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Thread: Will Baker Impede Progress?

  1. #31
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aronchis View Post
    I think it will be interesting how Baker handles the young pitchers, but how about Votto's April struggles? I don't know the last time the guy had a good April.

    Will another Votto April slow start cost the team valuable bats he would give in the summer?

    Dusty will love the Hoppers,Hatt's and Weather(who could decline at anytime) while the better young talent just sits, despite the potential for a breakout and more Reds wins than the fluff would.

    That said, if Volquez,Bailey and Cueto pitch well, he will have no problem riding them hard IMO. That is just in his nature. If it means a guy like Cueto has 12 months less of peak effectiveness years down the road, so be it if it brings a title.
    This gets bandied about all of the time, but I'd be very interested in hearing specifics with the Giants and Cubs times he sat youngsters and played less veterans. I think it's a bit of a myth, to be honest. At SF, he had a number of players who started young with him. Other times, he didn't have any young players. I think the same is mostly true for the Cubs.

    So lets hear the specifics of who he sat and what what vets he played instead.
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  3. #32
    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by icehole3 View Post
    No it aint the end all for a leadoff hitter, so there.
    Did you stomp your feet as you typed that?
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  4. #33
    No half measures, Walter RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    This gets bandied about all of the time, but I'd be very interested in hearing specifics with the Giants and Cubs times he sat youngsters and played less veterans. I think it's a bit of a myth, to be honest. At SF, he had a number of players who started young with him. Other times, he didn't have any young players. I think the same is mostly true for the Cubs.

    So lets hear the specifics of who he sat and what what vets he played instead.
    Here's a guy who does a pretty decent job of analyzing this question during Baker's time in SF. FWIW, redsmetz, his analysis so far seems to agree with your hunch.

    http://shawns.blogspot.com/2007/10/d...oungsters.html

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    On a blog response, I believe on Trent Rosecrans' soon-to-be short-lived blog (lament, lament), I saw someone raise the point, "Did the Giants or Cubs really have any good prospects that Dusty Baker didn't play?" That's a valid point. Was there really some hotshot that Dusty was keeping out of the lineup? Luckily, now that baseball-reference.com has minor league stats, we can investigate this question.

    Baker first became manager of the Giants in 1993. He took over a team that had lost 90 games for Roger Craig the year before, and won 103 games, one game short of the West division title. The biggest change in the big-league team's lineup was adding Barry Bonds as a free agent, and as he replaced Mike Felder that was a pretty big step up that didn't have much to do with Baker. Otherwise, Baker stayed with the same lineup, including 23-year old Royce Clayton at shortstop and 25-year old Darren Lewis in center field, both easily categorized as defensive specialists and speed guys. Baker also got 20-win seasons out of holdover starters Bill Swift and John Burkett. Burkett was lucky with run support, and also had some arm troubles the next year, though he would come through them. For Swift, that was far more than he had ever pitched before, and he was never the same pitcher afterward. But, Swift was 31, and there's no way to know what his arm had left anyway. Baker also focused on 24-year old Rod Beck as the closer, and got a big year.

    The Giants' high minor league teams in 1993 showed no hot prospects. The best player for AAA Phoenix was probably OF Steve Hosey, but he was not burning up the PCL or anything. The most interesting pitcher was probably 21-year old Salomon Torres, 14-8 with a 3.16 ERA split between AA and AAA. Torres also got eight major league starts, going 3-5. Torres never was really able to establish himself as a major league pitcher until going to the bullpen in his early 30s with Pittsburgh. AA Shreveport didn't really have anyone of note.

    In 1994, the Giants dropped below .500. Will Clark left as a free agent, and was replaced by Todd Benzinger. 2B Robby Thompson had injury troubles, and was replaced by John Patterson. Dave Martinez started edging out Willie McGee. The pitching struggled, as Burkett faded, Swift got hurt, and Torres struggled, although youngster William Van Landingham was 8-2. Van Landingham had followed up a good 1993 in Class A ball with a strong start in AA in 1994, and got promoted quickly to fill the rotation holes.

