...you know, just in case you didn't notice.
Trading Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom? Quite likely a contributing factor, yes. The Rockies sold low on Hammel, and brought in a pitcher that hasn't used his supposed veteraniness advantage or professional innings eating abilities to calm this rotation at all, and Lindstrom is certainly missed in the bullpen.
Not spending enough on arms during free agency? Yes and no, but mostly no. This is still a lot more complicated for Colorado than a lot of fans realize. The pitchers that would be the most clear helps to the staff weren't going to come here, and those pitchers that would have been legitimately open to a Rockies gig are a lot less predictable. Having Kevin Millwood, who has a 5.34 ERA in pitcher friendly Seattle, for instance, wouldn't be much if any of an upgrade on the current lot.
Not trading enough young prospects to get better pitchers? No. The Rockies didn't have the depth of prospects that Arizona, Washington or Cincinnati did to afford such a move. Let's hope they do next winter.
Not drafting well enough to have better pitchers/prospects in the pipeline? Yes, this is definitely a contributing factor. The last legitimate MLB starting pitcher (more than 30 career starts, or one season's worth) the Rockies drafted was Jeff Francis, and that happened 10 years ago. They've had very limited success with bullpen development from draftees as well.
Too many injuries? No. The Rockies haven't had more than their fair share in this department.
Take note that if the biggest two factors to the 2012 team's current pitching problems are the Jeremy Guthrie trade and a failure to draft MLB quality starters, that puts the blame squarely in the GM's office, albeit in the case of the Hammel trade, one I don't think many saw coming. That seemed like a loser of a trade at the time, but not the disaster for the team that it has become. Still, so far 2012 has highlighted Dan O'Dowd's weaknesses as a GM more than his strengths.
With a couple of pitchers, wait it out with what we have. A few pitchers, including Guthrie, are clearly under-performing to a degree that there's a good chance it will get at least a bit better going forward. Drew Pomeranz clearly has immense potential he needs to grow into.
Fix Jhoulys Chacin.
Tyler Chatwood and/or Alex White. You can probably put in Edwar Cabrera's name into this hat too, or if you're into NPL lottery tickets, even maybe Carlos Torres as the Rockies version of 2011 Ryan Vogelsong. But more than counting on Jamie Moyer to save the rotation as some would suggest, any significant change for the Rockies pitching will have to come from the minor league ranks where the Rockies actually have pitchers with stuff to be successful in the MLB. This doesn't mean we have to call up these guys right now (Torres already is) or that they're ready for the majors, I'm just saying that the Rockies best hope for salvaging 2012 and making a run at the end remains in having one young starter besides Pomeranz and Juan Nicasio develop into an MLB asset.
When I got back into card collecting in late 2005, my only goal was to get as many Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz cards as I possibly could. Well, actually, I thought it might be possible to get the vast majority of the cards put out featuring any of the three. As I immersed myself back into the hobby, I quickly realized that things had changed greatly since I last collected regularly in the early 90s. Not only did they each have dozens of cards produced each year, they had dozens of relic cards and autographed cards as well. I know of at least 204 Greg Maddux cards that were produced in 1998, and there’s no way that I know of them all. It was all so overwhelming to me.
I received some advice upon my return and I’ll pass it on to you. If you want to start a player collection, look for player lots on eBay. There was no shortage of Greg Maddux player lots, and Glavine and Smoltz lots weren’t exactly rare either. I’d search for “Greg Maddux Lot” and there would be several pages of listings with titles like “800 Count Lot of Greg Maddux”, “241 Different Greg Maddux Cards”, and “Maddux, Maddux, Maddux!!!!”. I think the first lot I purchased promised 250 different Greg Maddux cards. There were numerous cards from the junk wax era, but there were also dozens of shiny inserts from the late 90s. As someone who had always collected sets, I found most insert sets to be rather boring. Sitting together in a plastic page in a binder they all looked the same to me. Now, I saw them in a new light. The key was not to look at them as a set, but rather to look at them combined with other inserts.
