Sunday, December 19, 2010

ALL IN

My first reaction was that the Brewers gave away the farm to get Grienke.  Well -- they almost literally did.

I still believe that Alcides Escobar will turn into an All-Star caliber player.

What's the over/under on how many games the Brewers win in 2015?  Maybe 70?

I calculated the average WAR over past two seasons for the projected starters for the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds next season.


ST. LOUISMILWAUKEECINCINNATI
CMolina3.0Lucroy0.0Hernandez1.3
1BPujols8.2Fielder5.1Votto5.4
2BShumaker1.0Weeks2.5Phillips2.2
SSTheriot0.1Betancourt0.0Janish0.7
3BGreen0.0McGehee2.6Rolen4.4
LFHolliday5.3Braun5.5Gomes0.1
CFRasmus2.9Gomez0.5Stubbs2.9
RFBerkman2.3Hart2.5Bruce2.6
BENJay0.4Counsell1.4Hanigan1.8
SP1Carpenter4.5Grienke5.7Volquez0.4
SP2Wainwright6.3Gallardo2.9Arroyo2.3
SP3Garcia1.4Marcum2.6Cueto1.3
SP4Westbook0.0Wolf2.6Wood1.2
CLFranklin1.7Axford1.0Cordero1.1
36.834.827.4

This trade unquestionably makes the Brewers a contender in the NL Central.  That's not just beat writer talk. It doesn't make them the favorite, but it does put them right there.

OVERNIGHT PONDERINGS...

I wonder if any of the excitement expressed by players like Ryan Braun and Corey Hart has anything to do with the departure of Escobar.  I'm not saying he was disliked.  I'm just pointing out that I haven't heard anyone in the Brewers organization say that they are sorry to be losing him or what a great teammate he was, like you often hear when a player is traded away.

When Ron Roenicke was hired we heard about what a great communicator he is with players.  I wonder if this, or any experience he might have had in the past with other players with anxiety issues such as Grienke's, helped set Doug Melvin's mind at ease about making the trade.  I would think that Grienke would find it much more comfortable playing for someone like Roenicke than someone aloof like Ken Macha.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MINOR VALUE

In his great blog MiLB Prospects, Matt Garrioch ranks the Top 2000 Minor League baseball players for 2011.  Yankees catcher Jesus Montero heads the list at #1.  Outfielder Mike Trout of the Angels is second.  Bryce Harper of the Nationals is third, and it goes from there.

At #9 - there's Brett Lawrie; the chip the Brewers cashed in for Shaun Marcum.  Any other Brewers in the top 10?  Hee, hee, hee - silly me.  How about in the top 20?  Let's see... nope.  In the top 50?  Looking, looking... no again.  How about the top 75?  Ummm... nope.  Top 100???  No again.  The top ranked Brewers minor league player is Jake Odorizzi who is ranked 124th among all minor league players in professional baseball.  Wow.  Given that there are 30 teams, you would expect on average that each team would have four or so players in the top 120.  The Brewers have none.

The top ten minor leaguers in the Brewers organization, per Garrioch's rakings are:

RankNamePOS
124Jake OdorizziP
135Scooter GennettSS
226Caleb GindlOF
296Kentrail DavisOF
323Cameron GarfieldC
372Jeremy JeffressP
394Hunter Morris1B
403Cutter DykstraOF
448Tyler ThornburgP
456James NelsonP

I created a graduated scale formula to assign a value to each player based only on his ranking.  The top player on the list was assigned a value of 50 points.  The 4th ranked player is valued at 40 points.  The 19th best player is at 30 points.  The 116th player gets 20 points, the 907th player gets 10 points, and so on down to the 2,000th player who gets about 6 points.  The values are obviously designed to drop off more rapidly at the top of the list than at the bottom - just like they would if you assigned points subjectively.

Using this formula, I calculated the total "value" of all of the minor league players in each organization.  The top 5 are:

TeamValue
New York Yankees1001
Boston Red Sox963
Cleveland Indians907
Tampa Bay Rays878
Seattle Mariners852

I guess there's more to the success of the Yankees and Red Sox than just money.

...and the bottom five:

TeamValue
LA Dodgers592
Florida Marlins551
Milwaukee Brewers545
Detroit Tigers536
Chicago White Sox528

How the mighty have fallen. The Brewers minor league system, which but a few years ago was the envy of all of baseball has fallen nearly to the bottom of all Major League teams.  Only the Tigers and White Sox have more poorly stocked minor league systems.

And isn't it interesting to see Seattle in the top five?  Don't we know their GM somehow?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

HOME COOKING

Yesterday in my post about the Shaun Marcum trade, I commented how I felt that hometown players tend to be overrated and thus, to the Brewers benefit,  the Toronto Blue Jays over spent for Brett Lawrie.  In the comments, Kyle offered a very compelling rebuttal:

"Being a MN resident Brewer fan I disagree. The money and fandom brought in by Joe Mauer is probably well calculated by the team. They get way more tickets and merchandise with Mauer here. That Mauer value is useless to all other teams besides the Twins but if I own Joe Mauer and am not the Twins I am going to attempt to extract that value when trading him and if I am the Twins I will put it in the equation."
That's keen analysis.  Perhaps there is some collateral benefit of having home town players on your team.  I'm guessing that the Brewers sold more Craig Counsell t-shirts than Joe Inglett t-shirts last year.  Did they sell any more tickets?  Perhaps to his friends.  But still, I can buy into what Kyle is saying.

So then, how large must this collateral benefit be in order to offset - if I'm right - the lesser quality of play that a team is willing to accept from a home town player, compared to a comparable replacement player that they could instead have?  In order to answer that, I must know the difference in the quality of play.

I created a database of every U.S. born hitter who played in the Major Leagues from 1961 to present - the "expansion era".  The list includes over 43,000 seasons and over 2 million games played.  Then I flagged each season as to whether the player was playing for a team in the same state in which he was born.  Here are the compiled results:


BASLGOBPOPSBB/K
Playing at home
0.262
0.403
0.331
0.733
0.62
Playing away
0.258
0.396
0.324
0.719
0.57

I guess I was wrong.  Players who play for teams in their home state actually play a bit better than those playing away from home.  The differences are not large, but with as large a sample size as we have, they are real.  I'm surprised by that.

In my tally, 11% of the games played were by home-state players.  That strikes me as much higher than what you would expect if players were distributed randomly.  There is an apparent concerted effort by teams to acquire locally born players.  I guess we already knew that.

There might be a bit of selection bias in the data.  For example, Cal Ripken played his entire career in his home state.  All of his stats are included in the "Playing at home" row.  Barry Bonds was born in California.  But those two players combined make up less than 3% of that whole row.  There are some good players on the other side too. I don't think the differences would be enough to sway the findings.

I don't know if the same holds true for pitchers.  If I get curious enough, I'll figure it out.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

MARCUM DOWN AS AN ACE



2010WLERAIPHHRBBKWAR
Gallardo
14
7
3.84
185
178
12
75
200
2.1
Marcum
13
8
3.64
195
181
24
43
165
3.8

Dare I say that Shawn Marcum is every bit as good as Yovani Gallardo?  Perhaps a bit better.  Would you trade away Brett Lawrie to get Yovani Gallardo?  Or put it another way - which of the two would you rather loose?  Case closed.  This is a solid trade.

