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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Heyman: Best Of The Rest Free Agents

As we near February, some of these players must be getting nervous.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 03:06 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents

Pleskoff: Baseball in Cuba: Part I - The Atmosphere

A few people have floated the idea of a MLB team in Cuba. It’s not going to happen.

Games in Cuba are local celebrations. Tickets for Cubans cost the equivalent of 17 to 19 cents. For Americans, the price was three CUKs, a tourist currency, with each CUK translating to one American dollar. Tourists purchase CUKs at the hotel or a bank for a service fee. Locals pay for any goods and services not provided by the government in Cuban pesos which carry a different value than a CUK.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 03:00 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban baseball

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-24-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, January 24, 1917:

Albert (Reb) Russell, a pitcher with the Chicago Americans, has signed a 1917 contract. Russell is the twenty-first member of the club to come to terms. “Talk of a strike is not worrying me,” Charles Comiskey said. “I am having no trouble in signing my players.”

Meanwhile, the Marshalltown (Iowa) Times-Republican reports that Shano Collins, the White Sox representative to the players’ fraternity, sent a letter to a teammate talking about ice skating ...

Read More...
Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 24, 2017 at 12:49 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Phillies Catchers Have Much To Prove In 2017

In my now-ongoing series on the Phillies rebuild, I’ve examined their pitching, and focused on Maikel Franco. Now, we turn to their catchers.

As GM Matt Klentak has repeatedly done this winter, there will be a stopgap in place, while a fresh young prospect will be groomed to be the next great core player. What will be interesting is to see how Klentak and manager Pete Mackanin balance both.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:57 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

The Hidden Effects of Jet Lag on Baseball Players - WSJ

According to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, teams traveling eastward at least two time zones give up more home runs than they otherwise would, offering insights into how the internal body clock affects performance.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:55 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: performance

2017 Top 10 third base prospects | MLB.com

1. Rafael Devers, Red Sox
He has been overshadowed in the Boston system by the likes of Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada, but that should change in 2017 with Benintendi in the big leagues and Moncada traded to the White Sox. Devers blends a rare combination of hitting ability and power potential, and he’s ready for Double-A at age 20.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 07:07 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Harris eager to show Cardinals result of elbow surgery | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

Potentially one of the biggest stories of the upcoming season.

Like former Cardinals reliever Seth Maness, Harris went into surgery expecting Tommy John and left as one of three professional pitchers attempting to return after an alternative. Dr. George Paletta did a “primary repair” of Harris’ ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) at the bone and then constructed a protective sling out of tape to give the ligament support and protection as it healed. As a result, instead of missing 2017 and ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 07:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

$20M owed to Yordano Ventura likely hinges on his toxicology report

I know this is news but…

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 07:00 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, yordano ventura

Looters left Ventura to die, according to unconfirmed reports - Royals Review

Initial reports aren’t always accurate but if Pedro’s comments are true, the story of Ventura’s horrible death just got even worse.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2017 at 06:58 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, yordano ventura

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dodgers Trade Prospect Jose De Leon Straight-Up to Tampa for Logan Forsythe

After being rumored for months in heated pursuit of Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier, the Dodgers pivoted on Monday and acquired Tampa Bay’s Logan Forsythe for right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon.

Dock Ellis Posted: January 23, 2017 at 09:23 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: jose de leon, logan forsythe, los angeles dodgers, tampa bay rays, trades

The Surprising Way Jet Lag Impacts Major League Baseball Games

The most striking effect of jet lag was on poor defensive performance, exemplified best by home runs allowed by pitchers. An increased tendency to give up the long ball was seen among eastward travelers (but not westward travelers), and in both home and away groups. This single stat was enough to explain most of the jet lag effects observed in this study, and it was considered strong enough to negate home field advantage (call it “jet lag disadvantage”). In terms of actual numbers, jet ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 23, 2017 at 03:58 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jet lag, science

Phillies’ Maikel Franco works to improve plate approach

I’m sold on his bat to ball skills. If he can learn to hunt for better pitches, he can be a star.

