Thursday, May 10, 2007

Linden DFAed - Lewis and Ortmeier Come On Up

Being sick has its benefits, I get to see news sooner. :^)

Wow, after all the debates I've seen about who to call up, Linden has been DFAed and Lewis and Ortmeier have been called up, with Roberts placed on the 15-day DL. Apparently Lewis is in the starting lineup today, batting 8th. The future is now apparently with Lewis getting the shot at Roberts's ABs while he is on the DL. It is unclear whether he is playing CF or if Winn will get that spot while Roberts is out. Lewis was 5 for 11 last season in a late season September call up, so at least he has been successful in the majors thus far, though obviously he won't hit that while up.

I am sad to see him go and I am sad that he didn't do anything during this season like he did in spring training and last season, but he's clearly lost again in the batter's box. I would think that Linden would have some value, but then I would have thought the same about Niekro and he just went through waivers, where any team could have picked him up for free, and he went through, no problem. So maybe he goes back to AAA and get himself straightened out. Meanwhile, Fresno is now missing 3 OF, with Schierholtz ailing himself and no one on Connecticut doing anything special to get a call up, so I wonder what they are doing about that.

Meanwhile, I guess Lewis gets to be the starter for the next month, with Ortmeier getting ocassional starts, particularly with Winn's back being balky already. And once Roberts return, Ortmeier is the 4th OF unless Lewis does so well that the Giants have to keep him up and he becomes the 4th OF the way Linden was targeted for, getting about 300 AB the rest of the season (there was talk of Linden getting 400 ABs this season).

6 comments:

  1. Hello Martin. Hope you're feeling better.
    Well, what surprising news. I figure either the Giants are pretty sure Linden will make thru waivers, as did Niekro, or the coaching staff reassessed his upside and concluded it was not nearly as high as they previously thought. I guess the answer to that will be revealed if they assign him to Fresno if he clears waivers.
    All in all, a pretty gutsy, aggressive move by the Giants. I think he got a reasonable shot - over 5 weeks, 55 ABs, fairly regular playing time. Too bad Schierholtz got hurt; I do think he would have come up with Lewis, rather than Ortmeier - and still may once he's back to playing.
    I think this signals a bit of a change in philosophy for the Giants - but I'm not quite able to put my finger on it right now. But this now makes 4 position players from the farm system who've been given a "shot" - and the season is young.

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  2. I believe if Roberts isn't ready by the time Schierholtz is "healthy" that Ortmeier will be sent down in favor of Schierholtz. I'm pretty sure the Giants don't see Ortmeier as part of their future plans, and they'd probably like to see what Nate can do at the big league level.

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  3. Martin,
    I remember seeing something on your blog about the giants having 6 of the first 60-something picks in this June's draft. If that's true, even though you have already explained most draft picks fail to contribute, would you share your thoughts on prospective choices the Giants may be considering? Thank you.

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  4. Feeling loads better!!! Thanks allfrank!

    No allfrank, I don't think the Giants did this with the idea that they can sneak him through waivers, though if he does, I'm sure they will want to assign him to Fresno. I think they did this because they just lost their starter and Linden clearly has been lost with no sign of let up, so they brought up two guys and hope one of them get hot and carry the position for us.

    BTW, according to the Merc, Linden can refuse the assignment to Fresno if he passes through waivers and the Giants outright him to AAA. I guess that would make him a free agent. Given all his comments previously, I assume he will go free agent and try his luck elsewhere, but really, unless he wants to go to a loser franchise, he's probably not going to get a better chance than here. But his ego, I am betting right now, will get the best of him and he will leave us. However, I must note that in his interview, he noted "I'm happy there will be some sort of change, whether I'm traded or claimed off waivers. If not, I'll go to Fresno and battle it out there and see where things take me." So maybe I'll be wrong. But he's buddies with Ellison so he might want to try that avenue first and see if Seattle signs him up (even after passing if he passes waivers) if he contacts them, then he might figure that even if that don't pan out, he can come back to the Giants.

    sfgfan, it's pretty clear that Roberts won't be ready for anywhere from 4-6 weeks, and Schierholtz is only expected to be out for a few days, so I agree with you, there is a chance they will do that. I had forgotten that someone noted that he got hot after my artificial April 30 cut off, and, wow, he really is burning up the league now, isn't he?

