Friday afternoon camp tidbits

* To cap off the morning’s rotation notes, Wellemeyer will get the start Sunday. It will be Thompson on Monday, then Reyes on Tuesday. Looper, whose turn is Tuesday, will pitch in the Minors. The idea is that they don’t want him facing Washington 10 days before he will face them in the regular season.

* Jason Isringhausen is scheduled to pitch again tomorrow, his first times going back-to-back this spring.

* Ryan Ludwick hit the ball very hard today. His single was solidly struck, although it dropped in pretty short. He hit a rocket of a line drive, then thumped a home run. Probably the best I’ve seen him hit it all year.

Speaking of Ludwick, this morning, I was interviewing D’Angelo Jimenez — whose locker is right next to Ludwick’s. At the end of the lineup, I said to Jimenez, ‘Are you going to drive in Ludwick today?’ Ludwick joked, ‘If I get on first base and he hits a single, I’m scoring.’

Well, what do you know? Ludwick got on first base with a single. He took second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Jimenez single. Not exactly like it was drawn up, but not a bad call.

* TLR praised D’Angelo Jimenez’s approach, even though Jimenez took two called third strikes with runners on base.

* Brendan Ryan has a very long day scheduled with the doctors tomorrow. It sounds like they’ll be doing all sorts of exams on him to make sure he’s dealing with exactly what they think he’s got.

Today’s playlist:
Elvis Costello, "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes"
John Mayer Trio, "Good Love Is On the Way"
Steve Winwood, "Different Light"
Bruce Springsteen, "Jungleland"
Everclear, "Her Brand New Skin"

-M.

17 Comments

-M
Still would like to hear your thoughts on the Wainwright deal if you have the time.

Thanks

Excellent playlist today. The Trio is his best work, imo. Good spring time song for me. Been following him since ’99, and my thoughts on Everclear are previously expressed.

I really like the make-up of today’s lineup.
1. Schumaker leading off, because he’s the most ideal candidate IMO

2. Miles batting 2nd (kennedy if he’s in there), cause he is more of a contact hitter than Dunc or Ankiel, and he can bunt)

3. Dunc today, but obviously it will be Sir Albert

4. Ankiel today, I like Dunc here if he’s hotter (I like Glaus here against lefties)

5. Ludwick (I like Dunc or Anks here vs. righties)

6. Jiminez today, (I like Anks, Dunc, Luddy, or Glaus here)

7. Izturis, Ryan, or Jiminez

8.Pitcher

9. Molina

I never liked the idea of having power in the two spot. It takes away RBI’s from Pujols if the two hitter goes deep. Why would we EVER want AP coming up with the bases empty? Makes no sense to me.

What do you guys (and girls) think?

I think that’s EXACTLY why you want Duncan in the 2 spot. Because he gets on base. I absolutely detest the idea of a low-OBP guy in the 2 spot. Never mind power, never mind speed, never mind bunting. My No. 1 criterion for the 2 spot is the same as the 1 spot — get on base for the heart of the order.

-M.

Duncan has quite a bit of power in his bat (prolly 25-40 HRs a year), but he can draw a walk better than anks can. He;s the best fit for the number 2 spot on the roster cause that will get more opps for pujols-ankiel-glaus to drive in runs.

Ok. I agree about having a guy with a good obp in the 2 spot. But that’s not the reasoning TLR has put forth when talking about Larry Walker, Dunc, and other power guys in the 2 spot. He has said he “likes some power in the 2 spot”. Again, it seems to me that would take away more RBI oppurtunities from Pujols than it would provide.
As far as Anks goes, I don’t like him in the two spot either, personally. I still like contact hitters, guys capable of sacrificing or bunting for a hit. M, it sounds like we want the same thing from a two spot hitter, but it seems to me that the club likes power there.

So, M, do you think the days of having an Ozzie Smith-type hitter in the second spot are over? You don’t think bunting a guy into scoring position from the two spot is good strategy? Am I trying to hold on to an old school style of baseball?

I’m vehemently against it, personally. I think the only time it makes sense to give up an out in exchange for a base is when it’s a tie game or one-run game in the last couple of innings. And I think that’s especially true with the kind of thump the Cardinals could have in the middle of their order.

Doesn’t mean I’m right, necessarily. But it’s definitely my view.

-M.

The ideal 2 hitter for me, does both — hits for power and gets on base. It’s why I loved Walker there, and Edmonds, and why I think Duncan would be a great fit.

-M.

