God help us if he gets any playing time.
It looks like Edmonds could miss a lot of time due to a hernia in his lower adbomen. Ouch. I’ve heard 6 weeks to 6 months depending on it’s severity. I find this news pretty sad, as Edmonds was playing for his 1 year/$10M option to be picked up and to further his argument for the Hall of Fame. If he’s out for an extended period of time, you’d have to wonder if either events will happen. Is this the last we’ve seen of Jimmy? All I can say is, "Man, I hope not!" and hope for the best.
Jimmy’s bat in the lineup will not be easily replaced with So Taguchi, Larry Bigbie or whoever they may call up (Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan, John Gall.) But Edmonds really hasn’t been his self since the All Star Break last year. Since then he’s hitting .249/.364/.462 and homering in around every 20 at bats. (Compare that to the beginning 02 until last year’s All-Star Break .291/.404/.597 and homering in every 13 at bats, courtesy of the Day-by-Day Database.) He’s losing his power, charting his ISO at www.fangraphs.com.
We all have been hoping for bigger things from Edmonds, but with age and injury catching up to him, I’m afraid we’ve come to see the last of the Jimmy we all know and love, even if he does come back. And that makes me pretty sad to tell you the truth.
Sidney Ponson made his first start since coming off the DL and allowed only two runs over 5 innings pitched. What’s crazy is he allowed 8 Padres to reach base, allowing 7 hits and a walk. After today, Ponson is undefeated at 4-0 and owns a 2.92 ERA. Whodathunkit? It’s been a feel good story of redemption of sorts, seeing Sidney have success after being surrounded by such controversy. What’s been the secret of his success? Well, in a nutshell his K rates are about the same as the last few seasons, which is under 5 per 9 innings pitched. That’s pretty low. His walk rates have stayed about the same, which is around 3 per 9. That’s pretty average. And his HR per 9 rate is a little over 1, which again is pretty average. And he’s still inducing the same amount of grounders, which is a little over 50%, and the same amount of line drives, which is around 20%. So what gives?
A couple things:
Hitters are still putting balls in play verses Ponson, but they are falling for hits at a far, far lower rate. Try .352 with Baltimore last year to .252 (not including today’s start) so far this season. That’s just insane. This tells us mostly that Ponson’s defense was a total let down for him last season for Baltimore, and his defense in St. Louis has been his savior. The Cardinals are currently leading the NL in DER (Defensive Efficiency Ratio) with .732, while the Orioles DER last season was a little below-average with .693. For Ponson, the O’s defense constantly betrayed him, with a DER of a porous .650. That was the lowest DER for any MLB pitcher in 05. I’m sure there are other factors in play, like the move from Camden to Busch III, etc. But as I said, the defense has been the real heroes of his season thus far.
What else has helped Sir Sid? Try a sky-high strand rate.
Typically, pitchers who get a lot of strikeouts leave a lot of runners on, but as I noted, Ponson is just not a power pitcher. As you can see, the last two seasons he had no luck at all. This season, he seemingly has all the luck in the world. I don’t know if it’s a change in karma or what, maybe he’s on step 9 and is making amends and then some, and therefore his luck is turning around for him like his name is Earl. Who knows?
All in all, Sidney has been a good addition to the Cardinals so far, but his record and ERA don’t tell the whole story. With a good defense and a good bit of luck, he’s been successful, but don’t be suprised if he falls to earth soon.
(Thanks to www.fangraphs.com for the graphs)
Paul Lo Duca took a cheap shot at Braden Looper today on WFAN radio. Here’s the link to metsblog, who has the quotes. Of course, I think last night we got a taste of what Met’s fans have felt like enduring Looper.
After a dismal start by Juan Encarnacion hitting in the #2 spot in the batting order, John Rodriguez has done a great job filling that role. Even though he is regulated to facing righties, he still could see lots of at-bats this summer. What’s been the keys to his success thus far? With the help of Fangraphs.com, (and to steal their schtick a bit) let’s find out.
I had my worries about Rodriguez being able to make contact, as he struck out in 30% of his at-bats last season. But take a look at this season thus far. He’s cut down his K% dramatically. In half to be exact.
