Five Links: July 3, 2015

Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:

  • Tyson Ross on His Walk Rate (FanGraphs) – Eno Sarris chatted with Ross, who notes that “hitters are just a little more patient with me. The slider maybe isn’t as enticing for guys to chase, or maybe they’re just more aware of it, and they’re just trying to lay off it.” Sarris also talked to Justin Upton and Will Venable about the challenges of hitting at whatever the ballpark in San Francisco is called these days. Good stuff, as always.
  • Stock Watch: Padres’ Giron breaking out ( – With A.J. Preller having sold the farm in an attempt to make the big club relevant again, there hasn’t been a lot of good news on the minor-league front. As Jake Seiner notes, Fort Wayne shortstop Ruddy Giron might be the exception. Just 18 years old, Giron has lit up the Midwest League and drawn praise from TinCaps hitting coach Morgan Burkhart, who says, “He doesn’t look like a power hitter, but the bat path is so good and he has so much bat speed.” Hopefully Preller hasn’t traded him for Chase Utley by the time you read this. [h/t reader LynchMob]. Also on the farm, right-hander Colin Rea is opening some eyes at Double-A San Antonio. In sadder news, Civic Stadium, former home of the then-Padres affiliate Eugene Emeralds, burned down on Monday. Venable has fond memories of the place.
  • We’re Seeing More Strikeouts, But It Takes Many More Pitches To Get Them (FiveThirtyEight) – Rob Arthur examines rising strikeout rates. Among his many findings: “With the revelation that pitchers gradually decline every time they go through the order, there has been a shift toward pulling starters before their performance begins to tumble.” So yeah, the 12-man pitching staff that we’ve all grown to despise ain’t going away any time soon. [h/t reader Keith]
  • Sunday Notes: SABR 45 Snapshots, Spray Charts, Roe (FanGraphs) – David Laurila’s recap of the recently concluded SABR convention in Chicago is filled with goodies. There’s even more fun stuff at the SABR web site. I’m particularly jealous that Cecila Tan got to hang out with REM’s Mike Mills.
  • Murphy learning on the fly at helm of Padres ( – Interim manager Pat Murphy shares some thoughts on the latest chapter in his illustrious baseball career: “I think as you get more comfortable, you learn a little more. I don’t know how these things are supposed to go. But I have had an open mind and have tried to learn everything I can. But it still comes down to playing winning baseball.” Winning would be good since according to Dave Cameron (and it’s hard to argue the point), “this might be their only chance for quite a while,” which makes staying positive a challenge for fans.

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  • ballybunion

    I think Dave Cameron has a static view of team development, and is misreading the Padres’ future. There will be free agents leaving, and free agents coming in, and trades. Sure, Preller traded away a lot of minor league chips, but only because there wasn’t much value on the major league club. Now he has a lot of major league value with years of control, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more trades this off-season, no matter how the Padres finish.

    I also think he’s misreading the Padres ownership. After nearly a decade of front office turmoil with 3 owners, 4 CEOs and 4 GMs, the team in place is in it for the long haul, and expects the team to be made into a contender year after year. The Kemp trade was more of a signal to the fans that the tide has changed, and the team is no longer playing the build-from-within/3-years-of-contention-per-decade game.

    The O’Malleys and Seidlers have past experience with the Dodgers, who had winning teams nearly every year, and were always on the possible contention
    conversation. They had resources, but weren’t at the top of the payroll list. They’re a mid-market team, but now are getting considerably more local revenue through FSSD, especially after Time-Warner started carrying it, and the new national TV contract is adding millions more. They have the wherewithal to play in the 10th to 15th in payroll league, if they can return fan interest to the 2004-2007 level of attendance.

    Even the Dodgers relied on a productive farm system, despite not getting top ten picks in the draft, and they did it with astute scouting and development. AJ Preller now leads a formidable team that can do the same for the Padres. The years of control of the players Preller acquired should give the farm time to produce. Overall, I think Dave needs to look more closely at the Padres franchise strategy, and realize that team development is a lot more fluid than it used to be.