Al's Ramblings



Monday, June 30, 2003

(6/30/2003 10:21:00 PM) - Al

I saw a guy wrote saying he would like to see Ginter play over EY or Helms.Regarding EY its a no brainer since hes old and has no future here,but i'd play
Helms over Ginter at 3rd.When looking at players like them the team should have only 1 purpose,to see if either or both has a future with the team.

Of the two I can only see Helms as being an above average third baseman and the reason is simple, he has far more power. He has 30 HR potential as a
third baseman,a rarity in todays baseball. The job of the team is to get Wes to raise his BA in the .265-.270 range and getting him to walk more.Of course
it's not a given that this will happen,but with his power if he can get his OBP in the .350 range by sometime next year he becomes an above average
thirdbaseman.I think its fairly safe to say Ginter can be a .350-.360 OBP guy with with 400AB's,but with far less power.Helms has more upside, I'd rather take a chance on that upside since finding a guy to play like Ginter would be easier than to find a power hitting guy at 3rd even if Helms may never reach a decent OBP,the power is worth the risk.This shouldn't be an issue though since Ginter should be tried at 2nd.

Since I'm writing I figured I'd touch a few topics quick that you wrote about.

1.Let the Sanchez trade go, his play has shown in Detroit that his days as a starter are numbered. He will be lucky to have a major league job as a pinch
runner in 2 years.Yeah EY is flawed and needs to go, but even as flawed as he is he's far superior to Sanchez.

2.Maybe Perez should take more pitches,but an .800 OPS isn't bad at all for a catcher, he's been productive.

3.Your list of the top scoring teams and saying it's OBP thats leads the way is only partly true. I think OPS is a much better stat.Excluding the Rockies for
obvious reasons I see 5 dominant offenses: Boston,Toronto,St Louis,Yanks,and Braves. All are thriving by their power as much as their OBP. I just can't count a team that plays 81 games at Coors.

4.I really like this Kolb guy,get him to throw strikes and we might have a real find.

As a side note, I only picked things I didn't agree with. Don't see the point to say that I agree with this and that.

Mike


The "other Mike" comments about "Mike the 1st"'s comment about Helms. Truthfully, I have more faith in Ginter's future than I do Helms. Yes, Helms has more power potential, but Ginter has more OBP potential. With the talk around baseball that OBP is actually 3 times more important (this was a blurb in Moneyball, A's assistant GM Paul DePodstra (sp) said it), I'd rather have Keith, to tell the truth. Wes has done better than I expected, but not that much.

These two also bring up the OPS/OXS debate. While OPS is a lot easier to figure, OXS is actually the true 98% accurate predictor of runs scored.

Helms---.242/.317/.434, 751 OPS, 138 OXS
Ginter---.279/.357/.360, 717 OPS, 129 OXS

So, while at first glance you'd think Wes is having a much better year by looking at OPS, OXS shows them to be pretty close, as Keith's outstanding OBP helps him make up some of the power difference. However, we trade EY for a used resin bag and a cracked bat or two, the question is moot, and I hope that happens soon.

To hit your other bullet points...

1. I'll be the first to say Alex has been outperformed by Scott, and I'm giddy about it. I always said Sanchez's probable "ceiling" was as an average CF, but was more likely to be a 4th OF type. I still think Alex needs someone to break through and get him to take pitches and slap pitches to LF, as Cecil Cooper seemed to have him doing in '02. Honestly, DET was likely a terrible team for Alex to go to, as they have so many young players, and so many guys with horrible offensive numbers, they have little time to spend tutoring Alex.

2. I agree Perez has been overproducing. However, the only excuse for not taking more pitches is he never has, for that matter, very few Latin players do. It's bad baseball, and there is simply no harm in adding to the pitch count.

3. I agree OPS is a superior stat to OBP. However, the point I've made and remade many times is simple: If you have a top OBP club, it is extremely likely you will have a top run scoring team. They are about 90% related. To me, that means there is nothing more important when looking at a player than simply looking at how many times said player "does not get out". Hence, despite all the hidden qualities Royce Clayton may have (defense, hairstyle that is high maintenance as well as a conversation piece), he is a bad addition because he is a terrible OBP man. What's funny is, we talk and talk about how the offense is better this year (and it is, from last in the NL to 10th), we've only moved up one spot in OBP (14th to 13th). To even be mediocre, we need to get on base quite a bit more, and it has to be our top priority.

4. Kolb throws hard, and has never been consistent as far as throwing strikes. I hope for the best, but I feel he's at his peak right now. However, he is proof at how easy it is to find middle relievers. Most AAA starters have the potential to be decent relief guys, as do many AAA bullpen fellas. I'm excited by the fact we may have two cheap lefties in Nance and Foster, both of whom have pitched exceedingly well at Indy, and Foster has done a dandy job in MIL, save one bad mop-up outing.

Thanks for reading and writing, Mike.



__________________________________


6/30/2003 10:21:00 PM



(6/30/2003 03:44:00 PM) - Al

While I was thinking of it, I thought I'd check and see how many piches each Brewers batter averages per PA. I believe I read last year the "average" p/PA in MLB is about 3.8, as the article I was reading said that Miguel Tejada was the only memeber of the A's team to be below that, and he had a 3.7 average. I know Billy Beane is also a big believer in this rarely looked at stat, as teams that take pitches push the opposing starters out of the game faster, and get to face the weakest pitchers on the staff more, the middle relief corps. I would have guessed the Brewers top 5 were Ginter, Podsednik, VanderWal, Sexson, and Helms, as all take quite a few pitches. In the case of the latter three, they are often thrown a "waste pitch", as all have power, and when behind in the count, may be more prone to swing and miss. Here's the actual list, I left off Enrique Cruz, as he is a small sample, and will be all year, it appears.

Ginter-------4.25 p/PA
VanderWal-4.13
Podsednik--4.11
Clark--------4.11
Osik---------3.93
Kieschnick-3.90
Clayton----3.86
Helms------3.85
Sexson----3.80
Sanchez---3.74
Jenkins----3.69
Young-----3.62
Perez------3.41

I actually forgot about Clark, as I should have realized he was right up there. Very surprised to see the ultra-agressive Brooks Kieschnick that high on the list, actually ahead of Sexson and Helms. Other thoughts:

---Anyone else surprised to see Alex Sanchez, in his time with MIL, ahead of EY on the list? I actually assumed he would be, as I had EY pegged for last place. No reason in the world Young shouldn't be right at the top of the list, except that he is a selfish, rather unintelligent hitter. He swings at the first pitch and at 1-0 as often as a power hitter does, which is inexcusable. Meanwhile, Alex was benched and traded because he didn't "take enough pitches for a leadoff man". I'll take Hypocrisy for $400, Alex.

---Geoff would easily move up to where he should be, about 4, if he simply took the first pitch more often. I'm not saying never swing at the first pitch, with Jenks' power, it's silly to not swing at the first pitch with men on base. But, with the bases empty, Geoff should take more often, as he'll rarely get a fastball anyway, as he swings at so many pitches out of the strike zone.

---Surprised to see Sexson so low. Heck, he K's often, which is an automatic minimum of 3 pitches (the pound of flesh, Beane calls it, as K's often take 5+ pitches), and he often is worked around, which should result in more pitches seen.

---Perez doesn't have the offensive game to make so many quick outs. I'd simply give him the "take" sign a couple times a game until he gets a strike on him.

So, how much of a difference does this make? Let's say you are having a tough time versus a Mark Prior type. If you have 9 Eddie Perezes in your lineup, not only will you suck, but Prior can get Eddie out 27 times and give up 9 runners in only 123 pitches, less than he threw in 8 innings last week versus the Crew. In other words, you better beat the starter, regardless.

Let's say you have 9 Keith Ginters on your lineup card. To get 27 outs while allowing 9 baserunners, Prior would have to throw 153 pitches (though I wouldn't be all that surprised if Dusty let him hit that once this year). Odds are, Prior will only be allowed to go 6-7 innings in that case, and you'll have a shot at the Cubs' bullpen for a couple frames. Looking at how we fared against Borowski last Thursday, after Prior had thrown 127 pitches, working pitch counts higher is very important to your offensive success.



6/30/2003 03:44:00 PM



(6/30/2003 03:04:00 PM) - Al

heya Al,

Tough loss today. I still want to know why Mr. Ginter isn't playing every day. Wes Helms isn't a horrible player, but wouldn't you have much rather seen Ginter up in that situation with 2 guys on with no one out than Helms? I know it doesn't work that way because Ginter was already playing today, but I think you know what I mean. I just don't see Keith swing and miss...swing and miss...and swing and miss like Helms did. Again, Helms isn't horrible, but I'd take a guy who can fight off pitches and knock one into left for a run scoring single over a guy who seems to be swinging for the fences a good chunk of the time. I'll be
interested to hear what you think. :)

Thanks, Mike


Well, would I rather see Ginter playing 3B than Helms? Yes I would, and he well might be if Yost had sat on the ATL bench with Keith. But, Wes is his man, and he is playing on a daily basis. Should Keith at least be playing once a week in place of Wes, against RH with good breaking stuff? Absolutely. I said in March that Keith would be playing every day in July, as he would "beat out" either Wes or EY. Wes has actually hit better than I thought he would, and EY, despite a low BA, has produced at an OK level as well.

{begin rant}However, Royce Clayton's ability to suck has only been exceeded by his ability to stink. I have little doubt Keith Ginter would be a weak defensive SS, and I still wouldn't hesitate to play him ahead of Clayton. I still can't believe we went out and signed Royce to a mid-level contract when his equivalent (or better) would have been available on the waiver wire in late March, for 20% of the cost...and the free talent available would have been younger, with a much higher ceiling{end rant}.

The funny thing is, everyone seems to love Ginter, casual fans as well as us stat geeks. He is listed at 5-8, so he's probably about 5-7 or so. Not only does that make him the underdog folks like to cheer for, it makes his strike zone smaller. Keith takes a ton of pitches, and while he hasn't walked as much as you'd think, he works the count as well as anyone, and seemingly always gets a fastball or a hanging breaking ball to hit. At the very least, he's a nice utility IF, and I see no reason why he couldn't be a starter...either a decent 3B or SS, or maybe even an above average 2B.

Let's hope one of these teams with an injured 2B, or a poor one (Rivas in MIN, Vina in SL {damn that Bo Hart}, Ellis in OAK slumps, etc, takes EY off our hands and mutes this debate, for '03 at least.



6/30/2003 03:04:00 PM



(6/30/2003 02:29:00 PM) - Al

Yours truly and Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog "chatted" away the evening Friday as the Crew played the Twins. It was a nice win for the Brewers, and it allowed plenty of time to discuss other baseball topics. Aaron has posted the chat at his site, which can be found on the right side, or by clicking here. Get yourself a cold beverage, as it's long, but enjoy.


6/30/2003 02:29:00 PM


Sunday, June 29, 2003

(6/29/2003 08:22:00 PM) - Al

We're halfway through the season, and Scott Podsednik still does not suck. In fact, he's thriving. So, let's look back at his AAA numbers:

.283/.339/.419
56 walks in 707 AB's...one BB every 12.6 AB's

Scott is in his year of 27, so this is likely to be his peak production season. Let's look at Scott's stats this year:

.321/.399/.442
26 walks in 228 AB's...one walk every 8.8 AB's

So, as far as I can see, Scott either underproduced in AAA Tacoma, or has overachieved in his time in Milwaukee. Or, both.

