Saturday, October 31, 2009

Freddy Sanchez, professional hitter

Looking at Freddy Sanchez' WAR from 2005 (when he became a Pirate regular) we see 3.2, 4.8, 3.8, 0.4, and 2.2 (111 games).

Here's what a 4.8 WAR (2006) season looks like:

.344/.378/.473 (.851 OPS and 119 OPS+)

Here's what a 0.4 WAR season (2008) looks like:

.271/.298/.371 (.669 OPS and 79 OPS+)

I assume the "real" Frederick Philip Sanchez is somewhere in the middle. Here's his career line:

.299/.334/.417 (.751 OPS and 97 OPS+) ***

Since he's accumulated 14.4 WAR in those five seasons, he's roughly a 2.9 WAR player. (FanGraphs lists his career WAR as 14.1, but that's because his 2002-2004 seasons--only 31 G, 72 PA--accounted for a negative 0.3 WAR.) Juan Uribe contributed 2.9 WAR last year, a full win over the 1.9 from Aaron Rowand. FSanchez is now officially our second-best position player behind Pablo (5.1 WAR) Sandoval. Is he an upgrade? You bet! Second base is an organizational black hole along with shortstop, first base, and outfield. We can't make one so we have to buy one. Did we get a good deal? Probably. If you accept the argument that a "win" is worth about $4.5 million on the free agent market, a "2-win" player should cost about $9 M per year, a "3-win" player about $13.5 M per year. FSanchez is supposedly getting $12 M for two years. The Giants signed Juan Uribe to a minor league deal last year and got a 2.9 WAR performance for about a million bucks. Still think it is a good deal? See, here's the problem--the Giants have to pay market rate for veterans because we don't have any other choices. No one in the system is good enough or, if they are, they aren't ML-ready. (Conor Gillaspie, where are you?) So we went out and did the safe, conservative thing, we signed a safe, conservative guy, nice and boring and middle-of-the-road, a perfect spokesman for the insurance industry, probably look good in a bespoke suit and bow tie. Your 2010 San Francisco Giants just got a new leader, a new gamer, a real pro, hell, let's pin a VSC on him with GMF clusters! I've no doubt he plays the game the right way. I'll bet can do the little things, too. I'm really looking forward to him moving the runner over and making a productive out. And those 2-run singles! Hot damn!

***q.v. Mark Loretta.


He was an 11th round pick (#332) by the Red Sox in the 2000 draft. The Giants took Jackson Markert, a pitcher, just ahead of him. Boof Bonser was our first round pick that year (#21), and Adrian Gonzalez was number one overall.

FSanchez was born in Hollywood, played at Burbank High School, Glendale Community College, Dallas Baptist University, and Oklahoma City University before turning pro. He will be 32 in December, making him about four months older than Aaron Rowand.

READ THIS pre-season 2009 piece from FanGraphs "Postion Battles: Giants' 2B job". Then weep!

Here's Dan Szymborski's take on the deal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who's your daddy?

I love Pedro Martinez. He's one of my favorite baseball characters, and he's had a remarkable career. And what Giants fan doesn't enjoy seeing a guy become a star after he leaves LA? There was a stretch--1997 to 2003--where he was nearly unhittable. I got to see him pitch in Fenway in 1998 in a game against his former team, the Expos (with Felipe Alou managing). Former Giant Darren Lewis was the hitting star!

I thought yesterday's press conference highlights were hilarious. Baseball reporters never seem to get it when a ballplayer is messing with them, it's as if they refuse to believe some dumb jock can poke holes in their questions. I think there is an unwritten script that the ballplayers are supposed to stick with ("I'm just happy to be here" and "I just want to help the team" and etc.) and when they ad lib no one knows how to deal with it. Barry did that all the time and all it ever caused him was more grief. When the Yankee fans were really giving it to Martinez as he walked off the field last night you could see him break into a smile before the cameras cut to commercial. You are not supposed to laugh in the face of defeat in the baseball universe, that's not the manly way to handle it, but Martinez knew that the Yanks had beaten him and the only sensible thing to do was to "tip his cap" to them. He pitched a great game, but Burnett pitched an even better one.

