Monday, November 30, 2009

Padres 2009 - A Tale of Two Seasons

Monday November 30, 2009

The Padres played two distinct seasons in 2009.

One defined by injuries, the other by the young players.

The Padres started the 2009 by playing .500 ball for the first two month despite injuries to Cha Seung Baek, Shawn Hill, Jae Kuk Ryu, Mark Worrell, Mike Adams, Cliff Floyd, Walter Silva. Everth Cabrera (60 day on 4/20), and Luis Rodriguez.

So during the last weeks of spring training and the 1st two months of the season the Padres lost 3 starting pitchers for the season, 3 relievers, both shortstops for extended periods, and the big bat off the bench for what turned out to be the season.

Yet they still played .500 ball.

In June injuries continued to mount as Scott Hairston, Jake Peavy, Luis Perdomo, Luke Gregerson all spent time on the DL and season ending injuries to Chris Young, Brian Giles and Cliff Floyd crippled the team.

July saw injuries to Edgar Gonzalez, Henry Blanco and David Eckstein and the 7/5 trade of Scott Hairston. It also saw the trade of Jake Peavy at the end of the month.

All this led to an influx of young players.

Tony Gwynn Jr. coming in a trade for Jody Gerut in late May.
Blanks and Venable being called up to stay in June.
Everth Cabrera taking over the starting position when he returned from his injury in June.
Mat Latos and Tim Stauffer coming up in July.
Wade LeBlanc returning and pitching effectively in late August.

Here are some of the stats that illustrate the two seasons:

Runs Scored
1st Half - 88 games 334 runs - 3.795 runs/gm  614.8 pace

2nd Half - 74 games 304 runs - 4.108 runs/gm  665.5 pace

.313 runs/gm more in second half

Runs Allowed
1st Half - 88 games 444 runs - 5.045 runs/gm  817.3 pace

2nd Half - 74 games 325 runs - 4.392 runs/gm  711.5 pace

.653 runs/gm less in 2nd half

By Season Half
Split        W    L    RS    RA    WP
First Half    36    52    334    444    .409
Second Half    39    35    304    325    .527

Split    W    L    RS    RA    WP
Home    42    39    278    321    .519
Road    33    48    360    448    .407

Second Half Record
    W    L    WP
Home    19    19     .500
Road     20    16    .555

Now the question becomes which of those seasons will the Padres follow up with in 2010.

Record injuries or .500+ ball?

Angels vote Adenhart a full playoff share

Monday November 30, 2009

How much is the memory of Nick Adenhart worth to Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?


That is what a full playoff share comes to for the Angels and the amount they gave Adenhart's estate.

Moreno and the Angels players just keep endearing themselves to baseball fans everywhere by the class with which they have carried themselves in regard to Adenhart and his untimely death this season and this may have been the classiest thing they have done.

Actions like this renew my faith in the basic goodness of people, even baseball team owners.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

Yes I know thanksgiving the day was over a few minutes ago, but after a long day spent with friends and family, I wanted to take a moment to share some of the things I am most grateful for.

On this day we set aside to show our thanks, I want to publicly express my gratitude.

Express my gratitude to God, a gracious, kind and loving heavenly father, for the great bounty of love, friends, and family he blessed me and my family with.

I am grateful for my beautiful wife. She is truly all a man could ever hope for and I am thankful everyday that she chose to say yes.

I am grateful for my good health. After all I have put my body through in nearly 50 years on this planet, God has chosen to still bless me with good health and for that I am grateful every day.

I am grateful for the prosperity I have experienced in my life. I have always had those things I have stood in need of most - a roof over my head, food in my belly and love. I have been very blessed and I am thankful for those blessings.

I am grateful to live in the greatest country in the world. We may complain about our politicians, our economy or even our health care system, but of all the places I have ever been this country is still the best one on earth.

I am grateful to live in the nearly perfect paradise that is San Diego. It was 82 today in Scripps Ranch. 82! Incredible.

I am grateful for baseball, which has been at various times my passion, my vocation and my outlet from stress.

I am grateful to live in a city where I get to watch Major League Baseball, the greatest game there is.

I am grateful for the people who read this blog. Thank you all for reading my rants and raves.

May God continue to bless us all with love, prosperity, and freedom.

- Web

Monday, November 23, 2009

Report from the Caribbean

Monday November 23, 2009

The annual whirlwind Caribbean trip is over.

