Opening Day Links and Open Thread

Well, it’s here. First, we have links to whet your appetite…

  • Bill White interviewed about autobiography (RetroSimba). This is a wonderful interview with a wonderful player from the late-’50s and ’60s. Part 2 and Part 3 are also available. [h/t BBTF]
  • Home run winning percentage (Baseball-Reference). Steve Finley’s team won 74% of games in which he homered. Nice.
  • Roster for Triple-A club will have big-league feel (Arizona Daily Star). Tucson’s first game is April 7, with the home opener coming on April 15. Wade LeBlanc is expected to get the Opening Day start. There’s also an article on infielder Logan Forsythe, which includes this quote:

    I’ve always tried to work the count. Pitch recognition, I’ve taken pride in that. This year, they want to be a little more aggressive in certain counts, especially hitting counts, drive in more runs, hit with a little more power. That’s what I’ve been working on this spring, and it’s gone quite well.

    As I’ve mentioned, I liked what I saw from Forsythe in Peoria.

  • Former Padres Marcus and Brian Giles playing Softball (Gaslamp Ball). Complete with videos and pics. I still love Brian’s batting stance.
  • Spring Training 2011 Question Of The Day: San Diego Padres (SBNation). Quoth Rob Neyer:

    There are shockingly few interesting questions we might ask about the 2011 San Diego Padres, mostly because for a rebuilding team they have shockingly few interesting players.

    In my experience, things tend to be as interesting as one makes them, but maybe that’s just me.

  • What’s up with Sean Burroughs (Arizona Republic). Or Dewon Brazelton?
  • Why You Should Go To The Ballgame (In Case You Forgot!) (Mop Up Duty). Bottom line: “There is no greater feeling than spending an afternoon at the ballpark.” Nailed it.
  • Career projections 2011 (Hardball Times). Fun with spreadsheets… Ingest with copious amounts of salt… Chase Headley finishes with 104 homers, Will Venable with 89, Nick Hundley with 71. Mat Latos wins 117 games, Clayton Richard 86, Wade LeBlanc 53, Cory Luebke 11.
  • Extra Quotes For Prospects To Pennants (Baseball America). Padres Director of Pro Scouting A.J. Hinch gets in a few words here.
  • An Interview With UZR (Joe Blogs). I’m beginning to think that the best way to approach advanced statistical metrics is with humor. Actually, that’s the best way to approach a lot of things.
  • Twins up to date on stats, but not loud about it (Star Tribune). Speaking of which… quoth Twins VP for Player Personnel Mike Radcliff:

    We’ve looked at UZR and recognize it. It’s just not something we’re completely comfortable with yet. It’s just so abstract. It’s not quite definitive enough, but [defensive statistics] will continue to evolve.

    What a sensible approach from an organization that has enjoyed considerable success over the years despite their market size. [h/t BBTF]

  • On Topps: The State Of The Baseball Card In 2011 (A.V. Club). I love the old school Fergie Jenkins card with him wearing a uni that has a collared undershirt. [h/t reader bee1000]
  • Previewing the Padres: Wrap-up edition (Friar Forecast). Myron has the Padres winning 85 games, which seems reasonable to me. As it was last year, the NL West should be a dogfight again in 2011. And it promises to be fun.

Now, I turn it over to you. We should talk it up more this year. Get busy…

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22 Responses »

  1. Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a great season! Go Padres!

  2. Just read all 3 parts to the Bill White interview, and I heard a radio interview with him yesterday. He has had quite the baseball life. At some point, I am going to have to read his book.

  3. There’s just something about that cold weather that makes people more reasonable. Maybe it teaches you your own limitations. :-)

  4. Opening Day Baseball Quiz on Sporcle today:

    Good luck!

  5. Yes, Happy New Year!

    Just watched the Cardinals take the field on an HD TV … WOW! Take my breath away, with that arch mowed into the OF grass from 1B to CF to 3B … awesome!

    I don’t get to watch much HD TV … seems made for baseball :-)

  6. Ugh, bases loaded and Black lets Hawpe hit against a left-hander. Not good. Let’s hope that isn’t a sign for the rest of the season.

