Posts Tagged ‘seattle mariners’
I don’t know if this is at all accurate, but this could be the first baseball card that alludes to a player being in the “best shape of his life.” Unfortunately, Tomko’s improved overall strength didn’t exactly help him in the transition to the big boy league:
1999 with the Reds: 172 IPs, 6.91 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, 4.92 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 1.37 WHIP
2000 with the Mariners: 92.1 IPs, 5.75 K/9, 3.90 BB/9, 4.68 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.43 WHIP
I find his decline in K-rate somewhat startlingly, sure he went from a league that features the pitcher to one with a designated hitter, but he went from starting most of his games to relieving – perhaps that pitcher was a massive cushion for Tomko. Regardless, he totally needed that strength improvement program.
The card also notes that Tomko has four excellent pitches. While we don’t have pitch value data going back to the beginning of his career, I find it hard to believe he had one excellent pitch. From 2002-2011, his wFB totaled -20.1 and his wSL was -16.1. About the only thing the card got right is that his curveball was improving: his wCB was 3.7 in 2002 and 0.8 from 2002-2011.
Lastly, at the time of the Griffey trade, there was no way people saw Tomko as loaded with talent. If the Mariners thought he was loaded with talent, he would have started more than 12 games over two years and wouldn’t have been traded just two years and 127 innings later.
In fact, he was traded three times from 2000-2002 and, once he made it to free agency, travelled up and down the west coast signing with the Giants, Dodgers, Padres, and Athletics. He, perhaps, pitched poorest for the Dodgers, earning the nickname: “Bombko,” which, in any other sport, might be a positive thing. Tomko’s 1.25 HR/9 from 1997-2011 is the 31st worst during that span (and look at the ballparks he pitched in).
While his career fell short of its promise, his personal life is rosy: Tomko is married to Julia Schultz (her google image search is NSFW but worth it) and has become an artist – I wonder what he wants to paint (certainly wasn’t corners like Bob Tewksbury, hardy har har).
I’m pretty sure I picked this card out of the thousands I go through because I thought Ruppert was misspelled (it isn’t) and the name makes me chuckle. It probably makes me chuckle because of Family Guy, but, in my head, Ruppert is really Higgins from Magnum PI – the mind does funny things.
I figure I also liked the rather mundane factoid as well. He enjoys both karate and racquetball (presumably not at the same time). I don’t really like either. Karate wasn’t my thing and I’m not a fan of Martial Arts movies (unless it is Mortal Kombat or stars JCVD). Racquetball I enjoyed a little, but it reminds me of old fogies with short shorts and smelly socks. I also hate squash (the game, not the food, acorn squash soup is delicious).
Anyway, the reflexes and agility required by both enjoyed activities must have helped Jones during his career. In 1977, he made 465 putouts, the 27th most in a season ever. In a game on May 16, 1978, Jones recorded 12 putouts, thereby tying the major league record for putouts by an outfielder in an extra-inning game. He batted fourth in the contest, went 1/6 with two Ks and his average stood at .213. Former flip-sider Shane Rawley took the loss.
The following year, 1979, Jones recorded 453 putouts, the 44th most ever in a season. The man could track down balls (even though his defensive abilities seem suspect – 2.2 dWAR for his career).
Even before all that, Jones was the first pick in the 1976 expansion draft by the Seattle Mariners, after being selected in the third round of the amateur draft by the Royals in 1973.
His 1977 season made the Mariners look like geniuses. He went .263/.324/.454 with 24 bombs – he was worth 3.3 wins above a replacement player.
However things wouldn’t progress. Aside from his record setting put-out game in ‘78, his season was a disaster. But he bounced back and played well for the Mariners in ’79, finishing his career there worth 6 WAR.
He’d spend one year with the Yankees and then three with the San Diego Padres. He played his best ball for the Padres (7.5 WAR), but they granted him free agency after the 1983 season. He signed with the Detroit Tigers.
He appeared in just two games for the Tigers in the postseason that year, didn’t contribute much, but was part of a win in the World Series against the Padres.
The majority of his post-season experience came the year before this card was printed. He went 3/17, but walked 5 times for the Angels against the Boston Red Sox. And that would wrap his last real season in the majors.
He came back in 1987 but couldn’t buy a base hit. He played another year in Japan before hanging it up and focusing on Karacquete, a new sport that never quite caught on.
Chone Figgins, average draft position: 101.
5×5 rank: 916
9/60, four runs, one HR, three RBIs, one SB.
Even modest projections for Figgins coming off a down 2010 had him stealing 35-40 bases and outpacing last year’s .259 average.
Now, if you look at ZiPS Updated projections, we’ve got a .243 average and 30 steals. Yikes.
So is he hitting a signed Babe Ruth ball over the fence when Denis Leary is your step-father bad?
Not quite yet.
Clearly, his dwindling walk rate is a concern, but I can’t imagine it stays mired below 5%. So he will get on base more via the base on balls and presumably run.
