Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
Runners will no longer be able to steamroll catchers in hopes of jarring the ball loose so that they can score A run. Yep, I know that letter is capitalized, and we're gonna come back to that. I promise it isn't one of my unintended typos.
If the MLBPA approves the measure, the anti-collision rule will be instituted next year. If they do not, MLB can make it a decree without the Player's Association the following year.
Runners must slide or evade.
Catcher's can't block the plate. They mean that this time.
Save me the 'WUSSIFICATION' idiocy, on that grounds that it wasn't until 1970, 50 years after the beaning death of Ray Chapman, that baseball began to strictly enforce the rule of mandatory helmets. In '56 and '58, for the NL & AL respectively, the leagues mandated use of batting helmets. Though obviously it was mostly ignored. The last player not to wear a helmet was just 34 seasons ago. In my lifetime, some moron decided to face 90+ mph pitches without protective headgear. Idiot. Read the batting helmet Wiki for more.
From Chapman's Wiki, 'The sound of the ball smashing into Chapman's skull was so loud that Mays thought it had hit the end of Chapman's bat, so he fielded the ball and threw to first base. I'm sure nearly 100 years ago some baboon called Chapman a pu**y and told him to get his ass up.
Progress towards improved health, in all walks of life seemingly, and rightly, always wins out.
To be clear, even if this rule hadn't been instituted I would've instructed my catcher to make sure he doesn't absorb one of those Ray Lewis-type blows. Practice fielding balls and taking throws in front of the plate to make swipe tags. I'd make one exception though. Don't give up the run in October, or in an early fall game that could cost you October baseball.
Think about it. It's one run.
If my math is correct, 20,250 runs were scored during the 2013 MLB season. And you want your catcher to try to prevent A run, not even two months into the season as Buster Posey attempted to do on May 25th, 2011? You're a G0d damned fool.
Sure, it was a 12th inning game, and Scott Cousins' Urlacher impression won the game for the Marlins. But it was May. San Francisco was 27-20 at that point. If the World Champion Giants had finished at that pace they would've won 91 games. Instead they finished in 2nd place with 86 wins. 8 games behind Arizona and 3 games short of St. Louis for the wild card. If Posey had remained healthy that year, perhaps the Giants would've pulled off a feat that few have; three straight World Series. Instead, Posey can break bread with Mike Gundy.
It's just one run, in a season of hundreds of them scored and allowed. Your home plate valor might preserve a win, but at what cost? What's that idiom about valor? Not THAT one, I like this one, It is good to be brave, but it is also good to be careful.; If you are careful, you will not get into situations that require you to be brave.
Let's try to further analyze the impact of losing one's catcher. WARNING. We're stepping into sabermetrics, so depart if you must. My point above was proven with enough clarity. This next step will just be a more meticulous, Holmes-ian investigation of catchers + numbers.
Sabermetric Godfather Bill James developed a very simple, yet advanced statistic. Runs created. Duh. Yep, it endeavors to do exactly what you'd think. How many runs did Player X create for him team?
ESPN.com tracks RC like this: [(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times (Total bases + .26[BB - IBB + HBP] + .52[SH + SF + SB])] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH+ SF)
Please note that defense isn't factored into that daunting and nightmarish SAT math riddle.
2013's leaders in RC went like this: Santana (puhhlease, he's a DH, 1B. FT C's only please.), Posey, Molina, Lucroy, Castro, Saltalamacchia. The list goes on here.
If you're still with me, Posey created 86.5 runs for the Giants last year. For a little context, that number provided the reigning NL MVP with a offensive WAR of 4.85. Good for 18th best in MLB. If you choose to ignore that link, Cabrera unsurprisingly was 2nd at 8.99, and Longoria was just ahead of Posey at 4.87.
Still here? Is this making sense; are you seeing the value of a player? Do you still want him ready to embrace an impact that only an NFL player wearing a number in the 50s would deliver?
Thanks to a steel trap like mind, and a modest social life, I know far too much about baseball. I had no fucking clue who Hector Sanchez and Guillermo Quiroz were. If you told me they were illegal immigrants who'd trepassed American borders. I'd believe you. If you told me they were the studio hosts for futbol broadcasts on Univision, I'd believe you.
Quiroz and Sanchez (Hispanic law firm?!?) were actually backup catchers for the Giants in 2013.
