Colin Wyers (10:04:10 AM PT): Welcome, and thank you for joining us on Opening Day!
Colin Wyers (10:05:10 AM PT): k3o3r9n0 (Brookline): For some reason (re: I'm a homer), I don't believe the Red Sox are going to be as bad as most expect. In fact, I think their rotation can help them challenge for the play in game. What say you?
What do most people expect? I think they've done a really interesting job in turning the team around just months after a fire sale (probably the only time a fire sale and a rebuild have occurred in the same offseason).
Ben Lindbergh (10:05:31 AM PT): Tim (Baltimore): It's 1:02pm. April Fools! No roundtable. Edit Question
We have roundtable! Welcome, everyone.
Colin Wyers (10:06:43 AM PT): Also, a lot of you seem to want to come up with Profar trades. It's not like Kinsler is going to be able to stick at second for the entirety of the proposed extension (is that official now? I've been stuck in the pipes and tubes of the site all morning).
R.J. Anderson (10:06:56 AM PT): "k3o3r9n0 (Brookline): For some reason (re: I'm a homer), I don't believe the Red Sox are going to be as bad as most expect. In fact, I think their rotation can help them challenge for the play in game. What say you?"
Agreed, although I'm not as confident in the rotation just yet. Curious to see how Jon Lester looks after the spring hype.
Colin Wyers (10:07:12 AM PT): scottziegler (Beaver Dam, WI): Why did Castro not get an rbi last nite on his gound out in the 8th inning, I don't think he hit into a double play.
Because the runner advanced (and scored) on the error, I think.
Ben Lindbergh (10:07:19 AM PT): Matt Trueblood (Fridley, MN ): Please cure me of my delusions. I have the Brewers winning the NL Central. They remind me a little of the 1994 Expos or 2007 Phillies, with great run-scoring and good enough run prevention to support it. I peg them for 90 wins. Set me straight.
Have you looked at the Reds' roster lately?
Colin Wyers (10:09:28 AM PT): Manny (Boston): What the hell? A save for Erik Bedard? I thought they sent him to the rotation?
They used him in long relief. Given the off days they have, he should still be able to make his scheduled start.
Colin Wyers (10:10:54 AM PT): Here's the Project Scoresheet code for that non-RBI:
It was scored as a single, but since the runner advanced on the E9, no RBI was awarded. I kind of hate that rule.
Zachary Levine (10:11:14 AM PT): Castro didn't get an RBI in the eighth inning because nobody scored on the play. Maxwell scored on the next AB, the Dominguez infield hit.
Colin Wyers (10:11:37 AM PT): I assumed he meant Cedeno, Zachary.
Ben Lindbergh (10:11:39 AM PT): David Cone is talking about making necklaces out of bone chips. It's not even first pitch yet, and I'm unsettled.
Ben Lindbergh (10:14:15 AM PT): Rob (Brighton, MA): What's the scouting report on Jackie Bradley Jr? Edit Question
We have a post on that very topic by Chris Mellon on the way.
R.J. Anderson (10:16:08 AM PT): Love the new board on Brooks Baseball that gives you quick access to the starters' player cards.
Russell A. Carleton (10:16:21 AM PT): drive2fast19 (Baltimore): With Andrus locked up at SS for the Rangers, Oscar Taveras for Jurickson Profar looks better than ever! Would a front office ever make this kind of deal, or is there just too much downside for the guys who pull the trigger?
It makes sense to satisfy immediate needs for this year, but do you make a challenge trade to fill a single need this season? For example, if you're Texas and you need an outfielder, do you need to trade Profar to get one?
Colin Wyers (10:16:56 AM PT): Okay, I have CSN Chicago tuned to the Cubs (or the pregame show, really) and MLB.tv is showing Yanks-Boston and Marlins-Nationals in my other monitor. What games are y'all watching?
Ben Lindbergh (10:17:01 AM PT): (And by Mellon, I meant Mellen. Mellon is what Gandalf says to get into Khazad-dûm.)
jahoffmn (durham): does anyone know anything about Bundy's elbow? Edit Question
I know what I've read, which is probably what you've read. Evidently preventing him from throwing the cutter couldn't keep him completely safe.
Doug Thorburn (10:17:16 AM PT): Chesty (New Bern,NC): It is Christmas with free advice. As a subscriber looking for saves and holds(1cat.)how do you rate the following? Rosenthall,Walden,Logan,Doolittle,Bailey,Henderson?Stats are whip,k,s&h,k/9.Thanks
I have Rosenthal and Doolittle above the rest in that group, but I'm a sucker for youth and exuberance.
Excellent play by Zimmerman to save a run in Washington. Guy has killer instincts.
Ben Lindbergh (10:19:05 AM PT): Nothing like the buzz saw-like sounds of the upstairs neighbors' home improvement project to get me in the mood for Opening Day.
R.J. Anderson (10:19:27 AM PT): "boatman44 (Liverpool): If you're all here chatting, who's keeping an eye on the shop? What game are you lookig forward to most, today? Thats for anyone, just want to see my name in light's really:)"
Royals-White Sox. Cardinals-Diamondbacks is a close second, but I'll probably catch that one after it's archived.
Colin Wyers (10:20:08 AM PT): justarobert (Santa Clara, CA): Colin, is S9/L... a legal Project Scoresheet code, or is there supposed to be a location there, e.g. S9/L9S?
Location is optional. Actually so is the batted ball code.
Zachary Levine (10:20:37 AM PT): Rob ((Brighton)): I'm a long time Red Sox fan just getting back in the loop. What is the best thing Cherington has done to the team in the off-season? What's the worst?
I liked the Victorino deal the least and I guess Ryan Dempster the most given the need in the pitching staff. Some might say the managerial change was the best though.
Ben Lindbergh (10:21:19 AM PT): Turns out watching baseball, writing about baseball, and roundtabling about baseball simultaneously is really hard. Definitely not in mid-season form.
Russell A. Carleton (10:21:57 AM PT): Bryce Harper hits the first of his 65 home runs this year.
Colin Wyers (10:22:30 AM PT): Oh, oh I like Bryce Harper.
Nick Faleris (10:22:40 AM PT): Drew (Chicago): Who are some off-the-radar, good narrative MVP candidates? I'd have thought Headley before his injury, but maybe Tulowitzki if the Rockies surprise. Or maybe even Paul Goldschmidt if Arizona surprises. Justin Upton is pretty obvious. Anyone else?
In a weird way, Harper would fit this considering Trout's historic year put him on the backburner in many ways. 2013 he could really remind folks how good, and how young, he really is.
Nick Faleris (10:22:55 AM PT): Speak of the devil...
Ben Lindbergh (10:23:19 AM PT): John (Florida): Thoughts on Jakie Bradley Jr and Jose Fernandez on the big league roster ? Where they rushed and Marlins are just speeding up Fernandez Arbitration. Edit Question
See here for info on Fernandez: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20048
Something similar for Bradley coming soon.
Ben Lindbergh (10:23:48 AM PT): Colin, come clean. Everyone knows you and PECOTA hate Harper.
Russell A. Carleton (10:23:50 AM PT): boatman44 (Liverpool): If you're all here chatting, who's keeping an eye on the shop? What game are you lookig forward to most, today?
I have the Angels/Reds circled on my calendar for historical (interleague game on Opening Day?) and baseball (two division winners?) reasons. San Francisco and LA is always a fun rivalry... and oh yeah, they'll be fighting for the NL West.
Colin Wyers (10:23:59 AM PT): By the way, if you're anxious to see Bud Norris leading the majors in WARP, we have sortable stats populated for 2013 now.
Zachary Levine (10:24:42 AM PT): Matt Trueblood (Fridley, MN): "Have you looked at the Reds' roster lately?" See, that's one of my things. Not huge on their starting rotation. If two of the top four miss 10 starts, I suddenly lose confidence in their run prevention. Not like they catch the ball really well (Choo, Frazier, Ludwick).
Jumping in on Ben's question, I thought of it more from the perspective of having to make up 14 games. Pythagorean theory might do half of that, but I'm not sure I see the rest. I could easily DRAW a scenario where the Reds lose it, but I'd have to be assuming injuries there but not in Milwaukee (or St. Louis) in order to EXPECT it. In other words, I wouldn't pick them straight up but would for some decent enough odds.
Ben Lindbergh (10:25:00 AM PT): David Cone attempts to put a positive spin on the Yankees' injuries by pointing out that they all happened early, which gives the players time to get back. Solid effort.
R.J. Anderson (10:25:23 AM PT): "John (Florida): Thoughts on Jakie Bradley Jr and Jose Fernandez on the big league roster ? Where they rushed and Marlins are just speeding up Fernandez Arbitration."
I can't speak to the rushed aspect for Fernandez, but the Marlins do have a good history of aggressively promoting their top prospects and having it work out. Be it Willis, Cabrera, Stanton, Beckett, whoever. That front office seems to know what the youngster needs, ability and character-wise, in order to survive in the majors at a young age.
As for the arbitration aspect, I think that's probably overstated. There's a decent chance he'll go down after the injuries heal. Even if he doesn't, we're talking about a team that doesn't have any long-term commitments. They can afford to pay him, and they probably do hope he racks up some high arbitration prices since that means he's pitching well.
Colin Wyers (10:25:38 AM PT): Is that a 38.30 FIP for Derek Lowe? Yes, yes it is.
