Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, September 13, 2003
The Royals lost to a 20 game loser last night. They are officially done. Cooked. Like Isiah Thomas after Larry Bird got hired. Just playing it out, but they don't have a shot.

Speaking of the AL Central, Paul Konerko fell under a 1.000 OPS on the Paul Konerko Watch. I know you're all highly anticipating the end of the year breakdown of the Paul Konerko Watch, though it looks like they probably won't be a playoff team.

And one more thing... I was looking at the Capital City Bombers stats and I really want to know who these two pitchers are...

Miguel Pinango (20, righty, starter)

132.1 IP, 13-6, 3.47 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, 7.21 K/9, 4.24 K/BB, .54 HR/9, 1.06 H/IP

Ryan Olson (23, lefty, looks like a reliever)

74.2 IP, 7-2, 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.14 BB/9, 11.34 K/9, 3.62 K/BB, .12 HR/9, .81 H/IP

Those are some good stats. Apparently, Miguel was a free agent. Olson was drafted in the 10th round in '01. Olson just looks like an absolutely domianting lefty while Pinango looks like a solid righty starter with a nice K:BB ratio. Of course, pitching prospects and pitchers are impossible to call, especially this low in the minors, but if anyone knows anything about these two, I'd like to hear it.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
Just one thing of note that I could find today (I'm a little tired).

Sean McAdam has a list of the top 10 best and worst offseason moves before the 2003 season. I have no problem with almost everything (its not that great of an article anyway) except for one thing (I don't think the list is in any particluar order)...

"A's deal for Erubiel Durazo."

This is what Sean McAdam has to say about the move:

"A's GM Billy Beane spent two years trying to deal for Durazo. Now that he's got him, its fair to ask: Why? Durazo has been thoroughly ordinary in the A's lineup and hasn't been able to pick up the slack for underachieving veterans like Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada."

First, since when does anyone expect Erubiel Durazo to pick up the slack for Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada? If they are not hitting, its not going to help Durazo much and a lineup works when everyone is hitting.

Second, his year is not bad...

.256/.376/.421 (.798 OPS), 29 2B, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 94/97 BB/K

Granted, I would expect him to have a little better power numbers, but his OBP is very good, especially for a .256 hitter. And, this is the A's, and they can't spend millions of dollars on Jim Thome during the offseason. Durazo makes a little over a million, which fits into the budget. Plus, his big plus is that he gets on-base, which is the thing Billy likes to spend his small budget on.

And really, there are moves a lot worse than this...

How about Boston picking up Jeremy Giambi and getting his .192/.342/.354 line?

Philadelphia giving Pat Burrell a contract extension (.213/.318/.423, 135 K).

The Mets giving Rey Sanchez 1.3 million dollars to hold the SS job for Reyes (.261/.298/.291 for the season, .476 OPS for the Mets).

There are probably others, but I can't think of them. Basically, the point is that everyone thinks every move Billy makes will be for some guy with a .450 OBP and a 1.000 OPS. That's not what he does. He finds pieces that fit. Just because he isn't having an amazing year doesn't mean that the year isn't good or does it mean that the move was a failure. The A's offensive woes have been mostly the fault of Eric Chavez and Miggy, who haven't hit until recently.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
First, I want to point out how my predictions for football look so far after week one...

The Good

Buffalo, New England, Vinny Testaverde, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego, Giants, Minnesota, Green Bay, Arizona (but who doesn't get that right), St. Louis (I might have to change my predicted record on them though... I wasn't expecting Bulger in this early), San Francisco, Carolina, Ricky Proehl, Joe Jurevicius, Doug Johnson (thank you Dallas second half collaspe), New Orleans

The Bad

Cleveland and Indianapolis (that also meaning the way they played. Eek...), Oakland, Philly, KC, Mark Brunell, Dallas, Detriot, Seattle, Miami, and Houston

The Ugly

Addressing these separately...

Cincinatti- Don't give up hope on 8-8 for a few reasons...
1) Marvin Lewis will get them better as the season goes.
2) Denver is a good team.

Which is a nice segway to my next ugly prediciton...

Jake Plummer- I swear, me and Peter King are the only guys in the world with faith in this guy. And I still have and still think he'll have a good year, but he has some disgusting habits.

And finally, the worst of all...

Kordell Stewart- Yes, I said Kordell would lead a decent defense team and a bad offensive team to six wins. I put faith in Kordell Stewart. I'm an idiot.

