, Westy and it is technically “lunch time.”

  70. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:10 pm

    Freaking Olivo. Another “Miggy Special.” No further explanation needed.

    FRACK!

  71. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 12:12 pm

    yup, I’ve been doing mindless drone tasks all morning.

  72. Kazinski on April 26th, 2012 12:14 pm

    I don’t know what’s up with Ryan, but he is definitely walking more this year. His BB paid off with Figgin’s double. He’ll never be much of an offensive player, but he is much more useful if he can keep getting on base more. That .326 OBP looks pretty good considering he is hitting just .167.

  73. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:15 pm

    DO NOT LET CABRERA BAT THIS INNING!!!

  74. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:16 pm

    PHEW!

  75. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 12:17 pm

    We can breathe again. At least for a bit.

  76. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 12:17 pm

    Haha, love the current “Scout” comment on MLB.com…

    “Lucas Luetge showed faith in Miguel Olivo by throwing that pitch in the dirt with a runner on third”.

    Yeah, I’m sure Luetge believes Olivo is great at blocking pitches.

  77. argh on April 26th, 2012 12:17 pm

    My nerves. Shattered.

  78. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:18 pm

    Yes, a .326 OBP in correlation to a .167 BA is pretty outstanding … except for the last part which is total suck.

    But, yes you are correct. He will probably end up around .245 and .327 by years end.

  79. Edgar4Hall on April 26th, 2012 12:19 pm

    For some of the Z bashing that has happened lately because of Olivo, I think we also need to give him credit on what a tremendous pickup Luetge has been so far.

  80. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:20 pm

    But remember, the “Scout” doubles as their resident in-house Gastroenterologist.

    (see above ^)

  81. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:21 pm

    “For some of the Z bashing that has happened lately because of Olivo, I think we also need to give him credit on what a tremendous pickup Luetge has been so far.”

    Okay, consider it done.

  82. nvn8vbryce on April 26th, 2012 12:21 pm

    We better get some runs in this inning because I don’t want a cluster duck of a game with the bartender coming in!

  83. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:26 pm

    uhhhhh, really boss … I am pounding out some important information at the keyboard today. Earth shattering, stock value altering stuff. As a matter of fact, I have been since right around 10:00 this morning.

    And, I will be back hitting it hard again, on May 15th.

  84. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 12:28 pm

    My boss is also a baseball fan, so it’s unlikely he cares about me being on here – as long as I’m getting my actual work done as well. :-D

  85. argh on April 26th, 2012 12:31 pm

    I’m glad we didn’t end up with Prinz Fielder. I think he would have frightened the children at Safeco.

  86. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 12:37 pm

    OK, let’s try to get another run here.

  87. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:38 pm

    Good cover, Westy. Me too.

  88. nvn8vbryce on April 26th, 2012 12:42 pm

    No me gusta Miguel Olivo.

  89. The Nickster on April 26th, 2012 12:49 pm

    God, this makes me nervous. Come on BL, get er done!!

    (BTW, I take all the blame for his one blown save. As soon as he came into that game I thought, “It’s about time for League to blow one.” My immediate second thought was “You idiot, you just cursed him.” At that point I could have turned off the tv because I knew it was over and we would lose. Frack! But I feel good about this one!!)

    Oops, lead-off single. Wonderful.

  90. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:52 pm

    SWEEEEEEEEEET!

  91. The Nickster on April 26th, 2012 12:52 pm

    YESSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  92. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 12:52 pm

    GET OUT THE BROOMS!!

  93. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 12:53 pm

    @MrZ: You must continue to respect the streak.

    Don’t mess with “happy.”

    We are counting on you.

  94. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 12:53 pm

    Who was that relief pitcher that Earl Weaver used to call two pack? Because when he pitched the 9th Earl had to go into the clubhouse and smoke a couple of packs?

  95. The Nickster on April 26th, 2012 12:54 pm

    Told ya!

    (Apparently I’m posting comments too fast for the USS Mariner server. My bad. I’ll calm down now but WE SWEPT THE TIGERS IN DETROIT! It’s only justice, because on Sports radio before the series they said, “Detroit’s been struggling a bit but there was something in the media about ‘Well, don’t worry, Seattle is coming to town.” Karma is a beotch!)

  96. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 12:55 pm

    Haha, next time MrZ joins a thread everyone should type “NOOOO….”. ;-)

  97. Ralph_Malph on April 26th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Don Stanhouse was the guy Earl Weaver called “two pack”, if memory serves. Not to be confused with Tupac.

