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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Time for hitters to counter defensive shifts | MLB.com

The game will adjust without banning the shift. 

Take it from Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who sees the data work against him at the plate and for him behind it.
“I think [the shift] is a tough thing to blame for the decline in offense,” he said in a text. “ERAs are down [0.12 points between 2013 and ‘14 and 0.72 points over the past decade], so that means pitching is better. Why is pitching better? The wealth of information we have when calling games is a very large amount. If they wanted to increase offense, then they should take away the information we get. That won’t happen, because teams use this same information in trades, free-agent signings, etc. Honestly, I can think of times when the shift works for us and times when we were burned by them. So I don’t think they are the issue.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 07:08 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: defense, sabermetrics

Judging the Royals:  Should Yordano Ventura be the Royals’ opening day starter?

During the 2014 AL Wild Card Game against the Oakland A’s, the Royals were up 3-2 going into the sixth inning. Starting pitcher James Shields gave up a lead-off single to Sam Fuld and then walked Josh Donaldson. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Ventura was brought in to face Brandon Moss….

Ventura had faced three batters, given up two hits, allowed two earned runs and finished his one-third of an inning with a postseason ERA of 54.00. According to Star columnist Vahe Gregorian’s recent profile, Yordano cried after that outing and was so despondent that he texted Rene Francisco, the Royals’ vice president for international operations, “Please tell them not to lose confidence in me.”

So what’s all that have to do with being the opening day starter?

At the beginning of the season, No. 1 starters face No. 1 starters. Each team throws their best guy out there on opening day and for a while — until days off or rainouts throw matchups out of sync — an opening day starter can assume he’ll face the best pitcher the opposition has to offer.

And that means you can pitch great and still lose.

If a pitcher is mentally strong that might not matter; he knows what he can control and how well the other guy pitches isn’t on the list. But if a guy isn’t confident it can get in his head; he feels like he’s pitched very well and is still losing.

If only we had an idea how Yordano might respond under big game pressure.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 28, 2015 at 02:03 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: opening day, royals, yordano ventura

Aces and changeups - Beyond the Box Score

NEWSFLASH: Felix Hernandez has a good change up.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 11:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, sabermetrics

History hurts Shields’ chances at landing a big contract | FOX Sports

This shouldn’t exactly be news. James Shield’s agent misread the market.I guess there’s still time for some team to give him a stupid contract. Time is running out, though.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 11:01 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, james shields

Where will Moncada land among Major suitors? | MLB.com

A little more info about the Moncada situation.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 10:57 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban free agents, yoan moncada

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter: Nationals sign free-agent reliever Casey Janssen

“One year with mutual option, $5M guaranteed including option buyout.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 10:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: casey janssen, free agents, nationals

Orioles Do Something, Add Lottery Ticket in Travis Snider | FanGraphs Baseball

Breaking down the Snider trade.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 10:22 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Prospect Watch: Top 10 third basemen | MLB.com

No surprises at the top.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 09:43 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

So Teams Have Lots of New Data. Then What? – The Hardball Times

Interest stuff from Bill Petti.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 09:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

MLB, Not OFAC, Is Why Yoan Moncada Can’t Sign - BaseballAmerica.com

Come on MLB!

The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC. That goes beyond what the government requires from Cuban players to be able to begin their careers, and with some players waiting six months to receive their licenses, MLB’s policy has added a significant bottleneck for those players.

MLB issued the following statement to Baseball America on Sunday: “MLB is confident with the current plan we have in place regarding signing foreign born players and will abide by the guidelines of the OFAC requirements.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 09:27 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban free agents, yoan moncada

School of Roch: Showalter on Duquette and Wieters on his throwing progression

Catcher Matt Wieters revealed that he expanded the distance on his throws yesterday to 150 feet. He had been playing catch at 120.

