Me, Elsewhere: Alchemist at Work

My latest at Baseball Prospectus (free!) focuses on the efforts of former Padres GM Kevin Towers on behalf of his new team. The Arizona Diamondbacks, much as his old team did in 2010, are surprising everyone this season with their strong play.

Although much of the groundwork was laid by his predecessors, Towers has added his own unique touch, revamping a troubled bullpen and patching holes with discarded remnants of imagined futures. One success story is former Padres farmhand Wily Mo Pena, who has provided a recent boost to the Snakes’ bench despite a less-than-subtle approach at the plate.

For Padres fans, the article provides a fun look back on Towers’ work in San Diego. It is good to remember the man who — among many other things — turned Brian Sikorski, Jon Adkins, and Ben Johnson into Mike Adams and Heath Bell.

The Padres reached the postseason just once in 27 seasons before Towers arrived. They did the same four times in 14 years under his watch, and for this, we owe him a great deal.

Vedder Cup Recap

The Padres dropped two out of three in Seattle over the weekend to lose this year’s Vedder Cup, 5-1. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s how the Padres have fared in Bud Selig’s idea of a “natural rivalry”… Continue reading ›

Friday Links (1 Jul 11)

Now, with 100% less snappy intro… Continue reading ›

Do the Padres Trade Away Their Stars?

A debunking? Moi? Why, I’d love to give it a go… Reader Peter Thomas writes:

I keep reading on message boards and hearing on Hacksaw [San Diego radio personality Lee Hamilton] “react to me” that the Padres are constantly trading away All-Star players and that there’s no reason to root for a team that is just going to trade away all its best players as soon as they get good.

I don’t disagree with this point because I think it’s necessarily wrong, I disagree because it has no basis in Padres’ historical fact. I can’t think of a single player in the last 5 years who’s left the Padres and made an All-Star team the following season. Obviously, Adrian Gonzalez will make this coming All-Star Game, but he’s one of the best five players in the league, and we received fair compensation for trading him.

First off, thanks for writing. I love when folks give me story ideas, and this is a fun one… if a bit easy to debunk. Continue reading ›

We Were Young and Stupid

When I was younger and measured days by the inning rather than by proximity to the next mortgage payment, I ridiculed people for arriving late to ball games. Such luxury… Nowadays, I am grateful to arrive at all. Continue reading ›

Me, Elsewhere: Extreme Ballparks of the NL West

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) revisits a familiar topic, with an added wrinkle. We know that the Padres, who play half their games in baseball’s least hitter-friendly environment, enjoy less of a home-field advantage than many other teams. Replace “least” and “less” with “most” and “more,” and we’re talking about the Rockies.

The wrinkle is that both teams are playing worse at home than usual. I won’t go into all the details (that’s what the article is for), but chew on this:

          |      Padres      |       MLB        |     Rockies
Year(s)   | Home  Road  Diff | Home  Road  Diff | Home  Road  Diff
2007-2010 | .522  .455 +.066 | .551  .449 +.103 | .606  .438 +.168
2011      | .372  .500 -.128 | .526  .474 +.053 | .500  .487 +.013

Numbers are through Sun., Jun 26
Diff column may contain rounding errors

Curious, no?

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On a quasi-related note, I forgot to mention last week’s article ($). It focuses on the Giants but contains a “fun” list of catchers most frequently used by Bruce Bochy during his tenure as Padres manager (Ben Davis tops the list, which probably haunts Bochy as much as it does you and me).


Thought Exercise: Mock Expansion Draft

Our pals at the Platoon Advantage have spearheaded something they call the Great 2011 Expansion Draft (complete with commentary from Keith Law), which assumes that two new teams will be added to MLB in 2012. (This is a thought exercise, so roll with it… as well as the assumption that Portland, which couldn’t handle Triple-A, is a suitable host for a big-league team. Stick ‘em in Vegas if that makes it easier for you to suspend your disbelief; whatever, we’re just having fun here.) Continue reading ›

Weekend Musings

Tim Stauffer hit his spots on Friday night and had good movement on his breaking ball en route to a career-high nine strikeouts. Stauffer appeared to tire in the seventh, when he gave up a couple well-struck balls, including Freddie Freeman’s two-run homer to dead center that accounted for Atlanta’s lone runs. Continue reading ›

Padres Take Series at Fenway, and I’m Not Even Kidding

You may be wondering how the sad, sad Padres took a series from the big, bad Red Sox in their house. It’s simple, let me explain: I have no clue. Continue reading ›

Red Sox Lose to Other Team

The Boston Red Sox struck early on Tuesday night, in front of the largest crowd at Fenway Park since World War II. They scored on a first-inning single by Dustin Pedroia and double by Kevin Youkilis to take a 1-0 lead. Continue reading ›