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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 6, 2008 2:45 PM

Game on from Maryvale

Posted by Jose Romero

Game over, M's win, 5-2. They're 4-3 in Cactus League play.

Notes
-Ryan Feierabend was the winning pitcher after throwing two scoreless innings in relief of Hernandez. Cesar Jimenez picked up the save with a perfect ninth and the Mariners' relievers did not allow a hit over five innings after Hernandez left the game.
-Carlos Silva is tomorrow's starting pitcher in Mesa against the Chicago Cubs.
-Mike Morse was 1-for-4 (double) and is now batting. 533 in the spring (8-for15).
-3B Adrian Beltre had to leave the game with a sore thumb from a ground ball off his hand.
-C Adam Moore, a sixth-round draft pick in 2006 and non-roster invitee, played in his first spring training game and doubled in his only at-bat.
-Former Mariners pitcher Floyd Bannister has been named to the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction class for 2008. Bannister played at Arizona State from 1974-1976.
-Former major-league manager Whitey Herzog made an appearance at Mariners camp Thursday morning.
-Former Mariner Mike Cameron went 0-for-3 in the game.

Bottom 8th

UPDATE: Another hit for Mike Morse, who is now 1-for-4 today and is now 8-for-15 in the spring, 2 doubles.
After Norton's blast, it's 5-2 Seattle. Norton has 3 RBI today as he tries to make his case to make the roster.


Top 6

With the bases loaded and one out, Greg Norton hits a deep sacrifice fly to right. A run scores, but more importantly, all the runners moved up, even Miguel Cairo from from first to second. And that is pivotal, as Matt Tuiasosopo, pinch-hitting for Beltre, rips a single to left field, scoring Bloomquist and Cairo. 3-2 M's.


Ben: The M's have nothing going on offense. Two hits, both singles and no one having advanced past first.

End 4th

Hernandez strikes out the side, getting our favorite Brewer of the day, Hart, looking on the final pitch of the inning. Hernandez has thrown 47 total pitches, 34 for strikes. I believe he's done for the day at this point. Pretty commanding performance when he didn't throw mistake pitches. Gave up the two HRs, but fanned five in four innings.


End 3rd

Another rocket shot of a home run off the bat of Rickie Weeks off Hernandez. He turned on the pitch and drove it out of there in a hurry to the berm in left field, maybe 375-380 feet. 2-0 Milwaukie.


End 2nd

Hernandez retired the side in order after the homer. He has thrown only 21 pitches.

Bottom 2

Let me tell you, Ryan Braun from the Brewers just crushed a Hernandez pitch at least 410 feet. It was high up the wall in CF. I mean straightaway and off the corrugated wall above the yellow home run line. 1-0 Milwaukee.


Bottom 1

Felix Hernandez needs just 9 pitches to set down the Brew Crew in order. Seven were strikes. Prince Fielder for the Brewers looked pretty funny running in his super-baggy pants to first base. He's a big dude.

Another beautiful day, but I think they said it was only 65 degrees. It was also just announced that in Milwaukee, its 28.

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Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

12:36 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Wow, Geoff is really obsessed over the sunny weather in AZ. Just today: "Another beautiful day, but I think they said it was only 65 degrees. It was also just announced that in Milwaukee, its 28."

Yes, Seattle is very cold and depressing during the winter (and fall, spring, and part of summer), but he sure is laying it on thick. But then again, given my screen name, I'm not really one to talk.

Posted by Zorro

12:50 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Yeah, that would be Jose. Geoff is on vaca.

Posted by Ben

1:01 PM, Mar 06, 2008

What are the mariners doing offensively?

Posted by Get Griffey

1:03 PM, Mar 06, 2008

nothing at all

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:04 PM, Mar 06, 2008

any connection between not hitting the ball today against sheets and the offensive firepower we saw yesterday against AA pitchers??

Posted by woodinville_m's

1:08 PM, Mar 06, 2008

do you honestly expect a lineup that features greg norton in the 3 spot to produce

Posted by Ben

1:10 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Ah grand. thanks for the update.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:12 PM, Mar 06, 2008

woodinville m's - I don't. The problem is that McLaren does...