Doug Melvin either saw something in Scott, or was tipped off by someone who did. Looking at Scott's AAA numbers, they are solid, but nothing spectacular, to say the least. 707 AB's is far from a small sample. Both Jason Conti and Brady Clark have better AAA career stats than Mr. Podsednik, and I would be as surprised if they'd have a 841 OPS as I am in Podsednik.

What to make of an incredible 228 AB run for Scott? Well...

1. Scott is a great player who underachieved in the minors.
2. Scott is a good player who is having a great year.
3. Scott is a AAA player who is having an incredible rookie season.

My take? Obviously, there may be a bit of all 3 of the above in the truth. Scott Podsednik has gone from being a somewhat toolsy, better than average AAA OF to being an above average major league OF in 3 months. That's not a likely scenario, but it has happened.

What does the future hold? I do still expect a "correction" to occur, as it does with many rookies. Advance scouting has a way of taking a glimmer of weakness and exploiting it. Good hitters adjust, and some do not. I do feel Scott has had a superb first half, and congrats to him. He is a testament to scouting, and proof that scouts can indeed pick a prize pup from a litter...sometimes at least.

The best part about Scott is that we do not need to make a decision on him for quite a while, he's ours until after the 2008 season, if we wish; and not eligible for arbitration until after the 2005 season. As I have shown with Torri Hunter, it is very possible to have a career stretch in the first half of a season that is not matched later on. By the time we have to make a long-term decision on him, we'll have hundreds more AB's to use to judge him.

I hope we found the unluckiest hitter ever to play at AAA, but I doubt it. Much of Scott's improvement can be traced to simply taking more pitches, and Butch Wynegar deserves a lot of credit for that, as he does for the entire team's sudden interest in the base-on-balls. I'd guess Scott will end the season with numbers close to .300/.360/.420, an outstanding rookie campaign. Even if he slumps miserably in the 2nd half, he's unlikely to fall beneath a statline of .280/.340/.390, which still would be a decent rookie season.

If Scott stays healthy, there seems little doubt he'll be our CF at least through the 2004 campaign. He's cheap, he's producing, and he is the epitome of a diamond in the rough. Good luck to him.



6/29/2003 08:22:00 PM



(6/29/2003 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Basically, we're at the midway point of the season, as most teams are just short of 81 games. If guys are playing every day, small samples are now full blown slumps. So, some "rules" should start to take hold, right?

Top AL offensive teams:

1. Boston
2. Toronto
3. New York
4. Seattle

Top AL OBP teams:

1. Boston
2. Toronto
3. New York
4. Seattle


Top NL offensive teams:

1. St. Louis
2. Colorado
3. Atlanta
4. Houston

Top NL OBP teams:

1. St. Louis
2. Colorado
3. Atlanta
4. Philadelphia

C'mon, is it really that simple? The top three in each league match perfectly, HOU is actually 6th in OBP, while PHIL is 9th in runs scored. Rob Neyer has written a couple times lately how the Phillies have underachieved offensively, and they have. But, they appear to be on the right track, so change isn't necessarily called for. 11th in SLG and 8th in OPS seem to have the Phils right where they belong. One of two things will probably occur in the second half:

1. Philadelphia's OBP will fall.
2. Philadelphia's offensive output will increase.

And to those who speak of stealing bases to spark the offense, or hitting behind the runner, or bunting in the first inning, I suggest they simply work on getting out less. More baserunners equals more runs, almost without exception.




6/29/2003 07:17:00 PM



(6/29/2003 04:37:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman, while happy with the win, will be saddened to know that "the hustle of Luis Rivas" will probably keep his crappy offense in the lineup the rest of the year.


6/29/2003 04:37:00 PM



(6/29/2003 04:35:00 PM) - Al

My fantasy teams have taken quite a hit today. Franklyn German was sent to AAA Toledo, and Brandon Lyon has been moved out of the closer spot in BOS, in favor of Kim. I had them on several of my clubs. Saves is a cheap category, and hopefully, I'll be able to find another guy when he's moved to the closer spot, but right now, none are available.


6/29/2003 04:35:00 PM



(6/29/2003 04:05:00 PM) - Al

Another IF hit, followed by a bad walk to the unpowerful Guzman, has Dejean in trouble.

EDIT: K to Koskie...PH for Kielty???? Oh, Justin Morneau. I wouldn't do it, but I understand somewhat.

Justin with a single to CF. Runners on 1B & 3B, one out, up one.

Hunter HBP.

We needs us a one-hopper right back to Dejean.

Doug M with a SAC fly to deep RCF. Tie game.

Jones out 6-3.

We have extra innings at the Dome. Great game, great series.



6/29/2003 04:05:00 PM



(6/29/2003 03:53:00 PM) - Al

I just saw Royce Clayton miss a routine grounder...on artificial turf. The only thing more painful than that is to hear Bill & Daron make excuses for him.

He thought it was going to take a bad hop, hit the seam.

Actually, what happened is that Royce Clayton is an incredibly overrated player. I don't feel he's as good defensively as Jose Hernandez was last year, and Jose is not a Gold Glover by any means. The thing is, if Royce isn't good defensively, why keep him around?

What really frustrates me is that we can find any SS to make errors on routine plays, and they'll be cheaper and have a ton more potential than Clayton. And the odds are pretty poor they'll be any worse offensively.

EDIT: Thanks to horrible baserunning by Doug M, a poor call by the ump on a pickoff attempt, and a perfect throw by Jenkins, the Twins manage not to score on: An error, walk, and a double. Does sit help to be lucky? No, not at all.:)


6/29/2003 03:53:00 PM



(6/29/2003 03:25:00 PM) - Al

Gabe Kapler following up his 4-5 with a 3-4 today, hitting his 2nd HR as well. Talk about getting off to a good start with your new club. If BOS can get into a hot streak and find their way into first place, he could gain celebrity status in Beantown right quick.


6/29/2003 03:25:00 PM



(6/29/2003 02:20:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Been reading your Blog for quite a while now, and have been reading your posts dating back to about 2000 on the ESPN Brewers message board. I noticed a letter from reader Mike that you posted Sunday regarding OBP in the media. I have actually noticed when watching ESPN telecasts this year that they have added OBP to the BA, HR, and RBI that they show at the bottom of the screen during a batter's first AB in a game. I was pleasantly surprised, and it made me think that maybe, slowly, the word is getting out. Keep Blogging!

Patrick


Thanks for reading and writing, Patrick. There have been some baby steps, OBP is on Miller Park's scoreboard, on TV once in a while, etc. I recall reading a couple years ago that A's TV actually started to put BA/OBP/SLG on their broadcast, at the request of the A's management. I didn't really notice it on DIRECT though last year.

I'd actually like to see a OBP/SLG/OPS line, then the "average" MLB stats for each player at that position. That would be a good way to show that while Sexson and Jenkins are good hitters, they aren't extraordinary for 1B & LF.

Of course, until Bill Schroeder stops saying the #8 hitter should swing at a bad pitch (I'm sorry, expand his strike zone) with two outs and the pitcher due up next (No Respect for OBP for $200, Alex), I guess baby steps is all we can ask.


6/29/2003 02:20:00 PM



(6/29/2003 02:11:00 PM) - Al

Managers that complain about one pitch out of 280 make me yawn. Again, the idea that you can sit Kielty and LeCroy on the bench most days, have Guzman bat 2nd; you can yell all you want, you need to look in the mirror to pinpoint your club's problems. Kielty just smoked one off the wall as I'm typing, as if to prove my point.


6/29/2003 02:11:00 PM



(6/29/2003 01:58:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I also like Jeremy Giambi and thought his 919 OPS (in 2002) had finally solidified him as an everyday player. Have you noticed how close his numbers are to (Player X)? Can you imagine him sitting on the bench like Jeremy?

Lawrence


I had not noticed, but I'm sure the reason is the vast BA difference is why. Let's look at the numbers:

Jeremy---.269/.381/.437, 818 OPS
Player X-.307/ .358/.471, 829 OPS

X may be worth a couple runs a year over Jeremy, but this is as good a comparison as I've seen to show how good Giambi is. Simply put, there are many who overvalue BA, I'd say about 95% of fans and 67% of the people making baseball decisions. Add that to the fact Jeremy got into a shouting match with OBP man Billy Beane, and has struggled this year under OBP man Theo Epstein, it'll take a turnaround, or someone like me giving him a shot.

Click here to find out who Player X is:


6/29/2003 01:58:00 PM



(6/29/2003 01:40:00 PM) - Al

Out of curiousity, I thought I'd do a quick check on the Brewers compared to 2002.

2002---14th in OBP, 14th in SLG, 14th in OPS, 16th in R, 13th in BB's, 15th in ERA (4.73)
2003------13th in OBP, 9th in SLG, 9th in OPS, 10th in R, T8th in BB's, 14th in ERA (5.08)

Even though they've allowed more runs per game, they rank higher, due to the horrible staffs in SD and CIN this year. Other than that, the sizable jumps have been in walks and HR's, a perfect example of the Beane count making a difference in runs scored.

Even though the pitching staff has allowed more runs, we've still sen progress in '03:

2002--16th in BB's, 15th in intentional walks (only noted strategist Lloyd McClendon put more baserunners on base freely)
2003----8th in BB's, T5th in intentional walks

Mike Maddux has his guys throwing strikes and challenging hitters, though the results may not be what we'd like to see. No doubt in my mind we're on the right course.


6/29/2003 01:40:00 PM



(6/29/2003 01:30:00 PM) - Al

Matt Ford off to a unlucky and nervous start. 2 walks, and a infield single have loaded the bases, but he's only one out away from getting out of it unscathed. He has Doug M up, a LH bat, but a high OBP one.

EDIT: 4-1 grounder, I'm glad Ford covered 1B on what looked like a routine grounder to 2B.


6/29/2003 01:30:00 PM



(6/29/2003 01:27:00 PM) - Al

Much credit was given to ANA last year because the feeling was, they scored a lot because they did not K. In fact they had the fewest K's in the AL in '02. Did it matter?

2002---4th in OBP, 6th in SLG, 5th in OPS, 4th in R, 14th in K's, 2nd in ERA
2003---8th in OBP, 7th in SLG, 7th in OPS, 9th in R, 14th in K's, 5th in ERA


Still don't strikeout often, but they get on base less, hitting for a tad less power, and predictably, scoring fewer runs. Put that together with giving up more runs; they have went from a very good team in 2002 to being excatly mediocre in 2003. Do strikeouts matter? Nope. Does OBP? You bet.


6/29/2003 01:27:00 PM



(6/29/2003 01:14:00 PM) - Al

Ginter in the lineup for the 2nd day in a row today. That's nice to see. 'Bout damn time.


6/29/2003 01:14:00 PM



(6/29/2003 11:02:00 AM) - Al

Our overnight guests just left, and I see on SportsCenter the Marlins DID come back and beat the Red Sox. Of course, if they were truly "mad" about anything, or if that mattered, I doubt they would have allowed BOS to jump out to a lead. Looks like another poor outing by the Sox 'pen, which obviously will undergo some change in the upcoming weeks. The thing is, I'm sure Theo doesn't want to add a guy just to add one, a Jose Jimenez type, 23 saves, but a 6.50 ERA and a 2 WHIP. As anyone who follows the game knows, guys like that as well as overpaid, mediocre relievers (ala Leskanic) are often the only ones made available at the deadline.


6/29/2003 11:02:00 AM


Saturday, June 28, 2003

(6/28/2003 08:24:00 PM) - Al

Don't look now, but the White Sox are just 3 games under .500, and just 3.5 games behind the Twins. I'd be a lot more worried about the ChiSox than the Royals if I were MIN. Looks like Mark Buerhle finally has found his groove, and Frank Thomas can "walk too much" for me anytime.


