This season I’m participating in three notable industry leagues. For the fifth time, I’ll be in the Yahoo Friends & Family League (previous finishes: fourth, fourth, 12th, and sixth) and for the second year I’ll be competing in the Tout Wars Mixed League (previous finish: T-fifth). This year I’ve added to that slate the Razzball Expert League, in its second year of existence.
It’s a relatively tame 12-team mixer with one catcher, five outfield slots, one CI, one MI, one UTIL, and nine pitchers. As a slight twist, there’s a 180 games started limit, but that has relatively little effect given I wouldn’t plan to roster more than six starters anyway. With just three bench slots and one DL, there isn’t much leeway to mess around waiting for the Mark Teixeiras and Brandon Beachys to return.
Notable statistical standouts from the past eight combined seasons of spring training.
At MLB.com—and also in the BP database—you can find complete spring training stats going back to 2006. Why do the stats start with 2006? I don’t know. Maybe no one at MLB thought they were worth tracking, until some smart employee realized that someone, years down the road, might want to do a blog post about the past eight seasons of spring training stats. If so, I dedicate this post to that person.
BP Alumnus Marc Normandin and I are cat-lovers. No, no, we're not cats who make out with each other. We have cats, and we love them. We're also, duh, baseball-lovers. What better way to combine our interests than to have our cats make their best guesses at who the winners of the 2013 season will be?
Jonathan Singleton's 50-game suspension will hold him back a bit, but he's still the top first-base prospect in the minors.
Prospect of the Day: Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (expected to report to Triple-A Oklahoma City once reinstated) 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB. The centerpiece of the Hunter Pence trade between the Astros and Phillies, Singleton will have to serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2013 season. Singleton is the premier first-base prospect in the minors because of his near-elite raw power and solid-average hitting ability. He has been consistently making positive steps toward translating the raw pop into game power.
Are the stats missing something the Tigers' skipper sees?
You might not think it’s particularly important for a team to have a dominant closer, or even to have a defined one. But Tigers manager Jim Leyland definitely does. Two months ago, he toldThe Detroit News, “I totally disagree with people who don’t think you need a closer to win. Most teams that win have a truly dominant closer.”
No, not another forged argument, just a pair of interesting articles worth your time.
First up is Adam Kilgore's latest in the Washington Post, in which Kilgore takes a look at the Nationals' usage of analytics:
“I think our role in the organization more than anything is taking the information that we’ve got and understanding where it best fits in the process, how we can best leverage it. And most importantly, how it’s going to help us get better players and win more baseball games. That’s really what it comes down to. If I had to really capsulize what front-office jobs have become in this day and age, it’s really about understanding what information is out there and how best to use it.”
Then there's Tom Krasovic's always worthwhile Pink Pony Scouts Chat. Krasovic's cabal of scouts always provide a lot of informative and entertaining quips. Here's one:
"Really, as good of looking pitcher as anybody in spring training was Allen Webster. Oh hell, he could be an All-Star. He’s got an outstanding changeup. Gets up to 97, 98. His change with his velocity is devastating. He’s not far away."