Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, October 25, 2003
 
Not much today, but a few things...

Prediction- 5-3 Yankees

I think starting Beckett on short rest is stupid and McKeon pays. Plus, my prediction was Marlins in 7.

Also, a random note I forgot...

-Luis Castillo looks pitiful at the plate. Terrible. How could I have even suggested that he be picked up this offseason?

That's all. Enjoy the game tonight. I'm off to watch NIU-Bowling Green. Thank you football and ESPN gods for putting it on.

Friday, October 24, 2003
 
I'm obviously going to rip into Joe Torre. It's free shots, and its easy. But before I do, I would like to say something...

I always feel a tiny bit uneasy about doing this. Why? I'm not exactly sure, but I guess its because it then makes me seem that I think I'm better than the manager I'm ripping. And trust me, that's not the case. I'm not better than any of these guys. These guys put up with so much radio talk show and newspaper scrutiny, have to keep a clubhouse of players from exploding, and have to make decisions in split seconds. So, while I think I'm no better than Joe Torre (or even Art Howe), I'm going to rip into him, because its the Yankees and darn it, its fun.

Let's start at the beginning. I'm watching my 6 PM Sportscenter (with Dan Patrick, which by the way, is terrible. It's basically the Dan Patrick Radio Show on TV. Though on the plus side, there is no Rob Dibble.) and they show the lineups for last night's game. My mouth drops (At this point only the Soriano move was being done... I would alter find out about Johnson) and I can't utter any words. None... at all. Then I quickly hop on the computer and decide to talk to my bro, an avid Yankee fan. I find out if he has seen the lineups... he says yes, and I respond with this.

"I don't care if Alfonso Soriano is 0 for his last 200, he's still better than Enrique Wilson."

And I still stand by that, even after Enrique's 2-4 day (I really hate how lucky Joe Torre is... though one of those hits is a "bunt single"). I mean, seriously, Alfonso Soriano has more talent in his right big toe than there is in 3 Enrique Wilsons. Then, to get even crazier, he bats Enrique Wilson second. Second! A guy with a career .298 OBP and .653 OPS! In game 5 of the World Series! I know he went "2 for 4", but he also had a GIDP with Jeter on first after the Marlins 3 run inning which killed any shot of a rally. I mean, this move would be like Ron Gardenhire putting Luis Rivas in the 2 hole behind Shannon Stewart... oh wait, he did that, didn't he?. Of course, Enrique also committed a really stupid defensive play, by throwing the ball away in a run down, though part of that blame should go to Jeter, who was nowhere close to the play).

The other lineup change was Nick Johnson for Jason Giambi. This one isn't so bad, as Johnson is still a good hitter and is better defensively, espeically if Giambi was really hurting that bad. The problem I have with this is simple... WHY WASN'T HE BATTING SECOND! Nick Johnson has a high OBP, is patient at the plate, and is perfect to have at the top of your lineup. Yet, he bats sixth, while Enrique frickin Wilson is batting second.

Now, as the game started, Torre seemed to be pushing the right buttons (are only sports players built with buttons?) as Enrique had gotten his "bunt single" with move Jeter to third where Bernie hit a sac fly and got him in. Yanks up 1-0. Now, in the top of the 2nd, David Dellucci gets in the on deck circle and comes up to bat when Aaron Boone gets a hit (Perfect time Aaron, make your manager waste a bench player) and Dellucci bats. Obviously, something is wrong with Wells and now Contreras is warming up in the bullpen. This is not so much of a rip on Torre as an opinion. And I'll separate it from the paragraph so you read it correctly.

I would have brought in Jeff Weaver.

Yes, I just said that... let me explain before you close this window.

1. Contreras had pitched 2 innings the night before. Yes, Weaver had pitcher 1 plus a batter in the 12th, but as Aaron would put it, Weaver was working on 1,583 days rest.
2. I would roll the dice with Weaver at this point. He has been very unlucky this year. He gave up 18 more hits this year then last year in 40.1 less innings, while giving up only 1 more XBH, meaning a lot of singles were falling in during the regular season. Now, Weaver is a groundball pitcher, and Florida has a fast infield, and the Yankees defense sucks, but why not roll the dice with a guy who is rested then wear out a guy who has been a "dominant force", as Joe Buck would say, for the Yankees in the late innings.
3. Going with that unlucky thing, look at his BIP-H% for the last four years... (30% is around normal, also quick and dirty calculations)

2000- 27.5%
2001- 28.7%
2002- 27.5%
2003- 33.6%

That's a little bit of a jump. So then I went to see if the trend could be seen last year after the trade...

