Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening day

While it may be far-fetched and absurd, I'm going to try to create a scenario that puts the Marlins in contention right through the end of the season. (Personally, I think that's all a fan can expect--there's so much luck involved in the last few weeks and the playoffs.) After all, today is opening day.

So, here's what needs to happen:
1. Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley is able to work some of the magic that he worked with Dontrelle a few years ago, and Olsen, Hendrickson and Miller win 15 games apiece. VandenHurk pitches 150 innings, and gets his ERA below 5. Perry Hill returns as fielding coach, and the Marlins become a league-average defensive team. Hanley and Uggla are among the league's leaders in double-plays.
2. We relearn the lesson of 03, when the Marlins brought up Dontrelle and Miggy in midseason to get an extra year of control over their salary (or so said fired manager Jeff Torborg), and Chris Volstad joins the team midyear and make an immediate impact. If any Marlins outfielder goes down, Maybin comes up and also has an immediate impact.
3. Outfielders Jeremy Hermida and Cody Ross prove that their '07 second halves were not flukes, and continue to hit for average and power as they did after last year's all star break.
4. Josh Willingham again is among the league leaders in BA w/ RISP while Hanley Ramirez has another monster year with the bat.
5. Dan Uggla strikes out less than 100 times, while hitting 30 HR and batting .270; Jorge Cantu has league-average stats at 3B. 
6. The Marlins have a hot streak when they are facing their division rivals the Braves, Mets, and Phillies. They also beat their traditional AL rivals, the BayRays (or whatever they're called) 6 times, while the Braves, Mets and Phillies are splitting their interleague games against stronger schedules.

Like I said, its opening day . . . 

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Damn Yankees

Saw the Marlins for the first time this year Saturday night -- Section 451, row 6 -- love that view, too bad those seats aren't available often ... Of course, being a Marlins fan, I'm used to the other team's fans dominating the game.... The plus was Volstad looked sharp... The minus was that sickening crash of De Aza in left center in the top of ninth, not only losing the game but also (once again?) a highly talented young guy who was out much of last year .... And today's Herald gives a roster payroll of $17 million -- by far the lowest in the majors ... geez.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Is There Any Worse Starting Rotation in the Majors?

Well, we do have a basketball team: Hendricks (6-9 with an ERA last year of 5.21), Vandenhurk (6-5 and 6.83), Andrew Miller (6-6 and 5.63), Scott Olsen (6-5 and 5.81) and Ricky Nolasco (6-2 point guard with 5.48). Is there any starting rotating that's worse in the Majors this year? I wonder how long its bad since there have been five pitchers with that bad an ERA were some team's rotation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kim Folk Part II

This is a pretty pathetic post, but then the Marlins have the markings of a pretty pathetic team. Byung-Hyun Kim has just been released by the Pirates (not exactly one of your stellar teams) and perhaps the Marlins should pick him up. The thing is, he can go out there and pitch some innings. He was 9-5 with Marlins last year, on the worst team in the NL East, with an ERA of 6 (well, 5.84.). He was also with two other teams ... But he can soak up some innings ... about five innings per game in his 19 starts with Marlins... You look at innings pitched by our prospective starters this year, and losing Dontrelle's 200-plus inning dependability, there isn't a lot there... Actually, maybe this is too pathetic a thought for spring ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 Marlins

Carolina Bolado at Hardball Times has the best summary yet of how I feel about this Orange Bowl location:
"The choice of location ... has one glaring problem: there is no reliable public transit anywhere near the stadium, which is in a fairly dense urban neighborhood. Rush hour traffic is already nightmarish; add a weekday 7 p.m. game into the mix, and it could be enough to turn people off. (Which, if you noticed the number of empty orange seats at Marlins games last year, you’d know that’s something the team cannot afford to do.) The local government keeps promising an east-west Metrorail expansion that will include an Orange Bowl stop, but the earliest estimate for completion is 2014 (the Marlins’ stadium should open in 2011), which is very, very optimistic.But, in the end, the important thing is that the team is staying in town and getting a stadium that, in theory, should provide a revenue stream that will allow for things like higher salaries and multi-year contracts."
Her excellent 5Q on Marlins is at ....

Monday, March 24, 2008

Miguel Cabrera's value

Here's an interesting stat comparison:

reported value of Miguel Cabrera's new 8 year contract with the Tigers: $152.3 million

Projected value of Cabrera over the next 8 years, per The Baseball Economist: $268 million.  Bradbury calls it an amazing deal for the Tigers, because baseball salaries have been growing  at an annual rate of about 10% for an extended period of time.

value of the Florida Marlins franchise, per Forbes magazine: $244 million.  In fairness that estimate predates the agreement to build the new stadium.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Late Bloomer?