4 countries, 9 games, more than 24,000 air and road miles and 16 days later and finally back to San Diego.

This year we were accompanied by some old friends from college. Go Lobos!

As usual we got to see some great talent, fun baseball with fanatic fans, and a great swath of beautiful third world countries.

Here is a short list of players I was impressed with and some names to remember.

From Liga Mexicana del Pacifico

- Thomas Diamond of Aguilas de Mexicali. On our first stop we saw this absolutely dominant reliever . A low to mid 90's fastball with tremendous movement and a devastating curve. He's a 26 year old former 1st round pick and uber prospect who is a minor league free agent after pitching for Frisco and OKC in the Rangers system last season. Tommy John surgery in 2007 cost him the entire 2007 and a part of the 2008 season and it looks like he's back.

- Local boy Mike McCoy. He just may be the fastest white boy I have ever seen. He went 1st to 3rd on an infield single. Let me say that again. He is so fast he went from 1st to 3rd on an infield single to the right side. Amazing! He is a SS and not a great fielder so we may never see him in a Blue Jays uniform, but he is sure fast.

Padres farm hand Jesus Lopez is really not getting any playing time on the veteran laden Algodoneros de Guasave. I don't know if that is by design, Padres wishes or because of injury. Wanted to see him play and then he was not in the lineup. Instead we saw Luis Borges who cannot hit his way out of a wet paper bag.

Another Padres farm hand, Gabe Dehoyos, has continued to be the best closer in the Pacific league this season. He leads the league with 11 saves and a 2.25 era in 15 appearances, He has 17 SO in 16 IP while walking just 3. DeHoyos will be 30 early in the 2010 season and he doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but he just seems to miss bats consistently.

From our sleepless stay in the land of Catchers, the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional

- Catcher Josh Thole of the New York Mets farm system and the league leading Leones de Caracas. Not only did he hit for average, he had a .508 OBP with a 8/23 K/bb rate. Thats right, nearly 3 times as many walks as strike outs.

- Catcher Wilson Ramos of the Twins farm system and the Tigres de Aragua. While Thole has been the quintessential contact hitting catcher Ramos has shows incredible power hitting 6 home runs while having a .374/.434/.635/1.069 line. Ramos did allow 2 steals in two attempts in the two games we saw him catch, but drove in 3 runs.

Love to see the Padres trade for either of those two.

We didn't get to see Sean Gallagher play, but from what we heard he has not gained his control. walking as many as he struck out. Padre utility man Oscar Salazar is also playing in Venezuela this winter as well but he plays for the Tiburones de La Guaira. He is hitting .298/.358.

Welcome to the Rep├║blica Dominicana. Our longest stop and the only one in which we took a day off from baseball when we weren't flying from place to place. What incredibly warm and beautiful beaches and people this place has!

- Conor Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks has seemed to overcome Valley fever, a disease frm fungus in dust, while playing for the Leones del Escogido in the decidedly un-dusty Liga Beisbol Dominicano. He has completely dominated the league hitting more than 50 points higher than the next highest batter with a .425/.561/.589/1.150.

- Wesley Wright is a 5'10" (maybe 5'11" in cleats) whisp of a pitcher who can bring it. He mowed down 10 in 5 innings for the Toros del Este in the game we saw him pitch while allowing just 2 hits. He should find a starting spot on the Astros club next season.

- Carlos Gomez was part of the trade from the Twins for JJ Hardy. If what we saw was any indication of his skills, this is a totally one sided trade in the Brewers favor. This 24 year old kid can cover some serious ground in the outfield. WOW!

We came here hoping to see Simon Castro and Jackson Quezada of the Padres pitch, but only Castro has seen any time on the mound here and he has had only one appearance all season. Another Padre we also expected to see play, Felix Carrasco, has not seen an time either. Felix has had the misfortune of playing behind the hottest player in the league, Conor Jackson.

The only Padres farm hand we did get to see was Luis Durango. In the game we saw he went 1 for 3 with a BB and a SO and he played CF. I think he will get a shot at being a platoon player in the Padres outfield.

Our last stop was Puerto Rico. 2 days, 2 games and on to Miami and San Diego. We got there just a couple of games into the season so we did get to see most of the kids we were looking to see.

