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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mariners sending Jesus Montero to Triple-A

Amen amen there’s a lower power.

Bold move in Seattle, as the Mariners are optioning catcher Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma, reports Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News-Tribune.

Montero, whom the M’s acquired from the Yankees as part of the Michael Pineda deal, was ranked by Baseball America as the sixth-best overall prospect coming into 2012. This season, however, Montero has authored a grim batting line of .208/.264/.327 in addition to playing spotty defense in his 225 1/3 innings behind the plate.

Last season, Montero showed promise by putting up a passable 95 OPS+ and making strides in the second half. In 2013, though, he’s obviously failed to maintain those gains. Montero’s still just 23 years of age, so there’s plenty of time to right himself. Consider this a bold step in that direction.

Also worth noting is that Mike Zunino, the Mariners’ top prospect, is the regular catcher at Tacoma right now, and he already has a backup in place.

Repoz Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners

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   1. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4450647)
Montero, whom the M’s acquired from the Yankees as part of the Michael Pineda deal, was ranked by Baseball America as the sixth-best overall prospect coming into 2012.


I see the problem here.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4450652)
I guess being just all right isn't good enough anymore.
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4450653)
Many people will point to this and say that the Montero trade was non-horrible for the Yankees. But I still feel like in an alternate universe where Montero doesn't get traded, he becomes a star, like Jorge Posada kind of star. Of course, there is no way to know.
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4450655)
I am positive I heard that the worst case for Montero was to not be able to handle full time catching and move to first base and become Carlos Delgado.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4450659)
Many people will point to this and say that the Montero trade was non-horrible for the Yankees.

Montero HAD value when they traded him so you can still say it's a whiff. Pineda might still come back, too. The story isn't over yet.
   6. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4450660)
Montero, whom the M’s acquired from the Yankees as part of the Michael Pineda deal


Pineda, whom the Yankees acquired from the M's as part of the Jesus Montero deal.

Boy, that trade didn't work out for anyone, huh?

Now watch David Adams become an All-Star.
   7. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4450661)
I am positive I heard that the worst case for Montero was to not be able to handle full time catching and move to first base and become Carlos Delgado.


could still happen
   8. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4450663)
Montero HAD value when they traded him so you can still say it's a whiff. Pineda might still come back, too. The story isn't over yet.
It would have been a whiff if Pineda had stayed healthy and sucked. Now it's a trade that didn't work out that *could* have been a whiff or a steal. And if Montero turns it around and starts hitting, it's a whiff, especially considering the Yankees need young blood in their lineup.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4450666)
Honestly, I still wish they had kept Montero, even knowing what I know now.
   10. deputydrew Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4450672)
Smoak, Montero, Ackley. That's some big-time prospect busting...
   11. catomi01 Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4450677)
they can have eduardo nunez if they want...we'll take him back. Still only 23 and was OK in a pitcher's park last year....I'd take my chances.
   12. Kurt Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4450680)
Honestly, I still wish they had kept Montero, even knowing what I know now.


I don't. They've got half a dozen guys who should be at DH. If they decided he wasn't going to cut it as a catcher (and that assessment appears correct), he needed to go.
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4450684)
Definitely a very disappointing 1+ years for Montero.

I feel like Safeco is death for hitters. Smoak is another high caliber prospect who has just completely flopped -- and has been given every chance, also.
   14. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4450690)
I am positive I heard that the worst case for Montero was to not be able to handle full time catching and move to first base and become Carlos Delgado.


could still happen


Unpossible. He's a 23 year old position player, how often do they develop further?
   15. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4450692)
The Royals strategy of responding to their prospects perennially going from "Can't miss" to "Can't succeed" by trading them to a team with the opposite phenomenon seems to be working all right. The Mariners should have traded Montero and Smoak and Ackley for Pete Kozma and a couple of the Cardinals' other random non-prospect / guaranteed All-Star candidates.
   16. Kurt Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4450705)
Unpossible. He's a 23 year old position player, how often do they develop further?


Not 100% of the time. Sure, he *could* become Carlos Delgado, but it's obviously not his worst case scenario.
   17. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4450707)
Getting booted out of the Mariners starting lineup is like being one of the off-camera relatives deemed too embarrassing to be included in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."
   18. John DiFool2 Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4450723)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25.

