Friday Links (4 Jun 10)

Oy, strap in this morning. We’ve got lots o’ links…

Adrian and Eck

  • 2010 All-Stars determined by WAR (Baseball-Reference). It’s cute how Andy is surprised that Adrian Gonzalez isn’t in the top five among NL vote getters at first base for the All-Popular game.
  • Should the Padres take Jody Gerut’s advice? (Friar Forecast). Speaking of Adrian, Myron wonders whether the Padres’ hot start has changed their future plans for the best first baseman in franchise history.
  • Baseball strengthens bond for Ecksteins ( David Eckstein’s older brother, Rick, is hitting coach for the Washington Nationals.
  • Tip of the cap to Eckstein (ESPN). Mark Simon points out that Eckstein does pretty well when his team is up against the proverbial wall:

    Eckstein has come to bat 29 times in the ninth inning or later in a regular season or postseason game in the following situation.

    • One out from defeat
    • Opportunity to tie game (one-run down, or representing tying/winning run)

    He’s succeeded in either extending the game, or putting his team ahead, with either a hit, walk, or hit by pitch 13 times. That’s a 45 percent success rate. Wow.

    Wow, indeed. [h/t reader Kevin]

Deep Thoughts

These are the types of discussions I’ve been waiting to see among sabermetricians. Nassim Nicholas Taleb? Karl Popper? Malcolm Gladwell? More, please.

  • The Phillies scoreless streak and the need to create stories (Hardball Times). Pat Andriola reminds us that the desire for a coherent narrative sometimes leads to false or misleading conclusions.
  • Two Dogmas of Sabermetrics (Baseball Prospectus). From Tommy Bennett’s article: “Perhaps the worst thing a data-loving fan could do is wait for perfect information (say in the form of Hit-f/x), because it not only isn’t coming, it isn’t possible.”
  • Objective knowledge (Hardball Times). From Mike Fast’s article: “A true sabermetrician recognizes the limitations of his knowledge and his theories. Yes, there are tendencies toward logical positivism among baseball analysts. I, however, see much more of Karl Popper (hence the title) among the best saberists.”

Draft Stuff

  • Believe the Hype: Looking Back at the 2005 Draft (Real Clear Sports). Too bad Cesar Carrillo blew out his arm. Jacoby Ellsbury or Matt Garza would look good on this team. [h/t reader Didi]
  • 2010 MLB Mock Drafts (Friarhood). Steve and the gang provide a list of mock drafts conducted by some respected industry folks. After the first three, things get wonky… such is the nature of trying to predict a draft.
  • Mock Draft 2010 (Baseball Prospectus). Kevin Goldstein has the Padres taking Florida high school third baseman Nick Castellanos.
  • First Round History: Third (And Second) Base (FanGraphs). Speaking of third baseman… Burroughs and Nevin… Walker and Sprague… Gautreau… oh, my…

Local Kids

  • Q&A: Baseball America editor John Manuel on Anthony Slama (Aaron Gleeman). Aaron chats with Manuel about the USD alum, who is now a reliever in the Minnesota Twins system.
  • Stephen Strasburg Should Still Be Home (MLB Fanhouse). According to Tom Krasovic, “Strasburg should be wearing the blue of the San Diego Padres, not the red of the Potomac Swamp Gnats when his major league debut comes Tuesday.” Then we could have said, “Stay Strassy, San Diego.” It would have been hilarious.
  • College World Series odds (Hardball Times). Jeff Sackmann runs the numbers, and they don’t look real good for USD.


  • Nearly perfect (Friar Forecast). As Myron notes, “umpires are part of the game.”
  • On Galarraga, Joyce and instant replay (Hardball Times). From Joshua Fisher: “Baseball’s response needs to be swift and forceful. Perhaps even needlessly wasteful. Anything to assure fans that every effort will be made to never miss an easy call again.”
  • The Travesty (FanGraphs). “I suggest MLB invoke ‘the best interest of the game’ and hold a joint press conference with Joyce where everyone involved admits that the call was wrong, and they simply overturn the call and officially credit Galarraga with a perfect game. I don’t care about precedent. This will never happen again. It’s the right thing to do.”
  • It will be “The Galarraga Game” (Hardball Times). Steve Treder, who knows a thing or two about baseball history, offers a refreshing perspective: “So though it’s no doubt cold comfort to him, Armando Galarraga, an otherwise forgettable journeyman pitcher, will almost certainly find his name being uttered by fans a very long time from now, as they shake their heads over the amazing ‘Armando Galarraga Game’. He will be known forever to a degree that, say, Dallas Braden won’t.”
  • Support Your Local Umpire (Baseball Prospectus). Speaking of fresh perspectives, here’s one from Ken Funck: “No, it’s Joyce I feel sorry for — not because he made an entirely all-too-human mistake at the worst possible time, but because the shame and derision he has been made subject to was completely avoidable.”

My personal thoughts can be summed up as follows:

  • I wasn’t a fan of instant replay until Clayton Richard’s “home run” earlier this season. If an umpire can blow a call that badly, then maybe more help is warranted.
  • I’m steadfastly against rewriting history. While we’re at it, can we fix the call on Mark Langston’s pitch to Tino Martinez in Game 1 of the ’98 World Series? What’s the statute of limitations on that sort of thing?


