Game 25, Mariners at Oakland

marc w · May 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Nate Karns vs. Kendall Graveman, 7:05pm

Sorry for missing a few games there; I went camping with the family down by Mt. St Helens.

The M’s make their initial visit to Oakland this year, trying to maintain their string of five consecutive series won. The A’s swept the M’s in three at Safeco in early April, but the M’s have clawed their way above the A’s in the standings, and sit a half-game behind Texas for the divisional lead. Now that we’ve seen a few more games, we have a better sense, I think, of who the A’s are and what they do well. Looking at team stats, it’s something of a miracle that the A’s are .500. The A’s have the worst walk rate in MLB, the worst defense in MLB, and rank 28th in BABIP (just ahead of the M’s, who remain in 30th). One of their best paid players, DH Billy Butler, is now a bench bat. After a second consecutive below-replacement level season last year, Butler’s off to another poor start and remains one of the easiest players in the game to defend. All told, their position players rank last in the American League, ahead of only a few of the strenuously rebuilding NL clubs.

The problem’s particularly acute in the outfield, where the A’s attempted to add power by bringing in Khris Davis to fit in around Billy Burns, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and last year’s Rule 5 find, Mark Canha. It’s early, of course, but the results haven’t been encouraging: Davis and Canha are off to abysmal starts, with Canha striking out 17 times without a walk in 35 PAs, and Davis sitting on a .263 OBP in full-time play. Because neither Canha or Davis are particularly good against LHP (despite being righties), the club’s struggled against lefties, as they hurt Reddick’s (and Stephen Vogt’s) production. A year after grabbing a low-power, buy-low first baseman in Ike Davis, the A’s brought in Yonder Alonso, who’s been their worst every day player. Chris Coghlan had an 11% walk rate last year for Chicago, but he’s off to a slow start, and seen his walk rate nearly cut in half. They’re not this bad, of course, and some regression in BABIP might help them, but they looked like a questionable group on paper, and they’ve done nothing to assuage A’s fans worries thus far.

Their rotation has been a mixed bag, with Rich Hill continuing his utterly remarkable comeback from years of being terrible on the one hand and Chris Bassitt and Eric Surkamp turning in replacement-level performance. In the middle sit Sonny Gray, who’s suffered from some uncharacteristic control lapses this year, and today’s starter, Kendall Graveman. It all adds up to one of the more interesting-yet-completely-average rotations in baseball, especially when you add in the recently-promoted prospect Sean Manaea. They haven’t quite gotten there yet, but unlike with the line-up, you can see how this group could become a solidly above-average unit, especially if Jesse Hahn’s weird bout of awfulness really is over.

So, if their position players have been awful and their rotation’s under-performed, how are they 13-13? Because baseball enjoys a good laugh at the hubris of those who attempt to ferret out its secrets, the answer is, of course, their bullpen. There’s a famous quote attributed mostly to Marx (though the form in which it’s typically used probably came from Engels) that says that history repeats itself – first as tragedy, and then as farce. I keep thinking about that when I look at the fact that the ATHLETICS lead the majors in bullpen WPA *by a mile*. In 2015, the A’s bullpen was historically futile, landing in last place by WPA, nearly 5 full wins back of 29th place. The gap between 30th-29th was as large as the gap between 29th-17th place.

What’s funniest is that the A’s have accomplished this by slaying another old sabermetric sacred cow: that the one thing you needed to avoid were relievers who’d acquired the “veteran closer” label. Relievers were all overpaid, according to this line of thinking, but teams like the A’s had figured out how to bring in unheralded relievers, watch them succeed, and then let other teams pay through the nose for them on the free agent market. The smart clubs don’t bid on, I don’t know, Jonathan Papelbon, they convert a 1B into Sean Doolittle. They stash great relievers in set-up roles so the market doesn’t reflect their value. The A’s, however, brought in two ex-closers, Ryan Madson and John Axford, and got their own ex-closer, Sean Doolittle, back from injury. What do you do with three ex-closers? Abolish the closer role, of course. The A’s lead the majors in saves despite not really having a closer: they use match-ups and whoever’s fresh to determine who pitches the 7th and who pitches the 9th. Madson’s received the most work in save situations, but Doolittle’s got 2, and it’s Axford who’s been used in the highest-leverage spots. The A’s created a solid bullpen out of waiver-wire cast-offs and ex-position players only to watch it go supernova last year. This year, they’ve brought in cast-offs with a better pedigree, and built one of the strangest good bullpens I can remember. In the process, they’ve shot another hole in the idea that bullpen success can be reliably predicted. John Axford’s WPA dominates Craig Kimbrel’s. All bullpens may be farcical, but the A’s are a particularly funny one.

