Two starting pitchers are putting up elite strikeout rates this year, without adding new pitches or heaps of velocity. This is how.
Strikeouts are up this season. That, in itself is nothing new: strikeouts have been up in many seasons—most seasons, even—since the dead ball disappeared. The explanations have multiplied almost as quickly as the Ks. The mound is higher. The strike zone is bigger. Hitters are swinging for the fences. Pitchers are increasingly specialized, and they throw pitches they didn’t use to throw, and they throw the ones that they used to throw harder than they used to throw them. Also, Jose Molina keeps tricking umpires into seeing strikes that aren’t there.
Those are all valid theories, and more than one of them, if not all of them, probably contain some truth. But to that long list of culprits behind baseball’s increasing lack of contact, I’d like to add two more: Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer.
Prince Fielder's new deal has albatross potential, but the Tigers hope it doesn't turn out like one of John's picks for the worst contracts of the free-agent era.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As your mind reels at the size of Prince Fielder's payday, take a look at this list of 10 free-agent deals that didn't work out well for the teams that handed them out, which originally ran on February 20, 2007.
A writer who never saw Jack Morris pitch watches him in action for the first time and comes away even less convinced that the traditionalist case for his candidacy should earn him a call to Cooperstown.
A look into the mind of the champion of Tout Wars NL, Steve Gardner
At the end of every season, something I have always found helpful is to talk to the people who won their leagues to see how it all came together for them. Over the next couple of weeks, I will interview each of the three winners from Tout Wars to see what their secrets for success were in hopes that you can apply some of that wisdom to your own pursuit of 2012 fantasy success. The first interview was with USA Today’s Steve Gardner, who won the NL-only league by 8.5 points.
In his fourth column in the Asian Equation series, Michael looks at the starting pitchers who have crossed the Pacific, in which many failures are punctuated with a few very notable successes.
In the flood of players coming from Japan, the majority (34 of 43) have been pitchers. Unlike the pursuit of the next Ichiro I described in my previous column, this has less to do with the success of Hideo Nomo than it does with the pitching market–pitching is a difficult commodity to find in any league. What has doomed many NPB starters in MLB, however, has been both talent and adjustment to a different pitching philosophy. To understand and explain the differences between the two, I’ve drawn not only on my own expertise, but relied on Japanese pitching expert Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker for additional insight.
Pitching differences reflect a deeper philosophical difference between Japanese and American baseball. As I discussed in my first Asian Equation column, Japanese culture appreciates baseball’s emphasis on discipline, sacrifice, and the dramatic showdown between pitcher and batter. Instead of putting a batter away quickly, NPB pitchers build tension by indiscriminately filling counts before a perfectly placed strike three resolves the battle. These aren’t seen as “wasted” pitches, instead reflecting the samurai-like virtues of endurance and dramatic battles.
There was plenty of shuffling around on the waiver wire this week, especially for NL clubs in search of a new third baseman.
Domonic Brown is back, and then is immediately sent to Triple-A. Pablo Sandoval incurs the same injury Brown had, and now we finally know what is wrong with Ryan Zimmerman. Ben Zobrist does in one day what Hanley Ramirez has barely done all season and Dustin Moseley’s deal with the devil continues (although apparently he forgot to include run support in those negotiations). In all, it was just another crazy week in the Tout Wars leagues.
Some players look to be helping you out with nothing on the surface, but despite their early season struggles have been somewhat productive.
“Give me something! Give me anything!” I am guessing most of you have shouted that phrase at your TV or mobile device while watching one of your players this season. Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford were both premiere picks and yet Ben Zobrist did more last night against Twins pitching than those guys have done all season thus far. While that pair, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Francisco Liriano, and others are making fantasy owners red hot with rage, some of the strugglers are doing something, anything, to help out in some areas while they continue to struggle in other areas. Here are some of those guys that are producing well despite struggles in other areas.
Over a decade after their advent sent shockwaves through the sabermetric world, we gaze back to the dawn of defense-independent pitching statistics.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Now that BABIP has long since hit the mainstream, join us in flashing back to the day when Voros changed how we thought about pitching and defense, just over ten years after his landmark article originally ran on January 23, 2001.
Are pitchers able to apply certain skills when a game calls for it?
One of the pitchers I enjoyed watching the most while I was growing up was Tom Glavine. Even though I was a Phillies fan and frequently saw him victimize my favorite team, I was impressed by the expertise he demonstrated on the mound, and how he perfected his craft. Glavine remains the premier example of a pitcher who out-pitched his peripheral statistics; he was greater than the sum of his parts. For the amount of strikeouts, walks, and ground balls that Glavine got in his career, he should never have been able to keep runs off the scoreboard as well as he did.