I want to address a few issues today.
- Yasmani Grandal
- The Front Office and Sabermetrics
- Calling players Choke Artists
When the Dodgers acquired Yasmani for Matt Kemp, I thought it was a great trade for the obvious reasons: (1) It was a salary dump that needed to be made; and (2) I thought Yasmani Grandal would be an All-Star Catcher who was capable of 30-35 HR a year. Yasmani has not lived up to that billing, but he is arguably still one of the top catchers in the game. He has been a 20 plus HR hitter and a great framer, but he has fallen short of what I thought he would be. He has never been my favorite player and if I were FAZ I would extend him the Qualifying Offer this off-season and hope he takes a better deal. Sorry to disappoint anyone (you know who you are), but I do not have a man-crush on Yasmani. If he takes the Dodgers QO, worse things could happen. He is just too streaky for me. Ruiz is likely ready in 2020 and I I do not think Will Smith is a starting catcher at this time.
The Front Office and Sabermetrics
Many cranky oldtimers do not like the new paradigm of baseball. They don’t like the high K rate, the inability to make “productive outs” or engage in good situational hitting is due to coaching and to roster design. They don’t like the stuff about launch angle, hitting HR’s as often as possible, the failure to hit behind the runner or to shorten up with 2 strikes. They don’t like that philosophy. They think that SABRlovers don’t appreciate all of this hoary baseball wisdom. They think that FAZ thinks that everyone should walk and hits HR’s – that’s it. Don’t worry about bat-to-ball skills.
If you believe that, I don’t even know where to start. Does anyone have an hour a day to devote to the Dodgers and statistical analysis? Two hours? Three? I doubt it. Yet the front office of the Dodgers devotes 12-15 hours a day to it and have 10-15 computer geeks crunching these numbers and developing moderating statistics for statistics. If you think they are just looking at “launch angles,” and home runs, you are silly! These guys already know what Fangraphs wrote… long before they wrote it. THIS IS THEIR DAMN JOB! They eat, sleep and breathe it!
Most likely, they have stats for productive outs. Are you kidding me? Do you really think you know more than they do? That’s just silly. I guess it makes you feel better to blame some young whippersnapper who obviously knows more than you… OK, have at it!
FAZ is building an empire: one of the best Farm System Machines in baseball and if there are any teams better at it, it is because they tanked before rebuilding! Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have only been in control for 3 years. Yes, it has been 30 years since the Dodgers won’t the World Series, but they were not responsible for the 27 years before the took over! Quit kicking the cat!
Dave Roberts may or may not be back. I hope he is because it will mean good things happened in September… and beyond. However, Friedman and Zaidi will be back (unless Farhan is lured away to be the President of baseball Operations for some other team). Just don’t kid yourself that the front office just values Home Runs and Walks. That would be really, really dumb for guys who are obviously smart. Of course, a HR is more valuable than a productive out, but they also know that a productive out is more valuable than a strikeout. Even Ray Charles…
I guess it is human nature that if we disagree with someone or don’t understand what they are doing, we tend to vilify them – it makes it easier for us to disagree. There’s a saying “Once the argument is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” I am not saying FAZ is perfect – they are not, but let’s not forget that the Dodgers who are now last in MLB in “Clutch” stats were #7 and won 104 games last year with come-back-after- comeback… and maybe, just maybe… they are due for a marvelous September.
Calling Players Choke Artists
I call things the way I see them. To me, the opposite of Clutch is Choke. I am not calling anyone gutless nor do I minimize or devalue the effort and talent it took them to get where they are. I also know that it can change at any point. They can go from Choke to Clutch in the blink of an eye. I just tend to be very direct – I once started a job interview with “I hear you are a thief.” It was something I had been told about this person. I won’t trouble you with all the details, but his answer was timely and he has been with me for 7 years now.
The Dodgers were Clutch yesterday, particularly one Justin Turner who single-handedly carried the team. Manny had a good hit and Kike was Clutch as well. el Gasolino may have to change his name as he has been unhit upon in his last 6 appearances. Floro was solid again – his ERA sits at 2.37.
Brian Dozier has not looked good with the bat, but his defense and hustle remain outstanding. These guys just need to pick each other up. Good things happen when they do. The Dodgers are 2.5 games back and in charge of their own destiny. They have plenty of fresh arms and all the bats have to do is what they are capable of. I remain hopeful… especially with Striker Buehler going tonight. If the playoffs started today, would this be the rotation: 1. Kershaw 2. Buehler 3. Ryu 4. Hill?
A bat looks like a foreign object to Austin Barnes right about now. He is capable of so much more… but he just has not got it done all year. If the Dodgers need anything, it’s a backup catcher for Yasmani. I wonder if AJ Ellis could be pried away from SD? Just sayin’….