2002
DET- 121.2 IP, 27%, 3.18 ERA
NYY- 78 IP, 28%, 4.04 ERA

Not a particulary big difference, so he just seems really unlucky this year. The percentage went up 5-6% this year over his career marks. Part of that could do with his career low 5.25 K/9 this year, but I also that is an effect of the above stat. Whenever I saw Jeff Weaver pitch, he seemed to just be putting the ball over the plate because he felt like he had too. Guys were always getting on and he couldn't afford to walk people. Pitchers get shaken with guys on base and that always seemed to effect him. Plus, overall he just seemed to get down as the season wore on and he was getting less and less luck.

Overall, my point on Weaver is while it seems nuts, I think it was worth the shot. If he gets blown apart, he gets blown apart. Then you have everyone (or almost everyone) rested yesterday and today. Who knows, Weaver could be masterful. I just thought that Torre set up Contreras to fail badly, while everyone expected Weaver to fail, so if he pitched good, it could be deemed a miracle (and a Torre miracle). And yes, I know, I'm probably the only person on earth who holds the view that Jeff Weaver should have seen the ball in game 5.

And the last situation is one that I think is being overlooked. Top of the 7th, 6-1, runners on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, pitcher's spot up. Joe Torre pinch hits with Ruben Sierra. My problem? Jason Giambi is on the bench. This was a big chance, a chance for momentum, to get back into the game. Instead, Torre uses Ruben Sierra, who strikes out. Now, who knows, Giambi may strike out too (Penny did get it up to 99 MPH...), but when you have his caliber player sitting there on the bench when your down by 5 runs and two guys on, he needs to come in. Instead, he pinch hits with 1 out in the 9th, and wastes a home run by hitting a solo shot, still leaving the Yankees down three.

A couple of other notes:

-Thank you Braden Looper. My closer endorsement sounds great now!

-Why is Josh Beckett starting game 6 on short rest when the Marlins are up in the series 3-2? If you can figure this out, please tell me.

-And also, while your e-mailing me with an answer to that question above, if anyone either knows or wants to figure out the BIP-H% for the Yankees pitchers (or the BIP for out conversation rate... whichever you like, its the same) this year, I'd be interested to see how it compares to Weaver.

That's it for now. Depending how early I get up, I might have a post tomorrow morning. Otherwise, the afternoon is a possibility, as is after the game. So to sum it up, I have no clue when I'm posting.

Thursday, October 23, 2003
 
I was told to go to sleep at the top of the 9th inning. I listened to that inning on the radio. The last thing I remember was being perplexed at how Contreras came in for the 9th while Rivera was still in the pen. Later I find out Jeff Weaver was throwing the ball in a real major league playoff game in the 11th inning. That only spells disaster. And as you know by now, Alex Gonzalez took him deep. The Marlins win. Woohoo.

Can Braden Looper be the closer? Please? I know I wrote about how Urbina was red-hot as a Marlin and said part of that had to do with his home stadium, but Urbina is still Urbina, and still throws too many balls and still walks people. I swear I wrote an article on Looper and why he should be the closer, but I can't seem to find it. Anyway, I always thought he should, especially because of his G:F ratio (heavy groundball, unlike Urbina, whose heavy flyball).

Also, while the Jeff Weaver move is getting all the talk, did anyone realize Pavano gave up one run in 8 innings. He was masterful and probably had too many pitches to pitch the 9th inning. But before the game this almost seemed like it was hyped as a game where Roger Clemens would dominate and Carl Pavano would be knocked around because he wasn't much of a pitcher. People seem to forget that he was hyped as a pretty good pitching prospect in the Montreal system and had a very good miinor league career...

Carl Pavano: Career Minor Leagues

628 IP, 7.88 H/9, 7.85 K/9, 2.28 BB/9, 3.45 K/BB ratio, 3.08 ERA

I don't have the home run numbers, but those are pretty good numbers... Here are his major league career rate stats...

713 IP, 9.76 H/9, 6.03 K/9, 2.80 BB/9, 2.15 K/BB ratio, .997 HR/9, 4.61 ERA

And this year, in his year at age 27, his prime years, here are his stats...

201 IP, 9.13 H/9, 5.96 K/9, 2.19 BB/9, 2.71 K/BB ratio, .85 HR/9, 4.30 ERA

Pretty solid season, and he seems to have better control now then he did earlier in his career.