The big moment for me was when Rollins worked a walk off Rivera in the 8th. That was quite an effort against a guy who never walks anyone. Then Victorino poked one into right field and the big guys were coming up with only one out. Alas, Utley hit a double play ball, and was out at first on a verrrrry close play. That was it for the Phils. Give credit to the Yanks, they made the big plays and got the big hits when they needed them. Burnett pitched a gem and got the ball to Mariano for the last six outs--that's a tough formula for any club, even the defending champs. Cole Hamels has yet to show his 2008 form, but he'll get a chance on Saturday at home to right the ship. He'd be the game seven starter if this rotation holds. Will we see C.C. come back on short rest for game four if the Yanks are down 2-1? If the Phils are in a 2-1 hole will they trust their fortunes to journeyman Joe Blanton or rookie J.A. Happ? What a great series so far, eh? Let's hope it keeps up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phils 6, Yanks 1

Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant!

The Gauls held the legions at bay last night. I've no doubt the Emperor was pissed and a troop of minions was decimated. Exceptional performance by Cliff Lee, dominating the toughest lineup in the game and out-dueling the big ace, C.C. Sabathia. The Yanks 'pen blew some serious chow in the 8th and 9th, and a desperate Girardi did his best Felipe impression, getting the last six outs with five guys.

Some wag opined yesterday "The Phils will need to have the big guns delivering the big hits and will need Cliff Lee to neutralize C.C." I'd say two homers by Chase Utley, two doubles by Ryan Howard, and two RBI by Raul Ibanez counts for the big guns/big hits part and an Game Score of 83 (TEN striekouts!) qualifies as neutralizing. What a cool customer Lee is--would you say he is the biggest pick-up of the season?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Serious

The World Series starts tomorrow, thanks to the TV networks and their stranglehold on Bud Selig's pubic hair. Let's see what the matchups look like. The Yankees, as a team, sport a wOBA of .366, best in the majors. The Phillies come in tied for 5th with the Rockies at .340, best in the NL. How about OBP? Yankees, 1st (.362), Phillies 14th (.334). Slugging? Yanks with the gold(.478), Phils with the bronze (.447). Runs scored? Yanks on top again (915), Phils 4th (820, best in the NL). The Yanks hit the most HRs--244--but the Phils are right behind at 224. The Yanks have the most hits and the most walks and the third fewest strikeouts--the Phils are middle-of-the-pack in all three. On paper, it's a mismatch. The Bombers have the best lineup in baseball. The Phils, of course, have Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jason Werth, and Raul Ibanez, all serious mashers, throw in Shane Victorino and the 2008 Jimmy Rollins and you've got a hell of a team. But no team in the game can match the Yanks for firepower: Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, A-Rod, Posada, Matsui, Cano, and Swisher all sport an OPS above .850 and a wOBA over .370! Of the 2009 Giants, only Pablo Sandoval (.943/.396) could crack that lineup, and he'd be up against Tex and A-Rod for a spot to play. Scary. One plus for the Phils? They only hit into 90 DPs, best in the game, 54 fewer than the Yanks.

How about pitching? The Yanks are 13th in team FIP (4.32), the Phils 17th (4.36). The Yankees bring some cheese with 1260 strikeouts, good for 4th (SFG #1 at 1302), while the Phils are 12th at 1153. The Phillies, on the other hand, don't walk people (489, 3rd best), while the Yanks do (574, 18th). The Phils gave up 709 runs (8th best), while the Yanks yielded 753 (11th). Both teams give up a lot of HRs (181--NYY, 189--PHI), but both play in hitter-friendly parks. The Phillies have 8 complete games (3 by Happ, 2 by Hamels, 3 by Lee) and 5 shutouts (2 Happ, 2 Hamels, 1 Lee). The Yankees have 2 CG by Sabathia, 1 a shutout, and 1 CG by Burnett. Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia have both been dominant in the post-season so far--will we get 3 starts by either of them if it goes seven? If I were Philly, I'd be tempted. The Yanks can counter Hamels with Pettite and Happ or Blanton with Burnett. The X-factor for Philadelphia will be Pedro Martinez. If he can pitch like the vintage Pedro we have all seen in the past that will be a huge plus for Philly. The other starters after Hamels--who has looked shaky so far--are eminently hittable. The Yankees have a huge advantage in late and close situations with Mariano Rivera, who seems to be just as good as he's always been, which means he's one of the best of all time.

