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Monday, March 02, 2015

Royals hope new addition Alex Rios helps outfield defense remain baseball’s best

Aoki Dokey.

In Milwaukee during his first two big-league seasons, Aoki spent most of his time defending batters straight up, without much shading in either direction, Kuntz explained. Aoki preferred to charge in, rather than charge back, and glued himself to the same spot before almost every pitch.

The Royals operate a more fluid defense. Kuntz does not just ask his defenders to adjust from batter to batter. Sometimes he calls for shifts from pitch to pitch. Aoki was an “analytical” player, Kuntz said. He required an explanation for instructions. Kuntz would flash a signal and Aoki would hesitate before moving.

During games, Kuntz only had a brief window in between innings to communicate, because his presence was required to coach first base. Soon after a sign was sent to the outfield, Kuntz would often receive a visit from Aoki’s translator, Kosuke Inaji.

“Nori wants to know why we don’t play everybody straight up,” Inaji would say.

Kuntz had to remind Inaji: “At times, I don’t have time to explain it to him. He just has to get there.”...


During that first workout, when Rios asked for advice, Kuntz suggested he alter his mechanics when chasing drives over his head. Like 90 percent of players, Kuntz said, Rios executed a drop-step as his first movement, which elongated his route to the ball. Kuntz counseled him to swivel his hips instead and straigthen his line.

Two days later, as he swatted fly balls, Kuntz watched how Rios hunted for balls and noticed the difference.

“Just like that, he’s got it,” Kuntz said. “But he’s an athlete. And he’s coachable.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:33 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rios, analytics, defense, nori aoki, royals

Keri: The 30: Offseason Stock Report

Today, as a treat for everyone who’s (almost) made it through this cruel, frigid, never-ending winter, we’re going bigger, ranking and examining all 30 clubs.

Since the calendar has turned to 2015, we’re starting off fresh. Last year’s results don’t matter — sorry, Giants fans — and all teams are ranked based on how they look coming into the spring.

But before we begin, our standard disclaimer: If you disagree with these rankings or any of the 2015 rankings to come, remember that I made my decisions based solely on my bias against your favorite team, with no consideration whatsoever for data or objective analysis.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 02, 2015 at 02:32 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: clinique, oprah, secrets

Yankees Rookie Nervously Tells A-Rod How Much He Used To Hate Him As A Kid

TAMPA, FL—Tentatively approaching the All-Star third baseman during a spring training workout Friday, New York Yankees rookie outfielder Tyler Austin reportedly worked up the courage to tell Alex Rodriguez how much he used to hate him as a kid. “Hey, Alex, I’m sure you get this from the younger guys all the time, but I just wanted you to know how much I hated your ####### guts when I was growing up,” Austin told the Yankees slugger, adding that he will “always remember” watching Rodriguez slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in the 2004 ALCS and then later finally admit to years of steroid use in 2009.

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 02, 2015 at 02:00 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: centauromachy

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - March 2015

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the Great War.

The District Attorney Posted: March 02, 2015 at 01:06 PM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic


The Mets’ intangible that has Terry Collins predicting playoffs | New York Post

Hope is a wonderful thing. Spring training is a wonderful time.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 11:07 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, spring training

Full Count » Finally healthy, Dustin Pedroia proclaims ‘I’m not messing around’

I love this guy.

“I don’t care. Numbers are numbers,” said Pedroia, who hit a combined 16 home runs over the past two injury-plagued seasons. “We’re here to win the World Series. I don’t care about any of that. If people don’t know that by now ‘€¦ We won the World Series and I hit nine home runs and everyone said I lost my power. Well, I’ll lose my power if I win the World Series. What is everyone’s job here? Win. We don’t give a crap about anything else.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 11:05 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dustin pedroia, red sox

Guerrero believes he can help contribute to Dodgers now | dodgers.com

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 10:27 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: alex guerrero, dodgers

Is Charlie Brown the Worst Manager Ever? – The Hardball Times

His team needs a new pitcher.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:27 AM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: charlie brown, managers, sabermetrics

MadBum, Posey square off during workout | MLB.com

This is from the other day.

