How the Cardinals churn prospect after prospect into pro.
Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: the final two teams! Sunday's Opening Night teams, the player development appliance of the Cardinals, and the job security of Cubs' executives.
How the Twins stick to the fundamentals of drafting and player development.
Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: the mainstream fundamentals of the Twins, versus the hipster indie-ball scouting of the Diamondbacks.
You may think I have a bounce in my step because spring is on the way, but every sense available to me during this winter without end says you’re wrong. You could argue it’s because baseball is being played again in Arizona and Florida, but I'm not there to witness it, and even the densest cluster of pixels can't impersonate a warm breeze. No, it was Kris Bryant's first spring training at-bat that made me so giddy, the one that ended after nine pitches when the young third baseman blasted a towering drive to straight-away center. Before Bryant launched that ball into the mesosphere, I was the same skeptical Cubs fan I had always been, longing for but never truly expecting greatness. By the time it landed on the berm past the center field fence, however, I started to feel something I hadn't experienced in so long I nearly didn't recognize it: belief.
Immortalizing more of the arguments that you'd most like to see die.
Last week I presented Part One of the list of 14 nominees for the “Hall of Famously Weak Arguments,” a compendium of the most annoyingly wrong positions we sometimes hear baseball fans or commentators defend. The first seven nominees will be listed below without further comment from me; the final seven nominees are then listed, along with descriptions of when they’re heard, why they’re weak, and (in the interest of fairness) when they might be correct.
Immortalizing the arguments that you'd most like to see die.
One of the enduring joys of baseball fandom is the ability to engage in spirited debates on baseball topics both great and small—award voting, lineup construction, in-game strategies, anything and everything that makes up the game we all love. Baseball fandom without arguments would be like baseball without keeping score—aesthetically pleasing, but devoid of the passion that makes it worth paying attention to.
The recent times that teams were right and we were wrong.
Here at Baseball Prospectus, one of our main jobs is to have opinions on just about every move made by every organization ever. Over the years, as the analytics revolution has spread throughout baseball—a process that amateur and semi-pro sabermetricians can take some credit for—the percentage of ridiculously unwise decisions that we can get all snarky about has been significantly reduced. Still, we do occasionally criticize a move, and even less occasionally, our opinions turn out to be wrong.
Reviewing a new documentary about the often agonizing July 2nd signing process for international amateur prospects.
During last year’s Wisconsin Film Festival, I watched a documentary entitled Open Season, about the events surrounding the tragic shootings of eight deer hunters in northern Wisconsin by a trespassing Minnesotan. The film was reasonably well-made and even-handed, given that the shooter happened to be a Hmong refugee and the victims were white Midwesterners, facts that could have easily enabled a broad black-and-white narrative of culture clash and racism rather than the grey-scale collision of individuals in a moment of escalating conflict. Watching the film didn’t teach me anything new about the shootings and subsequent trial, as both occurred near my hometown, two of the victims were related to me, and it was unlikely the filmmakers could learn and express as much about the events and the environment surrounding them as I already knew, having to some extent lived them.
Following up with eight more baseball arguments that often don't make sense.
Last week in this space, I unveiled the first seven nominees for the Hall of Famously Weak Baseball Arguments, my fictional museum of unsupportable or outdated baseball beliefs. Below you’ll find those initial seven listed without further comment, along with the final eight. As before, I’ve essayed to describe the times and places where you’ll hear these groaners, why I believe they’re weak, and situations in which they may actually be correct.