  98. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 1:08 pm

    Good call, Ralph. I think you are right.

    Not that the little sociopath needed much of an excuse to smoke, but Stanhouse made him smoke more quikcly.

  99. Paul B on April 26th, 2012 1:23 pm

    That’s right, Stanhouse. Thanks!

    Although, maybe he called him “full pack”.

    Anyway, League always seems to put runners on in the 9th, so that is why I thought of it.

  100. justdave on April 26th, 2012 1:25 pm

    Starting to feel optimistic about the M’s… Must fight it…

  101. bookbook on April 26th, 2012 2:05 pm

    Never mind, I’m clueless

  102. MrZDevotee on April 26th, 2012 2:18 pm

    You’re all welcome… Didn’t watch again. And SHA-ZAMM!!!

    I’ll be sure not to watch tomorrow, too. We might not lose another game this year if I stay busy with work.

    Hell if I stop watching enough, not only will Olivo and Figgins grow mysterious talent, but maybe Brandon League will stop walking the first batter he faces every time (I watch) when he pitches. DRIVES ME FREAKING NUTS when the closer puts a guy on base with a walk, when there are no outs and a slim lead (“Okay, the only thing you DON’T want to do here is… AHHHHH!!!! DAMMIT!”. (Baby steps, it was a single today instead of a walk… right?)

    Go M’s! And “thank you” to me. (laugh)

  103. Kazinski on April 26th, 2012 2:24 pm

    Just remember the M’s were .500 and just 1 1/2 back on June 26th of last year. Then the wheels came off. The substantive difference is that they are scoring about 4.1 RPG, last year: 3.4.

    Looking at Ryan’s stats, he is taking 4.45 P/PA, last year it was 3.8, that is a huge difference. The walks may be just a small sample size anomaly, but I don’t think the P/PA is. Even though his BA is .167 his BABIP is an unsustainable .200, if he just keeps up what he is doing his average will regress up to about .260, which would put his OBP at a stratospheric .413.

    I realize that it isn’t likely he’s going to get to a > .400 OBP, but his OSwing % is at a career low, and his ZSwing% while it hasn’t changed much is at a career high. So maybe something has changed with his pitch recognition skills. Or maybe its just early in season. Whatever it is even though he went 0-3 today he took a team high 20 pitches, and worked a walk and that ended up scoring the winning run.

  104. MrZDevotee on April 26th, 2012 6:01 pm

    You know, as a relative newbee to all this, I’ve never understood the use of BABIP… It appears as if there’s a “normal” rate (or range of rate) and folks are sometimes unsustainably above or below it.

    It seems to ignore talent discrepancies. There are guys (hi Olivo, how are you Chone) who could comfortably throw out a .200 BABIP, quite sustainably, for multiple years, so how do we determine what a guy’s “normal” BABIP should be, when it seems so dependent upon either luck and/or suckitude/veteran-ness (bloop single “good”, 200mph line drive miraculously snared by the pitcher “bad”)…

    I mean, it seems like Ryan could fit into Olivo and Figgins ballpark on any given year… So what is the right way to “interpret” BABIP talk? I mean, it seems like when a guy is “on fire” and seeing the ball well and able to go the other way, and pull the mistakes, he has a high BABIP, and when he’s struggling with those things (from poor performance) he’s hitting weak ground balls, or so-so line drives right at guys. Is that luck, or is that his performance? Or both… And what exactly is it telling us?

    Not trying to be snarky at all– just seriously have never understood the proper way to use BABIP. Maybe it’s simply a more nuanced stat than my intellect can handle.

  105. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 6:17 pm

    Welcome back to your “post game only until otherwise notifed” status. If you pull up the comments from within Dave’s five year old post on “how to evaluate pitchers,” Dave provides his opinion in regard to the value of babip when evaluating hitters. Maybe his opinion has changed since then, but I doubt it. I realize the five year old comment might not answer your specific question from today, but it might help get you closer to the answer you seek. If I knew how to cut and paste from an I-phone I would have attached his comment myself. I am a couple years older than you, so you will have to put up with my age induced dysfunction and ignoeance. Since you will have 3 hours of free time for at least one more day, it might be worth your time to find the comment and then to summarize it in your Z like way.

  106. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 6:19 pm

    By the way, the red sox are lighting up Humber. 7-1 in the 3rd inning.