Ben Lindbergh (10:26:08 AM PT): jahoffmn (durham): opening day complaint: I can't watch the Nationals (or Orioles) on MLB.tv here in North Carolina. I wish the blackouts would go away Edit Question
Blackouts are how Colin verifies that his mlb.tv subscription is still working.
Colin Wyers (10:26:32 AM PT): I actually have a game on MLB.tv right now, Lind-a-bear!
R.J. Anderson (10:27:59 AM PT): Through one looks like a vintage Sabathia-Lester matchup, albeit with Sabathia showing less velocity than he used to.
Nick Faleris (10:29:15 AM PT): @John(Florida) -- I think you could make the argument that JBJ is close to ready, and the Red Sox realize the AL East could be so close this year that you need to have your best 25 with the big club from day 1.
Re: Fernandez, his stuff is good enough to get out MLB hitters right now. He'll need to rapidly adjust to stuff like advanced sequencing, game planning, and the like, as well as deal with a smaller margin for error than he's ever had to face. But the strength of his fastball/breaking ball should help him keep his head above water.
Colin Wyers (10:30:13 AM PT): Things I don't believe, Nats announcers: "Placido Polanco with a shot."
Ben Lindbergh (10:30:22 AM PT): Rob (Brighton, MA): What's Bobby Valentine doing right now? A) Fly Fishing B) Yelling at some kids to get off his lawn C) Wandering aimlessly in pajamas D) Broadcast analyst for the Mets Edit Question
Keeping Stamford, CT safe?
Colin Wyers (10:31:59 AM PT): Wait, why is "Discover Wisconsin" on CSN Chicago?
R.J. Anderson (10:32:26 AM PT): "Greg (Atlanta): With the promotion of Fernandez, it seems that the Marlins are not caring about the arbitration clock. Do you think that Yelich will come up within a month or so? Coglin/Ruggiano platoon is ugly."
I'd be surprised if Yelich isn't up by June, perhaps sooner. I think the Marlins will have one or two more debuts before the season is over.
Russell A. Carleton (10:32:35 AM PT): Chris Archer (The Minors): When can I start for the big club?
When they discover that Roberto Hernandez isn't his real name either.
Colin Wyers (10:33:31 AM PT): ...oh, because of WGN.
Zachary Levine (10:34:27 AM PT): Am I the only one watching Padres-Mets? I'm the only one watching Padres-Mets.
Colin Wyers (10:34:40 AM PT): Now the Nats announcers are talking about OPS, or as they call it, "ahps."
R.J. Anderson (10:35:00 AM PT): Sabathia going more with the breaking ball to start at-bats during this second inning. Probably not a bad idea.
Colin Wyers (10:35:21 AM PT): I'm sure Jon Niese's mom is watching Padres-Mets.
SamMiller (10:35:45 AM PT): I'm watching Padres-Mets! But only because the Astros aren't playing :(
R.J. Anderson (10:36:09 AM PT): "justarobert (Santa Clara, CA): Somewhat off-the-radar MVP candidates: Cespedes, Hosmer, Gordon, Dunn, (Adam) Jones, Craig, Castro."
I'm going to pretend this is about Jason Castro, who I really liked behind the plate last night.
Colin Wyers (10:36:31 AM PT): Since I don't believe in Spring Training, this is my first time with the new Cubs booth. I will have impressions for y'all at some point. Unless I don't.
Colin Wyers (10:37:37 AM PT): Opening day starter, Jeff Samardzija! I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
SamMiller (10:37:47 AM PT): If Alex Gordon's particular skillset were likely to get MVP votes, he'd have more than three 10th-place votes in the past two seasons. (Though I suppose an AL Central title could change things.)
Colin Wyers (10:39:06 AM PT): The Cubs' middle infield depth: Good! Oh, no, wait, the other thing.
Ben Lindbergh (10:39:25 AM PT): Well, that's an impressive first plate appearance by Jackie Bradley. Worked a walk against Sabathia.
Colin Wyers (10:39:58 AM PT): BBBill (Cincinnati): Chris Carter of Astros looked like Pedro Cerrano against breaking balls last night. Is he a 30-hr candidate this year?
Right now he's trying to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.
Nick Faleris (10:40:01 AM PT): Red Sox got a steal with Bradley in 2011. Got pull happy as his junior year went on, which caused a lot of inconsistency in his offensive game. At his best he was gap-to-gap with short swing and advanced approach. In hitters counts, he could load up some and try to put a charge into one.
That's the JBJ the Red Sox have further helped to develop. Great to see him firing on all cylinders this spring.
Russell A. Carleton (10:40:27 AM PT): AndrewB (Work): Is it just me or does the Andrus extension make the deal for Castro 6 months earlier look like a steal?
On its own merits, the Castro deal was a steal.
R.J. Anderson (10:40:48 AM PT): "BBBill (Cincinnati): Chris Carter of Astros looked like Pedro Cerrano against breaking balls last night. Is he a 30-hr candidate this year?"
He is if they keep him in the lineup, which I don't see why they wouldn't.
On a related note: Houston may lead the league in strikeouts.
Doug Thorburn (10:41:16 AM PT): BBBill (Cincinnati): Chris Carter of Astros looked like Pedro Cerrano against breaking balls last night. Is he a 30-hr candidate this year?
I think that's a fair comp, but if Carter doesn't get some love from Jobu, then he might find himself in AAA. But the Astros will give him a long leash to enjoy the roller coaster.
Russell A. Carleton (10:42:13 AM PT): Vic (San Diego): Happy Opening Day! Picks for AL/NL MVP, ROY and Cy Young. Also, who are a few guys you really like to break out?
Vic, the entire staff logged our picks at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19873
SamMiller (10:42:42 AM PT): AndrewB (Work): Is it just me or does the Andrus extension make the deal for Castro 6 months earlier look like a steal? Edit Question
It's 2.5 more years of service time for Andrus, which is a pretty big deal. And with Castro you need to project, based on the likelihood that he'll have to hit enough to play a different position at some point. With Andrus he just has to be something close to as-is.
Colin Wyers (10:44:37 AM PT): Eh, the defensive aging curve is pretty much a straight slope down. I don't know if starting off from a really high point on defense changes the curve any -- that is to say, I think Castro's ability to hit something may well make him a better long-term investment.
Zachary Levine (10:45:05 AM PT): Russell, I was told those picks were going to be destroyed the day after they went up and nobody would see them ever again.
R.J. Anderson (10:45:35 AM PT): We're a run or two away from Sabathia's velocity becoming a story, no?
SamMiller (10:45:59 AM PT): jahoffmn (durham): opening day complaint: I can't watch the Nationals (or Orioles) on MLB.tv here in North Carolina. I wish the blackouts would go away
But we used to be able to watch only 30 or 40 games a year. Life is amazing!
Colin Wyers (10:47:12 AM PT): Want to know how I know Sam doesn't live in Iowa?
R.J. Anderson (10:47:33 AM PT): Vernon Wells time!
Colin Wyers (10:48:40 AM PT): Rizzo just got a ball almost to the river.
SamMiller (10:48:59 AM PT): Colin Wyers (10:47:12 AM PT): Want to know how I know Sam doesn't live in Iowa?
My healthy tan on April 1?
Colin Wyers (10:49:28 AM PT): Sam, you didn't have a healthy tan in late June when I met you.
Zachary Levine (10:49:30 AM PT): John Buck just scored from first on a double and none of you saw it.
R.J. Anderson (10:49:37 AM PT): "Brian (Tinley): What would Bryce Harper have to do this year to make Mike Trout's 2012 season seem "nice"? It's going to be fun watching these two guys..."
Obviously the answer is win the Triple Crown.
Colin Wyers (10:50:19 AM PT): People asking about the next Mike Trout should be required to name the previous Mike Trout.
SamMiller (10:50:56 AM PT): I don't go outside between Opening Day and late June, see. What with my largely unblacked-out MLB.tv subscription.
R.J. Anderson (10:51:45 AM PT): Ben Francisco went from non-tendered to released from a minor-league deal to the Yankees opening day DH. What a life.
Colin Wyers (10:52:19 AM PT): A fun game to play on Opening Day is trying to figure out which commercials on WGN are most going to make you want to punch yourself in the face by August.
SamMiller (10:53:58 AM PT): The Ben Francisco circle will be complete when he's replaced by Steve Pearce
Zachary Levine (10:54:09 AM PT): BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): Indians? #rolltribe this year?
I have them second, and that was our consensus too, though Indians, Royals and White Sox were fairly interchangeable in the 2-3-4 spots in the AL Central picks. I'm still not convinced they have enough starting pitching. I'll be curious to see how Brett Myers does flipping back to a starter. I really liked him with the increased velocity as a reliever. There was a pretty big difference there.
R.J. Anderson (10:54:10 AM PT): "jlarsen (Chicago, IL): Jeff Niemann pitched alright in the spring, despite decreased velocity. Fauxto has Tropicana Field & the upgraded IF defense behind him. Do you think that the Rays made the right decision in making Carmona a SP(at least until Archer finds a changeup) and putting Niemann in the bullpen until he gets more trade value & velocity back?"
I don't have a huge problem with it. Niemann has a better track record but he didn't get those results while sitting in the mid-to-upper-80s. Worst-case scenario: Hernandez continues to pitch poorly and Niemann (or a younger arm) replaces him by summertime.
Zach Mortimer (10:55:04 AM PT): It is going to be fun to watch Jose Iglesias show off his defensive abilities.
Russell A. Carleton (10:55:10 AM PT): Take the logos off the hats, and isn't Red Sox-Yankees just... well, Mets-Padres?
