There isn’t much happening in the Giants world and I’m not sure I’ve blogged this month, so let’s talk about the NL West favorite Los Angeles Dodgers, whom have reported for camp duties. You’ll remember that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have a two-game series in Australia that will take place on Saturday, March 22nd, United States time. As the Dodgers get ready, here’s what we’re being told over social media:
On Chad Billingsley, forgotten pitcher by most other NL West fans:
Chad Billingsley, coming off Tommy John surgery, said he’s thrown nine bullpen sessions without a setback.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 8, 2014
Good news for the Dodgers as they increase their rotation depth, and it looks to be of a higher quality than in 2013. Add another left-handed pitcher to the mix in…
Paul Maholm has a locker in the Dodgers clubhouse.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 8, 2014
…Mr. Paul Maholm, whose stats really aren’t too awful for a Major League deal, it’s a wonder how he got scooped up by the Dodgers on a Minor League deal. Had other teams known that’s how they could have had Maholm, surely other teams (e.g., Giants) would have been in on that. Manager Don Mattingly isn’t commenting on the Maholm deal, but doesn’t anticipate changes in the 40-man roster, per beat reporters.
A.J. Ellis, clubhouse comedian, and also possibly in the Best Shape of His Life:
A.J. Ellis said he lost 15 pounds this winter.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) February 8, 2014
A.J. Ellis said he dropped weight because he wants to catch 120-125 games this year.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) February 8, 2014
A.J. Ellis, to me, about his diet: “I can talk to you about it.”
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) February 8, 2014
For those unaware, Dylan Hernandez and one of the beat writers of the Giants, Hank Schulman, normally take jabs at each other over weight issues. All in good fun.
On the starting pitchers in Australia:
Don Mattingly stopped short of naming Australia starters. Kershaw, Greinke likely, but Ryu & Haren will be ready too just in case
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 8, 2014
As for Matt Kemp, coming off of ankle surgery:
Mattingly said it doesn’t look like Matt Kemp will be ready for Australia. but said can’t rule him out.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 8, 2014
A healthy Matt Kemp is great for baseball, but bad for opponents of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That’s all the updates that came in recently. Now we await the complaints of everybody for the regular season to begin.
Matt Kemp is having a rough season, and even if you haven’t watched him this season you might be able to see it on the spreadsheets. -1.0 fWAR is 3rd worst of all 171 qualified hitters, his wRC+ (77) is tied with Yunel Escobar and just below Yuniesky Betancourt (who has come back down to the earth his abilities live on). His .277 wOBA is 151st. To give you an idea of what he did in his should’ve-been-MVP season in 2010, he had an 8.4 fWAR, 168 wRC+, and a .413 wOBA. That’s the Matt Kemp we’ve come to expect, but a crash in Colorado last year has changed things and Kemp’s shoulder flexibility has become limited. Dodger fans have turned on their star and are making it rain with the boos, and Kemp has made it known that he’s not all that thrilled with it:
“It felt like I was in AT&T Park…I’m taking a beating from the fans…It’s disappointing to get booed by our own fans, even shocking.”
Chad Moriyama has been the leader of the charge against booing Kemp/their own players, and his timeline has basically been that recently since there’s been so much booing lately. I applaud his efforts, because as you judged by the article title, I agree with his stance on the matter. I will echo what he has said before in this sentence: fans have the right to do and say what they want, but booing your own player is stupid. I don’t understand why those booing expect an under-performer to either all of a sudden recover their past abilities or inspire them to work harder for their team. Kemp has a huge contract, for sure, and he is expected to be a star, but what will booing accomplish, besides letting out your frustrations? (Clearly, I also care not for those frustrations being exhibited in a “boo.”)
Nobody should be kidding themselves that this is a new thing only happening between the Dodgers and Kemp, I mean, you could tune to the ALCS last year for games at Yankee Stadium and tell me what you hear.
Booing your own player for their not performing to your expectations is ridiculous. It’s a tradition that will live on, I know. There are other ways to express frustration, though the message will be slower to reach those that make the decisions, although its not like the journalists that cover baseball are blind to things like that. It wouldn’t hurt the fans to think about the reason for a player’s lack of success and start calling for change. Until then, those fans just look like people that will say whatever comes to their minds first, not thinking about the consequences or rationale of whatever it is they say and/or are about to say. Who really listens to the opinions of those people anyway?
