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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Texas Rangers: ‘Mimic’ Maid Park? Here’s why Rangers’ new ballpark doesn’t look like Astros’ stadium in Houston | SportsDay

It’s still shocking to me a new ballpark is coming for the Rangers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 11:34 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Fantasy Sports, Respect for the Game, and the Real Value of Fake Teams – Pitcher List

I like to win. The competition isn’t my only motivation but it’s a pretty big part of why I play. Playing in keeper simulation leagues for the past 41 years has pushed me to better understand how good and championship teams are built; it has been the fuel that drives my quest for knowledge about baseball.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, simulations

Ranking the Accuracy of Last Year’s Projections [2019 Edition] - Mr. Cheatsheet - Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools and Research

A projection system can be best overall by his method but still not be the best system for a fantasy player to use to pick his players. When I play fantasy, although I use conservative projections to help with the overall valuation of players, what makes my team a winner is picking more guys who beat their projections/expectations than my opponents do. The outliers and differences between systems help me to identify those undervalued players who put my team in the money.

Once again, the Pod projections came in and stole Steamer’s glory. When it comes to non-combined projections, it seems that Pod validates itself as one of the best choices out there. Steamer, of course, is no slacker here because they were the best at projecting both ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: projections

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-12-2019

El Paso Herald, March 12, 1919:

Earl seems to be a favorite name for ball players nowadays, though the name once was coupled with boys who wore long yellow curls and all that. Pittsburg has Earl Hamilton, the Browns Earl Smith. The Giants also have an Earl Smith and the Yankees have Earl Baldwin. The White Sox have Earl Kiser and Cincennati [sic] has Earl Neale.

I couldn’t think of a recent Earl, so I looked it up. The most recent big league Earl was Earl Snyder, a corner infielder who had a cup of coffee with the Indians in 2002 and four AB with the ‘04 Red Sox.

The most recent Earl to play 100+ MLB games was Earl Williams, who played from 1970-1977. Earl Wilson (1959-1970) and Earl Stephenson (1971-1978, 54 career games) are the ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Kevin Kiermaier will never change, and that’s a good thing

All told, he’s lost 170 games to the disabled list the past three years.

And, in between, he’s been one of the most dynamic players in the game.

“He’s the best in centerfield, and I don’t think it’s close,” said Rays pitcher Blake Snell. “I mean, Jackie Bradley Jr. is unreal. (Kevin) Pillar is unreal. But to me, there is no one like KK. Now, with how hard he plays, he’s going to get hurt. There’s no way around that. He really will run through a wall for you. But that’s what got him here, and it’s what will keep him here.”

Kiermaier is, however, at a bit of a crossroads in his career. Later this week will be the two-year anniversary of his six-year, $53.5 million contract that remains the second-largest in Rays ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:58 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin kiermaier, rays

Reds roster moves likely won’t help, but here’s hoping they do

The downside to striving for competitive balance is disengaging a lot of revenue generation from winning. The MLBPA really needs to get its act in order.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:50 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: reds

Is Sale’s fastball on the up-and-up? Hitters say yes - Sports -

The big question is, can he stay healthy enough to pitch all year?

Based on the way hitters talk about and react to Sale’s pitching, there are times it seems his mechanics are near perfect. Yet he continues to find things to work on. In a recent bullpen, Pedro Martinez was giving Sale some feedback on his change-up, which Sale welcomes since he feels Martinez’s was “one of the best, no doubt.”

In addition to talks with Martinez, along with both Bannister and Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie, Sale has figured out exactly what needs to be done to keep his change-up consistent, along with his fastball and slider.

“The key for me with my change-up is, because I throw (from a lower arm slot), sometimes my hand will get flat,” ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, red sox

Why Yankees’ Aaron Judge is changing his two-strike approach

Read the whole thing.

Much like Ted Williams espoused, there is a science to hitting, and Judge is a student of the game and his swing.

“I think that is where a lot of guys actually get messed up, with their leg kick,’’ Judge said. “There are so many times I tell myself not to worry about it and still get messed up. My swing is pretty simple the way it is, just with a little leg kick and stuff like that, but there are times in the season I don’t even know what [the front leg] is doing. I feel like I am on time but I keep getting beat so I will have the chance to go back to the no stride, where it is kind of a rock to get into my hip and then swing, it’s simple.

