More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual, and Then Some

Sit down and get comfy. Like, real comfy. Okay, not that comfy — put on a robe or something, will ya?

With luck, this is the last update I’ll provide on the Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual that doesn’t end with the phrase, “go buy it.” I’m expecting to deliver the manuscript to the publisher on Thursday or Friday. While we’re all waiting for that to happen, here are some things you should know:

  • The book is 207 pages long, possibly 208 depending on the index (I keep thinking of other terms that should be included). The actual content is almost exactly the same length as last year’s (193 pages), with the difference resulting from a glossary and index that I believe will make this version even better in terms of serving as a reference source into the future. The lack of an index in last year’s book bothered me and although building a good one requires time and effort on my part, I’m hopeful that its inclusion will save you the same.
  • Matt Vasgersian, television voice of the Padres, has written the foreword. As I was last year when Sandy Alderson graced these same pages, I am humbled beyond words by Vasgersian’s contribution to the Annual.
  • While I’m at it, here’s the entire table of contents:
    • Foreword by Matt Vasgersian . . . . 7
    • Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . 9
    • 2007 in Review . . . . . . . . . . 10
    • Player Dashboards . . . . . . . . .41
    • Padres Farm Report . . . . . . . . 84
    • Overlooked ex-Padres. . . . . . . 126
    • Driving to Cooperstown. . . . . . 134
    • Padres Best by Position . . . . . 157
    • Kevin Towers Trade Register . . . 164
    • Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
    • Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
  • And here’s a quick summary of each of those chapters:
    2007 in Review
    Season recap, including key games and players, from the hiring of Bud Black as manager to the heartbreak of Game 163 at Coors Field.
    Player Dashboards
    Graphical representation of key players’ statistical output for 2007 and, where applicable, the previous two seasons to show trends, including comparisons with league norms by position.
    Padres Farm Report
    In-depth examination of the Padres farm system, including discussion of each team and league’s environment, capsules of more than 70 players, and the obligatory top 10 prospects list.
    Overlooked ex-Padres
    Brief look back at four players who played for the Padres in decades past and whose contributions may have been forgotten by some over time.
    Driving to Cooperstown
    Account of my 12-day drive from San Diego to Cooperstown and back for Tony Gwynn’s Hall of Fame induction, including stops in several towns along the way for the complete baseball geek road trip.
    Padres Best by Position
    Continuation and extension of work begun in the 2007 Annual, going 10 deep for position players and relievers, and 20 deep for starters.
    Kevin Towers Trade Register
    Continuation and extension of work begun in the 2007 Annual, listing every trade Towers has made since assuming the general manager role in November 1995, including the number of Win Shares exchanged in each, as well as the number of trades made by team and division.
  • I’m not sure about the exact pricing yet, but it will be comparable to last year’s version.
  • The book is dedicated to victims of the fires that ravaged San Diego county in 2007. In that spirit, I’ll be donating $1 from each book sold during the calendar year 2008 to the San Diego Red Cross. It’s not much, but something is better than nothing.
  • Several people have asked about pre-ordering. First off, thank you. Second, because my publisher does “print on demand,” there’s no advantage to this. Seriously, it would create more work for me and delay delivery to you, which would piss everyone off to no end.
  • The book will be available in print version and as a downloadable PDF. The pricing will be set so that my cut is the same either way; in other words, if the print version is out of your price range or you’re not into killing trees, then get a PDF. Makes no difference to me.
  • If you’re not sure whether the book in either form will be worth your time, money, and trouble, I’d encourage you to take advantage of the free sample PDF I’ll be releasing next week. It will run about 20-25 pages and contain excerpts from each chapter. Download it, read it, decide whether you want more of it. I’m betting that you will, but I’m biased. ;-)
  • If you end up buying the book and you like it, I’m thrilled to have you let me know, but I’m even more thrilled to have you let other people know. This is as close to a guilt trip as I ever hope to lay on y’all, and maybe nobody gives a crap, but I quit a damn good job to write these things and I’d like to keep doing it. That said, I’ve got a mortgage to pay. Again, this isn’t your problem, and I sure as heck don’t want you pimping my stuff if you find it unfit to line Polly’s cage or whatever, but if you’re digging it, please spread the word.

