Monday, August 30, 2004

HR and RBI Predictions

Well, it's getting down to the last month of the regular season and things are still tight in the AL West. Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to predict the HR and RBI totals for the top HR hitters on the A's. Through Sunday 8-29-04, here are the top 7 hitters in terms of HR with their current numbers :

Eric Chavez - 27 HR / 63 RBI
Erubiel Durazo - 21 HR / 76 RBI
Jermaine Dye - 20 HR / 71 RBI
Eric Byrnes - 19 HR / 66 RBI
Bobby Crosby - 17 HR / 49 RBI
Scott Hatteberg - 14 HR / 75 RBI
Mark Kotsay - 12 HR / 54 RBI

There are 32 games left in the regular season. I based my predictions very simply by estimating how many at bats each player would get through the next 32 games and then figuring their At Bats per HR and At Bats per RBI to come up with a very rough estimation of their totals. My sloppy math has given me the following estimates for the HR and RBI totals at the end of the regular season :

Eric Chavez - 36 HR / 84 RBI
Erubiel Durazo - 27 HR / 97 RBI
Jermaine Dye - 25 HR / 89 RBI
Eric Byrnes - 24 HR / 85 RBI
Bobby Crosby - 21 HR / 62 RBI
Scott Hatteberg - 18 HR / 95 RBI
Mark Kotsay - 15 HR / 69 RBI

Obviously these are just guesses, but it is fun to speculate. A lot of different things could happen to push these numbers up or down. Chavez's bat could cool off - he is second in the league for HR during August - or Bobby Crosby could finish off the season with an outstanding month of September. But either way, at least the above gives you a rough idea of what I at least think the totals will look like.

Based on these numbers though, that means that Chavez, Durazo, and Hatteberg would all have career HR years.

Devil Rays vs A's, 8-28 and 8-29

Was lazy about blogging this weekend. I was at Saturday's game and a great game it was. Some costly errors for the A's allowed 4 runs in 1 inning for Hudson, but luckily our bats and a great bullpen secured the lead. Dotel is another nail-biting closer like Koch, but I love the guy. He reminds a bit of Tejada, very emotional and pumped up.

Sunday was another great game. Mulder was looking a bit shaky, I am still looking for a return to pre-AllStar Mulder, who was virtually untouchable. Dotel blew a save, but they do happen from time to time, but luckily McMillon - who has been just dismal as the plate this season - redeemed himself with a walk off HR to win the game.

That's a complete 7 game home sweep, the first time the A's have done that in something like 12 years. The AL West is still a very close race, the only way to stay in the game is to keep winning.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Player Profile : Marco Scutaro

Marco Scutaro is one of the most underrated players on the A's roster. Acquired by the A's in the offseason from the NY Mets organization, there was a chance that he might not even make the team until Mark Ellis' injury during Spring Training that wiped out his season with the A's for 2004. Into the gap came Marco Scutaro, whom it is safe to say surprised us all with his great defense, his quiet determination, and his timely hitting. During his first full major league season with the A's, Scutaro has quietly shined at 2B in place of Ellis and gained respect and admiration from many of the fans.

Let's take a quick look at his numbers for the season :
Offense : 0.277 BA / 0.302 OBP / 0.388 SLG / 0.690 OPS / 5 HR / 35 RBI

As you can see, offensively Scutaro isn't too impressive. He has a decent BA, but strikes out way too much without walking. His SLG is a miniscule 0.388 and he has only 5 HR to his name. Breaking it down month by month :

March/April : 0.338 BA / 0.358 OBP / 0.429 SLG / 0.787 OPS
May : 0.236 BA / 0.286 OBP / 0.333 SLG / 0.619 OPS
June : 0.245 BA / 0.260 OBP / 0.351 SLG / 0.611 OPS
July : 0.290 BA / 0.310 OBP / 0.420 SLG / 0.730 OPS
August : 0.284 BA / 0.304 OBP / 0.418 SLG / 0.722 OPS

Scutaro had a great March/April, slumped in May and June, and seems to have picked things up again in July and August. The one glaringly obvious problem : his OBP. The boy rarely walks and strikes out way too much. Other than that, he has proven that he can hit for average, but don't expect a lot of HR. One last note about his offense : His BA with runners in scoring position is 0.306 - not too shabby. That would make him 4th highest on the A's - higher than Dye and Chavez.

