Showing posts with label Chris Young. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chris Young. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chris Young, Ted Simmons, Podcasts, and Transitions

Hey it's been a week since our last post.  Some catch-up, and an announcement.

- Padres declined Chris Young's option for 2011.  The club would have paid him $8.5M for next season.  This move comes as no surprise, and Young was quoted last week saying he'd like to come back as a Padre if the financial details can be worked out.  As I discussed last week on the Podcast, it's definitely conceivable Young could return.  He's an extreme fly ball pitcher, and Petco is built to maximize his strengths.  He has missed significant time due to injury the past 3 seasons, making him a high risk acquisition by another team; which also means the market won't really be there for his services, so his price should be relatively low despite his experience and success (he was an All-Star in 2007).

With only 3 of their rotation slots spoken for in 2011, re-signing CY makes a lot of sense.

- Ted Simmons has joined the Seattle Mariner front office, after two years as Bud Black's bench coach. Today the Veterans Committee for the Hall of Fame announced Ted will be one of the players they consider for induction.  Simmons' career WAR (50.40) is better than Jorge Posada's (46.00), a guy a certain segment of the baseball world is trying to tout as a first-ballot HOF.  Simmons finished in the MVP top 20 seven times from 1971-1982.  He's certainly worthy of consideration for the Hall, and good luck to him.

- Podcasts:  My stated intentions with the Podcast is to do one if any interesting Padre news breaks during that week.  That said, let's be realistic - two of the next 3 shows fall on Federal holidays, and you've probably got more important things to do those nights.  So the 18 Nov show is the next scheduled on we'll do.  That time may change to earlier in the night, but we'll discuss that next week.

Finally, a note on transitions.  The Bureau of Naval Personnel approved my retirement request; I'll leave the USN next summer after 20 years of service.  There's a lot of personal satisfaction on the job done, and some trepidation on what's to come.  I've worn the uniform in some capacity for over half my actual life and all of my adult life.  Not only do I now have to find a color other than khaki to wear to work every day, I have to find a job, plus all the normal check-out items that need to be completed before I leave active service (of which medical is probably the most important).

Why am I telling you this?  Because in preparation for that transition this blog will necessarily become a lower priority for me.  So, it's going to go dark this winter for extended periods of time.  I plan to post when appropriate, and I am writing weekly over at I-70 Baseball if you need to a 'Mike fix', but will be concentrating on other things.

I expect to be back full-force for spring training.

Thanks to all of you who've commented here, or just stopped by to read what I've written.  A special thank-you to Gaslamp Ball and Ducksnorts for the many links during the 2010 season. Remember:  I'm not going away, just turning down the wattage for a while.  See you around.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Will Venable and Chris Young save the season

AP/Lenny Ignelzi
Admit it:  after the double steal, you didn't think there was any way the Padres would get out of the first inning without allowing a run.  Not with Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, and X Nady due.  I sure didn't; I figured escaping while allowing only 1 run would be Above Average.

Emphasizing how important that sequence was, Bud Black brought the infield in for the THIRD HITTER OF THE GAME.  When was the last time you saw that?  What is a more powerful testimony to how much the Padre offense is struggling?

Cue the music.  Chris Young escaped on an easy chopper to third, one ridiculously well-placed fastball that tied Ramirez up, and a flailing strikeout of Nady.  Wow.


AP/Lenny Ignelzi
But that was nothing.  Will Venable topped that by robbing Soriano of extra bases leading off the second.  Enberg (live) and Leitner (on the Padre Replay this AM, courtesy of XX1090) both called is as taking a HR away.  From the excellent vantage point of my couch 20 miles away, it looked like Venable didn't go over the fence to catch it.  Sadly Channel 4 never offered a shot along the fence line that could have determined it, and I don't know if WGN/ESPN had a better shot of the catch.  Either way it saved a run; if the ball doesn't clear the fence, Soriano scores on Koyie Hill's double later in the inning.

But THAT was nothing.  Ramirez didn't miss a fastball in his next AB, hitting the high hard one a loong way into LC.  Venable, not slowing down and not giving up, leapt into the stands to make a spectacular catch, robbing Ramirez of a 2-run HR, and ending the inning.

