Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

Today seems to be moving slower than the sand in a knocked over hour glass. Fortunately, I’ve got a solution for both you and me: it’s this week’s edition of Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday.

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?

Drunk Driving

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?

Self-Indulgent Explanations

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.

Stopping Bautista

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.

Troy Tulowitzki

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.

I’ll look forward to seeing you guys there.  In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Comments (14)

  1. The Twins’ games matter, though. They’re actually trying to win and make the playoffs. On that level, taking Liriano out makes sense.

    The Jays’ aren’t. They have no chance at the postseason in what is supposed to be a development year. If Snider’s swing is causing his problems (I don’t buy it, it looked to me like a basic slump that he was getting out of in the last week), he should be working out of it in the majors with better resources and coaching. It’s certainly better than starting Juan Rivera/Corey Patterson in LF or bringing up David Cooper to DH for a few weeks.

  2. Parkes,
    “Getting Streamed On. I thought it was golden.”
    Seriously? Do I have to imagine a golden shower every time I listen to your podcast?

    Fullmerfan,
    Do you post as Mark on fangraphs?

  3. No, I post as Fullmer Fan or my real name. In fact, I think I posted as Fullmer Fan in the Fangraphs article on Snider today.

    Off topic, but has anybody noticed that Bautista is leading AL hitters by an entire WAR. Craziness.

  4. While not taking Tulo was a huge error, probably mostly due to Russ Adams presence as stupid as that sounds

    Atleast we can smile in the fact that we got RR instead of Alex Gordon or Jeff Clement

    What a great draft that was though especially for position players, J.Upton, Braun, Zimmerman and Tulo.

  5. @ Fullmer_Fan

    Don’t want to get too nitpicky, but if the Jays have no chance at the postseason, why does it matter that starting Snider is better than Rivera/Patterson or Cooper at DH? (Aside from a fan perspective, of course. Watching Rivera at the plate is as much fun as a bag of rusty nails.)

    And re. Parkes’ question about demoting players, isn’t the case with Snider that AA and crew think they see a specific problem with his mechanics they want to iron out? I.e. they are addressing a specific mechanical issue they think they can fix (underlying cause) rather than reacting to a slump (effect). If that’s the case (and if sending him down helps, both of which are big ifs) then this isn’t a patience issue. I hate the idea of sending kids down just because they’re slumping, and if I thought that that’s what AA was doing here, I’d totally agree with you. But it seems more like fixing something that’s not working properly.

  6. You really can’t beat Getting Streamed On.

  7. Hey Parkes,

    Can’t wait to check out “Sugar”. It is extremely well reviewed and I’ve been meaning to see it forever. Glad you chose it.

  8. Seems like more than just a coincidence that as soon as Rivera starts showing some life (8/26 2 HR, 6BB in last games) Snider needs to work on his issues in the minors. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Jays are trying to use this small hot streak to showcase Rivera in hopes of deluding someone into taking him off their hands but don’t want Snider to lose any at-bats in the process.

    Not saying that I agree with the strategy but just throwing out another possibility. Oh, and I am still a Snider believer.

  9. “Don’t want to get too nitpicky, but if the Jays have no chance at the postseason, why does it matter that starting Snider is better than Rivera/Patterson or Cooper at DH? (Aside from a fan perspective, of course. Watching Rivera at the plate is as much fun as a bag of rusty nails.)”

    In order to find out what Snider is capable of over a full year in the majors. That will be useful information for whenever this team ever decides to contends.

  10. Nice to see bautista up ther e in allmajor categories when it comes to batting. While going through some numbers, found that he is currently has the 7th best AVG….Trailing slightly behind Brett Wallace.lol

  11. “In order to find out what Snider is capable of over a full year in the majors. That will be useful information for whenever this team ever decides to contends.”

    Why the arbitrary cutoff of “a full year in the majors”? I’m more interested in finding out what Snider’s capable of when his mechanics are sound. If management leaves Snider with the Jays for the full season, where he’s not swinging the bat as well as he can, how helpful is that? How much does that tell us? AA thinks the best place to fix the problem is in Vegas, and until I hear a good reason why he’s wrong, it’s hard to think this isn’t a good move.

  12. It’s not a good move, dude, because even with the struggles, Travis has contributed, has RBIs, is stealing bases and is playing a great LF. Enjoy Juan Rivera in left ladies and germs. Snider will go down to AAA and destroy it as he did every other time. I think a couple of days off and a pep talk would have sufficed. But of course we need seven right handers who do mostly the same thing in the pen more than our future star LF. I Hate the move and hope it doesn’t backfire.

  13. Yeah if AA and Co. thinks there is something wrong with his swing, they pretty much have to send him down, its not fair to leave him up and try to refine his swing against MLB pitchers. Snider’s a competitor and he’s going to do what he can to get on base and help the Jays win, even though they are not expected to win. Short term that works, he had a 5 game hit streak, but I don’t think the power is in the swing like AA thinks there should be, and wants long term.

    Sending him down is the right call if they want to change his swing a bit, if its because he’s slumping than its a terrible move.

  14. Do you think Farrell is biased towards a larger bullpen based on his pitching background? The results have been great from the bullpen so far, but it would be nice to have a bit more flexibility on the bench too.

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