Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Roundup Jr.


As Johnny mentioned earlier, he's gonna be away for the next little bit, so I'm going to try my hand at doing the Roundup.

I talked about last night's game in my latest post, but what I didn't mention is that Vernon Wells is doing the impossible - ever since he's come back from his injury, he's been playing up to his contract. It's only been 16 at bats, but the franchise player has 7 hits in his past 16 AB's for a 438 BA. Funny enough, his OBP is below his BA, at 412, while his slugging is an epic 875. He's making up for lost time, and I can't imagine where we would have been without him the past week. He's been in the middle of seemingly ever run scoring opportunity, and that's the way it should be.

As I mentioned in the comments in the same post, Wilkerson is heating up a bit. But as John Brattain points out, the Jays are essentially dead last in OPS in LF & DH:

"It’s not often league average would represent such an upgrade at not one, but two positions. In both cases you’re not looking for a decathlete—just two guys who can hit at league-average levels, one of whom is mobile enough not to require a wheelchair in the near future. The Toronto Blue Jays are literally wasting two lineups slots that are traditionally used to provide offense"

It's the sad truth. The Jays have the worst LF/DH combo in the league, and these are the spots you need your best two offensive players. The Jays are pretty strong up the middle in Wells & Hill, and if they could combine their strength up the middle with quality players at offensive minded positions like LF & DH, the offense could prove to be above average. Even with league-average players as Brattain suggests, the Jays would be a better team. Even though Wilkerson is heating up, he's not a solution.

Yesterday the Jays signed their first round pick, David Cooper, according to bluejays.com. To be honest, I'm somewhat on the fence for this pick. I would have prefered SS Anthony HeWitt (24th to the Phils), who's a 5 tool high risk high reward player. The other player I wanted was SP Christian Friedrich, who went 25th to the Rockies. I don't know much about Cooper, but I don't like the idea of drafting a 1B who isn't a Mark Teixeira type bat. However, I do hope that he succeeds and proves that he was worthy of the first round pick.

This afternoon the Jays face off against the M's in the final game of the series, and it has the potential for being a spectacular pitching duel - and not just because neither club can hit! Felix Hernandez faces off against Shaun Marcum @ 12:37 PM. Both Felix and Marcum have pitched better than their record suggests (4-5 and 5-3 respectively), although Felix's 1.38 WHIP has got to be a little troublesome for the M's. It's hard to remember sometimes that the perennial breakout candidate is only 22 years old, but he hasn't improved much over last year. His BAA is better than last year, but the control is significantly worse.

Elsewhere:

Rough day for the Braves - Glavine goes on the dl with a left elbow strain, and he may not be back anytime soon.

“The injury concerns me quite a bit,” Glavine said. “It’s been hurting me for over a month and it’s not getting any better. I think only one other time in my career, I’ve had an issue with my elbow.”

Definetly not what the Braves want to hear with Smoltz already out.

The Tigers pull a Halladay on Dontrelle Willis by optioning him down to class A in the hopes that he can figure it out. Dumbrowski is a good GM, but signing Willis to a 30 million dollar deal before he'd thrown a pitch is going to come back to haunt him. Willis hasn't been the same since his 2005 season, where he lost in the voting of the Cy Young award to Chris Carpenter.

Ken Rosenthal chimes in with a theory on Dontrelle's struggles.


"One theory circulating among the Tigers is that left-hander Dontrelle Willis is much more muscular than he was during his 22-win season in 2005, making it much more difficult for him to repeat his mechanics. Willis requires great flexibility to achieve the contortion in his delivery; he might need to work with a strength and conditioning coach to regain the suppleness he once had."

Makes sense, but I have a different theory. Willis was a monster between ages 20-22, both in the minors and the majors. In the minors, his career high for innings thrown in a year was 157 2/3 as a 20 year old over multiple levels. As a 21 year old in both the minors & the majors, he threw 197 innings that year. He also pitched in the playoffs, for a total of 12 2/3 innings. Add that to what he threw in the regular season, and you're looking at 209 2/3 innings pitched as a 21 year old. That's an increase of 52 innings over his previous career high at age 21. The generally accepted limit for increasing a young pitchers workload is 30 innings. Then, at age 22, he threw 197 innings. Not bad, and I can't complain. But at age 23, in his almost-Cy season, he threw 236 1/3 innings. 20-30 years ago, I don't think anybody would have had an issue with him throwing that many innings. But in the age of pitch counts and innings restrictions to have your 23 year old ace throw 236 innings? That's almost criminal, and I think the high innings put on young Dontrelle's arm effectively Gustavo Chacined his career.