Today’s starter, Kendall Graveman, was one of the low-ceiling, high-floor pitching prospects the A’s acquired in the Josh Donaldson disaster trade. Graveman has never racked up strikeouts, but uses a low-spin sinker and cutter to get plenty of ground ball contact. He’s never been a hard thrower, but he looks to have added about 1 MPH to his fastball this year, going from about 90-91 last year to 92 so far in 2016. His sinker is still his most-used pitch, but he’s using it slightly less thus far in favor of his cutter and curve. The cutter is slider-y, with some glove side movement at about 87 MPH. He uses it like a slider, too, keeping it down and away from right-handers. With a sinker/slider profile, you might think Graveman would have some platoon split problems, but in his brief career, he’s handled lefties much better than righties. Indeed it’s righties that continue to trouble him, as they’ve hit 14 of the 20 HRs he’s given up (he’s faced an essentially equal number of RHBs and LHBs). That’s too many HRs for someone who yields so few fly balls, and it’s a problem for someone who doesn’t miss many bats. To be fair, Graveman is “only” a 4th starter, and hasn’t been too bad in that role, but the “low ceiling” part of his scouting report remains pretty evident. He’s alternated some good starts and bad ones this year, with a 3 HR drubbing by the Tigers balanced with an 8 K win over the Yankees in the Bronx.

1: Aoki, LF
2: Smith, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Lind, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Iannetta, C
8: Marte, SS
9: Martin, CF
SP: Karns

Will Karns continue to ride his curve ball? This is one of the more anticipated starts of Karns’ career, I’d think – if Karns is able to make the leap not to an ace, but a dependable 2-3 starter, the M’s start to look a bit different, and a bit more formidable.

The Rainiers blasted Las Vegas 12-1 last night behind another great outing from James Paxton. The lefty gave up a HR in the first, then limited the 51s to just four other hits over 6 IP, striking out 7 and walking 1. The Rainiers open a series with Salt Lake tonight; Adrian Sampson’s on the mound. Game time’s 6:05 at Cheney, and the weather is perfect for a game and a beer.

Jackson beat Mobile 6-4 as Tyler O’Neill homered in his second straight game. He’s up to 6 on the year, pushing his season line to .313/.383/.578. The two clubs were rained out in today’s travel day game.

Bakersfield got a solid start from Tyler Pike and a 4 run 5th inning, then held on for 6-5 win. Bakersfield’s line-up isn’t clicking quite yet, managing a sub .700 OPS as a team, but the league as a whole has been uncharacteristically punchless. Bakersfield’s .699 OPS is in the middle of the Cal League pack thus far, which is nice to see after they finished as the worst offensive club in the league last year. Today, Eddie Campbell leads the Blaze to Rancho Cucamonga to take on ex-UVA pitcher Josh Sborz.

Clinton completed the organizational sweep with an 8-4 win over Dayton. Kyle Wilcox had his best outing of the year, going 6 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits and, crucially, 1 walk. Matt Walker pitched the 7th, giving up a run, then ran into more trouble in the 8th, giving up 3 more runs without recording an out. The L-Kings still had a 6-4 lead, then added two more in the 9th. Clinton starts a series tonight against Fort Wayne, with Nick Wells on the mound. Starting for the Tin Caps is Jacob Nix, a Padres prospect, and a pitcher the Astros drafted and agreed to an over-slot bonus with back in 2014. When Brady Aiken didn’t agree on the Astros underslot deal, the Astros lost a huge chunk of their bonus pool, meaning they could no longer honor their agreements with Nix and another pitcher, Mac Marshall. Nix went in the 3rd round to San Diego, and signed a deal for about $600k less than the reported deal he had with Houston.

