THE CRANE POOL FORUM thecranepool.net (.com)


Forum Home

Master Index of Archived Threads


Jose Reyes is the key

metirish
Jul 09 2005 11:57 PM

I could be wrong but when Jose gets on base good things happen for the Mets, so it seems to me anyway, seeing him hit fly balls is a killer, why the hell can't the hitting coach get him to be a slap hitter?

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 10 2005 05:31 AM
Re: Jose Reyes is the key

metirish wrote:
seeing him hit fly balls is a killer, why the hell can't the hitting coach get him to be a slap hitter?


Maybe they could hire a coach who specializes in that? I understand Rey Ordonez is available now.

Spacemans Bong
Jul 10 2005 06:52 AM

Well Keith Hernandez has complained about how he drops his shoulder for months.

The fact is someone, anybody, has to get him to fucking take a pitch. Take a breaking ball, man.

.278 OBP at the top of the order is unconsciable. Willie is literally costing this team games by leaving that up there.

TheOldMole
Jul 10 2005 09:13 AM

Why have the Mets never cared about OBP from a leadoff man?

Rotblatt
Jul 10 2005 09:44 AM

You got me.

I think Willie's overexcited about how good Reyes could be and overlooking the fact that he's pretty bad right now. Historically, I think we thought OBP was for namby-pamby eggheads. Might still be the case. I just hope we haven't been telling Wright to be more aggressive at the plate (his OBP has been steadily dropping).

You can't really blame Reyes batting first for last night's debacle, though. Ishii, Bell & Graves played a part or two in that.

Over the last few games, Wright hasn't been his usual self, and I think that's been hurting us quite a bit. And Beltran is still mediocre.

I still think our pen is decent, if overworked lately, but it's not good enough to overcome our offensive deficiencies, of which 1B, Reyes & Beltran have been our biggest dissapointments. Oh, and 2B too.

Johnny Dickshot
Jul 10 2005 12:28 PM

Again, it seems to me as if Reyes is taking more pitches now than he was earlier: Not enough but a small improvement. But IMO it's futile waiting for a player like that to develop into a player who walks frequently.

I'd say the bigger issue with him at this point is all the damn fly balls.

duan
Jul 10 2005 01:04 PM

Bobby V liked obp at the top of the lineup.

Frayed Knot
Jul 10 2005 01:15 PM

Reyes's problem is NOT that he's taking too few pitches. His per/AB pitch count is actually somewhat high (I heard some numbers the other day but forgot the specifics); and it isn't even that he's swinging at too many bad pitches, at least not until he gets 2 strikes. At times, in fact, I think he takes too many pitches.
The problem is the ones he chooses to take. It seems that he often decides before the pitch is ever thrown whether or not he's going to swing - and therefore winds up taking too many fat strikes either with his fake bunts or because he's got this notion that he's supposed to take more often and takes fat pitches just to take them. But "Plate discipline" isn't just merely looking at as many piches as possible, sometimes it's sitting on a pitch in a favorable count and whacking the snot out of it. Where that strategy fails to work for him is that Jose lacks the skill to pick out a particular strike in those cases - again, he decides ahead of time to swing no matter what - and so he winds up taking mediocre swings at pitches he should leave alone.

And I can't imagine how bad his pitch selection would be if we hadn't left him down in the minors so long.

Spacemans Bong
Jul 10 2005 01:24 PM

TheOldMole wrote:
Why have the Mets never cared about OBP from a leadoff man?

For the same reason the Mets have turned a New York City fanbase into exactly 2 World Championships. Being lovable doesn't mean you're smart.

:evil:

seawolf17
Jul 10 2005 03:19 PM

Pitches/Plate Appearance Rankings, 2005 NL (among AB qualifiers):

1. Bobby Abreu 4.52
11. David Wright 4.07
50. Cliff Floyd 3.63
51. Carlos Beltran 3.62
52. Jose Reyes 3.61
69. Mike Piazza 3.45
80. Christian Guzman 3.01 (last among qualifiers)

I don't know that this really tells you anything, but I figured I'd add the stats in there.

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 10 2005 04:31 PM

Frayed Knot wrote:

And I can't imagine how bad his pitch selection would be if we hadn't left him down in the minors so long.


This is known, I believe, as referring to proof not yet entered into evidence. There is zero basis for assuming that players learn OBP skills in the minors (any more than than they learn other skills) though for some bizarre reason this is often falsely asserted as common knowledge, as FK is doing here.