Okay, I got a little carried away there. Anyway, we’re shooting for the week of February 25. No guarantees on that date, but believe me when I say that I’m doing everything in my power to get this thing out the door because, frankly, I’m sick of working on it. (Oops, I’m informed that I wasn’t supposed to say that part out loud.)

So, yeah. Talk and stuff…

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40 Responses »

  1. Hey Geoff, congrats on getting the book done. Donating to Red Cross = very classy move. Look forward to getting my copy. — Corey. P.S. Who do I have to talk to about starting a letter-writing campaign for a Doug Mirabelli forward for the ’09 book?

  2. Hey GY, I’m sure this has been asked before, but have you ever approached the Padres about having your book sold in the team store? If nothing else, it would raise the visibility of the site (and your efforts regarding the book). I’m sure they’d require a commission for selling it, but I think people would certainly be interested in both this year’s and last year’s annual.

    Also, have you approached any independent booksellers? These people would probably be more amenable to selling the book than would be a major chain (although I’m assuming you have an ISBN, so you could always try to make a case).

    At any rate, congrats on finishing the book and for doing this again. I think it’s incredible that you’ve been able to do this. I can’t wait to read my copy, and I just might have to order last year’s annual and this year’s as a Mother’s Day present for my mom (who reads and loves this site but doesn’t comment).

  3. MattV … solid, solid, solid! Once again, GY, your body-of-work has merited a fitting celebrity … well done! Now, get that puppy out the door! GO!

  4. Man I can’t wait to buy it. Stoked I found this site over the last year. Matty V doing the foreward is perfect.

    Now I’ll go negative…….Roger Clemens is getting hammered right now. He is going down. Very poor defense.

  5. I’ve started a “ballhype” … go there and “vote” and “comment” …

  6. Re: 4 wow Clemens is not doing well.

  7. 4,6 … the GLB’ers have an ICHD (In-Congressional-Hearing-Discussion) going … not my cup-o-tea … but newsworthy nonetheless …

  8. #1: Thanks, man. Try Wakefield, maybe he can help.

    #2: Yeah, didn’t have much luck last year, will try again this year. Sorry to be so terse, but I’m slammed right now; definitely have some things planned — just a matter of which ones fly.

    #5: Thanks, much appreciated. And nice job on guessing Matt V. :-)

  9. I’d like to add my congratulations on seeing the second DS Annual through! Nicely done and I am looking forward to purchasing many copies again this year. Well done, Geoff!

  10. 8: You should try to use your Matty V and Sandy A leverage!

    And no worries about the short response, I totally understand that you’re a busy person.

  11. I foresee a GY visit to the booth with Matt and Mud this year.

    Geoff Young. He’s bad. He’s nationwide.

  12. Some one call too much show! That would be a great interview for GY!

  13. Congrats on the book, Geoff! I really can’t wait to get ahold of it.

    I’ll be sure to make a couple of posts on my blog about it, although I’m sure there isn’t anybody who reads mine and not this one : )

    Anyway, here’s Joe Sheehan’s NL West preview:

    He basically suggests that the Padres should pack it in. I don’t really understand this and don’t know if it’s even supported by the projections so far. He also says it’ll take a .570 W% to win the west (possibly more). Again, I don’t really understand where he’s coming from. It didn’t even take a .570 w% last year and those top teams have to be expected to regress a bit, I’d assume.

  14. 13 … the top team added Dan Haren and have young players like Stephen Drew, Chris B. Young, and Conor Jackson who can be resonably expected to improve … why do you think they’d regress?

