Monday, December 18, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Adios Edition

The Jose Vidro trade is official, and even if Chris Snelling never plays another game in the majors, and even if Papa Lerner buys himself gold-plated diapers with the saved money, it's a good deal.

Snelling, to many Ms fans, was as much of an enigma as Ryan Church is to us. And, unfortunately, they seem to be under the mistaken impression that he won't get jerked around here either. Ya never know! Hopefully it'll be Church and Snelling side-by-side, but I wouldn't wager any money on that either! USS Mariner has been Snelling's biggest supporter, and one of their authors pens a love letter to the guy. Meanwhile, the natives are still restless.

  • Leaving no barrel unscraped, the Nats signed Ray King (a fat lefty) and Jason Simontachi (a broken-down righty) to non-guaranteed contracts. The King signing could be a steal. His peripheral numbers weren't all that impressive last year (.303/ .365/ .539 against LHB), but those are way out of line with his career, where he's held lefties to an impotent .216/ .286/ .310 line. Unfortunately, the underlying stats show an ugly trend. He's striking out fewer and fewer batters, walking more, and giving up more gopher balls. Some of that could be Coors (even if it's not the homer haven it was), but it's also likely that the guy is eating himself out of the league. Our friend at Federal Baseball gives this a much more thorough look than I have, and a much more thorough look than Ray Feckin' King deserves, but it's hard times for a Nats blogger, man! At least he hasn't resorted to listing books.

    Simontachi? Who knows. He wasn't good when he was healthy, and that was a few years and a shoulder surgery ago. Eh, why not? He can't be worse than Armas.

  • Dominicans love Manny Acta.

  • Our fair mlb.com beat writer is back with another mailbag, showing the delightful mix of facts and misinformed opinion that make him #1 in our hearts. We find out that Ryan Church has been handled perfectly, and that the Nats DO respect him because Jim Bowden once said something glowing about him. We also find out that he's a bad player because he strikes out too much. If you, like our misinformed, agenda-riddled friend, think that strike outs are a huge problem, this ancient article won't convince you, but it's the best effort you'll get from me.

  • OMG still hates Cristian Guzman, and seems to be gagging at the thought of him returning to short.

  • When the loyal fans of Section 320 think the Nats are screwing over the fans, you know that Kasten's really screwed the pooch hard. (See here and here)

  • The Beltway Boys has a nice look at the career of one of the All-Time great Senators, shortstop Cecil Travis, who died over the weekend. I could quibble a bit with the stats (Travis played in one of the best eras for offense), what's important is the man who compiled them.

  • As I did last year, I bought the 2006 season disk for Diamond-Mind Baseball. I haven't had the chance to really tinker around with it yet, but I thought I'd pass along a few tidbits.

    RFK Park Factors (where 100 is average, 110 is 10% above average and 90 is 10% below)
    #s in () are last year's ratings
    Left-handed batters:
    Singles: 103 (97)
    Doubles: 81 (74)
    Triples: 150 (111)
    Homers: 85 (91)

    Right-handed batters:
    Singles: 94 (80)
    Doubles: 94 (118)
    Triples: 108 (104)
    Homers: 82 (73)

    Left-handed batters were virtually the same. The larges change was the increase in right-handed singles and homers. Call that the Guillen effect. Despite our perception that RFK was a homer haven, that was as much a function of our increased power and craptacular pitching. Sure, they gave up more at home, but they gave up more on the road, too.

    The game also rates players defensively, taking into account their ability to make plays. It's not directly analogous to range, but they do sorta go hand-in-hand. They rate players in 5 categories: poor, fair, average, very good and excellent. Fr and VG represent players roughly one Standard Deviation above average. Pr and EX are about two. So most players are average, and there are only a handful at the extremes.

    A few interesting players:
    Ryan Church in center: Fair
    Royce Clayton: Average (!)
    Alex Escobar in center: Fair
    Austin Kearns: Excellent
    Nook Logan: Very Good
    Felipe Lopez: Fair
    Alfonso Soriano: Average (they're modeling an entire season, and he was pretty bad for a few months)
    Jose Vidro: Poor
    Ryan Zimmerman: Average (don't shoot the messenger, but most other defensive stats sorta agree with this)

    Alright, that's enough copyright infringement for one night!

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