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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

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
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

A Strikeout's as Good as a Hit?
2006-12-14 16:20
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Walk with me, squalk with me …

The other day, Ken Arneson passed along the following at Catfish Stew:

Jay Payton has left the A's for Baltimore. He leaves Oakland as a well-liked, if not well-loved player. He did his job, played up to expectations. The thing I liked about him is that when you needed him to put the ball in play to drive home a run, he would put the ball in play and drive home the run. It was nice change from the oh-so-frustrating draw-a-walk-in-RBI-situations days of Jeremy Giambi and Erubiel Durazo. Of course, he would rarely draw a walk in an need-to-get-on-base situation, but you can't have everything.

Basically, most everything Ken writes is joyful gospel to me, but this caught me off guard. I don't know if I was supposed to take him literally, but since he was the one writing it, it naturally made me stop and think.

The distaste for the walk in an RBI situation fed many a complaint of the anti-J.D. Drew crowd, partly explaining why that crowd and I don't mingle so well (on that subject, anyway - otherwise, my Dad and I get along great!). It has basically never occurred to me that a walk in an RBI situation was bad. With runners on base, a walk keeps the inning going, sets up a potentially bigger tally and puts pressure on the pitcher – all lovely alternatives to swinging at a pitch outside of the strike zone and making out 70 percent of the time or more.

To be fair, I don't get excited to see a No. 8 hitter take a walk with a runner on third, two out and the pitcher on deck, since that pretty much kills an inning (although at least that gets the pitcher out of the way for the next inning – plus in many cases, the No. 8 hitter isn't anything to write home about himself.) And when Kelly Leak took his Chico's Bail Bonds-sponsored swing at that 3-0 intentional ball with the bases loaded against the Yankees, I was on the edge of my seat. There are exceptions to the rule.

But basically, Mongo like walks. Walks be Mongo's friend.

Clearly, some people feel differently – and the unmistakable impression I'm getting, one that I can't quite believe but appears to be true, is that more than a few people would emphatically rather see a player strike out or hit into a double play than walk in an RBI situation, I guess because that shows the player is at least trying.

It still doesn't make sense to me. A player who walks in a key situation on a close pitch is trying to help. That player isn't letting fear of scorn bother him, because taking a called strike three looks bad. If that walk doesn't lead to any runs later in the inning, why wouldn't we just place the appropriate blame on the hitter who makes the out?

Drew gets paid to drive in runs, but the next guy in the lineup doesn't?

Maybe the notion is that it wasn't fair to expect, say, a rookie like Andre Ethier, who might have been batting behind Drew, to bring home the runs when Drew gets the big bucks. But that still requires a belief that Drew is shirking his responsibility by not swinging at ball four. Given the long odds against success when swinging at a pitch that isn't a strike, that belief doesn't withstand scrutiny.

I mean, look, there's Drew, and there's Raul Mondesi, who forever etched our minds with his relentless ability to go after a questionable pitch in a critical situation. For a short time, Mondesi was my favorite Dodger, so I certainly hold no bias against him, but what approach at the plate would you prefer?

A guy like Drew – not that he should be singled out, because there are plenty of others – gets paid big bucks to help a team win. Any time he doesn't make an out, no matter who is on base, contributes to that effort. I get that people disagree with that concept, I just still don't get why.

* * *

The Baseball America article celebrating the Dodgers as Organization of the Year is live, with assistant general manager for scouting Logan White getting major credit.

The article notes that as part of his recent promotion, White has been charged with rebuilding the Dodgers' efforts in Latin America:

The Dodgers' presence in the Dominican had become so lax that they now share their complex there with Tampa Bay - which also provided them with more revenue - and the last major signing came in 2001, when the club inked shortstop Joel Guzman as a 16-year-old to a deal worth $2.25 million.

It will be White's responsibility to spearhead the team's efforts there, and he has already made several trips to the country with team owners Frank and Jamie McCourt and Colletti over the last year.

"Part of (the dropoff) is simply because the competition is so much stiffer than it was 15 or 20 years ago," White says. "We certainly recognize that we haven't been what we used to be and we are making an effort to bring back some of that luster. It's a very vital part of our organization and to just let it whither away just doesn't make any sense."

* * *

Former Dodger Thoughts wishcastees Buddy Carlyle and Steve Colyer will try to hook on with Atlanta next season with non-roster invites to Spring Training, MLB.com reports.

Carlyle made his 1999 Major League debut with the Padres at the ripe age of 21. He made seven starts that year and another four relief appearances for San Diego in 2000. Since playing in Japan during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, the 29-year-old right-hander's Major League experience has been limited to the 10 relief appearances he made in 2005 with the Dodgers.

In the 13 appearances he made at Triple-A Albuquerque this year, Carlyle was 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA.

The 27-year-old Colyer has bounced around the Minor Leagues since making 41 appearances for the Tigers in 2004. Given that he was pitching in the thin Rocky Mountain air, the 5.71 ERA he compiled for Triple-A Colorado Springs isn't too alarming. But the 48 walks he issued in 58 1/3 innings should be viewed as cause for concern.

Comments (197)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-14 16:33:26
1.   Bob Timmermann
Many years down the road, Jon will find out that his father will have given a bigger share of his estate to Jon's siblings because of his admiration of J.D. Drew.

All Jon will get will be a grandfather clock and an iguana named Jubjub.

2006-12-14 16:40:15
2.   GoBears
Well said, Jon. I would add that your logic makes even more sense when the team is down by more runs, since a big inning is needed, and while a batter with a good eye might be able "expand the zone" and dunk a single over or through the infield, he is less likely to be able drive a non-strike with much power.

Unless his name is Vladimir Guerrero, in which case, who cares about the strike zone?

2006-12-14 16:40:45
3.   Vishal
i agree with what you're saying, jon. however, while i like it when a player draws a walk, especially when there are runners on, it's frustrating to see a guy up there TRYING to draw a walk instead of trying to get the runners home. you don't want to see a guy up there looking for the walk, when he's got power. if the walk is given to you, great, take it. but the first instinct should be to score the runners.
2006-12-14 16:42:19
4.   bhsportsguy
Must have bugged a lot of people when Ruth, Ott, Williams and even little Joe walked in RBI situations. In Frank Thomas's best years, he walked well over 100 times, probably some of those times came with men on base.

When Bobby Abreu came to the Yankees, everyone talked about how they became a OBP machine but that is how they won all those World Series in 1990s.

I do think when a team supposedly flaunts it like some sort of magical formula like the A's or when a player making millions appears to rather walk than hack, then this approach gets attacked.

Jon, I think you are right to be mystified but I do think that walks will never be valued as the offensive weapon that they should be. BTW, the Dodgers had to have highest walk to HR ratio (offensive in the league), so there were some other guys who walked too wearing Dodger Blue in 2006.

2006-12-14 16:42:35
5.   Vishal
oh, and let me add that it seems like the A's usually have guys who are obviously trying to draw a walk and not swinging at hittable pitches. they are HORRIBLE at driving in runners when they are in scoring position.
2006-12-14 16:42:51
6.   Eric Enders
Biting the hand that feeds. Edgy! I like it.
2006-12-14 16:43:00
7.   Vishal
which is very frustrating to watch, as a fan.
2006-12-14 16:43:20
8.   popup
For me it depends on the situation. A called strike three in an rbi opportunity is not what I want from any hitter. Taking a meatball pitch that an umpire might rule is too high is not what I want from guys in the middle of the order. I don't like wild hackers at the plate (which is why I was not wanting the Dodgers to sign Soriano), but I don't mind a hitter who goes out of the strike zone for a pitch that he can drive.

