Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, August 09, 2003
 
First off, I was very pleased with Glavine's performance yesterday (1 run, 6 innings, 73 pitches) especially since it was in a dreaded Questec equipped park. But, even though it all worked out offensively and pitching wise, I still don't think Glavine should have been pinch hit for and should have never been pinch hit for by Cliff Floyd.

This won't really round out my AL Central coverage (because nothing will, I'm obbessed with it I think. I love watching the Royals, love watching the Twins, despise the White Sox's, and love to hate on Robbie Alomar whenever I get my shot), but it will talk about the other team in the race... the Minnesota Twins. Remember them? Well, you better, because no matter how bad they have played, they are only three out of first place...

On of the many things about last year's team that was so amazing was the bullpen. Eddie Guardado was great, LaTroy Hawkins was good, Johan Santana was amazing, and a guy named J.C. Romero was lights out. For the most part, three out of the four have stayed true. The one that hasn't... J.C. Romero. Look at his stat line this year...

43 IP, 4.81 ERA, .84 HR/9, 7.95 K/9, 6.45 BB/9, 1.23 K/BB, .281/.397/.404

What has happened? That's not good at all... look at last year...

81 IP, 1.89 ERA, .33 HR/9, 8.44 K/9, 4 BB/9, 2.11 K/BB, .213/.307/.289

Bow those stats are pretty good. His HR's have been way up this year, his K's a little down, but his walks have gone way up... though he always had a tendency to walk a good number of people (4 people per 9 IP as a reliever isn't good at all). So was last year just a one year wonder year? Or is he just struggling and will he find it? It's hard to tell because before 2002, he was an ineffective starter... here are his stats then...

00- 7.02 ERA, 1.25 HR/9, 7.80 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 1.67 K/BB, .312/.384/.463
01- 6.23 ERA, 1.38 HR/9, 5.40 K/9, 3.32 BB/9, 1.63 K/BB, .277/.336/.500

There are guys like Eric Gagne who have been terrible starters and become great relievers, but Romero had a tendency to give up the long ball, and walk people, and when he didn't, he didn't strike people out. He just could have not been fit to start much like Gagne. Hopefully for him, its just a control problem, meaning 2002 wasn't a fluke.

Friday, August 08, 2003
 
First off, I would like to thank Baseball Blogs for adding me to their list of blogs on their site. I would also like to thank the person who suggested that my blog be added, whoever that may be.

I would like to thank No Pepper for pointing out that he added my link to his sidebar and for this great plug...

"Despite the fact that Jeremy is a Mets fan (jk Jeremy!), he puts out a great blog that is worth checking out."

You can talk when you are 20 thousand games up! What till 2020 when you guys finally have a bad year! Who will be talking then! Of course, I'm only kidding, as he puts out great work on the Braves and baseball. (I'm not kidding about 2020 though... seriously, when is this team gonna start losing?)

Speaking of division rivals, one more new blog to add... View From the 700 Level, which, of course, is a Phillies blog that puts out great work on the Phillies, among other things.

Once again, like the last couple of mornings, I won't have a lot of time, so it will be another quick hit (It will probably round out my AL Central coverage). Sunday I'll have time though, so hopefully I'll come up with something good. (And yes, eventually, I will write about the Mets again, but I really want my blog to be a general interest blog than leans towards the Mets, not just a Mets blog, because well, I like to talk about all of baseball...)

 
Since I've been talking about the AL Central so much lately, I figured I'd close out the week with an observation I had while watching the Royals-White Sox game on Wednesday...

Why does Joe Randa still have a starting major league job?
Better yet, why is Joe Randa starting for a contending team?

Now granted, this is based on what I think I know about his stats and the fact that he's 33. Well, first, here are his stats this season...

.253/.310/.405, OPS- .716, 11 HR, 38 RBI, 24/41 BB/K ratio

That OPS of .716 ranks him 17th out of 21 qualified third baseman. (ahead of Tony Batista, your typical swing at everything slugger, Alfonzo, who is in a massive funk, Joe Crede, who I'm not sold on, and Beltre, who well, at this point, can be declared horrible.)

