Pedro’s .796 OPS Looks Pretty Good, But . . .

Pedro Alvarez is now hitting .243/.282/.514 — .796 OPS. But he has done little more than hit 3 home runs in the first 11 games of the season and the underlying indications are not good.

Alvarez’s K rate is 30.8%. He has walked in just 5.1% of his plate appearances. His Line Drive percentage is a paltry 4.2. And 70.8% of his batted balls have been grounders.

If You Don’t Like the Charlie Morton Contract . . .

To those who don’t like the 3-year, $21M contract that Charlie Morton signed prior to the 2014 season:

Matt Garza, prior to the 2014 season, signed a 4-year, $50M contract with the Brewers.

Last year, Morton pitched 157 innings with a 3.72 ERA and 3.78 xFIP. Garza pitched 163 innings with a 3.64 ERA and 3.88 xFIP.

Bucs Should Start Lambo Tonight

Tonight would be a good time to give Andrew Lambo a start.

Detroit’s starting pitcher, right-hander Shane Greene, has struck out 30.7% of right-handed batters in his brief career (86 IP). Starling Marte has K’d in 24.6% of his career PAs vs. right-handers. And 48% this year. The league average for RH vs. RH last year was 21.5%

Starling Marte and Plate Discipline

Regarding Starling Marte, free swinging, 7 Ks, and O BBs in his first 13 plate appearances of the 2015 season; and why it is a concern – already.

Plate discipline has been the major flaw in his performance as a hitter since the day he was first signed by the Pirates organization.

In his MLB career, his K/BB rate is 5.0.

In 206 plate appearances in the second half of last season, his K/BB dropped to 3.1 and he hit for a .975 OPS. In the 504 plate appearances prior to last year’s All-Star Game – dating back to the 2013 Sll-Star Game – Marte’s K/BB rate was 4.5 and he hit for just a .716 OPS in that time.

Again Marte’s career K/BB is 5.0. Since 1950, there have been 55 players, with more than 1,000 career plate appearances – than .794, including Marte. Here are the top 12 of those 55 and their OPS. It is not an illustrious group.

Wilin Rosario .794 OPS
Bo Jackson .784 OPS
Adam Jones .782 OPS
Starling Marte .782 OPS
Pedro Munoz .760 OPS
Brant Brown .746 OPS
Josh Harrison .741 OPS
Delmon Young .741
Tony Armas .740
Juan Francisco .736
Tyler Colvin .733
Todd Greene .730

If Marte has the 3.1 K/BB that he posted in 206 PAs of last year’s second half, he could be an All-Star. If he returns to the 4.5 K/BB of his previous 504 PAs, you’re looking at Pedro Munoz.

Therefore, when Marte starts the season with 7 Ks and no BBs in his first 13 PAs, after striking out 14 times and walking once in Spring Training, the question is asked, “Has Mr. Plate Discipline returned?

This is a particular concern because, contrary to popular perception, Marte is not a “kid.” He is 26. A long history of statistics show that age 26-27 is when most players are at their peak. Marte has struggled with plate discipline since he entered the Rookie Ball minor league level at at age 20. What are the odds that his 3.1 K/BB in the second half of last season was an aberration?

Great Move by Pirates to Extend Josh Harrison.

Even if Josh Harrison’s OPS regresses by 100 points this year, his excellent 3B defense (UZR/150 +13.9 runs; dRS/yr +23.0 runs) and above average baserunning (+3.5 runs in 2014) will still produce 3.9 Wins Above Replacement. On the free agent market, a consistent 3.9 WAR is worth nearly $19 million per year.

Josh Harrison Projection, Analysis, and Comparables

Mayo Clinic Definition of Obama, I mean, Narcissism

“We all know that Obama is a narcissist. But this is sort of bordering on the pathological.”

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist, nationally syndicated columnist, and Fox News contributer, made that comment, yesterday – as a panelist on Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier

Krauthammer was inspired to that assertion by President Obama’s condescending statement that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker should “bone up” on foreign policy; after Walker had said that, if he is elected President, he will revoke any nuclear agreement Obama makes with Iran.

Given that Dr. Krauthammer is a psychiatrist, I took his unofficial “diagnosis” seriously and decided to look up the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The following is what the Mayo Clinic says about the mental illness.

[Comments in italics are those of Richard Jarzynka, author of SABERBUCS and this post.]

“If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. (Greek columns?)

“You often monopolize conversations. (Have you ever seen Barack Obama let anyone else speak?)

“You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. (“When Mr. Walker bones up on national security . . .“;   “The Cambridge Police acted . . . stupidly.” ;  “not taking military veterans criticisms seriously.” ;  Obama: Stop Condescending to Women)

“You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. (Well, when a President gets the Nobel Peace Prize for what he “might” someday do . . .? You end up with a man who unconstitutionally bypasses congress every time he doesn’t get everything that he wants.)

“You may insist on having ‘the best’ of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care. (or . . . Air Force One for your many vacations. Air Force One, Jr. for your wife’s many vacations, and heading to the best golf course immediately after speaking to the American people about the terrorist beheading of a U.S. citizen.)


”  *  Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance

* Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

* Exaggerating your achievements and talents

* Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

* Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people

* Requiring constant admiration

* Having a sense of entitlement

* Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations

*Taking advantage of others to get what you want

* Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

*Being envious of others and believing others envy you

*Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

“Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.”…/na…/basics/symptoms/con-20025568

The Mayo Clinic definition of Narcissitic Personality disorder also says something that most people may not realize about those who have this mental illness; and I believe it is especially true of Barack Obama:

“But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

The Pittsburgh Pirates Record in 2015 will be . . .

Based on my projections for Pirate pitchers, I am predicting that the team will allow 627 runs.

Based on my projections for the Pirates position players, I am predicting that the team will score 715 runs.

So, the Runs Scored / Runs Allowed Winning Percentage Formula says . . .

“The Pittsburgh Pirates will the finish the 2015 season with a record of  . . . 90-72.”