Does Bartolo Colon's pitching performance suffer immediately after he's been on base?
This afternoon in Oakland, the A’s face off against the Mets in a storyline-rich matchup of Scott Kazmir (whom the A’s signed over the offseason) and Bartolo Colon (whom the A’s allowed to leave because they’d signed Kazmir instead). Colon hasn’t been bad—he leads the American League in walk rate—but Kazmir leads the AL in ERA, so thus far, advantage A’s. Perhaps with that in mind, manager Bob Melvin was in a good enough mood to get a little lighthearted when discussing his team's approach against Colon:
The firing of Josh Byrnes ends a period of unprecedented GM job security. Did he deserve to get the axe?
In March, I wrote about the unprecedented job security major-league general managers have enjoyed over the previous two-plus years. Led by the long-tenured Brian Sabean, Billy Beane, Brian Cashman, and Dan O’Dowd (who was forced to share the throne but hasn’t been relieved of his duties), GMs have seen their occupation, historically a high-turnover one in which on-field success was the only sure route to remaining employed, morph into one that comes standard with the owner’s commitment to stay the course, even if it means suffering through some lean times. Accordingly, I dubbed the new strain of nearly unemployment-proof GMs the “Duracell GM Generation”—a cohort of front-office head honchos who last.
On Sunday, Josh Byrnes’ battery died. Byrnes, the Padres’ GM since October 26, 2011, became the first GM fired since the Astros axed Ed Wade on November 27, 2011. That’s a streak of 938 firing-free days—by far the longest such streak over at least the last four decades, even though baseball’s expansion to 30 teams has created more opportunities for a change to take place.
Hitters and pitchers who've defied their preseason PECOTAs, and players who've changed the projection system's mind.
Among the things a Baseball Prospectus subscriber might like to know, as we approach the midway point of the season, are the names of the players who’ve roundly beaten (or fallen fall short of) their preseason PECOTA projections, and the names of the players who will continue to do so. The first list of names is much easier to provide than the second. In Russell Carleton’s article today, he alludes to some relevantresearch by Mitchel Lichtman, who recently studied the subject of breakouts. Here’s how Russell explains what Lichtman did:
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Giancarlo Stanton finds a new way to impress us with his power.
On Monday’s episode of Effectively Wild, I named Giancarlo Stanton to my All-MLB.TV team—a short list of players so compelling that I’d change channels solely to see them do their thing. Stanton’s thing is hitting homers, which he’s done more often than any other National Leaguer in 2014. His brand of dinger is particularly pleasing to the eye, consisting mostly of majestic shots that we have plenty of time to admire before they finally touch down in some remote part of the park where we didn’t know gravity would allow a baseball to trespass. The Marlins’ right fielder is responsible for the longest homer hit this season, as well as the longest launched since 2009, and he also owns 2014’s highest average home run distance. If I switch games to see Stanton, I’m tuning in on the off chance that he’ll hit one out of the stadium or at least destroy the scoreboard.
On Monday, Stanton hit a home run as awe-inspiring as any of the 135 that preceded it, but it wasn’t breath-taking because it took down a light tower or broke the 500-foot barrier. In fact, it brought down his 2014 home run distance by a few feet. In ESPN Home Run Tracker terminology, Stanton hit it “Just Enough,” which means that it “cleared the fence by less than 10 vertical feet, OR that it landed less than one fence height past the fence.”
On today’s episode of Effectively Wild, Sam Miller and I responded to Tony Gwynn’s untimely passing by discussing some of our favorite statistical fun facts from the Hall of Famer’s one-of-a-kind career. One of Sam’s was Gwynn’s 1981 batting average in 99 plate appearances at Double-A Amarillo: .462 (42-for-91). Yes, that’s a small sample, but consider the kicker that makes it even more impressive: The 21-year-old Gwynn was in his first professional season. Drafted in June, he’d hit .331/.406/.612 in 42 games for Walla Walla in the Low-A Northwest League before being bumped up to the Texas League.