Colin Wyers (10:55:23 AM PT): "Strasburg and Price both fractionally better than Samardzija." Okay, I know you're talking about velo, but come on.
SamMiller (10:55:51 AM PT): I have the Indians winning the Wild Card! NFM.
Colin Wyers (10:56:44 AM PT): ubersamoyed (Frisco, Tx): Wouldn't Boras have a no-trade clause in that new Andrus contract? Seems like that's the preemptive question in any Andrus trade discussion...so...does anyone know if that clause exists?
It's not like Boras gets a percentage of not being traded.
SamMiller (10:57:56 AM PT): Boras gets a percentage of what you negotiate on top of your contract when you get traded with a NTC
Zachary Levine (10:58:19 AM PT): The best part about opening day is going to be in 11 hours when it ends and we realize there are going to be about 180 more days like this.
R.J. Anderson (10:58:28 AM PT): Starling Marte with a walk so you know this is going to be a weird day.
Colin Wyers (10:58:52 AM PT): Now the Cubs are featuring run expectancy on the broadcast. Looks like it's fully empiric, sadly.
Russell A. Carleton (11:00:35 AM PT): Bryce Harper hits the second of his 65 HR this year.
Nick Faleris (11:00:55 AM PT): Haha. #Bacon
Colin Wyers (11:01:02 AM PT): Yeah, I gotta say, in reference to the reader who was asking about the Brewers, I see a bigger chance of them being passed by the Pirates than of them passing the Reds.
Zach Mortimer (11:01:06 AM PT): This Bryce Harper fellow can play a little bit.
Doug Thorburn (11:01:28 AM PT): Queue the Harp machine
Colin Wyers (11:02:28 AM PT): I think Bryce Harper is just trying to make the people watching Mets-Padres feel bad about themselves.
Doug Thorburn (11:02:36 AM PT): *Cue
Doug Thorburn (11:03:18 AM PT): Announcers focusing on Harper's balance, dig it
Ben Lindbergh (11:03:55 AM PT): Why have I not been watching this Nats game from the start? Harper, Strasburg, Polanco batting cleanup...Can't decide which is weirder/more a mockery of the game, Polanco hitting cleanup or Nolasco starting on Opening Day.
Colin Wyers (11:04:28 AM PT): Ben Lindbergh (11:03:55 AM PT): Why have I not been watching this Nats game from the start?
Your Yankees fandom?
R.J. Anderson (11:06:32 AM PT): Ben is a closet Kotchman fan.
Zachary Levine (11:06:39 AM PT): Shawnykid23 (Work): Bryce. Harper.
I hardly know her?
Colin Wyers (11:07:05 AM PT): And I mean, Nolasco is a better player than Polanco.
Colin Wyers (11:07:23 AM PT): Rob (Brighton, MA): Queue the Harp Machine is the name of my Dido cover band.
Presented without comment.
Ben Lindbergh (11:07:35 AM PT): I'd like to see an aging curve for Harper's hair.
Doug Thorburn (11:07:39 AM PT): Ben Lindbergh (11:03:55 AM PT): Why have I not been watching this Nats game from the start?
Just watch both - I have BOS-NYY on TV, MIA-WAS on computer
Colin Wyers (11:07:46 AM PT): Ah, WGN is now advertising for "covert pocket catheters."
Zachary Levine (11:08:08 AM PT): I say this as the token individual watching Mets/Padres: If Ron Darling were named the replacement for Tim McCarver at FOX, I would not complain. And I complain a lot.
Colin Wyers (11:09:50 AM PT): The Cubs announcers are trying to talk themselves into the idea that Valbuena could hit a baseball if you put a batting tee out there for him.
SamMiller (11:11:21 AM PT): Valbuena could hit a tee, maybe
Colin Wyers (11:11:40 AM PT): Could he hit OFF a tee, though?
SamMiller (11:12:07 AM PT): I mean if he hits the tee hard enough
SamMiller (11:13:18 AM PT): David Wright is the Bryce Harper of baserunning
Colin Wyers (11:13:18 AM PT): The Cubs are basically just two to three position players and a pitching staff away from contention at this point.
Colin Wyers (11:14:18 AM PT): I gotta say, I now cannot see the presidents racing in D.C. without thinking of the giant machine-gun toting George Washington robots in Bioshock Infinite.
Russell A. Carleton (11:14:22 AM PT): You know that thing where you hit the tee underneath the ball and the ball falls forward a few feet, but the other team put their worst kid at catcher, so you get an infield single? I owe my entire OBP to that.
SamMiller (11:14:30 AM PT): k3o3r9n0 (Brookline): For some reason (re: I'm a homer), I don't believe the Red Sox are going to be as bad as most expect. In fact, I think their rotation can help them challenge for the play in game. What say you?
I'm not sure "most people" expect them to be worse than you just described. Most people here, at least.
(but maybe they do, what am I a pollster?)
Russell A. Carleton (11:15:17 AM PT): Mark68 (A Mile High): Why would the Cards trade Taveras when Carlos Beltran will: A) Spend XX days on the DL in 2013; and B) Not be a Cardinal in 2014?
R.J. Anderson (11:16:18 AM PT): "Mark68 (A Mile High): Why would the Cards trade Taveras when Carlos Beltran will: A) Spend XX days on the DL in 2013; and B) Not be a Cardinal in 2014?"
Are they going to trade him or is this about the Profar-Taveras conjecture? Top prospect-for-top prospect trades are always more fun to talk about than likely to happen.
Colin Wyers (11:16:43 AM PT): justarobert (Santa Clara, CA): Colin, could PECOTA have a mode mode? (cf. my comment on Sam's latest piece)
Colin Wyers (11:18:30 AM PT): I'm going to dodge the question by going off on a tangent. It's actually an interesting question about what you want your forecast to reflect and how you go about trying to measure (and thus minimize) your error, which is why for instance we have different win totals in the Playoff Odds than we do in the DCs, even though they feed off the same data.
SamMiller (11:19:58 AM PT): I once wrote about why Profar-for-Taveras type deals don't happen. Short answer: Even if they average out to a bunch of fair trades, bout a third of them would end with a GM getting fired for it a couple years later.
Colin Wyers (11:20:06 AM PT): JoeTetreault (Carrollton, TX): Looking at some of the early velo data from CC Sabathia's start this afternoon and the big lefty is working in the high 80s for his sinker, 90,91 for his 4-seamer and is occasionally putting a pitch identified as a changeup over at 89. How much is worrisome and how much is super small sample size?
I do want to note that pitch velocity is a function of temperature, which is going to be lower now than it is midseason. There's a lots of caveats to consider when looking at velocity from one April start, there's a Mike Fast piece I should probably dig up.
Ben Lindbergh (11:21:06 AM PT): There's a post by Harry Pavlidis related to that article by Mike Fast up on Unfiltered right now.
Russell A. Carleton (11:22:29 AM PT): JoeTetreault (Carrollton, TX): Looking at some of the early velo data from CC Sabathia's start this afternoon and the big lefty is working in the high 80s for his sinker, 90,91 for his 4-seamer and is occasionally putting a pitch identified as a changeup over at 89. How much is worrisome and how much is super small sample size?
Sometimes my daughter has a sniffly nose. My wife will ask me if I think we should take her to the doctor. Usually the answer is that if it's just a little sniffle today, then it's not a big deal. Monitor, but don't panic. Yet.
Doug Thorburn (11:23:10 AM PT): JoeTetreault (Carrollton, TX): Looking at some of the early velo data from CC Sabathia's start this afternoon and the big lefty is working in the high 80s for his sinker, 90,91 for his 4-seamer and is occasionally putting a pitch identified as a changeup over at 89. How much is worrisome and how much is super small sample size?
Lower velocities are relatively common this time of year, as pitchers are still working themselves back into game shape. That said, a guy coming back from off-season elbow surgery (bone spurs) will certainly raise some eyebrows.
Colin Wyers (11:24:31 AM PT): Pirates fans are booing a very, very close (but correct) foul call.
Now the Cubs announcers are talking about how Samardzija isn't young but he has a "young arm" because he hasn't pitched as much. I don't think it works like that.
Colin Wyers (11:27:49 AM PT): I'm not sure I'm going to be sticking around for the late games, WGN just informed me there's an all new Vampire Diaries tonight.
Russell A. Carleton (11:28:49 AM PT): So, by extension, I'm in my mid-30s but have a baby arm! Put me in coach!
Doug Thorburn (11:30:45 AM PT): The "young arm" makes sense if you don't think about it, Colin. It follows the general rule of untested announcer hypotheses - it's true so long as nobody has proved it otherwise.
SamMiller (11:31:05 AM PT): I always thought the young arm thing was true! This is an interesting development.
Doug Thorburn (11:31:36 AM PT): (I apologize for typing during a Harper PA - quiet, please)
Colin Wyers (11:32:18 AM PT): I mean, does Verlander have an "old arm?"
Nick Faleris (11:32:19 AM PT): Harper has come so far, developmentally, as hitter in such a short time. Really incredible.
Russell A. Carleton (11:32:35 AM PT): This is why we all have jobs.
Colin Wyers (11:34:58 AM PT): So far the Cubs' offense seems to be Castro, Rizzo and nothing else. So it's pretty much a fractal of the season.
Also, is it raining in Washington or is my picture just really screwed up?
Russell A. Carleton (11:43:08 AM PT): You know, just your basic 7-2-3-4-2 double play in the Fish/Nats game.