6/28/2003 08:24:00 PM



(6/28/2003 08:20:00 PM) - Al

I hope MIN remembers that triple EY just hit. He'd be a step up over Rivas no doubt, and moving him would clear a spot for Ginter to play every day. I just get the feeling the Brewers are going to not respect Keith's ability to put up a .350 OBP and go with some fleet-footed guy instead. Same thing happened with Ronnie Belliard, he of the .400 OBP in COL.


6/28/2003 08:20:00 PM



(6/28/2003 08:16:00 PM) - Al

Just noticed Matt LeCroy is catching tonight. How Tom Prince gets any playing time on that team is beyond me. Matt hits like a 1B and has the ability to catch? It's stunning how the Twins don't value Kielty or LeCroy. Never know how good they are until you let them play.


6/28/2003 08:16:00 PM



(6/28/2003 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Ned brings VDS in to face Jacque Jones, who the Twins don't seem to realize can't hit LH pitching. As easy of a K as you'll ever see in the big leagues.


6/28/2003 08:08:00 PM



(6/28/2003 08:05:00 PM) - Al

Burba comes out in the 6th, and has allowed a hit and 2 hard hit outs. Not sure why an 8 man bullpen needs Dave to get 5 2/3 innings rather than 5, but Ned has decided that was his limit. Was there a plan to the madness, or just a "hunch"? Guess we'll never know.


6/28/2003 08:05:00 PM



(6/28/2003 08:03:00 PM) - Al

Gabe Kapler is 3-3 in his first game with the Red Sox. BOS also placed Jeremy Giambi on the DL with bursitis in his left shoulder.

COL will regret losing Kapler, seems pretty obvious that was a decision based on things other than baseball. Give Theo credit for making a good presentation to add yet another good bat. Theo may be ridding himself of a good player in Giambi soon as well for silly reasons, but if you can replace him with another, it's not bad baseball.

By the way, might be time for another "light the fire" speech by the ancient Jack McKeon, as the speedy Marlins trail 7-2 to the OBP minded Red Sox. More to the point, might be time to add better players.


6/28/2003 08:03:00 PM



(6/28/2003 07:56:00 PM) - Al

Dan Kolb up and throwing in the 'pen. I hope Yost is thinking 5 solid is enough for Burba as well.


6/28/2003 07:56:00 PM



(6/28/2003 07:55:00 PM) - Al

Richie Sexson really looks like his legs are bothering him. I hope he either takes the day off tomorrow or DH's. Running on the cement-like artificial turf of the Metrodome obviously doesn't do him any good.


6/28/2003 07:55:00 PM



(6/28/2003 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Just got back from our block party dinner, and see the Crew is down 3-1 in the 5th. If Burba can get out of the inning without anymore damage, that's a nice effort. First thing I hear out of Bill Scroeder's mouth was:

Torri Hunter really hasn't gotten going this year, but he's a good hitter.

No he's not. As I said on June 20th, and last year, Torri is hitting just like he's always hit...except for a great stretch of games in the first half of 2002. Astounding that people will gladly believe 300 AB's is more of an indicator than 2500.


6/28/2003 07:52:00 PM



(6/28/2003 01:09:00 PM) - Al

I spent last night's game chatting with Aaron from Aaron's Baseball Blog. It was an enjoyable time, made moreso by the 13-1 Brewers win. Hopefully, we will be able to post the transcript soon.

Nice to see Richie Sexson break loose with a big game. He'd been in a bit of a slump lately, I believe they said he broke an 11 game homerless streak. Also, a great stab of a high line drive that he turned into a DP.

I wouldn't have let Matt Kinney pitch the 9th, as he had 108 pitches going into it, so I assume he finished with 120-125. However, Matt isn't a baby anymore, so it's not like letting Prior do it every time out. Matt is now 6-6 with a 4ish ERA. I believe he'd have the 2nd best ERA in the Twins rotation, other than Lohse, who worked last night.

John VanderWal hit a HR to the upper deck in RF that almost went as far as one Jeromy Burnitz hit when I was in attendance at the Dome. His hit the banners hanging from the roof, just about 20 feet further than VW hit his.

While Kieschnick may just be a replacement level pitcher, you gotta wonder why he never got more than a couple hundred AB's to show what he could do in the bigs. He had outstanding numbers in the minors, though he may have been held up by the amount of K's he had. Even when he gets out, it seems he drives it to the warning track a good precentage of the time. The fact he can both hit and pitch at even the replacement level makes him a nice addition to a team.

Aaron said last night he was unimpressed by Eric Young, and had heard bad things about his D especially. He hopes they end up with Mark Loretta, who would be a perfect fit for them. I've heard SL wants Lo, as he could play 2B for now, then platoon with Vina and back up 1B, SS, & 3B as well. LaRussa would love to have another guy who can play all over the field.

Dave Burba goes tonight. Funny to hear Ned Yost open up his book of cliches to describe him:

He knows how to pitch, he's a veteran pitcher, he's looked good in his last three outings, etc.

Sadly though, he's been a mediocre AAA arm. A 4.33 ERA against teams in which Brooks Kieschnick is the cleanup hitter, and not batting 7th or 8th, does not bode well for his success. Hopefully, Dave will be able to keep us in the game for 5 innings, and we can set up the bullpen for success. But, in similiar situations, Yost has let guys like Quevedo start the 7th against the top of the lineup, and then been surprised by the failure that follows. Even without Brooks, we have 7 relievers, and they've all been effective, with the exception of Vizcaino, who has also been used in high leverage situations lately, and was OK in his last two games.

With a LH, Kenny Rogers going tonight, it'll be interesting to see who DH's. My guess would be Eric Young, as maybe Ginter will get the start at 2B.




6/28/2003 01:09:00 PM


Friday, June 27, 2003

(6/27/2003 05:32:00 PM) - Al

Word is from an Indy Indians fan Dave Burba has already joined the Brewers. I would assume Q will be available to pitch in relief, though with all the other relievers, he'll hardly be needed. Q deserved a better fate, as he was left in too long in his first couple starts. Still, he hasn't pitched all that well, by any stretch. Burba is certainly not a part of the future, which is likely the safest statement I've ever made here. While I'll be the first to say Q needs to get regular innings, it seems to me a better option surely exists at AAA. However, looking at the numbers, Pasqual Coco is almost the same as Burba, though he does K more AAA batters (6.8/9 to 5.5/9). The only pitcher in the rotation really pitching well is a gent named Ben Ford who has limited work.

To be blunt, I'd go with Brooks Kieschnick and let him PH when he's not starting. Or, let Q have a couple more outings. Going with a 37 year-old who has allowed more hits than innings pitched in AAA seems like a move of desperation. I mean, heaven forbid we only win 69 rather than 71 this year.

And to think Bruce Chen was there for the taking a couple weeks ago. Hard to believe he wouldn't be a better choice than Burba.


6/27/2003 05:32:00 PM


Thursday, June 26, 2003

(6/26/2003 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Anyone notice the way Russ Granik (spelling) kind of smirks after announces each pick? It's like he's saying, "yeah, he's not making the team". By the way, has there ever been a college player Dick Vitale doesn't love? Grow up, Dick, they all aren't great.


6/26/2003 09:37:00 PM



(6/26/2003 09:26:00 PM) - Al

The Crew got fortunate in 2 consecutive games, winning in 10 yesterday, then winning on a 3 run HR today by Geoff Jenkins in the 9th. Luis Vizcaino pitched well in very limited duty the last couple days. Brooks Kieschnick showed once again he can be a valuable player, as he seems to be a serviceable middle reliever, and he has the ability to hit for power...a trait sorely missed by the Brewers' bench in the past. And as an intelligent poster noted at Brewerfan.net, thank goodness Dusty Baker has put together the worst bench since...the 2002 Giants. Lenny Harris, Paul Bako, Tom Goodwin, Troy O'Leary...it'd be tough putting together a bench that bad if you tried. Talk about no respect for OBP...but we knew that when they dealt away Mark Bellhorn. Add this to the fact Mark Prior throws 120+ pitches half the time, I can't see the Cubs staying in the race.

Jenkins has shown he is a dandy player if he's healthy. Let's hope he stays that way.

Let's hope Ginter has earned some extra playing time. How we can keep a .350 OBP man on the bench with Royce Clayton sucking at extraordinary levels every day is beyond me.

Mike Dejean has 16 of the quietest saves ever recorded. I doubt if half the Baseball Tonight crew can name the Brewers' closer.

We'll have to see what happens with the rotation this weekend. It looks as if Matt Ford will start Saturday, but only go 4-5 innings. Word is Dave Burba may be called up and get the start Sunday. If this is the case, I'm not sure why Q wasn't sent down Wednesday and a position player recalled, just to add "balance" to the roster for a few days.

I'm all for carrying 13 pitchers if it helps us get a better deal for Leskanic, but this is getting silly. You can't get 8 relievers consistent work even with a couple members of the rotation struggling.

Finally, I'm tired of people saying what a nice record the Crew has when Sheets, Kinney, or Franklin start. I believe they are now a couple games over .500 now when one of them takes the mound. Why you ask? Because every single team has a much better record if you use only the top 3 arms. It's a way of hiding your problem of having limited SP depth.


6/26/2003 09:26:00 PM



(6/26/2003 09:04:00 PM) - Al

I always watch the NBA draft, though I am just a casual NBA fan. Rick Rickert is still around, and I have trouble believing he won't at least be a role player in a rotation in the NBA in 5 years. Some team is going to get a bargain in the 2nd round.

And, why doesn't someone tell these guys to stay in school?!? Rick may well have believed he'd be a late 1st rounder, but it's easy to drop to mid 2nd from there. At the very least, he should have not hired an agent, as he may have trouble finding a 12th man spot next season, if a good team ends up with him. Rick may well play in Europe next year now.


6/26/2003 09:04:00 PM



(6/26/2003 07:56:00 PM) - Al

Another plug for Do The Brew, a fine Brewers' blog which started a week or so ago. Outstanding piece wondering why Ginter isn't playing more, and daily recaps that put Drew Olson's to shame...of course, if my cocker spaniel could type, so would his, but trust me, it's a grand site. Check it out.


6/26/2003 07:56:00 PM



(6/26/2003 07:45:00 PM) - Al

It's about time someone noticed that Mark Prior is being abused damn near every start in Chicago.

Heck, that's old news to anyone who checks in here on a regular basis.

{You may need to scroll down to the 5/13 & 5/15 entries.}

By the way, I'm all but positive the article was written before Mark threw 127 pitches today. One twenty-seven. Christ.


6/26/2003 07:45:00 PM



(6/26/2003 06:38:00 PM) - Al

Sorry about the lack of posts, Blogger was "improving my blog". Be back later tonight with some posts.


6/26/2003 06:38:00 PM


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

(6/25/2003 10:59:00 AM) - Al

Aaron over at Aaron's Baseball Blog includes Glendon Rusch as his P on his Bizarro team, but also says Glendon has been extremely unlucky thus far in '03. And, he makes a pretty good case for it, and you'll be amazed at how his defense independent stats compare to. Check it out.


6/25/2003 10:59:00 AM


Tuesday, June 24, 2003

(6/24/2003 09:45:00 PM) - Al

That ball was hit so hard, Royce Clayton, an all-star SS, couldn't get it.---Daron Sutton

Royce Clayton was an all-star SS in 1997, 6 long years ago. That was when Royce was 27 (imagine that, a player having his career season in his year of 27), not 33. Referring to Royce as an "all-star SS" is no more accurate tha calling me "a single man", as I have not yet been married 6 years, only 5.87.

