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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

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picking up on a point from the last thread: it will be interesting to see how the new Nationals ballpark plays. one caveat about the size, though: even though the dimensions are a little smaller, I wouldn't assume that it will play substantially more offensive. DC summers get very humid, and the ballpark's going to be right on the Anacostia River.

so even if it looks to be more hitter-friendly in the first few months, I wouldn't be shocked if a lot of fly balls start dying at the warning track once summer starts up.

As someone who chopped his way through East Potomac Golf Course, a scant 1.1 miles away from home plate of the new stadium, I distinctly remember the wind coming from the north and west. This will be flying in the face of right handed pull hitters. Yep, I'm lookin' at you, Pedro Feliz...

All the talk is about the Mets (rightfully so with the trade for Johan), but the Braves scare me, especially if they have a healthy Mike Hampton.

(I have been away on vacation & haven't been checking BL, but incase this hasn't been mentioned)

Mets presale single game tickets.

I just noticed that mets single game tickets are on sale through their presale (tickets go on sale to the general public on the 9th).

If use the url: http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ticketing/singlegame_presale_flash.jsp

the presale code is: FLASH

Hopefully we can get a decent size phillies contingent in shea, like they do down here.

Mike Hampton? Healthy? I'll believe it when I see it. Can't believe he's been making, what, $15 million(?) for so long...

AE- I'm right there with you. When they announced the plan to open the stadium by the Naval Yard (sounds familiar), I immediately thought of the way the Bank plays and how my golf ball plays on a hot summer day at East Potomac.

That said, I've been trying to find the study on the Bank that says that the proximity to the Delaware plays with the humidity and the less dense air gives the ball more lift. I wonder if that wouldn’t be also at play at Nationals Park.

Props* to BENTZ from last thread for the Major League reference.

It's really perfect as far as stories go: you have the all-american prospect at 3B, Dukes, Young, Johnson (a great player looking to come back), and then three stud players in the OF who all at one time looked (or still look) to be perennial all-stars in Kearns, Milledge, and Pena.

That plus of course the 800 non-roster invitees...and Jim Bowden's Segway! How can you beat that?

sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/02/26/jim-bowden-segway-video-emerges/

*Not sure if props is still a cool word, but it's about as hip as I get these days.

ae: It's my understanding that the more humid the air the better the ball flies, which is why offensive numbers generally increase during the summer.

I laughed at the "I am healthy and ready to go" stories about Hampton this offseason but apparently he is throwing really well.

If Hampton can stay healthy for an entire season (and I still think he will break down), he could arguably be the biggest darkhorse candidate that will change the NL East race.

Think about it - the Braves' starters overall posted some mediocre numbers but it was largely because of the crummy starts by the likes of Davies, Redman, etc.

If Hampton can give the Braves a repeat of his 2003 numbers (say 28-30 starts with an ERA of around around 4) and that is a BIG IF, the Braves will be in the thick of things all season and have a good shot at winning 90 games. If he isn't, I think the Braves will be what they were last year - a feisty team that posts 85-86 wins but just doesn't have quite enough starting pitching or enough offense (I am not sold that C. Jones can give them 150 games, the Braves will get any kind of real production out of CF, or that the Braves will get such strong numbers again from the likes of Diaz and Escobar).

Chop, chop, chop. Here comes the bats. The big man didn't do anything fancy there, just some old-fashioned RBI production...

Brian: I'm not a climatologist, but that seems contradictory to me. I was thinking increased humidity would make balls damper/heavier and harder to drive - isn't that why Colorado installed the humidor?

I still wonder if the Mets are going to sign Lohse if he comes cheaply (1 yr/$5M) because of El Duque's uncertain health status and the Mets not being sold on Pelfrey as their No. 5 starter entering the season.

Plus, the Mets don't have many viable prospects in their organization that are ready to start. They would be forced to dip into their A farm club or pick somebody up off waivers.

some research indicates that you're right, Brian.

