Friday Links (28 Mar 08)

Is it my imagination, or are these weekly link roundups becoming a tad unwieldy? Would it be better to do a link post every day or two (not as a substitute for my normal daily thing, but in addition to it)? Let me know what you think…

  • Mike Bauman at notes that Jake Peavy is working on his changeup (h/t LynchMob), which could make him an even better pitcher. Better? Well, he just won the Cy Young Award unanimously, so that might be stretching it. Still, it’s good that Peavy is making an effort to refine his game. That gives him a better chance to maintain his current level of productivity. Love this quote from Peavy:

    I’m not anywhere close to where I want to be. In this game it’s hard to be consistent, to stay on top of your game. There’s no doubt in my mind that I know that I’ve got to work, and keep working and continually get better. And I look to do that.

    Laurels? What laurels?

  • Speaking of Peavy, his number 22 will be retired at Lake Elsinore before the Storm’s home opener on Thursday, April 3. He’s also scheduled to deliver the ceremonial first pitch. That’d be a good time to bust out the changeup. ;-)
  • Heck, while we’re on the subject, Josh Kalk at Hardball Times offers a detailed look at Peavy’s pitches (h/t Pat).
  • The U-T’s Bill Center writes about Adrian Gonzalez’s defense at first base (h/t Phantom). This is the position I played many, many moons ago, and I consider myself a connoisseur of good defense around the bag. Gonzalez isn’t the best I’ve seen — that would probably be J.T. Snow (didn’t see enough of Keith Hernandez back in the day) — but his instincts and footwork are outstanding. Regardless of how much difference it makes in terms of wins and losses, he is a pleasure to watch.
  • Speaking of first basemen, the Padres acquired Justin Huber from the Royals for a PTBNL. This is a typical under-the-radar move that many fans will cite as evidence of the club’s unwillingness to spend money but which just might pay dividends. Not long ago, Huber, a former catcher, was a top prospect in the Mets and Royals organizations. Prospect guru John Sickels rated him a B+ as recently as 2006 (h/t LynchMob). From the Baseball America 2003 Prospect Handbook:

    Strong and intense, he has the bat speed and power to hit 25-30 home runs a year. Huber understands the strike zone.

    Yes, that was 5 years ago. Scott Hairston was the Diamondbacks’ #1 prospect in ’03 and it took him a while to arrive. Maybe Huber turns out to be something, maybe not. What’s the harm in finding out?

  • The U-T’s Tim Sullivan talks about Chase Headley and the role “service time” may have played in making the decision to start him at Triple-A Portland (h/t LynchMob). Yeah, that and the fact that he’s never played outfield in a pro game that counts for anything.
  • Sure, the outfield is kind of a mess (h/t Coronado Mike), but whatever. Headley will be in San Diego soon enough.
  • Tom Krasovic reports that Mark Prior threw about 60 pitches on Thursday, including several to live hitters, and that his fastball was in the low-80s. My advice remains to forget that Prior even exists.
  • MB has a new top 30 prospects posted at Friar Forecast. This one is contributed by guest author Padman.
  • The Baseball Crank examines the NL West (h/t Pat) and, like everyone else, isn’t impressed with the Padres:

    Pity the poor Padres, still working off a 2004-07 blueprint for winning the NL West – over the past 4 years, the division winner has averaged 88 wins a year. This roster might, if things break right, be up to the task of winning in the high 80s against weak intra-division competition – but against a deep and talented trio of opponents, the Pads are just outclassed, and should be officially in rebuilding mode by midsummer, looking to shop Giles, Maddux, Iguchi, and possibly Clark and Edmonds (Hoffman, I assume, will remain a Padre to the bitter end).

    He’s got the Padres at 77-85. It is good to be underestimated.

