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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

How Soon Do Strikeouts Matter?
2006-07-19 11:50
by Jon Weisman

Chad Billingsley isn't striking out batters at a high rate in the majors so far. Does it matter? You be the judge, based on this small sampling of Dodger pitchers from the past 30 years.

First Seven Starts by Selected Young Dodger Pitchers
Orel Hershiser19842555.2569.1
Chan Ho Park19962334349.0
Fernando Valenzuela19812063618.7
Eric Gagne1999-200023-2445.1438.6
Dennys Reyes1997-9820-2141.2367.9
Ismael Valdez1994-9520-2144387.8
Alejandro Pena198323-2445387.6
Shawn Hillegas19872338327.6
D.J. Houlton20052536297.3
Ramon Martinez1988-8920-2138.2307.1
Tim Belcher1987-8825-2644.1336.7
Edwin Jackson2003-042035.1256.4
Luke Prokopec2000-0122-2341286.1
Bob Welch19782149.2305.5
Dennis Powell1985-8621-2233.2205.4
Pedro Astacio19922352305.2
Chad Billingsley20062139.1225.1
Rick Sutcliffe1976-7920-2246244.7
Dave Stewart19822541184.0
Source: Retrosheet

You'd feel awfully good about Billingsley if he were striking out eight batters per nine innings. Short of that, it's a mixed bag of great, good, inconsistent and see ya.

Nothing was more surprising for me than to see Dave Stewart at the bottom of this list. Stewart, who began his Dodger career as a reliever, ended up averaging 6.2 strikeouts per nine innings for his career (523 appearances, 348 starts). In 204 innings with Toronto at age 37, Stewart's K/9 was 7.6.

Are there many more pitchers whose strikeouts jumped up like Stewart's?

Comments (180)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-07-19 12:00:56
1.   Bob Timmermann
Stewart threw really hard when he first came up. He was part of "Canned Heat" in the bullpen.
2006-07-19 12:02:46
2.   Suffering Bruin
Mike Scott, HOU

1985 - 137 K's
1986 - 306 K's

He'll tell you he just started bearing down more.

I vividly remember Stewart as a Dodger. He didn't have the forkball back then--that's the big difference between Dave the Dodger and Dave the 20-game winner--but as I recall he was similar to Bills; hard thrower with occasional brilliance mixed in with some very frustrating appearances.

I'll be fine if Chad turns out to be another Dave Stewart so long as he does so in a Dodger uniform.

2006-07-19 12:03:51
3.   thinkingblue
I think it is too early to judge Billinsley on whether he will be a strike out pitcher or not. Clearly, it looks like he has the stuff to strike people out, and maybe once he learns how to pitch better, he will k more people.

But if he doesn't, Barry Zito isn't a big K pitcher, and he's pretty good (even though he did have an 8.61 K/9 one year, and 7.14/9 his cy young year).

Also, despite having K stuff, Bartolo Colon only had a 6.35 K/9 in his Cy Young year, and has never been a huge K pitcher. So you don't have to K people all the time.

2006-07-19 12:05:09
4.   Daniel Zappala
Shawn Hillegas! Wow, haven't seen that name in a while.
2006-07-19 12:05:27
5.   thinkingblue
In fact, the Colon's, and Zito's had huge K numbers in the minors, as Billz did, but it didn't translate to the big leagues.
2006-07-19 12:11:13
6.   ToyCannon
Verlander had an awesome K rate in the minors last year but his dominance has fallen significantly this year in his 1st year in the majors while still hitting 95-100. I'll take his results over the K's anytime. Can't always have the Liriano K rate and performance hand in hand.

Dave Stewart, classy pitcher, classy front office guy, classy agent. He'll always be one of my top guys for beating Clemens head to head in big games when I couldn't stand the rocket. Probably only happened once but my memory thinks it was more.

2006-07-19 12:12:52
7.   Bob Timmermann
Shawn Hillegas was traded in late August of 1988 for Ricky Horton who was supposed to take over Jesse Orosco's role as a situational lefty.

The Dodgers won despite their presence on the roster.

2006-07-19 12:18:04
8.   Jon Weisman
Hillegas' debut sticks in my mind to this day, in a proto-Astacio kind of way. He lost a shutout in the ninth.

2006-07-19 12:21:48
9.   thinkingblue
Verlander is not striking out many, but wouldn't you take him over most pitchers who K people but don't get results?
2006-07-19 12:22:30
10.   Bluebleeder87
Billingsley has a great fastball, great curve & if he developes another out pitch, forget about it, don't forget he's only 21 years old.
2006-07-19 12:23:16
11.   Daniel Zappala
8 And Tim Crews finished up that game. He was one of my favorites then.
2006-07-19 12:24:46
12.   Daniel Zappala
Greg Brock for Tim Leary and Tim Crews. Nice trade. Crews died on my birthday in that boating accident.
2006-07-19 12:25:14
13.   D4P
The Dodgers won despite their presence on the roster

The Dodgers won despite the entire team's presence on the roster. (Minus Orel and Gibson, of course).