Of course Gallardo has a bigger up side in that he is four years younger.

When the Brewers sign Craig Counsell again and everyone drools all over themselves, I'm going to write a blog post about how I think teams grossly overrate locally born players - as if playing close to where you were born somehow makes you magically better.  I think the Blue Jays fell into this trap and overpaid for Lawrie.

Over his career, despite being right handed, Marcum has pitched much better against lefties than against righties.

Marcum has pitched over 110 pitches in a game only four times in his career (once each in '06, '07, '08 and '10).  In the next game after his 110+ pitch outings his stats were:

IPHitsER
3.153
3.198
122
4107

That's and ERA of 15.43.  I hope someone tells Ron Roenicke this.  Marcum's ability to pitch deep into ballgames will be the same as his ability to record a lot of outs with 100 pitches.

If you look for a down side to Marcum, you will notice that his BAbip's over his last three seasons have been .269, .246, and .280 - well below the norm of .300 and well below Gallardo's .331 last season.  Regression to the mean and a much below average Brewers' defense will be working against him.  But then we don't have the Yankees and Red Sox in our division either.  Marcum is 6-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 10 starts against the National League in his career.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE RECORD STUCK. THE RECORD STUCK...

Why do radio stations that play Chirstmas music insist on playing the same songs by the same artists, over and over and over and over, year after year after year?  Hasn't everyone heard Feliz Navidad about 500 times in their lives already?

Scrooge out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WI NOT-FI?

Attention Rick Schlesinger and Mark Attnasio:

Follow the Minnesota Twins lead. Add free Wi-Fi to all of Miller Park.  For the fans who wish to use a handheld device to keep track of other games, look up a player's stats, check their bank accounts so they can buy a few extra souvenirs - maybe even tickets to a future game, figure out where to go after the game, e-mail their friends to let them know where they'll be, post to their facebook page about the game, blog, tweet... you name it.  There are few things that would enhance the fan experience more.

SILENT-LEE

A report in the New York Daily News on Monday mentions the Brewers as a possible suitor for Cliff Lee.  I'm not sure why the local media isn't picking up on this (well, actually I do know why...) or why there hasn't been more talk of it.  With Jeff Suppan and Bill Hall's salaries finally clearing the books it seems that the Brewers would be in a position financially to at least throw their hat in the ring.

I know - Jeff Suppan, Randy Wolf, Doug Davis...  Yes, free agent pitchers are risky and a lot of the big signings don't work out.  But some of them do.  No team needs a top caliber starter right now more than the Brewers.  Signing Cliff Lee would immediately make them a top contender in the NL Central.  Do they want to win or are they afraid to lose?

Monday, November 8, 2010

CHANGING TIME

This turning back of the clocks sucks. For the next three months we all get to drive home from work in the dark. And for what?  So it can get light out at 6:00 in the morning?  Who cares?

Monday, November 1, 2010

AGE DIFFERENCE

Steve Garczynski on Bernie's Crew Blog:

In-Between Hops likes the choice of Bobby Valentine since he’s the Anti-Macha. A lot was made this year that 60-year-old Ken Macha was too slow and conservative for this team, so it makes sense to replace the old man with the energetic 60-year-old Valentine.
I would point out to Mr. Garczynski that Chuck Norris and Congressman Barney Frank are also the same age. Similar personalities too.  Probably wouldn't even be that much difference in how they would run a baseball team.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

BE MINE VALENTINE

Tom Haudricourt has been blogging for four straight days that the Brewers haven't made a decision yet in their search for a new manager.  It's coming across as bitterness for being scooped.  You see, Tom, first you make a decision, then you negotiate, and if that works out you make an announcement - but not during the World Series lest you suffer the wrath of Bud.

"I just made contact with Valentine and he said he had not heard from the Brewers" - TH

You think?  Did you ever hear of agents?

The Brewers know who they want.  They obviously aren't saying just yet in case the negotiations don't work out.  All indications are the Bobby Valentine is who they want.  I think that would be a very good choice.  He is the anti-Ken Macha.  I liked Ken Macha, but if your going to fire your manager it seems to make most sense to bring in someone totally different.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NFL OVERTIME RULE

This has nothing to do with baseball.  And I'll get back to writing about baseball soon - promise.

I have been telling people for years that the NFL should modify their overtime rules so that the team scoring last in regulation play automatically kicks off in overtime.  They can keep it sudden death like it is now.  Just make that one simple change and take the randomness out of it.

In yesterday's Packers-Dolphins game, the Packers scored last in regulation.  They did in fact have to kick off in overtime like they would have under this new rule.  Yet the game was a perfect example of how well this new rule could work.

At the end of the game with under 20 seconds left on the clock, the Packers faced a 4th and goal from the 2-yard line.  They came to the line obviously intending to run a pass play - there was no one but Aaron Rodgers in the backfield.  Except for a total and inexplicable collapse of the Dolphins defense, they probably would have run a pass play.  But because of an astute observation by Daryn Colledge who had no defender for three yards in front of him, Rodgers was able to follow him into the end zone untouched.

OK, so now the Packers are down by one.  If they kick the extra point, they have to a) make it, b) kick off to the Dolphins and give them at least one more play from scrimmage, and c) kick off to them in overtime.  But, if they go for a 2-point conversion and make it, they win the game.  What would you do?  Of course you'd run the play!  They already had it called.  They could have run the same play they were going to run anyway and try to win right then and there.  No overtime.  Game over.  Now that would have been exciting.

Friday, October 1, 2010

100 RBI TRIFECTA

Casey McGehee and Corey Hart each collected their 100th RBI on the season last night giving the Brewers three players who have reached that total.  This is the third time the the Brewers have had 3-100 RBI players on the team.  The first was in 1979 when Gorman Thomas, Cecil Cooper and Sixto Lezcano accomplished the feat.  The last before this year was of course 1982 when four players topped the 100 RBI mark (Cooper, Yount, Thomas and Oglivie).

In the context of all of baseball, having three or more 100 RBI guys is not particularly uncommon.  It's happened 131 times since 1901 - a little more than once per season.  Four 100 RBI hitters has been accomplished 25 times.  The 1936 New York Yankees had 5-100 RBI hitters - the current Major League record.

The 1997 Cleveland Indians and 2003 Boston Red Sox each had 3-100 RBI guys on the team yet the team leader had only 105.  That is the record for fewest RBIs by the team leader on a teams with three or more 100 RBI hitters.  Right now, the Brewers leader is Ryan Braun with 103.  They still have a chance at that record.

Noticeably absent from the Brewers list is Prince Fielder who led all of Major League baseball with 141 RBI last season.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SEEING RED

The Brewers defeated the Cincinnati Reds for only the second time this season against nine losses.

All else being the same, if the Brewers had gone 9-2 against the Reds thus far instead of 2-9, the NL Central standings would look like this right now:


W L PCT GB
Cincinnati 79 74 0.516 --
Milwaukee 77 74 0.510 1
St. Louis 77 74 0.510 1
Houston 73 79 0.480 5-1/2
Chicago 69 82 0.457 9
Pittsburgh 53 98 0.351 25

It is critically important that you beat the teams you are contending with in your division. They are not 'just like any other game'. They are the games that will make or break your season.

