Posted tagged ‘John Lackey’

David Ortiz has never had a legitimate strike three

August 8, 2010

For anyone that’s ever seen David Ortiz strike out, you know he whines and moans every time he strikes out looking. Yesterday he struck out looking twice, both on bad calls in this instance. Here is what he said:

Quote:

“It was a joke,” said Ortiz. “The fact is that on top of [Sabathia] being that good, he’s got [an ump] calling all kinds of [expletive]. That made him better.

Okay, David, we know you’re mad but please don’t tell one side of the story. The ump was horrible all game, for both sides. And while CC was helped in at-bats against you, he also had at-bats where he was screwed.

Here is Sabathia’s second strikeout of Ortiz:

Two bad calls on curves away.

Sabathia walked just one batter yesterday. Here is that at-bat:

Where were pitches 1 and 4? Even pitch 5 was a borderline strike. According to Gameday, Sabathia should have had a strikeout on four pitches against JD Drew, but instead walked him because the ump failed to call two sliders that dropped in for a strike.

Ortiz claims CC benefited from the ump, but so did his teams pitcher, John Lackey. Look at Lackey’s battle with Curtis Granderson:

Hmmm, that curve outside was called a strike. So Ortiz wasn’t the only person who the ump screwed.

On the day it looked like the home plate ump just struggled on off-speed pitches. All the atrocious calls on the outside to lefties were curves or sliders. Also, the two balls on Drew were sliders inside, so it seems like the ump had a slanted strike zone on off-speed pitches against left-handed batters.

So, cool, David, the ump screwed you. But he was bad both ways and both teams benefited and were hurt. So say that or say nothing at all.

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Clearing the Bases : Los Angeles Angels

March 30, 2010

The Angels lost several key players for their team over the past two seasons. Last year Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira were the two main losses. Losing two players that are rated very highly at their positions, they settled for a cheaper Brian Fuentes and Kendry Morales. Both had pretty good seasons.

But this off season was a little different. They lost their ace pitcher John Lackey to the Red Sox. They lost Chone Figgins to a divisional foe in the Mariners. Vladimir Guerrero and Darren Oliver both signed with the Texas Rangers. And Kelvim Escobar went to the Mets while Jose Arredondo signed with the Reds.

However, LA still has a good club. They downgraded at third base and their bullpen is not as good. The rotation will look like this if everyone remains healthy:

Jared Weaver
Ervin Santana
Joe Saunders
Scott Kazmir
Joel Pineiro

The Angels usually do a good job at getting the cheaper player who can still put up good numbers the next season. Take Kendry Morales for example. Lets see what the Angels are losing/gaining this season by checking some projections on some of the players they lost and who is now there. Pineiro took Lackey’s rotation spot, Brandon Wood is taking over for Chone Figgins at third, and Matsui for Vladdy.

John Lackey :

IP : 186
Hits : 185
Home Runs : 20
Runs : 88
ERA : 3.92
SO : 141
BB : 51

Joel Pineiro :

IP : 168
Hits : 198
Home Runs : 17
Runs : 90
ERA : 4.45
SO : 79
BB : 35

The numbers show that Lackey is the better choice. Field dimensions do play a part in this, but Boston is more of a hitters park and Lackey will still post better numbers than Pineiro according to Chone’s projections. I agree with the struggles of Pineiro with a middle 4.00 ERA. This is why the Angels must stay healthy this year- I don’t feel like they have too many quality pitchers, especially considering depth is a weak point.

Chone Figgins :

AB : 522
R : 189
Hits : 142
HR : 4
SB : 33
BB : 79
SO : 103
OBP : .370
SLG : .358

Brandon Wood :

AB : 422
R : 58
Hits : 104
HR : 19
SB : 6
BB : 35
SO : 120
OBP : .309
SLG : .445

The Angels not only lost a good third baseman, but a big part of their team style. A gritty team that likes to steal bases and manufacture runs. With Chone Figgins this is possible. With Brandon Wood, not so much. They might have an okay middle of the lineup this year, but the top of the order will suffer without Figgins.