Of course, the initial rush was tempered by the realities of eBay. I once ordered two different lots of Greg Maddux cards on the same day. One promised around 100 different cards. The other promised 75. In the 100 card lot, I only needed around 5 cards for my collection. The 75 card lot was even more disappointing as every single card in the lot was also in the 100 card lot. It turns out that even though I purchased the lots from different eBay sellers, they were shipped from the exact same address in Lexington, Kentucky. Yeah, those things stick with you.
There were other lessons I had to learn. In a fit or irresponsible spending, I laid out several hundred dollars buying 15 different Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux lots on a single day. Some of the lots were nice, but the majority were a major disappointment, but at least I had learned another lesson. In this case, it was to pay much closer attention to words like “Different” and “Assorted”. If a listing promises 100 different Tom Glavine cards, you can be reasonably certain that you will receive at least 98 different Glavine cards. You may even receive 100 different cards. If a listing advertises 100 assorted Tom Glavine cards, you might receive 5 different cards including 96 of the same ugly 1989 Tom Glavine Classic card. That is not a true story. The true story is worse. I bought a lot for around 30 dollars, free shipping, that promised 2000 Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz cards. “There are duplicates,” the listing said. Still, 2000 cards, dirt cheap, of my three favorite baseball players. How could I say no?
I should have said no. I knew I should have said no. What can I say? I was in the grip of my card lot buying sickness. At most, there were around a hundred different cards in the large lot. I received, no joke, a full 800 count box filled with identical 1989 Classic Purple Tom Glavine cards. I still have them. I removed one of them and placed it into a sheet stored in my Tom Glavine binder. The remaining cards are in a giant box of Tom Glavine cards. Occasionally, when I get the bug to reorganize my collection, I pull out the box and allow them to mock me. I threaten to throw them in the garbage, but they aren’t worried because they know I’m just bluffing. I’m not really sure what I should do with them. At this point, they serve as a cautionary tale, reminding me to be careful with every single eBay purchase.
Eventually, I weened myself off of buying lots. They were great for getting lots of cards in a hurry, but they soon became repetitive and I ended up with thousands, yes thousands, of cards I don’t want. I got my collection organized by year by player, put the cards in binders, and documented which cards I had. I was now ready to start buying cards individually. eBay was great for buying individual cards, but the economics didn’t always work out. It was difficult to justify adding two dollars to have a card shipped, when the vastly overproduced card I wanted was technically worthless. Of course, that didn’t stop me, but I did find other sources.
I began to ween myself off of eBay for purchasing single cards and switched to two sources that made it easy to find and purchase a number of cards at a time. (Sure, some eBay sellers might have a few Maddux cards I need, but eBay makes it difficult to determine this easily.) The first source I discovered was Sportlots. The site makes it easy for many different sellers to list the cards they have for sell. You can build a shopping cart and then check out with all the cards you want at one time. After your purchase, each individual seller will then ship your cards. I’ve never had an issue with any of the sellers, unlike eBay. Yes, the amount of postage you pay will be more if you get cards from numerous different sources, but I’ve still found it to be significantly cheaper than using eBay.
My second source for getting individual cards is Check Out My Cards. At COMC, as it is known, sellers actually physically ship their cards to the site where they use a patent pending technology to scan them in bulk. The seller still sets the price, and you can even make offers on the cards available. COMC and Sportlots have many similarities and many differences. Because of the COMC process, you can actually see every card you want to purchase. There are no stock images of any card. With Sportlots, a seller can attach a picture, but because of the work involved in doing so, many don’t. Also, because every card is physically in hand with COMC, you will receive one package and shipping can be considerably cheaper. On the other hand, running a company like COMC isn’t cheap, so they charge a handling fee for every card you purchase. Ultimately, I find the differences between the two services to be minimal in practice. Both make great sources for expanding your player collection, or for that matter, buying a stack of cards to complete a favorite set.
