Ian loves two things. These are those two things, as one thing.
Everyone who has seen Brian Wilson pitch has had two different, concurrent reactions. The first is to recoil in horror at the black alien life-form consuming his face; the second is to make a Beach Boys joke.
What most people don’t do, however, is take the next step: wonder if they could field a baseball team composed entirely of rock-star namesakes. But I am not most people; I am a weird baseball-slash-music obsessive. I took the names of rock and roll legends and scoured Baseball Reference to find players by the same (or nearly the same) name. This was both more stupid and more fun than you might have imagined.
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Some very good baseball players are doing some very bad things this year.
Baseball Prospectus’ True Average report is endlessly fascinating. Matt Kemp’s .376 TAv is absurd, and Mike Trout, the just-turned-21-year-old rookie superstar, is right behind him with a gaudy .370. And how about David Ortiz in fifth place with a .342! Who saw that coming? The top of the list is an amazing mixture of quotidian greatness (Votto) and fantastic surprises (Jaso??).
But I’m equally fascinated by the bottom of the list. Change the pulldown to the right of TAv from DESC to ASC, set the min. PA to “200,” and hit View Data. (Alternately, you can just click here. At the top of that list are the very worst hitters in Major League Baseball. Just like with baseball’s best hitters, the bottom-dwellers run the gamut from “duh” (Yuniesky Betancourt at 25th-worst) to “huh?” (Ryan Raburn, worst in the majors).
A Modest Proposal for Preventing Trevor Bauer's Poor Taste in Music from Being a Burden on His Pitching Performance
Coming into the 2012 season, Trevor Bauer was one of the most talked-about pitching prospects in baseball. He decimated records and hitters throughout his college career at UCLA, and won just about every conceivable award, including the Golden Spikes in 2011. After being selected third overall by the Diamondbacks, he signed a major-league deal and was in Double-A before the year was out. In the 2012 BP annual, we called him “a viable 21-year-old candidate for Arizona’s Opening Day rotation.”
Bauer was called up to the big club in June of this year and, instead of continuing to dominate hitters the way he has his entire life (I’m assuming), he, well, kinda sucked. Over four starts, his line looks like this:
On Aug. 4, 1962, the New York Yankees already had a 5 ½ game lead over the Minnesota Twins, and the Bronx Bombers would go on to win the AL pennant handily. In the National League, meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers were enjoying a five-game lead over the rival San Francisco Giants, and no one could have imagined how the rest of the season would play out. We know now, of course, that the Giants and Dodgers would finish the season with identical 101-61 records, and San Francisco would defeat Los Angeles in a three-game playoff and go on to lose to the Yankees in a long and hard-fought championship series.
On Aug. 4, 1962, in Fairfield, Connecticut, about 45 miles northeast of the Bronx, my parents were married. In a couple of weeks they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, they rented a house in Tuscany and invited their family and friends to join them. As I type this, I’m looking over an olive grove, surrounded by the people I love most in the world. The only thing that could possibly make this better would be some baseball.
It is the culmination of decades of baseball culture and nerd culture racing toward each other at high speed.
Welcome to the Monster Manual MLB Expansion Pack! This book contains more than 100 new monsters from the Major League Baseball Multiverse. We’re confident these new creations will make your campaigns more realistic and more exciting than ever.
We may have seen the last of Livan Hernandez, who wasn't fancy but had a lot of value.
On Friday, June 15, the Braves released Livan Hernandez. Although Hernandez picked up a save in May—the first of his 17-year career—the Braves thought his roster spot could be better used by Kris Medlen. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “There may be some other teams looking for a veteran guy, and I hope so. He still wants to pitch.”
While not impossible, it seems unlikely that a team will take a flyer on Livan at this stage. In the event that we’ve seen the last of Livan pitching in MLB, what follows is my eulogy for his big-league career. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always entertaining.
Hard-hitting reporting reveals the ugly truth behind Liven Hernandez' release.
I was doing my usual hard-hitting style of investigative journalism (i.e., using Google) for a forthcoming piece on Livan Hernandez when I came across this piece of information on Wikipedia. This explains everything.
On Saturday, June 9, both Ryan Vogelsong and Jeff Francis started games for the teams that drafted them. Their journeys and their destinations couldn't have been more different.
Jeff Francis was the ninth-overall pick for the Rockies in 2002, sped through the low minors, and was a mainstay of the Colorado rotation by 2005. In 2007 he led his team to the World Series, starting all three Game Ones. A torn labrum sidelined him for all of 2009, and although he was moderately effective in 2010, the Rockies decided not to pick up his option. After a stint with the Royals in 2011, he began 2012 in the Reds minor league system.
Ryan Vogelsong was the fifth-round (158th overall) pick for the Giants in 1998. Prior to 2011, if you remembered Vogelsong at all, it was as one of the guys shipped to the Pirates for Jason Schmidt. Vogelsong sat out the whole 2002 season (the year Francis was drafted—symmetry!) recovering from Tommy John surgery, and pitched unremarkably for the Pirates after that, finally heading over to Japan to ply his trade in the Far East for three seasons. He pitched in the minors for the Phillies and the Angels in 2010, and made the Giants in April 2011 only because Barry Zito went down. All he’s done since then is pitch 250 innings with an ERA+ of 136, and make an All-Star Game appearance. No big deal.
Billy Hamilton doesn't always attempt to steal... Oh, wait. Actually, he does.
Billy Hamilton is a pretty lousy base-stealer. He doesn’t read pitchers particularly well, he gets bad jumps, and his slides go from smooth to awkward to downright disastrous. So it’s pretty amazing that he has 63 stolen bases through the first 57 games of the California League season.
He’s doing it on pure speed. There’s not much technique there. The man is just fast. Ridiculously, historically, ludicrously fast.