That was right before we heard the story of Daron's Dodge Colt being purchased by Bill Schroeder. Honest. Can you imagine how bad our broadcast team would be if they weren't former players? Christ, we're one step away from watching baptisms and birthing videos.


6/24/2003 09:45:00 PM



(6/24/2003 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Not a real good night for the coaching staff either. Yost yanked Q after just 2/3rd's of an inning, then let Ford hit for himself with the bases full the next inning. A bit of managing with his heart and not his head, to say the least. Ruben obviously wasn't dominating, but his last two hits were a hit-and-run single to the spot vacated by EY, then a slow roller between Sexson and "Range Rover" Young. Like what often occurs, when you struggle, you have bad luck as well.

Rich Donnelly held Helms at 3B on a slow base hit to CF, with Ford due up and one out. Maybe you hold him with no one out, but he would score the majority of the time, as a perfect throw was needed to get him. Unless Wes slipped off camera, it looked like Rich failed to think ahead to who was batting next.


6/24/2003 08:46:00 PM



(6/24/2003 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Not a good night to be a manager's favorite. Scott Podsednik has made a pair of baserunning blunders, EY just made a DP turn that would make a 4th grade girl shake her head in disgust, Clayton "looped" said DP throw to 2B, etc.

Good things those guys can get away with playing that badly, not many can.


6/24/2003 08:39:00 PM



(6/24/2003 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Watching Eric Young play the game of baseball is embarassing. He is possibly the worst 2B defensively in the game, and other than his ability to steal bases, a terrible baserunner. Tonight, after ignorantly getting in a rundown on a ball hit back to the pitcher, he motions the other runner to go to 2B, then gets tagged out a millisecond later, leading to a double play. His only skill at this point is the ability to post a decent OBP for a middle IF, and teach others how to convince people he can still run. I don't think he's had an infiled hit in 2 years, but every time there's a grounder to SS, the announcing team acts like he might beat it out. Please. He's able to steal bases using his experience, but I don't think he gets down the 1B line as fast as Geoff Jenkins does.

And, his mere presence keeps Keith Ginter from showing he can play.


6/24/2003 07:20:00 PM



(6/24/2003 05:49:00 PM) - Al

BOS has signed Gabe Kapler to a minor league deal and assigned him to the New York-Penn league, where i assume he'll go to some AB's for a week or so. If my greatest hope happens, the Crew will end up with OBP machine Jeremy Giambi.

At 3-4-5 in the lineup, Jeremy, Richie, and Geoff? Hey, that almost sounds like an average lineup! I'm not sure if Jeremy is a hard guy to get along with or not, but a guy who walks once every 5 times up can be in my lineup anytime. His numbers the past couple seasons speak for themselves, and his poor BA is not just a small sample, but all but meaningless, as he still has an average OBP.


6/24/2003 05:49:00 PM



(6/24/2003 12:59:00 PM) - Al

I never thought I'd see the day, but Jim Caple turns in a decent article today, about one of those idiot major league umps who quit, and then couldn't understand why they no longer had jobs.

{Amazingly, the previous statement is 100% accurate and not even sarcasm}

One of them is in the Nortwest League and is trying to work his way back to the bigs. He says the union's strategy was "assinine" and now realizes how ignorant he was to resign. Good luck to him on the long road back.


6/24/2003 12:59:00 PM



(6/24/2003 12:42:00 PM) - Al

Nice article by Ramblings reader Robert over at Brewerfan.net. It looks at how the Brewers offense may be overproducing a bit, but also gives a lot of credit to Butch Wynegar. Read it here.


6/24/2003 12:42:00 PM



(6/24/2003 11:15:00 AM) - Al

Yesterday, ANA signed Darin Erstad to a 4 year, $32 million deal. Darin isn't a bad CF, but the idea there's a team paying him $8 mil per reeks of poor judgement. Let's compare Erstad to the "average" CF in 2002.

Darin-----.292/.349/.435, 784 OPS
Ave CF--.268/.338/.429, 767 OPS

Darin is almost exactly mediocre...Baseball Reference is an excellent site for comparing players of different eras, so I punched in Erstad's name. The most similiar players include:

Shane Mack (.299/.364/.456, 820), Marty Cordova, Ivan Calderon, Matt Lawton, Chet Lemon, and Steve Kemp. Good solid, everyday ballplayers, but not a one I'd pay $8 mil per year for. It kinda bothers me that Shane Mack, a 4th OF/platoon guy, has comparable or better lifetime stats than Erstad has put forth in 5 of his 6 seasons.---8/4/02


Erstad is nothing except an overpaid, overhyped CF. He is yet another example of a Caucasian who is called "gritty", and despite facts so obvious I can see them, is overrated and paid way too much because people look at BA and SB's and think that alone means something.

In an injury plagued (who woulda guessed a player past his prime would be more likely to spend time on the DL) 2003 campaign, Erstad's line, compared to every other player who has spent an inning in CF looks like this:

Erstad---------.286/.347/.384, 731 OPS
Ave CF, '03---.276/.343/.438, 781 OPS

All that for only $8 mil per. Don't worry Anaheim...you've got him "locked up" for 3 more years. Spending payroll like that makes 2002 seem like a long, long time ago, doesn't it?



6/24/2003 11:15:00 AM



(6/24/2003 11:04:00 AM) - Al

Dave Stewart resigned today as pitching coach for the Crew...do I have to pretend to be sad? Bill Castro has been around as bullpen coach seemingly forever, and sounds ten times more excited about working with the young staff than Stewart ever did. Dave is possibly the most stoic individual in the history of mankind, and from Day 1, always seemed as if he was "slumming" because he wasn't the GM in Toronto...Amazingly, the blame has been extremely slow to find Dave. Despite a hellishly high ERA, 16th in the NL until the last week, no one has mentioned this fact in the Journal Sentinel all year. In fact, Mike Cunningham lavishly praised Stewart in a laughingly inaccurate portrayal a month or so ago. He has also seemed to take all aggressiveness away from the staff, as they pitched around good hitters all the time, even with no one on base. The funniest dimwitted event was Royster and Stewart literally creating a binder called "The Plan" which supposedly told each pitcher that they had to throw their "best" pitches in crucial situations. This was followed soon thereafter by a long losing streak, which leads me to believe the advanced scouts giggled in their reports nightly on this short-sighted idea.---7/29/02

So, in hindsight, does anyone else think TOR made the right choice by not hiring Dave Stewart as their GM? Me too.

I had forgotten about "The Plan", and rightfully so. I can't believe Stewart came to the Crew with a good reputation, albeit based on one season with SD, in which a couple guys had career years while Dave told whoever would listen how good he once was.




6/24/2003 11:04:00 AM



(6/24/2003 10:50:00 AM) - Al

If you took an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of lineup cards, damn near every single one of them would outmanage Mr. Royster.---7/6/02

I have nothing to say, except that I'm proud of this line. It's funny and true, which is exactly what makes it good humor.




6/24/2003 10:50:00 AM



(6/24/2003 10:46:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers came from behind to win after trailing after 8 complete innings for the 3rd time in about a month, after losing 114 of those games in a row. Did they suddenly "get clutch"? Of course not, I'd give all the credit to luck and running into a couple struggling closers. Does it matter if you score in the 1st, 7th, or 9th innings? Not at all. If anything, the Brewers are living proof that things DO even out eventually.----from 7/4/02

What strikes me about this paragraph (other than the fact it's odd reading your own stuff) is how much we've heard Ned Yost has his guys playing harder, working harder, and that the 2002 team "had some problems". Now, I don't believe in "clutch" hitting at all, I'd rather score all my runs in the 1st inning so I could better use my bullpen. but, since casual baseball knowledge values 9th inning runs more, the '02 club came back a lot, especially when you consider they only won 56 games.

It's funny, many fans and announcers can't even keep their tired, incorrect cliches straight.


6/24/2003 10:46:00 AM



(6/24/2003 10:34:00 AM) - Al

As we approach Ramblings' one year anniversary (it's tomorrow, you fools), i thought I'd go back and search the archives and see how accurate I've been. I will leave the review of the RUTT team's first half until the All-Star break (sneak preview: Kielty, good choice; Chen, maybe not), but I will take a look at some performance picks and be updating off and on most of the day.


6/24/2003 10:34:00 AM



(6/24/2003 10:10:00 AM) - Al

Some sort of game in ARI last night, D'Backs score 5 in the bottom of the 8th to go ahead 7-2, Astros score 4 in the top of the ninth, but fall just short.


6/24/2003 10:10:00 AM


Monday, June 23, 2003

(6/23/2003 11:20:00 PM) - Al

I'll be back tomorrow with some entries and hopefully a trade to talk about.


6/23/2003 11:20:00 PM


Sunday, June 22, 2003

(6/22/2003 09:54:00 PM) - Al

I have to admit it. I am an unabashed fan of The Man Show. At least a few times a show, I laugh as loud as I did when I watched classic Seinfelds for the first time. The wheel of destiny is one of my favorites, but most of all, it's just so politically incorrect. Jimmy and Adam seem to enjoy the show as much as we do.

And that Vanessa Kay is just so gosh darn intelligent and funny. It's the sense of humor that does it for me, yep.


6/22/2003 09:54:00 PM



(6/22/2003 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Heya Al,

Just wondering what your opinion is as to why OBP is still so ignored by baseball people and the media as well. The first time I went to Miller Park this year, I did my "traditional" thing, which is to buy the media guide. OBP is basically buried in it. It's not really mentioned in the write ups and it's hard to find in the stats. I also read a few articles on mainstream sites (JSOnline, AP, ESPN, etc) about Hernandez going to the Cubs and not one mentioned the OBP issue that you brought up. I'm with you. I don't understand why "not making outs" isn't a mantra for everyone. The Rockies clearly got the better end of the deal but you would never know it by the #s the media is presenting. Power is wonderful, but if you don't get on base enough by any other method, I'd rather take the guy who is a singles and doubles hitter and who walks more often...any day.

Thanks, Mike


Thanks for reading and writing, Mike. OBP is actually on the scoreboard at Miller Park, which is a huge step in the advancement of things, actually. Mike, baseball is a very old game. Over 100 years ago, the game was covered by the media, and some statistics were kept. For whatever reason, as the sport has developed, BA, HR, & RBI have become the big three. Now, there's no "formula" to figure out how many runs a team scored using these numbers, at least not one that works.

Meanwhile, OBP and SLG have proven to be 98% accurate when applied. Just spending a few minutes looking at the top OBP teams will almost always give you the top offensive teams. How long will it take before it becomes routine to quote OBP, SLG, OPS, etc? I would guess about a decade. Success by OAK, TOR, and BOS could fuel the change to occur sooner, but it will be a slow, slow process, in my mind. I mean Gammons is the only mainstream person to ever use OBP or OPS, and Bill James has been writing for 25 years, and has disciples in all phases of the game...and it's barely made a dent.

Guys like Rob Dibble babble on and on about mundane, trivial crap like "knowing your role" and "having confidence". Isn't a pitcher's only job to get batters out, regardless of the time? Confidence? How does that effect whether the batter hits it?

Give it time, as it will happen sooner or later. And when it finally does, I'm sure someone will improve on it. Honestly though, it's tough to do better than 98% accuracy in my mind.