The exception to the rule though is relic cards and autograph cards. Sellers almost always prefer to sell these cards on eBay, especially those for better players. I’ve never gone big time after relic cards of the big three, but when I see one I like at a good price, I’ll pick it up. I’ve even purchased the occasional lot of relic cards for Greg Maddux. As for autographed cards, I decided I wanted a single autograph of each of the big three for my collection. They needed to be hand signed, official cards. No stickers for me, thank you very much. I got my Maddux autograph soon after my return to collecting. It was included in a lot of relic cards. A few years later, I finally pulled the trigger and purchased my Glavine auto. It’s a beautiful Sweet Spot card and I got a really good deal on it.
It took me many years to finally acquire a John Smoltz autographed card. He always had plenty available, but the right card was never available at the right price. Amazingly, in the span of one week, I ended up with two of the same card. The card in question is Smoltzy’s 2012 Gypsy Queen auto. These are utterly beautiful, hand signed items. The first I purchased off an auction I won on eBay. Was it a prudent purchase? Well, in retrospect, no. I got the card at a fair price, but I knew I had a hobby box on the way that would contain two autographs. Of course, I also knew that there was no way I would pull a John Smoltz autograph. From a retail pack, I pulled a Drew Stubbs auto. My first auto from the hobby box was of John Jay. Yes, both Stubbs and Jay are fine players, but they aren’t Braves and they aren’t exactly in demand. (Both of their autos from this set can be had for five dollars.) Still, Stubbs and Jay are the type of player whose auto I typically pull. Not this time though. This time I actually pulled a Smoltz autograph.
I wish there were some way I could turn that Smoltz autograph into a new Maddux autograph. Sadly, my Maddux auto is dying a slow but steady death. My card was put out by Fleer in 2000 as part of the Sweet Sigs subset of the Showcase product. The card features an embedded piece of baseball that was signed with a ball-point pen. The piece of baseball gets increasingly wrinkled with each passing year. The autograph itself seems to be fading slowly, even though I’ve only removed it from the snap case in which I keep it once. The card makes me so-very sad. My search has begin for a new Maddux autographed card.
(Off the record, is it just me, or does Maddux have the single worst autograph of all the Atlanta Brave greats? If it wasn’t for his name and picture on the card, I would never be able to tell whose signature it was. On the other hand, Glavine’s autograph is nearly perfect.)
So, I highly recommend player collecting. Even if you spend most of your time looking to build sets, its nice to have another collecting goal. Flipping through a binder with hundreds of cards of your favorite player is a rush. Go to eBay and purchase some player lots. Sign up for a free blog at Blogger or Tumblr or some other free blogging site and list the cards you have and ask people to trade you more. Build that binder. Have fun.
Happy Anniversary Gaylord Perry!!! On this day in 1982, Gaylord Perry won the 300th game of his major league career. As a member of the Seattle Mariners, and at home playing in the Kingdome, Perry took on the New York … Continue reading →
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The Miami Marlins picked up their fifth win in a row in a tightly-contested game against the San Diego Padres. The game was lead by Mark Buehrle, who was able to take one for the team on a night when multiple relievers were rendered unavailable due to extra workload over the last few games. Buehrle threw a complete game, allowing just five hits and one run in those nine innings. Meanwhile, the offense did struggle for a while against opposing lefty Clayton Richard, but as soon as the bullpen emerged, the Marlins took the game with three runs in eighth and ninth innings combined.Buehrle's Complete Game
Mark Buehrle was on the money for most of yesterday night's game. Sure, he had to have a decent amount of help from the Marlins' defense, which as we know is not necessarily a good idea. But two things stood out in Buehrle's start: his ground balls and control.
Of Buehrle 116 pitches, 64 were located in the traditional strike zone, good for a 55 percent rate in the zone. His rate of strikes improves when you look at his balls to called strike ratio. Buehrle was getting a 1.4 to one ratio on balls to called strikes with his fastball, meaning his placement was generally strong. His other impressive placement pitch was his curveball, on which he got four balls and five called strikes.
When he was not getting strikes in a variety of ways (Buehrle got 49 strikes that were not in play out of a total of 88 pitches not put into play), he was getting ground balls. Buehrle got ground balls on 67 percent of his balls in play, It turns out that when Buerhle forces this many ground balls, he generally ends up having success; in each of his starts with more than 45 percent ground balls, he has a 1.54 ERA.