The Phils will need to have the big guns delivering the big hits and will need Cliff Lee to neutralize C.C. Otherwise the Yanks will roll. The Phils are the defending champs--that counts for something. But the Yanks can wear anyone down with the bats--there's a reason they had the most regular-season wins. In a short series, we know that anything can happen and the "best" team doesn't always win. I'll root for the Phils, naturally, being the NL rep and all that, not to mention that rooting for the Yanks is like rooting for the Roman Empire. But my head says the Yanks will get the ring even though my heart says otherwise.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Logic Test

First, read this article. Think about it. Do you agree?

Second, if so, complete this analogy: Bobby Abreu is to the Angels’ plate disciple as ____ Molina is to the Giants lack of plate discipline.

Third: Put Buster Posey behind the plate for 2009, getting backup catchers as necessary. Do not bury Buster in the minor leagues because Bengie Molina would not accept a one-year contract. Buster will learn. Buster is the future. See the future. Be the future.

I’m off on a scouting expedition, looking for another Tsuyoshi Shinjo type player. Back in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Super Timmer

David Pinto agrees with me:

If you come up with someone like Tim, take care of that years (sic) with a long-term contract before arbitration becomes an issue, like the Rays did with Evan Longoria. The Giants should offer Tim 5 years, $60 million now and put that worry away for a while.

Emphasis mine.

(This all started because Big D at Giants Win linked to the Henry Schulman Splash posting.)

I hope we can sign Tim for 5 years and $60 million. Aaron Fookin' Rowand got 5 years, $60 million. When your organizational benchmark is 7 years, $126 million for Barry Bleedin' Zito, you're in a stinkin' pile of shite.

(Evan Longoria has two seasons in the bigs and sports a 127 OPS +, a .377 wOBA, and 12. 6 WAR. He signed a 6-year deal for under $20 million.)

UPDATE 0642 Thursday: You have to love this. At least we know TSN got it right. We'll see if the BBWAA follows suit. (T'anks to JCP for pointing out the story yesterday!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Signed, sealed, delivered.

click to enlarge
(I signed my real name on the actual letter!)

I Would Have Never Thought...

that Tim McCarver and Joe Buck would sound good. I don't know who the idiots on TBS are, but here is an actual quote from last night's glorious shellacing of the doggers.

"Can you imagine where the Phillies would be if Brad Lidge had the kind of year he did last year?"

Ummm.....exactly where they are right now, playing for the NL crown?

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Modest, Although Somewhat Risky Proposal

Brian Wilson will be either arbitrated or signed to a long term deal. We all know that. His pertinent numbers for 2009 are: 38 saves, with 7 blown saves. He threw 72.1 innings in 68 games. He made a little under $500,000. He will not win the Fireman of the Year award, but was pretty good. Being a closer is coming into ball games in high pressure situations, and a good closer is not just valuable, but a must-have for a winning ball club. Good closers make a lot of money, and Brian Wilson will make a lot of money soon. So here is the proposal: Consider giving him his arbitration award, and then trading him. The success of this gambit hinges on two things that both must work out, 1) you have to find someone who needs an established closer, and 2) You have to find someone to replace him. So what do you think, is there a closer in Affeldt/Runsler/Romo that is at least as reliable at Mr. Wilson? Whom do you think would want an established closer? Chicago? Texas? What do you think he would net in return? Too much apple cart upsetting?