2006-07-19 12:25:27
14.   Bob Timmermann
Tim Crews was taken off the playoff roster in 1988 in favor of Ricky Horton. Horton was supposed to counteract the bats of Hernandez and Strawberry.
2006-07-19 12:27:54
15.   Gen3Blue
When pitchers seem to lose their control under the pressure of promotion, as so many of ours this year, I would expect a rise in K soon by Bills. What are his minor stats like?
2006-07-19 12:29:13
16.   tjshere
I would expect Billz's strikeout rate to improve as he gains confidence and begins to go after the hitters more and not worry so much about finesse. He himself has said that as a power pitcher he needs to pound the zone and he isn't doing that a whole lot in the majors yet.
2006-07-19 12:31:07
17.   Greg S
There are two guys below Bills and one was a Cy Young and ROY and the other finished in the top ten for CY Young voting 4 times and won a fist full of rings. Looks like he'll be okay!
2006-07-19 12:33:17
18.   Jon Weisman
Roy Smith, tease:

2006-07-19 12:43:56
19.   underdog
Just by the fact that I have much more confidence in the potential of Billingsley to have a nice career over DJ Houlton, and look where Houlton is on that list above Billingsley - tells me all I need to know. Basically, it can be important, or it doesn't need to be. Some pitchers improve there, some drop off radically, some drop off the face of the earth after a good start. I'll take my chances with Bills over Houlton or Shawn Hillegas. (And yes, that brings me back. Where it brings me back I'm not sure.)
2006-07-19 12:47:18
20.   the OZ
Hershiser's K/9 stabilized at 7.14 in 1984 and hovered around 6 through his first six seasons. Improved slightly in the last three of these six.

Park struck out almost 10 hitters/9ip in 1996 in 108 innings, though some in a relief role. He stabilized around 8 K/9 in his first six seasons with slight improvement in the last 3 seasons.

Ismael Valdez was very consistently in the low 6s.

Lucille I sustained a rate over 8 until 1991, when it dropped off a cliff to 6.13 and remained there or lower through 1994.

Welch is interesting. He spiked from 5.3 in 1978 to 7.1 (81 innings, 15 starts in 25 games) in '79, then dropped below 6 again as a full-time starter in '80-81 and back up close to 7 in '82-83.

Astacio fluctuated between 6 and 7 from '92-97.

Sutcliffe never struck out even 6/9ip until he jumped to 7.8 in his Cy Young season in 1984.

Based on this small, arbitrary sample we might conclude that Chad is likely to improve his K rates somewhat before he hits free agency, maybe settling in the 6-7 range.

2006-07-19 12:47:58
21.   underdog
18 Roy: " scout a big league player we are thinking of trading for." I knew it! I knew the Dodgers were going to trade for... >>blam!>thud>croak<<
2006-07-19 12:49:19
22.   the OZ
Billz is also years younger than most of Jon's list. I'd expect that to be a significant factor in feeling optimistic about his MLB ceiling and ability to strike batters out.
2006-07-19 12:53:47
23.   underdog
Thank God. I just saw this on RotoWorld (in the FWIW dept.) "The Dodgers have reportedly lost interest in Reggie Sanders, whose name has also come up in trade talks with the Yankees.
Sanders is sitting out a third straight game Wednesday with a strained right groin, something that isn't going to help his value any. With Andre Ethier continuing to produce, the Dodgers don't seem to need a starting outfielder at the moment."

Reggie Sanders is a productive outfielder I suppose but don't we already have a Reggie Sanders in Kenny Lofton?

2006-07-19 12:55:06
24.   blue22
Ben Sheets:

Year - K/9
'01 - 5.59
'02 - 7.06
'03 - 6.40
'04 - 10.03
'05 - 8.10

In addition his K/BB has improved as dramatically annually too.

2006-07-19 12:56:20
25.   the OZ
23 Reggie Sanders is like Kenny Lofton in that Lofton is purported to have previously been fast and Sanders is purported to previously have had power.
2006-07-19 12:56:34
26.   ToyCannon
Anyone know Roy Smiths travel schedule after the call from Ned?
2006-07-19 12:57:29
27.   Bluebleeder87

you weren't kidding when you said tease.

2006-07-19 12:57:37
28.   ToyCannon
You don't think Lofton was fast or that Sanders had power?
2006-07-19 13:00:38
29.   JoeyP
The Josh Bard/Mike Piazza catching tandem can certainly hit.
2006-07-19 13:01:58
30.   Bluebleeder87

I know that Sanders strikes out with high heat.

2006-07-19 13:02:07
31.   natepurcell
Roy Smith sucks (sucks in the same sense Matt Kemp sucks). Now, all the way to the trade deadline I am going to be paranoid.
2006-07-19 13:03:02
32.   GoBears
9. thinkingblue
Verlander is not striking out many, but wouldn't you take him over most pitchers who K people but don't get results?

Depends on what you mean by "results." If you mean wins over losses, then no. Because if a guy is winning despite poor peripherals, it's probably just good luck, and will not last. As a fan of a team, a lucky win is a good as a "deserved" win, but in terms of roster slots and payroll, you want to pay for skill, not luck.

We know that, other than knuckleballers, holding opposing batters to a low BA on balls in play (BABIP) is not a skill, because it doesn't show any consistency year to year (to say nothing of game to game). Pitchers have individual control over Ks, BBs, and HRs. The rest is largely luck.

That's why, if I understand it correctly, K rates and walk rates are such important indicators of actual talent. Strikeouts don't have to be from overwhelming stuff - look at Greg Maddux - but they need to be there for a pitcher to have a good career. That's why I'm not a huge Zito fan. I don't trust that he can keep this up. I could be wrong - there will be the occasional exceptional pitcher who can get guys out consistently on balls in play.

OF course, none of this addresses Jon's question as to how soon decent K-rates have to show up in the majors to predict a good or great career. That's a terrific question.

2006-07-19 13:04:23
33.   the OZ
28 Just being silly with the "puportedly". They were both very valuable players once.
2006-07-19 13:10:46
34.   blue22
29 - The Josh Bard/Mike Piazza catching tandem can certainly hit.

Don't sleep on Rob Bowen either, who has an .854 OPS in 51 AB's.

That's how you carry three catchers (and even in SD I can't figure out why they are doing it).

2006-07-19 13:11:23
35.   Steve
Roy, here's a restaurant recommendation for you:

2006-07-19 13:13:31
36.   regfairfield
I think Verlander like any Tigers pitcher not named Bonderman, is succeeding because the Tigers lead baseball in defensive efficency by a good measure.

