Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Temperature Gauge, Gossip Locker Room, A.J. & Whitson, Minaya Deserves Credit, Gary Cohen Wants No Changes at Citi

Temperature Gauge, Gossip Locker Room, A.J. & Whitson, Minaya Deserves Credit, Gary Cohen Wants No Changes at Citi



By Mike Silva ~ August 27th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

In case I lose power from Hurricane Irene, I have posted a few pieces to go up over the next couple of days. I anticipate the pre-record audio from this week’s show to be up in a few hours. Stay safe out there and hopefully we will still be able to talk baseball here over the next 48 hours. If not, see you when I return

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I have been critical of the members of the statistical community, but I must admit I have learned a great deal from them since I started this venture. There are a number of stats that help in analyzing players abilities. There are a great deal others that are simply “fun with numbers.” I think the latest one by Bill James falls into the latter category. Check out the Temperature Gauge Statistic:

Temperature Gauge is a measure of how hot or cold a hitter is using Fahrenheit degrees as the metric. A hitter starts the year at 72 degrees (room temperature), every time he reaches base, it goes up; increasing incrementally with a double, triple or home run. Inversely an out, strikeout or double play decreases a hitter’s temperature. 

Fifty percent of the temperature is calculated using the hitter’s last three to four games; 25 percent is the previous three or four games. The other 25 percent dates back to the beginning of the season.  Therefore, the hitter’s most recent performance is the key contributor to how hot or cold he is.

You can watch James with Tom Caron of NESN below:

Talk about statistical saturation of the market.

***

Want to know why mainstream media companies are a joke? Not the reporters, they work hard, but the people who run these companies leave much to be desired. Check out this blurb from Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY.

Derek Jeter virtually ran off a local Associated Press reporter who approached him before the game and said he had “a couple of questions. ”Then he prefaced the first one with, “My boss wants me to ask you .. ” 

Of course, the question involved Jeter and the reports that he and girlfriend Minka Kelly had split up. “The’s the last question,” Jeter said. “No more questions. No mas. What is this, a gossip lockerroom?” 

The unfortunate soul slunk off with an empty notebook. Wonder what he told his boss?

The reporter should have known he wouldn’t get an answer with the way he approached Jeter. As soon as you say “my boss wanted me to ask,” the antenna of the interviewee goes up.

Stupid question that deserved the response Jeter gave.

***

Is A.J. Burnett moving into Ed Whitson territory? After last night’s 9 runs in 5 innings his season ERA stands at 5.31. Over a season and a half (85-86), Ed Whitson was 15-10 with a 5.38 ERA. He had an ERA+ of 75. Burnett isn’t quite there yet for his career, but he is approaching it.

The difference is the fans were much harder on Whitson, leading to Lou Piniella stopped pitching him at Yankee Stadium. Ian O’Connor caught up with Whitson last May when Javier Vazquez was struggling:

Whitson will talk about Steinbrenner, and the mercy he showed on the pitcher’s tortured soul. In 1986, manager Lou Piniella knew Whitson wanted out of New York, knew he felt suffocated by the press and felt threatened by the fans (one had left tacks under Whitson’s car tires in his New Jersey driveway). Piniella reduced him to a mop-up man and refused to throw him in Yankee Stadium, even though Whitson never requested a road-only workload.

Steinbrenner traded Whitson and his 5-2 record back to the Padres in July, traded the pitcher back to a quieter, saner culture and his favorite fishing spot on Lake Poway.

“George is a great human being,” Whitson said. “He never once said a bad word about me, and he honored every single thing he told me he’d do.”

Only it wasn’t over for Whitson in New York, not even close. Before his next scheduled start against the Mets at Shea, the phone rang in his Manhattan hotel room.

“Is this Ed Whitson?” the voice said.

“Yes.”

“If you start this game tonight, I’m going to blow your brains out.”

Whitson asked the man to reveal his identity, and the caller repeated the threat before hanging up. The pitcher alerted the Padres, who then contacted the commissioner’s office.

George [Steinbrenner] is a great human being. He never once said a bad word about me, and he honored every single thing he told me he’d do.

“I had to ride to the ballpark with Bart Giamatti and his security team,” Whitson said. “Stuff like that can tear a guy up.”

I think Burnett might be having a “Whitson-esque” season, but not a similar type of career. It does appear to be moving in that Oliver Perez/Ed Whitson direction if things don’t turn around.

Whitson’s advice to Javier Vazquez in the column is appropriate for Burnett as well:

I would tell Vazquez I’ve been there,” Whitson said. “I’d tell him to forget about everything people are saying and just throw the damn ball like you threw it in Atlanta. I’d tell him you can’t make every pitch perfect, because only God himself can do that.”

All the Yankees can do is continue to start him every five days. They could sit him for the postseason, and perhaps find a taker in a trade this winter.

***

I don’t agree with Michael Kay often, but he said during last night’s broadcast how Burnett couldn’t “ask for a better boss than Girardi.” He looked pained speaking about Burnett’s performance to reporters during the postgame.

