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Monday, June 20, 2005

The M's Youth Movement 

They've won six of their last seven series, including the most recent sweep of the Mets. What's with the recent upswing? There are a couple of reasons, including the schedule (thank you, interleague play) and the starting pitching (2.80 ERA in June, best in baseball) , but the biggest factor has been their youth movement. Take a look at the production of the youngsters in recent weeks:

Player AVG/OBP/SLG

Morse .407/.468/.537, 54 ABs
Rivera .407/.429/.519, 27 ABs
Lopez .417/.417/.503, 12 ABs

Their cumulative AVG is .408, in 93 ABs. I'm discounting walks because they combine for a mere 5 total (4 by Morse). This is a fairly small sample size, but now compare this to the players that they replaced:

Valdez .198/.235/.254, 126 ABs
Olivo .145/.174/.236, 110 ABs
Dobbs .176/.194/.265, 34 ABs

(I chose Dobbs over Boone because Dobbs is not currently on the roster)

Cumulative AVG: .174 in 270 ABs, with a mere 11 walks between them. That's a lot of wasted ABs at the bottom of the order. Now, having three guys hitting .400 at the end of the lineup over 270 ABs would be unrealistic. However, it is realistic to expect them to hit .259 (the team AVG). This works out to about 23 hits. Doing the same thing with their OBP (.206, compared to a Team OBP of .320) adds about 9 walks. This means 32 wasted PAs at the bottom of the order. Using the league averages for AVG and OBP (.256 and .327, respectively) work out about the same.

It's this improvement at the bottom of the order that has sparked the M's recent upswing. The Mariner lineup is considerably deeper now, as pitchers know that the last three batters of the order does not equal three outs anymore. I don't expect the kids to keep up this pace, but just hitting the current team averages would work out fine for me.

Also, I'm going to get a first-hand look at the youth movement tonight. For those of you who know what I look like, look for me in the left-field bleachers.

Comments:
You should bring a sign so we can all pick you out easily, something like "Free Boone (from his ridiculous contract)" or "Mike Morse Is Just Shane Monahan In Disguise"

Is it just me, or does Morse seem a bit shaky in the field? He's definitely not Rich Aurilia-shaky, but he's a far cry from A-Rod or Carlos Guillen.

Carlos Guillen, since the trade:
.327/.385/.528, .913 OPS, 769 PA

Ramon Santiago and Juan Gonzalez, since the trade:

Major Leagues:
.179/.256/.205, .461 OPS, 45 PA

AAA:
.205/.304/.294, .598 OPS, 506 PA

High A:
.290/.353/.371, .724 OPS, 586 PA
 
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