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Friday, September 30, 2016

The View is Much Better When You’re the Lead Dog: Mike Trout Closes in on Another Second-Place MVP Finish

Williams. Musial. Pujols. It looks like Trout is about to join some very exclusive company.

gehrig97 Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:59 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: albert pujols, joe dimaggio, mickey mantle, mike trout, mvp, stan musial, ted williams

What’s going on inside the Blue Jays clubhouse?

Why, for example, would the leaders on the team allow someone to put up on a wall photos of two Toronto sports writers with an ‘X’ scratched on their face and the a message written on top reading, ‘Do not grant them interviews’ (or words to that effect)?

On the surface, a pretty juvenile stunt. But also unprofessional. And it’s something, a couple of journalists pointed out to a Jays official, the New York Yankees would never allow in their clubhouse.

And it’s not just those photos. There have been a number of incidents inside the Jays clubhouse recently that suggest that there may be a bit of panic setting in.

Things like: Someone cranking up the music just when the media arrives to conduct pre-game interviews. That’s happened more than a couple of times. It happened again on Thursday. Again, on the surface, silly, stupid. But, again, unnecessary. The media have a job to do, just like the players. Fans almost always take the side of the players when there’s an issue with the media, but teams with confidence and swagger don’t need to pulls stunts like putting pictures of writers on a wall.

There was an incident the other night when a couple of journalists tried to corral struggling closer Roberto Osuna for an interview, but he kept blowing them off. Finally, one reporter followed him right into a private part of the clubhouse and told him off. Certainly something nobody, especially a young player like Osuna, needs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:50 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, media

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-30-2016

Chicago Eagle, September 30, 1916:

“I took up professional baseball after receiving a diploma in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan because the financial returns were there,” remarked George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns, the other day.
...
“I intend to use the winter months to advantage, however, by keeping in touch with engineering. Baseball is a grant game and I want to get to the top if possible. At the present rate, I think I can retire in 12 years with a fortune.

“One thing: I will never play in the minors. As soon as I start to slow down I will quit, and then see what I can do with mechanical engineering.”

I don’t know that Sisler ever actually worked as a mechanical engineer. He spent virtually all of his adult life in baseball as a player, scout, and coach.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:40 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, george sisler, history

Why Bo Jackson chose baseball

“Bo would like to visit Kansas City,” the agent said. “He’d like to see the players, see the stadium. But he doesn’t want to work out.”

Schuerholz wasn’t buying it. He suspected Jackson and his agents were merely using the Royals as a negotiating tool against the NFL, and asked Stewart for his opinion. He contacted Gonzales, who assured the director of scouting that Bo Jackson had genuine interest in the major leagues. “John,” Stewart told Schuerholz, “all I can tell you is Kenny Gonzales has spent seven years on Bo Jackson, and he knows him and his family better than anyone. We have to believe in Kenny.”

That Saturday afternoon, Jackson and Woods arrived at Royals Stadium and sat down with Schuerholz, Stewart and Gonzales. The general manager wasted no time. “Bo,” he said, “do you really want to play baseball?”

Jackson was young and green and raw but haltingly sincere and steadfast. “Mr. Schuerholz,” he replied, “that’s why I’m here.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:34 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, bo jackson, draft, football, royals, yankees

Fox Sports: Ken Rosenthal’s 2016 MLB awards

I know, I know—Britton’s innings total, currently 65 1/3, would be the lowest ever for a Cy winner.

Problem is, the top nine starters in the league are virtually indistinguishable, with ERAs between 3.06 and 3.21. And the last AL pitcher to win the Cy with an ERA above 3.00 was CC Sabathia in 2007.

So, it’s a good but not great group of starters vs. a record-setting reliever. Or hadn’t you noticed? Britton is a perfect 47-for-47 in saves. His 0.55 ERA would be the lowest in history for a pitcher with a minimum of 50 innings.

Porcello’s 22-4 record is partly the product of his league-leading run support, but he also has produced the lowest opponents’ OPS among qualifiers. Yet, even in that category, the difference between first and eighth is minuscule; all of the starters are that close.