    Yeah, I totally agree with you, he's probably coming up once it's clear he's OK, they will probably let him play a game or three first to be sure, then bring him up.

    Drake, thanks for your comment, much appreciated.

    First off, let me make this clear (and not that you said this, but that others seem to misunderstand my position plus there might be people new to my blog who don't know what you are talking about): While my research showed that most draft picks after the first 5-10 picks very rarely become good starting ballplayers, I never said that a team should try to dump all their draft picks because of these low odds that they work out. My conclusion was that a team could do that on a limited basis for a few years and not materially hurt their chances of finding such a good starting player. This was based on my finding that when a team is picking in the 21-30 range overall (like the Giants were doing when they were punting picks), there was about a 9 to 1 odds against picking a good player, or, in other words, you pick me about 11% of the time or once in 9 years. And it gets a lot worse even in the supplemental first round picks, a draft pick after the first 5-10 (depends on how deep the draft is that year and who falls for signability reasons) is pretty much like buying a lottery ticket, most of the time you are a loser and once in a while, you hit the jackpot.

    That said, anybody following baseball knows that developing young talent in the minors and seeding your major league roster with them is the best and cheapest way of becoming a regularly successful team.

    The sad part, to me, is that many Giants fans focus on the position drought but ignore the fact that we could potentially have a monster rotation with Cain, Lincecum, Lowry, and Sanchez, plus a great bullpen. And all cheaply. That will make up for any problems we have developing position prospects, if only because we have a buttload of money we can spend on free agent position players going forward, particularly once Bonds is no longer a Giant.

    About the 6 in 60, I got that from other sources, probably on sfgiants.com at some point too. I don't really know the college and high school ranks at all, I have relied on other sources, like Jonathan Mayo of MiLB.com, and various websites for info on the best players available for the draft.

    That's how I knew about Lincecum last year, everyone was talking him up for the first pick with the caveat of his unorthodox pitching motion, overuse, and rubber arm. I figured that Drabek would be the best player available when we picked, but some mock drafts had Lincecum falling to us and Sabean said he was going for the best talent, forget signability, so I mentioned him as well. Here's a link to what I wrote last year: http://obsessivegiantscompulsive.blogspot.com/2006/05/further-sabean-comments-on-draft.html

    FYI, MLB.com had a link to follow the draft, posting each pick, so it was exciting to follow the draft that way. It would provide links to read up about your team's pick and some of them had videos too. I wholeheartedly recommend doing that if you got the time and flexibility of work schedule. I recall listening to the radio too, not sure if I got a feed off the internet or if KNBR was broadcating (probably the former).

    So, that's my long-winded way of saying that I will certainly take a look at who the Giants will pick, but only after I see more comments out there from the experts and then I will give my impressions after synthesizing all that information. But I doubt I will get as close as I did last year, so take my thoughts with a Giant grain of salt. :^)

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  5. Besides being critical about the "position player drought" (nice observation, BTW) fans love to comment on the Giants "offensive problems." While failing to score or drive runners in is frustrating, it is also a big part of the game.
    I am sure few people realize the Giants lead the NL West in run scoring rate (SF: 4.35; LA: 4.314; SD: 4.286; Colo: 4.2; Az: 3.88). I am also of the opinion that the bull pen is not the problem. I say that as the pen has lost only 5 games. There is not on MLB or the Giants stat site a category for "blown save" so I don't know how many saves were blown. What I find most surprising is that 71% of our losses (12) are credited to the starter. This means we are frequently playing catch up, which always puts a lot of pressure on the offense - as well as the pen.
    So, while another all star bat would be nice, and probably produce a few more come from behind wins, that is not really what is necessary for this team. It looks like 1) scoring earlier, 2) preventing opposition runs early, and 3) preventing errors, misplays, and unearned runs are the factors that would lead to an improved W-L record.

