More Notes from Peoria

We got a late start on Saturday and didn’t arrive at the ballpark until 12:30 p.m., which meant missing all the morning practices. We sat in Section 119, up along the foul line in left field — close to the action but at a severe angle.

The Cubs had come to Peoria and so had their fans. The announced crowd was 10,737, nearly twice as large as the crowd at my previous visit two weeks earlier.

I spent the middle innings standing on the walkway behind our seats, chatting with my Baseball Prospectus colleague Christina Kahrl and longtime Ducksnorts reader LynchMob. I paid attention to the game, but only insofar as conversation with folks I rarely see in person would allow. Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: Would You Like Fries with That?

I caught a few innings of Monday night’s game between the Padres and White Sox on television. At one point, Mark Loretta joined Mark Grant and Dick Enberg in the broadcast booth, and the three of them discussed whether spring training is too long. The consensus opinion was that, yes, it is too long.

The non-stories that surfaced this past week in the NL West (Tim Lincecum’s cheeseburger-eating habits, Jay Gibbons’ new contact lenses, Matt Lindstrom’s new changeup, etc.) would seem to support their contention. My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) focuses on many of the recent fluff pieces to come out of Arizona and also examines the no. 5 spot in the Padres rotation, which appears to moving in Wade LeBlanc’s direction despite the left-hander’s best efforts.


Open Thread: Who Is the Best Player You’ve Seen?

In the midst of last week’s delighful discussion about players we wished we’d seen, reader Tom Waits wondered about the best players we’ve actually seen. Come to think of it, so do I. Continue reading ›

Best Single-Game Hitting Performances in Padres History

I’ve had this on my to-do list for a while. Now’s as good a time as any…

Using Baseball-Reference’s Play Index tool, I found the top 300 single-game performances by Padres hitters as measured by RE24 and WPA. One of these measures runs, the other wins… so they’re not on the same scale. It makes no sense to add the two figures (just as it makes no sense to add OBP and SLG to create OPS), but I like the idea of having a context-dependent component and a context-independent component. Continue reading ›

Gardenhire’s Cat

As you may have surmised from the title of this blog, I’m a big fan of quirky baseball terminology. With that in mind, I’ve got an idea for a phrase we should start using.

Physics has Schrodinger’s cat. Baseball should have Gardenhire’s cat. This term would be used to describe seemingly irrelevant details provided in a news story. Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: Rizzo, Belt, and the Rest of the West

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) examines two top-shelf first base prospects in the NL West, San Diego’s Anthony Rizzo and San Francisco’s Brandon Belt. It also discusses Jon Garland’s recent oblique strain, recalling how badly Chris Young fared after a similar injury in 2007.

My favorite piece of information to come from researching this article concerns Russell Branyan. Through Saturday, Branyan had struck out just twice in 10 spring training games. His big-league low-water mark, going back to 1998, is three strikeouts over a 10-game stretch.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Branyan has fanned 20 times over such a stretch twice in his career:

Dates            AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
Aug 15-25, 2004  35 5 7  3  0  3   9  3 20 .200 .263 .543
May 15-28, 2002  34 2 7  1  0  0   1  5 20 .206 .308 .235

Relevance? Who knows… it’s just fun. Read the article if you’re so inclined…

Open Thread: Who Do You Wish You’d Seen Play?

The older I get, the more I think about history. Today I’m pondering players I wished I’d gotten a chance to see play.

Willie Mays immediately leaps to mind because of his incredible skill set, but I didn’t miss him by much. Plus, I have a thing for less heralded guys (and less heralded skill sets). I’ve always been a fan of batters who draw a lot of walks, hence my infatuation with Gene Tenace and Dave Magadan, both of whom I had the pleasure of watching).

Then again, how exciting is it to watch someone work the count? In the context of what that does for his team, it’s great… but isn’t it more fun to watch Alfonso Soriano hack at stuff nowhere near the zone and occasionally drive one a long way than to watch Daric Barton… well, watch pitches? Continue reading ›

Wednesday Links (9 Mar 11)

I’ve got nothing today but links. Enjoy… Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: NL West Rotation Questions and Three More at the Sweet Spot

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) focuses on NL West rotation questions. You already know about the Padres’ situation, but it’s also good to be aware of what’s happening in enemy camps. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

Meanwhile, I’m also making another guest appearance at ESPN’s SweetSpot. I’ll have an article on guys who walked but didn’t have much power, one on the late Wally Yonamine, and one on the Padres’ poor history at shortstop.


Updated with links

Notes from Peoria

On practice field no. 2, relievers play long toss. Luke Gregerson and Heath Bell are throwing to each other. Chad Qualls is throwing to a left-hander whose name is not visible from here.

On other fields, players are working on bunting, fielding, and other skills that might come in handy during the season.

It’s 9:30 a.m., and they’ve been at this a while. First pitch of today’s game is 1:05 p.m. Continue reading ›