The push and pull between hitters and pitchers is changing.
Unique pitching lines typically don’t tell us anything about baseball, not in the sense of helping us understand the current state of the game anyway. They might tell us something about the expanse of possibility within the confines of the game, or about nature of the individual pitcher making that small bit of history. But very seldom are these lines worthy of including in a hypothetical time capsule.
Carlos Martinez’s start against the Yankees on April 15 doesn’t seem likely to offer a representative picture of any version of baseball—past, present, or future. It does, however, allow us to spend a moment in that unlikely—but possible—world where real, familiar phenomena progress to their illogical extremes. Like an episode of Black Mirror that edges too close to the realm of the believable.
Traded from the Reds to the Marlins, Dan Straily is an example of how new pitching data can help change a repertoire.
For nerdy baseball fans, the worst trade of the offseason was the Reds’ swap of Dan Straily to the Marlins. That’s not because there was an especially egregious mismatch in value in the deal; it was because the move separated Straily from the Reds’ beat reporters.
Just before being dealt, Straily spent almost an hour on a podcast with Zach Buchanan, one of the Reds writers for the Cincinnati Enquirer (and author of the Reds chapter in this year's Baseball Prospectus Annual). It was a delightful listening experience: wide-ranging but detailed, relaxed, smart. They talked about hunting and (ironically) what it’s like to be blindsided by a trade. My favorite discussion centered on the trip to Driveline Baseball from which Straily had returned just before the interview.
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News and notes from around the league for April 30, 2013.
Thanks to Jason Martinez and Clint Chisam of MLB Depth Charts, we'll now be bringing you daily news, notes, transactions, injury updates, and notable performances from the previous day's games...throughout the entire season! And if you like what you see here, don't forget to check out MLBDC's Insider subscription, which also includes starting pitcher rankings and matchups, top 25 batter vs. pitcher stat rankings, lineup tracker (includes lineups from past seven games), rotation report, stat tracker, and more!
Bret explains how you can use pitchers' upcoming (or just-passed) schedules to your advantage.
We, myself included, as a fantasy community are obviously focused on stats, and for good reason. We can look at Zack Greinke’s FIP and think that he's going to improve his raw stats in 2013. We can look at Jon Lester's declining swinging-strike rate and wonder whether we've already seen his best production. The problem is that we're only looking at part of the equation. As helpful as some of these advanced stats are, the game is not played in a vacuum, and we are not allergic to small sample sizes. If you're an active owner, you can take advantage of pitchers’ schedules in order to get the most value out of your team. And I'm not just talking about streaming starters with good matchups.
The idea is simple. Projecting a pitcher’s medium-term schedule, anywhere from four to six starts out, can give you an advantage that other owners are not using. These pitchers are occasionally waiver-wire fodder, making them easy to obtain, but more often they can be other teams' starters—ones that are either about to hit a particularly easy/difficult stretch, or just came out of one.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Ten American League Prospects Who Could Start the Season In the Majors
With the new year upon us, we can now officially say that Spring Training starts 'next month'. The Spring Training version of the Minor League Update will be highly-focused on prospects who are getting a chance to showcase their talents in big league games and have a pretty decent shot at making a 25-man roster.
Gary Sanchez improves both at and behind the plate, Martin Perez continues to be a mystery, and Shelby Miller goes backwards.
Daniel Corcino, RHP, Reds (at Double-A Pensacola)
Corcino draws too many easy comps to Johnny Cueto, as he's short, thick, Dominican, a Red, and has a big arm. But let's talk about him on his own merits, which include eight no-hit innings on Saturday to lower his ERA to 3.34 in 13 Double-A starts. Corcino's best pitch is a fastball that ranges from 92-95 mph, and both his slider and changeup are at least average pitches. There's considerable effort to his delivery, which leads to some control issues, and when he has problems with his location, he tends to miss up. He's a potential No. 3 starter with some refinements, and the 21-year-old has already made plenty of improvements this year.
This weekend saw Trevor Bauer make his Triple-A debut, Dylan Bundy doing it again (with "it" being almost indescribable) and Tim Alderson regaining prospect status.
Tim Alderson, RHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Alderson was once a hot commodity. A first-round pick by the Giants in 2007, the six-foot-six right-hander burst onto the prospect scene by putting up a 2.79 ERA in the California League as a 19-year-old thanks to average velocity and fantastic command, but the velocity began to slip, and his career seemed to go downhill after a trade to the Pirates for Freddy Sanchez. After a six-plus ERA in 2010 and a move to the bullpen last year, he was all but off the radar. Except a funny thing happened this year, as Alderson changed his approach and took up an arm conditioning program that included long-tossing, and this spring his 85-88 mph suddenly jumped to 90-92. After dominating out of the Altoona pen, he moved to the rotation this month, and on Sunday he fired seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits and touching 93; at just 23, and after a Sunday promotion to Triple-A, he's suddenly a prospect again as a potential back-end rotation piece.