Saturday, November 30, 2013
Starting pitchers aren’t as effective a couple of times through the order, bullpens are getting bigger, and outings are getting a little bit shorter. It’s all part of the continuing shift in baseball away from the rotation, and toward the bullpen.
So let’s stop burying the lede and get it out of the way: I think it couldn’t hurt for teams to experiment with a new bullpen role. We’ve got closers ... I think there’s a good reason at this point to add in the role of the “opener.”
The opener’s role would be the first pitcher to start a game, effectively replacing the starting pitcher for the first frame of a baseball game. After this reliever, ideally a strong setup guy and one of the best relievers on the team, eliminates the first three or four batters of the game, the team’s “starter” comes in beginning in the second inning, and runs his normal course.
Posted: November 30, 2013 at 05:23 PM | 31 comment(s)
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
When America first learned of the gyroball, the popular conception was nothing like what the creators had intended. Chalk it up to a translation error by Carroll, the gyroball missionary. In a 2004 article on Rob Neyer’s blog, he cited a 2001 Japanese book by Kazushi Tezuka and Ryutaro Himeno. The book itself is wild. Filled with fantastical schematics, manga-style drawings, and a wealth of technical information, it looks like nothing so much as a manual for a baseball revolution. And to these Western eyes, it is impenetrable:
(The only accessible information comes via the flipbook animation that runs through the book—rifle the pages, and a pitcher throws a gyroball.)
Carroll admitted up front that he couldn’t read Japanese, but claimed he had nevertheless been able to puzzle out the secrets of the gyroball. He described an effect achieved by coordinating rotations of the hips, shoulder, forearm, and wrist. The result, he wrote, was a pitch that in the right hands was “all but unhittable.”
How can you hit that which doesn’t exist? Mwa ha ha…
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
See, that’s the difference between you and me. You’d like to mock the pitchers for throwing these pitches. I’d like to commend the umpires for getting every call right.
Before we get to the top five, or the bottom five, whichever, it seems prudent to identify the five runners-up:
•Alfredo Figaro to Brandon Barnes on June 18
•Alfredo Simon to Matt Dominguez on September 18
•Rick Porcello to Ryan Doumit on June 14
•Phillippe Aumont to Travis Snider on July 2
•Ian Kennedy to Pablo Sandoval on April 29
All of those pitches were at least 69.4 inches away from the center of the strike zone, which is nearly six feet. One of them was actually more than six feet away. These are five pitches that didn’t make it. I’m not saying there was a lot of bad baseball in 2013, but what bad baseball there was was truly bad indeed.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Yet despite the smaller workloads, more pitchers are missing significant time with elbow injuries.
About one of every three major league pitchers has had Tommy John surgery, in which the ulnar collateral ligament is replaced by a tendon from another part of the body, compared to roughly one of every nine pitchers a decade ago. More pitchers seem to be throwing harder now, which could partly explain the phenomenon, and with the rise of amateur travel teams, young pitchers may be throwing more innings.
But, mostly, the surgery is overwhelmingly effective. [...]
When [Jim] Palmer signed with the Orioles, in 1963, the team was stocked with elite young pitching. Wally Bunker, who tossed a shutout at age 21 in the 1966 World Series, was finished at 26 with shoulder problems. Chuck Estrada, who led the American League in wins as a rookie in 1960, was all but done three years later because of his elbow.
“He probably tore his ulnar collateral ligament, but nobody knew,” Palmer said. “It was just, ‘He has a bad elbow.’ Was it treatable? Nobody ever knew. You just tried to pitch through it and when you couldn’t get anybody out, your career was over.”
Palmer, like Bunker, threw his own shutout in the 1966 World Series, at age 20. Hampered by problems with his biceps and then his rotator cuff, Palmer managed only nine starts the next two seasons.
He recovered to have a long career, helped by exceptional athleticism and the lessons he learned by pitching without his best stuff while injured. Palmer’s opponent in the World Series, Sandy Koufax, was 30 and never pitched again.
Posted: August 31, 2013 at 06:28 AM | 0 comment(s)
tommy john surgery
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Mariano Rivera owns another record. The Yankees closer now has the most 30-save seasons in baseball history with 15 after recording the save in Friday’s 2-0 win over the Twins. Rivera passed Trevor Hoffman to set the new mark.
. . .
Rivera, baseball’s all-times save leader with 638, recorded his first 30-save campaign in 1997, his first full season as the team’s closer. He reeled off five straight 30-save seasons until he recorded only 28 in 2002. He started the stretch again in 2003, when he had 40, and then went nine years before he recorded only five last season after he tore his ACL early in the season and appeared in only nine games.
SPECIAL BONUS LINK: Map of Mariano Rivera’s Farewell Tour.
Has anyone led the league in the signature stat for their position in their retirement year? At age 43?
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Last night I was watching the MLB Network, and watched as Joey Cora and Mitch Williams broke down video from Wheeler’s first three big league starts.
For those that didn’t see it, Cora compared Wheeler’s pitches to the scene in Bull Durham when Crash Davis tells the hitter what pitch is coming.It’s amazing how obvious it was against the White Sox. With a breaking ball he keeps his hands close to his body, and a fastball he has his hands away from his body when he sets up.Then in the 13-2 drubbing, Cora explains how the Nationals knew every pitch that was coming. With the fastball, Wheeler’s glove was placed on his belt buckle, glove closed with his legs straight. When it was a breaking ball, Wheeler’s glove was placed over his belt buckle, open and his back leg bent.
Cora also explains that there is no way Wheeler just started to do this after his call up. He said he’s probably been doing this for a while. He likely got away with it because a minor league club isn’t getting advanced scouting reports like the big leagues do.So I thought, let me go and find a video of Wheeler from Las Vegas and see if I can figure out what he’ll throw. I found a video from early May of this year. If you click here you will see the video.
Posted: July 03, 2013 at 09:37 AM | 31 comment(s)
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