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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

These Aren’t the Hits MLB Wanted

Mains continues:

There was one batter hit per 96 plate appearances in 2018, a new record. It fell further, to 94, in 2019. Then all the way to 81 in last year’s short, weird season.

This year? Through Tuesday night’s games, it’s down to 74.5. Batters are being hit thirty-eight percent more frequently than in 1901. There are just over eight hit batters for every five just a decade ago. We’re averaging 0.997 hit batters per game in 2021, a single HBP shy of one per game—a level the sport’s never approached. Batters so far have a .309 on-base percentage. Hit batters account for thirteen points of that figure. Ten years ago, there were only eight points of hit batters in MLB’s .321 OBP.

I wanted to take a look at possible ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 02:25 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: hit batters

Oakland Athletics to start looking at relocating elsewhere, sources say

The Oakland Athletics will start exploring the possibility of relocating with the blessing of Major League Baseball, a move that could put pressure on local government officials to greenlight a new stadium project that has spent years in limbo, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The A’s, who have played in Oakland since 1968, have prioritized building a waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland at the Howard Terminal site. But after years of failed stadium plans—and weeks after the organization asked for the city council to vote on the $12 billion mixed-use development before its late-July summer recess—the long-anticipated specter of the A’s looking into relocation on Tuesday became a reality.

“The future success of the A’s ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 02:19 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

The Runner-on-Second in Extras Rule Has Worn Out Its Welcome

If you’re noticing a slight tilt in that graph, with higher percentages of extra-innings games in days of yore, pandemic notwithstanding, you’re not wrong. Before this year, just once since 1992 had the percentage of extra-inning games reached 10%, a level that was far more common in the 1960s and ’70s; that happened in 2013, when teams scored a comparatively meager 4.17 runs per game. As scoring levels drop, the percentage of extra-innings games tends to rise; the lower scoring means a compressed distribution where lower run totals occur more frequently, and fewer teams erupt for run totals that almost never lead to ties after nine innings. The correlation between scoring levels and extra-innings rates from 1961-2020 is -.63, which ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 12:30 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: extra innings rule

Jordan Zimmermann announces his retirement from baseball

It took Jordan Zimmermann more than 12 years in the majors to finally get a chance to pitch for his home-state team, but that lure wasn’t strong enough to continue his long and successful career.

After only two appearances with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Auburndale native announced Tuesday he is retiring from baseball. And, unlike his “two-hour retirement” a couple weeks ago, this time Zimmermann means it.

“I have had the joy of playing the game that I love for the past 15 years,” Zimmermann said in a statement released by the club. “I will forever be thankful to the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers for allowing me to live out this dream. It has been particularly special to be able to end it all playing for my hometown ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:20 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jordan zimmermann

Why I can’t wrap my head around baseball’s embrace of sports betting

“Go big on baseball this season,” DraftKings spokeswoman Jessie Coffield urged. “Bet $1 on your team. Win $100 if they get a hit. One hit. One hundred dollars.”

Bet on your team, I thought, as the Tigers returned to the field. But — isn’t that what earned Pete Rose a lifetime ban from baseball in the 1980s? And weren’t eight members of the Chicago White Sox banished for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series at the behest of bribe-dangling gamblers?

Though Rose proclaimed his innocence for years, he finally admitted in 2004 that he gambled on games as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, including those involving his own team. But he insisted that he only bet on the Reds to win.

The Black Sox, as they were nicknamed, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling

Monday, May 10, 2021

Seattle Mariners expected to call up top prospect Jarred Kelenic this week, sources say

The Seattle Mariners are expected to call up their top prospect Jarred Kelenic on Thursday, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Kelenic, the No. 6 pick in the 2018 amateur draft, is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel.

While things can change, the plan is to promote Kelenic, an outfielder, for the first game of Seattle’s home series against the Cleveland Indians.

Kelenic, 21, was sidelined early in spring training by a strained adductor muscle in his left knee. He is batting 9-for-20 with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 6 runs scored and 2 stolen bases in five games with Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate Tacoma Rainiers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 10:52 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jarred kelenic, mariners

The State of Baseball: Inside the biggest questions MLB is facing with the future of the sport at stake

Major League Baseball is on a mission to reduce the amount of time it takes to play games. Under Rob Manfred, it’s been close to an obsession. Seven-inning doubleheaders, a three-batter minimum for pitchers, a runner on second to start extra innings—welcome to the only industry intent on persuading its consumers to enjoy less of its product. After all, who among us doesn’t want a raucous extra-inning game settled as quickly as possible by a clumsy schoolyard contrivance? Setting aside the particulars, there’s an inherent conflict: MLB is confusing time of game with pace of play, and its efforts at acceleration run opposite to the skills that teams are prioritizing and incentivizing.

