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I don't know about anybody else but there is all sorts of love from this long time fan. That was definitely the best story of the day!
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=106765">Brendan Rodgers</a></span> arrival in Hartford is eagerly anticipated and will coincide with my arrival at The Dunk.
It is hard to ignore that 8 of Kingery's 17 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s have come on the road. It looks like he is getting the Arenado treatment who gets no credit even though he hits as many HR's on the road as he does at Coors.
I cast my Vogelsong Pitcher of the Month vote for Sam Gaviglio of the Mariners. He is so obscure that he isn't even in the BP database.
The best, or worst, example of relying on these numbers is the Nationals handling of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58921">Tanner Roark</a></span> in 2015. Despite an excellent record in 2014, with a low <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a>, he was replaced in the rotation because his dreaded "peripherals"(not enough K's) didn't fit the template. The result was that Nationals Park was empty in October and the players enjoyed the post-season on the golf course. This year the poster boy is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=101060">Antonio Senzatela</a></span>. To suggest that he has been -0.7 WAR is beyond absurd and is based on one number, his low K rate. Fewer hits than innings pitched, excellent <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WHIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WHIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WHIP</span></a>, good ERA, runs still count the last I looked, all the while pitching in Denver. Come on guys, this type of projection does nothing to enhance belief in your projections.
Where are the articles on the real story that is mentioned in the article? There is nothing even close to Cordero and Cordoba. Compared to Cordoba, Cordero is a seasoned veteran. Cordoba hasn't spent a single day above Rookie League, except that he is more than holding his own in the major leagues and must have locked up the Full Vogelsong for May.
Can anybody explain Berrios's 2016 season? It is as inexplicable as anything I have watched in my 70+ years of following baseball very closely. That stuff could not be hit with a cricket bat.
Back in the 50's military service was a fact of life and Willie was deprived of his chance to be very high on the list. His age 23 season, 1954, will always be the benchmark for performance to me. He simply was the best hitter, fielder and base runner in the game. Reconstructing <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> for that year and the others do not do him justice.
Kingery is getting a bad rap because he plays in Reading. 6 of his 14 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s have come on the road and the rest of the Eastern League is not a hitter's paradise.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48685">Manny Pina</a></span> just threw another shovelful of dirt on the Mets grave.
Watched Sean Reid-Foley(NH Fisher Cats) yesterday. He wasn't awful which is something in itself. 5/3/1/1/0/7 is his first decent line this season, but the Hartford lineup is weak, 16 K's in the game, and it was not an impressive outing.
It comes as a major surprise, and a pleasant one, to see the names of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=104814">Alex Jackson</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100526">Ty Buttrey</a></span> mentioned after both had been discarded onto the post prospect trash heap.
The real moment in the D-Backs-Rockies game was the deciding play and what happened there. After Drury's infield hit, Descalso is coming to the plate, that's right, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=55831">Daniel Descalso</a></span> who entered the game with a Colon like .128 BA. The list of managers who would have called for a sacrifice bunt in this situation is long, very, very long. Collins would have bunted there with anybody but Cespedes, but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17305">Torey Lovullo</a></span>, weaned in the Bill James School with the <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=BOS" target="blank">Boston Red Sox</a></span>, actually manages with the Modern Book, not the moth-eaten thing that Collins still uses, and knew that a wasted out is a wasted out. He turned Descalso loose and was rewarded for his astute understanding of the proper call with a W.
Alvarez looks like he is simply playing catch. Even knuckleballers put more effort into their deliveries, and he is throwing 95+.
I have watched Red Sox baseball forever, well at least since 1948, and there have been very, very few balls hit into the bullpen in RF by a right-handed hitter on as nasty, dreary, cold, wet April night as last night. Judge and Severino scare the living daylights out of we Red Sox fans.
Souza's injury was a perfect example of showboating at it's worst. The ball Kim hit was at least 10 feet over his head but he pulled the fake jump play out of his bag of tricks and hit his elbow on the fence as he came down. It was worth a chuckle.
Rodriguez was trying to hit him, not bean him, which is a definite distinction. A fast ball to the wallet is part of the game.
What is wrong with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57476">Mitch Moreland</a></span>? Gold glove defense and a lot more than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31759">Joe Mauer</a></span> with the stick>
Criag, how do you like that ballpark in Hagerstown. How can organized ball continue to play in a place like that?
I watched Soto live the night before and he looked great. He has yet to strikeout this year in 7 games! That is hard to imagine for a player so young.
I enjoyed the game between the Hagerstown Suns and the Lakewood Blue Claws at the Hagerstown Municipal Stadium on my return trip from The Masters. A true fan should see this dilapidated monstrosity. There cannot be anything worse in organized baseball. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=108243">Mickey Moniak</a></span> played for Lakewood, 0-7 with 4 K's in the 15 inning marathon but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Juan+Soto">Juan Soto</a></span>, playing for the Suns, went 2-5 with a double and continues to look like he can hammer the ball.
I know baseball dugouts are not populated by a very large percentage of people with college degrees but it is surprising that it took this long to realize that hitting ground balls is definitely not the way to success. The <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SLG" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SLG'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SLG</span></a> was below .300 on this type of contact last year or, aptly stated by the Pirates, "The <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a> is in the Air."
How do I convey the memories this wonderful article engendered. I attended my first game at Fenway Park in August of 1948. I spent four college years when the Red Sox stunk, 1960-64, sitting wherever I wanted because nobody was there, but I was also there for Game 6 of the 1967 World Series, Red Sox 8 - Cardinals 4. The only World Series game I ever watched in person. Business took me out of the Boston area but not so far that I couldn't make the 130 mile pilgrimage several times each season. What memories, like when I took my oldest grandson to his first game and we sat in the first row of the Monster seats. What will I see in Fenway Park in 2017? Fenway has a profound spiritual meaning to all members of Red Sox Nation and I can barely contain my excitement as I prepare to return again.
Anyone who watched the game played yesterday between the Dominican Republic and Colombia saw two excellent teams, both loaded with MLB stars, play some of the most exciting baseball we will see all season. The tag play at the plate by Wellington Castillo to prevent the winning run from scoring is a candidate for best play of the year by a catcher. Watching the best players from these foreign countries play before a packed stadium of great fans is tremendous. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Orlando+Hernandez">Orlando Hernandez</a></span>, El Duque, said it was more exciting to him than the World Series, where he was on the winning team three times. Nothing will compare to the 162 game grind that is the pennant race, but for great entertainment in March, this tournament fills the bill.
There was a video around showing <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=53155">Yu Darvish</a></span> throwing left-handed. He looked like he could get hitters out from that side as well. I have also watched <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48901">Pablo Sandoval</a></span> look equally adept throwing left-handed. This is the definition of what talent is and why they are playing in the major leagues and we aren't.
There are other contributing factors as well. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Steven+Wright">Steven Wright</a></span>'s blow-up's seemed to be directly related to excessive moisture. He was essentially two pitchers. Good to excellent with a dry ball but unplayable with a wet ball. This strikes me as an unmeasurable variable in ensuing seasons. It would be unlikely for him to be placed in those situations in the future.
That is what Genies are for. Record as the game is being played. Start watching after an hour and finish just as the game is reaching its climax. Even if the Genie catches up you only have to watch a few commercials. I first started doing this because I attended about 40 New Britain Rock Cats games each year which usually started at 6:30 and still wanted to catch the entire major league game. Last year there was no Double-A baseball in town but I continued to use the Genie and never felt like I was missing anything by not watching "live" because I never knew the result.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=19932">Bill Campbell</a></span>, who was a top super-reliever type with the Twins and Red Sox in the 70's threw an exceptional screwball. Check out his usage though. 1976, 78 games, 167 innings, no starts. 1977, 68 games, 140 innings, no starts. His arm fell off soon afterwards.
I drove 150 miles to watch Sanchez and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Henry+Owens">Henry Owens</a></span> face each other in Manchester. Possibly the same game you are referring to. Sanchez didn't record an out and Owens was dominant. My how things have changed. Great ballpark by the way.
If Sale isn't trying to maximize his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=FIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('FIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">FIP</span></a> then what value does FIP have? He might even be trying to stay in the game longer which might result in more, (don't say it, don't say it) of that horrible, ostracized, archaic statistic, wins.
A quick comment on <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> versus <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a>. There has to be some value in certain pitchers who seem to always be in trouble but pull one Houdini act after another. This would look horrible in the DRA but just fine in the ERA, but is it real? The ability to make the right pitch at the right time, to find that little extra when the moment demands it. It seems impossible to quantify. I think that some attempts to quantify every aspect of the game are misguided. The pitcher who always outperforms his peripherals does exist and so does the pitcher who grabs the ball a little tighter and lays a fat one down the middle in the same situation. His stuff looks great and so does his 2.95 DRA but that 4.86 ERA certainly doesn't. I am a great believer in sabermetrics. The value of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=21708">Dwight Evans</a></span>, a truly great all-around player over the one-dimensional slugger <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27966">Jim Rice</a></span>. The shift, both it's defensive value and whether to attack it with a different approach that would lead to more baserunners but less power or ignore it completely. I cringe every time I watch Collins call for a bunt, certainly with position players but also with pitchers who can actually hit, of which the Mets have several. But, at the same time, my backbone stiffens when I see the sabermetricians treat the win like a leper and give virtually equal value to a walk as a single. Hitters still hit, regardless of their technique, pitchers with smooth deliveries go under the knife while others, with less aesthetically pleasing motions go on and on. The pendulum swings but players are much more than a computer spitting out a bunch of numbers.
Montero must be an amazing framer if he can influence calls from the dugout. He only caught 10 of Hammel's starts last year. Hammel went 5-4-1 in those including his worst start of the season on 9/6. Seriously, Hammel was very good until that 9/6 start then collapsed. There has to be an injury concern for him not to get a better offer.
With the "Return of the Super-Reliever" soon to be released in ballparks across this continent it will be interesting to see who gets to play the lead roles that were played by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=36213">Goose Gossage</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=21872">Rollie Fingers</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25883">Tug McGraw</a></span> and a very strong supporting cast in the original that was seen in stadiums between 1970 and 1990. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49617">Andrew Miller</a></span> got paid closer money, at the time he signed, but who will accept the Betances role if the pay discrepancy is not smoothed out. The value of the Super-Reliever, as measured by WAR or other advanced metrics that recognize high leverage situations, when compared with the traditional closer will be interesting to follow this year, but only if enough teams attempt to duplicate the Miller role. It must be pointed out that Miller assumed this role as soon as he got to Cleveland, not just in the post-season.
Attended the event at Citi Field last year and will travel farther afield if necessary to do it again.
There are some things that are just so terrible that they are great. I couldn't stop laughing.
Las Vegas, here I come, if only I could get even money on this. This looks like the all-time best Over/Under bet in history. Even better than the 2015 Royals.
Re-reading <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=105574">Andrew Benintendi</a></span>'s write-up brought up this question. It was written that there might not be a better hitting prospect to come along for many years yet he wasn't given an 80. That seems to say that while 80 speed exists, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Billy+Hamilton">Billy Hamilton</a></span>, 80 arms are out there, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57967">Aaron Hicks</a></span> and 80 gloves, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70399">Francisco Lindor</a></span>, there will never be an 80 hitter.
It is good to see a professional evaluator actually use the eye test to change their opinions when confronted by facts. Gsellman was not a hot prospect but his stuff was outstanding when he got to the majors. It looks like an instant replay of Jacob deGrom whose stuff was considered marginal, or even less, but looked like an top pitcher from his first major league start. You have to wonder how detrimental Las Vegas is to the Mets when trying to evaluate pitchers. The heat and elevation must make the stuff play down.
I watched everyone of those at bats and they were ugly. Even the hits were weak. One name keeps popping into my mind, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span>. Everything but the ability to make contact.
It is replacing the SI cover as the the most feared award in sports.
When did the Twins reacquire Nunez?
These are excellent moves by the Mets. They had no need to do anything more. Keeping any five of the following seven, DeGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz, Gsellman, Lugo and Wheeler on the mound is far more important than adding another free agent or overpaying for a player on the decline, McCutchen anyone.
Your statement about eye dominance is not the case. Approximately two-thirds of the population is right eye dominant. When it comes to hand dominance it is estimated that between 88-92% of the world's population is right handed. Also, some studies have not shown any advantage to the hitter if his dominant eye is closer to the pitcher.
Break a vial of ammonia, find the smelling salts, I just read a sabermetrician actually put in writing that <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=Batting+Average" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('Batting Average'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">Batting Average</span></a> wasn't a useless statistic. Is it possible to actually see, in writing, that Wins are actually good? Nah, that would be asking too much. The day I see a player score from first on a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a> will be the day I disregard BA and the increment that a hit is better than a walk is not small.
The Red Sox have not given up on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70407">Blake Swihart</a></span>. I am surprised that you have. He has more upside than 3/4 of the guys mentioned.
Just great stuff. Proper use of the best relief pitcher has been my favorite topic since forever. I go back to the days of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=30783">Hoyt Wilhelm</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27140">Joe Page</a></span>, four man rotations and 8 or 9 man staffs. Nobody pitched one inning and the super reliever was Hall of Fame bound. Wilhelm, Gossage, Fingers, Sutter were all expected to face the high leverage situation in the later middle innings then finish the game. For this reason, Francona's brilliant usage of Miller, not just in the post-season, but immediately upon his arrival in Cleveland was right up my alley. Of course it helps if you can call on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Cody+Allen">Cody Allen</a></span> in the 9th and not <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Joe+Kelly">Joe Kelly</a></span>.
Please, please come up with a more realistic value for a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a>. $8M just doesn't cut it. I don't see any post-arbitration players with 4 WARP getting $32M per season. For example, if <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56761">Jean Segura</a></span> matches his 2016 season, a 6.2 WARP, in 2017 I do not see him being offered 50M per year by any team.
Too much pitching??? That is not a statement any person in the front office of any of the 30 major league teams should ever even think about. As a devout Red Sox fan it is all to easy to recall that fateful March day in 2006 when the Sox, thinking they had "TOO MUCH PITCHING" shipped a very valuable <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=702">Bronson Arroyo</a></span> to the Reds for the worst player I have ever watched play, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=795">Wily Mo Pena</a></span>, then had to throw, equally awful complete stiffs, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jason+Johnson">Jason Johnson</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=34770">Lenny DiNardo</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Kyle+Snyder">Kyle Snyder</a></span>, out to the hill for 20 plus starts by July. BTW, none of the three had an <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> under 6. I can just see Elias now, standing on the bump on the 4th of July.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68997">Roberto Osuna</a></span> was given the ridiculous #152 slot in the 2016 Top Players under 25 list. In this new era in which proven closers are far more valuable than Double-A prospects and are getting in the neighborhood of $15-17M per year, where does this top rank closer belong?
It should not be difficult to accept that a mediocre pitcher is a renowned hitting guru when one of the great pitching coaches, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=21428">Dave Duncan</a></span>, was a catcher.
I have figured it out. Forget all this talk about a need for a three pitch arsenal. All it takes is a 95 mph cutter thrown with great accuracy. So send your scouts to such places as Panama and Curacao and find these guys. Please reference the names Rivera, Mariano and Jansen, Kenley.
Virtually every other baseball site has been slaughtering Rizzo for this deal. Eaton is depicted as an excellent right fielder and some version of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=795">Wily Mo Pena</a></span> when he plays CF. Eaton is It should be obvious to everyone that The Nationals have soured, very much so, on Giolito. One TJ, two TJ, maybe, maybe the arm is about to fall off a second time. Five years of a very solid major leaguer at a Filene's Basement price looks good from here.
Ah yes, I remember it well, when the Yankees acquired Campos, who was seen as this real sleeper, and some other pitcher, I think it was Pinata, that's right, because he keeps getting hit all the time, for a catcher who was considered one of top hitting prospects in quite awhile. Let us hope that the recent trades work out a wee bit better than that one did.
If you think I am going to let Dan Shaughnessy, et al. influence my thinking then I have this Nigerian lottery ticket you can have for just $10,000 dollars. I will send it to you as soon as your ETF clears. The Angels wish they had Devers and Groome in their system and by the time Betts, Bradley, Benintendi and Pedroia need to be replaced the Red Sox scouting system will have turned up a few more studs.
I love what the White Sox have done. If I was a White Sox fan, what a frightening thing to contemplate, I would be dancing in the street right now. <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/TINSTAAPP/">TINSTAAPP</a> does not mean that none of these pitchers will develop into quality major league pitchers. The Pale Hose have done a remarkable job of rebuilding their system. Will it translate into the White Sox becoming a good team only time will tell but their haul is very, very impressive.
What was Dombrowski supposed to do? I have never seen fifteen guys on the field at once. Turning the surplus players into useful parts that fill needs on the present team is the job of the GM, or President of Baseball Operations. Let us start with Margot and a few others, Guerra, who had a terrible season, Asuaje, who ain't <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59664">Brock Holt</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=105477">Logan Allen</a></span>, who isn't even in view yet, for Kimbrel. Let me just say that the day Margot shows me an arm that can hit 100 and hit 26 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s I will compare him with Bradley and, just in passing, the other outfield spots in Boston are occupied. This latest trade is similar. Moncada keeps getting the hype but he was beyond awful in his brief time in Boston. Kopech is a pitcher and if you are reading this you know <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/TINSTAAPP/">TINSTAAPP</a>. Diaz even more so and Basabe is another outfielder with no place to play. Adding Sale, and for 3 years at a bargain rate, for nothing but that dreaded word "potential" looks like the perfect use of the excess resources in the minor league system.
For the past few years every organization held onto their top prospects like they were their own children. This year they can't shove them out the door fast enough.
The answer to your question is NO! Of course this is with perfect 20/20 hindsight because the Sox must have known that they were going to get Giolito and Lopez the next day.
In complete agreement. Dubon's performance at Portland was the kind that would normally light up the prospect boards but the scouts had already pigeon-holed him as a marginal, or even worse, prospect. While it was a certainty that he was moving on this winter I thought he would be the headliner of whatever deal was made. You see it that way also. I thought Matthew's analysis of Shaw was perfect. Is he any good? Maybe and I have watched him play since Salem years ago and for a year and a half in Boston and I am as confused as ever. How come he tore lefties apart for two months in 2015 and has been totally helpless against them at all other times? Surprisingly good at third but not a good enough bat for first. Too many questions without answers.
Winter is time for the Hot Stove League and debates about baseball are fun. Sale's price, (sounds like the Red Sox rotation doesn't it) of less than $13M per year is less than such luminaries as <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52572">Ian Kennedy</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=46155">Jeremy Hellickson</a></span> are receiving. Rather than call it a steal, it is probably better to say that Sale at his cost IS ABSOLUTELY the best value in the game today for players who are past arbitration. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52231">Mark Melancon</a></span> just got $15M per for four years for 60 innings and Jansen and Chapman will get even more. In addition, the last two years are team options so if his arm falls off the Red Sox can cut their loss. For how the trade turns out we will have to wait but it might be one of those rare deals in which both sides achieve their objectives.
This is a momentous day for all of us who are members of Red Sox Nation. It is not all that bad to be a bottom-10 system when your present lineup includes top players at several positions who are under team control for years. When several players are blocked it is only correct to move those players for useful assets. i.e. Margot for Kimbrel, Dubon for Thornburg. Betts is very, very, very, very close to be being the best player in baseball, Bradley, Bogaerts, and Pedroia are at or near the top at their positions, Benintendi looks like a player and the rotation should be, in a gross understatement, solid for years to come. Let us take a quick look at the system that was going to produce a contender by now. I speak of the <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=MIN" target="blank">Minnesota Twins</a></span> who had the #1 ranked system very recently. Sano, where does he play except DH, Rosario, a second division player, Buxton, 2017 is very important or the next Willie could be a bust, Berrios, might not be able to get me out and the rest are cannon fodder.
In an era when pitchers are getting $30M a year, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65751">Chris Sale</a></span> has to be the steal of the century. The Red Sox gave up a lot of potential, but it is nothing more than that. The Red Sox got true major league performance in return and at a price reserved for end of the rotation stiffs. I hope Moncada, Kopech and the rest turn into superstars, the game needs all of those that it can find, but what the Red Sox did today is astonishing. What did the Marlins get from those "can't miss" prospects, Maybin and Miller, when Dombrowski stole Cabrera from them? Adding Thornburg and Moreland, in addition, for superfluous parts and pocket change only adds luster to Dombrowski's stature.
The Mets amazed me by digging deep into their sewn shut pocket to bring back the player they simply had to have. He has replaced <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=David+Wright">David Wright</a></span> as the face of the franchise and was much more than just a good player. He seemed to be their only player much of the time, when you realize that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45398">Asdrubal Cabrera</a></span> was, without question, the second best player on the Mets last year.
You are destined for the bottom of the standings when your last six first round draft picks are <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=61057">Dustin Ackley</a></span>, Danny Huitzen, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=99903">Mike Zunino</a></span>, D.J. Petersen, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=104814">Alex Jackson</a></span> and even <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67148">Taijuan Walker</a></span>. Not much WAR in that group.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102424">Trey Ball</a></span> has apparently completely disappeared from the face of the earth. I understand that he has never shown much(anything) but he was a recent #7 overall pick. Perhaps he should do a Dalbec in reverse and try the outfield. He makes the third relatively recent first round pick with both hitting and pitching potential that the Red Sox chose to try as a pitcher. The previous two, Frankie Rodriquez and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58343">Casey Kelly</a></span>, were complete busts on the mound. It looks like Ball is out number three.
The eye test still counts and Price simply did not pass the test this year. I do not care what his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a> was. It was not a true indication of his season. It is astonishing to see that he actually received a higher WAR, 6.5, than he did in 2015 despite the shocking number of rockets, 30, that he served up. Even though his peripherals, the obvious reason for his low DRA, held up he never appeared to dominate and was lit up like a Christmas tree many more times than a 2.90 DRA would indicate. Peripherals are in danger of becoming grossly over-rated. For a few seasons C.C. Sabathia was still getting reasonably good DRA numbers with awful <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a>'s when anyone with any vision at all could see that he was cannon fodder. Good K/9 or K/BB ratios should hold little weight when hits/9 is over 10 and many of the hits end up in the seats.
It was just reported that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100574">Jose Berrios</a></span> was seen doing back flips in Puerto Rico. Maybe Castro can steal enough strikes to get his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> under 8.
Quite a roll of the dice by the Yankees. All reports said that the Yankees wanted a large haul for McCann but two prospects with no experience above A-ball does not seem to meet that criterion and let us never forget <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/TINSTAAPP/">TINSTAAPP</a>. This is brought into the discussion, even more sharply, when top prospects such as Berrios, his failure defies all understanding, Giolito, dropping faster than ever imaginable, and Bradley are struggling mightily. Even though 11M isn't exactly chump change this looks like it became a decision between getting a better return or dumping salary, 23M, and it appears that the salary dump won the day. Cashman admitted as much when he said that the deal gives the Yankees more flexibility.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67078">Dalton Pompey</a></span> or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100152">Anthony Alford</a></span>? Both make it, neither are ever more than organizational depth or where in between?
The idea that statistical proof was needed to realize that pitchers had the ability to induce weak contact should never have been necessary, and the concept of three true outcomes has always seemed fallacious. Watching <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Mariano+Rivera">Mariano Rivera</a></span> break bat after bat was more than enough "proof" to anybody with two eyes that he was inducing weak contact on a very high percentage basis.
It looks like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70210">T.J. Rivera</a></span> is the latest in the long line of guys who get pigeon-holed as non-prospects despite performance at every level. If he was over-matched by better stuff then how did he he hit .330, with sting, after leading the PCL. Maybe it was Las Vegas but he hit .341 at Binghamton in 2015 in the "pitcher friendly" Eastern League. He can ^%&$)&# hit! There is a chance that Rivera can be <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Daniel+Murphy">Daniel Murphy</a></span>, not exactly <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25673">Bill Mazeroski</a></span> either, Lite. Rivera had a 0.9 WAR in just 113 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a>'s. That is a 4+ WAR player in a full season. Tools look pretty but bat to ball cannot be measured except by results.
Baez, except for the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>, had been having trouble making any contact. In Game 5 he laid down a perfect bunt which was followed by Ross's sacrifice fly and was a key play in the Cubs 4th inning rally. The evidence tips the scale that Baez was doing this on his own.
With you 100%. After Sam Holbrook, who thinks fly balls 100 feet out into left field are infield flys and also seems to see 2-2 pitches well inside the strike zone as balls, missed that pitch badly a sense of foreboding came over me when the Indians went onto score two runs after the inning should have been over that was eerie. Maddon panicked twice and then after Davis's great clutch <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> it was looking like there really was a curse, or maybe 100 curses. On your second comment, Montgomery, who is much more accustomed to relieving, was the better choice. Lester does not ever enter a game with men already on base and it showed as it took him several pitches to gain his footing.
I know he does not qualify because he is a reliever but there is no more amazing soft tosser than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=44014">Koji Uehara</a></span>. What separates him from the pitchers above is his truly unbelievable K/BB rate. All these starters have rather low strikeout rates but Uehara has averaged over 10K's per 9 innings in every season but his first. This falls somewhere in the incredible but true category.
The thought that I got out of watching the game was that it looked like it should have been played in Williamsport. The first inning outfield screwup was disastrous, the catching by Contreras left a lot to be desired and Perez, though the game had been decided, topped it off with a baserunning blunder for the ages. Tomlin was clearly the right choice. He had been outstanding in his last several starts but was going on short rest, an unavoidable trade-off but a reasonable one. Maddon's use of Chapman is the obvious point of contention. Maddon simply has no confidence in his pen beyond Montgomery so going with Chapman in the 7th was debatable but defendable. There is no defense for not having a couple of arms ready for the 9th. 20 pitches hardly negate his availability for tonight's game but they were certainly wasted pitches. Let us hope that Game 7, the best moment in any sport, is a better game.