I'm just trying to think outside the box here. By the way, Fuck the dodgers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Graphic Failure

Some of you may remember a post I did before the 2008 season. OK, I don’t really expect anyone to remember, but trust me on this – the post was about how I thought it was reasonable to expect Ray Durham to improve from a crappy 2007 season. Here are some of his numbers: 2007 - obp .295, slg .343; 2008 (w/Giants) – obp .385, slg .414. Not surprising to see someone rebound to something approaching his lifetime stats (.352 obp and .436 slg) from such a significant drop off. I argued that, although Ray was near the end of his career, there was probably more uncertainty in the stats for a player near the end of his career than for one near the middle, and a rebound could reasonably be expected.

But this is not about Ray, it is about Edgar. Edgar the Warrior. Here is his production in obp and slg, with the yearly averages and two-year moving averages. I also have three-year moving averages, but it looks less elegant and they show the same thing.

Note how the graphs take a nose dive in the past couple of years. Unlike a one-year aberration, this convinces me that there is a trend here, and I especially don't like the way that the slugging and obp lines converge. So I have a proposal. Trade Edgar, even if it means paying part of his salary. He is due a cool 9 million simoleans next year, and if you pick up half, get someone in return (backup catcher, maybe?) you save 4.5 million and can have a more productive infield. I'm thinking Uribe at shortstop, Sanchez at second. I know that a lot of folks don't like Sanchez, but I think he can contribute significantly. I think Uribe has earned a place on the team. Edgar is a bit younger than Ray Durham was in 2007, but they both have had similar years in the bigs (13 for Edgar so far, 14 for Ray). If Edgar was, as reported, injured, I could be convinced that he could improve, just not enough to buck the trend. If you want this team to improve (and I just don't see that many ways to do it without trading away the kind of pitching that we don't want to lose) then you have to do something, like eating salary. Take a big bite - yum!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My lovely bride

says the funniest things.

After I told her that Sabean and Bochy had been given two-year extensions, she immediately asked "is that the minimum for nincompoops?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Options

If you go back a couple of years, and to last off-season, there are three options for rebuilding the Giants. Those three options have been debated, and still exist today, because the team still needs rebuilding. Call it "improving" if you want, the options still come down to the same. They are:


This is the option most favored, vociferously (can you be vociferous in print?) by MOC. Play the youngsters and hope for the best. I believe the quote is, "I'd rather lose with youth." The advantages of this option are that you don't give up any talent at all, and you get a really good chance to see whether or not the youngsters are actually major league talent. The downside is that, if you don't get a couple of budding stars out of the exercise, you wind up just as lousy a team as you had before, except that everyone now knows that your young players are busts.


This is the option that I believe that Sabean has taken. If you are a pretty good team (and in spite of all the bitching about the Giants, their record indicates that they are, overall, pretty good), you try to see if you can get better by making small additions, while not giving up too much. Here is the evidence: Garko. Renteria. Uribe. You can argue whether or not these attempts to incrementally improve the team have been successful - also, you can discuss whether or not the players have been given adequate chance (in Garko's case) to prove their worth. But the attempts have not cost the Giants a large amount of money or skill to acquire. (Again, whether they have been worth the money spent or not is another story). Freddie Sanchez is a special case. He was an attempt to incrementally improve the club, although cost a very bright prospect. For these reasons, he might be put in the final option category. But there is a mitigating factor and that is that Alderson may not have had a place to pitch on the Giants, so, it could be argued, was worth less to the Giants than to another club. Which brings us to our final option.

