Daily Hit List/Out of Left Field author Matthew Kory stops by to take your questions.
Matthew Kory: Hello BP readers! I have coffee (it's 10am here on the West Coast) and no rain and I'm ready to talk baseball, souffle recipes, favorite pizza shops, or even baseball. Let's get going!
In a recent game seen on MLB TV the announcers stated that the DH will be part of the National League in 2 years.
Is that a rumor or a fact?
Matthew Kory: To my knowledge it's a rumor, but it's an idea that's been getting more attention lately. And, really, it's kind of silly that the two leagues play with different rules at this point. That's where I start from on this. They should both have the same rules. Once you get past that, it's hard to see the DH going away (though who doesn't love watching pitchers hit?) anytime soon, or at all. I'd say it'll probably happen sometime in the next decade and people will probably freak out about it and then two or three years later they'll just accept it and move on to enjoying baseball again.
Alex (Anaheim): Do you think Vernon Wells has remade himself, or is he due to regress?
Matthew Kory: Remade himself as what? Barry Bonds? Wells is hitting .360/.467/.720 so far this season which amounts to seven games. I'm reasonably certain Wells has hit that well over a random seven consecutive game sample sometime in the past couple seasons. But even if he hasn't, no I don't think he's remade himself. Wells could always hit for power. He's just so poor at hitting for average and getting on base that he wasn't much of a useful player outside certain roles and situations. So, no I don't see this as any kind of reinvention. That said, if he had a decent season it wouldn't shock me.
Kevin Youkilis (NY): Hi
Matthew Kory: :(
Marshall (Crenshaw): The Blue Jays are 3-5, the Angels are 2-6. Obviously too soon to panic, or even care that much. Having lived through last year's Red Sox, though, what day is the first day that it is appropriate to panic?
Matthew Kory: Months unless there is a reason to expect a downturn in performance. For example, the Angels just lost their best starting pitcher, Jered Weaver, to a broken elbow (ouch!) so their starters all move up a rung. Essentially Garrett Richards will get Weaver's innings. Over a small sample (the Angels hope) that might not be a huge problem, but it's a reason for concern.
The Blue Jays just haven't played all that well, by which I mean they haven't pitched that well. It's possible they never will, but I'd bet they'll end the season with better than a 5.09 team ERA.
TobyL (Victorville): What's the more significant number for Jackie Bradley Jr right now, the OBP or the avg/slg?
Matthew Kory: Interesting question! As far as significant on the major league level, I think I'd argue average/slugging. He's not barreling up the ball at all. It seems pitchers have already figured out that they can get him out by throwing up and in (in the zone). He'll be headed back to Triple-A as soon as David Ortiz returns (maybe sometime next week the Red Sox think) and get to work things out in Pawtucket. The batting eye is impressive though. He should be a good player when ever he's ready, but that time doesn't appear to be now.
Aaron (Detroit): Is Colby Rasmus going to be good ever?
Matthew Kory: He's slugging .577 now so that's pretty good. Other than that, maybe set your time machine for 2010.
Kevin Youkilis (NY): It's so much better here. You have no idea what you're missing, Bostonians. I'm a new man!
Matthew Kory: See, now I know this isn't really Kevin Youkilis.
In all seriousness, so many people both in the major leagues and in the analytical community counted Youkilis out, but not me. Don't get me wrong, he's not a third baseman at this point in his career, but he can still hit and get on base. The issue to me is when he gets hurt, how serious will it be?
Matt (Austin): Love your Daily Hit Lists, Matt.
Any thoughts on the Fenway sell-out streak ending?
In conclusion, Manny Machado. :)
Matthew Kory: So nice and then so mean.
The sell-out streak was mostly a marketing thing, but that so many people have come to see the Red Sox through bad weather, small seats, no parking, and ridiculous prices ("One 'beer' please." "$12.") speaks to the support for Red Sox baseball in New England. So to me, that's what the sell-out streak is a proxy for. But the thing is, we don't need a sell-out streak to know that.
Marshall (Crenshaw): The best pitching free agents on the market this winter are going to be Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and Josh Johnson, which could be okay or could be superLOL. Which do you expect will get paid the most, and how much?
Matthew Kory: All of those guys are good buy-low candidates, but I suspect they won't be paid low. It's going to depend on how they do the rest of the year. If Halladay figures out whatever it is that has stolen his velocity and command sometime in July and puts together three good months, he'll find someone who will pay him. Lincecum can still strike out hitters, but can he find the strike zone, or anything remotely resembling it?
As for who will get paid the most, I'd probably offer Johnson the most money. He's the one with the biggest injury history (so you might end up with nothing for your money) but he's also the one with the combination of a track record of recent success (depending, again, on this season) and youth.
Sounds weird though. Imagine what those three would have got on the open market three seasons ago. The GDP of a small European country might not have covered it.
joe (Idaho): Would you drop Aybar for Simmons or Alexi Ramirez?
