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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

U.S. baseball’s prospects struggle to reach Olympics

Brandon Dickson, the U.S. closer who blew a ninth-inning lead, threw his last major league pitch in 2012. Caleb Thielbar, who gave up the game-winning hit in the 10th, threw his last big league pitch in 2015.

The entire 28-man American roster at the Olympic qualifying tournament that ended Sunday combined for a career 2.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference — less than a quarter of Cody Bellinger’s 9.0 WAR for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year alone.

Little wonder the U.S. failed to earn an Olympic berth at the Premier12 competition, where champion Japan and runner-up South Korea brought many top players.

Mexico qualified for the first time, rallying twice for a 3-2 victory over the U.S. in the bronze-medal game ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 02:11 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: olympic baseball

MLB isn’t confident it can produce a consistent ball, leaving GMs to adapt

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Last week at the annual general managers meetings, the state of the baseball — the subtle shift in the aerodynamics that resulted in a not-so-subtle spike in home runs — was a top-level topic of conversation both privately between team executives and in meetings with league representatives.

“Obviously the ball last year, it played differently than it had in prior years,” Phillies GM Matt Klentak said. Data analysis as well as studies of the physical baseball showed that drag on the ball was lower in the regular season, resulting in unprecedented power numbers across the sport and a systematic shattering of home run records — all before the postseason ball doubled back and was shown to be less lively.

A’s ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 02:08 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: baseballs, juiced baseballs

Brewers returning to ball-in-glove logo for 2020, unveil new uniform designs for 50th anniversary ce

And now, for some lighter news….

What was once old is new again.

That was the Milwaukee Brewers’ message as they announced a branding overhaul Monday night at the Skyy Lounge at Miller Park. The team confirmed growing rumors that they are returning to the clever, memorable ball-in-glove logo that came to identify the team until 1994, when they moved on after a 25-year run.

But this is not your parents’ ball-in-glove.

The Brewers gave it some modern flourishes, connecting the “m” and “b” that form the glove, changing the color from royal blue to navy blue and putting two seams on a now-centered baseball to give it a more authentic look. Club president of baseball operations Rick Schlesinger said the intent was to stay true to ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:44 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, logos, uniforms

Former NBA executive wants to bring MLB to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The man who helped bring an NBA team to Orlando now wants to bring a Major League Baseball team to the theme park mecca.

Pat Williams, a former executive with the NBA’s Orlando Magic, said Wednesday that Orlando was more deserving than a half-dozen other cities that have been mentioned as homes to potential MLB expansion teams in the future.

Whether Williams succeeds is a tough call.

I’d consider making a snarky remark about Florida and baseball, but the article basically beat me to it in the paragraph after the quote.


QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:39 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: expansion, orlando

Twins’ Max Kepler retraces steps in trip back to Germany

BERLIN (AP) — When Max Kepler makes an acrobatic catch for the Minnesota Twins, perhaps he owes a bit to his parents.

Back in his hometown of Berlin, the 26-year-old outfielder paid tribute to his parents, professional ballet dancers Kathy Kepler and Marek Rozycki.

“I used to sit in the wings and watch them perform,” he said Monday during an interview with The Associated Press. “I was there with my sister, once, twice a month, watching them do their thing. So I think I subconsciously I learned a lot from just the way they go about themselves on a professional level.”

Kepler is in Germany for a five-day Major League Baseball promotional tour. He reminisced about Little League ball in the German capital. He said his dad gave ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:36 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: germany, max kepler

Is MLB Ready for Robo-Umps and an Automated Strike Zone?

We are sad to inform you that the robo-ump looks nothing like you had hoped. A black box, glossy like a television screen that is never turned on, and positioned high behind home plate, it looks like an extremely unsubtle security camera. Tracking pitches using radar, it distinguishes balls from strikes and communicates the determination to the ump on the field—still a standard-issue human, now with an earpiece and an iPhone—who gives voice to the call. Not exactly the robotic overlord of your sci-fi dreams.

The system made its debut just this summer, in the independent Atlantic League, but its march across baseball is starting to look inevitable. MLB followed that initial testing by instituting the robo-ump in the Arizona Fall League ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: robot umpires, robots are made of metal, robots are strong, robots in baseball

Bobby Abreu has a better Hall of Fame case than you think

The 2020 Hall of Fame ballot was revealed earlier today. Derek Jeter, of course, headlined the group, but also found on the list was outfielder Bobby Abreu. As Craig mentioned, Abreu spent much of his career being underrated and though baseball fans and writers have become a lot more stats-savvy since his retirement, it is hard to see him getting the groundswell of support necessary to earn induction in Cooperstown.

