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So, we’re back again to check and see what kind of junk has built-up Under the Greydar. As sort of a prologue, coming back for another year at Razzball was a forgone conclusion. However, unlike other years, this time, Grey had a requirement of me– limit the number of Padres posts from 478,568.5 down to something more manageable and less-bias driven. Something like, what was the number he said? One? One. But, because I’m always on his good side, and I’m prettier than Sky, I was able to increase that number to five. Enough for a little breathing room. The thing Grey didn’t realize is, there’s a loop-hole. Joke’s on you my mustache’d friend! My strategy is to now to fit multiple Padres into one post… so I’ll be covering not one, but two Padres this time around… Can you taste what the Jay is cooking!? (Totally not sexual… maybe.) Before we get started, I should establish that I am not Hispanic, yet I always love dropping my Spanish language-bombs. Seeing as how I was the only kid to grow up in San Diego and not finish with at least a C+ in Spanish 101, well, that’s basically the long-story of– don’t ask me what I typed in Spanish. I have no idea. Put that in your Google translator and smoke it.

Ian Kennedy 

A Kennedy that’s alive and/or not in politics? What is this, dark wizardry? Regardless, I would love to end this post right now and just say “Ian Kennedy and Josh Johnson and Petco Park. THE END.” But I’m not sure I’ve ever written a 100-character anything, sans my name. But they always say, it’s about the journey, not the destination. Who exactly ‘they’ are… I think that was maybe someone from Star Trek: Voyager…? COMPLETE DIGRESSION ACHIEVED.

Look, we know the story of Ian Kennedy. He was ‘wow, that was awesome bro!’, in 2011. He was ‘meh, that’s okay, I guess…’ in 2010 and 2012. And finally he was ‘Ugh, nice dumpster fire bro’ in 2013. And it’s not to hard to find the determining factor of what caused these fluctuations of production. In 2013, and to a lesser degree in 2010 and 2012, the home run bug came out and bit him. Of course, it doesn’t help when the place you pitch in has a park factor of +112. For context, that’s 9th highest in the MLB. Specifically, for the long ball, Chase Field allows 112 home runs for every 100 produced in an average park. Petco has a park factor of -82. For every 100 home runs hit in an average park, only 78 are hit in the Gaslamp Quarter (even including the new dimensions).

Now, he’s actually logged some innings with the Padres, and suffice to say, those innings didn’t exactly provide the best data to help my cause here. Besides Kennedy’s HR/9 stirring up trouble, his BB% of 10.0 as a Padre and 9.2% for the year are worrisome. But I don’t think it’s disingenious to say that a full off-season to regroup, and an entire pre-season with a new staff can reinvigorate some sort of resurrection in this area. Remember, there are few things a pitcher has ownership over. This is one of them. And even if his control problems remain status quo, he certainly pitches in the right ballpark, and over a full-season sample, those home runs and walks will hurt him less and less. At the very least, he can be an attractive match-up option in all formats, but if there is some improvement, a domino effect could occur, and I don’t think a strong #3 pitcher is out of the question.

Josh Johnson

Johnson was recently covered in in Grey’s Top-60 Starters for 2014. Here’s what he had to say:

“Here’s what I said when he landed in San Diego, “What’s that sound I hear?  Grey getting excited about Josh Johnson again?  Or is it Grey using third person?  Maybe both!  Johnson wasn’t bad in Toronto.   He was egregious!  See what I did there?  Actually, he was only bad when looking at ERA.  For xFIP he was at 3.58 and a 9.18 K-rate.  Both are solid numbers.  Now Petco can take those pretty numbers out for a ride and remove all the belch like a gentle antacid.”  And that’s me quoting me!”

And that’s me quoting Grey, who is also quoting Grey! I HAVE ALL THE QUOTATION MARKS. Granted, Josh Johnson isn’t really flying under the Greydar in this particular instance. But, I’d be remiss not to point out that there a few other things that really iron out Grey’s blurb. That’s what she said? Eh. While Johnson’s ERA of 6.20 and overwhelmingly mediocre FIP of 4.62 might show a pitcher that’s full of meh, the Batted Ball profile shows us something different. In fact, nearly every number (LD%, GB%, and FB%) are around career norms. Actually, the only number that is completely out-of-whack is his HR/FB, which sits at 18.5%. In 2012, it was 8.4%, and for his career, it’s sat at 8.2%. Seems like regression is a comin’, and pitching in Petco might just be the shot in arm this relationship needs.

