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.
- Two clubs that are known for their embrace of platooning and other forward-thinking ideas have invested heavily in their bullpens this offseason, even though “relievers are often thought of as being lousy investments.” Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan thinks he knows why.
- Baseball Nation’s Mike Bates says the Pirates would be prudent not to give A. J. Burnett, no longer contemplating retirement, a big raise in order to remain with the team.
- What are the chances that Yasiel Puig’s sophomore season will be as successful as his rookie campaign? Beyond the Boxscore’s Scott Lindholm tackles the question, basing his conclusions in part on historical comps.
- Congratulate the good folks at MLB Trade Rumors on the christening of their sister site, NFL Trade Rumors.
- Two Texas legends called it quits last week: Lance Berkman (above) and Michael Young. Adam J. Morris of Lone Star Ball sees the latter as an “awfully good player for a decade or so” for the Rangers. Sports Illustrated’s Cliff Corcoran admires Berkman’s career numbers but thinks that the longtime Astro isn’t quite Hall of Fame material.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!