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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Full Choi Ahead
2005-03-24 15:19
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

In an e-mail conversation today, Steve Henson of the Times told me that first baseman Hee Seop Choi won't need to look over his shoulder when the regular season begins.

I had wondered whether playing time for Choi might be a source of tension between Dodger manager Jim Tracy and general manager Paul DePodesta, but Henson said that "everybody" - not just DePodesta, but Tracy as well - "seems OK with giving Choi a leisurely trial run."

That doesn't rule out Choi sitting out against some left-handed pitchers, but it should give him more than 62 at-bats to prove himself.

Comments
2005-03-24 15:30:17
1.   Bob Timmermann
I just hope fans don't expect Choi to instantly become a 1993 version of Frank Thomas.
2005-03-24 15:48:36
2.   FirstMohican
This fan expects 140 RBIS.
2005-03-24 15:54:59
3.   Bob Timmermann
Even if Choi bats second most of the year? You must expect Cesar Izturis to turn into a 1985 version of Rickey Henderson.
2005-03-24 15:58:44
4.   GoBears
Who are the elite southpaws in the NL West? With Unit and Wells gone, are there any? Can't think of any off the top of my head, and I'm too lazy to look it up.

My guess is that Tracy will pull Choi late in games if LOOGYs appear, and that, often, we'll wish he hadn't.

2005-03-24 16:04:25
5.   Bob Timmermann
Depends upon what you think is elite. Here are some of the southpaw starters in the NL West
Giants:
Kirk Rueter
Padres:
Darrell May
DBacks:
Shawn Estes
Brad Halsey
Rockies:
Joe Kennedy
2005-03-24 16:21:59
6.   Icaros
Nobody very elite in that list.
2005-03-24 16:31:20
7.   Bob Timmermann
Joe Kennedy was 2-0 against the Dodgers last year with a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings of work.
2005-03-24 16:41:31
8.   Icaros
I think there have been a few pitchers over the years to put up HOF numbers against the Dodgers who weren't really that good.

Consider Adam Eaton's 4-1 record, 2.87 ERA against LA last season compared to his 11-14, 4.61 for the year.

Kennedy is good, don't get me wrong. I'd take him on my team, but I don't think he's earned the title of elite yet.

2005-03-24 16:44:33
9.   Bob Timmermann
I only picked out Kennedy because he had halfway decent stats.

Kirk Rueter has always been one of baseball's most annoying pitchers. He looks like he has nothing on the mound, and with the exception of last year, he always puts up good W-L records.

And I would say that he's funny-looking if it weren't for the fact that many people in my family look like him. Perhaps I will send Kirk a red fanny pack.

2005-03-24 16:46:51
10.   Icaros
I don't have the numbers, but it seems like Rueter is another who has given the Dodgers quite a bit of trouble over the years, despite being not very good, and quite ugly (it's the ears).
2005-03-24 16:56:06
11.   Bob Timmermann
Rueter is 12-11 with a 3.76 ERA against the Dodgers in his career. He has benefitted that nearly all of those games have been in pitcher's parks.

In 179 IP against the Dodgers, Rueter has racked up 59 Ks.

He's done pretty well in his career against the Cubs and Reds.

Rueter was born in Centralia, not far from where my Dad born. Centralia is an Indian word that means "People who live here have funny ears"

2005-03-24 17:24:28
12.   Linkmeister
Hmm. As a language geek, I question Bob's translation of Centralia. I think it's a demi-continent between Indonesia and Australia.
2005-03-24 17:33:28
13.   Jim Hitchcock
Actually think Bob's half right...doesn't it mean people with `a long and winding nose'?
2005-03-24 17:49:18
14.   Ken Arneson
Don't forget Noah Lowry. He might be better than any of those other NL West lefties.
2005-03-24 18:19:27
15.   Suffering Bruin
Hee Seop Choi is my favorite Dodger for 2005. I have a bet with my best friend that he will a) be a full-time first baseman and b) have an .800 OPS.

He will overcome the numerous cheap slights from Steve Phillips, will he not waver in the face of withering criticism from the Plaschkers. No pitch will escape his keen eye, no park will hold his power. His glove will surprise, he will be smart on the bases and be anointed a clubhouse leader. He will, be in short, the tallest feather in the capo de Depodesta! ("Cliiimb Eevery Mountain... Foorrd Eevery Streeeeam!!!")

2005-03-24 18:56:19
16.   socalcardfan
I'm guessing most people in Centralia (at least the men) also have flat butts.
2005-03-24 19:00:11
17.   Steve
I have a hard time believing Choi will not be platooned. Nature must take its course.

