Game 75, Mariners at Angels

marc w · June 28, 2015 at 10:49 am · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Hector Santiago, 12:35pm

Happy Felix Day

In today’s start, Felix will re-take the lead in innings pitched between 2007 and the present from James Shields. In the pitch FX era, no one’s been on the mound more. As we’ve talked about, though, all of that information simply can’t give you a picture of what Felix does, or what Felix is. Averaged out over 98mph fireballer to 92mph craftsman, you don’t recognize much. It looks a bit like Felix’s 2010 season, the midpoint of his career, and his second great campaign. But there’s very little – then or now – that’s really distinctive. There’s the sink on his pitches, and then there’s that oddly small gap between fastball and change-up velo – as Felix’s average sinker velocity has dropped by 6MPH, his change-up has actually sped up, if only fractionally. Other than that, Felix is a guy who demands a results-based analysis. Felix is great because batters can’t seem to do much against him. It’s been that way since at least 2009, even if the *specific ways batters struggle* change every now and again. It seems hopeless to predict which pitchers will have long careers, or the kind of odd late-career rebirths we’ve seen from Bartolo Colon or, to a lesser extent, Freddie Garcia, but I have little doubt Felix will have one. He may throw 87 sidearm, he may develop a knuckleball, he may actually go full Bernandez and switch pitch, but it’s coming.

Opposite Felix, the Angels start Hector Santiago, a lefty with a history of confounding FIP by stranding a ton of runners. Primarily a fastball/change/cutter pitcher, he averages only about 90-91mph on his fastball, but it has a lot of armside run. That run, paired with a good cutter, has made him very tough on left-handed batters. Against righties, he’s about as extreme a fly-ball pitcher as you’ll find, but he’s essentially average against lefties, which means he’s been able to keep them in the park. Against righties, not so much – he’s got a career HR/9 of 1.42 against them. So righties elevate the ball and hit a fair share of homers. He also walks too many of them. As such, there’s no mystery about why his FIP’s an uninspiring 4.40 this year, dead on his career mark of 4.41. The interesting bit is that his career ERA is 3.36, and it’s just 2.68 in the first half of 2015.

Normally, this is the kind of thing you just note “regression” and move on. But he’s been doing this a little while now, and it’s kind of interesting. By fielding-dependent wins, Santiago’s approaching 7 WAR in just 439+ IP. By fWAR (FIP-based), he’s at 2.8. Essentially, Santiago is pitching like a poor man’s Hisashi Iwakuma in that he’s a very different pitcher with men on than when the bases are empty. With no one on, he gives up home runs to about 3.6% of batters. If someone’s on base, that drops to under 2%. Even better for Santiago, he’s limiting hits of all kinds with men on, not just homers. The samples here are small enough and the effect large enough that luck really does look to be playing a part, but it’s always interesting to see hurlers beat FIP for multiple years. On the plus side, hey, he’s been consistent for over 400 innings. On the down side, it looks like to stay an above-average pitcher, he’ll need to consistently post better BABIPs and HR/FB marks with men on, despite no noticeable differences in pitch mix. Even more specifically, he’ll have to maintain a remarkably low BABIP on his nothing-special fastball. In his career, Santiago’s fastball BABIP is lower than Aroldis Chapman’s, Craig Kimbrel’s, King Felix’s, and Clayton Kershaw’s. That’s clearly a feature, but it has the feel of a bug as well.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Gutierrez, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Trumbo, RF
7: Miller, SS
8: Zunino, C
9: Bloomquist, 1B

Tacoma hammered El Paso last night 14-4. In the hot, windless night, Tacoma slugged 5 HRs, and they all came from just two batters: Jesus Montero hit 2, and Justin Ruggiano hit *3*. Ruggiano’s last came off of Jordan Hershiser, son of Orel Hershiser. The younger Hershiser is 26, and…yep, appears to have been born in the middle of his dad’s record scoreless innings streak. Justin Germano starts today against converted OF Jason Lane.

Jackson beat Montgomery 4-2 behind a solid start from Misael Siverio and Marcus Littlewood’s first AA home run. Today,

Lancaster beat Bakersfield again, this time by a score of 6-3. Dan Altavilla took the loss, going 5 IP and yielding 4 runs. Jay Baum hit his first Cal League HR and Guillermo Pimentel picked up three hits, but this game will be remembered for one reason, and one reason only: a snake delay. A large snake took the field at some point, causing a delay. Blaze pitcher Tyler Pike (who wasn’t pitching, of course) calmly grabbed the snake and removed it, and Bakersfield resumed taking its beating.

Clinton’s big comeback fell short, as they dropped a 6-5 contest to Wisconsin. Down 5-0, the L-Kings tied the game with a 7 run 7th, capped by a 3R HR from Arby Fields. But Wisconsin’s Brandon Diaz hit a solo shot in the bottom of the inning and that proved to be the game’s final run.

Everett beat Boise 6-1 behind HRs from Corey Simpson and Luis Liberato. The AquaSox got solid work from pitchers Anthony Misiewicz (the nominal starter), Andrew Moore, and Joe Pistorese. With 3 hits, Liberato’s Everett slash line is up to .432/.462/.865; Liberato won’t turn 20 until December. Takes some of the sting out of the struggles of Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan.

Speaking of Morgan, the Arizona Rookie League’s underway, too. 8th rounder Cody Mobley debuted yesterday with 2 scoreless innings, and rehabbing OF Austin Cousino’s been getting some work in as well. Nick Neidert’s thrown 2 scoreless IP of his own, as has 4th rounder Dylan Thompson. The M’s have some projectable OFs on the roster too, including Hersin Martinez and Gareth Morgan, the linebacker-sized OF the M’s took for an overslot bonus in the competitive balance round a year ago. Morgan struggled in the AZL last year, K’ing 73 times in 45 games. Repeating it this year, he’s got a K:BB ratio of 13-0 in 6 games. It’s uh…it’s early yet. We’ll see many of these players hit Everett later on. There are fewer option this year, as the M’s no longer have a club in the Appy league – so they don’t have an affiliate in the level between the complex leagues and short-season ball.


