With the 2012 baseball season finally upon us, it's time to announce BP's full slate of interactive events...designed to bring you, our fans and readers, closer to all the action.
Beginning on May 5, we launch our 2012 ballpark tour in St. Petersburg, Florida with the Tampa Bay Rays. From there, the tour continues with confirmed stops in San Diego, New York, Anaheim, Arlington, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Houston. We've partnered with Major League Baseball teams across the country and other great organizations like the Negro League Baseball Museum, The Newberg Report, The Royalman Report, and Royals Authority to bring you a fabulous experience every step of the way. Each event includes a one to two hour pregame discussion and Q & A session with members of Baseball Prospectus, special guests, and baseball operations representatives. Additional activities will be planned for All-Star Sunday in Kansas City.
Stadium Tour continues with The Newberg Report in Texas
Baseball Prospectus, The Newberg Report and the Texas Rangers invite you to join us for a great day of baseball on Sunday, June 24 at Rangers Ballpark.Thanks to the fine folks in the Rangers front office, we are proud to be able to offer our guests the following:
One man's virtual ballot for the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year awards.
In the excitement of the Twins/Tigers finish to the season and the quick run-up to the playoffs, I never published my Internet Baseball Awards ballots. Despite the late date-the BBWAA awards will be announced between now and Thanksgiving-these ballots do reflect only regular-season performance.
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Moving past the pause, there are plenty of injuries affecting their team's chances.
The second half is here. By the time you read this, some teams will be on the field and most of them think the second half won't be the end. We've seen enough injuries to keep me in business. We're hard at work behind the scenes to put together a first-half review, but there's a ton of data to get through. Here's one thing you'll want to know. In terms of player days lost to injury, injuries are up nine percent this season, year-over-year. That's not good, but if you look back to 2005, the increase is only two percent. What we don't know is how much variance is natural. Going back through the limited data available, it looks to be a choppy run that is largely determined by early-season injuries. Why early in the season? When someone goes down in spring training with a season-ender, his DL days are locked in-they're unpreventable. You'll occasionally see someone hit the list like Mike Hampton or Kris Benson, racking up the days and lost dollars in situations where it's almost impossible to say that even the best medical staff could have kept them functional. Internally, teams use a better measure to track players called the "Able/Not Able" report. It's pretty straightforward, and in its simplicity, it's flat-out better. Naturally, teams don't publish or even share this information, leaving people like me to collect of available data myself, but I can dream about the day when the able/not able report will be collected internally like the Gameday data.
Will's down in the Great State, but nothing keeps him from making the rounds of all the game's aches and pains.
I'm making my annual trip to Newberg Night at ... well, what is the Rangers stadium called these days? (You know, with the All-Star Game in the telcom stadium nom du jour, the commoditization of naming rights is becoming bothersome for reasons of consistency rather than anticommericalism.) Anyway, I'm headed to Arlington by way of the dreaded DFW, to speak alongside Jon Daniels to a passionate group of Rangers fans. Jamey Newberg and his team put on a heck of a show, aided by a Rangers staff that grasps that catering to those passionate fans pays off. We'll be in suites-ten of them this year, reaching the capacity of the auditorium-and it might be the most fun I have at a ballgame all year. I only wish there were more nights like it, more teams that 'get it,' and more guys like Jamey Newberg who built communities that could pull it off.
The Cardinals' Mark Mulder leads off a group of updates that includes Bonds, Derrek Lee, the Red Sox' rotation, and more.
Things do look bad for Mark Mulder, but they're not dire. Deep into his contract year, Mulder is on the DL with what is reported as either impingement syndrome or a rotator cuff inflammation. Both are effectively the same thing--impingement syndrome describes the rotator cuff being "pinched" due to inflammation causing the rotator cuff tendon to get trapped under the acromion. This normally isn't resolved surgically, though extreme cases could lead to what's known as a "Mumford procedure" to open up the space. Mulder also had a frayed labrum, something that seems to be asymptomatic and that Barry Weinberg accurately said is common among pitchers. This is a story of how the injury was managed and Larry Borowsky does a great job of breaking that down at his site. Mulder is going to miss at least a month; his response to rest and treatment will tell us if it will be longer than that. This reminds me of Chris Carpenter at the end of 2004--it looks bad now, but in the longer term may not be so bad. His wallet may take the most damage from this.
Complicated and confusing, the option rules govern the movement of 40-man roster players to and from the minor leagues.
To be placed on the 40-man roster, a player needs to be given a major-league contract. When teams want to assign those contracts to a minor-league club (that is, when teams want one of their 40-man players to
play for an affiliated minor-league franchise) they give the player
an "optional assignment" down to the minor-league team (as opposed to
an "outright assignment," which we'll leave for another day). An option is not used only
when a player is shifted off the 25-man roster and down to the minors.
An option is also expended when a player on the 40-man is assigned to a
minor-league roster. For example, a player with a 40-man contract who
spends his entire season in the minor leagues does use an option even though he never made it to the 25-man active roster of the
The optional assignment language signifies that the team has reserved
a "right of recall" and can recall the player to the active list of
their major league roster. Optional assignments are not subject to
waiver approval from the other 29 clubs, and they give a team a great
deal of freedom to move players onto and off of their major-league
Notebook has a look at Jason Vargas in Florida, some bright spots on the Royals' roster, and an update on the Twins pitchers' historic walk-aversion.
Vargas was called up on July 14. This date was convenient for two reasons; one, it was the Southern League's All-Star break, and two, it afforded the Marlins the freedom of discarding Al Leiter. The big club is Vargas' fourth stop this season, a trek that has seen him streak from low A to the Majors, skipping only Triple-A Albuquerque on the way. Vargas, the 68th pick in the 2004 draft, became just the 6th member of his draft class to reach the majors, ascending after only Justin Verlander (pick #2), J.P. Howell (#31), Huston Street (#40), Jeff Fiorentino (#79), and Cla Meredith (#185). This is itself a major achievement. It was mentioned in the 2005 player comments for Taylor Tankersley that the Marlins have had success pushing players quickly through the minors. When Tankersley, whom the Fish drafted ahead of Vargas in '04, had to sit out the first two months of the season with shoulder tendonitis, the Marlins instead pushed Vargas, which was a bit surprising. Though he was rated highly by Baseball America, clocking in as Florida's 8th best prospect, BA's write up forecasted his ceiling for 2005 to be high Class A. And though BP ran a PECOTA forecast for him, he did not warrant a mention in the 2005 annual, joining Rob Tejeda as the only top 15 rookie pitchers who did not make the book.
Will recaps his trip to Texas, and has updates on Curt Schilling, Roy Halladay, Barry Bonds, the Yankees, and others.
No, time flies when you're having fun, so it's appropriate that I head to the All-Star break having just had a phenomenal weekend. Jamey Newberg and his great Newberg Report invited me to be part of a program that included Rangers Assistant GM Jon Daniels, Jim Sundberg (a guy who was nice to a kid who wanted his autograph mumble years ago), John Wetteland, and 200 rabid Rangers fans. We also had a great Pizza Feed on Saturday where a gaggle of BP readers got together with Jim Baker and I. We were joined by Jack Kelly, the Secretary-General of USA Baseball--who had a ton of great info about the World Baseball Classic--and Eddie Epstein, one of the original statheads. (That hardly sounds as threatening as "original gangsta," does it?) Spending a whole weekend talking and watching baseball with some of the smartest people I know? Is this heaven? No, it's Texas.