Kendrick throwing at 91 on his fastball.

Speaking of the Braves, Jeff Francouer and the club couldn't come to terms on a new deal, so he was simply renewed for a second year in a row. If you're going to make your displeasure over a contract public, I supposed this is the way to do it. Francouer also made some well-reasoned comments about the situation in the paper. He will make less than Hamels this year.

anybody else having problems w/ the boxscore info on the phillies mlb. audio broadcast being about 1/2 inning behind and also not showing balls/k's /outs?

Kendrick gives up 2 hits and a run in the first. I said it before ST even started that Kendrick was my biggest worry for the team this year that no one was talking about (everyone knows the 5th starter and bullpen are issues). Before last June, Kendrick had shown NO indication that he was a major-league quality starter, and now people expect him to be the #3 starter on a playoff team. He pitched great for us down the stretch last year, but I have a pretty big hunch that he was getting quite lucky. I understand he showed great poise and everyone on the team talks highly of him, but I just don't see with his stuff at his age him being a legit #3 starter. He should be a 5th starter for a team with a real shot at the playoffs. I'm just worried he has a really bad year, and it worries me that everyone just assumes he'll replicate what he did last year. I'm not confident at all.

It also scares me that I would take the over on an ERA of 4.5 for 3 out of our 5 starters. Probably even 4.75.

Kendrick just took a shot off the shoulder. Sounds like he's fine though.

And yes, BSG, I've had the same problem during ST. I also had significant problems the first few days with the web broad cast. I've also got a great Cleveland Cavs banner ad on Beerleaguer right now...

Jack: I share those concerns about Kendrick, although I'm not sure one bad ST inning is really the right launching pad for making the point. Now if he has 2 bad ST innings . . .

BAP: Yeah, I should've mentioned that the inning really had nothing to do with it, I've had the concerns since before ST. That said, he just gave up another run... He just lets the ball get in play too much. It's that simple.

oh boy i hope k.k. isn't hurt got hit off his sholuder and now they are saying he is flexing it and dubee is checking it out. seems to be o.k.?already gave up 5 hits and 2 runs

On a different note:

The article today by Murphy in the Daily News was solid. These are the kind of articles I find interesting in spring training.

Profile players who are under the radar maybe (Harman or Blackley) maybe and more importantly give the reader some insight on what the Phils are doing in an area (Australia) where readers might know a whole lot.

I know I learned something although I wished it had given a little more indepth coverage of what the Phils' are looking for in Australian players, etc.

Get k.k out of there, 5 runs he's getting shelled just hope he's o.k.

Now he's given up 5 runs in 2 innings. 7 hits. I hate to harp on one start too much, but it only reinforces my previous concerns. I just really don't see him being a league-average or above pitcher this year.

These seem to be squeakers that get through the infield. Hard to tell listening to radio, but the hesitation in Van Wheren's voice as the ball goes through the infield implies these are not hard-hit balls. Except Texieira's.

Kendrick has thrown fastball, slider, and changeup.

Got any numbers to back up your hunch, Jack?

bap: haha, I was about to say something to that effect.
I do understand some of the concerns about Kendrick, because he is following the "flash in the plan" storyline we've seen before. But he does have poise, decent velocity, and a sinkerball he can locate, which is pretty conducive to a 4.5 era, which is all we really need. If he figures out how to pitch to lefties to the point where they no longer destroy him, I think he can consistently be just as good as last year. Honestly, my biggest concern with him is his ability to make 30+ starts, never a sure thing with a young guy.

Don't understand why they have left Kendrick out there so long given it is only his 2nd spring training start.

Mike: Here are the numbers to back up my (and Jack's) hunch: 26-44, 4.28. Those are Kendrick's career minor league numbers.

He's probably on a pitch count, regardless of results.

