It’s been getting harder and harder to write this mostly weekly feature. I like to think I’m kind of a super fan but I’ve watched maybe two games in the past month for more than an hour or so and one of those was just to see how many home runs they’d give up to the Twins. The minor league playoffs are kind of exciting I guess, and the developments in the minor leagues are great, but how many times can we do the OMG FT2 IS THE HOPE circle jerk? Even if it’s true. For now we have Ohtani talk to get us through the past few weeks BUT THEN WHAT?! With SDSU’s victory last night over Stansbury, this town is going to be an Aztecs town going forwards which, needless to say, is probably what the Padres hoped to be after the local professional football squadron’s departure. Anyways, I’ll be at the Wednesday night game, let’s pray that Jbox from Gaslamp Ball is there too for our annual tradition of hanging out at an irrelevant game at the end of the home schedule.
Speaking of not having anything interesting to say, here’s the hot weekly feature:
Days Since Marver Actually Wrote Something: 90 days
If it weren’t for his Chargers tweets, we’d barely even know he existed.
Yeah no. Although no joke, I’m working on a couple things that may get published this week. One combines my two loves of Padres baseball and collecting points and miles to travel (often to see the Padres!). It’ll be basically a beginner’s how-to, and maybe Marver will grace us with his presence on a podcast to discuss the issue a bit. For anyone that’s been tutored by me before on the topic, it can be literally life changing.
Padres Blogosphere Posts:
Jeff Sullivan had an interesting look at where teams were accumulating their WAR, whether it’s concentrated in their top 5 players, the next 5, or the bottom 10. The Padres are at the bottom, or really close to the bottom in every category, and are getting appreciably less WAR from all categories than last year’s team. And the Padres are going to wind up with a better record. We all joke about how AJ blew it building a tanking team but what else could he have done?!?! He built a team with a Pythagorean record that should have 104 losses! The next question to figure out is how they are outperforming their Pythagorean by so much. The simpleton’s answer is “Andy Green just gets more out of his players” but the Padres are near the bottom in successful shifting, and I have a hard time believing a manager can swing a team’s record +/- 10 games when his defensive positioning and shifts are near the bottom and there is little evidence of anything supporting the idea other than really fast talking during interviews that gets described as “so well spoken”. So what is it? Could be something like performance in close games thanks to good bullpen performance which Pythagorean doesn’t really capture, but I don’t have the energy to really dig into it. What it does mean is that 2018, if the team is still tanking (probably) could see a reversion back to the expected Pythagorean. So that brings us to….
Here’s the thing. I don’t think they will. They’ve already sent out season ticket renewals with the “generous” offer of keeping prices at the same level they’ve been since the team jacked them up 20% for last year’s All Star Game. HOW GENEROUS! There are some possible hopes for the future like regime change in the marketing department, but Uncle Ron has made it clear that cheaper tickets is a problem made by those other guys, and that he values the product too much. It’s working with a lot of people as you’ll see white knights on Twitter pulling the “well the ballpark experience in Arizona isn’t like it is here”. It’s like Partello is performing a mind meld at that very moment to feed the team’s marketing gobbledy gook into simple minds to parrot. At some point, having San Diego’s best (ticketed entry) food court isn’t going to be enough. The other fear is that as people get used to staying home during bad seasons (attendance is down nearly 10% this season, 4th biggest drop in baseball), it gets harder to get them to come back. These are grave issues that could be fixed with a handful of easy remedies:
- Lower Park At The Park ticket prices for every game.
- Give customers a reason to buy season ticket packages other than “you can get your seat” because here’s a news flash, there’s no shortage of seats.
- Create more value in the tickets primarily by cutting prices to match the onfield product. They can only hope people will continue buying $40 tickets for the privilege of buying garbage Phil’s BBQ and ruining perfectly good Cardiff Crack by throwing it into pump cheese and topping it with more sugary BBQ sauce.
Sac Bunt Dustin, in typical fashion, put out a great mailbag answering a variety of questions. He touches on the Pythagorean record stuff, coming to the same conclusion of maybe the bullpen but they’re still bad. But most importantly, Dustin touches on literally bringing Ol’ Slappy Sean Burroughs back. He’s still kicking around in the Indy leagues, so I mean, we say “bring him home” for pretty much anyone, so why not Slappy? It’s still kind of surprising to me how quickly the team and the fans gave up on Burroughs who was a top 5 in baseball prospect. Especially given that today, if you even dare to say Tatis Jr. needs to work on shortstop defense, white knights will pummel you in order to defend his honor. Burroughs’ rookie season WAR total of 2.7 would lead this year’s Padres team, and his wRC+ of 104 would be third among position players. Even his year after in 2004 wasn’t that bad, with 2.2 WAR, which would also lead this year’s team. And like that, the Burroughs plug was basically pulled on one of, if not the most, highly regarded prospect in Padres history. Given the likely trajectory of the 2018 Padres, count me in on the Bring Slappy Home campaign.
