Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Padres’

Any player/Any era: Gene Tenace for Baseball Past and Present

Any player/Any era: Gene Tenace for Baseball Past and Present 

 

A look at one of the best catchers to ever play the game. Someone born Fury Gene Tenace, who won four World Series and hit homers in his first two world series at bats. read on: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/01/26/playerany-era-gene-tenace/

Dusty Gets A New Arm To Wear Down for Razzball

Dusty Gets A New Arm To Wear Down for Razzball on the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres trade involving Mat Latos, Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez and a fringe releiver with a cool name.

Article available at http://razzball.com/dusty-gets-a-new-arm-to-wear-down/.

h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: Tim Lollar

I don’t know if I want to see a little bit of Ron Swanson in everyone, but clearly, if you major in Forestry, you have a bit of Swanson in you. According to the College Board, “If you go into forestry, you’ll have to balance growing trees for wood products with preserving the variety of living things in an area.” Apparently 119 colleges offer degrees in forestry, including SUNY Morrisville, which is near my alma mater.

Lollar had a meandering career for a guy who spent just seven years in the majors. He was drafted in the fourth round in 1978 by the New York Yankees, made his major league debut two years later and was traded the subsequent year to the San Diego Padres in a deal that brought our man and fellow flip sider, Ruppert Jones to the Pads.

He did his best and worst work for the Padres. By far, his two best seasons were 1982 and 1984. Unfortunately, his 1984 post-season experience was horrible. He started one game in the NLCS and World Series. In the NLCS, he pitched 4.1 innings and gave up three runs. He’d be mightily worse in the Series, going just 1.2 innings and giving up 4 runs.

After the season, he, Ozzie Guillen, Bill Long and Luis Salazar were traded to the White Sox for LaMarr Hoyt, Kevin Kristan and Todd Simmons. This wasn’t a particularly good trade for the Padres. Guillen was worth 14.9 WAR for the Sox and Long was worth 2.1 WAR. Salazar (-0.5 WAR) and Lollar (0.4 WAR) cancelled each other out. Meanwhile, Hoyt was worth 1.7 WAR and pitched for the Padres for just two years. Neither Kristan nor Simmons made the majors.

Aside from being part of the deal that brought Guillen to Chicago, Lollar is likely remembered for his hitting acumen. He finished with a .234/.286/.377 line, but hit 1.000/1.000/1.000 in his last year in the majors.

He did hit eight round trippers in just four seasons in the NL. And, somewhat bizarrely, he pinch hit for position players twice in the American League. The first was August 13, 1985, when he hit for Jackie Gutierrez (who finished with a .237/.261/.285 line).

The second was on August 12, 1986, when Lollar hit for Rey Quinones (another no-hit shortstop who finished with a .243/.287/.357 line). Lollar actually singled off Dan Quisenberry, but that no-hit slacker Wade Boggs grounded out afterward to end the game.

At least Lollar went out on top, singling in his last MLB at bat.

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h2h Corner ~ Check you out on the Flip Side: Ron Roenicke

I think, initially, this card stuck out for two reasons. One, I love Gary Roenicke (more on him later) and, two, tennis is one of the more exasperating sports (second only to golf in my opinion). What is it with rich people and bizarrely intricate athletics?

When I was a kid, it was important to my parents that I be fluent in the art of the hardcourt. They had grown up without much money, put themselves through school and ascended to the upper middle class. So, on vacations, I’d always have to take tennis lessons. Mostly, during these lessons, I pretended I was Ken Griffey, Jr. or Barry Bonds and tried to hit every return over the fence. Exasperated, the tennis “pro” would send me off to the wilderness to retrieve the balls. Repeat this for one hour and you get the gist of my lessons. (Why I always emulated lefties is beyond me – maybe because I had a horrid backhand).

Anyway, I’d also play my father in tennis at the end of every trip. While he isn’t all that athletic, he was better at tennis than me. I was faster/quicker and in better shape, but I could never get the ball to go where I wanted (maybe it had something to do with those lessons). My dad would play well enough to keep me around in the match. Invariably (because we’re both poor losers and intensely competitive), though, he would put me away and I would get frustrated. I knew it was happening and couldn’t stop it. Well, I knew one way to stop it. I would slam my racket on the ground like a petulant child. Consequently, tennis is not relaxing but anxiety producing – worse than swinging a driver and missing the ball completely.

Roenicke had no problem with hand-eye coordination though, so tennis must have come easily to him. After all, he was a first round pick of the hometown Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. He never really lived up to that billing though. He wouldn’t make it to the majors for four years (1981), when he was 24-years-old and he didn’t fare well in 22 games that year.

