The Lou Piniella Classic

Looks like the Cubbies have been invited to help christen TNYS with a pair of exhibition games April 3rd and 4th 2009.

The Cubs will be visiting the Bronx for the first time since a three-game Interleague series across 161st Street in 2005. The two clubs also met in the the 1932 and 1938 World Series, with the Yankees sweeping both Fall Classics and the former becoming well known for Babe Ruth’s alleged “called shot” off pitcher Charlie Root.

Themarksmith was kind enough to shoot me this link last night, but he asked the key question:

“It makes business sense, but wouldn’t it be grander if it was Opening Day that was the first time people had seen the stadium and watched a game?”

Good question. But does it really matter? The pomp and circumstance will be saved for the true Opening Day. Continue reading The Lou Piniella Classic

And you thought the WBC created turmoil

And you thought that the World Baseball Classic created problems and havoc with the usage of MLBers.

Baseball made its pitch for reinstatement in the Olympics on Friday, one the seven sports fighting for two spots on the program for the 2016 Summer Games.

A team of six, led by International Baseball Federation president Harvey Schiller and featuring Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, spent an hour putting their case to an IOC panel.

So we have 8 or so years to figure out how to blame Bud for all the problems this will create. Of course, there may not be any surviving insurance companies to cover the MLBers wishing to play (against their owners’ wishes).

Oh, and those pesky stringent drug testing rules:
“We’re committed to bringing the best players ever to the Olympic baseball tournament,” [Schiller] said. “We talked about our advances in drug testing. We have an agreement with the professional leagues in terms of out-of-competition testing for the events we sanction.”

Thanks to Ron Rollins for the tip Continue reading And you thought the WBC created turmoil

Top 25 Under 29

Via The Baseball Analysts/Rich Lederer, here are Bill James‘ Top 25 players under the age of 29 (The rankings are based on “proven major league talents, not prospects or young players who are not yet proven as major league players.”)

  1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24 ?
  2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24?
  3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24?
  4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25?
  5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24?
  6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24?
  7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23?
  8. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26?
  9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
  10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
  11. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
  12. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
  13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
  14. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
  15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
  16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
  17. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
  18. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
  19. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
  20. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
  21. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
  22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
  23. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
  24. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
  25. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24

Bill James is the Godfather of the Stats and I don’t have a copy of the book to dig in further, but some of these surprised me. Grady at #24? Longoria at #17?!? And Joakim Soria way up at #11, ahead of Hamels, Felix, Lester? Continue reading Top 25 Under 29

Buster on Peavy, Yanks

If you believe Buster, and I happen to like most of his stuff –neutral site for World Series notwithstanding–, here’s his take on Peavy and the Yanks:

The past conversations between the Padres and the Yankees about Jake Peavy never developed into anything that close to being serious, sources say, and it’s highly unlikely the Padres and Yankees will ever get serious about a Peavy deal.

The Yankees are focused almost entirely on adding pitching through free agency, because they won’t have to part with their prospects in a deal. CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett are the Yankees’ targets, and not Peavy.

So, in practice, two things would have to happen before Peavy-to-the-Yankees became serious:
1. A whole bunch of other pursuits would have to end badly.
2. The price on Peavy would have to come down.

When I started floating the “trade for Peavy” idea mid-summer, it was without much due diligence. I have also been consistently saying that I won’t believe the Yanks are out of any Peavy deal until the ink is on another team’s paperwork, or the team reports to Spring Training without Peavy in pinstripes. Not that I can really perform “due diligence” from my desk, but I certainly have been able to give it a more in-depth look. What I posted recently:

Here’s some data on Peavy’s late inning stats and some others that piqued my curiosity (yes, selective stats):

  • Peavy faced only 69 batters in innings 7-9
  • With only 27 games started, Peavy averaged facing 2.56 batters after the 6th inning
  • Batters hit .290 against him later in games
  • Peavy faced only 38 batters after throwing his 105th pitch; Averaged 106 pitches per game in 2008 (103 PC/game for a career).
  • Peavy’s away ERA in 2008 was 4.28; .258 Batting Average Against (BAA)
  • Peavy’s home ERA in 2008 was 1.75; .205 BAA
  • Peavy’s almost a neutral GB/FB pitcher, with a 1.11 GB:FB ratio in 2008, in line with career numbers. The bigger Petco keeps the flyballs within the fences for long outs.
  • K-rate of 8.60 lowest since 2003, down from 9.67 in 2007. As a result, his K/BB rate of 2.81 was also a low since 2003 and down from 3.53 last year.

My thought on Peavy-to-the-Yanks remains this: If the Yanks can dictate their price (ie: not Hughes), then go for it. But to get into a Santana-like trade+big contract scenario is not a smart move. The team has the obnoxious cash to throw around and can do so without dumping the prospects. I’d like to believe that Cashman will try to do just that.

Continue reading Buster on Peavy, Yanks

A league of her own

My wife sent me this. I don’t know if I am scared that she knew this before I did, or that she even cared enough to even send it my way. But nonetheless, a woman getting drafted to play in a pro mens league, in ANY SPORT, is newsworthy.

A 16-year-old schoolgirl with a mean knuckleball has been selected as the first woman ever to play alongside the men in Japanese professional baseball.

Eri Yoshida was drafted for a new independent league that will launch in April, drawing attention for a side-armed knuckler that her future manager Yoshihiro Nakata said was a marvel.
Yoshida, 155 centimetres (five feet) tall and weighing 52 kilograms (114 pounds), says she wants to follow in the footsteps of the great Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

I am sure Neyer will love her! Continue reading A league of her own

The Peavy Waiting Game

Whaddya know, this is starting to look like the scenario I have envisioned: The Padres, unable to find a suitable trade partner, will come back to the Yanks for a possible Peavy deal. Lo and behold:

A quick update on Jake Peavy. On Thursday, Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune said it was clear that neither the Braves nor Cubs would be acquiring Peavy. The Braves are moving on, looking at A.J. Burnett, despite Buster Olney’s suggestion that both sides need this deal. Krasovic wondered if Kevin Towers might approach the Yankees and Angels.

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal reports Brian Cashman and Towers have been discussing a Peavy deal since the GM meetings earlier this month. Towers apparently wanted to engage NL clubs – a “strong preference” for Peavy – before touching base again with the Yankees again but talks have now officially recommenced.

This continues to be mentioned as it makes good news, and who knows, but it remains a longshot. Peavy would need to be given financial reason to waive his no-trade clause to play for a high-profile AL club on the east coast, and the Yankees would need to trade more prospects (despite already dealing five young pitchers away for Nick Swisher, Damaso Marte, and Xavier Nady) rather than solve their rotation needs through free agent signings.

Continue reading The Peavy Waiting Game