The A's surprisingly effective starter serves as a lesson in the right way to handle a pitching prospect.
If I had predicted that Chad Gaudin would find himself as the A's No. 3 starter, #24 among American League pitchers in Value Over Replacement Player with a week left in June, I would have been called crazy. Yet that is just where Gaudin improbably finds himself the year after he was a reliever with more walks than strikeouts for these same Oakland Athletics. How has Gaudin found success so far, and is it something that will last for a team struggling to hold on in the American League West?
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Popping the hood on King Felix as a demonstration of what's possible with PITCHf/x data
"Hell, yeah, I want to throw that pitch. They don't let me, though. They tell me I'm too young, that it's bad for my elbow. I told them I want to throw it."
--Felix Hernandeztalking about his slider before the 2006 season
Though this week's draft will involve over a thousand players taken with all sorts of considerations, Kevin details the 50 best pure talents.
The following rankings are based on discussions with scouts, scouting directors, other team personnel, and agents. They are based purely on projectable pro talent, with no consideration given to actual draft status, which often involves signability and/or perceived bonus demands.
Dan responds to readers' thoughts on the subject of platoon splits.
In the fall of 1906 Francis Galton (1822-1911), the British polymath and half-cousin of Charles Darwin, decided to attend a country fair near his home. Galton was a man of many and varied talents--he invented the weather map, a method for classifying fingerprints, and even the silent dog whistle--but among them was a statistical bent, and he had used his skills to try and understand human differences and heredity.
Jonah witnesses the Randy Johnson of old turning into the Randy Johnson who's just old.
Time and again during Sunday's tilt between the Indians and Yankees,
Johnson got into trouble. The Indians started each of the first five innings with a runner on base.
Johnson's fastball kept catching the middle of the plate, leading to
hits into the gaps. But just when the Tribe looked ready to blow the
they'd blow it by hacking at fastballs up and out of the zone, the only
could throw by anyone. That impatience, along with Johnson's
some Indians base-running blunders and some Yankee luck, combined to
Bombers in a game they should have lost early on. Here's what
It looked like a prime candidate for a blowout, and that's exactly what happened.
Unlike Jim's twice-weekly oeuvre, in which he previews both top-notch
match-ups and lopsided potential laughers, GotW was meant to pick choice
battles, riveting team match-ups, interesting pitching
battles--something compelling. The other mandate of GotW, however, is that
every team must be covered at least once during the season. Since a
Royals/Devil Rays breakdown could cause narcolepsy among non-members of
the Gotay and Cantu families, a Show-Me State tilt seemed appropriate.
Just like their MLB counterparts, minor league systems are bereft of
quality left-handed pitching. Each team might have one or two top-notch arms,
but finding teams that possess four or more solid left-handed pitchers is a
rarity. Here are three teams that can boast of both quality and quantity.