Comments

43 Responses to “Game 25, Mariners at Oakland”

  1. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 7:50 pm

    Cmon! at least try to hit the ball…

  2. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2016 8:00 pm

    Marc, you do a phenomenal job with these game day write-ups and with the minor league post game wrap up from the previous day. You obviously like doing it. How hard would it be for you to post some blank/open game threads (in advance) for when you know you will be out of town? It might help keep the site more active than the direction it has been trending.

    Alright … Enough of the admin Mumbo jumbo.

    Does anybody have thoughts in regard to the one opening that now exists on the Mariners 40 man roster? Is it obvious to anybody else that the slot is waiting there for an Ichiro acquisition?

    Obvious?

    Anybody?

    Kidding aside (although seeing the dude get number 3,000 in a Mariner uniform may prove that the universe can sometimes self-correct) I was thinking that the slot may be open for a Paul Fry or Rob Brantley call-up. Pure speculation on my part, but I was wondering if the 4 or 5 remaining, active USSM participants may have some thoughts on the matter. The only reason I think of Brantley is because Clevenger basically just stinks. He doesn’t get much PT so obviously has no rhythm or timing to fall back on, but his game seems quite malodorous IMO

  3. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2016 8:01 pm

    My goodness Cruz. What are you thinking? There’s no point in taking that risk to get to 3rd

  4. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 8:11 pm

    I didn’t realize there was an open slot on the 40 man.

  5. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 8:13 pm

    is Graveman normally a strikeout pitcher? because he sure as hell has the Mariners number.

  6. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 8:33 pm

    Seager saved some of Lind’s ass!!

  7. californiamariner on May 2nd, 2016 8:45 pm

    Whew that 6th inning from Karns looked good. Some of those swings from the hitters were just ugly. Much better than what we’re used to watching from a back of the rotation guy.

  8. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2016 8:47 pm

    Wieland was outrighted to AAA after clearing … So there are currently 39 players on the 40 man roster.

    Wieland who?

    Wieland why?

    Precisely the conclusion that JD reached.

  9. stevemotivateir on May 2nd, 2016 8:51 pm

    Anybody know what’s going on with minorleaguecentral? Used to be a great place for minorleague offensive stats, but they haven’t updated anything in a very long time.

    Anybody know what’s going on with Guti? Used to be a great corner outfielder way back in 2015, but we’ve barely seen him this year and haven’t had an update in a very long time.

  10. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 9:03 pm

    and that is exactly why Oakland is over .500…. the live and die by the multi RBI homeruns…. so lucky Aoki got that extra run.

  11. mrakbaseball on May 2nd, 2016 9:14 pm

    Gutierrez hasn’t appeared in a game since last Tuesday.

  12. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 9:22 pm

    What’s the over/under for CoCo Crisp doing something to help Oakland win this game like he usually does against Seattle? lol.

  13. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2016 9:42 pm

    I suspect Guti is just having one of his bad periods. Fortunately Smith has been a pretty darn good fill-in.

  14. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 9:43 pm

    Ugh! cmon with the non calls on strikes! that was a nice nice pitch!

  15. Notfromboise on May 2nd, 2016 9:43 pm

    Just got home from work, but was watching the game on the big screen.

    Karns did great getting through 6 innings on 75 pitches. Bummer about the homer in the 7th, but no reason for anyone in the dugout to think he was toast.. Well, Vogts double was definitely a death knell.. but still.

    I agree that Clevenger is dead weight, i had predicted that all pre-season too, and was part of the reason i was shocked to see us jettison Montero, since he was extra 1B/DH insurance as well as a spot catcher (barely, i know, but still!)..

  16. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2016 9:46 pm

    Ugh. These things happen, but still.

  17. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2016 9:52 pm

    YES!!

  18. Notfromboise on May 2nd, 2016 9:53 pm

    Great win tonight, good to see.

    To be where we are with such a terrible, terrible start to the season with the bat is truly a blessing. Hitting .231 on the year after 12 hits tonight. Yeesh…

    Now the real trick for Servais and Dipoto is to figure out who we are fishing with and who we need to cut bait on.

