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pmoehrin last won the day on September 25 2016

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  1. He’s been a good hitter, but he’s only been top top in doubles and hits once in his career. Those are his only top ten appearances in any major offensive category. His 2.9 offensive bWAR is higher than his last three years combined. There was nothing to suggest coming into this year that Howie Kendrick was going to be anything more than a backup infielder. Instead, he’s become arguably the second best hitter on the team after Anthony Rendon. He’s the biggest difference between where the Nats were in April, and where they are now.
  2. It's interesting to look at the Nationals roster on baseball-reference, because the first thing you see is their record, and then you see the starting lineup they had for most of the regular season. And the first thing that comes to mind is, how do you think 93 wins out of that lineup, but more interestingly how does a lineup that on the surface appears to be little more than Rendon, Soto, and friends end up being second in the NL in OPS? It's not until you scroll down to the bench that things start to make sense because sitting pretty with a .344 batting average to go with 17 homers is Howie Kendrick. Scroll down a little bit further, and you'll see Asdrubal Cabrera at .323 Now swap out Matt Adams and Brian Dozier for those two, and all of a sudden it doesn't look like Rendon, Soto, and the bat boy, because you took out the two of the three biggest weaknesses in the lineup, and turned them into strengths. We know about the pitching, but this is the secret to Washington's success. At 35 years old, Howie Kendrick might be one of the 20-30 best position players going, and it came out of nowhere. Juan Soto is the only player on the roster with any upside; everyone else is either going to stay the same or get worse. So this is it for the Nationals in their current incarnation. They may get back to the Series one day, but it won't be with this roster. But if you can match up Anthony Rendon with a .340 hitter, to go with a possible future-HOF left fielder in Jean Soto, a slam dunk HOF starter in Max Scherzer, and a doubtful but still has a chance potential HOFer in Stephen Strasburg, why can't they be the ones to win it all? A very good team firing on all cylinders can and have beaten great teams, and I see the Nationals as a very good team that is peaking at just the right time. That's what got them past the Dodgers who are probably a better team than them, and its why they steamrolled the Cardinals. I don't know if Washington is going to win the World Series, but I think they are going to put up a lot tougher fight than most people think. Their starting pitching can match Houston punch for punch, and if the ball isn't flying out of the park the same, its also advantage Nationals who are arguably the best running team in baseball.
  3. A few thoughts on Managerial openings. Angels: A little surprised the Angles pulled the plug so quickly on Brad Ausmus, but he was never a good fit in Anaheim. Quite frankly, I was surprised the Angels hired him, given how low his reputation was coming out of Detroit. But this is also the same team that tried to build a rotation around Matt Harvey, so maybe I shouldn't be all that surprised. I think its almost a sure bet Joe Maddon will be the next Angels manager. His ties to the club goes back decades, and I don't think it's going to take a lot of coaxing to get Maddon or anyone out to Southern California to manage Mike Trout. What I like the most about this potential hire is that Maddon has a great track record for dealing with pitchers, and the Angels have the worst pitching staff in baseball. Mike Trout was the only reason they didn't lose 100+ games last year. Whatever the Angels are doing with developing or handling pitchers, its clearly not working. But one phone call to Jim Hickey could solve a lot of those issues, and Maddon is in the place to make that call. Cubs: I feel like this one had a lot more to do with philosophical differences than anything on the field. Joe Maddon gave the Cubs something no other manager has in over 100 years. A World Series trophy. The Cubs have had 8 90+ win seasons since 1970. Joe Maddon was the manager for half of those teams. I can't see how anyone could even argue against him being the greatest Cub manager since Charlie Grimm, and that goes back to the 1940s. I don't see the Cubs being at a loss for potential replacements. I know they've spoken to David Ross, who strikes me a good candidate for a would-be rookie manager. I think Joe Girardi would be another good fit. I could see Gable Kapler being a good hire here as well. Whoever the new hire is probably won't be as good as Maddon, but I don't see Theo screwing this up either. That core unit of Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, and Schwarber still have a lot of years left in them and I think anyone coming in will be in a good spot. Giants: This might be the biggest wild card of the bunch, or it could be the most predictable. Normally I would expect potential candidates to be beating down the door for this job, but I don't know who much interest there is going to be. Of every team listed, this is probably the most likely team to go with an in-house hire. Ron Wotus has been coaching the Giants seemingly