Kendrick is a month removed from making a start that counts for something. Don't worry 'bot it.

bap: but you have to understand the storyline on Kendrick. He almost quit, decided to give baseball another try and I believe made a big change in his delivery or pitch selection, and since then, in 2006 and 2007, was quite successful in the minors(3.2 era, 1.2 whip). And he's still only 23.

Mike H: Well, Kendrick has an extremely low K rate, one of the lowest of all starters in the NL last year (I believe 3.7/9 IP, which is certainly not an indicator of future success. And it's not like last year was an abberation. He had low K rates all the way through the minors.

His career minor league BABIP was .307 and it was .285 last year, indicating he was slightly on the lucky side, although that's not a hugely significant difference.

Also, his biggest strength last year was the fact that he didn't walk anyone. However, his walk rate, while still being good, was not as spectacular as it was in his major league debut last year (22 BBs in 121 IP- compared to 37 BBs in 130 IP in 2006 and 34 BBs in 114 IP in 2005.

Finally, PECOTA, BP's projection system, sees his most likely ERA at somewhere around 5.

While there's nothing glaring that stands out, everything combined, plus the fact that he has no real out stuff to get him out of any trouble, makes me think he's due for a pretty bad year. We'll see though, I certainly hope I'm wrong.

Kendrick's performance this season is as arguably as important as anyone in camp. Phils need 30 starts from him with even average numbers to compete for the playoffs. I honestly have no idea on how he performs. Wouldn't surprise me if he continues to be a solid starter or hits make adjustments to him/get hit hard at times.

I like these numbers myself: 47.1% ground ball rate last year, better than Carlos Zambrano and a shade under Josh Beckett. The minor league numbers I like are 380 K's to 167 BBs and 45 homers in 544 innings. Since 2005, his minor league numbers are 21-24.

Kendrick's K/9 was 3.64, 73rd in the NL among pitchers with 100 innings or more. his defense-independent ERA was 4.85, 59th in the league.

and even though we think of him as a groundball pitcher, he wasn't really exceptional on that count: 1.55 G/F, 18th in the NL. even though that sounds pretty good, he wasn't anywhere near the extreme groundballers. he was closer to 50th (Aaron Harang, 1.00) than 6th (Greg Maddux, 2.15).

I think a deep breath is always a good idea when it comes to evaluating spring training performances.

I mean, do we really believe that a players performance will suddenly be closer to an isolated spring training outing... or to a half-season's worth of pitching?

I'm not saying Kendrick will be as good this year as last (he might be)... but I also don't think he'll be anywhere near as bad as today's outing.

It happens. If rosters were based on spring training performances alone... lord knows who'd be on the team!

Although Kendrick got rocked today (7 earned runs in 2.2 innings), according to the box score there were two errors, one by Ruiz and another by Jenkins. While I don't know if/how these errors effected how many runs the Braves scored, the Phillies can't let these errors happen in the regular season.

Mike H: Comparing his groundball rate to 2 guys who have really high K rates (Zambrano and Beckett) is completely irrelevant. Those guys can get away with having higher fly ball rates because they get tons of guys out on their own. Kendrick doesn't.

Looking at guys with similar K rates, there's not a lot of success. There are no other starters around Kendrick's K rate who had an ERA below 4.

The only guys with ERAs below 5 are Aaron Cook, Tom Glavine, Carlos Silva, Lenny Dinardo and Joe Kennedy. Cook and Silva both have much higher GB rates. Glavine is on the decline but is also one of the great control pitchers of all-time (and his successful years all had higher K rates). Kennedy and Dinardo both had similar GB rates as Kendrick.

All of these guys had similar stuff to Kendrick (two were much better GB pitchers) and had ERAs around 4.5. Kendrick's was 3.8. It seems much more likely to me that his ERA rises up to their level this year, based on stuff.

