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Four Things For A Friday: Innings Update, Nicknames, Javier Guerra, and Dust Devils

Photo: Grant Wickes

 

“Yes, money has been a little bit tight lately, but at the end of my life, when I’m sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No. I’m gonna be thinking about how many friends I have and my children and my comedy albums.” – Michael Scott

 

There are times when I want to write about something, but there’s not enough meat on the bone for a full-blown article.  Other times, there’s something that I think is worth mentioning, but don’t feel like getting too deep into it.  I’m going to try to save a few of those things for a Friday column.  This is that column.

 

Innings Limits For Pitchers

If you’ve been following the rotation patterns for the Missions and the TinCaps (I’ve been following it at an unhealthy level), you’ve noticed that in addition to having six-man rotations, they’ve also began to have a few players skip starts, piggyback, and use spot starters to save innings.  Yes, the minor league season is in its last few weeks, but I thought it’d be worth checking on the innings thrown by the Padres top arms.  I didn’t include any pitchers that didn’t pitch in the minor leagues last year.

Don’t feel like getting too deep into any analysis, but just as a comparison, Clayton Richard leads the Padres in innings pitched with 154.1.  I’m not sure what the targets are for any of these guys, but many of them have been working on six and seven days rest between starts.

 

Players Weekend Nicknames

Yes, yes, I know this is a late take, but the Padres have lame uniforms for the Players Weekend, and only a few players taking advantage (I’m not sure that’s even the right word though) of the nicknames-on-the-back-of-uniforms thing.  Brad Hand‘s “Brotato” is a good one, and I’m not sure I want to hear the story behind Luis Torrens‘ “Churro”, but I get them every time I go to Costco, so I’m a fan.

The whole thing got me wondering about Padres nicknames of the past.  Baseball-Reference has nicknames on player pages, and just to narrow down my search, I focused on the ’98 NL pennant winning team.

There’s the given “Mr. Padre” (Tony Gwynn, rest in peace), and a handful that aren’t on B-R but I remember like “Cammy” “Hoffy” and “Fins” (Ken Caminiti, Trevor Hoffman, and Steve Finley).  A few preceded their Padre playing days, like “Wally World” Joyner and “The King” Jim Leyritz.  I remember being annoyed by broadcaster Ted Leitner when he called Carlos Quentin “Q”, because the real Q was Quilvio Veras.

Anyways, not really anything interesting there, but my family (probably my dad, mostly) made up nicknames for all the bullpen guys that we thought were bad, but in the end maybe weren’t as bad as we thought.  Stan Spencer “The Home Run Dispenser” was a favorite, as well as Brian “Throw ‘Em A Dinger” Boehringer.  Donne “Over The” Wall was a little lazy, but it worked for us.

I’m not good at bestowing nicknames, but I’ve seen people tweet about Hunter “Rooftop” Renfroe and I like that.

 

Could Javier Guerra be the next Austin Hedges?

Alright, maybe this sub-heading is a little click-baity, but that’s why I buried it down here.  I have long been a fan of Austin Hedges, in part because when I played baseball in middle school and early high school (never made the school team though), I was a glove-first catcher that couldn’t hit to save my life.  Not that Hedges’ bat is that bad, but I just felt like I related to him a little more than most baseball players.

Anyways, if you haven’t noticed, Javier Guerra has struggled pretty mightily since being acquired in the Craig Kimbrel trade, and though he was promoted to Double-A last month, things haven’t really gotten better (I’m not sure why they would’ve, since the Cal League is more hitter friendly and the Texas League is a step up in ability level).  He has hit a few homers (3) in his short time in San Antonio (25 games), which is an interesting development, but way too small of a sample to really make anything of, at least yet.  But his defense is so good, that it got me wondering if his glove could carry him in a similar way that Hedges’ defense carried him.

Before we get too far in, yes, I realize that Hedges’ struggles in the lower levels of the minors seemed to be solved in Triple-A, so this isn’t an apples to apples comparison yet (also, they play different positions, which is another factor), but bear with me.  Here are their stats, comparing their age 19-21 seasons.

Are there similarities? Yes, especially if you’re looking at just the hitting lines.  The big difference here, however, is the strikeout rates, as even the height of Hedges’ rate (19.5%) is lower than the lowest of Guerra’s (23.5%).

I don’t want to take anything away from Hedges – obviously, his age 21 stats didn’t make him seem like he was going to be starting in the majors anytime soon, and he remedied that in Triple-A.  I wouldn’t be too quick to say that will happen to Guerra (or anyone else with a similarly anemic slash line), however.  The Padres will likely give him a chance at Double-A to start next year, but at this point, it seems like any Padres shortstop is a placeholder until Tatis Jr. gets there (yes, yes, I know that Tatiscould move over to third, that just seemed like a good line to end on).

 

What Is A Dust Devil?

I’ve been in the market to get a new baseball hat for a little bit, and though I’ve been interested in getting a new Round Rock Express hat (they’re the most local team to me, about an hour south), I kind of want to keep it in the Padres family.  I already own a Missions hat, and I’ve been tempted to pick up a Tri-City Dust Devils hat.

At first, I really wasn’t drawn by their design.  I’m biased and think the Missions “SA” logo with the coonskin cap on it is the best design in the system, though I’d also accept the TinCaps apple (I like the nod to Johnny Appleseed).  In my head, I just kept thinking “Why the Dust Devils?” and “What even is a Dust Devil?”  I mean, obviously by looking at the hat, it’s a little dust whirlwind, but it just seemed like a weird thing to name your team after (although not the weirdest – I’m looking at you New Orleans Babycakes).  Then I came across this article.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, knowing that there are legitimate problems with dust storms in the Tri-City area makes me like their logo/team name more.  I will probably pick up that hat sometime soon.

 

Other things that just missed the cut:

  •  A depressing list of Padres shortstops since Khalil Greene was traded. 
  • A look at players whose MLB careers precede Petco Park.
  • How many prospects from A.J. Preller‘s Texas Ranger days are performing now, and how many are in the majors.
  • Matt L

    Enjoying these, Marcus. Good idea!