Stan from Tacoma

2006-12-14 16:45:46
9.   GIDP
I think it's worth noting that not all balls are created equal. With borderline pitches, and depending on the situation, I think a case can be made for poking a ball to the opposite field. It probably also depends on how well a batter can handle the bat.

For all the criticism Drew got for being too patient, he'd swing at the first pitch if it was in the zone.

2006-12-14 16:45:59
10.   bhsportsguy
3 How does someone try to draw a walk, last guy I saw do it was Miguel in the Bad News Bears when he squated his small frame to draw a walk. (Of course, he was not a power hitter.) If no swinging at a pitch that is called a ball a flaw, well then we might as be playing tee ball.
2006-12-14 16:47:05
11.   bhsportsguy
Nice topic Jon, this should take me to 8:00 p.m.
2006-12-14 16:47:12
12.   Jon Weisman
3 - I hear ya, but what defines "trying" to draw a walk? It's not as if Drew doesn't take the bat off his shoulder.
2006-12-14 16:47:56
13.   D4P
it's frustrating to see a guy up there TRYING to draw a walk instead of trying to get the runners home

Does "trying to draw a walk" mean "not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone"?

Does "trying to get the runners home" mean "swinging at pitches outside the strike zone"?

2006-12-14 16:54:01
14.   Eric Enders
12 "I hear ya, but what defines "trying" to draw a walk?"

I would define it as taking extremely hittable pitches when the count is 3-1 or 2-1. Remember how Todd Zeile used to hit? That.

2006-12-14 16:54:21
15.   Vishal
[10] essentially, it's going up there and not swinging at very much, hoping the pitches get called as balls.

[12] i wasn't criticizing drew for it.

2006-12-14 16:57:27
16.   Jason in Canada
As well as in trying to draw a walk increases the opposing pitchers pitch count. Walks also are a great indicator that the pitcher is doing poorly...The World champion Yankees of the 90's were lauded for taking lots of pitches.. I'm still surprised teams continue to value it so little. (I'm almost done with Moneyball by the way)
2006-12-14 16:57:36
17.   Xeifrank
I agree Jon. A walk is something that is given to you, not something you take. There is no reason to swing at bad pitches.
vr, Xei
2006-12-14 16:58:08
18.   Steve
Is it really any worse than slapping ground balls into the infield and hoping they will bounce somewhere other than an infielder's glove?
2006-12-14 16:58:31
19.   Steve
Not that I have anybody specific in mind. Really.
2006-12-14 16:58:43
20.   Vishal
[13] no. if a pitch is borderline, i don't think a hitter, in the split second he has to determine it, can definitively decide whether it's "outside the strike zone" or "inside the strike zone". and even if he can, it's not up to him, it's up to the ump. if it's hittable, he should be looking to hit it with RISP, instead of hoping the ump calls it a ball.
2006-12-14 16:59:02
21.   jasonungar05
It seems to me to be a case of perception vs reality.

--

Like your trying harder if your not working the count.

2006-12-14 16:59:45
22.   Eric Enders
"(I'm almost done with Moneyball by the way)"

And so is Billy Beane, but probably not the way you mean.

2006-12-14 17:00:54
23.   Ken Arneson
Well, to be more detailed about it, here's how I feel: there's a time to be selective and look for a pitch to drive, and a time to just make contact. In a normal at-bat, you want your batter to look for a pitch to drive until he gets two strikes, and with two strikes, to just try to make contact.

With a runner on third and less than two outs (in a close game especially), you want your batter to make contact the first chance he gets. In other words, take a two-strike approach from the first pitch of the at-bat.

Some players, however, are incapable of changing their approach depending on the context. They can only do one or the other; they have the same approach all the time--that's all they can do.

For example, Jeremy Giambi, Erubiel Durazo, and Scott Hatteberg were of the "always-selective" types. Jay Payton is of the "always-contact" type.

The problem is that for years, the A's were overloaded with players of the "selective-only" type. It's a tie game with a runner on third, the batter gets a fastball on the first pitch, and time after time the A's player just watched it go by. It's one thing when you have one or two players in your lineup who do that, but when it's six or seven, as a fan, it can be so aggravating.

I don't have any numerical proof of this, but just anecdotally, I believe that if you can't have a batter who can change his approach during an at-bat, it's better to have a mix in your lineup: sprinkle a contact hitter here and there in-between the patience. If you walk X with a runner on third and less than two outs, Y is going to put the ball in play and get the run home.

I suppose this is all provable or disprovable with statistics, but you have to get down to the level of the count, the game context, and the type and location of the pitch to prove or disprove my hunch, because that's where my aggravation lies.

2006-12-14 17:01:24
24.   Xeifrank
3. How does one TRY to draw a walk? Do you pass a note to the catcher? Flash a sign to the pitcher? I think there is a difference between being selective (working the count) and trying to draw a walk. To me there is nothing more annoying than a batter who swings at a pitch out of the strike zone when the pitcher has yet to throw him a strike. vr, Xei
2006-12-14 17:04:18
25.   Jason in Canada
This is funny, from Rotoworld:

"Free agent Toby Hall isn't interested in returning to the Devil Rays on a minor league contract.
"That was funny," Hall said. "I guess it would be a minor league contract because they're a minor league team." Way to burn those bridges, Toby. The club gave you more than 2,000 at-bats even though you never once managed a 700 OPS. Your OBP for the club was under .300, and you never came close to matching the 19 homers you hit at Triple-A Durham in 2001. If the Rays weren't much more than a minor league team during your tenure, well, it's in part because you weren't much more than a minor league player."

2006-12-14 17:04:22
26.   Steve
Then there's the point that Jeremy Giambi and Erubiel Durazo ended up being kind of lame regardless of how much they walked.
2006-12-14 17:05:23
27.   Vishal
[17] nobody's calling for anyone to swing at bad pitches. the problem is NOT swinging at good pitches.
2006-12-14 17:05:45
28.   bhsportsguy
Okay, I think we have all had our fun about the "try to draw a walk" commnet.

*Or as Charlie Brown said so well,
"Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?"*

2006-12-14 17:05:58
29.   Xeifrank
if everyone walks (and nobody gets picked off or tries to steal) the inning never ends. If you put the ball in play or "just try to make contact", chances are you make an out 70+% of the time. I'll take my chances with walking and letting the next person who gets something good to swing at, take a swing at it. vr, Xei
2006-12-14 17:06:02
30.   D4P
26
In my opinion, players who can't walk are lame.
2006-12-14 17:07:20
31.   Xeifrank
27. Not all strikes are "good pitches to swing at". You get three of them before you are out, and the last one you have to miss.
vr, Xei
2006-12-14 17:08:30
32.   Steve
30 -- Walking is part of any well-balanced diet. I was just saying that whatever those guys brought to the table, they didn't bring it to the table very well in any event.
2006-12-14 17:11:19
33.   Xeifrank
The only problem I would have with a player "trying to take a walk", would be if he went to the plate with his bat on his shoulder with no intention of swinging at ANY pitches. In other words, he came to the plate with the intention of never swinging. Result: K or BB. Perhaps the occasional weak pitcher at bat would be the only exception.
vr, Xei
2006-12-14 17:15:36
34.   Jon Weisman
I think the crux of the debate is this: Are there good pitches to swing at that are not strikes?
2006-12-14 17:15:45
35.   Vishal
[31] yeah, you get three, but an at-bat is somewhat sequence-dependent. if you get behind in the count, that changes what the pitcher will throw you, and batting average and OBP go down as you fall behind. therefore, taking that first-pitch fastball down the middle hurts you, even though you still have two strikes left.
2006-12-14 17:17:36
36.   Bob Timmermann
34
If you believe in the school of hitting as espoused by Ted Williams, the answer is no.