Posted by Get Griffey

1:37 PM, Mar 06, 2008

AKM's Fan- you really think this lineup looks anything like the starting one for the Reg Season? If not then your post was somewhat pointless because the ST lineups aren’t put together with producing in mind. THIS IS SPRING TREANING!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:42 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Get Griffey - They are going to make cuts next week. Want to bet on who gets cut and who doesn't. Hint - lots of battle tested veterans will be on the squad.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

1:57 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Norton goes Yard!

Posted by scrapiron

1:58 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Greg Norton just hit a 2-run home run. Dave Niehaus is reporting that he thinks Norton is a lock to make the team because of his veteran status.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:05 PM, Mar 06, 2008

yeah off of Mitch Stetter....he's got 5 innings of major league experience....

Posted by trasnplanted fan

2:10 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Wow M's Fan... You need to change your name. Have a little faith. It's spring training. Would anything make you happy?

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:11 PM, Mar 06, 2008

If our bench was Burke, Bloomquist, Cairo, and Norton, that would be a lot of veteran...uhh..."veteraness". That has to be good.

Posted by Adam

2:11 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Scrap - Norton has been through the wars...

Posted by Get Griffey

2:14 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I love that everyone uses the "vets" in a derogatory way when( gosh what a shock) most great players are "vets" in fact how many vets lead batting, fielding, and pitching categories last year as opposed to "young" gun players? it is hilarious how people use "vet" as the same to mean "bad", when in fact experience is actually a good thing to have, not something that should be used as an insult like it has come to be used by some on this blog.

Anyone can make a list a mile long out of “vet” players who are better and will be better than 99% of all AAA and young prospects playing today so please find some other derogatory adjective to use when describing older players who are “bad”, rather than calling them “vets”.


P.S.
I am not discouraging people from insulting players here, I just would like people to use a word that does not describe almost every established big leaguer, insult all you want but think up something more creative pleas.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:17 PM, Mar 06, 2008

transplanted fan - I would be happy if the bench was Burke, Morse, Reed, Vidro. Balentein is in left and Ibanez DH's. Morrow and Clement go to Tacoma and called up in July. Sexson gets DFA'd at some point. The bullpen does not include HORam.

That would make me happy. I would probably still be bitching of course. But I would be a lot happier.

Thanks for caring!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:20 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Get Griffey - The "veteran" misuse stems from McLaren and Bavasi. Talk to them.

Posted by PRchef

2:28 PM, Mar 06, 2008

AK

not baseball related

Some of your comments have me laughing aloud over here at work. This blog would not be the same without your sarcasm.

Thanks

Posted by Get Griffey

2:45 PM, Mar 06, 2008

AKM's Fan-

I don’t think they go around insulting all the "vets"

I AM talking about the exclusive use of “vet” as an insult and the complete idiocy of that use for the word.

Again just to clarify, insult all you want but think up something better people, it really is not that hard to do. The fact that anyone is using experience as an insult is just too stupid.


Posted by scrapiron

2:51 PM, Mar 06, 2008

What do you guys think about the potential plan to bat Yuni second in the lineup this year?

I like it. It breaks up the right handed hitters lower in the lineup, and Yuni makes good contact. (He put into play 27.8% of his pitches last season, which led the majors)

Having two speed guys at the top of the lineup could be fun to watch.

Unless you want Turbo hitting into another 21 double plays again.

Posted by Bill

2:57 PM, Mar 06, 2008

whats all this talk on espn about what a good fit it would be for Barry bonds to come to seattle for one year, as the DH...personnaly, I think it would be a great idea...I havent gone to a game in 3 years , but I would if Bonds played here...I also think, he would deffiantly help the team be a condender

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:58 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Get Griffey

Here is the fundelmental belief that Bavasi/McLaren have in terms of roster evaluation:

Veteran = Good
Non-veteran = Not as good

A lot of folks believe that this is not the best evaluation strategy. I am suggesting that talent should be included in considering the roster makeup.

