I promise I’ll talk about things other than my Scoresheet Baseball team once the season starts. It’s just that, well, this is what’s on my mind at the moment.
As previouslynoted, I’m participating in this year’s BP Kings league. We started our spring draft not long ago (we’re wrapping up round 16 as I write this), and… it’s been interesting, as drafts tend to be. You make plans, prepare for different scenarios, and then watch as things unfold in ways you couldn’t have imagined. It’s the best.
Anyway, I had cut down to five veteran players, which meant that I started drafting in the sixth round (first full round is the 11th). Here are the first 20 picks of the draft:
Pete McCarthy: Aroldis Chapman
Pete McCarthy: Derek Holland
Pete McCarthy: Jose Lopez
Pete McCarthy: Edwin Encarnacion
Geoff Young: Kyle Blanks — I adore Blanks, have since he was in A-ball; yeah, Petco Park, but you should see where he hits baseballs
Geoff Young: Rickie Weeks — I was hoping to get either Lopez or Weeks; maybe this will be the year he puts it together… or not
Pete McCarthy: Yadier Molina
Pete McCarthy: Brandon Morrow
Geoff Young: Jhonny Peralta — Last year’s decline is scary, but he’s young, he’s shortstop eligible, and he’s had some nice seasons in the past
Geoff Young: Marcos Scutaro — Because I don’t really believe what I just said about Peralta
Bill Baer: Ben Sheets
Jeff Angus/Grant Sterling: Bobby Abreu
Jeff Erickson: Jorge delaRosa
Pete McCarthy: Trevor Cahill
Jay Jaffe: Andy Pettitte
Jay Jaffe: Ryan Doumit
Pete McCarthy: Anibal Sanchez
Jeff Erickson: Cody Ross
Jeff Angus/Grant Sterling: Placido Polanco
Bill Baer: Raul Ibanez
And my next picks:
Justin Masterson — I’m probably too big a fan from having watched him in college
Andy LaRoche — As with Peralta and Scutaro at shortstop, I doubled up early at third base (I’d protected Kevin Youkilis); this gives me some flexibility and keeps me out of the mad scramble for lousy-hitting utility infielders that inevitably comes in a deep league
Rafael Soriano — I didn’t need another reliever, but he shouldn’t have lasted until the end of the 12th round
Delmon Young — This is crazy stupid, but I need to take some risks; either he’ll continue to hack at everything and be useless or he’ll figure out what he’s supposed to be doing with all that talent
Randy Wells — Here’s hoping his rookie performance wasn’t a fluke
Mike Wuertz — I’m a little uncomfortable being this pitching heavy so early in the draft, but I have a hard time separating the available options at positions of need so I’m hoping others will help me decide; plus I love Wuertz’s strikeout numbers
Melky Cabrera — He has center field range, he’s young enough to improve, and he won’t bat higher than eighth for me
Lyle Overbay — I’d fully intended to grab another outfielder here, but there were too many to choose from and only a couple of first basemen I liked; at least two or three of my outfield targets should still be available at my next pick
I won’t give you a blow-by-blow of the entire draft, but I will pop in from time to time. If you’d like to follow along, thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can do just that.
A while back, I mentioned the BP Kings dispersal draft. Well, after spending the past couple months staring at my roster, I submitted my list of keepers on Monday.
We can protect up to 10 veteran players in this league, plus an unlimited number of rookies. The first full round of drafting is round 11, but if an owner keeps fewer than 10 veterans, he gets to start earlier (keep 9, start in round 10; keep 8, start in round 9; etc.).
Each rookie protected costs a pick at the end of the draft (keep one, lose your round 35 pick; keep a second, lose your round 34; you know the drill). Typically these picks are used on fringe players, so keeping several rookies (most owners kept 4-7 in this league; a couple kept none, and one kept 19) is a common strategy that doesn’t come with a lot of downside.
I spent much of Sunday trying to swing last-minute deals. After talking to about half the league and fielding a dozen or so offers, I made one trade, swapping Michael Cuddyer for Arizona third base prospect Bobby Borchering. Although Cuddyer is a solid run producer in his prime, I had determined he was expendable for my purposes. More on that in a moment.
As for the guy I received in return, Kevin Goldstein notes in his look at the Diamondbacks Top 11 Prospects that Borchering needs to tighten up his strike zone and may not stick at the hot corner but identifies him as a “switch-hitter with plus (if not more) power from both sides of the plate.” In other words, Borchering is someone who might help several years down the road. Okay, I wasn’t keeping Cuddyer, so good enough for me.