Further, he isn’t swinging and missing a ton: 10% K rate and 4.2% swinging strikes (totally comparable to other seasons in his career). He is actually making more contact this year than last year (albeit in a tiny sample and only by 0.1% more).
Figgins is just doing horrible on balls in play (.148). He has been around .300 before, but never below that mark. I do worry that he is hitting more fly balls for some reason (38.5% this year compared to 33.8% for his career). He owns a career 1.27 GB/FB rate, yet his line drive and ground ball percentages are down this year. Combine that with more fly balls and you have a 2011 GB/FB rate of 1.10.
I’m going to side more with the ZiPS (ROS) projection, a .255/.342 line with 30 SBs. I think there is a bit of upside going forward if he can correct his fly ball hitting ways. I also wouldn’t be shocked with a .265 average and 35 stolen bases.
Obviously, it’s a far cry from two years ago (and, to some extent, last season), but he isn’t killing you…yet.
Talk about same ole same ole…
Rhodes posted a 1.72 ERA in 2001 (the best mark out of the pen in the AL that season). In 2010, Rhodes posted a 2.53 ERA out of the pen. That’s nine years apart. Oh, and Rhodes career began in 1991 as a starter with the Baltimore orioles (he’d allow 47 hits and 23 walks in just 36 IPs in his initial season).
To date, Rhodes has a career that spans 20 years…but it sure didn’t look like he’d stick around that long. As a kid I sat in the bleachers of Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. I hated Arthur Rhodes and Sidney Ponson and Alan Mills (unless he was choking Daryl Strawberry) and Jose Mesa and Armando Benitez (A Buster Olney column!) and Ben McDonald. They all sucked and they were all chokers – I was an unforgiving pre-teen.
Rhodes especially let me down because I had such high hopes for him. In 1992, when he was just 22, Rhodes started 15 games for the Orioles and posted a 3.63 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He also managed to limit his walks (3.6 per nine) and increase his k/9-rate (7.3). In short, to an untrained eye, Rhodes looked like the real deal. What I know now is that Rhodes would never, as a starter, be that frugal with free passes and he’d never be the type to post a 0.6 HR/9 rate – it was simply unsustainable. So, the idea that he was a 2.03 K:BB pitcher was pure poppycock.
Sure enough, over the next two years as a starter, he saw HR/9 rate around 1.5, BB/9 rate around 5.0 and K:BB walk between 1 and 1.5 – not so good. In 1995, Rhodes would start nine games and post a 7.16 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. Toward the end of the year, the Orioles tried him as a reliever. In 10 appearances (hardly much of a sample size), he posted a 4.88 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Not great, but surely better than Rhodes the starter. What’s more interesting is that he allowed a .202/.316/.412 line to opposing hitters.
In 1996, Rhodes would start the last two games of his career and make 26 relief appearances. His era was 4.02 and his WHIP was 1.34 – not shocking, eh? Then, in 1997, he made 53 relief appearances with a 3.02 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Clearly, the Orioles found what Rhodes was made to do (i.e. become my generation’s Jesse Orosco).
There would be some bumps along the way (1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006), but some brilliance, especially as a LOOGY. For his career he has limited lefty opponents to a .216/.282/.319 line.
But, as the back of the card reflects, there wasn’t much finer than his 2001. In addition to his amazing ERA, Rhodes went 8-0. Only 13 people in the history of the game have gone 8-0 or better in a season. In addition, as of this writing, he is second all-time in holds, with 217.
While the Orioles of the mid-/late-90s never quite got there, their success corresponded with the organization figuring out how best to use some of its assets. Clearly Rhodes was a helpful piece and is someone who continues to build a semi-historic baseball career.
For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.
This is Jamie Moyer’s rookie card. This card was printed in 1987. It is 2010 and Moyer is still pitching. My gosh, my golly.
Apparently, way back, 30 years ago, Moyer threw at least 27 consecutive hitless innings. It was just high school, but people luck into hits all the time. Surely this foretold of greatness for the young Moyer. He would be a sixth round draft pick in 1984 and would reach the majors in 1986. However, from 1986 – 1991, Moyer would post a 4.56 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. In 1998 the Cubs would trade him and Rafael Palmeiro to the Texas Rangers for, predominantly, Mitch Williams and Curt Wilkerson.
In 1993, he would resurface with the Baltimore Orioles and pitch pretty well over three seasons. He’d then make stops in Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia. In 2003, at age 40, Moyer would finish fifth in the Cy Young voting. In 2008, he would win the World Series while playing for his beloved Philadelphia Phillies – 28 years after he graduated high school.
Nearly 30 years ago, Moyer had a 27 inning hitless streak. If you told that 18-year-old high school student that he would have a 24 season professional baseball career, he would been dumbfounded. Heck, I know it is currently happening and I’m dumbstruck.
For the history of this series, check out this article: Howard Johnson.