Chat with David Schoenfield
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com's SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield stops by to chat some baseball.
Schoenfield is a senior writer for ESPN.com and he's been with ESPN.com since 1995 and has served in a variety of roles, including baseball editor, Page 2 senior editor and writer, and even interim soccer editor. He grew up in Seattle rooting for the Mariners, believes Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame and had no issues with Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young Award despite a 13-12 record.
Send your questions now and join Schoenfield Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
David Schoenfield (1:04 PM)
Happy Tuesday, everyone. Which fans are happiest right now? I'd have to go with Orioles fans: 4-0, one run allowed per game. Good see them with a hot start. Their fans have certainly suffered through enough losing since 1998.
Clint Hurdle (PA)
Do I take my team and finish above .500 this year for the first time in a long time?
David Schoenfield (1:06 PM)
As my pal DJ Gallo tweeted yesterday, the Pirates already have 18 percent of their total road wins of last season. That said, I don't see them as a .500 team (1992 was their last .500 season). Rotation is still very shaky and while the lineup looks OK, it was still only 15th in runs in the NL last season. 70 wins would be a nice goal.
Andrew Friedman (via mobile)
Mr. Schoenfield, I noticed a few weeks back you mentioned Randy Winn being an all-star for our team. This is true, except you called us by a name we don't allow people to call us. That'll be $200.
David Schoenfield (1:07 PM)
Incorrect. They were the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when he made the the All-Star team. That statement was factually correct. You can't rewrite history and pretend they were the Rays back then.
How long do we wait to being adjusting expectations of our O's? Baseball success is built on pitching, and so far 4 games, 4 quality starts.
David Schoenfield (1:10 PM)
As much as I want to jump on the Baltimore bandwagon, four games is four games. Can't overreact yet. The Orioles had seven winning streak of four games last season and still lost 96 games.
Brewers, pathetic as they appear or should I take a breath? Thanks.
David Schoenfield (1:12 PM)
Deep breath. I am worried about their bullpen (which I was before the start of the season) and the early returns haven't been good with two blown saves). That said, they're playing without Greinke and Corey Hart, but lack of depth is a problem. If this losing streak happens in July, nobody notices. Well, notices as much.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
In the early 2000's before steroids testing, hitting was more valuable than pitching. Once steroids testing was implemented, pitching became more valuable than hitting. This would all make senses if pitchers were not using steroids but odds are that everyone was using performance enhancing drugs not just hitters. How do you reconcile the shift from hitting to pitching?
David Schoenfield (1:14 PM)
One aspect isn't more valuable than the other ... good hitting (or good pitching) may be harder to find based on the era, but that doesn't change the importance of both. Baseball is still essentially 50 percent offense (scoring runs) and 50 percent pitching/defense (preventing runs). Looks at last year's Mariners: good pitching, great defense, but one of the worst lineups of all time. So they lost 101 games.
Will John Olerud and his helmet ever be inducted into the Hall?
David Schoenfield (1:16 PM)
The helmet shouldn't definitely make it! Olerud is one of the most underrated players of all time, but his Hall of Fame is a difficult one to make.
Ken (Spokane Valley)
Are the Mariners crazy to start the clock on Pineda so early? Why can't he get his 160 innings after May and save a year of control?
David Schoenfield (1:19 PM)
I wrote about this today: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/8522/teams-must-decide-when-to-start-clockI won't say they're crazy, because in part I think a team has an obligation to put its best 25 players out there. But I'm not sure it makes sense for them to do it with Pineda, but keep Ackley in the minors. I'm sure part of their reasoning is pitchers are riskier investments anyway and thinking about six years down the road with Pineda is just too long of a timeframe to worry about.
If you're the Phillies, do you keep Domonic Brown in Triple-A once he comes back from the hamate injury?
David Schoenfield (1:20 PM)
Well, he's ready for the majors based on last season's numbers, but I suppose it depends on (A) how well Francisco is playing, and (B) how he responds when he's back -- hamate injuries are difficult to return from. I'd probably leave in Triple-A for 3-4 weeks and see how he plays.
Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta)
Do you think there's any way I top the 17.42 K/9 from last year? I look awfully untouchable at the moment!
David Schoenfield (1:22 PM)
I've seen both of your relief outings: Absolute domination. Kimbrel isn't the hardest thrower out there (95-96) but something about the delivery must make his ball very hard to pick up. Hitters just can't react. But 17.42 K's per 9? (Most ever for mimimum 20 innings.) I don't think so. Carlos Marmol had 16.0 per nine, which I think was the record for 50+ innings. That's a total to aim for.
Juiced balls? Really?? I'm having a hard time believing that after a year where MLB had an increase in revenue in "the year of the pitcher" that they would try to create more long balls to boost interest.
David Schoenfield (1:24 PM)
Right, my conclusion was that of course it's too early to make any conclusions. And MLB has absolutely no reason to monkey with the game, which I think is better than ever. As you say, record revenues in 2010 DESPITE the economy show that baseball is in great, great shape.
how do you write an entire article poorly explaining how you think the phillies will falter and then just assume that the braves, marlins, mets, brewers, cubs and giants will be better.
