Friday, March 19, 2010
Hey folks. Happy March Madness weekend. How are you brackets doing? Did you pick all the wrong upsets on days 1 and 2? I hope you picked Cornell to go to the Sweet 16, because that's where they're going. Inside information from Tony Kornheiser.
Check out the last two entries on Hotstove.com here, and here. Also, I'm submitting full articles there now. Good stuff.
Now, onto the main question: WTF are we going to do with Buster Posey?
There seems to be a good 30-40% of Giants Nation who were fit to be tied when Bengie Molina was re-signed. This group consists mainly of baseball nerds, who think they're better than Joe Eighteen Packs like me. It's really amazing. Baseball fanhood is the only realm of life where nerds actually become elitist snobs that turn their bespectacled noses up at the rest of us who actually believe Bengie Molina is a good ballplayer who helps a team more than he hurts it.
We like the guy, he's a pudgy, funny Puerto Rican that has knocked in some big runs for us-- oh... what's that? Baseball nerds don't count RBIs as positives? Oh. Okay. Sorry. My bad. I thought that was how you win games.
Basically, I was happy that Big Money was re-signed to simultaneously catch, amuse, and frustrate the hell out of us. I felt the salary was about a million too high, but I also felt that it would be a net positive for him to return.
Let's for a minute throw his offense out the window and just focus on what he brings to the rest of the table (where he's probably hitting the buffet hard... that's what I'd be doing).
He is the preferred target of most of the pitching staff, specifically Timmy Lincecum, who has, as you know, won consecutive Cy Youngs while throwing to Big Money.
Nothing about Bengie's defensive stats have declined significantly, although he did seem to be a little slower and lazier behind the plate last year blocking balls. However, he seemed to be more banged up in '09 than previously. Regardless, his receiving skills, game-calling skills, and calming presence behind the dish are net positives.
As for his offense, I don't think I've ever, in all my days on this earth seen an uglier, more frustrating 20 HR and 80 RBI. I mean, I had to do a double take looking at the stats right now. It's unbelievable. How does a guy who appears to be awful put up such significant figures? The truth is that he is awful, but only in certain areas.
He swung at a higher percentage of balls out of the strike zone than any other man in MLB last season. He walked only 13 times in nearly 500 official at bats. His on base percentage was .285 last season. The only guy worse was Yuniesky Betancourt for God's sake. That, and he's slower than molasses in wintertime.
So, I don't know man. I just don't. Maybe Bengie will be more comfortable hitting in the 6th or 7th spot, and will feel less pressure to swing at everything from here to Sunnyvale. But, then again, his highest OBP was only .322. He's about as likely to change his ways as an 80 year-old small town Southern man is.
Speaking of Southerners, what do we do with Posey??
The concern shared by Bochy and Sabean, apparently, was Posey's ability to play the position and call a proper game. Of course he could use some seasoning, he has caught like 400 innings in his entire life at every level... maybe less. He's a bright friggin guy though, and he picks stuff up like that (*finger snap*).
Okay, fair enough.
My concern after last season's brief appearance was that he wasn't ready to hit big leaguers. After ripping up every level he played at, he looked over-matched while with the big club. Granted he only got like 3 ABs (which was angering me to no end at the time), so it simply wasn't a good enough sample size.
This spring, my fears are non-existent. Posey is absolutely raking in Scottsdale with a current .925 OPS in 32 ABs. Again, small sample size, non-regular season setting, but it is now creating a "Catching Controversy". Wow, I thought we weren't going to have to deal with a controversy until David Carr and Alex Smith started battling it out for the title of "Least Awful Former #1 Overall Bust".
The question is, really, "What now?"
Do we send Posey to Fresno for "seasoning"? Does he even need it? Did we underestimate this kid? If we keep him up on the 25 man roster, in what capacity will it be? Backup catcher/pinch hitter? SUPER ULTRA MEGA EXTREME UTILITY GUY?
