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  1. #1
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    HHP: Five things we learned in the 1st half, five we need to learn in the 2nd

    With so many young players, I feel like much of each season is learning what we have and what we don't. Focusing exclusively on the MLB team, here are 5 of the most important things I think came from the first half (beyond wins/losses) that we weren't sure of in April and should feel more solid about now. And 5 things I hope we get close to settling in the 2nd half.

    In no particular order:

    1. Jim Johnson is a reliable MLB closer. He didn't have much experience before 2012 so it was far from certain. He's been one of the best in the game in the 1st half. We're set at closer for a while.

    2. Adam Jones is still on the rise and with his contract settled, we know he'll be a middle of the lineup hitter and in our outfield for the next several years.

    3. Hammels and Chen are solid MLB starters who can compete in the AL East. It's been a long time since we've had 2 starters pitching well for this long. (It will be interesting to see how the club deals with Hammels in the offseason).

    4. Chris Davis is not the 4A player some feared. Though he has weaknesses, he also has value and can be a solid contributor if used in the right way.

    5. Strop and Patton are solid bullpen guys (mabye better).

    There's still a lot more we need to determine and I hope the picture gets clearer -- preferably for the better -- in prep for the future.

    1. Can we rely on any of our young starters. Tillman and Arrieta have shown flashes. Britton and Matsuz will likely return to the majors at some point. We say this all the time but we need at least some to develop more consistency. If none step up, we're going to have to add more SPs this offseason.

    2. Speaking of consistency, as much as I appreciate Matt Weiters, he had a very streaky first half. It happens but like most here I believe the best is yet to come. It would be fantastic if he could take it up a notch further. (not complaining though).

    3. Brob is hurt again. I think we need to see him play at a higher level or we need to address the 2nd base issue for 2013. (I don't see Schoop as a legit option for next year). It's hard to be optimistic.

    4. Markakis was on his way to his best first half in a long time before he got hurt. Was it a good couple of months or is he producing at a higher level.

    5. Will Avery (or Hoes) show us enough to think they can be part of the solution at LF. If either shows they can play at this level and Reimold were "expected" to be healthy for next spring, I'd think the club might focus too much on LF in the offseason.

    A few other random thoughts: can any of our minor league pickups show enough to warrant future consideration: Pearce, Eveland, Gonzalez, etc.


  2. #2
    lovetoaster is offline Plus Member Since 01/08 All-Star Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singleton View Post
    3. Hammels and Chen are solid MLB starters who can compete in the AL East. It's been a long time since we've had 2 starters pitching well for this long. (It will be interesting to see how the club deals with Hammels in the offseason).
    Jason Hammel

    I hate to be that guy, but it is a pet peeve of mine. He has been our best pitcher...

  3. #3
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    Great post, man. On the 2B front, I think you almost have to start thinking about it for next year and beyond. Roberts really does look like toast and Andino is a UTI guy. Unfortunately for us the Rangers locked up Kinsler and the Reds locked up Phillips. Kelly Johnson might be available, or Maicer Izturis. Trade might be the best option here.

  4. #4
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    2b blues

    I agree with Slappy, I think Brob's best days are behind him. How long do you think Buck will have him in the lineup after he gets off the dl?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slappy View Post
    Great post, man. On the 2B front, I think you almost have to start thinking about it for next year and beyond. Roberts really does look like toast and Andino is a UTI guy. Unfortunately for us the Rangers locked up Kinsler and the Reds locked up Phillips. Kelly Johnson might be available, or Maicer Izturis. Trade might be the best option here.
    Is Prado still available from Atlanta?

  6. #6
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    Good post. It's fun to look at all this at the half way mark and see where we are.

    Just to pick knits a little because, why not... what is there better to do.

    Jones: I wouldn't say that he's "still on the rise". I highly doubt there are going to be many halves of seasons in his future where he tops 3.4 fWAR. I think he might come close do doing this a few times, but I wouldn't be willing to say that he's still on the rise with certainty. IMHO, this is more like the high water mark from Jones. Which is great, he's already been worth $15.1MM per Fangraphs this year. The question with Jones is can he do this for another few years. If he can, we've got one of the best CF'ers in baseball for years to come.

