One of the notes you get from the Jose Guillen press release
is that Bobby Livingston has been designated for assignment.
Livingston has been a popular pitcher in some internet circles for a while now. In past years, we used to moan about how he was left off x league prospect list when he was statistically one of the better pitchers in the league, and the response was always "a low-to-mid-80s fastball is hittable, unless the pitcher has unbelievable command". So far as the M's attempts to find the next Moyer went, this much proved to be true.
In April, Livingston had allowed a .177/.203/.274 line, bolstered by an unreasonably low .204 BABIP and a combination of home park and weather. He had twelve strikeouts to two walks in seventeen innings, and while the Ks were below the league average rate, no one was likely going to complain given his stuff. He was recalled and spent the next twenty or so days on the major league roster being used in a relief role, something that he was unsuited for. The number of relief appearances he had made in the minors could be counted on one hand, and there's a good chance a few of them were part of another pitcher's rehab stint. Nevertheless, they threw him into the fire in a blow out, and the only thing positive one can say about that outing is that he didn't take the loss. He spent the next nine days in the doghouse before getting another chance, and eight days after that before he saw his third outing. Following that, he was gone.
At the time, B-Liv fans were frustrated. Players with superior velocity or better action on their pitches can sometimes get away with not hitting their spots after a lengthy absence, but it should naturally be more difficult when location is the main weapon and the pitcher has no time to practice with it. They saw the month of May as the result of that cycle, with lost time, worse command, and shaken confidence. We kept expecting him to pull out at some point, but...
With the exception of April, which just seemed crazy, Bobby was a below-average PCL pitcher. Even in his better months, like June and August, his park-adjusted OPS was worse than league average. He probably was never as bad as his .415 BABIP in July, or even his .365 in May (with special consideration for the AWFUL home run rate), but how good he might've been, or might still be, is a trickier question. His rate stats have some similarities between his '05 Tacoma tenure and this year, adding about a hit and a half and nearly an entire home run, while knocking off a quarter of a walk and two and a half strikeouts. Two things here really go without saying: the home run rate was probably a bit of an outlier on the chart, given his history, and he can't survive without the Ks (same as any pitcher).
At this point, I expect that Bobby's probably going to come back, because the organization presumably still likes him and the market for guys with his profile on the Rule 5 or minor league FA market isn't great. The 2007 season will likely see him in a return tour of the PCL, with questions to answer as to whether he's a quad-A innings eater or any sort of MLB player. While he didn't statistically (which is really what most of this post is about, having not seen him this year or talked to many people who had) show all of the mental toughness previously attributed to him, he also struggled for really the first time in his minor league career after three and a half years of giving hitters fairly comfortable 0-for-4s.
I don't appreciate the way he was handled by the big league club this year at all. It truly minimized his chances for success, perhaps moreso than any other player brought up, but I also have to think that at some point the pendulum would've swung in the other direction. If this was a simple matter of getting back in a groove, well, one would hope that he would've found it with his remaining 100+ innings. Instead, he merely went from mediocre to painful to watch and back again. I still have faith in him, you can't help but root for a guy who pitched both ends of a doubleheader (one game from each side) and played the field when he wasn't on the mound, but the M's have been hoping against hope that he'd find a few extra MPH stashed in there for years now and it's yet to happen. This could be a mere stop along the way or where the tracks end, but he's beaten the odds a number of times, and I certainly wouldn't bet against him making a stronger contribution in the future.
Winter League Stats (12/3/06)
Arizona Fall League (FINAL)
2B Michael Garciaparra: 19 G, 79 ABs, 13 R, 27 H, 4 2B, HR, 13 RBI, 13/1 K/BB, 2 SB, .342/.388/.430
RHP Craig James: 10 G, 0-0, 3.60 ERA in 10.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R (4 ER), 7/6 K/BB, HB
RHP Stephen Kahn: 9 G, 0-0, 8.64 ERA in 8.1 IP, 14 H, 8 R (8 ER), 7/8 K/BB, HB
LHP Bobby Livingston: 6 G (6 GS), 1-3, 10.45 ERA in 20.2 IP, 37 H (2 HR), 25 R (24 ER), 17/3 K/BB, 4 HB