Posted by Ryan

3:02 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I went to a game at Maryvale last year.. loved that park since it was so open. I'm missing not going to Spring Traning this year.

Posted by Montucky

3:06 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Yeah, as I look out my window its 26 and light snow. Nothing but grey outside...LUCKILY I'll be going to Phoenix on Monday. WHOOT WHOOT!!! SHORTS weather!!!

Nice job Jose!! Geoff needed the break from the constant badgering of emotional M's fans.

Posted by Get Griffey

5:07 PM, Mar 06, 2008

AKM'sFan
I could be mistaken but no matter how much you shift the blame to Mack it is still YOU who are insulting all "vets" buy using it as a derogatory term.(not him)

It is like using “Japs" insultingly, which would insults all Japanese players, because you are using something they all have in common as an insult.

Another example would be if some left handed pitcher did poorly and you then went out and for two years afterward used “southpaw” insultingly as often as you could(which would be somewhat dumb) this would insult all left handed pitchers.

It all is just too stupid to let go, especially when what you are using as an insult is a GOOD thing (having experience in your chosen profession)

And another thing

if that is really how you believe that they decide the lineup then let me magically read your mind like you did theirs and show how you evaluate talent

Here is the fundamental belief that YOU have in terms of roster evaluation:
Veteran = an insult worthy player who should be placed in a retirement community

Non-veteran = player who will be automatically better then any “vet” they replace

Posted by dblog

5:08 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Jose, good looking out yesterday on the B game update...really appreciated it. Great Job on today's recap too!

Posted by Get Griffey

5:13 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I think you both believe what should actually be used is soothing in-between.

Posted by Donovan

5:45 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Well, I'd say that experience has real value on a roster. So does untapped potential and youthful energy. The best team chemistry (and I use this term without any sarcasm here) has some of both, or, more accurately, contains talented players representing the entire spectrum of age and experience. Did somebody with the M's actually say something as stupid as "been through the wars", or is that purely blogosphere parody?

AK - Where would you be on the happiness continuum with this modification to your "happy but still bitching" scenario:
- Opening day bench is Burke, Cairo, Morse, Norton
- Balentien starts in Tacoma, but is called up to play LF in late May when Richie fails to deliver and goes on the DL, shifting Ibanez to 1B/DH, with the other spot in the order shared by Morse, Norton, and Vidro.
- Cairo spells the other infielders 1 or 2 games a week and pinchruns.

I think that scenario is actually possible, and is probably as close to your formula as you are going to get. I'm totally cool with you bitching (but then I actually like the climate here). I will be deeply distressed, however, if you are denied even a little happiness. How about ambivalent bitching now, to be followed by happy bitching when Wlad gets called up?

Posted by Adam

5:54 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Get Griffey,

Your "vet"/"Jap" analogy is ridiculous.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

6:21 PM, Mar 06, 2008

(ARGH - knew I should have copied previous entry, lost it thanks to the infamous "text entered was wrong". GAH!)

All: May I suggest the following substitutes for "veteran", since we're busy parsing that term and need to avoid the kind of silliness that leads to the "vet/Jap" comparison.

- "seasoned prospect"
- "AAAA player"
- "subprime" (as in past their prime, with all the implications that subprime means these days)
- "friend of the staff"

Donovan: Only problem with your scenario is the assumption that Sexson would get benched in May. If Sexson struggles, I'll bet you we'll all be reminded he's a 2nd-half hitter, and they'll stay with him until like, early August. So no Balentien unless Ibanez or Wilkerson has an injury. Like the scenario otherwise.

Jose: Nice job filling in! Good summaries.

Posted by drlo

6:23 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Hmmm..... If the ridiculous logic of the absurd "vet" argument is the same logic that led to the conclusion that the team needs to "get Griffey", then I think I have no choice but to be against the idea of getting Griffey.

Posted by Merrill

7:17 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Donovan, I think Mac actually said something about a guy having "been through the wars" last year sometime.

Also, that was a good point about Mac's memory of 2002 in the last thread.

(Nat/zusu, thanks for your comments there, too. Sometimes I get a little evangelistic about trying to spread around a little understanding so people get along better, which of course turns people off. I'm glad it didn't come off that way to at least one reader. And, I understand your point about Mac's mouth. I guess you saw Donovan's response?)