I can name you plenty of great OBP guys who played about as little in the minors as Jose Reyes, starting with this ex-Met

http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/henderi01.shtml

and perhaps including

http://baseball-reference.com/b/bondsba01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/r/ruthba01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/m/mantlmi01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/o/ottme01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/f/foxxji01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/r/robinfr02.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/k/kalinal01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/g/griffke02.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/a/aaronha01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/p/pujolal01.shtml

and

http://baseball-reference.com/w/willite01.shtml

Of course, if they had stayed in the minors until longer--I'd recommend at least another few years in most cases--they might have really put up some impressive OBP numbers.

Frayed Knot
Jul 10 2005 09:18 PM

Ooh wow ... we're finding Hall-of-Famers who were real good when they came up as young players. Whoda thunk it?
Must mean that they were good because they were brought up young (as opposed to the other way around) and therefore ALL players should be able to come up at that age and not have any adjustment periods!

sharpie
Jul 10 2005 10:51 PM

Barry Larkin had a .306 obp in his first full season and later routinely put up .390s-.410s.


In the last month (including today) Jose has had 30 hits: 0 doubles, 2 triples, 0 homers, 28 singles.

How can someone with that many hits have 0 doubles?

Edgy DC
Jul 10 2005 11:02 PM

Vince Coleman used to be notoriously low in the doubles department. The thesis then, and it can be applied now, is that any ball that gets past the outfielders is a triple for him. Any ball that gets between them, but not quite past them, for a single/potential double, he doesn't go for second because he can less riskily steal it two pitches later.

I think it's more true that a ton of his singles are grounders between the infielders or in front of the infielders that have no double potential whatsoever.

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 05:57 AM

Frayed Knot wrote:
Ooh wow ... we're finding Hall-of-Famers who were real good when they came up as young players.!


No, this is a list of career OBP leaders, all of whom happened to come up after playing about the same number of minor league games as Reyes. If OBP is a learnable skill, why wouldn't the list of all-time OBP leaders consist of players whose minor league play was extensive, instead of minimal?

I'll give you the answer: because OBP is a talent, like any other, and Reyes' OBP, and lack of same, has absolutely nothing to do with his time in the minors. But keep on claiming that it does.

MFS62
Jul 11 2005 07:29 AM

Roberto Clemente averaged fewer than 20 walks per season in his first 5 or 6 major league years.

Later

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 07:42 AM

Which demonstrates what? For all his batting prowess, Clemente isn't anywhere near the top of OBP leaders. If you have good strike zone judgment, you have it whether you spent a lot of time in the minors or, like Ott or Foxx, none at all.

sharpie
Jul 11 2005 09:05 AM

No one expects Reyes to be an all-time obp guy. The Larkin and Clemente points were that it is a skill that can be improved at the major league level. If Jose gets to .340 I won't complain.

seawolf17
Jul 11 2005 09:21 AM

He's twenty-two years old! We can't reasonably expect him to be a Hall of Famer right now. Let him learn, let him grow. He's very good now, and he'll probably only get better... the only way to do that is to let him keep getting ABs, and teach him how to be a more complete hitter. As a fan, I have to have faith that someone -- someone in the organization, his dad, his old coach, Tony Gwynn, whoever -- will help him along the way. I know he needs to be on-base better than a quarter of the time... but he should, eventually.

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 10:13 AM

sharpie wrote:
No one expects Reyes to be an all-time obp guy. The Larkin and Clemente points were that it is a skill that can be improved at the major league level. If Jose gets to .340 I won't complain.


Well, I'm not sure Clemente ever learn to take a pitch. He got a little better over thhe years, but his lifetime record

http://baseball-reference.com/c/clemero01.shtml

of .317 BA, .359 OBP suggests his improvement was small. I'd say Jose has a much better chance of batting .317 than he does of having a .359+ OBP without the .317 average.

Frayed Knot
Jul 11 2005 10:32 AM

And if Jose bats .317 (or anything resembling it) then guess what ... his OBP will improve!!

I don't expect him ever to be a high-BB guy (although walk rates can and do improve). My point was that he can become a better hitter with better pitch recognition and choosing better pitches just within the strike zone. Shirley you acknowledge that even if players don't change their "type" that's not the same as saying that their skills peak in their rookie years.

btw, some OBP numbers:
Larry Walker; 1st few seasons ~ .340 ... career = .401
Ted Williams; ~.340 ... .480
Gehrig; ~.390 ... .447
Bonds; ~ .330 ... .443
Helton; ~.390 ... .432
Mantle; ~.390 ... .420

Rotblatt
Jul 11 2005 10:41 AM

]He's twenty-two years old!