Russell A. Carleton (11:45:20 AM PT): justarobert (Santa Clara, CA): How do you solve a problem like Edinson Volquez? (Sorry, it doesn't scan.)
You just accept the fact that you'll either get 3 innings/6 ER or 8 innings/2 ER and move along with life.
Zachary Levine (11:46:33 AM PT): Speaking of that Marlins play, do you think there's a strong correlation between actual baseball talent and LOL-worthy plays? Like in covering the Astros last year, I saw a ton of things that were very GIFable. But those were things that you're supposed to learn when you're 10 years old, not the actual talent differences that distinguish 60-win teams from 100-win teams.
Do you think we'll see more of that from the Marlins, etc., this year than the Nationals, etc.? Or is it an average age thing?
Colin Wyers (11:48:49 AM PT): zwestwood (lake havasu): when will the save die? It is non-sensical to me and most logical people. However, the myth of the closer persists.
That's sort of a generational thing, and let's face it, it's not even like self-termed "modern" baseball analysis has fully divorced itself from the closer myth.
Doug Thorburn (11:51:55 AM PT): justarobert (Santa Clara, CA): How do you solve a problem like Edinson Volquez? (Sorry, it doesn't scan.)
Mechanically, Volquez is a mess. He has a long way to go before he can learn pitch command - his balance and posture are rough and his timing is erratic. Timing can be the last thing to come around, and his other issues are barriers to his repeating that timing.
R.J. Anderson (11:57:29 AM PT): Doug, at what point do you concede a pitcher is a lost cause? Or do you never do that?
Doug Thorburn (11:59:34 AM PT):
BBBill (Cincinnati): Slightly off topic (Volquez' struggles got me thinking), do you guys trust the PECOTA forecast on James McDonald after last year's second half meltdown?
McDonald is a wild card. I wasn't buying his first half success, because he has many of the Volquez barriers to pitch repetition, yet McDonald was able to overcome the obstacles to repeat his delivery for the first couple months. But when he fell off track, he was completely derailed.
I think he runs similar risk this season, and I am more bearish on him than PECOTA.
Colin Wyers (11:59:47 AM PT): BBBill (Cincinnati): Slightly off topic (Volquez' struggles got me thinking), do you guys trust the PECOTA forecast on James McDonald after last year's second half meltdown?
There's not much, if any, predictive value in second-half meltdowns.
Russell A. Carleton (12:01:48 PM PT): Sabathia over 100 pitches through 5 innings in New York.
Zachary Levine (12:01:49 PM PT): k3o3r9n0 (Brookline): Taking Strasburg out after 80 pitches in a close game in April. Smart or over protective?
Seemed overprotective to me unless they saw something going wrong in the delivery. I did not.
Colin Wyers (12:02:35 PM PT): Eric (Costa Rica): Does bringing Bradley Jr. up seem like a rush job to create some excitement or does he legitimately deserve to be up with the big club. Does his defense save enough runs to make up for the PECOTA prediction of a league average bat?
I mean, there's plenty of value in being a league-average bat.
R.J. Anderson (12:03:50 PM PT): I can't believe Wyers hasn't touched Eduardo Nunez batting second yet.
Doug Thorburn (12:04:29 PM PT): There Is No Such Thing As A Lost Pitcher (TINSTAALP)
There are injury caveats, but now that we are seeing progress with shoulder capsule tears, it seems that nothing is unbeatable. It's all about how they can re-invent themselves with diminished stuff, make mechanical adjustments, hone their secondary pitches, etc.
Pitchers are different creatures every year, and a pitcher with a strong learning curve can completely reinvent himself in an off-season. But I will say that the biggest death knell is a FB-only reliever with a major shoulder injury. That's walking a tightrope.
Colin Wyers (12:04:34 PM PT): I hadn't heard about it until now!
R.J. Anderson (12:05:48 PM PT): Thanks Doug.
So guys like Evan Meek and Matt Capps are the closest thing to what you'd consider a lost pitcher.
Colin Wyers (12:06:24 PM PT): Now, now, it has been said that the Meek shall inherit the earth.
Russell A. Carleton (12:07:43 PM PT): Eric (Costa Rica): I'm convinced that I'm the worlds first Astros tweaker fiend. Hot Triples, 3 inning saves, diminutive Short Stops. I'm convinced that watching more Astros games will quell this feeling, but I don't want it to go away so fast. What should I do?
You're experiencing what we like to call "infatuation." Give it a couple weeks and a few 3 game losing streaks.
Doug Thorburn (12:07:51 PM PT): I thought that Stras looked great mechanically, and my guess is they are just doing the careful April thing. The Nats were probably hoping to get 6 IP out of him, so getting 7 while he induces groundballs all day is a win-win for everyone involved.
It helps that the Nats have a shutdown bullpen.
R.J. Anderson (12:09:30 PM PT): Lester with some nice bat-reading there against Nunez and Wells. Nunez was out in front of the hard stuff so he threw him a slider. Wells was early on the slider so he went to the backdoor cutter for strike three. Beautiful.
Colin Wyers (12:13:50 PM PT): Luke (VT): I know its still an up the middle position, but if profar is a 2B and not a SS, how much does it hurt his value from a prospect perspective?
Probably not much, but definitely some. It remains to be seen what the Rangers do about it, though.
Colin Wyers (12:14:57 PM PT): Also, Burnett got attacked by an exploding rosin bag on the mound. It was fantastic.
Russell A. Carleton (12:16:59 PM PT): BBBill (Cincinnati): Recognizing that real intelligence (IQ) and "baseball" or functional intelligence are different things, is it possible that some players are of such low intellect that it impedes their development? As a Reds fan, I'm thinking of the times Volquez covered wrong bases, forgot to cover first, threw to wrong base, etc.
Intelligence is one of those words that doesn't have a real definition more generally. Even the standard IQ test only measures four basic areas (perceptual reasoning, verbal comprehension, processing speed, and working memory). The key is that a player has to have a way in which he can collect and process information quickly and a coach who presents information in that manner. Some guys are verbal learners, some experiential learners, some are visual learners.
R.J. Anderson (12:17:09 PM PT): Are we talking about Profar's prospect value, his value to the Rangers, or to other teams? If he moves to second base (or another position) solely because of Elvis Andrus does it really hurt any of those things if he can still play shortstop?
R.J. Anderson (12:18:05 PM PT): The Cubs not taking kindly to my suggestion that the Astros may lead the league in strikeouts.
Colin Wyers (12:18:15 PM PT): R.J. that sort of depends on if/when the Rangers move him, doesn't it?
Russell A. Carleton (12:18:38 PM PT): Dear Texas Rangers, please trade Jurickson Profar within the next five minutes. The internet is shivering with antici...
Colin Wyers (12:19:10 PM PT): This Cubs game is moving surprisingly slowly given the level of scoring.
SamMiller (12:19:12 PM PT): k3o3r9n0 (Brookline): Taking Strasburg out after 80 pitches in a close game in April. Smart or over protective? Edit Question
Feels a little early to me, if for no other reason than it gets everybody talking about protecting Strasburg again, and that's got to be annoying for Strasburg and Davey Johnson and me
Colin Wyers (12:19:34 PM PT): You can't make decisions based on what the press will say, though.
Colin Wyers (12:19:48 PM PT): Wellllllllll, you can, but you really shouldn't.
SamMiller (12:21:10 PM PT): Probably true
Colin Wyers (12:22:03 PM PT): "Rules of Engagement" pulls into the lead for "sitcom WGN will beat us over the head with during this season." Kill me now.
R.J. Anderson (12:23:33 PM PT): Colin, move meaning just a positional change? Maybe. But were they to have him play second base in Triple-A this year in preparation for next year I wouldn't ding him much if at all. He's proven to a capable shortstop.
SamMiller (12:23:36 PM PT): Okay new answer: The Nationals' bullpen in the 8th/9th is no worse and is probably better than Strasburg at the end of a start. And if you leave him out there then everybody starts talking about protecting Strasburg again, and that's got to be annoying for Strasburg and Davey Johnson and me
Colin Wyers (12:27:18 PM PT): Which brings up the question of how easy it is to move back to a position you used to play.
Ben Lindbergh (12:28:52 PM PT): For those of you asking about Bradley and other prospects--we just posted pieces on Bradley, Hicks, and Gyorko to the BP blog.
Colin Wyers (12:29:20 PM PT): comish4lif (Alex., VA): Strasburg threw 7 innings - didn't that used to be considered a good long start in early April?
Everybody gets more nitpicky in April; stuff that wouldn't bother anyone in July gets strapped to a table and dissected in the early goings.
Colin Wyers (12:32:21 PM PT): mzpejp (San Diego): Please explain the difference between WAR and VORP. They seem very similar to me.
VORP doesn't include fielding and is on the scale of runs, not wins.
Russell A. Carleton (12:33:59 PM PT): Hoot Stromboli (Great Lake City): I'm worried Detroit and Toronto will feel too much pressure to win their divisions this year. I know they are professionals who shouldn't be affected, but they are human. Detroit flopped the year they added Miggy, Renteria, Willis, etc. to Sheffield to put the Carlos Guillen - Maggio Ordonez - Verlander Tigers over the top. Do you know of a study that compares how teams with a vast input of talent compares to their expectations?
Why yes I do! http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19704
R.J. Anderson (12:34:32 PM PT): Casey Kotchman: 0-3 with two groundouts and a popup. Midseason form.
