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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Jacob deGrom Makes History in 15-Strikeout Outing

The two-time Cy Young Award winner was in peak form Friday night against the Nationals, tossing his second career shutout with a career-high 15 strikeouts. That brings his season punch-out total to 50, breaking the previous record of 48 for most strikeouts in a player’s first four outings held by Shane Bieber (2021) and Nolan Ryan (1978).

ecause he can do no wrong, deGrom also went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI double. He’s 6-for-11 on the season and has a hit in every game he’s played in, and has scored more runs (three) than earned runs given up (one).

The Mets won, 6-0, as deGrom lowered his career ERA to 2.55—the lowest in Mets history. He allowed just two hits and no walks on the night.

deGrom has notched at least 14 ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2021 at 10:41 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jacob degrom, mets

A’s to Oakland City Council: Time to vote on our ballpark

On Friday, three years after proposing a waterfront ballpark in Oakland, the A’s put their financial cards on the table: a billion-dollar ballpark, privately financed, with an additional $450 million in community benefits, including affordable housing. The project would include development of a neighborhood surrounding the 35,000-seat ballpark, similar to what the Angels have pledged to develop around Angel Stadium.

The A’s ask the city to pay $855 million in infrastructure improvements, using taxes generated by the project. The A’s estimated total development costs for the project, in which they likely would partner with private developers, are $12 billion.

In a letter released Friday, Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval asked ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2021 at 10:39 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

These 25 Players Opted Out Of MLB In 2020. How Are They Doing In 2021?

Obviously, all of these trends come with the usual small-sample caveats for early-season baseball stats. But on average, the opt-out players are playing more2 than they did in 2019 and producing more value3 (with an average of 1.5 wins above replacement4 per 162 games, compared with 1.0 in 2019). Some of that is skewed by Michael Kopech, who missed all of the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery. But even without including Kopech, the average 2020 opt-out has seen his WAR per 162 essentially stay steady from 2019 (1.1) to 2021 (1.3). We don’t know if rust will eventually set in, but it hasn’t yet, by and large.

Of course, some have struggled early in their returns. Most notably, that group includes a quartet of pitchers (Shelby Miller, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2021 at 10:38 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

The Baseball Hall of Fame Needs a New President; Let’s Find One

John Thorn was the first person that came to mind when this subject was presented to me recently. Currently the Official Historian for Major League Baseball, Thorn checks all of the boxes, with one possible exception. At age 73, he doesn’t profile as a long-term fit in that role. (The soon-to-be-departing Mead — formerly the Vice President of Communications for the Los Angeles Angels — is 62, while his predecessor, Jeff Idelson, is now 56.)

Josh Rawitch. who serves as Senior Vice President, Content & Communications for the Arizona Diamondbacks, strikes me as an intriguing possibility. A 1998 graduate of Indiana University, Rawitch has held multiple positions in baseball and is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State’s Walter ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2021 at 10:37 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball hall of fame

San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis calls post-homer trolling of Trevor Bauer ‘payback time’

On his way to second base on his first home run Saturday night, San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. turned toward his dugout and covered one of his eyes, teasing Los Angeles Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer for occasionally pitching with one eye closed. After crossing home plate on his second home run, Tatis imitated a strut popularized by UFC star Conor McGregor—the one Bauer often deploys after dominant half-innings.

After the game, which the Dodgers won 5-4 at Dodger Stadium, Bauer made it a point to speak out in support of Tatis’ actions.

“I like it,” Bauer said. “I think that pitchers who have that done to them and react by throwing at people, or getting upset and hitting people or whatever—I think it’s pretty soft. If you ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2021 at 10:34 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando tatis, jr.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Friday, April 23, 2021

Don’t be fooled by Kim Ng’s hiring. Women in baseball say MLB has a long way to go

In 2016, 106 women worked in baseball operations roles, with nine in on-field positions and 12 in director positions or above, according to Major League Baseball. In 2020, the number of women in baseball operations roles increased to 225, with 17 women in director’s roles or above. From 2016 to 2020, the number of jobs in baseball operations increased from 4,442 to 4,951, with 23.8% of new jobs going to women.

