Tagged: Major League Baseball

Is Nick Franklin ready for the majors

In Nick Franklin’s first 29 games with the Seattle Mariners he hit .302 with 4 home runs and 15 rbi’s. Not bad for a 22 year old. But as frequently happens, major league scouts find the holes, pass on the reports, and pitchers make adjustments. It is then up to the batter to make adjustments to what the pitchers are doing. Nick had problems adjusting. In the last three months of the season over 73 games, Franklin hit .194, 8 home runs, and 30 rbi’s.

This is the part where managers and GM’s bring out the clichés about youth and growing pains. Mariner GM, Jack Zduriencik has talked so much about the growing pains of Justin Smoak over the last three years that Smoak has developed nasty body scars from all his growing. He leads all of baseball in growing pains and scars.

I find it odd though, that baseball players who have played little league, Babe Ruth, Legion, summer leagues, playing baseball in college, and then spending a few years in the minors, somehow forget how to play the game at the major league level. Yet they throw to wrong base, among other dumb mistakes. Maybe it is lack of concentration. I don’t know, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

As for Franklin, Trader Jack said Franklin was thrown into a pennant race down the stretch. I think Jack knows the Mariners were not in the race, at least I hope so. He was referring to playing against playoff teams like Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay down the stretch. Frankly (no pun intended) I don’t consider playing good teams down the stretch as being in a pennant race. The Mariner players were playing for their jobs, nothing more.

Franklin will be 23 when the 2014 season starts and I hope he wins the second base  job in spring training. He has a lot of potential and he did improve to .241 in September after bating .107 in August. But with a new manager and potential trades because of a weak free agent market anything could happen. Considering the Mariners penchant in the past for trading young players who become stars, it is best to hold on to Nick. 

 

Guess who made the schedules for major league baseball

Since 2005 a computer creates the schedules for each major league team, but from 1982-2005 a husband and wife team made them out. Their fascinating story is in this short film of 12 and half minutes. I think the Stephensons did a better job. http://m.espn.go.com/general/video?vid=9897968&src=desktop

Seattle Mariners looking ahead; 2014 schedule released

With the Mariners getting swept at home by the lowly Houston Astros, getting outscored 25-7 in the process, and having lost 10 of their last 12 home games, what better time to look ahead to 2014. There will be time later to gnaw on the Mariner carcass.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, baseball teams released their schedule for the following season in the cold of Winter. No longer. Unlike the NFL which annually turns their schedule release into must see TV for NFL addicts; the schedule being digested, analyzed, and debated by NFL analysts like it really mattered, Major League Baseball sneaks their schedules out when no one is looking. 

But I am here to provide commentary and make the schedule a must read.

The Mariners open the season April 1st (No jokes please) at the Disneyland Angels, They play two there, then on to Oakland for three before coming home with three games each against those teams. Of interest is that 21 of the first 24 Mariner games will be against divisional foes. Expect the same in September when 23 of their last 27 games are against the Angels, Rangers, Astros, and A’s.

If you enjoy National League teams, the only one appearing for a weekend will be the Washington Nationals, August 29-31. The Mets come in on a Monday, July 21, for three and the Atlanta Braves play on Tuesday and Wednesday beginning August 5. And yes the Mariners ‘natural rival’ the San Diego Padres are on the schedule, but I don’t know when. This series generates as much excitement as a Kansas City-Miami game played in Guam at midnight during monsoon season.

Angel

Angel (Photo credit: Stephie189)

                                                   The early bird catches the foul ball

What I like about the schedule is that the Mariners only have two three city road trips and only one will be troublesome. In August they go to Detroit, Philadelphia, and Boston, but they have a day off after the first six games. The only bad trip (besides a 1960’s flashback) is in September. After an afternoon game with Oakland on Sunday the 14th, the Mariners go to Los Angeles to play four with the Angels, then to Houston for three, then up to Toronto for four games before returning home to play the last three games of the season with the Angels. Thus they finish the season with 17 straight games, 11 of which are on the road, and four of those in a foreign country.

