Open Thread: The #KabakHat Watch

Steve Delabar beats out David Robertson for final All-Star spot
2013 Draft: Yankees agree to sign 20th round pick Drew Bridges

On Valentine’s Day, a bet was made:

That seemed like a safe bet considering Robinson Cano‘s career-high coming into the year was 61 walks, set last season. Eighty walks is a ton, especially for a free swinger like Cano. It was a safe bet … at the time.

Ten days later, Curtis Granderson had his forearm broken by an errant pitch. Nine days after that, Mark Teixeira felt something funny in his wrist while taking batting practice with Team USA. We already knew Derek Jeter was slowly working his way back from offseason ankle surgery and Alex Rodriguez was going to miss at least half the season following January hip surgery. Just like that, four of the team’s top five hitters were gone. Robbie had no protection.

Right now, at this very moment, Cano is on pace to draw 79 walks this season. As I mentioned the other day, he’s picked up the pace in recent weeks. Since May 20th, when Robbie apparently decided to stop swinging at pitches off the plate, he’s drawn 34 walks in 49 games. That’s a 112-walk pace (!!!) over a full season. Needless to say, Ben has gotten a little antsy. The best part of this whole thing is that he gets nothing in return if Cano does not walk 80 times. It’s a really terrible bet. For him, anyway.

Because everyone enjoys a good hat-eating, we’re going to keep track of Cano’s walks in the sidebar via the Kabak Hat Watch from now through the end of the season. As soon as he gets that 80th walk — he’s only 35 away with 70 games remaining — Ben will dine on what I assume is fine polyester and cotton. I suggest he deep fry it, but others think a saute is a way to go. Maybe he could turn it into a dessert dish. If you have a hat preparation suggestion, leave it in the comments. Until then, root for Cano walks as much as you root for Yankee wins.

* * *

Here is your open thread for the evening. The Reds are playing the Braves on MLB Network (Latos vs. Hudson), and that’s pretty much it. Talk about whatever you like here. Enjoy.

Steve Delabar beats out David Robertson for final All-Star spot
2013 Draft: Yankees agree to sign 20th round pick Drew Bridges
  • JoeyA

    The hat must be prepared by @sprotster via a surprise basket of ingredients a la Chopped.

    This really is one of, if not the most, ridiculous thing I’ve ever actually cared about.

  • pat

    Ben Kabak, is that the guy from NoMaas?

  • Pasta Stumbling Sojo

    Kovalchuk gave up $77 million to retire early:

    Someone should get him to talk to A-Rod.

    • Bo Knows

      wow, no shot in hell

      That Kovalchuk is a better person than me, I wouldn’t give up that much money. I would stay around until every penny has passed through my hands

      • jay

        He’s not giving it up. He’s gonna make more than that in the next 5 years playing in russia. He’s not gonna be taxed on it either. Reports are that he’s gonna get 20 million a year.

    • forensic

      Doing it to go live in Russia is a little different than doing it to go live in Tampa. 12 more years is also a ton, especially when still at a playing age. He’s going to go continue playing, A-Rod obviously has no chance of that.

  • Ethan

    Someone posted this in the game thread, can’t remember who.

    Bonds really should be considered one of the all time greats in my opinion. His numbers are just incredible. A .600+ OBP, higher slugging percentages than the leave average in OPS, a ~35% walk rate and 6% strike out rate one year.

    Even if bonds did to steroids they don’t improve your numbers like that. Just incredible, insane numbers.

    Did he have the best 4 years (2001 to 2004) offensively ever?

    • Winter

      I was the one who posted that before. I think you can argue whether the best single season ever belongs to Bonds or Ruth, but as for the best four year stretch? No one even comes close to Bonds 2001-2004. Honestly, just from a statistical standpoint, Bonds and Ruth are the two greatest hitters ever. There’s really very little question about it. You can argue about who’s one and who’s two, but anyone who says someone else is ahead of them is just trying to sound different.

    • Mickey Scheister

      Bonds 2001-2004: 755 walks in 573 games with a .349/.559/.809 with a 1.368 OPS, 256 OPS+, a 43.5 WAR with 284 IBBs over that span. Just WHOA! Best four years ever.

      • Mickey Scheister

        Three! Doh! Still more than likely better than anyone else’s FOUR year span current active, or maybe ever.

        • forensic

          You were fine the first time. 2001-2004 is four seasons.

      • trr

        yep. it’s amazing what cheating can do, isn’t it?