Get Griffey, this has been a longstanding gripe on this and another, more, shall we say fascist, blog. Actually I have the same gripe from the Piniella days, but not as much recently. I think I'm a little more realistic (those guys might say "stodgy," "hidebound," "gruesomely traditional at the expense of the team," "deadeningly backward," instead of "realistic," not to put words in their mouths) about things like respecting vets who are still producing and expected to be on the team next year, recovering from injuries/allowing same, Balentien and Clement needing more development, etc. I didn't like the signing of Jimerson when we have Reed (although now I hope, like Scrapiron, I believe, they keep him and Morse instead of Reed, if it comes to that), or Cairo when we have Hulett (but maybe Hulett needs to play every day, too; I don't know), but here's a summing up of their argument:

Hargrove especially (and Mac has followed suit) favored experienced, even over-the-hill vets over giving younger, unproven, talented guys a chance. They thought Ibanez should've been replaced by Jones halfway through last year if not earlier. Possibly they didn't like the Guillen signing and were hoping Jones would be the RF all year; I don't remember about that. Most assuredly they don't like the Wilkerson or Norton signings, and I must say that I agreed with them at first, but I'm starting to come around on Wilkerson, anyway. I'd hate to see Balentien's confidence get crushed by failure when he's not ready, like Reed's was.

Just to comment on the Vidro thing, I think people forget that "the best-laid plans of mice and men..." In other words, Vidro was a desperation signing because more traditional FA DHs wouldn't sign here, and B couldn't swing a trade for one. Remember (and thank goodness!), Schmidt and Zito refused to sign with the M's for more money than they eventually signed for with LA and SF.

Thus the dramatic overpaying of Silva. The point was to swamp all other offers and get it done.

Remember, Chris, the Captcha thingy times out. Highlight/save/reload the page/post, and you will have 100% success. Promise!

Posted by Merrill

8:14 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Scrappy, I like having Yuni second, although I think most of Vidro's DPs came when he was still getting his legs back in the first part of the year, right? He had a slight relapse toward the end of the year, but picked himself up again, if I remember right.

I think Yuni and Lopez will both push .300 this year, with better SLG than Vidro, although I think a healthy-from-the-get-go Vidro will hit lots more doubles and into a lot fewer DPs than last year.

Where do you think they'll stick Vidro if they use that lineup most days? Here's a guess, with three speed guys at the top and one at the bottom (maybe it's not a good idea to have them all together?), since I don't remember who's right-handed and who's left-handed:

1--Ichiro, CF/L
2--Yuni, SS/R
3--Beltre, 3B/R
4--Ibanez, LF/L
5--Sexson, 1B/R
6--Johjima, C/R
7--Wilky, RF/L
8--Vidro, DH/S
9--Lopez, 2B/R

OK, I looked up their L/R hitting...

This lineup breaks up the low-average power guys (remember, Wilkerson didn't have many at-bats last year, so his power numbers project well for a full season if healthy) with Joh. But it doesn't seem to be along the same lines of your thought.

Is it better to go L/R/L with Raul/Sexsy/Wilky than to throw another righty, Joh, in there, as above, for average + power? That would look like this:

1--Ichiro, CF/L
2--Yuni, SS/R
3--Beltre, 3B/R
4--Ibanez, LF/L
5--Sexson, 1B/R
6--Wilky, RF/L
7--Johjima, C/R
8--Vidro, DH/S
9--Lopez, 2B/R

That seems to be your thought. That's five 20+ HR guys + two 10-15 HR guys, and seven .280+ guys. If healthy, that's uberlicious... Tough, dangerous outs one through nine.

Posted by Merrill

8:36 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I know, the BB and Ks are bad, but I think "if" Ibanez, Vidro, Sexson, and Wilkerson are healthy all the way through, it's a pretty dangerous lineup with a higher SLG than last year.

I realize a lot of you think the chances of them staying healthy are low. Vidro's already got an ailment! But I'll take an elbow thing that keeps him out a few days over a leg thing that messes up his base and keeps him from hitting line drives any day of the week.