Friday, September 10, 2010

P FOR P?

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports quotes Albert Pujols as saying of Manager Tony LaRussa, whose contact expires after this season:

“I hope he can continue to be my manager for the rest of my career,” Pujols said. “But that’s not my job, and I don’t make those decisions. I think this city should be appreciative of the things he has accomplished in his 15 years as manager in this organization. Hopefully, he’ll be here next year and for the rest of my career.”
Prince Fielder for Albert Pujols???

Tony LaRussa as the new Brewers manager???

Hmmmm...

Cardinals get four years younger at 1B without a huge step down in production.  They appease Colby Rasmus; one of their bright young stars.  They probably get an extra player or two in the deal such as Manny Parra, Chris Narveson, Mat Gamel, or Carlos Gomez.  The Brewers get - well... Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

MUSING CAPPY

I wonder if it's in the Brewers best interest to have Chris Capuano in the starting rotation right now.  If my understanding is correct he's a free agent after this season.  Are we wasting starts showcasing a pitcher that some other team is probably going to sign?  Starts that we could be giving to a pitcher who we know will be here next year?  There's no way he'll be rated as a Type A or Type B free agent (I wouldn't think) so we aren't going to get a thing for him if he leaves.  With a couple more good starts he could get his ERA under 4.00 and as a veteran lefty, could potentially have some significant value on the open market.

On the other hand, by pitching him now, you can see what he's got.  And if you like what you see and are willing to take a chance on him given his injury history, you have the opportunity to offer him a modestly priced contract for next season before he declares free agency.  You'd present him with the 'bird in the hand' dilemma. Maybe he'd bite.

On the other hand, he might see that as a sign that he does indeed have some value and it might encourage him to test the open waters.

On the other hand, if he were looking for a team where he would have the greatest opportunity to sneak into a spot on next year's starting rotation, he really doesn't have to look too far.

If I were Ken Macha (and thank God I'm not), I don't know who I would be pitching right now if not Capuano; so I guess it's OK.  But I've got to believe that the Brewers think he's got a future here beyond this year, because if they don't he shouldn't be in the rotation.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

600

Pete Rose had 4,256 hits in his career; more than any other player.  There have been only 191 other players who have at least half as many hits as Pete Rose.

Barry Bonds is the Major League career leader in home runs with 762.  There are only 59 other players in history who have hit half that many.

Cy Young has 511 career wins - a record that has stood for 100 years and may stand for 100 more.  There are only 39 other pitchers in history who have half as many wins.

Trevor Hoffman is the Major League career leader in saves, earning his milestone 600th tonight.  There are only 20 other pitchers in the history of the game who have half as many saves as Trevor Hoffman.

And perhaps only that many too who have half as much class.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CONSECUTIVE CASEY

Casey McGehee has gotten a hit in each of his last nine at-bats.  The Major League record for consecutive hits is 12 by Pinky Higgins of the Red Sox in 1938 and Walt Dropo of the Detroit Tigers in 1952.

Higgins streak included two walks and therefore spanned a total of 14 plate appearances.  So if you were wondering if the streak can be snapped by a walk, it can not.  Dropo's streak was 12 consecutive hits in 12 plate appearances.

McGehee is currently batting .285, which means there is slightly better than a 1 in 4 chance he will get a hit in his next at bat.  And in his next.  And in his next.  The probability that McGehee will get a hit in each of his  next three at bats is 1 in 43 (2.3%).  The chance that he will get four more consecutive hits and set a new Major League record is 1 in 151 (0.66%).

Apart from today and yesterday, McGehee has had two other 4-hit games in his career.  In each of those two instances, he had a 3-hit game either the game immediately prior or the game immediately after, meaning  that this is the third time he has gotten 7 or more hits in consecutive games.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

INJURY BUG

The Brewers are third in the National League and sixth on all of the Majors in total number of player days on the DL.  That surprised me.  It hasn't seemed like this year has been that bad in that regard.  Let's see...  There was Doug Davis, Hawkins, Zaun, Coffey, Mat Gamel - does he count?  Oh yeah, Suppan.  Am I missing anyone? I guess in terms of impact on the team, my perception is that there have been a lot of other years where we have been hit harder than this.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

ANY RELATION?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

OUT OF RIGHT FIELD

(Took a brief hiatus, but I'm still here.)

The signing of Corey Hart took me by surprise, as it seems to have most everyone else.  Just a few initial thoughts...

1.  This does not necessarily mean that he won't get traded anyway.  In fact, having him under a 3-year contract might improve his value in a trade.

2.  But, by that logic, Ryan Braun would have even more trade value. He's younger and has a much more favorable contract.  But Melvin wouldn't do that.  Would he?

2.  But, the Brewers now have this group of players signed and/or under their control at least through the 2012 season - the next two years.

SP Yovani Gallardo
SP Randy Wolf
SP Manny Parra
SP Chris Narveson
RP Carlos Villanueva
RP Zach Braddock
RP Mitch Stetter
CL John Axford
C Jonathan Lucroy
C George Kottaras
SS Alcides Escobar
3B Casey McGehee
IF Mat Gamel
LF Ryan Braun
CF Carlos Gomez
RF Corey Hart
OF Joe Inglett
OF Lorenzo Cain

That's a pretty impressive, solid nucleus of talent.

3.  But, that same nucleus of talent, plus Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks, is currently 9 games under .500.

4.  But, that nucleus of talent is young.  Save for Randy Wolf and Joe Inglett, they are all under 30 years old.  They could get better.

5.  But, seven of those players are past their 27th birthday and at the theoretical peak of their careers (Parra, Narveson, McGehee, Hart, Stetter, Axford, Kotarras).  You can't expect that those players will get much better.

Five years ago, when the huge wave of talent came spilling out of the Brewers minor league system all at once, there was an enormous storm cloud on the horizon when all of these players would become free agents.  Doug Melvin has dissipated that cloud little by little and now has only Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder left to deal with.  I at least give him credit for that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

THE PRICE OF PRINCE

Let's do some Scott Boras math.

In this article yesterday by Tom Haudricourt, Scott Boras proclaimed that in negotiating a contract for Prince Fielder, he will be looking for one similar to that of Mark Teixeira.  Teixeira's contract with the Yankees is $180 million for 8 years; an average of $22.5 million per year. Boras justifies this by claiming that having a player like Fielder can mean the difference between drawing 3 million in attendance and drawing 2.4 million.

Now, whether you buy in to Boras' claim is one thing.  Obviously having Fielder would have some impact on attendance, but a difference of 600,000?  Attendance will go up 25% just by having Prince Fielder on the team?  But for now, let's say he's right and work with that number.

According to this chart the Brewers average ticket price in 2010 is $22.10.  If you multiply that number by the 600,000 increase in attendance Boras claims the Brewers will have, you can project an additional revenue of $13.3 million per year by having Fielder.  That's quite a bit short of the $22.5 million that Teixeira makes.  More than $10 million short.  So I guess you can scratch the Brewers off of the list of teams for whom it makes financial sense to sign Prince Fielder.