Because we don't have enough of those guys already.
Can you imagine it? We've got Sandoval at catcher! We've Got DeRosa and 2nd! Huff in Right! Uribe at Short! Posey at 1st! Sanchez at 3rd! OMFG!
Ridiculous. Just absurd.
It does bring up an interesting question though: With 4 or 5 multi-positional players already, what purpose does Posey serve? It's all a big cluster-eff at this point, and damn you Posey for being ready to play! Now we're all messed up!
It is definitely a good problem to have though, and my humble two cents are: If Buster Posey starts the year in Fresno, it's doing everyone a disservice. He's ready to play, and if that means that he catches 2 games to Bengie's 3, or he becomes a personal catcher for someone and plays some first base against lefties, you get his ass in there.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Firstly, I'd like to apologize for not getting any articles out recently (other than some nonsense). It's been a little hectic (for my standards). I have been Twittering about stuff, and I encourage you to follow @TheDodgerhater if you're into that sort of thing. It's kinda fun, and I never thought I'd ever be down.
With all the Spring Training topics to BS about (or freak out about), I thought I'd kinda do something different for this post. I could talk about the Bumgarner nightmare, or the fact that Buster Posey has a 1.055 OPS while Big Money Molina's is even better (1.077). I'm choosing to look forward, rather than focus the all too tough-to-decipher Spring Training scene.
Last year, Sabean signed some random dudes named Justin Miller and Brandon Medders to throw baseballs for a living. "I'm a Little Bit Country" Medders and "I'm a little bit Rock & Roll" Miller were serious cogs in our 'pen all season long-- especially Miller.
Miller essentially became the 7th inning bridge to Affeldt and Wilson that Lurch Howry was supposed to be, and goddamn did he excel at it. Until he broke down at the end of the year (which was due to serious injury) Miller was sick.
During this time, Sergio Romo was a bit of an enigma. When right, his movement is purely disgusting. His breaking balls almost look like screwballs and he backdoors left-handers like it's his job. (Uh... yeah)
But as a relatively inexperienced dude, he got into a serious funk befitting Earth Wind & Fire or the Ohio Players. Remember last July when he gave up 7 earnies is 3 appearances? Despite his impressive performance last year overall, there were times when he just wasn't trustworthy. This year he will be required to be Justin Miller-- a steadfast 7th inning monster, minus the "LA" tattoo and the August/September breakdown.
(Quick note: Justin Miller is now a Dodger, so from here on out, he shall not be mentioned)
The other guy in the 2010 pen who is both intriguing and hair-raisingly exciting, is rookie Danny Runzler.
A guy buried on many's radars, The Runzmeister burst onto the scene as a late callup in '09, K'ing 11 in as many appearances. Armed with a gaseous heater and some wicked breaking stuff, we could really be looking at the closer of the future. As much as I like B-Weezy, the "Mullethawked One" will become increasingly expensive in his next two arby hearings.
I believe Runzler to be fully ready to step into a significant bullpen role in 2010 as a both a situational lefty (.059 BAA vs. lefties in '09), and a guy who can give you a solid inning or two in any situation. Currently in Scottsdale, he has K'd 9 in only 4.2 innings.
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's Spring Training, and he's thrown a limited amount of innings as a real pro, but this guy has shown nothing but promise and deliverance thus far.
As the season goes on, he will likely hit bumps in the road as all young big leaguers do. However, all indications thus far tell me that this cat is ready for the show.
As for the rest of the bullpen, I see nothing but good things. Assuming we keep 12 pitchers (not a guarantee), we're looking at a pen of Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, Romo, Runzler, Medders, Todd Wellemeyer, and either Waldis Joaquin, Steve Johnson, Kevin Pucetas, or Guillermo Mota.
Personally, Pucetas looks like the 5th starter at this point, but that's another article for another day.
Indeed my friends, this bullpen looks deep, it looks solid, and I for one am very excited about it.
Here's to an epic 2010!