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.
- Fact: Albert Pujols is good. And though Pujols got off to an uncharacteristically bad start, the slugging first baseman is heating up and helping the Cardinals to walk off, keeping the Red Birds atop the NL Central. St. Louis’ prime competition for the NL Central title, Milwaukee, has also had a recent run of good luck. Meanwhile, as Larry Granillo points out, there may even be reason to smile in Pittsburgh.
- The Rule 4 draft began with a bang on Monday evening, wrecking havoc on mock drafts (like that of Kevin Goldstein) thanks to the Seattle Mariners’ selection of Danny Hultzen. In honor of the occasion, Jason Collette plays a game of “Who Am I” with some former draftees, including their draft status and current stats to aid you in your guesses.
- April showers didn’t bring May flowers for most teams in the NL West. The main headlines out of San Francisco have surrounded Buster Posey’s injury raining on the Giants’ parade, while the Rockies seemingly fell of the highest peak. The Dodgers and Pirates continued to depress, and as Geoff Young finds, the Diamondbacks are the only team that didn’t wind up snakebitten.
- Things just aren’t happy in Twinkietown. Minnesota is suffering from an abysmal start to the season, with more and more stars getting hung up on the disabled list. They’re not the only team that is missing stars, though; the Cardinals lost Matt Holliday to a quad strain, and the Giants belted Brandon Belt to the list as well. Ben Lindbergh has the latest roster moves in the wake of these injuries in the latest Transaction Analysis.
- Once in a while, there’s the joyful story of a guy like Max St. Pierre or John Lindsey, players who spend their entire lives in the minor leagues for that one tiny taste of big-league action. But there aren’t many players who are out of the majors for over five years before getting a chance to play again in the Show, much less thriving. However, John Perrotto digs up the scoop on the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong, who went around the world before finding success in California.
- Speaking of being a world away, players who head from Asia to America in search of major-league stardom of the type Ichiro Suzuki has enjoyed are numerous. But Michael Street shows that despite the number of players setting sights on farther shores every year, the gap between Ichiro’s success and that of his fellow countrymen is about as wide as the oceans between the continents.
- There have been times over the last few years where David Ortiz has looked finished. The big man would swing and miss at even the meatiest of fastballs, and nothing was clearing the fence. Facing free agency at season’s end, Big Papi is having a renaissance season in Boston. R.J. Anderson attempts to track down the causes of the slugger’s resurgence.
- You often hear of the benefits of a pitcher being able to throw from multiple arm slots, adding deception to his delivery and keeping the hitter guessing as to which pitch is coming. But is it possible that pitchers who give hitters the same look and maintain a consistent arm slot are just as successful? Jeremy Greenhouse is on the case.
- The Athletics haven’t been making headlines for anything good lately, but the firing of Bob Geren on Thursday morning could actually turn out to be a positive bit of news in Oakland, though it may be too little, too late for the A’s. Geren wasn’t the only major coaching staff member in the AL West to get the axe this past week; Joey Matschulat analyzes the Texas Rangers’ surprising decision to fire their hitting coach, Thad Bosley.
- The latest goings-on in skipperville haven’t all been glum. The Arizona Diamondbacks have steadily improved since firing A.J. Hinch last July. The man at the helm, former Dodger Kirk Gibson, has made some major changes to the D’backs’ ways and helped the Snakes to become winners. John discovers that one of those major changes has come in the club’s attitude.
After a busy week, with a couple firings and the Rule 4 draft dominating the headlines, take some time to catch up on some sleep, watch some ballgames, and come back Monday for more fun. Have a great weekend!