Here at Baseball Prospectus, we are dedicated to providing you with oodles of cutting-edge sabermetric analysis and keeping our finger on the pulse of the baseball world. With a slew of daily articles, it’s easy for one piece to get lost in the shuffle or for you to overlook a post while you’re busy hiding your monitor from your boss. Just in case this happens to be your situation, here’s what you might have missed this week at BP.
- Breaking up the spring training doldrums, the Mets gained headlines for eating the contracts of second baseman Luis Castillo, who subsequently signed with the rival Phillies, and K-zone-phobic pitcher Oliver Perez. Christina Kahrl provides insight on the Mets’ moves, Sandy Alderson and Co.’s quick hatchet of the old regime’s sloppy leftovers, and also has the latest notes around Cubbies camp.
- After playing through an era in which George Steinbrenner swapped skippers as often as he insisted on dealing the farm, Don Mattingly has seen numerous ways to manage a game. Now the top dog in Dodgertown, Donnie Baseball will have the chance to call the shots himself (and hopefully not run out of pitchers again). John Perrotto has the scoop on Mattingly’s joy for his first real managing gig and how he believes his team will fare.
- Before news broke about Adam Wainwright’s elbow a’spolidin’ in the first weeks of camp, the right-hander was considered at low risk for injury—not that this info is of any comfort to Cardinals personnel, fans, and fantasy owners. Now the Red Birds will have to weather the season without their ace, and as Corey Dawkins and Marc Normandin discovered, there are plenty more reasons for the Cards to worry about injuries.
- We seem to have a stat for everything, yet we have yet to discover a formula to forecast the quality of an upcoming season. Noticing this dilemma, Ken Funck decides to give numerology a whirl and determines that 2011 is destined to be epic—and the Yankees won’t win the World Series (but neither will the Cubs).
- The Royals relieved themselves of an unhappy ace when they dealt Zack Greinke to Milwaukee. Greinke busted a few ribs playing some pick-up basketball, which would have mounted the injury toll on an overall low-risk (health-wise, not regular shellacking-wise) pitching staff in Kansas City. However, as Corey and Marc point out, the Royals probably won’t be feeling blue about having the best farm system in the game when they check out their lineup regulars in their Team Injury Projection.
- Matt Stairs is a traveling man who made a lot of stops all over the world before he finally stuck in the majors. Now, the pinch-hitting extraordinaire seems impossible to get rid of. With the gazillion men in the pen, it’s surprising that the 43-year-old slugger continues to find work. Ben Lindbergh runs down cases of players like Stairs and examines whether they’re worth keeping around.
- Before a player reaches arbitration eligibility, his ability to negotiate a contract essentially comes down to “Take what you can get, Kid.” Jeff Euston discusses pre-arb players and various team policies for those under three years of service time.
- With Chase Utley shelved for the foreseeable future with knee problems, the Phillies signed Luis Castillo to see if he has anything left to contribute. Marc and Corey check in on the second sacker and check the future implications of an injury like Utley’s, as well as take a quick run through other players with a case of the ouchies.
- Spring training ain’t all sunshine and roses, especially when players suffer injuries just before camp breaks. However, ever the optimist, John hops through each club’s news and finds one pleasant spring surprise that has the team walking on the sunny side of the street.
- In dire need of starting pitching, the Yankees signed hefty hurler Bartolo Colon to a minor-league deal in January. The righty has diminished stuff, but has seemingly learned to compensate for the lack of velocity and continues to pitch well in spring training. But is there a precedent for a pitcher like Colon to come back and thrive against major-league hitters? Ben Lindbergh investigates.
- Some guys have a knack for getting on base, even if they don’t hit a whole lot. Others couldn’t get a free pass to first base if a pitcher set his target zone as the spectators down the first-base line. Who, exactly, walks the most BB-phobic hitters? R.J. Anderson is on the case.
- It’s no secret that the Indians are likely headed toward Disastropiece Theatre, but as Corey and Marc explain, at least they’ll probably have their regulars on the field as the nightmare unfolds. That’s good, right? (But if you want the original Disastropiece Theatre, the Astros Team Injury Projection is up as well.)
- Each team has usually has a designated scrapper, the guy who can be called upon to be gritty, gutty, and capable of standing at any position on the field at the tug of a hamstring. For the Tigers, Don Kelly has filled the role well, and as David finds out, he’s adding some tools of ignorance to his toolbox.
- Opening Day is officially less than a week away, and some teams are set to start interdivision play immediately. Such is the case in the NL Central, and Larry Granillo examines the matchups to see who might have the edge in the early going.
- Going into the season, analysts are constantly asked for players who might be sleepers, but occasionally they’re asked about sleeper teams. Jay Jaffe spoke off the cuff about the Cubs’ good chances to grab a share in the NL Central race, but was his answer the same once he did his homework? Answer: Cubs fans, you’ve been tortured for over 100 years. Do you expect me to give you the answer this easily?
Have a spectacular weekend, and just think—by this time next week, we’ll be enjoying regular-season baseball again. See you Monday!