Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

If Fridays in general seem to go by slowly, mid-Summer Fridays are especially slow, like thick molasses dripping out of a clogged dispenser. It’s been a long week, you’re only minutes away from the sweet embrace of weekend living and patio drinking. But those few minutes of anticipation seem to have more in common with hours, days, weeks and even months than seconds.

Stop worrying. I’ve got the remedy for what ales you. It’s the latest edition of Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday, the best only way to wind down your working week, and properly prepare yourself for two days of no worrying and even less responsibility.

Raise The Roof

To anyone complaining about the Toronto Blue Jays’ decision to keep the roof closed for yesterday afternoon’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners because of temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Celsius: you’re an idiot.

It was Camp Day at Rogers Centre, and with more than 10,000 kids in attendance, the organization made the right decision to play indoors. The last thing that any normal, well adjusted human being should want to see is vulnerable people hurt by elements well within the control of those in power. That was the potential situation on Thursday, and the Blue Jays organization deserves a quick salute not only for protecting kids from heat stroke and other harmful effects of the sun, but also ensuring that free water bottles were available on the concourse levels.

The New York Yankees, unable to pull a dome over their stadium for Saturday’s afternoon game, will provide “hydration stations” throughout the stadium to keep fans hydrated and cool. Well done.

Rage Inducer

As a small talk, conversation starter, you really can’t do any better than: So, uh, hot enough for you?

The 2011 NL West Division Leading San Francisco Giants

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a lot of fun at the expense of the San Francisco Giants lineup, suggesting that the team is less offensive than an episode of Sesame Street. In fact, the only aspect more prevalent than jokes about San Francisco’s batting on this blog has been praise for the team’s pitching, both in the rotation and the bullpen.

But get a load of this: The Giants’ 57 wins and 42 losses give them a marginally higher winning percentage than the Texas Rangers who hold a 56-43 record. However, where San Francisco has a run differential of +18 runs, the Rangers boast a difference between runs scored and runs allowed of +73. The Giants have scored 361 runs this season compared to Texas who have counted up 489.

Remember when those two teams met in the World Series last year and the Giants won it in five games?

Getting Blanked Style Book

I mentioned in a past TSTOAF how the Getting Blanked Style Book dictates that an exclamation point must always follow any reference to Ichiro! And how trades that L.A. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti pulls off (especially the ones in which he acquires relievers) may not be used as examples when discussing the likelihood of a future trade taking place.

The newest addition to our blog’s editorial rules indicates that any reference to the Pittsburgh Pirates must be followed by a comma and the words “America’s Team.”

If the San Francisco Giants are largely lovable for having a win and loss record so far above what their lineup would indicate, the Pirates should be considered marriage material for competing in the National League Central with the roster that they have. Lyle Overbay at first base alone should be enough to convince you of their underdog status.

Where Carlos Beltran Fits

According to Buster Olney, the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes are down to five teams: the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers. Beltran’s weighted on base average this year is .399, against RHP it’s .407 and against LHP it’s .357.

As a member of the Red Sox, Beltran would have:

  • the second best wOBA;
  • the third best wOBA vs. RHP; and
  • the sixth best wOBA vs. LHP.

As a member of the Giants, Beltran would have:

  • the best wOBA;
  • the best wOBA vs. RHP; and
  • the third best wOBA vs. LHP.

As a member of the Phillies, Beltran would have:

  • the best wOBA;
  • the third best wOBA vs. RHP; and
  • the best wOBA vs. LHP.

As a member of the Braves, Beltran would have:

  • the best wOBA;
  • the best wOBA vs. RHP; and
  • the best wOBA vs. LHP (tied with Brian McCann).

As a member of the Rangers, Beltran would have:

  • the second best wOBA;
  • the best wOBA vs. RHP; and
  • the fifth best wOBA vs. LHP.

Conclusion: Carlos Beltran would be a good acquisition.

