Tag Archives: Carlos Guillen

Welcome to Spring Training!

While Seattle is alternating between snow and sun, the Mariners are already a few weeks into spring training in Peoria, Arizona.  Talking to people and reading different thoughts about this year’s team, it seems there are two predominant reactions.  For those who are fans but don’t necessarily get deep into following the team, there’s a lack of knowledge and sometimes interest.  And who can really blame them?  If you don’t care that much about the offseason stuff, the onfield play has given no reason for hope.  These people also tend to blame almost everything on Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln, but that’s a different issue.

The second reaction is that even the people who know this team well aren’t sure what to expect.  Part of that is natural, as the Mariners have a lot of guys who could rebound significantly, as well as a plethora of young players who could improve dramatically.  None of that is certain, though, so outside of Felix, this is a tough team to predict.  I think another factor in the uncertainty is that this is a team unlike any Mariners fans have seen in some time.  It’s legitimately build on solid young talent.  There are some veterans, but they’re either young, like Felix, or will not likely be here long, like Ichiro and Miguel Olivo.  The core of this team is young.  The last time I remember that being the case is probably back in the early and mid 90’s.  They’ve had quality prospects since then, although many haven’t panned out, but those kids were joining veteran-dominated teams.

Now the focus is squarely on the Ackleys and Smoaks and Monteros, and it’s a little hard to know what to expect.  This year should start to indicate who will be part of the team longterm and who won’t cut it, but until then, there is plenty of room for knowledgeable fans to disagree on what to expect in 2012.  Young teams are unpredictable, and most of us haven’t watched one on a daily basis in a long time.

Just for fun and as a general catchup for those who haven’t been paying a lot of attention to spring training, here’s a little fake Q & A post.  If you have real questions, put them in the comments and we’ll give you any thoughts we have.  People’s real questions would be more fun to answer than these ones I’m making up!

Any big stories so far?

The biggest has probably been Franklin Gutierrez.  This was good at first, as he reported in great shape and seemingly fully recovered from his GI issues of last season.  All anyone could talk about was how great he looked, and then he went and hit a homer off Felix in an early intrasquad game.  Unfortunately, a couple of days later he tore a pectoral muscle, which sounds terrible, and he will be out at least 4 weeks before he does anything baseball related.  Don’t expect him back before May.  In fact, if you want to be safe, don’t expect him back at all.  He should come back at some point, but given his recent struggles, it seems smarter to just keep the hopes as low as possible and then get excited if he suddenly does return and play well. Continue reading

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2012 AL West Team & Winter Wrap-Up

Unlike NCAA sports, pro sports don’t come out with pre-season 1st and 2nd teams, but if the AL West had its pre-season team, this is how I think it would shake out. My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as potential this upcoming year, and often I use the sabermetric WAR to break ties. Some of the picks are obvious (Pujols), and others are less obvious (DH), so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

A quick analysis shows that Texas is the class of the division, with more 1st team selections than the rest of the west combined. Anaheim has good 2nd tier depth, solid pitching, and balance. Texas and Anaheim each have 8 1st or 2nd team selections of the possible 10 positional categories, and of the 14 pitching spots, a whopping 11 are Rangers (6) and Angels (5). The M’s are a distant 3rd, but a ways ahead of the re-building A’s, who are loaded with average players but no star power whatsoever.

I wanted to take this chart one step further, and visually quantify the separation between teams based on these picks. To do so, I’ve simply awarded 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection. Here’s how it shakes out on a bar graph.

Lastly, here are team by team offseason wrap ups, after the jump… Continue reading

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Game Recap — 4/17/2010

It wasn’t as glamorous as Friday’s 11-3 win, but in many ways last night’s 4-2 win was equally impressive. After all, the M’s were facing Verlander, and our starter, RRS, was facing a tough task against an all right-handed hitting Tigers line-up. Seemed like a recipe for a loss. But Hyphen was up to the task, and except for a hanging curveball to Ordonez and a double to Rayburn in the 7th, that was all the damage.

As for the offense, well they banged 7 hits off Verlander. Seattle made him work especially hard in the 1st and I thought we might work him out of the game early, but Verlander hit his stride and got throught 7 strong innings. Guti went 2-4 again, with 2 RBI. Ichiro came up a homer away from the cycle, and if he was given a decent pitch to hit in his last AB, we might be celebrating his cycle today. We’ll settle for 3-3 and a walk I suppose.

Onto some notes and our hero/goat…

  • Bad call made by the 3rd base umpire in the 1st inning. It appeared Figgins had flyed out in foul territory to Carlos Guillen, which would have been enough to sacrifice Ichiro in, but instead, the ump said Guillen dropped it. On second glance, it was clear that Carlos made the catch, then dropped it on the transfer. Figgins struck out and that play would have been magnified if not for Guti coming up with an RBI base hit the next at bat.
  • Andrew pointed this out, and it is very true. The Tigers left field platoon of Johnny Damon and Carlos Guillen might be the worst defensive platoon ever.
  • The play of the game was the double play that ended the top of the 8th. After walking Inge on a full count slider, (which should have been called strike 3 I might add) runners were on 1st and 2nd, with 1 out. The next batter hit a slow chopper to Lopez who charged, made a nice play to relay to 2nd, and Figgins made the throw falling down to 1st. Kotchman scooped it for the second out, and the threat was over. It was a terrific play and probably the turning point in the game.
  • Hypen was sporting a new 2 seam change-up, which cuts at the end rather than drop like his typical 4 seam change-up. Keep an eye on this going forward, because it could be a nice addition to RRS’ arsenal.
  • Lee Tinsley positioned Bradley very close to foul territory in the 9th inning, when Ramon Santiago was up. Tinsley must have known what he was doing, because Santiago ripped a line drive down the left field line, and 99% of the time that ball is a double. But Bradley caught it with ease thanks to Tinsley’s positioning and advanced scouting.
  • Aardsma looked great tonight. I don’t understand why his fastball, which tops out at 95, is so tough to hit, especially when the batter knows it’s coming. But he places it very well, and it must have some movement that makes it difficult. Still, he worries me, though by now I should probably have more faith in him.
      Hero: Ichiro. It would be easy to give it to Guti for another solid night, but Ichiro flirted with the cycle and that is pretty special. RRS had a good outing as well, despite the no decision.

      Goat: Ken Griffey Jr. I love you Jr, but 0-4 with 2 K’s won’t cut it. Griffey only saw 14 pitches in those AB’s also.

    Today we go for the sweep! Snell is on the mound and if he wants to stay in this rotation, he had better pitch well, unlike his last start.

    -Dan

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