Earlier today, Matt Trueblood published an article that was, in part, about the Diamondbacks' no-slider rotation. Here, Nick Ashbourne looks at the reverse. This piece originally appeared on BP Bronx, Baseball Prospectus' local site for all your Yankees needs.
So far this season the New York Yankees have enjoyed pleasant surprises up and down the roster. That's what it takes for a team that's projected to play .500 ball to seize an early division lead and post one of the best records in baseball.
Everybody homered. Literally, everybody. Congratulations on your homer.
The Monday Takeaway
For the first month and change of the 2015 season, Carlos Beltran looked every bit of 38, the age he turned on April 24th, two days before his third straight 0-fer sent his OPS plunging below .500. Playing in over 2,000 major-league games had taken a toll on the switch-hitter’s bat speed, and hitting quality fastballs was no longer a picnic, by Beltran’s own admission.
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In 2000, when Alex Rodriguez was a free agent, Scott Boras did something amazing that we just don't appreciate enough.
On Sunday, Darren Rovell tweeted a handful of pages from the free agent binder that Scott Boras put together for a 25-year-old Alex Rodriguez. As most of us around here tend to be projections junkies, surely you’ll find this page particularly interesting:
How is Alex Rodriguez hitting like peak-era Adam Dunn? By hitting like peak-era Adam Dunn.
Coming into the 2015 season Alex Rodriguez was one of the most difficult players in baseball to project. He was clearly one of the best talents of all-time, but that talent was tainted by his checkered past. Father Time was catching up to him, but he had also been forcibly given a year off to rest and heal. The smart money was on Rodriguez faltering considering his age, injury history, and his failure to impress as a 37-year-old in 2013. However, he looked good in the spring and there was some optimism he could be a real contributor for the Yankees as opposed to an overpaid anchor/PR nightmare.
It is too early to make broad statements with any kind of confidence, but at the very least it appears that A-Rod has something left to give. So far he's produced a .267/.411/.600 line and leads the American League in walks. It would be unfair to expect that kind of production going forward, but he's demonstrated the ability to get on base and hit monster home runs and those are both excellent signs. In short, the tools are mostly still there.
Eyes on the Phillies, Blue Jays, Yankees and Pirates.
Driving around the state of Florida sucks. It’s no wonder so many teams made the migration to the Cactus League over the past decade. The travel is considerably easier in Arizona, where no two complexes are more than an hour away from one another.
Brian Cashman plays the hand forced on him by ownership.
Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: the front offices of New York (Yankees), New York (Mets).
The Orioles catcher is back behind the dish, Kris Bryant will be back at third soon, and Alex Rodriguez might stay at third.
Matt Wieters sports the tools of ignorance
It had been a while since Matt Wieters last put the gear on: May 4th of last year, to be exact, when his elbow began to bark. The 28-year-old was eventually diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery, going on the shelf May 10th and staying there for the rest of the season.
Can the big Yankee build on a promising 2014 comeback from shoulder trouble?
The offseason has officially ended with spring training in full force, which can only mean that the BP Fantasy Team is returning to our in-season writing schedule. That means the return of my weekly column, The Buyer’s Guide, which profiles a specific player each week in hopes of dishing out some buy-hold-or-sell advice to fantasy owners.
Among all the things that don't matter, might logos not matter a bit less?
There’s a funny thing happening in college football. The University of Oregon has gotten very good at recruiting and even better at winning football games, which is normal enough, but the funny thing is that they’ve gotten better at winning games much faster than they’ve gotten better at recruiting. Over the past four years the Ducks have a composite recruiting class ranking of 18, which is good but not great, especially for a perennial national championship contender. When it comes to outperforming their expected performance based on recruiting class rankings, though, Oregon was the second-best school in the country, according to analysis from FiveThirtyEight.
After two consecutive bowl appearances in the mid-1990s, Nike founder Phil Knight got involved and planted the seeds for a college football behemoth. The re-branding of the school and specifically the football program proved to be a boon to the university. The eye-catching uniform combinations have become a common sight on primetime. So while Oregon is recruiting more and better players than they did 20 years ago, they’re also playing a whole heck of a lot better than they have any right to it would seem. There are undoubtedly a lot of factors that play a huge role in Oregon’s success, but do the uniforms and the logo have anything to do with it? Is it possible that players play harder when they look good? Is it possible that there’s more than just a spurious correlation between the logo on a player’s hat and their performance on the field?