Talking to catchers can help us understand what might improve defensive metrics for the position.
Let me start out by saying that I am fascinated by catchers, players who garner a great deal of value simply by playing a certain position. One of the major spurs of my interest is the lack of a definitive measure quantifying their defensive contributions. It might be on the easy side of the spectrum to note which catchers excel at their position as well as which could use some work, but those are vague and qualitative attributes. There have certainly been attempts to quantify what a catcher adds or subtracts with his non-offensive responsibilities but nothing has really caught on with any force, concretely convincing fans through points of difference, or by being offered on a website.
There's Snakes on the field, but a few too many coming home, too.
If seeing former Cubs skipper Jim Riggleman's Washington ballclub leave town was a case of a not-so-fond farewell to an old friend after losing a series, next up is Arizona. With so many players left from the two teams that squared off in the Diamondbacks' sweep of the 2007 NL Division Series, for the Cubs, renewing this rivalry with a rhumba of rattlers provides equal measures of revenge and a run back toward .500.
Brad Mills brings optimism to the Astros, Nolan Ryan wants 92 wins from the Rangers, plus other major-league notes.
To say there is a good feeling surrounding the Astros this spring isn't really news. Even the worst of teams feels optimistic at this time of year before the realities of the regular season set in. There are reasons to believe the Astros could face some very hard realities this season. They have question marks on the pitching staff and in the lineup, and they're banking on a lot of players either having bounce-back or breakthrough seasons.
NL players to watch in spring training, Tony Blengino dishes on the Mariners' statistical approach, and other news and notes from around the majors.
Punxsutawney Phil be damned, spring is officially here. At least, for those who are involved in Major League Baseball or are fans of the game. That's because pitchers and catchers start reporting to outposts in Florida and Arizona today. Spring training workouts for many begin Thursday morning.
The Diamondbacks manager talks about his unorthodox path to managing, playing defense in a hitter's park, and where he'll be ten years from now.
A.J. Hinch isn't your typical big-league manager, but he just might be the perfect fit for an information-driven Diamondbacks organization. Named to the position last May, the 35-year-old Stanford product is well schooled in not only statistical analysis, but also the ins and outs of the D'backs' system, having served as the club's farm director prior to assuming his current role. Hinch talked about his first season on the bench, and the vision he shares with GM Josh Byrnes and the rest of the front office, during MLB's Winter Meetings last month.
The Snakes find a Hinch in their plans, the Cardinals fly high, the Sox feel set, plus other views and news from around the game.
Many people inside baseball felt A.J. Hinch was on the fast track, and they were right. They just didn't know exactly what track Hinch was on. Neither did Hinch. When he was named to replace Bob Melvin as the Diamondbacks' manager on May 8, he was as surprised by the move as everyone else both inside and outside the Valley of the Sun.
A conversation with the well-traveled Marlins outfielder about a frenzied debut and his peregrinations around the game.
Cody Ross is genuine. The Marlins outfielder may not be a superstar, but he personifies what fans love to see when they look beyond a player's statistics: Ross is not only humble and hard-working, he has a sincere appreciation of what it means to hold down a spot on a big-league roster. Now 28 years old and with his fourth organization, Ross was given his first opportunity to play full-time last season, and he responded by hitting a workmanlike .260/.316/.488 with 22 home runs. Originally drafted by the Tigers, the native of Portales, New Mexico is putting up solid numbers again this season, leading the Marlins in extra-base hits and ranking second on the team in home runs. Ross talked about the path he followed to Miami, some of his best memories along the way, and why he doesn't like hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors.
One man's picks for awards both major and ignominious, plus news and views from around the game.
The theoretical, if not exact, first half of the season ends today. While it's a long way to the finish line, certain hitters and pitchers have already established themselves as strong contenders for the major post-season awards. Here is one observer sees the awards at the halfway point, leaning on some of BP's more popular measures in the decision-making process and blatantly stealing an idea patented by old friend Jayson Stark of ESPN.com by picking the worst hitter and pitcher in each league.