OK, now back to baseball and my recent obsessions wth bullpens (they are extremely important in the playoffs)...

Has anyone else noticed how nasty Ugueth Urbina has been since his trade to the Marlins?

29.1 IP, 0.92 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.21 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, 2.73 K/BB, .31 HR/9, .65 H/IP, .188/.259/.287 (.546 OPS)

Compare that to his stats in Texas before the trade...

38.2 IP, 4.19 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.54 K/9, 4.20 BB/9, 2.28 K/BB, 1.40 HR/9, .85 H/IP, .232./305/.444 (.749 OPS)

Over a 200 point diference in OPS against. Basically, he gave up a lot more homeruns in Texas, plus he gave up a few more walks and hits. So, what's the difference? A little bit of it could be that he's not closing anymore and doesn't feel as much pressure, but I think I have statistical evidence to explain the difference.

G:F ratio
Tex- .33
Fla- .38
Season- .35
Career- .79

Ugueth has always been a flyball pitcher, but this year he's taking it to an extreme. So what does that have to do with his stats? Well, Arlington is a bandbox. Pro Player is fairly spacious. Basically, in Arlington, he gave up a lot of homers because the ball flys out of there. Pro Player is a much better fit for him, as it is a spacious ballpark where the ball doesn't fly out.

So, for Ugueth to be an effective pitcher, he needs to be in a park that tailors to flyball pitchers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Yesterday, I talked about the Philadelphia bullpen. While I'm on the subject of bullpens, I figured I would take a look at the other bullpen in a pennant race that I find extrememly interesting... the Chicago White Sox. They have never really figured out who their closer is and at this point its a cross of Tom Gordon and Damaso Marte. As I said yesterday, I don't necessarily think the best relief pitcher should be the "closer", but since that's how most managers decide it, that's how I will. I also figure Jerry Manuel (being the bad manager that he is) would want a certain guy designated with the closer tag.

First, here are your 6 candidates
Tom Gordon
Billy Koch
Damaso Marte
Scott Schoeneweis
Scott Sullivan
Kelly Wunsch

Now, let's take a look at them one at a time...

Tom Gordon, a veteran who is somehow only 35, is having a good year.

67.2 IP, 3.33 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 11.04 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 2.86 K/BB, .40 HR/9, .78 H/IP, .216/.303/.286

Those are all very good. The walks might be a tad high if you want to get picky, but he's also striking out over 1 guy for every inning he's out there. The HR are low, the hits are low and I'm surprised these stats have gotten him a 3.33 ERA. He looks like a good candidate.

Billy Koch, who if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know my feelings on.

48.2 IP, 5.55 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 6.66 K/9, 4.44 BB/9, 1.50 K/BB, 1.85 HR/9, 1.09 H/IP, .277/.353/.513

An .866 OPS against. Close to 2 HR per 9 innings. Around 4.5 BB/9 without striking out over a hitter an inning. If there anything this guy does well? In my opinion, not really. HE throws the ball hard and has no control or second pitch. That leads to homeruns and walks.

Damaso Marte, a lefty, has closed part of the year. Here are his stats...

70.2 IP, 1.66 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 10.32 K/9, 3.44 BB/9, 3 K/BB, .38 HR/9, .64 H/IP, .184/.266/.270

These are very good stats. A 3 K/BB ratio with giving up hardly any homers and low a hit count. A .184 BAA against and a 1.02 WHIP means he doesn't put a lot of guys on base. Another good candidate for the closer job.

Scott Schoeneweis is primarily a lefty specialist. Here's all you need to know

VS Righties- .320/.372/.447

A .818 OPS against righties. Not gonna work.

Scott Sullivan, who they acquired in a trade with the Reds, has not had a particulary good year.

55.1 IP, 3.90 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 8.13 K/9, 4.88 BB/9, 1.67 K/BB, .81 HR/9, .81 H/IP, .218/.329/.359

He hasn't pitched that terribly this year (though he has since coming to the White Sox), but the walks are way too high to put him in the closing spot. The OBP is 109 points higher than the batting average against, which is just too much, unless he was in Eric Gagne K/9 ranges, where it still wouldn't be that good of a thing anyway.

Kelly Wunsch, who has a lefty sidearm/submarine delivery, doesn't pitch all that much.