Posted by blah

9:02 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Merrill: do you actually believe that we read your overly long winded self promoting crap?

Posted by Merrill

9:23 PM, Mar 06, 2008

blah: Thanks for your positive contribution! I think you're throwing that "we" thing around fairly loosely, but I'd guess people read what they choose to read. Can't control that.

How do you know the nature of it if you don't bother to read it? (I do think "self-promoting" is pretty funny... it's a conversation, yokel...)

Anyway, thanks again! I will try my best from now on to conform to your expectations. Now I have to go have a good cry. I feel so... corrected.

Posted by ice

9:41 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Vidro near the bottom of the lineup reduces his value and it is going to cost runs. Betancourt doesn't hit well against RHP, which is about 1/4 of the pitchers. It won't produce any more runs at the top of the order and it is going to hurt the production at the bottom of the order.

Posted by ice

9:43 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Correction 3/4 of the pitchers are RHP.

Posted by Merrill

9:49 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Interesting thoughts, ice. I guess you are responding to scrapiron's query, as I was?

Why do you say it will hurt production at the bottom of the order, especially if you think Yuni's not so productive? Are you talking about SLG?

Posted by ice

10:02 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Where did you get that? I didn't say that Betancourt was not productive. His batting style of being a free swinger didn't hurt the team at the #9 slot because Lopez wasn't much of a basestealer and Johjima isn't a basestealer.

The team might do better with Betancourt at the #8 slot. Yuni showed more power than Lopez.

Posted by Merrill

10:12 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Thanks for the elucidation, ice. I guess I misread this comment: Betancourt doesn't hit well against RHP, which is about 3/4 of the pitchers. to mean that you thought he wasn't as productive as Vidro, at least in terms of getting Ichiro over and getting runs in.

My bad.

Posted by ice

10:35 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I feel that the team will get slightly less runs at the top of the order with Yuni at the #2 slot rather than Vidro when a RHP is on the mound.

The team *might* overcome this when facing LHP, but I feel that the run production at the bottom of the order would suffer more with Vidro.

Now if Betancourt bats #2 against LHP only, then that is another matter

Posted by scrapiron

10:51 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Yuni is bad against right-handers? He hit .277 against right handers last year, so I guess it depends on your definition.

When you're looking for a #2 hitter, you want a guy that can put the ball in play and doesn't create two outs doing it. Speed is a definite plus, as is bunting ability.

Betancourt had far fewer RBI opportunities than Vidro last year but still drove in more runs, 67 to 59. Yuni also hit .317 with runners on base, and .345 with runners in scoring position.

Posted by Adam

10:52 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Merrill, having trouble where you are finding five 20+ HR guys.

Beltre, Ibanez, Sexson - yes. Wilkerson - Maybe. Let's see if he stays healthy. Johjima - NO. He hasn't done it yet, I see no reason why he'll start now. Vidro - LOL. Lopez - no. Ichiro or Yuni - No and no.

If I had to project HRs for the lineup, here's what I'd say:

Ichiro - 9
Yuni - 12
Ibanez - 23
Beltre - 29
Wilkerson - 21
Sexson - 21
Vidro - 3
Johjima - 15
Lopez - 9


That's 142 HRs from our starting lineup. And if you have Willie, Burke, Cairo, and Morse on the bench, you are looking at maybe 150 HRs for the entire ballclub. For reference, that would have put us in 22nd place among ML teams last year. And it is three HRs less than last year's club.

So basically, as I've been saying for a while, I expect a basic repeat of last year's lineup.


What is interesting is that the M's finished 13th in baseball in total OPS despite the fact they hit the 25th-most doubles, the 27th-most triples, the 20th-most HRs, and they drew the fewest walks. How did they finish so high in OPS with so little power and no plate discipline?