So is David Wright. I mean, I don't expect our 22-year old shortstop to be as productive as our 22-year old third baseman, but Jose (unlike Wright) is not very good yet. He has the potential to be very good, but at this point his offense is somewhat below average at best.

And I know it's gauche to knock Jose's fielding, but his stats so far are disturbing. He's next-to-last in the NL in FPCT with .968, next-to-last in RF with 3.95, and next-to-last in ZR with .780. So according to the fielding stats we have, he's not getting to many balls, and when he is, he's making a lot of errors.

Now, these numbers are raw and aren't adjusted for pitcher propensity (perhaps our pitchers induce a particularly high number of fly balls, although with Glavine & Zambrano on our club, you wouldn't think that's the case), park factor, or other mitigating circumstances (like a particularly rangy Wright, Cairo or Matsui or something), but they're fairly disturbing.

Wright's close to the bottom in both ZR & RF, by the way, and Cairo is second only to Dougie in terms of our infield. He's right in the middle of the 2B pack in both categories. Doug is 3rd in ZR & 5th in RF & 8th in FPCT. So it doesn't look like either Wright or Cairo are stealing balls from Reyes, which leaves the possibility of a flyball staff tipping the scales.

Looking at G/F numbers, Petey's at 0.89 for the year, Zambrano's at 1.64 (tied for 17th), Benson at a perfect 1.00, Glavine at 1.40 (tied for 27th) & Ishii at 0.88. I'll throw Heilman in there too, as he's logged the most innings of our relievers. He's at 1.65 (16th if he qualified).

Our Team Pitching G/F (minus relievers) is 1.19 (735, 616). I suspect the addition of our relievers would make us even more ground-ballers, as Looper & Bell get a lot of them.

Unfortunately, it's a bit difficult to compare this, since neither ESPN nor HT compute team G/F ratios. So I'm just going to look at 4 other teams to try and get a sense of team G/F ratios--the ones with the #1 SS in ZR, Pittsburgh, and RF, Atlanta, and the one with the worst ZR, Arizona, and worst RF, Milwaukee.

Redman (1.84), Fogg (1.11), Wells (1.18), Williams (0.85), Perez, (0.61) & their 6 man, Rick White (2.20).
Pittsburgh G/F = 1.16 (739, 638)

Webb (4.72, 269, 57), Vazquez (1.11, 143, 129), Halsey (1.14, 156,137), Estes (1.64, 169, 103), Ortiz (1.02, 107, 105), Cormier (1.78, 73, 41)
AZ G/F = 1.60 (917, 572)

Atlanta
Smoltz (1.49, 195, 131), Ramirez (1.52, 161, 106), Hudson (2.48, 154, 62)
Hampton (1.41, 90, 64), Davies (0.80, 64, 80), Sosa (0.85, 60, 71),
ATL G/F = 1.41, (724, 514)

Milwaukee
Capuano (0.96, 145, 151), Davis (1.19, 156, 131), Santos (1.00, 131, 131)
Sheets (0.77, 88, 114), Glover (0.85, 62, 73), Obermueller (1.35, 66, 49)
MIL G/F = 1.00 (648, 649)

So to rank the teams:
AZ 1.60 (likely one of the highest)
ATL 1.41 (likely high)
NYN 1.19
PIT 1.16
MIL 1.00 (likely one of the worst)

So at a guess, we're probably somewhere in the lower half of G/F ratio, and we're definitely not an extreme groundball team, but probably also not an extreme flyball team.

To make a long story short, it looks like Reyes hasn't had much range to date, and there don't seem to be any obvious mitigating factors.

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 10:59 AM

="Frayed Knot"]And if Jose bats .317 (or anything resembling it) then guess what ... his OBP will improve!!

I don't expect him ever to be a high-BB guy (although walk rates can and do improve). My point was that he can become a better hitter with better pitch recognition and choosing better pitches just within the strike zone. Shirley you acknowledge that even if players don't change their "type" that's not the same as saying that their skills peak in their rookie years.

btw, some OBP numbers:
Larry Walker; 1st few seasons ~ .340 ... career = .401
Ted Williams; ~.340 ... .480
Gehrig; ~.390 ... .447
Bonds; ~ .330 ... .443
Helton; ~.390 ... .432
Mantle; ~.390 ... .420


Nice misdirection. What does this have to do with your assertion that Jose's low OBP has anything to do with how much minor league ball he played? Absolutely nothing.

Frayed Knot
Jul 11 2005 01:56 PM

]What does this have to do with your assertion that Jose's low OBP has anything to do with how much minor league ball he played?


