Closers are unusually erratic when they're faced with an unexpected save situation, but are they any less effective?
A couple of weeks ago, we looked at what happens when a closer enters the game in a save situation after his team has handed him a lead with little warning. What we saw was that when a pitcher had only a short time between his team giving him the lead and his first pitch, his velocity and break tended to be a bit more erratic. The effect seemed biggest when the transition from lead to closing situation was near instant, but it quickly fell away and then died out completely around 15 minutes of warning time.
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Taking a deeper look at the players who went through (or threatened to go through) the arbitration process this winter
Salary arbitration is a funny thing. In an era when club owners and COOs are more honed in on cost certainty with contracts than ever, few clubs fully know what player payroll for the upcoming season will be until approximately a month and a half before the season begins. Until each player has reached a contract or gone to hearing in the salary arbitration process, you don’t know what each player will ultimately be paid.
As teams and players settle in arbitration or avoid it entirely, refresh your memory on how the process works.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
John names ten men who appear poised to join the ranks of major-league managers.
They call it the Silly Season in NASCAR. It is that time right after the stock car season ends, in which drivers and pit crews began jumping from one team to another, the sport's version of free agency.
A trip to see the Staten Island Yankees turns into an odyssey of self-discovery... with a scouting report thrown in for good measure.
I have already convinced myself that Angelo Gumbs is a better prospect than Cito Culver, and it’s only the third inning. Neither player has produced a remarkable result thus far, but the overwhelming feeling brewing in my gut tells me that Gumbs is the player to watch on the field. I shouldn’t listen to my gut; I should focus on the shortstop. Shortstops with true defensive skills are valuable commodities. But Gumbs could be a very good center fielder. He’s currently playing second base, but he could be playing center field. At present, the position is occupied by Mason Williams, who is equally promising (if not more so), but Gumbs could handle the defensive assignment, given his plus-plus athleticism, a strong arm, and instincts. My gut seems more loquacious than normal. My journey to the park might also be playing a role in the stomach discussion. A German tourist might have poisoned me.
I’m in the “scout section” of the park, which is really just another social clique that some happen upon based on their seating assignment, while others only recognize the section from afar. I don’t always want to be in a specific section; I like to bounce around the park, frequently looking for different angles and perspectives. But sitting with the players tasked with charting the game and with your contemporaries in the industry can have its advantages, especially when your gut is chatty and perhaps poisoned.
While Dexter Fowler gets another shot, Dominic Brown has seen his last, and Rob teases a Brandon Belt writeup.
Many fantasy owners have gone fishing the past couple weeks, with Mike Trout's promotion and all. Trout's value to fantasy teams will depend entirely on how much playing time he's able to “earn” while Peter Bourjos recovers. It's not clear where he'd fit on a Value Picks list (since he's so hyped, it's hard to believe he's a “value” in many leagues), so he'll be skipped for now. But don't take his omission as any sort of knock against Trout. He's a dream fantasy prospect. He has blinding speed that should translate into many steals, good power, and should contribute in batting average as well. Hanley Ramirez hit .313/.385/.521 from ages 22-26, stealing 196 bases in those five seasons. Nobody would be surprised if Trout posted stats like these, nor if he got started at as early an age as Hanley did. That being said, his 2011 value is hard to determine. Don't expect full-blown stardom in August and September, even if he keeps the job. And since we’ve seen Vernon Wells start some of the games while Bourjos has been out, it seems that the Angels are serious about throwing Trout back in 2011.
Brandon Wood and Eric Duncan find new life in the NL Central, Brandon Belt gets reacquainted with Fresno, Daniel Murphy tries to clean up the Mets' second-base mess, and the Rule 5 regifting season hits full swing.
How to get through the season's first month without panicking.
Albert Pujols is on pace to hit into 486 double plays in 2011. This would shatter the record of 36 double plays that Jim Rice grounded into in 1984. Meanwhile, Robinson Cano is going to have problems hitting over .300 again, as he is on pace to strike out 324 times this season.
Auction keeper advice from Jason, with a little help from an ancient Chinese strategist.
Ever since I started playing fantasy baseball I have been involved in keeper leagues. My first league began in 1987 when I was a sophomore in high school: my friends and I started simulated leagues using Earl Weaver Baseball to play out our games. I maintain that Earl Weaver Baseball was light years ahead of its time, as you could input your own stats and customize your own ballparks. Rather than pick from the standard player pools as we all do these days, we picked our players from the Topps baseball cards that we had purchased that year. The only flaw in the game was its inability to handle extremely small sample sizes. For example, Carlos Garcia went 2-for-4 as a member of the 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates but I turned him into a pinch hitter extraordinaire as he safely got a hit fifty percent of the time I used him. The league flourished in my Computer Programming class during my sophomore year in 1988—despite the 5.25” floppy disk's confiscation one January following a Kent Hrbek homer around the Pesky Pole, an event that set off celebratory music celebratory music in the lab.
Baseball's trio of dugout noobs have followed very different paths to their skippering slots, but what does the future hold?
Yesterday's column and my comments about the increasing importance of staff management are my cue to touch on what we do know about the three genuinely new skippers. The first of them is an ex-pitcher with no managerial experience, but someone who will be coming to the job with plenty of management experience.