Russell A. Carleton (12:34:35 PM PT): VORP
Russell A. Carleton (12:34:49 PM PT): VORP is also more fun to say.
Russell A. Carleton (12:39:50 PM PT): jimcal (Seattle): I don't care if Kevin Goldstein is not w/ BP anymore... when will Profar/Taveras/Gerrit Cole/Travis d'Arnaud/Will Myers comes up?
We all miss KG. As to when each of them comes up, I don't know that their parent teams even know. The Rays might be playing the service time game with Myers, but as to the rest of them, it's probably more a function of either an injury at the MLB level or the team making double-sure that their prize pupils are fully ready.
Colin Wyers (12:41:43 PM PT): The default answer to when a guy comes up is when he's ready or needed, barring service time considerations.
Russell A. Carleton (12:42:15 PM PT): Tim (Seattle): Hey, I just got here. Has anyboy made the joke yet about the Nats being totally vindicated for taking out Strasburg early last yer by today's win. Thank you.
Nope. A billion points to Tim from Seattle!
SamMiller (12:43:57 PM PT): RT @Tim(Seattle) Has anyboy made the joke yet about the Nats being totally vindicated for taking out Strasburg early last yer by today's win.
Russell A. Carleton (12:44:23 PM PT): jahoffmn (durham): I agree, VORP is fun to say also, I think WAR should rhyme with 'par', not 'pore'
"We're going to need another Timmy!" If anyone gets the connection, I will name my next child after you.
R.J. Anderson (12:44:26 PM PT): Jose Iglesias with three hits today. He had eight hits in 25 games last season. Go figure.
SamMiller (12:47:27 PM PT): Infield single, bunt single, infield single. Not sustainable but probably the most sustainable Jose Iglesias thing
Colin Wyers (12:49:12 PM PT): Mister Lizard, get us out of here!
Colin Wyers (12:52:26 PM PT): So MLB.com can geolocate my computer with razor precision when it wants to black me out of games, but it can't show me game times in Central instead of Eastern?
Colin Wyers (12:55:02 PM PT): I guess it didn't occur to me that there'd be an interleague game on Opening Day, but it should have.
Josh Shepardson (12:56:55 PM PT): Wow, Castro flashed the arm strength on that throw from deep in the hole.
Colin Wyers (12:57:06 PM PT): Meanwhile over in the game nobody's watching the Mets have scored 11 runs.
R.J. Anderson (12:57:06 PM PT): John Farrell seemingly being aggressive with the pen. Already used Uehara. Had Tazawa warm early in the game. Now Bailey in the seventh.
R.J. Anderson (12:58:20 PM PT): About to be James Shields-Chris Sale time.
R.J. Anderson (1:05:03 PM PT): It's not really a new season until Hawk gets to put something on the board.
Russell A. Carleton (1:06:00 PM PT): Brady Childs (Louisiana Tech Dorm Room): Can I be apart of the round table?
Sure, submit questions/comments and we'll answer/respond to them.
Colin Wyers (1:06:40 PM PT): The Cubs are bringing Samardzija out for the eighth.
Colin Wyers (1:07:05 PM PT): Ankiel66 (Seattle): Not only have the Mets scored 11, but Cowgill hit a grand slam! And Yonder Alonso hit a homer for the Padres!
Ah, baseball, and your strange and mysterious ways.
Josh Shepardson (1:07:20 PM PT): Man, my head is going to be on a swivel watching both the Kershaw/Cain showdown and the Shields/Sale matchup. Good stuff.
R.J. Anderson (1:08:10 PM PT): This White Sox broadcast introduction video is horrible.
Josh Shepardson (1:10:07 PM PT): Travis Snider looked over matched at the plate. This isn't really developing news, though.
R.J. Anderson (1:14:22 PM PT): Tyler Flowers went to the Alex Avila school of dropping your mitt after setting the target.
Colin Wyers (1:15:45 PM PT): stewbies (Rochester, NY): I understand the Rays are playing the service time game with Myers, but with Scott out at least a month, doesn't making the playoffs and possible attendance bump offset the service time savings? And they'll probably sign him to a long term deal before he even gets to arbitration!
Is there any evidence that doing well represents a significant attendance bump for the Rays?
Colin Wyers (1:16:41 PM PT): Oy, I had forgotten about the three-run save. Much, much, much, much, much less fun than the three-inning save.
Colin Wyers (1:18:40 PM PT): The worst thing about the three-run save is that the only justification anyone seems to be able to offer has to do with salary, not even pretending to be about helping teams win games.
Colin Wyers (1:19:00 PM PT): Er, only justification to using your closer to get them, that is.
Zachary Levine (1:21:40 PM PT): Alberto Gonzalez made the Cubs roster? cc: Colin Wyers
Russell A. Carleton (1:21:59 PM PT): Trout 0-for-1 with a strikeout. I think that Miggy MVP was actually justified.
SamMiller (1:22:22 PM PT): stewbies (Rochester, NY): I understand the Rays are playing the service time game with Myers, but with Scott out at least a month, doesn't making the playoffs and possible attendance bump offset the service time savings? And they'll probably sign him to a long term deal before he even gets to arbitration!
It does seem like if he's great they'll be thrilled to have him for a playoff push from Day 1, and if he's not great it'll be easy to send him down for a few weeks when Scott gets back to reap the service time rewards anyway
Colin Wyers (1:22:34 PM PT): Yeah, Darwin Barney is injured and on the DL. The Cubs are like the Yankees right now with all the injuries, except besides Garza none of the injured Cubs players are actually good.
Colin Wyers (1:23:29 PM PT): Let's see if a major league pitcher can record three outs before allowing three runs! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Colin Wyers (1:24:26 PM PT): I wish Jason was around to advise us on the labor law implications of having to buy a case of wine for management whenever you don't do what you're told.
SamMiller (1:24:31 PM PT): Russell A. Carleton (1:21:59 PM PT): Trout 0-for-1 with a strikeout. I think that Miggy MVP was actually justified.
I didn't send in my ballot because I wanted to see what each player did in his first at-bat of 2013 before deciding
SamMiller (1:25:08 PM PT): And because they'd have been mad at me for sending in an unsolicited ballot
R.J. Anderson (1:25:59 PM PT): Not the typical efficient inning from James Shields but he does start his Royals career with a scoreless first.
Colin Wyers (1:26:42 PM PT): My philosophy on BBWAA balloting is like my philosophy on asking women out: let THEM tell you no.
Colin Wyers (1:27:16 PM PT): Carlos Marmol hits a baserunner! *drink*
Colin Wyers (1:29:04 PM PT): The new Cubs color guy just called them the Astros. He corrected himself pretty quickly though.
R.J. Anderson (1:29:17 PM PT): Joe Hamrahi weeps somewhere as Salvador Perez hits a long single off Chris Sale.
SamMiller (1:29:20 PM PT): Colin Wyers (1:24:26 PM PT): I wish Jason was around to advise us on the labor law implications of having to buy a case of wine for management whenever you don't do what you're told.
Jason: they're bad
you can quote me
Colin Wyers (1:31:59 PM PT): Sam C&Ping quotes from Jason is like pinch-hitting for Ryan Howard against a lefty; a real improvement that should probably keep happening but somehow won't.
Colin Wyers (1:32:51 PM PT): Marmol walks a batter! *drink*
Colin Wyers (1:33:58 PM PT): I don't have "Marmol being pulled for a situational lefty against a switch hitter" anywhere in my drinking game.
Colin Wyers (1:35:06 PM PT): Eric (Costa Rica): Why don't they call home runs by Norichika "Aoki Dokies"?
I don't have an answer for this.
R.J. Anderson (1:35:32 PM PT): Have Sam ask Woj.
Colin Wyers (1:36:25 PM PT): Sam!
Colin Wyers (1:37:43 PM PT): What's worse than using your closer to get a three-run save? Using TWO PITCHERS.
Colin Wyers (1:39:10 PM PT): THREE! THREE PITCHERS! AH-AH-AH-AH-AHHHHHHHHH.
R.J. Anderson (1:39:55 PM PT): Shields attacking with the fastball. Think I've seen one changeup. No curves yet. Usually goes fastball-heavy first time through then starts pitching backward. Getting into some trouble now though so might have to accelerate those plans.
Russell A. Carleton (1:42:04 PM PT): Hey, look, the Yankees and Red Sox are at 3.5 hours and counting of very uninteresting baseball.
Colin Wyers (1:42:43 PM PT): Even this achingly long Cubs game finished first, and they even started half an hour later.
Colin Wyers (1:43:05 PM PT): And the Cubs used three pitchers to get three ninth-inning outs. Beautiful.
Colin Wyers (1:45:46 PM PT): I'm now over at Royals-White Sox. We'll see how long I last.
Russell A. Carleton (1:48:05 PM PT): Frenchy hitting 8th...
Colin Wyers (1:48:38 PM PT): If your starting right fielder is batting eighth, isn't that a pretty good sign he shouldn't be your starting right fielder?
SamMiller (1:49:07 PM PT): Jason: Because "Aoki Dongers" is the only valid name even though it's not a pun.
permission to quote granted
Colin Wyers (1:49:35 PM PT): Ankiel66 (Seattle): Would it be better for the Cubs to just ask their 9th inning relievers to ONLY get 1 out each? It would limit Marmol damage, no?
If by better you mean "drive me closer to death," then sure.
Russell A. Carleton (1:50:23 PM PT): Ankiel66 (Seattle): Would it be better for the Cubs to just ask their 9th inning relievers to ONLY get 1 out each? It would limit Marmol damage, no?