  107. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 6:21 pm

    Hey more irony … “ignorance”.

  108. hidalgo on April 26th, 2012 6:34 pm

    Regression to the mean…

  109. MrZDevotee on April 26th, 2012 8:05 pm

    Thanks MsFan… Turns out I’m not as ignorant as I thought I was (oh wait, now does that make me more ignorant than I thought I was, not knowing how ignorant I was? *scratches head*)

    To quote Dave on BABIP:
    “I personally don’t see BABIP adding a lot of information to our knowledge about hitters.”

    Sort of my own opinion– because it’s too difficult to know if someone’s BABIP is low because of bad luck, or because they’re just not hitting the ball very well. The results could have any number of reasons (like HR’s don’t help BABIP… it’s NOT a ball in play, so 72 homeruns in a season has no affect on your BABIP).

  110. msfanmike on April 26th, 2012 8:33 pm

    Yeah, I wasn’t real sure what to make of it either, but a lot of people mention it and find value in it so, se la vi. I suppose babip can be equated to batting average in some sort of context that I might understand and be useful as a barometer; however I am not sure what it is yet. If the average BA is .260 and a good BA is .300 what does that mean in terms of babip? What is an average babip and what is a good babip? Maybe there is no correlation since babip excludes home runs from the equation whereas BA clearly does not … And why would home runs ever be excluded when attempting to evaluate a hitter? I am not criticizing babip, but I just don’t know what it provides that BA doesn’t already provide. A BA can also be pointed to and proclaimed to be “unsustainable” … Or can it? I don’t know. I obviously have something to learn or to continue pondering in a quasi bemused sort of way.

  111. mossi on April 26th, 2012 10:04 pm

    I understand it can be frustrating to watch Olivo, just as it can be to watch Figgins. But I prefer to err on the side of optimism. Basically, i don’t have energy to waste on negatives, nor do i feel my opinion would have any impact anyway.I’m not in control of the descisions. So I say the opposite. Both will get hot and pretty soon we’ll be happy that we didn’t have any say in running them out of town.
    Rather than whine about their shortcomings, I prefer to enjoy what strengths they possess. Making your negative statements 3 or 4 weeks into April, for 2 notoriously slow beginners is rash. Perhaps you could envision the two being vital elements of a surprise contender? (…Just me waxing philosophical).
    To further the sentiment, I see Olivo as a clumsy stud who is about to get his swing timed perfectly and crush for a solid month. He does absolutely have the ability to be a potent offensive force. I realize that all of you junior Billy Beane’s have the numbers to back up your claims, and that, yes, it is a chore seeing failure, but baseball is an imperfect 6 month endeavor. It gets much more boring to hear the negative bandwagon posts than watch Olivo attempt to break free and improve. Perhaps he won’t. In which case he’ll be gone. But this site will continue to sporadically pick on one or two struggling players as if you have some sort of credibility as scouts or general managers.
    When the Orioles last won something, 1983, who was the MVP of their victory in the series? Rick Dempsey. A decent defensive catcher, but not a real potent offensive possibility. I do not recall him even competing for team lead in HR’s or RBI’s. But Earl Weaver relied on him for much more than pretty stats. The thing that you fail to see is that the team believes in Olivo. They all believe he can and will succeed. At least give it a try. it feels good.(No,really,it does). Baseball is so much more than a computer read out. It’s a long season, so why not choose to enjoy it, rather than pick it apart. Or perhaps that’s all you know how to do/enjoy…? Perhaps that sort of helpful/harmless anger release is all this site is about really? I wonder what would happen if all of you doubters instead sent Olivo some psychic support. It couldn’t help but help. I realize my opinions will be somewhat unpopular…Go M’s.
    Oh yeah, the reason I wrote any of this in the first place, to answer you,Edgar4Hall, is that YES,in my opinion it’s IS WRONG to root against players trying their best for the team you ROOT FOR. But that’s just me.

  112. jorax on April 26th, 2012 10:45 pm

    Mossi – most of the ire is because we have younger, statistically better (or at worst equal) players who have more long term potential and will/could be with the team for a longer period of time. A lot of us would rather see those guys playing regularly than see the same mistakes being made over and over by “veteran” guys. I am not rooting against Olivo, but I’d really like to see what Jaso could do with more playing time. That is one example among many for us. Make sense?

