Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Contributors

Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

Syndicate

Not A Slideshow Newsbeat

Thursday, March 30, 2017

CENTRAL PARK - JULY 1, 2017 10 AM - BBTF ANNUAL SOFTBALL EXTRAVAGANZA

I think this year we should make t-shirts.

The Central Park field for 10 AM on July 1st has been submitted for approval to the Parks Department, but not yet assigned.  We’re waiting to hear back.  It’s never been a problem as yet, so hopefully it won’t be this year as well.

Note: This is the same weekend as the massive SABR extravaganza in NYC.  I would expect all connections and all favors to be called in to get some retired MLB players or broadcast and basement-dwelling notables to come by.  Rob Neyer, Tommy Lasorda, Benny Agbayani, Robothal, Pete Rose, no target too high.  Or too low.  So maybe Calcaterra could make it.

Let’s hear it, who’s coming?

Lassus Posted: March 30, 2017 at 09:49 AM | 179 comment(s)
  Beats: sabr

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Angels’ Mike Trout continues his remarkable start to the season with another home run

With 15 home runs and a league-high 1.218 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, Trout has exceeded even his own outlandish norms. Little about his game, though, seems to be demonstrably different than in years past. The most pronounced difference is his first-pitch swing percentage.

The rate has increased in recent years, but it’s taken another jump in 2017, from 12.2% for his career to 17.2% last year to 24.3% entering Tuesday’s game.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 24, 2017 at 06:01 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, mike trout, the rapture


Modern Baseball Writing | Articles | Bill James Online

Rob Neyer’s take on the current state of baseball writing.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 24, 2017 at 03:47 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball writers


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-24-2017

Pittsburgh Press, May 24, 1917:

The “wheatina ball” has made its appearance in the Central league, and batters claim that it is as difficult to hit as the “emery ball,” which has been barred. Pitcher Cummins, of the Ft. Wayne club, is accused of using it by players on opposing teams. They allege that he carries a pocket filled with crushed grains of wheat, and that the sap in the wheat gives his fingers a powerful grip on the ball, causing it to break freakishly as it passes over the rubber.

Ah, the old “pocket full of wheat sap” trick.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2017 at 10:06 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Scouting Shohei Otani

A fairly detailed look at Shohei Otani:

Do scouts for MLB teams think Otani can be a two-way player? For four out of five scouts, there was some hemming and hawing. They all like him as a batter – especially the left-handed power. They all love him as a pitcher. The fifth scout, though, is willing to dream.

“I’ve never said this about a player, but I believe he can be a two-way player,” the scout said. “There are good-hitting pitchers like Madison Bumgarner and Greg Maddux, but this guy is a legitimate offensive threat. How you balance his pitching and his hitting … that’s where it really comes down to a general manager and a manager and ownership. How much do you want to risk your ace pitcher running the bases or taking at-bats? But from an evaluation standpoint, this guy … if he was on my team, he’d be the fastest baserunner, he’d have the most raw power. I absolutely feel this guy can hit on a daily basis. Or if you wanted … you can pick-and-choose when you’d DH him or pinch hit him. But absolutely, this guy can be a two-way player. If anyone can do it, he’s the one.”

Lots of interesting stuff, but all anonymous. RTFA.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How a Defensive Leap Has Fueled the Twins’ First-Place Run

It’s in the third phase of the game, defense, that the 2017 Twins exhibit signs of a remarkable turnaround. Last year, the Twins supplemented a bad pitching staff with a porous defense, which ranked 28th or 29th in MLB by all three major advanced defensive metrics. This year, the staff is just as poor, but it’s supported by a defense that leads the majors with 27 defensive runs saved — no other team exceeds 17 — and ranks second in fielding runs above average and third in ultimate zone rating. The effect on the Twins’ bottom line is stark: Last year they allowed 5.49 runs per game, just six-thousandths of a decimal point out of last place, but this year they’re allowing 4.58 per game, directly in line with the league average.

The Twins’ transformation from MLB’s worst team to a division leader — albeit one that’s unlikely to maintain its current pace — is attributable mainly to that defensive leap.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2017 at 02:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, twins

Where Did the Great Hollywood Baseball Movie Go?