since the dawn of time, and Hensley Meulens has been mentioned more than once in managerial searches, but to no avail. I think either or would make for a good short-term hire. This is a team that needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and figure out where they're going to go, because there doesn't seem much of a plan in place either long-term, or short-term. That should be more concerning than any potential new manager. Mets: I don't think this one caught anyone by surprise. Anything short of a postseason birth, and Mickey was going to be gone. I was a little surprised they didn't fire him mid-season after the Mets got off to another dreadful start before showing signs once again of being a dominating team when everything is clicking. Even after two years, it's tough to say how good this Met team is. I don't think the Mets will be at a loss for managerial candidates, but I would recommend they go with someone with experience. I think Joe Girardi would make sense, but looking around the league, I would want to put a call into both Dave Magadan and Joe McEwing. Magadan has been arguably the most accomplished hitting coach in baseball over the past decade, and McEwing has coached for the White Sox under two different staffs. Tony DeFrancesco is another person I would be interested in talking too. He might be the best minor-league manager in baseball right now. Callaway, for his part, will likely go back to being a pitching coach somewhere. Larry Rothschild was a disaster as a manager for the Rays but has earned the reputation as a pitching sage in recent years. Padres: Of every job out there, this one might have the most appeal. Only 72-90 last year, but this is a team that's ready to kick some ass. I still think they are a year away from being serious contenders, but it would not shock me if the Padres are 2021 World Series champions. Everything is set up for this team to explode. I know they just interviewed Brad Ausmus, which I think would be a terrible hire. They've also talked Mark Loretta, who I think would be a better choice, but I also hope they give some attention to Glenn Hoffman. I know he hasn't managed since '98, but he's also a holdover from Bruce Bochy's staff. So why not go with the most loyal coach to head up a squad on the verge of breaking out? I rather whiff on a hire like that than going with a retread from outside the organization, or a first-time manager. Phillies: This one I found pretty shocking, and it's not a good sign that this move seemed to have more to do with philosophical differences within the origination than anything on the field. I think the issue is ownership thinks the team is a lot closer to being a World Series contender than they really are. I thought the team made strides this year even though they won one more game, but there's still issues with this club. Priority one in the off season needs to be shutting down the idea of Maikel Franco being a starting third baseman. Four years and no progression means its time to move on. They got exposed on their lack of outfield depth which also to be addressed. And they probably need to retool a lot of their pitching. Nola, Arieta, Eflin, and Velasquez is not enough to get the job done as the #1-#4 starters and that's been their rotation for three years now. They have to make at least one change to the rotation. But the toughest pill to swallow may be the fact that the Phillies don't have a position player they can build a World Series team around. This is why I don't think they are that close. As much as the Phillips want Bryce Harper to be that guy, a good right fielder seems to be the ceiling for him. The end result is a team that's too good to justify a rebuild, but not good enough to where they can justify giving up prospects for short-term rentals. I do think Gabe Kapler will get another chance elsewhere. It may not happen right away, but I found more to like than dislike, and I do think managers, for the most part, get better over time. So I'm pretty confident that he will be somewhere by 2021. If the Dodgers fire Dave Roberts, I think Kapler shoots right to the top of that managerial search list. As for a potential Phillies hire, I think they will probably end up with a vet. I've heard Buck Showalter who I think would be a good fit. I've also heard Joe Espada who would probably be my pick if I was doing the hiring. You will hear his name come up again, and again for any managerial opening. Pirates: Clint Hurdle’s retirement has created an opening for team that as far as I can tell, is in total free fall. Their best bet might be to hope someone like Buck Showalter falls into their lap. I think any first year manager is going to be set up to fail from day one, and I think the Pirates will likely be left going through the scrapheap of what's left. The one name I've heard if Jeff Bannister, who I don't think would be a great hire, but I don't think the Pirates are in a situation where they can be all that choosy either. Royals: Similar to Pittsburgh, this is a job that has bad news written all over it. Again, I think any first-year manager would be in a set-up to fail situation, and I think the Royals will end up with whatever veteran manager they can get. The big rumor is Mike Matheny who I don't think is a good manager, but the Royals will be so bad for the next three years, I don't think its going to matter who their manager is.
