Nationals Baseball: The little things matter and Tyler Moore

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The little things matter and Tyler Moore

Rainout! Hope you planned your ticket purchase around going out to the ballpark Tuesday night and potentially Thursday afternoon.  Kilgore points out that 13 of the 19 teams that don't play in domed stadiums and list a rainout policy on their website allow for exchanges for any future game (subject to availability).  Who were these 5 teams that don't?  I checked the Red Sox, them of the 3000 yr "sold-out" streak.  Nope.  Any game this season. The money-loving Yankees?  Nope. Any game 12-months from the date of the ticket.*

*Side note - this is how I got to see Doc Gooden's no-hitter. Friend had Opening Day tickets and the game got snowed out. Exchanged it for the Gooden game and by then I was back from college. 

So then I had a thought.  I'm thinking of the rich and successful teams. As much as the Nats have begun to emulate those teams in the standings, there's still a "you better weigh that mail and get the correct postage" heart beating deep in the chest of this team. Let's check the loser teams. The Royals?  Yep, there's one.  Cubbies?  Yep. Though they "try to get refunds". Hmmm White SoxDodgers. I'm not going to waste my morning looking for the others especially when these can get a bit confusing (like the Tigers don't allow for exchanges UNLESS its rescheduled for the same homestand, but not then if it's scheduled into a traditional double header)

Anyway, it's not the best move by the Nats. Not only is it fan-unfriendly, but to me it doesn't say "winner" it says "we want your money".  If you want to be a winner act like it from top to bottom.

Back to the game on the field, where the little things are going wrong for the Nats. Last year nearly nothing did. A few bad games for Wang, Lidge and H-Rod, otherwise the pitching was perfect. Offensively Morse disappointed, Espy never turned the corner, and injuries took their toll, but Morse still hit ok, Espy was still an average 2nd baseman at the plate, and the guys replacing the injured all did as well as they could. Even the pitchers were the best hitting pitchers in the league. It was a charmed year.

This year, the Nats aren't getting all the breaks. Let's look at a couple little things.

The pitchers aren't hitting. It's not a big deal, they don't get up much, get PH for, etc. etc. But still you'd rather have the best hitting pitchers than the worst. Last year the Nats smashed it to a tune of a .429 OPS. As I said before, that was best in the league. Now that's not good overall (Guzman's 2005 was never that bad) but it's a step above this year's 351 OPS.  It's not anyone particular's fault (only Gio is hitting). It's probably not going to get much better. This is a pretty average number for pitchers. It's also not something you can really blame the pitchers for. It's just one of those things that was nice about last year.

The bench isn't hitting. We've gone over this a few times. Lombo is hitting some singles, the rest of the bench is hitting under .200. Does that matter? Well sure, in comparison to 2012. Last year the Nats PHs hit for a .786 OPS. That's a super high number. That's Ian Desmond right now. That was the best in the league. This year?  .367 which is the worst in the league. Is that going to last? Is it really just a small sample size (64 PAs for subs, 42 PH ABs) and a low BABIP (.220)?  Maybe. But maybe not.  Remember last year Bernie had his best year ever.  Tracy his best since 2005. We probably would have said "that couldn't last" last year in May and it did. There's not enough at bats to necessarily expect a turn-around.

Also... Tyler Moore sucks.  Sorry Tyler Moore lovers (and I know you are out there. I remember yelling at you last year).  He does. The guy is striking out at a scary rate. 42.9%.   You think Danny strikes out too much?  Is Tyler had this rate and Danny's PAs from last year he would have struck out 282 times. Adam Dunn stop Tyler Moore in the street and tells him to cut down on his strikeouts. He's got a pretty good BABIP of .286 but his average is terrible.Why? Because he's not putting balls in play. He could have a BABIP of .500 (unbelievably high) and he'd still might be hitting under .300.

Is there a reason this is happening? You can point to an increased swing rate (7-10% more swings) and a decreased contact rate but the real reason is his strikeouts were terrible in the minors too.This is the player he is. There has been no real difference what pitchers are pitching him - the pitch type breakdown is very similar to last year. A quick look at the Pitch F/X data hints that maybe they aren't giving him pitches on the low and in part of the plate, instead focusing on the up and in part. But if that's all it takes it suggests that there isn't a hole in Tyler's swing where he can't hit it, but rather there's a hole in Tyler's swing where he can.