Zito's BABIP is consistently low. I beleive the theory is that his curve is so wicked, that like a knuckleball, it not that hard to hit, but very hard to hit solidly.

2006-07-19 13:17:05
37.   Sam DC
Hey Nate -- did Clay tell you I said hi?
2006-07-19 13:17:10
38.   GoBears
ComPLETEly off topic (as in not baseball related), but:

I'm not sure which is creepier - the subject of the story, or the voice of his captor.

2006-07-19 13:21:51
39.   Jon Weisman
Anyone else impressed that Hershiser is on top of the list. That's the other thing that surprised me. I mean, Fernando's start was historic, especially with the innings (not to mention the ERA), but who remembers Hershiser mowing down batters like this?
2006-07-19 13:22:54
40.   GoBears
36. Well, if it's consistent, there has to be an explanation, and that sounds like as good a theory as any. Makes me more sanguine about Zito. Now I just have to get over the U$C thing.
2006-07-19 13:23:00
41.   kegtron
Not being an Arrested Development fan, I always thought the nickname Lucille had to do with Stew's late night extra curricular activities. That or the Giants mascot.
2006-07-19 13:24:31
42.   GoBears
39. Actually, Billingsley has me remembering Fernando. Not style-wise, obviously. But my overwhelming memory of Fernando, other than the screwgie, is that he was always pitching with runners on base, especially early in games. Seemed like he didn't get interested until it was 1st and 2nd, nobody out.
2006-07-19 13:25:13
43.   ToyCannon
So how long do pitchers like Zito, Moyer, K Rogers, Glavine and numerous other soft tossing lefties from baseball's current and past have to be successfull before you stop thinking they can't duplicate success? The Santana's, Liriano's, Kazmir's, Carlton's, and Randy Johnson's of the world are much much more rare then the successfull soft tossing lefty.
2006-07-19 13:27:41
44.   the OZ
39 I'm more impressed by the number of Cy Young winners on the list.

We're also looking at a pretty small number of innings. Each strikout recorded by Hershiser in 1984 moved the needle, so to speak, by about 0.2 K/9ip. That's a lot.

This is a really fun list. Good post.

2006-07-19 13:27:58
45.   natepurcell

Haha, I just read over your dream. Good stuff. Your Wife might be right.

2006-07-19 13:31:04
46.   underdog
Well, the Giants are already being pummeled (6-1 in the 3rd) and possible future new friend Mike Gonzalez got the save against the Rockies after teetering in the 9th so this day's off to a good start so far.
2006-07-19 13:33:48
47.   DaveP
Is 20 in Fernando years about 25 to you and me? I'm not sure how to accurately adjust his K/9 rate for age.
2006-07-19 13:39:08
48.   dzzrtRatt
I know strikeouts are really saber-crucial, but is there a stat that shows some ratio of pitches/outs? It seems like the best possible kind of pitcher is one who makes the hitters hit is poorly to defenders who can catch the ball.
2006-07-19 13:44:30
49.   regfairfield
48 The fact that VABR is highly variable shows that this type of pitcher doesn't really exist.

If you want to find this go to, and divide the pitches/IP by 3.

2006-07-19 13:49:01
50.   regfairfield
That should be BABIP.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-07-19 13:50:26
51.   GoBears
43. Assuming that was asked of me, I point out that I didn't say anything about hard throwers or soft-tossers. Soft-tossers can strike people out too. The distinction is between pitchers who make outs all by themselves (Ks) and those who pass the buck to the defense. A pitcher who only Ks 3 or 4 hitters per 9 innings is relying a lot on the defense, and since the pitcher can't control where the ball is hit (where they are or where they ain't) that's gonna make it harder to get outs.

Natch, if you don't strike batters out, and also manage to avoid giving up HRs, then having a good defense behind you is more important than for TTO pitchers. But I'm pretty sure that research shows that high K rates, low HR rates, and low walk rates are all MUCH better predictors of future success than low opponents' BA or W/L records.

I also said, quite explicitly, that there are exceptions. But I'd rather not bet that any 21 yr old will turn out to be one of those exceptions.

And didn't Glavine get a lot of Ks during his glory years? Many of them on pitches a foot outside, as I recall, but a strikeout is a strikeout.

Answering my own question: Glavine's career K/9 is 5.38. He peaked at 7.62 in 1994 and was at 7.01 in 1991 and 6.16 in 1998, his two Cy Young years. This year, he's back at 6.16 K/9.

2006-07-19 13:54:55
52.   Bob Timmermann
Third base problem solved!

2006-07-19 13:56:09
53.   GoBears
48. There are legends about Greg Maddux in this regard. The facts are that he's had some unbelievably low-pitch-count games. Didn't he get a CG with like 68 pitches (although I'm pretty sure it was against a horrible Dodger offense)?

The story I remember best was of Maddux, in a meeting on the mound, saying that he would get the batter to fly out to the warning track in LC field (or whatever) on the next pitch - that he had that much control over outcomes. It must be apocryphal, because even Maddux's BABIP numbers bounce all over the place.

2006-07-19 13:59:35
54.   regfairfield
53 Its true that Greg Maddux is very efficent (he's been at worst third in pitches per batter in every year since 2000) and it will look good when all those hits find fielders, but sometimes, those little dribblers will find holes.
2006-07-19 14:02:42
55.   underdog
And now, thanks mostly to Chris Coste, the Phillies have come back to tie the Castilla-less Padres.
2006-07-19 14:03:47
56.   King of the Hobos
Vegas was somehow no-hit into the 6th, before Robles managed to break it up. With 2 on and 1 out in the 8th, Loney was intentionally walked to load the bases for Matt Kemp, which of course worked out real well (Kemp doubled).
2006-07-19 14:03:53
57.   Terry A
TAMPA BAY (AP) - A baseball executive was arrested Tuesday and charged with stalking Tampa Bay Devil Rays players Travis Lee and Greg Norton...
2006-07-19 14:04:12
58.   Bob Timmermann
Maddux had a 78 pitch complete game on July 22, 1997. It was for the Braves against the Cubs.

