Baseball Jeremiad

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A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Cleaning Up the Reader

Fernando Nieve has appeared in 12 games for the Mets this year.  With due acknowledgement of the small sample size, that puts him on pace to appear in 108 games.  For those of you keeping track at home, that’s a lot of games.  As soon as I can get myself logged into the Baseball-reference.com Play Index, I need to check Nieve’s seemingly historic pace against other relievers.

As a Mets’ fan, I’m thrilled to see Nelson Figueroa back in the big leagues.  I’m notably less thrilled to see him pitching effectively for the Phillies.

Bill Baer over at Crashburn Alley isn’t panicking about Cole Hamels’ continued troubles.  Upon reviewing a chart of his pitch selection, Baer prescribes a remedy for Hamels:

His fastball and curve use has increased and his change-up use has decreased in each start. In other words, between his first and most recent start, Hamels has decreased the use of his best pitch by over 26% in favor of lesser quality pitches. While he has utilized his cutter in his last three starts, he is doing so at the expense of his change-up and that is not a winning strategy.

Still, Hamels has been unlucky. His 5.11 ERA is much higher than his retrodicted 3.13 SIERA. While he has been more BABIP lucky (.275), his HR/FB% (30.4%) is about three times higher than it should be. Meanwhile, his strikeout and walk rates are great at 9.5 and 2.2 respectively — a better than four-to-one ratio.

If Cole wants to get back on the winning track, he doesn’t need to change much — he just needs to ride out yet another wave of bad luck, be a little more precise with his location, and to stop using his other pitches at the expense of his change-up. That’s really it. Based on events proven to be within a pitcher’s control — strikeouts, walks, and GB/FB rates — he has pitched very well. With a few minor tweaks, he can put himself in a better position where he won’t be resting his fate on rolls of the dice.

MLB Trade Rumors has a list of the highest paid play on each MLB team.  Can you guess who’s the highest paid player on your favorite squad?

 Nick Johnson’s back hurts and he has missed the last two games.  In other words, the sun rose this morning.

Fan Graphs has fun with small sample sizes.  For example:

  • More Houston woes… the club has walked a total of 18 times. The next fewest walks for a team is 37 by the Royals. The team with the most walks is the… Twins (?!) with 79.
  • There are three hitters in the Majors that have walked as much or more than the entire Astros team (David Wright, Daric Barton, and Nick Johnson). Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger account for 12 of the team’s walks (six apiece). Feliz hasn’t walked in 56 plate appearances, Tommy Manzella has a goose egg in 40, and Hunter Pence has one in 57. Seriously, that’s pathetic. As for the Twins, Justin Morneau (15), Denard Span (13), Jason Kubel (10), and Joe Mauer (10) are all in double-digits. Span figures to benefit from the increased focus with on-base percentage given that it should provide him with more stolen base opportunities.

    And in a nod to loyal reader, FM, “Cookie” threw a heckuva game last night.

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    2 Responses

    1. jjb says:

      I was at the D-Backs v. Phils game last night. Non-Werth Highlight of the Night: the ball-retiree on the third base side fielded a double and tried to give the ball away. Also no one attempted to puke on me.

    2. Chris J says:

      Hey now, let’s not give Philly fans a bad rap like ESPN, et al. That stuff happens in other places, too. If you followed the story, he got trashed by fans and media. Everyone was horrified by what “Pukemon” did…. As for Hamels, he needs to keep his pitches down. He is a weird guy to figure out. He may not be any better than a #3 starter really. But he is still young, so we shall see.

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