Facts of No Particular Consequence

I am a furious note taker. I scribble quotes, reflections, and factoids with reckless indiscrimination, so that “An island is a ship without sails” (from page 209 of Deborah Tall’s The Island of the White Cow) immediately follows a chart showing Chris Denorfia’s sudden decline:

Months   PA   BA  OBP  SLG
Mar-Jun 208 .301 .359 .446
Jul-Aug  81 .155 .259 .169

Denorfia carried the offense earlier in the season but had become a serious drag before landing on the disabled list last week. Now, his overall numbers look a lot like those of Will Venable, who was so bad at one point that he got sent back to the minors:

Player    PA   BA  OBP  SLG OPS+
Denorfia 289 .261 .331 .370 100
Venable  281 .259 .332 .362  98

Denorfia has been a useful contributor to the Padres, hitting .266/.333/.408 (108 OPS+) in a season’s worth of plate appearances, but he turned 31 last month and shares the same skill set as Aaron Cunningham, a man 6 years his junior. Denorfia’s career resurrection in San Diego makes for a great story, much as Jody Gerut’s did before him, but his time here is likely drawing to a close.

There are too many other internal options, and Denorfia doesn’t do any one thing well enough to stave off the younger competition. Still, he has demonstrated that he belongs in the big leagues and should be able to keep his career going (maybe even with the Padres, but I don’t see it). I’ve enjoyed watching him play, and I’ll never forget his ground ball inside-the-park home run.

Denorfia is Eric Owens with less eye black and more baseball skill. I will miss him when he leaves, as I miss nearly everyone when they leave.

* * *

One benefit of these East Coast games is that I don’t get home from the day gig until after the final out has been recorded. This means that I don’t have to watch Chad Qualls pitch. Qualls has served as catalyst for Padres late-inning giveaways in New York the past two nights and has been brutal in his past 10 appearances dating back to the July 23 implosion at Philadelphia:

Dates       IP   ERA   BA  OBP  SLG  BF HR
3/31-7/21 48.1  2.61 .250 .297 .300 197  1
7/23-8/9   7.2 12.91 .412 .432 .971  37  5

Was it Ron Davis (father of injured Mets first baseman Ike Davis) that used to be called the Human Torch? Whatever the case, Qualls has been awful. Our solace is that wins and losses don’t matter a lot at this point.

Meanwhile, Mike Adams has been brilliant (aside from allowing a game-winning homer to the second batter he faced) for his new team. Maybe the Padres win those two games with Adams working the eighth instead of Qualls. Maybe now they’re only 11 games back of first-place San Francisco with 45 games remaining.

So what. I’d rather have Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland than two meaningless wins.

* * *

Ryan Ludwick leads the team with 11 homers and 64 RBI. He now plays in Pittsburgh, and nobody on the current Padres roster is likely to catch him in either category. Chase Headley has the next highest RBI total, 43, and is on the disabled list. Cameron Maybin has six home runs, making him the currently active leader in that category.

The currently active RBI leader on the Padres is Jason Bartlett. Go back and read that last sentence again (then proceed; don’t want to get stuck in an infinite loop).

There’s an excellent chance that Ludwick will end up leading the Padres in home runs and RBI. If he does, the Padres will have set new marks for lowest totals by a leader in those categories in a non-strike-shortened season. As it now stands, those are held by Dave Winfield (13 HR in 1976) and Nate Colbert (66 RBI in 1969), respectively.

The lowest totals ever come from the 1981 season, in which the Padres played a mere 110 games. That year, Joe Lefebvre led the club with eight homers, while Gene Richards led with 42 RBI. This happened to be Richards’ age 27 campaign, which looks suspiciously like Headley’s (I’ve thrown in some traditional stats at the end of this one because, well you’ll see):

Player   Year  PA   BA  OBP  SLG OPS+ HR RBI SB
Richards 1981 453 .288 .373 .407 129   3  42 20
Headley  2011 422 .292 .380 .407 126   4  43 13

Yeah, they are 30 years apart and played different positions, but that is a little freaky…

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 Responses »

  1. Guzman is 35 RBI away with 45 games left to play. If he keeps up his current pace, he’ll come three RBI short, so hopefully he picks up the pace.

  2. Headley is Gene Richards. Didn’t see that coming. But knowing that, I like Headley’s game so much better all of a sudden. If Headley starts choking up halfway up the barrel of the bat, he will replace Tim Stauffer as my current favorite Padre.

  3. The guys that we got from Texas sound good, and get the trade, but I get a little annoyed with the “relievers are all fungible” line of thinking. Not all starters >> all relievers. And some bullpens can destroy a team’s chances, so wonder if it is always that easy to find bullpen talent, why are there so many bad bullpens? My fear, which hopefully is unfounded, is that Towers had a rare ability to find good bullpen arms for cheap, accumulating a lot. Hoyer has been dealing down that strength under the assumption that he can replenish it. But his most noteworthy bullpen pick ups, Neshek and Qualls have not been very good, at least not as good as the inherited components. Yes this season is almost certainly dead, but those two wins would have created six wins in a row. We’ll see.

  4. @Jay – I understand your concern on the bullpen. Luckily, the Padres are loaded with young bullpen talent like Gregerson, Thatcher, Frieri, and Spence. They have plenty of strong bullpen help in the minors with Deduno, Brach, Vincent, and Mikolas. They will be fine. The bigger concern for me is why some ML managers feel the need to designate 7th and 8th inning guys, especially when they do so just because a certain pitcher has more experience. Put the hot pitcher or the most talented in those spots. I still don’t understand why the Padres did not trade Qualls…. I can’t imagine them picking up a $6m option.

  5. What puzzles me is why Gregerson wasn’t moved into the 8th inning slot. If Bell, not Adams had been moved at the deadline, would Black have started using Qualls as the closer? Hell no, he would have shifted Adams there. OK, why not shift Gregerson to 8th inning too?

    Granted the rest of the season is going to be a kind of latter day spring training, when the object is to see what you’ve got rather than to try and win games — still, I fail to understand why pitchers who have NOT proved they can hold down a specific role should be handed a more important role that those who have.