Hot starts don’t necessarily dictate the results of May through October, because that’s only one month of baseball done, and even one month’s worth of goodies is a small sample size of information. Still, it’s not like it’s not fun to look at some of the numbers that were a little unexpected.
Win and Losses Division
The AL East really was, and still is anybody’s division to win, and so maybe Boston’s 18-8 record — and the best in baseball — shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. What is the bigger surprise can be found at the bottom of the division where the Toronto Blue Jays reside at 10-17. There are three teams with a worse record than that, two won’t surprise you, one may: Astros, Marlins, Angels.
Another unexpected positive performance has come from the NL West leading Colorado Rockies, and second place Kansas City are only a half game back of the 2012 AL Champs. Different league, but still the Central, the top four teams in the NLC are all within one game of each other.
Position Players Division
Surprising that Justin Upton has 12 homers? Probably not. Surprising that New York Mets catcher John Buck is tied for second with 9? Very! We always knew Chris Davis had power, just wondered if his contact rate would get in the way. You expected him to have more of a slash line like Anthony Rizzo than one like Bryce Harper.
This may not surprise you, but I did not think Carl Crawford would have as solid of an April as he’s had. 1.3 fWAR with a .390 wOBA, including 4 HR and SB. You do that every month and that gets you MVP votes.
Players in the bottom 15 of fWAR include players like Melky Cabrera (0 HR), Matt Kemp (84 wRC+), and Josh Hamilton (51 wRC+). I’m sure Melky’s place there doesn’t surprise the PED skeptics, but bottom 15 bad?
Starting Pitchers Division
Continuing with the bottom, it surprises me that two of the bottom seven fWAR performances belong to starters on the Giants staff, and neither of them are Barry Zito (Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong). Brandon McCarthy may sport a horrible 7.48 ERA, but his 3.67 FIP is better than league average, and that 3.82 residual is pretty astounding for anybody.
In a shocking development, Stephen Strasburg and Jeff Samardzija‘s 1-4 W-L record may not tell you that they’ve actually done quite alright for their team, it’s just, you know, that whole run support thing.
Sergio Romo, Jason Grilli, Mariano Rivera, and Jim Johnson may have ten saves, but your leader for relievers in fWAR is James Russell of the Cubs and Craig Kimbrel, Matt Belisle, and four others at 0.6.
Speaking of Sergio, no “closer” has been brought into more games than him. 15. Brad Ziegler leads in appearances with 17. That’s a pretty healthy dose of usage early on.
I know John Axford was on the decline, but that 8 ERA and 7 FIP are more of a fall from grace than just a “decline.”
If you added Brandon League and Huston Street‘s K% (I know it doesn’t work like that, but work with me here), it would be 20.0%. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Bailey, and Greg Holland would still have more than double that K%.
So there are some of your surprises from this month, definitely varying on the spectrum of surprisability, but those are some of the things that got my attention. What surprised you this month?
I made a GIF post of the fight last night, but I’m not going to pretend that watching the whole video of it wouldn’t be better, so
You know the story about Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin, and now there’s an added bit to hearing Matt Kemp and Quentin met in the hallways towards the player parking lot on their way out and got face to face. @ProductiveOuts was able to make some pretty funny commentary out of peacemaker Clayton Richard and Matt Kemp getting up in one another’s space
Matt Kemp and Clayton Richard perform a stunning a cappella cover of “Here And Now” by Luther Vandross. yfrog.com/nx41qdp
— Productive Outs (@ProductiveOuts) April 12, 2013
Then, before everybody went to sleep, and actually before the hallway meeting, the Dodgers official account tweeted this
See you on Monday in Los Angeles: twitter.com/Dodgers/status…
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 12, 2013
Were there San Diego fans, and maybe a player or two backing Quentin last night? Absolutely. Quentin does say Greinke says something to him, so until we know what that is, it’s hard to deliver a clear judgment on the rush that led to Greinke’s broken collarbone. However, my opinion is that the Dodgers account stepped over the line in not helping relations with San Diego. Do they care? Probably not. Should they care? Absolutely. I’m not saying they should have said, “Good game, Padres, see you next time! xoxo” but giving just the official recap and notes from the press conference would have been enough. I’m not sure why it was necessary to create more bad blood between teams and fanbases, because you know San Diego fans probably didn’t enjoy seeing that.