With my theory, there's essentially no chance the move to class A helps Willis. You kinda hope he finds his way again, cause he seems like a good role model for both African Americans & baseball itself.

Twitchy.

8 comments:

eyebleaf said...

love the picture!

can't believe Dontrelle is in A-ball. I mean, Chacin is in double AA! That's so sad.

as for left field/DH...another reason to wonder why the fuck lind isn't here. it's crazy, just crazy.

The Southpaw said...

I couldn't believe it when I heard it either. I understand the theory behind it, but Dontrelle isn't in the same boat as Doc was, or even Edison Volquez. Those were two young pitchers who had the talent, but needed some mechanical assistance, or in Volquez's case a wake up call.

Dontrelle's arm is pretty much ruined :(.

Yeah, if you read Brattain's argument he specifically says that:

"Surely given enough playing time out there he could get his OPS up to .602 and hit two home runs sometime over the course of his next 240 at-bats—that’s all that’s required to improve the spot."

He's referring to Lind in that, and it's so sad that all we need is for Lind to boost his OPS to 602 just to IMPROVE the spot. Considering all the RP depth, and even catching depth (We don't need both Thigpen AND Diaz with Arencibia seemingly on his way) we have, how can that not even get us a League Average player? I'm talking about the "Eckstein of LF" or something like that. Not a star, but someone who'll just get the job done.

Still, JP can't claim he's putting the best team on the field if Lind is raking in AAA and Wilkerson is kind of but not really gettin er' done.

Food for thought - if Lind struggles initially, won't he struggle initially when he gets the job in 09? And won't he press even longer since he'll figure they'll send him down if he's not hitting 400 like they did this year? I think they HAVE to bring him in at some point this year to get over his struggles, or they'll carry over to next year, because the Jays have shown that they won't give him the time it takes to prove himself.

Twitchy.

eyebleaf said...

like i said earlier, i have no problem with lind scuffling up here. not anymore. i'd rather be a .500 team with adam lind than a .500 team with a rotation of stew/mench/wilker...

i mean, it's a no-brainer. your best prospect or three marginal cats?

eyebleaf said...

another marcum gem wasted...another terrible outing by BJ...walking 2 guys? awful.

6 runs scored in a 3 game set against the team with the third worst ERA in the AL, and the worst record in baseball.

back to .500...

the dance with mediocrity continues.

The Southpaw said...

That was a brutal game.

Was it me, or was Morrow's strike zone expanded compared to earlier in the game? Could have sworn the second out (Stairs I believe) on the K was a good foot off the plate.

Twitch.

eyebleaf said...

Stairsy's K was brutal.

not taking anything away from hernandez...he's a stud...but this was supposed to be the light part of our schedule...

i just cannot believe this team.

The Southpaw said...

What killed us even more than that was Wells not getting a hit with Eck & Inglett @ 2B/3B with one out. A sac fly there and the game still goes to extras.

Felix pitched a hell of a game though. I'm thinking that this year he'll be an above average pitcher, but it's 2009 that he's going to break out and have that year everyone's been waiting for.

Twitch.

eyebleaf said...

What killed us even more than that was Wells not getting a hit with Eck & Inglett @ 2B/3B with one out. A sac fly there and the game still goes to extras.

fundamental baseball man. it's been killing us all year. just like the extra inning game a couple of nights ago. bases juiced, lyle hits a grounder anywhere else, or a sac fly, we're tied up...yet he hits it right to first base, double play, horrendous execution...

that's what makes it all so frustrating. the opportunities are there. staring at us. right in the fucking face. yet time and time again they fail to get it done. and i keep wondering whether the next game is the game we snap out of it. and we're almost 70 games into this. there probably won't be enough next games to play.

twich...INDEED.