Which starting pitchers can you pick up to give your team a boost?
Added to the list
Chris Narveson: Since joining the Milwaukee Brewers organization, Narveson has significantly increased his strikeout rate, and so far this year, he has been able to maintain it with the addition of a slider. He is averaging eight punch-outs per nine innings and has actually struck out batters at a higher clip as a starter than as a reliever (in a small sample of innings, of course). His 5.83 ERA is primarily due to a .353 BABIP and subsequent 66 percent strand rate, thus his 4.32 SIERA should come as no surprise.
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The latest Cuban import, a Dominican tragedy, plus more news on the injury beat.
Remember, I am not a scout, but with the news that Chapman will soon be a free agent, there have been a lot of questions. I've only seen him in video, but what I've seen seems good. He's obviously got good stuff and clean-ish mechanics, but without more information I'm not willing to buy high. At 21, he's in the reddest of red zones, and with an estimated valuation of $50 million, a team is not likely to be patient with him. Assuming that he is 21, he's going to be asked to pitch at a high level from day one, likely without much-if any-minor-league time. Putting him in a high-stress situation wouldn't be unlike what the Rangers did with David Clyde. The Cubans that have made it over have generally been older and more seasoned, and while there are questions about Chapman's age, this is a situation where if he were 24 or 25, I'd feel a bit better about the situation. Even Daisuke Matsuzaka was in his mid-twenties when he came over. I'm curious whether the "Joba Rules" will affect how a team will handle Chapman, or if his handlers will steer him to a team with a track record for developing young pitchers. Then again, if he gets the money many are predicting, whether he's healthy or not won't matter nearly as much as it does to someone coming through the draft.
Risking an ace for a number, while other players get shut down after achieving them, plus post-season roster considerations.
Watching the new Cowboys Stadium open Sunday night was just stunning. I can't help but compare it to the two New York stadiums and the one-year-old Lucas Oil Stadium here in Indianapolis. I'm not trying to go all Neil deMause on you here, but I think we're about to see the end of the stadium era. With Camden Yards, we saw stadiums all play off of a theme, not in the way of the ashtray-like multipurpose stadiums, but Camden without the warehouse isn't really different from Rangers Ballpark or the Gap in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh's PNC is amazing because of where it is, just like San Francisco's AT&T. With Jerry Jones' new megapalace, I can't imagine anyone in America-maybe someone in Russia or Dubai, maybe-thinking, "I can top this." Of course, baseball could have built something like this, but they're too married to tradition. (Though Jeffrey Loria seems to be on that track, albeit on a lesser scale.) Instead of investing in their facilities, they're busy burning the money on injuries, with enough lost on pitchers over the last five years to build another Jerryworld or a new Yankee Stadium. Figuring out that issue would require vision and planning, kind of like what Jerry Jones just did. Now, powered by the final two weeks, on to the injuries:
The Dodgers deal with diverging developments, both Windy City teams get good news, plus more news on the injuries beat.
Jason Schmidt (0 DXL)
I'll be honest-I didn't even notice that Schmidt was going to pitch last night until I was checking out the new features of MLB At Bat* and saw "Dodgers-Schmidt." I guess I should have been reading Dodger Thoughts more closely, but yes, Jason Schmidt is back in the rotation. (Victor Rojas points out that Schmidt is the eighth-highest-paid pitcher in the game.) Schmidt pitched... passably well. His fastball is below average, coming in at 87, so his command and control are key. He mostly pitched around people, willing to give up a walk rather than a big hit. Schmidt doesn't look like he's going to help the team much, but he might help them from hurting themselves. If he can eat some innings, that's some that won't fall on Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw. It won't earn what he'll be paid, but it's important.
The injury to the Phillies' Brett Myers is something unusual, a critical throw day for Kyle Lohse, and several catchers to follow closely.
Brett Myers (90 DXL)
It's often said that every time you go to a baseball game, you'll see something you've never seen before. That's not supposed to happen in UTK, but it does sometimes. At times, it's cool, like when a new procedure cuts rehab time or makes it possible for a player to come back when he might not have been able to a decade ago. Other times, we're left wondering what might happen without benefit of any comparable situations. Strangely, both are in play for Myers. All indications are that he's headed for the type of hip surgery that's all the rage these days.* A bone spur that's been inside Myers' hip for years-he said he's felt pain for that long, so it's a reasonable assumption-has torn into his labrum, necessitating repair. He's likely to get the "full" surgery, like Chase Utley, and since he's seeing Utley's surgeon, Dr. Brian Kelly, we have that for a comp. That would mean a three- or four-month rehab that would put him in Ben Sheets' position of trying to convince teams that he's healthy enough to sign as a free agent this winter. The problem is that a pitcher is not a player and the forces on the body are different. One pitching coach I spoke with Thursday night wondered if this was a cascade from his shoulder injury, observing he "was a power pitcher, and he's not now. Maybe he's pushing more with his legs or striding longer. He probably doesn't even know it." While it's hard to put a timeline or a precise DXL on this, the best-case scenario has him coming back in late August. At that stage, it would be tough for him to build stamina enough to come back to starting. Could Myers move to the pen? There are a lot of scenarios, and over the next days and months, we'll learn more.
Grady Sizemore and Hanley Ramirez are the headliners in a long list of the game's ailing and/or recovering players.
Grady Sizemore (0 DXL)
A "hot" elbow? Hmm, I'll spare you all the easy Sizemore jokes, but what exactly is a hot elbow? It's... well, it's sore, and perhaps a little swollen, but that doesn't tell us much. One theory is that "hot" refers to a spot often seen on MRIs in areas of the joint where the scanner's uptake is a bit more or less than it is elsewhere because not everything "takes" the magnetic waves in the same way, revealing a defect; that would be bad. The much more likely scenario, and one that two sources agree is the most likely, is that Sizemore has bursitis, and perhaps a burst bursa in that elbow. One of the symptoms of a burst bursa is that the skin near it becomes very tender and, yes, hot to the touch. The downside here is that at that stage it often involves an infection. People from Cleveland will twitch a little when they hear 'infection,' but this seems simpler right now. Sizemore wouldn't be allowed to play through an infection. Instead they're just protecting him by keeping him from throwing and hoping that this will calm down with some treatment and time.
Brett Myers prevailed over Brewers' ace CC Sabathia by working both sides of the game.
PHILADELPHIA-Brett Myers had retreated to the Phillies' clubhouse after a 20-minute post-game interrogation from the media in the interview room, and then he stood at his locker and made small talk with a few reporters. "All everyone wanted to talk about was my hitting," the right-hander said with a shake of his head. "Didn't anyone realize I pitched tonight, too?"
Will the lefty-mashing Brewers match up well with Philly, or will Phillies firepower and a strong pen make all the difference?
Less than three weeks ago, the Brewers came to Philadelphia holding a four-game lead in the wild-card race and carrying the league's second-best record despite a slump that had seen them lose seven of 10 to open September. By the end of the four-game set, the two teams were tied for the wild card. It was the start of a finishing kick in which the Phillies went 13-3, breezing past the Mets to claim their second division title in a row.