Not that the boxscore has the pitch count.

2006-07-19 14:08:57
59.   Bluebleeder87
Maddux intrigues me, but at what price? (mid-level prospect, I don't think so)
2006-07-19 14:10:08
60.   Bluebleeder87

your joking right?

2006-07-19 14:10:55
61.   GoBears
58. Yeah, I figured I'd bait Bob into digging up the exact data by just making something up. 68-78 Cubs-Dodgers. Same diff.

I really did think it was 68 vs. the Dodgers, but I wouldn't have put any money on it. I also thought it was more recent than 1997, but then at my age, decades fly by like, well, half-decades used to.

2006-07-19 14:12:29
62.   Terry A
60 - You decide. Here's the rest of the story...

Los Angeles Dodgers Assistant (to the) GM Roy Smith allegedly told Tampa police he was doing "due diligence" on the players prior to his team acquiring them via trade.

"Whatever -- people don't ask about those guys," said an unidentified Rays spokesperson. However, when the identity of the alleged stalker was revealed, the spokesperson responded, "Sweet!" and immediately reached for his cell phone.

The Devil Rays have since requested that all charges be dropped.

2006-07-19 14:12:52
63.   Jon Weisman
61 - A secretary would help you keep track of these things.
2006-07-19 14:12:54
64.   nick
51 just in support of GoBears' analysis... there's a big piece by Bill James in the historical abstract where he talks about predicting young pitchers' futures: he concludes that the single best predictor is K rate, and that virtually all young pitchers with long careers start out with above league average K rates. That said, how do you establish "start out"? Looking at James' examples he focuses on rookie maybe for Jon's "first seven starts", substitute "first 30 starts"--that should be enough evidence.....Of course Wang (I'm from Bronx Banter) looks like the classic risky case here: career rate of 3.25/9.....
2006-07-19 14:13:51
65.   Linkmeister
58 How did that game take 2:07?


2006-07-19 14:14:50
66.   King of the Hobos
56 Following Kemp's double, Guzman doubled, Riggs grounded out, and Laroche singled. Despite being no-hit for the first 5.1 innings, every member of the 51s lineup, save Riggs (who walked) has a hit through 8 innings. Robles and Repko each have two.
2006-07-19 14:14:58
67.   regfairfield
64 Wang is interesting since his only real skill is that he keeps the ball in the park. If you can supress home runs at the rate he does, I think you can be marginally successful.
2006-07-19 14:17:22
68.   GoBears
63. Amen to that. Not to mention the location of my keys, or my lecture halls.
2006-07-19 14:18:12
69.   King of the Hobos
The 2007 free agent market just got a little less interesting. The Red Sox signed Beckett to a 3 year, $30 mil extension.
2006-07-19 14:18:48
70.   Bluebleeder87

I still don't believe you.

2006-07-19 14:21:14
71.   Bob Timmermann
The Braves had to bat and they had a few baserunners.

Carlos Silva had a 74 pitch complete game last season for the Twins.

2006-07-19 14:24:06
72.   Bob Timmermann
I don't know if it's been done this year, but according to Retrosheet, the last Dodgers pitcher to retire the side on just 3 pitches was Kaz Ishii on 6/8/2002 against the Orioles.
2006-07-19 14:24:24
73.   Terry A
70 - Hmmm...

Would you believe... Kim Ng?

Logan White?

Terry Collins?

Tom Collins?

2006-07-19 14:25:09
74.   Bluebleeder87

I remember the Silva game very well, I didn't see the game but I remember being somebody posting about it. 74 pitches is really impressive.

2006-07-19 14:27:39
75.   Bluebleeder87
I'd believe it if I saw it in print/source/link, something legit.
2006-07-19 14:30:46
76.   Terry A
75 - Have it your way. If you want to ignore reality while believing crazy things -- like Kaz Ishii retiring the side on three pitches -- it's fine by me.
2006-07-19 14:31:06
77.   StolenMonkey86

"Because now I'm really thinking," Repko said. "And on the next pitch, I'm looking at the ball coming out of his hand and it's a foot out of the strike zone. So in my mind, I"ve already made the decision not to swing at it. Then it starts this crazy break, and by the time I'm realizing what happened, it's too late. He's got me. Boom, it breaks (away) on the corner for a strike. Amazing."

I'm convinced Maddux is best described as a hard-throwing control knuckleballer.

2006-07-19 14:31:58
78.   King of the Hobos
A trade even more exciting than yesterday's Sikorski-Adams blockbuster just occurred. Mets acquired Ruben Gotay from the Royals in exchange for Jeff Keppinger.
2006-07-19 14:32:43
79.   Bob Timmermann
Mike Hargrove must have been so upset about his team going out on 3 straight pitches, that he got booted!

2006-07-19 14:34:20
80.   Terry A
I daresay if my team had swung at three consecutive first pitches from Ishii, I would want to immediately distance myself from them as well.
2006-07-19 14:34:47
81.   ToyCannon
Yes, the key is the trifecta of K Rate, Command, and HR rate. Obviously if they have a low K rate and lousy command and a high HR rate they become Tom Martin. Seemed to me you were talking exclusively of the K rate as being the future indicator of success in your previous post which I don't agree with. I can show to many pitchers with a K rate less then 6.25 who have had successfull careers because of excellent command and a low HR rate. BABIP may flucuate but a pitcher controls the HR rate based on the fly ball rate. FYI - Chuck James according to Keith Law has the highest fly ball rate he's seen and as such he's expecting a not very bright future.