It’s not unprecedented for a reliever to win the Cy; it just takes unique circumstances. I would say these are pretty darned unique.

To which BK responds:

Renegade JE (((Jason))) Posted: September 30, 2016 at 10:33 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, brian kenny, cy young, ken rosenthal, relievers, robothal, writers


One More Incredible Rangers Statistic | FanGraphs Baseball

Of course there’s noise, or randomness, and of course circumstances can be different when a team plays a certain other one. Maybe the Rangers have gotten really lucky in terms of missing the better teams’ better starters. But we haven’t seen something quite like this in a century. In a little more than a century, for that matter.

Almost 2,300 team-seasons in the sample. For each of them, I calculated winning percentage against teams who’re at least .500, and winning percentage against teams below .500. I then found the difference between those two winning percentages. This year’s Rangers have the biggest positive difference, and from what I can tell, it would be almost impossible for them to fall out of first place here over the season’s final games. It wouldn’t matter if they swept the Rays. They’d still be No. 1 in one of the most unusual splits you could come up with.

So add this to the list. Clutch hitting. One-run-game winning. Run-differential defeating. And, better against good teams than bad ones. It doesn’t have to make sense for it to be, and there’s no undoing what the Rangers have accomplished. All told, they’ve had one of the weirdest damn seasons in at least recent memory. It still stands to be mostly defined by what happens in the weeks ahead, but Rangers fans could tell you this year has never been dull.Almost 2,300 team-seasons in the sample. For each of them, I calculated winning percentage against teams who’re at least .500, and winning percentage against teams below .500. I then found the difference between those two winning percentages. This year’s Rangers have the biggest positive difference, and from what I can tell, it would be almost impossible for them to fall out of first place here over the season’s final games. It wouldn’t matter if they swept the Rays. They’d still be No. 1 in one of the most unusual splits you could come up with.

So add this to the list. Clutch hitting. One-run-game winning. Run-differential defeating. And, better against good teams than bad ones. It doesn’t have to make sense for it to be, and there’s no undoing what the Rangers have accomplished. All told, they’ve had one of the weirdest damn seasons in at least recent memory. It still stands to be mostly defined by what happens in the weeks ahead, but Rangers fans could tell you this year has never been dull.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 30, 2016 at 09:15 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Can New Technology Bring Baseball’s Data Revolution to Fielding? - NYTimes.com

It’s the Holy Grail of statistical analysis!

Statcast churns out an overwhelming amount of information; describing the movements of all the players on the field during a routine ground out, according to Willman, who is an analyst at BAM, can fill the equivalent of 21,000 rows on a spreadsheet. Teams are still learning how to dig through the digital sediment for usable knowledge. For now, they rely mostly on Willman and a couple of other colleagues to serve as electronic archaeologists. The nuggets extracted are typically fan-friendly conversation-starters, like which outfielders reach the most fly balls or where Bryce Harper’s hardest hits tend to end up. They are disseminated haphazardly — through Twitter, a dedicated podcast and enhanced game broadcasts on MLB.TV, whose announcers receive a steady flow of Statcast-generated talking points.

Some of what they learn, invariably, involves pitching and hitting. But Statcast’s current impact pales in comparison to its potential achievements: the quantification of how well fielders play their positions, which baseball watchers have been trying to do without success since the sport’s beginning. The 2016 regular season, which ends this week, was only Statcast’s second. Eventually, teams will figure out how to use it to gauge fielding with the same acuity they bring to other aspects of the game, which have been scrutinized since baseball’s analytic revolution began in the late 1990s.

Once they do, Willman believes, there will be an upheaval in the way ballplayers are valued, from roster decisions to salary structure to postseason awards. Future stars are out there, he knows, some of them in the guise of ordinary players. A forward-thinking team has the opportunity to start stockpiling them now, before the rest of baseball even figures out who they are.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 30, 2016 at 09:04 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: statcast

Molina’s walk-off 2B keeps Cards in WC hunt | MLB.com

It was a weird end. Watching the game, I agree with the umps. Price waited too long.