6/22/2003 09:09:00 PM



(6/22/2003 07:23:00 PM) - Al

Interleague attendance today, in thousands:

55.4 (OAK's 2nd largest crowd ever)
34.4
15.5 (in MON, hey, why don't we build these folks a new stadium and keep the Expos there? Oh that's right, because that'd be ignorant.)
37.8
10.3 (in FLA, no doubt there's a problem there as well)
60.9 (in PHIL, versus the Red Sox)
25.3
40.0
34.7
38.2
54.6 (Freeway Series, LA/ANA)
27.1 (in SD, they didn't mind seeing SEA, Caple won't point out)

And tonight, TEX/HOU and NY/NY will play to huge crowds as well. Except for the known problems of MON and FLA, interleague play drew well. Now, would any Sunday home games in June also draw well? Most certainly. But, as long as you have 3 crowds in excess of 55K, no damn doubt in my mind interleague play will continue, and for good reason. If you don't include the games in Montreal (won't be there long) or Florida (as soon as MON is disposed of, the Marlins may be the next focus of MLB), the other games averaged just under 41K. I doubt if you'll see that on a Sunday the rest of the year...unless it's next Sunday, when the rivals play again. Granted, TB won't draw very well, but again, TB doesn't draw for anyone. It doesn't hurt anyone, yet it helps some.

And we should end it why...?


6/22/2003 07:23:00 PM



(6/22/2003 06:12:00 PM) - Al

Nothing wrong with taking 2 of 3 from the Twins. Looks like Justin Morneau went deep as a PH. I do look forward to seeing him DH next weekend in the worst stadium in all the land.


6/22/2003 06:12:00 PM



(6/22/2003 06:09:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers suck at keeping secrets. Matt Ford threw a side session with Maddux and Castro, like starters do. Still, no one would confirm he would start Friday night, despite:

That was not the only hint. Ford was teamed with the starting pitchers for a game the hurlers play during batting practice, when the starters and relievers square off in a sort of hitting contest. And instead of heading to the bullpen come game time, Ford spent the game on the bench in the Brewers dugout.

"I would like to know what the plan is, too," said Ford, 22, acquired in last winter's Rule 5 Draft. "It's a neat feeling to even be mentioned as a possible guy. But nothing has been set in stone. Everything is still up in the air."


Matt already has the dishonesty of a major leaguer down pat. No idea who is going to start Friday, Ben Sheets threw a pitch 3 feet behind the batter "by accident", etc.


6/22/2003 06:09:00 PM


Saturday, June 21, 2003

(6/21/2003 09:47:00 PM) - Al

Bill Schroeder tonight, upon John Foster entering the game to finish up the 9th inning of a lopsided affair:

Foster was pretty effective until his last few outings, he was hit pretty hard his last few games before being sent down.

I'm paraphrasing, of course, but I'm sure I caught the general idea. Bill, simpleton that he is, feels that all moves are based on performance, not politics, options remaining, and such. As I've stated a couple times, Foster had a 2.08 ERA before going to Indy, if you remove his game in which he was put into a blowout loss to SL, and left on the mound despite obviously not having his good stuff. I certainly did not remember John having a rough stretch, so I thought I'd check.

In John's last 5 games before being removed from the 25 man:

3 innings pitched, 4 hits allowed, 1 run allowed, 1 walk, 2 K's.

Certainly not dominating, but a 3.00 ERA doesn't strike me as being "roughed up", by any means. I just wish Bill would pretend to do some research, rather than rattling off whatever fractional truths manuever their way into his small mind.



6/21/2003 09:47:00 PM



(6/21/2003 06:20:00 PM) - Al

You won't believe it until you see it. Supposedly, this Honda ad used no special effects or computer simulations. If that is the case, it's a tribute to hard work and doing the same thing until you get it right.


6/21/2003 06:20:00 PM



(6/21/2003 06:07:00 PM) - Al

Lee Sinis said in his newsletter that if the Red Sox sign Kapler, Jeremy Giambi might be released. While I could understand that if BOS would be able to rid themselves of salary for a reserve, what's wrong with having a 1B/OF/DH sitting on the bench that gets on 35% of the time? Jeremy must rub people the wrong way, as he doesn't seem to get a lot of respect even from those GM's who do understand OBP.

I'll continue to say Jeremy will be just fine if you put him in the lineup every day (at least versus RH arms) and leave him alone. And I hope the Brewers are the team that gives him that opportunity.


6/21/2003 06:07:00 PM



(6/21/2003 12:37:00 AM) - Al

Shane Nance has pitched very well at Indy after a rough first week down there, I believe he's on a run of 12-15 scoreless innings in a row. John Foster pitched fine in MIL earlier this year, posting a 2.08 ERA if you take out a rough outing in a blowout loss to SL. Those two could give the Crew a pair of cheap lefties in the 'pen for several years.


6/21/2003 12:37:00 AM



(6/21/2003 12:33:00 AM) - Al

I do have to wonder why John Foster was called back up to replace Rusch on the roster. 13 pitchers, 8 relievers? C'mon. Heck, we could have offered that spot to Gabe Kapler, I have to think many teams who want him will want him to go to AAA for a couple weeks to get some AB's. I just read where several teams have talked to Kapler, including LA, BOS, and OAK. So much for us having a good shot at him.

As far as I can tell, unless you're playing several doubleheaders in a week, there isn't a way to get 12 pitchers the work they need, never mind 13. And just when you think Brooks Kieschnick is looked at as a hitter and mop-up man, he goes 3 innings one night and 2 innings the next.


6/21/2003 12:33:00 AM



(6/21/2003 12:18:00 AM) - Al

Yet another Brewers' weblog has joined the fray. Check out Do The Brew when you get a chance.


6/21/2003 12:18:00 AM



(6/21/2003 12:11:00 AM) - Al

Darn good day.

Rusch agreed to go to AAA Indy for four starts to get on track.

2nd round pick Anthony Gwynn Jr. signed a contract.

Brewers win 3-2, wild pitch in the 10th.


6/21/2003 12:11:00 AM


Friday, June 20, 2003

(6/20/2003 11:48:00 AM) - Al

---I have heard the Harry Potter books are quite good, but the idea of buying a 1000 page book at midnight is foolhardy at best.

---Saw Jewel on Craig Kilborne the other night. When exactly did she become a model that sings? A few years ago, she was this Alaskan girl who used to live in a car, who wrote poetry, and was kinda plain. Now she's ready to step in shall one of the Miller Lite girls be unable to perform her duties.

---Kelly from American Idol and a movie this summer is on Fox News right now. She has very short legs for her height. As a 6'2" person with a 30 inch inseam, let's just say I'm a bit of an expert on the subject.:)


6/20/2003 11:48:00 AM



(6/20/2003 11:24:00 AM) - Al

The Rockies picked up Ramblings favorite Mark Bellhorn yesterday and sent Jose Hernandez to the Cubs in return. Both have struggled this year, but one look at their numbers tell you who got the better end of the trade:

Bellhorn-----.209/.341/.319
Hernandez-.237/.308/.362

About the same OPS, but even if a down year for Mark, he's still not making outs at the ratio Jose is. In fact, getting on base at a .341 level while barely hitting .200 shows me that Mark is still utilizing the same plate discipline that allowed him to shine last year.

2002---76 walks in 445 AB's, 1 BB every 5.86 AB's
2003---29 walks in 139 AB's, 1BB every 4.79 AB's

What's missing is the power, as well as the BA. Of course, in less than 140 AB's, you'll put up some strange numbers. If Mark goes 3-4 in his next two games, his BA will shoot up to .238, which doesn't make his '03 struggles meaningless, but come pretty close.

This move tells me that the Cubs don't respect OBP at all. Considering Lenny Harris, he of the career .300ish OBP was getting playing time instead of Bellhorn, I guess we already knew that, but this put an exclamation point on it. It'll be difficult to stay ahead of HOU & SL with an attitude like that.


6/20/2003 11:24:00 AM



(6/20/2003 06:16:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers met with Glendon Rusch yesterday and supposedly asked him to accept an assignment to AAA Indy in order to get some work in to try and get back to being a career 4.50ish MLB pitcher. While I have doubts he'll accept, it doesn't hurt to ask.


6/20/2003 06:16:00 AM



(6/20/2003 06:07:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman seems surprised Torri Hunter is "struggling", but Torri is just hitting his career norms:

Career---------.269/.319/.454, 773 OPS
'02 2nd half--.263/.315/.464, 779
'03 1st half---.252/.329/.430, 759

Torri did have an outstanding first half of 2002:

.306/.347/.564, 911 OPS;

but the thing is, he is being compensated for those numbers, a career stretch of 85 games, rather than his overall numbers, compiled over thousands of AB's.

Torri is pretty much a mediocre offensive CF, and awesome defensively. That still makes him a good player, but is he worth $32 mil over the next 4 seasons? Hardly. Bobby Kielty is every bit as good, much cheaper, and dealing Torri would have allowed the Twins to add a piece to the puzzle without losing a thing (much like BOS did by sending Hillenbrand to ARI).

Sorry, if this sounds familiar, you probably read the same thing here, when he signed the deal (you may need to scroll down to the 1/17 & 1/18 entries).


6/20/2003 06:07:00 AM



(6/20/2003 05:57:00 AM) - Al

Keith Hernandez seems to understand all about the percentages that make baseball work.

Wouldn't it be cool if your team was managed by a guy who was on Seinfeld?


6/20/2003 05:57:00 AM



(6/20/2003 05:49:00 AM) - Al

COL released Gabe Kapler. Something must have occured between last weekend and now to kill the deal, which many reported was close to being done last Saturday. I can only imagine no one wanted to pick up Leskanic's salary, which makes perfect sense, actually. If not for Curtis' large contract, the Brewers wouldn't mind keeping him, and teams wouldn't mind taking a chance on a guy coming back from a serious arm injury if he was owed a prorated $300K the rest of the way.

I hope we pick up Kapler, he may even agree to go to AAA for a week or two to get some PA's and consistent playing time...it all depends how many teams bid for his services. As I've said before, he'll be a nice 5th OF at the very least, and provide us "roster balance". Also, there's always a chance he'll get hot and regain his 2000 form, which would actually give him a VanderWal level of value, good reserve OF with a bit of pop in his bat for the stretch run, and no long-term commitment.


6/20/2003 05:49:00 AM


Thursday, June 19, 2003

(6/19/2003 07:14:00 PM) - Al

Bo Hart was playing in Tacoma, Wash., and took a redeye flight to Pittsburgh, where he caught a connection to Milwaukee and arrived at the ballpark two hours before gametime after gulping several cups of coffee.

Hey, I'd be excited about being called up to the big leagues too. That said, the idea that Tacoma-Pittsburgh-Milwaukee was the best way to go makes me wonder about who the hell is making travel plans for SL. The only thing that comes to mind is that there was only one more flight out of Tacoma by the time he arrived at the airport. Anything else, and that's an awful trip.


6/19/2003 07:14:00 PM



(6/19/2003 05:33:00 PM) - Al

Michael Hunt of the JS says the Crew should release Glendon Rusch. While I don't feel that's as bad of an idea as damn near anything Drew Olson has ever said, it certainly seems like anh overreaction. Heck, Luis Vizcaino has pitched worse than Rusch. As long as you have 3-4 guys who are pitching pretty well out of the bullpen (Dejean, VDS, Leskanic, and Estrella certainly qualify, and Kieschnick has been fine most games as well), you can use both Glendon and Luis in low leverage situations, when the team is far ahead or far behind.

It should be noted that Jamey Wright pitched very poorly last season, but finally put together a stretch of good starts in mid-August, and the Crew was able to parlay him into Mike Matthews and Chris Morris. Mike is a situational lefty that we foolishly waived at the end of March, when SD snapped him up, while Morris is a CF bogged down in high A ball because he plays the same position as top prospect Dave Krynzel.

