Me, Elsewhere: On Petco and Hoyer

I have two new articles of potential interest floating around on teh interwebs. First, Rob Neyer has graciously allowed me to contribute a guest post at his ESPN home. The piece focuses on the Padres’ increased offensive success at home this year:

…hitting coach Randy Ready has gotten these guys to do something they haven’t done in a while: believe they can hit and score runs at their home ballpark. When you consider that the Padres had scored 515 fewer runs at Petco than away from it over its first six years of existence, that is no small accomplishment.

One commenter mentioned the possibility of regression, which is an excellent point (in fact, it’s already happened a bit in the past few weeks). It may well be that the Padres end up with lower offensive numbers at home than on the road.

Still, as I’ve noted before, the Padres are doing something under Ready that they haven’t done under any other hitting coach. How much of their success at home is his doing, I don’t know, but it’s happened on his watch and he deserves credit.

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The second article is in my usual spot at Hardball Times and examines the trades Jed Hoyer has made since taking over as Padres GM. There haven’t been many, and although it’s too early to declare “winners and losers,” we can look for patterns and tendencies.

One aspect of Hoyer’s style so far that stands out to me is his ability to be creative and flexible, which is helpful for any GM, but which takes on an even greater importance for one operating in a small market, where brute force isn’t always an option. Hoyer exhibited this recently with the Ryan Ludwick deal:

The interesting part of this trade is that it required the cooperation of three teams. I’ve never been a part of these sorts of negotiations, but I imagine it’s hard enough to swing a deal with just two parties involved. The fact that Hoyer was able to fill a need for the Padres (and one for the Indians) while working with two different GMs under deadline pressure speaks well both to his ability to think outside the box and to his people skills.

We’ll need to revisit this topic after Hoyer has made a few more trades. For now, I hope you enjoy the article.

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As always, thanks for reading my stuff here, there, and everywhere. And thanks again to Rob Neyer for letting me stand on his soapbox for a while.

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4 Responses »

  1. The Padres are hitting better at home than the road now, and I agree they’ll probably end the season with better road numbers, but is it regression, or the schedule?

    They’ve already faced teams with good pitching on the road, like Philly, the Mets (when they were hot), Cincinnati, and Atlanta. This month, they’ll be facing teams like Arizona, Milwaukee and the Cubs on the road. The only tough road series out of the division is four games in St.Louis in September (playoff preview?).

    At home, they’ll face the Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Phillies and Reds. Facing good teams with good pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark will look like regression, but is it, really?

  2. Yo! Check out the “secret sauce”!!!

    Baseball Prospectus keeps a measure called “Secret Sauce” based on three qualities that have been shown to correlate with postseason success. The Padres rank at the top of baseball in these Secret Sauce calculations, with an exceptional defense, a top-flight closer and a pitching staff that racks up strikeouts.

    According to Prospectus, those three traits are about the only ones that have real predictive value in October. If you have two of them, you’re in good shape. If you have all three, you’re the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks or ’07 Red Sox. In the Wild Card era, no team has finished a full season as high in the Secret Sauce rankings as the Padres stand right now.

    Here is the “secret sauce” data …


  3. Just watched yesterday’s game highlights (2-1 loss to Dogs) …

    Question … might the Padres have won 1-0 with Gwynn in CF instead of Denorfia? Just asking …

  4. @Larry: You raise a good point. That said, the Padres’ three biggest run totals this season have come at home against the Mets (18), Braves (17), and Rockies (13), so it will be interesting to see if they can keep producing against good pitchers at Petco.

    @LynchMob: Timoteo mentioned the “secret sauce” yesterday… intriguing stuff. As for Gwynn vs Denorfia, it’s hard to say. Gwynn may or may not have been able to catch that ball, but the real issue is that Denorfia never should have left his feet. If he plays it on a hop, only the one run scores and we’re still playing baseball.