November 23, 2009
The Week in Quotes
ZACK, CAN YOU SIGN THIS PECOTA CARD I PLAN TO LAMINATE
"I haven't really gotten a whole lot of attention from people, which has been nice. I hope it doesn't get that way, where everybody's like, 'Oh, hey, Zack, hi,' and they talk to me a bunch."
"My favorite one, besides facing individual batters, is FIP, which is kind of like walks to strikeouts and home runs given up. So I try to get ahead of the count without leaving it run down the middle in a person's power zone, get ahead in the count. That helps me not walk guys, and then, when I get two strikes, I try to strike guys out. And that's how I try to pitch, to keep my FIP as low as possible."
"I love WAR, because you're not only seeing if a guy had 20 home runs and 90 runs batted in, but how good is he compared to other guys at his position? I thought Zack had a chance to be the first 10 WAR
"David DeJesus had our best Zone Rating. So a lot of times, Zack would pitch for a fly ball at our park instead of a ground ball, just because the zone rating was better in our outfield and it was a big park."
"He's extremely bright, and he's really picked up on using all the information out there to make his game better. He's always had the talent. His confidence level, which is extremely high, combined with his knowledge of the numbers behind the game now, definitely makes him one of the best pitchers in the world."
"It's a feel pitch, and by the end of the year, it wasn't even the same changeup as spring training. It's really one pitch that hasn't come naturally at all to me. The slider is easy for me to throw, the curveball has always been easy for me to throw near the strike zone, but the changeup, I just haven't had a feel for it. ... You've just got to throw it as much as possible, and spring training is a good time because the games don't mean anything."
"I think, whether the traditional baseball community wants to acknowledge it or not, the fan base and the media have finally embraced and immersed themselves in advanced statistics. I think you're going to see more and more people brought up with that influence. I really just think that the future of the game is in the numbers."
BESIDES PITCHING, HE'S ALSO EXCELLENT AT PUNS
"I really didn't know. Both the guys I was going up against in Wainwright and Carpenter had tremendous seasons. Given that,especially with what Carpenter came off of and what Wainwright did as a workhorse, I didn't know how the cards were going to fall. It was a lucky one for me. I'll take them as they come, I guess."
"I told him I was pulling for him and not just because of that game, and he told me he didn't want anybody out there more than me that night. He's always been supportive about it. It's hard for me to believe that not having that 20th win changed things. ... It shouldn't be a deciding factor. It could have helped him, obviously. I know that. But in my eyes he proved the pitcher he was by how he pitched all year, not just with his number of wins."
"Baseball shouldn't be all about statistics. [It] complicates things. You don't need to look at those statistics to determine how good a pitcher is. It's why people didn't vote for Carpenter. They have a formula that shows Vazquez is better than Carpenter, and that's ridiculous. You can slant statistics any way you want. It makes the game more impersonal."
"You can see where the game is today-it's turned into a game of complete numbers and statistics and what people do with that. When there are so many numbers to be looked at, it makes the votes just completely different."
YOU MAY WANT TO HOLD OFF NEGOTIATING UNTIL LATE APRIL OF NEXT YEAR
"You're trying to figure out what the other side is going to think, how big the gap's going to be, a lot of things go into it. But I don't think it's going to be so bad that it could affect our ability to do the other things we want to do. We're pretty elastic on that. We've left wiggle room for that, and the (Brian) Wilson arbitration and the (Jonathan) Sanchez arbitration."
"But Howard was an everyday guy, so I don't know how much of a parallel there is. That's why this is so interesting."
"It's pretty exciting. In many ways, it's overwhelming if you think about sports, and you've been in it your whole life, to see a young man like this achieve these things so early in his career."
"The arbitrators would have to figure out what would be more important-say, a guy who wins 22 games and throws 230 innings, or two Cy Youngs."
WE CHECK THE NUMBER OF WINS THE GUY HAS, AS WE FEEL THAT'S AN IMPORTANT KEY TO SUCCESS
"It gets down to opinions, and you're always asking for them. Tony bases a lot of his on sabermetrics, Carmen Fausto [team director of professional scouting] may have seen the player, and the scouts assigned to various teams know those teams as well as their own. What do you see? What do the numbers say? At the end of the day, pieces of information will help evaluate what you have and what's out there. The goal isn't to add what you already have, it's to get players that make you better."
"You have to look over the list of free agents-major and minor leagues-and make sure you don't miss someone, like Russell Branyan last year. As names come up in trade possibilities, we have the information available. It's something we work on all season, not just the offseason. From the scouting reports, we grade out players in various areas and grade them out overall. With the analysis, we compare a player to his peers in certain skill sets. There's a physical component, there are statistics, and there are financial parameters we give Jack."
"Gutierrez was a center fielder playing right field. He had some offensive potential, and that's what our analysis said. Now, when does it come together? That's something you can't predict, but with Franklin, we didn't have to wait. Risk assessment is part of it. It's not an exact science. Some of it is objective, some of it subjective."
SOMEONE COPY THIS INTO FINAL DRAFT IN CASE THERE'S A SEQUEL
"As I see it, our organization has two waves of players. We have a strong group of young pitchers up in the majors right now-Anderson, Cahill, Bailey, Gonzalez, and others-that's the foundation for a great staff, and we have a group of young hitters coming up behind them who will be ready soon. It's a process we went through in the 1990s, so we know how it works."
"The draft is incredibly important for us, of course. When you're in a rebuilding mode, you can't miss on your early-round draft picks, especially if you're in the top half of the first round. If you have a top five pick especially, you can't miss on those at all. The research is very clear on the value of a top five pick compared to the bottom half of the first round. We picked 12th last year and 13th this year, and are happy with what we have to show for it. When we built up the team in the 1990s, early round picks were critical for us."
"Well we don't know for sure yet, but we won't take him off third base until he proves he can't handle it. His bat has come very quickly, he was just a year out of college and hit well in Triple-A. The bat looks special to us. Sometimes with guys like that, the glove gets panned by scouts just because the bat has come so quickly and they are looking for something to criticize. Also, I think Brett's defense gets panned unfairly because of the way his body looks. ... The other factor is that Brett believes he can play third base, he's committed to it, and it is foolish not to let him try. So we're keeping him there until he proves otherwise."
"You have to be careful when you see something with your eyes, because sometimes your emotions tend to dictate your viewpoint. I can't explain why a magician looks like he pulls a rabbit out of his hat. I just know the rabbit wasn't in the hat."
"Athletes Premier International is greatly surprised and deeply disappointed that Aroldis Chapman has decided to change agents. The agency has put forth a lot of time and effort towards helping him achieve his goal of becoming a major league pitcher and he gave us no indication that he was unhappy with our advice or the way he was treated. We will have more to say about this matter at a later date, but in the meantime we wish Aroldis luck in his future endeavors."
"I said, 'That's fine with me.' As long as I have a name on the back of my jersey, I have a chance to make it to the big leagues."
"We're going to change it. I don't disagree with Mike Scioscia. I think he was right, so we're going to try and tighten that up."
"It's the fun part of the job. This is the time for us to go up and hit. Last year, we made a couple of trades, we signed five free agents. We were pretty active. Numerically, I think we'll be more active dollar-wise than we were last year. We're organized, we have our targets that we're going to go after, and we'll see how it goes and how the market unfolds."
"I think you have to let it play out. We have interesting possibilities in both markets. I don't think we can say we're going to be involved in this one or that one."
"God had a scout in mind when he designed the human head. He gave us two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. Listen and watch twice as much as you talk, and you have a chance to learn something."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.