I'm be more then willing to bet the so called excellent Detroit defense will not help Kenny Rogers when he collapses in the 2nd half just like they didn't help him become one of the best 1st half pitchers in baseball for the last 10 years when he wasn't pitching in Detroit but in AL bandboxes.

2006-07-19 14:35:22
82.   Terry A
Not that I really believe that happened.

Not for a second, Timmermann. Just like I don't believe Gotay and Keppinger have never been in your kitchen.

2006-07-19 14:36:37
83.   StolenMonkey86
62 - That's somewhere in between sarcasm and pranking.

Google News backs me up.

2006-07-19 14:39:30
84.   Bob Timmermann
The Padres have gone ahead of the Phillies 4-3 and even worse ... ROB BOWEN scored the go-ahead run!!!
2006-07-19 14:39:50
85.   underdog
Boy, this is like Gullible's Travels here. I guess you need to post these kinds of things on The Onion instead, Terry. ;-)

Who or what is a Ruben Gotay?

2006-07-19 14:40:55
86.   Bob Timmermann
The Kaz Ishii three-pitch inning was just part of the imagination of a young Tommy Westphall.
2006-07-19 14:42:05
87.   StolenMonkey86
That reminds me, if you go to the Onion's sports page, you see something with the caption "Rookie Tragically Misinterprets Suicide-Squeeze Sign." Pictured is Jeff Kent.

They really need to put the names on the back of the uniforms.

2006-07-19 14:42:53
88.   Linkmeister
Ruben Gotay was the commander of the Bolivian cops in the final scene of "Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid."
2006-07-19 14:43:08
89.   King of the Hobos
Vegas wins 6-1 as Loney, Guzman, and Kemp all doubled and Repko had two hits. Eric Stults pitched a complete game, meaning the 51's once again have more complete games than the Dodgers.
2006-07-19 14:45:57
90.   Terry A
85 - Truly, I didn't intend that to be mean. I'll just leave it at that.

A Reuben Gotay is a facial hairpiece made from thinly sliced corned beef.

2006-07-19 14:46:37
91.   Jon Weisman
2006-07-19 14:48:08
92.   Bob Timmermann
Bases loaded, two outs in the 8th, Jimmy Rollins facing Scott Linebrink and ...

Rollins lines out weakly to short.

2006-07-19 14:49:26
93.   Jon Weisman
86 - You mean, a figment of Tommy Westphal's autistic imagination?
2006-07-19 14:51:00
94.   Jon Weisman
More Orr:

2006-07-19 14:51:34
95.   Jon Weisman
Do you ever take tinyurl links and change the last letter just to see what you get?
2006-07-19 14:52:32
96.   ToyCannon
For all the talk of our Russel Martin the Padre catching corp is getting it done. If only JD could show the power the suppossed over the hill Piazza is still displaying along with his BB boys of Bard and Bowen.

If Loney can become Adrian Gonzalez I'll be very happy. He is a very good comp of a slick fielding 1st baseman who everyone said didn't have enough power to carry his weight as an everyday 1st baseman. I wonder what they are saying now now that he's hit twice as money home runs as JD at 1/20 the cost. The 327 OBP needs some work but overall the Padres must really be happy with his production.

2006-07-19 14:53:27
97.   nick
67 actually Wang leads the AL in GIDP, and 7 of 11 basestealers have been caught against him [impressive for a righty]....but yeah, the low HR rate is key....
2006-07-19 14:53:58
98.   DaveP
95 - changing 94's last letter to an "s" brings up a google search on "calculate accounts payable". That wasn't as fun as I had hoped.

I don't suggest this game for those of you at work right now.

2006-07-19 14:54:53
99.   bobbygrich
96 They are just glad that Ryan Klesko is hurt.
2006-07-19 14:58:32
100.   bobbygrich
93 You, Bob and myself may be the only ones here who know that more people knew who Howie Mandell was then Denzel during that run of St. Elsewhere.

I also loved the continuation of Warren Coolidge from The White Shadow as an orderly.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-07-19 15:00:20
101.   Bob Timmermann
The only way Mike Piazza will retire is to put him in a green shirt and make him dance the can-can.
2006-07-19 15:02:26
102.   trainwreck
Did Greg Maddux pitch Saturday or Sunday?
2006-07-19 15:04:32
103.   trainwreck
He is pitching today so nm.
2006-07-19 15:05:01
104.   ToyCannon
Dodger Related answers in the BA Chat:
Joe from grand rapids, mi asks:
Where would Andrew Miller have ranked if eligible?

John Manuel: I have my list right here, and I would have put him probably in the 13-17 range. Hard to say, I like Miller a lot as a prospect, but I also think Scott Elbert is the best lefty in the minors right now, and Elbert's pitched a full pro season, he's physical, he's much stronger than Miller (who obviously is taller) . . . tough call. I'd lean toward Miller there but I like Elbert a lot.

Dietrich Jache from Los Angeles Dodgers asks:
Who is the best Prospect in the Dodger Organization and why? For how long to you forsee the Dodgers being at the top of the minor league development system?

John Manuel: Elbert, because he's a power-pitching, athletic LHP with stuff and aptitude who has shown improvement. We had the Dodgers' system No. 1 in our Prospect Handbook, though it droipped to No. 2 when the Diamondbacks signed Upton and traded for Chris Young. I don't see the D-backs giving up that No. 1 spot really easily, and the Dodgers graduated a lot of talent to the majors, so I don't see the Dodgers being No. 1 again this year.


Fred from Madison asks:
If Matthew Kemp would have been eligible for the top 25, would he have make it? He is back in the minors, so wondering were he fits in. Thanks again John.