However, he did show some promise the following season, going .259/.359/.336. Sure, you’d want more power from a corner outfielder, but this was 1982 and he did get on base.

The Dodgers would release him in the middle of the following (unproductive) season, however. He bounced around for awhile, catching on here and there and not really getting to prove himself. From 1984-1986, he played for three teams and posted a .252/.389/.379 line in 535 plate appearances. That had to have been the highlight of his career (and he even played in a post-season with the Padres). It’s a shame he never got to show what he could do on the field. He finished with a .238/.353/.338 line.

So, why did the name Roenicke stick out (I pulled this card from a pack before he became the Brewers manager)? Well, his brother, Gary Roenicke, was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles in 1977 (along with Joe Kerrigan and Don Stanhouse) for Rudy May, Randy Miller, and Bryn Smith. He was an Earl Weaver type of player.

From 1979-1985, he appeared in 823 games for the Orioles, posting a .250/.356/.447 line. He hit lefties really well throughout his career (.255/.363/.454) and did a ton of damage for Earl Weaver as a platoon player. Gary finished with a .247/.351/.434 line, appeared in two World Series and won one. His final numbers are eerily similar to his brother.

I like to think that what Gary learned from Earl Weaver maybe had a little to do with how Ron Roenicke manages. But really, I just like to see Weaver and they heyday of the Baltimore Orioles in any successful baseball squad.

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h2h Corner ~ You’re Killing me Smalls: Ryan Ludwick

Ryan Ludwick: average draft position 61 in NL-only

5×5 rank: 267

Ownership: 5%

12/60, 10 runs, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs, 1 SB

The five percent-owned Ryan Ludwick isn’t really killing many owners.

The real question is whether he can help owners in any league, because that .200 average he is toting around makes the counting numbers worthless. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Ray Lankford

lnakbackI came across the 2002 Topps card first and had forgotten that Lankford switched teams late in his career. I remember Lankford as a Cardinal with a ton of promise who never quite reached his true potential. However, after looking at the card and realizing he had the third most HRs in Cardinals history, I wanted to write about how good Lankford was, even though he was perceived as never reaching his true potential.

lankfbTPThen I was home looking through old cards and stumbled upon the Donruss Triple Play card and found out Lankford was the first Cardinal since the great Rogers Hornsby to reach 15 triples. Kind of an odd stat, but still (somewhat) impressive.

Adding the two cards together, I really thought my memory of a lackadaisical Lankford was wrong. Perhaps, I had the next underrated guy on my hands. Umm…no. While Lankford was a useful and good player, he was never really underrated.

In fact, in MLB history, Lankford struck out every 3.71 ABs – the 15th worst rate among players who played 1,000 games or more. Not surprisingly, he struck out 1,550 times in his career – tied for the 27th most with Willie McCovey. Among lefties, Lankford struck out the 6th most times – trailing only Lou Brock, Fred McGriff, Jim Thome, Willie Stargell and Reggie Jackson.

Still, even with all that swinging and missing, he finished with a .272/.364/.477 line and a .840 OPS (just behind Cap Anson and ahead of Cliff Floyd on the all time list). It is actually better than hall of famers Eddie Murray, Enos Slaughter, Roberto Clemente, Yogi Berra, Ernie Banks, etc. Of course his career WAR (38.4) is nowhere near those guys.

lankfront

That said, Lankford did have some amazing years, and a real good stretch from 1995-1998. During that time, he averaged 27 HRs, a .285/.382/.530 slash line and 26/34 SB rate. Not bad at all.

Was he Musial or Hornsby, clearly not. Heck he wasn’t even Ken Boyer (.287/.349/.462 as a third baseman/centerfielder from 1955-1969).

However he was a good Cardinal. According to Wikipedia, Lankford finished his career among the Cardinals Top 10 in home runs (third), stolen bases (fifth), runs scored (eighth), runs batted in (eighth), and bases on balls (fourth).

Oh and he is the only Cardinal to post more than one 20/20 season.

The perception of Lankford reminds me a lot of one of my favorite players, Adam Dunn, in that walks weren’t perceived to have the value they do and strike-outs were supposedly worse than pop outs.

lankfrontTP

Lankford simply played in an era during which strike-outs were viewed as a cardinal sin and preventing outs (i.e., taking a free pass) wasn’t recognized as a very important thing. Odd but true, let’s give Lankford his due.