But he's 33, could be struggling a little and could be on the downside of his career, right? But look at this...

OPS
96- .784
97- .817
98- .690
99- .836
00- .781, 13th in the league out of 19
01- .693, 18th in the league out of 20 (Blum and Ripken Jr.)
02- .767, 12th in the league out of 19

For a better look at this, here's OPS+

96- 100
97- 111
98- 79
99- 111
00- 94
01- 75
02- 90

He's had two years above the league average (age 27 and 29) and one year equal to it (age 26). For his career, he's .285/.340/.423 and has only three years with an OBP over .350 (96, 97 and 99). He averages 33 2B a season, which isn't bad and has 12 HR a season (162 game AVG). Of course, he is getting paid 4.5 million this season by a team on a tight budget to do this. (Probably because he averages 81 RBI's a season.) He is a free agent after the season, and if I were the Royals, I'd let him go. As Theo Epstein has proven with Bill Mueller, you can find cheap good players (He's only leading all 3B's in OPS).

Thursday, August 07, 2003
 
Added another link to the side, this time its No Pepper, a Braves site. Go check out, has lots of good Braves coverage.

 
Yesterday, the Benitez for Nelson trade happened. I will now bring you the events that took place before and after the deal occurred.

[First, Pat Gillick's office, just got off the phone, and Rey Sanchez walks in]

Gillick: Hey, Rey, I was just talking to Cashman, and I could get rid of that whiner Jeff for Armando Benitez. You played with him, you think I should get him?

Rey: Yes! My hair is getting kind of long and I haven't had a good haircut in months! I can't tell you how good the haircut was that he gave me.

Gillick: I meant as a player Rey...

Rey: Yeah sure, he's fine, but I need to have my style and looks because my play ain't gonna impress anyone here.

Gillick: So having Benitez here to be your barber woud make you happier...

Rey: Of course! I need to get cut of the top and back of my head.

Gillick: Anyting to keep my players happy... and get rid of my whiners...

[Brian Cashman and the Boss talking in Cashman's office]

Cash: I'm trading for Nelson and getting rid of Benitez... you OK with that?

Boss: Of course I am. I can't believe you got Benitez...

Cash: You basically forced me too!

Boss: Yeah right, it was all your choice...

Cash: Whatever, so your happy with Jeff Nelson

Boss: Sure, but if it doesn't work out, you're fired...

Cash: You told me that before the Benitez deal...

Boss: I mean it this time!

[Jim Duquette's office, he's on the phone]

Jim: The Yankees were able to dump Benitez on Pat Gillick. What an idiot...

Voice on phone: Not as big of an idiot as Steve Phillips taking Art Howe...

Jim: Shut up Billy...

Billy Beane: Just saying...

Jim: Anyway, which player did you want and who did you want to send where...?

[Yankees locker room, trade announced, Zeile talking to Matsui]

Zeile: I'm so happy we got rid of Benitez, that guy ruined everything with the Mets

Matsui: ::nodding::

Zeile: The World Series against the Yankees, against Brian Jordan in '01...

Matsui: ::nodding::

Zeile: He's just so terrible in clutch situations... now Jeff Nelson, he understands how to pitch in the clutch...

Matsui: ::nodding::

Zeile: Do you understand any of the words coming out of my mouth?

Matsui: ::nods and smiles:: [Doing his best Chris Tucker impersation] "Don't nobody understand the words that are coming out of your mouth."

[John Olerud, running into Bob Melvin's office]

John: Never pitch Armando... ever!

Bob: Why, he's a closer and has good stuff...

John: Why do you think I left the Mets? I couldn't stand that stuff any longer!

Bob: He's probably going to be the closer until Kaz is ready.

John: I think I need to mouth off so I can get traded...

[Nelson and Boone as Nelson is packing up]

Nelson: The Yankees... so now instead of an incompentent GM I get a raging maniac owner.

Boone: I would love to go there, play with my bro, have a chance to win every year. Get out of this place.

Nelson: Maybe your right, but I still don't wanna have to go back to the Boss... he's insane.

Boone: But spends $200 million. Have fun, I'll call you in November when you have your ring...