“Kim’s hiring is progress,” said a female National League baseball operations staffer, “but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Buoyed by Ng, MLB scored a C for gender hiring in the 2021 Racial and Gender Report Card from the University of Central Florida, a grade that seems palatable only when compared with what the league received ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2021 at 09:25 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: women in baseball

Yes, the Royals Can Win the AL Central

Having a one-in-five chance to make the playoffs and an 8% change to win the division still leaves the Royals an underdog, but that’s a big jump from the final preseason projections, which had them at 6% and 2%, respectively. The games already in the hopper only represent about 10% of the season, but it’s 10% of the season in which the Royals have a small lead on the White Sox and a healthy margin over the Twins. The rest of the season can still be classified as a marathon, but starting a bit ahead of your competitors sure is nice.

It’s also more than just their existing lead that makes ZiPS more positive about the Royals than it was at the start of the season. Taking the schedule out of the equation for the moment, under current ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2021 at 09:21 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: believe, royals

Thursday, April 22, 2021

What it really means when white sportswriters talk about lack of hustle

Torres did not run hard on a check-swing tapper back to the mound, it’s true. You can understand his frustration, being 11-for-59 on the season with no homers and 15 strikeouts, while also struggling defensively at shortstop.

At the same time, it’s 17 games into the season. Torres is a two-time All-Star, already at the age of 24. He’ll break out of it in time, as will the Yankees from their teamwide malaise. It’s tough to watch in the meantime, but it’s just about patience.

Or, for Andy Martino of SNY, Torres can be made the scapegoat. The idea here is that “It’s not a birthright to start games for the New York Yankees, even if you’re one of the most talented players on the team. It might be worth a shot for the front ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2021 at 11:34 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: gleyber torres, hustle

Tom Robson, former MLB player and coach, dies at age 75

ormer major league player and coach Tom Robson has died. He was 75.

Robson died of natural causes on Tuesday at Memory Care Facility in Chandler, New York Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Wednesday.

Taken by the Mets in the 50th round of the 1967 amateur draft, Robson played two seasons in the major leagues, both with the Texas Rangers. He batted .208 with four RBIs over 23 games and 54 plate appearances in 1974 and ‘75, playing first base and designated hitter.

His last season as a player was with Nankai in Japan’s Pacific League in 1976.

Robson coached in the Rangers organization, serving as minor league hitting instructor from 1982 to ‘85 and then as a member of manager Bobby Valentine’s coaching staff from 1986 to ‘92.

“As a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2021 at 10:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, tom robson

Lucas Sims: ‘There were a lot of safety issues’ as the Reds lost to the Diamondbacks

The last time he took the mound, on Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks, it was sleeting and raining at Great American Ball Park. He walked in the go-ahead run as the weather turned worse, and that was the last batter he faced before the game was suspended to Wednesday.

“There were a lot of safety issues,” Sims said. “I was concerned about me slipping or something going wrong with the ball. And also my competitors too. If I have no clue where the freaking ball is going, I don’t know the last time I hit a right-hander with a slider.”

For the first time since September, 2015, a Reds home game was suspended and completed the next day. On Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks took a 5-4 lead against Sims with one out in the eighth ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2021 at 09:34 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: reds

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Athletic: A baseball Super League? The Yankees, Red Sox and others tried and failed long before soccer [$]

But let’s talk baseball, and about that time a collection of sports teams considered leaving the mother ship to join a new league. It happened a century ago, when the owners of three disgruntled American League clubs threatened to join the eight-team National League to form what sportswriters around the country were calling the New National.

To put it as simply as possible, the three owners — Harry Frazee of the Boston Red Sox, Charles Comiskey of the Chicago White Sox, and Jacob Ruppert, who co-owned the New York Yankees with Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston — had had it up to here with American League czar Ban Johnson. These three “Insurrectos,” as they were called, were willing to rip the baseball map into little pieces and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 06:26 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: history

‘Jeopardy!’ Fans React as Joe Buck Is Reportedly Set to Guest Host the Show

It sounds like Jeopardy! might be gearing up for the arrival of another guest host… sports broadcaster Joe Buck.

The Fox play-by-play announcer is reportedly set to join a lineup of recent and upcoming guest hosts which includes Ken Jennings, Mike Richards, Katie Couric, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Aaron Rodgers, Anderson Cooper, Bill Whittaker, Mayim Bialik, Savannah Guthrie, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It was also recently announced that former champ Buzzy Cohen would helm the Tournament of Champions this year.

