Quick reminder: The Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual is on sale. People tell me it doesn’t suck, so go buy a copy or three.
To the links…
- Jake Peavy has a mysterious substance on his hand (Yahoo!, h/t Kevin) and suddenly the “national” media knows where San Diego is. Solid effort, guys. Love this quote from Peavy:
There’s nothing on my hands that’s not supposed to be. I thought it was funny that it was such a big deal. I’ve got no problems with anytime anybody needs to check me.
In other words, he says “bring it,” which is exactly what MLB is and should be doing (AOL). Either Peavy cheated, in which case baseball needs to remedy the situation as quickly as possible (you know, like MLB usually does), or he didn’t, in which case life goes on as it was. Besides, Americans love a good witch hunt.
- Speaking of Peavy, MB at Friar Forecast breaks down the game in question from a pitching standpoint.
- Speaking of MB, he also discusses the relationship between stats and scouting. It’s an old debate, but as usual, MB offers a solid take.
- Dex at Gaslamp Ball examines the sacrifice bunt. I love when he busts out his analytical chops.
- Dex also builds on my Hardball Times article about Trevor Hoffman in non-save situations. First he examines Hoffman from a different angle, then he asks the same questions of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Very nice work, although I disagree with the conclusion that — especially in Hoffman’s case — we have enough data to determine that their managers should keep these guys out of non-save situations. As Dex notes, both pitchers are nearing the end of their fine careers, so it’s tough to apply any lessons we might have learned in these cases. I’d love to see a much larger and more detailed study on this topic.
- Tim Keown at ESPN discusses (h/t Kevin) Greg Maddux’s famous “17 percent of runners who steal second go on to score” dictum. According to the article, Sdpads1 ran the numbers for 2007 and came up with just over 40%, which jibes well with the number (43.2%) we found through the first 46 games of last season.
- More Keown, more Maddux (h/t Kevin). I love that former Lake Elsinore Storm catcher Ben Risinger is featured so prominently in the hilarious opening bit. (I also got to see Risinger play in the annual Yuma “Stars of the Future” game back in ’03 — along with current Padres Justin Germano, Khalil Greene, and Paul McAnulty). Anyway, the Maddux article is highly entertaining. Read it, yo.
- Dan Hayes at North County Times pens a nice feature on pitching coach Darren Balsley, who would be celebrated if he wore a New York or Boston uniform. Quoth Maddux:
Balsley’s pretty good at being on the money as far as what you’re doing wrong. No (he doesn’t get enough credit). Not even close. Maybe he wants it that way. He’s got a good demeanor through the good times and the bad times. He’s very even-keeled and he’s smart. He knows the hitters very well, well as any pitching coach I’ve ever worked with. He watches a lot of video. And he really enjoys the tedious work.
The emphasis is mine. Maddux, you may recall, worked with a guy named Mazzone in Atlanta. I’ve heard he’s a pretty good pitching coach.
- Jon Heyman at SI.com wonders whether Trevor Hoffman has anything left in the tank (h/t Sean Callahan). What a novel thought. In related news, readers wonder whether Heyman has anything left in the tank. You decide:
But what’s compounded the shaky start is that it comes on top of his brutal ending to the 2007 season, when he blew two games and enabled the Rockies to slip past the Padres into the playoffs.
First, two bad games in the first two weeks of 2008 have nothing to do with two bad games from six months ago. Second, Hoffman didn’t enable the Rockies to slip into the playoffs, the entire Padres team did. If they’d won one more game out of the preceding 162, there wouldn’t have been a problem. Why can’t people get that right? Why can’t Heyman, whose job is to report facts, get it right? He makes some good points about Hoffman’s time eventually coming to an end, but they’re undermined by his inability to nail down the basics.
- According to Corey at Padres.com, backup catcher Michael Barrett is expected to miss two to eight weeks courtesy of a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament (aka elbow). The good news is that he’s not expected to need surgery, which would have cost him the season.
- The U-T has an interactive thingy where you can vote on the Padres’ starting lineup (h/t KRS1). Pointless, but fun. There’s always value in that.
- Baseball America did a monster all-day chat (h/t LynchMob) last week that’s still worth a look. Here’s a fun one:
Q: Jimmy from San Diego, CA asks:
Not sure how or why Josh Geer is the Padres #27 prospect. Watched him on TV last night and he was unbelievable. Threw all his pitches for strikes and not 1 ball was hit hard off him. I know he’s not overpowering, but neither was Greg Maddux in his prime. Do you see Geer in the big leagues soon?
A: J.J. Cooper: Our first Greg Maddux comp of the day. Sure to be followed by a Tom Glavine comp at some point as well. It’s true that Greg Maddux had outstanding success without a blazing fastball. It’s also true that since than, roughly 3,000 minor league finesse righthanders have been compared to Maddux, and we’ve yet to see any of them equal Maddux’ big league success. Geer had a very nice Opening Day start for Portland, and his ability to throw strikes will likely give him a chance at the big leagues at some point. That said, unless he develops a better breaking pitch to got with his fastball/changeup combo it’s hard to see him being better than a middle reliever. The list of successful soft-tossing fastball/changeup righthanders in the big leagues as starting pitchers is extremely short.
Yeah, funny how that works.
- MadFriars has a chat with everyone’s favorite non-prospect, Dirk Hayhurst (h/t Baseball in Fort Wayne). Here’s Hayhurst on his writing gig at Baseball America:
I write their non-prospect diary. Everybody else writes this thing called a prospect diary, which is what it’s like to be cool and awesome and hitting real well and drinking protein shakes.
Heh. For some reason I can’t get that character from Chuck out of my head. Man, I hope Hayhurst makes it.
- Steve Treder at Hardball Times examines the worst number 2 hitters since 1957 (h/t Didi). Give it up for Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith.
- Also at Hardball Times, Alex Eisenberg identifies six hitting prospects to watch in 2008 (h/t Didi), including Chad Huffman and Kyle Blanks, both currently at Double-A San Antonio. Alex offers this assessment of Huffman (along with some video of his swing):
Huffman has a small yet effective load with his hands. He does a good job of shifting his weight forward and aggressively stepping into foot plant before unloading his hips. He generates good bat speed, and even though he could stand to let the ball travel a little deeper, he rotates his hips violently on his front leg, taking an aggressive hack at the ball.
- The Chicago White Sox are running a radio advertisement in which Ken “Hawk” Harrelson explains, among other things, the origin of the term “ducksnort” — just in case you were wondering…
Padres are in Los Angeles for a three-game series against the Dodgers. First pitch tonight is 7:40 p.m. PT — rematch of last week’s Peavy/Brad Penny matchup. We’ll have the IGD up and running about an hour before then. Happy Friday, and go Padres!
Joe Morgan is not good at his job.