With 8.42 strikeouts per game through their first seven games, the Astros are on pace for a major-league record.
In our haste to dismiss the small-sample-size happenings of April, or in some cases be the loudest in a group of people loudly dismissing them, sometimes there’s a small something that we forget. Those things actually did happen. What I mean by that is that while these events may not tell us much about true talent, it’s important not to dismiss their impact as quickly as we dismiss their predictive value.
Take two teams that appear to have about .500-level talent. One gets off to a 5-1 start, while the other gets off to a 1-5 start. That means nothing, you say. It’s baseball, and teams have mid-season stretches like that all the time, without us paying much attention.
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Mike reviews the results of two of his auctions, one for each league.
Like most of my readers, I devour every scrap of expert-league auction data I can get my hands on before the season starts. However, while useful, expert auctions are almost always start-over. While this gives a decent baseline for raw values, it isn’t very instructive as to what might happen when you start dealing with keepers, reserve lists, and other twists on the rules that cater more to carryover leagues.
Below is a brief recap of what I did in my two longstanding keeper auctions this past weekend. While nearly all of us are done drafting or auctioning, looking back at what we did right as well as what we did wrong can be very instructive.
The tater trots from September 16 (and the weekend). Anthony Rizzo spoiled the Pirates day in a big way, Ryan Braun had his own big day.
After yesterday's games, there are now exactly two weekends of regular season baseball left. And, lucky for us, things are just now getting really interesting! With the recent poor play by Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, we are on the verge of seeing three possible playoff teams choke in the final month of the season. Of course, a lot can happen in 17 games...
The tater trots for July 23 (and the weekend): Mike Napoli hits a bomb, Carlos Gonzalez takes a stroll, and Chase Utley edges out Josh Rutledge.
It's been a few days since the last Tater Trot Tracker post. And though I was able to time each trot over the weekend, I missed highlighting a few special home runs. The biggest homers of note came on Saturday, when Cole Hamels served up a home run to Matt Cain in the top of the third inning and then, in the bottom of the inning, Cain returned the favor to Hamels. It was the first time two starters had hit home runs in the same inning since 1990. Hamels, who had never hit a home run before, won the race between the two pitchers, besting Cain's 21.51 second trot with a 21.13 second trot of his own.
Which men of misery prevented their teams from escaping the murky waters of suckitude?
My semiannual Replacement-Level Killers series spotlights the worst holes in contenders' lineups, as well as the possible remedies they might take to avoid letting such subpar production destroy their post-season chances the next time around. I make no claims for this companion series being so noble in purpose. Because bad baseball so often makes for good copy, it's more fun to hunt the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel to find the positions where players' contributions could be considered the worst in the majors. What follows is an "all-star" team of players who have produced tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just a soft breeze running through their team's bank account. Once again, I present the Vortices of Suck.
A look at the new-look Astros and the many unknowns currently inhabiting Minute Maid Park.
Since July 1, the Astros are 9-23 and have been outscored 109-163. At the trade deadline, they traded away their two most recognizable offensive stars, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. Even before the deadline, Jeff Keppinger was sent packing. The Astros were probably the worst team in baseball before the deadline and were certainly that after it. The obscurity of the Houston lineup caused Larry Granillo to ask how the team would stack up against the Peanuts gang. That may be a stretch, but it seems fair enough to ask how they would stack up against a middling Triple-A team. Given how long Baseball Prospectus authors and our fellow travelers have been calling for rebuilding in the Bayou City, however, it seems unfair to criticize their current futility. Instead, let us provide this introduction to the new-look(-away) Astros.