Sure, there’s always health concerns. But every pitcher has health concerns. Drafting out of this tier, you don’t care about injuries anyways. You are looking for upside plays only, or, at least, you should be. Josh Johnson could do something special for your team. And if you miss out on Johnson, no worries. The very next tier, another Hodgepadre will pop out of his hole (I dunno, do they live in holes? Someone update the glossary!) in the form of Ian Kennedy. And he too, has the potential to impress based on price.

Yes, I’m a homer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong. Except when I talk about Chase Headley. If that happens, run, run as far away as you can…

  1. OaktownSteve says:
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    Luebke out for the season. Tommy John graft did not take. Funny but I thought graft was all about the take.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Jay: i don’t think it was the graft, as he had been pitching for months before whatever happened recently.

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @goodfold2: whatever happened, I hate it forever.

  2. Sky

    Sky says:
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    I’d argue with you about the pretty but peed on sepia beats grainy B&W every day.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Sky: Agreed.

  3. troy says:
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    what r your thoughts on ross this season? i think he could be one of the better values sleepers this season. as a whole i think the padres have some sneaky value. from headley to gyorko and even venable could all be great grabs for where they are going. good stuff as always jay, even if i dont want to draft either of these guys lol

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @troy: The new mechanics are nice, bringing a bit more velocity, but everyone needs to calm down. He’s never pitched more than 125 innings in a season, and last year was the first time he’s eclipsed 73 IP. Also, the heavy slider usage might break him in-half.

      Sure, I like him as a sleeper, but I’d like to see a bit more restraint.

  4. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Love both these guys….great stuff Jay. Now I will just keep hitting refresh until the Ghost appears :D

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Mike: I’m sure he’ll arrive soon.

  5. Scott McCarthy says:
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    Cool Stuff, I took Burch Smith on my NFBC DC team, i’m up to round 40 now. Hoping Burch gets a spot this year.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Scott McCarthy: I’m sure he’ll find some time. A lot of injury potential in that rotation.

  6. SwaggerJackers says:
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    Tyson Ross > Ian Kennedy.

    Where is Sky’s sleeper post???

  7. Bill S. Preston, Esq. says:
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    Jay, you mentioned Kennedy being a tier below Johnson, but I don’t see him anywhere in the top 100 starters at all. Did I miss him somewhere, or did Grey?

  8. The Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo

    Wow!!!! They fixed the portal!!! This is Great!!! … Wait !!!! Yep, they did … ( I just popped back over to be sure…)

    I can finally shed these damn ectoplasmic lower tract ooze ghost diapers… Nice to be able to come over without shatting ooze all over ones self .. It really shows up on these white shrouds they outfit us in. Embarrassing, that… And the diaper rash!!! It has been killing me. ( a figure of speech over here on the otherside). Too much commercial detergent is my guess…. AAAaaaaaahhh (deep ghost breath) Back amongst the living and not smelling like a swine – it’s a good thing – as Martha Stewart always says…

    Mr Jay Wrong: A mi pequeña siempre florecimiento flor del desierto .. Suponiendo San Deigo se ha convertido en uno, ya que está aquí, en el norte de California.

    Gotter im Himmel, ist alles wieder wunderbar – you have returned to us… It always is when your on here…

    I am sorry to hear about your connection with NFL. A reactionary Corpo Globalist sport if there ever was one. O well.. I do hope you will show up at least weekly on here for FBB??? Hopa hopa hopa??? I will be crushed if you don’t. And I will never haunt the NFL side of RAZZ – ever! Evil stuff that…

    The Padres of the City of Good Living:

    I do like both Kennedy and Johnson for a shot at a solid rotation in SD. Ross could be huge for you. Cashner solid, … Stults is serviceable as a 5th starter for now..

    Bullpen could be better than OK… I still think Sipp might have something left to offer – if he can sort himself out.

    The team is primed to be a good squad – Smith maybe is ready for a solid season – He was much improved after getting his vision corrected out the door in Oakland – He may get his chances giving the recurring health issues of the training room queens SD seems to collect … Maybin INJ ( I still believe)?, Quentin INJ??? (always), Denorfia and Venerable make for a nice 5 man versatile OF – again, when healthy…

    Love the IF… Primed to be really good… The catching won’t hurt you. Cory Spangenberg = Is there a chance, he is ready sometime this year???