When Ross came to the plate the score was 2-1. When he returned to the dugout the score was 3-1. That was kinda significant, d'ya think, but the article leads you to believe Ross did nothing. Lester likes (needs) Ross, Maddon understands that, weighed his options, got a man in from 3rd with less than two outs and kept the battery he wanted intact. As for the top of the 6th, Lester is still a better option than the right-handers in the Cubs pen, Maddon has shown what he thinks of those options by choosing Edwards, already a loser once in the series and looking shakier than a leaf in Hurricane Matthew, over the more established Rondon and Strop. Stealing with Lindor was the correct play but Ross was still in the game, remember that, and it made a big difference. In the bottom of the 7th Francona feared giving up one run more than he feared Zobrist breaking the game open. The difference between Rizzo and Zobrist is not great, but still significant. How can Maddon be second guessed for trying to get a long save out of Chapman? Rondon, you must be kidding, Strop, hardly the one for this spot, Wood, also not here, Montgomery, already overused. While baseball has changed since the days of Gossage and Fingers, who routinely got 6 or more outs to finish games, it is being proven again and again that these "short" men don't have to be as "short" as some modern analytical minds have led us to think is the best approach. These are human beings, not just numbers, and while Chapman may not be as good at his 40th pitch as he is at his 5th, he is still better than Rondon or Strop are on their 1st. He was still hitting 100+ after pitch 40. Debating managerial decisions is part of the lore of the game, talk radio would barely exist without it, and while these moves are, indeed, debatable all seemed reasonable. Now if you want to talk about a gaffe, the 2015 World Series revolved around Collins using Familia in the 9th inning of a 9-3 Mets blowout in Game 2 then not having him available for a long save in Game 3 then being forced to use him on three straight days with limited effectiveness. That is what you call a gaffe!
I do not disagree with your reply. Most of these pitchers, along with later ones, Gossage, McGraw and Fingers for example, were more like "super" closers, entering the game earlier but still expected to finish the game.
30 steals in 44 attempts.
Francona's virtuoso handling of the pen, not just during the playoffs but from the time that the Tribe acquired Miller, has been in stark contrast to last years WS which could be the case study for horrible bullpen use. Collins, a true dinosaur, uses Familia in the 9th inning of Game 3, a 9-3 Mets romp, as I screamed why is he in there, then doesn't have him available for a two inning attempted save in Game 4 because of the wasted inning in Game 3. Would a rested Familia been a better choice than Clippard in the 8th of Game 4? Probably is as good an answer as any and then, to compound the felony, Familia is asked to pitch three consecutive days after the Harvey controversy(fiasco) which also didn't turn out too well for Collins and the Mets.
Incredibly good article. It covers almost every situation and the various nuances of each one that has every baseball junkie debating whether Francona has reinvented bullpen usage. Just great!
Cubs vs. Indians? Who da eva thunk it!
I was fascinated when I researched <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27140">Joe Page</a></span> who was an outstanding Yankee reliever in the late 40's. He entered the game in high leverage situations and was used for multi-inning stints. The comment from <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/steven_goldman">Steven Goldman</a> on 10-20-2008 is very interesting to read. He mentions that baseball would come back around to the bullpen usage that was in vogue then which was exemplified by Page, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=24582">Jim Konstanty</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=19169">Joe Black</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=30783">Hoyt Wilhelm</a></span> to just mention a few. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=22092">Tito Francona</a></span>'s use of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49617">Andrew Miller</a></span> has brought that idea back, at least for some discussion.
That is my type of snark!!!
The regular season does not offer the same opportunities that the post-season does with the built in days off. It simply comes down to using your best reliever in an extremely high leverage situation whenever it comes up. Jansen pitching in the 7th is a perfect example of copycatting. After seeing Francona's success Roberts used it and it is the sincerest form of flattery.
Moncada is beginning to send out <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span> vibes.
To listen to the talking heads one would get the impression that Francona has only used this strategy in the post-season and certainly the post-season schedule has made it easier for Francona to employ it but he was on the cutting edge as soon as Miller arrived, employing him as a fireman instead of a simple set-up man. Much of the talk around the game is now about how the bullpen will be managed in the future. This is entirely because of Francona.
That is the first thought I had. The catcher has called for a certain pitch and would be facing a nasty cross-up if the pitcher changed his mind during the delivery. It seems like this is superfluous information.
It is clear that Francona was fully prepared for this to happen. His choice of Otero in the first, a short man, instead of Clevinger who could go several innings, showed what his plan was and limiting all his short men to just a few batters was brilliant. His managing, since the arrival of Miller, has been suberb, and he has even created an entire new dialogue about how the game can be managed. It doesn't get any better than this.
I am pleased to see the author recognize another tour de force by Francona. His limiting each reliever to one inning plus was canny indeed.
It isn't often that somebody changes the way things have been done for the past 25-30 years, but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=22091">Terry Francona</a></span> has certainly got the entire baseball community talking and wondering if there is a better way to manage the bullpen. Should the best pitcher in the bullpen be the closer, not always needed, often wasted and seldom used for more than 3 outs or used in a high leverage situation at any point during the later stages of a game and, often, for more than 3 outs. How this plays out next season should be fun to watch.
Returning to the game, Roberts simply felt better with Blanton who, for some reason far beyond our comprehension level, has returned from the dead. I like the ghost metaphor as well. I was in total agreement that this was a better match-up for the Dodgers than Contreras against Dayton and, as an additional benefit, removed Chapman from the game. It didn't work, that's baseball!
I enjoyed this piece immensely. First class writing that captured a good deal of the mystical magic that is such a part of baseball.
Come to Hartford and see a brand new ballpark shoehorned into the middle of a city, of course nobody seems to have any idea if there is ever going to be a game played in it.
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, and a long life it has been, the best years have obviously been the past 14, even 2003, and the constant has been Big Papi. By the end of October 2004 it seemed that he had already done all that was necessary to become an icon and now, as I and all of Red Sox Nation reflect upon this gift, we all know that it has been the gift that kept on giving. There could not have been a more fitting culmination to this glorious chapter in Red Sox history than the fans chanting "We aren't leaving" until he came out for one last time. I know I am not the only fan who had to go for a second pack of tissue. Thank you Papi!
My conclusion was that Maddon scored a checkmate over Bochy in the chess match in the game's crucial move. Russell had been helpless at the plate all series, Coghlan was sent up to force Bochy's hand and was never going to hit in that situation, so Maddon got exactly what he wanted, Contreras, a solid right handed bat, facing Smith. I believe Bochy would have much preferred Romo against the slumping Russell. Maddon could not have cared less if he had to burn Bryant and Rizzo here to get the match-up he needed.
Why bother with a Red Sox lineup against lefties when the only lefty the Indians have is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49617">Andrew Miller</a></span> and Miller is NOT going to start a game.
Very interesting to see that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Dave+Roberts">Dave Roberts</a></span> called for the fewest sacrifice bunts in the game's history. Is someone finally recognizing that, of all the questionable things in "The Book" the sacrifice with a position player, even <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57013">Derek Norris</a></span>, is always the wrong play?
Francona's use of Miller has been nothing short of game-changing. Just because it is the 5th inning does not mean that the twelfth man on the staff must be brought in. Opportunities to score are not constant and the turning point in a baseball game can come at any time. Recognizing that is what the manager's job should be. Miller's willingness to be used whenever he is needed makes it easy and there may be pitchers who will not accept that role but the return of a true fireman, not just a closer, may be the next big trend in baseball.
Since voluminous hair was mentioned in this article, what happened to <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=105574">Andrew Benintendi</a></span>? He was in a very tight race for Hair of the Year with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=107168">Dansby Swanson</a></span> and, in a flash, it is all chopped off.
I understand that he is no longer a prospect, but <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100574">Jose Berrios</a></span> seems like he should be on this list. What the (bleep) has happened to him?
As many on this forum may know I have been a PGA member for over 50 years but also a passionate baseball fan since I first went to Fenway in 1948. There have been few days, maybe none, that have weighed on my heart more than today. The passing of the super nova young pitcher, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jose+Fernandez">Jose Fernandez</a></span> was difficult to handle. He was so much more than just a rising superstar but a person with that special something, but the man who exemplified that "Special Something" and more to several generations of sports fans and not just golfers passed today. Anyone who spent their life in golf, as I was so blessed to do, owes an immeasurable debt to The King, Mr. Arnold Palmer. It is a sad day for all whose life has been made better by sports.
That argument comes up a little short. The National League is not playing each interleague game under different rules. The AL has to pinch hit for the pitcher when playing in NL parks.
Easily available. Just Google "Interleague records".
The modern theory of baseball that an excellent starter must be replaced by a group of stiffs in the later innings is, shall we be polite, being tested this season. Somebody should tell the managers that this only works if you can run out major league quality relief pitchers. The Giants bullpen, has no bulls, just ground beef, and watching it implode every night warms the heart of this long time fan. Bumgarner, an ace in every way, has shown that he can handle the load, none the worse for wear after throwing 270 innings in 2014. I don't know if he asked to come out but he had not reached 100 pitches when Bochy replaced him last night. The Giants worked hard to blow another one but they earned the loss.
The established stars are fine. I always thought Ichiro was underrated because not enough people saw his great base running acumen and super premium defense on a regular basis. There have been very few more complete players than him. Again assuming health, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67049">Manny Machado</a></span> is a lock. He is keeping an Orioles team in contention in a hotly contested pennant race that starts <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=37512">Ubaldo Jimenez</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47591">Yovani Gallardo</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58453">Wade Miley</a></span>. That is impossible!
Nobody, and I mean nobody, has been on the <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70430">Mookie Betts</a></span> bandwagon any more than I have. Anyone who reads this blog has heard that from me since the first season I saw him live at Greenville. Why was there so much reluctance from scouts and other talent evaluators to believe what they were seeing? The power was there from the beginning! He hit 15, count'em 15 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s between Greenville and Salem in 2013 at age 20. Does anybody in the game realize how difficult that is to do? That easily transtates into 25+ HR's in the show. There was a 3 game series in New Britain in 2014 in which he tore the cover off the ball, ran wild on the bases and hit a monstrous HR, while playing 2nd base. This spring, on this forum, I predicted a .310/.375/.500 line with 25 HR's and even that was an undershoot. I recall reports that his arm was only average. What were these people looking at? He has shown a gun while catching everything in sight. Another article said he would ALWAYS be in the shadow of Trout, Harper and Stanton. I will give you Trout, a center fielder, but the other two are not in his class this year. Forget the metrics, which claim to be objective but are not, Mookie Betts is the best right fielder in the game on both sides of the ball.
Jim Joyce has now made three of the worst calls in the history of the game. First he almost cost the Red Sox Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS when he blew the call on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=223">Mark Bellhorn</a></span>'s <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>. Thank God that Joe West had the guts to overturn it. Next on his list of ignominy was the call that cost Armando Gallaraga his perfect game, now this one which, by any measure of incompetence, is the worst call of them all. Yes, we fans do get frustrated over Ron Kulpa's strike zone, Phil Cuzzi's call on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31759">Joe Mauer</a></span>'s hit that landed a foot fair but called foul and many, many others. but the fact that there is seldom, if ever, a explanation given for the calls is tough to take.
The minor league season is over and I will miss the daily write-ups. Of course it ended for me before it even began as the fiasco that is the Hartford Yard Goats destroyed my summer. All of 2 Yard Goat games in Norwich and a few road trips, Syracuse, Binghamton, Reading, Allentown and the best minor league ball park I have yet visited in Scranton helped but after 33 years with a Double-A team 5 minutes from my house nothing was going to fill the void.
Nothing but nothing will ever make me doubt the efficacy of <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> than seeing <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=154">Glendon Rusch</a></span>, 11-11 and a 4.01 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a>, with a 5.86 WARP in 2000, ahead of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ken+Griffey">Ken Griffey</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Frank+Thomas">Frank Thomas</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=4">Jeff Bagwell</a></span>.
Twins fans wish they were 24 games under .500, 49-83 looks more like 34 games.
On a similar vein, on Wednesday night two players, both of whom did not appear in a single game in organized ball in 2015 hit grand slams in the same game. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65846">Stephen Cardullo</a></span> had spent several years in independent ball and I could not find where <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68700">Andrew Toles</a></span> spent his summer except that it wasn't in the minors. This is truly unbelievable.
Every year I would go to New Britain Stadium, every year <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60669">Ryan Schimpf</a></span> would be playing 2nd base for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, every year Ryan Schimpf would hit a couple of bombs and I would wonder why he was playing, every year, in the Eastern League. The organizational pigeon hole is a terrible place to be put and it seems that every organization refuses to use their eyes to judge a player after the original assessment is made.
I think a comment or two about this young man may appear in BP in the near future. A wee bit of further research has uncovered some very impressive numbers when he was moved to the bullpen. Not just this outing but he has been lights out in almost every appearance.
Thank you Chris!! I really laughed out loud when I saw the parentheses around "Hartford". It has been a brutal season for fans of Minor League baseball here in central Connecticut.
So, of course. what happens, Ruiz blows a game Saturday night for the Dodgers and Ellis delivers the key double for the Phillies in there win Sunday over the Mets
I had a good laugh when I read that Harrison Musgrove hasn't been nearly as dominant as he was IN Hartford. He might have thrown a pitch WITH Hartford but it definitely was not in Hartford.
Could it be that the Pitching Whisperer is going to turn another pumpkin into a usable major league starting pitcher. The early results are certainly intriguing.
When Mr. Dubuque said the pitch clock was an invisible success in the minor leagues this season, he was spot on. I attend a fairly large number of MILB games a year, usually about 50, but with the demise of the New Britain Rock Cats that number has dropped to around 10 this year. It isn't easy to really see, i.e. invisible, but there is a feeling of constant activity. Please do not change the game, seven relief pitchers in one inning, that's fine with me, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jim+Hickey">Jim Hickey</a></span> making a visit to the mound in every inning, A-OK, abolish the shift, let us not be ridiculous, but a pitch clock sounds good.
Numbers aren't everything. Mike Napoli's best season was 2013.
Whenever I read another article about pitching injuries and how the team is going to "protect" the pitcher's arm I admit to having an attack of apoplexy. While it is impossible to have a control with which to compare outcomes the record is clear, NOTHING WORKS!!! Let the man go out there and pitch until his arm falls off or it doesn't. I am old enough to have followed the illustrious career of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jim+Palmer">Jim Palmer</a></span>. Mr. Palmer came up in 1966 as a 20 year old rookie, winning 15 games and throwing 208 innings, then his arm fell off. He missed most of 1967 and all of 1968 while it was being reattached. He then proceeded to become one of the greatest pitchers of all time. During his prime he threw 296 or more innings 6 times on four days rest! How did the Joba Rules work? The Orioles should send <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70753">Dylan Bundy</a></span> out there every fifth day and hope he holds together.
I was at <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Brian+Johnson">Brian Johnson</a></span>'s game in Lehigh Valley and he did not look the part of a major league pitcher. He was facing a lineup of failed players, Ruf, who hit the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>, Asche, Burriss, several dubious prospects and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Nick+Williams">Nick Williams</a></span>, who looked awful. Johnson would have had 0 K's if he wasn't playing. Johnson never touched 90, more like 85-87, and his assortment of slop will have a tough time getting major league hitters out.
That is truly a remarkable record of failure but you can bet your last dollar that the very same GM's will be sauntering up to the same trough to make the same mistakes again this off season.
NO! The player in the Pomeranz trade was his identical twin brother, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=103263">Luis Alejandro Basabe</a></span>. Luis Alexander is considered the better prospect.
One hop toss doesn't cut it. Arenado wins with good throw.
While researching the past articles the following "washed up" never weres showed up. None other than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Nelson+Cruz">Nelson Cruz</a></span> led the list and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31506">Scott Kazmir</a></span> also surfaced which goes to show that in some cases there still is something hiding but it would take a swami to discern who it might be.
Commenting on yet another awful performance by a closer in a non-save situation is NOT beating a dead horse because this horse continues to show up all too regularly. The percentage of poor performances by closers in these situations, by any measuring stick, must be far, far above their records in save situations. Where are the sabermetricians to analyze this obvious fact.
The Red Sox never get it right when it comes to choosing the correct way to go with dual prospects. First it was <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Frankie+Rodriguez">Frankie Rodriguez</a></span> about 20 years ago, then <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58343">Casey Kelly</a></span> and lately it looks like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102424">Trey Ball</a></span> should have been given a bat. It would seem easier to try being a position player first then trying to pitch if it doesn't work out, or perhaps be <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Adam+Loewen">Adam Loewen</a></span> and hop back and forth.
The website has been acting erratically for quite some time. If I didn't need my daily fix of BP it would not be a site I would visit. Just writing this note was a hassle.
The <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45495">Ben Zobrist</a></span> who drove in the tying run is the same Ben Zobrist, batting clean-up, that Joe Maddon asked to bunt with two strikes, even when the count went to 3-2, and men on 1st and 2nd in the previous inning. Having your clean-up hitter bunt in this situation has to take the cake as far as bizarre managerial moves go. Hughes and Coomer almost fell out of the booth when he bunted with the full count. This "strategy"(?????) failed, and justice prevailed, when Contreras chased a pitch that was in Peoria and Heyward, surprise, failed to get a hit.
Margot and Renfroe are (not) (maybe) (really) hitting over .300. It is actually a mirage in that uniquely bizarre environment that is El Paso. The numbers there are bizarre even by the strange set of parameters that is the Pacific Coast League in general. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70397">Austin Hedges</a></span> is hitting .347. With that I rest my case, does the defense have anything to say?
The incumbent SS has been the Brewers best player this year. The question is why is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59688">Jonathan Villar</a></span> still with the Brewers? There will never be an opportunity to sell higher.
Either the Blue Jays should be arrested for theft or the Neil Huntington should be jailed for sabotaging his own franchise.
Since I am near the top of the list of Red Sox fans here I want to be the first to give this move 4 thumbs up. Several times on this blog I have ranted that the Red Sox should follow the path that both the Mets and Cubs took in 2015, so successfully, with Conforto and Schwarber and bring up Benintendi at about this time, without a full year in the minors or any time at Triple-A. I have read, on these very pages, that hitters hit and the Red Sox do not have a LF who can do that. This is the type of bold moves that wins championships. Just ask the Cubs and the Mets. Now let's Play Ball!
They don't have the choice. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Eduardo+Nunez">Eduardo Nunez</a></span> ain't gonna get that type of prospect. Remember that until this year he was a bench player for the Twins, it doesn't get much lower on the major league totem pole than that. The Twins are stealing a prospect here, much like the Braves did when they got anything for the scrap heap duo of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47836">Lucas Harrell</a></span>, and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=55880">Dario Alvarez</a></span>.
When I first heard of the return the Yankees got for Chapman I was aghast, but, not so fast my friends, upon further review, it looks like there isn't much there except for Torres. Warren has had a tough season and McKinney, what can you say. I just read, little or no speed, power or arm. If he had not been a first round pick a few years ago that profile could easily put him in danger of dropping out of organized ball. Torres may be the Yankees SS of the future but that position is being manned, very capably, at this time by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58809">Didi Gregorius</a></span> who is under control through 2018. Who knows, he might be there for 19 years also.
You can't steal first.
Being redundant, this is as close to something for nothing as can possibly be achieved by the Cubs. A useful left hander for a player who, as everybody has said many times, was never going to play in Wrigley Field. It certainly beats Schwarber for Miller or, far worse, a rental of Chapman.
If the Astros move Jose Valbuena to 1st they will still have <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=46752">Luis Valbuena</a></span> to play 3rd, but seriously, this is a strange move. Bregman is as ready as ready can be. I would hazard a guess that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=46522">Colby Rasmus</a></span> isn't going to be looking at a QO this winter.
Seeing the team called the Yard Goats being referred to as the Hartford Yard Goats must be a typo. It will be 2017, if then, that a game will be played in Hartford. It will be fascinating to see how this unbelievable fiasco eventually plays out. What major league team would ever want to associate themselves with these frauds?
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70362">Tyler Naquin</a></span> has 12 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s and an <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a> of 1.023 in 196 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>'s. Where did that come from but a better question is why does he only have 196 PA's?
The play of the night. Cleveland vs. KC. Bottom of the 8th, the Royals, trailing 2-0, get the first two men on and up comes <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65863">Christian Colon</a></span>, not exactly a masher. Automatic sacrifice bunt from their Jurassic era manager <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Ned+Yost">Ned Yost</a></span>, right, WRONG! Colon fakes the bunt and hits a gapper and the Royals go on to score 7, showing again that eschewing the bunt always offers the best chance to score.
Bagwell was blocked at 1st base by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=588">Mo Vaughn</a></span> who began his illustrious Red Sox career in 1991. There was no way Bagwell was moving him off of 1st.
Good analysis. Pomeranz for Espinoza does look a lot like Alexander for Smoltz. As disciples of <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/TINSTAAPP/">TINSTAAPP</a> I would think that BP writers would downplay Espinoza's potential. In the <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/transaction_analysis/">Transaction Analysis</a> mention is made of Pomeranz's moderately high <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a> rate but the numbers are virtually identical with those of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56723">Danny Salazar</a></span> who is getting <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31191">Cy Young</a></span> mention. Alexander, who had a better resume, was nearing the end of his career while Pomeranz is still only 27. As a long time Sox fan, who could not watch many more appearances by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47160">Clay Buchholz</a></span>, I give this deal two thumbs up.
Returning to the other Red Sox-Padres trade. The Padres may have received good value for Kimbrel but the Red Sox were packaging excess parts for something that was desperately needed. Margot was not going to play CF in Boston before 2020, if ever, Holt is a much better utility man than Asuaje, Guerra, who is also completely blocked, has been a train wreck in 2016 and Allen is still an unknown. Could the Red Sox have gotten more for this package, I doubt it because the Sox had to have a closer and it had to be now.
Here is Baseball Prospectus, the disciples of <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/TINSTAAPP/">TINSTAAPP</a>, trying to put some spin on this trade to suggest that the Padres got the best of it. Espinoza, for gosh sakes, is in Low-A, and not exactly setting the league on fire, all be it at 18. I have seen Pomeranz pitch a couple of times this year, on TV, and he has been excellent. A fluke, maybe, and every trade ever made is a crap shoot but this is the kind of bold move that wins World Series.
I beg to differ. While the price appears high for Kimbrel, the real question is what else was Margot and Guerra going to be able to bring back. There has seldom, in baseball history, been less opportunity for players to move up than these two. Bradley and Bogaerts are not going anywhere. As for picking up Ziegler and Hill, Rijo is regressing, Basabe is the lesser twin, Almonte is in Low-A and Wilkerson was pitching in independent ball. To get two capable players for four dubious prospects looks like a coup to this Sox fan.
It was sweet to watch Mattingly call for the very questionable (idiotic) sacrifice bunt with runners on 1st and 2nd in the 9th. The resulting <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DP</span></a> was true justice.
I am guessing, with almost certain confidence, that there has never been 6 for 6 performances in a 9 inning game on consecutive days in the history of MLB. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70301">C.J. Cron</a></span> on Saturday and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57850">Wilmer Flores</a></span> on Sunday. Am I correct and just how rare an occurrence is a 6 for 6 performance?
I second your comment. Everything associated with BP is good but Joshua's unique spot, and his skill at telling the story, is can't miss material.
Bannister joins the list of managers who brings in his closer in a non-save situation and sits back as the guy, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68372">Sam Dyson</a></span> in this case, coughs up a 4 run lead, and the game. I understand that somebody has to stand on the mound in those situations but the closer is not the guy to start the 9th with a 4 run or greater lead. Without the rush they are not the same pitcher! It should be obvious to everyone. The percentage of times this has happened this year is mind boggling.
Turner was also 3-4 with a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a> and an <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SB</span></a> on Saturday as I enjoyed my first game ever at NBT Stadium in Syracuse(nice fireworks). Look at the lengths I will go to watch MILB as my home team, Hartford Yard Goats, threaten to become the first franchise to fold before ever playing a game in their home stadium.
Dubon is already ticketed as part of any package the Red Sox put together to try to land a starter, or any arm that can even throw a ball. His offensive profile just does not look like it fits anywhere but SS and the position is filled, but thank you for your interest.
How come <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66719">Willson Contreras</a></span> didn't get an article in <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/the_call-up/">The Call-Up</a>? His team is actually a factor this year, he is possibly very good and he hit a 420 foot <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> on the first pitch he ever saw in the show.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=105432">Yoan Moncada</a></span> has been promoted to Portland. Time to start booking some travel. How about that series against Hartford which will be played in Binghamton? Something doesn't sound right there.
One very big cheer from this baseball fan for Ichiro but not only for his hitting. It is the defense, and the great arm, that are my most vivid memories. Oh, that great arm!
I wish <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100595">David Dahl</a></span> was playing for the dear departed New Britain Rock Cats. Unfortunately, he is playing for the team without a home, the yet to be really born Hartford Yard Goats. A team with an unfinished stadium that just fired the contractors and had construction stopped in a never ending fiasco.
You said <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100273">German Marquez</a></span> pitched for the Hartford Yard Goats. The correct name for the team is the ANYWHERE BUT Hartford Yard Goats.
I am fascinated by the Mets taking two New England players, both pitchers, in the first 31 picks. I guess <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68391">Matt Harvey</a></span> convinced them that there is talent up here in the tundra. It must be very, very difficult for scouts to get a line on kids from this area. The full year southern and western players simply develop their skills earlier and what appears to be more talent is not necessarily the case, but is much further advanced.
The <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70210">T.J. Rivera</a></span> situation deserves a little delving into. The Mets are desperate for offense, Rivera has hit at every level yet they do not give him a chance. It looks like the classic case of a player, not seen as a prospect, being pigeon-holed as "organizational depth", a damning term if there ever was one, and treated as such despite his performance. I have seen enough of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Eric+Campbell">Eric Campbell</a></span>.