32 Responses to “Game 75, Mariners at Angels”

  1. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2015 1:36 pm

    Speaking of Tacoma, I really like Ruggiano and am glad he was able to make it down into Tacoma. Hope he sticks around and makes it back up.

  2. Dennisss on June 28th, 2015 1:46 pm

    I’m with you on Ruggiano. His hitting still ranks better than the other M’s outfielders, except Smith.

  3. Dennisss on June 28th, 2015 1:50 pm

    On Fangraphs, both Felix and Happ show as 1.5 WAR to date. But it seems like Felix has been much more valuable despite a couple of lousy games. His xFIP is much better. It doesn’t look right.

    Anyone know why?

  4. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2015 2:07 pm

    The Mariners HAVE to be the worst base running team in all of baseball. These are simple fundamentals of the game that everyone should be aware of.

  5. msfanmike on June 28th, 2015 2:12 pm

    Nice approach by Cano. Take two on the corner and swing at one two feet outside. Wow.

  6. californiamariner on June 28th, 2015 2:32 pm

    Yeah, think Ruggiano couldn’t have been used today against the lefty?

  7. msfanmike on June 28th, 2015 2:37 pm

    Furbush sure did a nice job today.

  8. californiamariner on June 28th, 2015 2:42 pm

    Remember how fun it was when the Mariners had a good bullpen…

  9. Dennisss on June 28th, 2015 2:45 pm

    That’s what happens when you only score one run.

  10. WestyHerr on June 28th, 2015 2:46 pm

    All you have to type above is, “Today the Mariners face some guy that will lower his ERA significantly.” Then cut and paste EVERYDAY.

  11. msfanmike on June 28th, 2015 2:52 pm

    Willie puts another “charge” into the ball. It nearly went 40′. Sure glad he’s still around.

  12. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2015 2:54 pm

    Way to look competative in that 8th inning! we really wanna win today dont we lol.

  13. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2015 2:56 pm

    How much is Willie making? it has to be some atrocious amount given when he actually gives to this team as far as on field value vs. money value.

  14. jak924 on June 28th, 2015 2:59 pm

    What a joke…1 run through 8….can this offense get any more crappy?

  15. Dennisss on June 28th, 2015 3:03 pm

    Tony Blengino did a post on the worst ball-strikers in baseball history that made me think of Willie right away. He didn’t qualify for the list because he’s not a regular, but you have to wonder.

  16. msfanmike on June 28th, 2015 3:04 pm

    Lloyd Saved his best relief pitchers for a time after it mattered. Well done, sir.

    Doesn’t much matter when your team can’t hit or score.

    An absolute dynasty in the works. Worst team BA with runners in scoring position since the stat has been tracked (1974). It’s a dynasty I tell ya!!!

  17. Grayfox3d on June 28th, 2015 3:05 pm

    Hopefully soon people will stop using the term “there’s still alot of baseball left” because that line should not be used when talking about this team…. The majority of this team would not even make it to another major league roster, yet these players are out there every day making a laughing stock of this team. We’ve become that team that people chalk up as a series win against on their schedules.

  18. jak924 on June 28th, 2015 3:07 pm

    Totally humiliating. A disgrace.

  19. jak924 on June 28th, 2015 3:10 pm

    They’ll go down like lambs In the 9th. Fear in their eyes and bad body language. Im fed up.

  20. Dennisss on June 28th, 2015 3:13 pm

    There is a lot of baseball left, but I don’t think that will help the Mariners.

  21. Section329 on June 28th, 2015 3:18 pm


  22. msfanmike on June 28th, 2015 3:18 pm


  23. mrakbaseball on June 28th, 2015 3:51 pm


  24. Woodcutta on June 28th, 2015 3:53 pm

    Of course the game ends with a walk off wild pitch between Zunino’s legs.

  25. msfanmike on June 28th, 2015 3:54 pm


  26. mrakbaseball on June 28th, 2015 3:55 pm

    Make that Wilhelmsen!!!

  27. WestyHerr on June 28th, 2015 4:22 pm

    Go Hawks.

  28. Westside guy on June 28th, 2015 4:23 pm

    I liked how, a couple days ago, Zduriencik said he’d probably stand pat because “we have a formidable lineup”. He really doesn’t get it – and this was supposed to be the year to go for it. The year when giving guys like Cruz or Cano too long a contract was supposed to make it worthwhile.

    Instead the team is nine back, and fighting to stay out of last place. And even if Jack wanted to attempt an upgrade, there’s not a whole lot of value on the farm at this point. Besides, weve already seen what he thinks the team needed – Trumbo, another bad defender who isn’t really good enough with the bat to actually add value.

    I wonder when we’ll learn about the extension Jack has already been given?

  29. mrakbaseball on June 28th, 2015 4:35 pm

    They already signed him to a “multiyear” extension last August.

  30. Westside guy on June 28th, 2015 5:00 pm

    They’ve probably added a secret bonus year since then. 😛

  31. jorax on June 29th, 2015 11:28 am

    During the broadcast they mentioned how many times Felix has allowed 0 or 1 run and not ended up with the win. I know wins and losses are mostly meaningless in this enlightened age, but I’m still curious if anyone has that number.

  32. jak924 on June 29th, 2015 11:48 am

    Is it possible the Mariners could get a steroids exemption from MLB?

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