So who can?  If it's true that Prince Fielder will generate 600,000 additional fans through the turnstiles for whichever team signs him, you would need an average ticket price of $37.50 to be able to justify paying him the $22.5 million per year that Boras will be asking for him.  There are six teams with average ticket prices that high:

Chicago Cubs - $52.56
Boston Red Sox - $52.32
New York Yankees - $51.83
Chicago White Sox - $38.65
Philadelphia Phillies - $32.99
New York Mets - $32.32

The Cubs and Red Sox you can immediately scratch off the list of potential suitors.  Their stadiums aren't big enough to fit the 7,400 additional fans (600,000 divided by 81) per game that Fielder would bring.  They are already near capacity at every game.

The Yankees have already spent quite a bit at first base.  There's DH I suppose so you can't rule that out.  The Phillies already have a Prince Fielder named Ryan Howard.  That would seem to leave the White Sox and the Mets.

And I'm sure this is exactly what Scott Boras is thinking.  I'm sure he's already done this math. The 600,000 attendance figure that he threw out the other day was a carefully calculated number.  He meant it for more than Tom Haudricourt to hear.  Prince Fielder will be headed to New York or Chicago and Boras will convince him that he can't make nearly as much money anywhere else.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

WHO'S ON FIRST?

If the Brewers do wind up trading Prince Fielder, I wouldn't ignore the option of moving Ryan Braun to first base.  He's played third base (albeit brutally) so he should still have some comfort level in the infield.  It would allow the Brewers to improve their defense in the outfield as Braun is currently a liability there.  We really don't have a quality first baseman waiting in the wings in the minors, so it solves that problem.  Maybe Lorenzo Cain will be ready next season and we move Gomez over to left (if he ever proves himself worthy of a starting spot.)  Or maybe we pick up another outfielder in a trade or through free agency.  Or Maybe Rickie Weeks (another defensive liability) goes out to left and Brett Lawrie comes up.  I don't know - just some thoughts.  It makes you think about it a little differently though.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

THIS IS WHAT YOU GET...

... when you piss off the sleeping Giant.


Giants 6, Brewers 1
Giants 6, Brewers 1
Giants 15, Brewers 2
Giants 9, Brewers 3

The Giants had lost 8 of their last 9 heading in to this series and scored more than 3 runs in a game only once in that stretch.

UPDATE:  Henry Schluman of the San Francisco Chronicle agrees.

THE BIG SCORE

Renderings of the new scoreboard at Miller Park next year look amazing.  The thing is going to be huge!  Very impressive.  Very nice addition to the fan experience.

Now, before a single keystroke is typed on the operator's computer, let me give you my wish list for the new scoreboard:

  1. Show more replays.  Seriously.  I see no reason why every single play can't be quickly replayed on the scoreboard for the benefit of those who might have been looking away or had their view blocked by another fan or part of the stadium.
  2. Periodically show the scores from all other games - maybe once an inning.  The small scoreboard in left field can not be seen by many of the seats in Miller Park.
  3. Did I mention showing more replays?
  4. Show an in game box score in addition to just the batting order.  Even putting something like "1-2, HR 2 RBI" after a player's name is better than nothing.
  5. Fantasy stats.  You know you want them.  Every couple of innings post the day's fantasy leaders from around baseball.  Everyone who's hit a home run, driven in more than one run, won a game, saved a game, struck out a bunch.
  6. Tell us who's warming up in the bullpen - every time; not just now and then.
  7. Plays of the day.  I don't know if the Major League Baseball gestapo will allow this, but it would be neat to see highlights from other games before you get home and watch them on ESPN.
  8. Show scores and highlights from the Brewers minor league affiliate teams.  Let's promote some of the prospects before they get here.
  9. And one final thing.  How about more replays?  There's no reason to have such a high quality, high definition scoreboard unless you are going to use it for actual video.  Let's do this right.  Replay every single play.  And the good ones maybe 2-3 times. 
[More...  Somebody just emailed me and said that they should show the live TV broadcast continuously on the board.  You can't do that.  First of all it would be distracting for the hitters to have video playing in their peripheral view while they're batting, and second you would be allowing the hitter to see the catcher's signs.]

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    STONE GLOVES

    John Dewan's Stat of the Week this week ranks all Major League teams on defensive runs saved - a method which analyzes many aspects of defense and estimates how many runs above or below average the defense results in.  As of the time of the posting (which I assume was before last night's debacle), the Brewers were ranked dead last in the ML at -28 runs.

    If that estimate is accurate, the Brewers are about 3 games worse in the standings right now than they would be if they had average Major League defense.  Those three games are the difference between still having a glimmer of hope for the post-season and having no hope at all.

    Every one of the nine field positions has a negative score for the Brewers in Dewan's system.  They are the only team for which that is true.  Dewan singles out Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks as the two players contributing most to the low score.

    ERRATUM:  The Brewers are actually +4 in center field, so they're not negative at every position.  My bad.  Still, that's interesting because center field is the only position where they don't have a regular starter.  It's been mostly Jim Edmonds and Carlos Gomez, but Jody Gerut also has five starts in center and Adam Stern one.  The longest stretch of games with the same starting center fielder has been only 10 by Gomez during the time Edmonds was on the DL.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    TRADE ME NOW OR TRADE ME LATER

    I'd like to challenge the notion that it's better to trade a position player in the off-season than now.  The logic, according to Doug Melvin, is that because of the player movement created in the off-season by free agency, there are more teams shopping for a particular position then than there are during the season.

    What that logic ignores is that there are 3-4 teams in the pennant race right now who might be willing to overpay for a particular position player, a first baseman maybe, who wouldn't be willing to give up as much during the off-season.  If, for example, you had a first baseman available right now, you might be able to take advantage of some other team's desperation and get more for him now than you would if you waited.

    Plus, you are only trading him to one team - not all of the other 29.  The average offer you get in the off-season may be better than the average offer you get now, but the best offer now will probably be better than the best offer in the off-season.  The best offer is the only one that matters.

    Then there's the PR aspect.  What would people think if you traded your slugging first baseman this off-season for a bunch of prospects who aren't going to play until 2012?  How is that going to sell tickets next year?  You couldn't do it.  So you'd be forced to acquire in the trade some established Major Leaguers with far lower ceilings than the prospects.

    I believe that if you have a guy like - alright, Prince Fielder - it's better to trade him now than to wait.  I don't believe you can get more for him in the off-season.  And just because people like Doug Melvin say you can doesn't mean you have to accept it as truth.

    [Now, if you want to believe that Doug Melvin is just saying that to posture and doesn't really believe it himself, I think that would be OK.  Personally, I only believe half of what Doug Melvin says.  I just don't know which half.  I think that's what makes him an outstanding GM.  I actually trust that he'll handle this whole situation rather well.]

    STANDINGS MATH

    When I was growing up, I always considered being 10 games out of first place a point of no return.  Hit ten back and you're done.  No more hope of winning your division.  (That's what you had to do to make the post-season back then.)

    The Brewers find themselves 10-1/2 games out of first place this morning.  That's not quite the low point of the season, but it's very close.  They were 11 games back on June 5th, but it means that in the last month they haven't made up any ground.