According to the New York Post, Buck is up for a possible guest host gig sometime this summer, but it’s unclear if it would run the typical two-week length most guest hosts have served since Alex Trebek’s death.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 05:43 PM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: joe buck

Baseball’s Mental Health Reckoning

Sherriff walked away from baseball. He walked away from the game of his childhood dreams, formed over trips to Dodger Stadium with his father, who was such a fervent Dodgers fan he told his son he wouldn’t speak to him if he ever signed with the Giants. He walked away from the game he had been playing as a pro for 11 years for low wages; only this year would he be making his top salary, $574,800, at the age of 30.

The next day Angels pitcher Ty Buttrey, 28, quit baseball. Four days later, reliever Chris Devenski, 30, left the Diamondbacks for personal reasons. Seven days after that, Phillies outfielder Adam Haseley, 25, left baseball. Last September shortstop Andrelton Simmons, 31, left the Angels to deal with depression and suicidal ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 04:49 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: mental health

The Strike Zone Is Imperfect, but Mostly Unchanged

Okay, we have our first finding: on pitches that are off the plate but close, umpires are calling strikes at roughly similar rates compared to last year. How about pitches that miss by more than that? They basically don’t get called strikes, but the rates are similar from year to year. Though I’m not willing to take a strong stance given the limitations of a two-dimensional strike zone with moving top and bottom, I think it’s fair to say there’s no evidence of a change here.

What about pitches in the zone being called balls? That’s a slightly trickier calculation, but I used the same rough idea. Take the pitch’s location, add in the width of the baseball, then find the nearest edge of the strike zone — the distance to that ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 03:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: umpiring

Detroit Tigers’ early MLB sensation Akil Baddoo won’t take no for an answer

Before the Tigers selected him in the Rule 5, Baddoo had not played a competitive baseball game since 2019, spent the 2020 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and had never played a game above High-A after the Twins selected him in the second round of the 2016 MLB draft out of Sale High School in Conyers, Georgia.

Now presented the opportunity to make a big league roster in spring training, he channeled the energy from his childhood, the confidence that allowed him to play up with the bigger, older kids.

Within his first few games, Baddoo made sure he didn’t end up among the litany of forgotten Rule 5 picks.

“The Tigers saw something in me and I’m truly thankful for that,” he said. “What they saw in me is something I always had ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 03:15 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: akil baddoo

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-21-2021

Perth Amboy Evening News, April 21, 1921:

Ty Cobb already has an edge in his first fight for a pennant as manager. The boy Ty has picked to mascot the Tigers has six toes on each foot. And baseball players, you know, believe luck camps on each toe of one of these “charms”.

The boy’s name is Joey “Six-Toes” Joslin.
Ty’s good luck mascot has but one rival in the big leagues. He is Eddie “Banjo” Bennett, the little hunchback boy who mascotted the White Sox through to a flag in 1919 and last year brought the Brooklyn Dodgers home in front.

As far as I know, we wouldn’t see another sixtoed guy in a big league uniform until Lezcano in 1974.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 07:56 AM | 121 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Report: OF Yasiel Puig to revive his career in Mexico

Without any options in the major leagues, outfielder Yasiel Puig will try to revive his career in Mexican League with Veracruz, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Puig, 30, burst onto the scene in 2013 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has been a productive major leaguer but also has been a polarizing figure over a seven-year career.

The Cuba native has 132 home runs and 415 RBIs over 861 games, finishing second in rookie-of-the-year voting in 2013 when he hit 19 home runs in just 104 games. He hit as many as 28 home runs with the Dodgers in 2017.

But he also has been a handful on and off the field and had a contentious relationship at times with Dodgers Cy Young Award-winning teammate Clayton Kershaw. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts once said publicly ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 12:39 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mexican league, yasiel puig

San Diego Padres’ Adrian Morejon to have Tommy John surgery

San Diego Padres left-hander Adrian Morejon needs Tommy John surgery, the team said Tuesday.

Although no date has been set for the operation, it will be performed by Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache, head physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Morejon came out of his second start of the season, at Texas on April 11, after throwing just 16 pitches in two-thirds of an inning. He had no record and a 3.86 ERA in 4⅔ innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 21, 2021 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: adrian morejon, padres, tommy john surgery

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Infielder Neil Walker retires after 12 MLB seasons

Veteran infielder Neil Walker announced his retirement Tuesday after 12 major league seasons.

