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.
- One of the most unpleasant surprises of the 2010 season was the shelling Javier Vazquez took on the mound each time, likely because a decrease in velocity rendered him completely ineffective. That unsettling trend continues this year, though the rights actually had a strong start against the Rays last week. Michael Jong examines the mystery of Javier Vazquez and tries to unravel the Mets in the first installment of Divide and Conquer: NL East.
- While Adam Jones’ catch in center field sent him crashing into the wall, he made it through the play unscathed. The same can’t be said for some less fortunate players, as a rash of elbow injuries has many defenders nursing their wings on the disabled list. Corey Dawkins and Ben Lindbergh discuss the upsurge in elbow inflammation injuries this week, Gordon Beckham’s eye, and Bronson Arroyo’s balky back in the latest Collateral Damage.
- Pitching is the name of the game, and last week, it sent the Boston Red Sox swinging up the AL Hit List rankings and into a share of first place in the AL East. Meanwhile, the Twins… well, it just wasn’t a happy week. Tommy Bennett tracks down the power rankings in the junior circuit, and also touches upon the disastrous week for Royals ex-closer Joakim Soria.
- While Yankees fans are subjected to the likes of Michael Kay (he of the, “It’s a deeeeeeep fly ball—and Mark Teixeira catches it just in front of the first-base bag!” types of calls) on the YES Network, there is a respite. David Cone is back in the booth this year and serves as a voice of reason, and as Marc Carig finds out, a former pitcher who embraces sabermetrics.
- It was supposed to be a guarantee as true as death and taxes: The Mariners and the Diamondbacks were supposed to be awful. Yet both teams out West are actually winning (non-Charlie Sheen category), and Arizona might just be for real. Geoff Young takes a closer look at the Snakes, the faltering Friars, and the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen.
- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon earns heaps of praise for his occasionally unconventional methods of managing, and this year is no different. R.J. Anderson says Maddon deserves recognition for the way he has handled a club that lost multiple major contributors to free agency, picking pitching matchups, and helping players through slumps.
- “Aw, c’mon! That ball hit the corner! The ump is blind!” The beckons for RoboUmp continue to sing from the peanut gallery, as replay shows us just how much those off-speed pitches eek in the zone. Sometimes umpires may make calls based on a hitter’s reaction, but PITCHf/x guru Mike Fast demonstrates that a pitcher can sometimes say more about location.
- One of the more ironic things about baseball is how some of those who are signed to be mashers out of the designated hitter slot don’t exactly do much hitting. Ben Kabak explains this is especially true in the AL East this season; while the Red Sox’ David Ortiz may be thriving, many of his counterparts in the division are lagging.
- There is no doubt that Jose Bautista is the toast of the town for his major turnaround from floundering extra part to the biggest power threat in the game. However, he’s not the only one in the AL East who has had a massive about-face in his numbers. As Jay Jaffe explains, Curtis Granderson has been making his case for MVP thanks to hitting coach Kevin Long’s swing rehash.
- With Buster Posey out for the season, the Giants are on the lookout for some catching help. The Pittsburgh Pirates may have been showcasing their own backstop, Ryan Doumit, but now that he is on the disabled list, the Buccos may not be able to sell as high on the catcher. Ben discusses the implications of the Doumit injury, the Orioles’ reshuffled rotation, Jake Fox getting boxed out of town, and the bad-news Twins in the latest Transaction Analysis.
- When an incident occurs that sends a star player to the disabled list, it’s not unusual to hear an uproar from fans and those in the game demanding a rule change. This held true when the Marlins’ Scott Cousins trampled Giants catcher Buster Posey on a play at the plate, ending the 2010 Rookie of the Year’s season. Brian Sabean immediately went on the offense to give his take on plays at the plate. As Larry Granillo shows, Sabean's take is consistent with his other—oh, wait…
- The Rangers may not top the Dodgers in terms of DL usage quite yet, but the team has suffered many injury casualties, including a broken arm to outfielder Josh Hamilton. Now that some of their players are on the mend, John Perrotto finds out that Texas manager Ron Washington hopes the worst is behind his first-place team.
We’re just a few days away from the June draft, but we do have a few more days to slave away before that happy time. So have a great weekend and be sure to come back on Monday and join the party for some wall-to-wall draft coverage!