if tyler johnson fails to win tlr/dunc's confidence as a left-handed one-out guy (LOOGY), who might be available on the trade market? couple names jump out: the pirates' damaso marte appears to be throwing strikes this year -- 2 walks, 13 ks in 9.2 innings. lefties have hit .188 against him over the last three seasons combined; he's in the last guaranteed year of his deal (owed $3m), with options for both 2007 and 2008. then there is the nationals' joey eischen, who sports a 10.45 era so far this year but has struck out 8 of the 18 left-handed batters he's faced, while allowing only 1 hit and walking just two. he's on a 1-year, $1.1m contract.
the nationals also have 62-year-old veteran mike stanton, in whom the cardinals were rumored to have interest last season. he's no good . . .
minnesota is said to be close to giving up on the season, but i don't see any likely LOOGY candidates on their roster. ditto for kansas city, florida, and tampa bay.
over at Minor League Ball, john sickels conjures up daric barton's future in his crystal ball. the projection is surprisingly unimpressive: sickels' make-believe barton never walks 100 times in a year, and his obp surpasses .400 in only two seasons. in a perverse twist, barton has his career year while playing for the cubs (!!) in 2012, setting career highs in hits, runs, homers, and rbi.
sickels' forecasting program sends daric to the japanese league at age 33. he might as well start taking his language classes now . . . . .
per jeff sackmann's cool new Minor League Splits Database, the real-life barton has been stymied by right-handed pitching so far this season: .211 / .344 / .316 vs them in 76 at-bats. but his output in 28 at-bats vs left-handers has been so thunderous -- .464 / .545 / .750 -- that his overall batting line looks more than respectable (.279 / .397 / .433). sample size caveat applies; probably a random, meaningless split. barton also has a sharp home-road split (hitting .192 at home, .365 on the road) that for the moment is also unimportant. . . . . but this is why the MLSD is going to be such a fantastic resource. should barton's (or any prospect's) platoon split persist for the whole season, or across multiple minor-league seasons, we'll all know. that was never possible before.
back to crystal-balling: david pinto examines albert's home run rates, past and present, and thinks it likeliest that the pu will end up with somewhere between 52 and 63 homers this season. . . .
david gassko tells some truths about groundball pitchers that are less than earth-shattering. findings: guys with high groundball tendencies don't give up a lot of homers; they do give up more line drives and more unearned runs than other pitchers. bottom line: some groundball pitchers are effective, others less so. . . . . .
finally, alex fritz pairs up some of the cardinal players with their counterparts from the simpsons. eckstein = milhouse; rolen = moe the bartender. discussion question: could chief wiggum (or any other simpsons character) outhit yadier molina this season?