To make my stance clear, I agree with Don Mattingly that Quentin shouldn’t play before Greinke does, but I realize that’s probably not going to happen. This is MLB’s chance to take a stand on the matter, but I don’t expect them to start now. The MLB might also want to have anger management classes for all of its athletes before the season, because maybe it might prevent another broken collarbone, or any other injury. All in all, this is not a good thing for baseball, and I’m just hoping Quentin gets his suspension, Greinke recovers quickly, and the fans from different teams don’t start hurting each other.
Couple of fan fights breaking out down LF line at Petco #fightnight
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) April 12, 2013
The season series resumes on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Maybe it didn’t all start with a Jason Marquis pitch to Matt Kemp in the first inning. Maybe this goes further back. There was a game recap from 2009 (credit to Bill Shaikin for reminding the people) where Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke met when they were with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, respectively:
An instance between Carlos Quentin and Greinke with one out in the fourth stood out as the game’s only real fireworks, and even this uprising didn’t amount to much. Quentin was hit squarely in the back by a Greinke pitch and immediately took a couple of steps toward the mound.
Home-plate umpire Bill Hohn stepped in front of Quentin and catcher Miguel Olivo quickly restrained the slugger. Television broadcasts showed Quentin telling Olivo that he was all right, and Quentin moved down to first base.
By Greinke’s estimation, it was a first-inning pitch that got away and almost hit Quentin in the head causing the residual anger three innings later.
“He had a reason for [being upset],” said Greinke of Quentin. “Any time you throw it that high, it’s justified. You’ve got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You’re going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him.”
So there is history that goes back as far as that. On to the GIFs:
The delivery from Greinke
You’ll notice AJ Ellis yelling “HEY” to Quentin because really, nobody wants to risk injury or suspension of anybody else
Another view, complete with Greinke glove drop and taking the hit
The pile that ensued
From the home plate camera now
The bullpen getting their exercise
Matt Kemp was very angry, and was protected by multiple Dodgers to not get any further involved. As of this moment, it’s unclear if by this point he was already ejected.
The bullpen comes back out to get their jogging in
Greinke would leave with the team trainer, and his departure was called an injury, but we will not know the extent of it until after the game.
Matt Kemp, what do you think of this whole thing?
It’s “mother father bull kit?” I’m not sure I understand. It’s ok, no need to clarify.
Suspensions are likely for Kemp (allegedly for touching an umpire), Hairston, and Quentin. Not sure about Greinke, but that’s also possible. This could be trouble for the Dodgers if Greinke’s actually hurt, but we’ll wait to talk about all that until news is released post-game.
The game ended 5-3, but the Giants had plenty of moments where their pitchers and their defense came through for them. Tim Lincecum had a stretch where he looked stellar, and then other moments where nobody knew where his fastball was going. After Jose Mijares loaded the bases off of a weak hit, a line drive, and a curveball for a HBP on Mark Ellis, George Kontos came in to save the day on what was deemed the biggest hit in win probability added for the Dodgers on this Matt Kemp double play:
Could Pablo Sandoval thrown home or to second and got the second out? Debatable. He did do the smart thing by getting two sure outs: one at third, and one at first as the Dodgers would score what would be their last run of the night.
So he decided to throw his 3-2 pitch and strut off.
“Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah!”
Matt Kemp went 0-for-the-series and Chad Gaudin was more than happy to be a contributor to the cause, and also had pretty good control in Wednesday’s outing.
I mean, look at that handsome defense
Even from that angle I get lost in his beautiful eyes
And one more angle for good measure
Good game, Luis Cruz, but not even close.
The Giants have an off-day today, then engage with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday at 1:35PM PST at home in front of what I’m guessing will be three straight sell-out crowds.
Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.
Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.
This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”
This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.
100. Lance Lynn (176.0 IP, 9.20 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 rWAR) – Beginning the season as a reliever, Lynn did pretty well as a starter, and I don’t think the Cardinals have any plans of moving him back to the bullpen anytime soon.
99. Jose Bautista (27 HR, 14 2B, .378 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – This work by Joey Bats was done in 92 games, which I find to be pretty incredible. Although his defense wasn’t the greatest in the ASG, I have heard to be that bad all the time.
