Wednesday Links (20 Jul 11)

In honor of his latest opus, we’ll kick off today’s links with a look at Padres ace Tim Stauffer, work our way through a long-forgotten pitcher from the turn of last century, and finish up with a brilliant quote from one of the Padres’ reserve infielders. Good times…

  • Fluke Watch: Tim Stauffer (Hardball Times). From Josh Smolow’s article:

    The strikeouts remain the same, but his walks have fallen in half and suddenly he’s a strong GB pitcher. Where did this come from, and is it for real? He’s kept it up for two half-seasons now, but can he be trusted? Short answer: Yes.

    Stauffer’s 131 ERA+ since 2009 ties him with Jaime Garcia and Johan Santana for 18th among MLB pitchers who have worked at least 250 innings in that period.

  • Prospect Fuentes developing speed in Class A ( The issue with Fuentes isn’t speed, it’s whether he can hit enough to be more than a fourth or fifth outfielder. Sure, he’s young, but a .272/.345/.333 line in the Cal League doesn’t impress.
  • Find Franchise Trade History (Baseball-Reference). Sean Forman delivers yet another dose of awesome. Here’s every trade the Padres and Mets have made, from Ron Herbel for Rod Gaspar in 1970, to Allan Dykstra for Eddie Kunz earlier this year.
  • Trade market snapshot (Inside the Padres). Tom Krasovic talks trade, delivering the unwelcome news that “baseball teams are valuing their better prospects and young big leaguers more highly now than a veteran National League executive can recall.” As said executive notes, “Seems like the big-market teams have caught on,” which is just peachy. Kras also discusses the home-away-from home thing that bugs the bejeezus out of me.
  • SABR 41: General Managers’ Role Takes ‘Total Dedication’ (SABR). Jed Hoyer speaks… the GM panel from SABR41 is now available online.
  • How I Got Suspended By ESPN (Baseball Nation). This is one of the best articles Rob Neyer has written in a while. My favorite bit comes in response to a commenter: “I was warned off Commissioner Bud, too. Maybe someday I’ll tell that story.”
  • Henry Schmidt’s West Coast Bias (Mop-Up Duty). Matthias Koster shares the story of a pitcher who excelled in the California League and Pacific Coast League around the turn of last century (when the latter played a grueling 225-game season). Among other things, Schmidt is the only player ever to win 20 or more games as a big-league rookie (in 1903 for Brooklyn, at age 30) and never pitch again in MLB (he spent five more seasons in the minors).
  • Getting Friendly with Pitcher K% (FanGraphs). Carson Cistuli talks strikeouts, while Matt Swartz talks SIERA.
  • Footloose and Fastball-Free (Baseball Prospectus). Sam Miller’s thoughts on pitching strategy make for a good read.
  • Organizational DT Reports for San Diego Padres (Clay Davenport). Davenport, one of the founders of Baseball Prospectus, is offering the venerable Davenport Translations at his own site for the very low price of free. The Peak Projected DTs yield interesting results, e.g., Cameron Maybin at .274/.337/.448.
  • 10 things I didn’t know about Bert Blyleven (Hardball Times). Chris Jaffe gives us the scoop on one of Cooperstown’s newest inductees. Jaffe also takes a more cursory look at the other, former Padres second baseman Roberto Alomar.
  • Winning with in-house reinforcements (SweetSpot). Here’s a little something I did for the home office over the weekend. It’s about Arizona’s victory over the Dodgers this past Saturday courtesy of a three-run homer by Brandon Allen, recalled a day earlier (ex-Padre Geoff Blum, activated from the DL the same day, scored ahead of Allen). In my other contribution to ESPN this week, I noted that the Padres have hit as many home runs in 2011 as Yankees teammates Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
  • On Deck: Everth Cabrera Padre for a day? (U-T). Cabrera, recently recalled from Triple-A Tucson when shortstop Jason Bartlett went on paternity leave, delivers the quote of the year: “I am ready to play, I have no more hamate bones.”

There you go. Like I said, good times…

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32 Responses »

  1. That Baseball-Reference Team Trade History is a lot of fun. I just wasted 30 minutes looking at all the Padres-Cardinals trades over the years.