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith: 12 G, 0-1, 5.40 ERA in 15.0 IP, 19 H, 10 R (9 ER), 16/8 K/BB, HB
3B Matt Tuiasosopo: 21 G, 78 ABs, 9 R, 13 H, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 22/6 K/BB, .167/.235/.205
OF Mike Wilson: 20 G, 74 ABs, 10 R, 18 H, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 27/13 K/BB, SB, .243/.356/.419Asian Games
2B Yung-chi Chen: 2 G, 7 ABs, 3 R, 3 H, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 0/0 K/BB, .429/.429/1.286Dominican Winter League
RHP Julio Mateo: 1 G, 0-1, 9.00 ERA in 1.0 IP, 2 H, R (ER), 1/0 K/BB
RHP Rafael Soriano: 5 G, 0-0, 3.38 ERA in 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1/1 K/BBHawaiian Winter League (FINAL)
LHP David Asher: 10 G (5 GS), 1-2, 5.68 ERA in 25.1 IP, 33 H (2 HR), 18 R (16 ER), 23/15 K/BB, 2 HB
OF Sebastien Boucher: 26 G, 84 ABs, 18 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 3 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 24/14 K/BB, 3 SB, 2 CS, 3 HBP, .179/.317/.321
C Jeff Clement: 21 G, 53 ABs, 4 R, 10 H, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 13/0 K/BB, HBP, .189/.191/.321
1B Reed Eastley: 26 G, 86 ABs, 4 R, 19 H, 3 2B, 13 RBI, 20/7 K/BB, 2 HBP, SB, .221/.292/.256
RHP Joe Woerman: 17 G, 3-1, 4.26 ERA in 25.1 IP, 21 H, 12 R (12 ER), 28/18 K/BB, HB, 2 WPIBAF Intercontinental Cup (FINAL)
IF Yung-chi Chen: 9 G, 36 ABs, 7 R, 17 H, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 9 RBI, 3/2 K/BB, SB, 3 HBP, .472/.537/.694
3B Alex Liddi: 9 G, 35 ABs, 4 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, CS, 9/1 K/BB, .229/.350/.371
OF Kalian Sams: 4 G, 5 ABs, 2 R, 3 H, 3B, 4 RBI, 0/0 K/BB, .600/1.000/.600Mexican Pacific League
RHP Jorge Campillo: 8 G (8 GS), 3-2, 2.85 ERA in 47.1 IP, 35 H (5 HR), 19 R (15 ER), 42/8 K/BB, 4 WP
1B Bryan LaHair: 19 G, 64 ABs, 11 R, 15 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 16/13 K/BB, CS, .234/.359/.359Puerto Rican Winter League
SS Jeff Dominguez: 6 G, 4 ABs, 2 H, 2/1 K/BB, .500/~.600/.500
IF Erick Monson: 10 G, 23 ABs, 4 R, 6 H, 2B, 3B, 6/5 K/BB, .261/~.393/.391
RHP Mumba Rivera: 5 G (3 GS), 0-1, 6.08 ERA in 13.1 IP, 13 H, 10 R (9 ER), 3/9 K/BB, WP
C Rene Rivera: 12 G, 31 ABs, R, 7 H, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 8/1 K/BB, .226/~.242/.323Venezuelan Winter League
RHP Nibaldo Acosta: 2 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2/0 K/BB
OF Wladimir Balentien: 29 G, 105 AB, 16 R, 30 H, 7 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 34/9 K/BB, 2 SB, CS, .286/.339/.581
RHP Yorman Bazardo: 14 G, 2-0, S, 1.69 ERA in 21.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (4 ER), 14/5 K/BB, 2 WP, HB
RHP Cibney Bello: 3 G, 0-0, 4.15 ERA in 4.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2/4 K/BB, WP
RHP Ivan Blanco: 13 G, 2-1, 3.98 ERA in 20.1 IP, 16 H (2 HR), 16 R (9 ER), 23/12 K/BB, 3 HB, 2 WP
RHP Rich Dorman: 10 G (9 GS), 1-3, 3.49 ERA in 49.0 IP, 49 H (HR), 19 R (19 ER), 43/23 K/BB, 2 HB, 3 WP
LHP Jose Escalona: 7 G, 1-0, 5.40 ERA in 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2/3 K/BB, 3 WP
RHP Emiliano Fruto: 15 G, 1-1, 5 S, 2.70 ERA in 16.2 IP, 18 H, 7 R (5 ER), 21/8 K/BB
IF Jesus Guzman: 10 G, 17 ABs, H, RBI, 8/3 K/BB, CS, .059/.200/.059
LHP Cesar Jimenez: 7 G, 0-1, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (0 ER), 4/3 K/BB, HB
IF Jose Lopez: 21 G, 84 ABs, 12 R, 25 H, 6 2B, 7 RBI, 8/2 K/BB, 2 HBP, SB, .298/.330/.369
IF Oswaldo Navarro: 24 G, 80 ABs, 7 R, 24 H, 2 2B, 9 RBI, 9/5 K/BB, CS, HBP, .300/.349/.325
1B Jon Nelson: 7 G, 25 ABs, 2 R, 4 H, 2B, 2 RBI, 6/3 K/BB, SB, .160/.276/.200
C Luis Oliveros: 10 G, 24 ABs, 6 R, 6 H, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .250/.250/.625
C Guillermo Quiroz: 13 G, 35 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2 2B, HR, RBI, 5/4 K/BB, .257/.350/.400
New this week, we have stats from the Puerto Rican Winter League, which are almost always three to four days old and require me to calculate a rough estimate of the OBP myself. I also threw in some stats from the Asian Games, which are going on right now. The only M's rep there is Yung-chi Chen, but he's tearing it up and I like him as a prospect, so I'll continue to update that.
One-third of an inning for Raffy, and not a good one. Still no Mateo...
Yeah, I know Campillo was released, but so were Jeff Harris and Cha Seung Baek under similar circumstances and they came back, so I'm leaving him there until it becomes official that he's elsewhere.
Oswaldo Navarro recently went on a tear... of course, that doesn't translate into any extra-base hits in his case. Balentien finally pulled out of the nosedive he was in and had a couple of doubles this week. Still waiting on seeing some real power from Jose Lopez. Bazardo's still good, Blanco finally got kicked around a bit, and Dorman is about the same as ever.
See you next week.