31 IP, 1.74 ERA, .94 WHIP, 8.13 K/9, 4.65 BB/9, 1.75 K/BB, 0 HR/9, .42 H/9, .127/.271/.157

Nasty, but another guy who walks a good amount of people. Hardly gives up any hits and hasn't surrender a homer. Dismissed because of the walks though (I think I'm showing how much of a stickler for walks I am).

So, in the end, we end up with two candidates, Tom Gordon and Damaso Marte, and one long shot, Kelly Wunsch. We'll leave Wunsch out of this, though I would use him in a lot of important situations, especially with men on (1.80 G:F this year, 2.55 for career).

So, to the closer spot. There is nothing really to separate these two by. Gordon stirkes out 1 more per 9 innings, but Marte has a better K:BB and H/IP. Well, that is, of stats I already gave you... Here's something else...

VS Righties: .206/.293/.246 (.539 OPS)
VS Lefties: .227/.314/.328 (.642 OPS)

VS Righties: .198/.305/.290 (.595 OPS)
VS Lefties: .168/.218/.248 (.466 OPS)

I think the fact that Marte does a lot better job against lefties while still doing good against righties makes him the better pitcher. The numbers against righties give Gordon a little advantage, but not nearly the one Marte gets form his ability against lefties. So, if Jerry Manuel is looking for his best relief pitcher to close, the answer is Damaso Marte.

BUT, what would I do? Close Tom Gordon. I always talk about not believing in "closer mentality" and all that, but Damaso Marte has 10 saves and 7 Blown this year. Tom Gordon has 10 saves and 5 Blown. I just think a veteran like Tom Gordon will bounce back a lot faster than a younger player like Marte (that was so Joe Morganish). When two guys have equal ability for the closer job, I would go with the guy that's done it before. Of course, I would also highly consider Kelly Wunsch, with his no homeruns given up and his less then .5 H/IP.

Monday, September 08, 2003
NOTE: Football Review (however tiny or big it is) comes later in the week after the Monday Night Game.

Today is going to focus on one of the less talked about stories. Jose Mesa finally lost his job of closing to a "committee", as its being called. First, Mesa can't be happy because I believe he has finished 45 games. If he were to finish 55 games this year, he gets a contract extension for big bucks. Of course, Jose Mesa doesn't deserve this job that much...

5-7 (which is an insane record for a closer), 24/28 on save opps, 6.26 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 7.08 K/9, 4.78 BB/9, 1.48 K/BB, .99 HR/9, 1.2 H/IP

That's not good. This has been a story around Philly for a while now because some accused Bowa and management of holding him back from games so that he wouldn't finish 55 of them. But if you look at the stats, he doesn't deserve to be out there.

The other part of this story is who is going to be the eventual replacement. We know Bowa isn't going to use a "bullpen by committee" or "closer by committee". He's going to find someone. We'll let's look at the candidates...

Mike Williams
Turk Wendell
Valerio De los Santos
Carlos Silva

Dan Plesac is their lefty specialist and I'll get to the other guy I'm missing in a second. First let's take care of the four above. First, Mike Williams...

Mike Williams is the former Pittsburgh closer who was acquired mid-year. He was the joke of the All-Star game because of his high ERA. Well, he hasn't pitched well enough to deserve the closer spot either. 27/34 on save opps, 6.23 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 5.43 K/9, 6.25 BB/9... you know what, I'm stopping with the stats right there. A .87 K/BB means he can't be the closer. That's it, done deal. Plus, he hasn't pitched well at all since coming to Philly.

Turk Wendell is a well traveled reliever who Mets fans know all too well (Yes, I hated his guts). Anyway, he's 3-3 with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP which doesn't look bad. But he's also got a 3.45 K/9 and 4.08 BB/9 for a .85 K/BB. He's been able to partly get away with it because he has .80 H/IP ratio. Also, given up .94 HR/9. Not the worst stats, but I don't feel comfortable giving the closer job to someone who has walked more people than he has struck out.

Valerio de los Santos was acquired from the Brewers through waivers. A 4.47 WHIP and a 1.26 WHIP. 6.62 K/9, 4.12 BB/9, 1.61 K/BB, 1.43 HR/9, .83 H/9 and a .718 OPS against. Not terrible numbers, but once again, another guy who walks too many people. Plus, he does give up the longball.

