|Aaron's Baseball Blog|
Saturday, August 03, 2002
Erstad's new dealThe Angels and Darin Erstad agreed to a 4-year/$32 million dollar contract extension today.
This is certainly an interesting deal, mostly because Erstad is an interesing player.
Erstad was the #1 pick in the 1995 draft (out of the U of Nebraska, where he was also a Punter/Kicker on the 1994 National Championship football team).
So, the question is, is this a good deal for the Angels?
#1) What position is he going to play? The past 2 years he has been a full-time centerfielder. His defense in center is absolutely great, I think he is one of the top handful of CFs in baseball, defensively. His hitting can potentially be an asset to the Angels as a CF. As a 1B he is pretty useless, unless he puts up his 2000 numbers consistently. And if he is playing LF, they might as well play him in center.
#2) Which hitter are the Angels going to get for the next 4 years? I don't really see a pattern in his offense. Two good, 1 bad, 1 great, 2 bad. While his batting average is up about 30 points from last year, he has stopped drawing walks. Up until this season, he has consistently had about 1 walk per 11 ABs. Not great, but a lot better than the 2002 version, which has 22 walks in 407 ABs. Also, after hitting 16, 19, 13 and 25 homers in his first 4 years, he has completely lost all power, hitting 9 last year in 631 ABs and only 7 this season in 407. An added bonus is his base stealing, which has consistently been pretty good. 126 SB and 45 CS in his career, including 15/18 this year.
You are probably saying, "Hey, he didn't answer the question, did he?" No, not yet. I am still sort of thinking about it.
Ok, here goes...
Of course, those are big ifs. In 2001 and 2002 combined he is hitting about .270/.325/.375, which, no matter how great his D in CF is, is not going to be worth $8 million a year for 4 years.
I sort of like the deal for the Angels, mostly because it has a better chance of being a bargain price than it does being a horrible, Greg Vaughn sized mistake. Locking him up for his age 29, 30, 31 and 32 seasons for $8 mill per is not a bad gamble. If he stays in CF, at worst, you get a good defensive CF with a slightly below average bat (for CF). Plus, he is a good "leader" and all that other junk.
At best, the Angels get a great defensive centerfielder for,likely, most of his remaining good years, who might hit around .290/.350/.450, which would be pretty valuable.
But, if he doesn't stay in CF, "at worst" could be pretty bad. I have heard talk about putting him back at 1B, which would be absolutely idiotic. Not only is he a great defensive CF, but his current level of hitting would make him one of the worst (if not the worst) 1B in the league. So, the worst, of course, would be if the Angels stick him at 1B and he continues to hit like he has in 1999, 2001 and 2002 and not like he did in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
Some stats to consider:
Also, the Angels currently rank #1 in the AL in Baseball Prospectus' Defensive Efficiency, which helps to explain some of the Angels good pitching. Erstad is, of course, a huge part of that.
Assuming he can play great defense at all 3 of the positions, it is a pretty simple choice, at least in my mind. I think he is a good bet to average close to .269/.339/.429 (CF) over the life of the contract, but I am not sure I would be so confident in him keeping his OBP over .350 and his SLG over .450 (1B and LF).
Certainly not a great signing for the Angels, but I think it will end up being a good one. I will be interested to see how the "stat-head" community views it. I would guess they won't be too favorable to the Angels, but I could be wrong.