In the dispersal draft, I’d targeted older players because that’s where the “soft spots” were. It was easier to grab the old guys I wanted than to fight for table scraps among the more coveted younger players.
The downside to such a strategy (or any contrarian strategy) is that potential trade partners may value players differently than I do, which presents a challenge when trying to make a deal. If I spent the draft collecting players nobody else sought, then why should I expect those same owners to want them now? Survey says: I shouldn’t.
So I talked to a lot of folks (always a worthy endeavor even if nothing comes to fruition; today’s talk may become tomorrow’s trade) and made the one deal. Then I trimmed my roster to the following:
I strongly considered cutting all my veterans or at least keeping only Halladay, but after perusing the other rosters decided it wasn’t worth the risk of having another owner also drop everyone and being forced to compete for those resources (this turned out to be a wise decision, as one owner kept only one veteran; everyone else protected at least eight). As for the old guys that nobody had wanted in the dispersal draft, I figured dropping them was relatively safe because, hey, most likely nobody still wanted them. I should be able to redraft them if so desired, and with luck, there might be better players available.
So, that’s where we stand as of today. The spring draft begins on February 18. What will it bring? Stay tuned…
A while back, I was invited to join the BP Kings Scoresheet Baseball league. As a refresher, the league is set up in a “24-team, split AL/NL format that allows interleague trading.”
Seven new owners came onboard this winter, and we recently concluded our dispersal draft, in which each of us procured talent (or some approximation thereof) from the pool of players left behind by the vacated teams. The draft lasted 16ish rounds (some folks just couldn’t stop making picks), and aside from missing out on Brian Matusz and Anthony Slama (go Toreros!), I’m reasonably satisfied with my effort.
Easy for me to say in January. I may be singing a different tune come August. Or, let’s be honest, come May.
I won’t bore you with the entire draft, but here’s how the first two rounds unfolded:
Casey Stern: Evan Longoria
Matthew Pouliot: Prince Fielder
Pete McCarthy: Zach Greinke
Rob McQuown: Ryan Zimmerman
Matthew Leach: Dan Haren
Bill Baer: C.C. Sabathia
Geoff Young: Roy Halladay
Geoff Young: Kevin Youkilis
Bill Baer: Ryan Howard
Matthew Leach: Cliff Lee
Rob McQuown: Yovani Gallardo (traded to King Kaufman/Rob Granick for Aramis Ramirez, Ervin Santana, Michael Bourn, and Angel Salome)
Pete McCarthy: Justin Morneau
Matthew Pouliot: Jose Reyes
Casey Stern: Robinson Cano
And this is what my team looks like:
Daniel Bard (rookie)
Carlos Rosa (rookie)
Tony Sipp (rookie)
I ended up with an old team because that’s where the “soft spots” were in this draft. Most owners placed a premium (and rightfully so) on younger players with upside, so I largely ignored age, focusing instead on reliability.
On the pitching side, I took a fairly early flier on Billingsley, hoping he’ll rebound. He is young, and his home park helps, so I like my chances on that gamble.
And although I normally shy away from protecting relievers (especially in a soft 10, where we can keep a maximum of 10 non-rookie players but draft earlier if we keep fewer), there are exceptions: Papelbon is one of them. Yeah, it’s only 60-70 innings, but the guy is an out machine.
With the rookies, I passed on higher profile prospects and went with players who can help now. I’m hoping for 100 innings of 4.50 ERA from Bard, Rosa, and Sipp combined. That doesn’t sound like much, but the cost of keeping rookies (picks at the very end of the spring draft) is minimal when compared with what is typically available in the draft that late. (Last year’s draft had Jason Frasor as an end-game steal, but it also “featured” Matt Albers, Jose Molina, Matt Tolbert, and Dewayne Wise.) The way I figure, if those three rookies are who I think they are, that’s two picks I don’t have to blow on Kyle Farnsworth clones.
As for the hitters, I ignored position scarcity, going with the best lineup I could find. My team is on the AL side so I get to employ a DH. I’ll take a defensive hit for that outfield, but their production should make up for it.
My focus in the spring draft will be on catchers and middle infielders. I’ll probably pay more attention to defense with them since most of the good offensive performers at those positions will be gone already and to make up for my brutal outfield.