The description above does not do that catch justice.  With the season on the line, playing for the first time in three days thanks to a balky back, in a game they could not afford to lose, nursing a tenuous 1-run lead, what a play by Will Venable.  San Diego should have been down 3-1 at that point, and could have been down 4 or 5-1.  Instead, they added single runs in the 4th and 6th, winning 3-0.

Unfortunately, Atlanta cruised past Florida, while Ian Kennedy made one bad pitch to Pat Burrell which he hit for a 3-run bomb, giving Tim Lincecum all the cushion he would need in a 3-1 Giants win.

San Diego still controls its destiny.  Win out and win the West.  That said, they could really use a Arizona win today coupled with a win over Chicago.  Winning two of 3 in San Fran will be very difficult; the Padres have to beat up Zito Saturday, and will need to find a way to beat either Cain or Sanchez.  Asking them to sweep this weekend series in order to qualify for the post-season is bordering on impossible.  Not with this lineup.

This morning Scott and BR brought up 1996, and the famous Padre 3-game sweep of the Dodgers to win the West.  There is one crucial difference.  That year the Dodgers had qualified for the post-season before the series started; the only question was would the Padres make it in or not.  This year, nothing is decided, and both teams face the very real possibility they could miss the post-season altogether if they lose the series.  San Francisco has a lot more incentive to win than the Dodgers did in 96.  Seeing as the Padres have dominated the season series, I would think the last team SF wants to play in the NLCS is San Diego.  Other than Philadelphia, that is.

Another big game this afternoon.  I should be there, work and weather permitting.  Podcast tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pitching Pitching and More Pitching (and lots of links!)

First, if haven't seen this team play (and judging by the attendance, you haven't), the Padres have managed to win a few games here and there.  With last night's 3-2 win, they sit 1.5 games ahead of the Giants in the NL West.

How are they doing it?  Not so much with the bat (19th overall in team AVG, 19th in wOBA, 19th in OPS), although they are 13th in BABIP.

Nope, it's been all about the pitching (4th in FIP, 1st in xFIP, 3rd in ERA).  In this series, they've had to have the pitching, because they've scored only 5 runs against the Colorado Rockies (while allowing 7), and yet have split the first two games of the series.

Kevin Correia pitched well Monday, but Ubaldo Jimenez was flat-out better.  That happens.

Speaking of Jimenez, Ubaldo Jimenez is one of the great names in baseball today, along with Yorvit Torrealba.  As such, they are now charter members of the Juan Eichelberger All-Stars, dedicated to recognizing great MLB player names.  Have a nominee?  Leave it in the comments.  Needs to be a current player, unless it's one of such superior quality it transcends time. 

Wade LeBlanc - 6 innings, 2 ER, 4 K?  Slacker.  Actually, he continues to strengthen his case for staying in the rotation long-term.  Had the Padres cashed in on any of the numerous chances Greg Smith created for them, Wade could have been the winning pitcher in this one.  Wade is second only to Correia in xFIP among the starters; in fact, the two of them are the only starters with xFIP's under 4.00.

We've talked a lot about LeBlanc vs Latos in the rotation; the original post on the subject generated discussion at at least three different Padres websites.  One of the Ducksnorts commenters suggested, should CY be activated, the odd man out be Sean Gallagher.  Based on his numbers, that makes a lot of sense.  As far as who would go to the pen in his place, I'd think I'd keep riding the hot hand in the rotation and send Latos there.  That, of course, is subject to change based on how the season progresses.

Speaking of Chris Young...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Latos vs LeBlanc in the rotation?

Something I've been thinking about for the better part of a week is what to do with Wade LeBlanc.  The reasons why I've been wondering, well, I'll explain at the bottom of the post.  The Padres are in an enviable position, because they will have too many starting pitchers when Chris Young comes off the DL.  Note that I'm not considering Tim Stauffer, who was a candidate to start during spring training, in this discussion, as he is doing a nice job out of the Padre bullpen.  San Diego has been able to let Chris Young rehab at his own pace is because of their depth in the rotation.

LeBlanc has pitched very well since taking CY's spot in the rotation.  Latos, outside of the scintillating start against San Francisco, has struggled. With Young almost ready to resume his place, the Padres have a tough call to make:  who gets sent back to Portland?

