Game 137, Athletics at Mariners – Why Don’t they make the Entire SEASON Out of A’s Games?

marc w · September 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Andrew Albers vs. Daniel Gossett, 1:10pm

By all accounts, yesterday’s Lookout Landing Night was a success, and I hear Jerry Dipoto was a gracious and funny panelist. Nathan Bishop was on the panel, and said that this was his big takeaway from the night: “this FO’s plan was absolutely built on a pre-flyball revolution model, and they’re still scrambling because of it.” That explains a lot, and it’s something we’ve talked a lot about on the blog – the fact that Safeco became a much, much more HR-friendly ballpark and then the entire league context changed as well. I completely understand being blindsided by the late-2015 dinger explosion, or the 2016 Gotterdingerung, when Safeco saw the most HRs of any park in baseball. It’s slightly *less* understandable to be taken aback by all the homers your pitching staff gives up in 2017, when the team’s response to 2016 was to attempt to become even more fly ball oriented. You understand it from a BABIP point of view, and getting Jarrod Dyson was key to that. But it’s also hard to claim to be surprised stocking up on low-strikeout, high-fly-ball pitchers would lead to a bunch of HRs flying out of Safeco field. We all witnessed 2016; what’s happened this year didn’t come out of nowhere.

I understand that low-HR, high-K pitchers are universally valued and may cost more in talent and dollars than the M’s want to spend, but as Bishop says, they’re not exorbitant if you develop them yourself. Further, I think the most important thing in the forensic analysis of 2017 isn’t fighting over how much bad luck the M’s had (the Angels and Mets had it much worse). Instead, it’s figuring out why the pitchers the M’s targeted or developed haven’t fared as well as their projections would’ve predicted. Why was Gallardo bad? What happened to Andrew Moore? Or Marco Gonzales (last night’s long relief gem excepted)? Why have Paul Blackburn and a host of the prospects the M’s traded away flourished? Whether the M’s shift their pitching strategy or not in light of the HR revolution is irrelevant if they still have trouble implementing it.

Daniel Gossett’s a low-K, high-HR-allowed pitcher with excellent control coming through the A’s system, but who’s been beaten to a pulp by the American League. If this sounds like Dillon Overton, I completely agree. The A’s had a ton of these guys in the past few years, from Overton to Daniel Mengden to Chris Smith. They’ve all faceplanted in MLB after varying degrees of success in the PCL (Mengden in particular was great for Nashville, but he’s been the worst in MLB). I guess it’s nice to see that this phenomenon isn’t limited to Mariners prospects.

1: Segura, SS
2: Alonso, 1B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Haniger, RF
7: Gamel, LF
8: Heredia, CF
9: Ruiz, C
SP: Albers


3 Responses to “Game 137, Athletics at Mariners – Why Don’t they make the Entire SEASON Out of A’s Games?”

  1. Sportszilla on September 3rd, 2017 1:37 pm

    One of the reasons I don’t envy Dipoto (or most other GMs) is that I’m unsure how you deal with the modern home run environment. Given that it seems to be more driven by changes in the ball than anything else, and thus subject to reverting back to 2014-first half 2015 levels at almost any time, do you assume that the current state of the game will hold for a long period of time or not?

    Given that MLB was publicly denying that the ball had changed heading into this season, I wonder if the M’s (and other teams perhaps) expected a return to the previous ball (or maybe something more in the middle), which would explain some of the pitcher acquisition strategy. That’s not to say that they SHOULD have made that assumption, or that the guys they targeted would be good in the previous environment, but it would at least make some sense.

    This offseason will be fascinating around the league, since there will be plenty of hitters who are having great years that might well struggle if the ball does change back. I have my doubts that MLB wants to go back to the low-run environment of 2013/2014, especially since Ks have only risen since, but it’s certainly POSSIBLE that could happen.

    Like I said, you could argue that Dipoto and Co. should have taken the state of play in 2016 as the baseline going forward, but that’s an easier statement to make in hindsight. If anything, you might question their willingness to give up on guys who seemed slightly power-deficient hitters (*Chris Taylor*) given that the current landscape makes those players far more valuable than they were even two years ago. Again though, that’s an easier claim to make after the fact.

  2. stevemotivateir on September 3rd, 2017 3:51 pm

    I would have loved to have picked Jerry’s brain the other night, but the 11,000 km distance was a bit much.

    I’m curious to hear more about their plan for Vieira and how they might approach the International Draft next year. They need to acquire another 2.25(?) to match Boston and NY in the potential Otani sweepstakes.

    And with that out of the way, I must say that we’ve seen great performances from Albers, Cano, and Haniger today, despite the base-running gaffe.

  3. mksh21 on September 4th, 2017 11:17 am

    Man what a crappy time to play the Astros… At least Yankees Orioles will be beating up on each other… If we can mange to win a couple will gain on somebody.

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