“I’m frustrated for him,” Girardi said. “You don’t want to see anyone struggle in this game. This game is hard. It’s tough to go through months like this, whether you’re a pitcher or a position player and you’re struggling and hitting .150 for the month. It’s tough; you’re frustrated for him. You want him to turn it around… Right now he’s really struggling. In 2009, he did some really good things for us. IN 2010, he started off great, then he got in a funk and had a hard time getting out of it. He started out pretty good this year, but he’s in another funk. He’s got to fight his way out of it.”

***

I know this will be unpopular, but shouldn’t Omar Minaya get some credit for this season? The Mets are 62-68, and their injuries should have made them significantly worse. The farm system doesn’t have impact player depth, but there are some really nice pieces that have emerged. Without the Triple-A depth this could have turned out to be one of the worst teams in baseball.

Dillon Gee, Lucas Duda, and Ruben Tejada were all signed and developed largely under Minaya. Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy were having a nice year before their injuries. There’s also Justin Turner, not a star, but a serviceable backup who is a fan favorite that Minaya acquired off waivers. If Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia get a call-up the next few years, remember they were also signed under Minaya.

Minaya was a lousy executive. He signed some players to bad long term deals, had bad coaches and managers on the field, and was undermined by Tony Bernazard. Letting Rick Peterson go in 2008 was a mistake as well.

With that said, he didn’t leave the Mets completely barren in terms of the farm system. If the farm system was as terrible as the prognosticators stated, they wouldn’t be as competitive as they are this year. Minaya’s youngsters appear to be poised to become even bigger parts of the ’12 team.

It seemed to me the system was turning around the last couple of years under his tenure. He blew the 2006-2007 drafts big time. Eddie Kunz was the biggest flop, as he tried to catch the same lightening in a bottle with Kunz that he did in Montreal by drafting Chad Cordero, who would close ballgames immediately. Minaya used the 2007 1st round pick as a “win now” piece. I understand it theoretically, but Kunz didn’t appear to have it from day one in Brooklyn. I still wonder what they saw in the kid when he was scouted. They also got unlucky with their other first round pick, Nathan Vineyard, a high school lefty that flaked out in pro ball. That draft did produce Duda and Gee, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

What also set Minaya back was putting money in international busts like Fernando Martinez and Fernando Pena. His best stretch was 2004-2006 when he signed Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner and traded for Carlos Delgado;  leveraging a hot six weeks by Mike Jacobs. Give him credit for recruiting as the Mets were turned down by role players during his early tenure because they didn’t want to come to the organization. That kind of free agent foray never happened before in the history of the team.

Sandy Alderson and company will build a sustainable winning situation. They will bring in good people to coach these players in order to get them to maximize their potential. They may be left with financial messes, but Minaya didn’t leave them without some kids to work with. There also was some fun years filled with disappointment. I think you would take that over the meaningless games in September they are playing now.

***

Gary Cohen said during last night’s broadcast that Citi Field is “fine.” I respect Gary’s opinion, but he is way off on this one. Just a few innings later Lucas Duda hit a 415 foot double to right field. It couldn’t have been a better example for me to articulate the fallacy of Cohen’s theory.

Any ballpark that plays extreme is a bad thing. You get fooled by the performance of your pitchers, and offense becomes a thankless job. You can’t just get a double if you hit the ball that far.

Lower the left field fences and bring the quirky fence by the Mo-Zone in, as we talked about yesterday.

***

Terry Collins reiterated he is going to put Jose Reyes on a rest schedule next season. I wonder if other teams will do the same, especially if they fork over a 7 year contract. Probably not, and that makes me wonder if the need for that kind of rest will hurt Reyes’s value during the offseason.

It will be interesting to see what kind of “rest schedule” Collins implements.

***

Talking about Bill James again, Mark Teixeira is among the leaders in saving runs via scoops at first base. Teixeira has 27 as of August 22nd according to John Dewan of ACTA Sports.

Bill James devised an answer to this problem and related questions with the Good Fielding Plays and Defensive Misplays systems. Baseball Info Solutions’ video scouts track 28 categories of Good Fielding Plays (GFP) and 54 categories of Defensive Misplays & Errors (DME), including GFP #7 “Handling Difficult Throw”, which includes traditional first baseman scoops, and GFP #8 “Catches Wild Throw” which saves an overthrow but pulls the fielder off the base. Combining GFP #7 and #8, here are the leaders in Scoops GFP:

Here are the “scoops leaders.”

Carlos Pena, ChC 52
Freddie Freeman, Atl 37
Adam Lind, Tor 28
Mark Teixeira, NYY 27
Eric Hosmer KC 27
Daric Barton, Oak 27
Adrian Gonzalez, Bos 27

If the Yanks were able to acquire Carlos Pena from the Cubs, perhaps he would have been better at first and Teixeira at DH; thoughts?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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