John Manuel: Thank you Fred. Matt Kemp, as I believe I've written before in chats, is a guy we blew it on in that we ranked him high, but never as high as Logan White told us we should. Not like Logan was that specific, but he's ALWAYS been extremely high on Kemp. He liked Kemp as much as any player he got in the '03 draft, one that also netted the Dodgers Chad Billingsley, Chuck Tiffany, Xavier Paul and Travis Denker among others. We didn't listen hard enough and looked too much at the numbers--the K-BB ratio and the home-road splits last year at Vero Beach. I would probably put Kemp at No. 7, ahead of Butler, right there after Milledge.

2006-07-19 15:07:03
105.   underdog
It's now 5-4 Phillies, Hoffman blew the save, Phils still batting in the 9th. Whee!
2006-07-19 15:07:40
106.   Bob Timmermann
Hoffman blew the save in San Diego today. It looks like the most reliable closers in the NL West are Armando Benitez and Takashi Saito.
2006-07-19 15:09:50
107.   Terry A
Clearly, the Padres need Kaz Ishii in that bullpen.
2006-07-19 15:09:53
108.   Eric Enders
Two things that surprised me, having just arrived at this thread:

- Relative junk thrower Orel on top of the list.

- That nobody has noted that the bottom three pitchers include both Billingsley and his agent.

2006-07-19 15:10:04
109.   Bluebleeder87

good input, thanks for that.

2006-07-19 15:11:29
110.   JoeyP
Trevor Hoffman is really hurting the Padres.
2006-07-19 15:11:57
111.   Eric Enders
47 Am I the only person in the whole world who thinks Fernando is the age he says he is?
2006-07-19 15:12:01
112.   underdog
Now the Brewers are teetering (up by 1) with Turnbow in there, Bonds pinch hit a single in the 9th, and here's hoping he doesn't Turn-blow it and pull a Hoffman.
2006-07-19 15:13:57
113.   Bob Timmermann
I remember in 1981 that the LA Times ran a copy of Fernando's birth certificate on the front page of the sports section.

November 1, 1960 I believe was the DOB.

2006-07-19 15:15:19
114.   Jon Weisman
111 - No. It's always been all talk. It may be true, but in 25 years I don't think I've ever seen one piece of corraboration for the "he's older" theory. Friends, family, relatives, enemies - anyone who saw him in the 1950s, anyone who saw him as a teenager in the 1960s, etc. Nothing.
2006-07-19 15:16:59
115.   Eric L
111 I believe that Fernando is the age that he says he is. Perhaps I'm blinding by my Fernando love, but how much do people really think that he fudged his age?
2006-07-19 15:17:17
116.   Bob Timmermann
Phillies win 5-4.

Brewers holding on 6-5 but the Giants have 2nd and 3rd with one out.

2006-07-19 15:17:47
117.   ToyCannon
No, I totally believe his age. Think about it, if he was older then he said then that means he'd have been pitching in the Mexican league playoffs when he was 50. I've watched him age since that 20-year-old puff boy and I think he is legitimate. I have a friend who was 20 at the same time as Fernando and looked just like Fernando and now that they are closing in on 50 they look to have aged very similarly.
2006-07-19 15:17:52
118.   Bob Timmermann
To be precise, the Giants have the bases loaded now. Ray Durham up. Alou got an IBB.
2006-07-19 15:18:30
119.   King of the Hobos
Bases loaded, 1 out for Durham.
2006-07-19 15:19:24
120.   GoBears
111 More relevant today, why is there not more unfounded rumor about Albert Pujols being older than he says? Or LeBron James. Both were men when they were boys. I say the next time the Dodgers find themselves with Odalis on the mound facing AP, Grady should demand that the umpire saw Albert in half and count the rings.
2006-07-19 15:19:40
121.   ToyCannon
Considering that Hoffman cost his Padres a chance for the home field in the World Series he's probably a broken shell right now as he brings his tattered arm out every night:)
2006-07-19 15:20:44
122.   Nagman
Turnbow had some bad luck. With a runner on first, Finley hits a high bouncer up the middle, Billy Hall tries to short hop it and muffs it and the second baseman behind him can't glove it. Finley ends up with a double, worst case it should've been two outs, man on second. Durham hits a grounder off Turnbow's glove to win it.
2006-07-19 15:20:50
123.   Bob Timmermann
Thar Turn-blows!
2006-07-19 15:21:43
124.   underdog
Well, that turnblows. Giants win in the 9th.
2006-07-19 15:22:40
125.   underdog
... and we've effectively killed all puns on that name, or at least severely weakened them for awhile. ;-)
2006-07-19 15:23:30
126.   Bluebleeder87

some people look older (Fernando) some people look younger (Biggio)

2006-07-19 15:24:04
127.   Bob Timmermann
Can we relate to Derrick Turnbow to either the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or Matt Kemp?
2006-07-19 15:24:18
128.   ToyCannon
Seemed to me that when I was going to school there was always one kid who looked to be 3/4 years older then everyone else but was actually the same age. We had a pitcher in Babe Ruth who at the age of 15 was 250 pounds and 6'2 and could grow a full beard. I could name 3 kids by the time I was 17 that would have easily passed for 22/23. If they haven't debunked Pujols age by now after the 9/11 crackdown I have to believe he's legitimate.
2006-07-19 15:25:08
129.   Bluebleeder87

what dose Vinnie call him "the baby faced assassin"

2006-07-19 15:25:08
130.   Bob Timmermann
I doubt many people would believe that Olmedo Saenz is five years younger than I.
2006-07-19 15:25:33
131.   JoeyP
Third baseman Vinny Castilla was released by the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, an unpopular move in the clubhouse and one that likely will hasten the NL West leaders' search for a replacement before the trading deadline.

How dare DePodesta mess with 1st place team chemistry!

