I’ve been busy. Part of the reason is that I’ll be contributing to two forthcoming books: The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 (due out in November) and John Burnson’s Graphical Player 2010 (due out in December). I can’t go into a lot of detail just yet because — well, I’m not done writing — but be sure to purchase those two fine tomes when you have a chance.
Meanwhile, I’m still watching the games and I do have some thoughts. They are more fragments than sentences, so today we’ll do the dreaded (eh, mon!) bullet points:
- I don’t know what disturbs me more: that Adrian Gonzalez laid down a sacrifice bunt in Tuesday’s game or that in the process, he did something that Tony Gwynn Jr. twice failed to do a day earlier.
- I could say more about Gwynn’s performance, but I said I’d leave him alone for now, and so I shall. I’m biting my tongue so hard that it’s bleeding. C’mon, man, suck it up; weak grounders to second can be fun.
- Returning to Adrian for a moment, he could do something pretty crazy this year. As of this writing, he has 38 homers; the next three guys behind him have 39 (Kouzmanoff, 17; Chase Headley, 11; Will Venable, 11).
- I offered my thoughts on Everth Cabrera over at Hardball Times a couple of weeks ago. He promptly went into a slump. I take full responsibility because I have control over such things. That and the weather. Sorry it’s been so friggin’ hot lately, especially for all y’all in the east county. Santucky represent.
- Speaking of Kouz, there’s been talk that he deserves consideration for the Gold Glove award. Yes and no. If Rafael Palmeiro can win the thing while playing DH, then everyone deserves consideration. As for Kouz, his case rests on the fact that he has committed just three errors this season. Don’t get me wrong, that is some kind of freakish, but as Myron notes, a shiny fielding percentage doesn’t make Kouz a great third baseman. For my money, Kouz is a slightly above-average defender at third (which is better than he was when he got here; among other things, his throws don’t tail nearly as much as they once did) who has good hands and who comes in on the ball very well, but who doesn’t have a lot of lateral range. Also, he doesn’t hit enough to win the Gold Glove, but that’s another story.
- I should say something about Kyle Blanks, whose season ended prematurely due to a foot injury. First off, how many guys can hit a ball over the 434-foot sign in dead center at whatever the ballpark in Miami is called despite not being able to plant on that back foot? That is just sick. Second… well, let me commandeer some words from a post that was supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago but that never quite materialized:
Blanks got off to a strong start at Triple-A Portland, then struggled around the same time he started seeing action in left field. He came up to the big club in mid-June and, after a slow start, punished baseballs. Blanks sometimes has trouble making contact, but when you put up a 137 OPS+, all is forgiven; besides, he’ll work his way through that — he’s already making adjustments against pitchers, and the more he sees, the better he’ll get.
Blanks also looks surprisingly comfortable at both corner outfield spots. Assuming the foot injury doesn’t have long-term implications, Blanks should continue to progress at the big-league level and be a serious force within the next few years.
(Unrelated, but fun: Jason at IIATMS recently visited San Diego and had lunch with Blanks.)
- If Eliezer Alfonzo is back in 2010, so help me. Dude makes Ruben Rivera’s swing look controlled.
- Daniel likes what Kevin Correia has done for the Padres this year. So do I, in a Kevin Jarvis 2001 kind of way. I like that this team will have much better options for the pitching staff headed into next season. Some of these guys may take their lumps, because that is what happens to young players, but at least the talent is there.
- Heath Bell blew a couple saves. Closers do that sometimes, you know.
- I like the idea of giving Edward Mujica a few starts. He may not end up in the rotation next year, but flexibility is good. Mujica’s home run rate is high (as it was in Cleveland), but he is young, has good stuff, and throws strikes. Most teams can use a guy like that.
- Whenever I see Luis Perdomo’s name, I think “perdido,” which means “lost” in Spanish. Before Perdomo appeared in a September 13 victory over Colorado, the Padres had been 2-28 in games in which he pitched. Prior to that game, he hadn’t been in a winning game since May 16 — and then, only because it lasted 16 innings. The Padres are now 4-30 in Perdomo’s appearances, as opposed to 64-52 when he doesn’t pitch. <logic=”faulty”>Imagine how good this team would be without him.</logic>
- I’ve enjoyed watching Wade LeBlanc throw strikes. Bad things happen — like Eric Byrnes smacking a ball off the second deck facade of the Western Metal Building — when LeBlanc misses, but when the young southpaw works ahead in the count, he can bust out the nasty change-up and do damage. Some people gave up on LeBlanc based on his earlier trials, but with all the power arms now in the system, I kind of like him as an option at the back end of next year’s rotation to give opposing hitters a different look. He has little margin for error, but so have other successful pitchers. A lack of overwhelming velocity hasn’t kept, say, Doug Davis from having a career.
- In The Hardball Times Season Preview 2009, I predicted that the Padres would win 75 games this year. I need them to go 7-5 the rest of the way to make me look smarter than I am. Hey, they’re 26-20 in August in September; it just might happen.
I’m out of bullets. That’s okay; I’m pretty sure it’s dead already.