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Thread: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much (threads merged)

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    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much (threads merged)

    Ahh the fun stories of spring. This one ought to go over well

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...tnered=rss_mlb

    Notes: Majewski turning heads
    Baker impressed by Reds reliever's early work

    SARASOTA, Fla. -- New Reds manager Dusty Baker is still putting the faces with the names and then learning how to pronounce those names.

    But Baker can tell immediately who he likes in camp. He's already mentioned reliever Gary Majewski a couple of times thus far, including Saturday morning.

    "Majewski is throwing the ball well too," opined Baker, who said the common mispronunciation of the right-hander's name as Ma-joo-ski rather than Muh-jesky. "He's in better shape than I heard he was last year. Things are stronger."

    A couple of hours later, Majewski worked in live batting practice vs. hitters Ryan Freel, Scott Hatteberg and Juan Castro.

    With most of the Reds' front-office brass watching from behind the cage, including Baker, Majewski provided another encouraging sign. Many of his pitches stayed down and none of the hitters connected too solidly.

    The past two seasons have mostly been a rough run for Majewski. Turning 28 on Tuesday, he has yet to gain traction with the Reds since a July 2006 trade brought him and lefty Bill Bray from the Nationals for Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez.

    In two unremarkable stints with the Reds in 2007, Majewski was 0-4 with an 8.22 ERA in 32 games. He allowed 43 hits in just 23 innings.

    "It's just been frustrating, especially last year," Majewski said. "Things started getting up. My sister passed on. Mentally, it was tough to get back and get after it. I did what I could. I really told myself to bust my butt this year to get back to where I was."

    The only good news from last year is the shoulder soreness that dogged Majewski since the trade and lingered into the start of last season is behind him.

    Majewski will be spending the next several weeks fighting for a spot in a Reds bullpen that already has limited space and a surplus of arms. To improve his chances, he spent the offseason working out at a facility near his home in Houston.

    "Guys worked with me on throwing and I just got into better shape, the shoulder and stuff," Majewski said. "I tweaked a couple of things -- just repetition."

    Majewski also started watching video of his days in Washington. In 2005, he was one of the better setup men in the National League with a 2.93 ERA in 79 games.

    "I kind of figured out what I was doing wrong," Majewski said of the video sessions. "It stinks it took this long to figure it out. It seems like it's working now. I just need to keep working at it. A majority of my pitches are where I want them now -- down in the zone instead of belt high where they were hitting them last year."

    Strong showings: Majewski wasn't the only pitcher Baker has liked. Right-hander Jared Burton looked very good during his live BP stint on Friday against prospects Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.

    "He was breaking some bats," Baker said. "That ball was moving all over everything."

    Also praised were prospects Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez and veteran Kent Mercker, who is trying to make the roster after he missed all of last season.

    Not down with OBP: Baker has repeatedly talked about the desire to have a do-it-all leadoff hitter with speed. What kinds of hitters is he looking for further down the lineup? Does he want guys with lofty on-base percentages? The answer will likely not sit well with fans of the book "Moneyball," because Baker said he believes the OBP statistic is overvalued.

    "I'm big on driving in runs and scoring runs," Baker said. "Guys in the middle should score about close to equal to what they drive in. On-base percentage, that's fine and dandy. But a lot of times guys get so much into on-base percentage that they cease to swing. It's becoming a little bit out of control.

    "What you do is run the pitcher's count up, that helps," Baker said. "You put him in the stretch, that helps. But your job in the middle is to either score them or drive them in. The name of the game is scoring runs. Sometimes, you get so caught up in on-base percentage that you're clogging up the bases."

    Intrasquad info: The Reds will hold an intrasquad game at 12:30 p.m. ET Tuesday at Ed Smith Stadium. The 5 1/2-inning game will have 11 pitchers throw one inning each.

    Scheduled to pitch are Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Josh Roenicke, Richie Gardner, Cueto, Alexander Smit, Matt Maloney, Daryl Thompson, Sergio Valenzuela, Tyler Pelland and Ramon Ramirez.

    It hasn't been announced, but Matt Belisle appears in line to start Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener for the Reds vs. the Phillies.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    I've decided to not comment on Dusty's complete lack of understanding about how runs are scored and/or driven in -- just too frustrating to think about. Thank God lineup order doesn't have too much of an effect over runs scored. As long as the right guys are playing...
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Member icehole3's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    I agree with Dusty RBI and runs scored, thats the key stats I look at. You can have all of that other crazy sabermetric mumbo jumbo.


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    Member Stormy's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I've decided to not comment on Dusty's complete lack of understanding about how runs are scored and/or driven in -- just too frustrating to think about. Thank God lineup order doesn't have too much of an effect over runs scored. As long as the right guys are playing...
    Dusty's intransigence regarding the manner in which runs are produced shouldn't even mobilize the whole statistical/traditionalist camps. There isn't really anything to debate about his lineup constructs, or his understanding of run production, as both are just demonstrably horrid. Like you, I'm more concerned with 'who is in the lineup' than I am with 'where in the order' they are located (though both are meaningful). Hopefully, the OBP disdain doesn't trickle over into lesser players stealing ABs from their superiors, in addition to the inevitable speed and "bat-handling" skills trumping OBP at the top of the order.

    This many months later, I'm still not sure what there is to like about the Dusty Baker hire (as I dislike everything from his lineup construct, to his handling of young pitchers, to his favored prototypes in personnel usage). He's not a good match for this team on paper. However, I still expect this team to continue improving under his watch. Frankly, I think we would have played better ball under Petey Mac, if he was given the same upgrades, than we will under Dusty.

