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

  • The Commissioner Speaks: Imagining a Redefined Strike Zone (Hardball Times) – Jon Roegele takes a closer look at balls and strikes. This is a long read, with many fascinating tidbits, including the fact that the strike zone is now larger and lower than it was 5 years ago. In a bizarre coincidence, strikeouts are up and scoring is down. Another finding that will disappoint those who would embrace our robot ump overlords is that plate umpires have improved their accuracy over that same period. There’s lots more in here; it’s well worth your time.
  • Jumpsteady (Wax Pack) – Brad Balukjian has started his road trip that will end with a book being written about the experience. The linked article focuses on San Marcos resident and recent Padres Hall of Fame inductee Garry Templeton. The Tempy experience continues here. Former Padres Gary Pettis and Randy Ready also make appearances. (Click the names, this is the Internet.)
  • Cody Decker of the El Paso Chihuahuas is an all-star on and off the field (El Paso Times) – Chihuahuas’ General Manager Brad Taylor has high praise for the young man, who is arguably a better option than Matt Kemp at this point: “I’ve never seen, in my 21 years in Minor League Baseball, a player connect to the community and the community connect to the player — two-way street — like Cody has to El Paso and El Paso has to Cody.” [h/t Keith Olbermann, via Steve Kaplowitz]
  • GM Preller expects better baseball ahead (Padres.com) – Bully for him. Failing that, he can try moving some guys, although maybe we’re not there yet. The difference between last year’s team and this year’s is that now the players are much more expensive. Good luck finding someone to take Kemp or the lousy Upton. This is why my vision of the future is bleak. And while it’s nice to hear that Ron Fowler and the Padres remain “committed to winning,” right now their level of commitment is less of a concern than their level of competence. Could the “spend money, hope something good happens” approach work? Sure, but that doesn’t make it the optimal strategy or even a smart idea.
  • The Most Productive Low-Authority Hitters of All Time (FanGraphs) – Building on previous work, Tony Blengino identifies the ten hitters who were most productive despite not hitting the ball particularly hard. Former Padres players (and current staffers) Mark Kotsay and Mark Loretta crack the top five. Max Bishop, a personal favorite I wrote about in Best of Baseball Prospectus: 1996-2011, Vol. 1, appears farther down the list. Sorry kids, no Alexi Amarista.

The Padres had a day off after playing 20 games in 20 days in 4 cities and 3 time zones. It was a stretch that ended with a 10-game road trip that the Friars managed to get 4 wins out of. Could have been better.

Padres off-days have an unexpected side effect, however. And yesterday was pretty bad. Or good, depending on how you look at it.

Some of the fans get a little crazy with no baseball to distract them.

Even high-profile Padres fans were not immune to the off-day insanity. Major Garrett, the CBS White House correspondent, went on a Twitter rant to end all Twitter rants about his hometown team.*

*On a personal note, I’d like to welcome one of my newest followers on Twitter, Major Garrett.

Some even called for people to lose their coaching jobs. Specifically, Padres’ hitting coaches Phil Plantier and Alonzo Powell.

So let’s look at the Padres batting stats so far this season and see if a firing is deserved:

Tm R/G G R H HR RBI SO BA OPS TB LOB
SDP 2.66 29 77 206 15 70 238 .217 .596 310 178
LgAvg 4.02 28 113 239 26 108 232 .247 .699 374 198
4.02 423 1702 3580 387 1616 3475 .247 .699 5606 2969
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/2/2014.

Pretty bad, right? But that’s a really small sample size. Let’s see how the last couple of full seasons have gone for Phil and Alonzo.

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As most of you were already aware, FOX Sports San Diego recently extended an offer that Padres Public couldn’t refuse – a chance to take over yesterday’s broadcast between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and San Diego Padres. FSSD’s social media reporter, Megan Olivi, bravely stood by as these pasty basement dwellers stumbled through a few innings of work, some better than others. I, like many others, have a normal job (not bitter) with adult responsibilities (totally calm) and was unable to attend. Anyway, “The Bloggers Take Over” segments were intended to give “viewers a fan’s perspective of the game, as well providing discussion on topics relating to the team and its local San Diego fan base.”

With that in mind, I did what most fans do – I waited until the game was available online, poured myself a tall beer,and plopped myself down on the couch for the MLB.tv replay with the sole purpose of judging their hard work.

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