On a side note, does anyone else have a problem viewing the videos in Chrome?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, giants, madison bumgarner

Garrett Richards of Los Angeles Angels won’t be ready by Opening Day, Mike Scioscia says - ESPN Los Angeles

It’s not going to be Opening Day, let’s put it that way,” Scioscia said Sunday. “He knows it, and it’s great that he’s not going to be able to rush it because our medical staff’s not going to let him. There’s a progression. He has to pass every plateau. It’s great that he’s going to shoot for being ready. He’s working very hard to be ready Opening Day, but he’s not going to be ready Opening Day.”

Richards and the Angels previously had hoped that the right-hander would be ready by the time their regular season starts on April 6 against the Seattle Mariners.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:16 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, garrett richards

The world we live in…Man has it changed. ADDENDUM! | 38 Pitches

Sorry, just because someone is in the public sphere does not mean anyone he knows is fair game. Some of the Tweets about his daughter are absolutely reprehensible. I only occasionally agree with Schilling but in this instance bringing the actions of these terrible people into focus is appropriate.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:04 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: curt schilling, social media

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-2-2015

Pittsburgh Press, March 2, 1915:

Oscar Theander Harstad, whom Cleveland Indians got from the Northwestern league, turned loose on Addie Joss’ delivery in his first workout and is hailed the first eye opener among the rookies.

I’m not the sort of guy to pooh-pooh other people’s achievements, but just about anyone could have hit Addie Joss’s fastball in 1915. Addie had been dead for four years.

So I’m going to go ahead and call this report fictitious.

Anyhoo, Harstad made the team as a reserve pitcher and put up 82 innings of 89 ERA+ ball in 1915, his only season in the big leagues.


Sunday, March 01, 2015

ESPN: Switch-Pitcher Venditte The Talk Of A’s Camp

But in the early stages of camp, no Oakland pitcher has elicited more chatter than a 29-year-old career minor leaguer with a novel gift. Pat Venditte, who signed with the New York Yankees as a 20th-round draft pick out of Creighton in 2008, has a 2.46 ERA and 431 strikeouts in 384 2/3 innings over seven minor league seasons. But his new teammates are far more impressed with his ability to pitch with both hands.

“For the first few days, he was the talk of camp,’’ Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Guys would stick around and take notice and watch him throw in the pen to see if we’re just talking about a gimmick here or somebody that can really pull it off. They walk away just shaking their heads. It’s tough enough to do it from one side—especially at this level.’’
.  .  .
Venditte throws a fastball, slider and changeup from both sides and uses an ambidextrous glove with two thumb holes. As his fellow A’s get to know him, it’s only natural that they flash back through their professional careers and think of other ambidextrous teammates they’ve encountered.

Melvin recalls how Ariel Prieto, a former Oakland pitcher and coach, threw batting practice with both hands. When A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir was in Cleveland, teammate Carlos Carrasco threw his fastball in the mid-90s from the right side and reached the mid-80s just goofing around from the left. And reliever Tyler Clippard, who came to Oakland by trade from Washington in January, recalls how former Nationals bullpen-mate Sean Burnett would heave balls back to the infield right-handed during shagging to save his left arm for the games.
.  .  .
When Venditte was looking at potential landing spots as a minor league free agent over the winter, Oakland ranked high on the list because the A’s are a creative, free-thinking organization that might give him a legitimate shot rather than view him as a novelty act. It appears he’s come to the right place.

Give the [no longer a] kid a chance.


The career paths of Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto |

Some info about the Mets top outfield prospects.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 12:59 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: brandon nimmo, mets, michael conforto, prospects

OTP - March: You’re out, tobacco: Bill would ban products at all California baseball venues

The rifle report of balls popping into gloves, the finessed footwork of a double play, the sludgy streams of tobacco exiting mouths.

One of those mainstays of the national pastime could soon vanish from California’s major-league baseball fields.

