In last week’s Lineup Card, I urged the Astros to re-sign Rick Ankiel and test him out again as a pitcher. As I explained, September allows teams to expand their active rosters to 40 men, so experimenting with Ankiel would be less likely to interfere with the “normal operations” of the club. He would also be playing for a team with no postseason hopes. Nothing would be lost for the Astros if he pitched poorly.
Joba clears up the confusion about his injury, while Logan Morrison continues to be plagued by knee troubles.
It’s mostly Flesh Wounds today, but there are a few important things to discuss.
Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays (Right Wrist Inflammation)
Fuld’s wrists have not had a good spring. First, Fuld missed about a week near the start of spring training games with right wrist inflammation, but his current wrist soreness appears to be much worse. One of the tendon sheaths in his right wrist is irritated because it’s popping in and out of place. When there is tendon instability, it loses the mechanical efficiency and strength. It’s quite painful when it subluxes.
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The BP team gives the players, current or former, that they'd like to see run for office
1) Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey was not a secular saint. He was a baseball man, and there was an element of self-interest in everything he did. “The farm system, which I have been given credit for developing,” Rickey said, “originated from a perfectly selfish motive: saving money.” Even breaking the color line wasn’t totally selfless. “The greatest untapped reservoir of raw material in the history of the game is the black race,” he said. “The Negroes will make us winners for years to come. And for that, I will happily bear being called a bleeding heart and a do-gooder and all that humanitarian rot.” Yet, you can also accuse Abraham Lincoln of being half-assed about emancipation. Even though their motives were not spotlessly clean, even if the results were imperfect, at least they moved in the direction of justice, which, as the Constitution says, is the whole point—to arrive at “a more perfect union.”
Ideology is not very useful; real world problems require nuanced solutions rather than predetermined responses. At the nadir of the Great Depression, presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt said, “The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” We don’t have much of that attitude these days, just gridlock based on putting faction above statesmanship and the thin slogans that pass for political philosophy. Give me the cigar-chomping, bowtie-wearing pragmatist who, seeing an opportunity to simultaneously right a wrong and exploit an opportunity, would swear “Judas Priest!” and go about the necessary business of thinking outside of the boundaries set by his supposed peers. And if he wanted to make Leo Durocher his running mate, well, even Ike had Nixon. —Steven Goldman
Is there such a thing as a "closer mentality," or can any effective setup man handle the closer role? The BP staff tries to get to the bottom of the matter.
The following is an edited transcript of an in-house discussion that took place among the Baseball Prospectus staff when one of our number solicited examples of unsupportable baseball arguments for an upcoming article. After Kevin proposed "Anyone can close," the thread took off in a new direction.
A look back at the best and worst outfield VP picks of 2011.
Value Picks is such a mixed bag, especially before NL-only and AL-only players were separated out. Sometimes, a “Value Pick” is a player the authors think should be owned in every league, even shallow mixed leagues, because they're just that good. Other players are more appropriate for deeper mixed leagues or shallow single-league leagues. And, of course, some players are total bottom-of-the-barrel shots in the dark (here's looking at you, Trent Oeltjen!)
The tater trots for May 27: a big night for big blasts, highlighted by Brandon Crawford's first major league hit.
It's time for summer. At least that's what I hear. Couldn't tell it from the weather out here. But it must be true - what else but rising temperatures could explain the ridiculously long trots that we saw on Friday?
Some thoughts on the pros and cons of instant replay.
Umpires are terrible, right?
Well, no, not really. But listen to fans in Boston or Tampa Bay or Anaheim or Minnesota or pretty much any other major league city and they'll tell you they are. Recent blown calls - some minor, some major - in those cities can't help but give the everyday fan that opinion. With 24-hour talk radio, high profile cable shows like Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight, MLB Tonight and others, official team blogs and websites, and a countless number of fan blogs all there to analyze any and every movement on the field, a blown call can reverberate like never before. Umpires can turn into household names - for all the wrong reasons - overnight. It's not an easy job.
The first supplemental draft of the Scoresheet season is upon us already, and Rob is here to guide you through the weekend.
The early draft date this year makes for some serious guesswork, and some seriously bad concessions of overall talent being bypassed by contenders in need of immediate help. Loading Team Tracker with position players with more than 3.9 offensive runs created per game and more than 19 plate appearances who are owned in fewer than 25 leagues gives this list of suspects:
Rob McQuown tracks the shifting outfielders of the Cubs, Brewers, and Indians.
The big news in the Cubs outfield this spring isn't on the radar (or Heater's Radar Tracker) yet, and that's because former first-round pick Tyler Colvin is still a longshot to make the opening-day roster. PECOTA forecasts him hitting .231/.289/.400 if given playing time, which seems somewhat pessimistic, given his .300/.334/.524 performance at AA last year with a reasonable .328 BABIP. Manager Lou Piniella is tempted, however, since Xavier Nady won't be able to throw well enough to play the outfield until June.
That turns the outfield spotlight on Sam Fuld. Fuld is a good defensive centerfielder. He bats lefty with enough of a platoon advantage that he could probably survive as a platoon leadoff hitter (his career minor-league OBP is .370 and he's hit righties with a typical platoon split) and could almost certainly play frequently as fourth outfielder for a team overloaded with righty bats. Despite his age, he's risen through the minors at a good pace after making his professional debut in 2006 at high-A ball. Obviously, hitting .150 in spring training so far is undermining his chances to grab the available playing time.