There will be a very short planned maintenance outage of the site tonight (7/22) at 11 PM ET
R.J. Anderson lives in Florida and joined Prospectus in 2011. In the past, Anderson's work has appeared on ESPN, SLAM, and Wired, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. His nightmares include an endless loop of Hank Blalock playing third base.
Who is Dee Gordon's opposite, and what can he teach us about the complexities of taking 90 feet?
You've heard some variation of the idea that you need to endure the clouds to enjoy the sunshine. That sentiment applies in baseball, too. For us to appreciate how good a basestealerDee Gordon is, you need to experience the inverse. Because Gordon at his best is a high-volume, high-efficiency thief who creates a sense of invincibility—there's nothing you can do to stop him—the inverse is a player who runs often and succeeds rarely. This player doesn't have to be slow, or inept at the physical act of running, he just has to be inefficient and irrational. Lucky for us, Alex Rios fits the description.
What happens when the best baserunner in the game meets the best pickoff artist? The rest of the league gets a lesson.
This was supposed to be Billy Hamilton's year. After a 13-game cameo in 2013, during which he stole 13 bases on 14 attempts, the 23-year-old entered spring entrenched as an everyday fixture. Two months into the season, Hamilton has failed to meet expectations. While he continues to inspire think-pieces and fun comparisons, his play—including his basestealing—has disappointed. Hamilton, likely the sport's fastest player, has gone 20-for-26 on stolen-base tries. Good, but not transcendent.
The Athletics' latest zig has been as unexpected in the current baseball landscape as it has been impressive.
To think Billy Beane entered the 2012 season in an unenviable position. His Athletics had won 70-something games for the third time in four years, spurring the ever-active general manager to retool his roster for the umpteenth time. Beane removed the veterans; he traded Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Andrew Bailey for prospects, and wished David DeJesus and Josh Willingham all the best as they departed through free agency. Beane would later balance the subtractions by adding Coco Crisp and Bartolo Colon—moves that (seemingly) doubled as peace offerings to the union—but the net result was a payroll trimmed of about $15 million.
All the departures caused the A's to abandon their short-term aspirations in pursuit of the future. Beane, who has worked with a bottom-six payroll since 2011, was left to improve his roster using one of the game's best farm systems. Built mostly through trades—the A's have picked in the top-10 just once since selecting Barry Zito in 1999—Oakland's farm system entered that pivotal 2012 season ranked fourth in the league; however harmful those aforementioned trades were to fan morale, the returns had nourished a once-weak prospect stable. It's been said that in baseball you're either selling hope or selling wins.
Jayson Werth hasn't been, as predicted, the worst signing of the 2010 offseason. Does he have a case for being the best?
When the Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a seven-year deal worth $126 million, back in winter 2010, the expectation was that they would come to regret the decision.
The reasons were obvious. Werth was a 31-year-old corner outfielder who was closer to good than elite. Moreover, the Nationals were closer to bad than average. Washington had gone five years since its most recent .500 effort, and in the previous season had won just 69 games. True, the Nats had an impressive array of young talent climbing the organizational depth chart, but it seemed Werth would be in his mid-30s and on the decline by the time those kids matured. All those variables factored into a rival general manager telling Ken Rosenthal that the deal was “Absolutely bat[flipping] crazy.”