Already banned in minor-league parks, tobacco would be prohibited at every baseball venue in California under legislation announced Tuesday by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond. Thurmond and public health advocates justified the legislation as a way to discourage tobacco use by youths, and hoped it could send a message to other states, organized baseball and the players.

Bitter Mouse Posted: March 01, 2015 at 11:37 AM | 294 comment(s)
  Beats: california, politics, tobacco

Minnie Minoso Passes Away

The “Cuban Comet” blazed a trail for Latin American players in the big leagues starting in the 1950s. Minoso drove in 100 runs four times for the Sox and hit .300 or better six times
...
Reinsdorf once said this of Minoso: “...He did everything. He could run, he could hit with power, he could field, he could bunt, he could steal bases. He did everything.  He was a complete player.  He was one of the most exciting players I’ve ever seen play, in the mold of a Jackie Robinson.”

Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 01, 2015 at 10:13 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: deaths, white sox

Fun with MLB photo day - SBNation.com

Don’t know who Mr. Zoombiya is?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 09:47 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: photos

With Upton out, Braves can get good look at CF options | Atlanta Braves blog

It’s not like Upton hasn’t been given ample opportunity to keep his job. I’d say he has no complaint if someone plays well in his absence and he doesn’t automatically get his job back.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 09:07 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, melvin upton

Players union sees potential bargaining issue with Cubs-like spending restrictions | Chicago

This does seem to be a valid issue for the union. Essentially, the players are helping Ricketts pay for the team.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 09:00 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sox scout booed at church in Northern Cal - Boston Red Sox Blog - ESPN Boston

Funny story linked in the Lauria article.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 08:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, pablo sandoval, red sox

Sunday Notes: Valentine on Hamilton, Acta & Keri on the Expos, Leathersich, more

David Lauria’s latest.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: sunday notes

Several aces may need to adjust to a low zone loss. | SportsonEarth.com

Sorry, it’s the right adjustment.

“A hitter can take as many swings as he wants,” Butcher said. “Pitchers are only allowed a certain amount of throws per day. So when you start tinkering with the strike zone, I think it’s a longer adjustment process for a pitcher to go through. I think it would be a tough adjustment and the wrong adjustment for the league.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 01, 2015 at 08:01 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, sabermetrics

Phillies newcomer Francoeur becoming Howard’s biggest fan

“It seems like every time I look at him, he’s got a few guys around him,” manager Ryne Sandberg said of Francoeur. “I think there’s a good reason behind that. Players tend to go to him.”

Francoeur and Howard have been nearly inseparable during the first week of camp.

Their lockers are next to each other. They were in the same, three-man group, with infielder Andres Blanco, when hitters faced live pitching Friday. They are in the same, six-man team under Charlie Manuel’s guidance in the team’s carefully crafted hitting groups this spring.

The Phillies signed Francoeur to a minor league contract this winter because they think he has the chance to make their major league club as a much-needed righthanded bench bat. But like Manuel, he’s also someone with a history with Howard - they played against each other as NL East foes for years - and someone with an unwavering positive outlook, too.

He’s baaa-aaack!

 

eddieot Posted: March 01, 2015 at 07:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jeff francoeur, mets, phillies, ryan howard

Who Is Responsible For A Called Strike?

Joe Rosales and Scott Spratt’s, both of Baseball Info Solutions, co-winning article of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference top research paper. Their work suggests that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.

Expanded use of instant replay was a major talking point of the 2014 MLB season, but balls and strikes are notable
exclusions to the list of reviewable plays. Despite the increased oversight that video technology has provided in
ensuring that umpires call a more consistent strike zone than was once the case, the strike zone will likely remain the
final stronghold of the umpire’s influence over the game. As a result, the strike zone will always be a bit of a moving
target, and the ability of certain players to successfully find ways to exploit that gives us a good reason to quantify
that skill, leaving those who can control ball/strike calls with a significant advantage.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 01, 2015 at 04:19 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: research, sloan, strike zone

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