Seems like most stars do it a different way-either they are hyped a lot from the start, and are essentially stars as soon as they reach the majors, or they go through a sudden growth spurt after toiling in the minors for several years, and start hitting like mad out of nowhere. But I can't think of single star who ever fired, fell back, and then was finally resurgent; seems most of these guys end up becoming the Jeff Francouer's of the world-people keep giving them chances because, hey, they look like a star, but they never put it all together.
   19. andrewberg Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4450724)
Smoak has been kind of hitting lately. At least he is drawing walks. Ackley has evinced more signs of life than Montero this year, though he has also been a big disappointment. Montero is struggling the most and has the most room for improvement, so it seems like he was the right one to demote right away.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4450725)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here?


Alex Gordon (if you count him as a "star")
   21. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4450734)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25.

I don't know if either of their routes fit exactly with how you are describing it, but Carlos Delgado and Mike Sweeney came up as catchers, didn't hit all that well (and probably didn't field all that well either) in part time seasons and then put it together at first. Sweeney looks pretty spot on, got the Majors when he was 22, he was up and down during his years as a catcher, got worse at the plate after his first year, and then started hitting at 25. Delgado is a bit more of stretch but I think you could still shoehorn him in to what you are describing.
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4450741)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25.


Carlos Beltran was Rookie of the Year in 1999, busted pretty spectacularly in 2000 and has gone on to a great career. He was only in the minors for a very short time in 2000 so he doesn't quite meet the criteria though.
   23. andrewberg Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4450744)
Curtis Granderson went from stud to pretty good to stud. That isnt exactly the same, but it is vaguely similar.

Brandon Phillips had a successful cup of coffee, fell apart, then reclaimed his career when he went to Cincy.

How about Sammy Sosa? OPS+ of 89 and 92 followed by 59 then growth into a star.
   24. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4450747)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here?

Was Jose Guillen ever a star? Came up early and was decent, then went back in the minors for a while, switches teams a bunch of times, eventually became pretty good. And crazy. Pretty crazy.
   25. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4450749)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25.


Also not exactly a star, but Ron Gant did that. He had a good MLB season at 23, fell apart the next year and was sent down, converted from 2B to LF, then came back and had a nice career.
   26. WillYoung Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4450750)
Roy Halladay comes to mind.
   27. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4450753)
I am positive I heard that the worst case for Montero was to not be able to handle full time catching and move to first base and become Carlos Delgado.


Well, considering that Delgado is 40 & hasn't played in 4 years ...

(Speaking of whom, I don't recall the circumstances surrounding his demise. I presume he suffered some sort of serious injury, because the year before his final, truncated season he still showed loads of power.)
   28. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4450754)
Chris Davis is another one I found who is kinda sorta on the list. He had a pretty solid half season as a 22 year old, didn't suck at 23, did suck at 24 and now has apparently decided he's Babe Ruth. That won't last but even if 2012 is his new level of achievement that is quite good (even if he stops emulating Ruth by mixing pitching and hitting).
   29. Ron J2 Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4450755)
Tear up the minors at an early age


.289/.351/.493 in two years of AAA is not exactly tearing up the minors. Granted he was young, but what we really have is promise. Again, a .909 OPS at 19 in AA is very promising. Does not suggest major league ready at that moment (yeah, totally major league ready if he actually was a good defensive player)

Greg Jefferies is an interesting case. His early play as a full-timer is generally seen as a disappointment but is perfectly in line with his play at AAA. His eventual success looks like the player everybody expected after his huge year at AA.
   30. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4450759)
David Ortiz?
   31. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4450762)
Wasn't Von Hayes sort of like this? He was so great in the minors and as a rookie that the Phillies traded half their team for him, then he cooled down again, then everyone hated him for the next ten years and didn't notice that he had become great again.
   32. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4450765)
Wasn't Von Hayes sort of like this? He was so great as a rookie that the Phillies traded 479 players for him, then he cooled down again, then everyone hated him for the next ten years and didn't notice that he had become great again.

He wasn't really that great as a rookie and I'm not sure if he ever actually achieved greatness. He was a good player for a few years, though.
   33. andrewberg Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4450766)
When Von Hayes was good, my dad had a boss named Ron Hayes, so I collected as many Von Hayes cards as I could and gave them to him at a dinner as a present. That's my Von Hayes story.
   34. BDC Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4450769)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25

You just described Larry Hisle exactly, except that ages 24-25 were the trough of his career; he came back to be a star even later.
   35. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4450776)
, but it's obviously not his worst case scenario.


