April | 2010 | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Articles from April 2010



Gallardo a Steal?

April 11, 2010

gallardo

Yesterday Milwaukee inked 24-year old Yovanni Gallardo to a five-year deal worth a minimum of $30.1 million and potentially as much as $42.5 million.  The deal could keep Gallardo a Brewer through 2015 if the club so chooses.  The deal is really quite novel in that it provides both the Brewers and Gallardo a number of incentives, such as parameters regarding which teams Gallardo could potentially be traded to as well as bonuses based on Cy Young voting.  While Cy Young voting is a rather subjective way of distributing payment, the clause at least provides the Brewers some level of merit-based control on their checkbook.  Compared to the contracts awarded to a few of Gallardo’s peers such as Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, and Matt Cain, Jon Lester, and Zack Greinke this deal comes off looking rather genius for the Brewers.  The question, though, lies in whether or not Gallardo can justify being considered a peer of these elite young righties.

Last year Gallardo cracked the 200-strikeout milestone for the first time in his career while making 30 starts for the first time as well.  Considering that he was coming off a season shortened by knee surgery in 2008, 2009 was a significant step in the right direction.  He still failed to reach the 200-IP plateau, but in many ways I consider that a good thing for the Brewers considering they were fully aware that they would ultimately miss the playoffs relatively early in the season.  Why not manage their young ace conservatively if he is basically just practicing for next year?

How about his stuff?  The wrap on Gallardo since he was a flame-throwing yet erratic high schooler has been that he lacks a developed third pitch.  I’m not sure that remains the case.  He still tends to favor his fastball (95+ whenever he needs it)/curve (at least plus, sometimes plus-plus) duo, but his changeup has made considerable strides since Gallardo reached the Bigs in 2007.  Still, he does not use it enough.  Gallardo’s high ¾ release point and carry on his fastball, when coupled with Miller’s short porch, tend to drive a lot of balls to the seats, but that same carry allows Gallardo to pitch at the letters a little more often, especially to righties, in order to generate strike 3.

Delivery?  It sounds like Milwaukee extensively analyzed Gallardo’s delivery to determine if anything about it would lead to career-threatening injuries later on.  From the sounds of it, Gallardo checked out nicely.  Personally, I think he fights to create a downward plane more than someone with his build and athleticism should, – primarily by using his front side to “climb” – but that same athleticism probably allows him the necessary leeway he needs to do it.

So why am I not convinced?  Gallardo is not efficient.  His K/BB is the worst of the pitchers I mentioned earlier as potential peers, he has thrown the fewest innings, and he has had a major surgery already.  Still, with the way his contract is structured, the Brewers have provided themselves with a situation that will provide Gallardo incentive for finding ways to solve these problems.  I think he has the stuff, athleticism and organizational support to really make a run at a few Cy Young Awards, and that would help both Yovanni and the Brewers.

The Umpire’s Opinions is News-Worthy Now?

April 11, 2010

joewest

Following a thrilling opening series between the Yankees and Red Sox earlier this week, umpire crew chief for the series, Joe West, blasted the two organizations for playing a little sluggishly, even making the suggestion that there perhaps is a positive correlation between ability and rate of play.  While everyone realizes that this was simply a case of an elderly, grumpy, obese man not wanting to stand up for an extra hour given his strenuous 3-hour work days, what I don’t understand is why anyone even cares.  Let’s be real.  Is there any more easily replaceable job in the game?  We are talking about an umpire here.

This scenario harkens back to the 90’s when umpires first began to deal with MLB’s attempts to standardize the game’s officiating.  When Questec provided a realistic and reasonable measurement of an umpire’s ability to accurately gauge balls and strikes, and slow-motion video replay allowed the same level of evaluation with outs and safes, the game began to look a little differently.  The on-base revolution throughout the sport was only possible once umpires were forced to call a more standardized strike zone.  Well, a lot of umpires got upset and quit.  Even West helped organize a mass resignation in response to bargaining disputes with MLB late in the decade.