Vladimir Guerrero

AB : 469
R : 65
Hits : 137
HR : 23
BB : 27
SO : 67
OBP : .337
SLG : .495

Hideki Matsui :

AB : 428
R : 61
Hits : 113
HR : 17
BB : 54
SO : 67
OBP : .351
SLG : .437

Matsui is the better choice here. He will mostly be a DH too. But Vlad would still be serviceable.

I think the Angels could fight for the wild card in the AL, but the Mariners and Rangers both got better while the Angels gotten worse. Their style of play will never be the same unless they find someone to fill Chone’s role, and I really don’t like the rotation all too much. A lot of if’s.

Trade of the off-season and Lackey finds a new home

December 15, 2009

By now you have probably read about the “three team” deal involving Lee and Halladay as well as it’s analysis through way of fangraphs or other blogs/sites. But we will still give our simple breakdown.

Seattle receives: Cliff Lee

Philadelphia receives: Roy Halladay, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and Juan Ramirez

Toronto receives: Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis D’Arnaud

Let’s look at Seattle first. This was a mega heist for them. Before the trade, the Mariners had a solid ballclub who needed just one more pitcher to give them a legit oppurtunity to win the West. Now they have a Cy Young candidate- and they got him for what seems like very little. Aumont is a power pitcher, but he is just a reliever who struggled in AA. Gillies and Ramirez are two low levels prospects with much development needed. With this trade, I would peg Seattle as the early favorites to win the AL West. Keep doing work, Zduriencik: A+

At the same time- what is Philly doing? Yes, Halladay is better. Yes, Halladay will be a Philly for at least three more seasons, whereas Lee might have been gone after 2010. But what in the world are you thinking? Seattle just robbed you. You traded away one of the premiere pitchers in baseball, for three so-so prospects who may never become solid performers, let alone All-Stars. On top of that, you gave away a stud SP prospect in Drabek, a promising OF prospect in Taylor, and a solid catching prospect in D’Arnaud for three years of Halladay. Doc is a fantastic pitcher, and a 3/$60m deal is a bargain for him. But, where Philly went wrong is the Lee deal. The package they got in return for Lee was not enough to justify trading for Halladay. If Philly needed to cut payroll after getting Halladay by trading Lee, it was a bad choice. There are other players that can be unloaded, such as Joe Blanton: C

From Toronto’s perspective, they got a good haul. Their choice was either to keep Halladay for a year and get two draft picks for him, or to get three known prospects, who each appear good enough to become solid MLB players. Sure, they could have tried to get better offers from New York or Boston, but they still got a good haul from Philly: B+


In other news, Boston signed John Lackey to a 5/$82.5mil deal. This is a good move by Boston. Sure, Lackey was overpaid. For most of his five year estimates, he is projected to have a total WAR of around 15, which correlates to about a 5/$60mil deal. But factoring in Boston has the money to handle that contract and his wins are valuable to a team that will need as many as it can get facing New York and Tampa, it is a solid contract. Lackey, as of now, slides into the middle of the rotation, which probably gives Boston the best staff in the AL.

And by far the losers of yesterday were the Los Angeles Angels. Sure, they signed Matsui for a good price. But they lost their top pitcher while a divisional rival picked up one of the best pitchers in baseball.

EDIT: Michael Taylor was traded from Toronto to Oakland for prospect Brett Wallace. The Athletics have people at 1B and 3B who they like more and the Blue Jays have no prospects at the corner IF positions. This “minor” trade makes sense for both sides.

Mariners sign Chone Figgins

December 7, 2009

The staff here at 4PARL are not Mariners fans. However, this off-season we are pulling for them to continue their turnaround. In 2008, they lost 101 games and the horrible Bill Bavasi was still the GM. Just over a season later, the Mariners are looking to build a playoff team under the direction of GM Jack Zduriencik. That is why we are estatic of the news that the Mariners signed Chone Figgins to a four year deal worth $36mil.

Chone Figgins will take over third base for Adrian Beltre and fit in well with Seattle’s defensive excellency, while also adding some much needed offense. The Mariners have built their current roster upon defense and Figgins should live up to expectations. The past two seasons at third he has a UZR/150 of 13.8 and 18.8. He also has a projected 2010 UZR/150 of 8.7. But Seattle’s biggest weakness has been offense. While Figgins isn’t an All-Star hitter, he is good at getting on base. In respective order from 2007-2009, his OBP has been .393, .367, and .395. Over that same time his wOBA has been .371, .319, and .358. Not too bad.