Matthew Kory: Simmons weighs less so I'd go with him.
Will (Boston): Make the case for David Ortiz to be in the Hall of Fame.
Unless you don't think he should be in the Hall of Fame.
Matthew Kory: I've asked Jay Jaffe about this a few times because I think Ortiz is an interesting case. Basically, he's not there in terms of career value, so it depends how much you value his playoff performances and any off-the-field/clubhouse stuff. I'd put a premium on the first and basically ignore the second (not because it doesn't have value but because I have no idea what that value should be). I think if Ortiz comes back healthy, hits like he did last season or 90 percent of it and does that next season as well, this is a real conversation.
DetroitDale (Tallahassee (eternal spring training)): Whatever struck Jose Valverde last year in the playoffs seems to have struck the rest of the 'pen. Small sample size, too soon to panic or better fix this? if the latter how to fix? comments on what should have happened in the offseason accepted as well.
Matthew Kory: Small sample, I think. That isn't to say the Tigers pen is going to be any good. But for context, the four worst bullpens by ERA (I know, I know...) are the Tigers, Yankees, Marlins, and Nationals. It's too early.
LoyalRoyal (Kansas): Do you believe the Royals success is sustainable? Obviously early, but what move(s) would be necessary to make a playoff run? Thanks...
Matthew Kory: I think the Royals will probably hit better than they have, moderately (I'm still a believer in some of their young players, Moustakas especially), but I don't think their pitching is this good. Santana, Guthrie, and Davis aren't this good. The Royals will probably stick around the peripheries of the playoff race though so I'm kind of excited to see what they'll do at the deadline. Depending on where they are they could be in the market for a big name pitcher.
Wubbzy Wubbzy (Wow Wow): What do you find to be the most irritating children's programming?
I think I have an 80 "nails-on-chalkboard" tool...
Matthew Kory: I try to keep the TV on only moderately irritating child's programming if I'm keeping the TV to child's programming at all. I guess to answer your question though, I find the Joel Hanrahan giving up bombs to be about the most irritating child's programming I can imagine.
Jon (Tacoma): Did the Blue Jays underestimate the need for a catcher who can handle Dickey's flutterer?
Matthew Kory: I don't think so. And really, if Dickey is pitching well, this isn't a topic of conversation. A few extra passed balls aren't to make or break this team. If he's the hittable mess that we've seen in his first few starts then a few extra passed balls aren't going to matter much either.
Jim (Kansas City): Do you really have faith in Moustakas for this year, or are you thinking more for the future? His numbers are terrible right now and he looks uncomfortable and over-matched.
Matthew Kory: I'm thinking both, but I agree, the early returns haven't been encouraging. Still, seven games. He's got lots of time to figure things out.
Matt (Austin, TX): Sorry about the Manny Machado jab. I am a diehard Orioles fan, so it has as much to do with my joy as anything.
Do you ever find the declines of even the greatest players a reminder of our mortality?
Matthew Kory: I suppose I do now. Thanks!
Tony (Work): Adalberto Mondesi: if everything goes perfect - can he be the next teenager in the MLB's?
Matthew Kory: If everything goes perfect, yes. If nothing goes perfect, no.
Victor (Brownsville ): Small sample small sample small sample small sample small sample small sample small sample small sample small sample. Tell us something we've learned this month that's not just a small sample.
Matthew Kory: Well, it's all a small sample and I'm not a scout, so that's tough, but I'd say the A's look for real, Jackie Bradley looks over-matched, and the Astros and Marlins are going to compete for the title of the worst team we've seen in a while.
McVanderhuge (Toronto): Ricky Romero has been progressing through his mechanics changes down in Dunedin. What sort of Ricky Romero will emerge from this tinkering?
Matthew Kory: Probably a mediocre one at best. I'm sure the talent to get some hitters out is still there and the Jays don't need him to be a front of the rotation guy anymore (lucky for them) but he was so bad last year and this spring that until he shows he can get something approaching major league hitters out (why didn't I just write minor league hitters?) it's hard to be anything but pessimistic.
Charles Barkley (Undisclosed Underground Bunker): What a great stat on Josh Donaldson and grounding into double plays! Any other gambling tidbits? Love me those mid-April, baseball prop bets!
Matthew Kory: Bet on Kevin Youkilis getting hit by a pitch oh wait that already happened sorry.
Ernie (San Jose): As an A's fan I'm sick and tired of hearing how the Angels are the best team in the division. Their starting pitching outside of Weaver is sub-par to horrendous and the pen isn't much better. Sorry, I see them as a 4th place finisher. Thoughts ?
Matthew Kory: Well, I suggest you check last season's standings. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. As for this year, I agree to an extent. The Angels offense could be incredibly good, but the loss of Weaver could be huge. I think they're better than Seattle in any case.
