Thursday, March 18, 2004



The LA Times reports that Aaron Sele "could be released or traded if the Angels decided he was not the best fit for their rotation." Traded? Who exactly would want him? The only team I can think of it Tampa Bay, because they're just that dumb, plus Sele played for Mt. Lou in the 90s. And it's not like you're going to get any real value for Sele, anyway, because no team will be silly enough to take the contract. I see the Angels cutting him loose, and he may sign a minor league deal somewhere ...

Caught a snippet from this article over at the Primer:

"It's something you pay attention to, but he's a little guy. Pitchers come after little guys. Rickey (Henderson) took a lot of walks as a little, strong guy. He could hit it a mile. They're not going to throw him a breaking ball down the middle of the plate. It's not that these guys aren't good hitters. It's just that you'd rather take a line drive single than a walk."
--Tony LaRussa on Bo Hart and walks

The knee-jerk stathead response is to toss this aside, but let's think about LaRussa is saying for a moment. Does it make sense that if a pitcher gets behind a hitter with no power, he's more likely to come right at him than to nibble at the plate? Of course it does. We all know what happens when a pitcher falls behind Barry Bonds; we're in the fast lane to ball four. But, when David Eckstein is up, you're coming at him with a 3-1 fastball.

Submitted for your approval, Adam Kennedy:

2002 .040 3.79
2003 .100 3.77

I don't really know what to make of that, but isn't it possible that, after a season where he hit .312, pitchers were less likely to just come at Kennedy, and nibbled more? This doesn't really jibe with his .269 average last year, but it's not impossible. Of course, Kennedy did hit more homers last year -- 13, not a large number, but it's some degree of pop. His career Isolated Power is .129, not bad for a middle infielder.

David Eckstein:

2001 .074 3.84
2002 .074 3.71
2003 .080 3.86

Well, that doesn't provide much evidence for my theory -- or LaRussa's theory, if I properly ascribe it. Eckstein was injured and ineffective last year, but was still able to draw more walks than usual.

Here's Chone Figgins:

2002 .000 4.33
2003 .083 4.12

He had only 12 at bats in 2002, so that doesn't demonstrate much. But here's a guy with no power at all, and he sees more pitches and walks more than the other guys (aside from Kennedy last season). Why aren't pitchers just coming after him?

Someone with database skills can probably do a quick study of this, taking the guys with the lowest Isolated Power and checking their walk rates and pitches seen against the guys with the highest Isolated Power. These three examples don't mean much, but they don't provide much credence for LaRussa's theory.

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