Figgins will be paid $9mil per season over the next four seasons. That is a really good deal. The Mariners are roughly paying for a two win player over the next four seasons. In all likelihood, Figgins will be at least a three WAR player over the next few seasons. I project Figgins to be a 3.6 WAR player in 2010, which means in the first year of the contract the Mariners will be getting a surplus of about 1.5-2 wins. Talk about a bargain.

The Mariners have started the off-season on the right foot and hopefully they can keep it up. If they really want to go all in and steal the AL West crown away from the Angels, they should sign John Lackey, Nick Johnson, and Jack Cust. Lackey will bolster the rotation, while NJ and Cust can add offensive power, which was their missing link last season. Now that’s a playoff team.

Clearing the Bases: Seattle Mariners

November 28, 2009

2010 Seattle Mariners:


With a new front office led by general manager Jack Zduriencik the 2009 Seattle Mariners made one of the quickest turns into a winning, defensive oriented team we have seen in recent memory. With spectacular defense lead by Franklin Gutierrez, Jack Wilson, and perhaps the best pitcher in the game today Felix Hernandez, the Mariners seem well on their way to competing. The challenge of course for Seattle is to take the next step in a division that has the always competitive LAA Angels and the young and talented Texas Rangers. We will take a look at a few moves that would keep the Seattle Payroll fairly static going forward and push them into the driver’s seat in the AL West.

Moves:
* Sign the best arm on the free agent market. This may seem like a no brainer and well it is. John Lackey has spent his career on the west coast, the Seattle Mariners have money to spend and a need for a #2 behind Hernandez. Although his perforamce has been better then AJ Burnett over his career, starting his season in May the last 2 years gives some cause for concern. Sign John Lackey 5 year/$90 million.

* Rumors about the Athletics not tendering Jack Cust a contract gives the Mariners an opportunity to find a discount DH that adds power to an otherwise powerless offense. Sign Jack Cust 1 year/$4-5 million.

* Signing 1B off a career year may not seem like the best move, but unless the Mariners want to increase payroll more then needed and put their faith in the oft hurt guys like Delgado or Nick Johnson on the FA market, re-signing Russell Branyan seems like a safe bet. Re-sign Russell Branyan 2 year/$10 million.

* Boston has an aging 3B with one year left on a big contract. The Red Sox also seem very willing to trade Mike Lowell for nothing in return and eat a good deal of his salary. With Adrian Beltre likely on his way out, Lowell would fit in nicely as 1 year player. Trade for Mike Lowell and take on $4 million.


* Although the rumors of Curtis Grandersons movement have subsided for the time being a move to Seattle still seems logical here. An average to above average CF, Granderson would slide into an OF with Ichiro in RF and Gutierrez in CF. A defensive juggernaut would be born. Although no real rumors of propsed trades have been leaked all over, a deal involving Seattle OF prospect Michael Saunders who hit .310/.378/.544 at Triple A Tacoma in 2009 before struggling in very brief appearances in the major league level, SS Carlos Triunfel who had a rough year at the plate but has been a highly touted prospect very early in his career seems like a deal that could work. The Mariners may have to include another player, perhaps one of their many hard throwing bullpen arms, but a deal here seems like it could get done. Trade for Curtis Granderson $5.5 million in ’10.

Those 5 moves would leave the Mariners with the Following Lineup and rotation:

(Slash Lines and UZR are projections from baseballprojection.com and beyondtheboxscore.com, Links found below)

C – Adam Moore                    .248/.304/.379
1B – Russell Branyan           .247/.338/.503 +0
2B – Jose Lopez                     .280/.311/.466 -1
3B – Mike Lowell                  .268/.324/.433 +1
SS – Jack Wilson                   .257/.301/.362 +6
LF – Curtis Granderson     .267/.344/.469 +2 (as a CF)
CF – Franklin Gutierrez     .268/.325/.418 +16
RF – Ichiro Suzuki               .305/.338/.400 +7
DH – Jack Cust                       .231/.366/.430

SP – Felix Hernandez
SP – John Lackey
SP – Ian Snell
SP – Ryan Rowland-Smith
SP – Fister, Morrow*, Olson

CL – Aardsma

Bench – Bill Hall, Ken Griffey Jr., Jack Hannahan, Tuiasosopo, FA backup catcher

Bullpen – Lowe, Batista, White, Kelly, Morrow*.