    Problem is lack of MLB ready org depth… But some may surprise, when given the chance… Are your young stud arms going to be moved up quick??? Is Wieland ready??? What is the word on Casey Kelly???

    Lack of depth and money are the usual probs it seems . You may surprise – I hope, so… Beat the Giants and Dodgers and all will be well.. It will be a exciting start to the season there.. I’m rooting for the lads in brown – per usual

    Got to go OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo Ooooooooo 0 ………00

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @The Ghost of the Disappeared: Yeah, I’m actually pretty bearish bullish on my Pads this year. I think they could sneak into some kind of contention.

      Honestly, I see Spangenberg as a non-impact guy. Maybe a great utility player. Wieland should be okay. Kelly is slowly coming back. I’m really high on Joe Ross still, and I think Max Fried can be special.

      Dont’ worry, I’ll still be around here. Baseball was always my first love…

      • Hayden says:
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        @Jay: you mean “bullish” – bears claw down. But, all grammar aside, the sentiment still sucks…no way the Pads compete.

  9. Thorbs says:
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    Nice writeup!

    Speaking of Headley, what do you realistically expect from him this year?

    I was thinking 70 – .270 – 18 – 80 – 10?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Thorbs: Thanks!

      Yeah, there were a lot of reasons he had a terrible year, and I think a middle-ground is what you have there. I think he gets those numbers, with a chance for more. But I have blinders when Iit comes to the guy. I still might do a write-up on him if the schedule allows.

  10. Thorbs says:
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    Nice writeup!

    Speaking of Headley, what do you realistically expect from him this year?

    I was thinking 70 – .270 – 18 – 80 – 10?

  11. John says:
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    How many innings you think Wisler gets?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @John: Eh, let’s say 50 innings. If there are injuries, I think he could establish himself. Love the outlook on him.

      Frankly, there’s very little I don’t like about the arms coming up for the Padres.

  12. Joet says:
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    What do you see for Erlin?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Joet: Erlin’s probably one of the first on the list, and he’ll get a shot in ST. I could see him doing what Stults did last year. Little more upside. His stuff was made for that park, but is back-end/matchup guy in fantasy.

  13. HWY68 says:
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    The Giants and Dodgers will cat fight all year as the “lowly” Padres quietly sneak into contention, Game of Thrones style. Stealth mode. The knife you never saw coming.

    San Diego’s legit.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      • HWY68 says:
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        @Jay:

        Nice…lol

        Easily one of the best moments in the show.

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @HWY68: totally.

  14. The Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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    Mr Jay Wrong: I did not go all the way back over last night. I came back and I just wandered around Razzball Towers last night.

    Spooked the night watch man opening and closing doors, creating some cold spots and moving a few chairs about… None of the real scary specter stuff… Just enough to distract myself from my worries and have a few shadow laughs..

    Yes, I’m worried.. Worried that you will never come back to the FBB side ever again … I’ve got a real bad feeling about this NFL thingy.

    I think, the-one-whose-name-may-not-be-spoken has done this to punish all your fans and you too for being the real STAR OF THE SHOW. I know, you mean to come back. But, that does not mean the Lidless Eye will let you.

    I’m a wreck. I’m up here sitting on the edge of the top of the Tower twisting my chains now.

    The only good that has happened lately is, I’m no longer a disemboweled disembodied spirit when I arrive…

    You’re important to all of us – your loyal fans… Yes, there are other disappeared phantoms here about too – I see them and I know why they are here. They must have made nice comments about you and got the special RazzBall Treatment for it too. They await your return, like me .

    Please come back!!!! We need you… You don’t know, how it is to read his stuff everyday – knowing, that it should be yours and therefore, much better.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @The Ghost of the Disappeared: Grey’s plan seems clear. But I’ll play along… for now.

      I will still be around. No army can stop what we’ve built here. Including all my fans. All three of us…

      • The Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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        Only 3 of us… Really???? Who is the other one?? I know, it ain’t Sky… Your pekingese??

        This is real isolation… There’s more than that in a small Al Qaeda cell – I think…

        What were all those other ghost doing there last night then… Were they there for other past show hosts, who are now out of favor or worse… Yike??

        Wait a second here!