On pace (part 2, pitching)Baseball is, more than any other sport, a game of statistics. There are some good ones (On-base %, Slugging %, EqA) and some bad ones (Saves, Holds, Errors), but good or bad, it is always fun to see what players are "on pace" for. So, with about 1/3 of the season remaining, I thought I would take a look around baseball and check out some of the interesting paces (and make a few comments):
Curt Schilling - 27-6 (Schilling incredibly has the exact same number of Wins, Walks and Home Runs allowed, 18)
Randy Johnson - 23-6 (The Big Unit having another great season, but his strikeouts are down and Opponent Avg is up)
Derek Lowe - 23-8 (Lowe has been baseball's best pitcher according to Baseball Prospectus' SNWL)
Barry Zito - 22-6 (Establishing himself as Oakland's ace of aces, has same amount of Ks as Hits allowed, 127)
Tom Glavine - 21-9 (Would be his 6th 20-win season for this future Hall Of Famer, lowest ERA since 1998)
Pedro Martinez - 21-3 (Pedro in July: 5-0, 0.64 ERA, 42.1 IP, 59 K, 9 BB, .154 OAVG. WOW!)
Paul Byrd - 21-10 (Not striking anyone out, only 82 in 152 IP, but not walking anyone either, 25 BB)
Bartolo Colon - 21-7 (Finally having that breakout season everyone has been expecting)
Mark Buehrle - 21-10 (I can never spell his name right, he shut out my Twins this week and he has weird facial hair)
Mike Mussina - 20-8 (Great example of W-L record being misleading. ERA over 5.00 in each of last 3 months)
Jarrod Washburn - 20-5 (Another guy with some weird facial hair)
Roy Halladay - 20-6 (While playing the Twins early in the season, the radio announcers kept calling him Ray Holiday)
Eric Milton - 19-10 (Picking up more strikeouts recently, 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA since the break)
David Wells - 18-8 (Boomer, like Moose, is loving that Yankee offensive support)
Mark Mulder - 18-9 (Oakland's 2nd ace is rolling right along. 9-2 in June and July)
Rodrigo Lopez - 18-5 (Not getting great strikeout numbers, but has been a completely surprise, to me at least)
Roy Oswalt - 18-9 (The Astros' defense has helped raise his opponent BA from .235 last year to .261 this year)
Kaz Ishii - 18-10 (Fun to watch, especially with Vin Scully announcing. Also on pace for 125 BB in 183 IP)
Jamie Moyer - 16-6 (Actually pitching better than last year, when he was 20-6)
Greg Maddux - 16-4 (Still getting it done, but on pace for fewest IP since 1987. Strikeout rate is dropping fast)
Freddy Garcia - 16-10 (A bit of a disappointment this season. On pace for 28 HRs allowed, after only 16 last year)
A.J. Burnett - 16-10 (For the love of God and the sake of my Diamond-Mind keeper league team, PITCHCOUNTS!)
Joel Pineiro - 16-6 (JO-EL is the real deal, following up on last year's impressive debut. Not great K numbers)
Pedro Astacio - 15-6 (His success might be the reason the Mets got John Thomson away from Coors)
Kip Wells - 15-12 (3.38 ERA. Making Kenny Williams look dumber, if that's even possible, each start)
Josh Fogg - 15-10 (See Above)
Kyle Lohse - 15-9 (Pleasant surprise, but may be best suited for relief long term: BA vs. R = .224, BA vs. L = .333)
Tony Fiore - 13-3 (Another Twins surprise. On pace for 13 wins with only 2 starts. Awesome Palmball/Ephus)
Roger Clemens - 12-5 (Nagging injuries are costing him, but his K rate is still great, so he should be okay)
Javier Vazquez - 12-8 (Strikeouts are way down from last season and bad 'Spos D is hurting him)
Jeff Weaver - 11-15 (Gave up only 4 homers in 122 IP for Tigers, already 10 in 34 Yankee IP)
Tim Hudson - 10-13 (As Joe Morgan would probably say, Hudson has mysteriously stopped knowing how to win)
Mark Redman - 11-14 (Making me wish the Twins had kept him more with every 7+ inning start)
Damian Moss - 10-6 (Probably benefitting from great Braves D. On pace for 116 Ks and 91 BB in 168 IP)
C.C. Sabathia - 9-14 (K rate is down and he is likely getting hurt by Indians bad D)
Mike Hampton - 7-19 (That Colorado school system better be pretty freaking wonderful. More BB than Ks)
Todd Ritchie - 7-21 (See Wells, Kip and Fogg, Josh)
Tanyon Sturtze - 2-17 (Upcoming Celeb Boxing to feature Sturtze/McRae undercard as DeJean/Royster headline)
Other Pitching Paces:
Friday, August 02, 2002
On pace (part 1, hitting)Baseball is, more than any other sport, a game of statistics. There are some good ones (On-base %, Slugging %, EqA) and some bad ones (Saves, Holds, Errors), but good or bad, it is always fun to see what players are "on pace" for. So, with about 1/3 of the season remaining, I thought I would take a look around baseball and check out some of the interesting paces (and make a few comments):
Home Runs: Runs Batted In: Other Hitting Paces: And, of course, my favorite...