Hey, we're not chasing a wildcard berth here. We've allowed Rusch to try and work himself out of his funk in the rotation, and he has pitched OK to very badly. What's the harm in letting him be a long man? I promise you, if he is able to straighten himself out, a veteran LH pitcher will be worth a lot more than Wright was...even if Glendon is able to have 3 starts in a row that don't suck.


6/19/2003 05:33:00 PM



(6/19/2003 05:21:00 PM) - Al

Looks like we found our 5th starter. Matt Ford went 4 innings and 52 pitches today. While I would put him on a 90 pitch limit, there certainly is no reason to not allow him to replace Rusch in the rotation.. Quevedo had a poor game today, giving up 8 in 5 innings, but compared to Glendon, that's dominating.:)


6/19/2003 05:21:00 PM


Wednesday, June 18, 2003

(6/18/2003 11:13:00 PM) - Al

the low attendance figures from the past two weeks are a good indication that fans are bored by the idea---Jim Caple on interleague play

Notice how Jim doesn't give any numbers or data to back this up, just pulls it out and hopes you believe it. I'm not sure how this fool manages to keep his job. ESPN's standards must be rather low, to say the least.

Of course, considering the Twins/Royals "battle for 1st place" only drew 13K the other night, I guess we should discontinue those games as well. Caple's an embarassment to his species.


6/18/2003 11:13:00 PM



(6/18/2003 10:48:00 PM) - Al

Andrew Sullivan uncovered an article on the fact Michael Moore doesn't seem to care if he actually tells the truth in his movies or not. Seems Roger Ebert has posted a link on his web page's review of Moore's Bowling for Columbine film, which was originally very positive, as he has been bothered by some of the untruths that snuck into the movie. Hard to believe a guy like Moore, whose first film I saw and really didn't get, as the whole point was GM should accept lower profits by keeping an outdated plant in Flint open...because it had been open for a long time, would "stretch the truth" to benefit himself.

I'm not sure if that makes Moore an idiot or a socialist, but telling little "fibs" in a documentary is taking dramatic license a bit far.


6/18/2003 10:48:00 PM



(6/18/2003 10:32:00 PM) - Al

I just saw at Brewerfan.net that the Brewers are 26-29 in games that Glendon Rusch does not start. Of course, every team is much better if you take out the starts of the worst rotation member (one of many arguments I use to say the 4 man rotation is a good idea), but it did surprise me how close to .500 this team is minus Rusch nights. I have to believe that the bullpen now has Vizcaino and Rusch as mop-up men, and with the day off next Monday, they don't even have to worry about a 5th starter until Saturday, 6/28. The Crew really doesn't have anyone in the bullpen capable of going 5 innings, so barring a move, I'd expect them to go with either Kieschnick or Matt Ford for as long as they can go, 3-4 innings, or 60-70 pitches, and go to the bullpen.


6/18/2003 10:32:00 PM



(6/18/2003 10:27:00 PM) - Al

So, SL couldn't let the HBP incident die last night, so they carried it over into tonight's affair. Wes Helms had to leave the game with a bruised knee...then Miguel Cairo left with a broken hand. Gee, do ya think maybe the Cards wish they would have just left it alone?


6/18/2003 10:27:00 PM



(6/18/2003 10:27:00 AM) - Al

If there's anything to be read into the Brewers adding reliever Dan Kolb to the roster as Jayson Durocher goes on the DL, it's the fact the Crew doesn't expect Curtis Leskanic to be around much longer either. Keeping the team at 13 pitchers should be a short-term move, no doubt. Bothersome to me that Brooks Kieschnick was left out there for a 3rd inning last night, and obviously tired, after 6 up, 6 down in the first two. Made an effective performance look bad.


6/18/2003 10:27:00 AM


Tuesday, June 17, 2003

(6/17/2003 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Not only is Tino Martinez replacement level, he's a total fool. Yes, very gutsy of him to wait until the umpire and catcher gets between him and the pitcher before he starts barking at VDS. Get hit by a pitch, get down to 1B there, old timer. It's part of the game. Kudos to LaRussa for getting Gramps out of there, but why they didn't tell him to get his overpaid self back to the clubhouse is beyond me. Tino, you're still getting paid for your production in the mid-90's, be happy.

It never fails to amaze me that the player is always the last to know that they are a mere shadow of what they once were.


6/17/2003 09:45:00 PM



(6/17/2003 08:25:00 PM) - Al

Yes, I did attend last night's Cards/Crew game at Miller Park. Just some random thoughts from the game.

---For anyone with $2000 sitting around, I sat in Section 215, Row 9, Seat 1 last evening, and cannot imagine having better seats. Obviously, it's available for season ticket purchase.

---Many Cards' fans in the house, and they seem much more knowledgable than your average casual game attendee. Almost all had SL caps or garments on, and many were younger than myself.

---It amazes me how many folks are seeing the roof open and close for the first time after the game. I thought I'd let traffic thin out, so I sat and watched the massive structure do its thing, and the oohs and aahs were almost as loud as it was opening night. Sure, only a couple thousand stayed, but to hear the questions about how it works and such seem out of place 2+ years later. SL fans were very vocal in their approval, I overheard several say something to the effect of "nicest place I've been" (often followed by the disclaimer, "other than Busch"), and one pair of gents talked about how they hope the next SL park has a roof of some type, and said "if they do, I hope it's as nice as this one". They talked about how magnificent the park is, how high it went, how it is viewable from a long ways off. Once again, I can't say I've heard a negative word from someone who has seen it firsthand, it's all people who have a grudge to bear, or simply show their ignorance.

---Brooks Kieschnick got to bat twice as a PH...don't think I've ever seen that before. My, does Brooks take a big swing, he doesn't get cheated.

---Eric Young had to dispatch a bat boy to go get a batting glove from 1B coach Dave Nelson, as he must take it off when he runs the bases. Nelson looked puzzled, then took 3-4 gloves out of his pocket. The bat boy took EY's to him and gave the rest to another bat boy to take to the dugout.

---I thought after Osik's HR that Clayton should drop a bunt...and sure enough, he did, and beat it out for a hit. I always feel the best time to steal a base is right after you hit a single that ties or gives your team the lead as well. The pitcher is often too busy feeling negative to field his position or watch the runner.

---I hate to see Enrique Cruz used as a PH leading off the 5th inning. Cruz is as close to an automatic out as there is, other than having Ben Sheets hit, especially given how few PA's Cruz gets. I thought at the time Keith Ginter should be used, and as the game unfolded, Ginter ended the game on the bench. No use saving a guy for a situation that may never exist.

---Nice to see the Little Leaguers there last night, about 7500 strong. While the announced crowd was 24K, I doubt if over 14K saw the end. Also, it was amusing seeing groups of 5-8 little boys in circles with an adult male standing in the middle, outside the park, as tickets were given out, instructions given, men seriously wondering how they got stuck doing this, and so on.

---Funny, some have said how they hate all the in-between innings stuff, "kiss-cam", "bubble-cam" (never seen that before, it distorts faces), the short-skirted Ginger Jordan talking to fans, etc. (After Ginger was introduced as the "game host", the camera pulled back showing the leggy Miss Jordan, one man yelled, "Who needs Mary Ann?", while an older gentleman a row ahead of me said, "She can host my game anytime.") Anyway, all of it went over extremely well with the fans, the loudest cheer of the night was when they showed two young women sitting together on Kiss Cam. They cut away quickly, I assume actually fearing how loud the cheer would be if they HAD.

---Finally, I found out how darn big Miller Park's parking lot is. As I was crossing the bridge, two women of college age appeared at my side and one said, "Excuse me sir." Expecting them to be fans of Ramblings (honestly, I had no idea what they'd want from me), I replied, "Huh?" The gorgeous blonde said, "There's a (descriptive word that might offend deleted) guy following us, can you walk us to our car?"

Like a total hick, I turned around and saw only a group of people 25-30 strong about 50 feet behind us, but since I could always hope a Tastes Great/Less Filling fight would break out, agreed, checking my wallet was still in my pocket about 20 times as we walked past my spot and about 3 football fields later we reached their car. I listened to them talk and felt really, really old. I'm telling you, when I was their age:

1. Women did not look like that, and damnit, the tank top was not nearly as popular in the late 80's.
2. I would have been intimidated beyond belief at their mere sight, and never would have been able to muster a reply as well thought out as "Huh?".

So, I didn't get out of the lot until about 11:15PM, and found several hotels in the Sheboygan/Kohler area to be full. I was able to find a smoking handicapped room for the bargain basement price of $96, as I neither smoke, nor do they make a room for my handicap. I believe she quoted me an $82 cost, meaning room tax is very healthy in Sheboygan/Kohler. I might have paid for a street's repair all by myself. Hope the company doesn't balk at the high cost.

All in all, a wonderful baseball related evening.





6/17/2003 08:25:00 PM



(6/17/2003 08:15:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

I decided to check out your blog deal and i read some of it out tonight.I saw your thing about Baltimore and their increased OBP this year.Without a doubt an increased OBP can only help an offense,more baserunners can never be a bad thing.What i found interesting was Flanagan talking about their increased patience implying more walks while neglecting batting average.He mentions they had an OBP last year of .309 and this year it's .344,a nice bump for sure.Looking back at their stats last year their team batting average was .246 and this year its .280,there is your increased OBP nearly to the exact percentage point.Maybe they are working the count better to get better pitches to hit,though overall just looks like they have more guys getting base hits than did last year.He mentions Mora improved his OBP this year to .465 this year vs. .338,well considering his batting average was .233 last year and .362 this year thats your increase in his OBP.His walk rate vs. last year is only a bit higher than last year.

I only bring this up because i think to often batting average is ignored as a stat,even if OBP is more important.In the flood of OBP importance in baseball the last few years i often hear people say batting average is a nearly meaningless stat.It's sort of implied that to score runs you need most of your hitters to be patient and take walks to increase their BP.Well taking a look at the offensive stats of the top 14 run scoring teams this year,for nearly all of them except a few its a high batting average and high slugging percentage that jumps out at you.Only a few of the top teams are taking walks at an abnormaly high rate vs the poor scoring teams,but nearly all of them
have a high batting average and slugging percentage. The Yanks/Colorado are two exceptions to this in that their batting average isn't that high,but they are walking tons.At the same time the Phils/A's are struggling to score even though they walk alot because their batting average is so poor.Their are a bunch of teams with more walks than higher scoring teams,but their team batting average is to poor to knock in the guys taking walks.

Obviously since walks and batting average combine to reach an OBP you can say all that matters is the final OBP,which is true.My only point in this post is to often when discussing offense and OBP it seems everything is focused on teams or players that are patient and take walks.While doing this IMO batting average is to often ignored even though one look at the stats show most high OBP teams or high scoring teams are there because of their high batting average/slugging percentage as much or more than their walk totals. Makes me wonder if i'm the only one that seems to see this implied notion that the reason the top teams are scoring alot is they have power and take alot of walks trying to follow BEANEBALL while never mentioning its their high team batting average thats leading the way??

Mike


Thanks for checking Ramblings out, Mike, and for writing. I have indeed said BA is worthless or meaningless, and I believe that to be the case. I think you put it best when you said:

Obviously since walks and batting average combine to reach an OBP you can say all that matters is the final OBP,which is true.

BA is included in OBP, only OBP is many times better because it includes walks. BA is a valuable part of OBP, but it ignores how many times you are able to obtain a free pass. BB's + BA measures how much a batter reaches base safely, which is the inverse of another measurement, which could be called "out percentage". Over 600 plate appearances, it's imperative you reach base as often as possible. If you have a .350 OBP, you reached safely 210 times. A .400 OBP means you reached 240 times. How many more runs you score depends on the quality of your team, but it's pretty apparent that the man with the .400 OBP will score more a vast majority of the time, simply by reaching base more.