You want to make big league money as a hitter? Hit ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 06:37 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: labor relations, pace of play

No MLB Team Is Great, And Fewer Are Awful. Is This The Parity We Wanted?

One quick way to measure how much parity baseball has seen this year — relative to the same stage of previous seasons — is to look at the standard deviation of winning percentages. Through 34 games for each team,1 that number is 0.0747, meaning one standard deviation below .500 lands you on a pace of 69 wins per 162, while a standard deviation above .500 puts you on pace for 93 wins. That may sound relatively ordinary, but early season records usually vary a lot more than that. Through 34 games in 2018, for instance, one standard deviation below .500 would have put a team on pace to win just 60 games, while a standard deviation above .500 meant winning at a 102-victory pace.

Granted, the 2018 season was one of the most imbalanced in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 06:24 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: parity

Whoa – MLB “Expected” to Add Trading of Draft Picks in the Next CBA?!

Buried in a very long (and very good) roundtable-type piece on the state of baseball at ESPN, Kiley McDaniel slipped in this little nugget on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (emphasis mine):

There’s also a cascading set of secondary issues that will greatly affect young players who are increasingly the most valued and important players in the game.

On the simple end of things, changing Super Two arbitration and ending service-time manipulation will change when you see young potential stars on the field (hopefully sooner) and how good your team will be. One step deeper than that, the expected addition of trading draft picks, the addition of an international draft and the trading of picks in that new draft could completely ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 02:08 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-10-2021

Toledo News-Bee, May 10, 1921:

In the mind of [Mud Hens owner] Roger Bresnahan there has been lingering for several months the idea that he could be of greater use to the Toledo ball club…than by merely presidenting in the office or occupying a diamondside seat, during the field performances.
Bresnahan chased away the notion, for he felt the fans would think he was breaking in on [manager Bill] Clymer’s provinces, and he did not want that idea to get abroad.

But with the backstopping problem so important to the Mud hens at this time, a call upon Roger for temporary service behind the bat seems the easiest way to induce him to once more appear on the field in Toledo baseball garments.

Pretty handy to have one of the two or three ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 10, 2021 at 12:50 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Dave Roberts baffled by Angels’ blowout bunt attempt, but play helps Dodgers snap losing skid in wild game

To set the scene: the Angels were down by 13 in the fifth inning when right fielder Taylor Ward came to the plate with a runner on first and one out in the frame. Ward push-bunted the first pitch he saw to the right side of the infield. First baseman Max Muncy, the only fielder located on that side because of the overshift, corralled the ball easily and threw to second base for the force out. The Dodgers, for their part, were less-than-amused by Ward’s attempt at beating the shift.

As SB Nation’s Eric Stephen pointed out, Kershaw could be seen on the television broadcast motioning to the scoreboard while telling his dugout “That’s so stupid.” The broadcast then cut to Roberts, who also appeared to disagree with the bunt call, albeit in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2021 at 09:56 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dodgers

Atlanta Braves add some bullpen depth, bring back veteran Shane Greene on a one-year contract

Relief pitcher Shane Greene has signed a one-year contract to rejoin the Atlanta Braves.

Greene, who was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett, will need some time to get ready before returns to the majors. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings last season.

Braves relievers began Sunday with a 4.56 ERA that ranked 22nd in the majors. It’s a considerable slip from last year when the bullpen ranked fourth with a 3.50 ERA.

Greene, who was free agent, was used primarily as a setup man for closer Mark Melancon last season and will eventually fill the same role behind closer Will Smith this year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2021 at 09:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, shane greene

Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo accused of sexual assault, pulled from games

A 31-year-old woman told The Athletic that Santangelo made unwanted advances and sexually assaulted her several years ago, all while ignoring her repeatedly telling him to stop.

The woman, who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity, first accused Santangelo in an anonymous Instagram post — which the Nationals and MASN saw. She then detailed the encounter to The Athletic.

The woman said that Santangelo sent her “angry text messages” and even blocked her on all social media after their one in-person interaction. She said she is not seeking a formal complaint or any compensation. She is not an employee of the Nationals, MASN or the Baltimore Orioles — which holds the majority ownership of the network.

“If I never saw ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2021 at 03:53 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: f.p. santangelo, nationals

Where Did the Homers Go?