  4. I actually did some research on this for a now scrapped article idea a few months ago. I researched 20+ years of postseason match-ups and could find no discernible evidence that having time off either helps or hurts a team's World Series chances. The only advantage I can see to having time off is that it allows you the opportunity to set up your rotation better. But if you lose game one, any advantage you gain from this goes out the window. If you lose game one, that means either game two or game three are must-wins, and you will likely be going up against the opposing team's ace in one of those games. At best, having time off gives a team a marginal pitching advantage that nullifies itself by game three. More likely, it's as important as what each side had for breakfast that morning. You are right though in that most players hate having time off in the postseason. But that's because players just want to get the season over with at this point in the year. A off-day in October usually means going to the ballpark for practice. After seven straight months of baseball, practicing baseball is about the last thing anyone wants to do. Anyone who's 100% healthy at this point in the year either physically or mentally, hasn't played.
  5. This is the same projection system that had the Royals finishing with a sub-.500 record in both years they went to the World Series. The problem with PECOTA is that the model assumes it can predict how good Anthony Rizzo will be with the same amount of accuracy that it can peg Yu Darvish. The result is a system that takes into account too many variables because it assumes it can predict the inherent volatility in things like middle relief. Bleacher Report does a hands-down better job at their team preseason predictions than PECOTA. That's how much of a joke PECOTA team projections are.
  6. I must have missed the part about Nigeria being Africa's "heart" in my African Economics class. And again when my Professor said repeatedly not to treat Africa as a country. And again in the second African Economics class I took. And again when I wrote a 35-page paper about Nigeria as part of my Senior year thesis. I did however miss the part where Steve Nash was born in South Africa. I will admit I didn't know that, so Gladwell has me there. Maybe he has me on the rest as well.
  7. That's a really good question because it wasn't like Hall had this sterling reputation even when he was playing. His career averages don't look bad until you realize he avoided lefties like the plague and with good reason. (.222 career average vs. LHP's, and just 11 dingers in 699 AB's.) His best year in the Majors was probably his last year with the Yankees. He hit .280 and finished the year with 36 doubles, which was good enough to be top ten in the league. From what I understand, Buck Showalter made it clear in no uncertain terms that Mel Hall was not welcome back to the Yankees for the '93 season, which weirdly is part of what kicked off the Yankee dynasty. His departure opened up a corner outfield spot, which the Yankees filled by dealing Roberto Kelly to Cincy in exchange for Paul O'Neill. No other team even made an effort to sign Hall in the off-season which effectively ended his Major League career. As to why Hall wasn't looked at more, I don't know. He got into fistfights with teammates, reporters, and clubhouse personnel. Practically tried to bully Bernie Williams out of the league. Would constantly stir crap up to get a rise out of people. And this is just the stuff people are willing to go on record about. Even in a league where every fifth player could fall under the definition of being a narcissistic psychopath, his behavior stood out.
  8. I feel like shtick is the only thing ESPN has going for it as this point. Get Up!, First Take, High Noon, Highly Questionable, Around the Horn, PTI. Those aren't six different shows. That's the same show done six different ways. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they mixed up the personalities on these shows every so often, but more and more it just seems like its the same people thrown in your face over and over again. Mike Greenberg, Stephen A. Smith, Dan Le Batard, Wilbon and Kornheiser, Jalen Rose, Mark Schlereth, Tony Reali. I'm not saying I think all of these people are bad, or even need to be replaced, but ESPN has been running all of these people out on their debate shows for a decade-plus now. At some point, you have to bring in new people even if its a downgrade, just for the sake of changing things up. What's sad is that I know they have some good people in their research department they could bring up, because I talk to some of them, and the impression I get is that the network has made it very clear they're there just to do behind the scenes stats stuff for the company. This is why I have no interest in working for ESPN. I can get paid double somewhere else to do the same type of work ESPN would be asking me to do. My articles already get called out on the site, so I'm not even losing online exposure by not being there. Being an on-air personality is the only carrot ESPN could offer me, and they won't even offer that to their own people. Meanwhile you go to the MLB Network, and you see them pushing their stat guys to put out online content through Cut4. They do podcasts, put out online videos, graphics, you name it. Not everything works out, but as they're trying new things. ESPN's attempt at doing something like this was to go out and hire Barstool. At this any personal issue I had with ESPN is water under the bridge. I just feel for anyone who went to work there thinking working under a false impression of what they getting into. Its not good when I bash ESPN on Twitter, and I get likes from ESPN employees.