[Finally, Benitez packing up, saying goodbye to Jesse Orosco]

Benitez: Jesse, it was fun while it lasted. I really would have liked to win a championship with a classic closer like you.

Jesse: True, but I hope everything I taught you stays with you.

Benitez: I'll miss you, but maybe I'll see you at some point again...

Jesse: Maybe, but for now, Go West, young man, Go West!

[Benitez leaves and David Wells walks in]

Wells: You realize you could say that to anybody on the roster...

Orosco: I know, but for him I mean it... I want him to go as far west and as far away form my team as possible.

[End]

Hope you enjoy it and I hope it comes out even remotely funny.

NOTE: ALL EVENTS ABOVE ARE FAKE AND A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION!



Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
Just noting that for the Paul Konerko sidebar, I will put up wins and losses whether or not he plays. Also will put up any at bats he gets, even from pinch hitting. At the end of the year, I'll break down how he did in losses, wins, and how times he didn't start and how many times he didn't play. Plus, I'm adding LOB to the stats.

The Benitez and cash for Nelson trade happened today. Basically, it happened because Nelson mouthed off. This trade will be the subject of my daily article in which I will talk about and talk for Nelson, Benitez, the Boss, Gillick, Cashman, Olerud, Jim Duquette, and Zeile (and anyone else I can think of). I'm going to attempt to be funny... we'll see how it goes...

 
Joe Morgan has a new column today. Now, we all know Joe has said some stupid stuff, but the comment I'll put below ranks up there pretty high (not as stupid as Billy Beane writing Moneyball... its unexplainable how stupid that is...).

"The starters are certainly good, although they haven't been as dominant as they were last year.

Barry Zito has a losing record (8-9, 3.30 ERA). Rookie Rich Harden is now in the mix, which is great for the A's, but he's only made four starts so we'll have to wait and see if he's capable of sustaining his success (3-0, 1.33). Mark Mulder has been consistent (15-7, 2.92) and Tim Hudson (9-4, 2.60) has pitched well. But down the stretch, you can't rely on pitching alone. "

I'll give him the last sentence, as you need some type of hitting. But Barry Zito has a losing record? So what? He's got a 3.30 ERA... it obviously not his fault. When will Joe realize that a record has absolutely nothing to do with how you have pitched.... (and get off this Oakland hating thing...)

Also, this...

"At this point, Seattle also is much better defensively."

I have no problem with him saying Seattle is better defensively... that could very well be true... But much better? Isn't that a little of an overstatement?

Anyway, read the column, and see what you find to be absurd.

 
Blogger just ate my post so I'll quickly summarize what I spent a little while typing...

In Al Leiter's last four starts, he has given up 0 homeruns with 5.04 BB/9 and 7.92 K/9 (3-0, 2.35 ERA)

In Al Leiter's first five starts, he gave up 0 homeruns with 5 BB/9 and 6.47 K/9 (3-0 , 1.08 ERA)

In his other starts this year, he has given up 1.49 HR/9 with 6.24 BB/9 and 6.65 K/9 (5-5, 7.05 ERA)

He has walked people all year, so he pitches well when he doesn't give up homeruns because then he is doing two out of the three well, which usually leads to successful pitching (I'm basically taking it as a given that he's going to walk people). He has had only one bad start where he didn't give up a HR, when he gave up 8 runs in 2 innings to Seattle. So basically, if Al can stay away from the HR, he should be able to pitch fairly successfully (or as well as you can walking 5.68 BB/9 IP)...

Also three new links on the side... first two that I've been meaning to put up...

Mike's Baseball Rants who has great articles on the Joe Morgan Chats, plus other great commentary...

For Richer or Sporer who looks at OPS and the value of OBP today and what it would do to OPS standings (or what he calls the AOPS (Adjusted On Base Plus Slugging)). Also did point out that Brian Giles might arguably be the most underrated hitter in baseball...

And a fairly new blog is Sports Blotter who has some good commentary on many different baseball and sports topics.

Hopefully, I'll do something more interesting tomorrow...

