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Thursday, March 01, 2018

BBTF ANNUAL CENTRAL PARK SOFTBALL GAME 2018

Date: August 11
Time: TBA
Field: TBA
Post-game meetup: TBA

I will update the above as we get more details. I don’t know who JE is booking the field, nor when we’ll know. But let’s start talking softball.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Key takeaways from MLB study of HR rate

Baseball’s home run surge of recent seasons is attributable not to a bouncier—or “juiced”—baseball, but rather to better carry resulting in longer fly-ball distances, a committee of experts has concluded.

In a report of findings released by Major League Baseball on Thursday and available at MLB.com, the independent committee chaired by Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, concluded its research had achieved “partial success,” in that it had discovered that reduced drag on the baseballs was responsible for the rising home run rate but had not found any changes in properties of the balls that could account for the reduced drag.

MLB’s news release (PDF)

Full report: Report of the Committee Studying Home Run Rates in Major League Baseball (PDF)

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 24, 2018 at 02:16 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: chicks dig the long ball

White Sox’s Welington Castillo suspended 80 games for PEDs

“I was recently notified by Major League Baseball that I had tested positive for EPO, a substance that is prohibited under MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement,” said Castillo via statement. “The positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made. I take full responsibility for my conduct. I have let many people down, including my family, my teammates, the White Sox organization and its fans, and from my heart, I apologize. Following my suspension, I look forward to rejoining my teammates and doing whatever I can to help the White Sox win.”

We’ve heard this song before.


Zack Cozart is concerned the Rays ‘have an ulterior motive’ in starting Sergio Romo

“I feel like teams have an ulterior motive when they are doing this,” Cozart said before the Angels’ game on Tuesday night. “Less starting pitching means you don’t have to pay guys as much.”
...
“I’m more concerned about the financial aspect of three or four years down the road, if your whole staff is bullpenning except a couple guys, your payroll is going to go down because you don’t have to pay starters anymore,” he said.



Diamondbacks lose seventh straight game, get swept by Brewers

Arizona has lost 13 of 14, falling out of the NL West lead while scoring just 26 runs in that span. The three games marked the Brewers’ first sweep of the Diamondbacks since June 2-4, 2008.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have been winning a little and the Rockies and Giants have been treading water.  All 4 teams are within 4 games of each other.  It could be a weird year in the NL West.

Nasty Nate Posted: May 24, 2018 at 09:56 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona diamondbacks

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-24-2018

Lake County [Indiana] Times, May 24, 1918:

Persons who sell seats on any roof or structure overlooking a baseball park will be obliged to pay a war tax to the government, according to an announcement issued [yesterday] by the bureau of internal revenue.
...
The announcement says that in one city a woman whose yard adjoins the ball park has been selling seats in a tree, the price being five and ten cents, depending on how high the patron has to climb. Recently the price has been advanced to 6 and 11 cents, the extra cent being added to the war revenues.

I wonder whether the federal government increased production of pennies around this time. I keep reading stories about the war tax causing pricing that would dramatically increase the necessity of one-cent coins.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2018 at 09:00 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, i must be in the front row

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-23-2018

New York Tribune, May 23, 1918:

Eddie Holley, shortstop on the Newark International League baseball team, was struck by lightning at the baseball park [in Rochester] this afternoon in a severe hail and thunder storm. He was made partially unconscious.

Holly might have been out for the year. It’s not easy to tell, but a former MLB shortstop named Ed Holly played 24 games for the 1918 Newark Bears. If he played regularly for a month or so, then missed the rest of the year, 24 games sounds right.

A shortstop named Holly played for Springfield [MA] in 1919, so it looks like this probably wasn’t a career-ending lightning strike.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 23, 2018 at 10:41 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Bautista must be last over-the-hill vet the Mets take a chance on

Is this really the best the Mets can do to fill out their roster?

Jim Furtado Posted: May 23, 2018 at 06:59 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: jose bautista, mets

Sullivan: Baseball’s Hardest Thrower Gets the Second-Fewest Strikeouts

Most counterintuitive observation of the day?

Or ever?

Part of this is easy to understand. Why doesn’t Hicks strike more batters out? Just look at the walks. He’s wild. Been better lately, but still wild. Hicks’ overall strike rate ranks in the sixth percentile. Batters are better when they’re not behind in the count. If you don’t have command, you want to at least have control.

