For hitters and fantasy owners alike, a little bit of patience can go a long way.
Episode 230 of the Effectively Wild podcast featured an interesting discussion on strikeouts and walks this season. Strikeouts are up this season for a fifth consecutive year while walks continue to fall. Heading into play on Monday, there were 56 pitchers who had strikeout-to-walk ratios of at least 4.0 with a minimum of 25 innings pitched. That is seven more than in 2012, which shattered the previous record of 33 that was set in both 2010 and 2011.
Walks are a bit harder to come by these days, but for some hitters, getting that first walk solves some ills they are having at the plate. The best example of that would be Josh Donaldson. In 2012, Donaldson was twice optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento by Oakland in the first half of that season. In his final game before his second option, Donaldson walked. It was the first time he had walked in 2012 and he went to the minors with a .153/.160/.235 slash line in 100 plate appearances.
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The A's are getting unexpected production out of third base this year. Why it might not be an illusion.
The unfortunate truth is teams sometimes benefit from their players' injuries. Take Oakland.
Last spring the A's entered camp with Scott Sizemore as their everyday third baseman. Sizemore's season soon ended when he suffered a torn ACL during fielding practice. The A's tried replacing Sizemore with various options, including Brandon Inge, yet when August rolled around they turned to Josh Donaldson. Donaldson's prospects of success were limited. He started the season as part of a third-base platoon but his poor play precipitated Luke Hughes' short-lived tenure in green and gold. Donaldson failed to capture Oakland's imagination during a later fill-in stint for Inge as well, though he made good on a third try, and played well enough to earn the third-base gig outright.
Did Bryce Harper see reason, or has he misplaced his magic necklace? With an update on the DiSars!
These are simply three unrelated items that should be in the public record somewhere.
1. Monday, I wrote about Bryce Harper’s toughest at-bats. One was against Kenley Jansen, in late April, and another was against Jonny Venters, in late May. In the first one, Bryce Harper was wearing a Phiten magic necklace, and in the second one he was not. Somewhere between late April and late May, Bryce Harper either realized magic necklaces aren’t real, or he decided that they are real but they don’t work on his particular body chemistry, or he lost his. Magic necklaces obviously are real, and they obviously do work, no duh, or else why would all these athletes (and bat boys, and managers, and fans) wear them? I know what you’re probably going to say, but let me reiterate: Uh no duh.
Which players are the most likely to go the longest before their first walk of 2012?
No one personifies this better than Angels’ shortstop Gary DiSarcina. DiSarcina went deep into April of the 1998 season before drawing his first walk, and proudly stated that it was a goal of his to not walk all season. He believed he was a better hitter when hacking away and being "aggressive". DiSarcina’s career OBP of .291 and five full seasons of .294 or lower haven’t deterred him, or moved the Angel coaching staff to dissuade him of the notion. So in honor of our misguided friend, I’ve elected to establish the DiSar Awards.
—Joe Sheehan, 2000
On Friday, with one out in the eighth inning of the Braves' 9-8 victory over the Rockies, Kris Medlen threw a 3-1 fastball up and in to Ramon Hernandez, and the Rockies catcher took it for a ball. It was Hernandez’ first walk of the season, in his 67th plate appearance. That is the longest stretch without a walk by any player to start this season, which means Ramon Hernandez is the DiSars leader in the clubhouse.