The silent spaces in baseball used to be filled in by novelists and filmmakers. They supplied quick-witted, slang-driven repartee that felt both revelatory and reassuring for dugout conversations and meetings on the mound. The makers of films like 1989’s “Major League” and 1988’s “Eight Men Out” gave us the thoughts of the batters as they dug into the box, the catcher’s mantras and occasional trash talk, the umpire’s endless exasperation. And while all that may have been fantasy, it convinced you that what you couldn’t hear or see while watching a baseball game could be translated directly into cornfed American English.

Some mix of skyrocketing salaries, the steroid-era hangover and camera technology has rubbed away that implicit charm. Relatable baseball heroes are in retreat — and Hollywood seems to have lost interest in creating them. Over the past decade, there have been only four major studio baseball releases. Compare that with the late ’80s and early ’90s, when a handful of baseball movies came out nearly every year, including classics like “Bull Durham,” “Major League,” “Field of Dreams” and “A League of Their Own.”

Phil Alden Robinson, the director of 1989’s “Field of Dreams,” attributes the decline in the number of baseball movies to Hollywood’s need to court foreign audiences and financing — despite increasing numbers of international players in the majors. He also acknowledges a cultural shift. Two decades ago, baseball and its sepia-toned past could stand in for any number of sentimental ideas about the country. No longer. Robinson says football might better fit the American psyche, “a reflection of more violent times.” He believes he could probably scrape together the money to make “Field of Dreams” today, but, he told me, “it would have been a lot less money.”

Baseball’s visual clock, which once kept time for a changing country, now seems frozen.


Jered Weaver’s hometown discount was a cautionary tale

There was a three-year stretch when Jered Weaver was one of the best pitchers in baseball, with top-five Cy Young finishes in each of those seasons. In an era of wacky strikeout rates, he was one of the purest artists of the weak-contact genre, keeping his WHIP near the 1.0 mark the whole time, even as he wasn’t blowing hitters away.

In the middle of this stretch, Weaver signed a team-friendly extension. How team friendly?

No one from (Scott) Boras’ office attended Tuesday’s media availability.

That team friendly. The five-year, $85 million contract was something Weaver negotiated himself, essentially, over the objections of the game’s best agent. He hired Yo-Yo Ma to play his birthday party and handed him a ukulele at the door. You can understand why Boras was frustrated.

The year before Weaver was supposed to be a free agent, he won 20 games, finished third in the AL Cy Young voting, and led the league in WHIP and hits per nine innings. He turned 30 the October before his free agency would have started.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2017 at 02:06 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, hometown discount, jered weaver



Rangers’ Nomar Mazara shares his life story | MLB.com

Good stuff here.

It didn’t take me long to realize I needed to learn English, too. I remember sitting in the middle of meetings during my first year in the U.S. not knowing what any of the coaches were saying. I was so lost, so I started asking my teammates for help.

Joey Gallo was my guy. I would tell him things like, “Every day, you’re going to tell me one word so I can repeat it and repeat it, over and over, so I can learn. And then the next day, you’re going to teach me another one. So like it or not, you’re going be my teacher from now on.”

Joey is still there for me, and other guys have helped me, too. Mike Napoli is like my dad. He’s always there for me. If I need anything—anything—I’m telling you, whatever I want, he’s there for me. It’s huge to have him in my life.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 11:11 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: nomar mazara, rangers

The curveball’s resurgence is changing starting pitching | SI.com

Although blowing a fastball by someone is a lot of fun, there is nothing like buckling a hitter’s legs by dropping a big curve right over the plate.

Said one NL general manager, “Three teams have become big, big believers in the combination of high fastballs and curveballs: the Astros, Dodgers and Rays. Those teams are heavy into analytics. The game is changing away from the sinker/cutter/slider guys.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 11:05 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-23-2017

A letter to Grantland Rice, via the Harrisburg Telegraph, May 23, 1917:

Dear Sir: It has been suggested that we economize and cut out surplus padding…Why not the one syllable lineup in these days of restriction? I hereby nominate the following:

Catchers—Schang and Schalk.
Pitchers—Ruth, Shore, Schupp, Smith, Coombs, Bush.
First base—Chase.
Second base—Pratt.
Shortstop—Scott.
Third base—Groh.
Outfield—Cobb, Wheat, Burns.