2006-07-19 15:25:36
132.   Bob Timmermann
Rod Beck looked like he was 30 when he was in high school.
2006-07-19 15:26:06
133.   Eric Enders
If Fernando is really older than his official age of 45, that would certainly make the fact that he's still pitching professionally that much more impressive.
2006-07-19 15:26:30
134.   GoBears
128. Yeah, I know. I just don't WANT to believe it's true. It's just not fair.
2006-07-19 15:26:32
135.   DaveP
111 - I was just messing around. I was reading an old article about all the Dominican players that had fake birth certificates at the time I posted that comment.

I have no idea if he had a fake birth certificate. Even if he did, I wouldn't really care. I have some great memories of watching Fernando pitch at Dodger Stadium when I was just getting into following baseball closely. He was my favorite dodger for the longest time.

2006-07-19 15:27:57
136.   JoeyP
Speaking of ages, thebaseballcube claims Willy Aybar played in the GCL when he was 13yrs old.
2006-07-19 15:28:21
137.   Eric Enders
135 My comment wasn't meant to call out you specifically, Dave. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years now.
2006-07-19 15:29:31
138.   ToyCannon
Rod Beck's mother worked at the Chandler Elementary school cafeteria while her son was enjoying his million dollar closer contracts.
2006-07-19 15:31:31
139.   Eric Enders
138 And Springsteen's mother was still working as a secretary when the "Born in the USA" hype was at its peak.

Some people just like to work whether they need to or not.

2006-07-19 15:37:13
140.   Bob Timmermann
I believe Sparky Anderson's wife worked as a checker at a drug store in Thousand Oaks during most of his time as a baseball manager. In his bio, he said she just wanted to have something to do and make some money on her own.
2006-07-19 15:41:36
141.   ToyCannon
True, however my lazy genes have never quite grasped the understanding of wanting to work if one does not need to do so.
2006-07-19 15:42:01
142.   DaveP
I like this player analysis on Tony Pena that made his debut against the Dodgers last night:

Pena was initially thought to be five years younger, but a birth-certificate scandal changed all of that. He's still a solid prospect, albeit an older one with a different name, so watch this fireballer if he sees innings late this season in spot starts.

2006-07-19 15:46:01
143.   thinkingblue
Depends on what you mean by "results." If you mean wins over losses, then no. Because if a guy is winning despite poor peripherals, it's probably just good luck, and will not last. As a fan of a team, a lucky win is a good as a "deserved" win, but in terms of roster slots and payroll, you want to pay for skill, not luck.

Well, would you take Verlander or a guy with a 9K/9 innings with a 4 ERA?

2006-07-19 15:47:57
144.   Steve
I would trade my dog for Verlander, and I would throw in a copy of Little Shop of Horrors.
2006-07-19 15:50:55
145.   ToyCannon
Yeah, I thought he skipped by your question. I would also trade Steve's dog and I'd even throw in Baez who gets treated like a dog around here. The K's will come when you throw 95-97 with movement which is what he's doing. I'd be a betting man that he moves that K Rate above 6 next year.
2006-07-19 15:51:53
146.   CanuckDodger
At Baseball Prospectus today, Kevin Goldstein quotes a scout for a National League team saying the following about Blake DeWitt:

"I love it, he flat out rakes. Really nice swing with great timing and rhythm. Hard contact to all fields, excellent pitch selection -- he's going to be a .300+ hitter with 30-35 doubles and 15 home runs in the big leagues. He's got a chance to be special. He's rough with the glove, there's no other way to put it. His range isn't real good, his feet aren't real quick, his hands aren't real good. But he's 20, he's a good athlete, and has great make-up -- there's no reason he can't become playable there (at 2B)."

2006-07-19 15:54:13
147.   the OZ
143 There's not enough information to make a decision between Verlander and Player X. Why is Player X's ERA at 4.00? Does he walk a lot of guys, allow a lot of HRs, play in the AL in a hitters' park, etc.?

It's a combination of all of these factors that make a young, unproven pitcher seem more or less likely to be effective as their career progresses. That's what this thread is all about. Out of all these factors mentioned in the paragraph above, K/9 and BB/9 are about the only things that pitchers seem to be able to consistently control year after year, so they're taken very seriously.

It's worth noting that some people advocate a K/batter faced instead of K/9 since K/9 only reflects the outs a pitcher records and not ALL the batters he faces, including walks, hbp, hits allowed, etc.

2006-07-19 15:57:40
148.   JoeyP
Well, would you take Verlander or a guy with a 9K/9 innings with a 4 ERA?

Always take the guy with better peripheral numbers. If you just look at ERA and ignore peripherals, you get Seo'ed, Baez'ed, or Hendrickson'ed.

2006-07-19 15:58:22
149.   Eric L
141 I didn't work for about 8 months this year. I went to school part of the time and did umpiring when it was available, but it was pretty dang boring.

I'm lazy myself, but being at home all day drove me crazy sometimes.

2006-07-19 16:01:13
150.   JoeyP
Looking at K/9, BB/9, HR/9, and GB/FB is more meaningful than just looking at someone's ERA.

If someone has a low or high ERA, I want to know how he achieved it. Did he give up a bunch of base runners, but manage to wiggle out of jams constantly, or did the pitcher just dominate the hitters..?

How an ERA is achieved is more important than the actual ERA for predicting future performance.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-07-19 16:04:30
151.   Fern
Roy's post at insidethedodgers made me think about all the talk at the beginning of the year about "the gang of four" and how the front-office would a collective brain. Does anyone still think that's the case?

Roy's whimsical attitude on the post gives me the slightest bit of encouragement that he's potentially aboard with trading for this hypothetical player, which makes me feel a little bit more at ease.

2006-07-19 16:11:53
152.   GoBears
143. Well, on Verlander specifically, I'm not sure it's a meaningful comparison. His K/9 is 5.72 over 129 IP. That's hardly a large enough sample to say he's not a good strikeout pitcher.

