Cactus League Game 15, A’s at Mariners

marc w · March 8, 2013 at 11:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hector Noesi vs. AJ Griffin, 12:05

AJ Griffin was one of the better stories for the A’s last year, and that’s saying something considering the fairy-tale season they enjoyed. The 13th round draft pick shot through the minors last year, but was *still* unheralded, because Dan Straily – who was drafted even later – torched the minors a bit more. But after Brandon McCarthy’s injury and Bartolo Colon’s suspension, the A’s needed their minor league depth to keep them in an unlikely playoff chase. Griffin came up and gave the A’s 15 great starts, going 7-1 and putting up 1.3 WAR in 80 innings. His FIP trailed his ERA substantially, so his RA9-based WAR was actually over 2 – again, in just 80 innings! Given the paucity of MLB innings, and given the discrepancy between ERA and FIP, the projections for Griffin are kind of all over the map. Steamer and ZiPS see him regressing a bit, as his HR/FB ratio was low and he’s an extreme fly-baller. Bill James and Oliver see him essentially continuing at a pace that’s very similar to his 2012 rates. While those two systems seem optimistic across the board, it’s not crazy.

Despite a FB just shy of 90 mph and an almost pathological hatred of ground outs, Griffin was very effective in generating both strikeouts and infield flies. If you read the articles on infield pops and FIP at Fangraphs recently, you know there’s at least some research suggesting that this is a repeatable skill and an important reason some pitchers seem to “beat” their FIPs consistently. We’ll have more on that soon.

You’ve seen the match-up, so you know why I’m spending my time talking about Griffin. Yesterday saw the return to action of King Felix. It saw two of the M’s top prospects in action in a different game. It saw one of their top position player prospects go 4-5 with two HRs and 7 RBIs. Today, Hector Noesi starts. Take everything I said up there about Griffin providing way-better-than-anticipated production and being there when his team needed him and turn it 180 degrees, and you’ve got Hector Noesi’s 2012. Then, he started the Charity Game and imploded. There’s still talent in there somewhere – he appears to have much better raw stuff than Griffin, for example – but he’s taken several miles of steps backwards since coming over in the Pineda/Montero trade. There should be so much to say about this; someone needs to do the forensic autopsy of Noesi’s Mariner career, but it’s just such unpalatable work. Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise then that the weather appears to be conspiring to get this game cancelled.

If it occurs, the line-up would be:
1: Ackley, 2B
2: Gutierrez, CF
3: Ibanez, LF
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Wells, RF
6: Montero, C
7: Zunino, DH
8: Romero, 3B
9: Ryan, SS
SP: Sigghhhhh


20 Responses to “Cactus League Game 15, A’s at Mariners”

  1. ChrisFB on March 8th, 2013 11:43 am

    When does minor league camp start? If it starts bright and early at 8am Monday morning I’d expect Noesi to be the first one there at 8:01.

  2. msfanmike on March 8th, 2013 12:22 pm

    So, Noesi is not very good when he is pitching against the wind, huh?

    Who would have thunk it.

  3. msfanmike on March 8th, 2013 12:22 pm

    So, Noesi is not very good when he is pitching against the wind, huh?

    Who would have thunk it.

  4. msfanmike on March 8th, 2013 12:23 pm

    Let me repeat that a few more times ……

  5. MrZDevotee on March 8th, 2013 12:41 pm

    Here, let me help you Mike:

    “You can say THAT again!” (I was just late, sorry)

  6. msfanmike on March 8th, 2013 12:48 pm

    Ruffin following Noesi … wooohooo!

    It must be the day to rest “real pitchers” arms.

  7. taylor.mariner on March 8th, 2013 12:49 pm

    Noesi AND Ruffin? What ever did the A’s do to deserve SUCHHH a terrible fate…

  8. marc w on March 8th, 2013 1:01 pm

    Ugh. Gotta think this is Noesi’s last start unless something really weird happens. Welcome to Tacoma, Hector.

  9. marc w on March 8th, 2013 1:03 pm

    This game escalated quickly.

    Lots of caveats, but Ruffin averaged 93mph on his fastball when he came up with Det/Sea in 2011. Today’s he’s around 90. It’s early, but it’s not like this is his first appearance, and he’s a reliever. He’s not getting stretched out or anything.

  10. msfanmike on March 8th, 2013 1:05 pm

    Maybe Yoervis Medina can come in next and clean up this mess.

    Although, in fairness to him, he did have a pretty decent 2012 season.

  11. marc w on March 8th, 2013 1:06 pm

    Looking back to 2012, he pitched in the spring in early-mid March and averaged…right around 90. So it’s not like something just happened, but as any glance at his 2012 stats could’ve told you, he’s just not the same guy the M’s acquired.

  12. msfanmike on March 8th, 2013 1:08 pm

    … but he was the PTBNL, so they had an extra long look at him before he didn’t quite turn into the guy that they “thought” they had acquired.

  13. argh on March 8th, 2013 1:15 pm

    Repeat after me: “Spring training doesn’t mean anything. Spring training doesn’t mean anything. Spring training….”

  14. marc w on March 8th, 2013 1:31 pm

    RAAAIIIINN! Go Rain!

  15. marc w on March 8th, 2013 1:33 pm


    Not only did they have a long look at him, he played for the M’s in 2011. I’m just saying that he’s not the same guy that he was late in 2011, when he was an OK set-up guy/ROOGY for the M’s. Then his velo dropped and his command went to hell. No idea what happened there; I keep expecting to hear about an injury, but he keeps passing physicals.

  16. stevemotivateir on March 8th, 2013 4:30 pm

    You might be on to something, Mike. Maybe that experience is why they opted for cash instead of a player for Carp?

  17. MrZDevotee on March 8th, 2013 4:48 pm

    Hector Noesi is the best 2 out pitcher in MLB history. (All his runs today came with 2 outs– again… It’s bizarre.)

    Have to figure in the 2nd inning or so Jeremy Bonderman and Jon Garland were rock-paper-scissoring over the soon to be opening Noesi spot on the 40 man roster.

    Can we DFA him? Is there still enough interest someone would jump on him as a fixer-upper and we could get a prospect or two?

    Maybe put him on Craigslist? In the “Barter” section?

  18. Jamison_M on March 8th, 2013 5:00 pm

    Does anyone know why Stefan Romero was pulled after one at bat? Was that part of the plan, or did he get hurt?

  19. Hutch on March 8th, 2013 5:05 pm

    My first Spring Training game ever featured Hector Noesi throwing batting practice to Oakland A’s 3-hole hitter John Jaso and then was rained out. You know you are an M’s fan when…

  20. John D. on March 8th, 2013 7:00 pm

    Does anyone know why Stefan Romero was pulled after one at bat?

    According to SD, he pulled an oblique as he struck out. [Wedge says that he really pulled it.]

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