“For me, I can always go back to something simple that will ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, yankees

Why Willson Contreras’ makeover might hold key to Cubs’ season

The Cubs need a lot of their young players to improve this year if they hope to prove PECOTA wrong.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:44 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, willson contreras

Varsho slowing down to get quicker behind plate

One of the main things scouts thought Varsho needed to work on most coming out of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was his throwing behind the plate. He’s already made good progress, having thrown out 39.5 percent of potential base stealers in 2018, but he continues to work hard with coaches like Robby Hammock on his throwing.

“Everything about my game I have to keep improving,” Varsho said. “Throwing was a really big thing, just learning how my timing and rhythm with being able to transfer the ball, just to slow it down so my transfer can be clean and quick and I can have an accurate throw.”

That might sound counter-intuitive, slowing down to be quicker, but Varsho’s tendency to rush his throws has been one of his biggest areas of focus. ...Read More...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 09:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: daulton varsho, diamondbacks, prospects

New Hires, New Tech Might Give Twins One of MLB’s Best Player Development Systems - Minnesota Twins - Articles - Homepage - Twins Daily

Here, minor-league players will have almost every swing, pitch, throw and catch tracked.

The number of people gathering data has grown exponentially from the previous season. Then again, the number of tracking devices has also grown exponentially.

The Trackman units have been hanging on the fencing behind home plate at the three large fields for several seasons. The many Rapsodo 2.0 devices are new this year, as are the multiple high-speed cameras. Hitters have Blast motion sensors attached to their bats and will undergo a 4D body movement sensor session in the covered batting cages before the day’s activity starts.

Meanwhile, when live at-bats begin, standing behind the pitcher’s mound are Twins employees, protected by screens, ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2019 at 08:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: player development, twins

Blue Jays bullpen construction depends on the answers to three questions

When teams have little chance of contending, like the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays do, they rarely invest much in the bullpen.

Though the interchangeability of relievers can often be overstated, when you’re trying to put together a winning core you generally focus on position players, then starters, then relievers. Good bullpen arms aren’t easy to come by, but they aren’t as rare as good starters and they can always be found midseason if you’re making a run.

As a result, it probably should come as no surprise that the Blue Jays’ bullpen is neither expensive nor star-studded — and although the club would never say this publicly, almost every reliever they’ve assembled is far more valuable to them as a trade chip than a player in ...

QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, bullpens, clayton richard, david phelps, elvis luciano

Brewers players consider Bob Uecker one of their own, including divvying up playoff money

PHOENIX — One of the factors that has kept Bob Uecker in the radio booth for the Milwaukee Brewers well into his 80s is the manner in which players have treated him as one of their own.

But, when the players put their money where their mouths were last November, it stunned Uecker, moving him to the brink of tears.

When deciding who would get full playoff shares after the Brewers advanced within one game of the World Series, the players voted to give one to Uecker, which was worth $123,000. Giving a full share to a team broadcaster, even a Hall of Famer, is basically unheard-of in baseball but showed once again that “Ueck” is considered one of the boys.

*Considers doing same for Joe Buck, albeit with an entirely different purpose in ...

QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bob uecker, brewers, playoff shares

SLUGFEST: Jose Canseco accuses A-Rod of cheating on J-Lo

Jose Canseco threw former Yankee great Alex Rodriguez a curve ball when he accused the slugger of cheating on new fiancee Jennifer Lopez.

The former Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics star claimed on Twitter that A-Rod was hooking up with Canseco’s ex-wife Jessica.

He tweeted: “Watching World of Dance watching J.Lo text Alex Rodriguez little does she know that he is cheating on her with my ex-wife Jessica poor girl she has no idea who he really is.”

Ever get the feeling that you’ve woken up in a soap opera, and can’t figure out why?


QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, cheating, jose canseco

Minor League Baseball worried low pay will increase chance of gambling scandal

Major League Baseball’s partnership with MGM Resorts could have drastic — and potentially unforeseen — implications on Minor League Baseball. President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner didn’t want to use the term “scandal,” but expressed concern over the impact gambling on games could have in the minors.

O’Conner told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald the low pay of minor leaguers makes it far more likely they’ll be successful targets for corruption.