Posey created 86.5 runs for the 76 win Giants in 2013. He contributed plenty, but his pitching staff was quite horrific. The Giants didn't finish 16 games back of the Dodgers because of lack of contributions from their MVP catcher.
In February of 2012, Posey's manager, Bruce Bochy, told his recovering catcher not to block the plate any longer. "I've already talked to Buster about this. There are ways to make the tag without putting yourself in jeopardy,'' Bochy said, according to USA Today. "I don't want him to block the plate right now."
Parroting Lt. Daniel Kaffee, what if Posey had said 'the old man's wrong'?
BOOM, there goes Posey in a June 2013 game and he's out for an extended period time.
A chunk of those 86.5 runs evaporate in the aftermath of Posey's rediscovered, foolish courage.
Hector Sanchez created 13.8 runs in a 129 at bats last year. Quiroz created 4.7 runs in 86 at bats. Their combined offensive WAR was .3. POINT THREE.
Let's pretend Sanchez had the same 520 at bats that Posey did. The extrapolation would show 520/129 = 4.03 x 13.8, for a total of 55.6 runs created for the Giants.
Good thing Posey stopped blocking the plate.
Remember, that doesn't even account for Posey, or any other catcher's defensive prowess, as opposed to their back up. You know that a quality defensive catcher can weaken an opponents running game and sometime masterfully manage a pitching staff. Included in the latter is the emerging recognition of the art of pitch framing. Jose Molina is the best in the game at the practice. What he does defensively - pitch framing isn't even measured by WAR - more than makes up for this pathetic .594 OPS. His WAR by the way in 2013 was POINT ONE. The innovational Joe Maddon would engage io no debate about Molina's WAR, nor would the hurlers that throw to him.
While you swing from a tree, screaming about WUSSIFICATION, I'm going enjoy the production of my starting catcher, healthier all seasong long than he would be if he misguidedly tried to save A run (Again, at a meaningless point in the season. And yes, I know that's subjective. But it's like porn; you'll know it when you see it!).
Oh boy, it's going to be a cacophony of pronunciation gaffes when it comes to saying Rajai Davis' name. Yea, that from the notorious typo guy. I'm actually quite good with pronouncing abstract words, however.
Davis' lifetime OBP vs. LHP (as he's the other half of the Dirks platoon) is .354. That and his 268 steals on 79% success rate is all you need to know about Davis.
If Davis can replicate his 1.8 WAR from '13, and Dirks can recapture 2012's 2.3, the Tigers effectively have the potential to equal Shin Soo Choo's 2013 WAR of 4.2, for a third, or even a quarter of Choo will make in 2014. REREAD THAT.
The revised Tigers lineup parellels the St. Louis from my perspective. Outside of Cabrera batting third from 1 through 162, there are changeable parts everywhere else.
Davis, Kinsler, Cabrera, Martinez, Hunter, Jackson, Avila, Castellanos, Iglesias
Or...Iglesias, Kinsler, Cabrera, Hunter, Martinez, Jackson, Castellanos, Avila, Davis.
Or...Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez, Jackson, Castellanos, Davis, Avila, Iglesias.
Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera, Martinez, Dirks, Jackson, Avila, Castellanos, Iglesias.
Of course, injuries, hot/cold streaks and matchups will dictate daily lineups. The point is, Cabrera's batting third and I think Ausmus should and will use pencil for every other Tiger who's expected to play regularly.
Also note that this team should be a mid-tier defensive unit. And that's light years better than what they've been.
You've also got speed which can 1. steal bases 2. score from first and 3. first to third and so many more positive residuals that comes from athletes on the bases.
While I'm pleased with the Davis signing, nothing's going to enhance the return for Doug Fister. So if I'm Dave Dombrowski, I'm crossing everything my anatomy will allow that Ian Krol becomes a weapon in the bullpen. To me, he's the linchpin to making the offseason's whole, greater than it's parts.
The Tigers have one final move that's necessary to complete the recalibration of their team. They need a Dotel-type for the bullpen. Someone proven, reliable and maybe beyond all, durable.
If the market for closers collapses I'm agreeable to a return of Joaquin Benoit at a reasonable rate.
The bullpen now stands this way.
Rondon (1/3 of a season of positive results)
Coke (has to thrive as a LOOGY or he's out of MLB)
Alburquerque (dominate or exasperating, there's seemingly no middle ground)
Those are about as close to locks as I can get.
I'd like Krol there, the veteran arm, then you've got any mix of Crosby, now a reliever, the Putkonen, Reed, Marte-types, etc...