If you believe in the school of hitting as espoused by Vladimir Guerrero, the answer is yes.

2006-12-14 17:19:32
37.   Xeifrank
35. Nobody is saying to do that. On the flip side, swinging at bad pitches and falling behind is just as bad or worse. Can't have it both ways. :)
Zai Jian, Xei
2006-12-14 17:21:02
38.   GIDP
34

I think that's very batter-dependent. It's possible the very selective batters aren't comfortable swinging at anything outside the zone - in which case they probably shouldn't. I have to agree with Ken when he says a team of such batters might well be problematic.

2006-12-14 17:21:36
39.   Ken Arneson
34 I don't think that's the crux of it at all. Of course, you don't want your batter to swing at balls. The crux is whether you want the batter to swing at the first hittable strike, or the first drivable strike. And the answer to that question depends on the game context.
2006-12-14 17:21:47
40.   Vishal
[37] yeah, but nobody is saying to do that either. i think there's a false dichotomy here.
2006-12-14 17:23:59
41.   gpellamjr
30 Excellent.
2006-12-14 17:25:11
42.   Eric Enders
I totally didn't get 30 until reading 41. Oh, the subtlety.
2006-12-14 17:27:24
43.   gpellamjr
42 I guess I've finally contributed to this site. It is now my life's goal to point out subtle humor. Too bad I'm not smart enough to make up my own subtlety.
2006-12-14 17:28:30
44.   Steve
D4P, my penance for not getting the joke is to purchase a toothbrush for a higher price at Target or another fine alternative to Wal-mart.
2006-12-14 17:30:44
45.   robohobo
I agree with Ken in that it is frustrating as a fan to watch with anticipation for one of the better hitters on the team to come up and take a couple of strikes during an at-bat that look hittable, regardless of whether the at-bat ends in an out or a walk. Walking works great all the time if your entire lineup can hit, like the Yankees...
2006-12-14 17:33:17
46.   D4P
44
Maybe you could even ride the bus to the store or something crazy like that.
2006-12-14 17:35:27
47.   GoBears
42 Illness makes D4P edgy.

Which kind of makes Shimmin's get-well wishes seem self-centered.

2006-12-14 17:38:15
48.   Jon Weisman
39 - Good point.
2006-12-14 17:38:44
49.   Jason in Canada
22 Don't say that?!?! Next your going to tell me that Jeremy Brown and John McCurdy don't pan out.. Why even finish the book now..?
2006-12-14 17:39:59
50.   Fallout
20 Vishal

I'm pretty much in agreement here except to say that a hitter can afford to be selective until he reaches 2 strikes. Then you have different situation and the adage goes into effect, "If it's too close to let it go, swing."

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-14 17:41:47
51.   GoBears
Ken's point is fair. But the crux of the matter generally is that somehow, walks are seen as fatal for pitchers, but not as laudable for hitters. It's as though they're merely lucky outcomes for timid batters. The only walk anyone gets credit for is when they fight back from 0-2 and foul off about 14 pitches before "working" the free pass.

The tension in that last phrase says it all: "working the free pass." Kinda oxymoronic, ain't it?

2006-12-14 17:42:33
52.   D4P
Which kind of makes Shimmin's get-well wishes seem self-centered

Andrew wants me to get better so he can (guiltlessly) resume telling everyone I hate women.

2006-12-14 17:46:42
53.   Sam DC
How do you feel about robots?
2006-12-14 17:46:45
54.   Vishal
while i like walks and even like the tense battle you get with the pitcher when a batter has good plate discipline, i looked at the run expectancy matrix to check on something.

with a runner on 3rd and nobody out, it's better for the batter to get a walk than to have a run-scoring out, such as a groundout to 2nd or a sac fly.

however, with a runner on 3rd and one out, it's better to get the run in and trade an out than to draw a walk.

of course, the game situation also affects things too, so if it's a close game and say, the runner on 3rd is the winning run, then of course you want to get him home.

but a run on the board is not ALWAYS worth 2 on the bases.

2006-12-14 17:47:55
55.   Vishal
actually, i'm looking it over again, and i might be wrong.
2006-12-14 17:50:01
56.   Vishal
okay, i was wrong. apparently the run expectancy is always greater if you take the walk.

so unless you need one run, walking is good.

2006-12-14 17:50:10
57.   Greg Brock
I just want to say "crux of the matter."

What? Everybody else got to.

2006-12-14 17:51:59
58.   Vishal
this is why i'm not a sabermatrician, by the way. i just tend to eyeball things.

though, i don't even know why i even brought it up because i think we weren't talking about outcomes so much as we were talking about approaches.

2006-12-14 17:52:54
59.   Jason in Canada
http://tinyurl.com/yhgtpw

World's tallest man saves plastic eating dolphins

I bet this guy would never see any good pitches.

2006-12-14 17:53:07
60.   Greg Brock
I will add that if there is any argument to make for not walking it's the 8 hitter. That's about it.

8 hitter exempted walking is always good. Always.

2006-12-14 17:54:12
61.   Eric Enders
54 The problem with the run expectancy matrix is it doesn't take into account the relative abilities of the batter and the on-deck hitter.
2006-12-14 17:55:32
62.   Eric Enders
59 I meant to say something about that earlier. Please, let's make sure Vinny doesn't see it.
2006-12-14 18:02:39
63.   das411
Bobby Abreu is still a bum though.

Carry on.

2006-12-14 18:03:24
64.   Sam DC
I want to say something about the actual subject, but it's all been said already.

Hmmph.

2006-12-14 18:04:38
65.   Greg Brock
Remember, kids, The Office is on tonight at 8:00, not 9:00.

Not you D4P. You're not invited.

2006-12-14 18:05:12
66.   Greg Brock
Or 8:30, either (duhhh).
2006-12-14 18:06:53
67.   Ken Arneson
56 A walk is always an acceptable outcome. I don't think knowing that tells us much about how the batter should approach the at-bat.

The question for the batter is: what approach should I take with this at-bat, with this next pitch, to optimize our chance of winning the game? There are so many things to take into account: the score, the outs, the baserunners, what the pitcher can throw, what the batter can hit...if the bases are loaded because of an error and two broken-bat singles, you take a different approach than if the pitcher just walked the bases loaded on 12 pitches.

For me, the complexities of these shifting contexts is the crux of the matter of what makes baseball such a beautiful game.

57 I said that just because I wanted to say "crux of the matter" again.

2006-12-14 18:09:03
68.   Sam DC
9, 16-18, 27, 29, 30 (just cause it was so well laid down), 39, 51, 60-61.

Oh, and three-quarters of Jon's original post, of course.

There ya go.

2006-12-14 18:12:41
69.   Andrew Shimmin
Check the record, I offered D4P no get-well wishes. Does this mean I hope he doesn't get well? Not necessarily. I just haven't decided whether to take a public position on the matter.
2006-12-14 18:13:27
70.   Vishal
crux is such a great word. it sounds authoritative, gangsta, and a little bit dirty, even though it's not.

it'd make a good nickname too. i would love to be known as "the crux".

ken "the crux" arneson. that's pimp.