I think many of us worry about Kendrick, but let's not disregard everything he meant to this club last season. He's got a good head on his shoulders and one crappy spring training start isn't good to change him or his status. I'm pretty sure he'll suffer through growing pains this season, but if he can keep his era around 4.5 while going every 5th day I'm down with that.

don't know why you would compare Kendrick to Zambrano and Beckett. aside from being completely different pitcher types in a different league, neither is really known as a groundballer, like Derek Lowe or Brandon Webb. (and, FWIW, Beckett was 2nd in the AL in HR allowed year before last, so not really a positive there.)

"While I don't know if/how these errors effected how many runs the Braves scored, the Phillies can't let these errors happen in the regular season."

Yeah, as if that's never happened before. Good news- defense has improved with Feliz at 3rd and Vic moving to CF. Jenkins/Werth will be fine in RF. Now if we could only get Howard to start the double play with his arm rather than his bat...

CJ: I prefaced all of this by saying his start today doesn't really matter to me. Of course he won't be as bad as he was today- I don't really care about 2 innings in ST.

I'm much more concerned with his past history, which as I've shown does not indicate a whole lot of success. I seriously hope that I am wrong.

Brian/Mike: Fair enough. His recent minor league performance was considerably better than his early performance. But it's not like he's got great stuff and suddenly learned to harness it. He's got pretty ordinary stuff and ge suddenly learned to harness it. That gives him little margin for error at the big league level (as we saw today, for instance).

Opposing hitters hit .280 against Kendrick last year. He showed a knack for getting him out of jams, but his ERA could easily have been much worse were it not for some excellent defense. A pitcher cannot have sustained success at the major league level if opponents hit .280 against him. That number has to get better.

What kind of defensive lineup is behind Kendrick today? Is he getting killed by bleeders that our regulars would get to?

P.S. What kind of defense has Howard shown at first base so far this spring? All I've seen have been a couple innings from Carrasco the other day, so I don't know if Howard's still a butcher over there at first base or not (I'd settle for some adequate fielding from him).

I tend to agree with Jack though. People are psyched that Kendrick has added 2-3 MPH this spring training on his fastball but that isn't going to make a real difference over the course of the season. Also, I don't know if Kendrick is going to be able to sustain that velocity over the course of the season. If anything, it will probably help Kendrick better deal with holding up this season.

Kendrick has almost no margin of error and if he catches some bad luck (higher BABIP) I can see struggling to post an ERA under 5.

Jack: I understand what you're saying... but his past also includes 20 ML starts with remarkable success considering his minor league performance. It's certainly not unreasonable to suggest that those 20 starts indicate a pitcher who has learned, grown and matured. I'm not saying we'll see a 20-8 record with a sub-4 ERA this year. But I'm certainly not ready to predict disaster based on minor league performance and a rough ST outing.

Thanks for the education, fellas.

I could care less about his minor league numbers or his "K" rate.

All I know, is he came up last year and gave the team quality start after quality start and got ground-balls (which is the key to surviving at CBP long-term).

If he was going to fold up, he would have done it last year and done it against teams that had seen him before. He didn't.

I'd worry a heck of a lot more about Eaton and his fence-high, dead-straight 89 MPH fastball and Gordon's 40 year old arm, then Kendrick.

his past also includes 20 ML starts with remarkable success considering his minor league performance

well, shouldn't that raise a red flag about his chances for long-term success? it's not like it's unheard of for young pitchers to have strong debuts and rapid descents into obscurity.

If he was going to fold up, he would have done it last year and done it against teams that had seen him before. He didn't.

funny, but I seem to remember a postseason start that didn't go real well.

I have nothing against Kendrick and I really, really hope he succeeds, but there's some seriously selective memory going on around here.

ae - Completely agree. It is going to be interesting to see how Kendrick responds to hitters/teams adjustments against him as the season progresses.

I guess this is the question about the Phils' season: Do they have another starter (min. of 15 starts) who can give an ERA under 5?

Besides Hamels and Myers.

I think Moyer can give us over 15 starts and an ERA right around 5. Maybe a little lower than that.