    Phoenix's best player was probably 1B J.R. Phillips, who hit 27 homers and batted .300, but the Giants stayed with the .265-hitting Benzinger. Catcher Brent Cookson hit .324 in 62 games for Shreveport, but didn't get a big league call.

    The 1995 Giants were below .500 again. Mark Carreon took over 1B, Robby Thompson was back at 2B, and Glenallen Hill took over RF. J.R. Phillips got 231 AB, but hit .195. The pitching struggled again, and the bullpen fell apart. Phoenix' best player was OF Mark Leonard, but he was 30. Better prospects were Marvin Benard, a 25-year old OF who hit .301, and Rich Aurilia, 23, who hit .279 at Phoenix after batting .327 at Shreveport. Bill Mueller, 24-year old third baseman, hit .309 for Shreveport and .297 for Phoenix, though with no power. The pitching was pretty barren. Shreveport had a strong season, and besides Mueller and Aurilia in the first half boasted Jacob Cruz, a 22-year old OF who hit .297 with 13 HR. 2B Jay Canizaro, 21, batted .293. Some pitchers had success, but none stood out.

    The Giants lost 94 games in 1996, but Aurilia got worked in as starting shortstop, and Mueller started getting playing time as well, edging in for Matt Williams at third. Shawon Dunston also came on board, mostly this year as a shortstop. Marvin Benard took over the CF job. Steve Scarsone, at 30 not young but a minor league veteran, got a shot at the 2B job. Finding pitching was still a challenge, but some young arms were getting a shot.

    At this point we can fairly say that any young player who deserved a chance to play was getting it. Rich Aurilia was getting playing time, Bill Mueller was getting some chances, young pitchers were pitching. Two promising arms appeared in AA: Keith Foulke and Bobby Howry, at this point both starters. In our next segment, we will take up the success of 1997 with a division championship and see if things change in SF management.

    posted by Shawn at 10:37 PM
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  5. #34
    RaisorZone Raisor's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    So he's an "okay leadoff hitter" in your book just because you've decided that's the case?
    wel, he IS scrappy.

    Scrappy=leadoff
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

  6. #35
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC View Post
    He's playing a lot of golf, directly across the road from where I live. See him every now and then with his little boy.
    That's Hopper!

    We all know what we qualifications we desire a leadoff hitter to have; but we still have to find the best fit from the cards left in our hand.

    Who, on this current roster has the most experience (ABs) at Batiing #1?.....

    Code:
                 ABs   BA    OB%   SLG%   OPS
    
    Freel        237  .249  .318   .359  .677
    Hopper       194  .345  .392   .407  .799
    Hatteberg    127  .346  .408   .567  .975
    Since we need a CFer, you're probably looking at a tandem of Freel/Hopper.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  7. #36
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    Here's a guy who does a pretty decent job of analyzing this question during Baker's time in SF. FWIW, redsmetz, his analysis so far seems to agree with your hunch.

    http://shawns.blogspot.com/2007/10/d...oungsters.html....

    Baker first became manager of the Giants in 1993. He took over a team that had lost 90 games for Roger Craig the year before, and won 103 games, one game short of the West division title. The biggest change in the big-league team's lineup was adding Barry Bonds as a free agent, and as he replaced Mike Felder that was a pretty big step up that didn't have much to do with Baker....

    Otherwise, Baker stayed with the same lineup, including 23-year old Royce Clayton at shortstop and 25-year old Darren Lewis in center field, both easily categorized as defensive specialists and speed guys.....

    Baker also got 20-win seasons out of holdover starters Bill Swift and John Burkett.
    How much of Dusty's success as a manager can be attributed to the Bond's acquisition and having him in that lineup?

    He likes defensive specialists and "speed guys"? Hopper is a shoe-in then.

    The only pitcher we have that even comes close to a Swift, who yes, got a lot of run support (aka Jimmy Haynes) and Burkett is a Harang.
    Last edited by GAC; 12-23-2007 at 05:49 AM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  8. #37
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    I don't want Hopper to be my leadoff hitter. I want Ichiro. So - can we get to reality? The job is likely Bruce's to lose in ST. But if he looks a bit overmatched or "at ends" there is no need to rush him. Freel and Hopper can do the CF & leadoff job adequately for the whole season if need be. Why risk an Alex Gordon start for him?

