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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

For evangelist of the analytics department, right words make the numbers work – The Athletic

“One of the things we decided, sort of collectively,” Rybarczyk said, “is that we were doing probably a better job of creating tools that would help us figure out the answers to questions, and not as good of a job communicating (those answers) throughout the organization.”

Whatever the new title might be, Rybarczyk’s basically the evangelist of the analytic department. He’s the messenger. He’ll still run numbers and help with strategy, but he’s also going to be in the major-league clubhouse more often, and he’ll visit minor-league affiliates for the first time in his career. He’s already been in spring training for four weeks, far longer than he’s used to.

Rybarczyk, 50, has been a Red Sox analyst since 2014, but he has a LinkedIn page for the ages. He attended the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officers School, then he served as navigator and damage control officer and held several other titles aboard the USS South Carolina. He’s been a physics instructor for the Navy, a design engineer for General Electric and a senior reliability engineer for Xerox. He’s a certified master black belt of Six Sigma, and he knows more about nuclear power plants than any baseball executive should.

Rybarczyk is a smart man, an accomplished man, but he got into baseball largely through his ability to communicate complex data.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2020 at 07:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, red sox

Who is Josh Kalk? To appreciate Twins’ pitching architect, ask everyone but him – The Athletic

You can’t walk two feet in the clubhouse before another Twins pitching coach gushes about the impact Kalk has had on both the team’s players and coaches. A player development enthusiast since his days with the Tampa Bay Rays, Kalk is regarded as a savant when it comes to information.

What began as writing for his own blog and eventually The Hardball Times after he found a backdoor into Major League Baseball’s Pitch F/X data and researched the numbers has developed into a critical skillset required by one of MLB’s most innovative teams. A benefactor of MLB’s information age, Kalk, in the eyes of Twins general manager Thad Levine, personifies the sport’s evolution.

“Five to 10 years ago, people with Josh’s background would not have had immediate access to major-league coaches, to major-league players, to game planning,” Levine said. “He now is one of the chief architects of our pitching planning throughout our whole minor-league and major-league systems. He is a consigliere to (pitching coach) Wes Johnson, (senior pitching advisor) Bob McClure, (minor-league pitching coordinator) Pete Maki and (manager) Rocco Baldelli.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2020 at 07:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, twins

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Inside the Rockies’ new idea to finally cure the Coors Field hangover

The results were immediately positive. For the Rockies, expected slugging percentage (xSLG), which uses exit velocity and launch angle to determine how results would play over time, became a key metric to measure their progress. After adopting the new road hitting routine, Blackmon’s xSLG jumped by nearly 90 points, Arenado’s by nearly 40, McMahon by almost 100 points.

Taking BP against a machine that actually mimics major league movement and velocity? It’s so crazy it might just work!

Perry Posted: March 07, 2020 at 08:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coors field, pay site, rockies

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

‘What are we, interns?’: Dodgers prospects work to make ends meet – The Athletic

I’m OK with smaller farm systems as long as the remaining players get paid a lot better. It makes sense for teams and for players. It’s understandable owners aren’t fans of losing their affiliations with MLB teams.

So he believes Major League Baseball’s teams are hurting themselves by declining to better compensate minor-leaguers, or at least accommodate them in the offseasons.

“You would be lying if you said baseball wasn’t a full, year-round job,” de Geus said. “But we’re being paid like it’s not. What are we, interns? Seasonal workers?”

And because many of his peers cannot develop in the offseason due to financial constraints, de Geus went as far as to offer a concession: Do what the Dodgers do, he suggested, and do it on a larger scale. At least provide training for every minor-leaguer.

“There’s too many options available for the system to justify doing nothing, to stay in the state it’s in right now,” de Geus said. “Maybe don’t even pay guys. But encourage them to go to an actual trainer, or an actual coach, who can actually help the development process, and reimbursing it. That would be a nice consolation.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2020 at 06:08 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league pay, pay site

Monday, December 23, 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Amidst the chaos of Winter Meetings, the A’s embrace the calm of hitting their 2020 target – The Athletic

“We’ve been looking forward to this window right now for quite some time,” Melvin said. “To see it all come together at the same time going into the season, albeit there is still a lot of youth, is really exciting. I don’t know that in my tenure here that we have had both a position player group and a pitching group this talented to this point. We’re all excited about that.”

