Thursday Links (22 Sep 11)

Hey, how ’bout a sweep at Coors Field? There’s still time for the Padres to knock the Rockies out of fourth place (c’mon, pretend that’s a worthy goal). I especially like that Anthony Bass needed just 25 pitches to get through the entire Colorado lineup once and 52 to get through 5 innings. Efficiency is your friend.

The Padres now head home for three against the Dodgers this weekend, three against the Cubs next week, and a whole winter to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Meanwhile, we’ve got links…

  • Gunslinger’s triumph (Inside the Padres). If Kevin Towers deserves credit for the success of this year’s Diamondbacks (and he does), Jed Hoyer deserves the same for last year’s Padres. I wonder how forgiving folks will be if Towers’ team should stumble in 2012?
  • New SABR Stat: Baseball God Factor (BGF) (Mop-Up Duty). Interesting things happen when you stick players out of position.
  • Ghosts of MVPs Past (Baseball Prospectus). This is a wonderful read. Also, I had no idea Charlie Montoyo (whose existence I learned about while riffling through a book I bought many years ago in San Luis Obispo) was still in baseball. The man who drew 156 walks in 132 California League games in 1988 is now managing the Durham Bulls (a team I saw on my way to Tony Gwynn’s Hall of Fame induction).
  • Alfonzo suspended 100 games for PED use (MLB.com). Former Padres catcher Eliezer Alfonzo (career .240/.271/.377 hitter in 624 PA) reminds us that steroids, in and of themselves, don’t make you a good baseball player. [h/t BBTF]
  • Brach beat long odds to reach Padres’ bullpen (Padres.com). I continue have my doubts about the former 42nd round pick, but as ever, I hope he proves me wrong.
  • Layin’ Down The Law: Keith Law on Scouts, Ricciardi and his Departure (Drunk Jays Fans). Here’s more insight into the Michael Lewis vs Keith Law thing that happened last week. What I like about Law’s comments is that they reflect the fact that he and his outlook have changed a great deal in a decade. This to me is a sign of growth and wisdom. Foolish consistencies, hobgoblins, and what have you… [h/t BBTF]
  • Marlins’ Logan Morrison files grievance (ESPN). Good for Morrison. As for the Marlins, I’m sure we would expect no less from a team owned by Jeffrey Loria. Hey, it could be worse; they could have a hideous new logo
  • World Cup/Pan Am roster announced (USA Baseball). Current Padres farmhand Matt Clark and ex-Padre Randy Williams are among those named to the roster. [h/t BBTF]
  • 15,000 days since Spiezio ruins Gibson’s perfecto (Hardball Times). Chris Jaffe reminds us that the Padres did something good in 1970. Not getting no-hit qualifies as “good,” right? When all else fails, lower your standards. Jaffe also reminds us that Jimmy Jones came within a Bob Knepper triple of throwing a perfect game in his big-league debut. Bob Knepper Triple would make a good name for a band.
  • Padres’ radio and TV deals taking time (North County Times). Take as much time as you need, just get it right.
  • Wally Yonamine and the Integration of Japanese Baseball (Seamheads). The late, great Yonamine retains folk-hero status in Hawai’i.
  • Top Historic Collapses in Baseball History (Cool Standings). This list runs 256 deep, and the Padres are represented three times: 2007 (no. 18), 1985 (no. 101), and 2004 (no. 254). Notice a certain team from last year missing? [h/t BBTF]
  • More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About 1-0 Games (Retrosheet). Current/former Padres Greg Maddux, Gaylord Perry, Trevor Hoffman, Mike Adams, and Heath Bell show up here, as does the late Dave Smith, a San Diego native. [h/t reader Didi]
  • Ted Williams’s .406 Is More Than a Number (New York Times). This is a good read, although it contains one glaring error: “No one, in fact, has hit higher than .390, and that was 31 years ago.” One man has, and that was 17 years ago. Assuming the rest of the facts are correct, there are some real gems here, with perhaps my favorite being that Williams’ “longest hitless stretch was seven at-bats” in 1941. Damn. [h/t reader parlo]
  • Well, What WOULD You Do? (Padres Trail). Mike starts planning for next year. I hope Jeremy Hermida is part of the 2012 club. He’s still so young.
  • Mo and Boch (Inside the Padres). Tom Krasovic discusses Bruce Bochy’s decision to use Andy Sheets over John Vander Wal as a pinch-hitter against Mariano Rivera in Game 3 of the 1998 World Series:

    It took guts use Vander Wal as a pinch-runner and Sheets as a pinch-hitter, but good managers are willing to make moves that will bring them scorn if they don’t work out.”

