Geoff Young (left) and Derek Togerson on NBC 7/39's 'SportsWrap', aired March 23, 2008

As I’ve mentioned, Derek Togerson was kind enough to have me on as a guest of NBC 7/39′s “SportsWrap” this past Sunday evening. Our segment was the Padres preview, so there wasn’t really an opportunity to pimp the book. Still, we had a great time talking baseball. Some highlights:

I cited the continued development of Chase Headley as the most exciting item of the spring and said that we’d see him at some point during the season, but that the left field job probably was Scott Hairston’s for now (we taped this on March 15). I also noted that the Padres wouldn’t bring Headley up as a stopgap solution — an everyday job would need to open up for him, and given the age and injury concerns of Jim Edmonds and Brian Giles, this could happen sooner rather than later.

Derek and I also talked about the rotation. I said that Chris Young’s second half was a fluke related to his oblique problem and that assuming he’s healthy, he’ll be a stud. I said that Randy Wolf should be effective, and the key would be whether he could stay healthy; if the Padres get 25 starts out of him, they’ll be in good shape. For the #5 spot, I advised against expecting anything from Mark Prior and said that I wasn’t excited about our other options.

When Derek asked me to “bottom line” the season, I said the Padres would win 85-86 games but not make the playoffs because the NL West is just too strong. As I did last spring, I picked Arizona to take the division. Derek went with Colorado.

Thanks again to Derek and the gang for having me on the show!

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87 Responses »

  1. 49: We have an above average offense. I don’t know if it is good. It’s better than people think, but other teams come in and hit at Petco, you would think the padres could figure it out, playing 1/2 their season there. Their whole approach changes at Petco it seems.

  2. News Flash … in case it’s not obvious yet … Callix Crabbe is a *great* guy … and a decent hitter … and a good utility glove man … but the guy is a disaster on the bases … today, just for example, he both gets PO’d and CS’d … ug … remember, this is the guy that Fick CS’s in the first spring instrasquad game … I suspect he’ll be red-lighted once the regular season starts … which, based on his spring results, is fine by me.

  3. “I have no idea why the Cubs never gave him a fair shot. He doesn’t have a lot of power for a corner OF but he’s been good at getting on base”

    Huge Brewers/NL Central fan here… There’s really no reason – just that they didn’t utilize him properly. Murton isn’t much of a defender, but iirc he’s not horrid. He mashes LHP (career .326/.399/.510/.909) & has been respectable v. RHP (career .280/.346/.425/.771), most notably that he gets on base fairly well v. RHP.

    They have Soriano who doesn’t miss much time in LF, and signed Fukudome to play RF (who really won’t be much of an upgrade over the production they had from RF in 2007 anyway). Not sure why Murton didn’t fit in, as Fukudome is a lefty. He’s never gotten a fair shake from the Cubs. He’d seem to fit in well for the Pads.

  4. 49, 51:

    Padres opponents hit 235/294/336 at Petco while the Padres hit 235/310/378. This led to 323 runs for the Padres and 278 for their opponents. The difference was power — the Padres had 126 2B, 19 3B, 72 HR, while their opponents had 118 2B, 16 3B, 45 HR. The Padres also had 295 walks and HBP while their opponents only had 245. Interestingly, the Padres had only 30 steals at home (with 8 CS) while the opponents had 85 (and 12 CS).

    The Padres only outscored their opponents on the road by 30 (418 to 388).

    So to say that they collectively haven’t figured out to hit in Petco is incorrect. The only truly awful hitters at home last season (among the returnees) were Greene, who has never hit here, and Giles who has never shown that kind of split before.

  5. #48: Very cool, thanks for the heads-up!

  6. 54: Those are two pretty key players in the Padres offense and it hurts to not have them hit at all at home.
    I didnt say overall the visiting team hit better than the Padres, but some teams came in and hit well (Baltimore, Philly, Mil). Padres’ pitching actually made it hard for any teams to hit well against them home or away.

  7. 50: I swear that I’m not trying to be overly homeristic, but I refuse to understand why everyone is so down on our team. Why on earth are we all of a sudden supposed to plummet back to earth. I don’t think the Rox and the Dodgers will be as good as everyone predicts. The D-Backs should end up being our principal competition.