David Schoenfield (1:27 PM)
Well, that would have been six more articles to write. I stated my opinion and arrived at a completely rational conclusion (if one Phillies fans disagreed with). Here's a basic tenet of baseball history: Old teams decline and young teams getter better. The Phillies were the oldest team in baseball last year (even older than the Yankees). That's a big concern in my opinion. Even all the statistical projection systems have the Phillies coming in at around 90 victories. Accuscore has them at a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs. I just sided on the 25 percent wing. And, yes, I very well may end up being wrong.
Are Dodgers' brass convinced that Matt Kemp will have a better year after Torre's departure and his breakup with a pop star?
David Schoenfield (1:28 PM)
Kemp had a very strange year after an excellent 2009. Though to his credit he played all 162 games. One encouraging sign through four games: he has three walks (all in the opener), but only one strikeout. If his strike zone control improves, he'll have his best season yet.
Mike (San Diego)
Big Cards fan here and needless to say, I'm worried. Their lineup stinks if Matt Holliday or Pujols is hurt/not hitting. Am I looking at a .500 season this year?
David Schoenfield (1:30 PM)
Holliday is saying he wants to return this weekend, so he'll be back soon. Most experts still projects St. Louis around 85 wins, even without Wainwright. In the NL Central, that should put them in the pennant race.
Zack (New Jersey)
Whats your expected line for A-rod this year if he stays healthy? 40/125/300?
David Schoenfield (1:32 PM)
I think that's pretty reasonable for the high end. Heck, he drove in 125 runs last year and he missed 25 games. However, while he's healthy now, he has missed significant time three years in a row (138, 124, 137 games), so I'm not ready to pencil him for 150 games, so I'll say more like 35/120/.285.
Is Texas' offense great or is it GREAT?
David Schoenfield (1:34 PM)
I think it's decent, but not GREAT and maybe not even great. Rangers love to hit at the Ballpark: Last year, they had an .800 OPS at home, but just .716 on the road. Consider that the average AL OPS last year was .734 and you can make the argument that the Rangers were really only an average (at best) offense last season once you take out the park effects.
Snookie (Seaside, NJ)
If the Phillies can't get healthy, do you think they make a push for Michael Young?
David Schoenfield (1:35 PM)
Everything I've read is that the Phillies don't have the budget to add any payroll, so it seems unlikely.
Abby Normal (Transylvania)
Who will be the primary suitors for Jose Reyes when the Mets finally decide to trade him mid-season?
David Schoenfield (1:37 PM)
What does everyone out there think? Which possible contending team could use use a shortstop? Phillies, Braves and Marlins seem set at SS. Brewers? Will they tire of Betancourt's bad defense? Trouble is, their farm system is barren.One logical team: the Giants. Tejada supposedly looked pretty bad in spring training.
Are the Astros the worst team in baseball? How long will "rebuilding mode" take?
David Schoenfield (1:39 PM)
Their rotation was pretty good in the second half last year, but I'm worried about Wandy Rodriguez, how missed a spring training start with a sore shoulder and had a bad opener. But the lineup (15th in NL in runs last year) is pretty bad. I think I have them winning a few more games than the Pirates.Rebuilding mode: Man, it could be awhile, 3-4 years? At least they're in the right division.
Did you see Peter King's MMQ column this week? He mentioned getting a tour of the Rangers stadium, and that they have video monitors where players can go IN-GAME to see video from 6 angles from any at-bat (that game or prior games) Is this kosher?
David Schoenfield (1:40 PM)
I'm sure most teams have a similar setup, although not sure if everyone is that extensive with all the angles. Worth passing along to my ESPN colleagues to see what setups all the teams have.
Hey Dave, loved you on page 2 and love you in the sweet spot now. Does Boss man Jr (upton) have what it takes to carry the rays while Longoria is out?
David Schoenfield (1:43 PM)
Thanks, Tarek.He'll have a lot of pressure for a few weeks, that's for sure. Not much power in the rest of the lineup, unless Joyce and Johnson hit (or Zobrist recreates his 2009 magic). Upton just can't seem to put it ALL together in the same season, and his BA has dropped from .300 to .273 to .241 to .237. He still takes his walks but he holes in his swing that AL pitchers have figured out.
Rob (Portland, OR)
Speaking of Pineda, what do you expect from him this year? Not that he will help the Mariners contend this year but Pineda/Felix/Ichiro seem like good reasons to at least pay attention this year.
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
I'm looking forward to his start tonight -- good matchup, Pineda vs. Ogando (moving to the Texas rotation).From what I've read, he struggled in spring training with his consistency on his slider and changeup, so he may struggle in particular against left-handed hitters. He'll get by since he has pretty good control and the park will help, but I would project Seattle gets him to 150-160 innings before shutting him down, with an ERA around 4.00.
Would you compare the over-hype that the Phillies have similar to the hype of the Miami Heat had at the beggining of the NBA season?
