I’ve been meaning to thank everyone for submitting such great links for these every week. Not to sound all “big league” or whatever, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep track of the conversations taking place out there in the ether. So to those of you who drop links (or any comments, really) into the daily discussion, I offer a hearty thanks.
Now that I’ve kissed your collective backside, I’m going to hit you up for more money. One project I’ve been working on this winter is the Hardball Times Season Preview 2008, and it’s almost here. Why do you care? Read these three articles and decide for yourself. . I contributed the chapter on the Padres (duh), and in my very biased opinion, the book rocks. You can buy it at all the usual outlets, but if you get it directly from the publisher (link above and also at end), THT gets a higher cut, which is a good thing for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, we’ve got links. Lots of ‘em:
- Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports indicates that the Padres will be patient with Mark Prior, who could be ready to go by mid- to late-May (hat tip to Ben B. in the comments).
- Tim Brown at Yahoo! previews the NL West (hat tip to Didi in the comments). I find the “analysis” of the Padres a bit lacking. Yes, it’s a short piece, but some depth of thought would be nice:
They lost seven of their last 11 games, including the play-in game in Colorado. In fact, four of the seven losses were to the Rockies. And yet, Bud Black finished fifth in the Manager of the Year voting and GM Kevin Towers got a contract extension. Half the payroll, half the aggravation.
Wow, keen insight there.
- Chris Dial at Baseball Think Factory recognizes the worst fielders, and our friend Josh Bard makes the list (hat tip to Matthew Thompson in the comments). Two quick points in defense of Bard:
- Stolen bases allowed represents one facet of a catcher’s defense. In Bard’s case, that facet is distorted by the presence of Greg Maddux and Chris Young, who simply don’t hold runners.
- As a parting shot, Dial says, “If you can’t catch, at least hit, gentlemen!” I’m assuming that wasn’t directed at Bard, who ranked fifth in OPS+ among big-league catchers with 400 or more plate appearances (and second behind only the Dodgers’ Russell Martin in the NL) last year.
- The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that Becky Moores has filed for divorce after 44 years of marriage to Padres owner John Moores (hat tip to Phantom in the comments). Very sad.
- Corey Brock at Padres.com profiles the bullpen. Nobody’s talking about it much, but I love the depth the Padres have added over the winter.
- If you want to get in on some cheap baseball at Petco Park, watch five high school games on April 11 and 12 (San Diego Union-Tribune); admission is $5 per day. Nice.
- The guys at MadFriars do a Q&A with BaseballHQ’s Deric McKamey, who offers, among other things, his take on two of the highest-ceiling kids in the organization, Mat Latos and Kyle Blanks:
I project Latos as a #2 starter. His 89-96 MPH fastball is very overpowering and has two comps (curveball and changeup) that rate as average, so I see no reason why he needs to be thought of as a reliever. His comps arenâ€™t always consistent, as he tends to choke his curveball, and like most young pitchers, doesnâ€™t repeat the arm speed for his changeup. He has a good frame and fair arm action, though his delivery can get lengthy.
. . .
Blanks will challenge for the 1B role in 2009, assuming his development stays on course. He projects as a run-producing power hitter and because he hits RH pitching fairly well, he has an opportunity to play full-time. He is a decent fielder and despite his large build and below average speed, he is a good baserunner. His size really hasnâ€™t been a concern up to this point, but you do worry about it for the long-term.
- MadFriars also has posted the Padres minor league spring training schedule (hat tip toLynchMob in the comments).
- MB at Friar Forecast is running a community prospect list type thing. Go be a part of it.
- The U-T has a cool story about a local Padres draftee who didn’t sign.
- Eric SanInocencio at Baseball Digest Daily lists his dream team of decision-makers. Paul DePodesta gets a mention, Kevin Towers does not.
- Two former Padres prospects are in the news. Left-hander Mike Bynum has retired, and outfielder Vince Faison has been suspended from his college football team (!) for DUI. So, yeah, the 1999 draft didn’t turn out so well. Except for that Peavy kid. He did okay.
- Chris Jaffe at Hardball Times chats with Bill James.
- Ken Arneson at Catfish Stew pens a thoughtful piece on the importance of keeping statistical analysis in perspective. Gem of a quote: “A map is not the treasure itself.”
- Reader Didi points us to an article at Baseball Analysts that takes a detailed look at pitch movement and the impact it has on outcomes.
- Calling my own number: Over at Knuckle Curve, I’ve started looking back at the top 100 prospects of 1998 as judged by Baseball America. The first installment covers #91-100.
- Nothing to do with baseball, but this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen done with a guitar (TotallyRox).