My reasoning for using OBP is very simplistic...it "works". OBP x SLG pretty closely estimates runs scored. If you can come up with a formula that's 98% accurate using BA, I'll check it out and maybe rethink things. Until then, it's all about OBP and SLG to me.


6/17/2003 08:15:00 PM



(6/17/2003 02:28:00 PM) - Al

So, just a thought...why did Ryan Rupe, who threw 105 pitches in 6 innings Friday night, come into the game last night on two days rest? What exactly was Grady Little thinking? Talk about not setting your pitchers up for success.


6/17/2003 02:28:00 PM



(6/17/2003 01:26:00 PM) - Al

Back home after 450 miles and an enjoyable Brewers game live at Miller Park, 2nd level, right behind home plate. Possibly, the best baseball game I've ever attended. I will be updating later on tonight, see ya then or tomorrow.


6/17/2003 01:26:00 PM


Sunday, June 15, 2003

(6/15/2003 08:47:00 PM) - Al

Looks like business will take me away from the computer the next 36 hours or so...but as luck should have it, it may allow me to see the Crew "battle" the Cards Monday night. With luck, the Brewers will have dealt Leskanic at a time of health before I return. Until next time...


6/15/2003 08:47:00 PM



(6/15/2003 08:32:00 PM) - Al

From Peter Gammons:

There are those who snicker at the on-base obsession of Ricciardi, Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, Theo Epstein, et al, but there is another strong believer dating back to his Cy Young pitching days -- Mike Flanagan. "As a pitcher, I didn't have the stats we have today, but intuitively I understood pitch counts and on-base percentage and what it was like to pitch to guys who got it," said Flanagan, now the Orioles' VP. "As soon as Peter Angelos gave me the job, I tried to institute the culture. We had people in the organization who were skeptical and so were some coaches, but we made it clear that this is the way it's going to be."

Now led by Melvin Mora, who Flanagan calls "the poster boy for what we're trying to do (.338 OBP last year, .465 this season)," the Orioles are on a pace to score 170 more runs than last year, and they've done it without adding any significant offensive talent in the offseason. "The whole team has bought into it," said Flanagan, "and those who didn't (i.e. Gary Matthews Jr.) are out of here."

Last year the Orioles' on-base percentage was .309, second worst in the league. This year, it's .344, fifth best in the AL. "We were looking to add 100 runs when we made our runs at Clifford Floyd, Pudge Rodriguez and players like that," said Flanagan. "We may have found those runs, in a large part because of a philosophy. Hopefully this is just the beginning, up and down the organization, as we try to bring back the Orioles."


Those who do not respect OBP are doomed to lose to those who do. Baserunners are the key to offensive success.

Also from Gammons:

So much for sympathy for the Twins fans. Fourth lowest attendance in the AL with a team of superb young players? Come on. Incidentally, Justin Morneau's elevation and place in the cleanup hole is no experiment. "Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire never have been afraid of putting a young kid in the lineup," said GM Terry Ryan. "And this kid has a chance to be really special. He can hit."

Minnesota has Michael Cuddyer working at second base in Rochester. That would be a potent middle infield bat, and light a fire under Luis Rivas.


Cuddyer has the potential to be Jeff Kent at 2B. Rivas is in his 3rd year, and is still young...and really, really sucks.

Peter was one of the few to realize how incredibly poorly last year's Twins team drew at the gate. But, the idiots like Caple said that the contraction talks had spoiled everything. This year, they are oddly quiet, hoping everyone overlooks the fact that the Twins draw like crap, despite winning, winning last year, and having a team full of exciting, solid players, in that relic of an outdated ballpark. With the payroll as high as it is, Pohlad has to be looking at a $10-15 million loss in 2003.





6/15/2003 08:32:00 PM



(6/15/2003 03:46:00 PM) - Al

Final score today, Milwaukee scored 4 runs, Baltimore score 4 runs...and Ben Sheets gave the O's a gift run while trying to show everyone how tough he is. Way to go, Ben.

Anytime you put winning the game as anything but your top priority, invariably, you will not win the game. What's really sad is the fact Ben isn't a baby anymore, he's an experienced veteran. I'm not sure how many years you can pitch in the big leagues and continually embarass yourself and your team, but Ben is now solidly entrenched in Year 2.

Ben, it's time to pull your head out of your ass and concentrate on winning...and only winning. Everything else is for the media and the radio call-in shows. Moral victories almost always equal real losses.


6/15/2003 03:46:00 PM



(6/15/2003 02:57:00 PM) - Al

I keep hoping to hear of a press conference being called after the game, to announce a trade, in theory. I did receive an e-mail from a source who has been reliable in the past saying "a deal involving Leskanic is imminent". We can hope it occurs before Leskanic's arm gives out.


6/15/2003 02:57:00 PM



(6/15/2003 02:44:00 PM) - Al

Yost's dedication to Luis Vizcaino is bordering on insanity. Bringing him into a game down 5-3 is lunacy, as he allows more than a run an inning. I'm all for giving the fella some work, but there's no need to do that in a 2 run game. It's like watching the opposition take BP.

EDIT: Luis only allows 2 singles to 4 batters...never mind that little drive to the warning track on a hanging breaking ball. VDS comes in to try and out out the fire. What's sad is that this was one of Luis' better outings this season.


6/15/2003 02:44:00 PM



(6/15/2003 02:38:00 PM) - Al

Very informative article in today's paper about how the WNBA and the WUSA have struggled. What I find interesting is the numbers put forth for attendance seemed realistic and good to me.

Larry Miller of the Jazz allowed his Starzz team to be relocated because they averaged "only" 7200 fans a game last year. The WUSA has an average crowd of 6,957...what's wrong with that? The MISL (the men's soccer league) can't average much over 10K per contest, can they? The real crime here is the fact that the WUSA and WNBA somehow see themselves as competitors of the NBA, NHL, MLB, and the like. Women's soccer wasn't even on the map until the 1999 World Cup, and this is a scant 4 years later. The WNBA has suffered a lot because the players don't seem to understand they are women either, as this season was almost cancelled due to labor unrest. With a salary cap of just over $600K, the league will lose about $1 million per team, $12 million this season (I believe the NBA still runs the WNBA, and individual teams are owned by the league).

Women's sports have come an incredibly long way in the last few years. I remember very well when the 3 point shot was added to high school buckets in Wisconsin, a girl's coach said it wouldn't have an effect on the girl's game because "no girl can shoot it from 20 feet". About a decade later, however, girls take and hit 3's on a regular basis...and don't even "shoot like a girl" to speak of.:)

Both these leagues should make it, and both need to take a breath and slow down. They need to spend a lot more on marketing, in both time and money. Add some sex appeal, which is very lacking because it may prove to be successful. I'm not saying to put Mia Hamm in a bikini or Sue Bird in a minidress. But, is there anything wrong with promoting a healthy, athletic woman with a pretty smile? Nope. I see a minimum of 12 ads a day for Music of Worship every day. I barely remember that there is a pro soccer league for women, and I enjoy watching the international female game. There shouldn't be a local event in a soccer city without a player or rep there, promoting their sport and shaking hands.

Promote, promote, promote, and take your time. The fact 7,000 people come out to watch a game that didn't exist 5 years ago is a huge success. Heck, the St. Paul Saints get about 6K every night and are considered a model franchise, and a huge success. No way you can compare the women's leagues to the big 4. But, given the youth appeal and the fact you can't overstate how much a role model can mean to a young woman, I consider their existence a positive in itself.

{If anyone has a link to this AP wire story, e-mail it to me, thanks.}


6/15/2003 02:38:00 PM



(6/15/2003 02:02:00 PM) - Al

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Like he did in a game last year, Ben Sheets has put winning second, and "protecting his teammates" first. Retaliating after a teammate is hit by a pitch is so damn immature it's comical. As I said last night, Q was extremely intelligent to simply focus on winning the game, and to leave the "getting even" part of the game alone. Ben simply gave the Orioles a baserunner, then allowed 2 HR's. When you make something more important than winning and getting batters out, your pitching is going to suffer. Simply inexcuseable for a major league pitcher to let his emotions get the best of him.

Funny thing is, while we may well have pissed away the game, we proved to the O's how "manly" we are...which will come in handy in about 10 years, when we next play Baltimore. The ignorance is simply overwhelming sometimes. Simply put, this type of crap needs to end yesterday. Your only goal should be to score as many runs as you can and limit the opposion. Anything else is akin to throwing a game.


6/15/2003 02:02:00 PM



(6/15/2003 12:19:00 PM) - Al

From Lee Sinnis:

According to the Denver Post, the Rockies, Brewers and Royals are close to making a trade that would send Rockies OF Gabe Kapler to the Brewers, Brewers P Curtis Leskanic to the Royals and a minor leaguer (who wouldn't have to be put on the 40 man roster) to the Rockies.

I believe we should rid ourselves of Curtis ASAP, as he's very overpaid, and is extremely injury prone. Curtis is said to enjoy MIL, and with his contract up at the end of the season, I'd love to bring him back at a realistic salary, if he would do that. In a utopian society, we'd be able to trade Curtis for a AAA prospect, but we're going to have to accept salary back for him (or pay almost all of his salary). Gabe Kapler was a pretty solid CF for the Rangers a couple years ago, but has struggled a bit due to injury and not getting a lot of AB's. However, he's a good player, and at the very least will balance out the roster. At the moment, we have 13 arms and 4 OF's...hardly a great mix.



6/15/2003 12:19:00 PM


Saturday, June 14, 2003

(6/14/2003 09:55:00 PM) - Al

Lot of cranky ballplayers tonight, fight between the Pirates and DevilRays (watch how those two teams "come together"), Paul Loduca upset because Milton Bradley removed his batting gloves (or, loosened them) before he started a HR trot (to which I say, don't give up the HR). Anytime you let your emotions get in the way of sound judgement, it doesn't help your game, and it may well have the opposite effect.


6/14/2003 09:55:00 PM



(6/14/2003 09:30:00 PM) - Al

Rob Dibble, contradicting himself in a 5 second span:

Look at Boone's swing here, with the bases loaded, you just gotta make contact. He does manage a sacrifice fly, but a ball in the gap would have plated three!

So, how many times have you seen a guy choke up on the bat and "slap" a ball into the gap? It's tough to tell if Rob is a moron or has attention defecit disorder...or both.

EDIT: Dibble just said having teams were AL or NL uniforms for the All-Star game would "ruin the game, just like QuesTek and interleague play". I guess no one informed him that good umpiring and increased attendance are actually good for the game. Maybe we should write him a letter.


6/14/2003 09:30:00 PM



(6/14/2003 08:49:00 PM) - Al

Much too much is being written and said about QuesTek, a way of measuring balls and strikes used by MLB. In some stadiums, an operator uses info from different monitors and sends it off to MLB. The home plate umpire is judged by how closely his calls agree with the system. Rob Neyer had a blurb on the ESPN story that the umpires financed a study on how accurate Questek is a couple years ago. Why do we never hear of this study?

Because it showed the Questek was damn accurate. So, they complain the system favors hitters, as, get this, Questek says you shouldn't call balls several inches off the outside corner a strike, like Greg Maddux, for the most part, has had called for a decade.

Nothing's 100%, but I'd bet my money on Questek over all but the best umps around. Maybe not Steve Palermo in his prime, but I've seen how the strike zone gets bigger if the game is 12-1 in the 5th. The mere idea that a veteran like Maddux has "earned" a different strike zone is absurd, yet everyone knows it has happened, and still happens. Until the umpires can improve their consistency, they have nothing to complain about. They've brought it on themselves.


