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March 10, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: National League Pitchers With Elevated BABIPs


Craig Goldstein

These five starters saw a lot of the balls hit against them land for hits, but was it bad luck or a sign of things to come?

A lot of the time, batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is used as a shorthand for luck, and while that can be the case, it’s not necessarily the case. Today I’m going to look at the top five BABIP pitchers in the National League with a minimum of 150 innings pitched to see what, if anything, connects them, and if that means there is hidden value in these players.

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January 16, 2014 6:08 am

Rumor Roundup: Yes, Paul Maholm Still Exists


Daniel Rathman

The Rangers contact a seemingly forgotten veteran starter, while the Mets and Pablo Sandoval put the skids on a couple of reports.

Rangers reached out to Paul Maholm
Several days ago, we learned that Rangers starter Derek Holland had suffered a knee injury in a fall at his home, and details later surfaced that it had happened when he tripped over his dog. The left-hander needed microfracture surgery on his left knee, so the Rangers must prepare to do without Holland at least through the All-Star break and possibly deeper into the summer.

Right-hander Nick Tepesch is the most likely candidate from within the organization, but it appears that general manager Jon Daniels is at least exploring the possibility of adding a veteran free agent starter. That news comes straight from one of the still-unemployed hurlers: former Braves southpaw Paul Maholm, who told ESPN and SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden that the Rangers are among the clubs that have phoned his agent.

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August 22, 2013 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: The Royals Run Out of Runs


Daniel Rathman

Good pitching hasn't prevented Kansas City's playoff odds from plummeting.

The Wednesday Takeaway
There may not be a truer baseball adage than “you can’t win if you don’t score.” The Royals, who have dropped seven of nine and fallen to 6 ½ games back in the American League wild card race, are learning that lesson the hard way.

Ned Yost’s club was shut out on Tuesday night, its first zero-run output since the 1-0 defeat to the Marlins that started this rut on August 13. Yesterday, the Royals scraped across exactly two runs for the third time since that loss. They have also scored one run once and three runs twice. Only once, in a 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Tigers on August 17, have they exceeded three tallies in a game.

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April 13, 2013 1:42 pm

Overthinking It: The Year's New Pitches


Ben Lindbergh

A look at some of the promising new offerings that pitchers have unveiled this month.

Every year, a few pitchers add a new pitch to their in-game arsenal after working on it over the winter or in spring training. Sometimes, the new pitch goes nowhere: it doesn’t produce results and is quickly abandoned, or it lingers but fails to make an appreciable impact. Other times, it helps a pitcher achieve some specific goal, like limiting opposite-handed hitters, but it doesn’t propel him to much greater heights. And every now and then, a new pitch transforms a pitcher into something far superior to what he was before, like Mike Scott’s splitter, Esteban Loaiza’s cutter, or, more recently, Jason Hammel’s sinker, which he added to great effect in 2012.

According to the custom, PITCHf/x-based pitch-type classifications provided by Harry Pavlidis of Baseball Prospectus and Brooks Baseball, five pitchers have already unveiled new offerings in 2013. It’s too soon to say for sure whether they’ll all be successes, but a small sample can often reveal more about a single pitch than it can about a player’s overall performance. Here’s an early assessment of each one.

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Paul Maholm assumes the mantle of the sub-60-mph strike.

Last season, there were 21 called strikes thrown slower than 60 miles per hour. Nineteen of them were eephus pitches by Vicente Padilla, and the other two were slow curves by Randy Wolf. Padilla is now pitching for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and Wolf will spend the whole season recovering from October Tommy John surgery. So we wondered—those of us who wonder about these things—who would take up the mantle of the under-60-mph strike thrower in 2013.

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