Still, all in all this would make Scutaro a very average player at best. But the main area with which he has proved himself to the A's and their fans is his defense. In 99 games at 2B, Scutaro sports a fielding percentage of 0.993 with a range factor of 4.98 and only 3 errors. Scutaro is 2nd out of all A.L. second basemen in terms of fielding percentage, 2nd in lowest errors made, and has turned 60 double plays in just 99 games. While Mark Ellis has better range and is better defensively, in my opinion, it is clear from Scutaro's performance this season that he is one of the best defensive second basemen in the A.L. What could have been a glaring hole in our defense at 2B has instead been one of the best spots in our infield.

Scutaro's solid performance in the infield have secured him a place within the A's organization, hopefully for the long term. The A's front office would be hard pressed to find a more suitable back up infielder than Scutaro for when Ellis returns next season.

Orioles vs A's 8-26-04

Late post, but yesterday's game was a great one. I thought we were in trouble with Zito on the mound, the guy just makes me nervous every time he pitches. Especially after Durazo's HR in the 1st inning to make the score 3-0 A's and then Zito gives up 4 all in 1 inning - sheesh !

Chavez and Durazo both went 2-4 with a HR and a double. Zito pitched a rocky 5 1/3 innings, but ended up with a win.

Oakland has won all 7 games vs. Baltimore this season. Just to show you how dominating we were against Baltimore during these 7 games :

Durazo - 0.444 BA / 0.500 OBP / 0.963 SLG / 1.463 OPS - 4 HR and 11 RBI !!!
Hatteberg - 0.423 BA / 0.516 OBP / 0.654 SLG / 1.170 OPS - 1 HR and 8 RBI
Chavez - 0.360 BA / 0.448 OBP / 0.680 SLG / 1.128 OPS - 2 HR, but only 2 RBI

The entire Oakland A's combined for 12 hr over the 7 games. But it wasn't just our offense that propelled the wins. With the exception of Zito, our pitching staff was untouchable. Over the 7 games with the Orioles :

- Our bullpen was a combined 0.00 ERA and allowed only 11 hits over 19 innings pitched.
- Hudson's ERA was 0.55
- Redman's ERA was 1.13
- Mulder's ERA was 3.86

As I said, only Zito was a mess, a 6.75 ERA vs Baltimore and yet he still managed to eek out wins.

Let's hope the A's can continue their dominance with Tampa Bay this weekend. I'll be at the game on Saturday. The A's really need to continue winning to gain on the Angels and Texas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Orioles vs A's 8-25-04

Rich Harden went an incredible 8 innings, allowing the Orioles to reach second base only once. He struck out 5 and walked only 1, lowering his season ERA to 3.80. At times, the radar gun was clocking his pitches at 97-98 MPH.

Harden's incredible performance was matched equally by the Orioles' Chen, who also lasted 8 innings and allowed only 3 hits.

Right now it is the bottom of the 9th, A's have 2 men on base with 2 outs.....COME ON A'S !!!!!

Update :
Oh. My.

Marco Scutaro - who probably would not have made the team if Mark Ellis hadn't gotten injured - just hit a freakin' perfect walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th !!!!!

A's win it 3-0 to remain in first place !!!!

Orioles vs A's 8-24-04

Great game yesterday. Eric Chavez went 2-4 with a HR and increased his HR total to 24 for the season. Based on current stats, Chavez hits a HR every 14.25 at bats. If he keeps up this pace, he should end the season with about 30-33 HR and right around 79-89 RBI.