  8. 51: Good, above average, seems like splitting hairs to me. Besides, that was last year and we really need to worry about this year. :-)

    BTW, where can you get team stats, not individual, for visiting teams to Petco? I’d be surprised if any other team/s have really hit all that well at Petco except in very small sample sizes.

  9. 57 … I think the definition of “homeristic” might be refusing to understand why everyone [else] is so down on our team ;-)

    I think it’s easy to see OG’s age and recent knee surgery … Edmonds recent performace and injuries … and a lack of anyone “proven” in LF … and be pretty down on the Padres, just for those 3 reasons. Then add to the mix that last year’s #4 starter is a year older and is now the #3 starter, and even the strength of the team (starting pitching) can be seen to have flaws.

    I’m OK coming in under the radar … I’d prefer to be a surprise … and that’s what I expect (unless that’s an oxymoron)!

  10. 55: You’re welcome. I was totally stoked for you! That is a big ol’ feather in your cap, imo.

  11. Hmmm, thanks for FJ’s blog, I just read this note from a UT article …

    The Padres are to send $50,000 or a player to the Royals within 30 days. They preferred Cubs corner outfielder Matt Murton but were unwilling to give up a prospect for him. “We’ve had interest in (Huber) for a couple of years,” said General Manager Kevin Towers.

  12. 61 … that same UT article had this update on Edmonds …

    In his first at-bat since a calf strain sidelined him March 6, Jim Edmonds, appearing in a minor league game, hit a home run, then added two singles in three more at-bats.
    Edmonds did not play in center field, and even after the 3-for-4 showing, Black described Edmonds as doubtful for Opening Day. If Edmonds goes on the disabled list, he would be eligible to return April 5.

  13. 61:

    I guess that makes sense. Murton is clearly better but we don’t know what the Cubs were asking for him. Plus the last time the Padres traded for a Cubs role player it didn’t work out too well (Jose Ceda for Todd Walker).

    I got all the stats from Baseball-Reference. The home road splits show the effect Petco Park has — 806 total runs on the road vs. 601 at home. That’s a huge difference.

  14. I’m still fascinated by the lack of understanding of park effects.

  15. Attention USD fans … the first college stats are out …

    Your national strikeouts leader is San Diego lefthander Brian Matusz, who has 71 through 44 innings. That’s 20 more than second-place Aaron Crow of Missouri and Kyle Blair of USD.

  16. #58 – I think would have the team stats, but I don’t have time to check, sorry. Maybe look under the “League” section on the left-hand column/toolbar on the front page.

  17. I’m totally in with the Murton thing.
    Don’t know why the Cubs don’t just use him. He’ll be a good platoon for OG except for figuring out the quirky corner of RF at Petco. Hitting-wise he’s complementary to OG. It would interesting to see if the Cubs will make him available. The Padres and Cubs are pretty good trading partners in the past.

    Nice to see Huber in the lineup. I think he’ll be a good addition. Surprised that the Royals are not using him as a DH. It is funny to think that the Padres can’t find any place to use Jack Cust and yet, here’s Huber, who’s basically the same player from the right side. I just hope this doesn’t mean P-Mac is left off the roster when the team breaks camp.

    Still need those pitchers, though, as the Padres’ road pitching numbers were pretty terrible last season. I don’t see the Cards letting Anthony Reyes go.

  18. 65: This is nice.

    “A pair of Big West teams are atop the ERA leaderboard. No. 7 UC Irvine has the nation’s best ERA (1.86), and No. 5 Long Beach State is second (2.12).”

    Geoff and I had a great time watching UC Irvine-USD game up there last month. If you are around in April, we plan to see the rematch at USD.

  19. They have splits for everything.

    Here’s the Padres batting splits from last season:

    Here’s the complete NL splits:

    You can see from the 2nd link how much Petco depresses hitting (the next lowest split was about 18% higher — RFK)

  20. 68:

    It’s amazing that UC-Irvine is good. The baseball team got cut the same year as my men’s track and cross-country teams (damn Title IX!) and they only brought it back 7 years ago. They got good pretty quickly.