Carlos Silva, who is more of a long reliever, is 3-1 with a 4.69 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. 4.92 K/9, 3.66 BB/9, 1.34 K/BB, .69 HR/9, 1.09 H/IP and a .781 OPS against. That really didn't look so bad until the H/IP and the OPS against. The K/BB is a little low and I have a feeling Bowa would want to keep him as a long reliever. And anyway, I still think he walks too many people to be closing.

So we've sort of seen a recurring theme here. Too many walks. No K/BB over 2. But then again, I only mentioned six guys in the bullpen. Mesa (who lost the job), Plesac (the lefty specialist), and the group of 4 above I said I wouldn't trust with the job. That leaves one guy. Rheal Cormier. But here's what the ESPN report says about him...

"He's never been a closer and doesn't have a save this year."

I have never bought this whole "closer mentality" thing. Closers who don't pitch well don't pitch well because they don't do something well. And anyway, Rheal Cormier is by far the best reliever in the Philly bullpen this year. He's a lefty with 77 inning pitched. Here are his stats...

1.64 ERA, .96 WHIP, 7.25 K/9, 2.80 BB/9, 2.58 K/BB, .23 HR/9, .65 H/IP, .185/.251/.259 (.510 OPS)

That's what I like to call dominating. Now, Cormier did pick up his first save on the 6th against the Mets, but I doubt if Bowa has figured it out. Knowing him he'll either go with the "proven closer or guy who has closed before" Mike Williams or "the guy who's been in pressure situations many times" Turk Wendell.

Of course, Rheal Cormier probably shouldn't be the closer anyway because your best relief pitcher should come in at the most important time of the game, which doesn't always happen in the ninth. But since Larry Bowa probably wants his best relief pitcher in for a "save situation", that should be Rheal Cormier, because he certainly deserves it over anyone else in that bullpen.

Sunday, September 07, 2003
Just wanted to let you know I updated the Paul Konerko Watch, which now includes the weekend series he just had against Cleveland where he only went 7 for 10, with 3 HR, 4 singles, 8 RBI's and 2 walks. As you can tell, his numbers have jumped a little.

Also, Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog has finally gotten off blogger (the lucky man he is). The link to the right is updated. Hopefully, I'll be back tomorrow night with something, but this week might be busy.

It's that time again (Or at least it was about a week ago). The beginning of a new month means a new article on the progress of the Mets' young players in the majors. As you all very well know, this has not been a good year for the Mets. The only positives have been watching young players (I can't call them kids, I am younger than they are...) come up and see their successes. Of course, as I will get to, not everyone's trip to the majors has been a success. Some look like they could be future buidling blocks. Others... well, look like they could be in the minors next year. (NOTE: I don't do relievers... It's much tougher to put a finger on how well they have done. Also, Jeremy Griffiths will not be on the list until he gets a significant amount of starts/IP)


Aaron Heilman- 24

2-6, 6.71 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 56.1 IP, 67 hits allowed, 7.03 K/9, 5.61 BB/9, 1.26 K/BB, 1.76 HR/9, .296/.389/.513 allowed

The much hyped Triple A pitching prospect did not have much success. One of the few bright spots is the K/9 which is actually pretty good. Unfortunately, he's also walked a ton of people and has given up a lot of homeruns. His stats this year at Triple A were extremely good and he never showed a tendency to walk people or give up homers there. He is still young, but probably projects out to more of a #3 starter, in the Steve Trachsel sort of mode. He will improve, but he's not guaranteed that spot in the rotation next year.

Jae Seo- 26

8-10, 4.12 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 164 IP, 171 hits allowed, 5.05 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 2.24 K/BB, .82 HR/9, .264/.309/.431 allowed

Jae Seo has had some ups and downs, but overall, its been a solid year. He doesn't strike out as many people as most pitchers, but he does a good job not walking people. He also doesn't give up a ton of homeruns and hasn't given up that many hits. Of course, the SLG allowed is .431 because he has given up 53 doubles. Another guy that projects to be around a #3 starter. He has great control, but isn't particulary overpowering.

Position Players

Vance Wilson- 30, C

249 AB, .237/.284/.373 (.657 OPS), 59 hits, 8 2B, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 12/52 BB/K (.23 BB/K)

Yes, I know he's 30, but he was part of the "new generation players" for this team so I include him. He doesn't play everyday because of the return of Mike Piazza and its probably better that way. That's because in July this year he hit a wall. In 67 AB's in July, he had a .501 OPS. In 23 in August before Paizza came back, he has a .512 OPS. He's a good defensive backup catcher with a tiny bit of pop. And the Mets should keep him for that reason. He's cheap and can play defense.

