News and notes from around the league for May 28, 2013.
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Rotations are in serious flux as teams juggle starters down the stretch, but Paul helps make sense of it all in this week's Planner.
Some teams are running six-man rotations and every team seemingly has their rotation in flux, but we’ll try to iron out the two-start pitchers for next week as we inch closer and closer to wrapping up yet another 162.
Some strategic questions have different answers in September than they do during the rest of the regular season.
During the first four or five months of the season, I don’t care which teams are playing, as long as there is at least one day game I can watch from my location six time zones ahead of the East Coast. But when September arrives, I often find myself looking at the schedule in disgust when I learn that the only game played at 1 PM features two teams already out of contention.
September also brings a different kind of baseball, as rosters expand and teams pull out all the stops to make the playoffs. Given the altered nature of the game in the final month of the regular season, the men in charge of pushing the buttons should know the answers to a few questions that either do not arise or are not really relevant earlier in the season. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
Michael graduates one Value Pick and welcomes another one back, while the rest of his list keeps delivering value to fantasy owners looking for corner infield help.
Ownership rates for Todd Frazier(Yahoo! 40%, ESPN 62%, CBS 60%) are finally starting to match his 2012 production. He entered last week hitting .280/.339/.528 with 14 home runs and 28 RBI in 310 plate appearances. He burnished those credentials with 10 hits last week, including three home runs, and six RBI, for a .370/.379/.741 line that finally caught the eye of other fantasy owners—probably because of Wednesday’s monster blast to deep center field. Value Picks readers have been hearing about Frazier since May 15, so there’s no excuse for having missed out on this Rookie of the Year candidate.
The Brewers seem to be living a horror movie staple this month.
There's a fantastic scene in the horror classic "An American Werewolf in London". In it, David, our hero, is spending an idyllic evening with his family in front of the television. Suddenly, the night is interrupted by a murderous group of mutant Nazi soldiers bursting through the door. They kill his family, burn the house down and, eventually, cut David's throat. As David bleeds out, the scene shifts suddenly and we learn that it was all a nightmare, with David bolting upright in his hospital bed, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. What a relief. David's nurse, the kindly Alex (who apparently has not yet turned 30), tells him everything is alright and walks over to the windows to let some sun into the small room. As she opens the curtains, one of the mutant Nazi soldiers jumps through the window and stabs Alex to death.
The much-anticipated debut of Trevor Bauer highlights this week's SP VP.
I’m sorry if you cut someone of value to get the jump on Felipe Paulino last week. The news of his setback came out after I recommended him. He finally starts putting together a breakout season, and now he can’t stay on the field. I hope he doesn’t suffer Brandon McCarthy syndrome, another favorite of mine who has had health issues keeping him from great seasons.
We all know wins aren't a good way to judge pitchers, but we'd miss them if they went away.
"My choice for the front-runner is Welch, but I know a lot of people say Clemens. I know what Clemens has done for Boston, but now is not the time to change the rules. The guys who won it the last three years won the most games and had good stats. If Bob Welch continues to win at this pace, and he doesn't get it, something is terribly wrong with the judging." | A's pitcher Dave Stewart, in a 1990 Sports Illustrated story on that season's Cy Young voting
Bob Welch had just won his 20th game when his Oakland teammate was asked about the voting, and it was just Aug. 17. It was his 13th season and the first and last time that the 33-year-old Welch would win 20 games.
Jay Jaffe and JAWS examine the starting pitchers on this year's Hall of Fame BBWAA ballot, starting with the inevitable Jack Morris.
After delivering the JAWS piece on first basemen earlier this week, I had planned to tackle the outfielders—Tim Raines, Bernie Williams et al—next. The sad news of Greg Spira'suntimely passingon Wednesday presented me with a reason to change course, however. In the service of working on a chapter on Jack Morris’s Hall of Fame case for Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbersin November, I had called upon the Internet Wayback Machine to unearth Greg's seminal research piece questioning whether Morris "pitched to the score." a piece that was published in Baseball Prospectus 1997, predating Morris’s arrival on the BBWAA ballot by a three years and Joe Sheehan's own outstanding Morris research by five years. I suggested to Dave Pease that we republish it on our site to run alongside yesterday’s article in tribute to our fallen colleague and friend, a fine example of his intellectual curiosity and dogged research efforts, particularly as the work dated to a time when Retrosheet was in its infancy and the relevant data not easily compiled. This piece is dedicated to his memory.
Is Goose Gossage right to say that Mariano Rivera has it "easy?"
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.
Kevin Baker is a novelist and historian who is currently at work on a social history of New York City baseball, to be published by Pantheon.
A tribute to the players whose successes and failures made the season's final days so memorable.
In retrospect, I peaked too early. As memorable and riveting a night for baseball as Tuesday night was, with one barnburner and two other come-from-behind victories that collectively tied up both leagues' Wild Card races heading into the final day of the season, Wednesday was even moreso. My schedule and sanity didn't allow me to chronicle another night of quadro-entropic action in the same minute detail, but with a TV, a laptop, an iPad, and an iPhone, I caught all of the relevant action, including the Braves' agonizing 13-inning loss, the Red Sox ninth-inning collapse, and the Rays' amazing comeback from 7-0 against the Yankees with just six outs remaining (via Twitter and the #teamentropy hashtag, I caught a great deal fo the snark as well). The five or 10 minute span which saw Boston lose and Tampa Bay win may be the most shocking stretch of baseball I've witnessed since — we'll go easy on Bill Buckner and Sox fans — the Steve Bartman game.