Thank you very much for your time and effort. Just the third time since 2011 is a little bit different than when I was watching Oiskine, Newk, The Barber, Reynolds, Roberts et al. never come out.
Thanks for the answer. I did not expect the answer to be back when I was watching <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=24737">Jack Lamabe</a></span> pitch for the Red Sox but I am a little surprised it is so recent. It just seems like such a rare occurrence that if it isn't too much trouble could a list be gathered from perhaps 2010 of the times it has occurred?
Did anyone notice that four, count em' 4, complete games were pitched last night, McHugh, Locke(hard to imagine), Wright(another mystery) and Chacin(just your typical retread), When was the last time 4 complete games were pitched in one day?
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57235">David Robertson</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58905">Jeurys Familia</a></span>, twice, added more fuel to the fire with their complete meltdowns in non-save situations over the weekend. There is a great article just waiting for the experts at Baseball Prospectus to tackle. What is the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a>, <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a> and other relavent statistics for closers when they are placed in a non-save situation compared to a save situation. There are 2 distinctly different situations. A lead greater than 3 runs, which both Robertson and Familia botched, and entering a tie game which Familia gagged on Sunday night. There is a lot of conjecture that closers need a rush to perform but what are the real numbers?
I was surprised to see the comment that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Steve+Barber">Steve Barber</a></span> was a pitcher with a very low strikeout rate. Barber finished the 1963 season 6th in the league in strikeouts. Hardly a pitcher with a "very low strikeout rate". The game was much different then. I wonder if any pitcher averaged even 7 K's per 9 and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DRA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DRA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DRA</span></a> would definitely be unable to cope with that. Barber, who was stalwart for the Orioles for several years, was considered very much a strikeout pitcher in those days, also very wild, and absolutely no fun to face.
The Mets hope Sale pitches Sunday but yesterday's rainout may push him to Monday. In which case the Mets get Kershaw as an appetizer on Sunday, Sale on Monday, then Quintana for dessert on Tuesday. Met fans will need to keep the Rol-Aids handy.
This article touched an old man's heart. I watched my first game at Fenway Park in August of 1948. I sat with a few hundred of my closest friends on many days during college in the awful early 60's, but I was also there for Game 6 of the 1967 World Series, my only WS game ever, and sat with my oldest grandson in the front row of the Monster seats in 2008. These are some of my most treasured memories, but the other 500+ games I have attended weave a stream of memories that are indelibly etched in the fabric of my life. I know I am not alone when I say that Fenway, with all its history, has played a similar role in the lives of many New Englanders. It is not just a ballpark, it is 105 year old Fenway Park, may it stand forever!
I guess I will have to listen to Joe and Tim, (blacked out on MLB-TV), except for JBJ at bats, while I watch the Mets and Dodgers. Juliomania is definitely Must C TV.
Buxton must be a nightmare to talent evaluators. While he has had as much hype as anyone, he has never lived up to the constant drum beating that he has received since 2013. He hit .240 at Fort Myers and .283 at Chattanooga, hardly indicative of a player ready to hit major league pitching. Berrios, on the other hand, has passed every test on the way to the Twins.
The Red Sox are going to have to accept the fact that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59664">Brock Holt</a></span> is not an everyday left fielder. If the Sox had any guts they would follow the Mets and Cubs moves from 2015 with Conforto and Schwarber and take a chance on Benintendi after the All-Star break. It certainly worked for the two NL teams and bold moves like these produce championships.
I seriously doubt if the Astros will move him to 2nd base.
What a pleasure to read an article that does doesn't attempt to hide the truth behind the usual lame platitudes. Fredi Gonzales was a poor manager in Miami and it was surprising that the Braves hired him in the first place but it was no surprise that he played a major role in then destroying the Braves.
"<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1499">David Ortiz</a></span>, David Ortiz, David Ortiz". Ryan's tenure can be summed up in Dave O'Brien's great call of Big Papi's grand slam in game 2 of the 2013 ALCS.
The Mets are looking skyward and thanking their lucky stars that the fateful deal fell apart last July. The ensuing trade for Cespedes and the eventual outcome has been almost too amazing to believe. Truly serendipitous.
Benintendi has made the move to Portland.
The big hits that Papi got were far from the best thing he did last week. His interaction with Maverick Schutte, the young boy with the serious heart ailment, was just another example of what this man means to Boston, and to baseball. It is easy to see the joy in Papi's face as he makes this young boy's day as well as mine and everyone else who had the good fortune to see it. As an aside <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58441">Collin McHugh</a></span> is not a southpaw.
The first live game of the year, Yard Goats vs. New Hampshire, on a perfect evening, then home to watch Colon vs. Kershaw. It doesn't get better than that!
I found a quote from Miquel Cabrera's analysis in the 2006 BP Annual, "A Knight without teammates in a savage land" and it fits Trout perfectly. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59432">Mike Trout</a></span> continuously surrounded by stiffs is a guaranteed losing situation. Only Trout is keeping this team from heading toward the <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=ATL" target="blank">Atlanta Braves</a></span> level and a complete do over is the only choice. That Red Sox offer looks too good to pass up. A bold gamble is required here and Dombrowski has done this before getting Cabrera for Maybin, a "superstar" who wasn't, Miller, who was long gone before he found his niche, along with a few of the required throw ins.
Nice catch. This is a perfect example of the value of using top of the rotation pitchers in the most effective way possible, even though their arms may fall off prematurely.
Only two more days and I will see Tapia, McMahon, Herrera, and the new staff, for the first time. Let's Play ball!
What was the first base umpire doing on Realmuto's ball over the fence? I could not believe that the team of umpires had to go to replay to make a call that every fan could make immediately. It is enough to make Ron Kulpa look like he knows the strike zone.
I prefer to think that the Giants are 0-2 when giving up 12 or more runs in one inning.
Of course you are correct. It would only make a difference if the #1 starter made 40 starts and each subsequent starter made several fewer at each step in the rotation. Let us say 35-30-25-20 and a few spot starts then a Kershaw becomes far more valuable. As long as each spot in the rotation makes approximately 32 starts a year it is the overall quality of the entire rotation that determines the strength of the staff. When the Mets can send <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=99821">Steven Matz</a></span> out every fifth day as their "4th starter" then you have something special.
I understand that the ballpark is an important consideration and temperature is mentioned but what about wind direction. In Wrigley wind direction plays an enormous role and might be considered THE dominant factor in a pitcher's performance on any given day. Today was the first day the wind blew out and so did the baseballs. Could a good pitcher who catches an inordinate number of these infamous days at Wrigley be adversely affected?
The Yard Goats will finally play a game in Connecticut next week. Tapia, McMahon, will be there and so will I. Dahl should still be around and Musgrave also. Let the games begin!!!
Thank you for your response. I keep hoping to see this scenario, which you mentioned, in which the Red Sox have the guts to bring him up during his first full season. This move worked incredibly well for both the Mets with Conforto, and the Cubs with Schwarber, in 2015. The profiles are extremely similar for all three. Great college hitters, with short quick swings, who raked from the moment they entered organized ball. If anything Benintendi, as you said, has a better overall game than either of the other two and fills a hole in the Red Sox lineup. Holt, while an invaluable player, is not a corner bat and is much better suited to his high quality utility role. In a comparable situation, I am fascinated by the performance of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100279">Nomar Mazara</a></span> who is a year younger than Benintendi but with 3 years in pro ball and who climbed the traditional ladder. Does this experience with professional coaching make him more ready to contribute than an older college player also with great talent? What happens when Choo is ready to return? I remember when <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18675">Dusty Baker</a></span> started Solomon Torres in game 162 of the 1993 season, he was asked why he didn't use one of the veteran pitchers. Dusty's response was "When given the choice between talent and experience, I will take talent every time". Will the Rangers bench a veteran? Will the Red Sox make a bold move? Only time will tell.
At this stage of development, when they were both in High-A, is Benintendi seen as a better prospect than Conforto was?
I hope that Benintendi and Moncada are in Portland by the time the Sea Dogs are scheduled to open the new park in Hartford. The ongoing magical mystery tour of the Hartford Yard Goats just took another turn. I think I have tickets to the June 3-6 series with Portland, but the team just announced that 3 series in May are going to be played at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, which, of course, should have been the temporary home for the Yard Goats from the beginning of the season. What idiots are running this franchise? I can understand why the management would not want to use New Britain as a temporary home, after stiffing that city, but there was an excellent Double-A stadium 35 minutes from Hartford that was not in use but instead sent the team on a never ending road trip. Insanity reigns supreme!
Dodger fans used to say "Wait 'till next year" and I guess Met fans will have to wait but Herrera, still only 22, will be there when "next year" arrives.
While willful arrogance, I will show those %#&^*% what I think of their ^%#*&ing shift, plays a role, I believe one reason players do not attempt to go against the shift is fear of failure. It is not unreasonable to think that they feel they have to succeed every time they go the opposite way and, for some bizarre reason, cannot accept even a .500 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a>, which seems like a reasonable expectation of success. Even if the contenders are hesitant, some awful team, the Braves, who can't hit it over the wall from the warning track, should attack the shift at every opportunity and see what the results are. It can't be any worse.
Just how bad are the Braves? Their assault on the 1962 Mets record of 40-120 is going to be fun to observe from afar because it won't be fun to watch from close up.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=101200">Pedro Payano</a></span> pitched a complete game, and in Low-A ball besides???????????? The manager will be fired today.
Thought provoking article. Sunday nights game, Red Sox vs. Astros was a classic study. Red Sox lead by 2, 2 outs in the 9th with Kimbrel pitching, and disaster strikes. As a dyed-in-the-wool Sox fan I was devastated, well at least shookup severely, but now looking at the other side of the coin, could the fact that the Sox came again and won while getting 3 innings from a back end of the bullpen pitcher be a very positive thing. The Sox have followed up that fortuitous win with 2 more, all be it against a Triple-A team.
He was a 33rd-round draft choice. Nothing more needs to be said. It is normal to pre-evaluate based on expectations. Look for any flaw in a low round pick and focus on it, or even imagine something that isn't there, but, at the same time, try to grasp on to any straw of a high first round pick who consistently disappoints yet keeps getting rave reviews. Do I see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span> through the fog? I was there the night he was called up to New Britain and had the terrifying collision. Was that the reason he has regressed so dramatically? I hope he becomes the player he was touted to be but there comes a time when a player can turn into <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Brandon+Wood">Brandon Wood</a></span>.
Pitch FX said that the 0-2 that curve Arrieta threw to Suarez with 2 out in the 9th was in the zone? It looked that way on TV. You could see Arrieta react after DeMuth froze. It would have been a tragedy(mini) if Suarez got a hit after that.
I hope <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100595">David Dahl</a></span> is still in the Eastern League when the Yard Goats finally get to Hartford. By the way, when I looked at his resume, it still had the team identified as NBR, it should be changed to HRT, sadly.
The pitcher should be able to exert some control over exit velocity. Weak contact is recognizable and measurable. In all the years I watched <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Mariano+Rivera">Mariano Rivera</a></span> break bat after bat he certainly appeared to influence exit velocity and, by logical reasoning, directly effect <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BABIP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BABIP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BABIP</span></a>.
I sat watching and was blown away. To me, it was the curve ball to Upton in the 9th that was the cherry on top. His next start is must see TV and I see a drive to Philly in my future.
This article is superb. Just like everything in life, the pendulum swings back and forth and is only near the middle for brief periods. In baseball it goes without saying that the analytical approach is ascending, but has, maybe, perhaps, possibly already passed equilibrium. All the while the field is shifting quite rapidly, as it should, toward increased use of advanced analytics but what is the correct balance? Does a team only draft pitchers who are at least 6'4" and ignore <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70371">Marcus Stroman</a></span> or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Luis+Severino">Luis Severino</a></span>? Is the ability to hit in college a much better indicator of major league ability than bat speed and and big tools in high school? Can these be quantified? Will the team that still uses the eye test more than the stop watch and tape measure be more successful? Which team will recognize the value of baserunners and attack the shift differently? I know if I was managing the Braves it is something that might be worth a try. In the meantime, Let's Play Ball!
Has <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100595">David Dahl</a></span> turned into <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Mark+Reynolds">Mark Reynolds</a></span>? Small sample size understood but 3 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s, 6 last year in 302 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>'s, and 12 K's in 23 PA's is surprising.
Mathematically, it makes sense! Those truly meaningful words seem to be missing from the "book" of baseball that so many old school baseball men still adhere to. I go back to <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=82629">Earl Weaver</a></span>, and long before that as well. He understood the modern concept of the game when everyone else was still living in the dead ball era. He eschewed the bunt completely and his managerial philosophy of pitching, defense and 3-run homers looks like the game as it is played today. It is no coincidence that teams that are at the forefront of the mathematical approach to actually playing the game, the Astros and Pirates in particular, are ascending, while teams with dinosaurs in charge such as the Angels are falling behind.
Choo might not get Pipp'd but Desmond, albeit a small sample, is continuing to indicate that it is time to throw him a towel because he could be washed up. A contending team occasionally has to take a chance and go with talent, even if it doesn't fit the developmental schedule. It worked last year, big time, for the Mets and Cubs.
Of course, I just want to say it is possible. Conforto played 46 games in A, 45 in AA, then straight to the Mets. His stats were better in the majors than in the minors. To say that Benintendi has raked at every stop is a gross understatement. The Red Sox do not have a left fielder at this time. Holt, as valuable as he is, does not carry a corner bat in his diverse bag and Young should never, ever see a right handed pitcher on the bump.
I know it is difficult to imagine but Jean Segura actually already has 3, count 'em, 3 dingers even though they had to cart Kyle Schwarber off after #3.
Benintendi should be in LF in Fenway before the year is over. He is looking like Conforto and Schwarber who both made huge contributions to their teams when they were both "rushed" to the show in just their first full seasons of organized ball.
A key play in the Cubs-D-Backs game was Rizzo tagging up from first on a foul pop to the catcher. I wonder if anybody has ever seen that play before.
This is related to Stephenson only in that he was just asked to sacrifice with men on 1st and 3rd and one out. Do statistics support my thought that this is the worst strategic play in the entire game?
I am more than willing to defend my opinion that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100736">Matt Duffy</a></span> has shown himself to be a bonafide major league player, not a mere prospect, and as such deserves a much higher ranking. While the list of prospects is impressive, any player who has already earned a 3.8 WAR belongs in the top 30, at least. I get the impression, from your comment, that he is seen as a one hit wonder and that a dramatic regression to some ephemeral mean is anticipated. It takes a lot of production from low round draftees to shake that stigma, i.e. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59307">Paul Goldschmidt</a></span>. The early assessments of his skills are a total embarrassment to the scouting profession. I am looking for holes in Matt Duffy's game and I do not see many.
I would have sworn they traded Juan Carlos Oviedo for Santiago.
The Braves hope that Swanson becomes what <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100736">Matt Duffy</a></span> already is. Not much love from BP for the young Giant infielders.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70635">Corey Seager</a></span> just hit the left field fence in his first <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a> of the season. He hasn't done it for as long as Machado and Correa is as exciting as a young A-Rod but Seager could join the 3-5 conversation pretty quickly. On a wonderful sidenote, as I watch on MLB-TV, listening to Vin Scully, I am brought back to my childhood. He is amazing! I was 8 when he started in Brooklyn on WOR channel 9, hawking Schaefer beer and he sounds as great as ever!! Why do I love baseball so much? When you grew up listening to Russ Hodges, Ernie Harwell, Mel Allen and Vin Scully make the game come alive on the radio, the answer is clear.
The list is obviously rife with opportunities for, let us be polite, discussion. I find a player who has already proven that he can hit .300 in the majors, in both 2014 and 2015, ranked very far down the list, at #111 to be exact, more than a bit surprising. Performance seems to take a back seat to nebulous potential in many instances on this list. Besides <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69564">Joe Panik</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70354">Ken Giles</a></span>, #88 and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68997">Roberto Osuna</a></span>, #152, have already shown they can handle the closer's role. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60408">Randal Grichuk</a></span> at #135 seems grossly underrated and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66391">Jonathan Schoop</a></span>, #115 looks ready to hit 25 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s. On the other side of the coin, several potential flops are still given a lot of credit. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60635">Wil Myers</a></span> is screaming, well at least hinting loudly, bust and others like Pompey, Ozuna, Baez and Gallo are showing a fair amount of tarnish. They may yet become major league players but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but a Panda isn't worth a Trout.
Where is my favorite pitcher? <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45581">Alfredo Simon</a></span>. I searched and searched and never did find.......
I have a friend in the medical profession who says to me, time and again, "It's all in the genes". It seems very hard to argue with that when there appears to be no pattern to the arm injuries. Big guys go down and little guys pitch until they are 35, and vice versa. Technique, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65751">Chris Sale</a></span> goes on while <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=265">Mark Prior</a></span>, of the "uncannily consistent mechanics" explodes early on. While I am looking forward to seeing what this book has to say, all of baseball has been looking for reasons but not actually getting anywhere or, at a minimum, very far on the road to an answer. Year round pitching, too many sliders, throwing too hard too early, throwing breaking stuff in Little League, we have heard it all but this is nothing but supposition. Show us some facts. What about the percentage of American pitchers going down against those from the tropics who throw every day from the time they are 10 or even younger? I have never seen such a comparison. How in the world do you tell some young man to hold back when velocity is the only, and I mean only, ticket to a huge signing bonus? This kind of thinking is fantasy. Get real, everybody knows that getting people out doesn't matter if you aren't reaching 90+. (Maybe the answer is to teach all the kids to be knuckleballers. You never have to worry about TJ, you can go on forever and nobody can ever hit you. LOL)
I think the walkoff I saw <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102700">Jacob Nottingham</a></span> hit the other day came in a <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=MIL" target="blank">Milwaukee Brewers</a></span> uniform.
It has been <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68302">Jackie Bradley</a></span>, Jr. for me. Ever since that amazing spring of 2012 when I first saw him at Salem. After 3 games I walked away from Lewis Gale Stadium convinced I had seen the next <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25672">Willie Mays</a></span>. Bogaerts was on the team as well but it was Bradley who caught the eye. It was the defense that exploded on you. A rifle shot to the gap and, before you turn your head, JBJ has already taken three steps and runs it down. All the while hitting a hard .350+. His career is frighteningly close to the train wreck that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=50138">Domonic Brown</a></span> became. Was last August a mirage, like Brown's spring of 2013. Let us hope it was a renaissance and not merely a moment of cognizance from someone who has lost the key.
I guess I will have to look for another 1st baseman for my Hacking Mass lineup.
Just insert Jacob deGrom's name and a very similar story unfolds from the pitchers side of the game.
When are we going to stop having to read about a pitcher's height? It must be because of that towering guy who heads the Blue Jays rotation, oops, he is 5'8". It must that fireballing right hander of the Royals who uses his 6'10" height to whip it in there somewhere in the, must be a misprint, low 80's. The best pitcher I have ever seen is a Dominican right hander who was 5'10" and weighed 170 and even he had to overcome the absurd bias that hovers over pitchers of his stature. Two organizations convinced themselves that he was too small. I watched that monster, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=22830">Ron Guidry</a></span>, all 160 lbs of him, be dominant until he was 34. A guy can either get big league hitters out or he can't. Give 'em the ball, send 'em out there, and find out!
Ah, the fickle fan. Tejada went from being a pariah to being a fan favorite in the blink of a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=16632">Chase Utley</a></span> slide. Every Mets fan, and I don't think I am exaggerating much at all when I say every, wanted him anywhere but at SS for the team until that fateful moment. You would have thought from the calls to talk radio that the Mets had just released <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=David+Wright">David Wright</a></span>.
It is very difficult to look at these <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a>'s and not further doubt the value of <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a>. It is reasonable to assume that, barring injury, all of the Mets starters will far exceed their predictions. To steal from my sport's promotional line: These Guys Are Good! If <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49786">Clayton Kershaw</a></span> is always around 7 WARP then to say that deGrom and Harvey, at least, are not worth 5 is foolish. They have clearly shown that the difference between them is relatively small, not 3.5 to 4.5. I think virtually every member of the baseball cogniscenti given the opportunity would take the over on each and every member of the Mets young guns, sorry Bartolo, maybe not you, but you are still must see TV.
This isn't feasible when an opportunity to use Ortiz in a more important situation later in the game is likely to present itself.
I keep looking for the next Big Papi or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Edgar+Martinez">Edgar Martinez</a></span>. By that I mean a player that some team recognizes as a superior hitter but who has no place to play defensively. This team, cleverly, picks up this hitter, let's call him <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Tyler+White">Tyler White</a></span>, or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Miguel+Sano">Miguel Sano</a></span> or maybe <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=103751">Kyle Schwarber</a></span> and puts him at DH and he rakes for the next 14 years. Why can't a permanent DH start his career at age 26? It worked for the Mariners and the Red Sox.
Reading that was very interesting. I hope I am wrong for such perseverance deserves success but put me in the camp that screams, The YIPS. Nobody, and I mean nobody, ever openly speaks of the dreaded disease. Bard is the classic case. They showed up in his first year after signing, then went into remission, which they often do, only to recur during the stress of the 2011 pennant race.
This wonderful article strikes very close to home. Regular readers of this blog may know that I am a retired professional golfer. I was pretty good, turned out to be equivalent to a Triple-A talent, and harbored the same dreams that any young man has. I was going to to play on the PGA Tour and become famous. Never happened, but I was able to stay in one of the games I love as a club professional and was able to compete for many more years. An avenue that is not available to the cast aside ballplayer. "The end, when it comes, must be brutal for the players involved." What prophetic words. I helped raise, and presently coach, a young man who has played the past two seasons on the lowest rung of the PGA Tour ladder, the PGA Tour Latin America. Even though he won the State Open last year, he has made little progress in two years and lost his PGA card for 2016. He has no status and that same situation is staring him in the face. So good, but maybe not quite good enough. The only difference is that he must make the decision whether it is time to move on with his life and there is no organization that has the power to make it for him. It is tearing him apart for how can you give up the dream that has been the only thing that has mattered in his life until now and, until recently seemed so close to attaining.
Mr. Watt, what a great article! Very simply, some of the best writing I have enjoyed in a long time.
The Indians may be a lot of people's hot pick in the AL Central but an outfield of Davis, Chisenhall and ????, or should it really be ????, ????, and ????, until Brantly returns, cannot do anything for the confidence of their fans. De Aza might not be much but he looks like Willie, Mickey or the Duke compared to these guys.
In all the latest stories about over/under I haven't seen anybody mention the Phillies but this team looks like they can challenge the 1962 Mets, no let's make that the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, for ineptitude. The future is quite promising but this years lineup is Quad-A, maybe, and the pitching, when the top of the rotation is two kids each with a few starts in the majors and who knows what in the pen, the less said the better. In the NL East, the Mets and the Nationals, and, to a lesser extent, even the Marlins will feast upon this team. There are other very poor teams in the NL but 55 wins still looks like a stretch. Phillies under is my favorite play.
What really jumps out from this list is how incredibly bad the actual choices have turned out. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60932">A.J. Pollock</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=60626">Shelby Miller</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=61051">Mike Leake</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59345">Drew Storen</a></span> with a little bit from a few others, but about half of these guys have not surfaced.
I just spent an unreasonable part of my life investigating Beyond Run Expectancy. Trying to project much of anything beyond whether 1st and 2nd with no outs is better than 2nd and 3rd and one out, and a few other situations, like a steal attempt, increases Run Expectancy stretches credibility. Indeed, I would like to know when runners are on 1st and 2nd with no outs just how awful the batter has to be to make the bunt a good play. I would rather have deGrom or Matz swing away in these situations, but Collins bunts regularly even with position players. Beyond that I think it is intuitive, ya think, that the Run Expectancy of 1st and 2nd, nobody out, is a lot better with Rizzo, Bryant and Schwarber coming up against <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48029">Kyle Kendrick</a></span> rather than Lagares, Tejada and Colon facing Kershaw. The Cubs will swing away and the Mets might try to eke out a run. How should the Mets play it? Assuming Lagares and Tejada fan, a reasonable assumption, should the Mets pinch hit for Colon. What is the score, what inning is it, how many pitches has Colon thrown, and on and on? Over the course of time the Cubs will score more runs but if the Mets score one run have they exceeded their probability in the aforementioned situation or if the Cubs score two have they failed to reach their expectations? In every situation there are so many variables that I wonder what the value of any quantitative analysis is when each situation is truly unique, and only somewhat similar. I think I am smart enough to know that the object is to maximize the possible result in the varying situations. Do the sabermetricians think they can find a way to glean .01 more runs from these situations with some advanced study? Colon could line a double, let us settle for a single, and Kendrick could fan the three Cubs,(I think Colon has a better chance of getting a hit off Kershaw than that happening), but while probability argues for a certain outcome, nothing can predict the actual results and it seems impossible to influence that outcome beyond what probability already does.
This is kind of analysis I appreciate. Assuming health anybody who thinks Darvish is only worth 2.6 wins is unable to recognize everything that this article makes abundantly clear. There is a striking similarity between this situation and the Red Sox signing of Price and how it affects each member of the pitching staff.
I never intended to compare Vogelbach to Papi, even I am not that lame. I understand how difficult it is to offer a spot to a single use player. The question seems to be what level of offensive prowess is needed to claim such a spot? Having been a half season ticket holder to the New Britain Rock Cats for many years I recently got to watch <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Miguel+Sano">Miguel Sano</a></span> come through. Every <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a> was exciting but the thought of him playing RF should send every Twins pitcher to the shrink. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=103751">Kyle Schwarber</a></span> is just oozing this same type of profile and attempts to put this type of player in the field seems misguided. I have not seen him catch but he is really an American League DH! Am I correct to think that these players actually lose value by being forced to play defense? It is quite possible that Alvarez, even with more holes in his swing than a sieve, will hit a zillion <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s in wonderful, beautiful but very tiny Camden Yards.
