Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, August 23, 2003
 
Sorry about no post yesterday... I was tired, but I did get a chance to take in some baseball (Yankees and Mets)... here are some random observations...

Doesn't Jorge Julio look like Armando Benitez Jr. in that Orioles uniform. Everythign about him. The look of the face, his demeanor, his pitching ability. If you look at the stats, Julio actually strikes out even less people and gives up more XBH while having the tendency to give up thte homer. And he has an eletric fastball just like Benitez and then a slider (Benitez has a splitter/slider piece of crap) that he throws hard, but he isn't terribly effective with. This guy has to harness his fastball and control it, otherwise Baltimore is going to turn on him just like Benitez.

After last night's game, Al Leiter has a 1.93 ERA since the All-Star break. Yet it seems like he's still walking people... here are the stats...

Post All Sar Break: 4.71 BB/9, .81 H/IP, 1.33 WHIP
Full Season: 5.50 BB/9, 1.03 H/IP, 1.64 WHIP

His walks are down, but they are still not good. The difference has been the hits, which have dropped .2 per IP (or about 1 per 5 IP). That can be a big deal when you walk people...

So how does this compare to his career...

Career: 4.15 BB/9, .89 H/9, 1.35 WHIP

It actually compares fairly well. Usually, he walks a few less people and gives up a few more hits, but, if Al continues to pitch like he has since the break, he'll be the pitcher he has been over his career.

Also, Larry Mahnken over at Replacement Level Yankees Blog writes about Joe Torre and one of the stupider decisions I have seen in a while. He pinch hit Ruben Sierra for Nick Johnson with two outs in the 9th with the bases loaded. Of course, he did this, because struggling LOOGY Buddy Groom was coming in for Jorge Julio, mentioned above. Ruben Sierra or Nick Johnson with the bases loaded, 2 outs in the 9th inning? Just think about that for a second...

...

Joe Torre doesn't know how to manage. He's going by the book of putting up a righty against a lefty (Nick Johnson is a lefty) and that Ruben Sierra is batting .545 against Groom in his career. Of course, that's in 11 AB's! I mean, if given enough shots against enough pitchers, Kevin Elster could do that. (I love picking on Kevin because in 1994 with the Yankees, in 20 AB's, he had a .000 AVG. And I was there for one of the games he played.) I would take Nick Johnson any day in any situation over Ruben Sierra.

Oh yeah, and what did Ruben do? Swung at the first pitch and flied out to right. Think Nick Johnson would have done that? (But do head over to Replacement Level Yankees Blog, who does a real in-depth job of breaking this down, using, of course, statistics to prove Nick Johnson should have been the man up.)

Thursday, August 21, 2003
 
Just so you know, posting until and maybe including August 29th is going to be sporadic. I'll try to do something everyday, but I just don't know when I'll be posting (though somewhere around 5 is probably the best bet). I'll be extremely busy and probably won't be watching a lot of baseball, but I'll see what interesting things I can talk about. Of course, a few days after that (September 3rd to be exact), school starts (I'm in high school... maybe I should do a bio on myself some point soon...) and all posting won't take place until at night (after school activity) for some time (at least on the weekdays). So, anyway, enough with the scheduling and on to some baseball...

A lot of people seem to be talking about the MVP races, most of it focused on the NL. Everyone is trying to make an argument for Albert Pujols (probably out of hatred of Barry Bonds), but it is just impossible. Team Perfomance (if you want to use that): Giants are better and basically assured a playoff spot. Stats: Bonds is better across the board (at least in the important ones...). So, now matter what you think of Barry (I don't like him either), he's the best hitter in the game right now and is the MVP.

