December 12, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
And here's the full roster.
THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
Most Recent Comments
Let’s discuss the THT Annual (7)
Three underrated acquisitions (5)
Leverage Index by inning (4)
Nationals make great deal for Fister (2)
Transaction Analysis Lightning Round: Pierzynski, Nathan, Ellsbury, and more (1)
our CafePress store. We've got baseball caps, t-shirts, coffee mugs and even wall clocks with the classy THT logo prominently displayed. Also, check out the THT Bookstore. Please support your favorite baseball site by purchasing something today.
Or you can search by:
All content on this site (including text, graphs, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The big news of Monday evening was the Roy Halladay-to-the-Mets rumor, as reported by SI. That rumor has since been debunked by several sources, and it was hard to believe at the time I heard it. When my friend told me about the report via text message, I responded with some choice words about Omar Minaya. This is a family blog, so we'll keep that message private.
But what did come of that exchange was a realization about Omar Minaya's vision for the Mets: He doesn't seem to have one.
I'm not talking about individual moves being good or bad. Somebody mentioned recently (can't find the link anymore) that Billy Beane's recent moves have all been good in isolation, but they lack direction. He said he wanted to rebuild, but then scrapped that idea and traded for Matt Holliday. In isolation, a move like that might be good. But it clearly hasn't brought the A's closer to the playoffs or a title, and few thought it would at the time. I'm not going to whip out Sky's nifty trade value calculator and separate the good moves from the bad. What I'm talking about is the general direction in which the Mets are moving.
The Mets right now are a team with a bunch of players in their primes--Wright, Reyes, Santana--and a bunch of guys on the downward sloping portion of their career paths. It's difficult to say that any team with Livan Hernandez taking the mound every fifth day is built to win now, but the Mets are built to win now. I know, I know, they're in 4th place and the sky is falling, so they're not winning it all this year. What I mean is that they're not in a position to win 3 or 4 years from now. The minor league system is just not good enough where you can say there's help on the way and they'll be a solid contender 3 years from now.
So what is Minaya to do? The contracts the Mets are carrying prevent the struggling team from tearing it all apart and building solely around their young stars in Wright and Reyes. Their window to win is in the next few years while Beltran is still young (though his knees are making him look old pretty quickly) and while Johan is still an ace. Omar Minaya should not be paying out all this cash to these players right now if he's not planning to win right now. Someone like Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee won't do much for the Mets this season, but a relatively healthy Mets team in 2010 would be an instant world series contender with the addition of another ace to the staff. Or, they could sit back and watch another $140 million team win 80-something games.
Whether it's within the next 10 days or over the off-season, Omar Minaya has to commit to something other than mediocrity.
Philadelphia outfield prospect Michael Taylor has earned a recent promotion to Triple-A Leigh Valley after a dominating stint in Double-A. Taylor, a former 5th round selection in 2007 out of Stanford University, was third in the Eastern League with a .333 average and OPS of .977 was 252 points above the league average.
Taylor entered the season ranked as the Phillies sixth-best prospect and best power hitter according to Baseball America. So far this season he has lived up to the billing.
Taylor is quite the physical specimen, listed at 6'6 and 250 pounds, and his combination of speed (19 stolen bases in 23 tries) and power (16 home runs and .236 ISO) make him an interesting prospect to watch for. He has also shown the ability to draw walks and get on base. He had a walk rate of nearly 10 percent and a wOBA of .438 in Double-A this season.
This comes after a breakout season last year in which batted .341/.408/.553 with 19 home runs between the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League, both of which are generally regarded as pitchers-friendly leagues.
His power numbers are up slightly this year due to his increased fly ball percentage (up to 41.3 this season from 33.7 last year). This has also caused his home run percentage to climb to 3.9 to 4.8.
Taylor has appeared in just five games thus far in Triple-A and has managed only three hits (one home run). However, his promotion comes at an interesting time as his name is being brought up in recent trade talks. Taylor could become trade bait as the deadline looms closer.