SINGLES!! Only five teams had fewer extra-base hits than the M's, yet we had the third-most hits in baseball. (note - I'm getting all this from ESPN's stats page)

Further, only four teams hit a higher ratio of groundballs to flyballs than the Mariners. In other words, we got a TON of ground ball singles last year. Our BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was .313, per baseballreference.com. That's ten points higher than the league average. Seeing as how BABIP is not sustainable (unless if you are a speedy player like Ichiro), there's no reason to believe that the Mariners will survive of a bunch of ground-ball singles in 2008.

In conclusion, it appears the 2007 team was a light-hitting group that had an inordinate number of singles fall in. The 2007 M's couldn't take a walk, they couldn't hit for power, and they were a slow team as well. None of those problems have been corrected. Basically, Bavasi is hoping:

1. Sexson isn't finished
2. Raul doesn't age like he should (and is)
3. Wilkerson isn't as brittle as his last three years suggest
4. The Vidro of July 14-September 14, 2007 will be around in 2008
5. Lopez all of a sudden learned how to hit
6. Yuni becomes a league-average bat

Honestly, that's where we have to see improvement in the lineup. If those things don't happen, this offense will be worse than in 2007, by quite a large margin.

Posted by Merrill

10:53 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Like I said... interesting. The more you say, the more I understand your thinking.

Posted by scrapiron

10:56 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Merrill - I think your dead-on with the batting order, but if you make one small adjustment putting Ibanez at #3 and Beltre at #4 you can go L-R-L-R for the top 4 in the order.

Posted by ice

10:58 PM, Mar 06, 2008

What you want from a #2 hitter is also a player with a high OBP and patience to allow a base stealer to steal a base.

Posted by ice

11:10 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Yuni has a poor .296 OBP against RHP, not suited for the #2 slot. I'd prefer this lineup against RHP.

Ichiro
Vidro
Beltre
Ibanez
Sexson
Johjima
Wilkerson
Betancourt
Lopez

Sexson, Beltre, and Wilkerson consecutively would put the three highest strikeout batters in a row. A man on third with no out easily be stranded with those three following.

Posted by Merrill

11:12 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Adam and Scrappy, I was responding in that last comment to ice's 10:35 comment. I'll now read your comments more carefully and respond.

Although a cursory look at your comment, Adam, leads me to say, yeah, my bad, was counting Joh in there. You're right about Wilkerson staying healthy, but from what I've read so far, it looks like a good bet. He hit 20 dingers last year in 338 at-bats over 119 games.

Comparatively, Ichiro got 678 AB in 161 games. More than double the ABs. I don't think we can expect that, but if healthy, I think Raul's 573 in 149 games is reasonable. He's got a fairly classic power hitter's low-average, high-power profile, and in the above case, 30-35 HRs isn't a stretch. A fairly big improvement over Guillen, since we were average-heavy, power-poor last year.

Add a healthy Sexson, and I think the M's power numbers take a significant leap.

Posted by Adam

11:19 PM, Mar 06, 2008

I'll buy you a nice cold one if Ibanez hits 30 HRs...

Posted by Merrill

11:46 PM, Mar 06, 2008

Adam, your points are good, and you've made them before. It's a reasonable argument. (I was talking, in my 11:12 post, about Wilkerson, with Ibanez' AB numbers, although 2006 suggests Ibanez is well capable of it if healthy.)

Here's the counter, if all stay healthy: I expect 40-50 HRs out of a healthy Sexson, Ibanez to be healthy for more of the season and thus boost his power numbers--25+ HRs, Wilkerson to stay healthy and pop 30+ dingers, Betancourt to continue to improve, and Lopez to sustain a full season.

Wilkerson's HR/AB ratio last year was .05916. If we multiply that by a reasonable-if-healthy 573 (using Raul's season in injury purgatory as a baseline), we get 33+ HRs. His career stats suggest that if healthy, this is a reasonable expectation.

That's already 35 HRs above your guesstimate.

I think it's reasonable to expect that neither of us will be 100% accurate in our guesstimations. I'd settle for a 50% split of the difference, giving us 15-20 more homers than last season.

I think the high singles numbers reflected the high injury numbers, and I think the high BABIP is related to that. I would guess a higher percentage of ground balls go for hits than fly balls.

Anyone know anything about that?