Excellent comment. As a dyed in the wool Red Sox fan I have often wondered how these talent evaluators would rank Big Papi. He is a 10 runner and with no defensive position whatsoever yet he has been one of the most important players in the game for the past 14 years. Is he an 80 hitter as well as obviously with 80+ power. It certainly argues that, with deference to George Orwell, all skills are equal but some skills are far, far more equal than others.
I know I am beating a dead horse but when I read that the Mets may limit Jacob deGrom's innings I want to puke. He is 27, has the body of a live horse, has only thrown over 200 innings once and is in his prime, both physically and athletically. If he can't shoulder the wheel now then when can he? It is a joke. Teams protect their pitchers until they are 26, then begin to cut down their usage when they are 28. I can feel the heat from such a claim but I see no evidence that attempting to "protect" a pitchers arm is ever successful. The more the pitchers are coddled the more TJ surgeries we see. The only evidence, since we cannot know what would have occurred if the opposite path had been taken, is the apparent failure of these attempts at protection. No one can ever know how many pitchers arms fell off back when coddling was not the order of the day. It is probably the case that most of the victims simply disappeared and nobody counted the corpses while the best arms that survived the rigors reached the majors. My early years were filled with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27932">Allie Reynolds</a></span> starting and relieving every week of the season, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=26760">Don Newcombe</a></span> going 9 every 4th day and never detting hurt. Why does <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65751">Chris Sale</a></span> avoid injury but so many pitchers with more conventional deliveries go under the knife? How did the "Joba Rules" work? deGrom is either going to break down or he isn't. It is as likely that a break from routine, skipping a start or giving him extra rest, will cause a problem as anything.
I completely agree. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45945">Ian Desmond</a></span> was the major cause of the "Ian Desmond Problem". He and his agent had a warped opinion of his value starting in the spring of 2014. He might well have been reasonable value for $107M in the spring of 2014 but he was slipslidin' away by the end of 2015. Four straight years of decline, capped by a dismal season (.290 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a>), was not worth the QO, even without the attached draft pick. Are we going to forget that the GM's were 100% correct in their opinion of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45606">Stephen Drew</a></span>, a somewhat similar profile, after his 2.9 WAR year in 2013?
How true this analysis is. Year after year I would sit in Section 208, Row 8 Seat 1 and watch the radar gun show 87 as Twins pitcher after Twins pitcher would come through New Britain. Except for that May 3, 2005 morning game when Liriano faced Papelbon and they both went 8 (0-0). I can't imagine that happening in today's minor leagues, or the majors for that matter.
Zimmer isn't Schwarber or Conforto, both of whom tore up Double-A. He hit .219 at Akron and clearly needs at least some success in the upper levels before he is thrown to the wolves. But it is interesting that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47939">Austin Jackson</a></span> seems to have developed the plague.
Desmond's decision to go to a club where he will not play SS is a strange one. It will certainly lessen his chances of marketing himself as a SS after 2016. While it is obvious that he wasn't ready to accept this type of contract when the Mets, White Sox and Padres were making their moves it seems like he and his agent have made another awful decision. One would think that one of those teams would have given him a chance at SS at a larger number than this. Even if he has a good year in LF there does not appear to be a QO in his future, and there will definitely never be another $107M offer.
If a win is valued at $8M it would appear that every 2.5 win player is worth in the neighborhood of $20 million per year and the top stars that are past arbitration are worth $50-70M per year. I simply do not agree with that figure. The numbers do not add up. Revenue is exploding but I doubt if there are any teams that can have a payroll of $500M with $200M of that tied up in 3 or 4 players. My question is how was the value of each win determined?
Let me say that I have not seen any really negative things said about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=99821">Steven Matz</a></span> but this is the first article that has him where I think he belongs. After all he has already shown that he can get major league hitters out. A 70 grade is right in line with that. <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/column/TINSTAAPP/">TINSTAAPP</a> hovers over every young pitcher but the delivery is so smooth, a thing of beauty, and the stuff looks terrific. Injuries are injuries and, other than the TJ, hopefully are just bad luck. I love the DH, after all I am a Red Sox fan, but Matz has a hidden value as a true hitter. It would not surprise me if the Mets wheel out 4 aces this season.
I am looking forward to seeing these players perform, along with Tapia, Dahl, McGuire, Senzatala et al. at The Dunk this summer. No, that is not a basketball arena, but it is brand, spankin' new, Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut. The snow is gone, let the season begin!
How does he compare to such well respected backstops, hee hee, as <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31547">Ryan Doumit</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=50900">Wilin Rosario</a></span>, each of whom were behind the plate for several years in the majors? Notice that I did not say played catcher in the previous sentence.
I thought the Braves were going to challenge the 1962 Mets record but after a second look at this lineup it looks like it will be quite a battle to see whether it is the Phillies or the Braves that don't get to 40 wins. The Mets and Nationals have a truly unfair advantage in the Wild Card race this summer with 38 games against these two clubs. Looking at the bright side I think I can find my Hacking Mass team without having to do too much more work.
Sorry I didn't notice that they were 1a and 1b.
I was surprised to see Bogaerts placed ahead of Betts. I know this is nitpicking but Betts is a much better candidate to hit .310/.375/.500 with 25 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s than Bogaerts. He may be 5'9" and 155 but his bat speed is electric and his approach is much different, read better. The Bogaerts of 2015 looked like a right handed <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56615">Ben Revere</a></span>, slapping singles to right and never showing much inclination to try anything else. Yes, SS is a premium position but Betts defense is excellent and RF in Fenway is a premium position. Bogaerts was adequate but it is comical to watch him dive to his left. His right hand is looking for the ground the instant he leaves his feet. This is magnified when compared to Pedroia who is the best diver I have seen.
While Betts is the best leadoff man on the Red Sox he is really much more of a #3 hitter than Bogaerts. It is quite possible that Betts could offer a line of .310/.375/.500. with 25 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s and 25 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SB</span></a>'s. People who do not see him play every day see 5'9" and 155 and are blind to the fact that his size belies real bat speed, incredible quickness, pure talent and the Green Monster to shoot at. His overall game is even more valuable than in fantasy and he might be second to Trout before the season ends.
Mark me down as a person who recognizes the value of sabermetrics to a large degree, I was a believer in Earnshaw Cook's ideas in the 60's, but there is so much chaff with the wheat that it often threatens that crisis of confidence that was mentioned in the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a> article on February 16th. Seeing the Royals completely mishandled, not once but three years in a row, and the Pirates consistently rated like it was 1952-54 does not instill confidence. However, when the name <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45410">Elijah Dukes</a></span> showed up on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57396">Jason Heyward</a></span>'s comps, and at #4 no less, surrounded by a few other stiffs, PECOTA has some "splainin" to do. Excuse me if I doth complain too much but I still like the eye test with the proper amount of sabermetric seasoning added. By the way <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=21708">Dwight Evans</a></span> was a better player than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27966">Jim Rice</a></span> and by a lot.
Thank you for responding to my comment. It never crossed my mind that Syndergaard will be under any restricted innings limit this year. He threw 198 last year and was every bit as good at the end as he was at the beginning. Horses would like be as strong as he seems to be. I would think that 32 starts is on the docket, barring bad luck of course.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70524">Brandon Nimmo</a></span> has a tough row to hoe to get 200 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a>'s this season. There are actually 5 legitimate major league OF's ahead of him, not 4 as the article says. De Aza and Lagares as well as the starters but, after watching him for 2 years in the Eastern League, I have yet to see anything to get excited about and that is being kind.
Just the thought of Morales standing on the mound in Fenway in a Red Sox uniform once again should send a very cold chill down the spine of every Red Sox fan. Enough is enough, please!
I was shocked that not a single member of the Mets rotation got a mention. Anyone of the top starters, I have been on the <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67740">Jacob DeGrom</a></span> bandwagon ever since watching his first start in 2014, deserve at least a mention. Including <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58617">Tyson Ross</a></span>, pitching for a team that is probably going nowhere, but not Harvey and Syndergaard, seems a wee bit, may I say, off base.
As a young man I was fascinated by the writings of a man named Earnshaw Cook. He wrote a book, in 1964, called Percentage Baseball. Baseball was not ready for his ideas and the response from the old school baseball hierarchy, think <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=23415">Pinky Higgins</a></span>, was ridicule. Some of his ideas had merit, for example, he was the first to recognize that the sacrifice bunt is a terrible play, even though <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=77160">Terry Collins</a></span> still doesn't know that. When we think of the paradigm shift that has swept through the game it began there. Bill James picked up the ball in 1981 and even now, the intricacies of the game are being shown the light of day. The latest being Pitch Framing and Catcher Defense. I think the Post-Sabermetric is quite a way in the future.
I understand that <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a> has been under the gun recently for some rather bizarre evaluations, like the Royals of the last three years, but if PECOTA actually compares Gregorius to Crawford it is time to reprogram it or retire it.
Since I have been attending 30-40 New Britain Rock Cats, please excuse me while I shed a tear, games a year for over 30 years, to see an in depth study of last years # 1 prospect is a real treat. I did not expect Dahl to open the season in New Britain but I had heard the hype, however, and expected a lot more than what I saw. He never walked, did not show much power and played center field adequately, but never looked like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57967">Aaron Hicks</a></span>. Jeff's analysis seems to be very much in line with my golf professionals eye. I just did not see much with the bat.
I totally agree. One of my pet peeves is that the Hall of Fame is really the Hall of Offense. For that reason I have no trouble with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25673">Bill Mazeroski</a></span>, the best second baseman I ever saw, being in the Hall. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18261">Ozzie Smith</a></span> is the best, but Omar the Outmaker deserves consideration. He passed the eye test, even BP wrote in the 2001 Edition that Vizquel warranted it if he could match The Wiz's longevity. I think 24 years answers that.
Cubs and Astros, both on the verge of dominating baseball for the foreseeable future. It is the world turned upside down. With these prospects waiting behind Correa, Altuve, Springer and more, it is easy to envision several World Series between the two clubs. Who'd a thunk it?
Every time I see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=702">Bronson Arroyo</a></span>'s name it brings back memories of the trade. The world's worst baseball player for the games most reliable innings eater and I get the shakes and don't sleep for a week.
Dedicated Yankee Hater here but I agree with you. The talent evaluators have done every thing but tar and feather Sanchez. Cant't catch, lazy and on and on but he was an absolute monster in the Arizona fall league. With the backup catching job in the Bronx waiting for him it will be interesting to see if can play.
That seems like a reasonable idea. Granderson, who is a perfect example for strength-based thinking and used his strengths to a maximum last year, has a rag arm and clearly is not well positioned in right field.
I feel your pain! I enjoy many summer nights, many more than you I am sure, listening to Mr. Vin Scully, as I have since 1950, weave his magic spell around our magical game, and I live in Connecticut.
Just a wonderful article. It captures a fundamental question I have had about baseball players. Every star has made more money than he or his great, great grandchildren will ever need but it seems to me that a few more dollars are more important than becoming that iconic figure that will be remembered forever in "his" hometown. Am I a fool to think that feeling of admiration and affection, like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1499">David Ortiz</a></span>'s special connection with Boston, isn't worth more to a man's happiness than a few superfluous dollars. I applaud <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52054">Alex Gordon</a></span> for his decision and I hope I will be there when his statue is dedicated in Kansas City.
While the 2016 Braves are going to make a run at the 1962 Mets record it was eye-opening to go down this list of prospects and see all the first round picks, many of whom actually performed well. Somewhere in that list the Braves might find the next Maddox, Smoltz and Glavine.
Waiting is definitely the prudent strategy, like until July. Desmond is an interesting case. He should have taken the QO when it was offered. His season was not very good and that is being generous. While more than one person contributed to the Nationals failed season, it could easily be argued that he was the chief culprit. Early in the year his defense, and awful is the only word to describe it, directly cost the team, not just contributed to, some games. It is not unreasonable to surmise that the slow start the Nats had, and Desmond's key role in that start, played a part in the turmoil that, according to some post-mortems, beset the Nats as the season progressed. By the time he played better defensively the damage had been done, all the while hitting poorly. Since Amarista had a negative WAR, he is easy to improve upon, but Desmond, whose <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a> and <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SLG" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SLG'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SLG</span></a> averages have dropped sharply in each of the past 3 years, is a pretty expensive replacement. Desmond is obviously better but is there any real value in this declining player. Think twice San Diego.
I was prepared to say that De Aza was not going to be a huge drop off when used in a platoon, .799 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a>, then I was stunned when I checked Cespedes's remarkable reverse splits the past 2 seasons. Still De Aza is a big improvement over Nieuwenhuis.
Ah yes, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Francisco+Martinez">Francisco Martinez</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=51574">Deolis Guerra</a></span>, what more proof need there be than these two flame outs to show that nobody really knows and, even with the top prospects, most of it is just a guess.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Erasmo+Ramirez">Erasmo Ramirez</a></span>, it will take a while for that name to sink in as the #4 player under 25 in the organization, or in any baseball organization on any planet anywhere. It has to be a different Erasmo Ramirez from the one who threw in 2014.
OMG!I thought we had seen the last of the completely empty cupboards, Angels, Marlins, Tigers, but this is worse. What a mess!
When talk about overpaying is mentioned, such as the Kimbrel trade, Eduardo Rodriquez for a 2-month rental of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49617">Andrew Miller</a></span> ranks with Bagwell for <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18485">Larry Anderson</a></span>.
Expensive platoon 2nd baseman looks to be the best conclusion. I did not realize Wong had such a tough time against lefties. Otherwise I agree that the deal makes no sense for either team
The Red Sox saw what KC has done with a great bullpen and decided it seemed like a solid path to take. Mr. Obvious returns to the scene of the crime. The Yankees combo of Betances and Miller was another example of the next big thing in baseball. Two closers, not just a good 8th inning man, are now required. The Chapman deal is now in limbo, but Jansen and Chapman also fit this scenario to a "T". Now the question is whether Smith is anything more than a sky rocket, but if all the players perform up to their profiles the Sox pen looks formidible.
Red Sox fans cannot forget a trade that, while it wasn't quite like the selling of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=28343">Babe Ruth</a></span>, was a real stinker in its own right. I refer to shipping, during spring training of 2006, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=702">Bronson Arroyo</a></span>, innings eater extraordinaire, to the Reds for the worst defensive player I have ever watched, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=795">Wily Mo Pena</a></span>. Those Sox were supposed to have plenty of pitching but ended up having to use <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jason+Johnson">Jason Johnson</a></span> for 6 incredibly bad starts in the heart of the season. You can never have enough pitching. Gee, what a clever line, I wonder if has ever been used before.
Every article by you, Mr. Kusnick, is must read first material.
I agree with you. Utley was a great player for only five years. He missed a lot of time and comes up a little short. Beltre, OTOH, is getting very,very close. I know that the HOF is really the Hall of Offense, but Beltre has done it on both sides of the ball enough to get some recognition.
I caught your tongue in cheek humor but I think the FO does fully realize that Cherington threatened the future of the franchise with these two signings and are terrified at the damage that has been done to the fan base. As a lifelong Sox fan, watching the Ramirez drama continue to play out has some strange type of eerie sensation to it. Sort of like knowing it is going to continue to be a disaster but not knowing exactly which way it will evolve. The chance that he can play an acceptable first base is slim and none, and slim was just seen taking the train out of town, and the only possible way to move him is to accept a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31647">Josh Hamilton</a></span> deal and pay virtually all of his contract.
I doubt a star would accept 120M for 3 when he can get much more guaranteed with a longer deal. Reselling himself at age 33 could be a tough job. The opt out gives Price that opportunity. From the Red Sox side, there has to be some optimism that Price might hold more value later in the contract than most do. While Price is a pitcher, we know what that means, and his deal is similar to that of Sabathia, he is not 6'7" and definitely not 300+ on the scale. One can only imagine the stress that was placed on Sabathia's right knee every pitch he threw. The idea that he was big and strong enough to pitch into his late 30's might have been sane reasoning when considering his arm but the legs, OMG. This might be wishful thinking from this Red Sox fan, but I am a much happier fan tonight than two days ago.
Altering a promising young players mechanics before he has shown what he can do with what he already has is madness, complete insanity! I cannot emphasize how much I believe in the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Would Jim Furyk, one of the best golfers of the past quarter century, have enjoyed such a great career if someone had altered his unique swing when he was a boy? I strongly doubt it. I have seen it personally, in my sport golf, and I will tell the story. I coached a boy from the time he was 7 then through his junior golf career. To say he was successful is an understatement. He rose into the top 10 juniors in the country and went off to college with a full scholarship at a school in one of the power conferences. Soon after arriving the coach told him that he would be visiting a famous instructor to help his game. Just a little tweak here and there he was told but it turned into a complete swing change and by the time he left he was shooting 85, 89 and other similar scores in competition. He was wrecked and while he has returned, and regained much of his previous form, he no longer does it with the natural talent he once showed. He has built a mechanically sound swing but the genius that he once possessed is missing. What was once automatic is now contrived, it looks similar but it isn't. I understand the conundrum all too well. To change or not to change, should it be tried now or later or even at all, the questions a coach or an organization asks about the best way to proceed are endless and the Orioles must be doing a lot of soul searching looking for a reason so many of their pitching prospects break down or fail to perform.
Mr. Carleton, as a lifelong fan of the ****ing Red Sox, think 1948, I take umbrage at your comment. Please allow me to laugh out loud in fake anger but, as a Sox fan I am thrilled by the trade. Margot, he ain't Betts, Guerra, he ain't Bogaerts, Asuaje, he ain't Holt and the Sox pen last year was far worse than the numbers indicate. If there is such a thing as a sure thing, then Kimbrel comes close. This idea that bullpen construction is luck has some merit, but only in the inconsistency of the set up men. These pitchers are notoriously variable but the true closers, Rivera, Papelbon, Hoffman, Kimbrel and many others have sustained consistent excellence for years. In today's game the teams with at least two shut down short men seem to be excelling. The Dodgers, for instance, showed that one is not enough.
I know, I know that you are not supposed to look only at the stat line to make an evaluation, but I almost lost my lunch, from laughing so hard, when I saw the lines of the top 3 "prospects?" in the Angels organization. I am lucky enough to live in a part of the country that never has to watch any of these players run onto the field.
Look Out Below is an apt title to this story. The Braves are disassembling a roster that looks like it will challenge the 1899 Cleveland Spiders for the worst record in baseball history. It isn't difficult to see another salary dump in this move simply because there can't be any other possible explanation.
Arroyo is definitely blocked at SS so which side should he slide to? <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100736">Matt Duffy</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69564">Joe Panik</a></span> are giving every indication that they are solid major league players at 3rd and 2nd so my advice to Mr. Arroyo is to get out of Dodge as fast as he can.
I was watching the Jays play this summer and Hendricks came in. I remembered a replacement level batting practice machine and was struck by the TV gun showing 95-97. My thought was that the gun was broken, because I had never seen anybody ramp it up by so much. I have been equally baffled by the fact that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=32842">Joe Blanton</a></span>, Mr. Batting Practice himself, could return from Mars and actually get anybody out. It is one thing to be a failed 26 year old, Hendriks, and quite another for a 34 year old who had an historically awful season, then did not even appear in organized ball in 2014, to provide so much value as he did for the Pirates.
Crawford has been a contender for most underrated player in the game but he is finally being recognized. Great glove and surprising power.
Ah, the return of the prospect lists, what we are all here for. After watching Jimenez pitch for the CT Tigers in 2014 and seeing his solid season at Low-A, he looks like he has a future at the back end of the bullpen. I know relievers get the short straw, but when the #2 prospect carries a sausage bat it would appear that the cupboard is bare and he deserved to be ranked higher.
I still like to look at some factors beyond the numbers. This season Trout was a lead sinker on the Angels line during the crucial month of August which was instrumental in the heavily favored Angels losing out eventually to the Rangers and Astros. He hit .218 that month and 7 of his hits came in games the team lost 12-5 and 9-2. Donaldson, at the same time, was leading his team on a run that carried the Jays to the AL East title. When you perform is of great importance and this year Donaldson was the better performer when the races were being decided, and by a lot!
I never thought I would see an article on it, but, at that moment, my thought was that the Mets had to do something to attempt to throw Davis off his game and an intentional <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BB</span></a> was right there in front of them. Davis is not just "average pitcher" and cannot be quantified as such. Davis and the Royals, as you mention, had alternatives as well but Collins should have tried it. Regarding Familia, he failed in Game 1 but then was the victim of bad managing. He should never have pitched in Game 3 then was placed in very tough spots in Games 4 and 5. 5 innings, 3 hits, 1 run hardly looks like the line of a pitcher with 3 blown saves.
Very poorly worded by me. I clearly recognized that the article did not imply that, but that most people on social media try to put such a spin on every trade.
There was a lot of talk about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45621">Edinson Volquez</a></span>'s 2014 season being a fluke, much like the comments about Estrada. Volquez had an even better year this season in all his peripherals and it is reasonable to expect Estrada to perform well in the future. It seemed like Estrada was taking a no-no into the 7th all summer long.
The article does not mention that Benoit also throws a changeup or has he abandoned that after offering one up to Big Papi in the 2013 ALCS, chuckle, chuckle.
Not to nitpick, but Allen is called White in the write-up. The article's premise that all trades should be seen to have a winner and loser is spot on, but dead wrong in this case. The first impression I got was that this is a good deal for both teams. I have been a Red Sox fan since 1948, a lot longer than Ben, and 3 years of control of a stud closer for 2 top prospects (and yes these two are blocked prospects), and 2 others is a great move. While it is very possible that San Diego might get more WAR by the time all players retire, no one can argue that the Sox didn't improve considerably. The Sox pen was far worse than the numbers indicate and this adds length and quality to the relief corps. Kimbrel was a far better pick up than one year of Chapman would have been. A good start for Dombrowski.
Listening to Jim Bowden yesterday, he thought the Angels were the clear winners in this trade. I admit to being a Simmons' fan and cannot forget 2013. Even with his decline, his offense compares favorably with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47625">Alcides Escobar</a></span>, who led off for the World Champion <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=KCA" target="blank">Kansas City Royals</a></span>. Just joking, I think anybody reading this on 11/14 might know that, but Simmons is a better defender than the Gold Glove winner. There is a good chance that this is a good deal for both clubs, just like the Padres, in the Kimbrel deal, the Braves should be happy with their haul as well.
I obviously know the answer to my question but I would like to know how many games have been decided in which both the winner and loser were position players?
Test question: In an 18 inning game a few years ago between the Red Sox and Orioles two non-pitchers were involved in the decision. One is a star, and was quite effective, and the other is no longer playing. Who were they and which one got the win?
Pirela may not be able to play but Amarista has already proven, beyond any doubt, that he can't. It is certainly worth a try.
I think the premise here is very compelling. In today's game shut down bullpens are absolutely the key to game management. With the miraculous transformations of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47360">Wade Davis</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=50155">Zach Britton</a></span> from stiffs to superstars it makes sense to make the change before the career craters completely. Duffy's repetoire of explosive heat seems to fit the template of the failed starter who resurfaces as a lock down reliever.
My lasting memory of Ichiro is a laser he fired from deep right to third, on the fly, with as flat an arc as I have ever seen. If Kiermaier can touch 100 I have to believe Ichiro could have come close in his prime.
Will this be the year that a player accepts the QO. I thought the Rockioes were insane to offer Cuddyer last year but it worked out. The Mets got stuck with the washed up stiff and the Rockies got their draft choice. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52572">Ian Kennedy</a></span> and a 15.8M offer are mutually exclusive events so if he wants to pitch next year, or even get paid, he should be the first to accept.
I am drooling, you do that at 74, over the prospects I will see next year when the Yard Goats come to Hartford. Dahl, McMahon, Freeland, Senzatela but Tapia is #1 on the list because I want to see for myself what he is. The reports are now conflicting compared to 2014 when he was being touted as a future star almost universally.
When I saw Familia on the mound in the 9th inning of Game 3 the feeling came over me that this questionable use of this excellent pitcher would, in some way, impact the rest of the series and it did, in a big way! Collins admitted that he was hesitant to use Familia for a 2 inning save because of that.
I had no problem with Harvey starting the 9th. I had a huge problem with Harvey facing Hosmer after walking Cain. Collins mishandled the pitching horribly in Games 3, 4 and 5. In Game 3 his use of Familia in a blowout affected his willingness to use him for 2 innings in Game 4. In Game 4 he left both Matz and Clippard in for one too many hitters and in Game 5 he did the same thing with Harvey. In addition to that Collins also pulled the one pitcher he should have left in, Colon in Game 4, and ended up having to use Clippard. It was a tragedy of errors by a manager who contributed greatly to the Mets loss.
You are, obviously, 100% correct. These attempts to quantify everything border on the ridiculous. When the human being can be turned into a functioning machine that can be calibrated to perform at a certain level each and every time then I will accept computer predictions. Of course I will never watch because the results will be predetermined.
Not enough has been said about Collins' idiotic move the night before of using Familia in the 9th inning of the 9-3 blow out. That wasted inning had to play a role in his botching the entire game 4. Collins said he didn't want to use Familia for two innings because he might need him in Game 5. That logic is so flawed that it does not warrant even the slightest consideration. If that was the case then why did Collins burn an inning in the blow out? Just awful managing! Matthew is correct in blaming him for leaving Matz in too long and the Clippard fiasco. Colon should have been given another inning with Reed ready if needed, the Familia in the 8th. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Matt+Williams">Matt Williams</a></span> pulling of Zimmerman in last years NLDS was the worst managing I ever saw but using Familia in Game 3 isn't far behind.