[67] btw, well said.

2006-12-14 18:20:07
71.   D4P
65
Sounds good. Won't see you there.
2006-12-14 18:22:49
72.   Jon Weisman
Kruk's Crux.
2006-12-14 18:22:59
73.   Sam DC
67.
2006-12-14 18:24:28
74.   trainwreck
Dang Huskers just knocked Bruins out of the Final 4.
2006-12-14 18:24:34
75.   Ken Arneson
70 That looks good in writing, but if you spoke it aloud, someone might think you're saying 'ken "the kruk's" arneson', which would be a horrible thing to be called.
2006-12-14 18:29:28
76.   Bill Crain
A: Ruth in his best year with fewer outs.
B: Some guy who gets a BB every trip to the plate.

Replace A with B and you increase run production substantially. James has written on this at some length. Also, there is no evidence that anyone can successfully increase his chances of hitting a sacrifice fly.

I can't write the word wal because my " " ey is not wor ing.

2006-12-14 18:30:52
77.   natepurcell
i want a big international signing by next summer. make it happen logan.
2006-12-14 18:35:15
78.   Jason in Canada
Just curious, when did the Dodgers lose their presence in Latin America..? After the Beltre fiasco?
2006-12-14 18:38:04
79.   natepurcell
Just curious, when did the Dodgers lose their presence in Latin America..? After the Beltre fiasco?

our last big signing was Joel Guzman in the early part of this decade for 2mil+.

after that, we just sort of stopped giving out huge contracts to latin free agents. instead, we focused our resources on the draft with Logan White. Now that White is spearheading the whole scouting division, maybe we'll get back into the international market.

2006-12-14 18:40:29
80.   das411
77 - Aren't the Dodgers kind of the pioneers of international signings? Misters Nomo, Valenzuela, and even to a certain extent Jackie R...

76 - You do mean BB as in base on balls, not as in hard-hit line drive correct? So basically 2001-04 Barry Bonds?

Now that I think about this though, he may be an interesting case. Suppose there's a walk-off runner on 2B and he gets a hittable 3-1 pitch outside the zone. Does he lay off of it and have to run the bases, or does he roll over and drive it into LF to score the run and save himself a trip to first base?

74 - This final four is like the past season's LCSs, nobody worth rooting for, right? Link?

2006-12-14 18:42:15
81.   Sam DC
Hmmm, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is starting.

I remember seeing this in the theaters and, well, I was not entirely myself and the next day my sister asked me what it was about and I realized I really didn't know.

I don't report this with pride mind you.

2006-12-14 18:43:48
82.   Greg Brock
81 Solid movie.

Can somebody go over to Athletics Nation and tell me if top article over there is a joke or real? I'm pretty sure it's a joke.

I think.

2006-12-14 18:44:36
83.   Bob Timmermann
81
What's that watermelon for?

I'll tell you later.

2006-12-14 18:45:39
84.   Bob Timmermann
I will root for the winner of the Stanford-UW semi to win the championship in women's volleyball.
2006-12-14 18:46:12
85.   Greg Brock
Actually, here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/y63z4o

2006-12-14 18:46:58
86.   natepurcell
"This is a guy who's a GM prospect," says Roland Hemond, who was the GM of the Orioles when White did his first tour there. "He's of the ilk of the Doug Melvins, the Dave Dombrowskis and the Walt Jockettys of the world. He's an exceptional leader, and he'll be the first one to tell you you're only as good as the people around you.

fire ned colletti if it means losing logan white.

2006-12-14 18:50:02
87.   Ken Arneson
76 "Also, there is no evidence that anyone can successfully increase his chances of hitting a sacrifice fly."

Yet. I don't think anyone's looked at those types of issues with pitch type/location data. Until this year, I'd never seen any study using pitch type/location before.

I see two questions here:

1) Is a given player capable of adjusting the type of pitch he swings at depending on the game context, and

2) if the player can, in fact, adjust, when should he?

2006-12-14 18:51:53
88.   Sam DC
83 Laugh while you can, monkey boy.
2006-12-14 18:53:05
89.   Jon Weisman
80 - Nobody worth rooting for???
2006-12-14 18:55:12
90.   Bob Timmermann
What is the greatest joy?

The joy of duty!

Where are we going?

Planet 10!

When?

Real soon!

2006-12-14 18:55:23
91.   sanchez101
"Clearly, some people feel differently – and the unmistakable impression I'm getting, one that I can't quite believe but appears to be true, is that more than a few people would emphatically rather see a player strike out or hit into a double play than walk in an RBI situation, I guess because that shows the player is at least trying."

You're mistaking the goals of, at least some of, the people that hold the "swing in an RBI situation" crowd. A DP or K is not the goal, and we don't want to see 'effort.' We want to see runs scored. Walks don't (generally) score runs. They help set them up, but someone needs a hit to drive them in and you can't hit when you don't swing.

The problem with Drew, I believe, is that people are mistaking a good approach with patience. Drew is one of the most patient hitters Ive ever seen (he's as patient as Micheal Jordan is competative). Thats not neccesarily a bad thing, just like aggresiveness at the plate isn't neccesarily a bad thing. But a good hitter, one with a good approach, know's WHEN to expand his zone and WHEN NOT to expand his zone. Guys like Mondesi just give up and expand the zone evey 2 strike count. Drew similarly, conceeds the strikezone by NOT expanding the zone in any situation.

Maybe that's just JD Drew, I can accept that. It doesn't make him a bad player anymore than it makes him a bad person (our society could probably use more restraint rather than less, so maybe Drew is the ultimate role model). Its just that Drew leaves runners on. Number three hitters aren't supposed to do that. Eight figure players aren't supposed to do that. My problem with Drew is that he's not a 'Star' player, despite what his OPS tells you. Between his durabilty and passivity, he's just not a player you build an offense around.

If his pay, and expectations, where more in line with a very-good/not-great hitter who'll play 125-145 games a year, that'd be one thing. But Scott Boras is his agent, which means he wants as good a paycheck as possible and seems to see himself as some sort of star player, which he just isn't.

2006-12-14 18:58:43
92.   Greg Brock
BigbooTAY!
2006-12-14 18:59:19
93.   Jason in Canada
80 Maybe we can trade him while his value is so high. For say, two latin American scouts and an asst. Gm?
2006-12-14 19:01:06
94.   Indiana Jon
Wow, hours worth of discussion on walking and I'm just bored enough to read it all. Somehow, after reading all these posts, I now understand why everyone hates the Pierre signing so badly even though it seems like a good one to me. However, I prefer Ted Williams over Guerrero anyday. What does this mean for me? Am I confused or do I just not care about walks and choose to ignore them? Help, I think I might have a personality issue here.
2006-12-14 19:02:55
95.   Bill Crain
87 There is evidence that OBP does go up in leadoff at bats. There's also some fairly weak data that indicates that younger players have higher strikeout rates leading off than veterans, which could indicate that the rookies are trying to make the correct adjustment but not doing it well--i.e. taking too many strikes.

I'm unaware of any studies with pitch-type data, but that would be interesting.

I would predict that the ability of any given player to adjust successfully in that fashion would be very limited or non-existent. Hitting is just too hard.