Lots and lots of folks really wanted and still want this option. Trade Matt Cain. Trade Jonathan Sanchez. Get a big bat! Sign Matt Holliday AND Jason Bay. Keep in mind that the Big Move has more potential in the off season than during the season, becasue you can make a Big Move in the free agent market as well as via trade. The problem with the Big Move is the Big Cost, either in dollars or skill. Much has been made of the Giants lack of willingness to pay for talent, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. It would be foolish to assume that there is NO budget, that simply does not apply except maybe for the Yankees. Barry Zito may have been a foolish signing for his cost, but it indicates that the Giants are willing to offer serious dollars to the best free agent on the market (which he was at the time). Of course, having done so, maybe there is less cash in the till. A bigger problem is trading away skill. You lose Matt Cain, and you have to not only make up for his absence, you have to also get better. One way of doing this is to look at the WARP statistics. There are a couple with minor variations in how they are calculated. For WARP 1, Matt Cain is a 6. Albert Pujols leads the league with a value of 11.4. Troy Tulowitski - 6.4. Joe Mauer - let's say the Twins felt so bad about Pierzynski that they would trade us Joe Mauer for Matt Cain. Joe Mauer is a 9.5, worth only 3.5 wins more than Matt. Adrian Gonzales is valued at 8.9, less than 3 wins more than Matt. All those guys are older than Matt, and are so good that you have to believe that they have less upside. WARP is calculated based on what a player has done. Also, take Matt out, and you have to put someone in. If you do not have another pitcher on the plus side of a WARP statistic, you have to find one or else subtract a negative value. You can pretty quickly wind up in a zero sum game except with even more money unavailable for another player. Trading Matt Cain, or Jonathan Sanchez would be the height of folly. For Pujols, maybe, but I'm kind of thinking that he's not available.

Which leaves the free agent market, where I expect Brian Sabean to be active this winter - maybe successfully, maybe not. What I'm saying is that I think that Incrementalism has been, and is the right way to approach rebuilding. Yeah, some of the players have sucked in hindsight and maybe Sabean deserves a lot of blame for that. But most of our future personnel value is still here and the team has gone from sucky to pretty good ahead of schedule. No one really knows how much more we need to be in the post season. We know what we need - plate discipline, better on-base percentage, power, but the synergistic effects of a batting order can make the sum of the whole greater than its parts. I'm not defending Sabean's moves here, I'm defending his approach. We have had a pretty good chance to evaluate a number of players, and by the time next season rolls around, there may be some problems with individual youngsters solved that might indicate an improvement, and a better future, without doing anything. Now, however, we have a lot of youngsters that have not impressed. We will need to find some outside talent to supplement the club. I would much rather add small than do nothing or take a sledgehammer to the team.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Any keepers?

Cot's Contract's has a list of free agents for 2010. Let's take a look at it and see if anyone would make a good fit for the Giants. I'm sure we'll hear the usual B.S. from the Gang of Four about the team's needs, and the payroll, and yadda-yadda-yadda, but at least WE can do some window shopping, if just to pass the time and avoid having to think about the LAtriners in the World Series.

It is not an exciting list. In fact, when it comes to 2nd base, Freddy Sanchez looks pretty good. We'll give him 3 years and $20 million, of course, which is an abomination, but he'd be OK on a one-year, incentive-laden deal. I note that David Eckstein is available. Hard to believe he's not on Sabes' radar as a "true gamer in the Bengie tradition." He turns 35 in January and has a .706 lifetime OPS--a perfect fit.

Matt Holliday and Jason Bay look like the prizes in this group, but they will be courted by a lot of teams, and their cost as Type-A free agents (compensatory draft picks) may not be in the Giants best interest. Drafting seems to be what we do well. Please, please don't let Brian Sabean trade away our prospects for mediocre players anymore, mmm-kay? Both of these guys, sadly, would be good fits and provide some real hitting, but shiny baubles are not as important as a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum. Neukom & The Suits are in a cost-control mode, so don't expect much.

There are some interesting nuggets on the list of free agent pitchers. We paid Randy Johnson $8M to be 45-years old and get hurt. What would we be willing to pay for, say, Kelvim Escobar? You NEVER have enough pitching. Getting another good arm to keep the rotation strong might be smart. If we have any backsliding, or regression to the mean, or injuries, our lack of depth will be exposed. Despite our desperate need for offense, expecting the team to have another historically great pitching season might not be the best thing. I could see us trolling for another starter. Penny has the inside track, I suppose, but I'm not sure he can still bring it for a full season.

So, mates, are there any guys out there we should take a run at? Or will we have to make do with what we've got? Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz will have to become All-Stars, but monkeys fly out of butts regularly, right?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Number one priority

The number one priority for the San Francisco Giants is to sign Tim Lincecum to a multi-year deal. I made the mistake of reading the Sporting Green this morning (why do I do that?) and came across this nugget from Henry Schulman:

There is no rush to forge a long-term contract with Tim Lincecum.