  • Average fan not convinced Padres for real (U-T). Personally, I think those fans should strive to be better than average, but that’s just me. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
  • Never Scored Ten (Baseball-Reference). I’m a little surprised to see the ’88 Padres on this list. They were actually good, although Tony Gwynn had a down season (for him) and only one player on that team had an OPS higher than 800: Left-hander Dave Leiper went 1-for-2, for a cool 1000. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised to see them on this list.
  • Chainsaw: Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics (619 Sports). Chainsaw on Albert Pujols: “After your drive to Petco’s centerfield died at the warning track last Wednesday night, you looked like you just saw Jennifer Aniston drop her bathrobe and she turned out to be a man.” Funny thing is, that’s exactly what Pujols looked like. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
  • Memorial Day Remembrance: Cooper Brannan (Baseball Prospectus). Remember Cooper Brennan? Steph Bee does and pens an excellent article on the former Padres farmhand, complete with quotes from friend of Ducksnorts Denis Savage. Good stuff.
  • On the Road with Madfriars – Fort Wayne (Friar Forecast). Speaking of Denis, he makes an interesting point about the young Dominicans currently struggling in the Midwest League: “The average temperature in Fort Wayne during the month of April was 56.5 degrees. At night, they saw 10 days where the temperature was in the 30s. By contrast, the average low in the Dominican Republic is 73 degrees in April.”
  • Introducing NERD (FanGraphs). Best acronym ever. This looks like fun if you have the time.
  • Do The Padres Need A Hitter? (Padres Trail). Mike presents compelling evidence that we can expect the Padres’ offense to improve this summer, albeit perhaps not as early in the summer as we might like.
  • Hitters Can’t Square Up Gregerson’s Slider (FanGraphs). Joe Pawlikowski wonders about Luke Gregerson’s injury potential, a concern I’ve had myself on occasion. [h/t reader Didi]
  • Meet the new Park Factors — Part III (Baseball Engineer). Interesting stuff. Read also Part I and Part II.

And breathe…

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10 Responses »

  1. Oh yes, I’m nothing if not cute.

    That Langston/Martinez example is a wonderful one for why they can’t start reversing calls. That non-call was inexplicable and of course made memorable because the series basically ended on the next pitch. It should never have happened, but it did.

  2. I say we review Matt Holliday (not) touching home plate in game #163 in 2007!

  3. It’s not the same as reversing a mid-game call, although most proponents of replay are also in favor of at least some automating of the strike zone too. The Padres had the rest of that game, and as many as six games afterward, to get over that HR. We were going against one of the best teams of all time, a team that bettered our 98 win season by 16 wins, in a tougher league. We lost because the Yankees were substantially better, especially at the end of the year, not because Richie Frickin’ Garcia’s strike zone was the size of a baby’s clenched fist.

    What actually happened is what should be recorded, not one man’s admittedly mistaken interpretation of it. It’s not like the Germans inventing a stabbed-in-the-back excuse for why they lost WWI or Richard Nixon glossing over Watergate in his memoirs. The floodgates don’t have to be thrown open if MLB doesn’t let them be. It might happen once or twice a season, and many years it would never happen.

  4. Another linky, this one a Q&A from Baseball America with Drew “Geoff Young Hates Me” Cumberland. :)

  5. I disagree with the Joyce thing. The kid got the next guy out and so changing the call, and taking the hit off the books, wouldn’t change anything except give the kid some justice.

  6. Ah, the idiocy of ESPN. So Padres are battling for first, heck, battling for best record in the NL, and the Nationals have come back to earth: 6.5 games out, 4 games under .500, last in their division. Baseball Tonight offers this wonderful tidbit of analysis. Nats should be buyers for Heath Bell because their closer, Matt Capps, is struggling.

    This requires a tremendous amount of reading between the lines, but here goes my best shot. Padres are still required to trade Adrian before the deadline. Their ride will still turn into a pumpkin, and soon, so there’s no need for them to continue to try to compete. The Nats will be calling up Strasburg, which of course will take them from worst to first in the division in no time. Ergo, they will need a new closer and the Padres should be willing to part with Bell. ESPN is brilliant!

  7. @Andy: Thanks for stopping by and saying hey. Love your stuff.

    @Brian: Heh.

    @Tom Waits: Three things:

    1. I agree that the Padres had plenty of chances to get over the HR and that the Yankees were substantially better. They were a juggernaut, and even if the Padres had stolen that first game, it would have been nearly impossible for them to win the entire series… although as the U.S. ice hockey team once demonstrated, “nearly” is not the same as “completely.” Regardless, it would have been something to see the Padres shock the world with a Game 1 victory over a team that was assumed by many to be invincible. It would have been nice to have just that one moment, and thanks to Garcia, we were denied even that.

    2. “What actually happened is what should be recorded.” Exactly.

    3. Your nickname for Cumberland is terrible. ;-)

    @Parlo: Good stuff; thanks!

    @Pat: I could see trading Bell to the Nats, but at the right price. For example, Josh Willingham, whom I mentioned the other day, would look real good on this team.

  8. Oh fine, Geoff, blow my whole ESPN rant out of the water with your calm, cool logic. ;-)