Rice responds with a “three or more syllables team”:

Catchers—Nunamaker, Killifer.
Pitchers—Alexander, Lavender, Southoron, Demaree, Coveleskie.
First base—Konetchy.
Second base—Fitzpatrick.
Shortstop—Maranville.
Third base—Zimmerman.
Outfield—Robertson, Jacobson, Gilhooley.
Which wins?

Pretty clearly the one-syllable team, no? The difference in the outfields is gargantuan, and that’s even without Ruth.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

How Many More Years? – Joe Blogs – Medium

Before the 2001 season, Nomah’s agent Scott Boras did a statistical study on his client. The study estimated that Garciaparra would hit .336 for his career and finish with more than 3,500 hits and 500 home runs. Yes, it’s true, that statistical study had an excel column for “wishful thinking,” and another labeled “hard to keep a straight face.” But it was true that Garciaparra at that point was a lifetime .333 hitter and that he had more than 800 hits. Big numbers were in play.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 10:29 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, nomar garciaparra

Ruben and Jon, v.5. | Texas Rangers Blog | The Newberg Report

Ruben Amaro?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 09:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Trying times for John Farrell as Boston Red Sox manager | FOX Sports

The goal for any organization should be to employ one of the best managers. Finding a great manager, of course, is easier said than done. To get to a great manager you don’t want to be firing a manager every year or so; you want some stability. At this point, though, Farrell is clearly not a great manager. He’s had sufficient time to show that he isn’t. The million dollar question, who could you replace him with?

The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell — issues about the way he connects with players — and to some degree they are not new.

Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, but some more than others.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 09:11 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: john farrell, red sox

Matt Harvey studies past success and discovers arm slot issue in recent troubles | Newsday

Is this really true? Six inches higher? How does a pitching coach not notice a change like this?

“Looking at video from successful starts that I’ve had in the past, we found out that my arm slot was like six inches higher [than in previous years],’’ Harvey said Sunday. “Not this past start, but the previous ones. It kind of dated back to last year when I had some issues with my rib and I couldn’t throw from my normal arm slot because of the injury.”

“So I think I probably got into a habit similar to what I did last year, thinking I still had to throw from that angle instead of my normal arm slot,’’ Harvey said. “So we watched a lot of video and lowered the arm slot. I felt like I was throwing side-armed, but we went back and watched the video and it was exactly the same as it was in ’13.’’

In 2013, Harvey was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and struck out 191 in 178 1⁄3 innings.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 08:33 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mets

Curiosity Might Kill the Home-Run Spike | FanGraphs Baseball

Adjust, then adjust to the adjustments.

It appeared at one point as though the most popular counterpunch to the uppercut swing would be an increase of elevated four-seam fastballs. But we’re not seeing more teams follow the Tampa Bay model. In fact, according to Baseball Savant data, we’ve seen fewer four-seam fastballs thrown in the upper third of the zone and higher this year: an 8.8% rate this season compared to 9.9% in 2016 and 9.8% in 2015. Pitches down and below the zone have inched up from 35.7% in 2015 to 39.3% this season, according to Statcast’s detailed search. Jeff Sullivan wrote about the missing elevated fastballs last week.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2017 at 07:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Aaron Judge Gets His Own Rooting Section

Even the Babe didn’t get this:

The verdict is in: Rookie slugger Aaron Judge is getting his own rooting section at Yankee Stadium. Now in session, The Judge’s Chambers. Framed by faux wood paneling, covering three rows and fashioned to fit 18 fans wearing black judicial robes with the Yankees’ logo on the front and his No. 99 on the back, this court opened on Monday night.
.  .  .
New York hosting Kansas City was first on the docket. Looking like a jury box, ballpark style, with proper lettering on a sign at the back of Section 104, just behind where he plays right field.
.  .  .
Unlike the King’s Court in Seattle for ace Felix Hernandez or the Mannywood area that once developed at Dodger Stadium for Manny Ramirez, people won’t be able to buy tickets in The Judge’s Chambers. Instead, a cross-section of fans will be chosen to sit there. At first, those wearing Judge jerseys and T-shirts inside the stadium likely will get picked, along with their families. … Those selected for this section will get Styrofoam gavels—stamped with “All Rise!”—to tap against the bench, along with other mementos to keep. The robes, those stay.