David Schoenfield (1:45 PM)
Is Brandon Morrow more likely to (a) come-back from the DL and continue developing into a STUD; or (b) revert to his injury-prone ways and disappoint everyone who listened to Matthew Berry?
David Schoenfield (1:47 PM)
Good question. Can't say I have a good answer. If he does return healthy, my one question mark about him becoming a STUD is his durability: Can he pitch 200 innings in a season? A lot of guys just can't handle the workload and I have doubts that Morrow can do that.
Justin (Boulder, CO)
I'm pretty sure Michael Lewis detailed A's players coming into the video room between at-bats to check out video of their at-bats in Moneyball. Probably been common for a while now.
Dave (New York)
Odds that King Felix comes to New York by July?
David Schoenfield (1:48 PM)
Zero. Seattle isn't trading him.
Matt (New Jersey)
David, many people got on the Orioles for signing the free agents they did, and I don't necessarily disagree with some of thoughts. But, and I know this can't be quantified (Neyer word), is there something to having veterans around that provide some sort of blanket for the young pups on the roster? Throwing out a young team for the sake of playing time while watching them get beaten up, especially in the East...I don't know. As a former athlete I always found confidence in looking to some older guys and their presence (granted you are counting on them to actually produce to instill confidence). Just rambling...thanks for chatting.
David Schoenfield (1:50 PM)
Good post. I did like the signings and I do think there is at least a *little* something to veteran presence. Now, the vets have to produce, because ultimately it's all about production. But maybe it does help a young guy like Adam Jones, since he doesn't have to think he has to be the big RBI guy and maybe he swings for the fences as much. He can focus on getting on base more and hitting line drives.
What do you think of Starlin Castro? Back to back triples is ALWAYS impressive, right?
David Schoenfield (1:51 PM)
Love Castro. There aren't a lot of great shortstops in the majors right now but Castro looks poised to become the next one. Just 21 years old. Enjoy him, Cubs fans.
How do you like all those HR's? Not bad for an old man - right? How many do you think I can hit this season as the DH?
David Schoenfield (1:52 PM)
I've always been a big Posada fan; even playing for the Yankees he seems to have been underrated. He hit 18 last year. Should get a few more ABs this year, so I think he can pop 20-22.
Tom (New York)
Will the Yankees lose any games leading after 6 innings this year?
David Schoenfield (1:53 PM)
I'll go out on a limb here and say ... yes.
Andy (Washington DC)
Derrek Lowe tonight for the Braves vs. Milwaukee. Are you on the D-Lowe bandwagon after his tremendous Sept./Oct. last year and solid first start? I am on record with my pals as him finishing top-5 in NL Cy race. I think he has found something with his new affection for his breaking ball. Thoughts?
David Schoenfield (1:54 PM)
I will take the under on top-5 in Cy Young voting. C'mon, just too many good pitchers in the NL for that to happen. He's not even the Braves pitcher I'd take in that scenario ... I'd go Tommy Hanson.
More likely, Heyward MVP or Freeman RoY?
David Schoenfield (1:55 PM)
Freeman ... in part, how many guys is he realistically battling .. 4 or 5. There are probably 15 guys who could win the MVP Award.
Will the Angels give Jordan Walden a chance to close this month? Rodney can't last much longer.
David Schoenfield (1:56 PM)
I'm not a big Rodney fan, so I think Walden could take the job by June. As you know as an Angels fan, Walden has pretty good stuff. It's just a matter if Scioscia trusts a young closer.
Big difference between overhyping The Heat and Phillies. The Phillies have been to the World Series two of the past three seasons. The Heat haven't been anywhere close to the finals
If the Ballpark is such a great place to hit, why is the vaunted Red Sox's OPS barely above .600? (Small sample size, good pitching, yada, yada, yada but let's ignore that for now)
David Schoenfield (1:57 PM)
Maybe the Red Sox just aren't any good.(Kidding, Boston fans, just kidding.)
If healthy, what kind of season do you think Asdrubal Cabrera can produce?
David Schoenfield (1:58 PM)
I think he'll bounce back and come close to his 2009 season ... .799 OPS.
What's better in Kansas City - the BBQ sauce or the Royals?
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
The sauce still wins in 2011 ... but the Royals will move ahead by 2013.
danny (washington dc)
when cody ross becomes available, do the giants have to bench aubrey huff due to his lack of good outfield performances?
David Schoenfield (1:59 PM)
My guess is Pat Burrell gets reduced playing time.
Dave, thanks for bringing up what a hitters HEAVEN the Ballpark at Arlington is because I hate when writers react like Coors is the ONLY BP in MLB that inflates offensive stats though I can point out a few like Cano's spike in offensive performance when New Yankee Stadium opened, all the career years of FAs that happen in Texas or Boston etc.
David Schoenfield (2:00 PM)
OK, everyone ... have to run. Sorry I didn't get to all the question. I'll be here every Tuesday at 1 ET and thanks for reading the blog!You can follow me on Twitter at @dschoenfield