    Ianetta – 238? Aoki – 225? Leonys Martin – 169? Guti – 200? Lind – 229? Marte – 276? Seager -167? Sardinas – 182? Lee – 259?

    Outside of Marte’s recent uptick no one else has shown much sign that a reversal of fortune might be in the near future. But much like when a team fires a coach : You need to prove whomever is coming in to pick up the pieces is going to be a significant improvement to justify the shock to chemistry.

    Are we going to test spin someone from AAA? Are we going to look for early sellers to the market for trading partners? Or even early buyers – remember, someone like Wade Miley or James Paxton could bring back a significant asset, at the expense of our vaunted pitching depth…

    Decisions..

  19. Grayfox3d on May 2nd, 2016 9:55 pm

    thank you baby jesus! I am so glad we won that game, Oakland is such a damn thorn in the eye.

  20. stevemotivateir on May 2nd, 2016 10:01 pm

    When is Texas going to realize they’re supposed to lose when the Mariners win?

    Aholes.

  21. Westside guy on May 2nd, 2016 10:06 pm

    Come on, this is USS Mariner. You can’t look at bare batting average and judge players based on that. That’s certainly not what the new front office is doing.

    Ianetta, for instance. Sure he’s hitting .237… but that’s right about his career average, and his on-base percentage is .348 – well above average. His wRC+ currently sits at 110, well above average.

    And yes, Aoki’s on-base percentage is .302 – not great, but his BABIP is down at .248 right now as well. That’s unlikely to continue.

    There are certainly players not hitting very well. And there are certainly a few that probably won’t last the season – but I don’t think these two are likely in that group.

  22. msfanmike on May 2nd, 2016 10:18 pm

    ^ well stated, Westy.

    The most concerning offensive player (IMO) looking forward is Martin. Extremely high K rate which tends to stabilize relatively quickly. Good defensive player. Good wheels. They need someone who can produce on offense in that slot and I worry that he is not THAT guy.

    Aoki has been soooo consistently consistent in his career that his numbers will likely regress, but overall he is probably a 4th OF on a good team.

  23. MKT on May 2nd, 2016 10:27 pm

    Yes, that list of batting averages is silly. If you’re going to call out batters having a poor season based on batting average, then what about Cano at .237? Cano’s having a fine offensive season so far; batting averages are almost meaningless.

  24. djw on May 2nd, 2016 10:44 pm

    It would be absurd to reevaluate players based on a short-term sample for a stat like batting average, which takes a year or more to stabilize. There’s absolutely no reason to react to batting averages in a 25 game sample, unless maybe the underlying fundamentals reveal a serious problem.

  25. Notfromboise on May 3rd, 2016 12:57 am

    OK, this is like the 4th thread I’ve used batting average in as a baseline to show how a large group of players are doing.

    Each time everyone reminds me that batting average is a dead science, blah blah blah.

    Little background on me. BS in Economics, minor in Math.. I understand OPS and WAR and OBP and the like. I just wasn’t going to write out a couple dozen slash lines. I like to pretend that everyone who logs in here is going to see my post, and realize:

    “Oh, he’s just showing that most the team is hitting really poorly through the first sixth of the season”.

    Thats all I’m doing. While i appreciate the continual reminder that BA is a minor stat.. Well, actually i’m starting not to appreciate it. My attempt at brevity gets me a line of responses essentially insulting my intelligence..

    djw : a month is a small sample size. This team hasn’t demonstrated the ability to hit and/or score runs at anything resembling league average in half a decade. That enough of a sample?

    MKT : anyone not huffing paint knows Cano’s OPS is off the charts and he’s on pace to hit 50 hrs and drive in 140 runs. Again, a little common decency toward your fellow posters. Or here’s a grenade launcher for you to fully throttle that straw man.

    msfanmike : I worry about all our outfielders. Martin/Aoki/Smith/Guti are … all.. essentially 4th outfielders. Since we’re going long on this post, lets all hit up baseball reference and look up Condor (Mike Saunders) and laugh at how horrible his advanced metrics (even when healthy!) were. And we lamented his loss like Wille Mays was no longer patrolling our outfield. Because a resoundingly average Mike Saunders was just as good (if not better) than our parade of 4th outfielders that both followed him and came before him. And yeah, we gave Ibanez and Cruz gloves, but neither were truly outfielders.