    Krasovic’s post was interesting, but I found this quote to be somewhat misleading:

    “Seems like the big-market teams have caught on”

    I think many of them caught on 10-20 years ago. Despite their high payrolls, the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox resisted many urges to trade away their young talent. There are exceptions of course, but all 3 of those teams have fielded a good number of home-grown stars which weren’t traded away as prospects, for short term gain.

    There is also the well documented case from 20 years ago of Gene Michael refusing to trade away Bernie Williams, Rivera, Pettite, etc, despite the tempting offers.

    These 3 teams have valued their prospects highly for quite some time. I think it would be fair to include the Braves in that group too.

    Now, the Cubs, Mets, and Dodgers…….that’s another story.

  2. Geoff,

    While I agree that Fuentes ISO is disturbing, what makes me slightly more hopeful for him is his frame. We saw him in Spring Training and his stated height weight of 6’0″, 160 lbs. looks about right. He is really skinny right now, but looks like he can put on the weight. Doesn’t mean he’ll develop more power, or hit enough for the major leagues, but it gives me hope that he’ll be more than Freddy Guzman or Luis Durango.



    makes sense but does it make sense in the long run? in light of Hoyer’s proclamation, it’s an unlikely move but not improbable.

    where was my Padres team yesterday? that was not my Padres, give me back my team! Shaggy and Scooby Doo on the case, i presume.

  4. For a team with such a woeful offense, they certainly have had their share of high scoring games. Need to double-check, but I think they’ve had 5 games where they scored 10+ runs this season.
    I wonder how normal that is, especially when you consider the number of times they’ve been shutout.

  5. You won’t find among the ten thing you didn’t know about Blyleven the REAL reason it took so long for him to get to Cooperstown. It was because of a story he liked to tell about baseball writers.

    One year, he pitched the home opener for the Twins, and the next day read in the paper that his first pitch of the game was clocked at 105 mph. Bert had a good fastball, but not THAT good. He confronted the reporter, who pulled out the fact sheet that read “first pitch 105″. Blyleven had to tell him that was the time the game started.

    Bert told that story often, and it’s not smart to make fun of the baseball reporters, many of whom were or became HOF voters. Blyleven had to wait for the miffed older writers to die off before got the votes.

  6. The rational part of me believes that Bartlett should get better — but this is his third straight poor defensive season, and he hasn’t hit since the end of 2009, so even the rational part is starting to wonder. The rest of me would trade him to Milwaukee for an autographed picture of Bernie Brewer.

  7. @Tom – I hear you. The problem in trading Bartlett is who do you replace him with that is for certain to be just as productive or better? Me thinks the Padres bring him back next year and hope he plays closer to his career averages.

  8. Here comes Blanks… we shall see Rizzo again in September.

  9. Except for his fluke 2009, Bartlett’s offense this season is pretty much in line with his career. The lousy defense is annoying, though.

  10. at this point, I’d play Sean Kazmar over Bartlett…at least Kazmar can play defense.

  11. @Didi: Let’s not go overboard here. Bartlett, warts and all, is still above replacement level.

  12. I’ve heard that Bud plans to platoon Guzman and Blanks at first, since Guzman is hitting lefties well, even though they’re both RH hitters. I have
    misgivings about platooning a young guy until he has a decent record of futility.

    Blanks had only 20 games, 46 PAs against lefties in ’09 (I ignore his ’10 stats – I think his elbow was bad from the get-go, from weight lifting) and had a homer, six doubles and five walks in those 46 PAs. a RH/LH split of .262/.240 isn’t that bad for a rookie playing out of position, and considering the sample size.

    Anyone want to guess how Blanks will do over the next six weeks, until Rizzo comes back? He’s got the acid test to start against Philly in a heat wave. If he’s platooned, he’ll miss Hamels and Lee, but face Halliday. My expectation is that with his age, maturity and ML experience, he’ll hit for some power and decent average right away, but my hope is that he’ll show his full potential and force the Padres to find a spot for him, rather than trade him when Rizzo figures it out. The Padres can’t afford to let productive hitters go.

  13. I think Blanks was brought up to show him off as trade bait. Probably part of a package. Look for other roster changes in the next couple of days.

  14. @Zack: and by Going Overboard, are you referring to the bad cruise ship comedy or the gold standard that is Overboard with Kurt Russell. heck, get Goldie Hawn to play shortstop.