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h2h Corner ~ Kevin Brown, the Hall of Fame & Some Immortals, a Conversation

It all started with a relatively benign link and two sentence e-mail. What ensued was a long (pointless) discussion on which MLB pitcher Kevin Brown is most like, his Hall of Fame chances (none), whether he should make the Hall (sort of) and some other Dodger pitchers (greats).

Before looking at the exchange, which of the below are Hall of Famers in your mind – post in the comments section:

Guy1: 3.80 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.9 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 6.8 K/9, 2.63 K/BB, 1,965 Innings, 1,494 Ks

Guy2: 3.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 6.6 K/9, 2.66 K/BB, 3,256.1 Innings, 2,397 Ks

Guy3: 2.95 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.1 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, 2.91 K/BB, 3,432 Innings, 2,486 Ks

Guy4: 2.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 6.8 H/9, 0.8 HR/8, 3.2 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, 2.93 K/BB, 2,234.1 IPs, 2,396 Ks

h2h Corner:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/should-kevin-Brown-be-in-the-hall-of-fame/

Been a lot of talk about it lately — not sure what I think. I believe in all of the metrics, but it’s just odd – still he was damn good during one of the craziest offensive explosions ever and pitched in some unforgiving places.

DJK:

Kevin Brown has no chance to make it.  And, despite the strong underlying numbers, I think that’s right.  Brown was good for about 5 years (’96-’00).  I exclude ’01 in that grouping b/c he only pitched 115 innings and 1992 cuz that’s before the ball was juiced, the players were juiced, etc.  I can see a strong argument for ’92 if you want to put it in there.  Anyway, a 5-6 year career of near dominance is certainly something to consider.  He shouldn’t fail to get the 5%, though I imagine he will.  Anyway, I remember Brown over that span and he was amazing.  I particularly remember his three straight postseasons which were fairly incredibly.  Still though, over those 5-6 seasons Brown never won the Cy Young and never came closer than 16th in MVP voting.  Clearly not determinative, but instructive.

I think Brown is hurt by a few things.  The first and foremost is that he was kind of a douche.  That never helps with this voting.  The second is that he wasn’t really that good in LA (no matter how that blog post tries to defend him).  He had a nice year in 2003 (a very nice year, actually), but that’s about it.  Not only did he not put up great numbers at a pitcher’s park, but he got hurt constantly.  The third is – and I haven’t read anything to support this so it’s simply a hunch – but I bet a number of writers suspect him of steroid use.  For a guy to fall off and get injuries all of the sudden, especially in the juiced age, it just seems to align a bit too nicely.  Fourth, and just as a minor postscript, but his time with the Yankees may also hint to some folks that he couldn’t cut it in the AL and only survived pitching against lesser competition in the senior circuit.  Sure he pitched well with the Rangers, but that was pre-strike when offense was down.

h2h Corner:

Let’s set aside what will happen–he’ll share the same fate as Lou Whitaker….But isn’t this a sort of test case for new metrics? Or, at least, a useful thought exercise for myself?

I believe in most statistical advancements (don’t fully grasp the defensive ones yet). But if the metrics I believe say Brown is Hall worthy, then, don’t I have to agree? At first, I can’t really stomach Kevin Brown as a Hall of Famer — but that’s mostly due to my memory of his 1995 campaign with the Orioles. I projected a lot of pain onto him for that campaign (I was just 13), but in reality he was a very very good pitcher. While he only went 10-9, he posted a 3.60 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 2.44 K:BB rate – not bad.

He would then run off an incredible span from 1996-2001, during which he averaged a 2.53 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 221 IPs, 194 Ks, a 3.98 K:BB rate and 6.2 WAR. These numbers come from Baseball Reference, not Fangraphs.

For his career, Brown amassed roughly 65 wins above your average replacement player. That is more than Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Jim Bunning, Dennis Eckersley, Mordecai Brown, Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax, Red Ruffing, Bob Lemon, Hoyt Wilhelm, Dizzy Dean, and a ton of other players who aren’t Hall of Famers like those gentlemen mentioned above.

The knock on Brown seems to be his lack of continued excellence. So let’s look at Sandy Koufax. Koufax amassed his 54.5 WAR in 12 seasons. Brown pitched in 19 seasons. Brown threw over 180 innings 11 times, and added two 170+ IP seasons – he averaged 171 innings a year.

Meanwhile Koufax threw over 180 innings five times and averaged 194 innings a season, owing to back-to-back 320+ inning seasons. Still, Kevin Brown pitched almost 1,000 more innings total than Sandy Koufax.