  9. Has anyone gotten more mileage out of what they did in college than Tim Tebow? He’s a failed minor leaguer who hasn’t played a down of football in almost a decade now, and ESPN is still dragging the guy out here as if his opinion is still relevant because some higher up on their production team has a hard-on for all things Tebow. Florida made money off of me and I was person better for it sounds about as Uncle Tomish as you can get.
  10. It's going to be fun watching Dabo Swinney come out in favor of South Carolina's bill after claiming he would quit coaching college football if his athletes got paid.
  11. That was pretty messed up. It's a manager's job to communicate information and act as a liaison between the front office and the players. It's not a manager's job to communicate information and act as a liaison between the front office and the media.
  12. Who are these prospects exactly? I've been hearing this criticism for years, but I've yet to hear one commentator say "boy I don't know what the Tigers were thinking in letting (blank) go." I've seen Al Avilia trade away J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, and Justin Verlander for big piles of nothing, but I'm hard-pressed to recall a lot of instances where Dombrowski has been fleeced in a trade.
  13. I'm pretty floored by the dismissal of Dombrowski. I think it's fair to criticize him for not signing any relievers in the off-season even after losing Kimbrel and Kelly. But even if the Red Sox had gone out and signed let's say, Tony Sipp and Joakim Soria, its wasn't going to be the difference between winning 85 games, or going to the World Series. It's almost easier to luck into a good bullpen situation than it is to build one, but regardless it's not why the Red Sox aren't performing as well this year. The reason the Sox aren't doing as well this year is because their starting pitching took a nosedive. Unless you can find me someone who predicted Sale, Price, and Porcello would all tank this year, I'm calling BS on anyone trying to pin that one on Dombrowski. So far, the Red Sox have been incredibly tight-lipped over why they let go of Dombroswki, refusing to even call a press conference over the matter. So I doubt we will ever get a full explanation from the team as to why Dombroswki was terminated. All that said, this isn't that far out of line with how the Red Sox have operated under John Henry, which is to fire the GM at the first sign of trouble. Dan Duquette, Mike Port, Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington, Mike Hazen, and now Dave Dombrowski have all come and gone since Henry took over the club. The Red Sox have never been at a loss it seems like for producing executives, and that maybe the reasoning for making a change now. I'm honestly not sure if the Red Sox recent success has come because of this front office turnover, or in spite of it. For years this was seen as one of if not the most desirable GM post in baseball, but knowing that any new hire will be lucky to last five years in the role, no matter how good they are, I'm curious to see how it limits them in their GM search if any. Aside from Mike Hazen, I don't see an obvious outside hire that would fit. My guess is if they don't go with Hazen, they will likely end up with an in-house hire, probably either Brian O’Halloran or Eddie Romero; two people that 99.9% of Red Sox fans couldn't pick out of a photo lineup. They've already tagged Romero as the interim replacement. I would expect him to have the interim tag removed once the season is over.
  14. That’s pretty much how it’s handled at the Major League level. I’m at a loss to come up with a single MLB player that’s ever been suspended or even disciplined over marijuana use. The minors are a different story because players are drug tested regularly. But Major League Baseball can only drug test a player under reasonable suspicion. Short of lighting up a joint on the field, I don’t think there’s anything an MLB player could do to get suspended over it. It’s a clearly a non-issue as far as the league office is concerned.