EDIT: Also forgot to add Eiesenberg Sports to the sidebar this morning (its there now). This site is the home of BAP, a new and interesting way at looking at team's performances in games.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
On July 31st, I said this about Paul Konerko

"If Konerko has found his stroke for good, the White Sox's become even more dangerous and I might change my opinion that they can't win the division "

Right now, after last night's loss to the Royals the White Sox are 3 back of the Royals for first in the Al Central with a record of 58-54. This was a team many thought had a chance to win over 90 games and had a chance to win the division easily (me not included). One of the mysteries for this team this year has been Paul Konerko and how much he has struggled. He's batting .228 with a .287 OBP and a .376 SLG for a .663 OPS. He's got 11 2B, 11 HR and 42 RBI's. He's got a 23/32 BB/K ratio. He is one of the reasons this team has been around .500 all year. But just how important is he? Well, I decided to take a look at how he does when the White Sox win compared to his stats when they lose using his Game Log. Here are his numbers in White Sox wins...

150 AB, .287/.359/.507, OPS- .866, 17/14 BB/K ratio, 10 HR, 39 RBI

He has hit extremely well in those games, higher than he did last year over the full season (.304/.359/.498, OPS- .857). But his stats have not been good this season, so in losses he must be bad, right? Well just look how bad...

148 AB, .169/.201/.243, OPS- .446, 6/18 BB/K ratio, 1 HR, 3 RBI

In almost the same number of at bats, he has been absolutely horrible. I understand that for any team their good players must hit well in their wins, but this is an extreme for how bad he has played in the losses. When he hits, this team will win most of the time. When he doesn't hit, this team will lose most of the time.

Now, there are other things that this team must do to win the AL Central...

1. Starting pitching has to be consistent
2. The bullpen must pitch well
3. The defense cannot be shaky

But the single most important player in the White Sox's stretch run might be Paul Konerko. If his bat heats up and he hits, this team will win some games and give KC a run. If he doesn't hit, this team will probably free-fall.

That's why I'm starting a Paul Konerko watch on my sidebar with his stats and the White Sox's record in those games starting tonight. If anyone can think of a creative name for it, e-mail it to me, because the "Paul Konerko Watch" isn't jazzy enough....

Note: The White Sox's are 9-10 when he doesn't play, which is something that probably evens up over time and you can't predict how he would hit in those games anyway...

Monday, August 04, 2003
 
Jeremy Griffiths pitched well on Sunday, showing good offspeed stuff and changing speeds well. If Glavine does go to the DL, it will be interesting to see what the kid can do. The Mets also hit well, a thing that they have struggled with lately...

Other than that, there is not much going on. I'm working on my article for tomorrow, which I will get up in the morning (I'm pretty sure of that)...

 
Unfortunately, I don't have time this morning to do a post. I might have time in the late afternoon or at night since I won't be home all day...

Until then, check out Josh Heit's Blog for a look at baseball blogging, its place in the blogosphere, and how it compares to the setup of political blogs. I even got a plug... an interesting one, but I got one....

Sunday, August 03, 2003
 
Back on July 4th, I did an article on the Young Mets (Here's the archive for that week, just flip down to July 4th... July 4th week). At that time, I was able to do 5 of them... Jose Reyes, Ty Wigginton, Jason Phillips, Vance Wilson, and Jae Seo. I said I'd do these articles at about the beginning of every month and I'm not going to break my promise. I'm also going to add Aaron Heilmann and Jeff Duncan. Next month I might add Marco Scutaro if he gets enough at bats in August...

Jae Seo
On July 4th: 5-4, 96.2 IP, 103 H, 1.87 BB/9, 4.68 K/9, .47 HR/9, .269 BAA, 3.35 ERA
Now: 5-8, 128.2, 143 H, 2.24 BB/9, 5.18 K/9, .84 HR/9, .277 BAA, 4.34 ERA

Jae Seo has had a pretty tough month. His BAA is up a little, but not enough to explain the jump of 1 in ERA. He has walked more people, but also struck out more, so that can pretty much cancel out. The problem has really been the HR. His HR has jumped .37 HR/9, meaning he's given up 7 HR's since July 4th (he had 5 before, 7 since). Home runs will get any pitcher in trouble and it has certainly hurt him...