No pretty obviously it'd be his best case scenario at this point.

23 year old with a career OPS+ of 98 in 732 MLB PAs

in 2010 he hit .289/.353/.517 in AAA (league .263/.330/.410)
in 2011 he hit .288/.348/.467 in AAA (league .260/.329/.400)
Scranton is a pitcher's park so his OPS+ in 2010 & 2011 was 140 and 130, a 125-130 OPS+ in AAA is generally an mle of 100 or so

so what is a bit worrisome is that it really doesn't appear that he's shown any development as a hitter since turning 20.

BTW in 559 AAA PAs Smoak has hit .252/.381/.407 in the PCL, that's an OPS+ of 106, so we're talking an mle of around 80-85 (he's at 93 for career), he had a real good 1/3 year in the Texas league once, as a 22 year old, outside of that he's never had performance close to justifying his high prospect rankings.

Ackley? He hit in 2011, he hit in AAA (OPS+ of 126) and raked in the MLB, outside of 2011 he's never really shown the performance you'd want to see either.

This isn't limited to the Mariners of course, but basically, in Ackley and Smoak you have two very highly regarded prospects who briefly showed ability, but aside from those brief periods have done squat on the field. In Montero you have a guy who hit extremely well (considering age and league level) for 2+ minor league seasons, but who has seemingly peaked/stalled out at 20 (AKA Andy Marte disease)
something to keep in mind when looking at trades involving prospects
   36. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4450783)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25

You just described Larry Hisle exactly, except that ages 24-25 were the trough of his career; he came back to be a star even later.


Gary Sheffield

also

Carlos Delgado himself

Ben Oglivie
Jose Guillen (ok didn't actually hold his own early on)
Alex Gordon (whoo boy do the Royals HOPE this is a common career path)

   37. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4450789)
.289/.351/.493 in two years of AAA is not exactly tearing up the minors.


IN the IL not the PCL and in a pitcher's park

an equivalent line in Tacoma most years would be something like .310/.370/.550

   38. andrewberg Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4450792)
The other thing about Smoak is that you can watch him for one game and see that he really struggles to identify and hit breaking balls. As he moved up levels, he had more and more trouble making contact (Krate increases with levels, ISO decreases). That doesn't mean that he will never improve, but it says something when his performance has tracked precisely with what appears to be his biggest weakness.

Montero never had a plan against righties (at least not since he has been in Seattle) and has increasingly sat on fastballs from lefties and tried to hit HRs in every PA. He still has quick hands, but he needs a ton of work on his approach.
   39. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4450806)
Delgado's first 15 games: .265/.357/.755 with 8 HRs.
Delgado's next 67 games: .173/.284/.272 with 4 HRs.

Through his age 23 season, Delgado was .194/.300/.378. There's still hope for Jesus.
   40. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4450818)
Why the hell haven't the Mariners called up Franklin yet? 2B, SS, whatever. He'd be an upgrade at a bunch of different places.
   41. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4450819)
I still think that if they give up on the catching thing and let him play DH/1B full time and focus most of his attention on hitting, Montero could still become a very good hitter.
   42. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4450826)
they replaced him with jesus sucre? ugh.
(poor man's chris stewart, though less prone to pb.)
   43. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 23, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4450827)
johnny

gary Sheffield battled an injury in his ugly 1991 season. and then in 1992 he was tremendous. I don't see that being a good comp. also Sheffield was only 21 in 1991 which in terms of growth potential very different from Montero

   44. I Am Not a Number Posted: May 23, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4450886)
When Von Hayes was good, my dad had a boss named Ron Hayes, so I collected as many Von Hayes cards as I could and gave them to him at a dinner as a present. That's my Von Hayes story.

It's probably also Ron Hayes' Von Hayes story.
   45. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4450897)
I don't see that being a good comp


He was great in the minors
he was ok/held his won in the majors
then he took a step back, far enough back to get demoted
then he became a star

that was the hypothetical career path- Which Sheffield fits-

as far as comps there are no perfect comps, Delgado is a better one simply due to the position similarity

just spitballing where Montero's career could go, not where it was likely to go, if I wanted to know where he was likely t go, I would look at Delgado, BUT I'd also look at someone like Saltalmacchia, and there are more Saltys than Thin Carloses...
   46. AROM Posted: May 23, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4450909)
When Von Hayes was good, my dad had a boss named Ron Hayes, so I collected as many Von Hayes cards as I could and gave them to him at a dinner as a present. That's my Von Hayes story.