Runs Batted In:
Other Hitting Paces:
And, of course, my favorite...
Check back tomorrow for the pitching paces...
Yuck! continued...Well, that sure was predictable (see below).
The powerhouse Royals' lineup that I ridiculed earlier managed to score just a single run against Rick Reed and the Twins' pen.
Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 2nd inning and that was pretty much it for KC, as they only managed to go 4-30 with 2 walks.
Rick Reed improved to 9-5, although he once again had a relatively short start (6 innings and only 80 pitches).
The Twins' relievers continued to do what they have done all season long, shutdown the opposition.
According to Twins' announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven (who are a very good team in my opinion) this is the 49th time this season that the Twins' bullpen has not allowed a run in a game. That seems like a lot to me, especially considering how many innings the bullpen has had to pitch game after game. Anyone know which team leads the league in this category or where I would find such stats? Drop me an email.
Romero, Hawkins and Santana each got 2 outs and then handed it over to Eddie Guardado, who closed it out for his 33rd save of the year.
With the win, the Twins improved to 17-4 since the All-Star break.
Yuck!I just turned on my TV to watch the Twins game, as I always do, and I saw something that made me want to throw up.
Yes, that's right, the Kansas City Royals' lineup.
With Mike Sweeney on DL and Allard Baird as their GM, the Royals are really at an offensive disadvantage.
Here is the Murderer's Row:
They have the same amount of guys slugging under .300 as they do guys slugging at least .400.
But I know you are saying, "Hey Aaron, they may be horrible, but at least they aren't cheap!"
No wonder they can't afford to keep Damon and Dye, they have to pay Chuck Knoblauch and Neifi Perez to hit .220.
"You're full of (expletive)"The Red Sox (finally) released Jose Offerman.
Unlike everyone else who pays attention to major league baseball, this apparently came as a huge shock to Jose.
And in his state of shock, Offerman had some interesting things to say:
"You're full of (expletive)," Offerman told Port. --- This after Port (the Red Sox GM), according to news stories, flew to Texas to personally inform Offerman of the decision.
"I ain't got nothing to say," Offerman said. "You guys (messed) me up, that's what I have to say." --- Whenever someone says "I ain't got nothing to say" and "that's what I have to say" in the same sentence, you know you have an A+ quote.
Also, I find it amusing when writers (or editors maybe) decide to subsitute different words for something a player says. So, for Offerman, "You guys f----- me up" becomes "You guys messed me up" --- gotta love that.
As long as they are (presumably) changing things, why didn't anyone substitute something for "(expletive)"? I have a few suggestions:
As for the actual baseball aspect of his release...
As I said before, it was about time.
Offerman's career in Boston is an interesting one, both because of his signing and his performance.