Abreu, now 45 years old, retired with exactly 60 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. Among Hall of Famers who played at least 50 percent of their games in the outfield, Abreu is in the same neighborhood as Andre Dawson (64.8 WAR), Dave Winfield (64.2), Vladimir Guerrero (59.4), Willie Stargell (57.5), and ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:14 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby abreu, hall of fame

Gerardo Parra Signs With Japan’s Yomiuri Giants

Veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra has reached an agreement to sign a contract with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the Giants announced Wednesday (hat tip: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, on Twitter). The Giants have announced the move in a press release on their official web site. It’s a $2MM deal that includes a $3MM vesting option for 2021, per Jose Rivera of ESPN Deportes (via Twitter).

The 32-year-old Parra, a client of Octagon, won a World Series ring with the Nationals and will now head overseas for the next chapter of his career. He signed a minor league contract with San Francisco last offseason but ultimately landed with the Nats after being cut loose by MLB’s Giants.

No word yet as for where ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 01:07 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: gerardo parra, japanese baseball, yomiuri giants

Whitewash: Rob Manfred says he doesn’t think sign stealing extends beyond the Astros

Rob Manfred said today that he believes the sign-stealing scandal which has taken over the news in the past week does not extend beyond the Houston Astros. His exact words, via Jeff Passan of ESPN:

“Right now, we are focused on the information that we have with respect to the Astros. I’m not going to speculate on whether other people are going to be involved. We’ll deal with that if it happens, but I’m not going to speculate about that. I have no reason to believe it extends beyond the Astros at this point in time.”

This is simply incredible. As in literally not credible.

It’s not credible because, just last week, in the original story in The Athletic, it was reported that the Astros system was set up by two players, one of ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:58 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, manfred is thinking about it, sign-stealing

Twins minor-leaguer Ryan Costello found dead in New Zealand hotel room

Minnesota Twins minor-league player Ryan Costello was found dead in his hotel room in New Zealand early Monday. Costello was set to play in the Australian Baseball League this offseason and an announcement was made by his team, the Auckland Tuatara. The 23-year-old was found in his hotel room after he failed to show up for a workout on Monday.

“The Tuatara would like to express their deepest condolences to Ryan’s family back home in the United States and to the whole Minnesota Twins organization,” the club said in a statement. “Support is being offered to the Tuatara players, who are naturally devastated at the moment.”

The Tuatara and the ABL both said that initial indications suggest Costello died of natural causes, per

“We ...

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:48 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, ryan costello

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-20-2019

Indy league ballplayer Louis Lamer tells a story to the Sporting News about his team facing Walter Johnson in an exhibition game, run in the Bogalusa [Louisiana] Enterprise and American, November 20, 1919:

On our team was a player we called Goose Pittman, who was quite a character. He talked about what he could do and just how he could hit Johnson’s speed. He had it all figured out.

Johnson put over the first two strikes on Goose so fast he did not even see them, but then Goose began to work his system…He was going to slam away as soon as he saw Walter winding up, figuring he’d about get his bat around when the ball got to the plate.

Johnson brought his arm up and fired the ball over to first base, trying to nab the runner there. Goose ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 20, 2019 at 10:07 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Stark: Five things to watch on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot – The Athletic

Read the whole thing.

3. Can Walker make a historic leap to Cooperstown?
According to, Larry Walker remains hitless in his last 5,161 days on Planet Earth. But because Hall of Fame voting is so frigging weird, that didn’t stop Walker from making the biggest surge of any player on the 2019 ballot. That was in the form of a 20.5-percent, 88-vote leap to 54.1 percent, which left him 87 votes shy of election.

That would be an eye-popping jump for anyone. But it’s almost incomprehensible for a guy who was only attracting 68 votes total (344 short of election) as recently as five years ago.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2019 at 08:28 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, pay site

Colorado School of Mines Talk – Bauer Outage

Trevor Bauer, and his father, Warren, took a trip to Golden, Colorado to meet with the Colorado School of Mines Sports Analytics Club. In this presentation, they discuss the future of analytics in baseball, how information has changed the game we love, and what they are doing to move the game forward

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2019 at 08:26 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, trevor bauer

Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez faces 21 new child sex-related charges

Suspended Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Felipe Vazquez is facing 21 new charges after investigators found evidence of child pornography on devices they say Vazquez owned.

The new charges filed Tuesday include 10 counts of child pornography, 10 counts of unlawful contact with a minor and a single charge of corruption of minors.

Vazquez already was facing criminal charges that he had sexual contact with a teenage girl in Scottdale. Florida prosecutors requested to have Vazquez extradited to Lee County, near Fort Myers, where he was charged in August with sex crimes involving the same accuser, but a judge denied extradition.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: felipe vazquez

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-19-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, November 19, 1919:

New York probably will have a new American league ball park in 1920, according to information obtained today from a trustworthy source. Literally speaking, Col. Jake Ruppert and Col. T.L. Huston, owners of the Yankees, have been kicked out of the Polo grounds and are now forced to build a ball park of their own if they want to operate next season. They have been requested to vacate and were refused a new lease to the Polo grounds by Charles A. Stoneham, president of the Giants.