    Vander Wal’s career line: .261/.351/.441, 104 OPS+. Sheets’ career line: .216/.271/.321, 56 OPS+. Well, I suppose “guts” is one word for it…

  • The Unlikely Success of Cory Luebke (Baseball Nation). Marc Normandin notes that Luebke’s slider is slightly devastating, which helps explain why lefties are hitting .160/.229/.198 against him.
  • A Discussion About Evaluating Pitchers (FanGraphs). Keep talking; that’s how we make progress…
  • Removing the Mask (Baseball Prospectus). Former Padres catcher Yorvit Torrealba ranks among the best in MLB at “saving runs for their team by getting extra strike calls at the edge of the zone” from 2007 to 2011, while current Padres backstop Nick Hundley ranks among the worst. Good thing he picked up his offense this year, eh? Seriously, this is fascinating work by Mike Fast with potentially far-reaching implications.

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

7 Responses »

  1. The 2010 Padres missing from the coolstandings list is an oversight on their part. They topped out at 97.2% to make the playoffs on August 25 when they had a 6.5 game lead. That would slot them in at 7th on the list, giving the 2000s Padres two of the 20 biggest collapses since 1903. So, uh, woohoo?

  2. @Ben B

    Indeed. I want my garmonbozia.

  3. Thanks, Ben, for the correction. That didn’t seem right to me… guess I should have taken a closer look.

  4. Nothing like a good helping of garmonbozia to start the day!

  5. I went to see Moneyball last night … A movie based on a book about the stat revolution in baseball … where a key theme is “it’s easy to be romantic about baseball” … well, that’s right up my alley!

    In other words, I really enjoyed the movie.

    It’s about a man that I find interesting … perhaps because I’m from San Diego, did go to Stanford, lived in the Bay Area from the end of the Charlie Finley era thru the Billy Ball and Bash Brother eras, and have always been a huge baseball fan in general, and Bill James fan in particular … so I just feel a lot of connection. It doesn’t hurt that I’m divorced and have a daughter … so even the non-baseball elements of the movie tugged at my heart.

    I get that the movie is simplistic … that the reality of running the Oakland A’s was much more complex … as were the people who surrounded Billy Beane at that time … but this movie presents to me a story about Billy Beane and his A’s 2002 season from the instant it began (with the final out of the 2001 ALDS) thru to its end (with the final out of the 2002 ALDS) … with a focus on the media pressures during an initial losing streak thru the triumph of setting an AL record by winning 20 games in a row … and they seemed to me to honestly deal with “the unhappy ending” of the A’s not winning their final game … and even digging in to that with the Jeremy Brown-based metaphor and the presentation of Beane’s decision to turn down an offer from the Red Sox … and the final get-your-priorities-straight message that family, even broken family, and also “work family”, can be very much worth passing up the big payday for.

    The movie pounds away on the simple premise that Billy Beane, due to budgetary constraints, had to figure out a way to do things different to replace his stars lost to free agency … and had to stick to his convictions in the face of everyone around him telling him that it was not going to work … many on his staff … and many in the media … especially after getting off to a 20-26 start. It shows that he didn’t come up with the specific ideas … he just knew he had to be different … and that he recognized something different and good when he saw it … in the data-based methods of an innovative baseball analyst. He recognized when new ideas might be better than conventional wisdom.

    I like that several scenes were in the video room … stats guys look at video and not just spreadsheets? Hey, that’s a complex thought. I like that it showed Jeremy Giambi’s off-field actions resulted in him being traded … so “make up” and “attitude” and “chemistry” matter? OK, maybe I’m reading more into than is there … or am I? I liked that the voices of Bill King and Ray Fosse are used … and the scenes of Billy Beane in the stadium and walking on the outfield grass … “it’s easy to be romantic about baseball” :-)

    Go see the movie … expect to enjoy it … I think you will.