I think that 50% of my scenario + the higher run prevention of Bedard-Silva vs. Weaver-HoRam gives us a very good shot at 95+ wins.

I think we're rehashing here, but it remains a fascinating, though highly speculative, argument.

About Scrapiron and Ice's differences re: Vidro and Yuni, also fascinating. Good points from both, I think.

What a great game this is! And what a great blog!

OK, got a little gushy there, sorry...

Posted by Bum Knee McGee

12:16 AM, Mar 07, 2008

Merrill, a highly speculative argument indeed...( I like you so don't take this personally), if you're going to shoot for the stars why not project Richie to hit 50-60 HR's? Sheesh! I for one tend to think Adam's numbers are a little closer to Earth.

Posted by Merrill

12:52 AM, Mar 07, 2008

Bum Knee, I think most people agree with you.

Here's my riposte, anyway:

Sexson wasn't healthy last year, and the last two years that he was healthy (34 and 39) suggest 35+ is a better estimate than the numbers I gave. (He hit 45 in 2001 and 2003. Most will agree with you and Adam, if I may be so bold as to speculate about your reaction to those numbers, and say--ancient history, declining skills.)

I was misremembering his 2005 and 2006 Seattle numbers without looking them up. Bad form!

Even with that correction down from 40-50 to 35-45 (I took the low number in my initial argument and will do so here), I think 33+ is a conservative estimate for a healthy Wilkerson, which still leaves my baseline at about 35+ HRs than Adam's thinking (remember, I expect improvement from both Lopez and Betancourt), and thus 32 HR--call it 30--above last year's results, or, at 50% of my contention and 50% of Adam's contention, +15 HRs over 2007.

I think if everyone agreed with me, it'd be awfully boring.... ; )

One added point about the health thing: Judicious bench use should increase the chance both of the bench players maintaining a productive edge, and of the regs staying healthy.

Posted by Adam

8:21 AM, Mar 07, 2008

Well, you are awfully optimistic, Merrill. Can't fault that, even it seems a bit INSANE!!!


;)

Posted by Merrill

8:23 AM, Mar 07, 2008

HAR!!!

Posted by scrapiron

8:56 AM, Mar 07, 2008

Another thing to consider on the power potential of this team:

Wilkerson throughout his career has been on a 30 home run "pace" but can never stay healthy to achieve that goal. The Mariners already have a backup plan in place for if/when Wilkerson gets injured in Wladimir Balentien.

So how many home runs would the right field position hit if Wilkerson hits at a 30 home run pace until July, gets injured, and then Balentien takes over and hits at a 20 home run pace for the remainder of the season?

My guess is that combination will put up power numbers similar to Guillen last year.

Posted by scrapiron

9:04 AM, Mar 07, 2008

I was watching Mariners nightly on FSN last night, and they reported some interesting roster scenarios.

They were reporting that Bloomquist, Cairo and Norton have already made the roster. The only position that is up for grabs is the backup outfielder position. We've already talked about this on the blog, but here's where it gets interesting.

They said that the battle for the slot is between Morse, Balentien and Reed. No mention of Jimerson, if you can trust this FSN source. We know McLaren has already said he wants a right-handed hitter in this slot, so Reed is out. So that leaves Balentien and Morse. Morse is out of options, so he should be the winner by default.

So if FSN can be trusted, the whole offensive roster is all set. They also said that if the Mariners decide to go with a 12-man pitching staff instead of 11, that Norton would be the likely cut.

Posted by Wsumojo

10:41 AM, Mar 07, 2008

"Morse is out of options, so he should be the winner by default."

As many of us agree with this notion, you can never count out the possiblity of the M's picking up another 36 year old over the hill vet to take that last roster spot so we can send Morse and Jimerson packing. Plus the M's have taken 12 man pitching staffs for as long as I remember despite what FSN said. Even if our starters are all capable of going 7 everygame, McLaren will want that extra man on the staff. Which will probably come down to HoRam, Dickey or Baek. There is no way in hell Bavasi will let us cut HoRam, he has to prove the trade was worth losing Soriano despite it hurting us more and more every time HoRam pitches!

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