    Davis: It's been a lot of fun to watch Davis this season. Of course there's the Boston Marathon, which no one will ever forget, but his streaky play has carried our offense at times and it's been a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, he's only been worth .7 fWAR this season, which is greatly impacted by his -.7 dWAR. Point being, in order for him to really stick in the big leagues and be a dependable player, he needs to better his D at first. His bat his played here (his .336 wOBA is nearly "Above Average"), but his glove has not.

  7. #7
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    I think the question about what our home-grown starters are going to do remains by far the most important question. It's miraculous to me that the O's are 44-37 while getting so little from Matusz and Arrieta, and with Britton having not even made an appearance in the big leagues. The Tillman start yesterday was inspiring, but we clearly don't know yet if he will emerge in the second half as someone who is a reliable member of the rotation. You'd really think that by now we'd have one or two of these guys being reliable starters, at a minimum. It's really frustrating that the yield rate on this group has been so poor so far, and yet I haven't given up on any of them.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frobby View Post
    I think the question about what our home-grown starters are going to do remains by far the most important question. It's miraculous to me that the O's are 44-37 while getting so little from Matusz and Arrieta, and with Britton having not even made an appearance in the big leagues. The Tillman start yesterday was inspiring, but we clearly don't know yet if he will emerge in the second half as someone who is a reliable member of the rotation. You'd really think that by now we'd have one or two of these guys being reliable starters, at a minimum. It's really frustrating that the yield rate on this group has been so poor so far, and yet I haven't given up on any of them.
    Emphasis on "but". That's the funny thing about all of these home grown pitchers: we've all seen them toss some flat out gems against the best of the best over the years: Britton, Arrieta, Matusz, and Tillman have all done it. They just lack the ability to keep doing it, for whatever reason.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan-O View Post
    Emphasis on "but". That's the funny thing about all of these home grown pitchers: we've all seen them toss some flat out gems against the best of the best over the years: Britton, Arrieta, Matusz, and Tillman have all done it. They just lack the ability to keep doing it, for whatever reason.
    Youth. The reason is they are young.

    They all came in together and are struggling to remain consistent. This is normal for young pitchers, but the fact that they were all, or some combination of, in the rotation together at the same time with no real ace to help them out, has made it more difficult for us fans to be patient.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rick View Post
    Good post. It's fun to look at all this at the half way mark and see where we are.

    Just to pick knits a little because, why not... what is there better to do.

    Jones: I wouldn't say that he's "still on the rise". I highly doubt there are going to be many halves of seasons in his future where he tops 3.4 fWAR. I think he might come close do doing this a few times, but I wouldn't be willing to say that he's still on the rise with certainty. IMHO, this is more like the high water mark from Jones. Which is great, he's already been worth $15.1MM per Fangraphs this year. The question with Jones is can he do this for another few years. If he can, we've got one of the best CF'ers in baseball for years to come.

    Davis: It's been a lot of fun to watch Davis this season. Of course there's the Boston Marathon, which no one will ever forget, but his streaky play has carried our offense at times and it's been a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, he's only been worth .7 fWAR this season, which is greatly impacted by his -.7 dWAR. Point being, in order for him to really stick in the big leagues and be a dependable player, he needs to better his D at first. His bat his played here (his .336 wOBA is nearly "Above Average"), but his glove has not.
    Good points. When I said Jones was "still on the rise" I meant that he improved from last year which was better than the year before. I agree it will be hard for him to top his first half though healthy wrists might help.

    Also agree on Davis. He's been better than I expected, at least. Has significant flaws but I think we can say he'll establish a big league career and have his moments. Not bad given he was probably a bad April away from carrying the tag 4A forever.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dipper9 View Post
    Youth. The reason is they are young.

