Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- Baseball Nation’s Rob Neyer reveals his all-April team, which may include a face or two that will stink up the joint by Memorial Day:
SS - Jean Segura
Yes, yes . . . He was an excellent prospect; that’s why the Brewers got him from the Angels last summer. As a rookie, though, Segura didn’t take real well to the National League, batting .264 without a single home run in 44 games. This season, though? He’s batting .364 with nine extra-base hits (including three homers!) in 24 games. Meanwhile, the 9-17 Angels can merely wonder what might have been…
LF - Nate McLouth
Nate McLouth is a testament to . . . something. Six years ago, McLouth came out of Nowhere to have a pretty good season with the Pirates, and a year later came out of Semi-Nowhere to lead the National League with 48 doubles and win a Gold Glove in center field. The next year, the Pirates traded McLouth to the Braves and he went back to being Nate McLouth, Journeyman Outfielder. Which he’s been ever since. Except this year, he’s the Orioles’ every-day left fielder and he’s batting .346 with a lot more walks than strikeouts.
Pitcher – Kevin Correia
So, so much fun. Correia is the thrilling apogee of the Minnesota Twins’ pitch-to-contact philosophy: Don’t strike anybody out, and the wins will come. Which is actually a really terrible philosophy. Except that Correia, who’s got only 15 strikeouts in 36 innings in this Age of the Strikeout, is also 3–1 with a 2.23 ERA. Granted, it’s not nearly as shocking as Jonathan Sanchez washing out with the Pirates. Still, I’ll bet you didn’t see this one coming.
- Paul Swydan of Fangraphs explores the use of the sacrifice bunt in the first inning and concludes that the oft-ridiculed tactic is still being employed too frequently.
- Writing in USA Today, Graham Womack of High Heat Stats highlights the Marlins’ offensive woes as a means of introducing weighted runs created plus (wRC+) to those readers unfamiliar with the statistic.
- Inspired by his five-year old son’s introduction to organized baseball, Beyond the Boxscore’s Adam Darowski discusses “The Sabermetrics of Little League.”
- Christina Kahrl of ESPN’s SweetSpot says that Jeremy Guthrie, who has been a key component in the Royals’ early-season success, also fits in well with Kansas City’s win-now philosophy:
From disappointing high expectations as a top prospect in Cleveland, to being stuck as an innings-eater in Oriole irrelevance, to the brief horrors of a mile-high exile as a Rockie, Guthrie has paid his dues and deserves a good turn. That he’s given the Royals more than one in kind is one of those happy developments. With the additions of James Shields and Ervin Santana to the rotation, Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore can reasonably brag that he’s managed to cobble together a better-than-average rotation in short order despite limited supply and limited cash. Thanks to their rotation, the Royals are in that gaggle of teams fighting for bragging rights to be second in the American League to the Detroit Tigers in quality-start percentage so far — just a tick or two below 60 percent — even as they fight to keep up with the heavily favored Motor City Kitties in the AL Central.
- Kahrl’s colleague, David Schoenfield, believes it is time for the Padres to ink the face of the franchise, Chase Headley, to a long-term extension.
- Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors interviews Michael Pfaff, president and general manager of the Long Island Ducks, a team in the independent Atlantic League. Pfaff recently signed three former MLBers — Ramon Castro, Vladimir Guerrero, and Dontrelle Willis — to play for the club this summer.
Has the Ducks’ reputation gotten to the point where the club doesn’t have to recruit and big names just sort of gravitate to the team?
Its a lot different than it was ten years ago. There’s no question In 2013, agents, players, and managers that are with or work with major league organizations know about the Atlantic League at this point. We’ve had more than 600 players signed to major league deals.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of a major league organization. If you’re running player development for a big league club, and you have a player that makes, say, 10K a month, and you want to give a younger guy an opportunity to see if he can perform at that level, you would have to keep that guy at 10K a month in Triple-A or spring training or extending spring to give your young guy a shot. Now, if he goes to an Atlantic League club, we really only have major league clubs to purchase our contract to repay the integrity of our contact. It’s not to profit from it, its not a big revenue source for us, we make our money from ticket sales and such.
If you’re a major league organization, and you go and you spend 4K to purchase that player, two months into the season, you would have paid that player 20K to have him. Not only did you give your younger payer an opportunity to prove himself, you’ve got 16K to spend elsewhere..Economically, we’ve benefited major league organizations, they see that using the Atlantic League as a place where they can pluck talent from.
- Writing in the Hardball Times, Alex Connors asserts that the return of John Farrell to Fenway Park — he was the pitching coach from 2007 through 2010 and is back as manager this season — is having a positive effect on the Red Sox pitching staff.
- Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci wonders what was the substance that glistened on Clay Buchholz’s left forearm while on the mound against the Jays last Wednesday evening.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!