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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Braves’ Freeman wins NL MVP, White Sox slugger Abreu gets AL

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman easily won the NL MVP award Thursday, topping off a trying year that saw him become so ill with COVID-19 he prayed “please don’t take me.”

Chicago White Sox slugger José Abreu earned the AL MVP, a reward for powering his team back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Freeman got 28 of the 30 first-place ballots in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts got the other two firsts to finish second and San Diego third baseman Manny Machado was third.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 07:10 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: mvp

Los Angeles Angels hire Perry Minasian as new general manager, per report

The Los Angeles Angels have filled their vacant general manager position by hiring Perry Minasian, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Minasian, 40, was the Braves’ assistant general manager during the 2020 season. He had been a part of Atlanta’s front office since 2017, and prior to that, spent nine years working in the Toronto Blue Jays scouting department.

The Angels fired Billy Eppler following the 2020 season after the club completed its fifth consecutive losing campaign. Eppler took over as Angels’ general manager after the 2015 season. There were zero playoff appearances in his tenure and there wasn’t even a winning season. The best record under Eppler was 80-82, which happened in both 2017 and 2018.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 01:25 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Mets, Yankees Have Shown Interest In Yadier Molina

oth the Mets and Yankees have reached out to Yadier Molina’s camp to express interest in the veteran catcher, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). The Cardinals icon has also heard from at least three others, per Heyman.

It’s not surprising that either New York club would at least explore the possibility of bringing the 38-year-old Molina into the fold. As noted here at MLBTR last week, signing Molina would be a major narrative shift in the Bronx, where Gary Sanchez’s defensive struggles and prolific strikeout rates have drawn the ire of many fans. Molina, of course, is a generational defender at his position and still possesses some of the best bat-to-ball skills in baseball (13.5 percent strikeout rate in 2020).

As ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 01:06 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, mets, yankees

Rob Manfred says MLB will ‘be more aggressive’ about hosting fans during 2021 season

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is planning to allow fans to attend games during the 2021 season, as long as local government and health officials give the approval, according to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced MLB to play the entirety of its 60-game regular season without fans in attendance. The league, however, did permit up to 11,500 fans at the League Championship Series and World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas in October.

In a virtual discussion alongside NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, Manfred shared insight into the league’s 2021 plans for fans at the ballparks, per The Athletic:

“As we look forward, we will be more aggressive about ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 01:04 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-12-2020

New York Tribune, November 12, 1920:

A conference of the sixteen club owners of the National and American leagues will be held in Chicago to-day. The result of the deliberations will settle the immediate fate of organized baseball. The club owners, one and all, believe the war will be averted. Fandom, therefore, may await the issue tranquilly.

Ban Johnson’s plan to retain power in the AL and not submit to a commissioner was dead before it even got underway; in addition to keeping the five clubs loyal to him (Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Washington, Philadelphia), he needed to be able to poach three minor league clubs. The minor leagues were not having that.

Instead of adding (and this is just me spitballing candidates here) Baltimore, ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 12, 2020 at 10:33 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Bieber, Bauer make Ohio home of Cy winners

AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG AWARD WINNER

Shane Bieber, RHP Indians

The 25-year-old Bieber was the unanimous choice to win his first Cy Young honor, finishing ahead of Kenta Maeda and Hyun Jin Ryu in the AL. Bieber’s 41.1% strikeout rate was the highest ever by a qualified starting pitcher. His 1.63 ERA was the lowest by a qualified AL starter since MLB lowered the mound in 1969, and his .167 opponents’ average tied Pedro Martinez in 2000 for the lowest since ’69….

NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG AWARD WINNER

Trevor Bauer, RHP, Reds

The 29-year-old Bauer beat out Yu Darvish and Jacob deGrom. Bauer led the NL in ERA (1.73), ERA+ (276), WHIP (0.79), opponents’ average (.159) and shutouts (two). He ranked second only to deGrom in strikeouts ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2020 at 07:23 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award

Gausman accepts qualifying offer, returns to Giants for 2021

The Giants made no secret of the fact they wanted Kevin Gausman back in their rotation in 2021. They crossed that item off their offseason to-do list Wednesday afternoon when Gausman accepted the qualifying offer, which guarantees him $18.9 million on a one-year deal.

