Yesterday's games included three walk-offs and a no-hitter.
The Wednesday Takeaway
Trying to choose one takeaway from a night like last night is like being a 5-year-old at Baskin Robbins deciding between ice cream flavors. It might be doable, but whichever one you pick, you’ll be slighting other, equally worthy choices.
Two players over the age of 40 hit walk-off home runs last night.
It's early, but as a group, Derek's value picks have picked up value.
I received an e-mail earlier this week from a Baseball Prospectus reader congratulating me on the early-season success of my value picks from my Fantasy Tier Rankings. While celebrating the success of these players in April is akin to celebrating a new American Pie movie before experiencing the disappointment of actually seeing it (read: premature… see what I did there), it’s still kind of fun. And hey, combined, my value picks have accrued 669 plate appearances—roughly a full season’s worth of at-bats. So today, I’m going to take a (very early) look at which of my picks are panning out and which aren’t.
I’m going to ignore the Four- and Five-Star Value Picks because, well, most of them weren’t really values. Everyone knows that Albert Pujols is a good player, so I’m not going to bother going over him. Instead, I’ll focus on the one-, two-, and three-star guys that you likely acquired on the cheap. These are going to be the moneymakers of a fantasy team, the guys that you’re hoping to make big profits on.
Tommy John surgery claims several more pitchers, and Joba Chamberlain suffers an extremely gruesome ankle dislocation.
Ryan Madson, Cincinnati Reds (Tommy John Surgery)
On Friday, one of the most surprising bits of news with the greatest impact was that Madson needs Tommy John surgery. Madson had battled elbow trouble throughout the spring, but it looked like he was turning a corner as recently as last week. Unfortunately, in the few days prior to his scheduled debut, he suffered a setback and was sent to Dr. Tim Kremchek for further evaluation. Dr. Kremchek found that the ulnar collateral ligament was torn (some of it off the bone), and that the tear appeared to be recent because of the amount of bleeding present.
Madson signed a one-year deal with the Reds over the winter after his four-year deal with Philadelphia fell through. Madson’s injury throws everything in flux for the Reds’ pitching corps, but for now, Sean Marshall is the heir apparent as closer. General manager Walt Jocketty has not ruled moving Aroldis Chapman back into a bullpen role this year but insists nothing is set in stone. The only sure thing is that Madson will miss 2012 and will have a hard time convincing teams to sign him next winter as he completes his rehabilitation.
Sprains, soreness, and surgeries abound in the latest spring action.
Taylor Teagarden, Baltimore Orioles (Low Back Soreness)
A recent MRI of Teagarden’s sore lower back raised concerns, so he visited a specialist for another opinion. A CT scan was ordered to better assess the area, but the O’s haven’t released an official diagnosis yet. MRIs can give us good information, but they don’t always give us everything we need. The CT can give a much clearer picture of the bone structure, which leads one to believe his injury may be related to the vertebra.
The good news is that there has been no talk of surgery yet. The bad news is that there is still no definitive timeline for his recovery. Some are speculating he will be out a week or so while others are speculating it will be much longer. No one really knows until we get an accurate diagnosis.
Is Chipper Jones a greater switch-hitter than Eddie Murray and Pete Rose?
A little over a week ago I wrote an article on switch-hitters, focusing on a simple question: Do we evaluate switch-hitters based on their self-platoon split, or based on overall numbers regardless of the split? A case can be made for each side, as those in the self-platoon camp would argue that a good switch-hitter should be able to produce from both sides of the plate. These advocates certainly wouldn’t consider someone like Gary Matthews Jr. a solid switch-hitter, as his numbers are terrible even if his split is small. On the other side of the spectrum, it also makes sense that the best switch-hitter would be the best hitter who happens to bat from both sides of the plate. Mark Teixeira might favor one side more than the other, but his numbers from each side are far and away superior to the league average. The differentiation would be whether switch-hitting is considered a niche in which a separate definition applies. Can a good switch-hitter be a relatively underwhelming overall hitter?
What should the Braves do absent their third baseman, and should they do anything?
There's something very wrong with the picture: the Braves, in a pennant race for the first time in five years, Bobby Cox's last stand, and Chipper Jones is out. Not just out, but out for the season, and depending on how he feels about trying to come back, possibly out for forever.
Things are getting interesting, so let's talk about the odds.
Chipper Jones is not a .400 hitter. However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t hit .400. What we have on our hands is a classic case of the irresistible force against the immovable object. On the one hand, it’s exceptionally unlikely that a player who has hit .310 over a 15-year major league career suddenly woke up one morning at 35 years old and became a .400 hitter. Jones is seeing the ball exceptionally well, and apart from frequent problems with injury, he has aged relatively gracefully. He’s also undoubtedly squeezed a few lucky hits in between the shortstop and the second baseman, and had a few Texas Leaguers drop in.