Driving much of Melvin’s excitement is the prospect of folding young southpaws Jesús Luzardo and AJ Puk into the A’s starting rotation.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2019 at 06:10 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, bob melvin, pay site

Saturday, December 07, 2019

An honest look at the Pirates’ frugal free-agent history under Bob Nutting – The Athletic

There’s not an owner who would say the way to win a World Series is by building a core with free agents alone. But there’s a big difference between not using free agency as a primary source of talent acquisition and … this:

Free Agency Graph

Since Nutting became the Pirates’ principal owner on Jan. 12, 2007, no team has spent less in free agency than the Pirates.

(A note on the numbers: While there is no official, publicly available list of all free-agent signings, data was pulled from free-agent trackers on ESPN and MLB Trade Rumors to compile as comprehensive a list as possible of free agents who have signed major-league deals since the 2006-07 offseason. This time frame was selected in order to analyze trends under the Pirates’ current ownership. The list excludes incentives, options or contract extensions in the salary totals. It includes over 1,500 signings, the last of which was Zack Wheeler and the Phillies agreeing on a five-year, $118 million deal on Wednesday.)

Jim Furtado Posted: December 07, 2019 at 07:35 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site, pirates

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Pirates owner Bob Nutting not sweating $17M in dead money | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When do they build him a statue?

Jim Furtado Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:47 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, pirates

Monday, December 02, 2019

Sunday, December 01, 2019

‘Losing a war that you weren’t informed of’: Some MLB pitchers are livid over electronic sign stealing – The Athletic

Since The Athletic broke the news that the Houston Astros stole signs electronically in 2017, the fallout has mostly been framed as an Astros vs. the-rest-of-MLB scandal. But this line of thought is misguided, or at least incomplete for a couple of reasons.

First, we don’t necessarily know everything that the Astros were doing, or whether they were the only team to do it. Beyond that, regardless of who was doing what and how widespread it was, both commissioner Rob Manfred and the players union will have to soothe a critical undercurrent if they hope to move the game forward.

The issue? Pitchers want blood.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2019 at 08:51 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, sign stealing

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Stark: Five things to watch on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot – The Athletic

Read the whole thing.

3. Can Walker make a historic leap to Cooperstown?
According to, Larry Walker remains hitless in his last 5,161 days on Planet Earth. But because Hall of Fame voting is so frigging weird, that didn’t stop Walker from making the biggest surge of any player on the 2019 ballot. That was in the form of a 20.5-percent, 88-vote leap to 54.1 percent, which left him 87 votes shy of election.

That would be an eye-popping jump for anyone. But it’s almost incomprehensible for a guy who was only attracting 68 votes total (344 short of election) as recently as five years ago.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2019 at 08:28 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, pay site

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sarris: More load management in baseball? What the sport might learn from the NBA – The Athletic

Even on the hitting side, we’re seeing young stars develop repetitive stress injuries — Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a stress fracture this year, something that can develop if hitters don’t take enough time off, according to at least one expert on the subject.

“From what doctors have said, this is a common-usage injury at times in guys who are 15 to 24 years of age,” former Padres skipper Andy Green told our Dennis Lin about the team’s young star. “He’s kind of going through that right now, and we expect him to make a full recovery.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 17, 2019 at 08:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, player health, rest

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Moonshot: The Rocket Ball Has Disappeared In October - Baseball ProspectusBaseball Prospectus

But this change is very different. Almost overnight within the same season, the ball has been replaced by one with wholly distinct characteristics, ranging from the speed with which it leaves the bat to the distance it travels. It’s hard to believe that MLB, which owns the company that produces the baseballs, would consciously approve a change to their manufacturing on the eve of the most important month of the season, but it’s also hard to believe that this would happen by accident.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:49 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: baseballs, pay site




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