The media generally had 3 phases during Offerman's tenure in Boston:
The 3 phases are wrapped up very nicely by the quotes found in the article about Offerman's release:
"It was a tumultuous end to Offerman's largely disappointing run in Boston. It was a tenure that started on Nov. 13, 1998, when former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette signed the switch-hitting infielder to a much-criticized four-year, $26 million contract with an option for a fifth year. The timing of the signing couldn't have been worse, as the Red Sox had just parted ways with popular slugger Mo Vaughn. Duquette said at the time that Offerman could replace Vaughn's "on-base capability", and from that moment on, the move became a favorite target of Duquette's critics." --- (Phase 1) "Offerman did have a solid first year in Boston, earning a trip to the All-Star Game, which was played at Fenway Park. He led off and played second base in that '99 season, helping the team's run to the ALCS by hitting .294, scoring 107 runs, hitting 37 doubles and leading the AL with 11 triples." --- (Phase 2) "But he came nowhere near that level in the three ensuing seasons. In fact, he never hit as high as .270 or scored more than 76 runs. This season, Offerman was hitting .232 with four HRs and 27 RBIs. His last game with the Red Sox was a loss to the Orioles on Friday night, when he lost track of outs and got doubled off on a flyball to end an inning." --- (Phase 3)
"Offerman did have a solid first year in Boston, earning a trip to the All-Star Game, which was played at Fenway Park. He led off and played second base in that '99 season, helping the team's run to the ALCS by hitting .294, scoring 107 runs, hitting 37 doubles and leading the AL with 11 triples." --- (Phase 2)
"But he came nowhere near that level in the three ensuing seasons. In fact, he never hit as high as .270 or scored more than 76 runs. This season, Offerman was hitting .232 with four HRs and 27 RBIs. His last game with the Red Sox was a loss to the Orioles on Friday night, when he lost track of outs and got doubled off on a flyball to end an inning." --- (Phase 3)
I actually think the Offerman signing was a decent one - not a great one, but certainly not a horrible one. To me it seemed like a reasonable contract, in both length and dollar amount for a 29 year old 2B, coming off of a year in which he had a .400+ on-base percentage and 45 stolen bases. Offerman was a certified leadoff man, having had an OBP of .380 or higher in 3 of the 4 years prior to signing with Boston.
Jose Offerman in Boston:
I am sure Sid Thrift (Baltimore's GM) is on the phone with Offerman's agent right now.
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Player of the Month!You'll soon find out, if you visit this blog more than a few times, that I am a huge Minnesota Twins fan.
And as a Twins fan I must admit that, as of about June 30th, I was ready to ditch David Ortiz.
David Ortiz looks like a designated hitter.
The problem with Ortiz is, up until June 30th, he just wasn't hitting:
His career line, before this year was .264/.351/.446 (AVG/OBP/SLG), which is certainly not bad, but not exactly great, especially for a DH.
Since June 30th I don't know what happened, but David Ortiz has apparently started to hit like he looks:
David Ortiz in July: .380/.462/.772 with 8 homers and 7 doubles.
Whatever you have been doing in July Dave, keep on doing it.
A.J. Burnett and Jeff TorborgI just finished watching Marlins' ace A.J. Burnett improve to 11-7 by shutting out the St. Louis Cardinals.
Burnett has been one of baseball's top pitchers throughout the season and he was awesome tonight, but the way his manager, Jeff Torborg, is using him has me worried about his future.
A.J. threw 128 pitches tonight in shutting out the Cards, which in itself is not really a bad thing.
There is just no way that a 25 year old pitcher in his 2nd full season in the majors should be allowed to consistently throw that many pitches, start after start after start.
The only starts in which Burnett throws less than 100 pitches are ones where he gets shelled.
Torborg and the Marlins have had plenty of opportunities to take Burnett out of a game that is already pretty much decided and save him a little stress on his young arm, but they rarely (if ever) choose to do that.
Tonight was a perfect example of that:
16 pitches may not seem like a whole lot, but consistently throwing 10 or 15 or 20 additional pitches in each start is a lot for a young pitcher.
Burnett has been great this year and he looks like he will be a stud for years to come. But the way he is being treated makes me think he is in line for some arm troubles.
I hope I am wrong.