The Mets have three pitchers who are actually good hitters, (No, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=395">Bartolo Colon</a></span> is not one of them). Matz and Syndergaard take very solid cuts and deGrom is also pretty good. This might play a role in Games 3 and 4. All that being said I would still rather see Big Papi standing at the dish.
It has been known forever that the best offensive play in baseball is the unsuccessful sacrifice bunt.
What is the value of rest or extra rest? As I watch Jacob deGrom get hammered, pitching on very long rest, my vote goes to a pitching routine that includes consistent intervals between starts. Extra rest throws off the finely tuned body clock that all professional athletes have. Feeling too strong is nearly as bad as fatigue.
The quality of the relief pitchers seems to have been ignored here. Robles, Gilmartin, puhleeze, Colon or Niese were the only options. Middle relief is not any teams strong suit. Third time through or not, Harvey is the better choice. Collins lineup was legitimately questioned but his handling of the pitchers was fine. He ended up with a quality pitcher throwing in the 14th while Yost had to use his 4th Game starter. Advantage Collins.
Simply as a baseball fan it was difficult to watch this old soldier leave under such a situation. He has exemplified all the good things that a player can do beyond just playing.
I just don't see the Cubs doing much against Seaver, Koosman and Gentry.
Bautista's disgust after missing said lollypop was evident. Yost's managerial decisions could best be described as managerial malaprops. What was that he just did or, perhaps, did he really just do that?
Cubs vs. Mets, sort of has a nice ring to it. I have a feeling that we might see this matchup again in the years to come. It beats the same old-same old Cardinals vs. (fill in the blank) that has been the norm. Of course, then we will be saying same old-same old Cubs vs. Mets again.
Some guys get hurt and some guys don't. It is as simple as that. He does not throw from the frightening "W" position. The position that looks like an indicator of future trouble. He is 6'6" and 240, which does not do anything for his arm of course, and I think he might be able to withstand the heavy load he took on this year.
Some bat flips are better than others and if there was ever the right moment for the perfect, ultimate, off the charts, world class bat flip, this was it. The crowd was in a frenzy the likes of which has seldom been seen, the season was on the line and the face of the franchise delivered the second most important <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> in team history. I agree with you completely and will the whiners please just shut up.
in the maelstrom that the 7th inning was, something was missed. I have been watching baseball, a lot of baseball, for almost all of my 73 years and there is nothing prettier than watching <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Jose+Bautista">Jose Bautista</a></span> open his hips and clear out an inside pitch.
The moment that play occurred I thought that the crowd might yell "Let's Roll" and descend upon the field. One more call against the Jays and who knows what might have happened.
Correa's boot on Morales' automatic <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=DP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('DP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">DP</span></a> bouncer instantly brought to mind a quote from a very famous American, "it ain't over till it's over."
Stroman will be pitching on regular rest where as Price, already with post-season performance issues, would be on extended rest which is of questionable value. I look for Stroman to be just fine.
It was inspiring, but, as you said, how did he do it?
That was my thought. Price's failures have been overshadowed by Kershaw's but Price has at least been Kershaw Lite.
I understand that this is a fantasy article and I admit that I never saw deGrom before he started for the Mets in May 2014, but I could never figure out what the scouts didn't see. One look from that first game and it was clear that he was something else, but I kept seeing this great stuff and reading that he was not a prospect, just a flash in the pan. Was that something else not there before or did the scouts, operating off pre-conceived opinions choose not to see what deGrom was bringing, and he WAS bringing it! By the way, deGrom did not simply challenge for the 2014 NL ROY, he was named ROY and could you imagine the travesty if <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Billy+Hamilton">Billy Hamilton</a></span> had received that award over him.
In addition I believe the Mets and Cespedes have agreed to extend the signing window for, I think, 30 days after the conclusion of the WS.
Who would have dreamed that signing <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=395">Bartolo Colon</a></span> would be one of Alderson's best moves, in fact it has probably been one of only two good signings, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=36252">Curtis Granderson</a></span> is the other. The trades, OTOH, have been excellent. Stealing Syndergaard, D'Arnaud and Becerra for Dickey, Wheeler for the Beltran rental, Buck as part of the deal to get Herrera, for picking up quality depth this summer in Uribe and Johnson then culminating with the acquisition of Cespedes all the while being hamstrung by payroll constraints has been masterful.
How did <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Nelson+Cruz">Nelson Cruz</a></span> do it? Beltre has always been the poster child for why the Mariners are doomed by their ball park. While I agree that he is a Hall of Famer it would be a
no-brainer if he had not wasted 5 years in the cavernous confines of Safeco Field. I do not like the fact that the HOF is really the Hall of Offense, with very few exceptions, but Beltre's complete game is more than worthy.
The fact that the wild card teams have to use their ace in the one game playoff is another big positive. It gives the team with the best record an added advantage which is as it should be.
These are wild card teams. They did not win the Central Division of the National League. The one game playoff is exactly what wild card teams should play. They have earned a chance to catch lightning in a bottle, but no more! IMHO, the present system is as good as it gets. The division title means something again and the battles to avoid the dreaded one game playoff and gain home field are important. The previous system in which the single wild card had equal status with the three Division winners was awful. I will accept debate over one game or two out of three but, for myself, the one game is the answer.
While there is no denying that Kershaw has been the best pitcher during the regular season over a number of years few experts, or writers, (not to be confused with each other since these two groups are mutually exclusive,) dare to mention that he has stunk up the joint in the last two post seasons. He is under the gun. I have been deGrom's biggest fan since start #1 in 2014 and to say that I am eagerly anticipating Game 1 is a gross understatement, but not as gross as my attempt at humor.
This was worth the price of BP for this year and as many more years as I have been gifted under this good sun. Baseball, with its 162 game schedule, is supposed to even out the luck but in that one game, that one single game, the baseball gods make a choice.
Interesting to note that 2 college hitters taken very early in the 2014 draft, both well above their projected level, Schwarber and Conforto have torn the cover off the ball in the Majors this year. Neither was expected to reach the show this year, much less perform at the exceptional level which each of them have.
Growing up in the NY area in the 50's with a 16 " B/W TV that cost $500 in 1949, imagine that, with baseball the unchallenged king of sport, followed by heavyweight boxing and the Indy 500, neither of which move a needle any more. The Giants and Yankees were on WPIX 11 and the Dodgers on WOR 9. Away games weren't telecast but the radio was always on. Ballantine Ale, Schaefer, and Rheingold Beers were the sponsors with Russ Hodges, Ernie Harwell, Mel Allen and some young guy named Vin Scully handling the microphones, it was heaven for a young baseball fan. Yogi was a part of my childhood, a big part, even though he played for the Damn Yankees. He was feared as he stepped to the plate in the late innings. If you think right field in Yankee Stadium is a joke now, it was worse then. 296 down the line with a low fence. Yogi would pop a little fly ball into the second row and everybody would go home. Willie, Mickey and The Duke, Campy, Newk, the Barber, Whitey, how the memories keep flooding back. A few of those great players are still with us but with Yogi's passing, perhaps because he was still a beloved figure throughout the country, his loss means more to me. As Grantland Rice said so eloquently, "It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game" and few ever played it better than Yogi.
I hope you did! haha
I thought <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70406">Trevor Story</a></span> might make into this article. His 2014 season at Tulsa was horrific, but watching him play half a year at New Britain showed a middle infielder with power and speed. I keep reading that his stock his risen considerably.
"Bumgarner, of all hitters," is an insult to him and deserves a comment. He is a much more dangerous hitter than many of the guys who bring their sausage bats up to the plate. 5 home runs in 73 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PA</span></a>'s and a .760 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a> is a lot better than at least half of the "hitters".
The answer seems to be pretty clear that the failure to put adequate emphasis on the sustained quality of the Royals bullpen led to this embarrassing mistake. With starters being asked to do less and less the importance of the bullpen is quickly becoming the number one factor in season long excellence. Bullpens are no longer a bunch of stiffs (unless you are the Red Sox) leading up to, hopefully, a shut down closer. The Yankees recognized this and have put together a strong group with two closer quality finishers and it seems completely reasonable to expect Betances and Miller to continue their performances for next year and beyond. To not realize that Herrera, Davis and Holland were going to repeat their 2014 success seems surprising for knowledgeable baseball men.
As a major fan of minor league baseball your articles have been the first thing I read every day. High quality comments supported by good writing. Good luck in your next gig.
Benintendi can hit for power. Why is everybody surprised? I continue to be amazed, in a negative way, at the stereotyping of players by the tape measure when the only use of said tape should be to measure the distance the ball is hit. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=27094">Mel Ott</a></span> was 5' 9", <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25672">Willie Mays</a></span> was 5'10", Yaz was about the same, meanwhile there are lots of big guys who can't reach the warning track. Longer levers are nice but bats are not wagon tongues and speed and quickness will produce power. I would like to make a wager on who hits more home runs, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70430">Mookie Betts</a></span>, all 5'9" and 155 lbs.of him, or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67248">Xander Bogaerts</a></span>. My money, and lots of it, is on Mookie.
Williams infers that Papelbon is not going to pitch two innings, no matter what! This is a must win game and he says that! This is a time for a player to suck it up and while there is no guarantee that Papelbon would be successful it would seem to be a better choice over a used up and ineffective Janssen.
It must not be forgotten that a sword is hanging over <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Matt+Williams">Matt Williams</a></span> head for his removal of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31265">Jordan Zimmerman</a></span> in last years playoff game with the Giants and bringing in Storen, who had been the goat the previous year. This, plus the inexplicable use of Janssen after he had stunk up the joint the night before, are difficult to ignore. In game managerial decisions are easy to second guess, ya think, but Williams seems to zig when he should zag and vice versa with an uncanny amount of bad luck, or is it a lack of understanding of all the yariables mentioned above. i.e. incompetence.
Was there anybody who wasn't mentioned who actually became a decent player? There are some successes on this list but the number of complete busts is remarkable.
As another season winds to a close we look forward to the next. Tapia should start next season in Hartford. He will get a taste of April night games at 35 degrees in Manchester and Portland and all else that goes into hindering a hitters progress in the Eastern League. As is always the case, it will be fun to watch and guess what his future will be.
I know the game is San Diego but I hope Vin makes the trip as I watch on <span class="bookdef"><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465024033/baseballpro07-20/ref=nosim/" target="blank">Extra Innings</a></span>.
I drove 150 miles, one way, to watch <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67107">Aaron Sanchez</a></span> pitch last year and his line was 0/0/6/5/4/0 with a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HBP</span></a> thrown in.
Reading has never been thought of as Albuquerque East. The Eastern League is a pitcher's league and has never been the California League either.
The most important occurrence on Sunday was the the final home game in the history of my home town New Britain Rock Cats after 33 great years. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31760">Justin Morneau</a></span> was back, on rehab, from the Rockies, after starring for the Cats in 2002 on his to Minnesota. The team is gone but the memories of Morneau, Big Papi, before he was Big Papi, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31759">Joe Mauer</a></span>, the Buxton collision and all the others, most of whom never made it, are a part of my life that I will remember forever.
That 14-9 Mets win that Gray started was at Coors Field as was the next days 14-9 win.
Does the fact that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70438">Kyle Crick</a></span> is not here mean that he has officially been given up on?
Having long since discarded <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66963">Kaleb Cowart</a></span> into the rubbish bin it was a shock to see his apparition appear before me on the tube last night in an Angels uniform. In the other direction,the fact that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66689">Michael Choice</a></span> had, so quickly, reached the depths where he was DFA was an equal surprise.
As one of the oldest and, I am willing to say, still most fanatical Red Sox fans on this blog it is hard to defend Cherington. 2013, in hindsight, looks like a miracle, especially when the Marathon bombing was such a part of that year, and since then it has all been downhill. The 3 awful moves this past winter were questioned by many at the time but nobody could have foreseen just how bad these players have been. These contracts are going to be 3 large albatrosses hanging around for a few years. Just the thought of having to watch Ramirez and Sandoval for even one more game is discouraging. With this backdrop Dombrowski has his hands full and his recent track record ain't exactly sterling either. Let us not forget that he was just fired as well. I fear that I will never see Margot or Devers or Moncada or Guerra or Espinoza or Kopech or....... ever play in a Red Sox uniform. Was Dombrowski, like Epstein with Ortiz, good or lucky that Maybin couldn't play and Miller took a long time to develop and find his role. I would rather recall 1987 when Burks, Greenwell and others were brought up,not traded away and quickly returned the Sox to competitiveness. Swihart or Vasquez catching, (trade the other for pitching) Shaw at first, Pedroia at second, Bogaerts at SS, Holt on third with Betts in LF Bradley in CF and Castillo in RF with Rodriquez, Owens, Johnson, Miley and some right hander that is signed this winter is a team I could watch, but those awful contracts keep raising their ugly heads and money talks so I fear that the corpses of Ramirez and Sandoval will be on the field all too often, like even once.
I would take the Tiger's bullpen over what the Red Sox have out there now.
It looks like a trip to Lowell is in the future, probably next year.
Josh Donaldson and Billy Butler are both mentioned in today's Prospectus Hit List. Two obvious reasons to believe that Billy Beane has lost his mind.
Of course <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Adam+Eaton">Adam Eaton</a></span> then immediately hit a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> right down the RF line. LOL.
I think you are correct. If the Red Sox first round pick is protected then it looks like the Red Sox will be ravenous buyers this free agency period and saw no reason to trade prospects when money is all that will be needed to revamp the pitching. The albatross contracts of Porcello and, to a lesser degree, Miley will not make it any easier for Cherington who is already hanging by a fraying thread but he is in a spot where he has to go all in.
How can a team rationalize using Feldman instead of McCullers when they are clearly going for it? It makes no sense to go for it on one hand but then use second rate pitchers when there is a better option. The contending window is unknown and opportunity must be seized. It appears that luck is the biggest factor in protecting pitchers arms so McCullers should be making those important starts, assuming he continues to completely outperform Feldman.
I see five, count'em five, usable pieces heading to the Dodgers in exchange for nary a single player with anything more than brief moment of major league experience. Two starters, and we are not talking <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57745">Rick Porcello</a></span> or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Joe+Kelly">Joe Kelly</a></span> here, two relievers and a real prospect in Peraza. It looks like Andrew Friedman brought his baseball acumen to LA.
Gee Whiz, durability in a slender frame sounds like a comment about some guy who just spent a weekend in Cooperstown to me. This continual tendency, by it seems like everybody in baseball, to act on preconceived notions is mindboggling. Everybody knew <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59432">Mike Trout</a></span> was something special but he fell far down the first round because he came from the northeast, two teams gave the aforementioned slightly built righthander up because he did not fit their template. It looks more and more like baseball people make their decisions on printouts instead of eyeballs.
Conforto came to town last night and hit two shots, double off the wall in right and 400' drive that the CF made a leaping catch of. The big bonus was the PH appearance by <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100595">David Dahl</a></span> who came back while the team was on the road. He was supposed to miss the rest of the season after the outfield collision and the removal of his spleen. He has hit in 3 straight with 5 hits since his return.
You must also never listen to WFAN because that is all that everybody talks about in regards to the Mets. Incidentally I just returned from watching Conforto play at New Britain. In 3 at bats, he walked taking two close pitches at 2-2, absolutely roped a double off the right field wall then sent the CF to the 400' sign to make a leaping catch. SSS for sure, but very impressive.
It was <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Carlos+Torres">Carlos Torres</a></span> who got the win with 2 innings of relief. Alex Funny Hat was the only player left in the Mets bullpen.
The memory of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18911">Billy Beane</a></span> trading his offense for pitching last year and blowing up the A's by doing it should not be forgotten. Those deals were probably what caused him to lose his mind and trade a controlled superstar, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56185">Josh Donaldson</a></span>, for a bag of balls. In today's game 1-0 and 2-1 games are still going to be the norm and giving up young prospects for 1 or 2 wins, maybe, is a fool's errand but some team will do it. No one will ever know how close the Red Sox came to sending Mookie to the Phillies last year but, at this time, the entire Phillies team isn't of equal value.
Very good article. Having watched the game since before Vin Scully's first year in Brooklyn, I am of the opinion that really bad umpiring is the major cause. I have watched the strike zone drop almost a foot since the 50's. It seems that batters are chasing more and more low pitches for fear of being rung up on a yorker.
I don't care who it is, but will someone, anyone, please tell Ruben Amaro, Jr. that he is fired. Please!
I needed the smelling salts when I saw <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=51574">Deolis Guerra</a></span> enter last night's game for the Pirates. I watched him pitch, very poorly, at New Britain in what seems like the last century and assumed he would never, ever see a major league mound. Of course the night before I watched <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Juan+Ciriaco">Juan Ciriaco</a></span> play 3rd for Richmond in the first game then I watched Juan Ciriaco play 2nd for New Britain in the second game so you never know what you might see at the ball park.
DeGrom is the Mets ace. He is 27, big and strong, and really, really good, and the Mets are treating him like he is a 21 year old who isn't ready to carry the workload. To take starts away from him is ridiculous but then the Mets are the the Mets. If a fully mature man isn't allowed to throw 200 innings, who is?
Interesting comment on Anderson. Without a doubt the least positive report that has been presented.
The claim that this was "as bad a trade as I can ever remember" seems more than a little over the top. The Mariners have, long since, retired the trophy for worst trade(s) ever. As bad as Jones and Tillman for Bedard was, it still comes in second to Lowe and Varitek for Slocumb. It is a strange deal in baseball, with no salary cap, but common in other pro sports. Assuming that Arroyo is toast, a solid major league utility man, and more than a few bucks, for a prospect from a galaxy far away only to be seen in the distant future, if at all, is nowhere near those Mariner deals.
I understand that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=25607">Christy Mathewson</a></span>'s "fadeaway" was an 80 grade.
As a golf professional for over 50 years, the concept of swinging is part of my being. I am pleased to see a knowledgeable person say that a hitch is not necessarily bad. I could never figure out what baseball talent evaluators called a hitch when loading the lever is fundamental to any swing mechanism. McCutcheon looks like a statue then suddenly moves all over the place into his dynamic posture as the pitcher starts his delivery. This doesn't look like a hitch but the first movement of his swing. In a golf related anecdote, a great player was asked when he started his swing and his answer was "When I take the club out of my bag". Meaning that every move from that moment on all movements were programmed into a well trained sequence. That is what I see in the various types of loads that you mentioned. Just more great thought stimulating material from BP. Thanks.
Game 6, 1986. 5-3, 2 outs, nobody on, for a Red Sox fan who had seen his first game at Fenway in 1948, was at Game 6 in 1967, remembered 1971 and 1975 and just barely lived through Bucky F. Dent, and you dare ask how a Rangers fan survived 2011. ROFL!
A quick follow up on players who couldn't make the 2015 BP Annual. Last night <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59332">Chris Heston</a></span> and this afternoon, as I sit in my recliner, I am watching <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66520">Scott Copeland</a></span>, nowhere to be found in BP, mow down the Marlins.
This author of this year's first no-hitter seems to have evaded the ever watchful eyes of the Baseball Prospectus team. Try as I might I could not find <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59332">Chris Heston</a></span> in the 2015 Annual. Another absolute non-prospect comes up and performs at levels that nobody could have ever foreseen. Scouting and talent evaluation is looking tougher and tougher with every stud who busts and every <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56185">Josh Donaldson</a></span> who goes from failed catcher to superstar 3rd baseman. My game, golf, is much easier to evaluate. Low score wins and the only person who has to guess at the future is the college coach who hands out the scholarships.
Let me get this straight. The <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=MIN" target="blank">Minnesota Twins</a></span> are in 1st place in the AL Central Division and the <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=HOU" target="blank">Houston Astros</a></span> have a 5 game lead in the AL West and every team in the East looks awful. This must be an alternative universe that we are in.
The Oldbopper Jinx has struck again, and in spades!! What is it about playing CF in New Britain Stadium that causes these horrific collisions? Is it because I am in the crowd? For the second time in 2 seasons I have been witness to a terrible collision in which the #1 prospect in an organization has been injured. The difference in the extent of the injuries is shocking. When <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=65884">Mike Kvasnicka</a></span> slammed into each other, at full speed, it looked like Buxton was very seriously hurt, he lay motionless on the field for 20 minutes, but, thankfully, escaped with minor injuries. In yesterday's terrible accident, the collision seemed far less violent, but it appears that Ciriaco's knee caught Dahl as they tumbled over each other. Dahl was up after a short time and walked off but is quite seriously injured. I hope he ready to play next spring when the Hartford Yard Goats open their season.
Since age has finally caught up with me, I am not making my east coast trips this year. After 10 seasons in which I have been to 24 Sally League, Carolina League, NY Penn League, International League and Eastern League stadiums I am stuck in New Britain, at least for a while.(I was there today, Story homered) Following your trip and your obvious excitement is providing me with a great substitute. Your columns are fantastic.
He reminded me of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69012">Dilson Herrera</a></span>, who I like a lot, in the 2 games I watched this month. SSS obviously but talent just has a way of being visible, yet let me join the group that is shocked that he is already in the the show.
I needed to be revived after I saw that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=32842">Joe Blanton</a></span> had showed up on a major league roster again. Batting practice pitchers are usually members of the coaching staff.
I am a half season ticket holder for Rock Cats games and have watched Story tear the cover off the ball in the 4 games I have attended. While I am an expert at analyzing the golf swing I make no such claim regarding baseball but he has been showing power to all fields, drawing walks and not fanning an inordinate number of times. The only thing I know about range is that is where you hit balls before going on the course but the infield at New Britain is awful and it is difficult to assess defense when half the grounders take a bad hop but if <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57850">Wilmer Flores</a></span> can play SS, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70406">Trevor Story</a></span> probably can as well. It will be very interesting to see if he can keep it up, but watch Murphy who has looked very, very good.
In regards to your comment on adjustments, I find it difficult to understand why there hasn't already been a concerted effort by opposing teams to test him. What can he actually do? If all Lester can do is lob a soft toss over or throw it away then any break on first movement should be effective. The mind is unfathomable and, at the present moment, Lester is exhibiting telltale signs of the "yips". His wild throw had no look of coordination and if that is the case then the cat and mouse game when a man reaches first will be "very, very interesting".
I really enjoyed these comments on the Twins minor leaguers that I have suffered with for several years at New Britain to see if what I saw had any merit. Hicks, who had one decent year here, and an 80 arm, was possibly ruined by his premature call-up. Rosario took a big step backward last year and Darnell, in three years at Double-A, gave no hints that he had a chance. 193 hits in 156 innings at Double-A with no discernible stuff does not a prospect make. The real Twins prospects are Buxton, Sano and Berrios, not these guys.
The guys at BP may not give him any but he will get it from me. Despite watching only a very small sample size, 3 games with Binghamton last year, he looked very good. I am not the least bit surprised by his good play. The defensive metrics are above my pay grade but he is a great improvement on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Daniel+Murphy">Daniel Murphy</a></span>. He was second to Betts last year in the Eastern League IMHO and I am not sold on Lindor.
The Gory Mathematical Details were very interesting but every situation is so different that it looks to be a fools errand to try to draw a definitive conclusion. The quality of the 8th hitter is very important and whether <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67740">Jacob DeGrom</a></span>, a real hitter, or <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=395">Bartolo Colon</a></span>, not quite, is the pitcher is all too obvious. Ya bets ya money and ya take yer cherce.
Matthew was kind enough not to mention Gregorius's attempted steal of 3rd or his holding on to the ball as Hanigan lumbered home.
The Oldbopper jinx strikes again! Last year I was excited to see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span>'s Double-AA debut in New Britain, he fanned in all three plate appearances and had his career almost end before it began in the terrifying collision. Opening night yesterday and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100595">David Dahl</a></span>, the shining star of the Rockies system, goes 0-5 with 3 ugly K's. He most certainly belongs on the Fight Another Day list because he is the top prospect and is already at a much higher level than those mentioned.
There is funk, and then there is funk!! If you haven't seen <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70434">Carter Capps</a></span> delivery then try to catch it at a ball park near you.
I think I just did! What do you think these very poor outings are, chopped liver? I do not have access to the statistics but I would like to see if my theory stands up to rigors of closer inspection. This might be a subject the great people who populate the offices of Baseball Prospectus might be interested in looking into.
On a completely different subject, one of my observations has been how ineffective closers are when they are brought in to pitch in non-save situations. Sunday, McClendon brought in Rodney to "get some work" with a 4 run lead, which he blew, but incredibly he was not charged with a blown save, then vultured one of the ugliest wins ever. It almost happened again yesterday when Melancon was brought in to "get some work" with a 4 run lead and almost blew that game. I am not breaking new ground when I say closers need an adrenaline rush to pitch their best and cannot get themselves "juiced" with a big lead.
I have never seen a player do more in two innings than Mookie did yesterday. Having watched Betts hit two 400+ shots for Salem and Portland, I am not surprised by his power. I am predicting 25 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s. Bats don't weigh 20 pounds and bat speed is bat speed. The opening line of his analysis in the BP Annual asks, "There must be something Betts can't do on a baseball diamond-". I have watched him play at every level and I continue to be astonished, amazed and every other adjective that fits by his performance. WOW!
That was an amazing throw but it was not in extra innings with the outcome of the game hanging on it.
Webb was just released by the Dodgers. These trades are looking more and more like the NBA every day. I didn't know that expiring contracts had any value in MLB. LOL.
The Rock Cats last home opener on Thursday, 1983-2015 RIP, but the final 36 trips to New Britain Stadium may be better than previously feared because <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100595">David Dahl</a></span> is here.
Where is Jake Dahlstrand? A no-hitter should get at least a mention in the Notable Pitching Performances. This is the second year in a row that a Red Sox prospect pitched a rain-shortened No-hitter on Opening Day, Owens last year.
Who da thunk it? <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48428">Steve Pearce</a></span>, the modern day Bobo Newsome, who has made stops in more cities than Southwest, is showing signs that last year was not a fluke and that he has become a legitimate big league hitter. Some figure it out and a lot more never do.