I fully expect some of my hitters to fall off the proverbial cliff. I’m feeling good about Youkilis, but out of those other five guys, my guess is that two or three won’t perform as well as I’d like (no clue which ones, of course, although Ibanez would seem to be a good candidate). That’s the risk I’ve assumed, and I’m okay with it. My strategy is basically the flip side of “this guy is young, I hope he gets better,” which is “this guy is old, I hope he doesn’t get worse.”
It might not work. Then again, it might. Either way, this should be fun.
In 1949, the Phillies’ Ed Sanicki did something nobody had done until then. He became the first player in big-league history to collect more than one hit in a season and have all of them be home runs.
In fact, Sanicki hit three bombs that year, leading to the odd seasonal line of .231/.286/.923. Home runs were nothing new for Sanicki, who launched a few of them in the minors before coming to Philadelphia (including 33 for the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in ‘49):
Sanicki’s homers came against Rip Sewell, Howie Pollet (an All-Star who won 20 games that season), and Sheldon Jones.
A few years later, in 1955, the Dodgers’ Clem Labine became the second person to do what Sanicki had done. Sanicki was an outfielder, so we might not be too shocked by his outburst. Labine, on the other hand, was a right-handed pitcher who worked primarily in relief.
Labine’s three homers in ‘55 accounted for his entire career total. Lebine, you see, was a terrible hitter. In 256 plate appearances, he owned a .075/.136/.128 line. Among players with at least 250 plate appearances, only Dean Chance (.066) and Mark Clark (.058) had lower batting averages.
But, as they say, once you’ve got a bat in your hands, anything can happen. In Labine’s case, it happened three times: against Larry Jackson, Herm Wehmeier, and Harry Perkowski.
Then we waited… and we waited some more… and in 2000, the Cardinals’ Keith McDonald knocked thrice. His victims were Andy Larkin (career ERA 8.86), Osvaldo Fernandez (4.93), and Jesus Pena (5.21). Granted, those were some terrible pitchers, but you still have to hit the ball.
McDonald, a catcher by trade, wasn’t much of a power threat. His career high in the minors to that point had been seven homers (he would double that at Iowa in 2003).
McDonald is especially remarkable because he’s the only player in big-league history with more than one hit in his career to have all of them be home runs. That’s a line of .333/.455/1.333 if you’re keeping score at home.
Then it’s back to pitchers. The Phillies’ Robert Person went 2-for-24 in 2002 with two homers (courtesy of Bruce Chen and Masato Yoshii), and the Braves’ Jorge Sosa went 3-for-24 with three bombs in 2006 (Jeff Fassero, Mike Thompson, and Josh Kinney). For the record, Person owned a career line of .117/.159/.196, while Sosa currently checks in at .136/.205/.272.
Here’s all that in tabular form:
What a strange lot. Perhaps opposing pitchers became overconfident when facing them. Whatever the reason, now you have more information in your head that you don’t really need. Hey, it’s what I do.
Among the many reasons to visit your local minor-league ballpark (the charm, the ridiculously cheap seats behind home plate, etc.) is the possibility of witnessing future greatness. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to catch several big-league stars in action before most people had heard of them: Jay Buhner, Jake Peavy, Carlos Quentin, Felix Hernandez, Edinson Volquez… I still kick myself every now and then for not having driven the hour or so to San Bernardino to check out some kid named Ken Griffey Jr. back in the day. My friends and I threatened to do just that but somehow never got around to it. I heard he ended up making something of himself.
Turning back the clock three decades to 1979, we may recall (or have heard stories, depending on one’s age) that the “We Are Family” Pirates beat Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. We may remember great individual performances that season from the likes of Don Baylor, Ron Guidry, Keith Hernandez, and J.R. Richard.
Meanwhile, events were occurring far away from the spotlight — “down on the farm” — that would shape baseball’s future. Players and managers that later gained a certain measure of fame were busy honing their skills in the decidedly less glamorous environs of the minor leagues.
In the interest of brevity, I will provide only a partial list (courtesy of Johnson and Wolff’s indispensable Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.) of notable figures you could have seen in the minors in ‘79. There is undoubtedly a great story to go with many of these names, but for now, I offer them with minimal commentary:
Randy Bass — Famous for being denied a shot at Sadaharu Oh’s single-season home run record in Japan in 1985; later became an Oklahoma state senator
Jim Tracy — Led the Texas League with a .355 batting average at Midland; funny how both 2009 Managers of the Year played minor-league ball in ‘79 (a year earlier, Tracy and Scioscia played in the same league together)
Steve Balboni — Led the Florida State League with 26 homers at Ft. Lauderdale
Mickey Hatcher — Led the Pacific Coast League with a .371 batting average at Albuquerque
Otis Nixon — Yep, he started out at the hot corner
Cal Ripken Jr.