  • Tom Verducci at previews the National League (h/t Phantom). His take on the Padres: “San Diego is a poor offensive team.” Bzzzt, read up on park factors and take another guess. I’m okay with “average” (I disagree, but I’m okay with it), but “poor” simply isn’t accurate.
  • also predicts a 79-83 record and fourth-place finish for the Padres (h/t Kevin). Does this bother me? Not really, but I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I weren’t under such heavy sedation.
  • Now that I’ve said nasty things about Sports Illustrated, I should also mention that according to the good folks at Sacrifice Bunt, the magazine recently made its entire archives available online at no cost to you and me. That’s crazy cool.
  • Kevin Czerwinski at talks Padres prospects (h/t LynchMob). The continued infatuation with Cesar Ramos baffles me. I hope to heck he makes me take back every last bad thing I’ve ever said about him (well, about his pitching; I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all), but I’m not counting on it.
  • Denis Savage at MadFriars gives the scoop (h/t LynchMob) on some minor leaguers who were released. None of these guys made it out of the “Other” section in the chapter on minor leaguers in the Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual. You’re still telling folks to buy the book, right? No pressure, but I’m starting to run low on funds. ;-)
  • Zagz points us to a report that Preston Gomez, original manager of the NL Padres, was critically injured after being hit by a truck in Blythe, Calif. My thoughts are with Mr. Gomez.
  • Rob Neyer lists his top 50 players over the next five years (h/t Schlom). First off, big thanks to ESPN for letting everyone read this. Second, Peavy is pretty obvious (although #23 might be a shade low), but nice job slipping Gonzalez in at #38 — ahead of Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard, no less. Well played.
  • Fun times for my alma mater (h/t Didi). First USD won its first ever NCAA hoops tourney game. Then Brian Matusz fanned a school-record 16 batters. Then Josh Romanski tossed a no-hitter. I actually got to attend those last two events. First time I’d ever seen a no-no in person. Congrats, Josh, and go Toreros!

There you have it. Again, let me know if you want me to do link posts more often. Also, the Padres and Angels play tonight at Petco Park. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. PT, and the game will be televised on Channel 4SD. We’ll have the IGD up and running about an hour before the shindig begins. Rock on!

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44 Responses »

  1. Personaly I like it the way it is GY one info post and one IGD each day. Three posts a day may be a bit much.

  2. I think the links thing only gets unwieldly in the off-season since there’s usually a whole lot in the ether about the players. Once the season starts, I expect we’ll see mostly game recaps and the like out of the usual news sources.

  3. C’mon, Tom, you’re supposed to be one of the smart ones.

  4. Some really interesting quotes from Bryk about the Padres minor leaguers in the article that Geoff linked to–a really good read. The comments on Cedric Hunter are particularly interesting. I hope that he learned his lesson last year.

  5. Am I crazy to think the Padres offense will actually be better this year than last? We should get roughly the same performance from Adrian, Khalil, Bard and Giles (I think a healthy knee will compensate somewhat for age related dropoff). We’re likely to see a drop in CF production unless Hairston can hack it out there. But we should see improvements from Barrett, 2B, Kouz (he won’t hit .108 in April again), and possibly big improvements in LF. We don’t have any superstars there but we do have a lot of options, with Headley waiting in the wings. We also have a vastly improved bench; just having T Clark as the #1 pinch hitter is going to be huge. I really think we’ll score more runs than last year, and I think our rotation is better. Maybe that’s just spring optimism but I don’t recall feeling this good about the team last year.

  6. 4: I like that the Padres aren’t messing with Cumberland’s swing apparently. But I don’t see much Johnny Damon in Brad Chalke. To go 3 years hitting with aluminum without even one HR, that’s hard to imagine.

  7. Two notes of interst from today’s UT:

    Shortstop Khalil Greene wore an ice wrap after being hit in the right elbow yesterday by a one-hop smash. “It’s fine,” said Greene, who expects to be in the lineup today or tomorrow. “It hit the muscle.”
    Over the course of camp, flulike sickness waylaid Towers, Black and several players, and Young’s nasal congestion was so bad the pitcher cut short his outing yesterday. Young also was hit in the right side by a comebacker but continued. “I’m looking forward to going to San Diego,” he said.

  8. Re: 5 its all kind of up in the air at the moment, I think the 08 offence has the potential to be better than 07 but that’s assuming everything goes right. I do however think that the 08 offence will produce at least at the same level as the 07 offence did (barring any major injuries). No matter what happens 08 will be an interesting year to follow the pads!

  9. 5: I’m completely with you. Our team is better this year.