Kendrick had a great rookie campaign. We love the intangibles. Experience will help him get the most out of his stuff over time, but no way should he be a #3 starter on a playoff contender. You could say Moyer is the #3, but he's 45. It may be that Kendrick will be an upside surprise in 2008 but as everyone else notes, his inexperience and poor peripheral numbers make it far more likely he will be a downside surprise.

Given the quick hook he got in the playoffs, I can't believe the Phillies list him as their #3. This is the single biggest hole on the team and I don't mean it as a knock on Kendrick, who makes a great 5th starter.

I think the price for Lohse bottomed and is starting to climb now. Tick tick tick...


Gotta like how Rosario is throwing today.

ae: I agree. There are certainly reasons to be cautiously optimistic, at best, about Kendrick. But it's not like we have nothing to go on. 20 starts is a small debut. He pitched more than half a season. This isn't a guy with just 3 starts under his belt.

I just think the dire predictions are a little too dire considering the ML experience he has already.

A Kendrick question for those who might know: he seemed to compensate for the lack of strikeouts and higher BA with a pretty decent amount of double plays. Is double play inducement basically luck, or are they something that a pitcher can count as a skill?

Just sign Lohse already.

What was Kendrick's run support from his offense last year? I remember multiple games last season where our offense was putting up 7 or 8 runs for him. The kid pitched his tail off and learned how to pitch out of trouble, but being a third starter is a huge stretch, expecially with the offenses in this division.

I don't think anyone is saying that Kendrick is going to be a complete washout. I just think people are bringing up some valid points that Kendrick is might post an ERA around 5 (which is poor for any starter even in the NL).

Morty: DP inducement correlates very highly with ground ball inducement. Kendrick had a good, not great, GB/FO ratio last year. The key to his future will be whether he can improve upon that ratio. If not, he'll be a back-end starter & may never have a year better than his 2007 season. If yes, he could become a Derrick Lowe type (have at me, Crazy Jon).

Dan - I was just going to bring that up. Go to baseballreference and look at the splits. Kendrick enjoyed one of the strong run support numbers in the NL last year per start. The Phils also scored early and often in a bunch of Kendrick's starts (particularly when he first came up).

Big difference as a starter when you can be a bit more aggressive early when you have a 3-4 run lead.

inducing any and all ground balls is a skill, however, whether they turn up as outs or a base hit is the luck part. Keeping the ball down in the zone, fooling the hitters, and pitching to a batters weak spots will induce lots of ground balls and ultimately double plays.

And of course, certain pitches, like a splitter will cause more ground balls. So yes, getting ground balls is a skill.

...being a third starter is a huge stretch...

yeah, that's really my concern. if Kendrick was the only serious question mark, then fine. but he's getting stuck with a role that he's most likely not qualified for as a result of this patchwork rotation.

About the only bright side to today's game is the excellent performance from Rosario --in particular, the 4 strikeouts & 0 walks. Rosario was horrendous last year, but I do think he has the most upside of the guys who are competing for the last bullpen spots. He not only throws hard, but his minor league numbers suggest that he does have the ablity to get the ball over the plate reasonably -- though that ability has been nowhere to be found in his major league career.

BAP - Maybe but Kendrick's stuff isn't as good as Lowe's and he won't be in his class. When Lowe is on (and not drunk/hungover - cheap shot but true), his sinker and slider are better than any pitch Kendrick throws.

Kendrick just needs really good control to stay in the majors. He would be a Carlos Silva / Paul Byrd type. That's a big part of the reason he was effective last year. His BB/9 was lower in the majors than in the minors, though, so its something to watch.

Bay Area Phan- Exactly. He got more aggressive when he got those early leads, and since a lot of hitters had not seen him, he was able to be successful. With not much depth in the farm system, another starter being signed for an insurance policy is a smart idea.

