Knowing When To Fold ‘Em
Francisco Liriano is a good pitcher. Travis Snider is a good hitter. Of these two things, I’m almost entirely sure. However, yesterday Snider lost his job to a one year stop gap who has less enthusiasm than Ben Stein sleeping. And it’s a very real possibility that Liriano will lose his spot in the Twins rotation, perhaps as part of the team’s quest to turn him into Nick Blackburn.
Both players have struggled, and while Liriano has certainly found more success at the Major League level, I’d have a hard time doing anything other than waiting and seeing for both of them. Which brings me to my question: How much patience is too much patience?
I realize it comes down to the individual, and you can’t make a blanket statement to cover all decisions when dealing with slumping youngsters capable of great things, but what signs justify action and what signs don’t? How many shabby performances are enough to sit a talented performer with a . . . wait for it . . . huge upside?
Derek Lowe was arrested for driving under the influence yesterday. He’s the fifth MLB player this year, including Adam Kennedy twice, to run afoul of the law in this fashion. Not to sermonize, but as someone who’s been known to enjoy a barley pop or two on occasion, it’s inexcusable and ridiculous that this is happening in the 21st Century. It’s an incredibly simple concept: drinking alcohol impairs your judgment, you require judgment to safely operate a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while impaired risks yours and others’ safety.
I imagine that if MLB stepped in to do anything about this sort of thing, the MLBPA would be none too appreciative, and that’s understandable. However, the MLBPA is in an excellent position to make a stand of its own on the drinking and driving issue, especially considering that impaired driving has the opportunity to directly affect the health and safety of its members. Isn’t this under their purview?
Hopefully you’ve caught one of the live streams we’ve been doing on off days and after day games. Filming these segments, you quickly grow an appreciation for the talking heads on television who inevitably end up saying stupid stuff that leads to mockery. Shocking truth: it’s harder to know stuff off the top of your head than it is to have the luxury of looking it up online and having time to properly tweak your words so that you express your thoughts properly.
Having said that, each time we do a live stream, it becomes a little less painful to watch afterwards. Hopefully, that’s a sign of improvement and not being desensitized to awkwardness.
We still don’t have an actual name for our webcasts, so any ideas would be appreciated. Stoeten had a great one last night: Getting Streamed On. I thought it was golden.
Chasing A Record
This is quite awesome:
With 2,094 trips to the plate spanning eight-major league seasons, [Chris] Snyder ranks fourth all-time for most career plate appearances without a stolen base, according to Stats Inc. Not only that, he’s on pace (pardon the expression) to creep his way up the list this summer. He needs just 95 plate appearances to eclipse Aaron Robinson, a catcher who retired in 1951, and 130 to plod his way past Johnny Estrada, another catcher who last played in 2008.
Kung Fu Panda Is Easy To Cheer For
I truly believe it’s impossible to find a more likeable baseball player than Pablo Sandoval, and not just because of things like this. After a terribly disappointing 2010, Sandoval has come back in better shape and taking a better approach to the plate that has seen great results in the early going. Perhaps most impressive is a comparison between his patience at the plate last season and this season. He’s swinging at 6.3% less pitches this year, and only losing 1.1% of contact. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if his contact improves as the season goes on and pitchers realize that they’re going to have to start throwing him strikes.
Carlos “Clutch” Beltran
I’m sort of stealing Drew Fairservice and Ted Berg’s shtick here, but get a load of these numbers: 101 PAs, 11 HRs, 8 SBs, 17.8% walk rate, .451 ISO, .485 OBP, .817 SLG, .547 wOBA and 239 wRC+. These statistics belong to Carlos Beltran in the playoffs. Too bad he’s useless because he struck out to Adam Wainwright in 2006.
Other than fastballs in on his hands and off his wrist, I think the only way to stop Bautista right now is by mixing up sliders/cutters (depending on which arm the pitcher is throwing with) and changeups, both located as far away from him in the strike zone as possible. Pitchers will still get burned (see: Price, David), but the odds are probably a little more in your favour than simply pitching a single strike when the count is 3-0, and then hoping that he swings wildly at another pitch. That’s just not going to happen.
Shameless Self Promotion
As always, you can get the latest Getting Blanked stories to pop up in your Facebook news feed by clicking here, and “liking” our Facebook page. We’ve started to make it more than just a dumping ground for links, including exclusive videos and other bells and whistles. And staying on the social media train, you can also follow me on Twitter here so that we can make snarky comments together during baseball games.
Ricky Romero has worked out very well for the Toronto Blue Jays, but don’t think for a minute that the team would prefer RR Cool Jay to the player selected after him in the 2005 MLB Draft. Since September 1st of last year, Troy Tulowitzki has 22 home runs and 65 hits in 208 at bats. Already this season, the Colorado Rockies shortstop has been worth 1.6 WAR. Only Jose Bautista (2.4), Joey Votto (2.1), Matt Holliday (2.0) and Jered Weaver (1.7) have accumulated higher.
Major League Movies
We’ll be screening Major League at The Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles Avenue on Monday night. Yes, it’s election night, but don’t worry, the movie starts early, so there will still be plenty of time to get disappointed by how Alberta votes. And if electioneering isn’t your thing, stick around afterwards to talk about the mythical replacement player.