I can say "walK" now instead of BB Kause I Kot another Keyboard!

2006-12-14 19:03:15
96.   Sam DC
History is made at night. Character is what you are in the dark.
2006-12-14 19:04:55
97.   sanchez101
86. Three non-player LA sports figuers I have the "we're OK in the longterm, we have the smartest guy in the building" feeling (I'll call it the John Wooden Award, just to annoy that Tommy Craggs):

Logan White
Phil Jackson
Pete Carroll

(Ben Howland's might be a few months away from making it a four-man list)

2006-12-14 19:05:18
98.   Jon Weisman
91 - I don't think I'm mistaking. Some people feel the way you do. Some people have made it clear that they would prefer the K to the BB.

But my two main disagreements with your comment are 1) Drew was among the best at not leaving runners on, and 2) it's not his fault he's getting paid a lot.

2006-12-14 19:06:51
99.   sanchez101
94. I think you might be able to accept that there is no one way, or right way, to win a ball game. But I hope not, we have too many intelligent commentors around here and not enough brainless morons like me.
2006-12-14 19:10:01
100.   Indiana Jon
99 Add me to your group.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-12-14 19:10:16
101.   Sam DC
imdb keywords for buckaroo banzai:

Bizarre
Pastiche
Character Name In Title
Independent Film
Cult Favorite
Alternative Reality
Space
Automobile
Creature
Hero
See You In Hell
Watermelon
Katana Sword
Helicopter
Sequel Mentioned During End Credits
Alien Conspiracy
Alien Contact
Alien
Chase
Cold War
Desert
Doctor
Electric Shock
Escaped Mental Patient
Flashback Sequence
Government Fraud
Hologram
Hospital
Hunting
Interdimensional Travel
Motorcycle
Musician
Name Change
New Jersey
Nightclub
Possession
Press Conference
Psychiatric Hospital
Recreational Vehicle
Rescue
Rock Band
Rocket Car
Scientist
Spacecraft Accident
Spacecraft
Surgery
Telephone Box
Torture
Trespass
U.S. President
Widower

2006-12-14 19:12:06
102.   Greg Brock
There is only one way to win...

To CHEAT!

2006-12-14 19:15:44
103.   Greg Brock
I'm referring to the cute cheating, like emory boards and spitballs. It's old timey.
2006-12-14 19:16:12
104.   Bill Crain
102 Motto stolen from the "Pyramid of Success" created by our greatest puritan, John Wooden?

Just kidding.

2006-12-14 19:16:44
105.   Jason in Canada
82 You would think that the A's fans of all people would appreciate that particular team building theory, whom probably without it, would be probably be rooting for the either the Portland Athletics, or San Juan Athleticos.
2006-12-14 19:17:52
106.   sanchez101
98. I can't coment on the people who'd rather see a K than a BB.

But it is Drew's fault he's getting paid a lot, otherwise he wouldn't have hired Scott Boras as his agent, otherwise he wouldn't have opted out of a guaranteed deal for $33 million.

Im not going to say there is anything morally wrong with JD for wanting as big a paycheck as possible. Nor am I trying to make any infrences on his personality. I'm just saying, if he wants to be paid like a star, I don't want him on my team and I'm going to try hard not to miss him. My guess is that Colletti feels the same way.

IMO, you can be too aggressive and you can be too passive. A good approach is the right balance between the two in regards to your hitting abilities and the situation. What I'm saying, and what many others have said in regards to Drew, is that it is possible to be too passive. If any player is too passive, it's JD Drew. (this is probably up to debate on a number of grounds, but it didn't seem like Drew changed his approach based on the situation, its like he approached each AB the same)

I can't understand the people that do not acknowledge that passivity can be a bad thing.

2006-12-14 19:19:02
107.   das411
Is anyone else wondering how 93 relates to my 80? I'd like to give you an answer but am not quite sure who you are referring to...

89 - Doesn't mean I won't watch it! Any time is a good time for womens volleyball!!

2006-12-14 19:19:57
108.   sanchez101
105. Well, most A's fans are Raiders fans ... I'd vote no.
2006-12-14 19:26:51
109.   Bill Crain
107 I think 93 is meant to refer to 86

I'm only here to help.

2006-12-14 19:26:58
110.   Jason in Canada
haha.. as are most Dodger fans...
2006-12-14 19:32:48
111.   Jason in Canada
"The Dodgers' presence in the Dominican had become so lax that they now share their complex there with Tampa Bay--which also provided them with more revenue--and the last major signing came in 2001, when the club inked shortstop Joel Guzman as a 16-year-old to a deal worth $2.25 million."

-From the Baseball America article...

Ok.. this is getting kind of creepy. Our number one trade partner.. Our Dom Rep partner... As a wise man once said, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future."

2006-12-14 19:33:00
112.   Jon Weisman
106 - I want to be paid like a "star" too, but I'm not. That's the point.
2006-12-14 19:36:53
113.   Steve
One can stipulate that passivity is bad. But who cares? The question is whether jd drew is passive.
2006-12-14 19:37:30
114.   s choir
76

A: Ruth in his best year with fewer outs.
Barry Bonds?

B: Some guy who gets a BB every trip to the plate.
Eddie Gaedel?

At least you wouldn't have to worry about steroids with Gaedel.

2006-12-14 19:37:51
115.   Jon Weisman
Also, sure, passivity can be a bad thing, but you haven't shown that Drew's relative passivity is a bad thing.
2006-12-14 19:41:11
116.   Steve
Nor does it follow that because passivity is bad, aggressivity is good. What is left is the undeniable truth that some people like jd drew, others don't, and I'm just glad his contract is someone else's problem.
2006-12-14 19:42:47
117.   Bill Crain
Passivity may be bad. Scoring runs is good.
Scoring runs generally requires baserunners.

Offered an intentional walk, would you ever refuse it?

2006-12-14 19:49:54
118.   Steve
In fact, it appears to be assumed that taking walks is a passive activity, a premise that would come as a surprise, I would guess, to the vast majority of major leaguers who have had the good fortune to get one.
2006-12-14 19:54:41
119.   Bob Timmermann
I was told once that passivity was to be avoided if possible. Since then, people have noticed that I don't always seem to be a person that is one who takes initiative.
2006-12-14 19:59:22
120.   Bill Crain
119

Sorry, Bob. For tonight's game you've been declared inactive.

2006-12-14 20:07:54
121.   Tom Meagher
It's obvious that in all circumstances a walk is superior to a non-runner advancing out for the offense. And if you actually use probability values, whether theoretically- or empirically-derived, expecting the batter to alter their approach by disregarding the relative values of outs and walks in order to marginally increase the proportion of hits is clearly folly.

That being said, it is certainly a sign of a very good hitter that they can get a hit even when being pitched tightly with runners on. In general, you would want any hitter you have to be more likely to get a hit with RISP. Paradoxically, though, drawing walks with RISP is a strong indication of batter strength; pitchers willing to sacrifice the possibility of an out, which is a much greater likelihood than runners scoring, must have a good reason to do so. J.D. Drews are probably more prone to frustrate fans than Vlad Guerreros, but this does not mean that Guerrero's production contributes more to team success (assuming the two have equal linear weights values). If fans want to know which players are of greater relative value, they probably should disregard their observations of clutch performance and stick to the simple math (i.e., linear weights or other run-derived measures). You will miss a few outliers (Ortiz and Burrell, perhaps), but I've found being a baseball fan is much more fun if you don't keep trying to invent reasons to dislike good players and/or overvalue lousy players.

