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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pickoff Moves, Mr. Fixit Edition

I didn't get any game summaries out yesterday, though I meant to; both games were good, taut games, and the Dodgers contest particularly highlighted some problems I saw with the club coming out of the weekend. Without too much ado --

Erratum In Space

Yes, I know that I didn't get the AL in my earlier post on defunct parks from space. I plan on doing a do-over presently along with links to the particular Google Maps page involved and cross-references, but believe me, that's a lot of work. Updates will probably be in a couple days or so, but even more comprehensive. Yeah, it'll be cool.

Desperate Measures In The Bronx

Alex Belth describes the desperate measures to which the 11-16 Yankees are resorting, finally breaking down on the broken down Bernie Williams at center, moving him to DH. The gist of the moves are

To begin with, the announced changes occur in three areas, defense, offense, and roster construction:

Defense: Robinson Cano replaces Tony Womack at second who replaces Hideki Matsui in left who replaces Bernie Williams in center.
Offense: Cano replaces Bernie Williams
Roster: Cano replaces Steve Karsay [who is designated for assignment]

The precipitating straw-camel collision for Bernie happened this weekend:
Bernie's arm has gone from poor (in his prime) to awful, the final straw coming on Sunday when Eric Hinske scored from third on a fly out to shallow center and Bernie's throw was so late that it was cut off before it even got to Posada at home. This, according to Cashman and Torre, who point out that Bernie is suffering from tendonitis in his elbow, is the reason they finally decided to get Bernie out of center, and it is the only thing that can undoubtedly be expected to improve with Matsui in center.
The early going isn't portentious, and certainly won't recoup a badly declining Kevin "Cap'n Happy" Brown, capped by today's 11-4 drubbing by the Devil Rays (of which, Brown gave up eight earned runs). Whether these moves address the defensive efficiency that's eroding the Yankees' DIPS ERA is somewhat speculative; will Godzilla be a competent centerfielder? There's a lot of reasons to think the Yankees will overcome this bad start, but they get less numerous as the days go by. Desperation maneuvers like this one -- and ill-thought ones especially -- remind me of the 80's-era Yankee teams.

Angels 5, Mariners 0

Ichiro's amazing catch

Dammit, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that Scott Boras-represented Jarrod Washburn would end up having a career year this year. It's too early to say that this year's the year he finally lives up to his potential, but if he keeps putting together outings like today's, we can be assured of two things: either the Angels will overpay for his services in the offseason, or somebody else will.

Thank God Finley's bat is starting to show signs of waking up.

Update: Of course, the one thing I forget to mention is perhaps the highlight of the evening. Even though Ichiro couldn't buy a hit off the Angels, he robbed Garret Anderson of a home run on an incredible catch. If you missed it, it's a highlight reel for the year. And, hey, WTF is up with that idiot fan trying to snag the ball to Ichiro's right?


Nationals 6, Dodgers 2

Like I said after the conclusion of the Rockies series, the big problem for the Dodgers is they simply aren't hitting. (Of course, as I write this, the Dodgers in the other room are clobbering the Nats.) It didn't help that Esteban Loiaza started to look like a real pitcher again, either.


Roster Moves

No, Really, Dallas, Swing Away

On today's gameday thread, Jon points me to this Baseball Prospectus chat with Nate Silver, and in particular, this bit germane to rookie Dallas McPherson:
mikefast (Santa Clara, CA): What predictive value do strikeouts have for young hitters, particularly at the high extreme? I've been involved in a discussion with a friend about the futures of McPherson and Pickering, and my friend thinks they strike out too much to ever be more than "AAAA" players, mainly because the K's limit their batting average. I can see that Pickering has other defensive and baserunning limitations, but as a hitter, it seems like the strikeouts are the price of admission for the power, like with Adam Dunn. Is their a point at which strikeouts presage a problem translating hitting ability to the majors?

Nate Silver: Here's a secret: strikeouts are a good thing for a young power hitter.

Let's reverse things for a moment and think of things this way: if Adam Dunn hits .266 and slugs .569 in a year in which he strikes out 195 times, that means he's absolutely murdering the ball those times that he does make contact. In other words, *if* he's able to improve his ability to hit for contact at all, the upside is real, real high as compared with, say, Sean Burroughs or someone.

Now, it isn't quite that simple, but that's the big picture. Perhaps the subject of a future LDL.

Something I had never thought of before. Good news, D-Mac, but you still might want to work on squeezing those pitchers for some walks.


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