  15. @Didi: Golf clap! Well done, my friend!

  16. @W.Thomas: I really hope you’re wrong. The Padres are in NO position to be trading away young power bats who aren’t even arbitration eligible for another two years, and under control until 2016. It’s obvious Rizzo isn’t ready, and he might not be ready next year. Even if he is, the Padres hitting woes virtually dictate putting Blanks in LF to keep hit bat in the lineup. I just hope Blanks sees his six week assignment as a challenge instead of pressure to perform. I’m still pretty high on the guy and want him to succeed. If Blanks has to stay at 1B, I’d rather see Rizzo try out as a corner outfielder, especially RF. He’s young and athletic, and can probably do better than Headley did with the transition.

  17. @Larry – I’d never heard that story. That’s really funny.

    Of course if everyone used the 24-hour clock that mistake would never have happened.

    ‘First Pitch 1305′.

    Even the sports writer in Byleven’s story would have realized no one can throw a pitch 1,305 MPH…

  18. At least they’re not talking about trading Rizzo. Yet.
    First, it was a mistake to bring him up, he needed more seasoning against better than AA pitching and fielding. Now, it is a mistake to send him back down. The Pads made a choice between Rizzo and Blanks and should stick with it. Blanks gets little out of coming up, unless they are giving up on him and he’s on the meat rack; Rizzo never gets to suss out ML pitching at a time when the team isn’t really going anywhere. If he does poorly the balance of the season, Blanks should get his job in spring training and they swap jobs next year. If they are both still in the organization. Simple.
    Next year’s first baseman may end up being Jesus Guzman. He hits doubles and picks up RISP.

  19. Larry… Well..there is a trade deadline coming. Although Padres will have trading choices after the deadline. Looks suspicious. I have been reading stories and heard chatter mentioning Blanks for the past couple of weeks. Maybe other teams are asking about him…but maybe there is some medical hitch in his giddie-up that makes him tradeable. Who knows maybe he is accident prone’d.. lot of ifs in alot of young players. Hope he stays..actually
    I am hoping for a 3 or 4 team trade…Give away the farm and get a strip mall in return…. or a something like the 2 team trade that brought Caminetti and that deer of a center fielder here. Ah…. that was nice

  20. Blanks isn’t going to have much trade value until he shows he can hit major league pitching. If they’re showing him off, it’s probably for an offseason move, not something that will happen in the next ten days.

    Rizzo will find it easier to work on his swing in front of 3,500 fans with Joe Nobody on the mound than in front of 35,000 fans facing Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Lots of players have been demoted and been just fine. It happened to Agon more than once.

  21. @Frank: Couldn’t disagree more with pretty much everything you wrote. Interesting perspective though.

  22. @ Pat
    In college two of my roommates were former HS teammates with a guy who was a phenom in HS, good college player, first round draft pick and in the star in the minors. Pretty sure he won Minor League Player of the Year in AAA one season, something like 38 HRs, monster numbers. What I heard after he went to made his living playing in Japan after a cup of coffee in the majors (from one of my roomies) is that in the majors, every pitcher has command and that balls hit in AAA for hits are vacuumed up by fast outfielders and middle infielders with inhuman range.
    The more time Rizzo has to adjust to it when the pennant isn’t on the line, the better. The team decided he is their long-term first base guy when they traded AGon. If they want to bring up Blanks, put him in the outfield and get both guys looks this summer. That’s just my perspective. This board was crying out to bring Rizzo up earlier when Hawpe tanked, I said too soon. I might have been right about one thing.

  23. @Larry Faria

    Blyleven was a unique case. His election came about because the methods of evaluation for the HOF evolved over the years to recognize his greatness. He is not the first; it happened with many relievers; it happened with Richie Ashburn; and plenty of others.

    He was never a slam-dunk candidate!
    The idea that some dopey joke he told 25-40 years ago is the reason he was kept out of the HOF until now, seems dubious at best.

    I suspect HOFers Steve Carlton and Eddie Murray had much nastier things to say about the press than Bert Blyleven.