If his shoulder is sound after being traded to and not pitching an inning for the Rays, Jesse Crain could be shrewd and economical addition.
Now that he's flamed out as a hyped prospect, Joba Chamberlain could get his siht together and become a force in someone's bullpen.
Remember, while they need this veteran arm, as unknown or unworthy as this addition may feel upon arrival, if stars align, it's feasible to stumble onto a resurrected Mark Melancon. Here's a list of 2013's top middle relievers based on holds. You don't know many of them. They often come from strange places; reformed failed starters, castoffs from other bullpens with no room, ones that fell off 40 man rosters, would-be closers than couldn't sustain that position, etc...
We're as close as we've been all offseason to having a glimpse of what the Opening Day 2014 Tigers will look like.
Time to battle the sabermetricians again. Numbers are great. I love them to help craft viewpoints and attain perspective. There's also reality. It's a fun little setting more people should strive to visit more frequently.
Projection median for Dirks in 2014: 268/328/407 .323 wOBA 100 wRC+. If D numbers hold from '13, that's 2 WAR player in 500 PA.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects how is health factored in to that?— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase one has him at 600 PA, one at 500 PA. ZIPS (not included) factors in health. Some systems do, some don't.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects I'd posit 2 is more achievable with LESS PAs, as a non-started. Could sustain optimal health that way.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase 500 PA, for me at least, assumes that he'd be hitting against RHP 90% of the time.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects definitely more optimal. That seems like ALOT of PAs vs RHP. I like him, just unsure of his ability to be healthy for 162— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase of his 484 PA, 398 were against RHP this year. Of 1063 in career, 863 are vs RHP.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects cool. Take a chunk of that away for maintain health and perhaps OPS vs RH gets closer to .800— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase he started 104 games, appeared in 131. Had 484 PA last year. That's a good amount of PT for him.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects but admittedly ailing.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
@Eric_Chase it's a long season. Guys have ailments.
@Eric_Chase it's a long season. Guys have ailments.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) December 9, 2013
@TigersProspects some more than others. He's not talented enough to be productive thru a knee injury that sapped his pop.— Eric Chase (@Eric_Chase) December 9, 2013
Andy Dirks has been in the Majors for parts of three seasons. 2012 was his best year. I believe it was a hamstring that limited him to 344 PAs, but in them he accumulated an OPS of .857 and an OPS+ of 129.
Last year Dirks battled through a balky knee to to his most PAs ever, 484. As tweeted, Dirks was without power due to the knee, finishing the season with a slugging percentage of .363. To create some context, Jose Iglesias' career slugging percentage is .354.
He's injury prone, and you can't effectively project his worth without factoring in his inability to stay healthy.
In a more brusque way of putting it, ain't no way he's reaching 600 PAs, and 500 will likely be a challenge too.
Leave him on the bench, limit his PAs to mostly right handers, and perhaps in a more calculated situational role, Dirks can recapture his 2.3 WAR productivity of '12.
On the precipice of MLB's Winter Meetings in Orlando, so far the Tigers have dealt one of their starters, for a very dubious return, obtained a decorated closer, and shed Prince Fielder's burdensome contract while acquiring a replacement for the steady Omar Infante and a potential leadoff hitter in Ian Kinsler.
Dave Dombrowski, whose grade can't be any more than an INC at this very second, travels to Orlando with the spoken words that they're about done. From MLive's Chris Iott last week, "We'll just wait and see what takes place," Dombrowski said. "We'll have conversations with clubs. There are some free agents out there. Again, it's Dec. 4, but I don't anticipate any of the major names that are being thrown out there." It's likely posturing, also, he didn't rule out T-R-A-D-E.
To quote the great Snoop Dogg, based on the Tigers moves this offseason they had their mind on their money, and money on their mind. The budget was not endless. We can surmise they had never had the intention of financially chasing a title, breaking towards that $189 lux tax and recklessly spending their portion of the incoming TV windfall.
With Granderson and Beltran, both of whom I desired for Detroit at a time this offseason, both off the market, many peg the Tigers, regardless of Dombrowski's statement, as a potential destination for Shin Soo Choo.
I hope not.
