Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:
- The Mets Are Throwing the Dan Warthen Slider (FanGraphs) – Warthen, a former Padres pitching coach, is teaching a “different kind of slider” to his current Mets pitchers. Sounds a bit like a cutter, but he insists otherwise. Whatever the name, as Eno Sarris notes, it’s working well for Warthen’s pitchers. If talk of velocity, movement, and spin rate get you all hot and bothered, read this.
- ASG or not, Padres plan to contend (Union-Tribune) – Earlier this week I discussed the Padres’ plan of hope, which hasn’t yet borne fruit. Team officials are still talking a good game. As lead investor Peter Seidler says, “It’s not in our DNA to have a fire sale and to tear down. It is in our DNA to make good business moves and good baseball moves.” Yeah, good baseball moves might help. As Seidler said back in 2013, “It’s much more fun to go to baseball games when the club’s winning.” He’s probably right, but for now, we’ll have to take his word on that.
- The Savant of Spray Charts: Meet the New Star of Baseball Analytics (Rolling Stone) – The talented Daren Willman, of Baseball Savant fame, is profiled. If you haven’t visited Willman’s site, it’s all kinds of fun. You can do things like see how much harder Matt Kemp hit the ball during the week of June 15 than he did during the week of June 8, and compare that with, say, how hard Justin Upton hit the ball over those same periods. There’s a lot more to the site than just that, but you’ll figure it out. [h/t SABR; click through for additional great links]
- Don’t Be Fooled By Baseball’s Small-Budget Success Stories (FiveThirtyEight) – Noah Davis and Michael Lopez note that “the relationship between money and winning is as strong now as it’s been any time in the free-agency era” and that “fans of teams that win frequently expect them to continue winning, and management pays more to do so.” If you felt all warm and fuzzy after reading Moneyball, you may now return to a more cynical, enlightened view of the world. [h/t Tangotiger; click through for additional discussion]
- Moyer (9-3) secures win for Seattle (ESPN) – A recent tweet from Jeff O’Meara caught my eye. Fifteen years ago this week, in an early Vedder Cup matchup, John Olerud doubled against the Padres to tie the game. The double was disallowed because first base umpire Jim Wolf (brother of former Padres pitcher Randy Wolf) had called time. Seattle manager Lou Piniella threw a fit before Olerud homered off Brian Meadows to give the Mariners the lead for good. Ruben Rivera, who went 1-for-4 in the game, is still knocking cuadrangulars in Mexico. Meanwhile, then-Padres skipper Bruce Bochy has been recently identified as the best manager in baseball.