My day job involves covering college football, and during a game I was covering today the Angels pulled that wacky comeback over the Rangers. Of course, I could only follow via my Twitter. It kind of felt like every Sunday, when I'm usually watching some day game and everybody's tweeting about the NFL. I've got to get paid, though!
Rarer than a pitcher throwing a no-hitter? A pitcher going oppo taco: Jake Arrieta and the Rarity of a Pitcher Going Oppo, by Carson Cistulli, FanGraphs
Pitchers, naturally, tend to lack this combination both of power and approach. They typically haven’t possessed these dual qualities ever — and even if they did at one point, they’ve generally been unable to practice them at the highest level, on account of how they’ve been pitching instead. Therefore, it’s not surprising that pitchers have hit only four opposite-field homers this year, including Arrieta’s. That’s represents only 0.08% of their total plate appearances.
Innings limits are a bunch of hooey!: Let Him Pitch!, by Russell Carleton, Baseball Prospectus
But the message was pretty clear. There does not appear to be any data-based justification here for an innings cap on a starter who has had Tommy John surgery. It is entirely possible that he will get hurt in the next year. The best predictor of injury is still previous injury, and by definition our Tommy John patient has had a previous injury. But capping his innings when he comes back neither increases nor decreases that risk.
Infielders seem to be able to do more with less speed: Infielders vs. outfielders: Taking the extra base, by Kevin Ruprecht, Beyond the Box Score
Does that seem fair to you? Though the average speed scores are equal, there are still some lumbering guys out there in right field. However, excluding right fielders gives the outfielders the speed advantage once again. Despite that speed advantage, the outfielders don't take advantage of it.
Signing an older pitcher is not necessarily a bad thing! It might be a good thing, actually: Bargain or bust? The keys to avoiding free-agent mistakes, by Russell Carleton, Just a Bit Outside
There are a number of pitchers who have gotten by on limited "stuff"€ because they had a good command of these mental skills. Perhaps by 32, pitchers have naturally passed their physical prime and there's been a winnowing process. The ones who are even still around in our sample are around specifically because they can survive without their prime physical gifts. The ones who aren'€™t there anymore are those who will opted for retirement at 33. It's something to think about if your favorite team might be in the market for David Price, Johnny Cueto, or Jordan Zimmerman, all three of whom will be 30 next year.
Hitters aren't just better when swinging at the first pitch, they're better when swinging at the first pitch than they are when not swinging at the first pitch: Return of the First-Pitch Swing, by Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs
This year, for the first time we know of, hitters who swung at the first pitch haven’t performed worse than hitters who took the first pitch. This clearly isn’t free of certain selection biases, but many of those same biases are present every season. So this year, hitters swung more early, and they’ve been rewarded more for it. Overall, they’ve been put at no disadvantage.
Rest is worthless! Well, not really, but this specific pattern of rest hasn't appeared to yield measurable benefits in the short term: The Story of the Rest, by Henry Druschel, Baseball Prospectus
Unfortunately, if there is a real difference here, there’s too much noise to see it. If the Pirates consistently beat their projections over several decades, that would probably be enough data to draw a conclusion. In a single year, however, the effect would have to be enormous to be clearly visible through all the randomness inherent in performance. And we wouldn’t expect the effect to be enormous in the first place. That might make the previous few paragraphs seem like a waste, but I think this shows something important. Even if the Pirates have figured something out, it’s most likely the sort of thing that might be the difference between a postseason berth and a miss every hundred seasons or so.
It don't really matter how good you are in the second half—you'll bow to the chaos of the postseason!: Toronto and the Postseason Crapshoot, by Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs
Depending on how you look at this, this is either encouraging or it’s not. History suggests the Blue Jays are positioned to win more than half of their playoff games. Maybe even 60%. They’re a good team, possibly the best team, and good teams win more in the playoffs than the lesser teams. But — and this probably doesn’t need any explaining — there is no key to running through the playoffs without getting beat up. There is no “solution,” and even good teams lose, because in the playoffs, all the teams are good teams. In the regular season, a .600 team will beat a .500 team 60% of the time. In the playoffs, a .600 team will beat a .550 team 55% of the time. So the .600 team appears weaker, and this is so elementary I shouldn’t spend another word on it.
Giving up a weakly hit ball isn't necessarily a better outcome: Zack Greinke on Pitching Inside, by Eno Sarris, FanGraphs
Low and away and low and inside are different beasts, but it’s probably somewhat safe to assume that Greinke was talking about those quadrants in particular. Not when he’s talking about "inside-out” and “rolling over” on the ball. Low and inside is where you “golf” pitches and “yank them.”
Is it somewhat surprising that exit velocity on high and inside pitches is lower than the outside pitch? The second part is probably more surprising than this part: it’s hard to hit a ball hard when you are squeezing your hands in. As Joey Votto admitted, his approach on those balls “majorly zaps power.”
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