From their course of action so far, I cannot see the Tigers spending what I project it'll take to sign Choo; 6 years $108 million. Again, I can't spending that much for a lot of OBP, a little pop, good fielding and dwindling success against left handed pitching. I know I sound ultra critical, but in a handful of seasons, it'll be painful for me to think you're paying someone nearly $20 million to do something a little leaguer to do - take four pitches. I'll develop that type precise plate discipline in my minors thank you very much.
There's no such thing as a healthy Andy Dirks. If he could stay off the DL, I'd LOVE his 344 PA and 2.3 WAR '12 season off the bench. Limiting his playing time may allow him to sustain better health.
It seems all but decided that Nick Castellanos will be the Opening day third baseman. Eh, I'd have him in the OF/1B/DH/3B mix, but you wanna re-ordain his third baseman-ship, it's tolerable.
The Tigers need an outfielder. LF or RF. Yep, Hunter COULD slide to LF.
After coming across this yesterday, The Yankees have received significant interest in Gardner, and are willing to trade him, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person requested anonymity in order to speak freely. The organization does not plan to deal Gardner, who they view as a versatile, valuable player. But they will listen to offers as they attempt to fill various voids on their roster. That's from NJ.com's Andrew Mccullough.
The Yankees, who Rob Neyer says were a 71 win team, and Tigers can help one another.
Gardner will make around $4 million in arbitration this year, and next year he'll be a free agent, just like Max Scherzer, except Scott Boras is not his agent.
With CC Sabathia at nearly 2900 career innings, coming off a nearly replacement level year (making at least another $75 million), the Yankees undoubtedly need a new ace to place in a rotation with Kuroda, Nova, and possibly, Michael Pineda.
Scherzer wouldn't been an appealing trade piece to most teams because there's little chance Boras would bless an extension. I suspect that wouldn't be the case if Scherzer were to become a Yankee. I sense most Tiger fans are coming around to the reality that they can't and shouldn't give Scherzer what Boras will ask for. I think the Yankees would gladly settle with Boras/Scherzer on 6/150, 7/175, or perhaps that 7th year is some type of option.
The Yankees get their ace, the Tigers could get their left fielder, and potentially offer him a reasonable extension. Yes, Gardness struck out 152 times last year. He also STILL produced an OBP of .344.
Scherzer is the reigning AL Cy Young winner and owner of a 2013 6.7 WAR. Gardner was a 4.2 guy.
One for one wouldn't work for me.
The Tigers need more potential bullpen arms. The one Yankee that jumps out at me in that sense is former starting prospect Dellin Betances. Last year in Scranton the 6'8" Betances transitioned to the bullpen. Outside of some control issues, it worked. 84 innings, 52 hits, 11.9 K/9 a 1.12 WHIP and a 2.68 ERA. Exactly the type of power arm the Tigers need to continued restructuring their bullpen.
With Scherzer gone the Tigers rotation is down to Verlander, Sanchez, Porcello and Smyly. They obviously need a starter. While he's not quite what he was in Tampa, Matt Garza, for the same deal Ricky Nolasco got from Minnesota (4/49), I'm in.
Garza's 12 plus Gardner's arb at 4 (or an extension which is feasible since it's Hunter's final year) is not much more than what Scherzer will settle on in arbitration this winter.
1. Gardner LF
2. Hunter RF
3. Cabrera 1B
4. Martinez DH
5. Jackson CF
6. Kinsler 2B
7. Avila C
8. Castellanos 3B
9. Iglesias SS
In reality, you've got a ton of lineup flexibity among Kinsler, Hunter, Jackson, Gardner and at some point, possibly Castellanos.
Dirks, Holaday, Kelly, Lombardozzi.
Verlander, Sanchez, Garza, Porcello Smyly.
Going into last night the NBA was inverted in a sense. Two teams in the East had more than 9 wins. 9 wins in the West was two spots from 15th, the bottom of the conference.
Eek. In a post for another time, yes, David Stern in his final league mandate should slice up the standard playoff format and go with a top 16, or top four in each and then best records, or some variation. Why? Because I want that Stern grin once more and it's the right thing to do. Rules are meant to be...adjusted to the climate. The climate in the East, outside of Miami and Indiana, is as frigid as the iciest moon around Neptune.
As noted yesterday, strikingly, the East is loaded - not an overstatement - with quality centers. Not necessarily centers in the traditional sense, but what's traditional in the NBA anymore? It's not short shorts, high socks and fundamentally sound bounce passes. OK, there IS those.
Not far behind that sizeable group are Joakim Noah, a double doubling Marcin Gortat, an improving Jonas Valanciunas, and for the second straight year, even Andray Blatche is playing well.