Molina stepped to the plate with two out and the potential winning run on first and ripped a ball to left field. It bounced off the warning track and hit a panel of signage beyond the wall before caroming back into play. A throw from left fielder Adam Duvall was too late to get Carpenter, who slid into home to initiate the celebration.

Statcast measures the exit velocity of Yadier Molina’s double and Matt Carpenter’s max speed as he scores the game-winning run

As the Cardinals carried that celebration into the dugout, the Reds remained on the field wanting to challenge that the ball should have been ruled dead—and Molina, therefore, awarded a ground-rule double—when it hit the signage. Reds manager Bryan Price waited too long before requesting a review, and the game officially ended.

“In this situation, Bryan Price did not come up on the top step,” crew chief Bill Miller told a pool reporter after the game. “We stayed there. I waited for my partners to come off the field. I looked into the dugout, the Cincinnati dugout, and Bryan Price made no eye contact with me whatsoever, and then after 30 seconds he finally realized, somebody must have told him what had happened, and we were walking off the field.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 30, 2016 at 07:04 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, reds

OMNICHATTER 9-30-16

The “Last Friday of the Regular Season” OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: September 30, 2016 at 12:02 AM | 127 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jesus Montero suspended 50 games for use of a stimulant

Shoulda stuck to ice cream sandwiches.

Remember Jesus Montero? The former Yankees and Mariners prospect? Well, he was picked up by the Blue Jays back in March after the Mariners waived him and played 126 games for Triple-A Buffalo this year. That went alright, I suppose, with Montero hitting .317/.349/.438 with 11 homers. He played a bit of first base too, trying to break the mold he’s been stuck in as a 26-year-old DH.

If this season was a platform for him to make one last push to the bigs, the platform was just pulled out from under him: he has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 05:07 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jesus montero, mariners, peds

Heyman: Twins’ hiring of Falvey raising eyebrows

Derek Falvey has a lot going for him as a well-regarded young executive with the Indians, but his impending hiring to lead the Minnesota Twins’ baseball ops department as its new chief baseball officer is raising eyebrows around the league.

Falvey is indeed the choice, with the Twins believed just to be doing final background checks. Keith Law of ESPN first reported the hiring. Of course no one should blame Falvey, a very bright exec by all accounts, but it’s questionable how qualified he is to run an entire baseball ops department when he’s never run any department and has only been an assistant GM for one year.

The Twins tried to interview a few GMs (word is Ben Cherington and David Forst turned them down, and they heard through back channel sources that Jed Hoyer also preferred to stay in Chicago) and may have gotten discouraged about their chances to find anyone qualified.

“They should have tried harder for Cherington or Hoyer,” one rival GM opined, and it’s hard to argue with that.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 02:36 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: ben cherington, derek falvey, jed hoyer, twins

Jay Bruce gives peek at breakout as playoffs come into focus | New York Post

The trade might work out after all.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2016 at 09:10 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: jay bruce, mets

Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist were forced to swap positions (and gloves) for a single play | MLB.com

This was much ado about nothing.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2016 at 09:07 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-29-2016

New York Evening World, September 29, 1916:

Twenty-five straight!

If the Giants never do anything else they can rest on that record. The twenty straight of the old Providence Club lasted for thirty-two years. Under the law of averages—with the increasing difficulty of winning games as the strain of a long drawn out effort grows—the new record of the Giants should last for a century!

I don’t know, man. 100 years is a long time. People probably won’t even be playing baseball anymore in 2016.

At this point, the Giants, who had a losing record as late as the second week of September, still had an outside chance to win the pennant. Strange things were afoot at the Circle K.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 08:10 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Garrett Richards takes another step toward the 2017 Angels rotation - The Orange County Register

It will be interesting to see how this treatment will work out.

Richards’ next step will be a game on Monday in instructional league. It will be his first time facing another team – albeit mostly low level minor leaguers – since his May 1 start at Texas.

Richards is scheduled for three instructional league outings, building up to about 50 pitches, and then a follow-up exam and imaging. If he clears those hurdles by mid October, he will be cleared for a normal winter and can be penciled into the Angels 2017 plans, without Tommy John surgery.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2016 at 06:50 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, garrett richards, injuries

The Other Weird Thing About the Home-Run Surge | FanGraphs Baseball

Everybody is doing it. The chicks must dig it.