Another factor here is that Hicks doesn’t throw a hard four-seamer. Rather, he throws a sinker, and while it’s a hard sinker, sinkers in general are more hittable. This year, four-seamers at 95 or harder have allowed a contact rate of 76%. Meanwhile, sinkers and two-seamers at 95 or harder have allowed a contact rate of 81%. Not all sinkers are created alike, and, of course, someone like Zach Britton can get whiffs on a sinker all day long, but the movement tends to just be more contact-friendly. We know that because it’s what the numbers have always suggested. A rising four-seamer can appear to be deceptive. Sinkers are thrown lower, and they drop closer to the bat path.

As you’d imagine, there’s still another factor. Hicks doesn’t exclusively throw his fastball — he also has a breaking ball around 85. But it’s not a slider he controls very well. I looked at pitcher swing rates, league wide, when they throw non-fastballs. The swing rate against Hicks’ non-fastballs ranks in the 1st percentile. Almost the lowest rate in the game. Which could be a good thing, if Hicks could reliably spot his slider around the zone edge. Instead, Hicks has been a fastball pitcher without a pitch for hitters to chase. As noted earlier, major-league hitters are exceptionally good, and they can time any existing fastball provided they don’t have to worry about anything else.

It seems bizarre for Hicks’ strikeouts to be where they are, just given his arm strength. And yet we should remember we’ve seen hints of this. Chapman has forever been a strikeout machine, because he’s paired his four-seam fastball with a dangerous slider. Yet Brian Ellington averaged almost 100, and he posted underwhelming strikeout rates. Ditto last season’s Joe Kelly. Ditto 2016’s Mauricio Cabrera. Cabrera’s fastball actually averaged over 100. He struck out 19.8% of opponents. Josh Collmenter struck out more batters than that. Hicks is the most extreme data point in both directions, but baseball has been telling us for a while that velocity doesn’t equal punch outs. Not, at least, at the velocity levels we’ve observed.

 

Stormy JE Posted: May 23, 2018 at 06:32 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, fastballs, jordan hicks, strikeouts, velocity

Philip Roth obituary: Poignantly humane novelist set on emancipating American literature from respectability

Tall, curly-haired Phil (as he was known in the family) was passionate about baseball. He regularly attended minor league baseball games at Ruppert Stadium in Newark, and devoted The Great American Novel (1973) to the mythologies of baseball set against the harsher realities of communist subversion and anti-communism. He was supporter of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

[The Breast] was followed by The Great American Novel. Asked by a Sports Illustrated journalist why he wrote about baseball, Roth remarked: “Because whaling’s been done.”

QLE Posted: May 23, 2018 at 05:04 AM | 93 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball novels, obituary, philip roth, the great american novel

The Shohei Ohtani experiment isn’t just working—it’s been perfect

Hardly anything has ever worked as well as the Ohtani experiment has so far. Pitching in the Los Angeles Angels’ six-man starting rotation, Ohtani has made seven starts and the Angels are 6-1 in those games; playing three or four days a week as the club’s DH, he has batted 90 times and outhit everybody on the team except Mike Trout. Short stretches of baseball are inherently inconclusive, but we can now say Ohtani is certainly one of the 50 best pitchers in the world, probably one of the 30 best, plausibly one of the 10 best, and there’s an outside chance, a glimmer of hope, a faint possibility he’s actually the best pitcher in the world and we’re just waiting to find that out. And we can almost say the same about him as a hitter.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 23, 2018 at 02:51 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, shohei ohtani

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

MLBN: Kenny on Rays Starting Romo

Chris Russo talks with Brian Kenny about the Rays starting Sergio Romo in back-to-back games

Got earplugs?

Stormy JE Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:26 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: brian kenny, chris russo, kevin cash, rays, sergio romo

Astros Release Currently Suspended Ex-Top Prospect Jon Singleton

I remember a lot of sturm und drang about whether the Astros were taking advantage of Jon Singleton with the long-term contract. Guess that can be put to rest now.

The Houston Astros have released former top prospect Jon Singleton, who currently is serving a 100-game suspension for a third positive drug test.



Twins part with Phil Hughes despite owing him more than $22 million

The lingering uncertainty over Phil Hughes’ role on the Twins is finally over. There isn’t one.

The veteran righthander, who hoped to capture a spot in the starting rotation during spring training, then tried to fill a vague, undefined bullpen role when that didn’t work, was designated for assignment following Monday’s game, a reluctant acknowledgement by the Twins that they can wait no longer to figure out how to use him.


Mets “Showing Interest” In Jose Bautista

The Mets are “showing interest” in veteran slugger Jose Bautista, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter). The 37-year-old is back on the open market after being released by the Braves over the weekend.