As a Cubs fan, I have a fascination with horrible baseball teams.
As such, I find myself drawn to the '09 Nationals. Last night, they fell 40 games below .500 (which means they have to play better than .500 from here out to go 62-100).
Question: what is the earliest a team has fallen so far under .500?
Answer: a tie between the 1876 Cincinnati Reds (not to be confused with the current franchise—this one collapsed in 1880), and the 1884 Kansas City Cowboys of the ill-fated Union Association (which was only nominally a major league anyway). Both squads began the year 7-47. Cincy ended at 9-56 and KC at 16-63. Well, both leagues were hardly real ones. The NL was just establishing itself and the UA never really did establish itself.
Among real leagues, the fastest to 40 below was the 1889 Louisville Colonels, who began the year 10-50, en route to a 27-111 record.
In the 20th century, the record goes to another Washington team: the 1904 Senators, who started out 11-51 and finished 38-113).
In the live ball era, the title holder is the 1932 Red Sox, who were 12-52 (and ended 43-111).
Since WWII, the "honor" naturally goes to the 2003 Tigers: 18-58 before finished 43-119.
Here's when other famously futiles fell 40 under (season-ending record in paratheses):
1899 Spiders 12-52 (20-134)
1890 Pittsburgh 17-57 (23-113)
1916 Athletics 18-58 (36-117)
1935 Braves 21-61 (38-115)
1952 Pittsburgh 23-63 (52-110)
1962 Mets 24-64 (40-120)
1939 Browns 24-64 (43-111)
1979 A's 24-64 (54-108)
1909 Senators 26-66 (42-110)
1996 Tigers 28-68 (53-109)
1979 Blue Jays 29-59 (53-109)
1964 Mets 30-70 (53-109)
1963 Mets 32-72 (51-111)
2004 Diamondbacks 33-73 (51-111)
1969 Expos 33-73 (52-110)
1969 Padres 34-74 (52-110)
1965 Mets 34-74 (50-112)
1998 Marlins 45-85 (54-108)
Hi all. I am one of the new guys Dan mentioned the other day, who will be joining THT to write for the Live Blog. I'm excited. For anyone who cares, I live in LA and am a die-hard Cardinals fan for some reason. I also write for Driveline Mechanics
Amidst the amazing season the Dodgers are putting up so far this year, few have remembered that Jason Schmidt had not yet thrown a pitch in 2009. In fact, since the Dodgers signed him to a three-year, $47 million deal before the '07 season, he had only made 6 starts for the major league club that year, and then missed the '08 season to injury.
Well, Schmidt came back from injury and made his 2009 debut yesterday against the Reds. Although the Dodgers, who are essentially a lock to make the playoffs, clearly don't need him, if he were able to retain any vestiges of his former self, he would be immensely valuable to a young Dodgers team in the playoffs.
His final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, wasn't very inspiring; however, given that he hadn't pitched against major league hitters in ~2 years, some rust was to be expected. The thing most people probably care about is how his stuff compared to that of previous years. In his 6-7 WAR years of the mid 2000's with The Giants, he would consistently pump the ball in there in the mid to upper 90s, while flashing a devastating slider and curve. He was a certifiable workhorse, who would continue to challenge hitters late in games and would match fire with fire. However, that was a couple of years and a few surgeries ago. So what can we expect from the present day Jason Schmidt?
It will suffice to say that very few major league pitchers have had success with a straight 87 MPH fastball and a change-up that's only a couple MPH slower. His curveball still looks like it has some decent bite, but if you have nothing to supplement it with, it simply won't fool very many hitters. Unless, he develops a knuckleball, it will be hard to get major league hitters out with that kind of stuff.
I don't want to be the one to say this, as Schmidt was one of my favorite pitchers to watch, but given his showing last night, he looks close to done as a major league pitcher. If that is the case, it won't hurt the Dodgers at all, but it would represent a sad ultimatum to what was likely a long and arduous journey for Schmidt in an attempt to return to the major.
Here's hoping that he shows a little more stuff next time out.