Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Slowey Slowly Getting There

Last night, Kevin Slowey struck out the side in the top half of the first and went on to cruise for a few innings before giving up a pair of RBI doubles with two outs in the fourth. Slowey recovered and pitched a 1-2-3 fifth, but in the sixth, after being worn down by a 15-pitch at-bat against Scott Rolen, he left a pitch out over the plate against Matt Stairs which was driven over the baggy in right field. That was the end of Slowey's night, his final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

Through three starts, Slowey sits with an 0-3 record and a 5.79 ERA. But, things aren't as bad as they seem. Opposing hitters are only batting .241 against him, and he has an 11-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 14 innings this season. Over three outings, his ERA has gone from 8.10 to 6.48 to 5.79. He has good peripherals and he's a good pitcher. The ERA will continue to come down.

One other note: after they both homered last night, Carlos Gomez and Jason Kubel have eight home runs between them. They also have eight walks between them. Sigh.

13 comments:

Jake said...

Seriously! GoGo has got to make some contact. He makes contact good things happen. Either he is going to foul of pitches and extend at bats or hit a ground ball and have a chance to put his GoGo juice to work. Something, ANYTHING, just get the @#$%ing ball in play for the love of god! and then maybe, over time, the plate discipline will come where he can draw a walk or 3, maybe.

Corey E. said...

Denard Span.

He's now 3/4 today with a single, double (5), homerun (3), and a stolen base (13).

For the year he's hitting .358/.457/.530 - .987

Not too shabby. Maybe even better than...

;-)

Bojangles said...

Span is more polished (has some plate discipline), but Gomez is already the more more explosive player and clearly has the higher ceiling. If sticking with Gomez this year makes him a better player in '09/'10 I'm all for it.

Nick N. said...

He's now 3/4 today with a single, double (5), homerun (3), and a stolen base (13).

Wow, so he's almost caught up to Gomez in all of those categories. Except that, you know, Gomez is in the majors.

Andrew Kneeland said...

Anybody else here almost to the point of wanting Luke Hughes brought all the way up?

I'm almost to that point. We need somebody on the left side of the infield.

Corey E. said...

Must be easy to gloss over the BA and OBP.

Nick N. said...

When they're inflated by an unsustainable hot streak, yeah it is easy.

Corey E. said...

And yet you cited Gomez's numbers just a week or so ago, using numbers inflated by a similarly unsustainable hot streak. Interesting...

Nick N. said...

I don't think Gomez's numbers were unsustainable. He was a .278/.339/.399 hitter in the minors with power that consistently increased as he aged and advanced, so the idea that him sustaining something like a .280/.310/.420 line is overly optimistic seems quite silly to me.

Span, meanwhile, is a .285/.339/.353 career hitter in the minors who had never slugged better than .403 at any level in the past and had never hit more than three homers in a season. It's nice to see him making some improvements and I like the adjustments that he's made to his plate approach, but the odds that he's randomly transforming into a legitimate power threat at the age of 24 are just not at all good. He's had an unusually good week, but I'll be shocked if he continues at anything close to this pace.

Corey E. said...

I dont think Span's power will continue. but he's showing he can hit .280-.290 with a .350 OBP, and isn' entirely a singles hitter. He also has very good speed, is rangy in center, and has a strong arm.

My point being the same as it always has been - Gomez can learn in the minors everything he'd learn in the Majors. Having him do so in the minors saves the team money, and allows them to give Span a chance to prove whether or not he has anything to contribute at this level.

Maybe you wait a while while the Indians run away with the division as they are nearly certain to do. Thats fine.

But after Gomez went to the bench after his 0-5 nightmare, you used his hot streak where he hit nearly .400 to bring his numbers back to respectability to justify why he, and not Span should be the every day center fielder for the time being. Arguing that Gomez had more to contribute right now than Span does.

Therefor, its perfectly fair game for me to use Span's hot streak to show why he does have more to contribute. He'll get on base quite a bit more often, will sacrifice little range wise in center, and wont make bone-headed throws that cost us extra bases, runs, and eventually, games.

Will he hit for as much power as Gomez? Of course not, I'm not a big enough lunatic to think that. Will his steal rate be as prolific as Gomez's? Again, of course not. But the name of the game from where I stand, is winning games. I think Span might very well offer us a better possibility of doing that on a nightly basis.

Nick N. said...

.280-.290 with a .350 OBP, and isn' entirely a singles hitter. He also has very good speed, is rangy in center, and has a strong arm.

He's already proven that he's that type of hitter in the minors; the problem is that those numbers are both likely to go down in the majors, and he doesn't hit for power, so you end up with probably like a .270/.330/.350 guy, which isn't all that desirable. I'm just not buying into this recent power surge, although I won't deny that it is impressive and unexpected.

He also has very good speed, is rangy in center, and has a strong arm.

Every scouting report I've ever read on Denard Span has graded his arm as below average. His speed and range are both inferior to Gomez.

But after Gomez went to the bench after his 0-5 nightmare, you used his hot streak where he hit nearly .400 to bring his numbers back to respectability to justify why he, and not Span should be the every day center fielder for the time being. Arguing that Gomez had more to contribute right now than Span does.

Here's the thing: considering the type of hitter Gomez has shown himself to be over the course of his career, it's perfectly reasonable to assume that Gomez's mini hot streak was a regression to the mean -- he had a cold streak over the course of 15 games early in the season (he hit .164/.176/.239 from April 5 through April 22) and then evened it out with a hot streak over the next 15 games (.333/.375/.550 from April 24 to May 14) to bring his numbers back up to a fair level of expectation. That's how baseball works, really.

Span's current hot streak is an aberration. He's never done anything remotely close to this in his entire career. There is little question that his numbers are going to come crashing down, because it is just extremely unusual for a hitter to completely transform without warning at the age of 24.

I just don't understand how you can continue to believe that Span would be a better contributor on this team. Occasional gaffes aside, Gomez is a superior fielder, and with his extra-base hits and stolen bases, he is able to put himself in scoring position much more often than Span would. I don't think that's even debatable. What he loses in OBP to Span (and I really think it's only 30-40 points, max) he more than makes up for with power, stolen bases and defense. Plus he's a huge draw for the fans.

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