"Now if we could only get Howard to start the double play with his arm rather than his bat"
Maybe we should tell Howard to bring his bat out to first base and hit any balls grounded to him to 2nd to start the DP.
Might work out better than if he attempts to throw it over.

ae - The reason that humid air is light and has less pressure is that water (in gas form)weighs less than Nitrogen (as it exists). Water is H20 which means one mole weighs about 1+1+16=18 u. Nitrogen is N2, so it weighs about 14+14=28 u. Therefore the air is lighter (and less dense - because the weight from the top of the atmosphere pressing down is less) when it is humid.

For you and kdon:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_mass

The humidor in Colorado works for a different reason. There the skin on the balls absorb a small amount of water which is then present in liquid form which is much denser and heavier than the gaseous form. So the balls become a little heavier.

"Maybe we should tell Howard to bring his bat out to first base"

That would probably have the effect of slowing any baserunners leading off first and rounding FB as they checked to see how exactly Howard was wielding his stick.

BAP mentioned "my boy" Derek Lowe in an earlier post.
I believe that Lowe's in his walk year.
Wouldn't be a bad midseason acquisition if this is true.

One extra thought on Kendrick - this is his first MLB ST start ever. Let's wait til next time to see how he does.

Crazy - I would love to have Lowe in the rotation at the Zen.

thanks Andy. that seems to make sense to me & my liberal arts education.

Does anyone know any Sixers or Eagles blogs that are the same quality (as much traffic, intelligent discussion) as this blog.
Thanks

Kyle Kendrick actually led all of baseball in run support with a pretty ridiculous 7.74 runs per 9 innings (min. 100 IP).

"Does anyone know any Sixers or Eagles blogs that are the same quality (as much traffic, intelligent discussion) as this blog"
- No - fans of those teams aren't of the intelligent variety.

Just asking: how many bad games does Gordon have to have before the rejoinder "It's only spring training" doesn't apply?

bap: final week of ST is when I start to expect regular season form, not sooner.

BAP: Five innings of work.

Hmm. Let me rephrase the question: In light of the fact that he has had only 1 good month since the 2006 All Star break, how many bad games does Gordon have to have before the rejoinder "It's only spring training" doesn't apply?

Nice to see am intelligent discussion of Kendrick.

Completely agree with those who have concerns. This was why a few weeks back I suggested signing Loshe AND Benson. The former to be the 5th starter *now*, and the latter as insurance for Kendrick or Moyer.

And I know that this is likely the dumbest thing ever, but when I first heard about the Coors humidor, I thought they meant the whole stadium.

Zeke:

I frequent Narducci's Sixers blog. Cannot remember the website off-hand, but do a simple google search for it and you'll find it.

In terms of intelligent banter, it's the best the city has to offer and many days posts fill up to be comparible to beerleaguer numbers. It's worthwhile to read it, I do everyday.

Guys, the Derek Lowe comparision is mighty, mighty generous. Derek Lowe consistently has a GB rate of 65% and a K rate of around 6/9IP. Kendrick has consistently been around 48% and 4/9 IP. Kendrick would have to make some of the biggest improvements a pitcher has ever made just to approach Derek Lowe's level of impact.

Also most of the real good GB pitchers who we go crazy for on this board have pretty good K rates as well. Even Chien-Ming Wang, who is sort of the poster child for the "low K rate, high GB, successful pitcher" prototype, averaged a strikeout more per game than Kendrick.

I hate to be negative, and like I said, I really, really hope I'm wrong about him because we need it. I just look at the numbers and can't see where the long-term success is going to come from.

"how many bad games does Gordon have to have before the rejoinder "It's only spring training" doesn't apply?"

I would say the same number of games that we have to keep saying it about Golson.

Where is Happ starting the season at? I'm going to assume Lehigh Valley, but I'm just asking for clarification.

