Tag Archives: Marlins

A Brief Conversation About Hitting and Home Runs with Matt Kemp

Kemp is a tough nut to crack. He’s often stand-offish with the press and is the brunt of criticism, sometimes undeservedly, but he is who he is and he’s a fantastic baseball player.

So when I tried to talk to him about home runs and fastballs, he didn’t give me a whole lot, but he gave me a few things.

Without further ado:

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

Counterpoint: Haeger’s knuckler was really working

In yesterday’s article, I asked if the Marlins could approach historical levels of strikeouts by a team.  An outside shot, no doubt, but they had 12 strikeouts at the hands of a knuckleballer and were terrible at not swinging at pitches.

Dave Allen at Fangraphs posted this today and it’s a very good read about the effectiveness of knuckleballs.  Apparently Haeger was getting movement on his pitches similar to Tim Wakefield, the pinnacle of a modern-day knuckleball pitcher.  That could explain why there were so many strikeouts yesterday, but dang.  Imagine if he keeps that up all season.

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Brilliant performance by Kuroda last night

So far, we’ve heard a number of reasons for the Dodgers’ first two losses, but frankly, this is one of those times when the “we have 158 games left to play” is applicable.  A shakey start from an ace and a horrible start from a mediocre pitcher caused two losses.  Two brilliant performances by a potential ace and a decent starter created two wins.

Hiroki Kuroda came in last night and pitched a hell of a game.  He was locating his pitches and was able to fool the Marlins, who are one of the better patient-hitting teams in baseball (.268 BA/.340 OBP last year), into swinging at a number of balls.  From the look of MLB.com’s Pitch F/X, it looks like he was gifted a wider strike zone, but damn if he wasn’t filling it.

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PECOTA is probably wrong

This can’t be right.

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA league standings projection system came out today and it’s all over the blagoblag.

The projections, which twice correctly predicted huge jumps in the standings in 2008 for the Tampa Bay Rays and 2006 for the Chicago White Sox, had a very bad year last year and another bad year might cause people to look to other projection systems or maybe ignore the process.

PECOTA uses an intriguing system.  Started by SABR legend Nate Silver, it mapped every career ever had by any player in history and then applied those career arcs to the players with similar production–like I said in an earlier post, baseball is fortunate enough to have such an enormous sample size to take from.  From there, it extracted what the likelihood of the player’s production would be–10% (bad), 50% (average for him) and 90% (way above average).  Then it takes those player predictions, combines them into a team’s total run production (and prevention on pitching and defense) and voila! You have your pythagorian win-loss record.

One reason why PECOTA had such a bad year in 2009 wasn’t because of bad luck–PECOTA projections do not account for injury, trades or other things that come into play during a season–it’s because it projected inaccurately.* Even by pythagorian record, the A’s and Angels were swapped. The Indians and the Diamondbacks just plain old stunk. Craig Calcaterra pointed out PECOTA predicted one of the most amazing seasons in history by a rookie catcher for Matt Weiters and they were pretty far off.

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Marlins extend Josh Johnson, four years, 39 mil

I guess the Marlins took MLB’s money-spending mandate to heart.

Marlins threw down four years, $39 million for Josh Johnson todayMLBTR reports it’s similar to Greinke’s pre-CYA deal (4/38).

This was kinda what I was hoping the Marlins would spend it on, but after looking at Johnson’s work over his career …

Johnson’s workload jumped from ~120 innings in the minors and majors combined in 2008 to 209 innings in 2009.  He pitched 1412 pitches in 2008 and 3,284 pitches in 2009.  Most prospects have an easy transition into higher inning and pitch counts, about 10-20% more per year.  This is just straight up reckless.

Just be glad that if Johnson goes down next year, he at least got his paycheck.

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Filed under contract extensions, MLB

Marlins told to increase payroll

So today starts with an interesting story.

THIS IS BREAKING NEWS…

The following joint statement was issued today by the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and the Florida Marlins:

The Basic Agreement requires that each Club use its revenue sharing receipts in an effort to improve its performance on the field. This requirement is of obvious importance to all players, Clubs and fans of the game. In recent years, the Union has had concerns that certain Clubs have not lived up to this requirement, and has consulted regularly with the Commissioner’s Office about those concerns. The Florida Marlins are one of a number of Clubs that have been discussed.

After extensive discussions, the three parties are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement regarding the Florida Marlins’ continued compliance with Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement.

MLB told Jeffrey Loria to stop feeding off the revenue sharing system on the game. One of the reasons a salary floor is discussed is because team owners can have total team salary under the revenue sharing line and make money hand over fist, as Loria has done in past years.  There are many problems with a salary floor, however, so it’s never gone past the talking stage.

This mandate seems to be a proactive solution by Selig and the league owners.  I kinda like it.  Loria hasn’t spent more than $36 million on team payroll since 2005.  It was, for a few years, in the $40 millions and reached its peak at $60 million in 2005.  After 2005, though, payroll was slashed to $14 million and has been one of the lowest in the league ever since.

Marlins front office guy doesn’t like it.

Marlins’ President David Samson said:

“The Marlins have consistently made every effort to put the best product on the field and our record supports the fact that we have been successful in that regard. Throughout the discussions, the Marlins maintained that there had been no violation of the Basic Agreement at any time. While we know that the Marlins will always comply with the Basic Agreement, we were happy to work cooperatively with the Union and the Commissioner’s Office on this matter.”

Big surprise.  But it’s unfair to the league, the other teams and the players, who each do their best to promote the sport, while the Marlins claim to build talent and then offer to trade their best players.   The Marlins have spent some in the draft and continue to reel in prospects, but then threaten to trade off valuable players just before their turn in arbitration. Dan Uggla and Josh Johnson’s names were both thrown around in trade discussions this off-season and they’ve both just reached three years of service.  Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez signed a deal through 2014.

Now what happens next is gonna get weird, there’s virtually no way to see if he’s complying in the short term and I don’t know what MLB can do to punish him.  Knowing Selig, whatever happens will be very public and very embarrassing for someone.

After extensive discussions, the three parties are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement regarding the Florida Marlins’ continued compliance with Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement.

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