The decision, first reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN just before the 2 p.m. PT deadline, gives the Giants a dependable arm at the top of their rotation. Gausman currently would be their best option to start next year’s Opening Day—and also gives the sides some breathing room to potentially keep working on a multi-year deal. There were discussions in recent weeks, with both sides knowing they had the fallback option of Gausman returning for one year.

The deal was one both ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2020 at 06:33 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin gausman

Braves add depth by signing Josh Tomlin to one-year deal

The Braves have reached a deal to bring Josh Tomlin back for the 2021 season, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal is worth just $1M for next year, with an option for 2022 at $1.25M with a $250K buyout.

Tomlin, who just turned 36, spent the last two seasons with the Braves eating valuable innings predominately out of the bullpen. He was effective yet again in the shortened season with a 4.76 ERA, 4.02 FIP and better-than-expected strikeout numbers. He is who he is at this stage in his career — a versatile innings eater who can save the bullpen and even make a spot start if called upon.

Perhaps more importantly than his on-field contributions, Tomlin has served as a valuable member of the Braves’ clubhouse while ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2020 at 02:44 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, josh tomlin

The 2014-15 Kansas City Royals Were One Of Baseball’s Great Underdog Stories

We love our sports forecasts here at FiveThirtyEight, but one of the things that make the games great is when a team comes along and takes prognosticators by surprise. So along with our Hall of Pretty Damn Good Players, we want to appreciate these unsung teams that nobody saw coming, in a series we’re calling the Little Teams That Could.

Before their magical playoff runs of 2014 and 2015, the Kansas City Royals had not exactly been a fixture in baseball’s postseason.

OK, talk about huge understatements …

Although K.C. had ranked among baseball’s best from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, the 1990s and 2000s were not kind to the franchise. Team cornerstones like George Brett, Willie Wilson and Frank White gave way to stars who ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2020 at 01:44 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Marcus Stroman accepts New York Mets’ $18.9M qualifying offer

Right-hander Marcus Stroman has accepted the New York Mets’ one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.

The Mets made the offer to the free agent Nov. 1. Stroman confirmed he had taken it on Twitter, saying “Beyond excited to be back in Queens in 2021!”

Stroman also said on Twitter that he was excited to play for new Mets owner Steve Cohen.

Players have until 5 p.m. ET Wednesday to accept qualifying offers. Besides Stroman, Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu and J.T. Realmuto received offers. Bauer’s agent indicated he won’t take it, and a report says LeMahieu always will turn it down.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2020 at 12:17 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: marcus stroman

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-11-2020

El Paso Herald, November 11, 1920:

ARMISTICE DAY IS OBSERVED AND MAY BRING SETTLEMENT

Armistice day found the National Association of Minor leagues in the baseball spotlight as the result of its part in peace overtures designed to prevent war between the major leagues. The minors today turned to their own affairs while the major armies rested on their arms during the truce called to permit a joint meeting of the 16 National and American league club owners…The name of federal judge Landis was mentioned everywhere, for it was freely predicted that his selection as chief justice of baseball’s supreme court would be ratified by the majority five members of the American league. The judge was chosen unanimously by the National league members and ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 11, 2020 at 11:21 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Cash, Mattingly net Manager of Year honors

Don Mattingly and Kevin Cash were honored as Major League Baseball’s top managers in 2020 Tuesday on MLB Network after a season that tested and ultimately brought out the best in both men.

Mattingly was named the National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for leading the Marlins to their first postseason appearance in 17 years despite the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to derail the entire season almost before it began.