The news has not been given out in Gotham that the Yankees were asked to find a new home, but it has been reported there that Ruppert and Huston are planning to start work on a new plant as soon as possible, and that they ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 19, 2019 at 10:30 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ryan Thibs’ Hall of Fame Tracker

The Thibs Hall of Fame Tracker is back.

Baldrick Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:27 PM | 125 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, son of gizmo

PASSAN: Astros exec suggested using cameras to spy in ‘17, sources say

A familiar name in these circles emerges…

A high-ranking Houston Astros official asked scouts to spy on opponents’ dugouts leading up to the 2017 postseason, hoping to steal signs and suggesting the potential use of cameras to do so, sources familiar with the request told ESPN.

The reaction among those who received an email from Kevin Goldstein, a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, was mixed, sources told ESPN. Some were intrigued by the idea, sources who received the email said, while others were bothered by the thought of pointing cameras from the stands toward opposing teams’ dugouts, a plan that could have earned them scorn within the scouting community if caught. ...

Goldstein, who did not return a message ...

Stormy JE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 183 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, baseball prospectus, cheating, kevin goldstein, sign stealing

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-18-2019

Washington Times, November 18, 1919:

Here’s a story of an incident during the home training season of the St. Louis Cardinals last spring. It seems that Branch Rickey became enraged one day at a player who perpetrated a bone play and proceeded to express himself as vigorously as ever he does, for Branch never resorts to profanity.

“Jumping Jehosaphat!” he cried in his vexation. “That sort of stuff isn’t baseball and by Judas Priest I won’t have it on my ball club!”

In the grandstand sat an old-time fan, a leather necked, hard headed old guy who had ideas of his own concerning the manner in which blundering ball players should be addressed.

“‘Jumping Jehosaphat!’ ‘By Judas Priest!’” he muttered, mimicking the Cardinal leader. Then his ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: branch rickey, dugout, history

A’s GM David Forst says bullpen improvement main priority for 2020

MLB’s hot stove season has been lukewarm, to say the least, especially when it comes to the A’s. But they need arm help, especially in the bullpen.

Last year’s reliever squad sang a different tune from what we heard in 2018. The A’s led all of MLB with 30 blown saves last season, and that’s something A’s general manager David Forst wants to make sure doesn’t happen again.

“We need to get better. We need to try and catch the Astros and get out of that one-game playoff,” Forst told’s Martin Gallegos. “We have a number of things to do, but addressing the bullpen is definitely at the top of the list.”

The AL Wild Card has been a thorn in the A’s side in their last three playoff appearances. They’ve lost the wild-card game ...

QLE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:25 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, bullpens

Trea Turner undergoes surgery on right index finger

Nationals shortstop Trea Turner underwent surgery on his right index finger,’s Manny Randhawa reports. Turner suffered a non-displaced fracture when he was hit by a pitch attempting to bunt in early April.

Turner missed six weeks of action and played through the injury for the remainder of the season. He was quite successful, batting .298/.353/.497 with 19 home runs, 57 RBI, 96 runs scored, and 35 stolen bases across 569 plate appearances. Turner’s performance, especially late in the regular season, helped the Nationals claim the first NL Wild Card. They, of course, would go on to win the World Series.


QLE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: surgery, trea turner

Rob Manfred’s plan to destroy minor league baseball

As if they aren’t squarely involved in enough transgressions against baseball, we should not be at all surprised to know the Houston Astros — the Jeff Luhnow Houston Astros — were the ringleaders of the MLB plan to essentially destroy grass roots baseball and contract 42 of the 160 minor league teams.

In recent weeks, details of the plan have been slowly leaking out, the MLB spin being it’s designed to (1) upgrade all the minor league facilities and (2) improve “wellness” for the minor leaguers in terms of travel and living conditions. In truth, as always, it’s designed to save money, lots of money, and the proprietors of these minor league teams, many of whom have their life savings invested in them, be damned.

Here is the ...

QLE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 126 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

Sunday, November 17, 2019

USA Baseball Fails to Earn Olympic Berth

When baseball returns to the Olympics next summer, the United States might not be there. The American team failed to clinch a spot in the 2020 Olympics during the WBSC Premier 12 tournament this month. The U.S. lost to Mexico in a thrilling bronze medal game Sunday afternoon in Tokyo (MEX 3, USA 2).

In 10 innings.

Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: November 17, 2019 at 02:35 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mexico, olympic baseball, usa

Sarris: More load management in baseball? What the sport might learn from the NBA – The Athletic

Even on the hitting side, we’re seeing young stars develop repetitive stress injuries — Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a stress fracture this year, something that can develop if hitters don’t take enough time off, according to at least one expert on the subject.