Now, the AL is different. Everyone seems to love Ichiro and I just don't get it. It's apparently about defense (he's very good, but he's got the second best arm... no one is better than Vlady... that throw from the corner of RF in Olympic Stadium on one hop to the plate last year... absolutely amazing...), speed, leading off, intagibles, yadda, yadda, yadda. He's also got good stats, but not amazing ones (head over to Rich's Baseball Beat for a better explanation on this). Rich also argues for Alex Rodriguez, which well, is fine with me. That would be my choice, but if you are gonna argue for a Mariner, make it Bret Boone

Boone: .298/.363/.566, 29 2B, 31 HR, 98 RBI
A-Rod: .305/.400/.602, 24 2B, 36 HR, 93 RBI

Boone also plays at a position where not a lot is expected of a player's hitting ability (especially slugging). Of course, A-Rod plays at a harder defensive position and has better stats so he is the MVP. Boone does have an OPS 54 points lower at home (60 points lower in SLG, actually has 6 points higher in OBP at home). So, if you argue for a Mariner, make it Boone, not Ichiro.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003
 
First, a thank you to Jeremy over at Something's Always Wrong for pointing out that I was wrong the other day about the Yankees shoveling players to the Royals like it was their farm system in 50's and 60's. It wasn't the Royals. It was the Kansas City A's, who later became the Oakland A's. Also, go check him out, as he talks about sports and other stuff.

Since I've opened the mailbag, this is one of the rare oppurtunities I have to actually devote an entry to e-mails I got. These e-mails come to me because of yesterday's article, where I talked about a RF platoon involving Wil Cordero

The first one comes from Michael over at Michael's Mets Ramblings, who agrees Cameron would be a great sign.

"Didn't know Mike Cameron was a free agent this year. He'd be a GREAT sign. Great hitter, extraordinary in center field. I'd have to disagree with you though on " arguably the best defensive CF in the game" Much as i hate him, i believe Andruw Jones is a step above everyone else."

Which is part of the reason I said arguably, but this is more of an opinion of course, because, well, there is no real way to pin down exactly how valuable a player is defesnively. But I do have one Mets fan who also believes in signing Cameron.

Another e-mail comes from reader Ricardo Gonzalez, who has other ideas for a platoon player against lefites...

"First of all, let me tell you i enjoy your blog very much as you bring up interesting points.

About the RF platoon, i'd like to add the name of Reggie Sanders to it. I know he'd come a little bit more expensive, but his numbers are a little bit better and he offers the defense that Cordero doesn't.

Sanders against LHP:

.330/.404/.730

Another candidate I'd add to that list would be Bubba Tramell (.282 .363 .493) career statistics against LHP. He'd come cheap, and i'm sure he'd like a chance to return to the Mets.

Also, would you consider a platoon for Wigginton as well? He struggles against RHP but he is murder against lefties."

(First of all, I combined two e-mails together as I had answered the first one that just involved Sanders and then he also suggested Bubba in an e-mail back.)

Anyway, Reggie Sanders would actually be a great choice and was a big oversight on my part. He's a FA at the end of the season and is making 1 million this year. For the season, he's batting .269/.327/.571 for an OPS of .898. Against lefties, he's got a 1.107 OPS and still has a good .813 OPS against righties. Between 2000-2002, he batted .270/.356/.553 against lefties. And for his career he's .297/.379/.559 against lefties. There are a couple of problems though...

1. He's probably going to cost a good 3-5 million dollars and that's too much for a platoon player in my opinion.
2. He's not going to want to platoon after the year he's had. He can get plenty of good money to go somewhere to play everyday.

Ricardo said that he would be willing to sign him for 2.5 mil under the conidtion that when he slumps he gets platooned (Sanders is really streaky). Interesting point, but I think the money is a little short and the idea of him even having to consider a platoon doesn't seem like it would work. Also, he's 35, and I would think coming off the year he's had, he would want to go to a contender and have a chance to win a World Series (I know he has one with the D'Backs, but I'm sure at 36 he would want to have a chance to play for one).

The next name, Bubba Trammell is really interesting. I loved Bubba Trammell when he was over here and don't know why the Mets ever let him go to the Padres. He has an .856 OPS against lefites for his career. In 2001, his OPS was .773 against lefites and .806 against righties. In 2002, his OPs was .921 againt lefites and .664 against righties. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but for his career he seems like a good lefties hitter and not a bad righties hitter. Really somewhere around Cordero's numbers. They are around the same age and Bubba probably plays a little better defense. The problem is that Bubba is still under contract with the Yankees and he's under an interesting situation with them. My gut feeling is that they will release him after the season. If they do, I would love to see the Mets go after him, maybe even more than Cordero.

