On Local Kids and Calculated Gambles

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…

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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.

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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.

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