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.
- With Bobby Cox hopping to a front-office job (where he can still scream at umpires—from television monitors) and Billy Wagner succumbing to the Sandman (well, retiring), it may have seemed like the Braves lost two baseball icons over the winter. However, despite the revamp, new manager Fredi Gonzalez is skippering the ship in similar fashion to the one that brought Cox success. John Perrotto draws comparisons between the Bravos old and new, and finds that all hands on deck believe that 2011 is the start of many exciting possibilities.
- On paper (and likely on the field), the Mariners strongly resemble a crumbling one-man band. Guess what? Corey Dawkins and Marc Normandin found that their Team Injury Projection is just as CHIPPER.
- The Brewers set GM Doug Melvin loose with their credit card this winter, and he brought home Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke in quick succession. With this being the last year of Prince Fielder’s pre-free agency years, many viewed this as Milwaukee going all-in one final time. But was it a good choice? Tommy Bennett discusses the club’s decision.
- Major League Baseball used to be stuck on the east side of the Mississippi River. However, just like the ‘49ers in the gold rush, teams trickled toward the golden coast to bring us what is now the NL West. Whether it was because of the California Girls, good vibrations about success, or the above-freezing temperature, it’s here to stay, and Geoff Young delves into why each club ventured westward.
- Once a prospect darling, Andrew Miller’s career has been derailed by ineffectiveness, mechanical changes, and his mental approach. Now he finds himself in Boston’s farm system, looking to make good on his early promise. David Laurila chats with Miller about how his pitching got off track and what changes the southpaw has made to his game.
- Last year, the Rangers overcame numerous injuries and rode their rotation horses to the World Series. Now with a little retooling, Texas will be looking for a repeat performance, but can the club avoid popping a hammy? Corey and Marc find that everything—especially the injury reports—are bigger in Texas.
- Aw snap! Was the speed on Wandy Rodriguez’s killer hook up or down this spring? Heck, does the speed a pitcher throws at during spring training even matter? Mike Fast uses PITCHf/x’s fastball data to decide if there are actually any spring numbers that do matter.
- Each club has their personal Brandon Wood or Jeff Mathis—a guy who is granted a roster spot but who should really step up his game to keep it. John takes a gander at 30 players whose 2010 performances leave them with no excuses but to improve in 2011.
- Opening Day is here, but there are some players who couldn’t stay healthy during the spring. Whether it was a problem with the kisser, the metacarpal, or the shoulder, Corey and Marc have the lowdown on the walking wounded.
- There have been some spectacular comebacks in baseball history: the 1964 Cardinals, the 1969 Mets, the 1978 Yankees, and the 1993 Braves are just a few examples. Baseball season may just be starting, but Joey Matschulat has his mind on the four greatest seasonal comebacks in AL West history.
- While some players scrap to make a single Opening Day start, other players have spent about half of their life doing so. Jeremy Greenhouse investigates how much of an impact having the same players start on Opening Day has on a ballclub.
- Ah, the fortunes that can be told by watching a single ballgame. The worst teams can make people fawn because of their faux earth-shattering awesomeness, while the best teams can look like… well, what it has looked like in Pittsburgh for far too many years. Ben Lindbergh looks into whether there is much that can be culled from the first game of the season.
It’s no April Fool’s joke: Our own Christina Kahrl has gone global! She will be working at ESPN as both an editor and writer, spreading her love of obscure historical references, philosophical wisdom, mythology, and, of course, baseball (including that one team in the green and gold) with the Worldwide Leader. She will still be hanging with us at BP, but as Russell Carleton would say, we wish her nothing but peace, love, happiness, and banana pudding. Thanks for many fantastic years of service, Christina, and cheers to your next great adventure!
- Despite a horrendous beard that even BP facial hair aficionados Jay Jaffe and Tommy would surely insist on trimming, and despite the public tiffs with his former club over the winter, Bobby Jenks is now in Boston and ready to contribute. David talked with the reliever and his teammates about his new role in Red Hose, his comfort with the team, and his expectations for the season.
- The Yankees didn’t waste time in trying to prove they’ll be one of the teams to beat in the AL East, downing the Tigers on Opening Day with the help of a notoriously slow starter. Jay was on the scene and has the goods from Yankee Stadium.
- Bullpens are a hodgepodge of talent that can play a huge role in a close game. Maybe that’s the reasoning the Yankees used when they signed Rafael Soriano for a king’s ransom. As Ben Kabak finds, the ‘pen men may be the ones who have decided the outcome of the AL East for the last half-decade.
Now that baseball is officially back, you are hereby ordered to watch at least four games and report back here on Monday for anything that you missed. Have a great weekend, enjoy the national pastime, and here’s to a marvelous season ahead.