And finally, the Wigginton question. I wouldn't platoon him yet. He's young and I would give him about two more years to prove how well he can hit. Timo got some time to prove what he could do against lefties and we all found out he can't hit them. So give Wigginton a little more time and we'll see what happens (.890 OPS against lefites, .660 against righties).

If anyone else has names they would like to toss out there, I'd love to hear them (but make them free agents or someone that is available to get). As always feedback is appreciated.



Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 
Yesterday, I talked about a platoon involving Timo Perez and another OF who hits well off lefties. I found another list of free agents, and there were not many promising names. But, I did find one that I think might be a nice fit. You can call me insane for even bringing up this name (you probably will), but from the list of free agents I found, the guy I would want is...

Wil Cordero

Yes, Wil Cordero. The guy playing mostly 1B in Montreal right now. The same guy who was on Aaron Gleeman's NL Bizarro World All-Stars as the worst 1B in the NL. But, before you laugh at me more and close this window, let me give you an excerpt from Aaron's entry on him (because I figure you'll listen to Aaron if you won't listen to me.)

"As has been the case in past seasons, Wil Cordero is hitting left-handed pitching pretty well. From 2000-2002, a span of 304 at bats, Cordero hit .296/.362/.487 against lefties, and he is hitting .283/.367/.434 against them this year. So, he's a valuable player to have and can fill one-half of a platoon role very nicely, but he stinks against righties. Unfortunately for the Expos, he has gotten a ton of playing time against righties this year and is hitting just .236/.309/.372 against them."
(I obviously took the liberty of bolding that part about the platoon.)

If you don't believe me, believe Aaron. And if don't believe him, believe the stats. At that point, he had an OPS of .801 against lefties... now its 1.006 (though it is only 84 AB's). This guy can hit lefties, if nothing else.

As Aaron mentions, he had a .296 AVG and a .849 OPS from 2000-2002 in 304 AB's against lefties... here it is year by year.

2000- .323/.932 (127 AB)
2001- .298/.786 (84 AB)
2002- .258/.791 (93 AB)

In 2000, he was wonderful. In 2001 and 2002, he wasn't great, but not bad (especially for a guy who in the lineup I'll put out will be hitting 6th, 7th, or 8th...). And anyway, its a very small sample size. Now, here's Timo's stats against righties in that time... (this year he's at .291/.720)

2000- .317/.833 (41 AB)
2001- .258/.680 (213 AB)
2002- .318/.831 (380 AB)

2000 and 2002 are very good. 2001 was his first year full time in the league and he slumped in July and October (a combination of about 50 AB's). Their career splits against lefites look like this...

Wil Cordero- 1185 AB's, .295/.361/.467/.828 OPS (compared to .738 against righties with a .268 average)
Timo Perez- 837 AB's, .296/.336/.430/.766 OPS (compared to .405 against lefties with a .154 average)

For a platoon, that would not be bad. Timo is still young and might be better off just facing righties. Wil Cordero can play against lefties, but still stay in the game to play against righties because he's not that terrible. Timo also provides speed and pretty good defense. Really the only problem that might exist is Wil Cordero's defense. In 2002, most of his AB's were in games where he played the OF, though he was mostly a LF. Here I would ask him to play right because Cliff Floyd is in LF. This might not be as much of a concern if the Mets also sign Mike Cameron like I suggested yesterday. He is arguably the best defensive CF in the game and can make up for some of what Wil can't do. Plus, he won't be out there everyday, which should help him.

He also provides bench flexiblity as he can play first base. If the Mets also keep Joe McEwing, the Mets don't need a backup 1B and could get another middle infielder to fill the bench.

This also provides financial flexibility (yes, the Mets and financial flexibility) because this platoon will cost around 1 million dollars. This allows the Mets money to throw at Cameron and at another starting pitcher if they want too. This gives them a chance to sign a few bullpen arms and gives them a chance to have some money around for next year or the year after if

1. The platoon doesn't work out
2. They need to pick up another big free agent or someone in a trade

Maybe I'm nuts. Maybe I'm trying too hard to convince myself that Wil Cordero if worth the Mets time. But why not give it a shot. It's not a bad idea and may keep the Mets from throwing loads of money at more veterans who will underachieve. Plus, look at the lineup, its really not that bad...