Maybe nothing, or maybe he'd be better prepared for ML pitching had he not been jumped from Single-A to the majors inside of a year and before he turned 20.
In any case, it has at least as much to do with his performance now as does the logic of; 'look, these [greatest of all time] players were promoted at similar ages/experiences' which shows that the Mets engaged in senseless foot-dragging by not bringing Reyes (and Wright) up sooner.

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 02:04 PM

Frayed Knot wrote:
[maybe he'd be better prepared for ML pitching had he not been jumped from Single-A to the majors inside of a year and before he turned 20.


Yeah, like all those other failures on my list. Maybe Edgy was right in maintaining that he'd never make it in the majors, was rushed up too soon, would be ruined by the trauma of it all.

We'll never know "what if"--what we do know is that he's the Mets' shortstop, he's the best shortstop they have, he's way better than Rey Sanchez, and that many on the forum said at the time that promoting him was a mistake.

Personally, I think you'd look much handsomer if you got a Maori tattoo on your forehead, but we'll never know, will we, unless you're willing to prove me wrong.

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 02:15 PM

On a more serious note, the only way to demonstrate your point (assuming you have one, and aren't merely engaging in diversionary nonsense to disguise the lack of one) would be to show me a list of great OBP guys who got called up late (after an exceptional number of minor league games, or at advanced ages) and show how they're superior to a list like that I showed you of the opposite pattern.

You can't do that, because it doesn't exist. And why not? Because OBP can be taught and learned at the same rate as any other baseball skill. Time spent in the minors, or at a particular level of the minors, is meaningless (at best--if my list is valid, and it is, it supports my point, that the best OBP guys spend less time in the minors than your average star player, not more.)

Or we could go around in these foolish circles, while you bring up every irrelevant factoid under the sun, and I shoot them down. That would be instructive.

Rotblatt
Jul 11 2005 03:17 PM

I'm positive there are examples on both sides of the aisle, but it's silly to go find all of them. We'll never know if Jose would've learned plate discipline in the minors had he stayed there longer and all the examples in the world aren't going to prove that he would have had he been there.

What we DO know is that players who demonstrate plate discipline early are more likely to demonstrate it in the majors. And Reyes hasn't really demonstrated that ability. Throughout his brief minor league career, he averaged around a 0.5 BB/K. For this year, he's at 0.25.

So barring a dramatic shift in his plate discipline (which is totally possible, of course, especially since Reyes is so young), Reyes will probably get better eventually, possibly back to his 0.5 BB/K levels. Assuming he K'ed at the same rate, that would put him at 24 BB for the year, or a .308 OBP. So even were he to get as good at working out a walk as he was in the minors, he'd still have to hit a lot better to be an effective leadoff batter.

Interestingly enough, though, Reyes has steadily cut down on his strikeouts/AB. In the minors, he averaged a K every 16.6% of at bats. In 2004, he was at 14% & this year, he's under 13%.

Not K'ing is another form of plate discipline--it means he's not getting fooled badly enough to whiff on a pitch, and for someone with Reyes' speed, that's a nice attribute to have . . .

Bret Sabermetric
Jul 11 2005 05:13 PM

Rotblatt wrote:
I'm positive there are examples on both sides of the aisle, but it's silly to go find all of them..


Yes, there are, and yes, it is. But are there equal numbers of examples on both sides? I doubt that very much.

There are actually a substantial number of HOFers, and All-Stars and MVP candidates (and any other criterion you'd care to use) who got late starts. There are black players like Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, there are post-WW II rookies whose careers got delayed a few years by the war, there are guys who got hurt early, there are guys who had a logjam ahead of them, there are a dozens of players who achieved success in MLB without playing MLB before the age of 25. If you compared their BA-OBP rates from age 26 on to that of the players in their cohort (HOFers, All-Stars, whatever) who debuted with the least amount of minor league games, or the lowest age (whatever criterion you're picking the first crowd out by), then (FK is falsely asserting, I believe) there should be a significant improvement in the BA-OBP rates of the older group. I don't think there is any such improvement (I haven't done the study, obviously, mainly because I don't think it's worth doing) and absent such clear improvement, the idea that more minor league ball correlates to better OBP is a fallacy.

Usually, FK opposes such idees fixes in the minds of ignorant baseball fans. I'm surprised that he's endorsing this ill-thought-out prejudice here.

Nymr83
Jul 11 2005 10:12 PM

Whether or not Reyes' OBP would be better now with more time in the minors is moot. What matters is that his OBP is killing the Mets right now and he should be batting 7th or 8th.