I’m all over the place today:
- How to Quit Your Job and Write a Book (Or Two) (BallHype). I posted this in the comments on Wednesday, but here’s a little “behind-the-scenes” look at the process of writing the Ducksnorts Baseball Annuals.
- Arizona Dreaming (Baseball Digest Daily). In spring training, what happens before the game is at least as interesting as what happens during the game.
- Where Are They Now: Top Prospects of ’98, #41-50 (Knuckle Curve). The latest installment in my look back at the top young players from a decade ago includes ex-Padres Derrek Lee and Ben Davis. Ugh, Ben Davis.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Padres (well, some of them) are in China. Corey has photos. Over on this side of the pond, Chase Headley’s future appears to be in left field (i.e., the experiment worked).
On a more general note, I’m trying to keep up with game scores and individual performances, but the stories lack intrigue. Seems to me the only positions up for grabs are backup infielder, backup outfielder, fifth starter, and mopup guy. Be still, my beating heart:
- INF: Callix Crabbe, Edgar Gonzalez, Marshall McDougall, Brian Myrow, Oscar Robles, Luis Rodriguez, Craig Stansberry. Anyone care? I didn’t think so.
- OF: Chip Ambres, Jeff DaVanon, Robert Fick, Jody Gerut. Okay, Gerut is kind of interesting.
- SP: Shawn Estes, Justin Germano, Glendon Rusch. Yawn.
- RP: Michael Gardner, Edgar Gonzalez, Carlos Guevara, Jared Wells, Mauro Zarate. I liked what I saw of Zarate in a very limited sample, but still…
I’m fired up for the season, but these spring training “battles” just aren’t doing much for me.
50: I think that’s such an arrogant statement to make. Cameron was good, but I don’t remember him making that many “Oh my god!!!” kind of plays last year. Maybe more so in ’06, but I really felt that he struggled mightily for us last year.
51: I should clarify that the “arrogance” was Sheehan’s, not yours LM.
50: Good road stats, but EQA does put us middle of the pack among ML teams (OPS+ of 101, about the same). That’s not good, not bad. Better than Petco makes us look, but if good is better than average, we’re still not good.
Our OF is definitely scary. Plenty of guys for the corners, nobody for CF. And no, JP, Lofton doesn’t solve that.
51: The problem isn’t going to be a lack of “Oh My God!” plays by Edmonds vis-a-vis Cameron. It’s going to be the prevalence of “How did that fall in?” plays. Cameron was significantly better last year, and the bigger problem is that while Mike could be expected to maintain his performance for a couple of seasons, there’s a big chance that Edmonds continues to slide.
Kulbacki in with game tied and bases FOP in top of the 9th.
Another very good outing for Wil Ledezma (4 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 K). I bet no one predicted that he’d make the team but he just might do it. He’s out of options, left-handed, and he throws 93 MPH. The fact that the team allowed him to throw four innings in relief might be a sign that he’s in the mix for the #5 starter job.
5: Yeah, I think Estes is definitely out of the #5 competition. I think the front-runner is now Germano, with Rusch and Ledezma starting to make some noise. Anyone else I’m forgetting about? LeBlanc is probably still in it as well.
55 … KK2 (ie. Kellen Kulbacki) grounded out … Guevara gives up a run in bottom of 9th … Padres lose 3-2 … Crabbe went 3-for-4 and started a DP … McDougal with 3 walks and a HR …
MadFriars reporting that Carillo threw 40+31 pitches off a mound yesterday … “timetable remains on target for May” … http://padres.scout.com/2/737034.html (sub only)
56: From watching Ledezma, it’s seemed like his big problem is a complete lack of control. If he had a better idea of where the ball was going, he could be a fine starter. Those 2 BB’s in 4 IP against 0 K’s don’t offer much hope he’s fixed that control.
50: How much does Sheehan think solid centerfield defense is worth? If Cameron’s defense was +5 last year and Edmonds and company is -10, that’s a 15 run swing (and that’s probably the high end of the spread). We would have allowed 681 runs last year, moving us from 2nd in baseball to … 2nd (not park adjusted, obviously that matters). It’s not like we turned over the whole team and replaced good defenders at every position with below average ones. Replacing one good defender with one below average one does not make for a showdown on pitching vs. defense.
Also, he massively overstates how bad the Padres’ outfield defense will be. The Reds will have a worse outfield defense because Dunn and Griffey are two of the worst defensive corner outfielders in the game. Edmonds is not the worst defensive centerfielder in baseball, and the Padres had a winning record three years ago sending out someone worse (Dave Roberts). In fact, Sheehan doesn’t really attempt to make a factual case for any of his suggestions. He doesn’t use any sort of defensive stats (except when using the flawed FRAA for Edmonds) or even a scouting consensus.
Finally, analyzing defense in a void is as pointless as analyzing offense in a void. If Corey Patterson makes the defense 15 runs better but hurts the offense by just as much or more, than bringing him in doesn’t help the team. If an outfield of Headley/Hairston/Giles is the worst defensive outfield in the history of baseball but outhits an outfield of Crisp/Patterson/Cameron by the same margin, then you go with the butchers in the field because they’ll help your team more. Nowhere does he make the case that overall these replacements are more valuable than the Padres’ current options. He just assumes you need to replace these butchers out in the field at any cost or states that they can’t play the positions.
59 … well said, BenB … and you should give that feedback to JoeS directly (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/contact.php) … which is what I did, but much less eloquently!