  7. Crap, how’d that happen. Anyway.

    @ Tom

    Hawpe isn’t particularly susceptible to LHP. He hit that ball hard. Cantu was already burned. If you’re already pinch-hitting for your cleanup hitter / 1b on Opening Day with Chris Denorfia, what’s that do to his confidence?

  8. The thing that told me last year that the Padres were for real was how they hung tough in close games and gutted out wins. It’s the earliest of early days, of course, but this was a nice repeat of that kind of performance.

  9. First place, woo! Fun, exciting game today, and hopefully they can keep winning games like that.

    On pinch hitting for Hawpe, I agree with TW. Batters generally hit worse as pinch hitters, so Denorfia’s not that much better than Hawpe, and no one else left in the game plays first base. If Cantu were available, or if they were behind instead of tied, maybe then you pinch hit.

  10. hey, Cedric Hunter scored his first ML run ever. Cool!

  11. you know what that opening day win the Padres got vs. St Louis told me?
    even the best player in the league has a bad day.

  12. in terms of WPA, the Padres’ game was the most exciting one on opening day of 2011 season.

    but even Maybin’s .690 WPA can’t top ex-Padres Ramon Hernandez’s .929 as the Reds snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

  13. Isn’t Hawpe going to be platooned with Cantu? If you don’t want him to face left-handed starters why would you want him to face a left-handed specialist with a huge platoon differential with the game on the line? As far as Hawpe’s confidence goes, isn’t he just the placeholder 1B until Blanks is ready? Ideally down the stretch he’s just a pinch-hitter and maybe a spot starter against tough righties.

    Anyway, of course none of that matters now. That was a huge win especially considering how awful they’ve been in St. Louis lately.

  14. I’ve heard no talk of a Cantu-Hawpe platoon. Cantu is a backup corner IF. And he’d already been used, so the choice was Denorfia vs Hawpe. For one at-bat when you need a hit, is there really a problem going with Hawpe? That’s a successful at-bat if there are less than two outs, you can’t ask a hitter to do much more than put a solid swing on the ball.

    If the team wasn’t trying to win games in 2011 irrespective of Blanks (although Rizzo is the likely successor at 1b), then they wouldn’t have signed Hawpe in the first place. Your ideal solution is definitely not mine. Ideally he’s hit 20+ HR with a 115 OPS+ by late July and the Padres are fighting for a playoff spot, not looking to promote a 1b who is either coming off TJ surgery or has 250 AAA at-bats.

  15. just in case we think that Maybin is on pace for 162 HRs this season, this wet blanket article puts a damper into that notion:

  16. I liked what I saw yesterday. The team played hard, and looked like they were expecting to make plays and win. While the actual production against Carpenter wasn’t fantastic, it seemed like guys were working the count and squaring up on the ball nicely. While i’m going to miss Adrian, it looks like the lineup 1 through 8 is going to make opposing pitchers work more, because there are a lot of professional hitters in there. Ludwick and Hundley both looked great at the plate, though I think Hundley started pretty hot last year too.

    Maybin was the interesting one to me. He can obviously go get them in CF, and his first 3 ABs were pretty nondescript (though Carpenter does that to a lot of guys). But then in the 9th, with Franklin throwing meatball after meatball, he crushed one, and that confidence seemed to be exuding from Cameron in his final AB, as he smoked a single for the game winning run. I think this will be an interesting year for him, because I think his confidence will be the most accurate predictor of success in any particular AB, and that can lead to a very up and down year.

  17. Awesome start to the season with Padres small-ball. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Game balls to Stauffer and Maybin.

    We Ready…..

  18. Kellen Kulbacki realsed from the Padres

    Count down until he is picked up by the Mets or D-Backs 5…4…3…2…

  19. Love the Opending Day quote from Charlie Manuel.

    “When you look at our pitching, we’re going to be in a lot of games,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “If we can score some runs, we’re gonna win a lot of them.”

    Clearly Charlie worked hard in Spring Training and is in mid-season form!!

    @RJ: Gameball Stauffer? Really? I’m thinking gameball Pujols for 3 GIDP! :-)

    @Adam: Professional Hitter? Come on, are any of these guys Matt Stairs? I don’t think so! ;-)