The rehab’s going well and going how it’s supposed to from all the talk I’ve gotten with Dr. (James) Andrews and my physical therapist down here and Richie (Bancells),” Wieters said. “Everything’s kind of moved along and we’re preparing for me to be ready for opening day. We still have a good couple of months before we’re there, so it’s still going to be a lot of work to put into it, but that’s what I’m preparing for. We’re trying to get all the steps checked off before we get there.

“We’ll see when I’m actually going to be able to get behind the plate and catch in games during spring training, but it’s just a matter of making sure the arm has been tested enough to where when we do get into games with adrenaline and a little bit of pressure that we’re ready to go.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 28, 2015 at 09:25 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: buck showalter, matt wieters, orioles

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-28-2015

Toledo News-Bee, January 28, 1915:

Even more dangerous to the life and well being of the national pastime than the Federal, organized baseball and the warring magnates, is the European war. So declares Curtis Guild, former United States minister to Russia. He remarks if trade with the czar’s kingdom is not continued there will be no more baseball. Here’s why, according to Guild: “The only leather which will not stretch under sudden impact comes from the hides of Siberian ponies.”

If you think World War I will mess with baseball, stick around about three years. The Siberian Pony Leather Crisis of 1918 lasted nearly 75 years.

Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: January 28, 2015 at 08:07 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, siberian pony leather

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

IN PURSUIT OF PENNANTS: #14 — Brian Sabean

Sabean won his first pennant by building around an aging but still potent Barry Bonds and then three World Series championships by restructuring his team around a young core with undervalued pickups.  As much as any modern GM, he represents a successful bridge between the old and new approaches.

bobm Posted: January 27, 2015 at 01:02 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: brian sabean, general managers, giants

WAR Index for hitters: 2014 - Beyond the Box Score

Warring fractions.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 11:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Ranking baseball’s greatest dynasties - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

How to rank these nine dynasties? I’d go like this:

1. 1949-1953 Yankees—Hey, five titles is five titles.
2. 1996-2000 Yankees—Dominant postseason winning percentage, star power, hitting and pitching balance.
3. 1935-1939 Yankees—Statistically, better than the 1949-53 teams.
4. 1910-1914 A’s—If only Mack hadn’t broken them up.
5. 1971-1975 A’s—Only team with three straight titles in 1960s, ‘70s or ‘80s.
6. 1942-1946 Cardinals—History’s most underrated dynasty.
7. 2010-2014 Giants—Unbeatable in the postseason.
8. 1958-1962 Yankees—Lack of pitching depth downgrades them.
9. 1914-1918 Red Sox—Let’s make a time machine and go watch Ruth pitch.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 11:19 AM | 120 comment(s)
  Beats: dynasties, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-27-2015

Grand Forks Daily Herald, January 27, 1915:

“Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit will make the fight for the 1915 pennant,” declared Bill Carrigan, the Red Sox manager today. “It’s hard telling which of the four will win, though I think Boston and Philadelphia will be the more formidable and less dependent upon breaks in the luck.
...
“Getting Larry Lajoie has put Connie Mack in the race. Bender and Plank were slipping and realy not necessary. I look for our stiffest competition from the Athletics.

Carrigan was mostly right. Boston won the World Series, Detroit won 100 games and finished second, Washington went 85-68, and…well…the Athletics finished 43-109, 58.5 games out of first.

Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: January 27, 2015 at 08:17 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

White ‘invigorated’ by move to Padres’ front office | padres.com

Do any other teams assign their scouts by organization?

The Padres, at the insistence of former assistant general manager A.J. Hinch, added to their pro scouting department before the 2011 season—adding eight scouts to give the team 13 on the pro side, to more than adequately cover all levels of Minor League Baseball. Hinch is now the manager of the Astros.

White said that the current ownership group has committed to provide blanket coverage throughout baseball. One change, White said, is that instead of covering by league or demographic, scouts will be charged with covering an entire organization for better continuity and breadth of coverage.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 08:13 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: logan white, padres

Evaluating the Prospects: New York Yankees | FanGraphs Baseball

Kiley McDaniel looks at the Yankees.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 07:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospect reports, prospects

Angels still ‘optimistic’ about Garrett Richards’ rehab- Angels Blog: Orange County Register

This report is more optimistic about his timeline than others I have read.