6/14/2003 08:49:00 PM



(6/14/2003 08:36:00 PM) - Al

Richie Sexson walked toward the mound tonight after being hit by a pitch, in the PA after blasting a HR. He made no effort to go after the pitcher, looking like he just wanted to point at the pitcher and tell him that "I know you did that on purpose". The Brewers made no attempt to retaliate.

I'm a big believer in the power of OBP, and know getting a free baserunner is a good thing, as long as the batter isn't hurt by the pitch. I also have seen what effect a HBP, or just knocking a guy down can have. Sammy Sosa is the most obvious and recent example, as you don't see Sosa diving across that plate anything like he used to. He also tends to duck or flinch on many breaking balls from RH pitchers. Therefore, I believe in the power of pitching inside, often off the plate to make a point. However, do you try and hit a player? I wouldn't, ever.


6/14/2003 08:36:00 PM



(6/14/2003 08:29:00 PM) - Al

Don't look now, but Ruben Quevedo has made 4 quality starts in 6 attempts thus far in 2003, and he brought his ERA down to the 4.50 range tonight. Q has lost some velocity, but he does seem like he has the stuff to be a bottom of the rotation starter. And, if he ever "finds" the velocity he had in 2001, consistently clocked at 91-93, topping out at 95, the sky is the limit. I still feel much of his velocity loss is because he has lost weight. Less mass = less velocity. He should have had a win last Saturday, but was yanked by yost to make a "statement", according to our TV team. That statement included losing the game, of course, not exactly the way it's taught at the fictional manager school.


6/14/2003 08:29:00 PM



(6/14/2003 05:59:00 PM) - Al

Boss denies he's unhappy with Torre

That can't be a good sign for Joe Torre, can it?


6/14/2003 05:59:00 PM


Friday, June 13, 2003

(6/13/2003 10:36:00 PM) - Al

Nice to see the Phillies are worried about everything but winning. I've felt Larry Bowa is an idiot for a long time, and he never seems to get much out of his talent...but he does always have them concerned about "the unwritten rules" of the game. Last night, Adam Dunn went in hard trying to score a run, despite the fact Cincy was way ahead. Apparently, you are not allowed to go all out when you're ahead, as a Phillies pitcher threw at Dunn twice later in the game. I can't agree with Dunn charging the mound, but talk about absurd. If you're on the field, you should be giving 100%, at all times. Now, I'm not suggesting killing yourself for a foul ball like it's Game 7, but you always try to get on base and score, regardless of the score.

Guys like Davey Lopes (Rickey shouldn't be stealing up 5 or 6!!) and Bowa simply get so lost in their manhood and trying to keep track of who is offending them, they seem to have difficulty keeping their mind on the game. Every time you see Bowa in the dugout, he's all emotional over a bloop single that tied the game. It seems unlikely he's thinking of the next batter or next inning when he can't even control his temper.



6/13/2003 10:36:00 PM



(6/13/2003 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Hilarious link of a speech Conan O'Brien gave many moons ago to stuck up Harvard students (I'm sorry, highly educated youth). Thanks to the Baseball Crank for linking it for the world to see.


6/13/2003 09:00:00 PM



(6/13/2003 07:12:00 PM) - Al

From Sports Weekly, a Red sox site:

(The Brewers) rejected the Red Sox's offer of Ryan Rupe, Jeremy Giambi, and Bobby Howry for Leskanic and John Vander Wal.

FYI, Leskanic makes 3.7 million this year, and has a 3.32 ERA in 21 IP.

Nice try by Theo, also probably knowing that Howry was damaged. Leskanic is not a total stiff and Vander Wal is an effective pinch-hitter, at least was. If the Brewers were dumb enough to take that offer it would have been a nice trade considering the low-value package proposed by the Sox.


I'm not sure how respected this site is, but I'd do that trade in a second if I were the Brewers. Looking at it realistically, in 2005, when it is likely the Crew may agian be a competitive team, there's no chance either VW or Curtis are still with the team. However, Giambi and Rupe...maybe.

I've long been a huge Jeremy Giambi fan, and if there's a player in the game that deserves to play every day, (now that Bobby Kielty has been freed!), it's Jeremy, he of the high walk totals and .400 OBP possibility. He's a career .262/.388/.432 man, and has put up outstanding stats in 2001 and 2002. He's struggled with erratic playing time this year, despite hitting under .200, his OBP is .333. Jeremy simply gets out a lot less than most guys. Rupe has a chance to be a decent reliever, he's 28 and has a career ERA of 5.84. He does, however, have a good BB/K ratio, and K's about 7 men in 9 IP's. He may well just need to face guys once and go an inning at a time. I'd rather give BOS the money just to release Howry, as we certainly don't have a need for a middle man.

EDIT: Actually, in May, Jeremy rebounded after his terrible start, with a .268/.388/.537 line. It's tough for me not to love a guy who has 22 walks...in 102 AB's. While 1 walk every 10 AB's is the benchmark, that's twice as good, 1 BB every 4.6 AB's. With plate discipline like that, his BA will soon rise, you can count on it.


6/13/2003 07:12:00 PM



(6/13/2003 03:43:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al...I'm becoming a regular. :)

Anyway, I have noticed like you did that no one has mentioned that you know, someone from Montreal could buy the Expos and keep them in Montreal. It's not like MLB has said that no one can buy the team and keep them there. But I don't hear anyone knocking down any doors to keep them there. The only criticism I have of MLB about this whole thing is that I wish that they had decided earlier to have Montreal play some of its games in Puerto Rico this year, so we wouldn't have had this Road Trip from Hell that they are currently on. Other than that, I think it's been handled as well as it could be to this point. I do hope that after this year they are moved permanently or play all of their games in Puerto Rico. It is very sad and noteworthy that they are drawing better in a AAA-level stadium than their own park. Look, Montreal is a hockey only town and that's just how it is.

Also, where do you rank Brady Clark in the Brewers plans? He seems like another 4th OF type. Decent defensively, but not alot of power and his OBP has stunk so far, though I will say that this is a small sample. How were his AAA OBP #s?

Mike


Mike, we can never have too many regulars...according to my e-mails, we have 3.:)

I'm all for MON playing all their 2004 home games in the city (area) that is awarded the franchise. In lieu of that, the next best option would seem to me to have them play about 12 games at 3-4 possible MLB cities (DC, Portland, San Antonio, etc), and the rest of their games on the road. I'll be the first to say that would suck and be unfair, but it'd be the best for the team, and for baseball.

The truth is, Montreal did draw well in the mid 80's...but when you gotta go back 20 years, it's tough to justify that this is a major league market, especially when you consider the unequal footing any team there is on already (low value of the Canadian dollar, no local TV/radio money, horrible ballpark, need I go on?).

Mike, I'm a little disappointed that you believe past minor league numbers play a part in big league success. Heck, it's all about bein' "gritty" and "hustling" and "battling", isn't it?:) Brady put up excellent AAA numbers of .295/.377/.457 in over 750 AAA AB's from 2000-2002. True, he was 27-29 during that span, but I like him. He works the count, he goes the other way, he runs well, plays all three OF spots, and has a cannon for an arm. Now, while there are many OF's that you can say that about, not all that many of them are cheap.

At this stage, he will never be anything more than a reserve/platoon guy, but you could do a lot worse. And yes, 89 AB's is far too small a sample to concern yourself with. If he goes 3-4 with a walk tonight, his numbers will jump to .280 BA and a .323 OBP, both just fine for a bench guy. Too early to judge.


6/13/2003 03:43:00 PM



(6/13/2003 03:40:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Right on about Caple, he's a buffoon. He's not funny and he never makes any sense.

Zach


Zach wins my "Most unGleeman like e-mail" for the day. Thanks for reading, writing, and getting right to the point, Zach. I rarely read Caple, but I was unaware he apparently writes under the "Off Base" byline for ESPN (talk about your wacky, off-the-wall humor, Off Base, hee-hee). He's the second numbskull (for those keeping score at hime, Derek Zumsteg of BP was the other) to suggest MLB build a new stadium in Montreal, never mind MLB has never built a stadium, nor does it make any sense to do so. Markets that do not care to partially pay for a modern stadium, such as Minnesota and Montreal, are doomed to suffer because of it.

Now, that doesn't mean these teams can't win, but it does limit what they can do as far as adding salary for the stretch run, etc. They have to be smarter and think "out of the box" to succeed, as OAK has done. And despite that, when they do hit the promised land in the success cycle, their stay will likely be shorter.


6/13/2003 03:40:00 PM



(6/13/2003 03:27:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Enjoy the blog. Since moving to Milwaukee last fall to attend graduate school, I've been following the Brewers, and I must say your Ramblings make them a bit more tolerable.

I'm a Rockies fan in exile, and I read with interest your comments last week on the idea of a Kapler-Leskanic deal. I'd like your thoughts on this question posed by Ben Jacobs at Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.



How much has Jose Hernandez's departure from Milwaukee and arrival in Colorado hurt both teams?

Ben points out that Hernandez has the lowest OPS (.681 through last night) of any Rockie, which puts him behind Royce Clayton (.690). (That's simply embarrassing.) His power numbers stink for a guy playing half his games at Coors. He's on pace to K 200+ times. (Although for a hitter now batting 7th in the lineup, that's not that important.) I think he's just average defensively. Is there any reason for hope?

Also, has the Brewers TV crew always been this bad? Sutton & Schroeder are the worst broadcasting pair I've ever heard, and I've heard some bad ones. Schroeder never says anything that's even remotely perceptive, and if I hear Sutton again mention his days as a minor league pitcher, I afraid I'll reach for a gun and shoot up the TV screen, a la Elvis. (I do enjoy Uecker & Powell on the radio.)

Keep up the good work.

Daniel




Daniel, thanks for reading and writing. It appears the proposed Leskancic/Kapler trade is dead, or at least has a scratchy throat, according to the Denver Post. Kapler was not a long-term solution, in all probability, and while it would have balanced out our roster, it's not like we lost out on a bargain. I actually think Kapler is better long-term than Podsednik will be, but Gabe is making $3 million this year and is in AAA. Maybe we can sign him this winter after he's non-tendered by COL, for $500K, and "set him up to succeed" as a 4th OF.

I have little doubt we'd be a better team with Jose Hernandez at SS, but probably worth only a win or two over 162 games. The thing that still irritates me is Jose is making $700K, while Royce is bringing in $1.75 million. Many folks, including myself, thought Jose would dominate in Coors, as breaking balls move less, and if Jose makes contact, he hits about .400 or so. Did he have a career season in 2002? No doubt. Will he improve as the season moves along? Some, but I can't believe his career OPS is a lot more than 700. From what we saw of Jose in his 2 years at SS, he was above average defensively, I'd say better than Royce, from watching games alone.

And finally, if you live in the apartment next to Daniel, I'd be a watchin' for a bullet to be a comin' through the wall. They ain't the worst broadcast team I've ever heard, as Matt Vasgersian was as bad as he found himself amusing (that said, looking back, Matt was so in love with his own voice, it did keep Bill quiet most of the time). I feel Sutton is actually pretty mediocre, he's just got more and more childish working next to Bill Schroeder. If Bill spouted anymore tired cliches, he'd be on Baseball Tonight. I still find it amazing that I knew John VanderWal was in Michigan with a "personal issue", because I had read it on the Brewers' own website, yet neither Daron or Bill did. Research and objective analysis is not their strength...actually, I have yet to find a strength.



6/13/2003 03:27:00 PM


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