But let's see - 9 K/9 and 4 ERA vs. Verlander's 5.7 K/9 and 2.83 IP. I have to assume that your hypothetical holds all else equal. Otherwise, it's pointless. All else equal, I'd still take the guy with the higher K/9. Is all else close to equal? Same age? Same HR rate? These are park-adjusted ERAs (Verlander plays in pitcher-friendly Comerica, but oddly, is better on the road)? Because if so, small sample size aside, the "other guy" must have an higher ERA only because of higher BABIP. IOW, worse luck so far (in a small sample of innings).

If, OTOH, Verlander is an extreme GB pitcher (he's actually 1.28 GB/FB) and the anonymous other guy gives up a lot of HRs, then the ERA diff is explained by HRs, not BABIP, and I'd take Verlander.

Let's make things as equal as possible. Look at teammates, just in 2006.

Bonderman: 23yo, 125 IP, 3.59 ERA, 8.55 K/9, 1.98 GB/FB
Verlander: 23yo, 117 IP, 2.83 ERA, 5.74 K/9, 1.25 GB/FB

I'll take Bonderman, thank you very much.

2006-07-19 16:11:57
153.   Bluebleeder87

Yeah, it could get pretty boring, I'm going on my 5th month, but my sister is gonna hook me up at her job.

2006-07-19 16:12:33
154.   Jon Weisman
For Battlestar Galactica/The Office fans, the latest entry from Dwight Schrute's Schrute-Space:

2006-07-19 16:19:54
155.   Bob Timmermann
If I were in a refugee camp and these people came by, I'd go back to my home in the disaster area/war zone.

2006-07-19 16:27:44
156.   GoBears
Oops. Forgot to add to 152 the HR and BB rates. Bonderman's is 1 every 15.6 IP. Verlander is 1 every 9.75 IP.

As for BB rates: Bonderman 2.5/9IP, Verlander 2.7/9IP. So obviously Bonderman's K/BB is much better (though both are very good).

So Bonderman is better on everything except ERA. The difference has to be worse luck than Verlander on BABIP, so far.

2006-07-19 16:31:36
157.   underdog
Wasn't somebody asking about Kyle Orr's status earlier today?
I have my latest copy of the Esquimalt News here.
"The list of Victoria-area players in professional baseball is expected to grow by one this fall, as Kyle Orr prepares to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 6-foot-5 first baseman/outfielder admitted Sunday he is close to signing a deal with the Dodgers that would see him begin his pro career this fall in Arizona."

2006-07-19 16:34:01
158.   Jon Weisman
All my Kyle Orr comments seem to be printed in invisible Internet.
2006-07-19 16:35:26
159.   Bob Timmermann
I don't know about Orr. I prefer a stay at home defenseman.
2006-07-19 16:41:35
160.   underdog
Oops, sorry Jon, did you mention this in a previous thread?

Funny, my dad's actually traveling up in BC right now and skipping over the depressing world news in the local paper, ran across another item about Orr. He's a BMOC up there apparently.

I really think the Dodgers had a good draft, a very good draft (for blue-blooded players/ Of independent means).

2006-07-19 16:43:01
161.   GoBears
160. Big Man Of Canada?
2006-07-19 16:44:58
162.   Steve
They'll ride in limousines
That Danys Baez will drive
When they are 35.
2006-07-19 16:46:17
163.   Bluebleeder87

is he a power hitter/dose he have a high ceiling?

2006-07-19 16:50:21
164.   Jon Weisman
160 - In this one, but no sweat :)
2006-07-19 16:51:00
165.   Linkmeister
160, 162 Who knew there were Sinatra fans in here?
2006-07-19 16:52:12
166.   Eric Enders
Right now I am watching Coco Laboy Jr. bat in a short-season Class A game on the YES network.

Wouldn't it be cool if the Dodgers followed suit and broadcast a handful of their farm system games on the parent network?

2006-07-19 16:52:49
167.   blue22
160/164 - I was asking earlier, so thanks. That's good news. I'm very optimistic about this guy.
2006-07-19 16:54:21
168.   Bob Timmermann
It might be cool, but I think the average Dodgers/Angels fans doesn't care much about the minors.
2006-07-19 16:56:36
169.   Eric Enders
168 Agree that the interest would be limited, but it's gotta be better than some of the filler they run.
2006-07-19 16:57:10
170.   blue22
163 - You can read about him for yourself:

Nice site layout. I like big blocky patches of primary colors in my website design.

2006-07-19 16:59:00
171.   Eric Enders
170 The "video" link on that site could be really cool. But it's a bigger tease than Roy Smith.
2006-07-19 16:59:37
172.   Bob Timmermann

We have an insatiable desire out here to watch beach volleyball apparently.

2006-07-19 16:59:56
173.   blue22
171 - And not a stat to be found anywhere.
2006-07-19 17:00:59
174.   Eric Enders
172 Having seen some of the beach volleyball players, I can understand that. But there's room for coexistence! Can't we all get along?
2006-07-19 17:02:13
175.   Bluebleeder87

let's see what he dose.

2006-07-19 17:02:42
176.   Eric Enders
173 Hey, but at least you can e-mail him.

[Files this away in case Orr doesn't sign...]

2006-07-19 17:04:16
177.   Bluebleeder87
I'm on the minority I guess, I love to see as many Dodger minor league games as posible, I'm thinking of getting a minor league packege.
2006-07-19 17:06:56
178.   King of the Hobos
Martin's still sore from yesterday's HBP, so Hall may start today. Other than that, same lineup as yesterday (which I guess means Izzy must not have returned yet).
2006-07-19 17:10:30
179.   Eric Enders
"Martin's still sore from yesterday's HBP"

Love the double entendre.

2006-07-19 17:13:48
180.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.