Jake the Efficient

What to say about Wednesday night’s win (box score)… Huge? Yeah, a little. Fun? You bet.

Jake Peavy struck out just one batter over seven solid innings en route to his 19th win. First time since August 2003 he’s registered fewer than two strikeouts in a game.

Matt and Mud speculated that maybe Peavy had purposely changed his approach to save some bullets for Sunday in Milwaukee if needed. In the post-game interview, Peavy confirmed as much.

Bob Scanlan in the wrap-up show wondered why Peavy worked the seventh with a seven-run lead. He’d thrown 81 pitches through six, and getting him out of there might have made sense if Bud Black was thinking of using him again on short rest.

Then again, with four coming up in Milwaukee, Black probably needs as many fresh arms out of the bullpen as he can get. It is kind of nice to make it through a game burning only Justin Hampson and Wil Ledezma.

On offense, every starter had at least one hit. Kevin Kouzmanoff continues to be ridiculous. With two more knocks, his batting average now stands at .280 and his OPS at 802. Since the All-Star break he’s batting .333/.386/.548.

Meanwhile, Josh Bard is quietly putting together another solid season. Among NL catchers with at least 400 plate appearances, only Russell Martin has an OBP higher than Bard’s .367.

Bard is outperforming bigger name brands such as Ivan Rodriguez and ex-Padre Ramon Hernandez (who is due a minimum of $16.5 million over the next three years). Yeah, it’d be nice if Bard could nab the occasional base stealer, but if you’ve watched anyone other than Brett Tomko try to hold runners at first, you know that’s not going to happen.

Khalil Greene? He’s healthy and putting up the numbers we figured he would one of these years (I thought it would be ’06). Yeah, the OBP stinks; still, I’ll take 71 extra-base hits from a shortstop any day.

There’s more to tell, but I have to stop somewhere. Always more to tell. That’s why we keep watching, eh?

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246 Responses »

  1. 200 … the dude’s 2-for-4 … and he’s from San Diego … do you hate USC that much? Wait, I do! Jacque Jones sucks!

  2. 191: What exactly are his shortcomings defensively? The knock of “he doesn’t make the routine plays” seems to have dissipated over the past year and a half. He has tremendous range up the middle, and he has no problems ranging to his right either. His arm is deceptively strong, and he often turns tough double plays.

    I can’t argue about his OBP, but I don’t think that alone is a reason to ship him off. He does make a lot of outs, but he’s got the second most sac flys this year in the NL (11, tied with Dan Uggla, behind only Carlos Lee at 13). He has a ton of xBH as most people have identified and his road stats are quite impressive.

    I guess it’s all about what you value from a player. I think that KG is an integral part of our offense and our success this year. I don’t think that’s easily replacable.

  3. Glad to see the trade or do not trade KG debate is still the great wedge issue on this board.

  4. Anyone know how long Mark Prior is signed for? Is he the kind of guy you off a minor league contract as a wild card? if he could be 85-90% the pitcher he was it may not be a bad idea. Kind of a stupid idea i had floating in my head because I saw Kerry Wood its pitching for the cubs again. My dad was from from Chicago so I grew up a Cub fan as well and it made me happy to see him on the hill again.

  5. 200: His .320 wOBA agrees.

  6. 203: Trade him if it makes the team better. Don’t if it doesn’t. What wedge? I think the debate is about how good Greene is.

  7. He struck out with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the Cubs’ 7th, but you probably knew that already (hence, getting my reference)

  8. 202: My guess would be that we get so used to seeing KG make that play up the middle, that the times where he dogs it or doesnt look like he puts the effort into it make it seem like he isnt making the routine play (for him). Maybe its just me but that situation seems to always happen in a key situation in the game.

  9. My favorite part about Khalil has more to do with his positioning than his range. He has that great defender instinct about where balls are going to go, and he’s in the right place more often than not, and has the range to fix it when he isn’t.

    If you combine his defense with his park-adjusted offense, Khalil is probably in the top third–if not top 25%–of shortstops in the league.

  10. I guess my last point on the whole Bay thing…if this year was only caused by injuries(which according to everyone is possible) then look at the 3 previous years where he posted an OPS+ of 140.

