With the Padres now playing in a part of the country where games are over by the time I get home from the day job, I can’t offer much in the way of meaningful commentary beyond maybe you want to fire up the offense before the seventh inning. Instead, I’ll just make a couple of general observations…
* * *
It’s great to see El Capitan High School product Kyle Phillips up with the club in Nick Hundley’s absence. Not that you want the one productive hitter on the world’s worst offense to land on the disabled list, but Phillips deserved the shot.
Although Phillips wasn’t dominating at San Antonio like everyone else was (granted, 1 K in 82 PA is impressive), the Missions radio announcers praised him for his leadership qualities. We don’t know how to quantify “leadership qualities,” but in absence of better information, I’m good with having a guy who possesses them on the team.
* * *
I have been thinking (too much, it seems) about Brad Hawpe. More specifically, I have been thinking about the nature of calculated gambles and how sometimes they make you look like a genius, while other times they make you look like the opposite. For example, here are the 2010 lines of two first basemen that nobody wanted this past off-season:
Player Age PA BA OBP SLG OPS+ Brad Hawpe 31 346 .245 .338 .419 94 Casey Kotchman 27 457 .217 .280 .336 73
Acknowledging that we still don’t have a lot of data, here’s how these two are doing so far in 2011:
Player Age PA BA OBP SLG OPS+ Brad Hawpe 32 104 .198 .250 .292 56 Casey Kotchman 28 75 .348 .427 .455 154
We could apply a bit of revisionist history and invent reasons why we should have seen Kotchman’s resurgence coming, but the fact remains that sometimes when a guy looks done, he is; other times, he isn’t.
Satisfying answer? No. Copout? Maybe. True? Yep.
* * *
- How “Scientific Baseball” Has Changed the Game (Wezen-Ball). Larry Granillo revisits an old article on a familiar theme. Did I say “old”? Try 1911.
- A Bitter Cup of Coffee: Postscript (Seamheads). Doug Gladstone discusses recent changes in the distribution of pensions to an earlier generation of big-league players.
- A Statistician Rereads Bill James (Baseball Prospectus). James has influenced so many people in so many different ways. He instilled in me the desire to develop and apply my critical reasoning facilities toward not only baseball but everything in life.
- Cooperstown Confidential: The Hands of Stone team (Hardball Times). This is fun. Former Padres Willie Montanez, Gene Richards, and Dave Kingman make the cut. Carmelo Martinez and Gary Sheffield do not.
- 10 questions with broadcaster Mark Grant (U-T). Grant on books: “Does the Thomas Brothers guide count, because I love looking at maps?” I am totally down with that.
- Rizzo getting closer by not looking ahead (U-T). Anthony Rizzo credits teammate Matt Clark for helping him make in-game adjustments at the plate.
- Petco attendance on upswing (North County Times). Quoth Tom Garfinkel: “Ultimately, we won’t be happy until we’re filling the place consistently, but I think we’re pleased with the progress.”
- NL West: Questions and, answers? (Hardball Times). Steve Treder, THT’s NL West expert and all-around good guy, gives us the scoop.
- Minor Thoughts- “The life of a High Prospector” (Tree.com). Padres farmhand Cody Decker talks about getting drilled in the head by a Tommy Hunter fastball while Hunter was on rehab assignment.
- Milton Bradley: The Man an Army Couldn’t Save (FanGraphs). Jonah Keri discusses one of my all-time favorite Padres. Bradley was/is a polarizing figure, but when he wasn’t busy fighting himself or someone else, he was a genuine pleasure to watch. See also these fine articles.
- Start the season with the All-Star Game (Hardball Times). This is a fascinating idea. I’m not sure it would be enough to restore my personal interest in the game, but I like the outside-the-box thinking here.