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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Let’s Dole Out Some Twists of Fate, National League Edition

Black swan events are a defining feature of each baseball season. Like any good sport, the contours of the game elicit a comfortable and familiar warmth. But also like any good sport, the details that make up the fabric of a particular contest or campaign are essentially unpredictable. It’s the round ball, round bat game: Weird stuff happens all the time.

Once they happen though, unexpected events have a way of enmeshing themselves in the game’s broader narrative as if they were just another ad on the outfield wall. Our brains struggle to handle surprises, and so we rationalize them. For a time, it was very weird that Lucas Giolito suddenly looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball; by the time the Cy Young ballots were ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: narratives, national league, twists of fate

The Obscenely Early ZiPS Projected Standings

Naturally, once the ZiPS elves have finished baking the ZiPS, the first thing I want to do — at least after actually getting some sleep — is to crank out some ZiPS projected standings. So let’s wrap up ZiPS Week (I’m possibly the only person calling it this) by doing the first run of the ZiPS projected standings for the 2020 season.

The methodology I use is not identical to the one we use in our Standings, so there will naturally be some important differences in the results. So how does ZiPS calculate the season?

Stored within ZiPS is the first through 99th percentile projections for each player it projects. I start by making a generalized depth chart, using our depth charts as an initial starting point. Since these are my ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, zips

An Angell at Spring Training

What I know about spring training I know because of Roger Angell. With conversational elegance and a tireless spirit, he has described this annual baseball ritual as a romantic interlude, more experience than sport, that surely can’t be as romantic as Angell makes it seem.

Angell, a renowned editor and essayist at The New Yorker, has resided, figuratively, since 2014 in Cooperstown, N.Y., at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. No writer may be more deserving.

I’m now working on my sixth decade, and one of my most passionate baseball memories is the dog-eared paperback of an Angell essay collection that sat on my bedside nightstand for much of my youth. Late Innings: A Baseball Companion, published in 1982, is biblical in ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: roger angell, spring training

Alcántara, 3 minor leaguers banned for positive drug tests

NEW YORK (AP) — Free agent pitcher Victor Alcántara was suspended for 80 games Friday under the major league drug program following a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.

The 26-year-old right-hander was 3-2 with a 4.85 ERA last season in 46 relief appearances for the Detroit Tigers. He became a free agent last fall after he was assigned outright to Triple-A Toledo on Oct. 24.

Alcántara made his major league debut in September 2017 and was 4-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 79 games over three seasons with the Tigers.

He is the fourth player suspended this year under the big league program after Houston pitcher Francis Martes, Pittsburgh outfielder/infielder Pablo Reyes and Colorado pitcher Justin Lawrence.


QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ped suspensions, stanozolol, victor alcantara

Astros scandal: Josh Reddick says he and his teammates have received death threats

Part of the ongoing fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is that some of the players involved say they’re receiving threats. Mike Fiers of the Athletics, who played for the Astros in 2017 and later blew the whistle on their sign-stealing scheme, recently claimed to have been subjected to death threats for serving as the primary source for the original bombshell report.

Now Astros outfielder Josh Reddick has come forward as the recipient of threats and ill wishes. ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets:

“Astros outfielder Josh Reddick just told reporters he has received death threats via social media — and that in one case someone wished cancer upon his children. Reddick said he’s not the only one in the Astros’ clubhouse who had ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, josh reddick

2-time Cy Young winner Kluber has ‘a lot to prove’ in Texas

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — After Corey Kluber was traded to Texas, his new manager got a lot of texts and calls from people saying what a phenomenal pitcher and person the Rangers got.

The only message that surprised Chris Woodward was the one he got from the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

“One of the first texts he sent me, ‘I’ve got a lot to prove,’” Woodward said Friday. “You don’t expect that to come from a guy who’s had so much success.”