Photo at link. Might need an offseason upgrade - current set-up is a bit too close to night court for a “jurist” of Judge’s stature.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 23, 2017 at 12:50 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, legal, new york yankees, yankee stadium

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Chicago Cubs’ Circle of Trust - WSJ

What about a Cone of Silence?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 22, 2017 at 03:42 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs


Gwinnett Braves plan to change team name for 2018 season, ask for fans help in naming contest

What about “Barves”?

“The Atlanta Braves are still currently the only major league team that owns the majority of their minor league teams and a major part of the Braves footprint and the Braves expanding their brand throughout the Southeast is to continue to have minor league teams use the Braves name,” Johnson said. “When the team was in Richmond, that made great sense. If you were going to a Braves game, you knew you weren’t going to Atlanta. You were definitely going to Richmond.

“When we moved here, it was important we maintain the Braves name so people understood who we were, that we were a part of the Atlanta organization, because minor league baseball had never been in this area before. There were a lot of reasons to maintain the name and it was important for the Atlanta Braves to continue their brand.

“Fast forward nine years later, we’re in our ninth season, and our reality is a lot of confusion in the market with which team is which. It’s moreso for us. … We’ve had folks, on multiple occasions, who had tickets for a Gwinnett Braves game and showed up at Turner Field. Folks have turned up at Turner Field for a fireworks show and it turned out it was our fireworks show night. It’s more to clean up confusion on the marketing side, mostly from our end.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 22, 2017 at 02:46 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, gwinnett, mascot, minor league

Is John Farrell Officially On Hot Seat As Red Sox Manager? « CBS Boston

I’d expect them to get a more emotional manager to replace him. Farrell isn’t a bad manager; of course, he’s not a good one either.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 22, 2017 at 02:26 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: john farrell, red sox

Page {e2c518d61874f2d4a14bbfb9087a7c2dcurrent_page} of {e2c518d61874f2d4a14bbfb9087a7c2dtotal_pages} pages {e2c518d61874f2d4a14bbfb9087a7c2dpagination_links} | Site Archive

 

 

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Sebastian
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: March-April 2017 Soccer Thread
(533 - 7:36pm, May 24)
Last: He who brought the butter dish to Balshazar (CoB)

NewsblogWhere Did the Great Hollywood Baseball Movie Go?
(88 - 7:36pm, May 24)
Last: Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com

NewsblogAngels' Mike Trout continues his remarkable start to the season with another home run
(4 - 7:35pm, May 24)
Last: Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa

NewsblogScouting Shohei Otani
(18 - 7:30pm, May 24)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogComedy is hard, OMNICHATTER is easy, for May 24, 2017
(10 - 7:30pm, May 24)
Last: Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa

NewsblogHow Many More Years? – Joe Blogs – Medium
(26 - 7:24pm, May 24)
Last: Shock

NewsblogOTP 22 May 2017: George W. Bush photobombs a sports reporter
(883 - 7:22pm, May 24)
Last: GordonShumway

NewsblogBobby Grich, Rick Burleson, and Their One Full (Strike-Shortened) Season as a Dominant Double Play Combination
(35 - 7:14pm, May 24)
Last: Jay Z

NewsblogGwinnett Braves plan to change team name for 2018 season, ask for fans help in naming contest
(53 - 7:14pm, May 24)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogOT - March 2017 NBA thread
(4129 - 7:10pm, May 24)
Last: Fourth True Outcome

NewsblogAaron Judge Gets His Own Rooting Section
(25 - 6:41pm, May 24)
Last: Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66)

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(1983 - 6:26pm, May 24)
Last: Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle

NewsblogCENTRAL PARK - JULY 1, 2017 10 AM - BBTF ANNUAL SOFTBALL EXTRAVAGANZA
(179 - 4:34pm, May 24)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogModern Baseball Writing | Articles | Bill James Online
(1 - 4:29pm, May 24)
Last: Der-K: downgraded to lurker

NewsblogSam Travis -- aka 'Mr. Intensity' -- is hell-bent on the bigs - Boston Red Sox Blog- ESPN
(1 - 4:04pm, May 24)
Last: Jose is El Absurd Pollo

Page rendered in 8.0337 seconds
165 querie(s) executed