    As long as he has a long leash for youngsters like Votto, EdE, Bruce etc... and doesn't abuse the young arms too much, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    Last edited by Stormy; 02-23-2008 at 07:18 PM.

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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    When Dusty sees what happens to Majewski's pitches in live game action, he'll rethink this premature praise, I can assure you.

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    Member Stormy's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by icehole3 View Post
    I agree with Dusty RBI and runs scored, thats the key stats I look at. You can have all of that other crazy sabermetric mumbo jumbo.

    Yea, by that standard Jorge Cantu's 2005 was superior to Barry Bonds' 2006.
    Last edited by Stormy; 02-23-2008 at 07:46 PM.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Dusty likes Mercker, too. Maybe it's the "M" names?

    http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/s/...redsnotes.html

    Veteran Mercker no stranger to Baker

    By Hal McCoy

    Staff Writer

    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    SARASOTA, Fla. — Dusty Baker was asked about his early impressions of the first week of camp for the Cincinnati Reds and he quickly glanced at a board listing 35 pitchers.

    "You can tell the guys who pitched winter ball," he said. "Especially Johnny Cueto, in particular, and Edinson Volquez. They're pretty ready."

    Baker also made a point to praise the large group of left-handed bullpen candidates, 40-year-old Kent Mercker in particular.

    "Mercker is throwing the ball real good," Baker said. "All our left-handers are throwing good and that's going to be a tough decision." He also mentioned Jon Coutlangus and Scott Sauerbeck.

    When told what Baker said about the winter-ball guys and about him, Mercker said with a laugh, "Winter ball is cheating. But what Dusty said about me — I'll take that and build on it."

    Mercker is a non-roster invitee after he semi-retired last year, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2006. But he and Baker have a history.

    Mercker's best year in the bullpen was with Baker and the Chicago Cubs in 2004 when he appeared 71 times and was 3-1 with a 2.55 earned-run average.

    Mercker lives in Dublin and attended Dublin High School. Reds scout Gene Bennett remembers taking Mercker to lunch ("At Shoney's," said Mercker) on draft day in 1986 and checking his eyes.

    "He was a good outfielder and we thought we were going to draft him and maybe make him an outfielder," said Bennett. "But I got a call and they said, 'You better get out of there, the Braves drafted him No. 1.' "

    Said Mercker, "I could hit in high school. Of course, all pitchers could. Everybody but Todd Coffey. They DHed for him when he was in high school."

    Maloney impresses


    Left-hander Matt Maloney, acquired last year from the Phillies for Kyle Lohse, has left-handed hitters mumbling to themselves in batting practice with his outstanding breaking pitches.

    "Really like him, a lot," said pitching coach Dick Pole. "That's a good pick-up right there. He has an outstanding breaking ball."

    Maloney is one of 11 pitchers scheduled to throw an inning Thursday, Feb. 26, in a 5 1/2-inning intrasquad game, joining Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Josh Roenicke, Richie Gardner, Cueto, Alexander Smit, Daryl Thompson, Sergio Valenzuela, Tyler Pelland and Ramon Ramirez.

    Baker likes intrasquad games "because it's the first time players stand at a position by themselves. During drills and batting practice, there are five or six guys at each position. Suddenly, the field looks real big — only three guys in the outfield instead of 15."

    A hairy story

    The subject was hair and Ken Griffey Jr. said it is one of his all-time favorite stories.

    When he was a kid he hung around the New York Yankees clubhouse with his dad, Ken Griffey, Sr., and he didn't know that Joe Pepitone (then a coach) wore a wig. Apparently, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner didn't know it, either.

    "Steinbrenner told Pepitone to get a haircut," said Griffey. "I watched him go to his locker and take off a wig and put it on a Styrofoam head. Then he put another wig on. I was stunned, never saw anything like it. Pepitone had three different wigs of different lengths to make it look like his hair was growing."

    Quotes of the day

    • "I know names with the faces now and I recognize wind-ups and swings of the players." — Baker on learning who is who on his roster and insisting players wear their jerseys with their names on the back and not cover them with jackets.

    • "Who are you going to call? I feel like Ghostbusters." — Ken Griffey Jr., talking about always getting summoned either to the front office or the manager's office to discuss team facets."
    /r/reds

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    What's the over/under on the number of PA's Dunn sees from the two-hole in the lineup?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    ...a lot of times guys get so much into on-base percentage that they cease to swing.
    Dusty, that's a large part of working the count. I see a lot more failures from those middle-of-the-order guys who go up to the plate looking for that first fastball, no matter where it is. You want the heart of your order aggressive...but smart and calculating.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    And so it begins.

    There has got to be a way to protect that team from it's manager.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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    Member kbrake's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Hearing Dusty Baker talk about OBP makes my head feel like its about to explode. Going to be a long season if we keep getting this all year.

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    What's the over/under on the number of PA's Dunn sees from the two-hole in the lineup?
    About the same as any other manager in the major leagues right now. I cannot think of one manager who will put a potential 50 home run guy in that spot on a regular basis, and I probably agree with them more than I would the reason for batting him 2 (OBP) that you are likely to give. So does that make us all idiots and you the smart one?

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    Member harangatang's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Leading off for the Reds in Center Field...Norris Hopper. Hey at least he has a high OBP driven by his batting average.

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    Manliness Personified HumnHilghtFreel's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Talk about smoke and mirrors. Majewski impressing while pitching to Juan Castro

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Dusty: I heart Gary Majewski - but OBP not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    About the same as any other manager in the major leagues right now. I cannot think of one manager who will put a potential 50 home run guy in that spot on a regular basis, and I probably agree with them more than I would the reason for batting him 2 (OBP) that you are likely to give. So does that make us all idiots and you the smart one?
    My money was on zero, but thanks for asking.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner


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