Game 95, Mariners at Rockies

marc w · July 13, 2018 at 5:14 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Christian Bergman vs. Antonio Senzatela, 5:40pm

The M’s close out a wildly successful first half with a three-game set in Denver. With the All-Star break looming, the M’s decided to put James Paxton on the 10-day DL, figuring he’ll only miss one start or just have it delayed slightly. If the back spasms that knocked him out of last night’s game are as minor as the M’s have intimated, then this is a great way to give him a bit of extra rest. It also allows the M’s to bring in another starter, so they’ve gone back to AAA to pick up Christian Bergman, the guy who began his MLB career as a Colorado Rockie.

Bergman made one start for the M’s this year, and he made it a memorable one. On May 16th, he two-hit the Rangers over 7 scoreless innings, striking out 5 and walking none. It recalled his two best performances last year – a seven-inning, 0 run gem in Fenway Park, and 7 1/3 shutout innings against Oakland that saw him strike out 9 A’s. Bergman *does* this every once in a while, and it’s pretty cool to see a guy with a high-80s sinking fastball keep big leaguers off balance. The problem is that he can’t sustain it. The problem is that when he’s not shutting down a big league line-up, he’s…uh…vulnerable:

Is this just down to the subtle-but-vital differences between MLB and AAA? Can he cut a John Wasdin-style swath through the PCL, but still struggle in the bigs? Eh, no. His problem isn’t command, and, refreshingly in 2018, isn’t home run troubles. Rather, Christian Bergman gives up too many hits. In the minors, batters are hitting .296 off of him, pretty close to the .307 they’ve hit off of him in the big leagues. His HR rate is far, far higher in the big leagues, but that’s probably to be expected. While the PCL has a mostly-deserved reputation as a dinger-paradise, with plenty of parks at altitude, it sees fewer HRs per game than MLB. The real difference between the PCL and MLB isn’t dingers at all – it’s base hits.

This season, the PCL, as a whole, is batting .270. MLB is batting .247. While MLB sees a HR in 2.99% of plate appearances, the PCL’s down at 2.53%. Sure, sure, but batting average is way down in MLB. In the past 10 years, MLB’s overall batting average has generally been in the mid .250s, dropping from the low .260s in 2008-09 as strikeouts continued to rise. The PCL has only dropped *under* .270 once, and had a peak of .286 in 2011. It’s been a while, but team averages north of .300 weren’t unheard of, and Las Vegas still gets above .290 with some regularity. For a variety of reasons, the PCL just sees tons of base hits, and a lower K rate is only part of it. The K% in the PCL this year is over 21% – lower than MLB’s, but on par with MLB in 2016. MLB has, in general, better fielders, more power, and smaller ballpark dimensions, and that makes the PCL game noticeably different. It also makes you understand how a pitch-to-contact guy like Bergman can get singled to death in the PCL and come up to the bigs and alternate between great results when freakishly talented defenders and solid positioning turn balls in play into outs, and also get dingered to death when his command isn’t perfect. All to say: I think limiting hits is a really interesting metric in the minors, as a low HR rate may be easier to get through luck. The same’s true in reverse: a batter with a solid batting average may be decent, or he may be the 8th-best hitter on Las Vegas. Power production and plate discipline are probably better correlated with MLB success.

SP: Bergman

Ljay Newsome and two relievers combined on a 3 hit shutout against Visalia. Eric Filia had two more hits for Modesto. Newsome’s been hit hard at times, but possesses an 85:8 K:BB ratio for the Nuts. Someone wants another invite to MLB spring training next year.
Tacoma beat Fresno 4-3, Clinton got demolished 10-1, Everett lost 3-1, and Arkansas edged Springfield 6-5.

Some prospect season lines of note:
Kyle Lewis: .266/.310/.441 (high A)
Evan White: .288/.348/.412 (high A/AAA)
Julio Rodriguez: .336/.424/.507 (DSL)
Josh Stowers: .255/.364/.455 (SS A)
Braden Bishop: .286/.359/.417 (AA)
Joe Rizzo: .270/.341/.359 (high A)
Art Warren: 15 2/3 IP, 10 H, 22 Ks, 14 BBs, 1.72 ERA (AA) (on DL)
Seth Elledge: 33 1/3 IP, 15 H, 46 K, 12 BBs, 0.81 ERA (high A)
Matt Festa: 31 2/3 IP, 37 H, 44 Ks, 7 BB, 3.13 ERA (AA)
Max Povse: 92 1/3 IP, 97 H, 103 Ks, 44 BBs, 5.65 ERA (AA/AAA)
Wyatt Mills: 36 1/3 IP, 27 H, 41 Ks, 8 BBs, 2.23 ERA (high A)


2 Responses to “Game 95, Mariners at Rockies”

  1. Grayfox3d on July 13th, 2018 8:03 pm

    nice! back to back games of getting their asses handed to them. Way to put up a fight!

  2. Grayfox3d on July 13th, 2018 8:33 pm

    I wrote that when it was 10-3 not 10-7 but still 10 runs! cmon!

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