When Von Hayes was good, I created a microleague twin and named him Ron Hayes. He took 100 walks as a rookie but didn't really hit. That's my Ron Hayes story.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 23, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4450913)
johnny

I was focused on the age difference. a guy at 21 has a much greater chance of getting things together than a guy who is 23-24.

that was my point

that and the talent difference.
   48. bookbook Posted: May 23, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4450925)
Montero is such a terrible athlete, despite his strength, that a Delgado-like outcome feels too optimistic.
Otoh, not sucking would be a dramatic upgrade for the M's at any of a number of positions.
   49. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 23, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4450937)
Chris Shelton
Josh Barfield
Kevin Kouzmanoff
Adam Lind
Andy Marte
Josh Fields
Ryan Garko

Am I doin it rite

EDIT: Seriously, Chris Carpenter, sorta Cliff Lee, RA Dickey.
   50. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4450967)
There's still hope for Jesus.

I thought Jesus was supposed to give me hope.

With Montero, one does wonder whether the lack of development as a hitter is related to the continuing attempt to teach him to catch. Delgado had a full season at C in the minors at 21. He then had 40 games there in the minors at 22 and, once they brought him up, that was the end of the catching. There wasn't a lot of dithering about by the Jays. Delgado's ML catching career is 2 games, 0 starts -- and I'd swear I saw at least one of those games. Somebody in the Jays organization was obviously quite clear about "he can hit, he ain't never gonna catch, so let the man hit."

It's unlikely under any circumstance that Montero ever would have become Delgado (an HoVG player) but everybody seemed focused on gambling on the all-star catcher option at the expense of the more likely Anthony Rizzo (say).

I will say this though -- MLB's history of deciding to shift guys off C seems pretty strong. I suppose by definition we only see the successes but Delgado, Biggio, Murphy, Zeile, even Torre (about the only late-career success move).

Anyway, still no particularly good reason Montero couldn't turn into Mike Morse. Unfortunately I'm not sure the baseball world has a place anymore for Cliff Johnson.
   51. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4450997)
There are far more Von Hayes stories than I thought there would be.

The Roy Halladay comparison is interesting. Maybe he needs a hitting instructor to help break things down and fix the problem (like how Jose Bautista became Jose Muthaf*cking Bautista in September 2009).
   52. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4450999)
even Torre (about the only late-career success move)


Typically a guy is moved off catcher because he sucks at catching but his bat will play anywhere, or he's moved off catcher because he's got a good bat but catching is basically beating him up (especially his knees)- unforunately those last guys are usually moved too late.

Getting moved off C did wonders for Brandon Inge.

But a problem with Montero, related to this lack of athleticism - as a pro athlete he's never played a game at any position but catcher (DH is not a position), not a game at first or 3rd or left. Plus to date he's hit worse when DHing than when catching, so while catching may be tough, and not catching easier on the body, he may be aguy who has trouble keeping his head in the game when not taking the field every other half inning.
   53. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4451004)
Greg Jefferies is an interesting case. His early play as a full-timer is generally seen as a disappointment but is perfectly in line with his play at AAA. His eventual success looks like the player everybody expected after his huge year at AA.


2 things, 1. his year in AAA was out of line with the rest of his minor league career
2. He actually hit well for a 21 & 22 year old middle infielder - OPS+ of 106 and 111- something that was pretty well masked by the extremely low run environment he was in (pre-steroid era Shea Stadium)

trouble was he was no middle infielder, terrible 2nd baseman, (in the minors he'd been a terrible SS) no instincts at all, he ran well but was not quick at all, poor first step, very stiff on the pivot at 2b too.

so they move him to 3B, but that lack of quickness/poor first step pretty much doomed him from the start

his playing time was pretty evenly split between 2b, 3b, 1b and LF- hit MUCH better playing 1B than anywhere else...
Oddly enough WAR has him as an acceptable defensive LF (poor to very poor everywhere else), but he just didn't hit a lick when playing in the OF
   54. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4451006)
I suppose by definition we only see the successes

Jeff Clement.
   55. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4451008)
Yeah, but Jeff Clement played for the Mariners, so there was no hope from the beginning. And then he went to the Pirates.
   56. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4451012)
Jeff Clement.