    Westy : The team as a whole has 88 walks in 830ish at-bats. It’s been a good year for OBP. The problem is every 3rd person to reach base manages to score. I said ‘decisions’ because obviously i wanted to start a dialogue on who stays who goes. Ianetta is a good candidate to stay because his AAA replacement hit .174 last year and catchers who hit don’t come cheaply in trade. He’s got the longest rope in MLB thanks to Zunino’s 2015.

    Aoki jury is out on. Him and Martin bring a little speed and good bit of defense.

    I have less patience with guys over 30 because it isn’t their first April.

    And PS- for everyone getting the pitchforks because i brought up averages.. If anyone wants to go ahead and take that list i posted and show me advanced metrics where any of them are doing us any tangible favors in other areas. As djw stated, 25 games is a small sample size, so I don’t want to see defense zones and fielding percentage. :)

  26. djw on May 3rd, 2016 5:36 am

    I like to pretend that everyone who logs in here is going to see my post, and realize:
    “Oh, he’s just showing that most the team is hitting really poorly through the first sixth of the season”.
    Thats all I’m doing.

    If your point was the team has some bad BABIP luck to start the season, why on earth A) didn’t you say so, and B) tie the list of batting averages to a hypoethetical investigation of “who we are fishing with and who we need to cut bait on”? You directly, clearly implied the batting averages were useful to thinking about that question. They aren’t.

    a month is a small sample size. This team hasn’t demonstrated the ability to hit and/or score runs at anything resembling league average in half a decade. That enough of a sample?

    This doesn’t *mean* anything. Why one earth would other players’ recent performance, because they were wearing the same uniform and cashing paychecks from the same organization, make Aoki’s 85 plate appearances suddenly predictive for stats that take 500+ abs to stabilize? I can’t imagine what a good argument to that effect would look like.

    I have less patience with guys over 30 because it isn’t their first April.

    This doesn’t make any sense. Is your argument that small sample sizes for stats like batting average suddenly become predictive after you turn 30? Why? I’ve never seen any data, or heard a compelling theoretical account, for batting average (or any statistic) stabilizing at a lower number with greater age.

  27. Notfromboise on May 3rd, 2016 6:51 am

    “If your point was the team has some bad BABIP luck to start the season, why on earth A) didn’t you say so, and B) tie the list of batting averages to a hypothetical investigation of “who we are fishing with and who we need to cut bait on”? You directly, clearly implied the batting averages were useful to thinking about that question. They aren’t.”

    We’re 15 points behind league average in BA.. 30 points below in BABIP.. We lead the league in being hit by pitch, and are league average in OBP.
    We score 4.2 runs a game despite only having 4 hitters with significant playing time hitting over .240. It’s a bizarre team.

    “This doesn’t *mean* anything. Why one earth would other players’ recent performance, because they were wearing the same uniform and cashing paychecks from the same organization, make Aoki’s 85 plate appearances suddenly predictive for stats that take 500+ abs to stabilize? I can’t imagine what a good argument to that effect would look like.”

    It *does* mean something. It demonstrates we haven’t evaluated outfielders well at all. We haven’t lured productive outfielders to our team in the offseason. The outfielders we do lure don’t respond well to Safeco. I wasn’t joking about Condor, look it up.

    Our outfields have been so ugly we’ve flung multiple infielders *into* the outfield. I’m not going to sit here and tell you Brad Miller and Nick Franklin would have fared better sticking to the middle infield, I’m merely stating the obvious that a lot of mariner fans overlook: Our outfields have been so bad we have willingly taken middle infielders with limited pop and had both the space and playing time to give them meaningful outfield reps. Thats… bad.