    Wolf > Wells
    Iguchi > Giles/Blum
    Barrett > Barrett
    Kouz > Kouz
    Adrian = Adrian
    Khalil = Khalil
    Hairston/Headley = LF plethora
    Giles > Giles
    Bench > Bench

    The only drop off is in CF. And if Edmonds can play 130 games (which is still not out of the question), this might not be that extreme. Edmonds believes he could play on Opening Day and is supposed to play tonite. We’re in a good spot right now.

  10. Re 5/9 – Optimistic to a point…Giles should post very similar numbers and we should see improvement out of 2B and 3B, but declines in CF, LF, and SS should also be expected. Total LF numbers last year were really not terrible…thank you Mr. Hot Head Bradley.

    I don’t think the target of 85-87 wins is off base, but that still is a 2nd/3rd place club in this division.

  11. Oh yea, Geoff, I like the Friday links stuff…Don’t do it every day, there is no reason…we can pick up the links we want in the replies…Friday is a good day for a summation.

  12. From the Department of Unbridled Enthusiasm:

    Monday is Opening Day! Hell Ya!

  13. My .02, Friday Links is cool as is.

  14. Billy…WoooHooo…although you will be watching Sunday night as the Nationals open up the season in their new park against ATL, right?

    FYI, I renewed my Padres tickets this year, but live in VA. If any of you are interested in picking up a few games in great seats (Front Row Left Field Lower Box), let me know and I can get them to you.

  15. I guess im not as optimistic about Giles and LF as everyone else. However I agree that the 08 is better than the 07 team, this is how I see it:

    08 Bard > 07 Bard – Bard had an injury last April which really hurt his production early on, if he says healthy he should continue to be the OB machine that he is known for.

    08 A-Gon = 07 A-Gon – Adrian will continue to be the force in the Padres lineup

    Iguchi > Giles/Blum – He can’t be any worse

    08 Kouz > 07 Kouz – With a full year under his belt I think Kouz will continue to improve.

    08 Greene = 07 Greene – If he stays healthy like he did last year he should continue to produce.

    08 LF = 07 LF – The Padres LF’s hit .252/.340/.462 which is about what I would expect P-Mac to do during his rookie campaign.

    08 CF < 07 CF – No matter how you slice it I think this will be the case barring any trades.

    08 Giles < 07 Giles – Giles is coming off of a major knee surgery, he was not able to workout much in the off season and got very limited time in ST, and he is on the wrong side of 35 I just don’t see him improving this year.

    08 Peavy 07 Young – if Chris says healthy he will be one of the best pitchers in the NL this year.

    08 Maddux Wells – once again he cant be any worse

    08 Gerrmano > 07 Germano – Looks like he worked hard over the offseason and has really improved his game.

    08 Pen = 07 Pen – not a lot of changes made should remain the best bullpen in baseball.

    08 Bench > 07 Bench – no more B(l)um, Sledge, or Branyan!

  16. 14: Our season seats are in LF lower box this year. Cool!

    As for decline at SS, I wouldn’t expect Khalil to hit as many HRs, but I think he’ll hit more doubles this year. I expect his BA and OBP to improve by like 10 points each.

  17. I’m not trying to kill opening day buzz, but I don’t think we’re better at every position.


    LF: Are people forgetting the Milton Bradley bonanza and how clutch Hairston was? Wasn’t Cruz also awesome at the beginning of the year? It was different people, but that’s going to be hard to replicate.

    CF: Definitely worse. We lost those games down the stretch last year in large part because Brady Clark couldn’t play in our CF. Edmonds ain’t exactly the Rock of Gibraltar.

    RF: Worse. Is Giles really healthy? Microfracture surgery can be devastating. I realize this is basketball, but it took Amare Stoudemire at age 25 a year to fully recover. Giles may not have to jump, but he’s 37.

    Then I’d throw in that Peavy, Khalil and Gonzalez are hardly locks to repeat their tremendous years.

    Of course, I fully agree that Wolf is an upgrade and I’m hopeful over the fifth starter. I think the bullpen’s a bit down but not much. Iguchi is a definite upgrade and I hope Barrett hits anything.

    Health, as always, will play a major role.