    .570 W% is 92-23 wins … seems reasonable to me if indeed the NL West is the best division in the NL …

    Joe S’s analysis makes sense to me … I hope he’s underestimating the team … I think there’s a 30-40% chance he is … and it’s not like he’s dis’ing the Padres … he does start his article by saying this: “this is a division that goes four deep in terms of teams contending for the division title.” … which seems another reason that the Padres will struggle to be much over .500 …

  15. Also at BP today is a subscriber-only article about “Winter League Top Performers” …

    #1 on the list? Check it out …

    1. Jody Gerut, .332 translated EqA, Caribes de Oriente, Venezuela: The former Indians outfielder hasn’t played the last two years because of knee problems, but he hit in Venezuela like he hadn’t missed a thing. His translated .336/.435/.552 looks awfully hit-lucky, a good 50 points above his career average for BABIP, but even so, that’s a major league-quality line. He recently signed a non-roster deal with the Padres, and their outfield isn’t exactly overflowing with talent. This could be a serious comeback story brewing.

    … nice!

  16. 15 … and #4 on the list is …

    4. Vince Sinisi, .313 EqA, Escogido, Dominican: A touted hitter when he was in college, Sinisi has done next to nothing in the minors to convince people he could play in the majors–until now. The Padre outfielder (sort of) rates as the top hitter in the Dominican Winter League, narrowly missing league-leading totals in homers and walks while posting a .302/.395/.537 line. That production earned him an invite to spring training that might not have arrived otherwise.

  17. Lynch, because they over-performed their pythag. record by like a ridiculous 11 games or so last year. Bill James did a study showing that those teams do have some tendency to do the same again in the following season, but the effect is relatively tiny. I mean, start them at an ~84 win team, counting the young players that should be expected to improve, and maybe you can get them back into the upper 80′s range. 92-93 (or more, as Sheehan states) seems a bit high, although I’m admittedly just going off the top of my head (much like I think Sheehan is).

  18. 15/16 … and #8 on the list is …

    8. Oscar Robles, .300 EqA, Navojoa, Mexico: Robles is a 32-year-old infielder who has bounced back and forth between the Mexican League and southern California MLB teams over the last few years, so he’s no stranger to most of you. He hit well over his head this winter, putting up a .311/.401/.455 DT in his quest to impress the Padres which, incidentally, makes him the third Padre I’ve mentioned here.

  19. re 17: That isn’t the team same though, they overperformed because of an irrationally good bench and top 4 in the pen…they dealt Valverde and very well could see regression from their top 5 relievers from a year ago.

    Pecota hates the Padres for a number of reasons:

    -they think Geoff could outhit Edmonds this year
    -they think Kouz is among the worst 3B in the game
    -they see a major fall from Giles, even from last year’s numbers
    -they expect the rotation to be a mess(only 450 IP from Peavy, CY and Maddux_

  20. 19: This link from Geoff’s delicious thing:

    has the Pads winning the division with 88 wins. I don’t think the way he’s doing it is the best (although I’m not sure), but it should still be relatively close to what PECOTA says, I would think.

    regarding the dbacks pythag: they also had very clutch hitting, good timing/run distribution, plus luck or random variation or whatever you’d like to call it. Teams just don’t win 90 games with those kind of runs scored and runs allowed. I also don’t think there’s enough evidence to suggest that we should expect them to repeat it, at least in any meaningful way.

    That said, who knows. It’s always up for debate and new things are “discovered” everyday. It’s why I’m never sure of myself anymore … one day, linear weights and Base Runs are old news and something else takes their place, or someone finds a better way to estimate a team’s winning percentage … heck, one day maybe we’ll find out that pitchers don’t have a lot of control of what happens once the ball is put in play against them!

  21. I pretty much agree wtih all of the skepticism and criticism of the article. The team seems to understand the risks of Edmonds and Giles and doesn’t appear to be banking on them entirely. We have a plethora of OF options that could step up if one of them goes down (even though they may not be the most attractive options out there). I’d love to have a credible back-up CF, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

    I still think that AZ was incredibly lucky last year and that losing Valverde will hurt some of thier bullpen confidence. Losing Clark will also likely hurt the clubhouse, and I doubt that Byrnes is able to repeat his 07. If Orlando Hudson doesn’t recover well from his injury, the team will have a rough go of it.