Papi gets the call, if for no other reason than his stature in the pantheon of baseball greatest hitters.
Wouldn't you know, the Twins finally put some decent prospects in Double-A, now in Chattanooga, after providing the good people of New Britain with a sad collection of mostly mediocre non-prospects for several years. Love Chattanooga but the ballpark looked like a Quonset hut not good enough for the Sally League.
As a dyed in the wool Red Sox fan who lives half way between Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park any discussion of a transaction that involves the ability of a team to absorb unlimited payroll is incomprehensible to me and it never entered my thoughts on this trade. LOL. Therefore, I assumed the Padres could pick up the detritus that is <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45374">Melvin Upton</a></span>,Jr. without giving it a second thought.
Law tried to say that Rivera is the only closer who has carried greatness over a long period of time. He ignored Papelbon who had a Kimbrel like arsenal of pitches and has been great for 9 years and counting. Kimbrel has been anything but volatile. Pitchers are pitchers and arms can always fall off, starters or relievers, but, money aside, the Padres are looking a lot better this morning.
As Atlanta continues to get worse, two major beneficiaries will be the Mets and Marlins. These two teams are rising as the Braves and Phillies are transforming into the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. The wild card chances for both teams are increasing exponentially with every deal the bottom feeders make. With Hamels a virtual certainty to be moved this season, it is very possible that both teams lose 100.
Preller is amazing and this is another coup. Last night, Kevin Law tried to paint this as a big win for the Braves, knocking Kimbrel, and praising the salary dump. I don't see it that way at all. Maybin is a shell of a player who never was. Quentin is going to be Designated for Assignment but he was DOA anyway so it looks like Kimbrel and 1 empty uniform for 2 empty uniforms, one pretty good prospect, Wisler is not Giolito, and a complete unknown.
The logjam on this team is unbelievable. Betts is really a second baseman, even though he might be able to play at least 7 positions simultaneously, as is Moncada, where is he ever going to play, and the outfield situation looks like an Abbott and Costello routine. Who's in right? There are 5, count'em, 5 guys playing a game of Simon Says to see who might play or even be on the team. The trade possibilities are hindered by the low present value of potentially good players, notably Bradley. It will take a lot more to convince me that Bradley is not the player I watched at Salem and Portland in 2012 and in that amazing ST of 2013 instead of the bewildered automatic out that he has been since.
FREE <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=50845">JUAN LAGARES</a></span>!! The Mets handling of Lagares has come full circle. Last year a fan revolt occurred when Collins kept him on the bench for no other reason than Collins questionable managerial skills. If he can get his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OPS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OPS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OPS</span></a> up to .750, a big if, he is 5 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a> player and the cost here is miniscule for that potential.
I am trying to figure <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70430">Mookie Betts</a></span> out. He is going to hit .450 but with 75 doubles, 20 triples, and 30 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a>'s so his chances to steal are going to be limited.
The only flaw in Machado might be his maturity. His glove and bat are something special..
Indeed, Dombrowski has made some good deals but the Doug Fister Trade Part II was sooooo bad that it casts a pall over the rest of his tenure because this team appears to be the next coming of the Phillies. What was he thinking? As you say, perhaps he thought he saw something no one else in baseball saw. When the trade was made I cannot think of a single member of baseball intelligentsia who was not flabbergasted.
The logic behind your comment seems pretty solid, but a quality catcher is so hard to find that I am sure the O's will make every effort to keep him behind the plate. He loses almost all his value at 1st base.
<span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a> absolutely hates him, projecting a 5.60 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=ERA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('ERA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">ERA</span></a> with a -1.2 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=WARP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('WARP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">WARP</span></a>. Indeed, his emergence as a usable starter last season was all the proof needed that something is wrong with offense in the Major Leagues. There was nothing in his performance at Scranton that hinted he could anybody out at the next level. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17649">Aaron Small</a></span> redux looks more likely. It makes it look like scouting be damned. Throw a dart at the board and you might hit Greene or, perhaps, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=67740">Jacob DeGrom</a></span>, who was so far down the Mets list of prospects that he was also invisible.
If I have ever read a column that appears to speak of "Paralysis By Analysis" it is this one. I could not help but get a feeling of desperation on the part of the Cubs as I read the article. Strength, bat speed and a powerful swing, are only valuable when contact is made and decisions on whether it is a fastball, or a slider, or a change, should my hands be here or when do I begin to clear my left hip cannot be made consciously. Why one hitter can recognize spin instantly and another will never be able to is not a mystery. It is part of what talent is. Can it be learned? Only to a point is the correct answer. No matter how much instruction an athlete receives and practice he puts in a player is not going to match the few who have been given a gift that is mind-boggling when it appears. It looks like Baez is facing a tough obstacle.
Untested young pitchers with talent, Bundy, Owens, Rodon, Gray, et al, should be rated above proven stiffs, Delgado(OMG), Turner, or Tomlin who are in the first group. At least these young guys have a chance to get somebody out. I know that PECOTA has no way to pass an eye test but some projection should be part of the equation because no Cub fan should ever want to see Jacob Turner throw another pitch in Wrigley.
This is the last year my beloved New Britain Rock Cats will be playing just down the road. I was there for the first game at Beehive Field, a dump the day it opened, in 1983 and I will be there for the last game played at New Britain Stadium, which was nice when it opened in 1993, but can't compare to even A league stadiums now. The trip into downtown Hartford, 20 miles away, will be made but only occasionally and it will not be the same. This is the antithesis of the theme of this article but it will be memorable.
Torque, torque, torque as Ted Williams said. Hips first, shoulders next, then arms, wrists and implement. Baseball, golf and tennis, in all swings this must be the sequence of events.
The way Smyly pitched for the Rays, I wouldn't care what his velocity is. Remember, it ain't velocity, it's movement and location and it is very possible he took something off to improve what really counts. I read recently that the Rays changed his approach in some way, can't recall exactly what, and the results are so good that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
I cannot imagine any scenario in which the Dodgers will do anything to improve the Giants ball club.
There are very few things as entertaining as a Bartolo Colon at bat, but there is always the threat that he will end his season with every swing he takes as he did with the Red Sox in 2008.
Russell Carleton, Phoenix is far, far better in March than Florida. No travel and no rain, cheaper and tickets are available. Just came back and will be returning soon.
When I checked "Betts getting moved for a pitcher" I ROFL.
The way Emilio Bonifacio played 2nd base for Toronto in 2013 has colored my view to such an extent that I can't believe any team above High-A would actually want him on their roster, much less pay him.
I know what your saying. The Rockies are sending a pretty sad looking team to New Britain this year but wait until next year when Dahl, Tapia, McMahon and Freeland get here, but by then the team will be in Hartford.
A quick anecdote about constant and consistent movement in an athletic swing. Julius Boros, a great golfer from the 1950's and 60's, when asked when he started his swing replied, "The moment I take the club out of the bag." The pattern of movement was the same long before he even took his stance. That can be seen in the preliminary actions of many ball players. Nomar Garciaparra's ritual, step out on every pitch, tug on the gloves, then get back in, comes to mind immediately.
Greg Luzinski seems like a possible comp. Schwarber, making obvious assumptions in development, seems to be very similar. Luzinski proves anybody can play left field if he can hit.
Dominic Smith. I have seen him continue to be ranked highly on other lists despite the 1 HR in 518 PA's. One list blamed it on the ballpark in Savannah, but what about the other half of the games that he played on the road. 1 HR is 1 HR and there is no sugar coating that. Another Mets' bust?
If the other team is starting Clayton Kershaw in a playoff game I would be confident, from recent performances, that my team would score plenty of runs. Now if that other team was starting the MadBum it might be a different story.
I am not surprised but it looks like Kaleb Cowart has disappeared into the ethernet.
Gomes and Aviles for Esmil Rogers isn't that far removed from Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb, and that is saying something.
The side arm delivery by Marichal is 8 inches above the modern day strike zone.
That caught my eye immediately, especially when I saw some of the never were's and never will be's that were mentioned.
Burke Badenhop can actually get hitters out and keep the ball in the yard. 1 HR in 70 innings based in Fenway catches the eye.
The Lincecum comments made me laugh. Brian Sabean is constantly called a top flight GM yet he has made two of the worst moves in recent years with his signings of Zito and Lincecum. It isn't fair, hee hee, you should not be able to make such hideous blunders and win three World Series in five years.
I don't know if it is a joke, just joking, but I still think the Nats should send Strasburg to the Red Sox for Mookie, and maybe a wee bit more. Victorino is a perfect fit and both teams get exactly what they need.
I think this is the same Joe Jimenez I watched at Norwich(Connecticut Tigers) this past summer. He looked like had something but I should tell you guys at BP that you still have the Tigers short-season team playing in Oneonta. The team has been in Norwich since the Giants moved to there Eastern League team to Richmond a few years ago.
I very often laugh at PECOTA projections and it looks like this year will be no exception. The Kluber projection might set the new nadir but I find myself in complete agreement on Mookie Betts, only he will be doing it for the Nationals after he and Strasburg exchange uniforms. Anybody who has seen my comments on Mookie understand that there is not another player I would consider trading him for but it actually makes sense. Washington, with this great young 2nd baseman, would fill the last hole in the lineup and win 115 games while the Red Sox would have their ace. It would all be contingent on Strasburg agreeing to an extension. As I said I often laugh at the PECOTA projections and my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek as I write this, but.......................
I must say that your judgment takes a hit when you put Gyorko ahead of Prado. Prado can actually play.
As always, another great article with more thoughtful high quality insight into life as well as baseball. When you mentioned that you are a trained clinical psychologist I could not help but relate that immediately to the sad case of Rick Ankiel. He has always fascinated me because of the instantaneous onset of The Yips that befell him in the first game of the 2001 playoffs. There cannot be a more devastating thing happen to a professional athlete than this and would seem to make him uniquely qualified to help players through tough times. What talent this man possessed and I have always thought he was in Bo Jackson and Deon Sanders league when it came to great, great ability. I sigh, sadly, when I read that he suffered control problems. The Yips, The Thing, Steve Blass Disease, whatever you call them, are not control problems. The difference between walking 6 per 9 innings and being hit with the Yips is the difference between a trip to the pizzeria and a trip to Mars. A few have coped with the Yips successfully, Bernard Langer, in golf, comes to mind, but I know of no baseball player who has permanently overcome them. Can you enlighten me, in any way, on this subject? Do they usually strike instantaneously or come on gradually and eventually overwhelm the victim?
Since the player with the highest percentage of votes ever for Hall of Fame induction is also the ultimate drop and drive pitcher that I have ever seen, I find this seeming desire to downgrade and dismiss this technique as, even a little bit, inferior somewhat mystifying. I think JW has a valid point of discussion when he mentions that the angle of the downward plane of the pitch is less with drop and drivers and that may be a type of deception. This could be an explanation why, for the past two years, I have been watching Koji Uehara make everybody look foolish and it wasn't with just his splitter, the famous invisiball. The number of swings and misses that he got with his awesome heater, all of a very consistent 89, was equally amazing to watch. I find nitpicking success to be a losing formula. Greg Holland's stuff should, and does, alarm the hitters a lot more than his technique should alarm evaluators. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" should be the mantra in every case where performance exceeds what appears to be flawed technique.
Everybody is down on Pedroia but this guy is a special player. The question is how much of a role the injuries played in his gradual decline and whether he is really over them or is it really that father time has simply continued his inexorable assault on this toughest of the tough players. I am going to back to that well one more time, maybe .290/.350/.410/20 with 15 HR's and leaving those clever picks, like that #1 overall prospect, Profar anyone, to the other guys.
Between Gattis, Singleton and Carter, three of the leading TTO specialists in the game, there is going to be enough air circulation that the Astros may not have to turn on the AC.
That was pretty funny, of course any time Wily Mo Pena is seen on a baseball diamond it is also pretty funny.
It is truly sad to see Joe Mauer as a bottom of the barrel player at the position he now plays.
The ghost of Tim Beckham, the Rays answer to Ryan Leaf, continues to haunt the franchise as the search for a SS goes on and on and on and.....
Any "prospect" that can't beat out Emilio Bonifacio at 2nd base ain't no prospect.
He is also one of the few whose son has been successful in the major leagues as well.
I have never seen Baez play but the comparison jumped into my mind immediately. I was impressed by Sano, who had a very low BABIP here for someone who hit the ball as hard as he did. I keep thinking he might become an Adam Dunn type.
As a 1/2 season ticket holder to the games of the New Britain Rock Cats for many years I have watched many Twins prospects come through here. It has been a bleak picture for a long time and this year was the worst. Sano went down before the season and Buxton was almost maimed for life in his only game here. This list of prospects includes only a few players who have appeared at New Britain. Vargas surprised me with his plate discipline and performed very well. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Rosario was not grossly overrated as has been the case in the past. He has a lot to prove and will never have an outfielders bat. Sano, in 2013, was the bright spot and is the player I want to watch as he moves up. He really put on a show in 2013 and his low average did not do him justice. There were lots of swings and misses but the ball exploded off his bat. I cannot wait to see if he can make enough contact.
The word questionable connotes that there is some doubt involved in the consideration of the subject at hand. There is no such doubt regarding the lack of defense that the double play tandem of Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy will provide the Mets exciting young staff.
I agree with you 100%. The first weekend series against Boston in 2013 was the worst performance I have ever seen and I felt it helped poison a Blue Jays team that thought it was a contender.
Seldom do I take exception with the writers at Baseball Prospectus but to imply that Biggio was strictly a singles and doubles hitter with a smattering of home runs is below the level of competence usually associated with this great operation. Biggio had 8, count'em, 8 seasons of 20 or more home runs and finished with 291 dingers. A fair comparison might be Bobby Grich, considered by many to be a second baseman who hit with power had only 2 years with 20 HR's.
I had to look twice when it said that Delmon Young wasn't 37 years old. Seriously, there are going to be a lot of DH opportunities for the Birds with Cruz cruising to Seattle and I would not be surprised if Young doesn't get most of them.
If Liz makes it into the rotation then Ray Searage should be a lock for the Hall Of Fame.
I will have a hard time not following every move Baez makes this year, starting in spring training. The Cubs are poised to move up but what will Baez's role be, or can he contribute at all? The article says he is under the microscope and that is spot on. Put me in the camp that he has a lot to prove and a see a deer in the headlights, Rob Deer.
The Rockies are bringing their minor league staircase to New Britain this year and I am waiting patiently for Tapia, Dahl and McMahon, et al. to get here. All summer long I kept reading about this team in Asheville and expected to see much higher ceilings on these players, especially Tapia who was being hailed as a future star of the 1st magnitude. While I wait it appears to be a bleak outlook in 2015 for the home team.
You are being very, very kind to the Mets middle infielders, Flores and Murphy, when you say that one too many GBs will get through, two or three is more realistic.
Brett Lawrie, Billy Butler and Ike Davis were called major league baseball players in this article. I have nothing but the highest regard for the staff at Baseball Prospectus but this is looking like nothing but a 60 win season, or less, if these guys are in the starting lineup on Opening Day. These team has been destroyed since last July and each move seems stranger than the one that preceded it. Cespedes for Lester didn't work out but was not insane. They got nothing from Hammel and no much of a return for Samardzija. Moss for some questionable prospect makes no sense and Butler and Davis do not provide any comfort for A's fans. It seems like Billy Beane is trying to show everybody that he is smarter than everyone else but I agree with the comment that A's ownership has gone bananas.
Ridiculous trivia question: Who did Jon Lester strike out to finish his no-hitter in 2008? The very player who does not swing and miss very often, Alberto Callaspo.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it appears that the Yankees looked at Herrera, Davis and Holland and saw the path to the playoffs. This has the look of a very scary bullpen. Miller and Betances are top shelf and if Robertson returns they can contend even with Beltran, Teixiera and a couple of other aging stiffs on the roster.
Aaron Barrett fascinates me in a bizarre way. His two wild pitches in the NLDS appearance were unbelievable and my deviant mind harkened back to a young pitcher who cracked in the playoffs, Rick Ankiel. I do not wish The Thing on anyone and I will be watching him closely.
This came as complete shock. Donaldson looked like the key component of the A's team and was under control for years. Coming on top of the ill fated jettisoning of Cespedes, followed by the unfathomable signing of Billy Butler, it looks like Beane is losing his marbles.
This is number one on a lot of lists here in New England. August 26, 2012 will always be a regional holiday in Red Sox Nation. This trade almost equals Heathcliff Slocumb for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for the best deal ever.
I agree with your assessment completely. After watching him play about 20 games in the minors I think everyone will be surprised by his power. I saw more than one 400 foot blast come off his bat. The hit tool looks tremendous, the glove at 2nd is all-star caliber and he runs the bases like the wind. It is a crime that he is blocked at 2nd by Pedroia, but Betts, with his all-round game, just might be the best prospect since Trout.
Following up on my previous rant I would like to add a few observations from a man who has spent a lifetime working on, and adjusting, athletic swings. The comments about Soler are very solid. Power can come from several sources. Quick wrists, Hank Aaron, brute strength, Adam Dunn, but,as a student of the swing motion, the overlooked source of power is the ability to initiate and separate the hip turn while resisting and controlling the shoulders. The similarities between golf, I have been a professional for nearly 50 years, and baseball are clearly seen. Jose Bautista has always been one of my favorite players and during his emergence as one of the game's great power hitters it was clear that his power came from the beautiful separation of his turns, hips first, then torso, then the lever of the hands and wrists. How does a relatively small golfer, Rory McIlroy, out drive everybody? He applies exactly the same principles with his driver swing. Just like Bautista, it is poetry in motion, and I could not care less if he has a slight change of planes during his swing, or if Soler's rear foot repositions itself as he begins his swing. If he is thinking about whether his rear foot stays planted the pitch is in the catcher's glove.
The more articles I read in BP, I am struck by the seeming desire to attempt to find flaws in some minute areas that really do not effect performance in tangible ways. I come from the school that says "If it ain't broke don't fix it" and wonder how many .270 hitters with 25 home run power were turned into Will Middlebrooks or Ike Davis. I would not touch Jorge Soler's swing with a ten foot pole until he shows he can't hit. Changing one thing can often turn up another. Certainly when the player is failing then change must be attempted but let him fail first!
He outperformed David Wright from here to Sunday and the price seems about in line with the market. Ryan Zimmerman has seen his last days at third and Headley may or may not ever be a star again. The Mariners look like they are beginning to put an actual team on the field.
I am certain there are very few people on this site who have followed the Red Sox with as much fervor as I have over my 72 years. I was there when Felix Mantilla played second, Eddie Bressoud was at SS and the mound was infected by the likes of Jack(Tomato)Lamabe and 2,000 people were in the stands. These moves are astonishing, whether they turn out well is another story. I thought Carl Crawford could play until I saw him on an everyday basis, Peter Gammons said today that he played the worst LF he had ever seen play for the Sox. When Peter Gammons talks I listen, and I agree! One comment from the article that I would like to comment is Kuiper's statement that Sandoval needs to feel loved. Well there is a presense on the Red Sox, a very large presense, both in the batters box and in the clubhouse and Big Papi has sprinkled his unlimited supply of love on that team for 12 great years. Peter Gammons also alluded to that today and his relationship with Hanley Ramirez. Now let the trades begin!!
Let us add the name of David Ortiz to that list and perhaps Carl Yastrzemski might belong and maybe Fred Lynn while we are at it. Left handed hitters with reasonable power can use the wall easily and still reach the bullpens.
Cespedes and Betts gets them Sale, not a stiff like Danks.
As I write this, 9:45 EST, it appears that the Red Sox have agreements with both Ramirez and Sandoval. Where in the world is everybody going to play? Assuming that only nine men are allowed in the lineup at one time, and only twelve non-pitchers on the roster, Papi is unique, the flurry of trades should be something to behold. I mentioned Betts, and a pitcher or two, for Sale and if Cespedes is on the opening day roster, it would be more amazing than a pig flying. Fister or Zimmerman are probably now on the radar as well and Mike Napoli might look good in Washington where their first baseman just left town. Speculating is always, just that, speculating but this off season has just begun for the Sox and it should be very interesting.
I understand that predicting the future performance of a player is subjective to the Nth degree, but isn't that what talent evaluators are paid for? I agree with many of the comments on this thread that there is too much hedging on the ratings of these prospects. At what point does the curtain drop and somebody have the guts to say, this man can PLAY! The guts that the Yankees showed in 1975 when they traded Doc Medich, 49 wins in 3 years, for Willie Randolph, .164 in a brief appearance, and then won back to back championships. I will use Mookie Betts as my example. I have made it an obsession to follow him since I first saw him play for Greenville in 2012 and I do not see any reason to try to find warts on a player like this. At second base he is as close to a future all-star as there could possibly be. Hit, absolutely, power, more than anybody seems to give him credit for, base running, off the charts, glove, great at second, and arm, solid. My point being, since I see Mookie Betts as a future all-star at second base I would give him an 8 for OFP, without reservation. The potential for .320, 25 HR's, 40 steals and gold glove defense just screams at you when you watch him play. Whether he ever reaches that level is for us to find out but to judge him lower than that now is wrong. Whether he should be judged as a second baseman is another story altogether, but if I was in the White Sox front office I would not be afraid to offer Chris Sale (Doc Medich) for Mookie Betts (Willie Randolph). Even more so now that offense is expensive and pitching is easy to find.
That is a motley crew.
What an intriguing article. The risks are all on the Marlins side but they truly have no choice yet Stanton is in almost the same position. If he doesn't accept then finds that the mind can't forget and won't let him stand in the box when that first high hard comes in he is left holding an empty bag instead of a bag full of nice green money. As a student of fear and how we respond to it, the yips in my sport, the player can try to hang in there but sometimes the autonomic nervous system simply takes over and the subconscious overwhelms all attempts by the player to control his performance. Trying to make a 3-footer involves no physical danger and should not turn a professional into a shaking, sweating mess, but it does! I have what no idea what facing a 100mph heater from Aroldis Chapman is like but the games the mind can play are very complex and not dissimilar and until Stanton passes that test, which I hope and pray he will, he is faced with the choice of a bird in the hand or maybe two in the bush. If this was a solid franchise it would be much easier to grab the pen but I agree with the author that the decision is complicated by the disfunctional Marlins ownership. How much does winning count or is it just about the money?
It will a big surprise if Iglesias does not return to his pre-2013 hitting level. It looked like a mirage to a lot of people when he kept his average over .300 for most of the year. He is clever with the bat and will slap and run and bunt but .220, with no sting, is looming.
I agree with you completely. When Javier Baez hits .250, Alcantara shows something and the other touted prospects deliver then and only then I might believe, but there will still be considerable doubt. The Mets, OTOH, are poised to break out. If the management has the guts to trade any one of their big time pitching prospects for a SS, rather than signing a stiff, they will be contenders in 2015.
I want to see the person who had Collin McHugh on any preseason fantasy team. That person has to have a crystal ball and be able to see the future because there was absolutely nothing to suggest that he could actually be good. His performance this year is the most astounding turn around ever seen by this veteran baseball watcher.
Liriano in 2013, Volquez in 2014, Masterson in 2015, why not? If I were the Pirates I would turn him over to their witch doctor, in residence, and sit back as Masterson mows 'em down.
You may be correct but I could not believe the Rockies put the qualifying tag on Cuddyer and only foresaw him becoming the Drew and Morales of 2015. He is a big man and this body type tends to age rapidly once the inexorable decline begins. That can manifest itself by loss of skill or injury. I just cannot bring myself around to the idea that this signing will work out well for the Mets.
Living in the New York market, despite being a lifelong dyed in the wool Red Sox fan, I have been hearing about the "Killer B'S" for all too long. It was fun to laugh at Brockman, a complete bust, Banuelos, injured and still a long, long way from anywhere and Betances, who couldn't find the ocean from a rowboat for most of his career. I guess that it is possible for 6'8" guys to eventually find enough coordination to put it all together, even though it never seemed that Betances would. He has to be given a lot of credit. He made a lot of right handed hitters do a John Kruk impersonation with his slider this year.
I was thinking the same thing about Trout.
The performance of DeGrom has to make you think that Las Vegas makes it impossible to properly judge pitching talent. With that in mind, I think Syndergaard is going to blow the hitters away, ala Matt Harvey, and give the Mets a starting rotation that is second to none. Ideally the Mets will send some of their pitchers to other teams for some big league talent in return but, as of now, no team can match Colon, Niese, Gee and Montero at the tail end of the rotation
It certainly looks like the Cubs are positioned to improve rapidly and hold an ace in the hole,(from very deep in the SS hole) with Addison Russell. It would be bold to trade Starlin Castro, but it is the bold who win, and the fit with the Mets is beyond the pale. The Mets need a SS, ya think, and the Cubs need a pitcher, or three. Should it be Matz and Montero or Wheeler, or even DeGrom for one of the Cubs shortstops? Let us leave that to the GM's and trading top players, like Castro, takes guts, but it just this type of bold, but unquestionably risky, move that creates championship teams. Come on Theo, you are not going to have Big Papi fall into your lap for free again, and make the move that puts 1908 to rest.
Surprised to see Volquez way down the list at 39. Floyd, Harang, Hammel ahead of him? He is a guy that I would take a shot at. I know Ray Searage has some type of magic potion that resuscitates washed up stiffs but Volquez was just plain good down the stretch.
Granted the odds of a bad throw were quite long, but that chance of an errant throw or fumble by Posey was far, far greater than the possibility that the badly hobbled Salvador Perez was going to get a hit. The odds of the Royals scoring here are still very low whichever way the game unfolded but sending Gordon was probably the better chance.
