Adam Wainwright is a exit-velo monster at the dish, Dallas Keuchel loses a streak, and Lorenzo Cain has a tough night.
The Monday Takeaway
For those who sought to go out on a limb with their World Series picks this spring, the Rangers represented an alluring dark horse. They were so alluring, in fact, that, at least in this neck of the woods, the horse in question wasn’t dark at all. Five BP’ers, including yours truly, pegged Texas to go all the way in 2016, giving Jeff Banister’s club more backing than any other except the Cubs.
The Rangers had plenty going for them as a tempting pennant pick. They’d have a full season of Cole Hamels. They sported a breakout candidate in Rougned Odor. They’d added a cheap, high-upside bat in Ian Desmond near the end of the offseason. And, beyond all that, the injury-ravaged 2015 outfit had managed to win 88 games and the American League West. But, while I can’t speak for my colleagues, the determining factor behind my preseason vote was the potential for internal reinforcements to greatly bolster the roster midyear.
Joshua finds a book of interesting stories, then an interesting story in the flesh, as he job takes him to unexpected places.
Since my last column, I have had many opportunities to celebrate during this young season: Jeremy Jeffress is six for six in saves, and in his arb year no less; Steve Clevenger has finally found some stability, on the Mariners’ 25-man roster; Carlos Asuaje is hammering for the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, and seems to be right on the verge of making it. It’s been a nice season thus far, beginning with an odd day I spent in Arizona.
I mean, there have been two of them, so there you go. Meanwhile, David Price and Craig Kimbrel couldn't get it done, and Taylor Jungmann really couldn't get it done,
The Monday Takeaway
We’re but a week and change into the 2016 campaign, and already, the Phillies have had a season’s worth of misadventures with the infield-fly rule. Last Friday, Cesar Hernandez seemed to forget what the rule means all together:
The question of cultural competence is one of the struggles that will define the next generation of Sabermetrics.
"The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it. I'll tell you what has happened, these guys played Rotisserie baseball at Harvard or wherever the f--- they went and they thought they figured the f---ing game out. They don't know s---.” –Goose Gossage, March 11, 2016.
Owner Mark Attanasio brought money and legitimacy to the Milwaukee Brewers when he purchased the club prior to the 2005 season. The franchise ended a 26-year postseason drought with a simultaneously tumultuous and heroic Wild Card berth in 2008, and three years later the Brewers won the NL Central for the first time in three decades. Throughout that time, Attanasio pushed for consistent contention, or at least consistent relevance, continuously trying to squeeze another year of 80-plus wins out of an aging core.
The Brewers look to settle the battle for center field, while Eric Sogaard might be facing Triple-A.
Keon Broxton emerging as possible center-field favorite in Brewers camp
The Brew Crew arrived in Arizona with a vacancy in center field, where Carlos Gomez once roamed before then-general manager Doug Melvin shipped him to the Astros at the 2015 trade deadline. At the time, now-GM David Stearns was in Houston, but since the Brewers hired him away in late September, it was Stearns’ job to fill the void created by his predecessor. And if Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt is reading the situation correctly, Stearns may have done so in a relatively nondescript December trade.
As Christmas approached, the Brewers struck a deal with the Pirates, sending first baseman Jason Rogers to Pittsburgh in exchange for two minor-leaguers: right-hander Trey Supak and outfielder Keon Broxton. The latter hit .273/.357/.438 in 133 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A last year and has the athleticism to play up the middle, but with his 26th birthday looming in May, Broxton was running out of time to prove his major-league value. Now, his chance seems to have arrived.
Okay, okay, we get it! Catcher framing is really superduper important. Getting an extra called strike can turn an at-bat, which can turn an inning, which can turn a game, which can turn a season, which can turn someone’s summer from one that they’d rather forget to one that they’ll write a bad novel about 20 years later.
Why 2016 looks to be such a momentous one for Joshua and two of his clients.
There went 2015. Work was, as it always is, a total grind, but this was a tremendously fulfilling year for me, personally and professionally. Some of my clients had tremendous seasons, and some called it a career. There were downs in my family life—my grandmother, the artist Lee Silton, who knew (and perhaps dated!) Meyer Lansky, has been battling cancer. There were also ups—my surgery in January, which I documented here, led to my healthiest year in forever.
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Prince Fielder is hitting .300 and helping lead the Rangers to the postseason.
Prince Fielder isn't the slugger he once was, but he's still managing to be very productive, transforming himself into a contact hitter with some pop. Fielder has also contributed to the Rangers loose clubhouse and dugout atmosphere, providing moments of levity for all to enjoy. Over at BP Milwaukee, Jack Mooretakes a look at the impact Fielder has had on and off the field.
The game-attending part of my season ended last week. The Brewers were in to face my hometown Marlins, so I got to spend three wonderful days with one of my favorite people, Jeremy Jeffress. What sort of wild partying does an agent do when he gets to spend three days with a millionaire pro athlete in Key Biscayne? Tax talk! Endorsement deals! Prep for the winter meetings! Setting up meetings in other cities! Discussion about the rising league-minimum salary! It was like the Star Wars prequel scrolls. No lavish parties at LIV or Blue Martini; just a work trip, as it always is, as it always will be.
One of the biggest flaws in the current CBA hurt the Brewers in the past and will continue to hurt other teams until it's changed.
Free-agent compensation has always been a highly flawed system. The current way things are run may be better than the past, but it still is causing major issues. It keeps players from maximizing their potential earnings and it encourages middling teams to lose down the stretch to ensure they solidify their standing with regards to getting a protected pick. At BP Milwaukee, Jack Moorebreaks down how it's affected the Brewers in the recent past.