Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 1, 2009
BASEBALL: Something Brewing

A couple of thoughts on the Brewers as they move in for the sweep of the Mets and surge into first place.

1. This team is pretty good, but man do they have deplorable starting pitching aside from Gallardo - they seriously miss Ben Sheets. Looper, Suppan, Bush and Parra have been healthy enough that the Brewers have given just 3 starts to pitchers outside their front five, but the results are ghastly: a 5.60 ERA, with mediocre K/BB numbers (3.65 BB/9, 6.00 K/9), and more importantly 1.6 HR/9. It's hard to see a whole lot of room for improvement there, although if Parra (7.62 ERA) can get straightened out and throw strikes, they'd be in less of a hole. They're still going to need a #2 starter eventually.

2. Trevor Hoffman having the second-best ERA of his career is definitely a surprise. Before the season I'd thought he needed to be restricted to a ROOGY role, but he's held lefties to a manageably soft .300/.364/.300 while slaughtering righthanded hitters at a .116/.130/.163 clip (he's faced about a 50/50 mix). The main reason for the low ERA is that he hasn't been taken deep yet this season; his other numbers are good but not exceptional.

3. Mike Cameron is a textbook example of a guy who transformed from a talented underachiever to a respected veteran simply by doing the same thing every year for enough years. He's always been a guy who would give you some power and speed, great defense and a little plate patience, strike out a ton and hit for a low average. As a young player, people focused on the whiffs and what he could accomplish if he made more contact. At 36 and still striking out at a clip of 140-160 times a year, he is what he is.

4. I have JJ Hardy on one of my fantasy teams, and for the fantasy owner, Hardy is maddening because he's so incredibly streaky that you hate to bail on him even though he's batting .233/.308/.368. Last season, for example, Hardy was batting .242/.319/.343 on June 10; by July 7, he was batting .296/.364/.493. In 2007 it was a hot start; he batted .323/.371/.628 through May 16, but finished at .277/.323/.463.

Needless to say, he's just as frustrating for his real owners/fans, although in Milwaukee's case there's no serious thought to be given to replacing him; they just have to grit their teeth and wait for him to catch fire.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:06 AM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Mike Cameron's lifetime record is skewed considerably by his time in Seattle. He had a rough time hitting in that park; as I recall, the hitter's background was awful, which apparently affected different batters differently, but no one more than Mike Cameron.

I always liked the guy, and wish the Mets had found a way to keep him. Only think of the corner outfielders the Mets have endured since Cameron. Maybe he and Beltran could have avioded another collision.

Posted by: DD at July 2, 2009 8:06 AM

Cameron only played 4 years in Seattle. He was a terrible hitter there over that time period for sure. He batted .223 in his 4 years as a Mariner at Safeco. He was not exactly a burner in other ballparks as he hit .277 everywhere else (his success away was more magnified in 2000 and 2001 less so the in 2002 and 2003). However, and I think this is pretty weird given the large discrepency in BA over a 4 year period, he struck out 300 times at home in that period and 301 times on the road. He had a handful more ABs on the road but considering he had 88 more hits over that time period on the road than at home that's pretty weird. His BABIP is amazingly different away from Safeco.

The point is though that he still strikes out wherever he goes. The ball just falls in more other places.

Posted by: jim at July 2, 2009 11:29 AM

I got caught up in a little Mike Cameron trivia this morning and basically you could title his career, "Mike Cameron doesn't hit at home." Mets fans here probably already know that. However, every place he has been he has hit better at prior to (or after he left) eating the home town cooking. How weird is that? This one example is egregious:

As a Chicago White Sox he hit at Comiskey

.262/.348/.418 (numbers not far off his total career .250/.340/.447)

Since he left (he started his career there) he has hit

.403/.487/.737

What the hell?

He hit better at Miller Park (.343) before he became a Brewer (.232). Prior to arriving at Shea he hit .292/.393/.417, since he left he's hit .294/.500/.588. While he was a Met? How about a tasty .238/.310/.420? Clearly sample sizes are smaller as a visitor than a home player but their is no contradiction in any case I could find. How is it possible that he has done this for AN ENTIRE 15 YEAR CAREER? Has anyone else ever been such a crappy hitter in their own ballpark especially given that it has been several ballparks over the years?

Posted by: jim at July 2, 2009 12:07 PM

i love ur prespective its straight up to the point i think im gonna use that angle on my blog to thanx

Posted by: atniel at July 6, 2009 5:03 PM
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