A Heath-y Return

If the San Diego Padres are willing to essentially trade the draft picks that Heath Bell will bring them back when he signs elsewhere this offseason for prospects that the Toronto Blue Jays have evaluated to be less valuable, and no other team is willing to trade as much for Bell’s services, then by all means, please make this deal.

Because of the aggressive nature with which the Blue Jays have been drafting since Alex Anthopoulos has been in charge, I sort of think that a draft pick becomes more valuable the moment it belongs to Toronto. Nonetheless, I can’t believe that a contending team wouldn’t be willing to spend whatever the Jays are willing to drop to get Bell’s services during the stretch drive, as well as his compensation prize if/when he signs elsewhere.

Shameless Self Promotion

As always, you can check out our facebook page by clicking here, and if you’re into it, try “liking” us to get updates of fresh videos and funny pictures in your facebook news feed. Staying on the social media train, you can also follow me on Twitter so that we can make snarky comments together during baseball games, because if we’re not making snarky comments while watching a baseball game, why are we watching the baseball game in the first place?

Also feel free to subscribe to our iTunes feed which will bring all the audio goodness of our podcasts and live streams and other things featuring our ugly mugs to your computer free of charge.

A couple more things:

  • Last week I mentioned that I’d be doing some writing for Baseball Prospectus, covering the American League East, and what do you know, I wasn’t even pulling your leg. My first column takes a look at my favourite strategy in all of sports: throwing a bunch of shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. I come to the conclusion that Corey Patterson is the most replacement level player of all time, ever.
  • At The Score, we’ve started a new radio show called The Bloggers where a rotating panel of blog editors and writers basically rip off TSN’s The Reporters (which is definitely a rip off of ESPN’s The Sports Reporters) and discuss some of the subjects that they’ve written about this past week. This week we talked about baseball for the entire first half of the show again, touching on Roberto Alomar’s retired number, whether or not teams like Cleveland and Pittsburgh should go for it at the trade deadline and the search for the equivalent in other sports to Justin Masterson throwing fastballs for 103 of his 104 pitches.

Dealing Excitement Big Time

I know it might be difficult to rein in your excitement when it comes to five day old roster moves involving middle relievers, but try to contain yourself. Luis Perez was optioned to Las Vegas earlier this week to make room in the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen for Casey Janssen.

I just want to quickly point something out about Luis Perez so that we don’t forget about what he brought to the table during his time on the big club: he has the third highest ground ball rate in Major League Baseball among relievers. He also had the fourth lowest line drive rate, not only meaning that his GB/FB ratio wasn’t as insane as merely looking at his GB% might suggest, but that the high groundball rate might not be as sustainable as we’d like to hope because line drive rates tend to fluctuate a lot year to year.

That’s not to suggest that Perez benefited from large amounts of luck either. Five of the 24 fly balls that were hit off him went for home runs. That’s a really unlucky ratio.

If you’re wondering why Perez wasn’t given more of a chance, as it seemed that before his demotion he was being put in higher leverage situations than Marc Rzepczynski. As Perez had already used an option this season, I’m guessing that the Blue Jays likely didn’t see the need to burn another of Rzpeczynski’s with less than half the season to go.

Popular Players

On FanGraphs, the five most looked at players today were:

  1. Zack Greinke;
  2. Carlos Beltran;
  3. Alfonso Soriano;
  4. Ichiro!; and
  5. Omar Vizquel.

Over at Baseball Reference, yesterday’s most looked at players were:

  1. Carlos Beltran;
  2. Hunter Pence;
  3. Wilson Betemit;
  4. Derek Jeter; and
  5. Ichiro!

Findings Of The Week

From Beyond The Box Score: The more foul territory that a stadium has, the less strikeouts occur. Likewise, less foul territory means more strikeouts. I’ve always assumed that more foul territory means more foul outs, but I never thought of the effect it might have on strike outs. I’d guess that less foul territory would increase the rate of all other outcomes, but it seems to be most significant with strike outs.