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About JS

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  1. The simplest way to do this (not, of course, the best) is to look at range factors: 2008: Guillen, 3B - 2.77 Renteria, SS - 4.46 2007: Inge, 3B - 2.86 Guillen, SS - 4.29 Which indicates that the left side of the infield this season has actually fielded more balls than in 2007, although the difference is too small to be significant. Zone rating also suggests that this year's 3B+SS combo is getting to a slightly higher percentage of balls in their area than last year's. More advanced statistics such as Baseball Prospectus's Rate peg Guillen+Renteria as approximately 10 runs (1 win) worse than Inge+Guillen per 100 games.
  2. The Tigers are 16th in the majors in defensive efficiency and 27th in ERA. I'm not saying the defense has been great, but it hasn't been terrible and the pitching has been atrocious. 29th in walks, 30th in strikeouts, tied for last in saves and complete games (with 0), only team without a shutout, . . .
  3. Of course not. But I might have expected Brandon Webb 1999-2000 stats (in A-ball right after he was drafted). Webb isn't the best comparison since he went to college, but wasn't Porcello widely touted as the best HS pitcher since Josh Beckett? As you can see from my previous post, Beckett's minor league stats are far more dominant than Porcello's so far. If you can point me to the last pitcher drafted out of high school who started out his career in AA or AAA, please do. It doesn't matter how much of a phenom an 18-year old pitcher is, I don't think any GM is going to start him off at that high a level.
  4. BP's comment wasn't based on scouting. It was based largely on the observation that Porcello's strikeout rate has not been very good: 36 Ks in 62.2 innings = 5.2 K/9. Top of the line pitchers usually strike out a batter an inning or more in the low minors, two months into their careers or not. Here are some examples: Webb - 18 K in 16.2 innings his first year, 158 in 162.1 the next season. Halladay - 48 K in 50.1 IP as an 18 year old in rookie ball, but after that he never got above 7 K/9 until hitting the majors. Beckett - 61 K in 59.1 IP, then 101 in 65.2 IP in the FSL the next year. Sabathia - 37, 27, 20, 29 K in 18, 19.2, 16.2, and 31 IP in his first 4 stops (all in 2 seasons). Oswalt - 28 K in 28.1 IP, then 44 K in 51.2 IP after moving up a level his first year. Bonderman - 160 K in 144.2 IP (starting in High A ball). Hamels - 115 K in 74.2 IP. Brett Myers - 30 K in 27 IP, then 140 in 175 IP in A ball the next year. Peavy - 103 K in 84.2 IP, then 164 in 133.2 IP in A ball the next year. Lackey - 77 in 81.1 IP. And this list could obviously go on much longer. I didn't cherry-pick these names, either. I've included the numbers for every pitcher I looked up (after Halladay I tried to think of high school guys rather than players drafted out of college to provide a better comparison). The only one on the list who had a strikeout rate at all comparable to Porcello's is Halladay. Now of course, if Porcello turns into Roy Halladay we'll all be very happy, but he's a ways away from that at this point. And even Halladay never posted a strikeout rate as low as Porcello's until he got to AAA. It's obviously far too early to even think about writing off Porcello's chances. But I also think it's fair to say that his performance so far has been below expectations.
  5. Ok, I think the farm system is now officially gutted. Out of our top 6 prospects/players under 25 from 2 months ago, 5 of them are gone (Porcello is the one who's left). It obviously doesn't matter for the next 2 years when we should be contending for championships, but there could be some painful times in store starting in 2010. I'm not complaining, but the Tigers need to win a World Series shortly before the team turns into a pumpkin.
  6. JS


    Hey, as long as we're going all out with old guys to win in 2008, how about a 1-year deal for Schilling? http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3086804 The downside is that he's probably not good for 200 innings, but he would certainly help solidify the middle of the rotation.
  7. What's your basis for this? I look at Baseball Prospectus, and I see Guillen with consistently below average numbers for 2007 (90 Rate, -12 Runs Above Average, etc). That's a decline from the past few years, but his career numbers are also below average (95 Rate, -37 RAA). Renteria was below average as well, but by a smaller margin (96 Rate, -4 RAA in similar amounts of playing time). His career stats are similar to Guillen's (slightly better, although the difference may not be significant). The two are almost exactly the same age, and Renteria has been significantly more durable than Guillen. Looks like a wash at worst going forward. (And for the record, Guillen's last - and only - season with an above-average range was 2004.) Interestingly, Guillen's defense at first was actually much better than Casey's this season (admittedly with a relatively small sample size). So I think the new combo will be an improvement both defensively and offensively. Now, did we give up too much? Impossible to say with any certainty for a few more years, although my expectation was that we would get Renteria for less. I agree with pretty much everyone that we also need to add some pitching - a solid, league-average starter and a good bullpen arm would make a big difference. So get to it, DD!
  8. Yup. I think he's done for the year (at least, he should be). The only thing we can hope for now is that he doesn't need Tommy John surgery.
  9. No Kenny Rogers, no Rodney, no Zumaya, no Jamie Walker. That's 407 innings of a 3.27 ERA that haven't been replaced in the slightest. Add in a significant decline in team defense plus some bad luck on balls in play recently and you're going to get a big jump in ERA. We've also just gotten a lot more negative contributions from the fringe guys (Lopez, Grilli, Macbride, de la Cruz, Tata, Vazquez, etc.) than last year. Heck, Jose Mesa is still raising the season ERA by almost 0.1 runs. 2006 - 3 guys with an ERA over 5.00, who combined to pitch 40 1/3 innings. 2007 - 11 guys with an ERA over 5.00, totaling 379 innings. That kind of stuff just kills a team. Bottom line: you should always expect some injuries on your pitching staff and plan appropriately. There was no way of knowing that Rodney and Zumaya would be out/ineffective for most of the season, of course. But did we have a suitable backup plan in case it happened? Not really.