“Without safeguards, I would say it’s a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ at some level,” said O’Conner about a baseball-betting transgression occurring. “Now, it may be local and small enough that it never rises to the level of a ‘scandal’ but ...

QLE Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fixed games, gambling, milb, minor leaguers

WSJ:  The MLB Coach Who Only Played T-Ball (Reg. Required)

Jonathan Erlichman hasn’t played baseball since the age of 5. But he is now the first full-time analytics coach ever to join a major-league staff.

Jonathan Erlichman is a pioneer in baseball. After six seasons working for the Rays in research and development, he is now the first full-time analytics coach ever to join a major-league staff. In his new role, he will use his knowledge of data to assist manager Kevin Cash with in-game decisions and provide real-time information to players.

Every organization has analysts, statisticians and web developers on the payroll. Some teams even have a numbers guru travel with the team as a member of the front office. But those people wear polo shirts and khaki pants and watch games from a box high ...

Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 12, 2019 at 05:46 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, coaching staffs, tampa bay rays

Monday, March 11, 2019

ESPN - Keown - Bryce Harper is One Very Big Deal

When Harper told his agent, Scott Boras, that he wanted a lifetime deal—with a no-trade clause and none of the agent’s signature opt-outs—Boras said, “Well, teams don’t want to employ you at 35, much less 39, so we’re going to have to give something up to get that.” The casualty, to use the term loosely, was the average annual salary—$25.3 million. Manny Machado’s, to pick one, is higher. Harper didn’t care.

For the MLB Players’ Association, a more unified front isn’t just for show – Orange County Register

Solidarity to do what?

On the tone of players’ questions in their group meetings with union leaders: “The engagement of solidarity among the group is something we haven’t seen in a long time. Whether you’re a young player, young guys are asking questions. Whether you’re in the middle, whether you’re a senior player – everybody is paying attention to what’s going on. … It’s something that we’re encouraged by and that we can appreciate as we’ve gone through Arizona and I would suspect that Florida would be similar.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 12:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa

Julio Urías exercises impressive restraint, while Dodgers attempt to restrain his usage – Orange County Register

What is his innings limit?

Urías is on an unconventional starter’s plan this spring. He’s slated to pitch three innings again in his next outing. More than two weeks remain before Opening Day, but Urías is scheduled to top out at four or five innings in camp, Manager Dave Roberts said.

The restricted workload is a byproduct of caution. Urías threw a career-high 127 ⅔ innings in 2016. The following season, he was injured throwing a pitch in a Triple-A game. He had surgery on the anterior capsule of his left shoulder in June 2017 and did not pitch in a competitive setting for another 13 months.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:54 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, julio urias

Miley’s former coach helps him get back on track

After two years of frustration while he was a member of the Orioles – he posted a 5.75 ERA and 1.7 WHIP in 43 starts—veteran left-hander Wade Miley got a call from an old friend back home in the winter of 2017 offering to help him rejuvenate his career.

“I made it real simple,” Chris Westcott said. “You’ve got two options: You either work hard, or you’re going to milk cows. It’s up to you.”

Miley certainly isn’t against hard work, but throwing a baseball is all he had ever done, and he wasn’t up for a career change at 31 years old. Miley put his faith in Westcott, his pitching coach in Louisiana since he was 15 years old, to help get him into shape and back on track.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pitchers, wade miley

Adam Jones and Martin Maldonado Find New Homes | FanGraphs Baseball

Great stuff from Dan. It’s tough to be a platoon outfielder when your team carries 13 pitchers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:48 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Banjo Hitter: PECOTA vs. Vegas 2019 - Baseball Prospectus

Pecota vs. Bovada.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling

Trea Turner may never think he is good enough, and that means he will only get better - The Washington Post

“I was frustrated by myself last year. I could have done so many more things,” Turner says. “I’d think, ‘Why did I do that?’ or ‘That was dumb.’ I slid past the bag by an inch one time, got tagged out. ‘Come on.’

“I expect more from myself. And there’s more there. Am I going to hit [.342] like my rookie year? Obviously, no. But how much better is ‘better?’ Is it hit .290,” he says, pausing to think before each number. “Is it 20 home runs . . . 50 steals?”