Valid concerns of Kendrick, well, are valid. I'm not concerned of this performance per se--it is spring training. Plus, the Phillies are not going to have many options once the season starts, so Kendrick would really have to have a string of bad starts in a row before the Phillies would drop him down, because then you would be left to fill his slot with a Durbin of your choice.

Even though logic seems to scream picking up Lohse, it appears to me that the Phillies are ready to confront these 162 games with the rotation and bullpen they have in place. When things start to fall apart (which they will, inevitably), they will replace from inside the organization and/or from the scrap heap.

I agree with Jack that the comparison between a seasoned All-Star veteran and Kyle Kendrick requires some faith-based extrapolation.

I looked at his B-Ref page (now that I have a little more time here at the cubicle farm) and looked at similar pitchers through age 22. In that list is John Denny and Roy Halladay on one end of the scale, and Hipolito Pichardo and Silvio Martinez on the other.

If he has to make an adjustment in his game, would Kendrick have better success as a strikeout pitcher or a groundball pitcher? Or is that an illogical question?

"inside the organization and/or from the scrap heap"

Please clarify.

How is "inside the organization different from "the scrap heap?"

(j/k: no answer required)

Zeke:
I went in search of a good Eagles site the other day. The best I found was bleedinggreennation.com
It was the best but nothing close to this website

Two pitchers I really was interested to see how they would do this spring are Gordon and Eaton (given that they are slated to play two key roles as a setup-man and 5th starter).

I guess you have to wait until the season starts but neither guy has done much to change my opinion they will both be complete busts this year.

I wonder if there will be a bit more talk on Gordon now. Two appearances and two crappy outings so far. I know it early but doesn't exactly inspire any confidence.

Since we have already seen the "Gordon is feeling great and healthy" stories this spring, I am awaiting the inevitable "Gordon is still healthy but trying to figure it out" followed by the inevitable "Gordon on the DL" sometime in late April/early May.

this is a rele good blog but wow! did u c on metsblog? he spoke to johan santana and is in spring training wtf cant we get that?

So the Phil's 2008 team salary stands at $ 105,026,500 currently. What is their self-imposed cap number? And does signing Lohse for $5 (or even $6 or $7) million put them over that number? Did the Phillies leave wiggle room in that arbitrary number for mid-(or late)season acquisitions?

Man, questions like these are why it is so darn frustrating being a fan of this team. Why does the FO act like this team is the Marlins or the Pirates?

Mike H: Sort of an irrelevant question. Put simply, if he could do either, he already would be.

From the research I've seen, it's pretty hard for pitchers to develop better "stuff", which would then cause a jump in either Ks or GB rate (if they developed a nasty sinker or something). For the most part, by the time they are at Kendrick's age and level, they are what they are stuff-wise, and it becomes improvements in command and control and the mental parts of the game that makes a difference. I'm generalizing, and if someone has evidence to the contrary, please join in.

I know that Santana developed his nasty changeup relatively "late" in his development (at AA around age 22 I believe), which caused a jump in his K rates, but I'm pretty sure that's an "exceptional" exception if you will.

Jack: Not to worry, you're wrong on Kendrick just like you're wrong on Feliz, wrong about whether Lidge is better as setup or closer and wrong on Ruiz being no better a hitter than Feliz. The fact that kdon agrees with you pretty much guarantees it.

Kendrick held righthanded major league hitters last season to an OPS of .632. About two-thirds of major league batters hit from the right side.

I DO agree that 3.87 ERA was fluky and 4.50 is more likely, but keep in mind this kid constantly pitched with runners on base and seemed to be at his best when he needed to be. He'll give up hits, especially to lefties, but there's no reason to think his ERA will be higher than 5.00 or that he won't win at least 10-13 games, IF he stays healthy, even without the huge run support he got last year.

What keeps him from being better than a #4 (he really isn't a #3) is his inability to perfect a breaking pitch to fool lefties.

Mets' troll - Good for Cerone but he has generally turned into a Mets' PR ballwasher 95% of the time now.

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