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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Patrick Marleau

10/2011 Player Profile: Mat Latos

October 31st 2011 15:31
To celebrate Halloween, I have another exclusive Player Profile/Scouting Report of a current MLB player. Appropriately, for the holiday, my shuffled song is currently "Enter Sandman". It would have been plain freaky if I was planning a piece about Mariano Rivera, but I have an equally interesting piece written about a young pitcher on the Padres.

Last season, Mat Latos was a 4 WAR pitcher who was getting a ton of recognition as one of the best young pitchers in baseball. His fastball was sizzling as his slider electrifying. This season, his fastball is still relatively effective but is considerably worse. Last season, he was just mowing down hitters. All of his pitches have been worse this season, especially his curveball. Each of his pitches have also been much slower this year, and it is obviously a concern when a pitcher's fastball is ticks below what it was the previous season.

Although his BABIP rose this year, that is negated by a slight decrease in walk rate as well as a decrease in HR/FB ratio. Not only that, but his peripherals were worse in 2011 (9.21 K/9 to 8.57 K/9 and 2.44 BB/9 to 2.87 BB/9). I don't think he has been tired, and I actually think he was struggling from the lingering effects of an injury at the beginning. His FIP got much better as the season wore on. In fact, if you took out the first month, Latos was just as good this year as he was last year in terms of FIP.

Arguably the best stat out there for pitchers, Latos's FIP rose by only 0.16 this season. His WAR went down to 3.2, but he still pitched well this season and should continue to do so. I don't have any concerns for Latos's pitcher at this point, and I think he can continue to do well. While he was certainly nowhere near his 2010 form, Latos wasn't exactly awful this season either.

Watch for a bounce back year

For 14 seasons, centerfielder Tom Goodwin tore up the basepaths and played some solid defense as well. Although he was a poor hitter with almost no power, he had some terrific inside-the-park home runs (like the one against the Braves). Goodwin played for the Dodgers, Royals, Rangers, Cubs, Padres, and the Giants.

In truth, however, Tom Goodwin was actually a horrible hitter who had a career wRC-plus of just 79 and never had a season worth two WAR. Regardless, he was still well-liked and hit a good amount of triples with his speed. Only weighing 175 pounds, his main asset to a club was his devastating speed and was a speed demon in every sense of the word. Goodwin played good D and was among the league leaders in sacrifices, as he was definitely a "small ball" player over his career.

His best season was either in 1998 with the Rangers or in 2000 with the Rockies and Dodgers. With the Rangers, he had 102 runs (he was a pretty good table-setter), 38 steals, a surprisingly high OBP (.378), and Goodwin also played above-average defense.

In 2002, he bettered his other 1.9 WAR season offensively with a 92 wRC-plus compared to the previous 90 wRC-plus he posted in '98. Tom Goodwin had 55 steals, 94 runs, and he also had a career-high 58 RBIs. He actually wasn't as good offensively this year, but he had his best year defensively. Goodwin was all over the place in center showing terrific range. I would personally take the 1998 version of Goodwin, however, over his 2000 duplicate.

The biggest problem with Tom Goodwin as far as scouting goes, is that he struggled when pitchers changed speeds on him. Now, he isn't a good hitter to begin with, but he really struggled against changeups. His small-ball approach led him to be a solid hitter against sinkers, but the point remains that he really struggled against off-speed pitches (and fastballs). However, Goodwin was a key player in high-leverage situations over most of his career and had a terrific line drive rate to make up for a lack of power.

In summary. Tom Goodwin was an average player over his career, as his defense and speed made up for his lack of power. He struggled as a hitter because of a variety of things such as strikeouts and a lack of power. Although his strikeout rate wasn't egregious, it was terrible for a non-power hitter.

A former first round draft pick, Johnny Grubb spent 16 seasons in the Major Leagues with the San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, and Texas Rangers while winning a World Series ring with the Tigers in 1984. In 1974, Grubb was an All-Star in the only season that he would be on the All-Star team.