Born in Pittsburgh, he played his first seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates before playing for the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies over his final five seasons.

Walker, 35, made his announcement on Twitter, writing, “thank you to everyone that helped me in my journey to live out my childhood dream of being a Major Leaguer, I loved & cherished every day.”

The Pirates selected Walker with the 11th-overall pick of the 2004 draft and he went on to hit 93 home runs with 418 RBIs while slashing .272/.338/.431 in 836 games. His best major league season came in 2014 when he hit .271 and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2021 at 05:42 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: neil walker

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2021

Pittsburgh Press, April 20, 1921:

Homestead Grays who plan to play several of the country’s best Negro and Cuban teams in the Pittsburg district this season announce that the first game of this kind will take place Friday, June 17, when the All-Cubans of Havana will be met at Homestead park.
[The Grays] have open dates for twilight, Saturday and Sunday games abroad. Write C.W. Posey, Jr., 324 Thirteenth st., Homestead, Pa.

Siri, set the time machine for June 17, 1921. We’re going to Pittsburgh and we’re watching some baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:13 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 19, 2021

Report: Javy Báez Declined Cubs’ Offer ‘Somewhere in Range of $180 Million’

I’ve been steadfast in refuting the report that Kris Bryant turned down an extension offer of “well north of $200 million,” so I want to tread carefully when it comes to the latest report about Javier Baez‘s negotiations. Or rather, his past negotiations. We do know via multiple outlets, one of which was Javy himself, that the shortstop was engaged in extension talks last spring prior to the shutdown. We also know that he did himself no favors with an abysmal 2020 performance.

According to Buster Olney, who wedged the info into a larger column for ESPN+, that disappointing campaign “followed a negotiation that concluded with him passing up a Cubs’ offer somewhere in the range of $180 million.” In Javy parlance, that’s a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2021 at 07:15 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javy baez

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Last-place New York Yankees off to worst 15-game start since 1997

Gerrit Cole shook his head, disgusted. Aaron Hicks put hands on hips and bowed his head. By the end of the afternoon, pretty much all of the New York Yankees were appalled, along with their loudly booing fans.

Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a tiebreaking double off Cole in the seventh inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 win on Sunday and a three-game sweep that extended the Yankees’ losing streak to five games. New York fell to an American League-worst 5-10, its poorest start since 1997.

“I’m frustrated, personally frustrated,” said reigning AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu, who concluded the Yankees were “tight and pressing.”

“No one’s going to feel sorry for us,” he said. “No one’s going to throw softer or throw easier for us. We’ve ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:57 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Yahoo Sports Braves’ Sean Kazmar Jr. makes it back to MLB after 12 years in minor league

Nearly every baseball player on Earth would be happy to have an MLB career spanning 12 years. Sean Kazmar Jr. did it the hard way.

Kazmar, who is currently 36 years old, made his Atlanta Braves debut on Saturday, appearing as a pinch hitter against the Chicago Cubs. It was his first appearance in the majors since Sept. 23, 2008, when he was a San Diego Padres rookie.

That adds up to 12 years, six months and 25 days between MLB appearances.

In the decade-plus in between, Kazmar played in the minor league systems of the Padres, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Braves. For the last eight years, he has played for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. Primarily a second baseman for his career, Kazmar has hit .263/.311/.369 in his Triple-A ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:46 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: sean kazmar

The Case for Slowing It Down

Since 2015 (i.e., the Statcast era), just 0.3% of all pitches thrown in MLB have been under 70 mph; pitchers today generally live in velocity bands from 10 to 30 mph higher. Being able to slow the ball down to such an extreme degree without tipping off the batter to what is coming is not trivial, and being able to drop these pitches in for strikes takes practice. Taking time in a throwing session to lob lollipops into the strike zone probably seems foolish to many pitchers, especially if they can just throw 95 mph instead.

I understand the roadblocks to throwing slow looping curveballs. But whenever I see a pitcher throw them, they often seem to disarm the batter, who usually doesn’t swing. In that scenario, the worst-case result is ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:28 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: velocity

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