Scott Fletcher — Collected seven hits for Geneva in a July 15 contest against Utica
Joe Charboneau — One of the great one-year wonders
Juan Berenguer — Led the PCL with 220 strikeouts at Tacoma
Bob Walk — Led the Eastern League with a 2.24 ERA at Reading
Greg Harris (the ambidextrous one)
Ray Searage — A key part of my first Rotisserie League team in ‘84
Dave LaPoint — Led the California League with 208 strikeouts at Stockton; no-hit Reno on July 25
Luis Leal — No-hit Tampa while pitching for Dunedin of the FSL on July 11
Tony LaRussa — Recalled to the big club mid-season to replace Don Kessinger as skipper of the White Sox
Davey Johnson — Led the Miami Amigos to a 51-21 record before the Inter-American League folded on June 30
Tom Kotchman — Casey Kotchman’s dad
Again, this list is far from comprehensive, but it gives some idea of the talent you might have seen at your local minor-league ballpark back then. The salient point (isn’t it nice to have one?) is that these guys are out there doing their thing. The same holds true for any given season.
You won’t necessarily know which players will end up having careers (ask me how good I thought Mark Phillips was going to be), but chances are, if you catch even a few games, you’ll get a glimpse of someone on his way to bigger and better things. Then, 30 years later, you can tell people about the time you saw Peavy pumping mid-90s heat from six rows back of home plate with 3000 of your closest friends.
But I imagine you already have stories of your own. Let’s hear ‘em.
Every now and then, I like to peruse the physical and virtual history books, searching for players I may have forgotten about somewhere along the way. One player I recently stumbled across is Max Bishop, who manned second base for the Philadelphia A’s and Boston Red Sox from 1924 to 1935.
Bishop earned the nickname “Camera Eye” due to his propensity for drawing walks. Among players with fewer than 6000 career plate appearances, none has drawn more than Bishop and it’s not even close:
Baseball’s all-time walks leader, Barry Bonds, checks in at 121.8 BB per 600 PA in case you’re wondering. For some perspective, Dunn, owner of a career .383 OBP, would need to draw bases on balls in two-thirds of his next 359 trips to the plate to match Bishop’s walk rate. That’s kind of insane.
What’s also insane is Bishop’s career slash line: .271/.423/.366. The list of players with at least 3000 PA and a higher OBP is a very short one, indeed. Among those who trail Bishop in that category are Mickey Mantle, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, Stan Musial, Wade Boggs, and… well, all but 16 players in big-league history.
Bishop’s best season came in 1928, with the A’s, when he hit .316/.435/.432. His OBP ran north of .400 every year from 1925 to 1934 except one: In 1929, Bishop just missed, with a .398 OBP; he led the AL with 128 walks that year but hit .232.
Bishop was part of two World Championship squads — the ‘29 and ‘30 A’s. He didn’t distinguish himself in those series (or in ‘31, when Philadelphia lost to the Cardinals), hitting .182/.316/.182 in 18 career post-season games. However, he did play a key role in the decisive sixth game of the 1930 World Series. As John Kieran of the New York Times described it then:
…he got two bases on balls, was hit by the pitcher and scored two runs. This chap doesn’t need a bat at all. He gets on in a variety of ways. The Cardinals think he does it by political influence.
Before joining the A’s in 1924, Bishop starred for the International League’s Baltimore Orioles for several years. Baltimore won four straight IL championships from 1919 to 1922 (these were dominant teams with records of 100-49, 110-43, 119-47, and 115-52 in those years). According to an item in the February 13, 1923, New York Times, owner/manager Jack Dunn had made a “promise to sell at least three of his star Orioles before the beginning of the  season.” Although Bishop was reportedly close to being sold to the Boston Red Sox in 1923, he remained in Baltimore, for whom he hit .333 with 22 home runs as the Orioles “slipped” to 111-53 (they won at least 100 games every year from 1919 to 1926).
After the 1933 season, “financial pressure [from] Philadelphia bankers” forced Connie Mack to sell off his best players (he sold Mickey Cochrane to Detroit and George Earnshaw to the White Sox). Bishop was traded with Lefty Grove and Rube Walberg to the Red Sox for Bob Kline, Rabbit Warstler, and $125,000. Bishop sputtered with his new club, which acquired him a decade too late, and he couldn’t displace light-hitting Ski Melillo at second base.
