I haven’t done one of these in a while, and figured it was about time. If you’re wondering why my post rate has crept above replacement level recently, well, school is out, my baseball season is over, and I have a lot more time to think and write about Padres baseball. Secondly, I recently had minor surgery and thus my outdoor activities have been limited of late. I used to leave the basement at least once a day. Hopefully, that at least provides a somewhat legitimate excuse for fiddling with PITCHf/x data on a Friday night. Hopefully.
The Padres are 29-20. Frankly, it is still somewhat hard for me to wrap my head around (I know, it shouldn’t be!) And it is not that I think this is a terrible team; no way. It’s just that I didn’t envision the best record in the NL after the month of May, even if things went really well.
The great thing is not only are the Padres playing well by wins and losses, their run differential is also tremendous at +41. Baseball Prospectus’s third order adjusted standings have them at 28-20 (not considering tonight’s win), still best in the NL. BP’s updated playoff odds report: 58% playoffs (basic), 31% (PECOTA-adjusted).
Discovered some new Padres blogs recently – Padres Trail, Chicken Friars, Woe, Doctor. All worth checking out. If there are any others, let us know in the comments.
Mike Lee posted an interview with Padres GM Jed Hoyer recently on FanGraphs’ Community Research Blog (a great idea, by the way). We are in good hands with Hoyer.
Andy Seiler has a good discussion of second base draft prospects at his MLB Bonus Baby blog. That includes rumored Padres first round selection, Kolbrin Vitek:
Vitek’s tools are the most well-rounded of the second baseman group. He’s an above-average hitter with above-average raw power, and he’s a plus straight-line runner. While his hands and footwork at second base leave something to be desired, his quickness allows him to have adequate range to handle the position well.
Andy thinks he will move to third base or centerfield, long-term.
MLG has a long primer on UZR at FanGraphs. I’ll admit, I don’t even think I’ve read it all yet. But it is worth a look if you’re interested in the inner-workings of the system.
I’ve been surprised by the negatively surrounding new Padres play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg, evidenced at Gaslamp Ball, RJ’s Fro, and Avenging Jack Murphy. Unfortunately, I don’t (yet) have MLB Extra Innings, so I really haven’t heard much of Enberg. As far as I can tell, the main complaints are:
1. He isn’t biased. He uses his home run call, “touch em all”, when the opponent hits a home run, and he just generally does not seem to be rooting for the Padres and against the other team. There’s a fine line, I think. I don’t want my announcer to be complete homers like the White Sox’s, but you definitely want some bias, and you definitely want to hear some agony, reflecting that of the fan base, after a crushing late inning home run by the opposition.
2. He doesn’t seem overly familiar with the team/city/organization. This is a problem, I think, when you bring in a national announcer like Enberg. I really want my announcer to know the team inside-out, and that is tough to do on the fly.
3. He messes up names, miscalls plays, etc. This I can deal with, if it doesn’t happen at a horrible rate.
I’ve always liked Enberg as an announcer, though I actually don’t know if I’ve heard him call a baseball game. He does have a “big game feel” to him, as I’ve heard some people say, probably because of his voice and the fact that he’s announced so many big games. As far as his early tenure as the Padres announcer, it is obviously hard for me to judge, but it does not seem to be off to a great start.
Geoff Young recently examined the Padres great start at The Hardball Times, concluding:
Even if the Padres cannot maintain their current pace (.591 WPct, or about 96 wins), they certainly appear to be better than the 75 wins I figured they’d notch this year. How much better will be a function of how far the pitchers regress. They got awfully high in two months. Four months is plenty of time to take a big fall.
Also at THT, Nick Steiner takes an in-depth look at Braves starter Tommy Hanson. He uses PITCHf/x data to create similarity scores, which is pretty neat. Overall, a lot of good ideas about the future of projecting players.
At The Sacrifice Bunt, Ray runs down some of the rather unattractive bats the Padres could potentially add.