Next time you hear 'what happened to all the centers in the NBA' tell those observers to uh, pay attention.
There was no particular order to the list above, but in case you weren't familiar with the tone and topic selection of this blog, we're going to gush over Andre Drummond.
*Eric, try not to overstate things. Don't get caught up in his three-game December averages of 21.7/18.7 2 blocks, 3 steals and 69% FG. Don't do it.*
With Dwight Howard gone to the West, winning the fan vote to start at center for the East is wide open. Even though the Pistons have been off the national radar for years, Drummond's youth, rousing athleticism and of course statatistics, warrant notice by anyone even paying just half attention to the NBA. Take it from someone who used to be a kid, a teenager...we LOOOOOOOVEEE rookies and young players. We want the next hot thing. Hopefully that feeling remains true of today's young voters and they vote frequently in droves for the Pistons 2nd year center.
Of all those centers listed, Lopez is probably the most offensively skilled. That's usually the keystone to reaching the All Star game. However, Lopez has missed some time and his Nets team is a grease fire that's engulfed a Brooklyn city block of fast food restaurants in a relentless inferno.
In all reality though, the East's starting All Star center will be Hibbert, or Chris Bosh, who in a crummy year, is still deceivingly listed as a center. Grumble grumble.
Andre Drummond has the same chance as Andre the Giant has of starting the All Star Game in New Orleans.
Beginning last year the league, because of a dearth of quality at the center position, narrowed the starters down to backcourt and frontcourt. Here's the list of those on the ballot under the latter. You can vote for Drummond until your mouse or mobile device breaks, but the East's starting frontcourt will be Lebron, Melo and Tom Ford Paul George. If Drummond makes the ASG it'll be as a reserve, and by no means is that unfeasible.
Even if the league still went with the three conventional positions, my assumption is that Hibbert or Bosh would be your starting center for the East.
Drummond may or may not continue his malevolence towards the opposing frontcourts of teams. He may or may not make it to the NBA's exhibitional playground game in New Orleans in February. I can tell you this.
All Star now or not, or in forthcoming years, Andre Drummond is something I can't really say about other centers in the East whose names I've already mentioned.
Drummond is a force. Start reckoning.
I'm still learning how to interpret and use the vast ocean of statistics the NBA now offers due to the SportVU player tracking. Nothing posterizes me right away scouring through Drummond's stats and percentages in the way that say Lebron's might. It's just easy to see how dominant Drummond has become. Old fashioned stats are enough to support story here.
Early in the season I saw Drummond often confused defensively. Who to guard on pick and rolls, leaving his positioning in the post that created convenient passing lanes for penetrators, getting stuck on smaller players on switches and more. I can't definitively that all that's improved. I can tell you that if those lapses are still occurring I'm not paying as much attention to them because of Drummond's increased awareness and presence on the other end of the court, and his veritable domination of the boards.
Drummond doesn't have go-to moves offensively, but when you're able to position yourself in the lane the way he does, and with his freakish athleticism and ability to get off his feet and into the air so quickly, you don't need a baby hook, a back down, 8 foot jumper or an up and under.
Remember I said his shots should never, ever come outside of the 'restricted area' of the restricted area? He listened.
I'm desperately trying not to get caught up in the last three games, but if Drummond continues to improve almost in accordance with Moore's Law, his ability to score roughly 15 a game is not a statistic we should expect to dwindle. In fact the only way of minimizing Drummond's impact on the offensive end, is if HIS teammates start hitting their shots more consistently, thus not needing Drummond to clean up. Opponents could also hit THEIR shots preventing the Pistons from fast breaking out too.
Before I drop the 'STFU Eric' thought on you, let me give you that Drummond's at 13.5 points per game now and in just a trio of the Pistons' 19 games this year he's failed to score in double digits. In his best years, Ben Wallace NEVER averaged more than 9.7 points per game. Drummond's at 12.8 rebounds a game now, and at his peak Ben grabbed over 15. Drummond's played roughly less than a typical season of Miami Heat championship basketball. That's 100 games or so.
My personal belief is that Ben Wallace was the most talented Piston in the middle of the last decade. Feel free to differ. I have no qualm with that. We all know that team was greater than its parts.
So in trying to calm my own drunk-on-Drummond hysteria, let's end with this:
ANDRE DRUMMOND IS THE MOST TALENTED PISTON SINCE...