    “This doesn’t make any sense. Is your argument that small sample sizes for stats like batting average suddenly become predictive after you turn 30? Why? I’ve never seen any data, or heard a compelling theoretical account, for batting average (or any statistic) stabilizing at a lower number with greater age.”
    Just a fact of life. A lot of these signings are for 32-33ish year old guys. They aren’t going to have high benchmarks for speed, defense, power, etc. Improvement is tougher. ceilings are lower. Someone like Zunino or Chris Taylor improving on contact vs. curveballs and changeups could radically alter their success level.. for years to come. Not holding my breath on that happening…

    But at the same rate, Adam Lind has walked twice this year, and hit .229 with a homer and 4 ribbies in 70plus at bats. That seems very Trumbo-like.. and then you look up Trumbo and realize Trumbo’s slash this year is .330/.376/.553 with 19 RBIs. And I only know that cuz I wanted to check out Trumbo’s age.. He’s 30.

    Now I’m not saying I want Trumbo back. We both know small sample size is having a field day there. And we tossed in CJ Riefenhouseglockenspiel to dump Trumbo, insult to injury. My main point is fellows like Aoki and Guti are on the wrong side of 30, and they won’t be Mariners anyways in a year or two. Clock is ticking on them, because the O’Malleys and Romeros and Pedersons of the world *will* be under team control in a couple of years.

  28. Mid80sRighty on May 3rd, 2016 7:50 am

    Each time everyone reminds me that batting average is a dead science, blah blah blah.

    Why do you continue doing it if you know you’re going to get slapped? If you like using BA, that’s fine, but you’ll have to do it somewhere else. This is a SABERMETRICS blog, originally intended to further our understanding of the game through intelligent conversation. Not rehash absurdities because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

    Above all else, keep this statement from the USSM Orientation link in mind:
    The burden of proof is on the person who makes the assertion, and the wilder your assertion, the better your evidence should be.

  29. msfanmike on May 3rd, 2016 8:10 am

    “… I understand OPS and WAR and OBP and the like. I just wasn’t going to write out a couple dozen slash lines. I like to pretend that everyone who logs in here is going to see my post, and realize: …”

    wOBA or WRC+ would have delivered your point without having to write out a couple dozen slash lines, wouldn’t you agree? It’s just as simple to list one of them as it is to list out batting averages and it may have spurred on some other type of subsequent dialogue, especially on a sabermetric site. Yes, it is true that pretty much all day any day there will be someone ready to wave the “small sample size flag” (at anyone) with passion … but in this case it looks like you invited it, and then compounded the “piling on” with your defense of the invitation you essentially initiated.

    IMO

    And I do agree with you that it is a team with an arguably high percentage of “4th” outfielders.

  30. stevemotivateir on May 3rd, 2016 8:19 am

    Okay, so now that we’ve covered batting averages, let’s move on to the next culprit: ERA.

  31. Mid80sRighty on May 3rd, 2016 8:31 am

    And I do agree with you that it is a team with an arguably high percentage of “4th” outfielders

    Who didn’t think this going in? I can’t remember a single instance where anyone thought this M’s team were going to be world beaters.

    And they just didn’t have the resources this winter to get those kinds of players. This was simply a case of putting together the best possible team with the resources they had available. As well as trying to build some depth when the inevitable injuries happen (a concept Jack Z never got).

  32. Mid80sRighty on May 3rd, 2016 8:36 am

    Don’t get me started Steve! haha. I’ll just post the link. Read it, know it, live it

    Evaluating Pitcher Talent

  33. stevemotivateir on May 3rd, 2016 8:44 am

    This was simply a case of putting together the best possible team with the resources they had available. As well as trying to build some depth when the inevitable injuries happen (a concept Jack Z never got).

    Totally agree.

  34. Westside guy on May 3rd, 2016 8:54 am

    Hey, it’s only May – but the team is doing well enough that we still all care enough to argue about this sort of thing rather than who to blame for yet another already-lost season. I am looking forward to having these same arguments in August and September for once.

  35. Mid80sRighty on May 3rd, 2016 9:04 am

    Here, here, Westy.

    One player I noticed that is troubling is Ketel Marte. .338 BABIP and 79 wRC+. So, this is what he looks like when he’s getting lucky?

  36. msfanmike on May 3rd, 2016 9:33 am

    ERA is clearly a superior metric for evaluating pitchers, especially relievers. That’s really what the next article should be about.

    Steve: Do you still live in Brazil or have you made it back to the US?

