Projections and Paces – Brewers

Leave a comment

The article below is meant to provide a quick look at how my
preseason projections match up with the paces of select major league
hitters.

Prince Fielder
2008: .276/.372/.507, 34 HR, 86 R, 102 RBI, 3 SB in 588 AB
Proj..: .289/.401/.552, 38 HR, 93 R, 116 RBI, 3 SB in 567 AB
Pace: .302/.430/.595, 39 HR, 98 R, 157 RBI, 0 SB in 569 AB

If he can keep it up, Fielder would be the first National League to
drive in 150 runs since Sammy Sosa in 2001. Ryan Howard just missed in
2006 (149) and 2008 (146).

Ryan Braun
2008: .285/.335/.553, 37 HR, 92 R, 106 RBI, 14 SB in 611 AB
Proj..: .296/.352/.567, 39 HR, 110 R, 107 RBI, 18 SB in 626 AB
Pace: .321/.416/.575, 34 HR, 120 R, 118 RBI, 12 SB in 589 AB

Braun was talked about as a legitimate MVP candidate for his 2008
performance. He’ll be more deserving this year if he maintains his
current pace, but he’s still not the best hitter on his own team.

Mike Cameron
2008: .243/.331/.477, 25 HR, 69 R, 70 RBI, 17 SB in 444 AB
Proj..: .248/.338/.455, 23 HR, 74 R, 78 RBI, 18 SB in 517 AB
Pace: .250/.358/.477, 29 HR, 76 R, 76 RBI, 5 SB in 540 AB

Cameron remains one of the game’s most underrated players, but he
hasn’t been quite as valuable as the OPS suggests this year, as he’s
hitting just .118 in 51 at-bats with RISP. Nine of his 12 homers have
come with the bases empty.

Corey Hart
2008: .268/.300/.459, 20 HR, 76 R, 91 RBI, 23 SB in 612 AB
Proj..: .286/.339/.480, 22 HR, 83 R, 98 RBI, 20 SB in 594 AB
Pace: .264/.325/.452, 22 HR, 101 R, 79 RBI, 10 SB in 587 AB

Hitting at the top of the order has resulted in a reversal of Hart’s
run and RBI numbers. I think his speed would be more useful behind
Braun and Fielder, since it makes little sense to risk getting thrown
out on steal attempts with those two up. Cameron is the better fit as a
No. 2 hitter.

J.J. Hardy
2008: .293/.343/.478, 24 HR, 78 R, 74 RBI, 2 SB in 569 AB
Proj..: .274/.335/.456, 23 HR, 86 R, 72 RBI, 3 SB in 570 AB
Pace: .219/.301/.344, 15 HR, 79 R, 71 RBI, 0 SB in 528 AB

Perhaps he’s finally starting to come out of it now. Hart went
5-for-12 with a homer and four RBI in the series against the Indians.

Jason Kendall
2008: .246/.327/.324, 2 HR, 46 R, 49 RBI, 8 SB in 516 AB
Proj..: .260/.343/.328, 2 HR, 55 R, 40 RBI, 6 SB in 470 AB
Pace: .232/.324/.276, 0 HR, 49 R, 44 RBI, 2 SB in 454 AB

Unfortunately, there’s just nothing separating him from Brad Ausmus at this point.

Yoenis Cespedes should be ready for Tuesday’s game

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Mets are off today, and that day off may be just enough to get outfielder Yoenis Cespedes ready to start their next game, on Tuesday, against the Braves. At least that’s what he’s telling Mets manager Terry Collins.

Cespedes did not play in the weekend series against the Nationals, but was available as a pinch hitter yesterday. He was even on the on-deck circle at the end of last night’s game.

Cespedes, who tweaked his hammy running to second base on Thursday, is hitting .255/.364/.636 with six homers and 10 RBI in 15 games on the young season.

Marcus Stroman was called for an illegal quick pitch for some reason

Getty Images
5 Comments

A “quick pitch” is an illegal action in which the pitcher pitches the ball before the batter is prepared. What makes a quick pitch a quick pitch? According to Rule 6.02(a)(5), it’s this:

 . . . Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.

There are a couple of reasons why you don’t want quick pitches in baseball. In one respect, it’s about safety, as mentioned specifically in the rule. You don’t want a pitcher throwing a 90 m.p.h. fastball in the batter’s general direction if he’s not ready for it, because if it goes off course the batter will have no ability to defend himself and bail. But there’s also a spirit-of-the-game reason for it. The essence of baseball is the face-off between batter and pitcher. While everyone wants the game to move along promptly, the game isn’t really the game if the batter isn’t ready.

There is more art than science to all of this, of course, as all batters and pitchers have different pre-pitch routines, but when you watch a game, there’s a rhythm to all of that. You know the batter is gonna take a couple of practice swings and settle in. The pitcher tends to respect that. The quick pitch rule is rarely invoked for this reason.

It was used in yesterday’s Angels-Blue Jays game, however. And used badly in my view. Watch Marcus Stroman pitch to Kole Calhoun. The ump is Ramon DeJesus. The count was 3-1, so the automatic ball resulted in Calhoun being awarded first base:

Calhoun was obviously upset about something, calling time after Stroman is into his motion (which is not allowed) throwing his hands up and stuff after the pitch. But tell me, in what way was he not “reasonably ready” for that pitch, to use the language of the rule? He’s facing Stroman, looking at him. He’s done with his warmup swings, his bat is up and cocked and he’s standing in hitting position. I understand that it’s a judgment call by the umpire, but it seems to me like the umpire just called time too late because Calhoun didn’t feel ideally comfortable or something.

Either way, it set off Stroman and manager John Gibbons. Gibbons was ejected arguing the call. Stroman, who was otherwise excellent yesterday, was rattled for a bit, giving up a couple of hits and a run afterward. It was Calhoun who scored, natch.

It didn’t affect the outcome, but it certainly seemed like a bad call. And possibly a bad precedent, as batters may now try to lobby harder for quick pitch calls, given its success yesterday. Or, if umpires tend to think that was a bad call too, maybe they’ll overcompensate for it and be less likely to call quick pitches? You never know how this stuff will play out.

Whatever happens, I’ve been against Major League Baseball’s habit of increasingly taking judgment calls away from umpires, trying to make the subjective objective and making a flawed instant replay system the Supreme Court of Baseball Calls. But jeez, it’s hard to argue for allowing umps to hold on to judgment calls when they blow ’em like this.