Mattingly became just the fifth person in history to win a Manager of the Year Award after being named a Most Valuable Player, joining Frank Robinson, Don Baylor, Kirk Gibson and Joe Torre.

Meanwhile, Cash was named AL Manager of the Year for leading the Rays to their first AL ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2020 at 08:50 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: manager of the year

Former Giant Mac Williamson sues club over concussion that ‘ended my career’

Former Giants outfielder Mac Williamson is suing the organization over the concussion he sustained in 2018 when he tripped over a bullpen mound at Oracle Park and hit his head on the wall, saying he continues to have symptoms that include blurred vision, and that the incident “ended my career.”

“My life hasn’t been the same since suffering the injury,” Williamson said in a statement released by a public relations firm for Williamson’s San Francisco-based attorney, Randy Erlewine.

The rare action by a player against his former team over an on-field injury names China Basin Ballpark Company LLC as the defendant. That firm is controlled by the Giants’ partnership group.

The suit, filed in Superior Court in San Francisco, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2020 at 04:22 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, mac williamson

Steve Cohen sets high bar for Mets’ World Series timeline

In 1963, Steve Cohen first went to the Polo Grounds with his father to watch the Mets. On Tuesday, the billionaire gave his vision for the future of the franchise — and set a very high bar.

“If I don’t win a World Series in the next three to five years — I’d like to make it sooner — but if I don’t do that, I would consider that slightly disappointing,” Cohen said Tuesday during his introductory press conference.

Cohen said the Mets are “a major market team” that “should have a budget commensurate with that.”

“I’m essentially doing this for the fans,” Cohen said. “When I really thought about this, I can make millions of people happy. What an incredible opportunity that is. That’s how I’m thinking about ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2020 at 02:48 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-10-2020

New York Herald, November 10, 1920:

Detroit will be the home of the twelfth club of the National league if the warring baseball factions do not settle their differences. This is the unanimous opinion of those who appear to be in touch with the situation. The National League would not dare to invade minor league territory…and Detroit is the only available city in the American League where two major clubs could survive, it is said.

This is stemming from Ban Johnson’s ongoing meltdown about the possibility of hiring a baseball commissioner. From what I can tell, the idea was that the Red Sox, Yankees, and White Sox would join the NL along with a new Detroit club.

For his part, Johnson was said to be planning to add a team in either Baltimore ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 10, 2020 at 10:35 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

NPB players who could be in MLB in ‘21

Player transfers from Nippon Professional Baseball are open, as well, with Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano the most prominent candidate to move to MLB for the 2021 season.

The posting window for NPB players began Sunday—one week later than usual, due to schedule changes related to COVID-19—and continues until Dec. 12. If NPB clubs make players available to MLB teams during that time, a 30-day negotiating period follows in each instance.

One source said no NPB team had issued a posting notice as of Monday morning. That will change in the days and weeks ahead. The modified, 120-game regular season won’t end for every NPB club until Saturday, so multiple teams will wait until later in the month to make official announcements.

...Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2020 at 10:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, npb

Monday, November 09, 2020

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa charged with DUI stemming from February arrest, court docs show

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa was charged with driving under the influence after he allegedly ran his car into a curb in February, leaving it smoking on the side of a Phoenix-area road, according to court records obtained by ESPN.

It is the second known drunken driving arrest for La Russa, who in 2007 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in Jupiter, Florida.

A 76-year-old Hall of Famer long regarded as one of the canniest managers in baseball, La Russa’s hiring to lead the White Sox last week after a nine-year absence from the dugout shocked observers throughout the game.

When reached by ESPN on Monday night, La Russa said, “I have nothing to say,” and hung up the phone.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2020 at 09:18 PM | 115 comment(s)
  Beats: tony larussa

Williams, Lewis named Rookies of the Year

AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Kyle Lewis—CF, Mariners

Lewis overcame Luis Robert and Cristian Javier in the AL vote. The 25-year-old center fielder played in 58 games for the Mariners and became just the second rookie since 1969—joining the A’s Mark McGwire in 1987—to lead his team in batting average (.262), home runs (11), runs (37) and walks (34). His FanGraphs WAR (1.7), runs, walks and total bases (90) led all AL rookies, and he finished second in hits (54) and RBIs (28) and fourth in stolen bases (five)....

NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Devin Williams – RHP, Brewers

Williams edged fellow NL finalists Jake Cronenworth and Alec Bohm to become the rare reliever to achieve this honor. The last reliever in either league ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2020 at 08:42 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: rookie of the year

MLB barely tested for PEDs this season

Testing for performance-enhancing drugs was not done during MLB’s lockdown period and its frequency was down considerably — though it was not absent — during the 60 regular-season games and the postseason in 2020, The Post has learned.

MLB and the Players Association partner on a joint drug prevention and treatment program. The agreement calls for use of a Montreal lab, certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency, for testing. But that lab was closed for much of the period from mid-March through early July in which MLB also did not operate, so there was no testing during that time. Additionally, in some jurisdictions there was difficulty with the protocol due to COVID-19 restrictions, such as sample collectors not being deemed ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2020 at 05:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: peds

Ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, fired after sign-stealing scandal, sues team

Jeff Luhnow sued the Houston Astros for breach of contract on Sunday, alleging that Astros owner Jim Crane and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred negotiated penalties for the sign-stealing scandal that enabled the team to paint Luhnow as “the scapegoat for the organization” and fire its general manager “in order to save more than $22 million in guaranteed salary.”

In January, after a two-month investigation into how the Astros violated baseball rules by improperly deploying technology to decode signs in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Manfred suspended Luhnow and Astros manager A.J. Hinch for the 2020 season. Crane then fired Luhnow and Hinch.

Luhnow’s lawsuit uses quotation marks around the word “investigation” and ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2020 at 12:05 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow, sign-stealing

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Randy Arozarena’s story will become a movie

andy Arozarena’s sudden emergence as a record-smashing, postseason star for the Rays seemed like something out of a movie. Now his story will get the Hollywood treatment.

Wonderfilm Media announced plans for an Arozarena biopic, slated to be filmed after next season and released in theaters in fall 2022 or spring 2023.

The full-length feature will focus on Arozarena’s escape from Cuba and his journey to the major leagues, leading up to his stunning postseason success, said Wonderfilm co-founder Bret Saxon, who framed it as “an amazing story” of “human spirit and how it triumphs.”

I wonder if it will have a disembodied Bill James?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2020 at 12:49 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: randy arozarena

A summary of the 2020 SB Nation off-season simulation

We do this simulation every year, it can give you an idea on what FA contracts may look like, although with imaginary money, the high end always gets inflated.

I negotiated for free agents this year, and I messed up accepting the QO for DJ LeMahieu and not for Masahiro Tanaka - Tanaka ended up getting screwed. Anyway, the GMs came up with a few interesting trades this year, and we didn’t have too many insane ones.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2020 at 10:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Blue Jays’ Guerrero Jr. says he’s preparing to take back third base


The 2021 MLB season feels forever away, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has already made his mission for the year crystal clear: He’s taking back third base.

During an interview conducted in Spanish, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger opened up about why team brass moved him from third base to first and his desire to return to his original position.

“When they moved me to first base they did it because they didn’t want me to struggle that much,” Guerrero told Yancen Pujols of El Caribe (translation confirmed by Sportsnet). “You know in 2018 I had an injury in one of my knees and they’re scared of that. And that’s the reason they moved me to first base.”

Guerrero was slated to start the shortened 2020 MLB season at third, where he ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2020 at 10:30 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: vladimir guerrero jr.

Yankees officially axe Staten Island affiliate; new team expected at Richmond County Ballpark

The Staten Island Yankees were one of four minor league affiliates eliminated this weekend as part of the New York Yankees’ organizational restructuring—but the borough president’s office says it has secured a commitment to keep professional baseball on the borough.