The good news is that the trip comes at the very end of the season, by which time the Mariners will be playing for another 75 win season. And everyone will be watching the 2013 Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks.

A baseball statistic that does not exist, but should

Something I heard on the radio made me curious about what I thought would be an interesting statistic. So I googled. No luck. Of course it must be considered I incorrectly googled by using wrong key words. But variations proved fruitless. I checked obvious websites, such as SABR, but a search on their site came up empty.

The statistic in question came about when I was listening to the radio the day after the Mariners were the victim of a walk off win by Kansas City. The announcer said it was the ninth walk off loss by the Mariners this season. I wondered how many walk off wins they had and what their walk off record was.

Graph showing, by year, the average number of ...

Graph showing, by year, the average number of runs per MLB game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The statistic must exist because baseball is full of Sabermetric people who analyze everything, coming up with all sorts of things I still don’t understand like WAR. Is it necessary? And there is the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician for Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA. But their website is closely guarded, a fortress that one can not enter. Apparently they don’t like to share. But they must have it, no doubt tucked away like the Shroud of Turin

Even checking MLB’s own site turned up nothing.

I did check some other baseball site, and though my search was not extensive, still something should have turned up.

I am amazed that there is a baseball statistic that should be of interest, yet is so elusive. There is no formula to figure it out. Perhaps that is the reason. It is not something measurable to compare to like WAR, or even batting average.

But I would like to see each teams win-loss record in walk off games, now more than ever. Perhaps like Bigfoot, it doesn’t exist.

If I were ambitious I would check through every game played this year by every team and find all those walk off wins and losses. But after all that work, how do I capitalize on my research and findings? Does anyone care about this stat, or just me?

Most likely I would spend hours and hours, then close to finishing my research I would accidently discover it has been done and would have wasted all my time. That would be a walk off loss for me.

Taijuan Walker pitches Friday, King Felix’s throne shaky

Taijuan Walkers will make his major league debut Friday night in Houston. He is only 21, but the Mariners need a reason for fans to tune in to the game against Houston following the disastrous six game home stand that saw Seattle go 0-6 and be outscored 38-12.

Since the Mariners had that streak of winning-yes they had one, honest-when they climbed within four games of .500, they have gone 11-21. Maybe they were getting dizzy with success. Seattle has always been consistently good at losing, not winning.

Mariners clubhouse

Mariners clubhouse (Photo credit: Frank Fujimoto)

The Mariners look awful in August and heading the list, sorry to say, is King Felix. He is 1-4 in August with a unlike-Felix earned run average of 5.82. I have no answer, no ideas. If there is an answer, Carl Willis, Mariner pitching coach, would know. If he figures it out, I hope it is soon. Felix could be tipping pitches, his pattern may have become predictable, it may be a release point, it may be a curse. Who knows?

But he is not the only starter going south in August. Joe Saunders is 1-3, 7.16. The departed Aaron Harang was 0-2, 9.16.

And Hiroshi Iwakuma is struggling a bit at 2-2, 3.97.  The best starter is Hector Ramirez at 2-1, 4.03.

Is Taijuan Walker the answer? Not this year. The Mariners are unlikely to stretch him out. His innings will be watched as the Mariners do not want him going to many over 165. Between Jackson and Tacoma he is at 141. So Walker may get three starts, or four, depending on how they want to use him. He strikes out one per inning in his career, and at his age, with ace potential, he will be babied.

I am looking forward to September. College and pro football will be a welcome distraction for my sanity, rapidly deteriorating due to Marineritis of the brain.

 

 

History Channel will expose Raul Ibanez; Baseball will investigate

Forget websites, press guides, birth certificates. Raul Ibanez is not 41. Players his age do not hit home runs every 12 at bats. But, as you will learn, he is not younger, but actually older, much, much older.