    We’ve all discussed CO’s amazing streak ad nauseum. I don’t think we’re a lock for the division, but I think we’ve got the IF and the pitching to make us serious contenders.

  22. The Padres seem to be going in the right direction, trying to compete while they shift to the younger, farm bred players. I like our pitching against most of the division, but we do have a lot of holes in our line up, especially the outfield. If we were in the Central, or, arguably the East, we could be considered a strong contender. In the NL West, LA, Colorado and Arizona all ought to get better, while we will need some truly unexpected performances to contend. Yes, Arizona was a Pythagorean freak, but they were still pretty good, especially against us.

    Not saying we don’t have a prayer, but more than the other 3, we need a lot to go our way to win.

    Adrian, KG are solid.
    2B, Catching, KK are OK.
    Outfield: weak
    SP: solid
    RP: soild

    Not sure that is enough to win a tough division.

  23. Congrats, Geoff. Looking forward to getting the book in ST.

    re: NL West, I don’t see the winner of the division to have more than 90 wins.
    It’ll be closer than last year, so 88-90 wins should be able to lock the division up.
    It’s the most competitive division and each of the top 4 teams are going to play each other a lot and even with another team sinking down, there will be a 3 teams race to the end. I hope the Padres are one of them.

    I don’t think Arizona is going away that easily, better pitching at the top means fewer use and exposure of the bullpen. The young hitters are going to get better so they probably will score a bit more than last year. Add the two and I’m guessing a better pythagorean record for them but probably not 90 wins.

    The Dodgers, however, are stacked with hitters if they let the youngster play. Of course, they may fade also toward the end of the season like last year.

    The Rockies will have their killer lineup but the pitching is still going to be tough playing half the time at Coors affecting either their performance or stamina. Though, if recent games indicated that the Rockies are loving Petco Park more and more.

    I’d feel much better about the Padres if they have a lot of solid #5 but then again, isn’t that what every team in the MLB needs? Time to go back to 4-man rotations with the bullpen use of recent years.

    Ah, pitchers and catchers report…in two days. YEAY!

  24. In defense of Sheehan, he’s a huge fan of the Diamondbacks. He picked them to win the NL before the season last year, and he might have done the same in 2006 (he certainly picked them to win the division). As far as PECOTA goes, it’s extremely conservative when it comes to pitchers (they have 12 pitchers projected for 200+ innings, last season there were 38). I think the Padres are like every team outside of the maybe the Yankees and Red Sox — they need to avoid injuries, not have anyone totally collapse, have a few players with career type years, and get lucky. You might not need to have all four but just two probably won’t cut it.

    Good article on on the T.Gwynn Jr hit off Trevor last season:

  25. 14: AZ, as mentioned, should regress hard becasue of the crazy record they put up last year while being outscored. Yes, they likely will offset some of that regression with improvements from the younger guys and Haren adds a lot, but I don’t know if it’s enough to keep them as a 90+ win team.

    19: PECOTA is a great system, but 450 from Peavy, CY and Mad Dog? That’s as crazy as the dbacks record last year. ;-)

    BP rated Peavy a green light on health, iirc, so 200 IP seems reasonable from him. CY seems to be a 170 IP guy; he threw 173 last year even with some injury trouble. Maddux is going to be 42, but he threw 198 last year and 210 the year before and he’s really never been hurt in his entire career! So, in this case, I say screw PECOTA!

  26. I have been a little out of the loop lately guys but I did see this amazing article today. Hopefully this isn’t a repeat that someone posted already.

    Congrats on the book GY! Can’t wait to get my copy.

  27. Didi, I am counting on Joe Torre to rest the youngsters and give guys like Pierre and Garciaparra plenty of veteran playing time. I really do think it will be fascinating to see how he handles things in terms of playing time. My honest belief is that Colleti and Torre combine to offset the huge advantage the dodgers player development side of the FO has handed them. And imo, it couldn’t happen to a better team. ;-)

  28. I’m constantly amazed at how under-rated the Bard/Barrett combo is on this blog.

    Bard was their 3rd best position player last year by VORP…better then Cameron, Kouz and Giles among many others(he was basically tied with KG and well behind Adrian)

    Barrett is 1 year removed from being a top 3 catcher in the NL

    Some things need to go right for them to win the division, but I wish the pundits would remember that Arizona’s offense SUCKED last year even though they got career years from Byrnes, Hudson and Reynolds.