My point in all this is that Pavano is not a push over. He had very good minor league career and could still have a very solid major league career. He had a fairly decent year this year and has shown signs of being a dominant pitcher. It's the same with all of the Marlins pitchers. They are all young and have the ability to be very very good. (As a side note, if this goes seven and the Marlins win and Pavano sees time, could he be the MVP?)

Tonight's game. I think Penny and Wells both get knocked around, but Wells more, and the Marlins win 6-3.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
 
Another short post. This week sorta stinks for posting.

Dissapointed by last night's game. Thought the turning point was the 3-2 pitch that was a called a ball to let in the tying run. The inning before that same pitch was called a strike for Mussina. It seemed to take some air out of the Marlins.

Which brings us on to tonight, where Roger Clemens will have his "last last last last" start (that would be the 3 playoff games and tonight if your trying to figure it out). If you know anything about me as a baseball fan, you will know I hate, no, despise Roger Clemens. Does that mean I want him to fail miserably in his last start? Probably, but I would also like to see an exciting close game. And that doesn't mean it has to be high scoring because the Florida pitcher is Carl Pavano, the best fifth starter in the league. I guess now he's a fourth, technically speaking, but for the sake of the linkage to my article, he's a fifth.

Prediction is 4-2 Marlins... mostly based on pure hope.

And just because I have to mention this...

As you can see, football has been pushed aside by the baseball playoffs, though after the playoffs I plan to talk some football (while still talking mostly about baseball). But I couldn't help myself from talking about this...

Danny Kanell will get 2 starts for the Broncos.

Jake Plummer is injured for a couple of weeks. Steve Beuerlein is done for the season. So they are left with Danny Kanell. I can't help but laugh. Some of you will understand my laughing if you have lived in the NY area. Danny Kanell was the QB for the Giants for a few years. He was, um, not good. The fact that a team this talented has to have Danny Kanell as their QB is not a good thing. Mike Shanahan is apparently a QB genius, but this will be a test he's probably never seen before.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
 
Sports Guy's Mailbag- Thoughts from the fans. Some sad, some funny, some just plain thoughtful. Must read.

Also, remember, 2-1 Marlins tonight, as Josh Beckett is great.

Also, after the playoffs, the Paul Konerko Watch will come (I haven't forgotten).

Monday, October 20, 2003
 
Where to start, where to start... Let's start with Bill Simmons, who after his Friday column on the Red Sox's comes back with another one today. If you don't know Bill (shame on you), he's a big Red Sox's fan. I agree with everything he says about the game (including the overlooked mistake by Grady of bringing in Wakefield when he did) and he's also funny while doing it. Good reads, and if you don't read Bill Simmons, start now.

Speaking of the Red Sox, two days after the Boone home run (which was Saturday), a local radio station played the home run call. Then what song did they go into... Everybody Hurts by REM. Appropriate and a tiny bit cruel at the same time. I think the beginning is particularly appropriate...

"When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
when you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on.
Don't let yourself go, everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes."

Seems that is a reaction by most Red Sox's fan, though most probably think sometimes should be everytime. I'll drop the subject as its long over, but I felt this was worth mentioning.

Moving on to the games being played now, the Yanks and Marlins are tied at 1-1. I seem less excited about the World Series, and I guess I'm rooting for the Marlins out of hatred for the Yankees, but I don't care that much. I'm rooting against Aaron Boone more than ever (I think Larry Mahnken is having a tough time not being able to say he sucks.) and I see myself fist-pumping for everything good for the Marlins, but I guess I'm not rooting for the Marlins as much as I'm rooting against the Yankees.

Game 3 features Josh Beckett, the young gun who is finally starting to piece it together, and Mike Mussina, one of my favorite pitchers in the league. It should be a very exciting game, especially if Mussina can get away from the home run problem he had against Boston. That should happen for two simple reasons...

1. The Marlins haven't had an extra base hit in the first two games of the series. This team doesn't qutie slug like the Red Sox's
2. They are going to Pro Player, which is, big. Very big.

I expect a low scoring game, but I think the Marlins take it 2-1, because they need it, and need it bad.