Notes:

*This would leave Seattle with a payroll at just below the 2009 figure of $98,904,166.

*Brandon Morrow should be given another shot in the rotation, however if he fails being placed back in the bullpen where has had success seems logical.

*Granderson/Gutierrez have horrible splits, Granderson unable to hit LHP and Gutierrez unable to hit RHP. Having them in the same OF, provides spectacular defense, but also for Seattle to fluctuate their lineup based on the opposing SP.

*Milwaukee is paying $7+ million of Bill Halls remaining contract in 2010, in case you were attempting to compute the payroll

*Jack Cust not being tendered a contract by Oakland is not currently a fact but an idea that has been expressed in many places.

*Ichiro has only once come within .17 points of putting up the projected OBP, it is unlikely his OBP drops .48 points from ’09-’10

*Projections for pitchers are not currently available, when they are this article will be updated.

*This lineup projects to a .263/.328/.429 line in 2010 with increases Seattle’s production across the board the 2009 line of .258/.314/.402.

UZR Projections

Baseball Porjection

2009 Yankees vs. Angels ALCS preview

October 14, 2009

Position Players

The Angels may have a better team BA which I’ve heard pointed out multiple times, but it’s only .002 points better. That’s minuscule. The smart baseball people also know that OBP is better than BA. The Yankees lead that category by .012 points. SLG is also an important stat and the Yankees lead by .037 points. A very important stat which often gets overlooked is BB/K ratio. That Yankees are much better in that category with a 0.65 BB/K while the Angels have a 0.52 BB/K. The Yankees have a BB% and K% of 10.5 and 17.9, respectively. The Angels have a 8.9 BB% and a 18.7 K%. The Yankees have a .366 wOBA as a team. That’s really good for an entire team. The Angels have a .346 wOBA as a team which is good, but no where near the Yankees. Both teams can take advantage of mistakes on the basepaths except a few players on each team. They can also both steal plenty of bases if given the chance. Both starting catchers throw out less than 30% of base runners so expect Scioscia and Girardi to give their base runners the green light when they’re behind the plate. Neither team is anything to write about on defense. The Yankees do however lead the Angels in WAR by 8.9. That’s a significant amount. The Yankees and Angels, respectively, scored the most runs in the MLB with the Yankees scoring 915 and the Angels scoring 883.

Starters

The playoff rotation for a team in a LCS is different from the one during the season because they would use 4 starters instead of 5 starters so team statistics from the season will not work. The Yankees are <A HREF=”http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs/2009/news/story?id=4556312”>leaning towards</A> using a 3-man rotation like they did in the ALDS. This would mean that CC Sabathia would have to start game 4 on 3 days rest, but AJ would start game 5 on normal rest, Andy would start game 6 on normal rest, and CC would start game 7 on normal rest. As a diehard Yankees fan I would feel much better without having to start Gaudin or Joba. This will also lengthen our already stingy bullpen. The Angels could opt to do the same thing and have Lackey pitch on short rest, but he hasn’t exactly been the epitome of health. He hasn’t started 30 games since 2007. I will show stats both ways for the Angels since nothing is set in stone.

CC Sabathia has pitched great this season showing why he was the most coveted pitcher on the FA market last year. He’s hit a few bumps in the road, but rarely do pitchers pitch outstanding in every game. He also shut all the doubters up with a great performance in game 1 of the ALDS. AJ Burnett has had a rocky season, but flashes of greatness during the season capped off by a very good performance to close out the season. He pitched very nicely in game 2 of the ALDS, but he also walked 5 in 6 innings which is a little scary against an Angels team that’s not afraid to steal a base. Andy Pettitte pitched very well for a 37 year old pitcher who was never a dominant pitcher. He also had a very good game in game 3. This season CC, AJ, and Andy combined for a 3.83 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2.25 K/BB, 7.7 K/9, and 3.42 BB/9. I’m not really sure how to calculate FIP, but the average FIP of those 3 comes out to 3.95. CC, AJ, and Andy had a combined 12.3 WAR over the season and a 3.89 WAR/200. A 3-man rotation would also make sense because the Yankees would send out CC, easily their best starter, to start a crucial game 7 if necessary.