Turner shakes his head — no, that’s not enough. He ups the ante: “With my speed and my hard-hit-ball percentage, there’s no reason I shouldn’t hit .300.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, trea turner

Oakland’s Athletics need a home. They may get one — and provide 6,000 more

The Oakland Athletics badly need a new home. Their current one, plagued by plumbing problems, is an uncomfortable throwback to the days when baseball and football teams shared generic stadiums lacking in charm and good sight lines.

For two decades, the baseball team has looked for that new ballpark throughout the Bay Area. The Athletics’ latest offer, and possibly their last, is to build 6,001 homes in Oakland — one for themselves along the waterfront, the rest for a city desperately in need of housing.

In times past, taxpayers typically financed the stadiums and arenas, and the teams kept the profits. As California led the way in cutting those subsidies, owners turned to real estate development, making money by surrounding their ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 11, 2019 at 10:42 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

MLB spring training: Teams need catchers, but don’t want to pay them

By the standards of minor league catchers in spring training, guys like Saez are the lucky ones.

MLB organizations split players into Major League and minor league camps. According to the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, only non-roster players with enough service time to be eligible for salary arbitration — “Super Two” players and above — receive the weekly expense allowances extended to rostered big-leaguers in spring training, but all players in Major League uniform for Cactus or Grapefruit League games get $95.50 in meal money for that day.

At minor-league camp — which opens in earnest this week for many clubs — players are expected to thrive on no salary, a team-provided breakfast and lunch, and a food ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 10:31 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league pay, minor leaguers

In Baseball’s Game of Numbers, Yankees Differ on Which Ones Count - The New York Times

Ottavino, though, is on his own level. During the season, he checks two statistics he believes reflect how he is throwing: first-strike and walk percentages. At the end of the season, he dives deeply into how he threw the ball, using advanced statistics such as xwOBA (expected weight on-base average), which in layman’s terms, essentially measures the quality of the contact made against him.

He labeled other statistics, such as E.R.A. or the scoring percentage of inherited base runners, as faulty.

“We’re trying to strip away all the luck factors so you can be as real with yourself as possible,” he said. “If you’re not doing that, you’re going to ride the roller coaster really bad, and you’re lying to yourself.”

Even if ...

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:46 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: statistics

Aaron Nola can’t wait to get a taste of that Citizens Bank Park electricity

SARASOTA, Fla. — The sold-out crowd of 10,276 at Spectrum Field on Saturday gave Aaron Nola a taste of what to expect on March 28 when he makes his second consecutive opening day start.

The difference for Nola this time around, aside from the incredible hype surrounding this Phillies team, is that he won’t be opening on the road.

What’s Nola expecting the atmosphere to be like for that 3:05 p.m. game against the Braves?

“Oh, crazy,” he said. “Packed house. I haven’t opened up in Philly since I’ve been here. It was a packed house with Bryce yesterday and I’m pretty sure with the hype already, it’s gonna be a packed house.”

Doesn’t “electricity”, in the context of a Philadelphia sporting venue, mean that they are about to throw ...

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron nola, citizens bank park, philadephia

Marlins searching for answers to Chen’s road woes

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The “homer” could follow the “opener” into baseball’s lexicon.

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly says he’d consider rearranging some of pitcher Wei-Yin Chen’s starting dates during the regular season should last year’s atrocious home/road splits continue.

“If we’re seeing the same type trend then I think if you have a chance to schedule it — if you have an off-day and you can skip a guy and it lines him up for two home starts instead of one and back in Philly, or wherever it would be — I think you look at it,” Mattingly said.

It beats having to face the team’s real problems….


QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins, pitching, wei-yin chen

Rick Porcello says Steven Wright owes team explanation for positive drug test

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello is a hardliner when it comes to performance enhancing drug use in baseball. He has, in the past, expressed support for harsher penalties for those who test positive. In 2016, Porcello said, “I’m all in favor for a much, much more severe punishment or a lifetime ban.”

Teammate Steven Wright tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2) on Wednesday, resulting in an 80-game suspension. Wright said in a statement, “Although I do not dispute the validity of the test, I was shocked as I have nver intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes.”

He did admit that he had to take stuff when he tried to fold his bed into a couch, only to almost break his arms when it ...

QLE Posted: March 11, 2019 at 09:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, rick porcello, steven wright

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