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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Moonshot: The Rocket Ball Has Disappeared In October - Baseball ProspectusBaseball Prospectus

But this change is very different. Almost overnight within the same season, the ball has been replaced by one with wholly distinct characteristics, ranging from the speed with which it leaves the bat to the distance it travels. It’s hard to believe that MLB, which owns the company that produces the baseballs, would consciously approve a change to their manufacturing on the eve of the most important month of the season, but it’s also hard to believe that this would happen by accident.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:49 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: baseballs, pay site

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Cubs leaving no stone unturned as organizational revamp kicks into high gear – The Athletic

It doesn’t take long to fall behind.

It’s important to listen to how Epstein describes what he calls a modernization of the front office — a reshuffling process that’s already begun. One of those changes is adding directors of pitching and hitting.

“I think the goal of someone in the role of director of pitching is to have real clarity on what our pitching philosophy is, what our separators are going to be as an organization, how we make the best use of the most cutting edge technology for the state of modern pitching and most importantly where pitching is going over the next several years,” Epstein said. “And then implement that from top to bottom of the organization — more on the minor-league side, but with a working relationship with the major-league staff so that we have the best possible methods with how we teach pitching, how we maximize our pitching and how we evaluate pitching.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2019 at 08:48 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pay site

Friday, September 13, 2019

Q&A with John Mozeliak

In early August, you all collectively made the decision to fire popular assistant hitting coach Mark Budaska. At the time, everyone said it was related to philosophical differences with hitting coach Jeff Albert. How much do you think the mixed messaging for the first few months may have contributed to the offense underperforming?

Mozeliak: I think, simply put, you’re always looking for consistent messaging. You can have diverse opinions, but you have to have ways of solving problems, because ultimately you don’t want to confuse the players or your team. I think we needed to find some clarity on that. It forced us to make a change and now I feel like the messaging the players here is much more consistent, and I feel that’s been a very positive development for us over the last month or so.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2019 at 08:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, john mozeliak, pay site

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Sarris: Why doubt and uncertainty are crucial to modern player development – The Athletic

True this.

“There are a lot of things that probably don’t matter that we think do,” Seattle’s pitching coordinator Max Weiner said last month. “Our whole goal is to educate, not to dictate. So when you’re trying to create a sense of safety and belonging, and you’re a jerk and you’re saying do this, and your words are firm and brash — which we’ve all fallen victim to, I’ve definitely done it myself in the past — it’s really difficult. But if you offer up a sense of an option and you inform them and the decision becomes their own, it’s much more meaningful and it comes back to the quickest versus the most sustainable change. A lot of patience has to be involved.”

“The most successful people I’m around have an aura of confidence but also a paranoia of what am I missing,” Haines said about how doubt plays into a good player development process. “If you start thinking you’ve got all the answers, you’re starting to fall behind.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 05, 2019 at 10:54 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, player development

Tuesday, September 03, 2019


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

“You’ve got to pay correctly”: Rob Manfred is optimistic about negotiations to pay minor leaguers more – The Athletic

Besides improving minor league pay the league and MLBPA needs to do something about the international signing process. Both areas are a mess.

Lurking in the background, and as a point of leverage, is the possibility that MLB seeks to cull some teams or otherwise reshape some aspects of the minors. The system between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball boils down to this: the league commits to supply players and coaches to fill a certain number of teams, and in exchange, the minor-league clubs pay MLB a percentage of their ticket revenue.

MLB can argue that if its cost per player goes up, then the number of minor-league teams will need to go down. MLB could also ask that MiLB pay a higher percentage in ticket revenue.

“There are probably places in the minor leagues that both from a facility and fan-engagement perspective, I think we’re sort of at a point in time where you got to look at the system,” Manfred said. “The vast, vast majority of it’s fine. If you clean up some stuff around the edges, it creates some economic flexibility that we can use. Whether we pay or they pay, that’s a negotiation, right? But we need to do something in that area. We’re looking at all those economic issues right now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 10, 2019 at 06:40 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league pay, pay site

Thursday, June 20, 2019

John Sickels’ Top 100 prospects (UPDATED) – The Athletic

Sickel’s latest.

Here’s the current Top 100, with updated ranking and grade. Note that this does NOT include 2019 draftees.

1) Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade A: Previously number 4; hitting .326/.396/.514 in Low-A; best position player long-term still in the minor leagues.

2) Mackenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres, Grade A: Previously number 8; completely dominant in High-A with 1.21 ERA in 60 innings, spectacular 83/14 K/BB.

3) Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros, Grade A-: Previously number 11, got off to a slow start in AAA but has been on a tear recently, now up to .282/.356/.633 with 23 homers, 17 steals in 66 games.

4) Casey Mize, RHP, Detroit Tigers, Grade A-: Previously number 9; insane 0.92 ERA in 78 innings, 75/12 K/BB between A and AA; went on DL with sore shoulder recently, otherwise he would be number three; will have to monitor health status.

5) Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers, Grade A-: Previously number 17; excellent in AAA at .315/.391/.663, performed well in big league trial at .281/.333/.531 in 64 at-bats; he’s ready and thus this ranking.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 20, 2019 at 03:48 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, prospects

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Monday, June 03, 2019

Inside the Astros’ cutting-edge approach to minor-league pitching development – The Athletic

As the Astros’ reliance on technology has increased, their number of scouts in the field has decreased. Their 2019 media guide lists only seven amateur area scouts, two cross-checkers and senior scouting advisor Charlie Gonzalez under domestic scouting supervisor Kris Gross. They have two Houston-based amateur scouting analysts plus one dedicated video technician tasked with collecting video of prospects around the country. Their international staff under department manager Eve Rosenbaum consists of an assistant director, two scouting supervisors, four traditional scouts and four video scouts.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 03, 2019 at 03:28 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pay site, player development

MLB Mock Draft: The Athletic’s beat writers project the first round – The Athletic

The Athletic breaks out their crystal ball.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 03, 2019 at 08:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, rule 4 draft

Friday, May 31, 2019

Pretty as a picture: Ranking the best pitch framers among MLB catchers – The Athletic

Flowers is number one.

5. Jeff Mathis, Rangers
At the season’s end, SIS presents The Fielding Bible Awards to the top defender at each position. Mathis won the award at catcher despite catching only 63 games last season. But this was not a case of giving a Gold Glove to Rafael Palmeiro for barely playing first base.

Mathis won on the merits — for being an outstanding pitch blocker and pitch framer. Regarding the latter, Mathis is elite when it comes to getting strikes on low pitches, whether they are in or out of the strike zone. He frequently beats the ball to the spot and ensures he’s catching it with momentum going toward the zone. His hands are fast.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 31, 2019 at 09:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, catchers, pay site

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Rosenthal: The lack of movement on Kimbrel and Keuchel; a Cubs revival; the Reds’ dangerous spot; more notes – The Athletic

I can’t see why any team would sign them this close to the draft. Later, maybe, but not before.

The Phillies, in theory, should be all over free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel. Four of their relievers — Victor Arano, Tommy Hunter, Edubray Ramos and David Robertson — are on the injured list. And Robertson, who is not a lockdown closer even when healthy, will be shut down at least three more weeks with a right flexor strain.

On a one-year deal in particular, finances should not be an issue for Team Stupid Money, even after its commitment of $403 million to Robertson and outfielders Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen in free agency. The sacrifice of a draft pick should not be an issue, either — the signing of Kimbrel would cost them only their third pick, No. 91 overall, after they forfeited their second choice for Harper.

...

Kimbrel, sources told The Athletic in mid-April, wants to be in the range of two recent free-agent relievers: Zack Britton (three years, $39 million) and Wade Davis (three years, $52 million). Keuchel, on the other hand, is believed to prefer a one-year deal, presumably above the $17.9 million qualifying offer he rejected from the Astros. The actual amount he receives, when prorated, would be considerably less (as would Kimbrel’s salary in year one). But at least he could re-enter the open market this offseason.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 16, 2019 at 06:28 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, pay site

Sarris: MLB moving from Trackman to Hawk-Eye tracking system – The Athletic

Maybe now we’ll be able to get some infield defensive metrics.

Five years after it was installed in an effort to measure the previously unmeasurable, radar-based player- and ball-tracking system Trackman looks like it’s on its way out as the technology of choice for Major League Baseball. Multiple sources inside front offices across the league confirm that Hawk-Eye’s optical technology — known to tennis fans as the basis of the automated serve tracking system — is currently being installed in baseball stadiums across the country for a two-month run-up that should end in a full change in technology for the 2020 season.

MLB offered no comment on the scope of the upcoming deal with Hawk-Eye. Hawk-Eye and Trackman representatives had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Multiple sources cited an improvement in accuracy as the main reason for the change.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 16, 2019 at 06:18 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, technology

 

 

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