Recently discovered manifests, logs, and ship roster show that one Juan Raul de Ibanez sailed with Ponce de Leon, who while searching for the fountain of youth, discovered Florida. Ironic in that a search for the fountain should take place in a state full of retirees. But that might be the key. Florida is overwhelmed by aged people who are growing older, all the while looking and playing younger.

English: Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon

English: Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reports that De Leon never found the fountain are undoubtedly misleading. Cross checking documents on this Juan Raul de Ibanez indicate that he never died, but dropped the Juan and the de from his name. Along with the previously mentioned discovered material is a code book, that when broken by cryptologists indicate the fountain was indeed found, not by de Leon, but by an exploratory crew of three led by Ibanez.  It is they who partook of the fountain, closely guarding its location to this day. Due to conflict between de Leon and the local natives, Ibanez and his crew were separated from de Leon, and were believed killed, and left behind.

And today, though Raul is 4th on the Mariners in at bats, he leads the team in home runs with 17 and RBIS with 42. He is 12th on the team in on base percentage, because he does not draw walks, but hits home runs, so as to take it easy on his body. A simple jog around the bases is easier than running around them. He slugs at a .524 pace.

Raul still plays the field like a 41 year old, but when you consider his true age of over 500 years he does well. The History Channel is currently producing a documentary in which all evidence will be presented in a three hour program detailing everything I have here attested to. Rumors are that Major League Baseball is investigating to see if the fountains waters could be classified as ‘performance enhancing.’ Stay tuned for more on this growing and explosive story.

Was there no syringe in Jesus Montero’s swag kit?

Major League baseball could, if all the legal wrangling is on their side, suspend twenty players . The list I saw had only fifteen, but they included known liars like Alex Rodriquez and Ryan Braun. Obviously with the numbers they have put up, their performance was enhanced.

 

Honest John Morrell

Honest John Morrell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        This is Honest John. He never used performance enhancing drugs

If Dr. Frankenstein‘s lab down in Florida had beakers full of chemical enhancers that increase a players ability to hit for a higher batting average, hit for more power, throw the ball  harder, then how can Jesus Montero be guilty of taking anything. I doubt he has even been eating Wheaties.

One could posit that in 2012 he was hitting under the influence. In his rookie campaign he batted .260, hit 15 home runs, and had 62 runs batted in. But are those the numbers of a young rookie hooked on a needle? Many baseball talking heads expected he would have had a better year. Was he not given a syringe in his PEDS swag kit? Did he have second thoughts about using a needle? If the enhanced power was in pill form, maybe lost the bottle, or hearing a knock on the door late at night, he flushed them into the sewer. Clearly if the drugs were working, he would have hit better and with more power.

In spring training this year his name surfaced in connection with Tony Bosch and the Frankenstein fountain of hits lab. Montero denied knowing anything about Bosch, the lab, PEDS, and was believable in his denial, unlike A-Fraud and Braun-Fraud.  Besides he was a Seattle Mariner, a team in need of enhancement and what kind of teammate would he be if he did not share? If Marshawn Lynch can share Skittles, Montero can share his candy.

This season began and Montero struggled, so much so, that after 29 games and 101 at bats, he was sent to AAA Tacoma to learn how to play first base because he can not catch with major league proficiency, nor could he hit, as his .208 average reflected.

One could deduce that he was playing under stress with PED allegations over his head and how it would affect his career if the truth surfaced like a mobster victim in the East River. Then again, knowing he had to get rid of evidence he cleaned up his act, quit the juice, flushed the candy, and played under normal conditions.

So he flopped like a beached whale, was sent to the minors, tore his meniscus after seven games, placed on the disabled list for at least a month, probably longer. Now he is idle and under scrutiny by Major League Baseball investigators, maybe the Feds, and even worse by the Seattle Mariner brain trust (and I use brain trust loosely) who wonder why they traded for this guy in the first place. Jesus is having one bad year. It turns out he fits in with the Mariners after all.