While the 33-year-old right-hander had an injury-plagued final season in Cleveland last year, he was coming off an extended stretch as one of baseball’s best pitchers. He was a 20-game winner in 2018, and the American League Cy Young winner in 2014 and 2017 — all that during a ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: corey kluber, rangers

MLB 2020 Division Winners: Favorites and Best Bets

With spring training now in full swing, betting boards at the Westgate SuperBook are loaded with a massive variety of futures betting options. That includes prices to win each of the six regular season division championships.

Will the Yankees steamroll to back-to-back AL East titles? Will the Dodgers rule the NL West for an eighth straight season? Are any dark horses poised to make a breakthrough? Here is an early look at each team’s title chances.

New York Yankees Are Thick AL East Chalk

New York Yankees: -1200
Tampa Bay Rays: +800
Boston Red Sox: +1600
Toronto Blue Jays: +10000
Baltimore Orioles: +100000

Something for the gamblers among us- interesting to think of how mainstream this sort of thing became so quickly…..

  ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, odds

MLB was told about the Astros’ system years ago and did nothing

Jonathan Lucroy plays for the Red Sox now. Yesterday he talked to the Boston media about his time in Oakland. Specifically, he talked about how, when he played there, he and the rest of the A’s learned about the specifics of the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme from teammate Mike Fiers, who was traded to Oakland in August of that season.

Here’s what Lucroy said about what went down when he heard about Fiers going public in November:

“When I saw it, I read it and I’m like, ‘Oh boy, here we go. And people are calling me and I’m like, ‘Look, I’ve known about that for two years.’ Guys who were playing against them . . . I would text people and say, ‘Just so you know, this is what is going on.’ It got around baseball ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, dirty rotten cheaters, mlb

Teams close with 7-5 edge in arbitration as Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley wins final case

PHOENIX—Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley won the final salary arbitration case of the year, leaving teams with a 7-5 advantage over players.

Bradley, a 27-year right-hander, was given a raise from $1.83 million to $4.1 million Friday by arbitrators Andrew Strongin, Steven Wolf and Jules Bloch. The Diamondbacks had argued for $3,625,000.

Bradley was 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 65 relief appearances and one start last year. He struck out 87 and walked 36 in 71⅔ innings.

Teams won six of the first seven decisions, and players won four of the last five. Teams have had a winning record in four of the past five years, the exception a 12-10 margin for players in 2019.

Well, arbitration season has ended for this year- see you all ...

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, archie bradley

Delegates swing for fences with resolution to keep minor league baseball

Today in minor-league contraction news:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A resolution to support the continuation of minor league baseball in West Virginia circled the bases in the House of Delegates.

As representatives of the West Virginia Power baseball organization observed from the balcony, the resolution passed the House of Delegates, 98-0 with two absences.

“As an avid baseball fan and former Little League all-star, I can’t imagine a Mountain State without baseball,” said Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, who elicited laughter when he mentioned his youthful accomplishments.

“That is our pipeline to the major leagues.”



QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, minor leagues, west virginia

Yasiel Puig Rumors: White Sox, Rockies Favorites to Sign Star Free-Agent OF

As Yasiel Puig continues to wait for a contract offer to his liking, two teams have reportedly emerged as the favorites to sign the veteran outfielder.

Per Hector Gomez of Z101, the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies are considered the favorites to land the former All-Star.

It’s unclear at this point what a potential contract offer for Puig would include, but the timing of a deal could end up making him a bargain.

Teams reported to spring training last week with games scheduled to begin Saturday.

Compared to the last couple of years, there isn’t much left to the hot stove with spring training having begun.


QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hot stove, rockies, white sox, yasiel puig

Friday, February 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-21-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 21, 1920:

The Boston Braves are preparing for a strenuous season. They have signed up a slugger named John L. Sullivan to play in the outfield. John L. doesn’t slug with his fists—he uses a baseball bat, which is more effective.

He was actually a pretty good player. Better than Mike Tyson or Joe Frazier, but less important to baseball history than Forman.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2020 at 10:54 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Stark: How Francisco Lindor reminds us that baseball is broken – The Athletic

Is there anything right with the game? Does this situation really mean the sport is broken?