  113. Westside guy on April 26th, 2012 10:51 pm

    Additionally – while there might be reason to believe Figgins could, just possibly, defy the odds and turn it around… even if you ignore anything but really basic stats like batting average, Olivo’s history doesn’t give you any reason at all to believe he can “be a potent offensive force”. The simple fact is, he makes significantly more outs than even a league-average player does. He didn’t offset that with a Bautista-esque 50 home runs; he hit nineteen, which was only significant in that it showed just how anemic the rest of the offense was last year.

    Man, in 1997 we had SIX guys hit 20 or more home runs!

  114. MrZDevotee on April 27th, 2012 12:41 am

    So, how crazy is it that only 4 teams in the AL are under .500 currently… On behalf of the American League, we would all like to thank Boston, Kansas City, Minnesota, and the Angels for their struggles…

    (Curiously, the A’s are .500 after their early struggles with the M’s).

  115. mossi on April 27th, 2012 3:43 am

    How many catchers hit nineteen balls out of the yard last year? when is the last time an M’s catcher did so. Some players start slow from year to year, (esp. figgins, even on a good year), and catchers traditionally make a ton of outs. While i do agree it would be better to have a defensive specialist in there sometimes, if not all the time, there is only one gold glove per year.It is pretty much the most difficult spot to play on the field. My point is that you don’t always have a better option, and it’s still very early. If Montero were a better, ready, option I’m sure he’d be getting steady work. They don’t want to rush things, understandably, and I don’t know much about Jaso but did he play everyday for Tampa Bay last year? Did he hit 19 homers? Why would one assume that he is a better option in the long run for this season? Olivo seems to handle the young pitchers well and i think he will end up improving his offense somewhat, perhaps hitting 13 homers and knocking in 50 or so runs. Maybe he’ll hit .235. The numbers won’t be pretty and he will be looking for a job elsewhere in 2013, yet he will help our young pitchers develop confidence and will end up adding punch to the back end of the line up. If we were a big spending team, he wouldn’t be the best option, but realistically, who else would be better? he is not simply the pariah that his stats seem to reflect. He’s got heart and that counts for a lot with such a young team searching for it’s identity. There were times last year where he was the only Mariner hitting at all.I admit it sucks when he doesn’t hit, but there have been times when Dan Wilson didn’t hit much. Did he get such disapproval? Will the past balls hurt so much when he has a 5 or 6 home run month? He’ll be gone next year when the Mariners might actually contend and he’ll have done his part in helping the pitching staff mature. He has much more presence than a rookie would and I do not blame the Wedge one iota for sticking with him this season. Yes he is not particularly exciting to watch play right now, but when he gets hot will you care as much about it? No,you’ll probably just shift focus on similar struggles like those of Ryan or any of the young kids who slack. Where is the outrage over the shortstop’s hitting and fielding?
    My point is relax and enjoy the game for what it is, not a “grass is greener”, best case scenario which is an impatient distraction from the fact that the men responsible for building this team the right way are actually doing a hell of a good job. Statistics are indicators, yes, but there is a game beyond fantasy league and it isn’t measured in a box score.

  116. MrZDevotee on April 27th, 2012 7:45 am

    /\
    Signed,
    Miguel Olivo’s Mom

    (I’m kidding, but this is a site afterall that– unlike the many others out there– devotes itself entirely to the statistical side of baseball. The whole point of this site is to look beyond the rah-rah, and unquantifiable things like “good leader” and “helped us rebuild our team” to see what “the science” of baseball can tell us about the sport and its players. The guys here DO enjoy the game, very much so, just in a way that isn’t necessarily tied to whether or not they like or get good vibes from particular players. If a guy puts up the type of advanced numbers that say he’s a reliable, good baseball player, guys are happy here… And if those numbers say he’s probably not going to contribute to the success of a team- STATISTICALLY SPEAKING- well, this site is dedicated to the message that, using the beliefs put forth here specifically, there are most likely better options going forward if winning is the ultimate goal (sometimes on our own bench).

    There is no “eyeball test” here to pass– by design. Essentially, you’re saying “Don’t base your opinion of Skittle A off its taste, base it off its color!” While this site is dedicated to wholly judging Skittles by taste only.

    We hear your argument, but it doesn’t necessarily fit into the dialogue that goes on here– in fact, some would say it goes directly against the grain of the conversation here. Using the line “he’s got heart” isn’t going to get you far in proving any point you might have at the USSMariner site, unfortunately, unless you can come up with a stat for amount of heart and show how it directly relates to success and winning. So yeah, just relax and enjoy what this site DOES offer you of value, rather than getting hung up on the vilification of Chone Figgins, Miguel Olivo, Jose Lopez, et.al.)