Just for fun, if Chavez hadn't gotten that broken hand that kept him out for about 6 weeks, his HR total would be somewhere around 32 HR instead of 24 and his RBI total would also be in the mid to high 70's instead of the 50's. He would have ended up with a season something like 38-40 HR and just over 100 RBI.

But the thing that really impresses me is Chavy's patience. His OBP is off the charts :

Eric Chavez's career OBP - including the current season - is just 0.353
Eric Chavez has never had a season with an OBP higher than 0.355
For the current season, he is maintaining an OBP right around 0.400

Chavy has never had a season where his walk total was greater than his strikeout total. If he can keep walking like he has been so far this season, he will end up with a fat walk to strike ratio.

Why is this such a big deal ?

Eric Chavez has never had a season with an OPS greater than 0.878. Currently his OPS is 0.933 for this season and shows no signs of letting up, thanks to his above average OBP. In short, Chavez is slowly but surely developing into a prototypical Moneyballer.

We are still in 1st place, albeit by half a game. The only way to stay on top is to keep winning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

More BIlly Beane

The conclusion of Athletics Nation's interview with Billy Beane.

Great interview. Check out all 3 parts.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Oakland A's tid bits

Athletics Nation is my favorite Oakland A's blog, and Blez has the ability to get access to a surprising number of sources for interviews and information. The coup de grace ? A one-on-one interview with the man himself, Billy Beane. Check out part 1 here, part 2 here. The conclusion I am hoping will be on site tomorrow.

Also in the news, for those of you who don't know, Erubiel Durazo is having a monster season with the A's this year, especially this week when he went 4-for-4 with 3 HR. Aaron Gleeman at the Hardball Times has some interesting statistical analysis regarding Durazo :
Of course, with the improved power and the fact that Durazo's batting .326 after
hitting just .259 last season, he has more than made up for the lack of walks.
According to Value
Over Replacement Player
, Durazo has been the 12th-best offensive player in
the American League this season and he ranks as the 27th-best best position
player in the league according to Win Shares Above
, which takes defense into account (Durazo is primarily a designated
hitter).Just for fun, if you combine this year's batting average and power with
last year's plate discipline, you get the following offense from Durazo:
.326/.441/.536. That would be good for fourth in the league in batting average,
first in on-base percentage, ninth in slugging percentage and fifth in OPS.
Maybe next year.
Read the whole thing here, it is very interesting.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sports Today : Wed 8-18-04

The only sport I really talk about with anyone is Baseball. Don't even mention football to me, which I consider a complete waste of time - I consider it a rich man's game for whiny cry-babies. So don't ask me about football. Don't comment about football. I just don't care. I have been an Oakland A's fan since I was about 10 years old, I remember going to games as a kid and seeing Lansford, Rickey, Eckersley, etc. (Guess how old I am...) After the strike 10 years ago, I got fed up and pissed off with baseball and swore I would never follow it again. For some reason, I just couldn't get it out of my mind, and sure enough back in 2000 I started following the A's and baseball again. My favorite teams are the Oakland A's and the Minnesota Twins. Both teams work with small budgets, small markets, and continue to be top contenders year after year. But of course, I am and Oakland A's fan first and foremost. Tonight the A's came from behind and swept the Orioles with a 5-4 win. The big hero Durazo - the guy went 4-for-4 with 3 HR and drove in ALL 5 OF THE A'S RUNS !!! I love Durazo, I think he is a pretty underrated player and I have a feeling the A's will say goodbye to him next year, which is too bad. Mulder got slammed around quite a bit the first 3 innings, but stayed in and shut down the Orioles for the next 5 innings. The game really picked up my day. There is nothing like watching a good game on TV - regardless of the sport - and the feeling you get when "your" team wins. It can cure just about any bad day blues : "Damn, I got fired today, but at least the A's won...." "Hey honey, we're $10,000 overdrawn on our checking account, but the A's just won...." "Some kid totalled our car and he has no insurance, but the A's just clobbered the Angels...." Ok. maybe not every bad day blues. maybe just some....