Updates on Frederis Parra, Eddie Rosario, Casey Gillaspie, Raimel Tapia, and others.
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The Royals score 11 runs off a defending Cy Young winner for the second straight day, the A's continue to trouble Yu Darvish, and much more action from Tuesday.
The Tuesday Takeaway
For much of Angels starter Matt Shoemaker’s career, the odds have been stacked against him. Shoemaker went undrafted out of Eastern Michigan—where he had a 4.83 ERA and 1.36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in three seasons—and spent parts of the next seven years in the Angels’ minor league system before making his major league debut last September. On Tuesday night, Shoemaker toed the rubber against the Indians for what turned out to be the best outing of his short big league career, and he was well on his way to a complete game before a short rain delay in the ninth inning brought a premature end to his night.
Who is Dee Gordon's opposite, and what can he teach us about the complexities of taking 90 feet?
You've heard some variation of the idea that you need to endure the clouds to enjoy the sunshine. That sentiment applies in baseball, too. For us to appreciate how good a basestealerDee Gordon is, you need to experience the inverse. Because Gordon at his best is a high-volume, high-efficiency thief who creates a sense of invincibility—there's nothing you can do to stop him—the inverse is a player who runs often and succeeds rarely. This player doesn't have to be slow, or inept at the physical act of running, he just has to be inefficient and irrational. Lucky for us, Alex Rios fits the description.
The myth of Joey Gallo has grown while the swing of Joey Gallo has been refined.
Everyone wants to talk about Joey Gallo’s power, and why not? Dude has power like Kanye West has ego. He hit 40 home runs last year, and his prodigious power has my early-season proclamation of “don’t expect [him] to be a fast mover” looking silly. His power is a legitimate 80, but that’s not what I want to focus on. The reason Joey Gallo’s stock is exploding this year is his ability to make productive changes to his swing.
As a hitting coach, I realize Gallo might not be making these changes on his own, and that is almost more admirable. Gallo’s power is so extreme he could have made very few changes to his swing and still reached the big leagues at 25 and hit 25-plus home runs. His ability to constantly improve his swing (or listen to good coaching) has him on track to reach the big leagues at 21 or 22 and hit 35-plus. This fact even speaks to his makeup, as it suggests he is not willing to coast on his skills and instead seeks continual improvement.
Prince Fielder's injury may have ended the Rangers' hopes of contending. Could it have been avoided?
As Daniel Rathmannoted in today’s edition of What You Need to Know, Thursday was a rough one for the Rangers, despite their 9-2 victory over Detroit. Heading into the day, Texas had already established a sizeable lead on the next-closest team in terms of games missed due to injury, which had limited a club that the Baseball Prospectus staff (though not PECOTA) had picked to win the AL West to a fourth-place, sub-.500 start.
Get to know the Rangers' other second baseman of the future.
The Situation: Former no. 1 overall prospect Jurickson Profar is out for several more weeks and Donnie Murphy just landed on the disabled list with a neck strain. Josh Wilson, the Rangers’ Opening Day second baseman, was designated for assignment. The Rangers are looking for a jolt until Profar returns.
Background: The Rangers signed “Roogie” Odor out of Venezuela for $425,000 and he immediately found success in the states, slashing .262/.323/.352 in 258 plate appearances as a 17-year-old in Low-A Spokane. The promising start jumpstarted an accelerated path to the big leagues for Odor, as he landed in Hickory (A-Ball) in 2012 and again held his own. Often in the shadow of other highly touted middle-infield Rangers prospects, Odor finally got his time to shine in 2013. Across two leagues, he hit .303 with a .369 on-base percentage and raised his slugging to .474. In fact, in 144 Double-A plate appearances, Odor slugged an eye-popping .530. After the season, he was rated the no. 1 overall player in the Texas Rangers system and second-best second baseman in the minors according to Baseball Prospectus.
Has the Rangers starter uncovered the secret of erasing his mistakes?
Back in the 2013 Annual, we wrote that Martin Perez’s “strikeout rate dropped off significantly last season, along with his ceiling. Once thought to be a potential front-end rotation arm, he’s now considered more of a third starter.” But he heads into his start tomorrow with the best ERA in the American League, while his strikeout rate hovers around the 15th percentile. There’s a contradiction there—those two statements aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but they are certainly opposed to each other. Perez has the career-low BABIP of an early-season fluke, and he has the pristine HR/FB rate of an early-season fluke. But what about the most magical part of his game thus far? Is it possible that Perez’s exceptional ability to induce double plays is a skill that he can carry forward?
To appreciate just how significant the 6-4-3 has been to Perez’s 1.42 ERA this year, consider: 31 times so far he has had a runner on first base (at least) and fewer than two outs. Those 31 at-bats have produced 12 double plays and three fielder’s choices, along with three caught stealings, six strikeouts, and just three singles. In those 31 chances he has turned about nine more double plays than an average pitcher should have, according to our NetDP stat, putting him more than four net double plays ahead of the next-best doubleplayer. A double play with a runner on first and nobody out is worth about three-quarters of a run, according to our 2014 run-expectancy matrix. In Perez’s 31 matchups with a runner on first (at least) and fewer than two outs, he has around 13 runs off his expected runs allowed. He has allowed six runs all year. The double plays alone have been roughly as valuable as Mike Trout's sixth-in-the-AL home run total.