  24. @Frank We were calling for someone at first other than Hawpe, we just wanted production. They could have called up Guzman and if he hit like he has hit, things would’ve been better than they were. Bringing up Rizzo was a mistake because once he got his confidence shot, there was no one up here to help him and he went from being “You’re our guy” to “You’re our guy vs Righties” to looking shocked when he was told he was being sent down. If you’re a rookie batting under .200 and you get shocked when you’re sent down it’s because someone told you something way different earlier.

    Venable’s swing was off in the beginning of the season, so how did they help? Sent him to the minors to deal with a their batting coach cause the guy in the Majors is not helping the players. So maybe when Rizzo gets back to dealing with someone who knows how to do their job he’ll start hitting again.

  25. Wow, what a great story, Frank! I knew a guy who played baseball in Japan. We played in the NCMSBL together. One day I crushed one at Escondido, a real bomb, no doubt, over the light tower shot! When I got back to the dugout he said to me, “Did you get all of that one?” I said, “Jammed myself a little.” And boy did we laugh. Good times!

  26. @Frank

    You can’t say “this board” was crying for anything. Some people wanted Rizzo promoted, some wanted to wait, and many suggested that he’d struggle. He’s not the first player to come up and have the holes in his swing exposed and he’s not the first to be sent back down to fix things, which will be easier to do in a lower-pressure environment. It happened to Adrian Gonzalez a couple of times. He turned out okay.


    Yes, it’s worked so well, the firing of hitting coaches. We got that joker Magadan out of here finally, whatever happened to him? Oh, he’s coaching a team that scores 800-900 runs a season. Right.

    Venable changes his approach between games, at-bats, even pitches. The only thing the coach can do is tell him which one works best and to stick with it. If Venable doesn’t listen then it’s up to the manager to sit him or the GM to send him down. Ready seems to have helped Headley and Maybin, maybe even Hundley before he got hurt. He hasn’t helped everyone. Is that because Ready stinks or because Ludwick has a slider-speed bat, Bartlett and Hudson are in serious decline, and Hawpe lost it two years ago?


    Good one.

  27. @ Tom, Excuse me for leaving off the words “most of the bloggers on” “this board” referring to wanting Rizzo brought up. Where do I say he’s not the first to struggle, and of course he’s not the first to be sent back down. I don’t see how hitting more AAA pitching in AAA parks with AAA defense is going to help him this year and I think playing more ML games would, since his future is as a major league player. What do the Pads have to lose, he’s platooned and I think the kid can learn from watching.
    Bottom line: I think bringing him up too soon, then sending him down hurt his development. You evidently disagree, fine.
    At least it looks like we agree on one thing, that the hitting-coach go-round is a problem. By the time some of the kids have been in this system for four years they have told five different ways to hit. Funny, all the coaches got pretty much the same results. Maybe it’s the park and players that make the coach, not the other way around.

  28. @Frank

    You’re excused, except it should still be “some of the commentators….” Many of us are far too old, and have seen “it can’t get worse” turn into “hell, this is worse” too many times, to have been clamoring blindly for Rizzo’s promotion.

    What the Padres have to lose, potentially, is a good major league player. Rizzo won’t be that until he fixes some things mechanically, which will be easier in the minors. He wasn’t fixing them in the majors and he wasn’t going to fix them just hitting the cage. Sure, they could have kept him up and maybe he’d turn things around. That’s happened, too. But the demotion-tweak-recall approach has worked many times, what reason is there to believe that it’s going to crush Rizzo?

  29. @ALL – Sometimes you don’t know there needs to be fixing until you struggle and your weak points get pointed out. The Padres have done the right thing and are now doing the right thing with Rizzo. He was not going to learn anymore in AAA prior to his call up as he would have rareley faced “good” ML talented pitchers. Now he has the benefit of knowing what to work on as he is sent down to regroup. I am perfectly fine with this and am not surprised he found some struggles. One thing that I can not figure out though… why was his approach at the plate during his first 50 or so at bats far better than the last 50? I saw him rarely swing outside the zone in those first 50 and completely the opposite the next 50.

  30. @PadresFuture

    Everybody’s approach looks better when the opposing team doesn’t have a scouting report on you. I don’t know if he became less selective or if every advance scout saw the same thing and told their pitchers how to bury him. Or both.

  31. Is Nick Schmidt on his way back? Has done well so far back on rehab, could move up to AA soon.