This is a "Schulman-said-Sabean-said" bit in the third sentence of the opening paragraph. Sabean is quoted in the piece, but does not address Tim specifically.

If this is indeed what Sabes, Nuke, and LarryB actually think, then they are fools.

I'm starting to really worry about this off-season. These dumbfucks are going to screw everything up. Tell me it isn't so, O My Brothers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Season by the Numbers

88-74, 3rd place, 7 GB, .543

At the ASB: 49-39, 2nd place, 7 GB, .557
Post-ASB: 39-35

Breaking the season into nine 18-game "innings" looks like this:

27 Apr 9-9
16 May 18-18 (9-9)
06 Jun 28-26 (10-8)
26 Jun 39-33 (11-7)
18 Jul 49-41 (10-8)
05 Aug 60-48 (11-7)
25 Aug 68-58 (8-10)
14 Sep 78-66 (10-8)
04 Oct 88-74 (10-8)

Remarkably consistent, wouldn't you say? Points out the value of run prevention. We were good at that. The San Francisco Giants only gave up 611 runs--tied with the LAtriners for the best in the game. That's 3.77 runs allowed per game. You keep games close, you give yourself a chance to win. We proved that this year.

We all know the flip side: run creation. We were abysmal at that. The Giants were 26th out of 30 teams in runs scored. Only Houston, Seattle, San Diego, Pittsburgh were worse. A total of 657 runs means 4.06 runs scored per game. For comparison, the Cardinals scored 730, the LAtriners scored 780, the Crockies scored 804, and the Phillies scored 820. (The Yankees scored 915!) The NL average was 718 or 4.43 per game. The Giants were the only MLB team with an OPS below .700--our .699 final mark was even worse than the Padres .701 clip. The NL average was .739, and you can't expect to win big if your offense is that bad.

The fact that we won 88 games is remarkable--I would not expect such luck to hold next year. The Seattle Mariners scored only 640 runs and allowed 692, yet they had a winning record (85-77). The Detroit Tigers are tied for 1st in the AL Central despite giving up one more run than they scored (738/739), and their co-leaders, the Minnesota Twins, have the same 86-76 record even though they scored 51 runs more than they allowed (811/760). Those two teams are lucky they play in a weak division. The defending AL champs--Tampa Bay--finished 19 games back with an 84-78 record and a +49 run difference! Bad luck to be in the same division as the Yanks and Sox. The Atlanta Braves, at +94, finished 3rd (7 back) with an 86-76 record. The Braves had one of the best pitching staffs in the game (3rd in ERA, 1st in FIP, 2nd in WAR) yet Florida won one more game with only a +6 run difference.

Like any stat, the difference between runs scored and runs allowed only tells part of the story. In the Giants case, I think we were beneficiaries of good luck in the middle of the season and ran into some bad luck at the end. If you want to beat Lady Luck, you need to score more runs. Let's hope we figure out a way to do that next year without gutting the pitching staff, the strength of the team.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Plus ça change . . .

. . . plus c'est la même chose.

We sat down the old farts and put in the new fellers and by golly we went out and did it all over again. Losing to Wade LeBlanc, I mean. Failing to score for Matt Cain, I mean. That stuff gets old, you know.

In a weird reversion back to form, the surging Giants took their collective feet off the gas pedal and the Little Orange Go-Kart That Could screeched to an ugly halt. Matt Cain did his best Barry Zito impersonation with a laboring 107-pitch, 23 batter grind-a-thon over 5 innings. There was nothing good about this game. Well, maybe two shutout innings by MadBum, but nothing else. Let's hope it's better tomorrow--it would be nice to end on a winning note.

