The best pitches delivered by relief pitchers in 2014 are broken down.
Two weeks ago, we covered the best stuff among starting pitchers for the 2014 season, and this time we tackle the relievers. The same rules apply, with a mix of objective and subjective info determining the finalists, and categories split into fastballs, breaking balls, and off-speed. But before we dive into the best reliever stuff of 2014, let's review the polling results from the starter edition.
Notes on prospects who stood out in the desert, including Kyle Zimmer and Josh Bell.
Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Surprise): 5 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K. It feels like Walker has been around forever, and on the verge of the majors for almost as long. When that happens, much like a Heisman-winning quarterback returning to school, we begin to nitpick. Walker is still a stud, perhaps the best pitching prospect in the game (though he no longer qualifies by most service time definitions). For those who like to see prospects fulfill their destiny, we must only root for Walker to finally be healthy and step in behind Felix Hernandez. And even the “finally” is unfair. He just turned 22.
Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (Peoria): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 11 K. My goal this fall was to discuss as many different prospects as possible and not repeat the same guys too many times, but when a former first rounder strikes out 11 in five innings, I don’t care if it’s in the California Penal League. Zimmer appears to be getting back to his old self after missing the majority of the year due to a strained shoulder. Expecting him to jump into the Royals big-league rotation next year with just 18 2/3 innings of Double-A ball under his belt and virtually no innings built up this season is a stretch, but if he’s healthy, there’s no reason he can’t get to Kauffman at some point in the summer.
A prequel to the much-anticipated "The Other Other Other Other Playoff Myths," because really, the myths go forever...
We live in a world where the Kansas City Royals are on the doorstep of the World Series. Raiseyourhandifyousawthat coming. (Jon Heyman of CBS and Steve Wulf of ESPN did!) There were plenty of people at the beginning of the year who were willing to make the “outlandish” prediction that the Royals might sneak in and grab a Wild Card (they did!) but the World Series? Baseball is full of surprises.
In the first of a two-part series, Mike reviews how his junior-circuit bid value recommendations fared.
If you have read my work for any appreciable amount of time (either here at Baseball Prospectus or previously at my blog), you know that I am a significant believer in accountability. Many of us post our predictions in the spring. In turn, many of you rely on these predictions to construct your fantasy teams. Unfortunately, few fantasy writers revisit their work after the season and offer an honest assessment of how well or poorly they did. There are many reasons for this, and I could write an entire piece simply discussing why we as an “industry” are not very good at self-auditing. The short answer is that while it is human nature to pat ourselves on the back for our successes, we don’t really like to call attention to our failures.
I was guilty of this last year as well. After posting bids at BP for the first time in 2013, I wrote absolutely nothing about how I did (which kind of stinks, because I actually had a pretty good year). It is easy to criticize others for not auditing their work, but at a minimum I have to hold myself up to my own standard.
An experimental broadcast with a sabermetric slant got off to a slow start, but some 'in-game' adjustments gives us hope.
The news of a saber-oriented broadcast option for Game One of the NLCS gave me some mixed feelings. While it is always promising when a major broadcaster embraces "advanced" metrics, it's a little disheartening for it to be a separate offering, rather than something integrated with the primary broadcast.
Host Kevin Burkhardt was joined by a solid panel, including some of our friends. Padres manager Bud Black had the least broadcast experience of the group but offered the perspective of how advanced metrics are actually applied or understood by the men in the uniforms. Well known saber-scribe Rob Neyer was there, a man well-versed in communicating the subject matter at hand, along with two former big leaguers with a strong curiosity and appreciation of sabermetrics, Gabe Kapler and C.J. Nitkowski. Kapler, the former position player, has managing experience in pro ball. Nitkowski was a well traveled pitcher whose career included time in Japan.
Notes on prospects who stood out in the desert and in Venezuela, including Andrew Aplin, Tyrell Jenkins, and Giovanny Urshela.
Friday, October 10th
Andrew Aplin, OF, Astros (Salt River, AFL): 4-4, R, HR. Aplin doesn’t impress you at first glance, but he does enough things well that he should end up being a major leaguer. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he has just enough pop to keep pitchers honest and walks more than he strikes out. As an up-the-middle player with on-base skills and decent speed, he does enough on a baseball field to help a team.
The Cardinals nearly let the series get away from them, but four home runs make a lot of sins look small.
Postseason baseball brings with it an endless stream of clichés and meaningless bromides, and one of those tired bromides is that this game is a “must win.” Once you reach this point in the season, every game is a must-win game. Lose three game in the League Division Series and you’re out; lose four in the League Championship Series or the World Series and the same precept applies. “Must win” is a term that gets dragged out endlessly, but “must not lose” is probably the more apt term.