        I hope, I’m not the one, who is volunteered to go into RazzBall Towers with the explosive backpack strapped on or driving the bomb truck through the anti-attack barricades roadblock under a hail of automatic weapons fire. These guys never make it back!!! Ever!!!

        I’m a good ghost, remember? And I didn’t sign up for that.. Did I???

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            @Jay: Just remember you can’t say ‘chagrin’ without saying ‘grin’, Jay.

    • HWY68 says:
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      @The Ghost of the Disappeared:

      Your writing is so bizarre — but hilarious!

      It’s like the Hamlet ghost on acid or something. Or Dennis Hopper’s epic rant in Apocalypse Now. In fact, from now on I’m just gonna hear Hopper’s madman voice narrating your posts.

      Here’s a lunchtime cold one to you, Ghost.

  15. Nick says:
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    Kennedy gave up as many HR in Petco as he did in Chase field last season though, in a similar number of innings pitched…his HR/9 actually *increased* slightly in his starts Petco vs. those at Chase.

    I guess Grey’s point is that an increased number of games at Petco this year should help Kennedy’s HR rate. However I don’t think it’s fair to say that Chase field *inflated* his HR rate last year at all…his HR rate was actually markedly lower at Chase than it was overall across all stadiums last year.

    If the point is that Petco helps pitchers give up fewer HR in general, yeah no one would argue against that. But if the point is that being at Petco is going to reveal that Kennedy’s HR/9 was significantly inflated last year (primarily due to the games he had at Chase), I don’t really think the numbers bear that out. I think there is a decent chance that Kennedy’s HR/9 was near it’s “new normal” last season, and that it will carry over into this season, possibly decreasing (slightly) due to more games at Petco.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Nick: it’s all tied in his control. Less LD and more FB is a good result here, since his HR/FB should regress some anyhow. The environment augments that, despite the small sample last season.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I do think it’s fair to say that just as he’s not a 7.7% HR/FB rate kind of pitcher from 2011, he’s also not a 13.2% from 2013. If his ratios normalize back to average around 10%, he’s gonna have an ERA around 3.70 or 3.80 with a healthy K-rate. Probably the only concern I’d have is what Jay mentions: the jump in BB/9 from norm to his 2013 3.62. Something tells me the HRs got to him a bit last year and he stopped attacking the zone a bit. At the very least, comfort of a bigger home ball park might get him aggressive again. Of course, all of this is TBD but I don’t think the HRs from last year are as telling regarding where he played. It was a high rate overall and should normalize all things staying equal.

      • Nick says:
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        @Sky: Ok, yeah I agree that identifying an inflated HR/9 makes more sense in the context of his historical HR/FB rates, and, as Jay stated above, HR/FB will almost certainly be affected positively by pitching more innings in Petco.

        I guess my only point is that the reasons for the spike in HR last year do not seem to be directly tied to the fact that he pitched in Chase to start the year. Nor did the games he pitched in Petco seem to fix the problem. If he is going to correct things like BB/9 and his LD rate then we should certainly see his HR/9 benefit accordingly, but that won’t happen just because he’s making more starts in Petco.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Depends on the angle you look at it. He’s a flyball pitcher. You lose confidence you can get guys out on flyballs, you lose confidence in your stuff. You walk more guys because you’re trying NOT to give up another HR. Again, it’s of course all theory. Just the underlying metrics don’t describe a guy who’s lost his stuff (FB speed on par with career, nothing out of the norm overall) but we saw a change in overlying stats. You start the year thinking you can’t get guys out with flyballs, that’ll carry forward with you wherever you go. Some guys just need to hit the reset button. Anyways, like I said, it’s all about theory and approach. I think 2012 is a good starting point for how to evaluate Kennedy and with a home park that is more pitcher friendly, repeating it with a sub 4.00 ERA seems very easy to do.

          But as everyone knows out this site, I don’t give a shizz about Kennedy and Johnson. I’m all over Tyson Ross like Joe Namath on Suzy Kolber.

          • Nick says:
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            @Sky: Haha, yeah you’re right. And the funny thing is that I’m actually somewhat of a Kennedy/Johnson proponent. It’s fun to play devil’s advocate for the other side of the debate

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              For sure. I don’t mind either, honestly. Probably like Kennedy more overall, though, due to the injury history for Johnson. Kennedy is a solid SP4 in my book; I’ll take an 8+ K rate late when and where i can find it if the control comes with it.

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