A summary look at the OF situation …
… hmm, might the Padres start the season with Giles and Edmonds on the DL? That would buy them time to get a longer look (and/or give a longer showcasing) to McAnulty + Davanon + Gerut
OT … http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080313&content_id=2424411&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb … Cardinals bringing in Lohse for physical … bummer …
53: The Padres did finish 4th in the NL in runs on the road last season. Granted, that’s pumped up a bit by playing 9 games in Colorado but they were 36 runs ahead of 5th place (and 24 behind the 1st place Phillies).
The problem with the Padres last season was that their pitching was terrible in the 2nd half, not their offense. You would think that someone who writes for BP would know that. However Sheehan needs to pump up the Diamondbacks so he’ll take any shot at the Padres that he can.
59: That’s well-written, and not being a BP subscriber I can’t speak to what Sheehan said in the hidden part. But I suspect what he may be looking at is a cascade effect. We take a pretty serious defensive downgrade in center. Giles is a year older and they drilled holes in his knee over the winter. There’s talk of putting a converted 3b with below average speed and virtually no OF experience in the other corner. Edmonds may be only 20 plays worse than Cameron (sounds optimistic), but he’s not going to get much help in left and who knows what Giles will be like. Furthermore, he’s quite likely to miss 40-70 games, leading us to go with an inferior offensive and defensive option for a good chunk of the season. We did have a winning record in 2005, but just barely, and it will be a while before 82 wins means anything in NL West again.
I totally agree on Patterson. You have to look at the sum of the player’s contributions, and Patterson still comes out a negative. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a fine idea to get a healthy, younger full-time CF and turn Jim “Street” Edmonds (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072560) into a corner OF and the backup CF.
63: Both EQA and OPS+ take parks into account, and both peg us as an average offensive team in 2007. Average isn’t bad and isn’t good, just average.
The Padres Eqa and OPS+ might have been right at average last season but in the most important metric, runs scored, they were well above average. I’m not sure that playing 18 games in Colorado and Arizona would skew the numbers that much. Now you could say they scored more runs then they should have because they hit better with runners on base or in scoring position or just happened to string their hits together but the simple fact is that their offense was above average on the road, regardless of what EQA and OPS+ say.
65: Schlom, I think the argument could (and probably has been, although I haven’t read every post in this thread) be made that they are above average on the road, but below average at home … and as in “below average” I mean below what the average team would be expected to score after taking Petco into account. I actually haven’t looked to see if that’s true, but it’s easy enough to do.
Anyway, they play 81 games there and I don’t think they should get any special break beyond a normal park adjustment, if that makes any sense.
65: That’s just not how it works. Those stats account for every park that you play in. You can’t say “Wow, we had a good offense because we scored on the road, and runs are all that matter” and then say “We didn’t score at home, but there were X, Y, and Z reasons why.” Context either matters or it doesn’t. It can’t not matter on the road but matter to no end at home.
If we’re going to ignore context and peripherals, then Sheehan’s point would still stand, because we weren’t good by raw runs scored. Our offense wasn’t bad last year. It wasn’t good, either.
LM, GY, et al,
If’n y’all don’t mind picking up a lurker at a park’n'ride TBD somewhere between Escondido & Hwy 76, I’d love to join ya’ on April 9. If the timing doesn’t work, I can meetcha at the Diamond.
59: I was going to say what TW said in 63, but he said it better.
I do think it’s more than just going from Cameron to Edmonds; Giles could be problematic and LF is unsettled at best right now. But I really don’t have a beef with your well reasoned take either. Here’s to hoping we catch some breaks out there.
RE 69: Uh, make that what TW said in 64.
this is amazingly irrelevant, but Scott Boras was at the SDSU vs BYU game with 3 scouts….
just thought i’d add that
Nice comment trail. Joe can annoy me (mostly over his defense of Bonds and stance on steroids) but while his suggestion to get a defense only type of player is unsupported by the offensive subtraction of that player, I am still really, really nervous about our OF defense.
I did a little digging which makes me feel better. In 2005 we had Klesko in left and Roberts in center, which is about what we have now, though Giles is slower now than in 2005. But difference from our home vs. road ERA (rough measure) was 1.27. It was 1.40 last year, during Joe’s “Cameron era), but a paltry 0.24 in 2006, though that was a freakish year for the road pitching.
This is a rough measure, but in 2005 we got a pretty big pitching lift at home with some bad OF, so hopefully we can get it again.
Of course Petco still kills us on net (12th of 16 in NL in home field advantage in 2007, dead last in 2006), but 2005 gives us some hope the balls will not drop that much worse than the last few years.
72: It’s possible that the heavy air at Petco night games makes it possible for sub-par defenders to do an adequate job. Balls hang up longer, etc. But on the other hand, in 2005 we didn’t have Chris Young getting 2x as many fly ball outs as grounders. Wolf relies on FB outs, too, about as much as Woody did 3 years ago, but there was nobody as extreme as CY.
Even if Edmonds was “just” Roberts circa 2005 defensively, he’s almost certain to miss a lot of games. Maybe Hairston will be our CF savior.
#50: I haven’t read the entire article, but Sheehan’s conclusion is overly simplistic, as is my rebuttal:
Peavy ’04 (Payton): 2.27 ERA
Peavy ’05 (Roberts) 2.88
Peavy ’06 (Cameron) 4.09
Bring Payton back, and Peavy’s ERA will be below 1.00. Oh, logic doesn’t work that way? My bad.
Running a shade late this morning. Will have something by 8:15 a.m. PT. Thanks!