I can see the logic in having a guy with high OBP in the 2 hole. You want as many baserunners as possible in front of Albert & co. But I still can’t get past the power part taking RBI chances away from Albert & co. By the way, what is Dunc’s career OBP? I’m not a stat guy, so I’m not sure where to find that.

There is a fairly serious misconception here about what the blue-smoke-and-mirrors teams of the 1980s were like. Consider the 1985 team, possibly the ultimate Whitey-ball unit (and my favorite Cards team ever, until El Hombre came along). Contrary to perception, they did *not* do a lot of bunting from the #2 hole. Willie McGee, who occupied that slot most of the time, only had one sacrifice all year. Ozzie Smith was there next most often, had lots of sacrifices, but only three or four of them came while he was batting second (he usually was #7 or #8). The team as a whole only had 70 sacrifices, almost half of them by pitchers. That compares to 68 in 2007, 71 in 2006, 77 in 2005. Do you detect a pattern here?…

Whitey was no fool. He knew as well as anybody that you score runs by getting guys on base and not making outs. The fact that all the stuff his teams did *while* getting on and not making outs looks different from today’s teams should not be allowed to obscure that.

Incidentally, the 1985 team had one player whose skill set was very similar to Duncan’s: Jack Clark. Whitey batted him fourth, but he did so because he had a very high-OBP guy (McGee) to plug into the #2 hole, and no better power options for the leadoff spot. Even Ozzie had significantly higher than league average OBP that year, a fact that tends to get overlooked when people think about the way he played.

Aargh. I can’t proof-read. In the bottom paragraph, read: “no better power options for the CLEANUP spot.” Sorry.

But what’s the problem with that? Who cares whether Pujols gets the RBI, or someone else does? If the leadoff guy gets on, and Chris Duncan is batting second and homers, that’s two runs. There’s no guarantee those runs get home otherwise.

-M.

To build on that notion about the 80s teams, btw, the 85 and 87 teams both did in fact lead the league in steals. But BOTH those teams also led the league in OBP, and in walks. Neither led the league in hits.

As they say at BP, OBP is life. Life is OBP.

-M.

First time visitor to this site and am enjoying reading the comments. Two comments from me: 1) Love your choice of music, “Jungleland” is my all time favorite Springsteen song,and 2) Happy to see Ludwick do good. I saw him play a couple of times last year and both times he made some awesome plays in the outfield. I hope he gets a significant amount of playing time this year.

I despise contact hitters in the number two spot, unless they have a track record of proving they can’t hit into a double play.

It’s such a waste to get a man on base, then watch a weak hitting shortstop who probably shouldn’t be batting anywhere above the 8th spot, come up to bat, and ground into a double play.

I love a power hitter with high obp in the second spot, multiple reasons, obviously getting on base is good, obviously moving the runners or scoring them is good, but even minor things, higher number of pitches seen per plate appearance allows the heart of the order to get a better read on the pitcher for that day. Higher number of pitches allows your supposed speed guy to get a jump if you are going to steal.

If you read either one of Whitey herzogs books, you will see that the only stat he seriously cared about was OBP, not batting average, not steals, homeruns, rbi’s or any of that other stuff, he learned it from Casey Stengal, and swears by it. OBP has long been accepted as the only real stat that matters by the brightest baseball minds (Earl Weaver, Connie Mack, Casey Stengal, Whitey Herzog, Leo Durocher, Billy Southworth etc)

The misconception about Ozzie batting second is that he was a contact hitter, Ozzie wasn’t a power hitter, but it’s a stretch to say he was a contact hitter, his career obp is .337 vs .262 average, contact hitters usually have a spread closer to .040 between avg and obp, and in Ozzies best years his obp gap was even larger, closer to .090 some years. Factor in that his speed allowed him not to hit into a double play, and you aren’t talking about a traditional number two hitter, heck if the Cardinals had a hitter like Ozzie on the team I would be fine for him batting number two, but the Cardinals don’t have any player like that.

for a good site for stats, it’s fast loading, simple to navigate go to

http://www.baseball-reference.com completly free site unless you want to donate, no popups, and intentionally designed to be fast loading.

lets not forget that the object is to win. i think even pujols would rather win the game than get one more rbi. also any batter in front of albert is more than likely going to see a few good pitches to hit.

I think – IMO – the reason you want a guy with power in the 2 spot is simply because whoever hits in front of AP is going to get some of the best pitches all day to hit…you want a guy who can do something with the pitch instead of a guy who is going to hit singles all day. It would be a wasted opportunity to put a singles hitter in the most valuable spot in the lineup…

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