Ben and Sam answer listener emails about how many games a team formed from the three worst teams in baseball would win, whether catchers (and non-catchers) should be allowed to block the plate, and expanding active rosters.
A range of responses from players, coaches, and team executives about the most important qualities for a manager to possess.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
C. Trent Rosecrans is an all-glove, singles-hitting first baseman with 20 speed. That’s why he’s at a keyboard instead of actually playing baseball. Luckily, a complete lack of talent is more marketable in the internet world than it is in professional baseball, so he’s found a way to make some semblance of a living. Currently, it’s the CBSSports.com Eye On Baseball blog that’s paying the bills. Rosecrans was previously the Reds beat writer for the Cincinnati Post and still resides in the Queen City, waiting for Jason Parks to come sample the town’s finest chili with him. While Twitter feels so 2009, he still occasionally tweets @ctrent, but you’re just as likely to find some other silliness there as you are baseball. You can also follow him (as well as Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder) actually discussing baseball @EyeOnBaseball.
How Dan Duquette is offsetting run differential with roster differential.
The Tides have tied the [International League] record for most players used in a season (74) and most starting pitchers used (20).—Norfolk Tides Media Notes, August 24, 2012
The above detail caught my eye in the press box before the Tides took on the Durham Bulls a couple of weeks ago. I appreciated the record numbers for their sheer size, but it’s easy, down here in the isolation of the minor leagues, to lose sight of what they really mean in the only context that counts.
What kind of impact can September call-ups have on your fantasy team, and who figures to make the biggest splash in 2011?
We are less than a week away from the most/least exciting day of the fantasy baseball season—roster expansion. On that magical day of September 1, Major League Baseball teams can expand their active roster by up to 15 players, giving chances to rookies and career minor leaguers to showcase their skills and audition for a spot on someone’s 2012 roster. It also gives teams a chance to rest their everyday players as they put their roster into cruise control in order to rest up for a grueling post-season.
Only a few of the preseason's roster battles are likely to have lasting consequences, but one of the few that will resides in the AL West.
It’s March 24, and the villagers are growing ever more restless. By this juncture in spring training, the beat writers charged with covering each team on a daily basis have all but exhausted their reserve of convenient storylines and mildly interesting interview subjects, and those of a more analysis-oriented mindset are generally found to be discussing one of two things: (a) season or individual player projections of a let’s-try-to-predict-the-future sort, or (b) Opening Day roster projections.
Alas, the latter rarely hold the kind of retrospective appeal that the former do, for the Opening Day roster is but a snapshot in time that is subject to modification from all directions as soon as the first game is in the books. In due time, the injured file dejectedly toward the disabled list, the vastly underperforming are faced with the prospect of a major reduction in playing time, demotion, or outright release, and the narrow losers of those heated spring training roster battles—especially the pitchers— very often earn another chance at winning a major-league roster spot later on in that same season. The end result? The initial makeup of a ballclub’s 25-man roster seems to matter greatly at the time, but usually doesn’t end up mattering that much (except for the most flagrant instances of choosing the wrong guy over a more qualified field of roster candidates), as the roster usually ends up sorting itself out in fairly short order. Operative word: usually. Fortunately, few of the AL West’s roster scrums buck the trend with a potentially irreversible outcome—the great exception residing with one foot in the Rangers' rotation, the other in the ‘pen.
From the "they also played" gang, those few who have jobs to win and trips to Fresno to avoid.
Arizona Diamondbacks Pitcher(s): Just 11 years, a bad press conference, and all sorts of money since he was last a front-end rotation asset, Mike Hampton is in camp. This has to be one of those bad-penny propositions, where everyone who operates a franchise has to take a turn paying for a Hampton surgery, otherwise you haven't really made the grade as an owner. And they've got Micah Owings back, four years since he gave the Snakes cause to believe he might be a rotation stalwart. Given that this is the team that puts Zach Duke or Hampton in cleats, what's several bad seasons in a row between friends? Hitter(s): I already touched on the most obvious impact NRI, Russell Branyan, on Tuesday, but he's not alone. Wily Mo Pena makes for an interesting platoon possibility in left field with Brandon Allen if Kirk Gibson decides to build something that could bop. And we can always double-count Micah Owings, since he's one of the only active players who genuinely extends a roster to 26 by contributing as both a pinch-hitter—or maybe even a spot starter at first?—and as a pitcher.
With September approaching, contenders are starting to look at loopholes to help consruct their post-season rosters.
With 30-plus games to play, it might be considered tempting fate for a front office to start planning for the postseason. But seven clubs have improved their odds of making the postseason to 90 percent or better, according to the Playoff Odds Report. And baseball’s calendar demands that GMs and managers begin planning for October now.
Explaining a seldom-used and confusing procedure that enables a club to quickly clear a roster spot.
When Scott Mathieson made his major-league debut approximately four years ago, the Philadelphia Phillies were a very different team. David Bell played third base, Aaron Rowand patrolled center field, and the three-headed monster of Mike Lieberthal, Sal Fasano and Chris Coste were the catchers. Mathieson, a 22-year old flamethrower, had shown plenty of promise but was still in need of some seasoning, which made things all the more disappointing when he fell prey to the injury bug and had to go under the knife for surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. The road back has been tenuous, as rehabilitation was stunted by the need for a second Tommy John surgery. After successfully rehabbing from the second surgery, Mathieson found himself a minor-league reliever with fans clamoring for his presence on the big club’s roster.
Checking out who's in the pool at first, second, third, and short.
There are currently 170 free agents. John Grabow was the 171st, but that was before signing with the Cubs right after the list became official. Over the next couple of days, I'll cover every single one of the 170, with the infielders coming first. Players are listed by position, and ranked within their position subjectively by how good a value I think each can be as a free agent.