Reveille 2/3/14

by Jason Epstein

Good evening. (I figured the baseball chatter could wait a few hours until all had recovered from their Big Game hangover.)

Here are several links from the past week that will make the post–Super Bowl headache a bit more bearable:

  • A protective cap for pitchers has been approved for use in the upcoming season, reports William Weinbaum of ESPN’s Outside the Lines. According to the manufacturer, the new hat “afford[s] protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph.”
  • Alas, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that Brandon McCarthy, who suffered a skull fracture after being hit with a line drive in September of 2012, won’t be wearing the new gear, at least not yet.
  • Gilbert’s colleague, Anthony Castrovince, discusses the return of the platoon and why several teams are utilizing the strategy:

Last season, according to Elias Sports Bureau, players batted in favorable matchups (right-handed batters against left-handed pitchers, and vice versa) 56 percent of the time, the highest such percentage since 1995 (57) and an indication, perhaps, of the measures teams are taking to eke more efficiency and efficacy out of their offenses at a time when runs per game and league-wide batting averages have dipped to their lowest levels in decades.

Although the word platoon is often unfairly assigned to several of these situations, given that playing time won’t always be predicated upon handedness, not having an everyday player prescribed at every position isn’t necessarily a shortcoming and could, in fact, emerge as a strength.

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!