  18. I’ll point out one thing about Prior and his rehab….well 2 actually.

    1-He finally had surgery, before that the Cubs kept wanting rest and rehab

    2-He’s a smart guy….smart enough to do his rehab through the same office that handle’s Hoffman’s shoulder. That’s worked out pretty well since the beach disaster, no?

    How do I know this? My wife did her shoulder rehab for a torn labrum after a car accident there…..yeah they know their stuff

  19. On another site someone mentioned that the Padres probably win the division if they get 840+ IP from their 5 best SP:

    If they got:


    Wolf + Prior-220IP????

    It could certainly happen, but with 4 teams in the division so bunched up injuries will play a vital role.

    Let’s not pretend that the Padres are the only team in the division that injuries could kill

    -Take Holliday out of Colorado for 2 months
    -Put Webb on the DL for 2 months

    Unfortunately the Dodgers seem to have the best depth in the division

  20. 17: There’s no reason to think that Adrian can’t replicate or improve on his 07 campaign. A couple extra days off should replenish his power quite well.

    Also, here’s the ESPN team preview:

  21. 19: I think Wolf gives us around 170 innings. I don’t think it’s out of the question to get 50 from Prior.

  22. #20

    I agree. I can’t see placing a question mark over AGon or anything that warrants speculating that he may have a notable drop off this year. He has given every indication that he will be a steady performer throughout his career.

    We have some streaky dudes on the roster, but I don’t think Adrian is one of them.

  23. Thanks, guys, for the feedback. We’ll stick with the weekly link roundup. Also, just as a heads-up, I’m planning to do three daily posts this season anyway. The minor-league stuff will get its own post — probably sometime between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. PT most nights/mornings.

    #12: You know it!

  24. Re: 23 that sounds good to me GY!

  25. I actually thought Adrian had a sub par year. He was terrible in June and July (.240-ish with 4 home runs) and by his own admission struck out far too often by swinging at balls out of the strike zone. He’s worked on that and should get plenty of time off with Clark on board. I think he’ll bounce back to hit over .300 with 30+ homers.

    Peavy won’t be quite as good (how could he?) but if CY is healthy all year we have two legit Cy Young contenders at the front of the rotation.

    Cruz was great for about 6 weeks but stunk the rest of the year, Bradley and Hairston were great at the end but in between we had some pretty mediocre LF play. We should at least be consistently average, with much more potential going forward.

  26. Wow. This is a great read. I knew that if I waited long enough somebody will look into this HR park factor.

    Oh, the links format is just fine, Geoff.

  27. BP has an article up today looking at Opening Day fun facts … among them are 2 Padre notes …

    The top three NL teams Opening Day lineups, based on the combined percentage of team plate appearances they made for the club throughout the season:

    68.7: Rockies
    68.3: Padres
    66.9: Mets

    One of the 13 players in MLB history to have the thrill of playing on Opening Day, and the never appear in a major league game again was …

    Jose Nunez, Padres, April 1, 2002: He pitched the eighth inning a 2-0 loss to Randy Johnson and the Diamondbacks, ending a strange run that saw him pitch at a level no higher than the Sally League before coming to the majors at age 22 with the Dodgers in 2001. They then waived him, and the Padres came calling, and clearing a roster spot for him. He pitched well for them and had this roster spot sewed up before injuries forced him out of the picture. He started the long road back in 2003, but never got higher than Double-A and has been out of baseball since 2004.

  28. If the current Friday links are too onerous, you could make each one about one sentence instead of three or four summarizing the article. If you want to, of course.

  29. 26: That’s a GREAT read! I think it’s interesting that it pretty much confirms what we always thought about Petco:

    If you can dead pull as a lefty or righty, you can put the ball out. LCF is more forgiving than CF or RCF, which are essentially dead zones for HRs.

  30. 26/29 … yup, that’s a good look at HRPF … thanks, Didi!

    Interesting to note that, by this measure, Petco CF is easier for HRs than the average MLB ballpark … so now ya know!

  31. 30: I interpreted 100 to be average, with over 100 being easier. Unless I’m mistaken, I thought that article had Petco overall at 91.

  32. The way I see it, position by position instead of with specific players:

    C ’08 = C ’07 More or less. Bard will continue to be good, Barrett will be a good backup.