1. Reyes
2. Cameron
3. Piazza
4. Floyd
5. Phillips
6. Wigginton
7. Cordero/Perez
8. Scutaro

If you want, Perez could bat second and bring Cameron back down to sixth, but even the way I have it, its not a terrible lineup. It might not be the best production you have ever seen from the right field position, but it will probably be better than Burnitz's 2002 or what you'll see from anyone on the roster now (who would be playing full time, because obviously, Perez is on the roster).

And since I already used one of Aaron's previous column, I might as well mention that you should read today's, which is about one of my favorite players, Brian Giles (plus Jason Kendall and the trade to the Padres). It's a good article, as are all of his. So go over there and read it if you haven't already (shame on you if you haven't...).

Monday, August 18, 2003
 
Sorry about the weekend posts. The fact that I didn't have much to write about (I have stopped watching the Mets... that's just bad), felt like writing about other sports, and the fact that Madden 2004 has become addictive have really brought my post quality down.

First, a little nugget from over at Baseball Musings, where David Pinto reports that the Mets have the best record in the NL in August. At this rate, the Mets would be a great football team. They always play well in August and September. But all kidding aside, it is actually a good sign to see the offense churning out runs and to see some good pitching performances.

But today's big Mets news comes from Cliff Floyd who after today's game, will finally shut it down for the season. This brings up a few points...

1. At the beginning of the season, I was totally against this signing because I felt the team should rebuild and not sign more big time players cause I had a feeling the team would be bad and that I didn't want to see him running around the outfield on no knees, especially when Roger Cedeno is out there too.
2. Well, at this point, my opinion has changed. I love Cliff now. He tries hard, ran everything out, and gave it his all despite the fact that he was in big time pain.
3. Of course, I think Cliff should have shut it down earlier and not played because he could have injured himself more.
4. Looking ahead to next year though, the OF could be pretty good if the Mets go after Mike Cameron in the offseason. I would imagine Cliff in left, Cameron is center, and a Perez/good hitting OF agaisnt lefties platoon to RF. I would love Cameron for his defense and his ability to hit. Cliff, if healthy, has decent speed and can hit. Timo can hit righties and all you have to do is find a cheap OF who hits righties well. Put Duncan as your fifth OF on the bench and I'd say you have a pretty good outfield.

If anyone has any names for that platoon with Perez, I'd like to hear them. I couldn't find anyone using a list of a few free agents I knew of....

In other baseball news, those wacky Royals are up 3 games on both the Twins and the White Sox. The Twins took two out of the three over the weekend, but the Royals won the final game to get the lead back to three games. Of course, you wouldn't know they were in a pennant race by watching them. Yesterday, they tied up Mike DiFelice in toilet paper so that he couldn't go on another tirade like Saturday's. Who was behind it? Tony Pena, of course. And by the way, I think they are going to run through about 30 starting pitchers this season. Hernandez got sent down to Double-A. (I think its to make room for Lima though...)

And finally, something I didn't mention over the weekend... Randall Simon got traded to the Cubs. I just have one question... Are the Pirates attempting to break one of the two curses this year? Either Boston's or the Cubs', I don't think they care which one. I mean, those are the only two teams they are trading with. I'm starting to feel like the Pirates are the Cubs farm team. It's sorta like the Yankees with the Royals in the 50's and 60's (I'm pretty sure it was the Royals... its way before my time, but my dad always talked about it...). But then again, the Cubs got Kenny Lofton, Aramis Ramirez, and Randall Simon... I'm sure those names make you as excited as they make me.

Sunday, August 17, 2003
 
The Mets just keep churning out runs. It's really amazing to see a team that was so bad hit so well.

Also, the Curse of Madden has struck... Vick out with leg injury. This one could last 6 weeks and makes him less of a runner, sorta like McNabb last year when he came back. Oh, and by the way, the curse of Madden is that whoever is on the cover will either get injured or play bad or a combanation of both.

And watch out for those Twins... 2 back, tied with the White Sox...


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