    Add that kind of hitter to AGon(OPS+ 120), Kouz(OPS+ 111 this year including April) and you have probably the best 3-4-5 hitters in the history of the franchise.

    Yes it is a risk and it takes some stomach to deal away a popular guy, especially one who is going to hit 30+ HR in another ballpark, but KG is considered a good offensive player not because he is(he is average) but because of his counting catagories like HR and RBI.

    I don’t want to deal KG just to deal him, but if you can bring back a cornerstone bat who is signed for the same length of time I think you have to pull the trigger and worry about finding a SS later.

  11. We’re getting into Dodger Thoughts territory.

    (Well, not quite.)

  12. #208. I don’t believe KG dogs it. I think he is pretty confident in what he can get to and what he can’t. (Whether that’s a big enough range is part of the debate.) I don’t think he expends energy on what he believes in unreachable for him. I’d rather see that than Byrnes diving for balls that he has no chance of catching.

  13. 209: I wish we didnt have to “park adjust” his offense. His splits are just awful. i dont know if he changes his approach at petco or if he is just intimidated, but if you hit line drives in the gaps and down the lines in other parks you can do it at petco. Getting his home numbers up alone would raise his OBP to a respectable level.

  14. 190: He was an 882 OPS minor leaguer in some rough home parks and/or leagues. He was old, but coming out of Gonzaga doesn’t prep you for the pro game the same way the PAC-10 or SEC would. But I agree that this down year, and relative depth at LF, makes him a less attractivetrade target.

    192: Let me be clear. I’m not saying they WILL move Kouz to LF. I’m saying they SHOULD. Even if they decide to sacrifice defense at two positions by moving Headley, they’ve got some choices in LF.

    204: Prior’s a great target at the right cost, and you’d think coming back to SD in Petco would be appealing to him. Maybe you have to do something creative with him, like making him a Sunday starter. And maybe he just never gets it back. But a good risk.

  15. Prior is arbitration eligible but it is likely the Cubs will DFA him so they don’t have to pay him the 3.5M he is going to make.

    He’s a great choice for the #5 slot for a number of reasons:

    -we can plug in Germano when he’s hurt
    -he has #2 starter potential if healthy
    -he’s from San Diego
    -we have a pitchers ballpark which would seem to be a good place to spend a year if you were looking for a big pay day.

    A lot of those same ideas make me think Jason Jennings may be a Padre next season.

  16. 208 and 212. Or, well, everyone.

    Revised Zone Rating, SS. That’s the list for this year’s qualifying shortstops in RZR, which eliminates plays out of the zone, unlike normal ZR. Greene ranks 6th in the majors defensively; add that to his slightly above-average bat, and you have yourself a fine shortstop.

  17. 212: Its very different in the OF than the IF. If you dive for a stupid ball in the OF its extra bases in the IF its a potential out. I think sometimes he dogs it and lets up on balls he could had gotten to. Its not expending energy if its in the key situation of the game. Thats my opinion from watching him since he came up, obviously there is no data to back that up.

  18. #179: Marc, thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts on the situation. Much appreciated! Whatever Bay’s future might hold, it doesn’t seem to me that acquiring him should be a priority.

    #204: This idea I like. These are the types of players we need to identify.

    #209: Totally agreed about Khalil’s defensive instincts. Even without the spectacular plays, he and Adrian are just a pleasure to watch in the field.

  19. re 216: How is KG an above average bat? Every stat I’ve seen quoted shows him exactly average or slightly below.

    Considering DePodesta is now part of this front office, I can almost guarantee you the Padres don’t think of KG as an above average bat. You know the whole thing in Moneyball that OBP is worth 3 times as much as SLG….that doesn’t help Greene’s case.

  20. 219: Adjusted for players who can handle short, I expect KG is above-average. But that’s just off the top of my head. There are some serious offensive players at short these days.

  21. 202: Perhaps that is not the right word or the right way to phrase it. But what I’m getting at is that many people saw his flashy play early on, which was and is admittedly spectacular, and assume/d his range and other defensive skills are greater than they are. He’s a very good defender, but he’s just not as good as many seem to think.

  22. 217: He’s the sixth best fielding shorstop in the majors this year. Why complain about his fielding?

