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.
- The Green Monster literally looms large over left field at Fenway Park, enough to intimidate rookies who will be patrolling its pastures for the first time. When the Twins visited the Red Sox, young burner Ben Revere got a taste of a Monster good time and, as he explains to David Laurila, some razzing for his surname as he road into town.
- Last year was the so-called “Year of the Pitcher,” but last week, Justin Verlander and Francisco Liriano each tossed a no-hitter. As Jay Jaffe’s AL Hit List rankings show, Verlander’s mastery capped off a happy week for the Kitties of Motor City, but Liriano’s wild no-no summed up a somewhat ugly week for Minnesota.
- The scene on the field in Seattle last Friday wasn’t unusual: a certain player with a short fuse was exploding at an umpire. A few days later, the Mariners decided to stop playing games and designated Milton Bradley for assignment. He’ll still get paid, but is this the end of the line for people shopping for the latest incarnation of the MB brand? Ben Lindbergh explores the Mariners’ recent divorces, prospects on the shuttle, and more in the latest Transaction Analysis.
- Andre Ethier looked like he was living up to his overhype during his hit streak, but now that it has been snapped, Dodgers fans are forced to turn their attention back to the team’s lousy record and ownership troubles. But the gloomy mood isn’t just showering over LA; Geoff Young delves into the glum lines from prospects and struggling vets in the NL West.
- It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Justin Verlander would throw a perfect game last week when the eighth inning rolled around; the Blue Jays are one of the most hacktacular teams in the majors. But the perpetually-rebuilding Jays were spared by one of their new building blocks: J.P. Arencibia. But what, exactly, are the foundations for the new Blue Birds? Ben Kabak examines the team’s latest attempt at a rebuild and provides updates from around the AL East.
- When a pitcher suffers a significant loss in fastball velocity, many people will jump to conclusion that an injury is the underlying cause. Losing precious ticks on the gun is especially devastating to relievers. However, reduced fastball speed isn’t always an indicator of injury; it can be the ultimate case of a loss of effectiveness (hello, Javier Vazquez) or mechanical problems. Lucky for us, Mike Fast is around to help us distinguish which cases are injury-related.
- It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…an A-Bomb from A-Rod! Wait, what? Some players seem to have superhero strength and speed, and some look the part with Hulk-like physiques from countless hours in the weight room. How do athletes measure up to their superhero counterparts? Steven Goldman investigates the power rankings.
- With the moundsmen dominating in last year’s “Year of the Pitcher,” the hitters worked over the offseason to fight back. How? If they couldn’t get on base as much, they could at least swipe some bags when they did reach. But some teams are much better at picking spots to dash. Which ones are they? Ben calculates the net win values of each team to show who’s a jackrabbit and who’s a turtle in this race.
- Todd Wellemeyer never garnered headlines as a great pitcher. Heck, he was more of a journeyman. But in his major-league debut, he struck out the side and recorded a save. How much can we learn about the prospects of pitchers who have that kind of success in their major-league debut? R.J. Anderson is on the case.
- Dubbed as a special player by Billy Beane in Michael Lewis’ infamous Moneyball, Kevin Youkilis has become a menace at the dish with his batting stance, beard, and uncanny ability to make contact. In the final installment of the Prospectus Q&A series, Boston’s third baseman discusses his hitting, the effect Moneyball has had on him, and his pitch recognition. Unfortunately, David Laurila also signs off for the last time.
- Sometimes, it’s better to take no news as good news. Sadly, there are those days when nothing seems to go right, and all of the news that comes seems to be bad. And sometimes, as Joey Matschulat shows, those can turn into terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
After witnessing a pair of no-nos last week, perhaps this will be the weekend for a date with perfection. But even if it’s not, have a great one, enjoy the ballgames, and we’ll see you here on Monday