I assume he will be at New Britain next season after having a really tough time in the Texas League this year. With a new organization, the Rockies, moving into town I was wondering who might be worth watching. Yours is the first positive comment I have seen concerning Story. 2016 should be better when Tapia, Dahl, Mac Mahon and others from this year's Asheville Tourists should be making a visit.
Hicks looked pretty darn good in 2012 here in New Britain but was rushed, obviously, and forgot how to hit. He struggled when he was back in town this summer for an extended rehab but picked it up some after a slow start. His defense is so good that if he hits a little he can stick around and it is worth the price of admission just to watch him throw. What an arm!!
As a life-long Red Sox fan I have watched Lester for years and it was always understood that he did not like to throw to first. The broadcasters never covered up that fact but I do not recall Lester having a problem throwing to first on bunts and similar squibbers, unlike the long forgotten, but unbelievably bad, Matt Young, who simply could not make a throw if it wasn't a pitch.
The bunt against the shift by Belt in the 2nd could easily be called the most important play of the game as it led directly to the Giants first run and set the tempo for the rest of the game. I am shocked that there isn't a single mention of it in the article, or in the comments. In this world of diminishing offense it is time for left handed hitters to leave their egos in the clubhouse and help the team get base runners and score some runs.
This is the post season, not July, and, at this pivotal moment in the game, this was the spot to use your exceptionally good LOOGY. Every game is basically all hands on deck so no one is saving their bullpen. Cain was followed by Hosmer and Moustakas so it was an ideal spot for Lopez. Letting Gordon face Hudson for the third time was a recipe for disaster.
Yost had a good game. There was no reason to double switch. The Royals needed Moustakas in there for defense and the odds on Willingham delivering were longgggg. Herrera was also the right man to start the 7th. It was Bochy who blew the game by allowing Hudson to try to get through the order three times. The fact that Lopez was not ready to face Gordon was the managerial blunder of the post season. So what if Lopez gave up a hit to a lefty later in the inning, he is tough as nails on leftie. Quoting BP's 2014 annual, "Lopez has proven he is amongthe game's best lefty specialists, if not the best", and was the man to have in there to face Gordon. Shame on Bochy!
This excellent article hits on something that seems true. There is a real possibility that, or at least some of, the decline in offense is directly related to the lowering of the strike zone. Throughout the season I jokingly kept saying that I was waiting to see a pitch in the dirt be called a strike and I can't get the Seattle-Houston game out of my mind. King Felix and Brad Peacock kept lowering their location and Mark Carlson kept ringing up the hitters. Call me an old fuddy but I remember when the high, hard one was the pitch of choice, now it is just a ball.
I don't understand why Bumgarner only threw that slow curve 19 times this year. It looked like it couldn't have been hit with a cricket bat. If he uses it more often we might forget who that other lefty from the southern part of the state is and MadBum will be picking up the Cy Young one of these years.
Without a doubt, Matheny's decision to bring in Wacha was stupifying. As was mentioned here on BP, on several occasions, it looked like the only reason Wacha was on the roster was in case of emergency, like an 18 inning game in which a long man might be needed. This ranks up there with the zaniest moves ever observed by this very old baseball addict. Grady Little's decision to leave Pedro in back in 2003 at least made a bit of sense. This made none!
Perez proves again that the best play in baseball is the unsuccessful sacrifice bunt. The only redeeming grace for the sacrifice bunt is the gosh-awful fielding of so many major league pitchers. If they are not going through their pitching routine, a large percentage can't make an accurate throw. Ah, what pleasant memories of Mariano chucking the pea into CF.
It is now October and I can't believe I missed this article. It was early in 2012 when I first saw Bradley play 2 games at Salem. Branded in my brain is my glimpse of his defense. Somebody hit a rocket into the deep gap in Left Center, by the time I reacted Bradley seemed to have moved ten feet from his position and caught the ball on the run right at the fence. Of course he was also hitting .350+ and I thought I was watching Willie again. I find it hard to believe he can't hit my weight, because if he could he would be indeed be something special.
Ho-hum, another great article from Baseball Prospectus. I am one of the trolls who is constantly harping on bad umpiring. With replay it is almost all centered on balls and strikes and I have thought that it might be playing a role in the decline of offense. There was a game this season, Mariners vs. Astros in which no less than 16 pitches below the zone were called strikes. The umpire, Mark Carlson, was consistent but he was awful. The low strike, as it is called now, and the general lowering and widening of the zone have made hitting a baseball even harder than it inherently is and the loss of balance between pitching and hitting is bringing us back towards 1968, which very few fans of the game want.
I was at Buxton's only game in New Britain and what a night it was. Lost in the aftermath of the awful collision was the fact that he struck out all three times. With the same sad face as you Arsene, I hope the Rockies have a few more quality players to send here next year, AND, hope it is not the last year. The owners of the Rock Cats are out of their minds.
In total agreement with the author on the significance of Molina's injury. Since he seldom plays I had not seen Cruz before but he looked awful behind the plate. Unfortunately I had to watch Pierzynski's act this summer and it does not stand up to the smell test. Molina is one of the most valuable players in baseball and if he is out it foretells a lot of trouble for the Cardinals.
Miller was developing rapidly in the first half of 2013. He was a reliable option until the lis-frank injury shut him down for the season. It was not surprising to see what he did this year.
Are you kidding? 3 or 4 extra inning games would be great and one went 18, all the better.
What incredibly low numbers for the Royals WAR. This lineup looks like a Triple-A team, but it makes it crystal clear that in this age of very little offense that the game is won from the 7th inning on and Herrera, Davis and Holland are the best!
Williams deserves the Grady Little Award in this series. Removing Zimmerman in game 2 and not having the bullpen ready for all circumstances in the crucial 7th inning of game 4 were disastrous mistakes. It alos looked like Aaron Barrett took a page from Rick Ankiel's playbook and used an appearance in the post-season to discover "The Thing." Those pitches he threw were not normal wild pitches.
It is now 9/26 and the aforementioned Javier Baez is carrying a snazzy .550 OPS and has the amazing stat of 90 K's in 199 AB's. I am a long, long way from being convinced that he will ever make enough contact to be a major league player.
Who is the real Aaron Sanchez? On May 24th I made the 150 mile drive from New Britain to Manchester to watch Sanchez duel Henry Owens. That Sanchez never retired a batter and was beyond awful, walking four and hitting one. Then later in the season I watched a composed pitcher throwing unhittable stuff past major league hitters. The numbers speak for themselves, 14 hits and only 7 walks in over 30 innings. His mechanics looked great and if he turns into another Betances that isn't too bad. We shall see.
As a minor league junkie, this is great stuff every day. Thank you for all the effort.
If Arcia is playing in Huntsville next year he is going to very lonely.
The comment on Yusmeiro Petit reinforces my belief that horrible ball/strike performances by the umpires is a compelling factor in the decline in offense that has become a waterfall this season. What is a strike has become little more than guesswork for the hitters. I watched Mark Carlson work the plate the other night in a game that featured King Felix and, replacement level, Brad Peacock as the pitchers. It became clear early on that if the ball did not hit the dirt and came within a few inches of the outside corner that it was called a strike. I went to Brooks Baselall and found that an incredible 16 pitchers below the strike zone were called strikes. Giving Peacock credit where credit is due, he hit that spot consistently and was rewarded with 5 scoreless innings. How can anybody hit when balls are strikes constantly>
Please wait a moment, perhaps I need more than just a moment, maybe a lot more, while I stop laughing. Wily Mo Pena is arguably the worst baseball player seen in the major leagues during my lifetime, a rather long one I might add. Now, I will admit, that the half of the game in which he is, without debate, the worst player I have ever seen, playing the outfield, will never again enter the picture, I will still say that, outside of giving the nearby spectators a cooling breeze, he wasn't much with the bat in his hand either, and those Japanese numbers don't compare with the numbers of those two proven major leaguers, Tuffy Rhodes or Wladimir Balantien, ROFL.
The Giants strung 5 hits against Price just 2 starts after the Yankees put 9 in a row on him. Bordering on the unbelievable.
Following up on the previous comment, the other side of the story has to be hitting. Is it just so terrible that even replacement level pitchers can get enough "major league" caliber hitters out to hang around long enough to actually get some wins? It certainly looks that way. As a long, long standing, dyed in the wool, Red Sox fan I am enduring a season that boggles the mind. The lineup has featured Will Middlebrooks, who looks as lost at the plate as anybody I have ever seen. Jackie Bradley, Jr. who has fooled me completely by stinking the joint up after looking like he had game and Xander Bogaerts whose performance after the ill conceived (I could use other words here but I don't use such language) signing of Stephen Drew has set a new nadir in performance. From June 8th through the end of August he went through a 33-222-.149 period. I guess that is what is called a slump! In baseball there are 38 players with over 100 PA's that are below the Mendoza Line. Maybe it should now be called the Olt Line and lowered to an incomprehensible .139 in over 200 PA's. The highest BA in the NL belongs to Ben Revere who is such a weak offensive player that he is on my Hacking Mass team. Is the bad hitting simply a change in approach? Is a K simply seen as an out and a swing for the fences mentality on every count a reason or my private reason that the umpiring is so bad that pitchers are getting away with murder. I am anxiously waiting for a pitch in the dirt to be called a strike. There have been some close ones. Whatever the reason the balance between hitting and pitching is as skewed as it has been since 1968 and it is time for baseball to look at the situation before it gets even worse.
The dead horse that I have beating for quite some time is that pitching is plentiful and that there is very little difference in performance, at least right now, between Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel and any number of previously unknown bodies that have been toiling away at any number of backwaters in the minors. Billy Beane's apparent misunderstanding of this fact is causing great apprehension and gnashing of teeth in Oakland. He has found out that John Lester can lose 4-0 and 2-1 just as easily as Jesse Chavez can. This is difficult to understand because it has been clearly apparent, for some time, that hitting is disappearing as an American art form and should be the sought after commodity in the game as it stands now. It has reached a crescendo recently as perceived stiff after perceived stiff, BP calls them replacement level or organizational depth(think Shane Greene), comes up and runs off a series of quality starts. The number of exceptionally low hit games has exploded to the point where there is little notice even when a no-hitter is pitched. While, in no way am I claiming that great pitchers are not better than Shane Greene, it seems clear that the gap between the Kershaw's and Lester's of the world and the Wada's and Chavez's has shrunk considerably.
Roller coaster season for Betts? Skyrocket or moonshot would be more appropriate descriptions of his year. The only reason he hasn't put up the same numbers that he did in Portland and Pawtucket are because of a BABIP that was exceptionally low during his first several games. It is still below .300 but the average has risen steadily. Anyone who watched his early games in the show saw line drive after line drive find fielders gloves. Make no mistake, Mookie Betts can hit and hit with real power!
Billy Beane finally got too smart for his own good. Hitting, not pitching, is the commodity that is in short supply. It seems that the pitching doesn't even have to be any good to hitters out nowadays. The crashing of offenses throughout baseball shows that clearly. Most so called experts said the Orioles didn't have enough pitching. Who cares! If Shane Greene, who couldn't get any body out in the bushes but has made several quality starts for the Yankees, can do the job then Tillman, Chen, Norris, et al., look like Smoltz, Maddox and Glavine to me. Beane has apparently made a very serious blunder in sending Cespedes to Boston. Is it chemistry or simply the presence of his bat in the lineup that is missing but I am not making a new contribution by being Mr. Obvious.
This is where the Mets front office should earn their salary. In 1975 the Yankees sent Doc Medich to the Pirates for an untested prospect named Willie Randolph and helped turn the franchise, which had been moribund, think Horace Clarke, for over a decade, around. The Mets should fool some GM into thinking Daniel Murphy is a major league 2nd baseman and trade him and Montero, or another of their impressive stable of young pitchers, for a SS or a LF. Herrera is a gamble but this is a chance for the Mets to hit a HR, figuratively. I saw him play 5 times this summer and he has the hit tool.
To Mr. Jason Parks, even if you don't think Henry Owens is the next Jon Lester, I, as a lifelong fanatic of the great game of baseball, who, truly and tragically, only stumbled across BP this year, and now cannot get enough of BP to ever make up for this horrific omission in my life, cannot wish you enough good luck in this next chapter in your life. It was a special part of every day to open BP and read the many stimulating articles from the sharp minds that share my passion. BTW, I will settle for Owens being only the next Bruce Hurst.
Kennys Vargas looked very good at New Britain this year, but he has surprised even me with his performance with the Twins, even if it is a SSS. I recall watching another hulking 1st baseman(?) pound the ball around New Britain Stadium many years ago and cannot shake the feeling that I was watching Even Bigger Papi play this summer. With Joe Mauer cluttering up 1st base for a few more years it looks like Kennys will also be a permanent DH.
What you really need to know is that yesterday might have had the lowest cumulative batting average for all the games played in the history of baseball in the live ball era. 5 shutouts, 2 1-hitters, 2 3-hitters and 4 4-hitters. It is understood that everyone knows the balance has been lost between hitting and pitching but it is getting serious.
After just watching Cespedes take King Felix deep into the night I am happy to get any and every Cuban defector who happens to show up.
I recall that the Red Sox were holding out for Brett Jackson in return for Theo Epstein. One empty uniform for one empty suit.
It should be noted that Buxton had fanned all three times he batted before the collision. He also unleashed an awesome throw to nail a base stealer attempting to go to 3rd on an wild throw
Regular visitors to BP may know that I live in a suburb of New Britain and attend around 30 Rock Cats games a year. The arrival of Byron Buxton was going to be the high point of a lackluster season in which the Rock Cats fielded a team of older never will be's, with the exception of Kennys Vargas. I was sitting in my usual section, 208, with a perfect view of the trajectory of the ball when the collision occurred. From my seat I could see that the line drive was splitting the outfielders exactly and as both players dove for the ball, at full speed, there was an impact that could best be described as a very hard football hit without any pads. It was awful to watch. Kvasnicka, who incredibly held on to the ball, and Buxton lay motionless as the base runner scored from first. As both players lay on the ground, help seemed to be very slow to arrive. After a minute or so Kvasnicka got up but Buxton never moved. The ensuing half hour was filled with terrible anxiety. My thoughts, and I am sure the thoughts of many who witnessed it, went immediately to Eric LeGrand and Mike Utley who were paralyzed from similar hits. It is hard to imagine that it is truly great news that Buxton received only a concussion, but believe me when I say it is.
Games 4 & 5 of the 2004 ALCS are #1 & #2, then there is a long, long gap until #3 shows up. The story surrounding these games, the curse, the rivalry and the fact that they occurred on successive days can never be equaled.
This should probably wait until tomorrow but my gut says I have to comment now. As regulars to BP may know I live in a suburb of New Britain and attend many games at New Britain Stadium. Tonight was supposed to be the best night of the year because Byron Buxton was making his first appearance in Double-A but it turned out to be the worst experience I have ever had at a ball game and I have seen somewhere in the neighborhood of two thousand games. The collision between Byron Buxton and Mike Kvasnicka cannot be described by my mere words. The two players were running at top speed when they collided in right center chasing a line drive. Both lay motionless for some time. Kvasnicka was eventually able to stand, Buxton, however, in the thirty minutes that I watched, with increasing fear and horror, never made any move whatsoever. Pray for Buxton.
I know this is the non-Vin Scully edition, but I could not fail to say that I listened to his first season on WOR in New York, selling Schaefer Beer on channel 9, and I go to bed with him now, hawking Farmer John, on MLB Extra Innings. Many, I am sure, were thrilled to hear he is returning for an amazing 66th season but no one more so than me. I am a dyed in the wool Red Sox fan but even more a fan of baseball and Vin Scully has always been and still is a big part of it.
I will beat the gun and announce that the line of Henry Owens pitched hitless ball into the 6th in his first start in Triple-A. His final line is 6.2/2/0/0/3/9. I will go very far out on a limb and say that Owens is much better than I keep reading about and he will make Sox fans, me included, forget that guy who is now in Oakland. The scouts, with their guns, must see that Owens has never, ever, been hit hard, whereas, many of these "stuff" guys have been banged around plenty.
Dilson Herrera is intriging. He was very impressive in the recent series in New Britain. The Mets would be smart to gamble on him and trade Murphy.
Please pardon the rant that follows. I watched, in horror, as Aaron Sanchez walked the ballpark, except for the one he hit in his 5/24 fiasco. The line of 0/0/6/3/4/0 is probably unique and has obviously colored my vision but the thought that he is in Toronto and Owens is in Portland astounds me.
Do you men at BP think Rizzo should have tried to make the play? It is similar to catching a long foul fly with a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs which I was coached not to do, of course that was in the dead ball era when runs were even more scarce than they are today.
If Baez moves to 2nd where does Alcantara play? He is already major league ready. I am not a Cub fan but it will be very, very interesting to watch this group of prospects come to Wrigley and try to bring "Mission Impossible" to the friendly confines at Addison and Waveland.
My question is where was all this information about Appel while he was being touted as the top pitching prospect for at least a couple of years? If it isn't an arm injury then all the scouts who were all over him must be blind.
I was shocked that these professional baseball players had to buy their own equipment. I have taught and coached, another sport, golf, for over 50 years. Presently one of my pupils is playing professionally at the lower level of the PGA Tour family of tours on the PGA Tour Latin America. He has everything provided to him. Equipment companies outfit him with anything he wants, 2 dozen balls and 3 gloves are in his locker when he arrives at each event. A lavish food spread is available throughout the tournaments and courtesy transportation is also free. Travel and lodging, a considerable expense, are the players responsibility but the point is, even at the lowest level of the PGA ladder everything is first class. MLB should be ashamed for putting these very young adults in this situation.
You have to give shout out to Grant Key, Hudson Valley Renegades, who homered on the first pitch he saw in Organized Baseball then completed his first game ever with the cycle.
It looks like Volquez has solidified his spot. Last night's CG was his fourth straight excellent outing. He is beginning to look like the 2014 version of Liriano .
Ben, I feel like I know you because of our shared obsession with "Bunting to Beat the Shift". BP has been the best addition to my passion for baseball ever, how did I live without it, and you were my introduction. I will follow you at Grantland and all the best.
The debate about who the next long duration Red Sox catcher will be, Vasquez or Swihart, is starting in earnest. Having seen them both play at least a dozen times I agree with your comment. Swihart, being a switch hitter who is equally good from both sides, makes a platoon less appealing while Vasquez's bat, both hit and power, has never impressed me. Vasquez is a fine defender but Swihart is very good also. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in the Red Sox organization in 2013.
I guess you couldn't see that it was said with tongue securely planted in cheek, but, I must admit, all members of Red Sox Nation will fantasize and hallucinate about Stanton.
That is almost too obvious!!
I think you will notice I included Lester.
Just for a chuckle as a followup to the previous blurb, at least I think its with at least a smile. Red Sox lineup on Opening Day 2015.
C/ Blake Swihart
1B/ Mike Napoli
RF/ Giancarlo Stanton
DH/ David Ortiz
2B/ Mookie Betts
SS/ Xander Bogaerts
3B/ Brock Holt
CF/ Jackie Bradley, Jr.
LF/ Empty Uniform
and on the bump: It ain't going to be Jon Lester because he will be in Miami along with Pedroia, Doubront and a AAA pitcher.
The motion has been called. Multiple choice: Who is behind the plate on Opening Day in 2015 for the Red Sox. A/ Christian Vasquez B/ Blake Swihart C/ David Ross D/ Somebody else?
As a retired fanatical Red Sox fan, the east coast junket to Greenville and Salem is a trip I love. The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway in spring are awe inspiring and side trips to the games are the cherry on top. I have been doing it twice a year for years and, since 2011, the clubs have been loaded with prospects. The 2 top catching prospects have followed each other and I have seen each play at least a dozen times. To say that I am sold on Swihart is a gross understatement and it is good to see that the very astute, except for Henry Owens(hee hee), people at BP are beginning to see the same thing. Vasquez may be good but his body just does not look like a baseball player and my comparison has always been biased because of my view of Swihart so I cast my absolutely meaningless lot with Swihart.
While I am at it, another shout out to you guys at BP. Every day there is something that the real fan can get his teeth into, even if they are false. I am already eagerly looking forward to tomorrow's The Call Up to see a write up on Christian Vasquez after the Red Sox, finally and thankfully, sent Pierzynski to the DFA list.
The TIVO will be watching Arismendy Alcantara. Ever since last years futures game I have waited for his arrival. He immediately starts at 2nd on the All-Time All Name team.
I keep struggling with the facts whenever I see Aaron Sanchez being rated above Henry Owens. Owens has outperformed Sanchez in the Eastern League by a huge margin in every facet of pitching. Owens is improving with every start while Sanchez continues to struggle with control, forget command.
Who have been the players that most exceeded their pre-season ranking at pitcher, catcher and position player other than catcher? Reasonable answers are Henry Owens, Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts. It is interesting that all these players are in one organization.
I agree with your assessment of Eddie Rosario as a second season of watching him at New Britain is doing nothing to convince me that he is top prospect. If there is a major league 2nd baseman hiding in that uniform, he is definitely hiding. He is blocked by Brian Dozier even if he could play 2nd but the hit tool, .227 with an 0-23 thrown in, is also in question. I don't claim to be able to read the intangibles but Target Field will play down his power and .270 hitting outfielders with 10 dingers don't cut it on teams that win more than they lose and, on a similar note, noted Twins flop Aaron Hicks is back here showing everybody, once again, that he can't hit, but it is fun to watch that Ellis Valentine arm though.
It was so much more than just the catch, which was truly great, but it was also an act in one of the greatest games ever played during a period when the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry was more intense than any in baseball history. 2003 and 2004 and, to a lesser degree, the following couple of years had to be lived by a fan of these teams, and I attended my first game at Fenway in 1948, to understand and appreciate what was happening.
Wrong date. The greatest regular mid-season game ever played was on July 1, 2004 so the next game would not have been August 1, but there was certainly a rumor going around that Nomar was jakeing.
I was far, far past my childhood when this deal was made but, as a life long Red Sox fan, I knew this was the start of something great. It began with addition by subtraction, Slocumb was awful, but what Tek and Lowe gave the Sox makes this the greatest theft of all time.
All I want to do is see Buxton play. New Britain fields a lineup of career minor leaguers that must be the oldest Double-A roster to ever suit up. An occasional prospect passing through would would be nice.
Nimmo was one pitch from a Golden Sombrero last night without so much as a foul ball. He is really struggling in Double-A and after watching him a few times in 2012 with Brooklyn and the last 2 nights he looks like Fernando Martinez #2.
The Mets' play on the McCutchen scoring play was so inept that it should not be seen in Little League. It was simply pathetic. Unless I am missing something a run is just a wee bit more important than an out, and with 2 outs no less.
Bradley's defense has blown me away from the first time I watched him at Salem in 2012, through Portland and Pawtucket, but it has baffled me completely that he has not been able to hit even a little bit. He tore up the Carolina League, was not over matched at AA and AAA then had the amazing spring training in 2013. I was all in on JBJ being Ellsbury with a great arm. There wasn't a clue that he would look helpless against any and all pitching.
As a followup to the article about the names you see on Triple-A rosters the New Britain Rock Cats are fielding a team which includes in its starting lineup, a 26 year old catcher, 27 year old at 2nd, 28 year old at 3rd, 29 year old at SS with a 28 year old and a 30 year old on the OF. I might be mistaken but this has to be the worst Double-A roster ever put on the field.
This article, and this site, is all about those special things that true fans really understand. Watching the almost weres playing in Triple-A is one of those things. You have a second for your opinion of switching Tampa Bay and Durham. Having attended games in both parks the experience is much better in Durham.
Another great start for Henry Owens who in his last 6 starts is an amazing 37.2/12/3/3/19/39. That is less than 3 hits/9 inn over the span! His walks are wee bit high, anybody who has as many swings and misses as he causes will walk more than someone who pitches to contact, but the whip is 0.83. The reality is that Owens has much better control than similar body types at this stage of his development
Thank you for the best article of all from a continuous supply of fascinating baseball stories of every type. What memories you helped conjure up of the glorious days from the distant past, of that first game at Fenway in 1948 and of three generations sitting in the monster seats. Of joyous thoughts of future trips to Fenway Park or New Britain Stadium or ??????????? with those you love and who share your love of the game.
One of the most comforting thing is never seeing your closer, or closer's team, mentioned in Closer to Me. As long as Koji keeps throwing the invisiball I feel secure.
Always great but the comment about Archimedes Caminero was a classic.
Henry Owens(#108-U25) vs. Aaron Sanchez(#99-U25). After watching Owens look shaky at New Britain off the car went to Manchester to watch him again. I was enticed into the long
(2 1/2hr) drive by the fact that Sanchez was starting for the Fisher Cats, but, it turned out, not getting a single batter out in an outing that was painful to watch. Gentlemen, how often has a team scored 6 runs in an inning without a hit? Owens, OTOH, looked excellent and followed it up with another solid start.
In total agreement with your assessment of relief specialists. The percentage of LOOGY's who deliver from a low arm angle is extremely high while many right handed relievers who go low seem to go all the way to the ground. Chad Bradford and Dan Quisenberry were also submariners who come to mind immediately in addition to the pair mentioned in the article.
The Brewers would probably be much better off if they used positional players instead of Wei-Chung Wang. There might be a more astonishing record through 7 appearances than his but it will take all of BP's tremendous resources to find it. It is tough enough for a team to compete in the majors, much less be a contender, with 25 players but the Brewers are playing with 24.
Gavin Floyd's line on Sunday is interesting. 5.1/7/4/1/3/4 doesn't look unusual except that were NO errors in the game. The answer is obvious but it made me think a moment.
As this evolves I think that the defense will station the defender on the left side in the traditional 3rd base position, or even in some. This might, however, lead to more attempts to go the other way because hitters who think bunting is only for wusses would not have that stigma attached to it.
