Updates on Clint Frazier, Courtney Hawkins, Gabriel Guerrero, and others.
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The gods had condemned Collettius to ceaselessly having his most famous trade reanalyzed on the internet, whence the analysis would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless reanalysis.
What Mookie Betts' .400-plus batting average has us reconsidering.
I was first introduced to Mookie Betts on a baseball field back in 2012. It was the New York-Penn League, and the setting was pleasant even if most of the talent would eventually need to buy a ticket to participate in a major-league game. Betts was small and thin, and I didn’t pay much attention to him other than to highlight his name because he was drafted relatively high in the 2011 class and that alone is enough to justify a deeper look in the late-round mecca that is short-season ball. That was my first offseason to rank prospects, and Betts didn’t sniff the Red Sox top 10 list, and I don’t recall his name coming up in the discussion for the “On the Rise” candidates either. We ranked Bryce Brentz over Betts, if that gives you any indication how far off our radar Betts was at the time.
Mike Carp showed off a knuckleball during a rare opportunity to pitch for the Red Sox.
“Any time you end up with a position player on the mound, it’s not been a good night,” John Farrell said after last night’s debacle of a game for his Red Sox. From Farrell’s position, it’s hard to disagree. But for a Yankee fan like myself and someone with particular interest in position player pitchers, last night was hilarious. Mike Carp’s pitching appearance was not the first position player outing of the season, but it was certainly the most notable. Most important for our purposes, Carp threw a total of 37 pitches—enough for a tentative scouting report.
The second installment in a division-by-division dialogue leading up to Opening Day.
In the week leading up to Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus is conducting a division-by-division dialogue, asking and answering five questions about each team. Below, Andrew Koo and Zachary Levine discuss the American League East.
Getting hit by a pitch is a skill, but how repeatable is it, and what should we look for?
The hit by pitch—or at minimum the threat of one—is supposed to be a tool for pitchers to use against hitters. Not just in the Bob Gibson sense, but in a nuanced understanding that goes something like this: humans can only be so accurate when throwing a projectile over long distances. Accidents happen, regardless of intent, and both sides know it—but only one side faces the projectile on each pitch. As Roger Angell writes in Five Seasons, "Most pitchers seem hesitant to say so, but if you press them a little they will admit that the prime ingredient in their intense personal struggle with the batter is probably fear."
If fear buys the pitcher another inch on his fastball, or causes the batter to bail on his breaking ball, then he becomes more likely to realize success than he would otherwise. Instilling fear is an unhealthy aspiration, but nonetheless passes as legitimate strategy. Most hitters react like normal beings; after all, getting drilled by a firmly thrown ball hurts no matter the location. Yet there are some batters who have turned the hit by pitch into their own weapon against pitchers. These batters fear not getting hit; instead, they embrace it—some even hunt for pitches to throw their limbs toward. These batters are the stupidest smart guys in the game.
Which teams are in the best position to tap into their prospect wealth this season?
Last Wednesday, Jason Parks released his 2014 organizational rankings, the culmination of a winter spent grading prospects based on their abilities and upside. Using Parks' rankings, we know which teams have the most talent on their farms; today, let's find out which teams have the most talent closest to the majors.
Proximity to the majors is always a talking point with prospects. Yet it surfaces less frequently during conversations about the strength of an organization's minor-league system. Although each team has young players they could call upon tomorrow if needed, there are teams whose best prospects are further along the developmental path than others. Those teams should be better positioned for the short term. A team with a ready-to-go no. 4 starter can use that pitcher if it needs a stand-in due to injury or poor performance. If he's considered surplus, the team can trade him for immediate help. A team with a potential no. 4 starter two or three years away would still find a taker if they looked, but might have to take a lesser return.