It was Henson who wrote a couple of weeks ago in the Times about Kent and UZR (though not by name), right? I almost fell out of my chair. In one sentence was bound up all my hopes for media coverage of the '05 season.

2005-03-24 20:08:04
18.   Bob Timmermann
Actually Rueter was just born in Centralia, which is the city with a hospital. He actually grew up in a much smaller town in the same area.

The area is an odd combination of farming and coal mining.

2005-03-24 20:56:04
19.   Jim Hitchcock
So that's where they moved Centralia...
2005-03-24 22:03:19
20.   Bob Timmermann
Kirk Rueter grew up in Nashville.

Nashville, Illinois.

County seat of Washington County, Illinois. There are about 15,000 people in that county.

And you know what? They all pretty much look Kirk Rueter.

2005-03-24 23:07:19
21.   Icaros
I believe I once had a nightmare about this land of Rueters.
2005-03-24 23:29:41
22.   Bob Timmermann
I'll invite you to a Timmermann family gathering sometime Icaros. There will be some big ears and noses.

And everyone gets a complimentary red fanny pack.

2005-03-25 04:21:59
23.   MGL
There is no reason to sit Choi, or any LHB, versus elite (good or very good) LHP's, but not versus average or worse LHP's. The only criteria for sitting Choi versus a lefty, other than a needed rest anyway, is whether a RH replacement is projected to do better verus a LHP. That has nothing to do with how good or bad the LHP is. The criteria for sitting Choi in favor of a RHB is the true (estimated) platoon ratio of the LHP. The greater it is, the more likely it is that a RH replacement projects better than Choi versus a LHP. LHP's that throw from "the side" generally have a higher true platoon ratio. Ditto for LH pitchers who throw "10/4" curve balls (as opposed to "12/6") or sliders. LHP's (or RHP's) who throw changeups, splitters, 12/6 curve balls and/or throw from "over the top" tend to have low platoon ratios. We can sort of combine a pitcher's sample (actual) platoon ratios from past history with their pitching style to estimate their true (and future) platoon ratio. That should determine whether a LHB like Choi should be sat or not in favor of a RHB.

BTW, how a pitcher has done in the past versus a particular team or player has no (zero) predictive value...

2005-03-25 10:07:48
24.   fernandomania
Sure that's true if you use logic, MGL. But one thing we can predict is that there will always be certain Giants and Padres who will somehow find superhuman strength and ability just on those days they play the Dodgers. I don't know why this is, but it will always happen, forever and exhaustingly ever.
2005-03-25 10:17:01
25.   Bob Timmermann
At what point though does one pitcher's success against another team just become a case of random fluctuation and then becomes a case where perhaps a particular pitcher is particularly well-suited to pitching in one particular stadium.

That's the only reason I can see for why a pitcher would have any kind of consistent success against one team.

2005-03-25 13:58:33
26.   Ben P
The latest Jerry Crasnick ESPN column on "unsolved mysteries" going into this season has a section on whether Choi can produce. It includes this quote:

"He looks good in a uniform,'' a National League executive said of Choi, who stands 6-5, 235 pounds. "I just don't think he can hit.''

Seems like a pretty obnoxious quote, given that in just 595 career at-bats Choi has hit 25 HR and 34 2B . My theory is that lots of people around the league dislike Choi and are rooting for him to fail simply because DePodesta likes him so much.

2005-03-25 15:50:27
27.   Bob Timmermann
Some of the animosity toward Choi started when the Cubs anointed him as the replacement for Mark Grace, although it took a couple of years for the Cubs to give him the job. And then take it away from him after he suffered a concussion while fielding a popup.

But Mark Grace was the greatest first baseman in Cubs history.
At least that's what Mark Grace thinks.

2005-03-25 16:59:10
28.   GoBears
Oddly, and also counter to Cubbie lore, the best first baseman in team history might have been Ernie Banks. Spent more time there than at SS.
2005-03-25 16:59:27
29.   GoBears
Oddly, and also counter to Cubbie lore, the best first baseman in team history might have been Ernie Banks. Spent more time there than at SS.
2005-03-25 17:00:37
30.   GoBears
Oops, sorry about the double post. Anyone have Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups handy? If so, what's his opinion on the best ever Cubbie 1Bman?
2005-03-25 19:05:35
31.   Icaros
"I'll invite you to a Timmermann family gathering sometime Icaros. There will be some big ears and noses."

Perhaps my nightmare was a premonition; that happens sometimes.

Sounds fun, though. I'd probably go. I hear there are some famous writers in that family.

2005-03-26 00:09:05
32.   Bob Timmermann
Neyer and Epstein chose Frank Chance as the alltime best Cub first baseman. Banks was the title at SS.

The editorial assistance on the Dodgers chapter was top notch in that book!

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