  9. #38
    Member icehole3's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    This is not complex number crunching we're doing here. Hopper's .371 OBP means he got on base about 37% of the time in 2007. Unfortunately, that is based on the fact that he got extremely lucky for a few months.
    So he's an "lucky hitter" in your book just because you've decided that's the case?

    Please give me a break.


  10. #39
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by icehole3 View Post
    So he's an "lucky hitter" in your book just because you've decided that's the case?

    Please give me a break.

    Hopper's a lucky hitter b/c he utilizes a very specialized skill-set that is high-risk with borderline high-reward. Hopper's OBP is AVG driven, and his OPS is OBP driven, so what does that tell us?

    I know you're going to stop reading this as soon as I post some numbers but here goes...

    Code:
    Norris Hopper
    
    Stat Set	G	AB	TB	SB	CS	SB%	BB	K	AVG	OBP	SLG	OPS	GB%
    Minors		890	3407	1141	192	62	76%	260	374	.289	.343	.335	.678	N/A
    Majors		142	346	137	16	8	67%	26	37	.332	.379	.396	.775	61%
    The biggest stat that jumps out at me is the 61% GB rate. This means that Hopper is beating out a lot of bunt hits and infield hits. While that was useless and productive in 2007, I certainly wouldn't hang my hat on Hopper duplicating and or improving those numbers for 2008. Defenses will adjust to him. Pitchers will adjust to him. When you're a 1 trick pony like that, it's only a matter of time before the opposition finds a solution.

    Also, Hopper's SB% rate also puts him in the negative productivity category. At the minor league level, his 76% SB rate wasn't giving away unnecessary outs, but at the major league level, he needs to get closer to 75%, or else he's just creating outs on the basepaths, which is exactly what you don't want from your leadoff hitter. Ryan Freel also struggles with his SB rate and creates outs on the basepaths, which makes him a bad candidate to leadoff, as well.

    Unfortunately, Hopper also doesn't walk enough to project to be a viable leadoff option. Once the opposition adjusts to neutralize and negate his speed, his ability to walk would have to make up the difference, but unfortunately Hopper doesn't walk enough to even remotely begin to attempt to make up that difference.

    Bottomline, with Hopper or Freel at the top of the lineup creates a huge hole/void that the Reds might not be able to survive in 2008, if the idea is to win now. I'm also not convinced that the Reds will be able to make up ground lost with Hopper or Freel at the top of the lineup once Bruce is ready. Bruce projects well, but I don't think he projects well enough to make up the difference of Hopper or Freel.

  11. #40
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by icehole3 View Post
    So he's an "lucky hitter" in your book just because you've decided that's the case?

    Please give me a break.

    High BABIP greatly inflated by the gimmick of the push-bunt single (accounting for 17 of his 101 hits) and his 20 other infield hits. 37% of his hits came from a gimmick and/or speed. That isn't sustainable, and his BABIP will come down as a result.
    Makes all the routine posts.

  12. #41
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    This gets bandied about all of the time, but I'd be very interested in hearing specifics with the Giants and Cubs times he sat youngsters and played less veterans. I think it's a bit of a myth, to be honest. At SF, he had a number of players who started young with him. Other times, he didn't have any young players. I think the same is mostly true for the Cubs.

    So lets hear the specifics of who he sat and what what vets he played instead.
    I wish I had specifics regarding players' names, but I saw a ton of Cubs games while Dusty was managing there and the favoritism toward vets, at least in Chicago, was not a myth. It's the reason I hate Dusty Baker. He had a talented group of youngsters in 2005-06 -- many of whom (Marmol, Murton, Hill, Marshall, Cedeno) went on to make large contributions to the division-winning team in 07 -- but the team lost what, 90+ (100?) games under Baker in 2006. On at least three occasions I saw Baker say during press conferences that there was little he could do with this team given their inexperience. When Derrek Lee went out with a bad wrist injury Baker all but threw a tantrum, and I remain convinced that the season was lost right there because Baker gave his young team the message that things were hopeless for them and there was no use in really trying. I think Lee broke his wrist in May, by the way.