  37. djw on May 3rd, 2016 9:38 am

    It *does* mean something. It demonstrates we haven’t evaluated outfielders well at all.

    1. Aoki was signed by a different GM who brought in much of his own staff. There is no meaningful “we” here.

    2. Even if we assume the organization has some sort of permanent irreversible deficiency at evaluating outfielders, that doesn’t suddenly make batting average over >100 plate appearances meaningful.

    Just a fact of life. A lot of these signings are for 32-33ish year old guys. They aren’t going to have high benchmarks for speed, defense, power, etc. Improvement is tougher. ceilings are lower.

    To state the obvious, no one is questioning the banality that post-30 most players enter a decline phase. Your claim was that very small sample sizes become more predictive after the age of 30. That’s the kind of claim that requires some evidence or at least logic, which you have not provided.

  38. eponymous coward on May 3rd, 2016 11:39 am

    Are we going to test spin someone from AAA? Are we going to look for early sellers to the market for trading partners? Or even early buyers – remember, someone like Wade Miley or James Paxton could bring back a significant asset, at the expense of our vaunted pitching depth…

    Robbing Peter Pitchers to pay Paul Outfielders doesn’t strike me as all that amazing an idea. Iawkuma is not resembling anything like a lock to stay healthy all year, so having Paxton in AAA threatening to come on the team in the event of ineffectiveness or injury sounds like a great idea to me. The team as constructed looks like they’re about where they should be- the OFers are kinda “meh”, pitching is deep, they’re on the edge of contention in a fairly even AL. Why is it time to panic and pull the alarm bells?

  39. Westside guy on May 3rd, 2016 11:42 am

    Mid80s – while it’s early, I’ve also been wondering about Marte. I’m still hopeful, but if his numbers stay down it’ll be interesting to see if Dipoto decides to give Chris Taylor another chance.

    Admittedly Taylor hasn’t done anything to earn our confidence in his past trips up to the big club. However he’s a guy I’d like to see get at least one more chance – with the new regime and a different organizational philosophy (no longer “grip it and rip it”), perhaps he might blossom.

    Speaking of additional chances… so far our snake-bitten former right fielder is having himself a darn good (partially BABIP-driven) 2016 over in Toronto.

  40. MKT on May 3rd, 2016 1:59 pm

    “Again, a little common decency toward your fellow posters. Or here’s a grenade launcher for you to fully throttle that straw man.”

    Yes, please a little common decency toward us posters: stop basing your arguments on batting averages.

    Because it’s not a straw man; it’s your only man. You’re trying to argue that the Ms are off to (in your exact words) “such a terrible, terrible start to the season with the bat” and you call out specific players as exemplars of this terrible terrible start. And your sole piece of evidence that these are the players off to terrible starts? Their batting averages.

    And you cite Marte at .276, and ignore Cano at .237. A bunch of near meaningless numbers, used inconsistently. You might as well recite their birthdays.

    As of today, the Mariners are 6th in the AL in OPS according to FanGraphs; 5th in wOBA; and 4th in wRC+.

    That’s some “terrible terrible start”. Your man is indeed made out of straw; he’s made using batting averages which has misled you about the M’s offense so far this season.

    And that’s why we don’t use batting average.

    (None of this is to deny that some of the players are indeed off to bad starts to this season, but we can’t identify which ones are which using batting average.)

  41. msfanmike on May 3rd, 2016 2:15 pm

    ” … A bunch of near meaningless numbers, used inconsistently. You might as well recite their birthdays.”

    I like it … I like it a lot.

    Well done!

  42. Mid80sRighty on May 3rd, 2016 3:37 pm

    Well, hopefully, Notfromboise (and others) gets it now.

    And I hope nothing I said has deterred you from posting comments. We just want more intelligent conversation. I got crushed by Dave a couple of times back in the day, which made me reevaluate the content of my comments…and I think I’m better off for it.

    Once heard Adam Carolla say this: “You can be shamed and say I better get my shit together or you can be shamed and say I’m going to tear that guy’s shit down.” Be the former.

  43. stevemotivateir on May 3rd, 2016 4:06 pm

    ^So, moving on to RBI’s….

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