Reveille 10/15/13

by Jason Epstein

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your postseason Tuesday a bit more bearable:

  • How much fun is it to watch Yasiel Puig? If you saw last night’s Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, then you know it is this much fun:

Well holy ####. Seldom do you see a first-round pick exceed expectations. And not just any first round pick, but the second-overall pick. . . .

Yes, I know, you’re not supposed to mention Mike Trout when mere mortals are discussed, but the comparison is not an exaggeration: Buxton has Trout-caliber tools, and he showed the requisite skills to use those tools last year. To carry the comparison further, Trout hit a combined .341/.428/.490 with 56 steals in A-ball in 2010, with a wRC+ of 173 in the Midwest League and a wRC+ of 116 in the California League. In 2013, Buxton hit a combined .334/.424/.520 with 55 steals with a wRC+ of 176 in the Midwest League and 155 in the Florida State League. Trout’s only statistical edge was fewer strikeouts: he whiffed in 14.1% of his plate appearances that year, while Buxton whiffed in 18.4%.

Did you catch that? Other than having a slightly higher (but not dangerous) strikeout rate, Buxton’s 2013 season was very close to, even slightly better than, Trout’s 2010. Also note that Buxton maintained a significantly better wRC+ than Trout did after his promotion, a reflection of the fact that the FSL is a more difficult hitting environment than what Trout faced in the Cal League. In case you are wondering, Buxton played the season at age 19, turning 20 this coming December. Trout turned 19 in August of ‘10, so he had a slight age edge.

  • Was the Mets’ decision to pass on Reggie Jackson in the 1966 amateur player draft grounded in racism? Jackson believes so, as does Bruce Markusen of the The Hardball Times
  • Via the San Jose Mercury News: A federal judge threw out San Jose’s monopoly claim against Major League Baseball, claiming that “baseball’s unique antitrust exemption seems illogical but . . . was beyond his authority to change it.” However, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte allowed a separate claim involving a “ballpark-land deal with the team” to proceed.
  • And via the Associated Press and USA Today: R.I.P., umpire Wally Bell, 48. (Bell had worked the recent Pirates–Cardinals NLDS series.)

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.