Rants & Observations : April 22nd, 2007

Rants & Observations : April 22nd, 2007

 Russel Martin


Jack Wilson is such a text book player. Glove aside–which is the best this side of Adam Everett€”he seems to do everything a #2 hitter should do. If anyone knows where I can find the new Productive Outs stat, let me know, as Jack has to be near the top in that category.

I’m not sure what the deal is with Brad Penny this year. His fastball is still as nasty as ever, velocity wise (hit 97 last night), yet his strikeout levels are way down. In 2006, he struck out 148 in 189 IP. This season, he has only 9 K  in 26.1 IP. What’s up with that?

Russel Martin is turning into a bit of a fantasy god at the catcher’s position. In 16 games he’s hitting .305, with 14 runs, 13 RBI and 4 steals. Could we see a .300, 100 run, 80 RBI, and 20 steal season out of Martin?

Joe Madden, manager of the Devil Rays on Travis Hafner’s homerun on Saturday night:

“It’s only 442 because something stopped it,” Maddon said. “On the moon, that would be circling right now. That was as high and far as a ball has been hit in this place since I’ve been here.”

When I was at the Trop, only one or two balls made it to the back row of seats near the scoreboard during BP. In a game situation, Hafner hit the ball OVER the scoreboard, which itself is 35 feet high according to the Rays. The ball ended up hitting the back wall of the Trop. If you haven’t seen it, you can check out at http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=cle by clicking the small video link on the page. Without the back-wall, this thing may have broken Mantle’s all-time HR distance record.

I’ve seen both of Claudio Vargas starts this season and he is down right nasty. So far, he has 22 K in 13.1 IP. No one can keep up this rate but he could be a dark horse candidate for 200 strikeouts this season.

Adam Loewen had his typical line the other night, allowing only a couple of runs but walking the ballpark. If this guy can ever find his control, he’ll be a legit ace.

Speaking of Baltimore, they have a nice 10 “ 7 record early. This is directly attributably to their much maligned off-season free agent acquisitions. Everyone was bitching and moaning about their signings, yet on the whole, they were only shelling out $3 – $4 million per pitcher. Everyone knows my feelings on shelling out the $$$ for a closer (don’t do it) but I have no problem with constructing an entire bullpen on a somewhat high cost basis. The math of 4 or 5 vs 1 is rather simple. Baez, Bradford, Williamson & Walker are getting about $13 million combined. This will buy you about 230 IP of solid, low ERA & Whip production. The beauty of this system is that the cost is spread out. If one goes down or fails in producing, the whole will help to average things out. If a single high cost player begins to stink it up or gets hurt, the whole investment is lost. Think of it in a somewhat similar fashion to a stock portfolio diversification plan. The bullpen itself may bring back memories of the Seattle Mariners of the early 2000’s, which could shrink a game down to 6 innings. Bradford, Baez, Parrish, Walker, Williamson & Ray are all legit. If they can get anything out of their offense they could make a charge towards .500. And from there anything can happen.

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