  10. My favorite was a Tigers game in 1993 where they scored 20 runs (beat the Mariners 20-3). In the 6th inning, when it was 11-2 I turned to a friend sitting next to me and said "I bet they score 20 today." Eighth inning, two outs, bases loaded, with the score 17-3, and Gary Thurman hits a line drive to dead center that goes over Griffey's head and rolls to the wall for a triple. Here's the boxscore.
  11. "They" are the International Astronomical Union, the main international organization for professional astronomers. As far as I know, nobody officially gave them the authority to make such decisions, but if someone has to decide, they seem like a reasonable choice to be the "deciders", as it were. Unfortunately, I don't think most astronomers have much power over your paycheck (I suppose it depends what you do!). As far as the actual topic of the thread, I don't think there's anything special about August. Polanco's injury was clearly the catalyst for the problems last year, and while there have been recent injuries this year as well (most importantly, Sheffield), the team has actually been dealing with those all year, and I'm not sure they're worse off now than they have been other times this season. In particular, Thames and (hopefully) Sheff are back, and Rodney seems to be getting good results (although I haven't seen him pitch yet so I don't know how he's really looking). I looked through some pre- and post-All Star break stats yesterday to see what has changed, and two things jumped out at me: the hitters' K/BB ratio has jumped from less than 1:2 to more than 1:3, and the pitchers' BABIP is up about 30 points. So, we need to get back to being more patient at the plate, we need to stabilize the defense, and we need the bad luck on balls in play to stop.
  12. A few thoughts: 1) Pitchers don't develop in a linear pattern like hitters do, where they steadily improve to a peak around age 26-29. Once a pitcher reaches the majors, regardless of his age, on average he's as good as he will ever get. There are just as many guys who start out at the absolute top of their game (I think Dwight Gooden is probably the classic example of this, but there are many others) as there are who steadily get better with time. So while it would be nice if Bonderman continued to improve, there's not actually any reason to expect that to happen. 2) Despite the above, he actually was better over the first 60% of this season. I think we'd all take a 3.60 ERA year-in and year-out. The problem is consistently maintaining that level, not reaching it. 3) Bonderman's hit rate is up just because of luck - his BABIP is .328 so far this year, compared to a career rate of .302 (his previous high was .310). 4) K rate is one of the best predictors of future success, so if nothing else you can at least look at that as encouraging.
  13. While it doesn't seem far-fetched at this point to suggest that Granderson's peak seasons (this one, for example) will be HOF-quality, I think he's getting started way too late to put together the kind of career that most Hall of Famers have. For example, even this year when he's hitting .300 and batting leadoff, he's probably not going to make it to 200 hits (190 on his current pace). Just to get to 2500 career hits, he would have to maintain his current level of production through age 37. Granderson may well be one of the best players in baseball for the next 3-5 years, but unless he has an unusual aging pattern he's probably not going to become an all-time great.
  14. Just to back up what Shelton said, here are Nate's numbers over the past 4 seasons (his entire career as a full-time starter): K/9: 7.1, 5.6, 5.9, 5.7 (that's 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively) BB/9: 3.0, 3.0, 2.9, 3.3 HR/9: 1.4, 1.3, 1.3, 1.1 IP: 196.7, 196.7, 208.7, 101.0 H/9: 9.6, 9.2, 8.9, 11.0 BABIP: .293, .271, .266, .317 ERA: 4.90, 4.48, 3.84, 5.08 Note that I've separated these stats into two categories; the first includes ones that are primarily under his control, while the second includes ones that are also influenced by the rest of the team. As you can see, the team-independent numbers are nearly unchanged from year to year. His strikeout rate is on the low side of his normal range this year, but still slightly above what it was 2 years ago. His walk rate is up slightly this year, but he's giving up fewer home runs, and I think 0.2 homers a game are worth more than 0.4 walks. On the other hand, his hit rate and his batting average on balls in play, which primarily depend on defense and luck, have both skyrocketed this year. That partly reflects that the Tigers aren't as good defensively this year as they were last year, and partly reflects balls that just happen to be dropping in against him. I would expect going forward (both for the rest of this year and next year) that his hit rate will drop back towards the 10.0/9 and .300 marks, respectively, and his ERA will follow. It's also worth pointing out that he's given up many fewer unearned runs this year than in the past (3, compared to 9, 15, and 9 the previous 3 seasons). If you add those back in, his total runs allowed per game this year is very much in line with his careeer numbers. The one declining indicator that can potentially be blamed on Robertson is his innings pitched, which are at a career-low 5.6 IP/start this year, adding to the stress on the bullpen. However, my guess is that this is directly related to all the hits he's giving up. It's hard for a manager to leave a guy in the game when the other team is getting hits every time up, even if he seems to be pitching ok. Bottom line: I think we can expect Robertson to continue pitching at exactly the same level he's been at over the last 4 years for a couple more seasons. If you're willing to pay him $4M a year or so for that performance (which is well under market value, but is a reasonable guess for what he might get in arbitration), then we should keep him around.
  15. Any team with Polanco starting has to be in the top 10 in choking up. Probably top 5.
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