  23. 219: The OBP thing with DePo and Beane is very overblown due to Moneyball. Guys who get on base are very important, but if you can do other things–defend, hit for power–then it’s acceptable to have a lower OBP. The bigger concern with a low OBP is to have your value wrapped up in batting average and not bring anything else to the table.

    You wouldn’t want to fill your team with low OBP hitters, but if you have one who does other things well, you can get away with it. Khalil’s low OBP doesn’t make him a poor player, it just makes him less good than he could be otherwise.

    Fun fact: Khalil’s VORP this season is the 26th best for a player with a sub-.300 OBP in history, and it puts him at or above the league average VORP at shortstop.

  24. Hm, let me clear something up quick. I mean the media and fan reaction to OBP has been overblown due to Moneyball, not DePo and Beane’s feelings towards it.

  25. I don’t doubt that, but let’s be real here saying KG has the 26th best VORP season by a player with an OBP under .300 is kind of like saying the 4th prettiest brides maid in the wedding slipped her hotel room key to you at the reception….you know it might not be the worst situation but it is hardly anything you’d want to put on myspace.

    Also this Padres team isn’t in position to settle for any OBP give aways considering their home ballpark and payroll constraints.

    I don’t have a problem with KG when he’s making 3M, but he is going to get about 5M next season and 8M the year after and then he’s a FA. Do we really want to be paying him 10M a year after that?

  26. 225: You don’t have to pay him when he leaves. He’ll be on the wrong side of 30. Until then though, he’s fine to have as a shortstop, metaphors about bridesmaids aside.

    And as I said before, it isn’t like Khalil doesn’t bring anything else to the table. With the park the way it is, defense is huge, and Khalil brings that in spades.

  27. Ok here’s a more real question for you, would you deal KG for Adam Jones?

  28. 220: I took a look at the 14 top SS by 2007 OPS, raw OPS, since Khalil is 14th this year. Then I looked at their VORP numbers going back as far as 1999. When you look ar VORP he is definitely at the bottom of that pack, pretty comparable to J. J. Hardy, better than Jack Wilson, but not by as much as you might think, similar to Peralta, and well behind most of the other such as Jeter, Tejada, Renteria, Ramirez, Reyes, Rollins, Guillen, and Young. Of course there are many below him I’m sure. So average to slightly above average for a SS is probably not out of line.

  29. 228: Why wouldn’t you use OPS+? Does that hurt the argument?

  30. 227: Not me, because of his K/BB rate. I guess you’re probably getting Khalil as a fast CF before his salary escalates, with a better OBP if Jones can hit .300. If he can’t hit 300 you’ve shifted a similar offensive player to CF and saved some money, but it doesn’t seem like a big step forward.

    I don’t follow Seattle, are they looking to upgrade Betancourt?

    228: His VORP will be heavily affected by playing time (broken fingers). That’s legitimate, but a healthy Greene would have higher VORPs without playing any better.

  31. 227: That’s a tough question, as Jones is supposed to turn out to be a fine ballplayer, and would probably adjust to the majors quicker if he were in the National League rather than the AL. You’d have to get an appropriate replacement at shortstop though, and to get a little Utilitarian on everyone, you’d have to make sure the combination of Jones + replacement SS was superior to say, re-upped Cameron on a short-term money deal + KG.

    It’s a more solid idea, but you need to weigh your options. The reason it would work for the Pads is due to the Rockies and Diamondbacks young organizations. The Padres find subtle ways to improve their ballclub, but when the core of this team is aging they need to hope their farm system is up to speed if they want to catch those two clubs. A player like Jones could help that along. I would be more willing to move him for someone like Jones, but I also don’t see that happening.

  32. 210: Worry about finding SS later? That’s the craziest thing to read yet. With the way the Padres are constructed, having a SS that can field very well is a must. Pitching and defense have been the philosophy of the organization. Having a cornerstone bat (which I don’t consider Bay to be) is less important than having dependable defenders which Khalil is one. Case in point, the Padres ’07. Khalil is more valuable to this team than a Bay can be at this point.

    217: Are you sure he dogs it? I don’t see Khalil to be the type. He seems pretty smart at deciding which balls he can get or which he should let go. I don’t know this but it doesn’t look it to me.

