The Nationals are scuffling and so is Strasburg; the Astros are in first place, naturally; Alex Gordon makes the real catch of the year; and so on.
The Weekend Takeaway
The fourth week of the season is late enough to press the panic button, right? The sample size of innings and plate appearances isn’t at the point of being statistically significant (when is it ever, amirite?), but usually, teams’ particular strengths or weaknesses are made at least partially clear by this point. So yeah, I’m pressing it, for the Nationals. To be fair, it’s more “intense discontent,” than “panic,” but even the latter feeling is one that this team didn’t expect to feel at any time this season.
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Let's see what's on tap for today, following a wet and wild weekend of DFS baseball
It was a busy weekend, with monster performances from individuals that fueled some massive points on Draft Kings. I mentioned in last Thursday's column that the 100-point threshold represents my profit line, but I should emphasize that it is just a general guideline – for a point-saturated day like we had on Sunday, my 127 points were just enough to break even, and I knew that I was in trouble early due to the surrounding chaos. The Orioles also showed why a stack can be immensely profitable at times, getting the whole lineup involved in pushing 18 runs across the plate against Wade Miley and the Red Sox, a game that also saw Hanley Ramirez knock a pair of homers for Boston. There were a couple of key games that were washed out over the weekend, including yesterday's tilt between the Giants and Rockies in Denver, so those who were not paying attention to the weather had to suffer through dead spots in their rosters.
Would Yordano Ventura act this way if he pitched in the NL?
As many a pundit has pointed out this week, Yordano Ventura might not have so much fightin' spirit if he pitched in the NL and knew he had to bat. But does retaliation against pitchers really exist? Two years ago we looked at that question. This piece originally ran on March 15, 2013.
An accepted piece of baseball wisdom that I understood growing up is that a pitcher is less likely to go headhunting if he has to step into the box himself. As J.C. Bradbury and Douglas J. Drinen wrote in the 2007 article “Crime and punishment in Major League Baseball: the case of the designated hitter and hit batters,”
Updates on Alex Jackson, Brandon Nimmo, Reese McGuire, and more.
Alex Jackson, OF, Seattle Mariners (Low-A Clinton Lumberkings)
Jackson was viewed as the best prep bat in the 2014 draft as his polish and power potential won over both draft pundits and the Seattle Mariners, who selected him sixth overall. Jackson is off to a slow start in his first full-season assignment, but even as he struggles it’s easy to see what people liked about him. He has a muscular build and a thick lower half. The build comes with the potential for bad weight, so he’ll have to keep up with the conditioning. At the plate, Jackson sets up with a slightly open stance and his hands away from his body. There’s some pre-swing noise with his hands, but he quiets it down once it’s time to load up for the swing.
The power hasn’t manifested itself in game action just yet, but Jackson’s plane and plus bat speed produce the type of loft and backspin that inspire hope that plus power will come. The power plane works as a double-edged sword as it does lessen the hit tool potential. Jackson’s swing path doesn’t leave a lot of margin for error, as his bat doesn’t stay in the hitting zone for too long. He loves to get his arms extended and can’t quite get to the hard stuff up in the zone yet. It’d be easy to hang a below-average hit tool on Jackson for those reasons, but I think it can get to fringe-average levels. He does have strong wrists, displayed some aptitude for the strike zone, and has enough bat speed to learn how to cover his main weakness up and in. In the field, Jackson has just enough foot speed for the outfield and a strong arm that pulls together a right-field profile.
Examining potentially available players who might pique your interest depending on the format of your league.
Welcome to Week Four of The Free Agent Watch, Baseball Prospectus’ weekly free agent advice column. This column is designed to offer a brief glimpse into the top free agents in 12-team mixed, 15-team mixed, and AL and NL-only formats, with the idea being that while we can’t address every unique free agent situation in your league, we can guide you through the waters and help with the broader strokes of the decision making process.
Mike will be tackling all the mixed-league formats, while Keith will be handling the only-league duties.
In 2000, when Alex Rodriguez was a free agent, Scott Boras did something amazing that we just don't appreciate enough.
On Sunday, Darren Rovell tweeted a handful of pages from the free agent binder that Scott Boras put together for a 25-year-old Alex Rodriguez. As most of us around here tend to be projections junkies, surely you’ll find this page particularly interesting:
Taking a look at the teams who should find it easiest to upgrade.
It’s the time of year when what has happened to date begins to really carry weight. The Mets have surpassed the Nationals as the most likely team to win the NL East, even though we all know that the Mets’ hot start and the Nationals’ cold one are only loosely indicative of real differences between the talent we thought each team had and the talent they actually have. The Brewers were fringe contenders when the season began; they’re non-factors now. The Royals were long-shot dreamers; they’re now serious postseason hopefuls, though not yet favorites.
Still, in most cases, we should assume that the level of play we expected from a team before the season is still its true talent level. Only injuries should be changing any minds about that at this point. What we thought we knew about each team, about each player and position, we should generally still believe.
How is Alex Rodriguez hitting like peak-era Adam Dunn? By hitting like peak-era Adam Dunn.
Coming into the 2015 season Alex Rodriguez was one of the most difficult players in baseball to project. He was clearly one of the best talents of all-time, but that talent was tainted by his checkered past. Father Time was catching up to him, but he had also been forcibly given a year off to rest and heal. The smart money was on Rodriguez faltering considering his age, injury history, and his failure to impress as a 37-year-old in 2013. However, he looked good in the spring and there was some optimism he could be a real contributor for the Yankees as opposed to an overpaid anchor/PR nightmare.
It is too early to make broad statements with any kind of confidence, but at the very least it appears that A-Rod has something left to give. So far he's produced a .267/.411/.600 line and leads the American League in walks. It would be unfair to expect that kind of production going forward, but he's demonstrated the ability to get on base and hit monster home runs and those are both excellent signs. In short, the tools are mostly still there.