- Remember this name. Giovany Soto. No not the catcher. This kid is a lefty pitcher for Lobos de Arecibo and the Detroit Lions farm system and he is good. He is a beanstalk (6'4" and 150 lbs dripping wet), but at just 18 years old he showed poise and great stuff. As he begins to put some meat on his bones his low to mid 90's velocity should improve and time in professional ball should improve his control. Look for him to be pushing for a starting spot in the Tigers rotation in 3-4 years.

- Brian Bogusevic of Indios de Mayaguez and the Houston Astros can rake. Not only that, but he is a VERY good in centerfield. It does not seem that he will have the power to break the starting lineup for the Astros, but a combination of a good eye, a high BA and real good speed should give him the chance to be a platoon player. At 26, he is a little old for a top prospect, but expect him to get some time in the Astros roster in 2010.

- Nate Schierholtz of the Gigantes de Carolina will probably start the 2010 season as the starting RF for the SF Giants. He was really hot in the game we saw and the scouts we sat with said he was working on staying back on pitches to gain a little more time to hit the ball the other way.

We did get to see one Padres farm hand play her, Emmanuel Quiles of the Lobos de Arecibo who came in to pinch run late in the game and then took his place behind the plate for the final 1/2 inning. Can't really say much about his play. Talked to his manager, long time minor league catcher Pat Kelly, and several scouts about him and they say he is a great kid with a real passion and head for the game. I would not be surprised at all to see him make the Padres lineup in 2012-2013.

I know that I have been neglecting this blog while I was gone, but any trip through 4 countries and 8 cities over 16 days is by necessity a hectic event.

You will see more posts over the coming days including several I wrote on the road. So if you see something that seems a little dated, it is. I probably wrote it in some hotel in Caracas or Ponce or whatever airport we were in at the moment.

I feel very lucky to be able to make the annual pilgrimage to the Caribbean and glad to be back in the paradise we call home - San Diego.

- Web

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kouzmanoff - Defensive Record but no Gold Glove

Wednesday Novermber 11, 2009

Kouzmanoff was robbed.

The Gold Glove award is not a defensive award and it hasn't been for a very long time. They give these awards to anyone who hits well and plays decent defense for a team that gets press.

They gave the Gold Glove to Rafael Palmiero in a year played 28 games at 1B and another to Barry Bonds in a year he led the league in errors in LF.

Zimmerman hit .292 with 33 hr and 106 rbi. He does make alot of Web Gems, but he also blows alot of plays as evidenced by 17 errors. Only 4 players had MORE errors at 3B.

Kouzmanoff just makes every play. But he didn't hit 30+ home runs or play in Washington DC so he didn't get the press Zimmerman did.

Kouzmanoff's Web Gems weren't shown on SportsCenter because his games started after the 10pm EST SportsCenter started.

So the press didn't SEE him play. They simply don't know what he did.

And for those pushing UZR, did you know that it doesn't take into account ballpark or positioning? It doesn't take into account if you have someone playing next to you like Cabrera who makes a lot of plays deep in the hole. Actually it penalizes you if the guy playing next to you is a great player and gets to some balls in the bordering zone.

All it takes into account on range is whether a player made a play on a ball hit into a zone in which 50% of other players touched the ball in.

And I don't even want to go into the entire argument about the number of TC Zimmerman had versus how many Kouzmanoff had. I did two entire articles on that. Suffice to say the stats show it had much more to do with more IP by LHP and a higher ground ball percentage against those pitchers than with getting to balls farther away from the players original positioning.

Kinda sad when the supposed defensive award goes to a guy that is close to the worst at making errors rather than the guy who set a NL record for being the best.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Yankees buy World Series title #27

Wednesday November 4, 2009

Congratulation New York Yankees!

You have proven that if you spend $200 million, $80 million more than your opponent, $60 million more than any other team in baseball and nearly 10 TIMES as much as the lowest payroll team, you can buy a World Series title.

By taking game 6 over the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3, the New York Yankees claimed the 27th World Series title in the franchise's storied history.

The Yankees World Series win and the fact that all but one of the teams that made the playoffs had a season ending payroll of over $100 million, has shone a 200 million candlepower spotlight on the fact that the business of baseball is broken.

It has revealed in a crystal clear manner no amount of spin can obfuscate that money is truly the only thing that matters when it comes to a franchises success in baseball.

It is time to make some changes before another generation of fans in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Milwaukee and many other small market towns wake up on opening day knowing they have no chance to watch their team play a playoff game.