Different question: If Carlos Marmol had never been a closer, would he even have a job in MLB, much less to pitch in high leverage situations.
Colin Wyers (1:50:46 PM PT): Our long national nightmare is over, by which I mean the Yankees finally lost.
R.J. Anderson (1:52:07 PM PT): Francoeur has a 1.000 OBP.
Colin Wyers (1:52:52 PM PT): The scoreboard is silent on the matter.
R.J. Anderson (1:54:20 PM PT): "SenatorsGuy (Montana): Any concerns over the news of Dylan Bundy's elbow tightness? Was this guy overrated, or is this just a small bump in the road?"
Not overrated because of an achy elbow but right now it's hard to say if it's a bump in a road or a year-long detour.
Russell A. Carleton (1:57:44 PM PT): While I wasn't looking, the Brewers-Rockies game just got interesting. 4-4, bottom 9th, with Dexter Fowler hitting a HR in the top of the 9th to tie the game.
R.J. Anderson (1:58:21 PM PT): Royals load the bases with one out and the middle of the order up and get nothing out of it.
Colin Wyers (1:59:20 PM PT): rynjor (Minneapolis, MN): More volatile: Carlos Marmol or the mixing of an acid and a base?
R.J. Anderson (2:03:23 PM PT): "ares1800jr (san antonio): Cowgill had a nice game, as a former top prospect, does he have the tools to become replacement value? all star? something special?"
Better than replacement level, way less than All-Star/special. Think fourth outfielder type.
Colin Wyers (2:04:12 PM PT): ares1800jr (san antonio): Cowgill had a nice game, as a former top prospect, does he have the tools to become replacement value? all star? something special?
He's a plausible fourth outfielder, maybe a little better than that, but the Mets are kind of desperate in the outfield.
Russell A. Carleton (2:07:32 PM PT): Cowgill has the chance to be that magical guy who would be a 4th OF on most teams, but because he'll start a lot, he'll put up some good counting numbers. And people will mistake that for being decent.
Colin Wyers (2:08:49 PM PT): Apparently the theme to today's roundtable is "crushing dreams."
Russell A. Carleton (2:11:03 PM PT): Top of the 10th, tie game, Rockies Rockies radio broadcast: "Rockies have Rafael Betancourt up if they take the lead and (missed the name) if they don't." When, oh when, will teams stop doing this?
R.J. Anderson (2:11:24 PM PT): Fourth outfielders are still plenty useful players. I thought it was a sound acquisition for the Mets.
Colin Wyers (2:13:08 PM PT): Russell: When teams stop letting relief pitcher contracts dictate bullpen usage?
SamMiller (2:13:36 PM PT): You crushed my dream of The Young Arm
Colin Wyers (2:14:10 PM PT): What's really fascinating is that teams aren't even manipulating pitcher usage to save themselves money, they're doing it to cost themselves money.
R.J. Anderson (2:15:02 PM PT): Sale has made Moustakas, Hosmer, and Cain look some kind of bad today through two at-bats apiece.
Colin Wyers (2:15:53 PM PT): Sam, I ruin Ben's dreams all the time. You'll get used to it.
R.J. Anderson (2:19:31 PM PT): Shields doubling up on curves versus Ramirez.
Colin Wyers (2:19:59 PM PT): My favorite Ben story may be the time he IM'd me asking if I could do some research for a TV interview he was going to be doing. He did this from the makeup chair in the TV studio.
R.J. Anderson (2:22:09 PM PT): My favorite Ben story is when he found out Brian Bruney was back in the majors and started typing in all caps. He did this from the makeup chair in his bedroom.
Ben Lindbergh (2:22:24 PM PT): Good times.
Colin Wyers (2:22:43 PM PT): Shoot, I type in all caps half the time on Twitter.
R.J. Anderson (2:23:13 PM PT): Francoeur still has a 1.000 OBP. His stance oddly just reminded me of Sammy Sosa.
Colin Wyers (2:24:34 PM PT): I feel like I should be watching a different game than RJ so we have some diversity around here.
SamMiller (2:25:34 PM PT): On-screen graphic just showed Jonathan Lucroy's career batting average with the bases loaded, but lest you think they didn't have any useful information, they ALSO included his 2012 batting average with the bases loaded.
SamMiller (2:25:38 PM PT): 11 ABs
Colin Wyers (2:26:43 PM PT): That's what gets me about people who think advanced stats have no place in a baseball broadcast. They can't be any LESS enlightening than most of the infographics networks use.
Ben Lindbergh (2:27:08 PM PT): You can tell a lot about a man from his bases-loaded at-bats, I always say.
Colin Wyers (2:27:13 PM PT): I mean seriously, stats people can't understand at all would be a step up from stats so easily misunderstood as those.
Colin Wyers (2:27:39 PM PT): Speak of the devil!
Colin Wyers (2:30:14 PM PT): Hawk and Steve are having a five-minute conversation about somebody who likes hamburgers but aren't bothering to tell us who this person is. It's MADDENING.
R.J. Anderson (2:30:30 PM PT): Second time Shields has started Flowers off with a non-fastball. Both times Flowers had to attempt to check his swing, but this time he doesn't get called for a strike. Think Shields thinks Flowers is sitting fastball?
Colin Wyers (2:31:15 PM PT): Tyler Flowers hits the first of 20 home runs for this season.
R.J. Anderson (2:31:41 PM PT): That after striking out the first of 200 times this season.
Ben Lindbergh (2:34:58 PM PT): Remember the playoff roundtables last year, when Dan Evans would be scouting everything seriously and the rest of us would be making fun of McCarver or commercials? Dan works for the Blue Jays now, and the rest of us are still in a roundtable, watching TV. Makes you think. About how fun it is to make fun of commercials.
SamMiller (2:36:32 PM PT): R.J. clearly angling for a job with the Blue Jays. The rest of all us angling for jobs watching TV.
R.J. Anderson (2:37:41 PM PT): "Adam (Rochester, NY): Fantasy question - If Ludwick is hurt, is Heisey better than T. Snider?"
Heisey is probably another reserve outfielder type. I don't know what Snider is and I wouldn't feel comfortable gambling on him unless you desperately need the possible upside.
SamMiller (2:37:50 PM PT): THIS GIRL IS ON FIRRRRRRRRE
Colin Wyers (2:38:35 PM PT): Yeah, sometimes I almost felt bad about how I was dragging down the insight level of our playoff chats last year.
SamMiller (2:38:37 PM PT): Four or five more years like this and I'm going to start thinking Johnny Cueto is for real
SamMiller (2:40:38 PM PT): Alex Gordon's defense, man.
R.J. Anderson (2:41:02 PM PT): Not Shields' sharpest start. Granted he's an out from five innings of one-run ball but not his normally economic self today. Didn't seem to have the feel for the changeup.
Nick Faleris (2:44:27 PM PT): Agreed, RJ. And as goes his changeup, so goes his nation.
SamMiller (2:46:53 PM PT): No guacamole? That's bush league, bro.
Colin Wyers (2:48:18 PM PT): Sam Miller has become unstuck in time.
R.J. Anderson (2:51:46 PM PT): I have no idea what this means but to quote Wyers, "Mister Lizard, get us out of here!"
R.J. Anderson (2:53:03 PM PT): It was that or a Thursday Next joke. I think I failed.
R.J. Anderson (2:54:47 PM PT): "Ankiel66 (Seattle): So far in today's battle for Best Hair I have Smamarzija, McCutchen, and Cueto. Am I missing any other legit contenders?"
Adam Dunn has some weird fro thing going on that I don't endorse but I do respect.
Colin Wyers (2:55:30 PM PT): marcat (Berkeley): TELL EVERYONE THERE IS A PARK SOUNDS OVERLAY ON MLB.TV - for white sox fans, especially, it's really important
Thanks to blackouts, I get the White Sox on cable or not at all.
SamMiller (2:55:31 PM PT): Everybody tied for "wore a hat"
Colin Wyers (2:56:13 PM PT): And Samardzija has terrible hair. Just awful.
R.J. Anderson (3:00:51 PM PT): At the risk of sounding like a moron: I tend to like Steve Stone and I don't mind Hawk.
SamMiller (3:04:57 PM PT): The Royals wouldn't be losing 1-0 if they had Wil Myers playing RF.
They'd be losing 4-.25 or so
SamMiller (3:05:28 PM PT): R.J. Anderson (3:00:51 PM PT): At the risk of sounding like a moron: I tend to like Steve Stone and I don't mind Hawk.
Steve Stone is pretty good when he's not around Hawk. I don't like him when he's with Hawk.
R.J. Anderson (3:11:59 PM PT): Eager to see the absurd reactions if Shields pitches like Shields, Wade Davis pitches like he can, and Myers hits like a typical 22-year-old this season.
SamMiller (3:16:02 PM PT): Trades shouldn't be judged on results, so any reaction to anything that happens will be absurd.
R.J. Anderson (3:18:26 PM PT): Your reaction to my reaction to your reaction is absurd.
R.J. Anderson (3:22:17 PM PT): "Ankiel66 (Seattle): J.B. Shuck??? He's not real right? That's not a real name."
Ben Lindbergh (3:23:48 PM PT): The ones you think aren't real are almost always former Astros. Unless they're current Astros.
Colin Wyers (3:24:45 PM PT): I still am not convinced Luis Valbuena wasn't a computer generated character in MLB The Show.