Franco offered a blunt diagnosis for his woes at the plate.

“In 2016, most of the time I just went to the plate without a plan,” he said. “I just swung at everything. Now, I think about it like, ‘This year is really important for you. You have to know what you’re doing and have to show everybody more discipline and be more selective at home plate.’ “

Franco wasn’t the only Phils hitter to struggle ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 03:52 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: maikel franco, phillies

Ryan Zimmerman hits hard but needs to add lift | MLB.com

I would have liked to see a comparison to his 2014-2015 results. (If I have time later today, I check out their handy new tool to investigate myself.) Anyway, this suggests it wasn’t a physical issue but was mechanical. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff helps him correct the problem.

Though he hit the ball hard, Zimmerman had a pretty low launch angle, which is to say he was hitting hard-hit grounders. When viewed in this context, his numbers above make a lot more sense. While ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: ryan zimmerman, statcast

Baseball Prospectus | Prospectus Feature: Command and Control

Interesting stuff. Read the whole article.

Command

Now that we’ve established that CS Prob is a proxy for control, we can build on it. After extensive review, we’ve concluded that CSAA substantially reflects a pitcher’s ability to command his pitches. It’s important to make the connection between what CSAA does and the popular definition of command.

Traditionally command is understood as the ability to “hit your spots”—having the ball end up where you intend it to. Over the years ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 10:18 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-23-2017

Ogden Standard, January 23, 1917:

A charge that last year’s pennant race in the Pacific Coast baseball league was “fixed” so that the Vernon club could not win was made in a statement by Edward R. Maier, former owner of the club, printed [in San Francisco yesterday]. Maier was expelled from membership in the league last September. At that time the explanation of Maier’s departure generally accepted was that he did not get along with the directors.
...
[Maier:] “In the final game of the season, ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 23, 2017 at 09:56 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fixed games, history

OTP 23 Jan. 2017: Theo Epstein on baseball, politics and what he may do next

Theo globally, act locally:

“The reality is these days so much of the most important work in society is done by these non-profits, most of which don’t get real government funding, so it’s really important to identify the most impactful non-profits in your community, especially in a city like Chicago right now that is battling so many critical challenges and support them,” Epstein said. “Baseball is just bread and circus. What we do, we just entertain the masses.”

(As always, views expressed ...

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BDC Posted: January 23, 2017 at 07:37 AM | 504 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, politics, theo epstein

2017 Top 10 second base prospects | MLB.com

Except for the top guy, a bunch of new names on the top second base prospect list.

1. Yoan Moncada, White Sox
After the Red Sox broke the bank to sign Moncada—a total of $63 million—he made it to the big leagues in just two years, where he struggled, albeit in just 19 at-bats. He was at the top of the four prospects the White Sox got in that Sale deal and he should see time at second in Chicago at some point in 2017.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 23, 2017 at 06:36 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects reports

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Becoming Yordano

The odds of a young Yordano Ventura ever pitching in the major leagues were astronomically long.  But thanks to ability that Royals officials call a gift, not to mention more than a little good fortune, the fire-throwing young man who starred in game six of the 2014 World Series could be poised to follow in the footsteps of Dominican Republic countryman Pedro Martinez.

Zach Posted: January 22, 2017 at 11:22 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rip, royals, yordano ventura

MLB community mourns deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died Sunday in a car crash in the Dominican Republic. Former MLB infielder Andy Marte died on the same day in a separate car crash in the Dominican Republic.

RIP

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 22, 2017 at 02:41 PM | 77 comment(s)
  Beats: deaths in baseball, obituaries, royals

dWAR Doesn’t Care One Bit About Your Reputation

Do Mattingly was a great first baseman, wasn’t he?

Wasn’t he?


Gary Sheffield and the war on WAR - Beyond the Box Score

Even if you buy the idea that his defensive WAR is overestimated, he’s still a poor defensive player. I don’t believe this is a winning argument for his candidacy.

