Exaggerated Claims Distort Dodgers’ Current Plight; McCourts Have History with Distressed Franchises

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Move aside Barry Bonds. Fred McCourt is one of the most vile, reprehensible men in the history of baseball. At least that seems to be the popular sentiment expressed in the wake of Bud Selig’s decision to wrestle away control of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The McCourts in happier times.

It’s impossible to deny, not to mention excuse, the abuses that have pervaded McCourt’s tenure as owner of the one baseball’s flagship franchises. It seems likely that the organization and the city of Los Angeles will be much better off under someone else’s guidance, but that reality shouldn’t be exaggerated by fiction. Although McCourt may not be the best option to lead the Dodgers in the future, his past actions weren’t all bad for the franchise.

Before Frank McCourt purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers early in 2004, the team had passed from the longtime stewardship of the O’Malley family to the cold claws of News Corp.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Afternoon Hits

Joe Girardi is not ready to bench Brett Gardner just yet.

While I laid out the alternatives to Brett Gardner the other day, I can’t say I’m shocked he’s not being benched. It makes sense to give him a handful more plate appearances to see if he can right the ship. Not so fun fact: Brett Gardner’s total bases and OPS+ are equal so far this year: 9.

This morning, Josh Norris laid out just how well the Charleston RiverDogs have been pitching in the early season:

Charleston RiverDogs starting pitchers: 74 innings, 77 strikeouts, 20 walks. Those numbers mean a 9.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and a 3.9 K/BB.

And of course there’s the combo of Tommy Kahnle and Dan Burawa – 27 strikeouts, 7 walks, 1 HR, 21 2/3 innings. That’s a combined FIP of 2.566.

Like my 11 AM post, Pinstripe Alley took a look at other Yankee SSS issues.

My long-time Internet buddy Mike Rogers took a look at the Tigers and Jim Leyland’s bullpen usage through a bubble chart.… Click here to read the rest

Fun with small samples

It’s late April, so we’re getting to the point where the stats we see in the batters’ graphics every night will start to (kind of) mean something. But, it’s also still early enough that there are some ridiculous stat lines up there.

Let’s start with IsoP. Currently, the Yankees have SIX (!!) players in the top ten of the American League’s IsoP leaderboard. Curtis Granderson leads the pack with a .418 mark. Alex Rodriguez is right behind him at .415, and Mark Teixeira is third at .379. Jorge Posada and his .300 mark are in sixth place while Russell Martin (.294) and Robinson Cano (.273) are in seventh and tenth respectively.

If I told you that Derek Jeter had the same IsoP as Jack Cust, you’d probably be pretty pumped, right? Cust has a career IsoP of .201 and has been at .177 and .166 in the last two seasons. Sadly, this year, that carbon-copy IsoP is a bad thing for both players.… Click here to read the rest

Analyzing Bartolo Colon’s Outing

To say Bartolo Colon has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees this season would be an understatement.  His signing (along with that of Freddy Garcia) prompted a lot of snarky jokes about the fact that it is no longer the year 2005 (a brilliant observation!) and that Bartolo Colon is fat (so perceptive!).  Considering that he did not pitch in the majors  at all in 2010, it was easy to write off Colon as finished, and put him in the same category as Mark Prior (a nice story if he’s able to contribute anything, but likely a non-factor).  Even the Yankees appeared skeptical of Colon, giving the 5th starter job to Freddy Garcia even though Colon outpitched him in Spring Training.

Even though Colon looked good in the spring, the Yankees’ concern was about Colon’s stamina, that he wouldn’t be able to go a full 6 inning start.  With a solid 6 2/3 inning, 3 run, and 7 strikeout start against a strong Toronto lineup on Wednesday night, Colon may have begun to put those concerns to rest.  … Click here to read the rest

Cashman's Offseason Additions Paying Early Dividends

Brian Cashman’s offseason was widely viewed as disappointing by Yankees fans and baseball pundits alike. The club missed out on Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke was moved to Milwaukee, and Cashman was left to pick up scraps. Even among the leftovers, some expressed discontent with Cashman’s choices, preferring players such as Brandon Webb to the minor league contract crew of Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Kevin Millwood. Cashman’s big move, the signing of catcher Russell Martin, came at a position of perceived strength and represented an addition of a player who had declined for 3 consecutive seasons. Taken together, these signings made for what appeared to be an underwhelming offseason.

However, 3 weeks into the 2011 season, all of Cashman’s bargain signings have performed well and contributed to a solid start for the team. Obviously, small sample size caveats apply, but thus far, there has been little to complain about when it comes to roster depth. Andruw Jones has shown enough pop to suggest that he can replace Marcus Thames at the plate, and he can actually play left field well enough to be put out there regularly.… Click here to read the rest

When Will Montero Arrive?

Jesus Montero is raking in AAA right now. After another 3-5 night, he’s now up to .423/.423/.558 on the year, with 1 home run and 4 doubles in 52 plate appearances. Understandably, there has been quite a bit of commotion to call him up as soon as possible. I don’t think we’ll be seeing him anytime soon though and it’s probably more prudent to wait. Here are my quick 3 reasons.

1. Russell Martin has been playing better than anyone probably expected. Whether we’ll see that going forward, I have no idea. To this point though, there’s no need to replace a catcher hitting .314/.375/.608. He also happens to not be a total liability with the glove which is something of a novelty for Yankee fans when combined with above average offensive ability. Again, it’s all a very small sample size and I doubt we’ll see him continue to hit this well going forward. Posada as the DH has performed much worse, however his shaky early start (.160/.276/.460) has a lot to do with a poor BABIP (.094- yes that’s a zero).… Click here to read the rest

What Slower Aluminum Bats In College Baseball Mean For Prospects

The NCAA finally began enforcing its provision against most high-end composite metal bats this season. Fangraphs has a great post up on some of the implications for hitters and for scouts:

As part of its ongoing attempt to temper the trampoline effect of metal bats – and in part lessen on-the-job hazards for pitchers and infielders in the college game – the NCAA this year mandated that bat manufacturers follow a new standard that now makes metal bats only slightly more lively than wood bats. So no ping. Not even a craaack. These days, the sound of ball meeting bat is more like a thwock. “It sounds like a bag of chips,” one scout says.

This year’s bat switch is one of several that the NCAA recently mandated that could have long-term implications for both players and for scouts. With the safety of the new bat has come a staggering decrease in power across the country. And now professional talent evaluators are left to figure out what the new offensive numbers mean.

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