Let's take a look at the stats of our opening day starter, Mark Hendrickson ... I was hoping to see him yesterday, in Fort Lauderdale, but sat through a rain delay that included the most confused, slow and incompetent grounds grew I've ever seen, while reading a bio of Christy Mathewson, which includes a lot about his reputation as an upright moral person (he was the one who said his own teammate, Fred Merkle, didn't touch second base, which cost the Giants a World Series) and gives not much on his baseball accomplishments (in the 1905 World Series, he pitched three shutouts in a six-day span). ... Well, I've looked at Mark Hendrickson, and he's no Christy Mathewson. He is 33, will be 34 in June. Last year, he had his introduction to the National League, starting 12 games. His ERA was 4.68, but actually that's misleading, says Bill James. His ERC -- what his ERA should have been, given his rawing pitching statistics -- was 5.29. But hey, he's had a good spring, and there's always hope, right? Meanwhile, an anonymous scout tells Barry Jackson of The Herald that the Marlins could win 70 to 75 games this year, considerably higher than the sabermetrics model. So there's an upside ....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Marlins Next Great Reliever

Bill James says the Marlins' saviour this year will be .... Renyel Pinto. And why not? So the dumb cluck allegedly jammed his right foot while getting out of bed in Jupiter and has a bad toe. So he hasn't had much of a spring. He's 25, 6-4. Last year, he couldn't stand the pressure, according to the BJ Handbook (my baseball bible now that the Sporting News Baseball Register seems to have vanished (I can't find it on Amazon.) In 2007, he had one save in six opportunities. (Did he blow those, or was he yanked for Gregg? Lemme look it up ... Well, lists him as having five blown saves.... So last year he coulnd't stand the pressure, but he's a big strong guy and his ERA of 3.68 last year wasn't awful ... (at least to us battered Marlins fans.) ....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Bill James Trivia Question

In his excellent book, Bill James Gold Mine 2008, he says for the last seven seasons, the Marlins have had a different pitcher each year who led the team in saves. Then he asks which of these does not belong on the list (if you get this wrong, you're on the wrong blog): Antonio Alfonseca, Armando Benitez, Vladimir Nunez, Todd Jones, Chad Fox, Joe Borowski, Ugueth Urbina and Kevin Gregg.... Too easy, right? OK, try to guess this: Bill James says this year the Marlins will once again have a different pitcher leading the team in saves. Guess who.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kim Folk

Where is Byung-Hyun Kim now that we really need him? Last year, our most successful starters were Dontrelle (10 wins, gone), Scott Olsen (10 wins, injured but recovering?), B-H Kim (9 wins, five losses, the team's best w-l percentage, and where is he now?), and Sergio Mitre (27 starts, five wins, according to Bill James book, which is hard to believe, and is kind of an injured question mark). So ... you can either say we're in deep do-do when it comes to starting pitching, or this year's crop can't be any worse than last year's, and maybe, just maybe.... well, it's spring.
-- John Dorschner

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Worst Team in the Majors 2008

The Hardball Times Season Preview 2008 is out. They ran 100 computer simulations on the 2008 schedule, "including individual player projections." And the worst team of 2008 -- drum roll, please.... is ... drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmm... The Florida Marlins!

Projected wins 63. Projected runs scored 721. Projected runs given up 892. That means they score 4.45 runs a game and give up 5.5 -- gee a one-run spread.... that means the games might be watchable ... none of these 11-2 blowouts!

If you're curious, Tampa Bay is projected to have 75 wins, Baltimore 69, Washington 70, Pittsburgh 70 and San Francisco 70.

Bad pitching, awful fielding, and we've lost Miggy ... and the experts say Hanley may have a bit of a slide in production.

But gosh, only a one-run spread per game. That's a plus, right?

-- John Dorschner


Well, slowly the baseball season comes over me.... Partly I return to baseball because I learned that there are already a tremendous number of websites dedicated to Eduardo Chivas and Jeff Lebowski, including blogspots, and so I have come to decide that perhaps the world does not need to hear from me how Chivas changed the landscape of Miami forever or how The Big Lebowski MUST BE the greatest movie of all time. And so I turn to baseball. I listen a little to the Marlins on the radio. I go to a game at Barry U, where they play decent baseball, and I see a game decided in the bottom of the ninth (and another in the 10th). I got to see the Red Sox in Fort Lauderdale, a madhouse of a traffic jam in which there are only a couple of BoSox regulars, although one is Mike Lowell, who gets a standing O from me ...
-- John Dorschner

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Not too much enthusiasm

Well, for some reason, since the Detroit trade, I've really had a hard time getting into baseball this year... I've been to one ball game -- or part of one, Barry U versus Palm Beach Atlantic, which Barry won in the bottom of the ninth, after blowing a three-run lead in the top of the ninth. Except for the clank of those dang aluminum bats, it was good baseball. Next Friday I'm going with a buddy to see the Orioles and Red Sox ( more ex-Marlins!), and I'm thinking of buying a Tigers hat.... In the meantime, I'm thinking of blogging on two people: Eduardo Chibas and Jeff Lebowski. More on that later.