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  6. The problem with what you wrote, allfrank, is that sometimes the starter will leave runners on base and the reliever will give up hits that score them. The starter thus gets the loss but the reliever didn't do his job either.

    That's why most sabermetricians would say that wins and losses are not the best measure of pitcher's worth/value. I think for some pitchers there is value in looking at his win/loss (like Rueter, Dave Stewart), but I do agree that W/L is not a great measure to use, it is only useful in some cases, in my opinion.

    I think the main problem with the bullpen is that most people remember the horrible failures but not the fact that even the good ones are unsuccessful at least some of the time. Even when we had the great bullpens in the early part of the decade, there were people complaining about them back then too.

    The thing, to me, is that it seems like a lot of people expect a bullpen to be perfect - 3 up, 3 down - else the bullpen sucks. The fact is, almost all pitchers will give up 1-2 hits per inning regularly, it never fails. A low WHIP of 1.0-1.2 is considered very good but that means most innings on average, he has at least one hit that inning. As a starter, that's not a big deal, but if you are a reliever and you go in with runners on base, it is a big deal.

    For relievers, you can't really look at ERA for guidance on how they are doing. For nice rough cuts, check if his WHIP is very low and his BAA is low, plus you want a high K/9 and K/BB.

    If you really want to dig in the nitty gritty, I dig into their game log to get a better view. I've never compiled stats on this so maybe I should just to see if I'm right or not, but like the logic for quality starts, I want to see if his ERA is high because he has a lot of games where he gives up a run or more, or if he just had one meltdown somewhere that skews everything.

    The problem with analyzing baseball stats with averages is that all the data is skewed, horribly so sometimes. Things are never the same, situations are not always that similar. The key is to find the right way of looking at the data, hence the rise of sabermetrics as an art/craft.

    So for a reliever, I look for two things in his game logs, generally the percentage of appearances where he gave up 0 or 1 run. If most of his outings have resulted in either of those results, I consider things to be relatively successful. Of course, I have no benchmark yet on what is good and what is not, plus this totally ignores whether he allowed inherited runners to score, but I think it gives you a clue to his performance. Luckily, if you subscribe to the Giants pre-game notes, that gives you the bullpen's success rate in preventing inherited runners score, and that is another piece of the puzzle.

    It probably would be nice to have benchmarks but I don't have time to compile such stats, nor the savvy to download the database program and game-stats and cut that data in this fashion.

    But I think most baseball fans after a while can look at the game logs and get a good feel for whether the reliever has sucked or not, generally. Then you can check his stats that I noted above, plus see how he is doing in preventing inherited runners from scoring for a more complete picture.

    I think what you wrote is refreshing in that most fans think that trading for a young player is a no brainer. They forget about the risk. Great example: look at SD and Kouzmanoff. Traded away a great 2B in Barfield who had a very good first season for Kouzmanoff, the promising 3B prospect. Totally flummoxed thus far, waaay below the Mendoza Line and they are still playing him, probably because the team is not that far behind yet, if they were 5 or more games back, it might be a different story. Not every trade works out like A-Gon did for SD, some turn out like Kouzmanoff or Andy Marte.

    Thanks for the stats on runs scored, very good stuff, we have been scoring runs relatively well for the NL West, though not well overall. We will need to boost that, but the two main problems there were Roberts and Vizquel up top and not hitting. Now with Winn up there, maybe things will perk up more.

    Yeah, don't see a stat captured for blown stats anywhere, but it is recorded for each game. You might want to check the pre-game notes for such obscure data.

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