So when does Kyle Seager realize he's a Mariner and stop hitting?
   57. greenback calls it soccer Posted: May 23, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4451015)
Somewhere Adam Jones is grateful to be playing for the Orioles.
   58. RollingWave Posted: May 23, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4451071)
Smoak, Montero, Ackley. That's some big-time prospect busting...


At what point do we simply start chalking this up to the Mariners being a death sentence to hitting prospects?

I have little doubt that if he remained a Yankee, he wouldn't be hitting THIS bad.
   59. andrewberg Posted: May 23, 2013 at 09:13 PM (#4451087)
So when does Kyle Seager realize he's a Mariner and stop hitting?


I sometimes think that the other guys must hate him for removing obvious excuses like stadium, weather, coaching, or uniforms. If not for Seager, the M's would look completely hopeless at developing hitters. The fact that he's pretty good just seems like the exception that proves the rule.
   60. bookbook Posted: May 23, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4451098)
***Plus to date he's hit worse when DHing than when catching***

Everyone not named Edgar hits worse when DHing than when playing a position. It's too much like pinch-hitting 4 times a game. The sample size is small enough that I doubt Montero has a special problem in this regard.

Saunders has also developed as a hitter while a Mariner, though he did explicitly go outside the organization to get the coaching he needed (as did Smoak this past offseason. So if he works out, kudos won't necessarily redound to Jack and his team).

After those two, Vargas is the best hitter the M's have developed.
   61. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 23, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4451119)
There are far more Von Hayes stories than I thought there would be.

I was more surprised by the number of Ron Hayes stories.
   62. Kurt Posted: May 23, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4451125)
I wouldn't say Mariners hitting prospects are completely hopeless. Adam Jones is doing quite well.
   63. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4451126)
Somewhere Adam Jones is grateful to be playing for the Orioles.

By "somewhere" do you mean "In Toronto?"
   64. flournoy Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:35 AM (#4451130)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25.


Sounds like Ron Gant to me.
   65. Walt Davis Posted: May 24, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4451152)
Everyone not named Edgar hits worse when DHing than when playing a position.

I actually seriously doubt this. Sure, I can imagine guys do worse when DHing 20 times a year. But I am quite confident that if you take any good hitter, tell him he has nothing to do but hit, trot him out there every day, give him maybe half a season to adjust -- he'll hit just as well as always.

Baines moved to full time DH at age 28. From 25 to 27, he had a 124 OPS; from 28 to 30 he had a 123.

Billy Butler played mostly 1B at 23-24 and put up a 130 OPS+; for 25-26 he hit 133.

Chili Davis essentially became a DH at 31. From 28-30, 116 OPS+. 31-33 124.

God allowed the DH because he loved watching Rico Carty hit. Carty had a f'd up career but as a full-time DH from 36-38 he hit 133 OPS+ compared to his career 132.

Andre Thornton became primarily a DH at 32. From 27-29, pre-injury, he had a 137 OPS+; from 32-34 he was 131.

Baylor became a full-time DH at 32. From 28-30, ignoring his lousy age 31 season, he had a 129 OPS+; from 32-34 it was 119.

Obviously there's both cherry-picking on my part ... although those were the first 5 non-Edgar, non-Ortiz guys I thought of ... and selection bias in that if they'd sucked at DH they wouldn't have been allowed to be full-time DH.
   66. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: May 24, 2013 at 02:32 AM (#4451155)
Has anybody who eventually became a star ever done it the way that is implied here? Tear up the minors at an early age, get promoted to the majors (again early), hold his own for a season or so, then fall apart enough to force the big club to send him down-and only then after another year or two does he finally put it together at c. age 24-25.


Jeff Francouer tore up the minors, had success in the majors, and then was sent down to the minors after struggling. He spent a long time there (according to him) and then came back up and returned to stardom (according to bobby cox's lineup cards.)
   67. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4451186)
Sure, I can imagine guys do worse when DHing 20 times a year. But I am quite confident that if you take any good hitter, tell him he has nothing to do but hit, trot him out there every day, give him maybe half a season to adjust -- he'll hit just as well as always.