Overall in his career, he was a very patient hitter who was also above average (120 career RC-plus). However, Grubb was also a terrible defensive player who did not have much power at all (99 homers). In 1978, he was traded from the Indians to the Rangers for two prospects after spending only one full season in Cleveland. He played 44 games for his new outfit, and he had the best season of his career (3.4 WAR) while with the Indians. Grubb had more walks than strikeouts, and that's actually not surprising because he his career walk percentage is very close to his career strikeout rate and is in fact higher than it by .1%.

In his All-Star season of 1974, Johnny Grubb had a 2.5 WAR with a 120 RC-plus on the strength of a high OBP (.355). I really don't think he deserved to be an All-Star, because his year was only a little bit above average for a starter. I mean, that's a pretty good descriptor for his career; above average but nothing special. However, he was a good bat off the bench as a pinch-hitter towards the end of his career, and that was his main contribution en route to winning a World Series.

1986 was Grubb's swan song as he had a 2.7 WAR while hitting .333 with 28 walks and 28 strikeouts. He also had a career-high 172 RC-plus with surprisingly decent fielding with a .412 OBP. After the 1987 season, Johnny Grubb retired from the MLB.

The statistics above tell us that Johnny Grubb was a solid player over a lengthy career and was successful in winning in a World Series ring. That's the kind of career every athlete hopes they have in this regard, and Grubb was certainly a useful player for each of the four teams he played with.
Johnny Grubb
Helped them bring it home

In memory of Brendon Holtzen, a man who touched many hearts.


8/2011 MLB Power Rankings

August 26th 2011 11:24
1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. Phillies
4. Braves
5. Rangers
6. Diamondbacks
7. Brewers
8. Angels
9. Giants
10. Tigers
11. Rays
12. Cardinals
13. Reds
14. White Sox
15. Blue Jays
16. Indians
17. Rockies
18. Mets
19. Dodgers
20. Nationals
21. Padres
22. Marlins
23. Cubs
24. Athletics
25. Pirates
26. Royals
27. Twins
28. Mariners
29. Orioles
30. Astros
Offseason acquisition has Cubs highest WAR this year

Guys, I am finally back from a very lengthy vacation that did not produce a single blog post. A lot has transpired in my absence from this blog, and I am going to start things off with a rumor post that details potential trades in the MLB.

The Yankees are still searching for left-handed relief help with Rafael Soriano still on the DL, and Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte are out for the rest of the year. Boone Logan is their only lefty in the pen, and this is certainly a pressing need for the Bronx Bombers

[ Click here to read more ]

1. Pujols injury update

Albert Pujols will be out for about six weeks with a fractured left wrist in a season filled with ups and downs for Puj. He sustained this injury after colliding with Wilson Betemit of the Royals in a baseball play gone wrong. The Cards have had to deal with many injuries this season to their stars. Matt Holliday has missed time, David Freese is still out, and Adam Wainwright has missed the entire season

[ Click here to read more ]

Last season, the Padres were baseball's surprise story and were in first place in their division for most of the year. Their devastating collapse at the end of the year- and the incredible comeback by the Giants who would eventually win the World Series- has continued on to this season. The Padres are last in the poor but competitive NL West.

It's no surprise that their hitting has been awful, and that's the reason why they are last in their division. Their rotation has been disappointing, especially when you consider that their ballpark is PETCO. The Padres do have one of the best bullpens in baseball with Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Chad Qualls, Luke Gregerson, and Pat Neshek

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5/2011 Starting Pitcher Rankings

May 22nd 2011 14:01
1. Tim Lincecum
2. Roy Halladay
3. Josh Johnson

[ Click here to read more ]

5/2011 Closer Rankings

May 12th 2011 14:23
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Jonathan Papelbon
3. Heath Bell

[ Click here to read more ]

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