But keep in mind that this is in terms of what will most likely help the team win. I see no reason why a fan must ultimately seek out the strongest correspondence between their desired game outcome and their desired PA outcome. The most satisfying games to watch are not always the ones which your team wins, and I think it's reasonable for fans to root for an unfavorable short term outcome in order to build suspense over the long term. Fans who make a habit of such activity may be setting themselves up for some kind of misery, but I think it's a willingness that should be in the mix.

Ken Arneson is a) one of the best 3 internet baseball writers and b) a very entertaining person to watch baseball with. I would venture that a significant reason for each is that he's willing to submit to his more intuitive desires over his more rational desires, and that he's far from beholden to either side of that dualism.

2006-12-14 20:07:59
122.   Bob Timmermann
120
I was scratched while healthy?
2006-12-14 20:09:46
123.   Bob Timmermann
Ken Arneson is a) one of the best 3 internet baseball writers

OK, so that's Ken, me, and who else?

Must be Buster Olney.

List complete!

2006-12-14 20:15:13
124.   Marty
Everyone's probably watching the Office. But, I'm smart, see? I pause it for 15-20 minutes and then I can watch it and zip through the commercials.

I'm not getting paid enough, I tell you.

2006-12-14 20:20:55
125.   CanuckDodger
In the Baseball America article, did anybody pause and raise an eyebrow reading Logan White's quote on the player evaluation tendencies of his scouts? "Some are high-graders, some are low-graders, some just love everybody they see and some don't like anybody." That sounds like a TERRIBLE scouting department.

Also, I don't think it is true that Guzman was our last high-dollar Latin American signing. Guzman's $2.25 million was unprecedented and has yet to be equalled by another team. A $500,000 bonus for a Latin American free agent counts as high, and we gave that to Venezuela's Jonathan Figueroa, a LHP, in 2002. Figueroa has, unfortunately, turned into a bust.

And when exactly did the Dodgers decide to go back to being players in the international market? Just when Logan White was promoted? Because the international signing period was only a couple months ago, and the Dodgers did nothing while other teams ponied up some serious cash for the top amateur free agents.

2006-12-14 20:24:29
126.   Bob Timmermann
124
I'm with Marty. I'll start watching now.
2006-12-14 20:40:28
127.   Bumsrap
My perspective on walks also includes the ability of a hitter to put a ball in play maybe for an out, maybe for a hit while another player fouls that same pitch or misses it completely and gets another chance to walk.

The difference between being a goat and a hero is a hero fouls back a pitch before getting another pitch that he hits and a goat pops that first pitch up to be caught. The former didn't have as good of eye hand coordination as the latter on that first pitch or was fooled more than the latter.

That brings us to Pierre and why he doesn't walk much. It is because when he does swing he more often puts the ball into play where most other players might swing and miss that same pitch and that miss ultimately leads to a walk.

I should have made this all one sentence.

2006-12-14 20:58:13
128.   Jon Weisman
125 - Canuck, I saw that quote. I guess I didn't take it literally, or at least the way you did. Just sounded to me like Logan was saying he needed to adjust for different biases. Maybe I'm wrong.

121 - Totally with you, especially on that last paragraph. I guess intuitively, even though I'd always love my player to hit a homer, I'm plenty relieved as long as he doesn't make an out, generally speaking.

124/126 - The unfortunate habit of my wife working Thursday nights prevents me from almost ever seeing The Office live. There is an open chat at Screen Jam, though.

2006-12-14 21:08:59
129.   sanchez101
155.113. Im no expert, but it seems to me if any player is hurt by their passivity its JD Drew. If you need an expert with a similar opinion, check out Keith Law.

Look, I'm not sure if Drew is really as 'passive' as he seems. You can come up with evidence to support that, as you have, or evidence against that. I just can't think of him as a star. I do know, though, that he's one heck of a good player. This site is "Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball" this is my attempt at psychologically dealing with the Dodgers loosing their best hitter. The end result WILL be me judging the loss of JD Drew as not that big a deal, regardless of you opinions to the contrary. I feel as if I can come up with an argument at any time to support this conclusion, and that makes me look forward to next season, so what?

(on a semi-related note, a professor recently insulted me by claiming I'd make a good grad-student)

2006-12-14 21:10:03
130.   sanchez101
BTW, great Office episode, or at least the last-half hour I caught. Was the first half as good?
2006-12-14 21:11:32
131.   sanchez101
130. Ill check Screen Jam
2006-12-14 21:23:22
132.   Steve
I'm very confused, because I said that I was glad JD Drew was somewhere else.
2006-12-14 21:33:08
133.   Jon Weisman
129 - Sanchez, we were disagreeing, but no one was suggesting you didn't have a right to your opinion. And for that matter, I don't think people were even disagreeing with everything you said.
2006-12-14 21:38:02
134.   sanchez101
133. Oh I know, Im just having fun
2006-12-14 22:00:29
135.   Sushirabbit
Is it my imagination or was Werth kind of over the edge of the patience/passivity side of this?

Reading this is a bit like watching someone sharpen an already sharp razor. At least in this case it's not leading to statements like "remember, wherever you go, there you are."

2006-12-14 22:06:55
136.   Jason in Canada
So apparently the rumour mill is saying that we are "dangling" Brad Penny to the Cardinals. That doesn't seem to make sense... if in being that we are trying to get the elusive power bat.. Then is is just a rumour.. from St. Louis..
2006-12-14 22:10:04
137.   sanchez101
Uh, I don't think I remember Werth all that much except that his name is easy to type.

My guess is that he was more of a Depo type. That means he was like Drew, I guess. From his stats, (which remember, Homer Simpson claimed could "prove anything that is even remotely true") he didn't control the K-zone all that well in his first season in blue, while he did a better job in his second. Unfortunatly Werth had lost his power by the time Burnett broke his wrist, so we'll just have to wait to see Jayson Werth healthy to see what he can really do. He looked good, at the plate and in the field in '04. He strikes out a fair amount, but he's the perfect 4th OF for a team with 3 regular LH outfielders. Rumors are he's going to Texas, if I recall correctly.

2006-12-14 22:11:13
138.   trainwreck
I can see why the Cardinals want to do that. I cannot see why we would want to do that.
2006-12-14 22:13:12
139.   trainwreck
137
Werth's at bats were infuriating in 05. He swung at everything.
2006-12-14 22:13:24
140.   sanchez101
136. Im all for a Penny + Kemp for Pujols swap!
Tell all the LA columnists that there is now a rumor afoot that Pujols is coming to Chavez Ravine! Huzzah, Huzzah! Thanks, St.Louis, its appropriate considering they stole a WHOLE FOOTBALL TEAM from us. That's fair isn't it? (has LA achieved retrobution on St.Louis for the whole Rams episode?)
2006-12-14 22:15:03
141.   Jason in Canada
Unless it includes a certain Wilfrido Pujols and his first cousin Albert.
2006-12-14 22:16:07
142.   Sushirabbit
Maybe I should have said "like watching a master knife maker" (say Occam, or Ocham if you prefer). Just so you know I meant it as something difficult to do and maybe not of much interest to alot of people but it is to me.

One thing, though, is that as a pitcher, I would worry about the Drew type hitter, but I would fear the guy like Vlad that I know can just hit anything. The thing is he clearly can't always hit everything well so that fear is perhaps not well founded.