“Because everybody thinks Cleveland is a small-budget team, you know,” he says, calmly, analytically, thoughtfully. “And it’s just a matter of coming up with the right thing. That’s for my agent and the team to figure out, what’s the right thing. So everyone thinks it’s not going to happen because the Indians have always said, ‘We don’t have the money. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the money.’ So we’ll see.”

He says those words, “We’ll see,” because he can’t peer far enough over the horizon to know exactly how this saga will end. But he is a bright, perceptive man. So the one thing he can see with clarity ...

Jim Furtado Posted: February 21, 2020 at 09:28 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco lindor

Baseball Fan Can Sue Over Foul Ball to the Face, California Appeals Court Rules

A foul ball to the face is not an anticipated part of the sport, nor an assumed risk for baseball spectators, according to an appeals court decision.

California’s Second District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that installing protective netting along the first- and third-base lines at ball parks would not necessarily alter the nature of the game, signaling a shift in the court’s interpretation of the primary assumption of risk doctrine.

A 12-year-old, referred to as Summer, brought the appeal against the United States Baseball Federation after a line drive foul ball damaged her optic nerve while attending the national team trials at California State University, Long Beach’s Blair Field in 2014, according to the opinion. Upon appeal, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2020 at 09:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: legal

A Quick Look at Our Playoff Odds

With the release of full ZiPS projections, our playoff odds are up and running. For the most part that means putting a number to things that we already know. The Dodgers are 97.7% likely to make the playoffs, which sounds about right. The NL Central is a four-way tossup with the Cubs out in the lead. The NL East has three teams each with around a one-in-three chance at it. That all tracks with intuition.

Indeed, for the most part, the standings are self-explanatory. That doesn’t mean that everything is obvious and intuitive, however. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the cases where a deeper dive is necessary.

It’s tempting to think of a team’s expected win total as just a sum of their WAR. After all, the W is right there in ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: odds

When It Counted: Retrospective MVP Awards for the World Series, Part 2

Last month, I began this series to select World Series Most Valuable Players for the years when the current award did not exist. I covered the years 1903 to 1928, halting there for reasons of length. Today I’ll cover the rest of the pre-MVP period, from 1929 to 1954.

For anyone new to these articles (including my original one for the League Championship Series), or who wants a refresher on my methodology, I refer you to the introduction to last month’s article. Nothing has changed, except perhaps my willingness to reward players on the losing side. I did it three times in the 1903-28 part of this overview, but though I was close several times this go-round, I never pulled the trigger.

I won’t fill time with any more introductory ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, mvp, world series

White Sox’s Renteria gets a full shot at turning team around

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Rick Renteria has been here before.

He was managing the Chicago Cubs in 2014 when they were building a team that would end its century-long championship drought.

But just as that team was coming together for a four-year postseason run, Renteria’s contract was terminated when the Cubs had a chance to bring in free-agent manager Joe Maddon.

Now 58, Renteria landed with the White Sox and replaced Robin Ventura as manager just as the team began its own massive rebuilding project. Now in his fourth season on the South Side, Renteria’s patience is finally getting rewarded.

That is, unless Joe Maddon suddenly decides he wants to go to the South Side…..


QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rick renteria, white sox

Votto energized by Reds additions to move past worst season

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Joey Votto has no desire to rehash what he considers his worst season, which was also the sixth year in a row the Cincinnati Reds missed the playoffs with a losing record.

As for the moves the Reds made during the offseason, those energized the former NL MVP now going into his 14th season with the team.

“I was shocked for sure, and it seemed like it was one after the other. I was pleasantly surprised,” Votto said. “Like anybody who has watched this team over the last little bit, I think we’re excited about being competitive throughout the entire year.”

Votto was getting messages from friends this winter on what the Reds were doing while he took a self-imposed break from baseball activities — “I ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: joey votto, reds

Bounce back: MLB veterans to watch in spring games

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton’s intimidating presence was missing from the middle of the Yankees’ lineup for a big chunk of 2019 because of an injury-filled season.

As he tries to bounce back, the New York slugger will have his spring at-bats analyzed more than most.

