Friday, March 03, 2006

Diagnostics, #4

Well, here I am at work again, barely, as I'm really not feeling all that well. Still, I'm in the middle of doing some tedious find-and-replaces in Dreamweaver, that take several minutes a piece, so I'm going to jot a few things down in the meanwhile.

4: How far will the "Hinge" players who disappointed last season bounce back?

What do I mean by "Hinge" players? Players who play key roles and who have expectations placed on them such that they, both singlehandedly and collectively, "swing" the team towards greatness or towards crappiness. Obviously, you could place several players in this category, but I'm going to narrow it down to five. These five all, whether rightfully so or not, had a big burden to carry last season and, for one reason or another, they all disappointed -- and this disappointment caused the hinge to swing downward last season. Obviously, all five will still be counted on equally in 2006 as they were in 2005. However, I'm sure we all can agree that some of these "Hinges" are more likely to swing upward than others.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Here's PositivePaul's 5 disappointing "Hinges" from 2005:
  • Ichiro
  • Adrian Beltre
  • Jeremy Reed
  • Joel Pineiro
  • Gil Meche
That's pretty much the order I see them in likelihood of swinging upward, too. I really don't have much hope for Gil, as his durability and ability to pitch to a lineup more than once or twice in a game are HUGE questionmarks. Nevertheless, even in spite of the non-guaranteed contract, everything I hear coming out of Peoria is that Gil has the 5th starter spot pretty much locked up. The M's still expect a lot out of him, and while I hope he can deliver, I'm just not expecting it. I really, really, really would like either Foppert or Nageotte to blow through spring and leave "Gilgameche" in the dust.


At 3/03/2006 12:28 PM, Blogger Mike L said...

Clearly those guys are important. I'd agree with those choices as "hinge" players. The next question is this which subgroup of the hinge players making that upward swing is more important to the M's success. Is it the 3 hitters or the 2 pitchers?

It's an interesting question becuase I think the upside of the 3 hitters is much higher than that of the pitchers, which makes me think that they're more important.

But, two starting pitchers are two starting pitchers. If we see more of the good Gil and Joel (you know, the Gil from early 2003 and the Joel from....whenever he was good) then this could be a special year. If they are crap, then the M's are going to lose a lot of ballgames, regardless of how well those 3 hitters perform.

Now, if all 5 have great years.....I may be booking my ticket to Seattle for the ALDS.

At 3/03/2006 9:58 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Exactly. Yeah, Gilgamesh :-)

I actually would like to see Gil in the bullpen -- especially since Mateo's pretty much useless. It'd be an expensive experiment, and he really puts guys on base a lot, which is something you don't want relievers to do. But, it might actually be the best role for him at this point. I just wouldn't do it when the game's on the line.

At 3/04/2006 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say Mateo is useless. He gets crapped on a lot because he is fairly replaceable. Still, he was one of the more consistent guys coming out of the bullpen last year. I certainly didn't have the sinking feeling when he came into games that accompanied Thornton, Nelson, and Shiggy last year. He's no Sherrill, but then who is?


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