I wanted to talk just about baseball today, but I just couldn’t limit myself to the diamond in my comments so you will see a couple of shouts out to the NHL and the NFL. Hope you don’t mind.
Vincente Padilla allowed a single hit over eight innings on Tuesday afternoon though, shockingly, he didn’t emerge with a victory as the potent Rangers’ offense waited until the 10th inning to start hitting in a 7-2 victory over the Mariners. In the outing Padilla walked three batters while striking out four in his eight inning shutout effort as he needed just 102 pitches (“only” 66 of those pitches went for strikes). In the end, Padilla lowered his ERA to 5.71 while his WHIP dropped to 1.50 with the scintillating outing. Should you be rushing to the waiver-wire to add Padilla to your squad? The short answer to that question is a resounding no. His K/9 rate of 5.97 is below the magic six, his BB/9 rate of 3.38 is right on the major league average and the result is a poor 1.77 K/BB mark. In addition, after an average fastball speed of 92.7 mph in 2005, his gas has decreased, subtly, in each of the past four seasons down to its current level of 90.8 mph. In addition, since joining the Rangers in 2006, Padilla has a 6.48 K/9, a 1.91 K/BB, a 5.02 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. If you want a guy with numbers like that anywhere near your roster, you got bigger cahones than me.
Chris Young, the potentially dynamic outfielder for the D’backs and not the 6’10″ hurler for the Padres, is mired in a terrible slump that has seen him produce just one hit in 25 at-bats to drop his average down to a pitcher-like .177. The guy has got oodles of talent, but once again he is proving that it’s darn near impossible to have consistent success at the plate if you cannot control the strike zone. In 1,360 career at-bats Young has struck out more than a quarter of the time (25.7%) which has resulted in a terrible 0.34 BB/K mark at the dish (the marks are much worse this season at 32.3% and 0.19). Obviously an approach like that isn’t going to lead to a strong average, a fact clearly seen in his career mark of .238. In addition, after swiping 27 bags in his rookie season, he regressed to just 14 last year and has been successful on just three of five attempts this season. To review. (1) There is no upside in batting average here. (2) Young needs to cut down the strike outs and up the walks. (3) His stolen base numbers are dwindling (you can’t steal first so it doesn’t help that he owns a pathetic .301 OBP). He should still be a Mike Cameron clone, a guy who routinely goes 20/20 with a suspect average, so if you are in a keeper league now might be the perfect time to acquire his services, though if you do you would be wise to leave him on your bench until he straightens his approach at the plate out.
Are the Ducks really going to plow through the Sharks and the Red Wings? If they do, not only will that be a complete and utter shock, it will also show just how grossly undervalued the team was by pundits heading into the playoffs.
Jonas Hiller has been so good for the Ducks that I’m coining a new phrase. No longer when a goalie plays a great game did he “stand on his head,” now it’s he “pulled a Hiller.” The netminder owns a 1.74 GAA and a .955 save percentage in nine playoff games.
Who hates Brett Favre as much as me? Goodness gracious just retire and shut up. He is almost as high on my “hate list” as the Dodgers and the Yankees, and that my friends is saying something.
By Ray Flowers