Padres outright Edgar Gonzalez to minors

Wednesday November 4, 2009

According to a report by Bill Center in the San Diego Union Tribune, the San Diego Padres have dropped Edgar Gonzalez, the older brother of Padres All Star 1st Baseman Adrian Gonzalez, from the 40 man roster and outrighted him to the AAA Portland Beavers.

Gonzalez, who spent 9 years in the minor leagues before getting a shot with the Padres in 2008, has chosen free agency instead of accepting the demotion and we have likely seen the last of him in the Padres organization.

I have been one of EGon's biggest critics in the blogosphere this season and am not surprised that he has been dumped to make room on the 40 man roster for one of the good young players that have emerged (or been traded for by Kevin Towers) in the Padres organization in 2009.

Over 478 abs in 193 games, Egon has hit .255/.312/.381/.693 with 11 hr and a 112/36 K to BB ratio. In 2009 he hit an anemic .216/.278 while making 28 starts over 82 appearances.

I am quite sure neither his bat nor his defense will be missed.

Regardless of my thoughts on Edgar Gonzalez the player, it has been heartwarming to see the two brothers play together.

I hope Edgar lands on his feet with another team.

Report on the Padres farm hands in the AFL

Wednesday November 4, 2009

From Uber-Prospect Central, the AFL!

The Arizona Fall League is the place for teams to showcase the skills of their top prospects.

This is the place we get to come to and watch Uber prospects get a chance to go head to head against the best of the best the minor leagues has to offer.

Well ... most of the Padres players in the AFL are having a rough go of it against the best prospects in baseball, combining on a 4.91 ERA and a .223 batting average and .297 OBP.

Top Padres catching prospect Mitch Canham is hitting a robust .036. 1 for 28 over 8 games. After seeing him bat against several good young pitchers in the AFL, I am not so sure we are watching a great hitting catcher. Canham's defense is suspect, so he is not very valuable as a prospect if he can't hit at a high level.

Cedric Hunter, one of the younger players on the Peoria Saguaros team at 21, is holding his own with a .288 BA, but his .304 obp with no home runs is a little disconcerting for a player expected to have a shot at being the Padres CF of the future.

SS Lance Zawadski is hitting .259 with a .389 slg %. I don't think a mediocre batting average and slugging percentage under .400 is what the Padres were looking for from Zawadski.

Of the 4 pitchers the Padres sent to the AFL, Only Evan Scribner is having what you could call a good performance. His 2.84 ERA in 7 appearances is 7th on his team in ERA, but he has only been used in mop up at the end of games (no holds or saves) so he has only thrown 6.1 innings while giving up just 3 hits and 2 earned runs. his 5 BB/5 K ratio is not promising though.

Mark Demark (one of the oldest players in the league at 26) has a 7.71 ERA over 6 appearances with a 7.0 IP/8 Hits/7 Runs/6 Earned Runs/5 BB/6 K as a line. Too old to really be a top prospect and getting crushed by the true prospects.

The beat writer for the Padres posted an article praising the performance of Steve Garrison who returned this season from a long layoff after surgery.

Garrison has started 4 games and thrown 11.1 innings so far. After getting roughed up in his first start, giving up 4 runs in 2 innings, Garrison has rebounded to post a 3.97 ERA, giving up 5 runs on 13 hits and 4 walks while striking out 5.

The other Padres pitcher, Brandon Gomes, has a 5.40 ERA in 6 middle relief appearances. He has given up a .294 BAA. Ouch!

Not exactly stellar performances from the players the Padres have sent to the AFL.

I guess I should cut the Padres some slack. Almost all of their top prospects above High A Lake Elsinore played at the major league level this season.

In a typical year in a typical organization players like Mat Latos, Luis Durango, and Ernesto Frieri would more than likely be showcasing their skills as part of the Padres contingent on an AFL roster, not the September roster for the big league squad.

I guess we should be glad that we got to see some of the future in San Diego, instead of Arizona and that for the most part they played well and showed promise.

3 computers later and we are back

Wednesday November 4, 2009

After 3 separate computer failures and many hours of gnashing teeth as we tried unsuccessfully to to recover several hundred gigabytes of data from multiple computer hard drives, Websoulsurfer is back in business.

I would like the thank The Chip Merchant in San Diego for all their help in getting our computers operational.

We lost more than a dozen articles that had been written for this blog and other publications, but we are working to catch up.

Expect to see a flurry of articles on the Padres recent actions here.