On Saturday, the New York Yankees announced the major restructuring of it’s minor league baseball system, ending its affiliation with the Staten Island Yankees, alongside the three other teams, as part of a sweeping league-wide initiative to streamline the system and reduce the total number of developmental teams.

In a statement released Saturday, Yankees ownership said it had considered maintaining its affiliation with the Staten Island Yankees and transition the team to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2020 at 10:14 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: yankeees

Source: Toronto Blue Jays agree to 1-year, $8 million deal with Robbie Ray

Free-agent pitcher Robbie Ray and the Toronto Blue Jays have reached agreement on a one-year deal, the team announced Saturday.

The deal is worth $8 million, a source told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Ray becomes the first of 181 free agents to get a new contract this offseason.

Ray accepted a 15% cut from his $9.43 million, one-year deal with Arizona last year, which turned into $3,492,593 in prorated pay in the pandemic-shortened season. The Diamondbacks traded him to the Blue Jays on Aug. 31, and he pitched in the playoffs for Toronto.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2020 at 10:11 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, robbie ray

Friday, November 06, 2020

Hours after becoming Mets new owner, Steve Cohen fires GM Brodie Van Wagenen, entire front office

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is starting over.

The organization announced on Friday afternoon that it was parting ways with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen as well as the rest of the front office.


The group consists of special assistant to the general manager Omar Minaya; vice president and assistant general manager for scouting and player development Allard Baird; assistant general manager of systemic development Adam Guttridge; and executive director of player development Jared Banner.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 03:32 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

MLB does not punish Dodgers’ Justin Turner for celebrating after positive coronavirus test

Major League Baseball on Friday announced that it will not discipline Justin Turner for his decision to return to the field to celebrate the Dodgers winning the World Series after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The league said the decision was made following an investigation. MLB initially placed blame solely on Turner the day after the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays for their first championship in 32 years, stating that “it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.”

The league struck a different tone Friday, citing different factors that helped lead to Turner going onto the field for an extended period of time, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 03:31 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, justin turner

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-6-2020

Pittsburgh Press, November 6, 1920:

J. Emile Dion of Quebec, Canada, has proposed to the Baseball Writers Association of America a plan which is certainly unique. He suggests that reporters writing the story of each game every day mention without fail the man who deserves to be crowned as the star of that particular contest.

From these national press associations could pick the one who was apparently the luminary of the game, and in the end the man who starred on the largest number of days would be named as the outstanding figure of the season.

I’ve had a similar idea for years, inspired by the AFL’s Brownlow Medal. There, the umpires vote (in secret) for the top three players in every game on a 3-2-1 basis. At the end of the season, they ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 10:48 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Math! 3 triples + 2 singles + 1 double = 0 runs

But before all of that, in 1890, Joshua Mercer Goar executed perhaps the most impossible feat in baseball history against the Anderson Tigers in the Indiana State League. Not even Houdini or MacGyver could’ve escaped from the situation the right-hander put himself into.

Goar came into a game and allowed six hits—three triples, one double and two singles ... but he gave up exactly zero runs.

Zero. Nothing. Zilch. Think about that: three men got to third base and none of them scored! Even after the next three guys hit a double and two singles!

How does something this ridiculous happen? Well, according to this snippet from The Toronto Globe, this is how. As Samuel L. Jackson might say, hold onto your butts.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 10:32 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: 19th century

Here are this year’s Silver Slugger winners

The heavy hitters showed off in 2020, bringing us bat flips, grand slams and historic numbers for a shortened season, and they were rewarded when the Silver Slugger Awards were announced on Thursday night on MLB Network.

Both the Braves and the White Sox were well-represented, with four Atlanta players and a trio of Chicago sluggers taking home hardware. First-time winners included young stars Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr., while seeing Mike Trout’s name on the list was no surprise. He won his eighth Silver Slugger Award and now trails only Barry Bonds for the most all time.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 06, 2020 at 09:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: silver slugger

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