98. B.J. Upton (28 HR, 31 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – The newest Brave entering his age 28 season should be a welcome addition to a team that lost a pretty good CF already.
97. Jered Weaver (188.2 IP, 6.77 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 3.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – I’m surprised he was this far down the list, but here he is. I expect him to see many pitcher wins for him in the next couple of years. That stat though won’t get him up this list if I do it again.
96. Dan Uggla (19 HR, 29 2B, .325 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Nobody wants his contract, but Uggla is at the very least producing some of the power that is expected of him. Not that it makes his current deal worth it, though.
95. Aroldis Chapman (71.2 IP, 15.32 K/9, 1.66 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – The Cuban Missile’s time as a reliever may be done, and if that’s true, can’t wait to see how he does as a starter. It’s been well documented that he’s been lights out as a reliever.
94. Mat Latos (209.1 IP, 7.95 K/9, 4.09 tERA, 3.1 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – While I might remember him from his Padres days as being a little evil, but he is still very good at what he does – pitch, that is.
93. Jeff Samardzija (174.2 IP, 9.27 K/9, 4.27 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR) – Perhaps the second-most misspelled name in the majors, Samardzija is making the public know that he is a name worth getting to know.
92. A.J. Pierzynski (27 HR, 18 2B, .351 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Perhaps he’s becoming one-dimensional, but he should still be able to provide the power Texas is used to out of their catchers.
91. Mike Moustakas (20 HR, 34 2B, .305 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – A well-rated defensive 3B that can also hit for power? Yes, please! Good thing they have another powerful bat coming to their lineu—hhh wait. Sorry, too soon?
90. Desmond Jennings (13 HR, 31 SB, .309 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 3.0 rWAR) – The world is waiting for the 26-year old to explode on to the scene, and while what he’s done with the bat hasn’t been all that noteworthy, the game he’s carried with the help of his legs will keep him useful at the very least.
89. Trevor Cahill (200.0 IP, 7.02 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 rWAR) – Hard to say he was worth what Arizona gave up for him, but that’s hardly his fault their GM loves giving up pitching prospects. Like one of the guys he was traded to in Parker, Cahill must bring down those walks.
88. Matt Kemp (23 HR, 22 2B, .383 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Beastmode took a back seat to injuries in 2012, and his crashing into the wall in Coors has some wondering how close to 100% he’ll be in 2013 and beyond.
87. Kyle Seager (20 HR, 13 SB, .321 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Not a bad line for a kid we didn’t hear too much about this year. I gave Seager the nod over Kemp mainly due to Seager being healthy, and his better defense. The Dodgers also drafted Kyle’s kid brother this year.
86. A.J. Burnett (202.1 IP, 8.01 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR) – Often the butt of jokes the last couple years, AJ was able to silence the critics a bit this year in Pittsburgh, despite a line drive to the face early on this past baseball season.
85. Jordan Zimmerman (195.2 IP, 7.04 K/9, 4.21 tERA, 3.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – When you see the top three SP on a “Best of” list (any, not just this very raw one), you get the feeling that team has the potential to be good. Luckily for Washington, they also have a bunch of bats.
84. Carlos Gomez (19 HR, 37 SB, .329 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Talk about an underrated season, I was shocked looking at these numbers from Gomez, but I do remember and love his “all-or-nothing” swing that he exhibits.
83. Craig Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 16.66 K/9, 0.96 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – I struggled with where to start including the high leverage pitchers, or “closers” as they’re often used, but Kimbrel produced elite numbers when he was brought in and couldn’t be put off to the side any longer. As closers are used in roughly a third to a quarter of the innings a SP would put out, I probably give those pitchers that level of respect when it comes to building this list. Would I love a Craig Kimbrel on my team? Absolutely.
82. Danny Espinosa (17 HR, 20 SB, .313 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 2.4 rWAR) – The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an interesting case, what with his very high strikeout numbers, but good pop, speed, and D from a position more known for its defense.
81. Madison Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 8.25 K/9, 3.55 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – An early Cy Young candidate, MadBum’s flaw in his pitching motion that was corrected in the postseason very well could have been the result of fatigue, as he struggled at the end of the regular season.