2006-12-14 22:16:09
143.   sanchez101
139. really? i don't remember that. maybe I blacked-out that whole season ... its like Tracy resigned in '04, DePodesta never was fired, and the Dodgers never missed the playoffs in 2005. I prefer this version of reality.
2006-12-14 22:16:51
144.   Jason in Canada
I think we we're quite pleased actually to see Georgia F. go. That was reward enough for some.
2006-12-14 22:19:55
145.   Jason in Canada
Hey Trainwreck, your an MMA fan no?
2006-12-14 22:20:19
146.   Linkmeister
The current edition of SI tells me (in a wrapup of the winter meetings) that the Red Sox are now paying JD Drew more than they were willing to pay Johnny Damon when he was still with them.

The bigger story in SI avers that baseball has so much money this off-season may be just the tip of the payroll-expansion iceberg.

On V-ball: with Nebraska beating UCLA I can't even root for the team that beat mine so I could have the old "well, it took the national champs to beat us" line to live with.

2006-12-14 22:25:20
147.   scareduck
Part of (the dropoff) is simply because the competition is so much stiffer than it was 15 or 20 years ago," White says. "We certainly recognize that we haven't been what we used to be and we are making an effort to bring back some of that luster. It's a very vital part of our organization and to just let it whither away just doesn't make any sense."

Whether you like "whither" or not (and it should be "wither"), the McCourts get at least partial blame for this by reducing the team's footprint in the Dominican. Perhaps this is Logan White speaking in code.

2006-12-14 22:26:24
148.   Sushirabbit
I hope Werth does well. My guess is that he will be a 4th OF like you suggest, especially if he can re-gain that power.

139, yeah, 114 times, but it seemed like like he'd take two straight down the middle first and then either swing wild and K, or foul away and watch another strike come over. I might as well have been up there. Well except if I did make contact it'd been a Neifi-esque swinging bunt out.

2006-12-14 22:27:58
149.   scareduck
136 - that "elusive" power bat? None other than Juan Encarnacion!

I think if that happened, I would have to kill, in order, Ned Colletti (for doing the deal), Charlie Steiner (about a month into the season, because he cannot correctly pronounce the man's last name), and myself (for no good reason, but eluding capture seems as good an excuse as any).

2006-12-14 22:28:12
150.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
Mongo like walks. Walks be Mongo's friend.

What? What is it that so few people here recognize or acknowledge the Blazing Saddles references?

Or, one could ask:
Jon: what's with two Blazing Saddles references in a week? Did you watch it recently, or did one lead to another?

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-12-14 22:28:14
151.   trainwreck
145
Yeah.
2006-12-14 22:31:16
152.   Jon Weisman
150 - The latter. With a special shout out to you and Marty.
2006-12-14 22:35:31
153.   Don Tordilla
If Rosenthal is correct, we can stop speculating about a trade for Wells. Looks like he's going to take their 7/126 offer.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6274400

2006-12-14 22:38:04
154.   Jason in Canada
I think you would be off the hook for Colletti, as you surely wouldn't be the first to him. The effigy district near Carson would be in business.
2006-12-14 22:39:17
155.   Jason in Canada
151 UFC, Pride or both.. Favorite fighter?
2006-12-14 22:40:34
156.   dzzrtRatt
Most Dodger fans actually hate the Raiders and revel in their cascading failures.
2006-12-14 22:40:39
157.   screwballin
I would predict that the ability of any given player to adjust successfully in that fashion would be very limited or non-existent. Hitting is just too hard.

To me, this is the crux of the issue. I mean, why is it necessarily passivity if a hitter doesn't swing at a borderline pitch? Maybe it's just the thousands of hours they spent training themselves to hit a certain way and to swing at certain pitches. It's gotta be really difficult, in that split second that a pitch approaches, to abandon all that training and swing at something that they've otherwise taught themselves will be a bad bet.

2006-12-14 22:40:57
158.   trainwreck
155
Vitor Belfort. I know he is washed up and a shell of himself and a waste of talent, but he is the guy that got me really excited about the sport.

I am also a big BJ Penn fan and GSP.

2006-12-14 22:41:51
159.   mikethinksblue
watching the big lebowski on TMC now, "and a good day to you sir"
2006-12-14 22:42:51
160.   natepurcell
The deal is expected to include full no-trade protection and an opt-out clause.

the bluejays are going to get drewed in two years.

2006-12-14 22:43:37
161.   sanchez101
153. Ah shucks! I guess we have to go into next year with 6 starting pitchers ... darn.
2006-12-14 22:43:46
162.   trainwreck
I like guys like Crocop, Shogun, and of course Fedor in PRIDE, but they are so good it is too easy for me to have them as my favorites.

Who are yours?

2006-12-14 22:43:53
163.   screwballin
Or, to put it another way, it's almost as though we're insisting that they learn two different ways to hit. Isn't that asking a bit much? Isn't excelling at one way hard enough?
2006-12-14 22:44:22
164.   trainwreck
159
I remember when Comedy Central premiered it and they erased Jesus from the movie.
2006-12-14 22:45:28
165.   John Siv
Say Drew's normal approach nets him a hit 28% of the time and a walk 11% of the time. He's got some pop, too, while striking out about 22% of the time. Good bat. Sweet, sweet swing.

Flash to the game: Runner's on third, just stole third, in fact, with less than two out. Game's close. Pitcher's shaken. I'm telling you, he's shaken here. Crowd's up, they sense it. Drew knows it, and sets for the pitch.

His normal approach will score the guy some percentage of the time, call it 38%. I'm just making this up. It's not critical. It's not the drama.

What if Drew, keyed into the game situation, cognizant of his team standing in the dugout, eyeing his mate who just swiped that bag in a close, close play in which bone crushed and flesh tore and heart was laid bare, changed his approach? Not his swing—oh that sweet, sweet song of a swing—no, no, just his approach. What if he risks it all to score the runner? Forget the lure of power, don't even worry about getting a hit, and just try to advance one man ninety feet? Is it at all possible that he can change his profile to get a hit, say, 20% of the time, a walk 7% of the time, but score the runner, oh I don't know, 46% of the time? Sure his K-rate will likely rise as well to 28% perhaps, but is this at all possible?

This seems to be the heart of the point made in Jon's piece.

If Drew can make this alteration, then isn't it worth it? Doesn't he owe it to the crowd, his team, his craft? The game's close, remember—if that were not the case then the whole calculus may shift. But if the situation calls for it, if the real percentages prescribe a beneficial expectation, then shouldn't he do that? Shouldn't any ballplayer take that shot?

Remember, if he does this, then he will strike out more often and walk less. Probably hit more weak outs, too. That's just part of the deal, part of the life of this game. Can't have it all, even with a swing favored by an angel.

So, is a strikeout better than a walk or a hit? Of course not. May a strikeout be an indication he is changing his approach optimally, however? And, if such a change is both possible and desireable, then may a strikeout be a sign of Drew making the proper play? And may a walk be an indication he is not changing his approach, and thus making the improper play?

May that be what folks mean when they intuit that a K is better than a BB in that situation?

I agree with Ken's assessment, because I believe such a change is possible. I have no evidence for this, of course. Just feeling. Just hope, frankly. If I'm completely off base, then I'd love to learn why.

But what a swing. My my. What a sweet, sweet swing.