“From what doctors have said, this is a common-usage injury at times in guys who are 15 to 24 years of age,” former Padres skipper Andy Green told our Dennis Lin about the team’s young star. “He’s kind of going through that right now, and we expect him to make a full recovery.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 17, 2019 at 08:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, player health, rest

‘Grace, dignity and strength’: Pittsburghers mourn death of Vera Clemente, widow of Pirates legend

Vera Clemente, the Pirates’ matriarch and Roberto’s widow, enjoyed what was surely an emotional and long-awaited reunion with her husband on Saturday.

After she had been in “delicate health” since Nov. 1, Vera Clemente died of unknown causes in her native Puerto Rico, surrounded by family and friends. She was 81.

The loss was difficult to take for many Pirates fans, especially those who had idolized Roberto and, as a result, had gotten to know his wife; turns out empathy and philanthropy were not ideals only the baseball-playing half of the marriage carried.

Vera Clemente is survived by three sons: Roberto Clemente Jr., Luis Roberto Clemente and Roberto Enrique Clemente.



QLE Posted: November 17, 2019 at 12:10 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, vera clemente

Saturday, November 16, 2019

What Mets told Carlos Beltran regarding sign-stealing scandal

On Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the GM meetings, Van Wagenen told reporters: “Anything that happened, happened with another organization, with Houston. … I have no idea if anything did or did not [occur], but at this point, I don’t see any reason why this is a Mets situation.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2019 at 11:59 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos beltran, mets, sign stealing

Brewers’ Christian Yelich tweets harshly at Yu Darvish over accusation

Although a lot of people are talking about banning technology to deal with this problem, technology might provide the solution. Why not have wearable Bluetooth devices where the catcher and pitcher communicate? A lot of catchers already wear wristbands with notes. Why not replace them with a couple of buttons for pitch type and location?

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2019 at 08:11 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, sign stealing

Here’s the best athlete in all 30 farm systems

Everyone loves an impressive showcase of athleticism on the baseball field. Whether it’s Byron Buxton improbably running down a ball in center field, Yasiel Puig uncorking a jaw-dropping throw from right or Cody Bellinger launching a tape-measure home run on what should be an unhittable pitch, there are eye-opening feats of athleticism across the Major Leagues on a daily basis.

Amidst our ongoing State of the System series, in which we provide an in-depth breakdown of all 30 teams’ systems, we’re using this week to highlight some of the premier athletes in the Minors—guys who possess the type of high-end athleticism and tools comparable to the aforementioned big leaguers.

Specifically, 20 of the 30 prospects selected by MLB ...

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2019 at 08:00 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

The next step in the new Rangers Way just unfolded in the Dominican Republic as they seek ways to separate from competition

This is such a great idea.

Edinson Volquez lived under a stadium. Jose Leclerc bounced between upper and lower bunks in a gray barracks-style bedroom. The living conditions were so crowded, Ronald Guzman recalls, that if one guy got sick, the whole team got sick.

These are the tales of the past at Rangers academies in the Dominican Republic.

On Friday, under the shade provided in the “Plazaleta” of the Rangers’ new $12.5 million academy, which is clad in brilliant coralina stone and rich Brazilian wood, they told their stories with a laugh as they gawked at the club’s new, first wholly-owned Latin American facility.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2019 at 07:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

US beats Taiwan, still has Olympic berth chance at Premier12

Minnesota’s Brent Rooker hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, and the United States beat Taiwan 3-2 on Friday in Tokyo to keep alive the Americans’ chance of earning an Olympic baseball berth at the Premier12 tournament.

The U.S. finished the super round 2-3 and could earn a berth if Taiwan beats Australia (both 1-3) on Saturday. If Taiwan wins, the Americans would play Mexico (3-2) on Sunday in the Premier12 bronze-medal game for a chance to reach the Olympics. Mexico lost Saturday to South Korea (3-1), which plays Japan for the Premier12 gold medal.

The top finisher from the Americas qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics next year. The second-place finisher from the Americas goes to a final qualifying tournament in March ...

QLE Posted: November 16, 2019 at 12:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: olympic baseball

Judge says MASN should pay Nats based on MLB panel decision

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has ordered lawyers for the Nationals and Baltimore Orioles to submit a proposed judgment of what the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network should pay Washington for television rights from 2012-16 based on the decision issued in April by an arbitration panel of three baseball executives.

New York Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen wrote in a decision issued Thursday that MASN should pay the Nationals the $296.8 million recommended by the panel, minus rights fees MASN already has paid for that five-year period. Cohen said the clerk of the court should calculate interest on the net amount from April 15 through the date the remaining money is paid.

Cohen heard renewed arguments Tuesday and denied a motion by the Nationals ...

QLE Posted: November 16, 2019 at 12:35 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: masn, nationals, orioles

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