Jason Phillips
On July 4th: 148 AB, .328/.408/.466 (OPS- 875), 1:1 BB/K ratio (18 BB/18 K), 9 2B and 4 HR (48 hits overall), 18 RBI
Now: 252 AB, .317/.391/.460 (OPS- .851), .86 BB/K (24/28), 15 2B and 7 HR (80 hits overall), 34 RBI

His numbers have dropped a tiny bit, but not a lot. He's still doing a good job of getting on base and has a nice OPS of .851. He is patient at the plate and has played 1B very well for someone who was a catcher their whole life. Probably the best hitter of the group and might be the most underrated rookie in the NL.

Jose Reyes
On July 4th: 78 AB, .218/.222/.359 (OPS-.581), 1:12 BB/K ratio, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR (17 hits overall), 18 RBI, 1/3 (33%) in steal attempts
Now: 172 AB, .279/.291/.384 (OPS- .674), 1:5 BB/K, 7 2B, 4 3B, and 1 HR (48 hits), 23 RBI, 6/8 (75%) in steal attempts

He's hit the ball better and has gotten a lot more base hits. The problem? His plate discliplline still stinks. His OBP is .291 with a .279 AVG. He's got 4 BB and 20 K. If he doesn't have plate disclipline, then he's not the leadoff hitter we all thought he was. He might be better fit for the 2 hole. Has gone 5/5 stealing bases since July 4th, which is a good sign. Has shown good range defensively, but has been shaky at times, and overall, hasn't impressed me that much.

Ty Wigginton
On July 4th: 306 AB, .275/.331/.428 (OPS-.759), 1:2.52 BB/K ratio (25 BB/63 K), 17 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR (84 hits), 38 RBI, 5/7 (71%) on steal attempts
Now: 409 AB, .269/.320/.408 (OPS- .728), 1:2.8 BB/K (29/81), 24 HR, 6 3B, 7 HR (110 hits), 49 RBI, 8/10 (80%) on steal attempts

Still doesn't have good plate discipline and his numbers dropped a little in July. He has shown good gap power with the doubles, but not a lot of HR power. His defense has been very good at 3B. The 8/10 on steals is a little added bonus, but he has to learn to be more patient at the plate... His BB/K since July 4th is 4/18. That's Jose Reyes plate disclipline!

Vance Wilson
Only July 4th: 159 AB, .277/.324/.434 (OPS- .758), 1:3.6 BB/K ratio (9 BB/32 K), 4 2B and 7 HR (44 hits), 27 RBI
Now: 228 AB, .237/.285/.368 (OPS- .653), 1:4.09 (11/45), 7 2B and 7 HR (54 hits), 34 RBI

He has hit a massive slump. Everyday catching has taking a toll on him. The K/BB went up above 4. His OPS dropped .100 and he got ten hits in about a month. He got 3 2B, 1 3B, and 6 2B. He has played well defensively, but he needs to find his stroke, though he will soon be replaced with Piazza....

Aaron Heilman
Stats: 1-4, 37.2 IP, 46 H, 4.79 BB/9, 6.46 K/9, 1.44 HR/9 .303 BAA, 6.93 ERA

It's been rough at the beginning of his career. The K's are the only good sign here. BAA too high. BB way too high and HR way too high. Maybe as he gets used to pitching at the major league level he'll do better, but its not good at all right now. The good sign is that nothing in his minor league career points to control problems (6.8 K/9, 3 BB/9, and .48 HR/9 this year at AAA).

Jeff Duncan
Stats: 65 AB, .249/.372/.323 (OPS- .695), 1:1.63 BB/K (11/18), 1 3B and 1 HR (16 hits), 6 RBI, 3/4 (75%) in steal attempts

Small sample size. He started out hot and has cooled off drastically. I still believe he's a fourth outfielder who plays great defense, has speed, and can get on base by being patient at the plate and getting singles. He hardly has any power, but has shown good plate disclipline, though most of those walks came while he was red hot. He hasn't tried to steal a lot and 3/4 isn't bad.

So there you go, a look at the Mets young players. I'm really hoping I'll be able to add Marco Scutaro next time...


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