The Golden Age of Padres Podcasts:
America’s favorite #SingleDad Dashing Danny Ortiz and Eric put the endless focus on players playing in the instructional leagues aside and devote an episode to discussing where the Major League team is at and how it’s looking in the immediate future. It’s not like there’s many great free agents to sign for 2018 anyways so I’m kind of expecting more of the same, if not worse, which is fine in the grand scheme of things. The biggest question is what happens to the huge profits for next year. Even with the dead money, after generous arbitration estimates, the team is looking at a payroll of about $40M. This is fine as long as the money is used to make future payrolls bigger than revenues would support, which, according to Forbes data, looks to be about $130M. Think Diamondbacks and what they did banking profits for a few years and then splurging on Greinke. For me, I’d be satisfied if Fowler ever stated this clearly and publicly that the massive profits would lead to payrolls higher than revenue, just saying “we’ll spend when we are ready to compete” just tells me he may spend up to what revenue should support.
The MTPGA gang dug into Wil Myers season and found some not too surprising facts about his struggles. Mainly, he’s hitting a lot more balls in the air, he’s getting more contact rated as soft contact. His focus on hitting home runs and trying to get the ball in the air was known. Here’s his quote from before the season with Fangraphs:
“That said, I don’t want to hit the ball on the ground. It’s something I’ve worked on this year, especially off the tee. I want the ball in the air. I want good home-run trajectory on every swing I take off the tee. For me, working on hitting the ball out of the ballpark… that’s what I did in 2012 and 2013.
I think Zinter is being assigned the blame for his approach, but who knows if it was Zinter’s call or not, or even if Myers is that coachable. Here’s more from him in that interview:
I can’t be in the box thinking about how the ball is going to come off my bat. I keep things simple, and try to take my best swing.”
DUR I JUST PUT THE BAT ON THE BALL AND WHACK IT!!!!!
That being said, Myers’ season hasn’t been all that bad. In fact, his hitting has been pretty close to what it is literally every year of his career: around 115 wRC+. Right now he’s at 108, and it’s not inconceivable he finishes up in the 110-115 range. That’s fine. I think his real problem is the Padres’ abject failure to ever do the right amount of hyping or expectation management. When they label him as a perennial All Star and face of the franchise, they are the ones that create expectations from the fanbase for something better than a 15% better hitter than average. With reports that the lofty expectations placed on him by his contract are the main factor affecting his performance, it’s even possible that the hype messaging created by Wayne Partello is directly responsible for his long periods of struggle. In any respect, I think we know what we’ve got: a guy that is an above average hitter that could use a lot of work on defense to get his WAR totals back up to not awful.
James and Patrick, as usual, put out a lot of great content this week via their podcast. The first episode had a nice discussion of which prospects were coming to instructs, of which we can try to divine who will be selected to play in the Prospects Game at Petco Park. You can probably rest assured that Tatis will be there as he has the maximal marketing impact which in the end, is what having the game at Petco Park is all about. I also enjoyed EVT’s interview with Jim Callis. It’s always good to hear outside opinions on the prospects in the Padres’ system. Callis highlights how much likes Matt Strahm who I think could be an unsung addition to the 2018 rotation. It’s easy to forget that he was a top 100 prospect as recently as this past offseason.
Tweet of the Week:
And the Jaggy goes to…
If it’s at all possible, can we stop being proud of the Giles Brothers being a part of this team’s history? If doing an interview with a guy that draws MS Paint dongs on Dean Spanos’ face is bad for the brand, imagine what having a guy that battered women on video representing your team does for your brand!
Terrible Marver Tweet Of The Week:
Everything bagel flavor is basically garlic. Raise your hand if you were waiting for Marver’s view on Lays potato chip flavors! Also coming from the guy that quit drinking beer because it’s too unhealthy.
Nick Canepa Is An Out of Touch Old Timer Or Possibly Doing A Bit:
HARF HARF can you believe some mayors care more about helping people to literally not get killed while also relieving traffic?!?! WHAT A JUDAS!!!!