It is not clear at this point how the Mets would envision utilizing Bautista, if a deal comes together. The veteran had lined up at third base for Atlanta, though there won’t be an opening at the hot corner in New York once Todd Frazier returns from the DL. Bautista would potentially represent a right-handed-hitting corner outfield option while Yoenis Cespedes is on the shelf.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 22, 2018 at 03:07 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: batflip, jose bautista, mets

Yankees should trade for Paxton.

The Yankees have something special going on this season. The club owns a 30 - 13 record and has played stellar baseball for the last month or so. That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement. The rotation, of course, stands out as the area in most need of an upgrade. The staff contains far more question marks than sure things. Reinforcements would help.

EvilBoWeevil Posted: May 22, 2018 at 02:17 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: james paxton, mariners, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-22-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, May 22, 1918:

[Ban] Johnson was in Washington yesterday to register a personal protest with the Government officials against [players leaving their teams to work in defense industries in order to avoid army service].
...
Considerable surprise was expressed by baseball men yesterday when word was received from Greenville, S.C., that Joe Jackson, former star of the Chicago White Sox, had been certified to his district draft board and would probably not be subject to draft.
...
Club owners in the major leagues fear that if Jackson is granted exemption upon the certificate filed in his behalf by the industrial plant employing him it will tempt many more players to desert the leagues and wreck the teams. It is believed that steps will be taken against players who desert its ranks to accept jobs in the plants that will forever bar them from returning to the ranks of organized baseball.

Jackson almost certainly deserved to be banned for life for what happened in the 1919 World Series. That said, I didn’t realize how long he’d been on organized baseball’s hit list.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Hader’s feats generating All-Star, Cy Young buzz

In the wake of Hader’s latest strikeout special, a 2 1/3-inning outing Saturday in which he struck out the final six batters he faced for a 5-4 win over the Twins, here are some of the more eye-popping things about the left-hander’s start to the season:

• Ninety-five hitters have dug in against Hader. Fifty-six of them have struck out. That 59-percent strikeout rate would shatter the all-time record (min. 25 batters faced) set by the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman in 2014, when he struck out 52.5 percent of hitters. The only other pitcher in history to strike out more than half of the hitters he faced was then-Braves closer Craig Kimbrel at 50.2 percent in ‘12.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 21, 2018 at 04:08 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, josh hader, so hot right now


Whitey Herzog Offered Hernandez to the Mets in 1980, 2+ Years Before Trade

SN: Did you know that Whitey offered you to the Mets and asked for Tim Leary, Doug Flynn and Neil Allen?

KH: I didn’t know that. Who did he ask for?

History and sabermetrics haven’t been kind to Flynn, the Mets’ 1980 starting second baseman and only the most diehard Mets fans of the day remember what great hopes the franchise held for Leary. Neil Allen was a valuable trade chip but not crucial to the team’s success, with rookie Jeff Reardon who could’ve easily slid into the fireman role in the Mets’ bullpen (Reardon would go on to pitch 16 seasons and is currently 10th on the all-time saves list.)

SN: Neil Allen, Tim Leary, and Doug Flynn.

KH: He offered to trade me in 1980? Wow. If he wanted that deal, Whitey was out of his mind. Interesting.

djordan Posted: May 21, 2018 at 12:43 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: keith hernandez, mlb trade rumors

Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks throws MLB’s fastest pitch of the year, clocking 105 mph twice

You can’t help but notice the violent armside run. It’s there because Hicks throws sinkers rather than four-seam fastballs. Yes, he touches 105 with a sinker.

In an era when every team has guys coming out of nowhere and getting more than a strikeout per inning, Hicks only has 9 K’s in 22 innings despite his monster velocity.  Hitters only have two measly extra-base hits against him, both doubles.

Nasty Nate Posted: May 21, 2018 at 10:25 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: jordan hicks, st. louis cardinals

Kevin Cash keeps thinking outside the box with use of Sergio Romo

It was a strategic decision made possible in part because of the Angels’ right-handed-heavy lineup. With Shohei Ohtani not hitting either day, the only lefty in the lineup on Saturday was Kole Calhoun, and the starting nine on Sunday were all right-handed. Romo, with his sub-90s fastball and big, sweeping slider, has always been much better against righties, and his platoon splits have been even wider in recent seasons.

Romo was the starting pitcher on both Saturday and Sunday, although only one of those was a Rays’ “bullpen game.”  On Saturday, Ryan Yarbrough pitched 6+ innings in relief.  Will close Alex Colome get a GS this year?

Nasty Nate Posted: May 21, 2018 at 09:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: tampa bay rays

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