Colin Wyers (3:25:02 PM PT): tommybones (Brooklyn): Public Service Announcement: “Yeah, he’s still the closer,” Sveum said. “I’m not making any changes or anything like that. He just didn’t have it today.”
Ben Lindbergh (3:27:12 PM PT): Always a good sign when you get a vote of confidence on Opening Day.
R.J. Anderson (3:28:07 PM PT): Had a dream Matt Thornton had Tommy John surgery. Decidedly not the case as he trots to the mound in a big spot.
Ben Lindbergh (3:30:23 PM PT): I guess that answers the "Do androids dream" question.
Nick Faleris (3:31:53 PM PT): Really, really poor at bat by Moose there. Like, "Double A prospect against veteran MLB arm reliever in spring training" poor.
Nick Faleris (3:32:53 PM PT): Really, really poor sentence by Nick Faleris there...
R.J. Anderson (3:32:55 PM PT): Easier said than done against an arm like Thornton but I don't know what Moustakas was doing in that at-bat. Couldn't tell you why he went to swing at that slider inside.
R.J. Anderson (3:39:40 PM PT): These KC-CHA games are going to be fun if for no other reason than the relief arms on display.
Ben Lindbergh (3:45:13 PM PT): All this talk of exciting White Sox relievers reminds me that Brian Bruney's services are still available to the highest bidder.
Ben Lindbergh (3:45:13 PM PT): All this talk of exciting White Sox relievers reminds me that Brian Bruney's services are still available to the highest bidder.
Larry Granillo (3:45:59 PM PT): The Dodgers beat the Giants 4-0 with their 4 run 8th. But all they really needed was Kershaw - both for his CG shutout but also that bomb to centerfield that broke the scoreless tie.
I timed Kershaw at 19.16 secs on his first ever tater trot, by the way
R.J. Anderson (3:51:32 PM PT): Francouer ends the day with a .500 OBP.
R.J. Anderson (3:53:51 PM PT): All right guys, time to go do some writing. Thanks for stopping by everyone. Enjoy the rest of the night.
Larry Granillo (3:58:49 PM PT): Eric (Costa Rica): So if it hasn't been done already, I'd like to see a historical pitcher tator tot tracker. Can I get an amen?
I'm always happy to do historic tater trots. Usually just comes down to finding the right ones. Maybe now that MLB has added more highlights to their vaults, I can find a few.
Colin Wyers (3:59:07 PM PT): Bruney is only exciting to you, Ben.
Ben Lindbergh (4:00:33 PM PT): I've come to accept that.
Colin Wyers (4:01:39 PM PT): harjitsgill (Oakland, CA): So, a Profar-related (non-trade question) but: do the Rangers get more value by having Kinsler at 2B and Moreland at 1B? Or am I missing something? Why wouldn't you slide Kinsler to 1B and Profar to 2B/SS. Is it just ego/not pissing off Kinsler? Is Moreland that valuable?
Moreland has some (albeit very little) value, but the Rangers have shown they are willing to put up with players refusing to move positions (coughYounghint) well past the point where most of us get exasperated with it.
Larry Granillo (4:02:00 PM PT): I've had this Angels/Reds game on, but just turned on the Tigers/Twins game too. Is either one much better than the other? The Twins do have the bases loaded right now, at least...
Ian Miller (4:07:46 PM PT): FWIW, I'm watching Angels-Reds. Chapman is always fun to watch.
Ian Miller (4:10:19 PM PT): .
Ian Miller (4:11:57 PM PT): harjitsgill (Oakland, CA): Ian! Hitting the bike today for a longer ride, ankle rehab in progress, someday I aspire to the distance ridingness
Sounds good, dude! I'll let you know when we're gonna do that OAK > SAC ride to see the Grizzlies. Should be fun.
Ian Miller (4:13:31 PM PT): Frazier looks like he;s in the wrong uni -- he could easily be an Angel.
Ian Miller (4:18:32 PM PT): Free baseball in Cincinnati! YES.
Larry Granillo (4:22:35 PM PT): So Hamels/Hudson just started in Atlanta. And later tonight we have Felix/Anderson and Wainwright/Kennedy.
Hamels/Hudson is probably the best matchup between the three, but the Felix game is probably the one I want to see the most.
Ian Miller (4:28:14 PM PT): Chesty (New Bern NC): Taveras is available in my league.I have used a Dl spot for eaton.Should I stash Taveras?Thanks
I have no idea how fantasy baseball works, but I think you should pick up Taveras.
Jonah Birenbaum (4:29:48 PM PT): Cole Hamels with a 3-2 changeup to Justin Upton because that's how Cole Hamels rolls.
Larry Granillo (4:33:16 PM PT): Freddie Freeman was not intimidated by the mustache-less Hamels. Just took him deep to right to put the Braves up 2-0. 21.2 sec trot for big Freddie
Jonah Birenbaum (4:34:09 PM PT): That was a violent shot by Freeman. Respect the goggles.
Ian Miller (4:34:27 PM PT): I love Freddie Freeman so much. Predicting big things from him this year. Big things, I tell you!
Jonah Birenbaum (4:44:47 PM PT): Ruben Amaro Jr. : "Why didn't we go with Halladay, again?
Larry Granillo (4:49:21 PM PT): And now it's Dan Uggla taking Cole Hamels deep, this time into the LF corner. 21.14 secs on the trot because his name is Dan Uggla!
Larry Granillo (4:58:08 PM PT): LoyalRoyal (Leathertown): Love the Royals gloves in their opening day lineup. Does anyone have a better 1-8 glovewise? I see 6 potential gold gloves in their starting lineup and the other two are solid as well. Thanks.
Good question. My first thought is the Reds, but I might be thinking of past teams moreso with Stubbs and Rolen. The Angels also have that pretty spectacular outfield, but I don't know how well they'd stack up from top to bottom.
Ian Miller (5:04:15 PM PT): Trent Rosecrans points out that Jack Hannahan has homered on opening day each of the last 2 years
Ian Miller (5:09:21 PM PT): JINX.
Larry Granillo (5:10:54 PM PT): Yeah, that was pretty messed up of Trent. Got me excited for some action.
Ian Miller (5:12:31 PM PT): Choo took an interesting route to that ball...
Larry Granillo (5:13:14 PM PT): New CF Shin Soo Choo just misplayed a deep flyball off the bat of Peter Bourjos. That's not the guy you want to give a chance at an extra base to... standing on third now.
Colin Wyers (5:13:39 PM PT): Interesting or comedic?
Ian Miller (5:15:38 PM PT): Colin, yes. Both.
Larry Granillo (5:16:32 PM PT): I missed his initial break on the ball, but it hung up there forever and he seemed to get very confused on what to do as he got closer to the wall. And then he just gave up on making the catch.
Larry Granillo (5:19:53 PM PT): Chase Utley just hit a ball that everyone was sure would be caught in front of the warning track but just kept going and going instead. 4-1 Atlanta after the solo shot. 19.63 secs on the trot.
Larry Granillo (5:22:13 PM PT): And there goes the Atlanta catcher sprinting to the dugout on out number two. Whoops.
Larry Granillo (5:31:00 PM PT): Steve (Bayshore): Can I expect Samardzija to pitch like this throughout the year? Wow, he looked good, especially with that upper 90's heat in the 8th inning. Is this guy a potential top of the rotation pitcher that Theo will consider a building block? Is there any other arms deep in the Cubs farm system that have #1 or #2 upside?
I don't have the evaluation skills that some on our staff do, but I don't know how much I'd trust Samardzija. He's 28 this year and has never been all that great. He had a pretty solid 2012, though, so there's always that chance he has put it all together. If I were a Cubs fan, I don't think I'd be counting on him to be a front of the rotation kind of guy, but I might certainly feel optimistic about it...
Larry Granillo (5:33:54 PM PT): Jason Pennini (Denver): How many home runs will Bryce Harper hit this year??
Man, I wish I knew! I think I'm a bit more tempered about my Harper expectations for 2013. He's still so young and played so far out of his mind last year that a letdown seemed inevitable. And I'm not a big fan of his moving down to the three-hole. But, wow, did he kill it this spring and he certainly kept it up today. I could see anything from 20 to 40 home runs, honestly (though I'm always hoping for the 40!)
Larry Granillo (5:37:46 PM PT): derekross (Boston ): Why is Jose Fernandez being rushed on the Marlins?
It's easy to take the cynic's view on this and say that Miami is trying to start his clock early and/or use & abuse him while he's young. But, for all of their sins when it comes to keeping teams together, they do seem to know how to handle their prospects. When to bring them up early, when to let go of them, etc. It's what makes each of their "fire sale" trades defensible: they're getting legitimate value on their end. Stanton is starting his 4th year at the age of 23, remember. They might actually be bringing Fernandez up this early because they feel he can handle it.
Larry Granillo (5:39:25 PM PT): I don't think this Angels/Reds game is ever going to end. It's some kind of karma for playing an interleague game on Opening Day...
Larry Granillo (5:53:13 PM PT): According to the graphic just flashed on the screen, 2% of Ryan Howard's balls in play in 2012 went to 3B and 2% went to SS. Seems high.
Jonah Birenbaum (5:56:38 PM PT): What a job by Avilan. That strikeout on Howard could prove immensely consequential. Dirty sequence of two-seamers.
Larry Granillo (5:58:30 PM PT): The Angels win! The Angels win! (I'm mostly celebrating this because I'm surprised that the game actually ended.)