The Angels remain hopeful that Richards will be ready for opening day. If Richards is not ready by the April 6 opener, the Angels expect him to be active sometime in April.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 07:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, garrett richards

Cleveland Indians want Michael Bourn to “wreak havoc” on bases in 2015 | cleveland.com

“We’ve talked to Bournie a lot,” said Francona. “He’s one of the most conscientious and nicest kids you’ll ever meet. But quite frankly, whether it’s because of injuries or not, he hasn’t been the kind of guy who wreaks the havoc that we kind of envisioned when we signed him when it comes to stolen bases.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 07:35 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, michael bourn

Reds Extend Devin Mesoraco – MLB Trade Rumors

Mesoraco will receive a $28MM guarantee, MLBTR has learned. He receives a $500K signing bonus and will earn $2.4MM in 2015, $4.9MM in 2016, $7.2MM in 2017 and $13MM in 2018.  The contract also contains an additional $2MM worth of performance bonuses for a max of $30MM over the four-year term.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2015 at 07:32 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: devin mesoraco, reds

Monday, January 26, 2015

Beloved “Monbo” Dies at Age 78

Bill Monbouquette was a joy to be around, a wonderful storyteller and a mentor to so many young pitchers.

Bruce Markusen Posted: January 26, 2015 at 09:34 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: deaths, workhorse pitchers

An Audience With the ‘Sports Pope’ at FrancesaCon

The most recent hootenanny to be held at New York City’s Irving Plaza, meanwhile, took place this past Saturday. There were no mandolins or folk ballads at FrancesaCon 2.0, a wild-eyed yet winking celebration of Mike Francesa, New York’s most popular and polarizing sports radio host. But there was a cover band from Long Island playing sports-radio jingles and ’90s hits. The sold-out audience wasn’t quite so demographically balanced as the “men, women, and children (some also with guitars)” that Time had described in 1946 — as the guest of honor himself put it on Saturday as he scanned the adoring crowd, “I don’t see any girls.” In lieu of musical instruments, attendees toted pontiff hats and stethoscopes. There was definitely chanting, though, and much of it was competitive. “Num-bah one! Num-bah one!”

“There’s three moments in entertainment in my life that I mark as really sad days,” a 35-year-old man with a “Mark Mongo” name tag on a custom-designed “St. Jawn’s University” sweatshirt told me. “The day Kurt Cobain died, the day James Gandolfini died, and the day Mike and the Mad Dog broke up. And I’m not kidding — I’ve given that a lot of thought.”

For a man who seems to feel about the Internet the same way he feels about the New York Jets organization — a buncha clowns — Mike Francesa may have one of the most loyal and organized online followings of any sports media personality. Twitter’s #MongoNation hums along at all hours of the day and night, collecting and dissecting video and audio — ordio — of New Yawk’s Numbah One. The unofficial leader of the pack, a 31-year-old Twitter user who goes by @OrdioMongo, has an encyclopedic command of Francesa’s history. As a tween he would record Mike and the Mad Dog clips “just to keep in my archives.” He told me that in the Twitter era, “the earliest audio clip I recorded was the one where Mike said ‘bingles.’” There are not one but two message boards devoted to the man, MikeFrancesa.com and TheMikeFrancesa.com, the latter of which was formed a few years back by a splinter faction of fans. (Every religion worth its salt needs a schism.)

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: January 26, 2015 at 04:44 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: francesacon, mike francesa

Yanks to contest ‘milestone HR’

It sounds like the Yankees aren’t horsing around.

Fridas Boss Posted: January 26, 2015 at 02:13 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Beyond the Box Score’s rankings of the best players for 2015: 45-11 - Beyond the Box Score

Kris Bryant at 45? That’s expecting a lot for a rookie. Of course, only one vote put him there.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 26, 2015 at 12:39 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: predictions

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