    Given improvements from Chris Young(the short, fast one), Connor Jackson and Stephen Drew they might end up about where they were last year….but this is hardly a good offensive team.

    Lastly with so many pundits worried about an injury to Peavy….Webb and Haren could get hurt just as easily, no?

  29. I think ZiPS is closer to the IP for our top three than PECOTA. ZiPS projects 590, which may be optimistic, but I really would expect closer to 550 than 450.

  30. 28: Drew was really bad last season. I know he projects to be a stud, but he had a pretty poor 07.

    Chris Young has a lot of pop, but virtually no plate discipline. Hopefully he doens’t figure that out.

    Jackson is a pretty good player, and seems to have Peavy figured out for whatever reason. Regardless, I think the instability at 3rd, Hudson’s injury, and Drew’s struggles will sink this team.

  31. 27: I’m hoping that would happen too. Nothing scares me more in their lineup than having Kemp, Loney, Laroche, Ethier, Martin to go with the older guys.

  32. Just played on WNCW (a station out of Spindale, NC): Steve Poltz’s “Rain”.

    A shout out to a fellow Padre fan….

  33. 31: Yes, I know what you mean.

    And they could have a pretty decent starting staff depending on how their old guys work out. They really need a strong year from Saito; although Broxton could certainly pick up the slack for Saito if he falters, I don’t think they have anyone who could then step up and fill Broxton’s role.

  34. 24/26 … very good article … thanks for the link … a whole lot o’ Padre behind-the-scenes insights there …

  35. A little shameless self promotion, with Geoff donating to the Red Cross, a clothing company I part own made a shirt ($15) to benefit the fire victims. It is still available for sale and all profits ($10 per shirt) are going to the Red Cross.
    Feel free to pick one up, we have already donated quite a bit of money but every bit helps.

  36. The book seems to be coming along well. Congrats, Geoff!

    I’m wondering what’s going to happen with some of the extra guys we picked up on minor league deals. Edgar Gonzalez for one. There doesn’t seem to be much room for him to play 2B at Portland, with Antonelli likely getting most of the time there.

    Also, in the OF, there’s a crunch with Venable, Macias and Sinisi getting much of the playing time. Ambres and DaVannon or Gerut (whichever doesn’t make the Padres) would be the main reserve, with Ramon Nivar there as well if he even counts anymore. And we’re not even counting PMac there as well.

    Fick would also seem squeezed if he doesn’t make the team. Myrow and PMac would get most of the AB’s at 1B I would guess.

    Just curious, mostly.

  37. I just finished reading that article, it’s pretty good. However, I think it’s a good thing they didn’t try to get Gwynn Jr. in the Linebrink trade, especially if it meant not getting Thatcher or Inman. Not that Gwynn is a bad player, he’s probably a pretty good 4th outfielder but those should be pretty easily to get plus I think it’s better for him not to be in San Diego.

    It’s hard to relive those final three games from last season again. It just seems like every postseason (or near postseason) a team from San Diego finds a way to choke. Maybe the Chargers performance against the Patriots (although their loss to the Giants takes away some of the luster) will also lead to good things from the Padres.

  38. 37: Just finished the article too. Great stuff. I was surprised to read that Trevor was “bawling” at his locker – particularly since it was a direct quote from Moores. I always think of Trevor as the consumate professional and while I’m not surprised to know how invested he was in the moment, I’m somewhat surprised that he wasn’t able to hold it together (I think I’m refreshed by his emotions) and I’m really surprised that Moores would tell everyone about it.

  39. Darkhorse candidate to contribute a decent year off bench and 20 starts in left and right field is Padres non roster invitee Chip Ambres -