Larry Granillo (5:59:28 PM PT): When you're Ryan Howard and you see the team bring in a lefty pitcher, does your mind just go into the Shaq-at-the-free-throw-line mode? Because you have to *know* that they're not actually throwing strikes your way...
Nick Faleris (6:01:04 PM PT): Man strength.
Jonah Birenbaum (6:01:13 PM PT): So this Atlanta club could hit its fair share of homeruns...
Nick Faleris (6:02:50 PM PT): Just a silly sequence from Hamels. Upton was keyed to pull (as evidenced by his cuts early in the count) and he feed him inside? If you're going to work in there, I think you need to back foot a breaking ball.
Doug Thorburn (6:03:43 PM PT): If I can chime in on Samardzija ...
I'm a big fan. He was jerked between the 'pen and the rotation early in his career, and as a 2-sport guy in college he only recently concentrated on baseball full-time. So it makes sense that his development curve has lagged a bit. But his mechanics are excellent, with an uncanny combination of balance and torque that consistently produces one of the hardest fastballs among MLB SP's. He was lights out last season after the first month, though 2 bad starts in June gave the appearance of inconsistency (one 11-batter stretch on 6/27/12 cost him 8 ER).
I think that he is just realizing his potential.
Larry Granillo (6:04:18 PM PT): Justin Upton with a big blast to left field. Watching that ball sail, it makes me realize sometihng... the way Turner Field is built, some of those monster shots Upton hits that look so majestic in Chase Field might seem a little less impressive in Atlanta. The deep bleachers make some homers look shorter than they actually are...
19.94 secs on the trot
Nick Faleris (6:08:46 PM PT): I like that Heyward called for that!
Larry Granillo (6:09:40 PM PT): Well, Doug, I did say that others would have a more informed opinion than me! Thanks for the good answer.
Doug Thorburn (6:09:50 PM PT): The Upton's transmogrify the Atlanta lineup into beast mode
Doug Thorburn (6:11:03 PM PT): I'm just trying to justify my off-season trade scenario from the lineup card - Perez/Olt for Samardzija took a bit of flack!
Paul Sporer (6:11:08 PM PT): Larry, the Marlins haven't quite had the success in rushing pitchers. The last few who've jumped from AA have been stunted.
Doug Thorburn (6:17:03 PM PT): I don't see much incentive to rush Fernandez, esp with such weak support at the plate and in the field for the MLB team. The kid is set up to take his lumps, pitching in an empty stadium. He pitched 134 innings last season, so it would not be wise to expose him to a full-season MLB workload, so he will likely be shutdown in August regardless. So yeah, I don't really see the point.
Larry Granillo (6:17:22 PM PT): Ah. Well maybe the Miami front office *thinks* they understand pitching prospects as well as they do hitting prospects...
Doug Thorburn (6:29:11 PM PT): The Marlins' biggest success story with a HS pitcher was Beckett, and he got 210 IP in the minors, with 70 IP in AA - not a ton, but it's something. Fernandez is not at Beckett's level, is 2 yrs younger than Beckett was upon his permanent call-up, has pitched just 138 innings in the minors, and is making the leap all the way from the FSL.
Cue the ominous music...
Doug Thorburn (6:30:26 PM PT): ... and the Chase Utley revival continues
Larry Granillo (6:37:16 PM PT): That pop out from Heyward might have been a home run if the fences were also placed 300 ft up in the air
Nick Faleris (6:46:03 PM PT): Seeing Jordan Walden throw always makes me sad for Nick Adenhart.
Doug Thorburn (6:48:33 PM PT): Think the A's are sick of opening the season against the King? This will be the fourth year in a row that Hernandez makes the start in game #1 against Oakland. Last season, he faced them in each of his first three starts of the season.
Larry Granillo (6:51:02 PM PT): Really? That has to sting for Oakland. Can't MLB mix those Opening Day opponents up a little better?
Doug Thorburn (6:56:00 PM PT): At least Texas got a new opponent this OD - their "natural" rivals in Houston!
Larry Granillo (6:56:06 PM PT): Brady Childs (Laying down on the BM couch): I just want to thank you guys for being apart of my opening day. It's been a phenomenal opening day and I'm glad to say you've been apart of it
Thanks. We're glad too. And hopefully with two more games about ready to kick off, we'll get a few more people in here for the nightcap!
Larry Granillo (6:58:04 PM PT): I just checked... The Rangers play the Diamondbacks on interleage "rivalry" weekend this year. Houston gets Colorado. Interesting.
Geoff Young (7:03:48 PM PT): Howdy folks. Happy baseball!
Geoff Young (7:08:34 PM PT): Bryant (Oceanside, CA): I'm a Padres fan: where do I rank on the 20-80 scale for self-loathing after today?
70 current, 80 future. Go Cody Ransom! On the bright side, it shouldn't get much worse than that dog of a game.
Geoff Young (7:11:33 PM PT): Franklin Gutierrez has a .291 OBP over the last 3 years. Batting him leadoff is a curious choice, and that 3-pitch strikeout didn't make it look any better.
Geoff Young (7:13:18 PM PT): Brett Anderson strikes out the side on 13 pitches. Ho hum.
Larry Granillo (7:14:32 PM PT): Anderson is facing King Felix. That may actually feel ho-hum if he's on his game at all today.
Doug Thorburn (7:16:25 PM PT): Anderson strikes out the side, all on swings. Sets the tone for Felix - how will he respond?
Geoff Young (7:19:34 PM PT): Josh (Middletown): Colin Cowgill...everyday player or is Terry Collins dreaming?
Seems optimistic to me. Then again, we are all entitled to dream in April. There was that sweet 984 OPS in 2011, but you know... Reno.
Russell A. Carleton (7:21:12 PM PT): Hello everyone, I've been off the grid with a cranky 20 month old... did I miss anything?
Doug Thorburn (7:21:15 PM PT): 4-for-4 now on Mr. Anderson's swinging K's
Geoff Young (7:26:57 PM PT): Whoa, nice play by Eric Sogard to rob Jesus Montero on the good ol' 4-6-3 putout. Also, Montero is slow.
Larry Granillo (7:27:52 PM PT): That was a pretty fantastic play by Sogard on that liner up the middle that almost nailed Anderson. Instead of a single to center, he knocks it down and flips it to short. They don't get the runner from first, but the batter is thrown out at first.
Larry Granillo (7:28:24 PM PT): Leave Montero alone, Geoff. He's just now learning how to run!
Geoff Young (7:33:53 PM PT): Yeah, Larry, I'm one to talk. I would've been two steps out of the box on that play.
Geoff Young (7:46:47 PM PT): The movement on Felix Hernandez's pitches is ridiculous.
Geoff Young (7:59:48 PM PT): Of the first 24 batters in this game, 11 have failed to make contact.
Geoff Young (8:17:29 PM PT): randolph3030 (Jersey): Are you guys still here?
Yes. Are you?
Geoff Young (8:30:47 PM PT): Felix has thrown 59 pitches through 5 IP. Guys are not getting good swings against him at all.
Larry Granillo (8:37:52 PM PT): Sorry I stepped away for a bit there...
Looks like Felix is up to his old tricks again.
Also, how in the world does the Coliseum still not have any guards in front of the dugouts? (or am I just missing them?)
Geoff Young (8:48:19 PM PT): Noah Braun (SD): is there anyone in the marlins lineup thats worth thinking about outside of stanton and pierre?
No, and honestly, I'm not sure I'd think much about Pierre.
Larry Granillo (8:51:05 PM PT): harjitsgill (Oakland, CA): Hey! Question. Someone commented to me (I think most likely incorrectly) that basically Kershaw pitching high profile/rivalry games against the Giants where he shuts them down inflates/causes #narrative to begin about his greatness, that he isn't as good as he seems etc. I think he's effing stellar, just wondering what your thoughts are.
Honestly, that sounds like the crazy ramblings of somebody who has been the victim of those great rivalry games once too often. Kershaw is great, period. The fact that he constantly shuts down Cain and Lincecum in high-profile games just makes him more fun.
Geoff Young (8:55:09 PM PT): harjitsgill (Oakland, CA): Hey! Question. Someone commented to me (I think most likely incorrectly) that basically Kershaw pitching high profile/rivalry games against the Giants where he shuts them down inflates/causes #narrative to begin about his greatness, that he isn't as good as he seems etc. I think he's effing stellar, just wondering what your thoughts are.
Stellar sounds about right to me. Kershaw led MLB pitchers in WARP in 2011 and was third (behind Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander). What's not to love?
Geoff Young (8:56:40 PM PT): To complete my truncated sentence, Kershaw was third in 2012. Or, what Larry said.
Geoff Young (8:59:55 PM PT): Scrapper (Chicago): What's a reasonable over/under for Brett Anderson's innings this year? For him, its all about health, right?
Anderson has averaged 101.5 IP over his first four seasons, so how about that for an over/under? He has looked great tonight, but yeah, staying healthy is key.
Geoff Young (9:51:03 PM PT): jessemumm (Van Wert, IA): The broadcasters on the MLB Network were making a big deal of Strasburg's short outing ("They aren't going to treat him like an ace." -- "He's not an ace!" -- "80 pitches, wow. In my day...", etc.). Is there anything to actually read into it?
It's one start. I don't think so. "He's not an ace!" Yeah, no.
Geoff Young (10:00:27 PM PT): And Opening Day is in the books. Thanks, all, for chatting!
Dave Pease (10:08:31 PM PT): Happy Opening Day, everyone, and thank you for attending the roundtable today!