  33. 232: Gold star for you! To avoid confusion, I’m being serious.

  34. 232: Agreed. I’m not sure Khalil knows how to dog it. He’s always said, when questioned about his arm, that he only throws as hard as he needs to in order to make the play. As long as he makes the play, why show off the gun? I think he takes the same approach to fielding. He does as much as he needs to in order to make the play. But that said, 98 percent of the time, he makes the play.

  35. 227: Straight up? No way. I don’t like his peripherals so far.

    231: Good math on the trade possibility. Why do you think that Jones will be able to adjust to ML quicker in the NL?

  36. You know there are other ss that can play adequate defense, I’d even be willing to bet a few of them wouldn’t lead the league in outs.

    My view:
    -Cameron is gone.
    -Jones is going to be a perennial all star. 21 year olds with a .968 OPS don’t grow on trees, especially when they reportedly play gold glove caliber defense and have less then a year of service time.

    -KG is still an injury risk and he is what he is. He becomes less valuable as he makes more money.

    -If you trade for Jones you’d be able to move Kouz to LF and give 3B to Headley without killing the defense….on top of that you’d have Cameron’s salary and KG’s to go and get a SS….or trade Headley for one and spend the money on a 3B/LF and put Kouz in the other place

  37. 232/234: Dogs it may have been a bit harsh, but he definitely gives up on balls that he could potentially get to in my opinion. Maybe he doesnt make the out, but the guy on second doesnt score because he kept it in the infield. Some times he gives up and runs to his back up spot to early in my opinion. I am not as jaded by Khalil as alot of fans are, but its easy to see how he could with the dazzling plays he can make.

  38. To steal a post from another board…looking ahead to 2008 they have about 50M committed for:

    -3 SP
    -a good pen
    -5 starting position players

    They are going to need a 4th starter, CF, LF and 2B with about 15-20M to do it with.

    There are going to be deals and people aren’t going to like them.

  39. It’s somewhat hard to believe how monumental this potential choke would be….Mets down again 2-0 to sputtering Cards team. two spots open when the music stops…could the Mets be out of the postseason ? I follow the Mets like a hawk now, I have a feeling that their collapse means a Padres berth.

  40. 236: Sow he only plays adequate defense? I love how insiduous those adjective can be.

    I still don’t get that Khalil is an injury risk. He had FLUKEY injuries. That doesn’t constitute an injury risk. It’s not like he doesn’t take care of his body.

    Where are you finding your .968 OPS? According to MLB.com, his MLB OPS is way lower. But I guess killer MiLB number far outweigh anything a great defensive player has done at the ML level.

  41. Ok…ok…ok I get it.

    If KG gets traded or leaves via FA Petco Park might be in trouble


    Enjoy the game and here is to KG actually mixing in a BB every once in a while!

  42. 240: He is an injury risk. I dont think its a fluke if it happens multiple times.

  43. To sum up my thoughts:

    Khalil’s a good, not a great, defensive player.
    He’s a good enough hitter for a shortstop.
    We can find shortstops with similar offensive value, but they’ll probably do it with OBP instead of pop.
    He’s not an injury risk. Baseballs traveling at major league velocities break bones.
    Adam Jones is an intriguing, dangerous acquisition who’s probably not available anyway.

  44. 243: He’s the sixth best in the Majors this year. That’s pretty damn good. The Adam Jones discussion is pointless because a) he’s probably not available and b) they already have a shorstop in Seattle.

  45. 244: Last year he was 10th in RZR. In 2005 he was 20th. You have to go back to 2004 to find him as highly ranked as he is this year. Much like I have a hard time relegating Bay to the fluke ranks when he’s had 1 bad major league year out of 4, I find it difficult to call Greene a great defensive player when he breaks down to 50% great, 25% okay, and 25% poor.

  46. 229: I used VORP because it’s a more complete offensive metric than OPS+. I think if you looked at it in terms of just OPS+ it would probably be similar since Khalil is just average for OPS+, but I don’t know. Why don’t you look it up and see?

    230: True, playing time does impact VORP, but since he has been so consistently fragile, it seems worth considering when comparing him to other SS, no?