Bishop played two seasons with the Red Sox before returning to his hometown Orioles, where he served as player-manager before retiring. From there, Bishop went on to become head baseball coach for the U.S. Naval Academy; he remained there from 1938 until his death in 1962. (In a particularly cruel twist of fate, he died mere days before he was scheduled to retire, having returned to his place of birth to attend his mother’s funeral.)
The New Bill James Historical Abstract ranks Bishop as the #43 second baseman in history, nestled between Robby Thompson and Steve Sax. And now you know.
I was thinking about Brooks Kieschnick the other day (don’t ask) and got to wondering why more teams don’t employ — or at least try to employ — two-way players, guys who can provide some utility on the mound as well as at the plate and in the field. Granted, it’s difficult enough to acquire the skills necessary to survive at the big-league level as a hitter or a pitcher, but given the modern tendency toward larger staffs (and hence smaller benches), wouldn’t it make sense for teams to try and develop another Kieschnick?
Aside from the challenges inherent in actually developing a two-way player, there is also the matter of risk, which always accompanies innovation. Perhaps, like batting the pitcher eighth, this falls into the novelty category and it will never gain widespread acceptance because if it doesn’t work (or is perceived not to work, a la Boston’s “closerless bullpen” from a few years ago), the public — not to mention the folks responsible for implementing such an idea — won’t soon hear the end of it.
It’s amazing the things that can kill innovative thinking.
Looking back further, I’m reminded of Rick Rhoden, who once served as DH for the Yankees in a June 1988 contest against the Orioles (he batted seventh, grounding to third and driving home Jay Buhner on a sac fly in two trips to the plate, both against Jeff Ballard… an excellent pitcher against whom to deploy another pitcher as DH, but that’s a story for some other day). Rhoden was — and still is (he has played golf profesionally for many years since retiring from baseball) — a tremendous athlete who might have been able to help his teams in multiple capacities had it not been for childhood osteomyelitis that resulted in limited range of motion in his right leg.
Earlier in his career, while a member of the Pirates, Rhoden teamed with Don Robinson, another good hitting pitcher. (In 1982, Pittsburgh’s pitchers outhomered its center fielders — one of the many joys of starting Omar Moreno every day).
Robinson, who battled injuries throughout his career, might also have made a good two-way player if not for his own chronic leg problems. He hit .231/.252/.330 in 665 plate appearances, knocking 13 home runs in the process. Not great, but certainly respectable for a guy who wasn’t employed to do that sort of thing. Presumably Robinson could have honed his skills and gotten better results had hitting represented a more significant part of his job.
Still, on the final day of the 1984 regular season, Robinson must have enjoyed himself in Philadelphia. In the first game of a doubleheader, he struck out the side in order in the ninth to notch his 10th save of the year. Then in the nightcap, he went 1-for-3 with an RBI while batting third and playing left field.
There may well be solid reasons for not trying to develop two-way players — the necessary skill set is hard to find and develop (guys who are good enough at either are already doing either), we might look like idiots if it doesn’t work, etc. But it seems to me that a player that can fill multiple roles with a single roster spot should have value.
Besides, having someone on the bench who might work the seventh or pinch-hit for whoever worked the seventh is just plain fun. I like to think there’s still room for that in baseball.
The Cardinals’ hiring of Mark McGwire as hitting coach fascinates me. Beyond the obvious issue of PEDs (speaking of cheaters, I always thought Gaylord Perry would make a great pitching coach; it seems easier to teach a guy how to “win without his best stuff” than to throw a small spheroid 95 mph, but maybe that’s just me), McGwire hardly fits the “classical model” of a hitting coach.
Real or imagined classical models have nothing to do with his qualifications or whether he’ll succeed in that role, but when I think of hitting coaches, my mind drifts toward guys like Charley Lau and Walt Hriniak. I think more of line drives than of towering home runs. Then again, Lau and Hriniak weren’t exactly accomplished big-league hitters, so maybe what a guy did in his playing days doesn’t have a lot of bearing on what he does as a coach.
That being said, McGwire is not your father’s hitting coach. His approach, which led to strikeouts in more than 20% of career plate appearances, has been eschewed — for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense when you stop to look at them — by baseball men throughout much of the sport’s history.
In the current environment, where players like Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard, and Mark Reynolds are properly recognized as valuable contributors to a team’s offense, hiring McGwire makes perfect sense. Assuming, of course, he is capable of teaching what he himself knows.