    They all came in together and are struggling to remain consistent. This is normal for young pitchers, but the fact that they were all, or some combination of, in the rotation together at the same time with no real ace to help them out, has made it more difficult for us fans to be patient.
    But not all young pitchers struggle so much. Out of 51 qualified pitchers with ERA's under 4.00, there are eight pitchers who are 26, seven who are 25, two who are 24, two who are 23, and one who is 22. There are another 12 qualified starters age 26 or under with ERA's under 5.00. So, you'd think we would have developed at least one, maybe two, considering the emphasis placed on developing young pitching by Beattie, Flanagan and MacPhail.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frobby View Post
    But not all young pitchers struggle so much. Out of 51 qualified pitchers with ERA's under 4.00, there are eight pitchers who are 26, seven who are 25, two who are 24, two who are 23, and one who is 22. There are another 12 qualified starters age 26 or under with ERA's under 5.00. So, you'd think we would have developed at least one, maybe two, considering the emphasis placed on developing young pitching by Beattie, Flanagan and MacPhail.
    Key word IMO. If these SP had been drafted by TB's system, I'd bet they'd all be lights out, by now. We have had a poor pitching development for a long time and Peterson hasn't been here long enough to have had much of an impact yet, beyond Tillman's outing yesterday.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gordo View Post
    Key word IMO. If these SP had been drafted by TB's system, I'd bet they'd all be lights out, by now. We have had a poor pitching development for a long time and Peterson hasn't been here long enough to have had much of an impact yet, beyond Tillman's outing yesterday.
    I've never been able to figure out whether it really is a development problem at the MiL level, or not. All these guys seemed to progress well through the minors.

    Tillman -- 135 IP at 3.18 ERA in AA, 96 IP at 2.70 ERA in AAA before his first call-up.
    Arrieta -- 113 IP at 2.87 ERA in A+, 59 IP at 2.59 ERA in AA, 164 IP at 3.01 ERA in AAA before his first call-up.
    Britton -- 140 IP at 2.70 ERA in A+, 87 IP at 2.48 ERA in AA, 66 IP at 2.98 ERA in AAA before his first call-up.
    Matusz -- 66 IP at 2.18 ERA in A+, 46 IP at 1.55 ERA in AA before his first call-up.

    It's not like these guys didn't earn their promotions in the minors. They had good results. I guess you could say Matusz was rushed, but remember, he actually was a decent major league pitcher for 1.5 seasons before his problems developed, so I don't see that as a development problem, I see it as a problem that occurred later. Britton and Arrieta also had pretty decent initial major league results. Only Tillman struggled, and I still have a hard time saying he was unprepared.

    Meanwhile, Duquette retained Mike Griffin, the AAA pitching coach, who everyone seems to like. He's had Tillman (both AA and AAA), Arrieta and Britton. If he wasn't doing a good job, wouldn't he be gone by now?

    Maybe development is the problem, maybe it isn't. When you are basically talking about four guys, sometimes the answer is more complex than that.

  14. #14
    Flash- bd is offline Plus Member Since 7/12 All-Star Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frobby View Post
    Maybe development is the problem, maybe it isn't. When you are basically talking about four guys, sometimes the answer is more complex than that.
    This. It's only natural for people to seek a comprehensive theory that explains why things don't go to plan. The "failure of development" theory is just a heuristic device to avoid the hard work that goes into explaining what's happened/is happening in 4 pretty disparate cases.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frobby View Post
    Meanwhile, Duquette retained Mike Griffin, the AAA pitching coach, who everyone seems to like. He's had Tillman (both AA and AAA), Arrieta and Britton. If he wasn't doing a good job, wouldn't he be gone by now?

    Maybe development is the problem, maybe it isn't. When you are basically talking about four guys, sometimes the answer is more complex than that.
    Well I really like what Peterson said at the Bloomberg event; that they're focused on the process, not the results. I think pitching prospects try to put up the best numbers sometimes, rather than work on things that they'll need in their arsenal against big league hitters. We saw that with Bundy a bit when his dad tweeted about the fact that it's frustrating to have to throw the change up when High-A players can't catch up to his FB. Truth is, we don't know enough about our D-System in the past to know for sure, but it seems like Peterson is much more concerned with big league tools for our guys over minor league success.

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