Last year's HR leader wakes up from his slumber, Masahiro Tanaka loses a game, and more from Tuesday, plus what to watch on Wednesday.
The Tuesday Takeaway Chris Davis slugged three home runs in his first three games of the 2013 season—one in each of them—and then upped his total to four by going yard again the next day. That set the stage for his league-leading 53-homer campaign, which established the 28-year-old as one of the most feared hitters in the American League.
A look at fantasy impact of every significant transaction consummated on Tuesday.
After one of the craziest transaction days in recent memory, the fantasy team (literally, it took nearly the entire team given the short notice) went through all 10 transactions with fantasy implications to see who gained and lost value in the last 24 hours. A longer introduction than that is not necessary—let’s get straight to what you came here to read.
An update on Sean Doolittle's extreme sophomore season.
This is part three of the Sean Doolittle trilogy. Part 1, in ESPN the Magazine, focused on Sean Doolittle—who, at the time, had thrown about 35 innings as a pro—to consider whether we need to change the way we think about pitching’s complexities. Part 2, here, looked at whether Brand New Pitcher Sean Doolittle had developed any more nuance in his next 50 innings, and concluded that he hadn’t. Other than picking up a little extra fire in his demeanor.
Part 3 might not seem necessary. Here’s Doolittle this year, compared to Doolittle last year:
How many game could a team of all rookies win? Think about it for a minute, pick a number, and then read on.
One of the chapters I wrote for Extra Inningswas about the ways that perennial losers like the Pirates and Royals get broken, and how they might eventually go about getting fixed. “Getting younger” is sometimes seen as a solution, and often it’s at least a step along the way. But early on in the chapter, I noted that youth isn’t always an immediate answer, writing, “All else being equal, a younger team is preferable to an older one, since younger players generally cost less and offer more room for improvement, but a roster composed of players who haven’t yet hit their primes is at least as unlikely to succeed as a team of players who’ve left their primes behind.” Comparing the average ages of teams that finished above or below .500, or that won or lost over 100 games, I concluded, “Too little inexperience can be even more toxic to a team than too much experience.”
It’s easy to explain why many young teams lose a lot of games: they’re learning on the job, with few players in their prime and a limited supply of highly touted and/or major-league-ready rookies. But for a few minutes, let’s ignore the way the real world works and imagine a young team too talented to occur in nature. If we could form an entire team for 2013 out of rookie-eligible players from any organization, which rookies would we pick? And armed with only the best young players in baseball, how many games would our all-rookie roster win?
Oakland's successful bullpen comprises good stories and impressive performances. So if some movie producer wants to option R.J.'s screenplay...
I write from the year 2012, 10 years ahead of your time. Much has changed about the world, as expected, but one thing should remain familiar to you: the Oakland Athletics are a good ballclub. They seem destined to make the postseason, and their bullpen leads the American League in ERA. If you think that’s incredible, just wait until you see who they’re winning with. I’ll let you find out for yourself, but let’s just say Billy Beane still has it. Now, about the purpose of this message: Only you can save our beloved planet. The first thing I need from you is…
Today's Ten Pack features more than a few notable A-ball performances in systems that could use some good news.
Tyler Austin, 1B/OF, Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
A 13th-round pick in 2010 who signed for an above-slot figure of $130,000, Austin showed impressive offensive ability in the New York-Penn League last year; on a Sally League squad loaded with much more well-known prospects, it's Austin who has stood out, going 8-for-13 with three doubles, a triple and his third home run of the year. His season line is at .438/.471/1.031 after eight contests. He has nowhere near the tools of some of his Riverdog prospect brethren, but the bat stands out, and is very much for real.