Unsurprisingly, in all of the bins most affected by the new baseball, we’re witnessing an associated decline in the overall probability the batter will reach base. We know how good defensives have become; if more balls are staying in the yard, it was always extraordinarily unlikely that they’ll be going for hits at the same rates. But to see a 32-point decline, as in the example of the 95-99 mph exit velocity, 20-24 degree launch angle bin, is striking. Batters were more often than not reaching base on those types of batted balls in April 2019. In April 2021, they only reached base one in five times.

More generally, you’ll notice once again that most of the affected batted balls are those below 30 degrees in launch angle. This makes ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 09, 2021 at 01:01 PM | 130 comment(s)
  Beats: juiced ball

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Francisco Lindor’s ‘rat’ tale unnecessary drama for Mets

The Mets’ $341-million man enjoyed his best game with his new team, slamming a game-tying, two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Mets registered arguably their biggest win of the season, 5-4 in 10 innings over the Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Yet following the game, the result became secondary to an out-of-sight disagreement, dutifully documented by the Mets’ own regional sports network, SNY, between Lindor and his double-play partner Jeff McNeil in the middle of the seventh inning.

That disagreement, a laughing Lindor told reporters a few minutes after the Mets prevailed on a swinging bunt by rookie Patrick Mazeika (his first career RBI), entailed whether Lindor and McNeil, situated in the tunnel that connects the home team’s ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 08, 2021 at 11:44 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco lindor, mets

Friday, May 07, 2021

Reds LHP Wade Miley throws MLB’s fourth no-hitter of 2021

Wade Miley has thrown the fourth no-hitter of the season, which is a lot of no-hitters when you’re still in early May.

The Cincinnati Reds left-hander entered the history books on Friday with nine no-hit innings against the Cleveland Indians in a 3-0 win. His lone blemishes: a Cesar Hernandez walk and a double-error play by Nick Senzel, both in the sixth inning.

Miley’s final line: 9 innings, 0 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts and 114 pitches.

The no-hitter is the 17th in Reds history, and 309th among MLB pitchers. It’s the second time Cleveland has been no-hit in three weeks.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:45 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: no-hitter, wade miley

Former manager, coach Ray Miller dies at 76

Ray Miller, the longtime big league pitching coach who worked for the Orioles, Twins and Pirates and who managed Baltimore when Cal Ripken Jr. decided to end his Major League record consecutive games played streak in 1998, died on Tuesday. He was 76.

An Orioles Hall of Fame inductee in 2010, Miller tutored several generations of Orioles hurlers across three stints as pitching coach, from 1978-85, 1997 and 2004-05. He succeeded Davey Johnson as manager in 1998, posting a 157-167 record over two seasons at the helm in Baltimore. Miller also managed the Twins from 1985-86 and served as the Pirates’ pitching coach from 1987-96.

On Sept. 20, 1998, Ripken walked into Miller’s office to announce he was ending his record consecutive games ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 06:00 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, ray miller

Ex-MLB manager Bobby Valentine enters mayoral race in Stamford, Connecticut

Former Major League Baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine is taking a swing at politics, announcing Friday that he’s running for mayor of his Connecticut hometown.

Valentine, 70, who currently serves as the athletic director at Sacred Heart University, posted a video on social media and said he’ll run as an independent candidate in Stamford.

“The greatest commodity I have is my time, and I want to give my time and my energy and my wherewithal back to the city that has given me so much over my lifetime,” he said.

Valentine, a Stamford native, was a three-sport high school star in the city.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 05:59 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby valentine

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-7-2021

Indiana Daily Times, May 7, 1921:

While Johnny Evers, Cub manager, was coaching at first base in the sixth inning yesterday, Moran’s athletes began hurling unkind remarks at John. The Cub boss walked over to the Cincy Red bench, delivered a lecture to the peppery hostile, and then returned to his toil. John won the decision on words.

Johnny Evers was a smidge high-strung, it seems.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 12:10 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Cubs deal Sox can’t refuse: Bryant would be MVP move

What we know for sure is what we saw in January with that Yu Darvish trade and what we’ve seen since from a team off to its worst start in seven years, thanks to some resulting starting pitching problems and overall depth issues.

So act now, while supplies last, Rick! Players like this won’t be around all summer!

Push, pull or drag your best three or four teenage trade-ins (or maybe Yoelqui Cespedes?) for a chance to pull your outfield out of the 2021 crapper and restore those World Series visions you’ve been selling on the South Side the last six months.