Hosmer's bunt wasn't against any shift! The 3rd baseman playing deep absolutely does not constitute the shift. That has been routine since 1876, I should know, I saw it!(LOL) If I may be so bold, I think the shift, for this discussion, should only include instances in which 3 defenders are playing to the right of 2nd base. You should erase this from the statistics.
I am confused, Christian Vasquez is rated a very good prospect and Blake Swihart is well down the list. However, in the BP Top 101 Swihart is in at #73 and Vasquez is nowhere to be found. Swihart is #6 and Vasquez is #9 on the Red Sox list and throughout Red Sox Nation the impression has always been that Swihart is the #1 catcher in the system. This has come from the every segment of the media and has been parroted constantly. Reading everything from BP, it seems that Swihart has been very highly regarded and has done nothing this year but continue to develop. His hit tool seems to far outshine Vasquez and, while I hear distant drums that say Vasquez is in the highest echelon defensively, Swihart seems to offer more of everything else. WattsUp? The contracts of both Ross and Pierzynski are up after 2014. Do you think that the Red Sox will have the guts, optomistic, or stupidity, pessimistic, to start 2015 with Vasquez and Swihart as their catchers?
I just finished watching Betts play 3 games. Mookie went 6-13 with 2 doubles, a 400+ foot HR, a couple of BB's and steals. I have been watching baseball for longer than any of the math whizzes at BP have been alive. Forget the Portland Sea Dogs, I used to watch the Portland Pilots, (New England League in the 40's) and there has never been a skill set like this on such a small player that I can recall. It will be very interesting to see if he can carry this all the way. As the article says, he has to drive PECOTA crazy and the comparison of Betts to Butler must be the most bizarre ever(LOL). The funniest, and best, moment was seeing him stand on 1st base next to 6'5"- 275lb Kennys Vargas. I was thinking as I watched them if there had ever been such a difference in size between two players.
Rizzo has begun the attack, now if Brian McCann could only get a bunt fair before he gives up trying.
Watching Henry Owens last night only enhanced my interest in his future, not only because I am a Red Sox fan but to see if he can harness what looks like stuff that misses bats consistently. As I watched Owens last night, live and in person, it reminded me of Steve Dalkowski, a New Britain native, who, in 1960 in the California League, struck out 262 and walked 262 in 170 innings. 8 K's and 5 BB's, in 4, gives some impression of what it was like but it looked much worse. He was not missing close when he missed. He needed a strike zone that was head high and foot or more off the arm side of the plate on many deliveries. I am now hooked and I can see a trip to the great park in Manchester, NH is in the future. Today Brian Johnson goes, I saw him earlier at Salem, final score 12-11, and he showed nothing. 4.2/8/5/5/1/8 but has good numbers in all his other starts. Jeff, you are fantastic, now tell me who you like better, Owens or Johnson?
I forgot to add that the Miguel Sano bobblehead is extremely well done and saved the evening.
I have just returned from New Britain Stadium after watching Henry Owens pitch another game in which he gave up no hits. Under what might be considered ordinary circumstances that should be good, but this was anything but! In his 4 inning outing Owens threw 87 pitches of which 40 were balls, but it looked like he threw 120 and 119 were balls. This being New Britain, it easily conjured up memories of the local legend Steve Dalkowski, a New Britain native, who, in 1960 in the California League, struck out 262 hitters and also walked 262 in 170 innings. OMG, that must have been really fun to watch, but tonight was no day in the park either,and it was altogether fitting and proper that the game ended with the winning run scoring on a bases loaded walk.
I get to watch Henry Owens tonight, live and in person for the first time. To see if he is the next Jon Lester, or only a Xerox copy of the remains of Felix Doubront, and I get a Miguel Sano bobblehead at the same time. All of this for $10 bucks, ain't Minor League baseball great. Now its off to the park!
I went to the game archive on MLB.TV and he was out.
Exchanging Carlos Marmol for Henry Rodriguez is simply changing which brand of gasoline you want to use to make the fire burn even more.
I want to second what Andrew said. BP is great and I love this stuff but I also love to debate this game. Reading the report it is reasonable to guess that the night Henry Owens was scouted he must have had a mediocre night. He only threw 7 hitless innings. The second time this year he has gone more than 6 hitless. This seems like a case of show me what he can't do rather than what can do , which has been to get hitters out.
Trout! I was asked recently by a friend to pick between Trout and Harper, and I couldn't get Trout's name out fast enough, then said, "He's Mays and Mantle." I could not offer a greater compliment.
The Oldbopper jinx strikes again. Last week I said he was better than Gooden at the same age and ZAAAAPPPP!!! Watching him pitch was electric, right from his stuff to his personality. I hope to see it again.
It is not a mere coincidence that The A's and the Red Sox have the fewest sacrifices. These are the 2 teams that best understand the futility of giving away outs nor is it a coincidence that they 2 of last years AL Division winners.
and he should be in New Britain next Tuesday. Can't wait to see him and Mookie and Swihart and Ramos and.... Ahh, it is good to be a Red Sox fan.
You should have also had 2 Pitchers of the Night. I know there is a bit of an anti Henry Owens bias around BP but he did take a no-no into the 8th last night with only 3 BB's.
It has been a thought of mine during my zillion years of watching baseball that the one time a head first slide is appropriate is running to first, not to beat the throw but to avoid the tag on an inaccurate throw. The runner should concentrate on the 1st baseman and if he appears to shift his body in anticipation of having to jump for a bad throw then the runner should dive at the bag. One interesting byproduct of the replay system has been the return of an actual tag being applied to the runner. As mentioned in the article, the days of the ball simply beating the runner being sufficient to get an automatic out call are gone, along with the incoherent babble of the play by play man trying to explain why a runner was called out when the fielder missed the tag by a foot.
I just read the article in the link and in my, our, battle against the shift the author concludes that hitters should be able to, at least, choose which side of 2nd that they want to hit the ball. Directing the ball is much easier than elevating it, and it does not seem unreasonable to expect the best in the world to be able to do that even if hitting a baseball is, like, really hard. Many of these ideas are fascinating but someone has to be willing to stomp on tradition. Defense and the shift have already struck first but the stodgy lifers with the bats in their hands have been slow to respond. Who knows but attacking the shift might be the precursor to 5 man infields.
You nailed it. This is absolutely what I have been ranting about for months. I have been on a crusade to attack the shift with the bunt or, if the 3rd baseman stays home, attempt to go through the 6 hole. It can't be less effective than what Lucas Duda did last week. A team that is out of it from game 1, like the Astros, would be wise to experiment with these various out of left field ideas. One idea the article mentioned concerned using starters on their throw day. I am old enough to remember Allie Reynolds, who was a tremendous pitcher, being used in relief regularly for the Yankees between starts in the early 50's. I would kill to see 5 man infields. As the article mentions, all the possibilities that would emanate from that would be beyond fascinating. I am already contemplating Bradley and Victorino running all over Fenway Park.
Thank you for commenting. You guys are great and my daily dose of BP is very stimulating. After all, what is better than good debate over baseball? Middlebrooks is at the center of this discussion in many ways. Do you see something that I don't? The more I watch and I watch every game, often in person, I am seeing less and less to like in his game. Ben's comment about him becoming an AL version of Pedro Alvarez was classic. I see the all the K's, the miniscule OBP but I don't see the 36 HR's. You mention that the Sox might trade Cecchini, of course that is possible, but, as WMB looks more and more like Andy Marte, the Red Sox fan in me says that he is the one to shuffle off to anywhere and put Cecchini at 3rd.
I hope I am experienced enough to not claim that Cecchini is going to be Boggs but as the old saying goes, "History doesn't necessarily repeat itself but it often rhymes." The similarities are remarkable. The approach at the plate, the very high OBP, the lack of elite power at a power position and, very interestingly, the scouts negative evaluation of both players. Boggs was held at Double-A for 2 years and, again, kept at Pawtucket for 2 years, all the while putting up OBP's never lower than .396. He was slow, he didn't hit for power, he couldn't field, as if the scouts had a vendetta against him. I still like the eye test and Cecchini passes it and, as a very long time Red Sox fan, I would like to see him at 3rd even if he is only Boggs Lite and use Middlebrooks, Betts and a pitcher to try for Stanton. Maybe wishful thinking.
I seem to remember a Red Sox 3rd baseman, of fairly recent vintage, who only hit over 11 HR's once in his career yet made it the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. I find it unusual that all the sharp minds here do not compare Cecchini to Boggs more often.
One more week at Double-A for Betts is all I ask. Portland is coming to town next week.
Will the real Dee Gordon please stand up, because you are ruining my HACKING MASS team.
Every day I read something that is truly outstanding on Baseball Prospectus and this is brilliant. Whether or not Pujols can reemerge as as a superstar this article brings to mind the remarkable resurgence of another great hitter of recent years, David Ortiz, after it appeared that he had gone over the cliff. I have always thought that when power hitters started to decline they tended to snowball rather quickly, Jim Rice is a good example, but Ortiz regained his form. Watching Ortiz play(hit) in every game has shown that he has become quite discerning in his pitch selection. His BB/K ratio since 2011 is nothing short of amazing. Has he simply become that much better or have pitchers changed the way that they have attacked him over the years?
Your point is well taken and the fact that the Red Sox did not need any return whatsoever from the players they received to make it a great trade certainly indicates that the Red Sox can never be perceived as anything less than the winners in this deal.
It was clear to all Sox fans, and even the front office, that these were, as you say, three cancers. Crawford was awful! There is no other way of saying it. Beckett didn't appear to give a s___, and Gonzalez had the gall to say that we Red Sox fans take our baseball too seriously. At the time the trade was made virtually every Sox fan would have taken 3 used Chattanooga Lookout uniforms with nobody in them for the players. Even if Webster and De La Rosa never develop this trade was the best ever and that is really saying something when you consider that the Sox stole Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe from the Mariners in 1997 for, can you believe, Heathcliff Slocumb.
As a dyed in the wool Red Sox fan who saw his first game at Fenway in 1948, and his last two last Thursday, I would not stop at a mere 11 on a scale of 1-10 but would go to infinity because there can be no measure of what THE TRADE did to rejuvenate the SOX.
I agree with your assessment that players and managers do not understand the statistics in regards to the "break even" point. It seems to me that baseball people see anything less than a 100% success rate as a failure when considering this approach. Every sabermetrician understands that base runners are the foundation for scoring runs and here is a situation in which the defense is offering the offense an opportunity to put men on base at a far greater percentage than in any other method the offense chooses to try. If the object of the offense is to score runs, hit me over the head with a bat if I am wrong here, then every opportunity to bunt into the shift with less than 2 outs must be taken. I am hoping to see a team go all-in on this way to attack the shift to see the results. If effective, and teams abandon, or greatly curtail, use of the shift, statistics show that left handed hitters would see a general .030 increase in their OPS which is very significant.
Garrett Jones, Brandon Moss, Carlos Santana are all sluggers who have hit over 20 HR's more than once, hardly your prototypical bunters. Everybody in the majors, after all these guys have some talent, should be able to bunt with reasonable success with about 15 minutes in the cage. Even the worst should be easily approach a 1,200 OPS. Not bad when leading off an inning or with a man on first and nobody out.
I love your work Ben. I have claimed a probable .750 OBP and consequent .750 SLG for a league record 1,500 OPS. At 12 for 17 the OPS is at 1,412. If baseball is a team sport, which I have been told it is, then what team, in their right mind, wouldn't want a hitter with this OPS batting for them and every team has this hitter in the lineup every time a defense goes into an extreme shift. Even Ryan Flaherty turns into SuperOPSman if the defense shifts against him. It seems that it is time for some team to accept these numbers and go into full attack mode. It would be fun to watch.
Totally agree. Went to Fenway for 2 yesterday and it was 52 degrees. Perfect!!!
Who am I to argue with your stats but when I read that Zach Wheeler was pitching in front of an above average set of gloves I needed smelling salts to revive myself. The Prospectus couldn't slam Daniel Murphy any harder and with Lucas Duda, they comprise 1/2 of the Mets infield which should give all Mets pitcher's serious ajada, and Ruben Tejada isn't exactly a Gold Glove candidate either. Wright is special and the outfielders are not bad but I was surprised to see the Mets defense rated above average.
I am willing to bet the ranch that Brendan Morrow's line of 2.2/0/4/4/8/1 has never been seen before.
The true statistics on bunting against the shift absolutely must include unsuccessful attempts that do not result in outs. Returning to the Grantland article in March the number was 27 out of 50 attempts that were successful, but without knowing what happened on the other 23 attempts there is no way to measure the real rate of success.
The shift reached a new extreme yesterday when the Cardinals put all of their infielders on the first base side of second against Lucas Duda of the Mets who, of course, grounded into the shift.
I thought the reason for the rule was to end collisions at home plate, but the interpretation that I am hearing, and seeing, is that the catcher can block the plate after he receives the ball. What then prevents a runner who is hopelessly out to pull a Pete Rose and knock a Ray Fosse imitator into the 4th row? This play looks like it could have been that type of play but Rios chose to slide.
Eovaldi looked like Fernandez Lite, but not too lite, yesterday afternoon. He is a big upside and is my pick.
With proper respect to the magpies in "Dumbo", I feel like I just done seen "bout" evathing when I see Collin McHugh strike out 12 in 6+.
I wish to thank the Marlins for allowing me to watch Fernandez now instead of 3 years from now. What I watched last night was beyond belief. Hitters should be allowed to use cricket bats when they face him.
Gardenhire's comment shows the the stigma that is attached to bunting into the shift. The fact that he was even asked about it shows the attitude of those in baseball. Who cares if it helps the team score runs, to those mired in the past it isn't part of the game. It seems bizarre that the defense can change tactics, the shift, but the offense cannot change their approach at the plate without being questioned or even ridiculed.
This is a little off subject but it is still a bunt play. The Red Sox just squeezed, successfully. What do your stats say about the efficacy of the squeeze? My eye test, over a zillion years, seems to indicate that it is a good play, under certain circumstances, like not when trailing by 4 in the 9th.
I know I am beating the start(4/19) but Joe Mauer just bunted against KC. Led to 2 runs.
I agree that the Tigers should sign Drew but WHAT are the Mets doing. The Mets could make the playoffs with a major league SS.
Thnx, you guys are great! BTW, Rizzo bunted into the shift yesterday, successfully.
What is the earliest inning a position player has pitched in an extra inning game that was tied? I was watching and expected to see the starter who was on his throwing day come in. I recall Chris Davis, yes that Chris Davis, getting the win over Darnell McDonald a few years ago,but that was in the 18th inning.
Another terrific article that exposes many old baseball men as neanderthals. Every 3rd base coach should be required to take Statistics and Probability 101. I have screamed at many a coach after watching him hold the runner on a medium fly ball to a rag armed left fielder with 1 out and a Mario Mendoza type in the on deck circle. Using a stiff, instead of a stud, at the crucial juncture of a game just because it isn't the 9th inning doesn't help my mental state either, but the refusal to attack the shift with a bunting attack still my cause celebre.
The dreaded yips and Rick Ankiel. I will always believe he was the closest thing to Babe Ruth that ever came along, and Focal Dystonia, the name of the psychological condition, showed its ugly face and ruined it all. Daniel Bard is an interesting case study of Focal Dystonia because he had the yips in his first year of organized ball then went into remission for 7 years before they came back, they always do and usually with a much shorter gap in time.
As a champion of this tactic to end the scourge of the shift, I look forward to seeing the true average of success on attempts. In Ben's article it was stated that 27 of 50 attempts were successful but does not indicate what happened on the other 23 attempts. I assume these were just the bunt attempts and not complete AB's. I doubt if these were all the AB's in which the bunt attempt was not successful ended in outs and this indicates a very, very high success rate. My guess has been for an OBP of .750 with a SLG of .750 for an astronomical OPS of 1.500, but a scientific study by the geniuses at Baseball Prospectus is an exciting thought.
I hope Matt's tongue was placed in his cheek when he disrespected Papi. This is written 5 minutes after Papi did it again, and who says there isn't a thing called clutch.
I froze through the game in New Britain today. No prospect should ever play in those conditions. The Rock Cats lineup included a number of 27-29 year olds playing in Double-AA. I doubt if there is a Chris Colabello amongst them even though Brandon Waring, big power, big K's hit a pair of rockets.
Worth noting that this is the 4th time Owens has not allowed a hit in one of his starts.
That can't be the same Emilio Bonifacio who could not have played worse at 2nd for the Blue Jays last year?
I second that motion. As I go to my first game of the year at New Britain Stadium tomorrow,(love the AM games) I will recall watching Francisco Liriano go for New Britain against Jon(not Jonathan)Papelbon with Portland in May 2005. 0-0 through 8. Hanley Ramirez was at short,
Pedroia's play was All-World but all of us in Red Sox Nation are so accustomed to it by now that we just sit back, enjoy and wonder how anybody can fail to look past statistics and see that he is The Best. Did I forget to mention 4 hits?
Yost's seat wasn't cooled off by letting Butler swing 3-0 with 1 out and runners on 1st and 3rd in the 1st either. Gordon, a good left handed hitter, was on deck and Scherzer was looking for anything he could get over. All the bloggers were all over Yost.
Ben Lindbergh; I brought up bunting against the shift recently and your article in Grantland indicated a .540 success rate on bunt attempts. What happened on the other 23 attempts? I doubt if these were all outs so what is the actual OBP from these AB's. I believe a full fledged assault on the shift by the bunt would yield a .750 OBP and at least a .750 SLG for an astronomical 1,500 OPS, even for offensively challenged players like Ryan Flaherty. Studies must be made of the efficacy in all the various situations that occur. For example, even I would doubt if Big Papi should bunt with 2 outs and nobody on. This "self-destructiveness stubbornness" is an ego trip by the hitter and really screams at the next hitter in the lineup "You Stink" and I can't trust you to help the team score more runs.
In cricket, a single ball is used for an extended period of time. It obviously changes characteristics during this usage period and how the game is played is altered dramatically by the age of the ball.
That is, indeed, an interesting question. It would seem that the ball would not return to its original shape instantly but continue to deform in lessening intensity through some time and distance before returning to its original shape, if it ever does exactly.
Locking up 8 years of Chris Archer for $45M looks like the steal of the 21st century. Of course there is risk, arms do have a way of breaking down, but Archer, at 25, looks a lot better than some of the other recent deals. Ya think the Dodgers are quaking in their boots right now, ya think.
The BP team can resurrect the Coaster's to sing their hit song on opening day. OMG, I grew up with that song.
How did I ever live without BP? After watching Carlos Gomez challenge Jack Cust and Ruben Rivera for the top spot on the list of All-Time worst base running plays I came across TOOTBLAN. Upon googling this acronym I almost died laughing. It is a good thing I am retired because I need a couple of hours every day to read the fabulous stuff you guys write.
When I read "I don't need no stinkin' bullpen" the Mets instantly came to mind. Is at possible to believe that Jose Valverde is the best they have?
Worth the price of the subscription!
I just went to your article on Grantland. It put the success ratio at .540 which is pretty solid. Numbers like this will get defenses back where they belong if the egos of the hitters don't get in the way.
Thanks for the replies, but anything short of a pop out to the pitcher should be successful. Some the shifts have placed the infielder on the left side almost on 2nd. Last year Cano even got a double on a bunt against the shift.
Scenario A: Leading off an inning, an A's batter reaches first and Reddick comes up, the Red Sox go into the shift. Can one of you sabermetric gurus give me any reason why Reddick, a low OBP, low OPS guy shouldn't bunt every time. My guess is that he suddenly turns into a guy with at least a .750 OBP and .750 SLG which adds up to a 1,500 OPS. This will create the very favorable, 1st and 2nd nobody out situation which is going to produce a lot more runs than Reddick's occasional long ball.
The Angels first question should include "None of the Above."
Big, heavy, men tend to lose quickness, (i.e. bat speed), the key component, more rapidly, when the inevitable decline begins, than smaller bodied types. The poster child, IMHO, is Jim Rice who lost it all after his 33 year old season, but the rapid collapse of Howard, Pujols and clues that Hamilton is on the same road should have been sufficient evidence to Dombrowski that this signing is fraught with danger. What is he thinking? Maybe he is a mole placed in the Tiger front office by the Royals. As the article mentions, it was not necessary to do this now and it looks awful for the long term health of the Detroit Tigers.
I am surprised that there is nothing here about last year's Red Sox. It was a goal of the front office to bring in strong clubhouse presences and it appears to have worked, but how do you quantify Johnny Gomes and his great line, "One day closer to the parade". It is clear that when he is on a team, that team seems to exceed the projections, and often by a great deal, but what other factors might enter the picture. I would also wonder what influence one or two outsized personalities might have. Big Papi's talk to the team in the dugout during last year's World Series was remarkable. I had never seen such a scene in a long career of watching baseball. Dustin Pedroia also appears to have a similar type of personality and commands a great deal of respect in the Boston dugout. John Farrell appeared to be a very positive, and calming, influence after the Valentine disaster. That begs the question of who sets the tone in a clubhouse, the players or the manager. IMHO, I agree that there is something here but that something lives in a sort of Never-Never Land that exists but doesn't and cannot be conjured up. Achieving that nirvana that is great team chemistry is serendipity and attempts to quantify it are like trying to prove the existence of Sasquatch.
Am I correct in reading that there were people in the baseball universe that actually thought that Josh Johnson was a valuable pick up? Am I correct when I say that this is the same Josh Johnson that has won 13 games in the past 3 years and looked completely washed up in 2013? He is going to be closer to Jason Johnson, whose 6 starts for the Red Sox in 2006 must be one of the worst series of starts ever, than Randy Johnson.
Ben, I am with you all the way on Xander Bogaerts. I have watched him live, many times, since his first season at Greenville and he is the most exciting prospect I have ever seen. Of Shortstops with his kind of offensive potential, only ARod comes to mind. Bogaerts could easily be that good.
When I went to Cody Buckel's stats from 2013, The Thing was just screaming from every line. This is Daniel Bard revisited.
In the Fister analysis it was mentioned that the NL East had a pair of bottom feeders, the Mets and the Marlins. I think the Phillies look poised to increase the number of flounders to three.
When I saw that PECOTA gave Beckett a 1.1 WARP, it really caused a great deal of doubt about the efficacy and accuracy of PECOTA. I know PECOTA has a track record but the list of pitchers that have been worse than Beckett has been since late 2011 is very short, in fact there might not even be a list and to imagine him being better than either Miller or Kelly is unimaginable.
A real analysis, one that can be questioned, but far better than the Marx brothers imitation I read yesterday. The Rays have Longoria, a somewhat overrated Zobrist and a lot of very average players, with, admittedly, really good starters. The bullpen isn't as good as the Red Sox, nor is the lineup even close. The Sox starters could be good, like last year, or could look like Doubront has in his last 2 spring training outings. Lackey and Peavy do not engender a great deal of confidence either, but the lineup can really rake. The left side of the infield just might startle everybody offensively. The Yankees look like this years surprise. The outfield can hit and run and the starting pitching has looked very good in, I know, spring training. The lefty bats should put a plethora of pop flys into the first few rows just behind the second baseman. Meanwhile, Robertson will be a perfectly acceptable Mariano replacement. The Blue Jays look like the bottom feeders because the pitching stinks but the Orioles can wheel out a long string of good hitters. They were the winners of the Hot Stove League by waiting and getting the best value for their bucks. I can't believe the O's got a real live major league player for the remains of Alex Gonzalez.
What could be closer to heaven for a pitcher than to be able to face the Phils, Mets and Marlins 9 or 10 times in a season?
I saw that and had a seizure. Please, please tell me that the Mets aren't going to play Ruben Tejada at SS.
Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada, now there is a choice that will chill the blood of even the most ardent Met fan.
This is coming from a team that is starting Scott Feldman on Opening Day. That is worth a good laugh.
I doubt if Coors Field can help Drew Stubbs. A swing and a miss is a swing and a miss in every park in the world and few do that better, perhaps more often is a more appropriate word, than Stubbs.
Since I was ridiculed for suggesting that the sun would rise in the west if the Astros win 70 games, and I understand a bell curve as well as most, it would be fascinated to see projection of the fewest wins the Astros might have in 2014. Perhaps they can challenge the 1899 Cleveland Spiders record of 20-134. From what I saw in Florida it seems possible.
I have been an ardent baseball fan for a lot longer than most PECOTA indoctrinated sabermetricians have been on this planet and I plead guilty to still using the eye test. I have just returned from 3 weeks in Jupiter, Florida where I had to pay major league prices, spring training of course, to watch the Marlins play the Astros. When I bought my ticket I said to the seller that I preferred to watch major league teams but that this was the only game in town. He laughed out loud and said, "I know what your saying"! The Astros got thumped 8-1 and failed the eye test badly.(ROFL) Your numbers are fascinating, even if I doubt the efficacy of some, but certainly not all. OPS is clearly superior to BA and the best play in baseball is the unsuccessful sacrifice bunt. The absolute worst move any manager can make is bringing his closer into a game with a lead of 4 runs or greater. To elaborate, last spring the Red Sox, to a true student of the game, passed the eye test, but not the math test. I admit to a strong bias since I am a dyed in the wool Red Sox fan who attended his first game at Fenway in 1948, but baseball is still played on the field, not on my computer monitor and Dustin Pedroia is more valuable than Robinson Cano. LOL again.
If the Astros win 70 there might be a celestial event that has never been seen before. In addition to seeing the sun rise in the west, where can I get a wager on the Yankees covering 81 wins. This is the team to beat in AL East. Johnson, Roberts and Ellsbury have perfect swings for the band box in the Bronx and all will exceed their limited projections. Beltran and McCann are huge upgrades while Nova and Pineda each look ready for a large step forward.
I see that PECOTA's projection for Amador includes 1 stolen base. If that ever happened it would be one of the most memorable moments in base ball history!
At what level does a replacement player perform? Using Joe Blanton for 15 starts would put him at a -15.0 WARP, not the -0.8 that he is listed at.