Ramirez, Stanton Finding Their Rhythm
The Marlins' offense is on a relative roll following the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it is good to see particular players playing well after a poor April. One of those players is the eminently important Giancarlo Stanton, who blasted another home run yesterday night. Here is what the home run looked like courtesy of ESPN Home Run Tracker.
When you check the highlights, the home run was a towering shot, but it definitely did not travel as far as some of his other ones. Still, after a slew of line drive homers for Stanton this season, it is certainly a good thing to see Stanton hitting a prototypical Stanton bomb, complete with massive hang time. The Marlins have to be happy with how well he has hit in the last few games; Stanton has five home runs in six games after hitting none prior to the last day of April, His home runs so far have been low distance compared to last year; this season, he has averaged 395 feet on his "true" home run distance (accounted for wind and other park factors), while last year he averaged 416 feet.
Hanley Ramirez also happens to be fairly hot right now, as he ripped off a three-hit night last evening. The extra hits bring his season line up to .219/.311/.400, which is still not good, but is on its way to acceptable. In the month of May, he is hitting .261/.292/.435 with a home run to his name as well. It is very easy to imagine both him and Stanton improving a great deal going forward and returning to something around what we expected from them before.
Oakland first baseman Kila Ka'aihue has long been a sabermetric darling. A 15th-round draft pick a decade ago, he first showed up on the radar in 2005. At age 21, he walked 97 times while striking out 97 times and slugging 20 homers in High-A (Cal[...]
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(yeah, this is a repost from 3 years ago, with a lil editing done)The photo Topps chose here,[...]
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Back in 1986, Glenn Davis was a young power hitter at the center of Houston's offense and his future was brighter than ever. He finished second in the MVP voting as a 25-year old, hitting 31 home runs with a line of .265/.344/.493.
But, his best season may have been three years later when he turned 28. That year, Davis set a career high with 34 home runs, hitting .269/.350/.492. That's an adjusted OPS+ of 142, considering he played in the very pitcher friendly Astrodome.
Davis did most of his damage against lefties that season, hitting 14 of the home runs in 171 plate appearances. He also had a huge home/road split, getting 19 of his home runs on the road but hitting .221/.297/435 in 78 road games.
The big numbers also vaulted the Astros to their best record in a eleven-year stretch from 1987 to 1997. At 86-76, the Astros finished third in the NL West behind the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres. Davis lost out on the MVP to Kevin Mitchell, who won the award ahead of teammate Will Clark.
It was the second all-star appearance for Davis, but the last time he'd play at least 150 games in a season. The next season, Houston flipped Davis to Baltimore for Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling. Back injuries submarined much of his career, and Davis only played for three more seasons.
Davis' most similar player, according to Baseball Reference, is Adam LaRoche. In that Age 28 season, that player was Eric Karros, two pretty good first basemen that never really reached the level of superstar. LaRoche has never placed in the MVP voting and the closest Karros got was fifth in 1995.
The 28-year old hit the most home runs in Astros history since Jimmy Wynn hit 37 in 1967. Only six people in team history other than Davis have topped 34 homers, including Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Moises Alou, Wynn, Richard Hidalgo and Morgan Ensberg.
Will Ensberg be remembered like Davis one day? A player who's career ended too soon because of injuries?
While Jayne was in Lexington taking in a few Legends' games I was putting together these awesome links for your viewing pleasure.
Here's the story for the video:
The Most Successful .368 Team In The World - Baseball Nation
By Grant Brisbee
Whiskers On A Stache - An Astros Fan Blog | Rusty Staub is here to offer some Astros...
I don't know if it's the grilling tips or Rusty Staub but this video makes me all gooey for Summer.
Game to Remember: Bob Watson | astros.com: News
By Brian McTaggart
Happy Birthday Willie Mays!!! The ‘Say Hey Kid’ turns 81 years old today. Possibly the greatest all-around player in baseball history, the name Willie mays carries some major weight in the sport of professional baseball. The resume: Career .302 batting … Continue reading →
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May 6, 1915 - Red Sox slugger Babe Ruth makes his pitching debut and hits the first home run of his[...]
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