    The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals right now are on pace to win 93 and 89 games respectively. If that continues, the Brewers would probably need to win somewhere around 91 games in order to catch them and make the playoffs (figuring that there are still 12 games left against the Reds and if you got hot you're likely to knock them back a few.)  That means they would need to go 54-25 the rest of the way.  A .684 W/L percentage.  Better than two out of three.  That's a winning pace that would win 111 games over a full season.

    The Brewers have never in their history won 54 games in a 79 game stretch.  The most is 52 in the second half of 1982.  I don't think the 2010 Brewers are quite as good as the 1982 team.  If anyone can theorize how they can all of the sudden can be, please let me know.  Otherwise, sorry to say that the Brewers no longer have any reasonable chance of making the playoffs this year.  I think the focus now needs to be how many games we can win next year.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    PROTECTING THE VALUE OF AN ASSET

    The Brewers have placed pitcher Jeremey Jeffress on their 40-man roster, and in doing so (let's just be blatantly honest here) are protecting him from further tests for marijuana.  Players on the 40-man roster enjoy protections from the player's union and are not subject to such tests.  One more positive test would ban him from baseball for life.

    There are two ways to look at this.  One is to be disgusted because you think Jeremy Jeffress is a punk, pot-head kid who can't get his life straightened out and doesn't appreciate the tremendous gift God has given him.  You think that he's going to be a poor influence and poor role model on the team and the Brewers shouldn't be protecting a deviant like this.

    The other way to look at it is to recognize that Jeffress is a very talented pitcher, and despite his character flaw, is a high risk but potentially valuable asset to the Brewers organization.  With one more positive test, he would no longer be an asset.  You can do something to minimize the risk, thereby protecting the value of the asset.  To me, this is the proper way to look at it and I think Doug Melvin is doing the right thing.
     
    The goal isn't to build a team full of upstanding gentlemen who you would be happy to have your daughter date.  It's to build a team full of players who can win.  If you can get the first part with the second, then all the better, but sometimes you can't.  You need to be able to deal with that.  They don't give World Series trophies to the teams with the most model citizens.

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    TRADE BAIT

    The Brewers seems to have a fair bit of tradeable pitching right now.  Macha obviously has no intention of using Trevor Hoffman in the closers role anymore.  Don't you think a team like the Phillies or Dodgers would like to get him for the stretch run?  Chris Capuano has no role on the team.  Todd Coffey seems expendable.  Even Doug Davis could be moved.  I'm not saying they could package all of those guys for Cliff Lee, but perhaps they could clear the logjam and get a decent minor leaguer or two.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    SHIPWRECK

    This has nothing to do with baseball.  The steamship L.R. Doty, which sank 112 years ago in Lake Michigan was found last week by a team of divers. The man who spearheaded the search, Brendon Baillod is a lifelong historian of the Great Lakes.  He is also my cousin.  This has got to be as exciting for him as finding a Honus Wagner baseball card would be for me.  There - I tied it in.

    Congratulations Brendon!

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    OPPORTUNITY KNOCKED

    Remember a few months ago when a Prince Fielder for Kevin Youkilis and Clay Buchholz trade was being kicked around?  Too bad that trigger was never pulled.  You could make a case for trading Prince even-up for either one of them right now, let alone both.

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF

    George Kottaras is the starting catcher today in Colorado.  It's the 4th straight game start by Randy Wolf that Kottaras has caught.  At the end of May, the plan was for Johnathan Lucroy to be Wolf's personal catcher, however when the two appeared unsynchronized, the switch was made to Kottaras.

    I have never liked the practice of a pitcher having his own personal catcher and especially don't like this match up.  Randy Wolf's ERA, albeit in only 12 innings, is 1.50 when Lucroy is his catcher.  Lucroy has been hitting extremely well and Wolf hasn't been pitching particularly well so he could use all of the offensive help he can get.

    Plus, Randy Wolf is going to be around another two years.  From all appearances, Lucroy will be as well.  The two have got to learn to work together at some point.

    CHECKING SHEETS

    I took a look at Ben Sheet's game logs this morning.  On the season, Sheets is 2-7 with a 4.95 ERA.  However, except for a couple of blow-up games around the end of April in which he gave up 8 and 9 earned runs, he hasn't pitched all that poorly.  Throw those two games out and his ERA is 3.49.

    Here are the scores of the A's games that Sheets has pitched at the point when he was taken out of the game (A's score first, then their opponent, then Sheet's IP):

    0-3, 5 IP
    1-3, 6
    5-0, 6
    0-2, 6
    4-8, 4
    1-9, 3-1/3
    3-2, 6-1/3
    1-1, 6
    3-4, 6-2/3
    0-0, 6
    3-3, 7
    3-4, 6
    0-4, 6
    1-5, 6
    1-4, 7

    In 9 of Ben Sheet's 15 starts, the A's offense failed to score more than 1 run while Sheets was in the game.

    In total, the A's are averaging 3.6 runs per game (whole game) on the days when Ben Sheets pitches, which is a full run per game under the league average and half a run worse than the A's themselves score when anybody else pitches.

    Funny how those things follow people around.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    TREVOR TIME

    The Brewers are dead last in the Major Leagues with only 10 saves on the season.  I'm guessing that they are also last in save opportunities in that 12 of their 28 wins have been by a margin of 4 or more runs.

    This is just a gut feel, but I think it's time that Ken Macha reinstate Trevor Hoffman as the team's closer.  Get him to 600 saves so we can take down that onerous banner in Miller Park.  That thing has been hanging there all year, not moving, and serves as a constant reminder of a failed season.

    Hoffman has not allowed a run in his last four outings and except for the 3-run blow-up on June 1, has pitched rather well in his mop-up role.  He has a 3.38 ERA since being demoted - even with the one bad game.

    I have nothing against John Axford.  He's pitched very well.  I think he would equally effective in the 8th inning.  But if Hoffman can regain some level of respectability in the closer's role, I think it would give the bullpen a lot more balance.  And if he can regain his form of last season, it might be the spark the Brewers need to salvage something from this year.  The Brewers have 16 home games before the All-Star break.  Wouldn't it be a shot in the arm to see that the number 600 next to the scoreboard by then?

    And if he fails...  not much lost.  But then it will be time to take the banner down and wish Trevor Hoffman the best of luck as he moves on with his life.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    A SHEEP IN WOLF'S CLOTHING

    Last night Randy Wolf allowed fewer hits + walks than innings pitched for the first time this season - a stat I dubbed a "real quality start".  He had 11 such outings last year.

    Before the season started, I predicted that Wolf would have more wins and a lower ERA than John Lackey - (remember the talk about the Brewers signing him?)  Despite how horrible Wolf has been this season, A couple more starts like this one and I'll still have a chance at being right.


    W-L ERA WHIP
    Wolf 5-6 5.08 1.57
    Lackey 7-3 4.54 1.56

    Before you get too down on Randy Wolf, notice that we could have had about the same thing for three times as much money.  The free agent pitching market is not a friendly place to shop.

    BIG HOW MANY?

    So the college conference shuffle seems to have come to an end with four Big 12 schools announcing yesterday that they are staying put.  So what did we get out of this?  The Big Ten now has twelve schools, the Big 12 now has ten schools, and the BCS still exists.