Furthermore, Koufax was worth over 7.8 WAR each season from 1963-1966. Brown was worth over 5.8 WAR each season from 1996-2000. Koufax clearly was more dominant at his prime, however during their “peaks,” Brown amassed 34.6 WAR, while Koufax amassed 37.6 WAR. Not a sizeable difference and not a big enough one for me to toss aside Brown’s innings and declare Koufax clearly the better pitcher.

In short, I don’t think I can say that Koufax had a better career than Brown. I think they had comparable careers – with Brown’s being longer. Sure, Koufax was greater at certain points, but not a whole lot greater and certainly not for a longer period.

I think a more apt comparison for Brown is to another Dodger pitcher: Don Drysdale. Drysdale pitched 14 seasons, He threw over 211 innings 12 times. He averaged 245 innings a season. He finished with a 2.95 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2,486 Ks and a 1.85 K:BB ratio.

So Drysdale pitched just 200 more innings than Brown and struck out just 89 batters more. Drysdale never had a peak so high as Koufax. However from 1960-1964 he would be worth 31 WAR. I think it’s safe to say that at his best, Brown was slightly better than Drysdale at his best.

I think Drysdale was a better pitcher than Kevin Brown. I don’t think he was a much better pitcher. Certainly not enough that Drysdale is a surefire HOFer and Brown will not get above 5% of the vote.

My contention: if you think Koufax and Drysdale are Hall of Famers, so is a less elevated Dodgers pitcher: Kevin Brown.

DJK:

Ok, while clearly not a perfect comparison (again, Koufax was DOMINANT for his peak 5/6 years) I think I’ve come up with the best modern day comparison I can.  Remember, we’re playing in a live ball era with smaller stadiums (so ERA and WHIP have to be adjusted up).  Also, we’re playing in the era of the professional bullpen, so guys don’t pitch as many complete games (or as many games period — not as many wins).  Anyway, if this guy were put before the hall today, would he be in?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/carpech01.shtml

I’m kind of swamped at work so I can’t respond to this as completely as I’d like.  But, I’ll give you a few choice snippets to nibble on and see what you come back.  The first is that I’m not convinced that Sandy Koufax is an apt comparison for anyone when it comes to HOF consideration.  The man had five incredible years.  And they were incredible.  His raw numbers aside, he won the CY Young 3 times, the MVP once (finishing second twice), and was a continued All-star.  Perhaps there is an argument for including his 1961 season in this discussion (he did finish 18th for the MVP vote), but it doesn’t seem likely.  Regardless, five years of dominance, one year of good (’61), and then four years of not so good (excluding ’55 and ’56 cuz of the limited IP’s).  I’m not convinced that if Koufax came up for the Hall today (under a different name of course) that he would garner the requisite votes.  Those five years were great, otherworldly even, but does five years make a career?  Especially when the only World Series he won was in ’55 when he barely contributed?  It’s something to think about; honestly, I don’t think he would have made it.  At least not with the current group of voters that hold the Hall to be something sacred and especially difficult to get into.

h2h Corner:

Wow- it’s unbelievable the resemblance between Chris Carpenter’s and Kevin Brown’s rate stats.

Carp: 3.80 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.9 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 6.8 K/9, 2.63 K/BB

Brown: 3.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 6.6 K/9, 2.66 K/BB

However, that’s kind of where the comparison ends. Quite simply, while people think Brown wasn’t durable, Carpenter is fragile Fred Taylor compared to him. In parts of 13 seasons, Carpenter has pitched 1,965 IPs and missed all of 2003 due to injury.

In his first 13 seasons, in which he pitched a major league inning, Brown pitched 2,430.2 IPS. That’s about 2+ years more than Carpenter. Furthermore, Brown averaged 171 IPs per season in his career. So far, Carpenter has averaged just 151. In total, Brown has pitched 1,291 more innings (about six to seven seasons).

This accounts for the dramatic difference in WAR (Brown: 64.8, Carpenter 28.6) even though their rates are so similar. Furthermore, Carpenter never had a stretch like Brown’s from 1996-2000. Only twice has Carpenter been worth more than 4.9 WAR in his career. Brown was worth over 4.9 six times.

Brown’s innings (which were excellent) count. If Carpenter continues to pitch at this level for six more years without injury, he, too, might have a good Hall of Fame case.

I think people are discounting the breadth of Brown’s career. He pitched a lot and was well above average most of the time. Was he great? Yes, for 5 years he was superb.

Lastly, I’ll note that Brown has more innings pitched than Hall of Famers: Mordecai Brown, Whitey Ford, Hal Newhouser, Bob Lemon, Lefty Gomez, and (yes again) Sandy Koufax.