Here, There, and Everywhere

My latest article at Hardball Times looks back at a 1989 game in which the Cleveland Indians collected six hits, all home runs. Joe Carter knocked three of them.

Carter, you may recall, came to San Diego the following year and gave a convincing demonstration of how utterly useless the RBI statistic is. Ten men in MLB history have driven in 100 or more runs with a sub-90 OPS+. Carter is the only one to do it twice. Way to go, Joe.

Turning to the present, the good folks at Right Field Bleachers have taken the time to chat with me about the Padres as they prepare to take on the Brewers.

Life Is Just a Fantasy

Meanwhile, Mike Podhorzer at the Fantasy Baseball Generals discusses the top five fantasy stories for the Padres in 2008. There’s some good stuff here, although I disagree with his comments on Trevor Hoffman and Chris Young.

Anyone who has watched Hoffman this year realizes that he’s not “as good as ever” (in fairness, the mid-’90s were a long time ago and people forget just how good “good as ever” means in Hoffman’s case). For his part, Hoffman seems to think he’s still got something left in the proverbial tank.

As for Young, I have two problems with the analysis presented:

  1. It fails to mention Young’s 2007 oblique injury as a possible contributing factor in his decline this year. Since returning from the disabled list last August, his numbers are brutal: 24 GS, 5.32 IP/GS, 5.36 ERA, 5.36 BB/9, 8.60 K/9, 1.20 HR/9.
  2. When talking about Young’s success at Petco Park, people always seem to forget that a) he had no appreciable home/road splits in his one full season with the Rangers (whose home park shouldn’t provide any advantages to an extreme fly ball pitcher) and b) his ERA was more than 2 full runs lower on the road than at Petco in his first season with the Padres.

I’m not saying that these pieces of information automatically trump what Mike presents, just that the picture isn’t complete without giving them due consideration. Simple is good, but sometimes you need to dig a little deeper.

Built for the Future

If you can’t deal with the here and now, how about the future? Reader Didi points us to Marc Hulet’s analysis of NL West prospects, which isn’t very kind to the Padres. That’s fine; under the radar is good.

Speaking of prospects, did you catch Wade LeBlanc’s big-league debut on Wednesday? Most of it was forgettable — back-to-back homers to Blake DeWitt and Angel Berroa, yuck — but LeBlanc’s first hit will remain with me for some time. He singled to left-center in the fourth and stood at the plate for a few seconds, thinking he’d fouled the ball into the stands. I’m sure nobody on the bench gave him grief about that.

Continuing in future mode, the Padres have extended their player-development agreement with San Antonio through 2010. On the field, reader LynchMob passes along photos from the recent Storm game (h/t MadFriars) at Petco Park.

He also shares an article by Larry Stone at the Seattle Times concerning the “race” for the #1 pick in the 2009 draft. SDSU right-hander Stephen Strasburg is considered the cream of the crop by a wide margin. Quoth Baseball America‘s John Manuel:

I love Strasburg, but that’s hardly original. He compares favorably to Mark Prior at a similar stage of his career. … He’s an elite, elite guy and could move very quickly.

Friend of Ducksnorts Keith Law reaches a similar conclusion:

I’d say he’s less than two years away [from the majors]. He’s the one guy out there that’s a No. 1 starter.

For those interested, here’s what the race for #1 looks like:

Padres: 53-86
Nationals: 54-86
Mariners: 54-85

Here are the remaining schedules of those three teams:

Padres: Mil (4), LA (6), SF (4), Col (3), Was (3), Pit (3)
Nationals: Atl (4), NYN (6), Fla (6), SD (3), Phi (3)
Mariners: NYA (3), Tex (2), Ana (8), KC (4), Oak (6)

Here are the number of games against teams with winning records:

Padres: 4
Nationals: 15
Mariners: 11

And although I don’t believe for a minute that the Padres are trying to “win” the Strasburg Sweepstakes, I do have to wonder why in Eric Nolte’s name Shawn Estes is back in the rotation. Sorry, did I just use Eric Nolte’s name in vain?

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5 Responses »

  1. Has anyone ever traded for the 1st pick at this point? That is, why don’t the Padres go ahead and talk with the Nationals and Mariners about acquiring the 1st overall pick. I’m sure that there is some option-valuation that is reasonable in circumstances like this. For example, if the Padres finish second to last, they get to trade a player of caliber B, plus cash, plus the 2nd pick for the first pick. IF they end up in 3rd to last, then trade a player of caliber A, plus the 3rd pick, plus cash. And, if the Padres finish in last place, then they give cash to each of the other teams. This is all off the top of my head and I’m sure the specifics are foolish, but I’m betting Depodesta could come up with some reasonable terms that would ensure the Padres the 1st pick while allowing the team to go out and play hard every day without fear (from the front office) that they are losing out on a big-time pitcher that could land in the 2009 (late) or 2010 rotation….

  2. We’ve gotta win the Strasburg Sweepstakes! Shut down Peavy for the rest of the year. Let’s go with Banks, Estes, Beak, LeBlanc and Geer. PDX style!

  3. Re: Race for #1

    Interesting that one of the players the Pads might take if they fail to get Strasburg is former draft pick Grant Green, who failed to sign with the team after being drafted in the 14th Round in ’06. Baseball America has an article up today that compares Green to Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria.

  4. #1@Marsh: Can’t trade baseball draft picks.

  5. There’ll be pitching even if Strasburg is gone at #1 next draft.