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.
- Dumpster diving doesn’t exactly sound like a thrilling event for anybody, but there’s no denying that it can churn out valuable—if a little mucky—gems. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has perfected the art and seems to know exactly what’s inside Dumpster #1, 2, and 3. Geoff Young takes a look at Towers’ career as a sludge-removing GM, chronicling is shrewdest moves with San Diego to his new gig in Arizona.
- The current status quo for starting rotations is to find five guys who can get consistent outs and not embarrass themselves—well, and to keep their team in the game. When a rotation cog is thrown on the disabled list, somebody else gets a shot, and if they succeed, they may have a chance at sticking. So what’s a team to do when it has six starters: Send one down? Send one to the bullpen? As R.J. Anderson shows, teams have lately been pondering the virtues of six-man rotations.
- The Home Run Derby is meant to be a time when the game’s biggest sluggers come to flex their offensive muscle and have meatballs served up to them on purpose. However, mashers like Alex Rodriguez will sometimes cite they don’t want to get out of a groove as a reason to not participate. Sure, a Bobby Abreu comes along every once in a while, but as Marc Carig shows, participating in the long-ball exhibition does not preclude a second-half slump.
- The upcoming All-Star break couldn’t come at a better time for Astros fans, players, and ownership. With turnover at the top and a putrid product on the field, there hasn’t been much reason to cheer on Disastropiece Theatre this season. Yet Astros skipper Brad Mills tells John Perrotto that he isn’t letting the season’s disappointments get him down.
- “Let the bidding begin! What, you’re only going to bid $20 million? I’m sorry, for this fine, unknown pitcher, you’re going to have to throw down at least $50 million like the Red Sox did for Daisuke Matsuzaka.” Despite huge bidding wars and a long line of unsuccessful transitions for Japanese league pitchers, clubs are still giddy about the potential value a hurler may bring to their ballclub. Michael Street finds that though there has been an abundance of doom and gloom around Japanese league pitchers, there have been several notable successes.
- Stuck with competing with the likes of the Phillies and the Braves, the Nationals don’t have much of a shot of getting back into contention this season. There is hope that new skipper Davey Johnson will be able to bring some luck Washington’s way by pressing the right buttons and tacking a few more wins onto the season total. Chris St. John tackles just how much Johnson may be able to make an impact in the nation’s capital.
- It’s no secret that catcher is among the weakest positions in the majors. If a team has a catcher who can do more than just catch, throw, and work well with a pitching staff, it has a priceless commodity. Ben Kabak examines the weak catching crop in the AL East and questions why so few organizations are looking for solutions.
- A dark cloud loomed over baseball on Thursday, as Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams died at 82 and a father taking in the A’s-Rangers ballgame with his son at Arlington tragically died while reaching for a foul ball for his kid. These sad events bring to light just how little a game with players swinging hunks of wood at a little white ball mean. How do you put horrible events into words? Steven Goldman isn’t sure, but he gives it a shot.
- Derek Jeter has 2,998 hits. The reality sucker-punches you when you compare it to Thursday’s events, but now that he is on the cusp of 3,000, the media glare is hot and waiting for that one dribbler up the middle. The Yankees actually performed better with Jeter out of the lineup, and as Jeter punched two more hits last night, New York quietly fell to Tampa and into second place. Jay Jaffe was on the scene and has the latest on the hit pursuit and the Bronx Bombers.
The All-Star break is around the corner, but come Monday, BP will be back in action to give you the latest on the Futures Game, Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you soon!