Jonah Birenbaum (Ottawa): Hey, Matthew. I watched the first few innings of Dickey's start against the Sox from the Rogers Centre pressbox, and caused a considerable commotion, repeatedly smashing my head against the wall. Could you articulate the emotions you felt during that eventful opening frame? I'd tell you how I felt, but the expletives might offend some readers.
Matthew Kory: I was expecting a pitcher's duel between Dickey and Jon Lester. Lester showed up at least. No, I thought that Dickey just didn't look right and then he tried to sneak a fastball past Will Middlebrooks with two on and two in and that didn't work. Still, I think it's just two bad starts and the chances are good Dickey figures this out and starts pitching more to what was expected of him.
And now I realize that I didn't answer your question. Elation is what I felt. It's wonderful to see the Red Sox play good baseball after the last few seasons, Joel Hanrahan's performance last night notwithstanding. Is that one word? Three words? Two and a half? The cold is numbing my brain. I need to go inside.
Aaron (Detroit): I think Max Scherzer is the third-best pitcher in the AL. Fourth maybe. OK fourth.
Matthew Kory: He might be. Who do you have as the top three? Verlander, Hernandez, Darvish, and I assume Buehrle?
Eric (Costa Rica): Matt Moore has started off this season right where he left off last season. For instance, last night he only went 5.1 innings but didn't allow a run. His pure stuff is still great, but he consistently sits at 100 pitches and doesn't get through the 5th or 6th inning. What do you think has more value, 0 runs allowed but only getting through the 5th or 2 runs allowed and completing the 7th?
Matthew Kory: No runs through five is much better. Giving up two runs in two innings is not good at all (that's a 9.00 ERA) so if that's all Moore can give you, you thank him, and bring in an average reliever and most times you should beat 2 runs allowed in seven innings.
TobyL (Victorville): Is Aaron Harang in Seattle worth a flier pickup?
Matthew Kory: I think the Mariners should have moved their fences out instead of in. Out to like Vancouver. Maybe some visa issues with that but as close as possible. Then sure, grab Harang, grab Kazmir, grab anyone the Orioles are releasing that week, and go to town!
johnny fastball (Washington State): What do you think the chances of Axford and Madson getting their jobs back this year?
Matthew Kory: Axford isn't that good but the Brewers are low on options so it's quite possible. Madson just has to get healthy before you even think about putting him in the closer's role. Man, that guy is a walking (or not walking, depending on the day) poster-board for why giving big money to relievers isn't a good idea.
Joel Hanrahan is another. ARG!
Will (Boston): Eyeballing the European microstates, it looks like the GDPs of each small European country would have more than covered even the combined salaries of Halladay, Lincecum, and Johnson. On the other hand, the GDP of Kiribati is only $170 million, which might cover it. The GDP is NIUE is only $10 million, so that would probably wouldn't be enough to cover even one of their salaries for 2014 alone.
Matthew Kory: I sit, cold, and with a sharp cat on my lap, corrected.
Aaron (Detroit): Is Alex Avila going to be good again?
Matthew Kory: Sure!
chiefknockahoma (atlanta): Do you believe Malhom's start is the real deal and if so then who would you rather have: Fister or Maholm??
Matthew Kory: I'm not buying anyone's start through two games. It's just not enough information. Sorry to be a killjoy about this, but pitchers and hitters have good runs through small samples. It's part of baseball and it's a fun part especially in April because who knows, maybe the next Jose Bautista is emerging in front of our eyes. But usually not. Usually it's just a hot start or a cold one and things get back to normalish in a month or so.
I'd rather have Fister.
Jim (Seattle): The Mariners pitching staff does seem to be in flux after the first couple of guys. Do you see them giving Bonderman a shot, or going straight to Hultzen? Bonderman doesn't seem like the answer, but maybe Hultzen's not ready? Will Maurer stick?
Matthew Kory: I imagine they'll cycle through some guys, probably Bonderman at some point if he can stay healthy. I wouldn't be overly optimistic about that working out though. Selfishly I'd like to see Hultzen who has 14 Ks in 11 innings in Triple-A. He'll probably get a shot too.
Todd (Dallas): I have had injuries to my SP's and need replacements for the next moth or so. The important stats in my league are Quality Starts and K's. Which two of Dillon Gee, Nick Tepesch, Luis Mendoza, Kevin Slowley, Bartolo Colon, and Roberto Hernandez should I pick up? I am leaning toward Hernandez and Gee.
Matthew Kory: I wish I knew. Gun to my head, please don't put a gun to my head. Then, after you put your gun away, I'd probably go with Colon and whomever you're feeling after that.
Matthew Kory: Thanks everyone. That was fun. Time to warm up my coffee and catch a few innings of the Tigers/Jays. Hopefully we can do it again soon!