Here's my thought:  it's not as simple as giving Wade LeBlanc a ticket to Oregon.  Based on performance so far this year, Latos might be a better choice.

Let's take the emotion out of it and look at this objectively.

1.  Latos (4 starts): 20 1/3 IP, 14 R (all earned), 24 H, 6 BB, 13K, 5 HR.  WHIP = 1.527, ERA = 6.20.  Granted, half the runs he allowed happened last night.
2.  LeBlanc (2 starts):  11 IP, 1 R (earned), 10 H, 4 BB, 10 K, 0 HR.  WHIP = 1.273, ERA = 0.82.

LeBlanc, despite making two fewer starts and throwing 9 1/3 fewer innings, has only three fewer strikeouts, is allowing fewer baserunners, and has a miniscule ERA.

Since Earned Run Average is an inherently flawed metric, a deeper look is in order.  Here are a little more advanced statistics, ones currently commonly accepted as being good measures of the quality of a pitcher (i.e., they take the defense out of the equation).  The first two take into account Latos' start last night, the last two don't.

K/BB ratio:  Latos 2.16, LeBlanc 2.5.
K/9:  Latos 5.76, LeBlanc 8.18.
FIP:  Latos 5.46, LeBlanc 2.30.
xFIP:  Latos 3.99, LeBlanc 3.42.

You can keep looking at your convenience.  By all the statistical measures I reviewed, however, at this moment in history Wade LeBlanc is pitching better than Mat Latos.  I'm not saying we should give up on Latos, or that 4 years down the road he won't be the best starter on the team - we shouldn't, and he might.  But today - for this team - LeBlanc is currently the better option.

And let's not forget how close the #5 starter competition was in spring training.  Latos beat-out LeBlanc the last week of March, so it's not like Latos' making the team was a slam-dunk.  These guys graded out virtually even, with Latos being just slightly better.

So who do the Padres send down?  They ought to, in my opinion, seriously consider Latos.  Now, LeBlanc's next start is at home against Milwaukee (Thursday night).  If he lays an egg, then perhaps you keep working with Latos and send LeBlanc back down.  But if LeBlanc shuts down the Marlins Brewers, a team that just got finished torturing Latos a very good hitting team, well, that's another point for Wade staying in San Diego.

I really need to hire a proofreader.

(why I started pondering this:  I have Wade LeBlanc on my NL-only Rotisserie League fantasy team, and I was trying to decide if I should keep him or trade him.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Podcast Recap

Spent an hour talking to Steve Adler of Friarhood, Peter Friberg of Padres RunDown, and Web SoulSurfer of websoulsurfer last night on the Podcast.  We also had Mike from Avenging Jack Murphy, and for a time RJ's Fro in the chatroom during the discussion.  That's a lot of Padres expertise in one chat, and it generated a high level of discussion, references to Joe Randa aside.

Some of the highlights:

- No issues with Jon Garland/Chris Young making the opening day starts (on the road and at home, respectively).  Who the leader of this staff will be needs to be sorted out amongst the guys in the rotation; it may not be Young by default based on seniority.

- Wade LeBlanc will definitely be up this season, if for no other reason than attrition during the 162-game season.

- Lots of discussion on potential trades should the Padres fall out of the race.  Heath Bell, Chris Young, Gonzo moving all covered.  Listening to the podcast is worth it just for that part.

- The Padres are pretty deep at second base, according to Pete.  I was not aware of this.  Even if Antonelli doesn't carry his spring training success into the AAA schedule, the Padres have some up and comers in their farm system.

- All agreed Catcher is still an organizational concern, but aren't worried about the offensive production from that position as much as how they call a game, shut down the opposition's running game, and so on.  Lots of love for Hundley (and some for Dusty Ryan), not so much for Torrealba.

A great way to conclude the spring training season and get ready for Opening Day on Monday at Arizona.  Besides, the Padres beat Anaheim in Anaheim while the podcast was in progress - doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pitching Moves and Opening Day Starters

I learned last night that Jon Garland has been named Opening Day starter, and Chris Young the starter at Petco Opening Day 6 games later.  Starting on Opening Day is an honor normally reserved for the best pitcher on the staff.  This is why Jake Peavy made several Opening Day starts, why Chris Carpenter will start the Cardinals opener in Cincinnati, and so on.