    Back to baseball...

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    CONSISTENCY

    Bill Schroeder opened tonight's broadcast by praising Ken Macha for using the same top five in the batting order the last three days, saying that using a set lineup was necessary to consistently score runs.  Like many things Bill Schroeder says, this is crap.

    In their history (through last year), there have been 1,792 games in which the Brewers used the same top five in the batting order as the game before.  They averaged 4.41 runs in those games.  In the 4,588 games when they used a different top five in the batting order, they scored 4.48 runs per game - slightly more.

    I actually expected the data to show Schroeder to be right, but not because consistency has anything to do with it.  With a good hitting team, I'd think you'd tend to stick with a set lineup more so than with a weaker hitting team.

    So many people make a big deal about batting orders.  They really don't matter much at all.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    STARS NOT SHINING

    As maligned as the Brewers pitching has been lately, it's the offense that has been more the cause of the month long slump.  The team scored almost two fewer runs per game in the last 30 games as they did in the first 30:


    R/G RA/G
    Games 1-30 5.78 5.30
    Games 31-60 3.90 6.00

    Would you have guessed that Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks would be #1 and #2 on the team in home runs at this point in the season?

    Ryan Braun has not hit a home run for 15 games.  Last year he had streaks of 19, 17, and 14 games without a home run and still hit 32 on the season, but he's already 5 behind last year's pace.

    Prince Fielder didn't hit a home run until game #17 last year, yet this year he is already 6 home runs behind last year's pace.

    As I've said before, it's the superstars on your team that determine success or failure.  The Brewers two biggest superstars are not living up to that status right now, and that has as much to do with the 10-game under .500 record as the whole pitching staff put together.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    RETHINKING THE DRAFT

    I did a quick analysis of the relative success rate of pitchers drafted out of high school vs. pitchers drafted out of college.

    I looked at all pitchers drafted in the first round of the 2000-2004 drafts - long enough ago to tell who's going to make it and who's not, but not too long ago that scouting and evaluating methods would have changed much.

    In those years, a total of 111 pitchers were drafted in the first round - 61 from a 4-year college, 45 from high school, and 5 from junior college.  The five from junior college included only one player who has played in the Majors - Phil Dumatrait.

    Of the pitchers drafted out of college, 39 (64%) have played in the Major Leagues.  The top 10 ranked by WAR are:

    Name Pos WAR
    Jered Weaver RHP 14.5
    Justin Verlander RHP 14.3
    Mark Prior RHP 13.7
    Joe Blanton RHP 11.7
    Jeremy Guthrie RHP 10.1
    Huston Street RHP 8.9
    Noah Lowry LHP 8.3
    Joe Saunders LHP 8.2
    Chad Cordero RHP 8.0
    Paul Maholm LHP 7.5

    Of the players drafted out of high school, 45 (56%) have made the Majors.  A slightly smaller percentage, but a much more impressive top 10:

    Name Pos WAR
    Zack Greinke RHP 20.5
    Scott Kazmir LHP 18.1
    Matt Cain RHP 16.5
    Adam Wainwright RHP 14.3
    Cole Hamels LHP 12.5
    John Danks LHP 12.1
    Chad Billingsley RHP 9.7
    Jeremy Bonderman RHP 6.9
    Gavin Floyd RHP 5.6
    Phil Hughes RHP 2.2

    Doug Melvin said in an interview yesterday:
    “College pitchers can get there early but they can leave early, too."
    I give him credit for having done his homework and for using the pick as it probably should be used - a long term investment with a high ceiling rather than a quick fix.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    WITH THE 14th PICK...

    Dylan Covey.  A high school pitcher that Baseball America had ranked 26th on the board.  With three other quality college pitchers available - Alex Wimmers (Ohio State, ranked 17th), Brandon Workman (Texas, 20th), and Asher Wojciechowski (Citadel, 21st).  Man, I can't wait until 2016.

    THE CANDLE IS OUT

    The eulogy can be found here.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    YOU'RE #2

    Here is a good question for the Brewers brass as they head into Tuesday's "powwow":

    Who is the second best pitcher on the team?

    Seriously.  Who is?  Starter or reliever - doesn't matter.  It's a very tough question.  And when you figure out who #2 is, ask yourself how many Major League pitchers, currently on other teams, you would take in a trade even up for him.  100?  150? 200?  It's a pretty sad situation.

    Going into today's game the Brewers are allowing 4.2 runs per game when Yovani Gallardo is the starting pitcher and 6.2 runs per game when anyone else is.  I'm not sure what's going to come out of this meeting on Tuesday, because no matter how you line up a bunch or turds, you still end up with a pile of...

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    IMPERFECT GAME

    I am baffled by the people who do not want instant replay used in baseball.  To say that you prefer to have the 'human element' kept in the game is to say that what happened to Armando Gallaraga last night was proper and just.

    We don't accept human error in any other walk of life when there is a better, non-human process to fix it.  If you deposit $1,000 in your bank account and the teller misses a zero and only credits you $100, you don't accept that and say, "Oh well, that's how life is - people make mistakes", when you have the canceled check in your hand as proof.  You don't complain that it will slow down your day to go back and get the other $900.

    Bud Selig should right this wrong, change the play to an out, and announce that baseball will take steps to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.  If Major League Baseball overturns the call and credits Galarraga with his perfect game, ten years from now nobody is going to say that his perfect game was somehow tainted because an ump's call had to be overturned and that he really didn't throw a perfect game.  If they let the call stand however, ten years from now people will still say that the ump blew it and Galarraga got screwed.

    Actually, there is a way for Jim Joyce to save face on this.  He should make a statement to Bud Selig that umpires need to be able to use all available technology to do their jobs in the most accurate manner possible.  He should lead the charge - an umpire.  What a strong statement that would be.

    UPDATE 6/4:  What a classy move last night by Armando Galarraga, Jim Joyce, the Tigers organization and Tigers' fans. Long after this season ends, more people will remember that Galarraga almost threw a perfect game than that Dallas Braden actually did.

    I still think it rather spineless of Bud Selig to not set it straight.  You can say it would have been a can of worms, but the last out of a perfect game is a far different worm than any of the others before it.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    RE-CAP

    The Brewers must activate Chris Capuano by Saturday or risk loosing him to free agency. #nobrainer

    This isn't some kid developing his skills.  Capuano is an established Major League pitcher who got hurt.  By all indications, he's well.  Get him in there.  They have never faced an easier, zero risk decision than this.  He can replace anyone other than Gallardo on the pitching staff and he team is better for it.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    DID JACK ZDURIENCIK CHECK OUT BEFORE HE LEFT?

    The Milwaukee Brewers are falling further and further out of contention and heading toward the possibility of a 90-loss season.  This kind of ineptitude is no stranger to Brewers fans who endured four consecutive 90-loss seasons from 2001 to 2004 and 89, 87, and 88-loss seasons the three years before that.

    What's troubling about this 90-loss season, if in fact the Brewers are that bad, is the wonder of exactly where this organization stands now.  In the early 2000's, the team was horrible, but had the promise of a huge crop of minor league stars waiting in the wings.  What helped us through then was knowing than Prince Fielder would soon be here.  Ryan Braun would soon be here.  J.J. Hardy.  Yovani Gallardo. Rickey Weeks. Manny Parra. Tony Gwynn.  These would be the saviors who would would deliver us from this misery and make the team good again.