5 6 2 2 1 5
Game Score 51

Timing Is Everything

I got off work last night at 8:30, got in the car and turned on KNBR. The top of the 7th was getting underway; the scored was tied at 1-1.
Before it was time to sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" the Giants were ahead 7-1.
That was fun.
I love the way the Giants are going out this season, at least to this point. It would be fabulous if Matt Cain can keep it going tonight and try to match Lincecum's brilliant effort.
Bowker is sure getting a good look recently. I wonder if that means anything?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Done Deal

They're baaaaaaaaaaack!

Retrospective Tim

(After the game today it was announced that Sabean and Bochy will be retained for next year at least...I'll leave that tidbit to the comment crew. For me (as always) it is all about Timmy.)

The final home game of 2009 ended just as it should have: Tim Lincecum delivered another quality start and our boys won easily, 7-3 against the lowly snakes. Today's effort was especially crisp and if not for some sloppy relief (and perhaps a bit of over-managing) it could have easily been a shutout. Never the less, seven innings, TWO HITS! (both singles), 2 runs, 2 walks and seven strikeouts is not too shabby. That kind of performance is what we have come to expect and Tim did not disappoint. Hopefully, my Bro can provide some first hand observations later this evening.

This post would not be complete without some serious number-love directed toward The Freak. Today was win #15, a drop from the 18 of last year. Likewise, the 225 innings is down two from last year, however it could be argued that Tim actually improved in all other ways. Here's a quick look at his trends in some of the key stats:

........................HR ......WHIP...... SLG%........ OBA .........P/IP......... K/BB .........H/9

2007 ..............12.......... 1.28 ........364 ............308......... 16.31....... 2.31........... 7.50

2008 ..............11........... 1.17....... .316........... .297 .........16.22....... 3.15.......... 7.22

2009 ..............10.......... 1.05...... .290.......... .271.......... 15.26 .......3.84......... 6.71

Are those sweet or what? Is it possible that he will continue to improve? He pretty much started out as the best pitcher I've ever seen AND HAS ONLY GOTTEN BETTER.

Congratulations Tim Lincecum on a spectacular season! It has been a privilege to watch your progression toward....hmmm, what is next for you?

Penny thoughts

In 2007, Brad Penny finished 3rd in the NL Cy Young voting (Jake Peavy got all the 1st place votes, Brandon Webb was 2nd) with a 16-4 record and a 3.03 ERA in 33 starts. Oddly, he posted a career low in K/9 (5.84) and his second-worst BB/9 (3.16), but he had a league-low 0.39 HR/9. His FIP numbers were amazingly consistent from 2003 to 2007, 3.92, 3.59, 3.64, 3.89, and 3.63. (His career mark is 4.00.) Mr. Penny fell off a cliff in 2008, starting only 17 games and giving up 112 hits, 68 runs, 13 HR, and 42 BB in 94-2/3 IP, and he spent time on the DL before the LAtriners ultimately cut him loose. After signing a $5M deal with the Bosox to start 2009, Penny was again cut loose after a disastrous 24 starts (160 hits, 89 runs, 17 HR, and 42 BB in 131-2/3 IP). Resurrected by the San Francisco Giants, he's pitched very well in our last-gasp stretch run. In 6 starts (41-2/3 IP), he's given up 31 hits (5 HR) and 13 runs while walking only 9 and striking out 20. He's sporting a 4.34 FIP, and teams are hitting .209 against him. It was 4.49 in Boston, and teams hit .301 against him. The change of scenery has done him good--the AL East is a hitter's league, and the NL West has some spacious, pitcher-friendly parks. One interesting measure is BABIP--batting average on balls in play--and it suggests that Penny is enjoying a nice run of luck as well. It is .211 in SF and was .336 in Boston. Career-wise, Penny's BABIP is .303, which pretty typical for starters (Tim is .304, Matt .277) and varies perhaps by +/- 20-30 points for most guys.

This is a long, convoluted way to pose the question "do we keep him around for 2010?" He can still bring the big heat, even though he relies on groundballs more and more these days. He'll be 32 next year and his resumé includes 105 career wins, a 4.14 ERA (104 ERA+) and a 1.344 WHIP in 275 starts, and a World Series ring. Our park and our good fielding my be the right fit. What say, mates?