        • Preston

          Lot’s of other people were cheating and they couldn’t sniff his jock. I’m an unabashed Bonds apologist. The guy was the best player in the game and he had to watch inferior players like Sosa and Mcgwire get all the press. So he got on the juice, put on the weight he’d avoided earlier in his career in order to preserve his speed, he changed his bats, changed his swing all in order to be geared towards what everybody wanted, the homerun. Then when he became everything he thought we wanted him to be, we all became concerned with the sanctity of the game. Anyone who cheered Mcgwire and booed Bonds is a hypocrite. And I don’t want to hear that you didn’t know that Sammy and Marky were juiced in 1998, because we all knew, you just didn’t care yet. And i really can’t stand the sanctimonious reporters who turned a blind eye then and get on their soapbox about it now.

          • LazzeriScooter

            I rooted for Mark McGwire and booed Bonds at all times. Ya know why? Because Big Mac was not an overwhelming nasty, deceitful, cowardly and prejudiced jackass like your idol, Barry.

            Sorry, if that upsets you but the country never had a worthy reason to root for such a unlikable jerk like Bonds and when it became painfully obvious that he was artificially enhanced the animosity became permanent.

            Also, the PEDs made all the difference in those years as his strength and endurance were illegally enhanced so he could approach Ruth numbers. Thus, really can’t see the comparison considering Babe did it the right way and consequentially help save and revolutionize the sport on his legendary play. While, Bond’s arrogance and inhuman physique help ruined MLB image and honor in what seems to be a eternal disgrace.

            Yeah, can’t imagine anyone not loving that Bonds guy?

            • Preston

              Yes Barry is an ass, but who cares. Babe Ruth definitely wasn’t a saint. And what you’re really saying is you don’t mind steroids, you just didn’t like Barry. Which is why all of the BARRY IZ A CHEATZ! crap pisses me off. Same with A-Rod. They just don’t like the guy. Big Papi doesn’t get buried in the media for being a cheat.

            • WhittakerWalt

              Babe Ruth never had to hit against elite relief pitching, and he played in an all-white league.

  • Tom

    So the Mariners have scored 30 runs in 4 games against the Red Sox are in danger of dropping 3 out of 4?

    And some schmo named Steven Wright (not sure if it’s the comedian) has somehow pitched 5.2IP of scoreless relief.

    • Kramerica Industries

      Just about to say the same thing. It absolutely boggles my freaking mind how the Red Sox keep winning games.

      The Mariners just put up an average of 7 runs per game in this series, which is far better than they usually do. And they STILL lose three out of four to this ridiculous Red Sox machine.

      Fucking amazing.

      • dkidd

        i can deal with everything else, but iglesias ops-ing .927 over 168 at-bats is just unacceptable

        monkeys are typing hamlet up there

        • Kramerica Industries

          Mike Carp is a platoon magic man as well.

          That team makes zero damn sense to me. The worst part is, they’re still on a 98 win pace.

        • Bob Buttons

          To fling poo or not fling poo, ’tis the question.

        • Tom

          Iglesias is annoying but the middlebrooksian regression will be fun.

          He’s had a .sub .700 OPS the last 2 weeks. Unfortunately his glove is so good, he will be valuable if he can provide even a .650ish OPS

          The MOST annoying thing – John Lackey being good again. Can’t stand that piece of shit and he somehow now has a 2.80 ERA!

          • dkidd

            it’s a legit 2.80

            he’s lost 25 pounds and is pitching great

            which makes him even more loathsome

            • Bob Buttons

              Losing weight does not guarantee better performance. Yes, in baseball too.

              In fact, Mike MacDougal pitched LESS effective after a bad bout of flu made him thinner.

              • Preston

                Losing weight because of the flu is a lot different than losing weight from a healthy diet and exercise. One depletes your strength and one helps you gain it.

                • Bob Buttons

                  Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there reports about how CC lost varying degrees of effectiveness due to lost weight? Something about different release point or lost velocity.

                  • Preston

                    That’s what some have speculated, although the lost velocity could be that he’s just a year older. Anecdotally without velocity numbers, David Wells said he couldn’t pitch anymore after losing weight and then put it back on and was effective. I think pitching is a lot of timing and mechanics, any drastic change in your body type will probably adversely effect you, even if it might help you in the long run. But losing the weight from the flu just means that your muscles have atrophied and you’re not going to be as good at anything.

    • forensic

      Apparently that Steven Wright guy throws a knuckleball, so there’s that….