    Suppose that the Brewers do lose 90 games this year.  Where is the hope now?  Who is the next Prince Fielder?  Who is the next Ryan Braun?  Who is the next, hell, Mitch Stetter?  They're not in Nashville.  Not in Huntsville. Brevard County?  Anywhere?  The Brewers minor league system that was the pride of baseball not 5 years ago has fallen back to the pack and has no more than an average amount of Major League prospective talent.  Are the Brewers on the cusp of another decade of doormat status?

    Jack Zduriencik was of course the architect of Brewers once potent minor league system which won him the Major League Executive of the Year Award in 2007 for his efforts and ultimately landed him a coveted GM position in Seattle.  Are we already seeing the effects of him being gone?  Or did those "effects" begin while he was still here?

    Only three players who  Zduriencik drafted in the years 2006-2008, his last three with the team, have played in the Major Leagues.  They are:

    1. Matt LaPorta, drafted in 2007 - debuted with Cleveland in 2009.
    2. Cole GIllespie, drafted in 2006 - debuted with Arizona in 2010.
    3. Jonathan Lucroy, drafted in 2007 - debuted with the Brewers yesterday.
    Of course your thinking that's unfair because it takes some time for players to develop in the minors and evaluating the 2006-2008 drafts in 2010 might be too soon.  Perhaps.  But let's move the whole window back three years for comparison.  How many of the players that Zduriencik drafted in 2003-2005 had appeared in the Majors by 2007?
    1. Ryan Braun, drafted in 2005 - debuted with the Brewers in 2007.
    2. Yovani Gallardo, drafted in 2004 - debuted with the Brewers in 2007.
    3. Rickey Weeks, drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2003; regular in 2005.
    4. Tony Gwynn, Jr., drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2006.
    5. Mitch Stetter, drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2007.
    6. Ty Taubenheim, drafted in 2003 - debuted with Toronto in 2006.
    7. Drew Anderson, drafted in 2003 - debuted with the Brewers in 2006.
    By any means of measurement, that's a much more impressive list.

    If you moved the window back one more year, the list would include Prince Fielder.  One year earlier than that, it would include J.J. Hardy.  The fact is that Jack Zduriencik had a very impressive run of draft picks, but that run seemed to end just about the time people started to notice.

    Am I saying that Jack Zduriencik purposefully drafted lesser quality players here because he knew that he would soon be getting a better job somewhere else?  No - I wouldn't say that.  Did the notoriety bestowed upon him make him lose his edge?  You'd like to think not.  Did he just have a run of bad luck in the last three years?  Might have.  Did he just have a run of good luck in the years before that?

    I don't know the answers to any of those questions.  But I do know that I'm wondering that if Jack Zduriencik was so good, why did he leave us with what could be such a horrible mess?  Did he check out before he left?

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    HOW BAD?

    The Brewers play game number 40 on the season tonight. They will finish the first quarter of the season with a record of either 15-25 or 16-24.  There have been five other times in their history when they finished the first quarter with a record that bad or worse:


    First 40 G Final

    W L W L
    2002 12 28 56 106
    1970 13 27 65 97
    2003 13 27 68 94
    1972 15 25 65 91
    2000 16 24 73 89

    You need to seriously consider the possibility - perhaps likelihood - that this isn't going to turn around and that this is just a really, really bad team.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    AZ-STAR GAME

    Selig ignoring call to move All-Star Game
    This is why Bud Selig is Commissioner of baseball and Ozzie Guillen is not. Good call, Bud.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    WORKING LIKE A BULL

    Al rambled about whether the Brewers' bullpen is being overworked.  His perceptions are (as usual) mainly on the mark.

    Through yesterday's games the Brewers starting pitchers are averaging 5.4 innings per outing.  This ranks 25th in the Majors.  By comparison, the Cardinals lead the Majors with 6.5 innings per start.  That extra inning+ per game means keeping an extra guy fresh for tomorrow and over time that adds up.

    Last year the Brewers also averaged 5.4 innings per start (5.37 to be precise) so nothing much has changed.

    Interestingly though, of the five teams that rank below the Brewers:

    Mets - 5.3 IP/start
    Nationals - 5.3
    Dodgers - 5.2
    Tigers - 5.2
    Pirates - 4.9

    three having winning records, and as a group they are 4 games over .500.

    However, the top of the chart is:

    Cardinals - 6.5 IP/start
    Rays - 6.4
    Phillies - 6.3
    Giants - 6.2
    Twins - 6.2

    so there is clearly a correlation between this stat and wins.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    THE FINAL SCORE

    Per Adam McCalvy on Twitter:

    "Brewers official scorer (and) longtime Arrowhead baseball coach Tim O'Driscoll announces retirement (health reasons)."
    I wish Tim O'Driscoll all of the best as he tackles his health issues.  All the same, I think this bodes well for the fielding percentage of Brewers' fielders.

    UPDATE:  Apparently it's still unclear as to whether O'Driscoll will relinquish his position with the Brewers.  He is giving up his coaching position with Arrowhead though.

    REHEAT THE SOUP?

    I think maybe the Brewers should consider giving Doug Davis' next start to - dare I say? - Jeff Suppan.  Here are Soup's five relief appearances:


    9 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

    Not stellar, but I'd take that as a start over anything Doug Davis has done so far.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    SWEET SEVENTEEN

    The Brewers have scored 17 runs or more in a game for the third time this season.  It's the first time in their history that they have done that.  Four other times they hit the 17+ runs mark twice - 1980, 1990, 1996 and 1999.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    RAZE THE ROOF

    For all of the whining about the Minnesota Twins building and open-air stadium, they haven't had so much as a rain delay in their 11 home games so far.  The coldest game-time temperature was 52 degree for a sunny afternoon game.

    I think that a roof on a stadium is something that you overvalue if you have and is sour grapes if you don't.  Plenty of colder climate teams have been able to draw fans.  Cleveland sold out their stadium for something like three straight years after it opened - the same team that had to play a series in Milwaukee because of the snow a few years ago.  I have never liked the confined feeling I get at Miller Park and my preference would be to not have a roof.  But I don't have to drive three hours to get there either, so I understand the appeal for the people who do.

    I'm not advocating tearing the roof off of Miller Park.  The headline was too catchy to pass on.  But I'm just sayin'; if I had to do it over again I'd do what the Twins did.

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    THE HEAT IS ON

    CBSSports.ocom MLB Power Rankings, re: Ken Macha

    "He's a goner before too long."
    They make a very legitimate point about Macha's use of Craig Counsell at shortstop (who has started three of the last six games) rather than Escobar.
    "Management didn't deal away J.J. Hardy so that Macha could give his at-bats to a utility scrub"
    Maybe I need to change the vigil.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    H-OFF

    Wow.  I wrote a few days ago not to worry yet about Trevor Hoffman.  Now I'm worried.  This is unprecedented. Hoffman has given up 12 earned runs in 8 games including runs allowed two of his three saves.  He's never done that before in his career.  Since his rookie year in 1993, the most he's given up in a season was 24.  He's got half of that already.  When this happens to a 42-year old ballplayer, it should sound huge alarms in the organization.