  117. bookbook on April 27th, 2012 8:50 am

    By fangraphs WAR, Olivo ranked 36th of 40 catchers with 200 or more PAs in 2011. (To be fair, he ranked 6th in 2010 by the same metric. As Dave warned when he signed, his skillset was a terrible fit for Safeco.)

    In this context, I feel for the guy. If this case can be made, I wonder if he wouldn’t yield some shiny bauble in trade to a team with a more favorable park?

  118. marcus_andrews on April 27th, 2012 9:06 am

    Mossi, I appreciate your optimism and I see what you’re trying to say and the people above me have done a good job pointing out some of the things that I would but I’ve just got a few more to add.

    1. Jaso has had success as a regular catcher. Not 19 homeruns as you asked, but an OBP that was over .100 higher than Olivo’s career average. He did this after not making the opening day roster but still playing 102 games.

    2. Where is any evidence that Olivo excells at handling a pitching staff? I know that he’s a veteran so it’s assumed, but I haven’t heard a single pitcher that said Miguel really helped him in any way. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just saying I don’t know how this has been accepted as fact by some with, to my knowledge, no real basis.

    3. People don’t complain about Ryan’s hitting/defense because he’s shown to be one of, if not the, best defensive shortstops in baseball. You said yourself, sit back and enjoy watching people play baseball, and as a former infielder (back-up 2nd baseman on my middle of the pack high school team, hold your applause) I genuinely enjoy watching Ryan play defense. He gets to balls that look like sure base hits and even if they don’t always turn into outs (like the one two nights ago where he was on the other side of second base and slipped) they’re fantastic plays. Olivo is basically the opposite of this point. He has so many fundamental flaws with his catching that 10 year olds are taught not to do that it makes watching him torture. If he was hitting homeruns, I would still complain because I genuinely can’t stand to watch him catch. AJ Pierzynski (spelling?) has always hit but I wouldn’t want him on my team because having a catcher who has fundamental flaws is torturous for me.

    Sorry for the novel, I’m just saying that I think Olivo provides durability which is nice, and little else to our team. If we were a great team, maybe his ineptitude would be more tolerable, but the fact is: we’re a young, rebuilding team that won’t be greatly improved by a catcher getting a couple extra homers. If there were no other options then I could understand it, but that’s not the case. I’m saying all this while LOVING baseball so it’s not that complaining is the only way I enjoy it. It’s that a player is actually negatively impacting my ability to enjoy the game and that’s just sad.

  119. marcus_andrews on April 27th, 2012 9:18 am

    I also wanted to go back to the BABIP conversation. I think it isn’t more or less useful than batting average but should be used with it and other stats such as line drive rate and hard hit percentages. A bad BABIP can be just lack of skill (Al Martin had to have had a horrible BABIP because I’ve never seen so many weak grounders to second base in my life), but if the other peripherals are saying that the hitter is getting unlucky, well then you might have something.

    It shouldn’t explain away every slump or bad season, but it can help to explain why a guy’s average has dropped .20 points when he looks to be the same hitter as before or justify a claim that a guy has had bad luck. Basically, it’s a far from perfect stat and shouldn’t be a be-all-end-all but it can just add a little bit more to the picture.

  120. msfanmike on April 27th, 2012 9:56 am

    Thanks Marcus, sounds reasonable.

    I read something that tracked pretty closely to what I believed BABIP might indicate. It was a list of the top 10 BABIP’ees (from a couple of years ago). Some names you might expect to see, were there: Miguel Cabrera, Michael Young, Ichiro Suzuki etc. etc.

    However, Fred Lewis was also listed in the Top 10, so my take away point in regard to all things “BABIP” was just as you summarized above: it can just add a little bit more to the picture … whether that be some murkiness, less murkiness or neither.

    A guy can have a huge strikeout rate and never hit home runs (or always hit home runs that aren’t tracked via the BABIP stat)… but when that player does put the ball in play, he hits for a high average. Not all that useful of a stat for measuring a hitters overall performance, but not an overly useless state, either IMO.

    I suppose Fred Lewis coaches would be in a position to strongly encourage him to put the ball in play and to not strike out so much, which would probably be identifiable with or without the assistance of BABIP … and likely apparent to anybody who ever watched him play.