    1B ’08 = 1B ’07. Again, more or less. Adrian does have some potential to break out some more, but I’m being conservative here.

    2B ’08 > 2B ’07. By default. Iguchi is solid, Antonelli should be as well if something happens to Iguchi.

    SS ’08 = SS ’07. Maybe not quite as much power from Khalil, but probably a little more OBP.

    3B ’08 > 3B ’07. Like the rest of you, I do not expect Kouz to hit .100 for the first month.

    LF ’08 < LF ’07. Bradley and Hairston were pretty insane last year. It’ll be tough to match that.

    CF ’08 RF ’07. Last year Padre rightfielders hit .261/.346/.395. That should be very easy to top.

    Overall then this makes it look like the hitting will be a little better this year.

    Peavy ’08 Young ’07. Mainly on the basis of more innings and better second half innings, though I think he’ll regress from his awesome first half of last year.

    Maddux ’08 Fourth Starter ’07. So, better than Germano, I think.

    5th Starter ’08 > 5th Starter ’07. The fifth starter last year was really bad. I think Germano, Rusch, Hensley, LeBlanc eventually, maybe Prior can outperform Wells, Hensley, Stauffer, Cassel et. al from last year.

    ’08 Bullpen < ’07 Bullpen. Some regression from Bell, Thatcher, and Hoffman. Hampson and Cameron won’t be as good either. Meredith will probably be better.

    So the pitching looks about the same.

  33. 27: Quick, somebody write a ballad for Jose Nunez. He was on his way to be one of those KT’s genius pick when arm troubles came-a-calling.

    OT: Jorge De La Rosa was waived by the Royals. Murton is gone from the Cubs too.

  34. 32 … ug … some of your greater-than and less-than signs are being interpreted as HTML … happened in #15 as well … bummer …

    31 … 100 is “average” … but for “overall” … my comment (#30) talked about CF … “average” for CF = 66 … for Petco CF = 72 … so it is easier to hit HRs in Petco’s CF than an average MLB ballpark … it’s still harder to hit HRs to Petco’s CF than to an average location (which includes all the much easier RF and LF locations).

  35. 33 … how about a haiku?

    Strange run for Nunez
    A day in the sun, then an
    Injured April Fool

    … bring it!

  36. Padres at Angels tomorrow (Sat @ 6pm PDT) will be available on MLB.TV for free … seems worth checking out …

  37. 32, 34: Whoa, that is very confusing. I think my key points were: Peavy will probably regress some this year, Young will probably regress some from his first half but hopefully will be a little healthier and so be overall more valuable, Wolf will hopefully be better than Germano, and Padre right fielders were terrible last year mainly because no one hit while OG was out. And overall the team looks slightly improved from last year through my rose colored glasses.

  38. This is certainly not the way we want to gain an advantage in the division:

    Doug Davis has thyroid cancer. It sounds like they should have it under control, and Davis is only going to miss about a month, so that is good.

  39. 4, 6: Notice Bryk didn’t say anyting about Chalk’s hitting.

  40. It’s too bad about Davis, I hope he pulls through it ok.

    I know his dad says its only a 1 month rehab but the team says it is indefinite.

    They are going to be lucky to get more then 10 starts from him in 2008.


  41. I just read the preview of the Padres:

    It’s like they go out of their way to get things wrong! It has the usual dumb things — the Padres offense sucks, they need a power hitter, other teams hit homeruns in Petco, etc.

    Speaking of, they had their baseball “expert” predict major league baseball standings. Only Keith Law’s predictions had the teams average exactly 81 wins. Kurkjian and Stark picks averaged 82 wins (talk about optimistic!) and Buster Olney and Steve Phillips were just slightly over 81 (so they might have just had an adding error). To me the surprising thing is that Phillips wasn’t the worst offender.

  42. If a good offense plays in a park that makes them look bad, are they still a good offense?

    The Padres were great on the road but they were still the worst team at home and they were in the bottom half overall. Petco provides a great excuse (reason?) for that but does it really change things?

  43. 42: Yes, it does “change things” because it is not just the Padres who are effected by Petco. The visiting teams offense is suppressed as well.

  44. I hope Huber does well for you, I hated it that KC gave up on him so easily.