Spring training game action begins in Arizona on Friday with a meeting between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals while the other 28 teams play their first exhibition games in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues on Saturday.

The games — especially early in the spring — are often filled with young prospects and others who are longshots to make opening day rosters. Most veterans will be eased into games and their stats won’t be particularly ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blake treinen, carlos martinez, chris sale, mike foltynewicz, steven souza, veterans

Carlos Carrasco To Undergo MRI On Right Leg

In more ominous news surrounding an already banged-up Indians rotation, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that righty Carlos Carrasco is slated to undergo an MRI on his right leg.’s Mandy Bell tweets that Carrasco entered the clubhouse this morning using a crutch after experiencing discomfort in his most recent workouts. The club offered no further specifics, Hoynes adds.

Carrasco, 33 next month, won American League Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2019 after stepping away from baseball in May following a leukemia diagnosis but returning to great (and well-deserved) fanfare just three months later. He struggled in a bullpen role down the stretch, but the results were secondary to the rapid, remarkable ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos carrasco, injury

J.T. Realmuto loses his arbitration case

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto lost his arbitration case against the Phillies today. That means he’ll get a $10 million salary in 2020. He had filed asking for $12.4 million.

That was Realmuto’s last time through the arbitration process, as he’s set to become a free agent after this season. There were reports back in November, however, about he and the Phillies discussing a long-term contract extension.

Wonder what the state of these negotiations is now…..


QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, j.t. realmuto

David Ortiz: Mike Fiers looks like a ‘snitch’ for exposing Astros scandal

FORT MYERS, Fla.—Red Sox legend David Ortiz expressed his displeasure with Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, the whistleblower in the sign-stealing scandal that has engulfed baseball for the past few months, saying that the former Astros hurler should have said something in the moment about the infamous trash-can banging scheme instead of waiting until he was on another team.

“I’m mad at this guy, the pitcher who came out talking about it,” Ortiz said at JetBlue Park on Thursday. “And let me tell you why. Oh, after you make your money, after you get your ring, you decide to talk about it. Why don’t you talk about it during the season when it was going on? Why didn’t you say, ‘I don’t want to be no part of it? So you look like you’re a ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: david ortiz, mike fiers, snitches get stitches

Severino (forearm) shut down, to be evaluated

TAMPA, Fla.—As Luis Severino recovered from his start in Game 3 of last year’s American League Championship Series against the Astros, the Yankees right-hander mentioned soreness in his right forearm, a comment that general manager Brian Cashman said that he disregarded when the issue seemed to dissipate.

When Severino’s complaints resurfaced during the offseason, the Yankees were concerned enough to have the hurler travel to New York on two occasions, though their MRIs and CT scans did not reveal any significant findings. Severino believed he was in the clear, but a new recurrence of that forearm discomfort has prompted the club to shut him down indefinitely.

“There’s an unknown right now,” Cashman said. “It could be small ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: arm injuries, luis severino, yankees

ESPN sets ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ lineup, moves Jessica Mendoza to weeknights

CLEVELAND, Ohio—ESPN will not replace Jessica Mendoza for its “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasts, instead opting for a two-man booth with Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez returning to their roles as play-by-play announcer and analyst, respectively. Buster Onley will also continue to serve as the dugout reporter, the network announced Thursday.

Mendoza, who spent the last four full seasons on “Sunday Night Baseball,” will instead work weeknight games, joining a rotation of analysts that includes former Indians Eduardo Perez and Rick Sutcliffe, along with Tim Kurkjian. Karl Ravech, Jon Sciambi and Dave Flemming will take turns doing play-by-play during the week.

Mendoza will also make regular appearances on “Baseball ...

QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasters, jessica mendoza

Astros whistleblower Mike Fiers says he’s received death threats but won’t give back his World Serie

In the ever-turning Houston Astros cheating saga, attention has now shifted back to Mike Fiers, the former Astros pitcher who blew the whistle on the entire cheating scheme.

Without Fiers speaking up about what he saw the Astros do in 2017, there’s a good chance the Astros never would have been disciplined by MLB and none of the daily drama we now find ourselves immersed in would be happening. With that, comes consequences and controversy.