    I think I have a better idea of what BABIP does (and does not do) now. It is slightly less useful within the grand scheme of things and slightly more useful within the set of parameters that it sets. Overall … I guess it is “okay” and I do have a better understanding of what it is.

  121. eponymous coward on April 27th, 2012 10:09 am

    My point is relax and enjoy the game for what it is, not a “grass is greener”, best case scenario which is an impatient distraction from the fact that the men responsible for building this team the right way are actually doing a hell of a good job.

    If they’re signing guys like Miguel Olivo and putting them in the lineup every day, no, actually, they’re not doing a good job. They’re failing on talent evaluation.

    This isn’t a mindless rah-rah site and has never been one. Zduriencik is definitely, unquestionably an improvement on Bavasi, but “better” is not the same as “good enough”, in a division with Billy Beane, Jon Daniels and Arte Moreno. And Wedge’s career in Cleveland and Seattle has done nothing to convince me that at his best, he isn’t anything other than the same old “old boy’s club” capable of doing the cliche things managers do without really helping or hurting the club (read: figurehead who rises and falls based on his team’s intrinsic talent level), and at his worst he’s actively retarding the team’s ability to evaluate talent and put the best team on the field.

  122. msfanmike on April 27th, 2012 10:14 am

    Yep, what he ^ said

  123. marcus_andrews on April 27th, 2012 10:24 am

    While I agree on Wedge, I don’t agree that Olivo is a sign of anything Jack Z has done wrong. I sttrongly believe he signed him with the hopes Moore would really make the next step and then Moore blew his knee out for the 99th time and Olivo had to play last year. Then Zduriencik goes out and gets John Jaso AND Jesus Montero this off-season which, to me, seems like a pretty big statement about how he felt about our catcher situation.

    I also think you’re slightly overrating the front offices in our division. Texas has done an amazing job but the Angels haven’t done too much differently than any other big budget team would do and the A’s struck gold for a few seasons and haven’t seemed to be able to replicate that success since. Given our situation, I’d take my chances with Zduriencik over anyone in our division other than Daniels.

  124. eponymous coward on April 27th, 2012 2:17 pm

    Then Zduriencik goes out and gets John Jaso AND Jesus Montero this off-season which, to me, seems like a pretty big statement about how he felt about our catcher situation.

    And Zduriencik also hired a manager who isn’t using the roster optimally- and Olivo was called out here as a bad signing when he was first signed. He hasn’t done anything to change that assessment so far.

    (Also, relying on a young C with injury history? Not all that wise if you ask me. Nobody is perfect, but yes, you’re judged on your results as well as your method, once you’ve been around long enough that your method has a track record. If your superior record does not yield superior results, how do you know it’s superior?)

    Given our situation, I’d take my chances with Zduriencik over anyone in our division other than Daniels.

    Why? Basically, we’ve turned into Oakland North: we’re not willing to spend enough to contend (we’ve cut over 30 million from the budget since 2008), and we’re depending on cheap talent to turn up from the draft and overseas. If we get lucky on young talent, we win like Oakland has occasionally done; if we don’t, we hang around .500 like Oakland; if we get REALLY unlucky (last two years), we lose 90+.

    In fact, if you look at our roster and Oakland’s roster in terms of salary, the difference boils down to Ichiro and Felix. Ichiro’s a FA who’s pushing 40 and making nearly 20 million, and Felix is a FA after 2014, and while a good player, is making 20 million surrounded by a below-.500 roster. Arguably, Beane might have cashed him in for talent by now- so we are lucky that we get to keep him, but we also now are hamstrung in adding any salary around him.

    Also, yeah, Billy Beane’s had a run of bad luck with guys like Eric Chavez- kind of like having Figgins fall off of a cliff, don’t you think?

    I don’t see that Zduriencik is superior to Beane at this point. Neither of them is going to turn chicken **** into chicken salad. Neither is perfect.

  125. marcus_andrews on April 27th, 2012 2:37 pm

    The reason I would take Zduriencik over Beane is simple, Beane has had longer and I think our team that has been put together in a few years, is better than what he’s produced in much longer. We have more promising young talent and we’ll have financial flexibility very soon. I don’t like complaining about not making big signings because we aren’t and have not been one signing away.

    Also, Ichiro’s salary will not be anywhere near that high next year. So to say you wouldn’t want Zduriencik because our team hasn’t been able to afford surrounding a contract he didn’t sign, with talent confuses me. He has been hamstrung by a terrible system (making big trades nearly impossible), and a less than desirable financial situation and has managed to turn us in to a team that could very well be .500 and has the potential to improve beyond that.