Jason Phillips- 26, C/1B

355 AB, .315/.390/.468 (.858 OPS), 112 hits, 21 2B, 11 HR, 56 RBI, 36/40 BB/K (.9 BB/K)

My man Stretch. This guy is my favorite of the new crop of players and he is good hitter. He's patient, has a good OBP, and a decent SLG. For a 1B, you might want to see a little more pop, but with Piazza supposedly moving to firs base next year, he would be a great hitter for a catcher (even assuming his stats go down a little). Now, he might be the slowest athlete on Earth, but catchers are never particulary fast anyway. Also, he did a nice job adjusting to the first base position and plays admirable defense over there (though I never suggest anyone does those stretches). Though there is one split of his I cannot explain...

Home: .368/.429/.582 (1.011 OPS)
Away: .259/.344/.347 (.691 OPS)

He doesn't hit as well on the road even with AVG, be he's still patient at the plate and does a nice job getting on base. The one thing I don't get is the power outage on the road. Wouldn't you get a power outage in Shea Stadium, being that its a deadhole for hitters? He might be more comfortable at home, but still, that is a strange drop. Most hitters have their power brought down by Shea, not helped.

Marco Scutaro- 27, 2B

67 AB, .224/.329/.373 (.702 OPS), 15 hits, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 11/10 BB/K (1.1 BB/K)

This is a small sample size. I understand that. But still, as he has always done when he makes his trip to the majors, he hasn't hit for much average. But his OBP and patience at the plate are good. His SLG is low, but I don't expect much out of him as a middle infielder. A good sign for him is that since his second call up to the majors (post All-Star break numbers), he's batting .265/.373/.469 (.842 OPS). Of course, that is 49 AB's, but still, positives are positives.

Jose Reyes- 20, SS, done for season

274 AB, .307/.334/.434 SLG (.769 OPS), 84 hits, 12 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 13/36 BB/K (.36 BB/K), 13/16 on steal attempts (81%)

Jose is done for the season, but he gave Met fans a great glimpse to the future in August. He struggled early when he came up, pressing to get hits and showing terrible plate disclipline. Then, when August hit and he had a little experience in the majors, he took off. He had a .355/.408/.509 line for a .917 OPS. His plate disclipline was a lot better and he went 7 for 8 in stealing bases. For the season he's 81%, which is very good. Another important move in August was putting him in the 2 spot. I don't think he walks nor has enough patient to be a 1 hitter, but I think his speed and aggressive slap hitting help him fit into the 2 hole perfectly. Now, the Mets just need a leadoff hitter... Anyway, his defense was still a little shaky at times, but he has shown how good he could be.

Ty Wigginton- 25, 3B

509 AB, .257/.318/.403 (.721 OPS), 131 hits, 32 2B, 6 3B, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 41/105 BB/K (.39 BB/K), 11/13 on steal attempts (85%)

Ty Wigginton has been a nice player at third, though his stats are probably better for his natural position, second base. He has adjusted well to third defensively, playing as well as anyone could have thought he could have. Offensively, he has struck out a bunch and has been a good gap hitter. He has shown unusual speed with the 11 SB and 6 3B. As a reader pointed out to me when I was doing my Wil Cordero platoon theory articles, his OPS against lefties is .832. His OPS against righties is .674. He needs to improve that greatly, though I would give him another year or so before you jump on him too much or call for the platoon right away.

Jeff Duncan- 24, OF

115 AB, .191/.301/.252 (.553 OPS), 22 hits, 2 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 16/33 BB/K (.48 BB/K), 4/67 on steal attempts (66%)

Most Met fans got a little ahead of themselves when they declared Jeff Duncan the CF of the future. He is a really really good defensive OF. Which was nice for Met fans. He has great speed, another things Met fans wanted to see. He does have great patience at the plate, something else Met fans wanted. Of course, Met fans also want a guy with a few hits. And he doesn't have too many of those. He's a 4th outfielder who plays good defense and has nice speed. Nothing more at the moment, though the Mets might be better off letting him play everyday at AAA.

So there's your beginning of September report. Guys like Raul Gonzalez don't or didn't ever play consistently enough to get on here and I avoid relievers because its sometimes hard to pinpoint how well they have done. I will probably include them in the year end review though, when I can get a look at what should be big enough innings pitched numbers.

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