In Fiers’ case, he’s told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser that he’s received death threats since becoming one of the central figures in what’s become one of the biggest scandals in baseball history.

As always, my apologies- the source article is behind a pay wall for me.

...
QLE Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:27 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, mike fiers

Thursday, February 20, 2020

‘One in 10 million’: An oral history of Zack Greinke’s years with the Royals

Anderson: We were playing the Tigers. Dmitri Young was at the plate. He started him up with a fastball, 93 or 94. Strike one. And the next pitch was this curveball that came popping out of his hand. It squirted out and up and was so slow, and it had Dmitri completely fooled and it comes into the strike zone. Dmitri has the bat on his shoulder, and he’s kind of chuckling as he peeks into our dugout on the first-base side like, “What was that?” While he’s doing that, I’m leaning forward and peeking at the miles per hour in the stadium, and it was 50. I’m not kidding you. It wasn’t 51, it wasn’t 49, it was 50.

Gobble: I think he did that against the Yankees, too.

Anderson: I sat back and was like, “This kid’s on another ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: zack greinke

A beer nerd’s guide to baseball: Ranking every stadium by craft beer offerings

1. T-Mobile Park, Seattle
Top beer: 10
Average beer: 10
Accessibility: 10

The craft beer scene in Seattle is in full bloom, and its ballpark has followed suit. Pacific Northwest labels Fremont Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Georgetown Brewing, Bale Breaker, Black Raven Brewing, Ecliptic Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, and even the smaller pFriem Family Brewers all have beers available at the ballpark. There’s a $6 (!) can deal every year, and one year it was a hazy IPA from Georgetown Brewing called Bodhizafa. Practically every food vendor has a craft tap, and there are cans in the aisles.

And not only does this place run on craft beer, but it also has a stand behind home plate (section 129) that boasts hard-to-find cask, barrel-aged and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: beer

Minor Leaguers Are In MLB The Show 2020, No Pay Needed

When the MLB The Show 2020 video game is released next month, it will attempt to include full minor league rosters for the first time. Users will be able to pitch with MacKenzie Gore and promote Wander Franco straight to the majors from high Class A, or play with either player in the minors.

For the casual fan, such an addition is likely to barely noticed, but for more hardcore fans, the presence of not just top prospects but all minor leaguers will be another reason to buy the game….

Minor league players not on 40-man rosters will not receive compensation, however. When they sign their first pro contract with their MLB team, they sign away their rights to profit from video games, baseball cards and other uses of their publicity rights.

...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league

Unlikely chain of events created a trailblazer

Although pitcher Carter Stewart did not set any records last year, by signing with the SoftBank Hawks instead of a Major League Baseball team, the 20-year-old made history as the first elite American amateur to sign his first pro baseball contract in Japan.

Stewart was the eighth player chosen among the 1,214 players selected in MLB’s 2018 amateur draft, and only the most bizarre set of circumstances and the intervention of a neighbor changed his course and brought him to Japan.

But the book appeared to slam shut on the fairytale story after the Atlanta Braves discovered an old injury, using that as a rationale to offer him a much smaller signing bonus.

After an arbitrator ruled on a players’ union grievance in the Braves’ favor, the ...

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: atlanta braves, draft pick compensation, japanese baseball

Giants right to exclude Aubrey Huff from 2010 World Series celebration

Given some of his tweets this year alone, it’s hard to blame them.

There was the one where he suggested kidnapping Iranian women and bringing them to the United States, saying they’d be so grateful they’d “fan us and feed us grapes.” There was the one where he expressed hope that protesters would be shot. There was the one where he said it was “way harder” to be a baseball player than a teacher. There were the many, many ones in which he demeaned women and said they were meant to be subservient to men.

And in what was probably the final straw for the Giants, he criticized their hiring of Alyssa Nakken, baseball’s first female coach, and implied it was a stunt.

“Couldn’t imagine taking baseball instruction from an ex ...

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 139 comment(s)
  Beats: douchebag

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