    Basically, Jack Z inherited chicken **** as you called it and has already started to turn it into something resembling a baseball team, whereas Beane’s mess is almost all his own doing and they’re still less promising than us. I don’t think either is perfect, but I think Beane is overrated because of a couple great seasons but I think that Zduriencik is his superior in talent evaluation by a long way and it’s shown in his draft track record and I think it will continue to show and we’ll continue to be in a better situation than Oakland.

  126. eponymous coward on April 27th, 2012 3:53 pm

    Beane has had longer and I think our team that has been put together in a few years, is better than what he’s produced in much longer.

    You know how many 90 loss seasons Billy Beane has had in his career as a GM?

    Zero. None. Goose egg. Nada.

    Go find me a GM with a career over a decade who’s had NO stinkers of a team, no really bad years. You’re going to be excluding a lot of GMs- even Branch Rickey had bad years.

    Yeah, the A’s haven’t won anything recently. But they haven’t been god-awful bad, either. That counts for something, especially when you have a lousy payroll.

    Keep in mind that that also means Beane hasn’t had the kind of 90+ loss records that get you top 5 draft picks- and talent in the draft is concentrated at the top.

    You’re totally underestimating Beane here.

    I don’t like complaining about not making big signings because we aren’t and have not been one signing away.

    It’s not the no signings; it’s that this team would have clearly been better with more money.

    Edwin Jackson is off to a nice start with the Nationals. Dave was saying he’d be a good signing; he’s 1 year/11 million.

    We didn’t get him… and we cut salary from last year (had we not done that, we could have probably fit him in). Instead, we’re getting to watch Kevin Millwood get lit up like a Christmas tree.

    we’ll have financial flexibility very soon.

    I’ve heard this line for years- “oh, NEXT year we can make signings that will improve the team because we won’t be dealing with dead weight from the Sexson/Bradley/Ichiro contract”. At some point you tune it out, like “veteran leadership” and “grit”.

    At this point, when I start seeing some money thrown around, THEN I will believe the team’s serious about this. Until then, I think this is Oakland North.

    So to say you wouldn’t want Zduriencik

    Saying “I’m not convinced he’s better than Billy Beane” is not the same as “fire him right now”. He’s clearly an improvement on Bavasi. But having a better GM who did a good job drafting when given high draft picks is by no means good enough to start planning your championship parade in 2014.

    It’s a tough division in terms of quality organizations, admittedly, but I don’t think we’re there yet. Not when we’re making decisions like Wedge and Olivo. Not when we’re still trimming salary year to year. The organization is better, but better is not good enough.

  127. marcus_andrews on April 27th, 2012 4:11 pm

    Well I applaud your bit of trivia because I didn’t have any idea of that fun fact, I think the truth on Beane lies somewhere in between our opinions of him. Over the last five years their best year was a clean .500. Being under 90 losses is a cool fact, but not being under 80 losses is not. (And 4 of those 5 were within 3 losses of 90 so I think that weakens the stat quite a bit). And I’d like to say, I think Beane is a very capable GM, I just don’t LOVE him. Furthermore, not all talent is concentrated at the top so the difference between pick 12 and pick 6 doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. You should still be able to get some pretty solid talent.

    As far as spending any money makes us clearly better, why spend more for Jackson than for Millwood this year? Honestly. I don’t like Milwood at all, but Jackson wouldn’t push us in to the playoffs at all and we can more easily boot Kevin to make room for our trio of youngsters so I don’t really object not signing people.

    I don’t disagree with that many of your points, and I by no means think that we’re there yet, I just think that as I’m undervaluing Beane, you’re undervaluing Zduriencik. Miguel Olivo is bad, yes but so is having Eric Soggard/Josh Donaldson, Daric Barton, and Cliff Pennington in their lineup everyday. I think that Beane and Zduriencik are very close, I’m just saying that I like what Jack Z has done and I trust him with our rebuilding more than I would Beane.

    If you disagree then we will agree to disagree, I’ve enjoyed the conversation and learned some things but I think arguing it further is an exercise in futility for both of us. We shall look forward to seeing how these teams do over the next couple years but until then, let’s just enjoy baseball.

  128. leon0112 on April 27th, 2012 7:32 pm

    Wow! Saunders!

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