What’s in it for Hoyer and the Cubs?

We already can see the drool on ownership’s face at the mere mention of the additional prorated part of Bryant’s $19.5 million salary ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 11:11 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, white sox

A Pitcher Never Forgot His Promise to His Mother

When Ubaldo Jiménez was 16 in his native Dominican Republic, he wanted to accept the Mets’ signing bonus offer of $20,000 and immediately begin his journey to the major leagues. His mother, however, said no. She wanted him to finish high school, which many boys on the baseball-mad Caribbean island forsake to chase their dreams and earn life-changing money for their families. Jiménez yearned to do the same.

But after securing his high school degree a year later, Jiménez was met with another condition from his mother. Before she allowed him to sign with the Colorado Rockies, she asked for a promise that one day, when the time was right, he would return to his studies so he could eventually become a professional in a field beyond ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 10:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: ubaldo jimenez

MLB teams can’t play games under protest anymore

For those of us of “a certain age,” the photo above brings back memories of Cubs manager Leo Durocher arguing with an umpire over ... well, just about anything. Sometimes, depending on the situation, those arguments resulted in filing an official protest with the league, “playing the game under protest,” in the vernacular of the time.

League officials would review the protest and make a judgment. 99.9 percent of the time, the protests were disallowed. Perhaps the most famous example of a protest that was upheld was the George Brett “Pine Tar Game” in 1983, when Brett’s apparent home run was taken away because his bat was seen to have pine tar above the legal limit. The game was ordered replayed from that point on.

I have ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 10:08 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: protest

Thomas Boswell: After covering everything for 52 years, it’s time to see what I missed

In the movie “The Man with Two Brains,” Steve Martin stares at a portrait of his dead wife. “Becca, if there’s anything wrong with my feelings for Dolores, just give me a sign,” says Martin, who’s in love with Dolores.

The whole house shakes, objects fly around the room as if blown by an invisible wind, and the larger-than-life portrait of the widow spins in circles on the wall as a woman’s voice shrieks, over and over, “No, No, No, NO!”

Martin, covered with debris, his hair blown in all directions, says, matter-of-factly, to the portrait: “Just any kind of sign. I’ll keep on the lookout for it.”

That scene captures how I’ve felt about retiring after 52 years in The Washington Post’s Sports department. I ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2021 at 09:59 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: thomas boswell

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Former skipper Del Crandall dies at 91

Former catcher and manager Del Crandall—who was the last living Boston Braves player and an 11-time National League All-Star after that franchise moved to Milwaukee, and who as Milwaukee Brewers manager in 1974 installed an 18-year-old Robin Yount at shortstop on Opening Day—has died. He was 91.

Crandall played parts of 16 seasons with the Braves, Giants, Pirates and Indians from 1949-66, with a two-year absence in the early 1950s, when Crandall served in the U.S. Army. He hit at least 15 home runs in eight seasons, won four Gold Glove Awards, and developed a reputation as one of the most savvy catchers in the game before continuing his career as a manager in the Minor Leagues and later in the Majors with the Brewers (1972-75) and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 02:44 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dell crandall, obituaries

Los Angeles Angels designate slugger Albert Pujols for assignment

Albert Pujols has been designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels, the team announced Thursday.

Pujols is slashing .198/.250/.372 in 92 plate appearances this year with five home runs and 12 RBIs. For his career, the 10-time All-Star has slashed .298/.376/.545 with 667 home runs and 2,112 RBIs.

“The Angels Organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall-of-Fame Career. Albert’s historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true Superstar. Since his Rookie of the Year Season in 2001, Albert and his wife Deidre have generously given their time and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 02:26 PM | 192 comment(s)
  Beats: albert pujols

Astros complain to MLB about taunting, Yankees security bans Oscar the Grouch costume, report says

Sports Illustrated reports the Houston Astros complained to Major League Baseball about taunting by fans this season. This report comes at a time when New York Yankees fans are absolutely crushing the Astros at Yankee Stadium….

But according to SI, one Yankees fan, David Taub, went too far after spending $85 on an Oscar the Grouch costume. Oscar, the lovable, grumpy Sesame Street character, lives in a trash can. You can see where Taub was going with this.

When he arrived wearing the costume and carrying a sign reading YOU AIN’T STEALING THIS COSTUME TRASHTROS, he drew laughs and cameras. Unfortunately, he also drew attention from security. “Our policy changed,” he said the guard told him. Taub said the guard added that the Astros ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 10:16 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yankees

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