Mariners Analysis

Monday, August 23, 2004

Bobby Madritsch pitching tonight

One of the few decent pitchers on this staff right now, at least based on performance this year. His current line for the season:

.234 1.23 2.32

A win tonight and he'd be 4-0. His strikeout rate is nothing special, but he has been controlling the number of walks he issues and is basically just throwing strikes and daring the hitters to swing. I like it!
It is of course the season debut of Scott Kazmir. His minor league numbers are fantastic, and he is one of the more highly rated prospects in baseball.

For those of you who are huge Felix Hernandez fans, it is worth mentioning that Scott is 20 years old. If Felix continues without injury or performance issues, he would be in a similiar situation sometime next year. Are the Rays making a mistake in bringing up Scott so young? Time will tell. Yet another reason to watch the game.

Finally, of course no game can go on right now without talking about Ichiro. The entire baseball community is starting to take notice of Ichiro's box scores, and he is the only reason the Seattle Mariners are even mentioned anymore in baseball circles. He is only hitting .506 for August.

How cool would it be to hit .500 for a month!

Rookie pitcher, Safeco field, Ichiro at the plate. Go M's.


Since we are playing the Devil Rays, it is worth mentioning all the press Piniella and LaMar have been getting lately about rebuilding the club. While there is little doubt that Piniella has done a good job as manager, the fact of the matter is the Rays won't be seeing the playoffs anytime soon. There also have been swipes at Billy Beane and others as the traditional baseball types look at the high school players drafted by the club and seem to take satisfaction at blasting Moneyball theories yet again.

The Devil Rays aren't doing anything magical. The recent "success" at not sucking as badly as they have previously is pretty easy to spot. The formula, should the M's try to adopt it, is pretty simple.

Suck really bad for a lot of years.

Get to pick from the cream of the crop of available players.

Occasionally get one right.

For example, look at the drafting order for the Rays the past few years:
2004 4
2003 1
2002 2
2001 3
2000 6
1999 1
1997 31
1996 29

Not hard to stock up the farm system with draft picks like these. Combine top draft picks with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball (ie. trade veterans when they play well) and the Devil Rays formula is pretty simple.

Of course some of the current Ray boosters like to forget some of the spectacular failures produced in the above drafts.

If I were Piniella or LaMar, I wouldn't gloat about the current Devil Rays. I don't see any rocket science behind any of the moves made. The club is getting better, slowly, after building through the draft. That is why bad teams get to pick first- to allow them to get better.

Let's see the Devil Rays finish ahead of Baltimore and Toronto, and let's see a few .500 seasons before we declare LaMar is a genious.