    I've said before that I think Carlos Villanueva would be an effective closer in the Majors.  If you gave his stats this year to Trevor Hoffman, the Brewers would have three more wins than they do.  If the Brewer find themselves in a save situation today, I would give the ball to Carlos.  We need another option.  I'm very worried that this is not going to get better.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    A PRINCE'S RANSOM

    A JSOnline poll yesterday asked:

    Is Prince Fielder worth as much as the Phillies will pay Ryan Howard ($125 million over five years)?

    60% of the people who responded to the poll said "no".  If that sample of representative of the readers of JSOnline, then 60% of their readers are nuts.

    Prince Fielder is a better player right now than Ryan Howard.  He was a better player last year (1,014 OPS to Howard's .931).  He was as good of a player the year before last (.879/.881), and he was a better player the year before that (1.013/.976).  Prince Fielder is also 4 years younger than Ryan Howard.  Prince will hit 27, the theoretical peak for a player, next year.  Howard is already 3 years past that and this 5-year contract extension doesn't kick in for two more years.  All of baseball history tells us that Howard's production will be in steady decline over the next seven years.

    I would love if the Brewers signed Prince fielder to a 5-year, $125 million contract right now.  The fact is though, that they probably can't get him for that.  If a 32-36 year old Ryan Howard is worth $125 million, a 26-30 year old Prince Fielder is worth much more.

    YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

    (Reuters) - People who are depressed eat more chocolate than people who are not, U.S. researchers said on Monday, in a study that puts numbers behind the link between mood and chocolate.
    Another example of how, if you are a scientist, completely loosing grasp of the concept of cause and effect is an excellent way to get your name in the newspaper.

    Sugar, trans fats, salt, this will be next.  The Chocolate Police - coming soon to a government near you.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    SCATTERED

    The Brewers scoring has been all over the board so far.  In the first 18 games, they have been shut out once, scored one run three times, scored two runs once, three runs twice, four runs once, five runs twice, six runs once, seven runs once, and eight runs four times.  Then throw in an 11 and a 20.

    They have scored either 0, 1, or 8 or more in 10 of their 18 contests.

    The margin of victory in Brewers games has been 4 runs or more 10 times, including each of the last 8.  They are 4-6 in those games.

    The pitching staff has yet to allow either 2 or 3 runs in a game.  They had the two shutouts and the 1-run game against Pittsburgh.  In all of the rest, they've allowed 4 or more.

    What does all of this mean?  Probably nothing.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    BIG MONEY

    According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Brewers are one of only three team in the Majors to have never awarded a player a $50 million+ contract.  Washington and Tampa Bay are the other two.  The largest contract ever for the Brewers is Ryan Braun's current $45 million deal.  This ties the Brewers for 28th among the 30 teams in terms of top contracts.

    The "talk" number for Prince Fielder is a $200 million deal.  If the Brewers signed him to that, or signed him to anything over $185 million, it would vault them all the way up to 3rd on the list behind the $275 million deal that ARod signed with the Yankees and the $252 million deal that ARod signed with the Rangers.  Yes - the same ARod.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    IT'S OVER

    The streak of 22 consecutive games in which the Brewers pitching staff allowed 4 or more runs ended with tonight's 8-1 win.

    So, what's the team record for most game in a row allowing 3 runs or fewer?  Only nine.  That was also a streak that spanned over two seasons and ended six games in to the Brewers 13-0 start to the 1987 season.

    Let's go break that one too.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    UNRANKED

    In my fantasy league, we use a simple formula for starting pitchers that gives them 1 point for each 1/3 IP and K, and subtracts 1 for each H, R, ER, and BB.  A win is worth 3 points, a loss -2, and then there are small bonuses for complete games, shutouts and high strikeout totals.  Based on this formula's average points per game, the top five starters in the Majors right now, in order are:

    Rank Pitcher Record ERA
    1st Adam Wainwright 3-0 1.50
    2nd Matt Garza 3-0 0.75
    3rd Roy Halliday 3-0 1.12
    4th Tim Lincecum 3-0 0.90
    5th Livan Hernandez 2-0 0.00

    So, the formula does a pretty good job of sorting things out.

    Here are the rankings of the five Brewers starters right now:

    Rank Pitcher Record ERA
    75th Dave Bush 0-0 3.86
    84th Randy Wolf 1-1 4.91
    102nd Yovani Gallardo 0-2 5.50
    111th Jeff Suppan 0-0 7.20
    142nd Doug Davis 0-1 11.25

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    THE STREAK CONTINUES

    On Sunday, the Brewers extended their franchise record streak of consecutive games in which the pitching staff has given up four or more runs to 22 (including the last 10 games of last year).  It begs the question:  What is the Major League record for such a streak?

    I have handy, a game log database of every Major League game back to 1960.  Since that time, here is the distribution of runs scored per team per game:

    RUNS FREQUENCY
    0 6%
    1 11%
    2 13%
    3 14%
    4 13%
    5 11%
    6 9%
    7 7%
    8 5%
    9 3%
    10 or more 7%

    The most common number of runs a team scores in a game is three.  I didn't know that.

    Based on these percentages, the probability that in a specific 22-game stretch a team would allow four or more runs every game just by chance is about 1 in 400,000.  The chance that it would happen at any point in a given season is about 1 in 2,500.  What this means in general terms is that it's very unlikely that this streak is happening just because of dumb luck.  It's far more likely that something is wrong with the Brewers pitching staff.  But you didn't need me to tell you that.  But I digress.

    Back to my original question.  In 2006, the woeful Kansas City Royals had a 28-game streak in which their pitching staff allowed four runs or more.  From May 9th to June 8th - an entire month.  That's the longest streak since 1960.  The second longest was a 22-game streak - same as the Brewers current streak - by the Detroit Tigers in 1996.  The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays had 21-game streaks in 1993/94 and 1999 respectively.

    The longest National League streaks in that time frame were a 19-game streak by the Cincinnati Reds in 2001, and an 18-game streak by the Brewers in 1999 - the old franchise 'record' that they broke last Thursday.

    So, we've got another week.  If this run of futility persists, I'll go back and check years prior to 1960.  But let's hope it doesn't.  I've got plenty of things I'd rather do.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    NO YO

    The Brewers are now 0-3 in games that Yovani Gallardo starts.  They have scored a total of 7 runs on those games for an average of 2.3 R/G.  In the games he doesn't start, the offense has scored 6.1 R/G and the team is 4-3.  Run support is supposed to even out over time.  But sometimes it's a long time.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    THE STREAK

    Here's an amazing fact.  (And I was much more meticulous about looking this one up than the last one I posted.)

    The Brewers' pitching staff has allowed four or more runs in each of the team's nine games so far this season.  Last season, they finished the year by allowing four or more runs in each of the final ten games of the season.  The current 19-game streak of allowing at least four runs in each game, dating back to September 24th of last year, is their longest such streak ever in the history of the team!

    Ever!

    The previous longest was an 18-game streak from August 17, 1999 to September 3, 1999.

    Wow.

     
    Blogged Blog Directory