I’m not saying anything here is conclusive. And it’s possible we have a population change and a baseball change. Some of the evidence for a different baseball is very convincing. But now there’s more power coming from baseball’s middle class. And there’s more power coming from baseball’s lower class. The upper class has more power, too, yet not really by a whole lot. Homers are being distributed fairly equally, perhaps more than ever before, and so it’s not just Jean Segura who’s opened a lot of eyes. There’s evidence to believe more hitters are just going for it. There’s evidence to believe that it’s working.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2016 at 05:30 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

OMNICHATTER 9-29-16

The Last-Thursday-Of-The-Regular-Season OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: September 29, 2016 at 12:09 AM | 111 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Untitled — We all want the real Pitch, but…

Great stuff by Rob.

The difference was massive. Male pitchers averaged roughly 37 meters per second; females 27 meters per second. That is, women threw 73 percent as hard as the men. Apologies, but this would really be stretching the definition of “a few miles per hour slower.”

Technically, of course, “a few” can mean just about anything. But a reader might be mistaken for thinking “a few” means three miles an hour slower. Or six, or maybe seven.

I got Fleisig on the phone because I wanted to be sure of my facts. While we were talking, he converted the meters per second to miles per hour. The young men averaged 81 miles an hour; the young women, 60 miles an hour.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2016 at 08:25 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: woman in baseball

Steven Matz To Undergo Surgery To Remove Bone Spur From Elbow

While Matz, 25, announced his presence in the Majors last summer with an excellent debut, he didn’t pitch enough innings for his rookie status to expire. The 2016 campaign has technically been his rookie year, and it’ll come to a close with a 3.40 earned run average and a 129-to-31 K/BB ratio that was compiled over the life of 132 1/3 innings out of the New York rotation. Matz becomes the third Mets starer to require season-ending surgery, joining rotation-mates Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome) and Jacob deGrom (ulnar nerve in right elbow) in that category. Meanwhile, right-hander Zack Wheeler was never able to return to a Major League mound this season after suffering setbacks in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last spring.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: September 28, 2016 at 04:28 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, youngpitchingwillbreakyourheart

Theo Epstein Agrees To 5-Year Extension With Cubs

They’ve always said it was inevitable, but the later in the season it got, a little doubt started to creep in.

Chairman Tom Ricketts and president Theo Epstein hammered out a new deal that will keep Epstein in charge of the Cubs’ baseball operations for five more years. Epstein’s contract had been set to expire at season’s end.

The deal surpasses the $8 million annually that Dodgers baseball czar Andrew Friedman garnered in fall 2014 to become their president of baseball operations, sources said. Friedman’s deal had been an industry standard.

Worth every penny.


White Sox will retain Robin Ventura if he wants to return: report - Chicago Tribune

Has he really earned a new contract?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2016 at 02:53 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: managers, robin ventura, white sox

Tebow homers on first instructional league pitch

Of course he did.

Tebow, batting second, was making his debut in Port St. Lucie, Fla., against the Cardinals’ instructional league team. His homer came off left-hander John Kilichowski, the Cardinals’ 2016 11th-round pick out of Vanderbilt, who gave up just one homer in 47 at-bats vs. left-handed batters in the Minors this year.

eddieot Posted: September 28, 2016 at 02:21 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, tim tebow

Time For MLB To End Rules That Jeopardize Safety Of Scouts - BaseballAmerica.com

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules. They haven’t thought this through to any degree where they have any regard for the human lives of scouts.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: international players, prospects, scouting, venezuela

Fan loses ring while proposing during game at Yankee Stadium

Generally, I’m not a fan of the marriage proposal at a sporting event.

It’s become such a common event that most people just roll their eyes when there is a proposal on the big screen at a stadium. Teams, such as the New York Yankees, even encourage fans to propose at games.

However ... there are times when it’s pure magic.

Zach Posted: September 28, 2016 at 10:37 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, yankees

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