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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Skunk in the Outfield

First-and-third situations are breeding grounds for gimmick plays in high school. Often, the runner on first will attempt to steal second, hoping to draw a throw that will allow the runner to score from third. But defenses will rarely make that throw, so offenses have designed ways to tempt the defense into going after the trail runner while letting the lead runner sneak home. Sometimes, when the pitch is delivered, the base stealer will stop halfway and try to get in a rundown. Sometimes he’ll start walking to second base while the pitcher still has the ball. There’s a balk/steal play, where the runner takes off sprinting once the pitcher gets set, the goal being to startle the pitcher so that he’ll make an illegal move off the mound in reaction.

These plays—and “skunk in the outfield”—all have the same paradoxical premise: It’s more valuable to the team that’s at bat for the runner to be on first base. If he wanted to go to second, he could just steal. But as long as he’s on first—or, at least, not yet on second—he might be able to ignite something weird. When Ulmschneider had his team run the play in practice for the first time just before the championship series, his pitcher on the mound—Solecki, coincidentally—immediately balked and then started yelling that the runner can’t do that.

“Bobby Downey [of East Greenwich] is one of the best coaches I’ve ever coached against,” Ulmschneider says now. “If we do a walk-off steal there, if we steal a base and slide short, get in the rundown—they’ll defend it.” Indeed, East Greenwich practiced their reactions to these plays all the time. “I go, ‘If Solecki’s reaction is what it was, what’s to say Bracey’s won’t be?’ So I gave the sign.”

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: high school, ryan westmoreland, trick play

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ben Goessling, MASN: The new CBA, the Nationals and the end of signability

So what will it mean for the Nationals, now that they’re picking later in the draft than they have before? Well, in the short-term, they won’t be at as much risk of losing their first-round pick for signing a Type A free agent as they would have been under the old system. But it seemed less likely they were going to pursue a big-name free agent this year than they were last year anyway. This has been a team built on scouting and development; Rizzo constructed his entire front office around the idea of winning the amateur draft. Lately, that has meant spending money.

Now the trick will be to figure out if a player can be selected later in the draft, knowing the savings will be greater than if he goes early in the draft. But with such a large pool of players, both from college and high school, baseball’s draft is unlike any other sport’s, and it might be the biggest crapshoot of the major professional leagues. Teams won’t be able to pluck falling talents like Purke (who was projected to go in the first round but slipped to the third because of signability concerns) with fat contracts. It might mean the top players go where they should, but that would require every team to agree on who the top players are. At the very least, it’ll be interesting.

TerpNats Posted: November 23, 2011 at 05:10 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: business, college, high school, nationals

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blue Jays only team not to sign first round pick

The Blue Jays were unable to reach an agreement with first-round pick Tyler Beede prior to Monday’s midnight ET deadline.

Toronto selected the pitcher with the 21st overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. The native of Massachusetts will instead attend Vanderbilt University in the fall and is not eligible to re-enter the Draft until 2014.

There appeared to be a large gap between the two sides during the final week of negotiations, and they never got close to getting something done. Beede was reportedly looking for $3.5 million, while the Blue Jays were willing to offer one million short of that.

“They were still far off,” Beede told the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette. “They ended up getting to $2.5 million, but that still wasn’t what we valued the Vanderbilt education at. It was obviously the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I’m tremendously excited.”

Paul D(uda) Posted: August 16, 2011 at 01:26 PM | 118 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, high school, minor leagues

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Boston Globe: Magnetic Field - MIT program teaches science through physics of baseball

Boston youth resist The Charm of the Highway Strip and don’t Get Lost on The Wayward Bus en route to The House of Tomorrow.

Yogi Berra once said you can’t think and hit at the same time.

However, the New York Yankees legend never attended the MIT Science of Baseball program. It encourages eighth- and ninth-grade inner-city boys to learn baseball-related math and physics each morning and then apply those principles on the ballfield in the afternoon.

[...]

Half of the 30 students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-priced meals at Boston and Cambridge schools. Some worry more about bullets than baseballs; “safe at home” is just a baseball term.

Mattbert Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: college, high school, red sox

 

 

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