I don't hope for improvement mainly because this team promotes aggression. They are probably asking Tyler to swing through this when really he needs to re-evaluate his view of the strike zone. Add to this the facts that his walk rate has dropped under 5%, he's a bad baserunner and a worse fielder, and you get a guy contributing nothing to the team. You can't even give him the intangibles. Veteran presence? Nope that's Tracy. Youthful exhuberance? Lombo.

Let's take a baby step here Nats. Send Moore down. Bring Chris Marrero up. Can't hurt. Keeps the R/L things with LaRoche. The Moore Era is over.


Johhny Cakes said...

A few things about the Nats say "money" this year. Season ticket holders don't even get tickets anymore; you have to print out tickets at home. Beer prices are the highest in the entire league. I'm guessing there's probably a few other small things too.

And they got rid of Clint for some girl who I can't even hear half the time.

cass said...

The beer is not the most expensive in the game. That report was found to be inaccurate and based on incorrect pricing information.

And I fail to see how Clint leaving is anything but a huge positive. I haven't noticed the women who replaces him and I am quite happy about that! The team doesn't need a silly MC.

Is it possible Moore's bat is perking up? He did hit that home run in Pittsburgh. His value is in his power, so if he starts hitting dingers again, he can be valuable, right?

Donald said...

I was thinking the same thing about swapping Moore for Marrero, but do they really fill the same role? As a PH, yes, but can Marrero play LF? I didn't think so but I'm not sure. If he can't, then you'd have been swapping Bernie for Moore when Werth was out, rather than Marrero for Moore. The way things have been this season, I'm not sure how much of an upgrade that is.

On a different note, I know a Braves loss is a Braves loss, but for some reason the ones that come via a Kimbrel blown save just seem that much sweeter.

Froggy said...

I think I made this same point about Moore a week ago when I said we should have kept Morse to come off the bench. He can play LF and 1B and would be a formidable PH. Then I got hammered about how 'we let Morse go so he could play everyday' BS.

Go ahead and admit it...I was right.

As to the other stuff at the park, it just doesn't feel the same. Like there is no personality there these days.

Eric said...

"On a different note, I know a Braves loss is a Braves loss, but for some reason the ones that come via a Kimbrel blown save just seem that much sweeter."

Absolutely! Especially when said blown save involves back-to-back home runs!

blovy8 said...

The Nats have gradually chiseled a bit on unused tickets, before this year they started giving "dates" where you could trade them in, the rainout crap is a continuation of that attitude. At least they returned to doling out some Nats Bucks to SPH this year.

You can flip it around for Moore, and say the larger group of atbats last year were as important, and while he was lucky in HR rate, 2012 was fairly consistent in terms what you would expect his K rate to be at 27 percent. 43 seems like an outlier to me that will probably regress lower, his ML line is 246/305/482 and striking out 30 percent - that's a decent bench option, and not really difficult to imagine him continuing to do given his AA/AAA numbers.

Marerro hasn't been a power hitter really, maybe he deserves a chance, but I don't see it happening without an injury, he'd really need to sustain this newfound power for a longer period.

NatsVA said...

"As to the other stuff at the park, it just doesn't feel the same. Like there is no personality there these days."

Huh? Aside from the Clint replacement and Taft, I haven't noticed any difference at all. I've had a pleasant time at the park this year (of course every game I've been to have been W's.) It's not like Nats Park turned into Fenway last year with every fan hanging on every pitch, aside from the last few games of the season and the NLDS.

Harper said...

JC - They do still have some remnants of the CHEEEEEEEEEEP years left over. I'll be interested in seeing what the future holds for Desmond and ZNN given the relatively poor returns on Zimm and Werth. Have they frightened the turtle back into it's shell?

cass - It's possible. I don't think the average will ever be there but as an all or nothing guy he can exist in this league. Needs more "all"s though. And fast.