2006-12-14 22:45:38
166.   natepurcell
161

not exactly...

from same article..

he Jays still want to add pitching, and their signing of Wells could lead them to trade another of their outfielders, most likely Alex Rios, for a proven starter

2006-12-14 22:46:10
167.   trainwreck
I am a Raider fan. Football is depressing.
2006-12-14 22:50:30
168.   natepurcell
if the bluejays want to trade adam lind and alexis rios for brad penny+ mark hendrickson, id do it and worry about who plays where later.
2006-12-14 22:57:37
169.   natepurcell
man, i really want adam lind. he sucks defensively but that bat mashes.
2006-12-14 23:07:10
170.   sanchez101
169. too bad Colletti probably sees him as a DH now that we have Kemp and Ethier ...

What are the chances that Kemp stays (ie, pushes Pierre to LF) at CF. I really want him to stay in center because if he does, it the first chance the Dodgers have to a homegrown superstar since Piazza, and before him who ... Cey (who wasn't appreciated in his time) or perhaps even Snider?

OK, Ill give you Piazza, but other than him? The list gets pretty slim if youre not fond of Garvey. (I guess we should give a shout out for Pedro Guerrero, someone should put him into perspective for us 90's kids)

2006-12-14 23:18:56
171.   El Lay Dave
170 Orel and Fernando? Earlier, Koufax and Drysdale. Another chance the Dodger had for a homegrown superstar: Pedro - Martinez, that is.
2006-12-14 23:19:00
172.   Xeifrank
170. Pierre in left field as difficult as it is to imagine is a worse deal than Pierre in CF. vr, Xei
2006-12-14 23:21:46
173.   El Lay Dave
Add 170: Like him or not, at the time, Garvey was treated and perceived as a superstar. Two-time MVP etc.
2006-12-14 23:22:58
174.   Johnson
170 What are the chances that Kemp stays (ie, pushes Pierre to LF) at CF

That particular scenario doesn't sound very likely to me. It seems that Kemp is questionable defensively in CF. That's not to say that he can't do it, but I gather that Pierre is the better defensive CF. If they're both in the lineup together, Kemp should be in LF. Assuming Kemp can play CF adequately, and becomes the starter, it would be far wiser to trade Pierre than put a pop-gun in LF.

2006-12-14 23:30:25
175.   CanuckDodger
If the Dodgers thought Kemp could handle center going forward, they wouldn't have signed Pierre. Guys built like Kemp don't play center. With his strong arm, he is a right fielder sall the way.
2006-12-14 23:30:26
176.   CanuckDodger
If the Dodgers thought Kemp could handle center going forward, they wouldn't have signed Pierre. Guys built like Kemp don't play center. With his strong arm, he is a right fielder sall the way.
2006-12-14 23:32:11
177.   Xeifrank
175. So who is the backup CFer then, Ethier? I know Pierre doesn't miss much time (sighs) but you have to have a capable backup.
vr, Xei
2006-12-14 23:46:41
178.   CanuckDodger
177 -- Repko, of course.
2006-12-14 23:58:03
179.   Greg Brock
Vernon Wells is going to sign the 7 year, 126 million dollar extension with the Blue Jays.

Don't get me wrong. I like Wells, big time, but Jesus. I don't think he's that type of elite/mega elite player.

Congrats to the Blue Jays for keeping him around.

2006-12-14 23:59:54
180.   Greg Brock
And yes, full no trade clause and an opt out clause (no years specified for opt out).
2006-12-15 00:01:07
181.   natepurcell
late night trade fantasy

Brad Penny, Andre Ethier, Mark Hendrickson for Alex Rios, Adam Lind, Brandon League

and after colletti gets rid of elders

SS Furcal age 29
CF Rios age 25
LF Lind age 23
RF Kemp age 22
1b Loney age 22
3b Laroche age 23
2b Betemit age 25
C Martin age 23

GLORIOUS DOMINATION FOR THE NEXT DECADE.

2006-12-15 00:03:04
182.   Greg Brock
Rios doesn't walk, but he's a heck of a player.
2006-12-15 00:42:49
183.   Greg Brock
VORP:
Soriano: 39.5
Drew: 26.9
C. Lee: 24.7
Wells: 23.8

A note to all those that complained about Drew. Stop. Just stop. Ned should have made a play to keep him, and if his reluctance to do so was really a result of childish anger, he is truly a petty incomp.

For Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre, we just should have kept Drew and had money left over.

2006-12-15 00:44:41
184.   trainwreck
But speed wins games!
2006-12-15 00:46:43
185.   Greg Brock
I think those are 2005 numbers. I shall now punch myself in the mouth.

Wow. I stink.

2006-12-15 00:57:08
186.   sanchez101
183. It wouldn't suprise me if Pierre and Gonzo played twice as many games next year than Drew.

Besides, Gonzo doesn't block Kemp like Drew would've and since I like Kemp more than Drew that makes me happy.

Speed helps win games, occasionaly. I like Colletti's attitude though, If someone doesn't want to be a Dodger we shouldn't overpay him to stay in LA. Oh, we're supposed to pay someone extra for enjoying the sun and surf, hogwash!!! I'm going to have to pay way to much money to live in my hometown (santa barbara) and one less rich guy is only a good thing, thanx Ned!

2006-12-15 03:11:35
187.   Sam DC
Just because someone doesn't comment on a Blazing Saddles reference does not mean that someone didn't appreciate the Blazing Saddles Reference.
2006-12-15 05:59:25
188.   50 years a Dodger Fan
In a way it's embarrassing, having spent a large part of last year calling for Jose Cruz Jr's head, to now say it wouldn't be a bad idea to b4ring him back as a backup. The most intriguing thought about it is that we're already on the hook to pay his salary this year, why not make some use of it?
2006-12-15 07:11:23
189.   Louis in SF
188

You will get a chance to see Jose Cruz Jr this year when he comes into Dodger Stadium to play for the Pads-they signed him within the last week

2006-12-15 07:30:37
190.   Bumsrap
If Drew had stolen a few more bases last year, ok, if Drew had stolen a base last year I would have liked him more. But when he tried to come home after curfew during the playoffs he did the right thing in leaving. That reasoning means Biemel should be traded.

My favorite players are ones that look like they are having fun and seem to smile alot--kid around some. Obviously, Gibson and Brown were not on my favorites list. But, I also like players that quietly go about their business in a calm and focused manner, always running hard and trying to make a good play while staying under control and doing what is right for the situation. Drew usually did this.

2006-12-15 08:19:57
191.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
187 You make a fair point.
2006-12-15 08:20:34
192.   Robert Daeley
"A note to all those that complained about Drew. Stop. Just stop. Ned should have made a play to keep him, and if his reluctance to do so was really a result of childish anger, he is truly a petty incomp."

Boy, talk about your loaded statements based on speculation. The Drew complainers need to stop, but you get to keep dogging Colletti for specious reasons?

2006-12-15 08:35:18
193.   Marty
"You can't come in here, this is a closed set!"

"Piss on you, I'm workin for Mel Brooks!"

2006-12-15 08:39:19
194.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
192 Alternatively put: "here's some data that shows Drew to be more valuable than the traditional media seems to make him out to be, so it's too bad we didn't get to keep him".
2006-12-15 08:47:24
195.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2006-12-15 09:10:28
196.   Robert Daeley
194 Perfect! :)
2006-12-15 09:12:58
197.   Steve
An if-then statement is necessarily contingent on the "if." I see no such contingencies or qualifiers on statements regarding JD Drew's "passivity."

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