I guess I just don’t understand a Major League umpire’s complaint about anything.  I realize that umpires must pass examinations over the rules as well as practical examinations, but it’s not like these tests are the MCAT, or even the GRE for that matter.  I’m not saying I know every single word of the rulebook, but what I am saying is that absolutely everyone could if they really tried to.  Furthermore, these guys get to watch the game from the best seat in the house: the field itself.  Come on now.  That is so sweet.  Complaining about a 3 ½ -hr game?  Every other fan there, and umpires are really just interactive fans, is ecstatic about just being at the field and watching a little more of the game…especially when it’s Yanks/Sox in the first series of the season.  I think there is a small country’s worth of folks who would wait in line to do Joe West’s job voluntarily.

Mike Rosenbaum’s 2010 Predictions

April 7, 2010

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NL East: Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals
NL Central: Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Pirates
NL West: Rockies, Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres
NL Wild Card: Giants
NLCS: Cardinals def. Phillies

NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Tommy Hanson
NL ROY: Stephen Strasburg

AL East: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles
AL Central: White Sox, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Royals
AL West: Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Athletics
AL Wild Card: Rays
ALCS: Rays def. Yankees

AL MVP: Evan Longoria
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
AL ROY: Austin Jackson

World Series: Cardinals def. Rays in 6 games.
World Series MVP: Adam Wainwright

Are Offensive Signals Necessary?

April 7, 2010

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In a telephone conversation with Griff the other night, I was stunned when he told me that his C-Teamers missed a whopping 19 signals in double-dip.  Immediately I wondered why Griff was giving his hitters 19 signals over two games in the first place.  I considered that we were talking about young players developing in a system, and obviously a necessity for that development is knowledge of the club’s signals.  Still, this scenario reopened an internal debate that I have had since I first realized how foolish any and all hit-and-runs are.  Are signals from base coaches a necessary component of the game, or are they simply another piece of the game’s antiquity?

Last summer, I coached third with basically three signals and no indicators.  Two of the signals were green-light-types, and the other was the take sign which was simply me raising my index finger.  Everyone in the stadium knew when we were bunting because I basically yelled to the hitter to bunt.  We bunted very, very sparingly.  Our runners knew who had the green to go and who didn’t, so I basically did not give signs across the diamond.  Guys who could drag knew when to drag because I told them when good times were.  Obviously we did not have an hit-and-run sign because forcing a hitter to swing at whatever the pitcher throws is a bad way to prevent outs.

Was our offense in any way lacking because we did not have sophisticated signals?  Was it inhibited by the fact that we had no secret strategies for run creation?  First, what is each offensive player’s objective at the plate?  To get on base.  No player needs to be reminded of this by a coach.  What about sacrifice bunting?  This is 2010.  How about stealing bases?  Utilizing a simple green light allows the player the freedom to gauge his own chances while ensuring that he does so in a reasonable situation.  What good can come from sophisticated signals?  I guess there are times when a delayed steal or get-picked sign could be advantageous.  Answer me this, though: would yelling across the diamond at a runner to get picked change the outcome?  Probably not.  More importantly, does the limited frequency of plays such as these justify using practice time for them?  Of course not.

Signs can’t possibly hurt.  The problem, however, arises when players forget what the real goal is because they are too busy hitting-and-running or leaving early.  Hitters are there to reach base.  Runners are there to touch home.  OBP is the primary predictor we know of for run creation.  Hitters hopefully don’t need a signal for getting on base.  Varying from this default setting, therefore, is likely only to reduce run production.  By that line of reasoning elaborate signals should only be given when trying to score fewer times.

Griffin Phelps’ 2010 Predictions

April 6, 2010

NL East: Philly, Atlanta, Florida, New York, Washington

NL Central: St. Louis, Milwaukee, Houston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

NL West: Colorado, Los Angeles, Arizona, San Francisco, San Diego

NL Wild Card: Atlanta

NL Pennant: Colorado

NL MVP: Troy “Too Legit” Tulowitzki

NL Cy Young: Ricky Nolasco

NL ROY: Jason Heyward

AL East: New York, Tampa Bay, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore

AL Central: Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City

AL West: Texas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Oakland

AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay

AL Pennant: Rays

AL MVP: Evan Longoria

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander

AL ROY: Austin Jackson

World Series:

Colorado beats Tampa Bay in 6 games.

Tulo is the MVP