Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- Now that Andy Pettitte has announced his upcoming retirement (the sequel), Fangraphs’ Matt Klaassen evaluates his Hall of Fame credentials.
- You will never guess — I certainly didn’t — who is tied with Francisco Liriano for the honor of being “The National League’s Most Unhittable Starter.” Klaassen’s colleague, Jeff Sullivan, has the details.
- Watch Alcides Escobar somehow avoid a rundown tag and score the Royals’ fourth run of the game “just the way they practiced it before the game tonight.”
- Russell Carleton of Baseball Prospectus challenges sportswriters who offer up a “playoffs only” argument when casting a ballot for the Most Valuable Player award.
- Who were “The best rookies of the ’80s?” asks the Hardball Times’ Chad Dotson. His choice for No. 6 was an intriguing one:
Mark Eichhorn, Blue Jays (1986). Pop quiz, hotshot! Of all the rookies who made their debut during the 1980s, which one had the highest total WAR? If you guessed Mark Eichhorn . . . well, I guess it was pretty obvious that Eichhorn was the answer, huh? But anyway: it’s Eichhorn!
Even as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I should have Eichhorn higher on this list. I have a long-standing bias against relievers when comparing them with other positions, but Eichhorn bore more of a resemblance to the relievers of the 1970s than those we see in the current game. In 1986, he went 14–6 with a 1.72 ERA and a brilliant 246 ERA+, holding hitters to a miniscule 549 OPS. Though he only collected 10 saves (for much of his tenure with the Jays, Eichhorn set up games for Tom Henke), he pitched in 69 games . . . and threw 157 innings. You don’t see that anymore, and it’s the reason his WAR was 7.4.
Yeah, he should be higher on this list, shouldn’t he? Or should he?
- With Jason Heyward back in the lineup, writes Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, the Braves will have a formidable hitter in the leadoff spot in October.
- The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo endorses superagent Scott Boras’s proposal to have the first two games of the World Series played in a neutral, “warm-weather climate and/or dome” site.
- Even though the A’s had clinched the division title while their game was still in progress, the players had the good sense to wait until the contest had concluded, an 11–7 victory over the Twins, to go wild. (The Braves, Dodgers, and Red Sox have also clinched division titles.) David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot subsequently opined that a second straight AL West crown indicates that Billy Beane is the No. 1 general manager in the game.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!