  21. 70: Yes, that is an amazing story. The new ballpark is very nice. Geoff compared it to some minor-league parks. Plus, Tuesday night are $2 nights. Sweet and free parking for those games. Have you gone back up there? Too many constructions going on still…Under Construction Indefinitely still rings true. Zot Zot!

  22. 67: I hated giving Cust away, but there’s no way to slice it, his defense is atrocious. I still think he could have been useful. Huber’s a better defender and a viable emergency catcher.

    This team would be a lot more solid with a true CF. Edmonds doesn’t count anymore. Maybe Hairston or Gerut turns into one; stranger things have happened.

  23. 72: 100% accurate wrt to Cust’s defense. And I guess we’re left with hoping that Hairston or Gerut can pass as a CF this year.

  24. Today’s game summary at UT says …

    “Because I was under the weather I wasn’t worried with the results,” said Young, who had been bothered by flu-like symptoms the past four days. “I’m ready to go. I feel good.”

    … seems like I’ve read that a couple of the players have had “flu-like symptoms” recently … bleh …

  25. 74 … and also this …

    Padres OF Jim Edmonds went 1-for-4 with a walk in a minor league game.

  26. Re: Cust & Huber

    Cust is a better hitter (more power & more walks) but he strikes out a TON (1233 in 3786 MiLB AB – comparing Minor league numbers b/c we have a larger sample size). Huber, on the other hand, has 548 SO in 2391 MiLB…

    I once heard an expert describe Cust’s defense ability, “As a first-basemen, he’s a lawn orniment, as a left-fielder, he’s something less (paraphrased).”

  27. With a rate of 56% in 2007, is Jack the new king of the Three True Outcomes?

  28. 66: Cheers!

    67: I really think the thing which held him back, and why they acquired Huber, is Cust being LH. We had other LH options and Petco is much better suited to a RH hitter, imo. But I totally get your point about how similar they are as players and odd they would release one (trade him?), yet trade for the other.

    68: I’d really like to see the USD-Irvine game. What day are you guys going?

  29. 69: Thanks. I’ll have to get more familiar with the PI. I subscribed a while ago, but I haven’t been able to get it to put out team or league splits like that.

  30. 77: Yeah! With K’s like that he is the next Rob Deer!

  31. 76: Friberg is back. Yeay. Must be baseball season starting soon. :)
    Thanks. I hope Huber is way better a defender than Cust.

    78: I think the game is going to be on April 15 during the day since that field has no light. Would be great if you can join us, Pat. Of course, there is a Padres game that night also.

    Read an article that the Padres was more interested in Murton than Huber but wasn’t willing to trade a prospect for Murton and instead is going to send probably cash to the Royals even is the trade is officially PTBNL for now.

    I’m guessing that means that Josh Greer might just be a pitcher the Padres would try to get to the ML level yet. Losing Ceda, Meek, Rosales, Soria in trades/draft last season depleted the Padres’ arms collection. Or the Padres don’t think Murton is that much better than Huber. Nice to have the RH hitter in the lineup.

    I’m counting on Germano to win 10-12 games this year. That would be great.

  32. 79/Pat: That really isn’t part of the PI (well, maybe it is .. I don’t know). Just go to the Padres team page then click on splits (either bat or pitch) and that’s what you get. From there you can get the league splits, too (up top).

  33. 70: I think a lot of credit has to go to CSUF. UCI’s coach was bred from that system and UCI has definitely benefitted from it.

  34. 68: I’ll be at the CSUF vs USD game in Fullerton if anyone is around in April. As well as the SDSU/CSUF games obviously.

  35. 83: Yes, that helps the recruiting season also in 2001 during the program first year when they didn’t compete for the season, I think.
    Dave “2007 Head Coach of the Year” Cerrano, however, has moved on to coach at CSUF and he’s been replaced by Mike Gillespie of the USC Trojans fame. That helps any program, right?

    84: Up for a road trip, GY?

  36. Re: 57 – Phantom…might have a lot to do with the OF situation being very questionable, the distrust of Wolf/Germano/Bill Neverheardofya being at the back-end of our rotation, the lack of depth in the middle infield, Trevor’s collapse at the end of last season, and, most importantly, the dogmatic obsession with making the Rockies seem better than they actually are.

  37. Oh yea, and I type that as someone who thinks that they will battle the Dodgers for 2nd place all year long.