John Lackey hasn’t been so great this season. He has had a bunch of really good starts mixed in with some really bad ones. Looking at his game log he reminds of AJ Burnett this season. However, he’s coming off a great start against Boston in game 1. Jered Weaver had a very similar season to Lackey and pitched great in game 2. Scott Kazmir did not have a good year overall, but he was amazing with the Angels. However, he didn’t have a very good game 3 against the Red Sox. If the Angels do not feel comfortable starting Lackey on 3 days rest they could either switch up their rotation so that either Weaver or Kazmir would start on short rest or they could insert Joe Saunders into the rotation. The 3-man rotation had a 4.09 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2.49 K/BB, 7.2 K/9, and a 2.91 BB/9. Their average FIP was 4.01. They had a combined 10.1 WAR and a 3.78 WAR/200. Let’s see what happens when Joe Saunders, who would most likely be their 4th starter, comes into the picture. The 4-man rotation had a 4.22 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 2.24 K/BB, 6.63 K/9, and 2.96 BB/9. Their average FIP would be 4.30. They had a 11.3 WAR and a 3.14 WAR/200. The obvious choice would be to go with the 3-man rotation, but the looming question is can any of the 3 pitch effectively on short rest.

Bullpen

For the bullpens I will look at each team’s closer and a few key contributors. For the Yankees I will look at Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, David Robertson, and Alfredo Aceves. I think these are the bullpen arms we will see most for the Yankees. I left out Joba Chamberlain because he pitch 1 game out of the bullpen even though we will see a lot of him out of the bullpen. I also left out Phil Coke because during the season he was used against righties and lefties, but in the ALCS he will be a lefty specialist. The same thing goes for Damaso Marte IF he is needed. I left out Chad Gaudin because he’s only going to show up for long relief if Alfredo Aceves is unavailable and even if he is Phil Hughes can go 2. Brian Bruney was left out because he’ll be a last resort and with at most 2 games back to back the only circumstance I see him coming in is in mop up duty or if the Yankees are down by a lot late. The 4 bullpen guys I’m looking at had a 2.49 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4.24 K/BB, 9.93 K/9, and 2.34 BB/9. They also had a 2.84 FIP.

The Angels closer is Brian Fuentes and the key contributors to the rest of the bullpen that pitched in the ALDS are Darren Oliver, Jason Bulger, and Kevin Jepsen. I’m not too familiar with the rest of the Angels bullpen, but I’d imagine Matt Palmer gets some action and depending on which rotation they choose could put Joe Saunders in the bullpen. I left those 2 out of the equation since I am unsure whether either will see much action if they’re in the bullpen. Fuentes, Oliver, Bulger, and Jepsen had a combined 3.74 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.41 K/BB, 8.40 K/9, and 3.48 BB/9. They also had a 3.60 FIP.

My Prediction and Reasoning

I predict that the Yankees will win this series. My reasoning is that the Yankees have the better offense and the Angels are a little better on defense. However, WAR says that regardless of the Angels better defense the Yankees offense overpowers the difference resulting in the Yankees domination in team WAR for position players. As for the starting pitching on both teams the Yankees are a little better overall if the Angels opt to go with the 3-man rotation and much better if the Angels go with the 4-man rotation. The bullpen for the Yankees is much better even without factoring Joba into the equation. There is a 1.25 ERA difference. That’s really significant. The Yankees K/BB is also much, much better than the Halos. In my opinion this might even be more important than ERA for relievers because 1 or 2 bad outings can destroy a relievers ERA while K/BB generally will stay consistent unless there is something seriously wrong due to an injury or something like that. ERA is also somewhat reliant on defense and K/BB is not. K/BB also takes into account 2 of the 3 true outcomes for pitchers.

Update:
According to ESPN’s pitching match ups for the ALCS Saunders will pitch game 2 and 6 with Kazmir pitch game 4.