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Om Malik - GigaOM

1. If you could change one thing about the game of baseball what would it be?

As you might know I was born in India and I have an affinity with cricket and they have adopted a new form of cricket (T20) which is basically very very short form and the games are faster than Baseball. They have created a mash-up of NFL and MLB rules. They have a salary cap and they make it mandatory for teams to play certain local players instead of putting all overseas players.

What if we in MLB could do salary cap and a mandatory four players that come up through the minor league system. It can create a massively level playing field and it would also mean that teams would need operational exception. And to make it fair to the players, the salary cap be pretty generous - say $125 million, but without taxing the rich teams.

2. How would you like to see Major League Baseball exploit technology to further enhance the fan experience?

Oh I have not really thought about this. I am sort of analog like that. I think the human foibles make the game more human. I mean how else can we go out and cuss the umpires and hate on the guys who interfere with game winning home runs. If I had to make a choice, I would use RFID-type technology inside the baseball and get an honest and consistent batting zone. I think that is one power that should be taken away from umps.

3. The Red Sox and and Leo Laporte are both selling commemorative bricks. Would you rather buy a buy a brick for Fenway Park or the new TWIT Cottage?

No go for Fenway Park bricks, but Maybe from Leo :-). I am a Yankees fan, though I love Youk and Lester. They rock!

You can keep up with Om Malik at


Magglio Ordonez to return to the Tigers soon

Magglio Ordonez (DET) went on the disabled list on May 11th with a right ankle injury, and it looks like he's getting ready to return.  The injury really showed up in his overall numbers, especially fastballs.  He batted .146 with a measly .220 slugging percentage in 41 atbats decided by the pitch (195 total fastballs seen in 2011).  This is in stark contrast to last season when he hit .357 with a .567 SLG% on fastballs, good for 14th overall in 2010.

Magglio Ordonez
(Click to enlarge)

Ordonez's contact rate on fastballs was actually better this season before going on the DL, up from 88.3% in 2010 to 91.4%.  However, the balls he put in play haven't been particularly well hit.  The hit types he depends on for power (line drives, fly balls) were just not coming off fastballs this season.  He's only hit five fly balls and five line drives off the heater in 39 plate appearances so far.  However, he's already hit 23 groundballs and 6 popups (he popped up 8 fastballs total in 2010).  And his ground ball batting average is only .087 this season, suggesting Ordonez is not squaring the pitch up very well at all.

It's a small sample size, and there's no doubt his ankle problems contributed to his issues at the plate.  Without a strong right ankle, Ordonez would not be able to effectively plant and transfer power when swinging.  If he's fully recovered from that injury that he first received back in July of last season when sliding into home, his numbers vs. fastballs should begin to correct quickly.


J.D. Drew's Power Drop

J.D. Drew (BOS) has been struggling.  He's currently hitting .228/.342/.338 with 3 HRs; at this point last year he was hitting .269/.346/.434 with 6 HRs.  Obviously the lack of power is the main issue.

J.D. Drew
(Click to enlarge)

As the graphic shows, Drew is really struggling to do anything with pitches away, and his power zone up has faded.

Drew's HR/FB rate currently sits at 5.1%, more than 10% below his 2010 number.  He's walking at about the same rate, however, if he doesn't begin to prop up his power numbers, he may find himself on the bench as the Red Sox look to younger players like Pawtucket callup Josh Reddick.