    I had no biases against Dusty Baker until I saw him manage in Chicago. Perhaps he had a bad year, perhaps he wanted out of Chicago and was consciously or subconsciously making things bad for himself, but he basically put all of his faith and his pitches into Zambrano while absolving himself of any responsibility of the difficulties of managing a young team. It's hard for me to cite all the specific examples of his playing vets over youngsters (though I know many anti-Baker Cubs fans who could probably pull together a list, including names, stats and dates, in about three seconds if needed), but the attitude was undeniable.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  13. #42
    Member icehole3's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    Hopper's a lucky hitter b/c he utilizes a very specialized skill-set that is high-risk with borderline high-reward. Hopper's OBP is AVG driven, and his OPS is OBP driven, so what does that tell us?

    I know you're going to stop reading this as soon as I post some numbers but here goes...

    Code:
    Norris Hopper
    
    Stat Set	G	AB	TB	SB	CS	SB%	BB	K	AVG	OBP	SLG	OPS	GB%
    Minors		890	3407	1141	192	62	76%	260	374	.289	.343	.335	.678	N/A
    Majors		142	346	137	16	8	67%	26	37	.332	.379	.396	.775	61%
    The biggest stat that jumps out at me is the 61% GB rate. This means that Hopper is beating out a lot of bunt hits and infield hits. While that was useless and productive in 2007, I certainly wouldn't hang my hat on Hopper duplicating and or improving those numbers for 2008. Defenses will adjust to him. Pitchers will adjust to him. When you're a 1 trick pony like that, it's only a matter of time before the opposition finds a solution.

    Also, Hopper's SB% rate also puts him in the negative productivity category. At the minor league level, his 76% SB rate wasn't giving away unnecessary outs, but at the major league level, he needs to get closer to 75%, or else he's just creating outs on the basepaths, which is exactly what you don't want from your leadoff hitter. Ryan Freel also struggles with his SB rate and creates outs on the basepaths, which makes him a bad candidate to leadoff, as well.

    Unfortunately, Hopper also doesn't walk enough to project to be a viable leadoff option. Once the opposition adjusts to neutralize and negate his speed, his ability to walk would have to make up the difference, but unfortunately Hopper doesn't walk enough to even remotely begin to attempt to make up that difference.

    Bottomline, with Hopper or Freel at the top of the lineup creates a huge hole/void that the Reds might not be able to survive in 2008, if the idea is to win now. I'm also not convinced that the Reds will be able to make up ground lost with Hopper or Freel at the top of the lineup once Bruce is ready. Bruce projects well, but I don't think he projects well enough to make up the difference of Hopper or Freel.
    Ok, you want me to say it, you guys are very smart. You guys crunch the numbers better than anyone, youre all genius'. These numbers are the answers to everything. Hopper shouldnt been on the Reds last year he shouldnt even be playing professional ball, he's so lucky he should go buy some lottery tickets at Argosy.

  14. #43
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    How much of Dusty's success as a manager can be attributed to the Bond's acquisition and having him in that lineup?
    How much of Sparky Anderson's success was having the team he had in Cincinnati?

    Baker's first year of managing anything aside form Az League ball was 1993, the year the Giants got Bonds, Sparky OTOH had a full deck as well in 1970.

    Look at it this way, neither one of them pulled a Less Moss, Vern Rapp or Joe Adcock., they stuck around, and chances are that it might have had a lot more to do with them then the superstars they were lucky enough to have on their team.

  15. #44
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    How much of Dusty's success as a manager can be attributed to the Bond's acquisition and having him in that lineup?
    What has me scared is that Dusty does not have a player like that to carry the load in Cincy.

    This team is a little tricky, and I think the manager can make a difference with a squad like the Reds have.

    With Baker's history of managerial moves, he may have won in spite of himself sometimes.

    We'll know rather quickly how well he works out with the Reds. Not an easy team to hide behind.

  16. #45
    RaisorZone Raisor's Avatar
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    Re: Will Baker Impede Progress?

    Quote Originally Posted by icehole3 View Post
    Ok, you want me to say it, you guys are very smart.
    You've been here since 2000 and you're only NOW understanding how awesome we are?
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."


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