Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts on moving pictures

It's a hell of a concept, these motion pictures. Watching a game of baseball on the TV, and suddenly, you're filled with whims and notions and some things that might even approach the territory where they could be called "ideas". Amazing.

As such, a few of those things that popped up following this weekend's game.

Brett Lawrie is Brad Fullmer: Okay, we'll say not really, if only to head of the heaps of scorn that we'd get in the comments for such a remark.

Nevertheless, Lawrie's big, broad upper-body, his batting stance (deep crouch, hands high and bat active), and even his angular features bring to mind the Jays' former DH. And while some would write off Fullmer's performance because of the brevity of his career and his time in Toronto, his 2000 season (32 HRs, 104 RBI, .898 OPS) was amongst the best ever single seasons in the team's history. So don't be giving him no guff.

The chief difference between the two is the glove (though it's probably worth noting that Fullmer might have had the chance to be a passable fielder if he weren't blocked by Carlos Delgado.) Lawrie has looked very much up to the task thus far at third, with good hands and a very strong and accurate arm. We could even envision him being discussed as a Gold Glove candidate at some point down the road. (For whatever that's worth.)

And before we ignite another Lawrie controversy: We still think he should start the season in Las Vegas. The Jays have other outfield options, so there is not the great necessity of moving JoBau to right and bringing Lawrie up immediately to play third. Let Lawrie go get his reps in at AAA, and see a lot more balls at third, and if sometime later this season the Jays feel incapable of keeping him down, then call him up.

Talking OPS: It's probably a sign of how slow the older media are to change when the notion of OPS on a broadcast becomes a novelty. But yesterday, Sportsnet posted the AL leaders in OPS last year to underscore José Bautista's 2010 excellence. And while Pat Tabler was extolling its virtue as a stat that better elucidates a player's worth (which it does! Yay Tabby!), he started tiptoeing dangerously close to some strange "walks clog bases" notions in his discussion.

Baby steps, to be sure. Though we noticed that the stat line in the Sportsnet broadcast later in the game included 2010 OPS numbers, which is a splendid addition to the production mix.

JoBau Bombs: Yes, the Rays very astutely tossed a bunch of random cannon fodder (best selling authors included) out against their divisional rivals, so it's hard to gauge that much from the shit-kicking that the offense laid on those marginal arms. But the swing that José Bautista put on Cory Wade's pitch was a thing of beauty.

And while Wade isn't exactly the Rolaids Relief Award frontrunner (and did you know they still hand that award out?), JoBau's ability to identify the pitch and time his step into it makes us feel much better about the prospects of another productive season.

2010 was no fluke. Go tell that.

Pitch session: We were impressed with each of the initial three pitchers, as Brandon Morrow looked as though he is ramping up, Marc Rzepczynski looked like a major league pitcher, and Carlos Villaneuva looked good enough to get relief innings (though wild enough not to get high leverage innings.)

As for Casey Janssen: He looks like such an unbridled ball of anxiety every time he's on the mound. We still love the look of his delivery, and his performance last year probably merits him a spot in this year's bullpen. But with the heap of humanity available to pitch in relief this year for the Jays, that spot is for Casey is no given.

Infuriatingly Yunel: We're in for a long season with young Mr. Escobar. Early in the game, he rushed a throw and hurled a ball into the camera bay even though he had more than enough time. On the other hand, he hit the ball hard yesterday, and drove in runs. Even still: That swing of his looks like an off-balance lurch towards the pitch, which makes us worry about how repeatable those successes might be.

And even with all the negatives, we're vaguely optimistic about Yunel's 2011. Which is why we'll inevitably end up pulling our hair out by season's end. Should be fun.


MK Piatkowski said...

I was working (as I am for every televised spring training game, which sucks). Hayhurst pitched? How did he look?

Tao of Stieb said...

Hayhurst looked average at best. Seems to have developed a hop in his delivery.

I'm pretty sure he'll produce more content than outs this year.

R.A. Wagman said...

I came to many of the same conclusions myself about Janssen and Bautista in my latest post on Section 203. Still don't know what to think of Yunel myself, but it is a good sign that he can take a pitch or 4 when necessary.

Chad said...

Getting off the Jo-Bau bad contract train already?

Anonymous said...

I think mastrionni will crackity crack crack the lineup.....just fucking kidding! who knows whats going to happen it's going to be one H of a season.

Tao of Stieb said...

I like JoBau. I think he's going to have a good season, and I think he'll earn his keep. For this year, anyways. Maybe even the next three.

But five years from now is a long time.

I reserve the right to contradict myself.

Talesen said...

I noticed the OPS stats presented too and fell out of my seat. I'm recovering well.

I've noticed it's been recently referenced a lot more by the network columnists - I wonder if it was the topic of a pre-season memo?

Woodman663 said...

I think Villanueva should make the pen, I just wish Dotel had never been signed so there was enough room to include a lefty, Villanueva and Janssen alongside Rauch, Francisco, Frasor and Camp.

AndyC said...

Well if Lawrie gets a Gold Glove it will probably mean he is hitting well

and probably also playing for the Yankees or Red Sox

Hurley said...

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball was using OPS last year as one of their permanent graphics. If they can do that with Joe Morgan in the booth, any broadcast team should be able to handle it.