Cutting down the strikeouts has made John a much more of an asset hitting in front of Pujols. What’s also making him an asset is his willingness to take a walk. (10%)
So what’s driving up his Hornsby-esque batting average of .410?
A freakishly high amount of the balls Rodriguez puts in play are falling for hits. Nearly 50%! While it’s true that batters do have some control over the balls they put in play, much of this is dumb luck folks.
But Rodriguez has displayed some good power potential throughout his pro career and so far is making much better contact while maintaining a healthy walk rate. His BA will fall to earth soon, but if he can show the power he has demonstrated, it shouldn’t hurt his effectiveness too much. And if he can maintain this plate discipline, we should get much more production out of left field then right field, and for millions of dollars cheaper. Plus you gotta admit, J-Rod is far more likeable.
"When people say we don’t have that two-hole guy yet, I feel like I’m that guy."
"My on-base percentage is good. That’s what I have to worry about –getting on for the big guys. If you see this lineup, what place can you really put me in besides that two hole?"
"I think I could get 15 to 20 (homeruns)."
WARNING! If you are drinking something, put your drink down before you read this, otherwise whatever you’re drinking will go right through your nose. Jason Marquis, quote machine, said this of himself:
"There are a lot of quality arms that don’t get quantity. And then there are guys who can throw a lot who don’t offer consistency. I’d like to think that’s what I offer."
About a month ago, I could’ve maybe subscribed to this train of thought. But really, Jason, come on. You can like to think yourself consistent, and I’ll think of myself as a marine biologist swimming the rim of the Galapogos Islands with the enormous sea turtles.
Sidney Ponson left the game after three innings with elbow discomfort. Uh, oh. Hopefully it’s not a TJ surgery situation. Unlike Marquis, Ponson has been pretty consistent and his comeback story has been a good one. I’d hate for him to be lost for the season, but I’m not gonna panic. Not with Wainwright and Reyes waiting for a starting gig.
Speaking of Reyes, he pitched fairly well today verses the Iowa Cubs. He pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk. He struck out 7 and allowed a HR.
Did you know that 50% of the balls John Rodriguez has put in play have fallen for hits? The norm for most players is 30%. No wonder he’s hitting .417. Last season, 40% of the balls he put in play last year fell for hits, mostly due to a very high line drive percentage (30%). His line drives are down a bit this year at 23%, which seems to be more around normal. Obviously, he’s been very lucky and won’t keep up that astonishing hit rate. But he still could be productive, and encouragingly he’s picked up his walks to strikeout ratio from a poor .42 to a robust .83, showing he’s being much more selective this year then last. If he can maintain that line, and hit for the sort of power we know he’s capable of, then we’ve really got something. Here’s hoping he gets more AB’s.
There’s been a lot of kudos heading in Hector Luna’s direction, and understandably so. But I want to send some kudos to Aaron Miles. I had previously dubbed him "AAA"ron Miles, due to the poor plate discipline and lack of punch he demonstrated in a Rockies uniform. But "Coors Light" has stepped it up in the batter’s eye department, as in he’s walked 12 times to for 4 strikeouts. It’s taken him 1/12ths of the plate appearances he had in Colorado to reach 1/3 of the amount of walks he drew there. I probably like Luna as the starter at 2nd better, but Miles has held his own out there, and has seemingly gone unnoticed.
So what’s up with Hector, you might ask? He’s a puzzle. We still don’t even have a full season’s worth of plate appearances on him, and his minor league numbers ranged from "huh" to "eww". He’s striking out less this season, so that’s a plus. The last two seasons a high number of the balls he puts in play are falling for hits. (.342 in 05, in 06 so far .381) That’s probably more luck then skill. He’s demonstrating some nifty pop right now for a middle infielder. I love his range at second, and his speed, though I’d like him to be a tad more selective on the basepaths then he has this season. If he got a full seasons worth of AB’s, my guess is he’d fall upwards of around .270-.280ish/.330/.410 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and possibly steal 30 bases and hit 10 HR. But who really knows until he’s given the chance? With the way he’s been playing, he will certainly be getting more oppurtunity, so I guess we will find out.