Baseball Jeremiad


A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Dog Bites Man (Again)

Nick Johnson will miss significant time due to a [fill in the blank].

The NYT can do that for you:

A torn tendon sheath in that same wrist required surgery in 2008 and limited him to 38 games for Washington, but it was unclear whether Johnson had injured the same tendon. Even before receiving the results of the M.R.I. test, the Yankees anticipated losing him for a while, and they recalled the utility player Kevin Russo from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.


When asked how many weeks Johnson was expected to miss, Manager Joe Girardi said, “Several is more than two and less than many.”

Also in today’s Times, we learn that David Ortiz is grumpy.  And so are Sox fans.

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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 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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    Baseball Musings

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