      But yeah, that series was really annoying, especially since they actually won the first game. But then Iwakuma shit the bed and you knew the Sox would hit around the Seattle starters the next two games.

      I blame Hisashi! (and Wilhelmsen for giving my fantasy team ANOTHER loss today)

    • Get Phelps Up

      Wow, 7.5 runs a game allowed against the Mariners is awful. If that continues against the A’s, they’ll get crushed.

  • WhittakerWalt

    leokitty is awesome.

  • Bo Knows

    Tampa has been rained out again, how many games have they actually played this year; 12?

    I might be in favor of just promoting the good prospects so they can actually play (I’m kidding)

  • Sean in LA

    Ronco Rotisserie. Just set it and… FORGET IT!

  • cnp
  • dkidd

    google “werner herzog eats his shoe”

    then watch the movie

  • RetroRob

    I would not have been comfortable making that bet. Cano’s walks have been trending up, and power hitters do show an increased walk rate into their 30s. All compounded by his protection decreasing as both Teixeira and A-Rod were aging. A 70+ walk season was not out of the question, and that’s too close to 80 to make a bet!

    Less men on base in front of him, less protection behind. Ben should just get ready to, well, eat hat.

  • forensic

    Considering the largely blah numbers being put up by Tyler Austin, will this end up being the more exciting watch to keep track of? It’s certainly got a shot.

    • forensic

      I guess the spam filter is a big fan of Austin, because this comment was held up in moderation for awhile.

  • dkidd

    cue the hat needing tjs

  • Gonzo

    So everyone has a crush on leokitty, right?

    • forensic

      Who is leokitty? I mean I know it’s obviously someone on twitter (who apparently spends way too much time there based on the number of posts in the history), but is there something else about him/her?

    • dkidd

      of course not!

      /visits her site multiple times in a five minute span

      //realizes she probably has some magic thing that allows her to track who is visiting her site

      ///feels shame

      • Gonzo

        Own it, don’t feel shame!

  • Zach
    • Bob Buttons

      Don’t know what’s more surprising, that Josh Lueke was never charged with that or Gaudin having a 2.44 ERA in 59 innings this year.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      She went on to homer off of him. Cha-ching.

  • Bob Buttons

    Cut it up into bits and then grind it into a thick milkshake. Or maybe go with mashed potato (with lumps) and gravy. Those should make the hat (and defeat) easier to swallow.

  • BWillFan51

    I fap to leokitty and im not even sorry

  • jay destro

    Hat food

  • Robinson Tilapia

    There was a lesser bet on here involving Jon Niese that, sadly, isn’t coming true.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    She went on to homer off of him. Cha-ching.

  • hogsmog

    Baked into lasagna.

  • Pat D

    So I was just going over KLaw’s chat from today and I found this little nugget:

    chris (nyc):
    Cano has 44 walks and is walking at a rate 25% higher than his previous high? Is he being more selective or is no one pitching to him because that lineup is putrid?

    Klaw (2:18 PM):
    They just want to make Kabak eat his hat. (Twitter joke, sorry.)

    So Kabak’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

    There were a couple of other Yankees questions. He was asked which position player prospect will be an above average player and he only said Sanchez. He was asked about Trenton arms, he said that Turley was an org arm and Kahnle was a solid middle relief prospect.

    • Gonzo

      His view of Turley as an org arm is interesting tidbit.

      • Pat D

        I think that for the most part Law is more pessimistic about any team’s mid-level prospects than Mike or other prospect-watchers.

        • pat

          He knows if he shits on Yankees prospects fans will flock to his chats and yell him on twitter. Turley is 23 and striking out almost 10 per 9 in AA. Obviously the walks are up, but to call him just an org arm? Lol.

          • Preston

            Most guys who follow prospects caution not to trust minor league numbers from soft tossing lefties.

            • pat

              Agreed, but what does that have to do with Nik Turley?

              • Preston

                Because he’s a soft tossing lefty… his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • the Other Steve S.
  • vicki

    following russell martin, bad religion and josh freese.

    my people.

  • Shaun P.

    If Ben wanted to get out of it, he could argue that his tweet requires him to eat the hat only if Cano walks EXACTLY 80 times this year. He didn’t say greater than 80, after all, he said 80. So 81 walks means no coq au hat, same for any other number that is greater than 80.

    And yeah I know the counter is that if Cano has walked 81 times, he must have walked 80 times, etc. but it looks like such a nice hat, shame to have to eat it. ;)