Also, as a side note, can someone please show Joe Torre how this lineup should look. How Johnson should be batting second, Soriano should be no where near the top of the order, and Williams should not be in the 4-hole (Larry Mahnken, who as you can tell, is becoming one of my favorite reads, pointed out Williams lack of power the other day. I hadn't even realized this, but even watching last night with Giambi on first, he drove a ball through the middle for a single to get 1st and 3rd. He just doesn't have the power to drive in runners from first. He's become a good singles hitter, and while there is nothing wrong with that (since he's also patient at the plate), a guy like that should not be hitting in the cleanup spot.

And finally, moving on to the Mets portion of the entry and part where I get told I'm an idiot (once again, joking, sorta).

Avkash finished part 2, part 3, and part 4 of his series on 2nd base. Here's what each part covers.

Part 2- The situation in the major leagues on the Mets, plus a little talk about Garcia and Diaz. Also talks about his solution for 2nd base, which would be a stopgap.
Part 3- Luis Castillo, and why he's wrong for the spot (Also known as, "Why Jeremy Heit is stupid").
Part 4- Kaz Matsui and why he's wrong for the spot. Plus, why he would use Diaz to be the 2nd baseman eventually and how he compares to Carlos Baerga at similar ages (you know, when Baerga could hit, before he came to the Mets).

We'll touch on these out of order. I totally agree with Part 4 on Kaz Matsui. I talked about Kaz a while back and basically said I didn't trust him to come over and be that good. Plus, he would probably cost more than he's worth. Avkash gets the point across a little more with numbers, but comes up with the fact that he isn't worth it to the Mets.

On to part two, which after the Luis Castillo article, I agree with. It should probably be a stopgap until the Mets can have Diaz or Garcia ready for the majors (preferably Diaz). One of the big things in play here is the compensation the Mets would have to give up. Because they are in the first half of the draft, they don't have to give up their first round pick, but they would still have to give up #40. A lot of valuable players could come from fourty and well to be honest with you, one player, no matter who he is, is not going to turn this team into a contending team anytime soon. They need to build around the young core in the minors and be ready to compete by 2005 or 2006, depending on how it goes.

And finally, the Luis Castillo part (ME GETTING DEFENSIVE ALERT!). I'll agree with Avkash that you don't necessarily need a "leadoff hitter" in the leadoff spot, because most of the time a "leadoff hitter" is just a guy who hits .280 and has a bunch of speed. I slightly disagree that it doesn't matter what your speed is at the top of the lineup because Jason Phillips almost had a .400 OBP this year and didn't slug that greatly, but to be honest with you, you don't want a guy who might run slower than Mo Vaughn batting first.

When I came up with the conclusion, I knew that a lot of what Luis does is based in batting average. Avkash points that out, as well as how fast Pro Player Stadium's infield grass is compared to Shea (basically favoring a groundball hitter, which Luis is... to a big extreme. Read his article, you'll see). You can flip through the rest of the article, but the point it gets at is that Shea doesn't favor his G:F ratio (his home splits are much better than his road), his speed might be declining (the stolen base numbers have been going down), and that that could translate to around a 700 OPS. I wouldn't necessarily say a team in contention is crazy for giving him a multi-year deal (3 would be my number) because he might be able to help them out before his career might go really south (especially a team on turf or a fast grass surface). But for the Mets, after reading Avkash's article, this probably isn't the right move. My opinion (or change of) is based on..

1. The fact that he might not help the Mets that much (especially with contending) and would just be taking up money that could be spent somewhere else.
2. The compensation pick.
3. His declining speed numbers, combined with home/road splis and the G:F ratio.

Of course (this is the real defensive part), I did say this when I wrote the article on Castillo.

"So, after considering that, it didn't take me long to find the free agent name I would go after to play 2B..."

Basically meaning this was a "think about guys that might be out there for a couple of minutes and see the names you like". It was a possibility in my head and I really didn't go through much of the stats, something I was planning on going into a little deeper as I kept going on with discussions of the team's possible moves. But then Avkash e-mailed me, and I figured I'd wait and see what he would have to say. It's always better coming from a dissenting view because they will really bring out the negatives, and while I may see the negatives, I will focus more on the positives. It's something anyone writing a blog tries not to do, but when you are arguing a point, you're trying to convince people to your side.

But I guess that's why I like the idea of having of Mets blogs comment on what people think would be good moves for the team. Because you get a view that either can help out and agree or a view that is against and can point out things that might point to problems with signing/trading for that player.

Anyway, after Avkash's stat filled articles, I've changed my mind. Luis Castillo isn't the right guy for the job and I would like to thank Avkash for showing me the light (and for all the work he did, including all the stats he showed). But hey, at least I was right about Kaz Matsui!


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