It gets a little tricky when a team opens the season on the road, as the Padres will do this year in Arizona, at least in my opinion.  Teams don't want their home opener to be started by someone at the back of the rotation; and in some cases, teams will tweak their rotation so they get the guy they want starting the home opener.  A good recent example is LA.  Vincente Padilla will start the opener, and although he pitched very well down the stretch for the Dodgers last season, I don't think anyone would argue he's the best pitcher in that rotation.  Clayton Kershaw will start the home opener at Dodger Stadium, and lots of people would argue he's the ace of that staff.

So Jon Garland starting Opening Day on the road doesn't surprise or bother me.  There's probably some politics in play with the selection; after all, Garland was the big free-agent pickup by this team over the winter, he started the 2009 season with Arizona, he's probably fired up to pitch against them.  All well and good.  However Chris Young's selection as the home opener starter was a surprise.

Now, I like Young a lot as a pitcher, and have for a couple of years.  Not to mention we have tickets to Opening Day, and he's my wife's favorite player, so getting to see him pitch is great.  Plus, he's the 'old man' of the staff in terms of Padre service time, so perhaps he deserves this honor.  However, he was hurt virtually all of last season, and when he did pitch he was ineffective due to injury.

I thought Kevin Correia should have gotten this start.

One of the reasons given for slotting Chris Young #2 in the rotation was to keep him from pitching in Coors.  OK, that's fine, Coors isn't a great place to pitch, and Chris hasn't enjoyed all of his starts there (3-3, 5.31 career in 8 Denver starts).  However if he was the #3 starter he still wouldn't pitch there next week.

It is a fine point, and over a 162-game schedule doesn't matter much, but I find it curious.

In other news, it appears Clayton Richard nailed down the #4 slot, and there's still been no official announcement as to who the #5 starter will be.  With Tim Stauffer and Sean Gallagher apparently headed to the bullpen (and Joe Thatcher to the DL), we can reasonably narrow the competition down to two:  Wade LeBlanc and Mat Latos.  Both have pitched spectacularly during the spring, so either choice will be a good one.

The SD U-T put up a story yesterday projecting the final 25-man roster.  It can be found here.   I don't have any real issues with Bill Center's projected roster.  I know Matt Antonelli returned from the dead only this spring (after two years in hitter's exile), but I cannot help but wonder if David Eckstein's days starting at second are numbered.  If Antonelli continues to tear it up in AAA, like he has in spring training, how long will the club let him languish at Portland?  Especially if Eckstein continues to struggle at the plate (.260/.323/.334).

Quick programming note:  I will moderate a Padres Pre-season forum during the next Podcast (10 pm PDT Thursday).  I will announce the confirmed list of Padre blogger participants tomorrow, stay tuned.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Meeting Kickoff

Well, since I've largely ignored this blog since mid-August, it's high time I start it up again. The Winter Meetings starting Monday seemed a perfect time to do just that.

The Padres are expected to non-tender Kevin Correia. This surprises me based on how Correia pitched in 2009. From the biz of baseball, here's what non-tender means:

If a club has no interest in keeping a particular player, the club may choose to non-tender him, or to not offer him a contract. A player generally becomes a candidate to be non-tendered when he is arbitration-eligible and his club determines he is not worth the salary he might command in arbitration. A player who is non-tendered becomes a free agent and may sign with any of the 30 Major League clubs, including his former team, at any price.
Correia has over 4 years service, so he's arbitration eligible. He made $750K last season, but his 2.4 WAR in 2009 meant he was worth just under $11M dollars. No one is going to pay Kevin Correia eleven million dollars to pitch for them. However, if he went to arbitration he'd make substantially more than 750K. Heck, Brad Penny is about to sign a deal for $7.5 million - and he was awful for most of 2009! And for a cash-strapped franchise, that's a deal breaker.

With Correia's non-tender (and it isn't official until 12 December), the Padre rotation stacks up something like this:

Chris Young, Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, Tim Stauffer, Wade LeBlanc.

I think I'd rather have Correia in the rotation than either Stauffer or LeBlanc.