Counterexample: Frank Thomas.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4451198)
Counterexample: Frank Thomas.

Isn't the problem with this that he mostly played 1B when he was young and healthy, and mostly DHed when he was old and hurt?

I'm not sure the causation runs from DH-poor hitting, rather than injury-DH and poor hitting.
   69. AROM Posted: May 24, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4451237)
Looking for years when Frank was at/near his best, and played significant time at both 1B and DH:

1991: as 1B 303/429/518
as DH: 325/464/570

1995: as 1B 331/481/691
as DH: 271/411/463

1997: as 1B 363/467/662
as DH: 314/435/509

   70. Ron J2 Posted: May 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4451265)
#69 Reggie Jackson's DH/Non DH splits are remarkable .227/.332/.407 in 2563 PAs. That's not something that's explainable in terms of age/injury. He never had an extended spell when he was a 739 OPS hitter.

What's even more remarkable is that he hit quite well in 1980 as a DH (his first extended spell at DH) .331/.415/.598 in 198 PAs. After that he DH'd a fair amount was a train wreck there and hit quite a bit better when playing the field.

Limiting to seasons with 100+ PAs at both DH and in the field after 1980:

1981: as DH .171/.328/.276 (131 PAs)
RF .263/.328/.496 (250 PAs)

1983: as DH .176/.286/.282 (227 PAs)
RF: .219/.302/.406 (160 PAs)

1985: as DH .196/.335/.387 (168 PAs)
RF: .286/.378/.555 (325 PAs)

1987 doesn't qualify, but he put up a 1.045 OPS in 77 PAs in RF and a .597 OPS when DHing (his regular job)

   71. bookbook Posted: May 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4451283)
Yes, I exaggerated. Edgar isn't the only guy on Earth who hit just as well as a DH. But I am willing to stand behind the concept that DHing is harder than hitting as an every inning player for most hitters, and that smarter minds than me have figured this out. Without finding the studies, I'll just quote Tom Tango:

“A player is significantly less effective as a pinch hitter than he is as a starter…. Players also lose effectiveness when being used as a designated hitter; the DH penalty is about half that of the PH penalty.” (Tango, Lichtman, and Dolphin, The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, page 113)

If this DH penalty is something that can be overcome through repetition and focus, that's great. But as your counterexamples suggest, it may be mature players who have had a few years to develop their routines and play regularly who overcome the inherent challenges of coming in cold off the bench. I'm not betting on Montero being Harold Baines or Chili Davis anytime soon.
   72. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4451291)
That's not something that's explainable in terms of age/injury.


some of it is, he was old AND hurt in 1983/84 when he mostly DH'd and was a complete trainwreck...

but yeah, pretty much every year he hit between when playing in the OF than when he was DHing

I don't know about his A's/Angels days, but with the Yankees he always seemed to have some nagging injury or something- and he'd be DH, if you look at his game logs it wasn't that he was DHing every 3rd or 4th game, he'd play 40 games in the field, then his next 10-15 would be as a DH.
   73. Walt Davis Posted: May 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4451300)
I'm quite aware of the "DH penalty". I don't believe it exists. Let a hitter hit regularly and he will hit.

I'm not sure what the "here's how guys hit when they split time" stuff is supposed to be showing. Sure, use a guy there 20 games a year, 40 games a year, who knows what that does to his routine. That's at least half of the DH PAs for the entire history of the DH. Add in the injury recovery guys and I'm not sure why anybody would be surprised there's a supposed "DH penalty."

Reggie was a full-time DH for the first time at 38; he did it again at 40. Reggie wasn't much of a hitter anywhere in his late 30s. He had a 116 OPS+ at 40 which ain't too shabby.
   74. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4451349)
By the way, you heard it here first: The Mariners trade Montero to someone else, for whom he makes at least two All-Star appearances as a post-hype prospect.
   75. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4451361)
. Players also lose effectiveness when being used as a designated hitter; the DH penalty is about half that of the PH penalty.

But there's no way to parse out in-season injury effects. Guys are much more likely to DH when they are nursing an injury or just tired. That has to erode performance.
   76. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 24, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4451365)
By the way, you heard it here first: The Mariners trade Montero to someone else, for whom he makes at least two All-Star appearances as a post-hype prospect.


Just in time to replace Matt Holliday.

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