Donald - aren't exactly the same. I guess I'd be fine with Bernie (or Lombo who's ok out there). Bernie has had a slow start but years of mediocre stats to let us know he'll probably be mediocre. Moore I think has been figured out. Also unless Marrero was a complete statue I bet he'd be similar in the OF to Moore.

Froggy - I'll admit it. I don't remember hammering you though so that makes it easier. Although there's no way this team carries a 5 million dollar bench player.

As for the park... I can't say but I'd guess there's a lack of "magic" last year was a surprise, a gift that kept on giving. This year it will take actual sustained success to work back up to the same feelings. Slow start does not help. Then again I'm not there. I'll let you and NatsVA argue it out.

blovy8 - Put that HR rate around 15% and last year looks like this

.237 / .300 / .410

and that's with a walk rate I wouldn't expect him to keep up with that elevated K rate.

I'd go with .235 / .290 / .420 as a better guess of his level. To me that's not worth a spot on a championship bench unless he's doing something else and I don't see what else that would be.

Miles Treacy said...

Can we start keeping a weekly tracker of runners LOB for Moore. This past weekend was awful to watch. Granted in the end he came up big twice, but his at bats are brutal to watch. Tyler "Rally Killer" Moore.

Curly W. said...

TL;DR - Less is Moore

Zimmerman11 said...

Also... Tyler Moore sucks... Adam Dunn stop Tyler Moore in the street and tells him to cut down on his strikeouts.

Love it! (Though, it's pretty harsh, dude)... but your point was bring up Marrero... which I totally agree with, whether it's for Moore, Tracy, or whoever. Give him a shot (though he'll likely go on the DL 10 days after being called up for a hangnail or something).

Zimmerman11 said...

Though, if Moneyball taught us anything, it's that good lookin' ball players get more opportunity :)

Marrero is a funny looking dude... Moore's got hollywood good looks LOL...

Can't blame Rizzo if he sees a halo around Moore's head in the batting cages and hears dream weaver everytime he walks up to home plate :) :) :)

Zimmerman11 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zimmerman11 said...

Sorry to triple-post... but that hollywood comment got me thinking "who does Tyler Moore remind me of"...

Doppleganger alert... Tyler Moore = Paul Walker (Varsity Blues, Fast and Furious)

Tyler Moore

Paul Walker

Theo Mackie said...

Come on. Last year was amazing. It was the most fun season of baseball ever. We were the best team in the league all season when we weren't even expected to make the playoffs. We aren't gonna repeat that awesomeness. But we will start winning more, and with wins the season will become fun, especially if we make the playoffs. The goal isn't to be a feel-good story, it's to win the World Series and nothing so far suggests we can't do that.

Froggy said...

I think adding Taft to the presidents was unnecessary and I couldn't care less about Clint or some other cheerleaders being there or not. My comments were more inline with Blovy8. For me it comes down to my sample size (games attended ea year, 20+) and years attending (6+) for comparison.

Case in points the rain out policy, the unused game policy, red carpet rewards changes, etc, reflect a day to day management that thought because they had a great season last year, thought guaranteed gate receipts were a forgone conclusion. IMO they should have just left those fan loyalty things alone.

That all being said, there has been a marked improvement in the selection of food vendors and quality from previous years.

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on Adam Kilgore's article today, which documents the difference in performance when Strasburg is paired up with Ramos rather than Suzuki?

-Sec. 312

blovy8 said...

I think the idea that there's another guy lying around someplace just waiting for a bench job who's hit 30 homers in the minors a couple of times and can reasonably be expected to field a batted ball is wishful thinking Harper. What you'll get are the guys the Yankees waive when Granderson comes back. Maybe you could get a Houston OF, but why would you want that? Corey Brown is hurt, Eury Perez has less power than Gio at the plate.

Perhaps give it another month or so before declaring it a weakness. Rendon will be ready when the next IF goes down. Owings could get a shot before Marrero. He's only HAD sporatic at-bats his ML career.

blovy8 said...

Say what you like about how dopey Clint was, you pretty much have to be in the first two rows now to get a t-shirt without his QB imitations.

Not that I give a rat's ass, since in the upperdeck all we get is a cool breeze.

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