Still, the mind wanders. I can see where McGwire might help, say, Ryan Ludwick, a hitter with a similar approach (if not consistently similar results). And I can imagine the conversations with Albert Pujols: “Looks great, Al; just keep doing what you’re doing.”
Where things could get fun is in McGwire’s tutelage of guys like Brendan Ryan and Skip Schumaker. “Yes, that’s good, but hit the ball harder,” McGwire might say. “Here, like this.” Then he’d grab a bat and swat a batting practice fastball 450 feet. “Okay, Brendan, now it’s your turn.”
I know it won’t go down like that, but wouldn’t it be fun if it did? Almost as much fun as having Gaylord Perry be your pitching coach, I’ll bet.
In the wake of Kevin Towers’ recent dismissal as GM of the Padres, some old stories have resurfaced. One recounts a January 1997 trade in which he sent fringe catcher Sean Mulligan to Cleveland for cash and a used treadmill. It’s a fun anecdote that captures the essence of Towers — someone who would do whatever was necessary with the resources he had at his disposal, who knew how to turn something he couldn’t use into something he could.
Although none are quite so colorful as “catcher for a treadmill,” better examples of Towers’ trading acumen do exist. In fact, we can find some right there in Cleveland. During his tenure with the Padres, Towers made three more trades with the Indians:
Jul 18, 2006: Brian Sikorski for Mike Adams
Nov 8, 2006: Josh Barfield for Andrew Brown and Kevin Kouzmanoff
Apr 1, 2009: PTBNL for Edward Mujica
All worked out nicely for the Padres, but let’s focus on that July 2006 trade involving Sikorski and Adams.
Sikorski was a fourth-round draft pick of the Houston Astros back in 1995. After a few undistinguished seasons in their system, he was claimed on waivers by the Rangers in November 1999. Sikorski did enough the following year to merit a promotion to the big club, where he posted a 5.73 ERA over 37 2/3 innings.
In 2001, Sikorski returned to Triple-A. Midway through the season he left to join the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League, where he transformed from a non-descript starting pitcher into a good and occasionally dominant reliever.
Sikorski continued to thrive in Japan through 2005. Then, in December of that year, Towers brought him back to the United States for $500,000.
After beginning the season at Triple-A Portland, Sikorski was recalled in June. He made 13 appearances for the Padres, and on July 18, Towers traded him to the Indians for the talented but oft-injured Adams.
Sikorski made 17 appearances for his new team before returning to Triple-A the following year. As in 2001, he left the minor leagues midway through the season and headed to Japan, where he again enjoyed success.
Adams, meanwhile, pitched briefly at Portland in 2006 before missing the entire 2007 season due to multiple knee surgeries. The following year he found health (for a while) and emerged as one of the best relievers in the National League. He then missed the first two months of 2009 while recovering from shoulder surgery, only to be even better on his return.
Since joining the Padres, Adams has posted the following line:
G IP H HR BB SO ERA
91 102.1 63 8 27 119 1.85
This isn’t an overwhelming sample size, and given Adams’ injury history, his future remains far from clear. Still, that’s nice production out of a pitcher obtained for a fringe guy that anyone could have signed if they’d bothered to look.
Was this a world-changing series of events? No. Was it effective? Yes. String enough moves like that together, and you’ll find yourself with a team that is better than it should be.
Sikorski for Adams… Maybe not as much fun as “catcher for a treadmill,” but when is the last time you saw a piece of exercise equipment post a sub-2.00 ERA?
Here’s the fun thing about subsets of data and arbitrary cutoff points: Things happen that might seem a little weird. For example, this is what the National League West looks like since July 28:
Goofy, right? But totally arbitrary… like when Ibanez was hitting .357/.425/.714 in the middle of May. He continued on his rampage for a couple more weeks before crashing hard.
Since we’re on an arbitrary kick, let’s split Ibanez’s season into two parts, with June 2 as the dividing line:
Through June 2
From June 3 onward
That’s a remarkable turnaround, and not in a good way. Pretty much his entire game fell apart at the same time.
And yet, thanks to that hot start, Ibanez could afford to tank for 300 plate appearances and still come out looking like himself. Aside from the minor power surge and deteriorating plate discipline this year, can you tell the difference between his most recent four seasons?
*Through September 19.
He played over his head for 50 games and then regressed to the Ibanez. It happens. Just because he was one of the best hitters in baseball for a third of the season doesn’t mean he’s one of the best hitters in baseball, period.
And that is why the Padres aren’t in the playoff hunt right now. Or something…