The math problem then amounts to this: If you’re willing to consider that Sheffield’s negative defensive numbers might be overblown by 15 to 25 percent, you’re looking at a case that ranges from, “Well, he’s definitely better than Tony Gwynn,” to “Um, yes, we need to enshrine turn-of-the-millennium Reggie Jackson.”

...Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2017 at 09:20 AM | 107 comment(s)
  Beats: gary sheffield, hall of fame

Sunday Notes: JBJ, Bridich, Wallace on Britton, more | FanGraphs Baseball

“Buck (Showalter) hired me in 2013, and we went out to UC Irvine and heard all about Zach Britton,” Wallace said recently. “We met him, Chris Tillman, and a few other pitchers. My bullpen coach, Dom Chiti — as good of a pitching guy I’ve ever known — and I talked to Zach in the outfield.

“Zach had been tried as a starter, and he couldn’t do this, and he had flashes of brilliance. When you talk to Zach… he was one of those guys where it was almost paralysis by analysis. He ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2017 at 08:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, zach britton

What if this Drew Hutchison Thing Actually Worked Out?

Believing in the power of Ray Searage.

Now he’s getting a fresh start and moving to an easier league and ballpark to pitch in, plus has the Ray Searage effect that could do wonders for him. His career 38.6 GB% would be the lowest of any pitcher on the Pirates staff. If Searage can get Hutch to work more inside and keep the ball down more, why couldn’t we see a turnaround for Hutchison?

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2017 at 08:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: drew hutchison, pirates

Nick Cafardo: Terry Francona and the Indians’ great expectations for 2017

Going from a big market with a high-priced roster to a small market with a payroll half the size of the Red Sox’ has definitely given Francona a different perspective on managing.

“It’s a different challenge,” Francona said. “I think you’ve got to be realistic that in the winter, for the most part, we play in a different neighborhood and our guys do a great job of trying to be realistic about, ‘OK, who can go after and not waste time on players that are not going to come.’ ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2017 at 08:32 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, notes, terry francona

A look inside the Marlins’ year-old analytics department - Sun Sentinel

This was always the it should be. It just took a little while to get there.

Instead, it’s about finding a balance. Paré, for example, credits his reading of “Moneyball” as a Yale freshman with helping set him down this career path, but he also attended MLB’s scout development program in the fall of 2009 — blending more traditional front-office skills with his new-age ones.

“People who are outside of this [analytics] realm here still see the value in what we’re doing as a department,” Paré ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2017 at 08:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, scouting

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mets’ Jay Bruce problem: Ex-GMs weigh in on what team should do - NY Daily News

“You could end up looking for the same type hitter you gave away,” said O’Dowd, the long-time Rockies’ GM. “You can’t force a deal. The worst trades I ever made were ones that I forced.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2017 at 10:58 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jay bruce, mets

Dave Engle reflects on Ted Williams memories | MLB.com

MLB.com: So at this stage of life, when you think about Ted Williams, what comes to mind?
Engle: It’s all part of the good fortune I’ve had in life. For being a little shooter in this game of baseball, I was able to have participated in football on a national championship team at USC [in 1974], and actually play on the baseball team that won the College World Series [in ‘78]. There have been so many things that have happened in my life. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone that has ever lived, ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2017 at 10:24 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: ted williams

MLB Tonight: Jorge Posada | MLB.com

I’m a big fan of Brian Kenny. I’m not sold on Posada’s Hall of Fame case.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2017 at 08:54 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, jorge posada

Chris Russo thinks the latest selections have ruined Hall of Fame

Occasionally he’s entertaining. His Hall of Fame rants are tough to get though. It’s usually when I change the channel.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 21, 2017 at 08:47 AM | 118 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 Top 10 first base prospects | MLB.com

I’ve really enjoyed work of Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo at MLB Pipeline. Here’s the unveiling of their Top Ten 1B. They’ve been introducing the lists on Hot Stove. I’ll try embedding the segment over the next couple of weeks.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 20, 2017 at 02:24 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects reports

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