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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Adam Ottavino: Mike Trout walking is not hitting.

Adam Ottavino is a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. A few days ago he was a guest on the MLB Now TV program hosted by Brian Kenny. They were discussing how great Mike Trout is and Kenny mentioned that in 2016 Trout had a lot of walks, bases on balls (BB). Trout led the American Conference in BB for the second time and on base average for the first time: .441, a career high for Trout and well above his already impressive career number of .405.

Ottavino agreed that BB are generally good for a batter but quietly stated that there is more context, that Trout's teammates were not good enough to discourage pitchers from walking Trout. Ottavino did not explicitly use the word protection but it was pretty clear that was his thought, that the next batter or two did not protect Trout. Kenny was strangely and uncharacteristically silent on this point.

Ottavino was trying to say: don't give Trout, as great as he is, too much credit for the additional BB and subsequent increase in on base average because that was driven by context.

Supporting this was a point made by Tom Verducci, although I cannot recall if it was on the same program. Verducci stated that in 2016 Trout had corrected some minor flaws, including taking too many first strikes. Trout swung at first pitch fastball more often and had the highest batting average against: .613. Swinging at the first pitch more often would tend to decrease the opportunities to draw walks. Despite that, Trout led in BB.

Is Walking Hitting? Sunday, November 20, 2016 9:19 AM

January 21, 2009

All walks are not created equal. Walking the good batters is not the same as walking the weak batters...

1961 Yankees? Here is a representative lineup.
1. Bobby Richardson 2B
2. Tony Kubek SS
3. Roger Maris RF
4. Mickey Mantle CF
5. Yogi Berra LF
6. Elston Howard C
7. Bill Skowron 1B
8. Clete Boyer 3B
9. some weak hitting pitcher

If you are manager Ralph Houk and you are given a walk to assign before the game begins to a batter other than the pitcher, to whom would you give it? Obviously to one of the weak batters: Richardson, Kubek or Boyer. Then it is a matter of deciding who can do the most good. I would give it to Kubek because he bats immediately before the big boys. The last batter to whom you would give the walk would be Mantle, your best hitter. A walk to Kubek would be more valuable than a walk to Mantle.

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Never let the big man beat you. Sunday, May 17, 2015

That was me quoting Rizzuto quoting McCarthy...

Joe McCarthy and Phil Rizzuto are in the Hall of Fame, McCarthy as a manager and Rizzuto as a shortstop. Rizzuto played his entire major league career for the Yankees: 1941-1942, military service 1943-1945, 1946-1956; AL MVP 1950. Rizzuto then became a Yankee announcer starting in September 1956 following his release through 1996, Derek Jeter's first season. McCarthy managed the Yankees 1931-1945, plus the first 35 (22-13) games of 1946. So, Rizzuto really overlapped with McCarthy in Rizzuto's first two seasons when he would have been most impressionable.


Many times Rizzuto would quote or paraphrase McCarthy for whom Rizzuto obviously had both affection and respect, something that Rizzuto did not have for Casey Stengel who managed the Yankees 1949-1960. One of the things that apparently had impressed Rizzuto was McCarthy supposedly having said: "Never let the big man beat you." Or words to that effect.

In 1941 and 1942 in the American League the big man was obviously Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox. This was especially true if you considered only non-Yankees, which would fit McCarthy's situation...

... the thought is the important thing ... with all the current emphasis on not walking batters ...

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