I remember a time that I wrote longer-form, without so many bullet points. I think. I don't even know anymore. I've lost my memory, and I've lost my attention span. All because a couple years ago some asshole turned me on to Twitter and now I can't get enough of it. Look what you've done! Look what you've done to me! I've checked TweetDeck three times already while writing this paragraph! I'm dying. I'm dying inside, and bullet points are the evidence.
- Yesterday I mentioned that the 2011 Mariners have had more double-digit strikeout games at the plate than ever before in their history, and just to confirm that yeah these guys strike out a lot, I provide the following historical franchise leaderboard:
Team strikeout rate
(1) 2011, 21.1%
(2) 2010, 19.9%
(3) 1986, 18.7%
(4) 2009, 18.0%
(5) 1997, 17.5%
The season isn't over, but this year's Mariners are well on their way to setting a new team record. As a matter of fact, it will be all but impossible for them to not set a new team record. They're on pace to collect another 587 plate appearances between now and the end of the year. In order to avoid setting a new record, they'd have to strike out no more than 51 (8.7%) times over that span. Considering their spate of strikeouts in September, I uh wouldn't count on that. They might strike out 51 times tonight. On the plus side, the 2011 Mariners' team walk rate is only their sixth-worst all time. But then their K/BB ratio is easily their worst, by far. You got me again, mathematics!
- By the way, this post is going to be heavy on numbers. Surprise! FanGraphs has Contact Rate data going back to 2002. Mike Carp, in 2011, has posted a contact rate of 70.4%. The most similar contact rates since 2002: Richie Sexson, Carlos Pena, Charles Johnson, David Ross, and Adam Dunn. Encouraging, right? Well, consider that Sexson, Pena, and Dunn all drew or draw a ton of walks. Hell, Johnson and Ross drew or draw walks, too. You know who's posted a contact rate of 71.2% without walking much? Jeff Mathis.
Mike Carp has hit for power, which is good. It's important to have power, because power is important. But in order to be an actual, reliable positive contributor, he either needs to make more contact or be more disciplined. We've obviously seen that discipline from him in the past, but it's yet to be seen whether he can be disciplined and powerful at the same time.
- One of the things that I liked about Casper Wells when the Mariners brought him in was that the numbers suggested he was aggressive within the zone, and more disciplined without it. That hasn't carried over with him to Seattle. He's been swinging at just as many balls as before, but he's swung at far fewer strikes. As a Tiger, Wells swung at 77% of pitches within the PITCHfx strike zone. As a Mariner, he's swung at 65% of pitches within the PITCHfx strike zone. Taking strikes is bad, which is one reason why we've seen Wells' strikeout rate on the rise.
What remains to be seen is whether this is the true Wells, that was the true Wells, or the true Wells lies somewhere in between. I'm guessing in between. It's almost always in between.
- So far, Dustin Ackley has faced 99 pitches at or above 95 miles per hour. I don't know why I used 95 as my cutoff, but 95 is usually where I begin thinking of a pitch as "really fast." Ackley has swung at 44 of those pitches, and 15 of his swings have missed. Only five have generated a ball in play.
League-wide, the averages against pitches at 95+ are 20% whiffs and 36% in play. It's therefore obvious that, to date, Ackley has struggled against the fastest pitches. We'll see whether this is just noise, or something more - we're talking about a sample of 44 pitches - but it's something to monitor. It's one potential negative in a meadow of bright sunny positives.
- Remember when the Mariners traded players? Here's how they've done so far on their new teams:
Great: Doug Fister
Okay: Erik Bedard
Bad: David Pauley
Incomplete: Jack Wilson
Fister has been incredible, offering depth behind Justin Verlander in the Tigers' rotation. Over eight starts, he has a 2.28 ERA and 41 strikeouts to five walks. He's still Doug Fister, but the Doug Fister we knew wasn't capable of the 13-strikeout performance he had against the Indians a week ago. I miss Fister, just as you miss Fister and just as the Mariners miss Fister, but I'm thrilled that he's going to the playoffs, and I'm thrilled that he's getting the recognition he deserves. Can you believe Doug Fister has arguably out-pitched Max Scherzer?
Bedard is tricky. On the one hand, he has 32 strikeouts in 32 innings. On the other, he's topped out at six innings with Boston, and now he's dealing with a sore knee and a sore lat that's knocked him out of action. Bedard was acquired for the playoffs, but we'll have to see if he's available in the playoffs, if the Red Sox even make the playoffs.
Pauley has been Pauley, only with the opposite of the luck he had in Seattle. Guess how that's worked out!
And Wilson is a backup who's playing because Alex Gonzalez is hurt. Wilson might go on to have a major role, or he might re-assume a minor role. In the National League, I guess you could say that any role is a minor role. Jokes!
This is not me passing judgment on the trades. This is not the time for the trades to be judged. This is me satiating your curiosity, because recently departed Mariners occupy a level in your psyche in between current Mariners and never-were Mariners. I don't know where we put long-ago-departed Mariners. Does anybody still care about Greg Dobbs? I know I don't care about Greg Dobbs. Like at all.